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of the children brought up at common schools bring no moral
training whatever from their homes, and as to religion, their
minds are mere rasa tabulce. How far can or ought the
teachers in schools to apply a remedy to this evil ? The duty
of the state seems to be clear in regard to all those branches
of morality that have to do with its highest interests, such as
honesty, chastity, temperance, truth, and the evil of revenge,
as well as in regard to the inculcation of political duties, such
as obedience to law, respect to the rights of others, love of
country. Where are the voters under our system of free suf-
frage to learn their duties in that capacity, unless from the
churches where many of them are never seen, or in the school ?
The state of Massachusetts, in one of its constitutions, declares
it to be the duty of teachers of schools to impress on the minds
of youth " the principles of piety and justice, and a sacred
regard for truth; love of their country ; humanity and uni-
versal benevolence ; chastity, moderation, and temperance,
and those other virtues which are the ornament of human so-
ciety and the basis upon which a republican 'constitution is
founded." " Moreover," it is added, "it shall be the duty
of such instructors to endeavor to lead their pupils, as their
ages and capacities shall admit, into a clear understanding of
the tendency of the above-mentioned virtues to preserve and
secure the blessings of liberty, as well as to promote their
future happiness; and also to point out to them the evil ten-
dency of the opposite vices."
All this is very good, but if the teacher of the common
school is to give instructions in morality, so far as it relates
to the well-being of society and the state, he must be in-
structed himself in his duties and in the subject-matter of
them. Books on morals level to the capacity of children
must be provided, in which at least the leading duties towards
the state will be inculcated. But is there any possibility of
stopping here, and if there could be, would the prudential
morality of such maxims as " Honesty is the best policy" do
much good to a child who finds that he can cover up a mis-
deed by a lie, who has no far-reaching insight into the results