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HON. WILLIAM PRESOOTT, LL. D.
FREE SCHOOLS OF NEW ENGLAND,
REMARKS UPON THE PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION.
BY JAMES G. CARTER.
Would you have a man reason well, you must use him to it betimes.
PUBLISHED BY CUMMINGS, HILLIARD & CO.
HILLIARD AND METCALF PRINTERS.
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, to wit :
District Clerk's Office.
Letters to the Hon. William Prescott, LL. D. on the Free Schools of New England, with
JOHN W. DAVIS,
HON. WILLIAM PRESCOTT, LL. D.
The deep interest you have ever evinced in whatever affects the political and moral condition of our country, has induced me to believe, you would not look with indifference upon any effort, however humble, to improve an institution of such vital importance to our happiness, dignity, and prosperity, as the system of free schools. The important relation you sustain to the first literary institution in our country, seems, moreover, to warrant in some degree my presumption, in inviting your attention to the consideration of a few general principles of instruction. It is upon these, that much of the siccess of all schools and seminaries of learning, however they may be conducted in other respects, must ultimately depend. The principles, I have endeavoured to illustrate, seem to me never to have been carried into effect in our country. Though my illustrations are all drawn from so humble a department as that of elementary instruction, the application will be easily made to the more advanced pursuits of literature and science.
Some of the leading thoughts in the following Letters were prepared for the press a few months since in the form of a Review; and it was not till within a few weeks, that I yielded to the ad..ce of friends, on whose judgment I am accustomed to rely, and determined to submit them to the publick in their present form. I have not assumed the principles hastily; but the circumstances above named, together with my daily avocations, and the impossibility of examining the whole in a connected form, before it was sent to the press, may fairly claim some indulgence in the execution. In selecting your name as a medium, through which to make my communications to the publick, I was guided not merely by the reasons, to which I have already alluded. These, although sufficient to determine my choice, only came to corroborate a decision, which my personal feelings had already suggested. With all their imperfections, and no doubt many will be detected, the following Letters are submitted to your perusal, and if found worthy, to your protection and encouragement. The highest ambition, I have dared to form in regard to them, will be answered, if they meet your approbation, and are the means of turning the public attention more to the important subject, to which they relate. I cannot, however, but indulge a secret hope, that they may be a remote cause of interesting minds more commensurate than my own, with the magnitude of the object. Most respectfully, I remain, Sir, your obliged and
The system of free schools in New England, has long been the subject of almost unqualified praise ; and those, who have had largest experience of its excellence, have felt themselves privileged to be most eloquent, in setting it forth to the world. The great degree of complacency, with which we dwell upon this favorite institution, has drawn upon us some illnatured remarks from our less fortunate brethren in other sections of our country. They would, no doubt, be glad to beg a truce from the subject, even at the expense of believing all that has been said. And if no object were proposed, but a vain ostentation of some little advantage, which we may happen to possess in this respect, I should spare myself the useless task of saying more upon the subject. No trait in the character of our legislation, deserves more admiration, than the liberal and high-minded policy adopted by the Federal and State