Page images
PDF
EPUB

offender, in such a case, is doing as we would not be done by to everybody else. Nay, if we look beyond the present deed, and the present hour, the kindest office we can perform for the offender himself is to expose, and thereby arrest him. With such arrest, there is great chance that he will be saved ; without it, there is little.

Does any one still insist upon certain supposed evils incident to the practice, should students give information of each other's misconduct ? We reply, that the practice itself would save nine-tenths of the occasions for informing, and thus the evils alleged to belong to the practice would be almost wholly prevented by it. And how much better is antidote than remedy.

But again ; look at the parties that constitute a College. A Faculty is selected from the community at large, for their supposed competency for teaching and training youth. Youth are committed to their care, to be taught and trained. The two parties are now together, face to face; the one ready and anxious to impart and to mould ; the other in a receptive and growing condition. A case of offense, a case of moral delinquency,- no matter what, - occurs. It is the very point, the very juncture, where the wisdom, the experience, the parental regard of the one should be brought, with all its healing influences, to bear upon the indiscretion, the rashness, or the wantonness of the other. The parties were brought into proximity for this identical purpose. Here is the casus foederis. Why does not one of them supply the affectionate counsel, the preventive admonition, the heart-emanating and heart-penetrating reproof; perhaps even the salutary fear, which the other so much needs ;-needs now, needs to-day, needs at this very moment;-needs as much as the fainting man needs a cordial, or a suffocating man air, or a drowning man a life-preserver? Why is not the anodyne, or the restorative, or the support, given ? Skillful physician and desperate patient are close together. Why, then, at this most critical juncture, does not the living rescue the dying? Because a " friend,a pretended "FRIEND,” holds it as a Point of Honor that, when his friend is sick, — sick with a soul-disease, now curable, but in danger of soon becoming incurable,- he ought to cover up his malady, and keep the ethical healer blind and far away! When Cain said, "Am I my brother's keeper ?” it was a confession of his own crime. But even that crime, great as it was, fell short of encouraging Abel to do wrong, and then protecting the criminal that he might repeat his crime.

"Where we disavow Being keeper to our brother, we're his Cain."

Such is the whole philosophy of that miserable and wicked doctrine, that it is a point of honor not to “report, though from the most humane and christian motives,- the misconduct of a fellow-stadent to the Faculty that has legitimate jurisdiction over the case and is bound by every obligation, of affection, of honor, and of religion, to exercise that jurisdiction, with a single eye to the good of the offender and of the community over which it presides. It is a foul doctrine. It is a doctrine which every parent ought to denounce wherever he hears it advanced, - at his table, his fire-side, or in public. It is a doctrine which every community of students ought, for their own peace, safety and moral progress, to abolish. It is a doctrine which every College Faculty ought to banish from its halls ;first by extracting it from its possessor, and expelling it alone ; or if that severance be impossible, by expelling the possessor with it.

The practicability of carrying out the views above presented, is not an untried experiment. In an Institution with which one of your Committee is officially connected, (Antioch College,) the doctrines above set forth were announced at its opening, and have now been practiced upon for a period of more than three years. And they have been attended with the bappiest results. Such a degree of order, of regularity, and of exemplariness of conduct has been secured, that, for more than fourteen months last past, and with between three and four hundred students in attendance, not a single serious case for discipline has occurred.

In some respects, the experiment here referred to has been tried under more than an average of favoring circumstances; in other respects, under less. The Institution was new.

There was no traditionary sentiment, in regard to the so-called Code of Honor, to break down. In that organism, the distemper was not chronic. And further, a large portion of its early members were of mature age, - persons who came to College instead of being sent there,— whose head and hands were alike unsullied by idea or implement of rowdyism, and who looked with a high-minded disdain upon all those brainless exploits which cluster under the name of College PranksTricks,or * Practical Jokes." We call them brainless, because there has scarcely been a new one for centuries, the professors in these arts being compelled to imitate, because they have too little genius to invent. Indeed, their best palliation is that they are too witless to know better; or that they suffer under the misfortune of having silly fathers

or

and silly mothers, who have permitted their minds to remain in that Simia stage of development through which they were passing up towards manhood; for, at this stage, quadrumana and bimana will act alike.

Another point, in which the College referred to has enjoyed a great advantage, in regard to the motive-power actuating its students, has been the presence of both sexes. Each sex has exercised a salutary influence upon the other. Intellectually, they have stimulated ; morally, they bave restrained, one another; and it is the opinion of those who have administered the Institution, that no other influence could, in so short a time, have produced so beneficial an effect. To this, perhaps it should also be added, that this College discards all artificial systems of emulation, by Prizes, Parts, or Honors, as they are called ; so that one of the most powerful temptations, to degrade the standing of a fellow-student in the hope of advancing one's own, is removed.

But, on the other hand, it is obvious that an attempt by a single College, to revolutionize a public sentiment, so wide-spread, so deepseated, and so fortified by wicked purposes acting under the disguises of honor and magnanimity, must be an arduous and a perilous enterprise. So true is this, that a hundred individual attempts successively made, though followed by a hundred discomfitures, would supply no argument against the triumphant success of a combined and simultaneous assault, by all our literary institutions, upon the flagitious doctrines of the “ Code of Honor.” For, while the virus of the code exists in other seminaries, and in the public mind generally, every new student must be placed, as it were, in quarantine ; and even this would afford no adequate security that he would not introduce the contagion. It is only when moral health prevails in the places from which he comes, that we can be sure of maintaining it in the place he enters.

In the experiment here spoken of, the general doctrines set forth in the Resolutions, though announced and vindicated on all proper occasions, were not incorporated into the College statutes, nor were they presented to new students for signature or pledge. But when any student fell under censure, he was then required, under penalty of dismission, to yield an affirmative acquiescence to the soundness of these doctrines, and to make an express promise to abide by them. Only a single case of contumacy under this requirement, has occurred for more than three years; and, so far as known, not a case of nonfulfillment of the promise. Indeed, but few cases are left for the promise to act upon.

In conclusion, the Committee would express a confident opinion that the proposed revolution in public sentiment is entirely practicable. The evil to be abolished is an enormous one, The reform would be not only relatively but positively beneficent. The precedent already established, if it does not enforce conviction, at least affords encouragement. The Committee, therefore, recommend the doctrines, set forth in the above Resolutions, to the Faculties of all Colleges, - especially to those in the State of Ohio whom they more particularly represent, — for practical and immediate application. On behalf of the Committee,

HORACE MANN.

The same Convention, at the same meeting, also unanimously adopted the following Resolutions : WHEREAS, vicious and criminal men become more potent for mischief in proportion to the education they receive;

And, whereas, if a man will be a malefactor, it is better that he should be an ignorant one than a learned one; therefore,

Resolved, That it be recommended to all the Colleges in the State of Ohio, summarily to dismiss or expel students who, without the permission of their respective Teachers, use any kind of intoxicating beverages.

Resolved, That it be recommended to all the Colleges in the State of Ohio, to prevent, by the most efficacious means within their power, the kindred, ungen. tlemanly and foul-mouthed vices, of uttering profanity and using tobacco.

The celebrated original MS. of the Codex Argentems, of Ulfila, which is at Upsala, has just been copied on sixty glass plates, by a photographic process, by the direction of Dr. Lee, of Berlin.

This has been so successfully done that erasures have been detected, and where the original has become damaged or rendered less clear by time, the meaning discovered in those places almost effaced.

STANDARD BRITISH PERIODICALS.-There is an enterprise in this country, under the spirited management of American Publishers, which brings to the table of literary men even of limited means, the standard Quarterly Reviews and Magazines, representing the Conservative, Whig, Free Church, Liberal and Tory sentiments of English writers. As organs of the leading men of Great Britain in Science, Literature, Morality and Religion, the London Quarterly Review, the North British Review, the Westminster Review and Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, stand in the foremost rank.

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT.

THE SCHOOLS OF OHIO IN 1856.

The report of the Commissioner of Common Schools of Ohio, should have been laid before the General Assembly, as was designed, at the opening of the present session, but it has been delayed.

By an act, passed April 8th, 1856, the school year was made to close on the last day of August. School officers were, by the act, required to submit their annual reports some two months earlier than they had been, by the general school law. Reports were to have been made by school clerks to county auditors, by the 1st day of October.

This new arrangement not having been fully understood and but partially complied with, county auditors did not complete furnishing their reports until near the close of the calendar year.

Sickness in the family of Mr. Barney, the Commissioner, has delayed still farther his report, which promises to be one of marked ability, and abounding in statistical information. Having been permitted to examine the manuscripts of much of the forthcoming report, we anticipate its separate publication, by submitting some of the observations and recommendations of this experienced educator.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Common School system of Obio, observed and commented upon, at home and abroad, is the flexibility of the educational facilities extended to district school boards under our laws.

Mr. Barney states them as follows: If the provisions of the general school law are not satisfactory, ample power is given to become organized under the Akron law of 1847, and the act amendatory thereto of February 1849.

Again, if the people of any city, town or incorporated village, organized, as to schools, under either of the above acts, or under any other act, creating a special school district, sec. 66, of the general school act confers upon them the power of relinquishing their organization under those special acts, and of having their schools conducted and managed in accordance with the provisions of the general act.

By the provisions contained in secs. 14 and 15, the Board of Education of any township in the state, may, if the best interests of education and the wishes of the people demand it, unite two or more populous sub-districts into one, and es. tablish therein such number of primary schools and a school of such higher grade as the public good and the wants of the people may require, or, the Board may establish one high school for the entire township, whenever the qualified voters thereof shall so determine, by their votes, at a meeting called for the pur. pose, as provided in sec. 21.

« PreviousContinue »