« EelmineJätka »
ties for the instruction of the colored race, are too well known to need recital.
I can not conclude this paper without alluding again to the potency of the agencies of the public system, and the wonderful effect they have produced on Southern education in all its grades from the kindergarten to the university. Those educators whose experience has been con. fined to State systems which had become mature before the present generation of teachers had entered upon the stage, may find some diffculty in realizing the power of these appilances with which they have always been familiar, They may even be disposed to attribute the completeness of their own educational systems to the individual strength of the separate atoms which compose their corps of distinguished ed. ucators, and not to the powerful cohesion of the whole. Those of us, however, who have grown up with systems where no such agencies had been used, and have subsequently witnessed the effect of their intro. duction, can not fail to recognize the force and power of those great appliances which can be effectively wielded by no hand but the strong hand of the State. We have seen these agencies strengthen the weak teacher, arouse the wearied teacher, stimulate the strong, expose the Pecksniffs, and modernize the Dominie Sampsons. We have watched these influences as they spread beyond the public school, and entered the private school, the academy, the college, and the university, bringing the several departments into communication, and organizing education into a harmonious system. a
We have seen them reach beyond ed. ucational circles and permeate the whole population, regulating the laws of educational demand and supply, fitting education to popular needs, and planting its interests deep in the hearts of the people. The teachers and people of Tennessee now wish to expand the hori
We desire to look beyond our own State lines. We wish to take counsel with our co-laborers in the South, and our brethren from other sections of our common country whose public systems are older and more matured than our own. Impelled by such considerations, the Leg. islature of Tennessee by joint resolution, the Governor by official communication, the city council, and the board of education of the city of Nashville, the Tennessee State Teachers' Association, and many of our leading institutions of learning, as well as the boards of education of many of our cities, have united in an invitation to the National Educa. tional Association to hold its annual session in July, at the capital city of our State. But in this invitation Tennessee does not stand alone. Actuated by the same sentiments, the entire Southern delegation, at San Francisco, held a meeting, and by unanimous and cordial vote, extended an invitation from the Solid South." Our invitation is sincere, and our welcome will be hearty. Yet, in view of all that has been spoken and written about Southern education, in view of some things that have been charged, and in view of some things that have been admitted, it may not exceed the bounds of good taste to say, that we invite you, not
as missionaries, but as friends; that in mingling with our educators and our citizens you will be among your peers.
For many years we have freely laid open the defects of our educational systems. Any effort to conceal them would be futile, any attempt to palliate them would be unmanly and unwise. But we have never admitted the inferiority of Southern educators in intellectual or literary attainments, nor of Southern citizens in general culture. When you visit us in July, we may show you, in our exposition, some features in our education to admire. Possibly there may be some things to surprise you. If our elder brothers, representing public systems long since matured, should find in our educational field any native flower worthy of transplanting, we shall contribute it with pleasure, in return for much that we have received from abroad.
In addition to its educational features, the exposition will contain an exhibit of the agricultural and mineral resources of Tennessee. The partial development of these resources has attracted the attention of the world. We invite you to visit not Nashville only, but Tennessee and the South. Excursions will be provided to take you to the principal points of interest. Within easy distance, and reached by rail, are some of the finest stock farms in the world. The National Cemeteries at Nashville, Murfreesborough, Chattanooga, Memphis, Shiloh, Dover, and Knoxville, seven in number, are maintained by the Government, and are beautifully kept. Near the battle-fields where they fell, the Confederate soldiers sleep in humble graves. On every side along the lines of railway can be seen traces of fortifications which mark the battlefields of the Civil War, monuments to American valor, and witnesses of that stupendous struggle which astonished the world; whose history, the joint heritage of all Americans, constitutes America's proudest title to martial glory, and the grandest contribution which the nineteenth century has made to human greatness.
A few hours' ride northward will bring you to the most wonderful of Nature's freaks, the famous Mammoth Cave. To the south lie Sewanee, Monteagle, and the coal mines at Tracy City, seated on the crest of Cumberland Plateau. In Sequatchie Valley is South Pittsburg. Over. looking Chattanooga is Lookout Mountain, whose summit is reached by two lines of railway. Here are large, elegant hotels, from whose porticos may be enjoyed the most beautiful view in America. Near here was fought the famous battle above the clouds. Farther to the southwest the coal and iron deposits come together in Birmingham, Ala. To the west the Bluff City overlooks the Father of Waters. Off to the east, marking the line between Tennessee and North Carolina, is the Unaka range of mountains, which contains the loftiest peaks and the grandest scenery east of the Mississippi River. Upon the summit of Roane Mountain is Cloudland Hotel, the most elevated hotel east of the Mississippi. These mountains are pierced by streams which flow through gorges similar to the canyons of the Rocky Mountains, and are second only to them in grandeur. The canyons of tho Doe River and of French Broad River are reached by rail. Nature has no scenes more beautiful and few more grand than those which she has hidden in the plateaus and mountains of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.
We hope that you will reach Nashville on the morning of Tuesday, July 16, in order that we may welcome you at the barbecue picnic. This will introduce you to one phase of Southern social life. Our people anticipate much pleasure from the literary exercises of the occasion, and from the able papers which will be read and discussed, but they look with equal anticipation to other less formal features of the meeting. They wish to make your personal acquaintance, to welcome you to their homes, and to engage in the pleasures of social intercourse with representatives of education from all portions of the United States.
REMARKS BY HON. H. W. BLAIR, U. S. S.
My friends, I can not be.insensible to so warm a greeting from this select and distinguished body of the educators of America—for the educators of America are really the educators of the world. I realize, it may be even more than you, perhaps, the great work that you are accomplishing in this land of ours, by its outflowing influence in this world of ours, which is ours, as well as this land of ours, and for the whole of which we are responsible. I have had occasion, during my short public life, to watch something of the developments of the American nation as it has been wrought out by the educators of this great profession. This is, I think, the most important to-day of all the learned orders of society. The growth in numbers and in qualifications and in power of the teacher's profession, I think, is very marked. It is very marked within my own recollection. It has never increased to so great an extent and with such rapidity, I mean to say, as within the last ten or fifteen years. Its scope has never been so extensive. The War opened the great South to the educator as an avocation. I have listened with great interest, with very great interest, and instruction to the valuable paper which has been read to you to-night by our friend from the South, and I think his criticsms upon our provincialisın, for it is nothing else, of the North, with reference to much of the education of the South in times past, is very just. Yet, I think that something might be added to what he has said; something not, perhaps, complimentary wholly to the North; something that, perhaps, is new and strange to many of us, and that is, this great development of the intellectual forces. This high quality of human endeavor, which was the result of it, was, in the time previous to the War, confined almost wholly to about two millions of their population. It was confined to the wealthy and cultivated classes. There, principally, it was confined, and it is a fact, I think, in statistics—I have so been taught by the statistics of our Board of Education—that just prior to the outbreak of the War, the South, with her two to three millions of a really educated class of white people, was educating, with liberality, these in the liberal institutions of the country, giving a liberal education to almost as many of her sons as did the entire North.
We drew ours from the great, broad millions occupying the whole country, and including all classes; while from the South, from the comparatively few who were, by reason of their wealth and their position in society, able to attain a liberal education from the comparatively few, she educated as many as did the whole North, lacking only about fifty, I think, yearly. Now, there never was brought to my mind so vividly the truth of the ancient adage that “ Knowledge is power” as this fact which is illustrated in the history of our own country. Why, these men, these two or three millions of men educated, an educated aristocracy, having other millions under their control, but all of them combined were not more than one-third of the population of the North, and that includ. ing the negro population, which was no element of military strength, having only by its labors contributed to the sustenance of the armyI say this educated two or three millions of human beings held out against the gigantic forces and resources of the whole North, and for four long years endured great deprivation, exhibited a plentitude of valor, yet accomplished a renown in history which no other two or three millions of men ever achieved since the foundation of the world. I am not speaking of their cause, but I am speaking of what they accomplished. Now, our friend has given us a most opportune address with reference to this matter of national aid. There is, I believe, the dawn
I approaching. I think the sun is really rising, and that we are sure of good weather, and, during the next Congress, we will pass that education bill, and we will get the money. [Applause.] All along in these recent years, they have told us that the South needed not the help. When the census was taken ten years ago, its developments were looked upon as a demonstration of the required help. But we have been told that greatly and very rapidly the school system has increased ; that it now embraces everybody; that there is money enough. Some claim that the South is, to-day, better supplied with facilities of education than the North, but you have heard the testimony of a competent witness. We know from the very nature of things, those who reflect upon it know, or those of our countrymen who do not reflect upon it may know, from the mouth of this competent witness, that the necessity still exists. We know that this necessity is one which falls not upon the South alone. We are one country. The ignorant, the illiterate, and incompetent citizen of the South, or of the North, or of the West works an equal injury to that and all sections of the country. If the life.seed of our civilization and of our institutions flows from the extremities to all the centres of the country, the poison, no matter where it is injected, is felt through the entire system, and ultimately it reaches with certain death the heart itself. Now, we have got the money needed at the South. We need, at the North, the money that is applied at the South; and so it is that I find myself for such work as may fall to my lot in the near future; for it is a great work, a continuous work, to meet the misrepresentations, to meet the inertia of the public feeling and