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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, and 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 Iresident, 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 determined.
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 herein established.
The Eill, 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 Jonsson, on the 16th was confirmed by the unanimous vote of the Senate, and on the 17th entered on the duties of Commissioner of Education.
CIRCULAR RESPECTING NATIONAL LAND GRANTS,
FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION,
(Addressed to the Governor of each State.)
SIR: The Act to establish the Department of Education requires the Commissioner "to present 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 sufficient data can not be obtained here for the required report, the Commissioner takes the liberty to apply to you for such statements and printed documents as will enable him to present for your State the 1. Number of acres granted for Public Schools.
Number of acres sold.
Amount realized from sales.
Present capital of School Fund.
Annual proceeds thereof in 186
Estimated value of the same.
2. Number of acres granted for University. Number of acres sold.
Amount realized from sales.
Present capital of University Fund.
Annual proceeds thereof in 186
Number of acres unsold.
Estimated value of the same.
3. Number of acres granted for Agricultural and Mechanic Arts Colleges. Number of acres sold.
Total amount realized from sales to date.
Annual proceeds of the same in 186
Number of acres unsold.
Estimated value thereof.
4. Number of acres of land granted by Congress to the State for any pur pose not specified above, which have been applied by the State for educational purposes, specifying object,-acres sold,-amount of funds arising therefrom,-and the annual proceeds thereof.
Any documents illustrative of the legislation of your State as to the dispo sition of these lands, or management of the funds, or the application of the income, as well as of the progress of education, especially as effected by these grants; and any suggestions as to the modifications of your policy which it might be desirable for new States to consider, will be thankfully received. HENRY BARNARD, Commissioner.
P. S. Please state the amount of "U. S. Deposite Fund" or "Surplus Reve"received by your State from the Treasurer of the United States, under the Act of June 23, 1836, the present annual income of the same, and the educational object, if any, to which it is appropriated.
EDUCATIONAL LAND POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES.
The Act establishing the Department of Education makes it the duty of the Commissioner in his first report "to present 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 can be determined."
The following account of the Educational Land Policy of the United States, and of the disposition of the Congressional land grants in Minnesota are printed in advance of the report, not only to diffuse information, but to indicate the nature of the statistics that the Department desires to receive.
The growth of the public sentiment that led Congress to inaugurate the system of land grants for education was gradual. The first settlers of Massachusetts and Connecticut from the earliest period set apart lands for schools. In other colonies, before the Declaration of Independence, intelligent men felt the importance of some public provision for the education of the people, as private benevolence was found to be fitful and wholly inadequate. Doctor Samuel Johnson, President of King's (now Columbia) College, in New York city, on April 10, 1762, wrote to Archbishop Secker
I beg leave, my Lord, to observe that it is a great pity when patents are granted, as they often are, for large tracts of land no provision is made for religion and schools. I wish, therefore, instructions were given to our governors never to grant patents for townships or villages or large manors without requiring the patentees to sequester a competent portion for the support of religion and schools.
Early in 1784 Georgia, in an act relative to the survey of lands in the western part of the State, uses this language:
And whereas the encouragement of religion and learning is an object of great importance to any community, and must tend to the prosperity, happiness, and advantage of the same,
Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the county surveyors, immediately after the passage of this act, shall proceed to lay out in each county twenty thousand acres of land of the first quality, in separate tracts of five thousand acres each, for the endowment of a collegiate seminary of learning.
The next year an act establishing a university was passed, a trustee of which was William Houstoun, a member of the Congress of the United States from that State, and one of the committee, as will be seen.