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brunswick, april 30, legs, 
professor alpheu3 s. packard, d. d. 
My deae sie; 

Ai'i'angemeuta have beeii made witt the Athenffian and 
Peucinian Societies to waive their usual public exercises on Tuesday after- 
noon of Commencement week, and I earnestly invite you in the name of 
the Alumni to deliver before them at that time aDiscoursein commemoi'a- 
tion of the life and character of onr lamented Professor Smyth. From 
your lojig association with him and yith us, we feel that this would he 
a peculiarly befitting and acceptable service. 

In the belief that such a discourse would be beneficial to many who 
may not have the privilege of heai'ing it, and of permanent historical 
value, I trust you may also be able to furni&h a copy for publication. 
I am, my dear sir, 

Your friend and servant, 

J. L. Chamberlain, 

President of tbs Assoaalion of Alumni, 
Bojodoin College. 

Mr DEAE smi 

Your note of yesterday has been received requesting 
me to deliver a Discourse in commemoration of the life and services of 
the late Prof. Smyth before the Alumni at the next Commencement. I 
cannot well decline such a service in memory of the colleague of bo many 
yeais and a life-long friend, and will endeavor to meet the wishes of my 
brothers of the Alumni as I best can. 

With sincere respect and regard, 
Ever yours, 

Ai S. Packard. 




The office, which through your President has been 
laid on me and which under the circumstances I could 
not well decline, I never anticipated. It never oc- 
curred to me, that I remember, that I should he called 
to bury my life-long friend and colleague. Boys to- 
gether at Wiscasset, our acquaintance and friendship 
continued until he entered college, when, as one of the 
Tutors,! assisted in his examination for admission. A 
single year passed after his graduation and we were 
Tutors together, then colleagues in the Professorship. 
We began married life the same year, 1827, built to- 
gether the dwelling which was our common home for 
forty years, our families growing up around us in un- 
disturbed harmony, sympatliizing in each others la- 
bors, joys, trials and bereavements until the sundering 
of life-long ties came so suddenly without a moment's 
premonition. And therefore it is, that the duty of 
this day seemed to fall upon me, of testifying, so far as 


1 may, in behalf of the coHege and the community, to 
the eminent claims of that steadfast friend, the faith- 
ful officer of government and instruction, the citizen 
of the highest tone of public spirit, and the true man, 
to the affectionate respect of us all. 

It was his expectation, as it was yours, that at this 
Commencement an important meeting of Alumni 
would be held, at which he would present a report of 
what had been done in the work of the Memorial 
Hall and a new impulse be given to the most signal 
enterprize yet undertaken by and for our Alma 
Mater since the corner stone of her first Hall was laid. 
His report, with his own inspiriting enthusiasm to give 
it effect, we cannot hear. But, what is more eloquent 
than any words his living voice could utter, the facts 
of his life, his works are to speak for him to day. I 
do not stand before you to eulogize the departed. 
Happily for us, and for me, a plain simple statement 
of the facts of his life is such a eulogy as few can re- 
ceive. Unassuming and with the simplicity of a child, 
he was emphatically a man of mark here, and would 
have been any where. No graduate of the forty or 
more classes that have passed under his instruction but 
has some distinct recollection and characteristic inci- 
dent to recall of their instructor. Estimated by what 
he has done for the college, or the parish, or the town, 
or for yet wider interests, in teaching, in preparing 
text-books of the highest class, in efforts and positive 
labor for the church and religious society of which he 


was a member, or for the public scliools of the State, 
truly a great life, — a vast amount of self-denying, 
earnest, honest, whole-souled, energetic, vigorous, noble 
living has, almost witliout premonition or warning 
even to himself come to its end for this world. 

Professor Smyth was bom in Pittston, February 2, 
1797; in a house now standing on the eastern bank of 
the Kennebec a mile below the city of Gardiner ; but 
in his childhood his parents removed to Wiscassct 
which was his home until about the time of his en- 
tering college. His father w^as a mechanic, a ship- 
carpenter, and at the same time a skilful musician and 
teacher of music. His mother was of excellent chris- 
tian life, whose influence in forming his early charac- 
ter he always acknowledged. At the age of eighteen 
he was bereft of both father and mother and was left 
with a young sister and brother and nothing but kind 
friends and himself to depend upon, two other sisters 
having been otherwise provided for. It was charac- 
teristic, as wc shall see, of his mind and heart, that 
during the war of 1812"'15, self-moved and solely 
to relieve an emergency in the scanty means of 
his home, he enlisted in the army and gave his 
bounty money to his mother. He, however, did 
not serve in the ranks, but was detached by the 
officer in command at the fort near the mouth of the 
Kennebec, Col. McCobb, to be his private secretary, 
and so, as he used sportively to remark, he was a sol-- 
dier for a year without firing a gun. He would add, 


that he never in his life cliscliarged a gun, and could 
not nnderstajid the amusement which so many find in 

After his discharge from the army he became a 
clerk of one of the well known "Wiscasset merchants of 
that day, Hon. Moses Carletoa, and a member of his 
household. His earliest ambition was to qualify 
himself to teach school. He had no means, and 
such was his spirit, he would not be dependent on 
others. But, as was always the case with him, where 
there is a will, there is a way. Many an hour was 
spent by him, after his day's work was done, in rather 
a stealthy way, often stretched on the floor in the 
light of the kitchen fire brightened now and then by 
pitch-pine knots, somethnes on the grass under the 
light of the moon, studying for that to him high aim. 
Stealthily I say, for, as was characteristic, he was shy 
of its being known that he had such aspirations. Be- 
fore those days, in lack of better opportunities, when 
sent to the ship-yard for chips he would carry his 
book with him and, at resting places, would put it on 
his basket or barrow and study his school lesson ; or 
at his father's work-bench would fasten it open on the 
wall before him, so that, as he plied his tools, he could 
catch a look at it, and commit to memory or master 
what he was studying. An incident may be related 
as showing the early developement of his persevering, 
resolute spirit. When he was fourteen, a sister was 
twenty miles away on a visit, and he was sent on horse- 


back to bring her borne behind him, a common fash- 
ion of riding at that day. He had scarcely ever moun- 
ted a hoj^e. The boy was up betimes for his journey 
and accomphshed it in good time ; but the sister had 
met with an accident to the arm which she would 
need to cling to her brother on the horse, and it was 
decided that he must return without her. He thought 
of the spelling -match which was to be the last 
school exercise of the day. He was at the head, and 
if by absence he should forfeit his standing, there 
were good spellers in the class and it would cost him 
a struggle to regain his position. He resolved to re- 
turn without delay, and after a Innch for hunself 
and a brief bating for his horse posted back, accom- 
plishing his forty miles for that day's work, and was in 
his place m time for the spelling. The boy kept the 
head at some risk of his own head, and for some days 
had painful reminders of his achievement. 

That first ambition, of which I have spoken, was 
soon attained and young Smyth gave out modest pro- 
posals for a private school. Mr. Carleton, whose mer- 
cantile business had been ruined by the non-inter- 
course and embargo measures and by the war, al- 
lowed him the use of his large counting room, now 
deserted, for this purpose. 

But now three or four of hie village acquaintance 
had gone to college, and thus a new and higher am- 
bition was awaliened in his susceptible nature. The 
idea got lodgment in his mind that he too must go 


to college, and, at once lie began a new work. Gktli- 
ering text-books as he could, he commenced the study 
of Latin and Greek. "Without a regular teacher — he 
never had one in his work of preparation — asliing 
help of boys more advanced in the study, (the late 
Rev. Charles Packard, then a member of college, used 
to boast somewhat, it may be, that he gave Pro£ 
Smyth his first lessons in Latin; and I can recall in- 
stances of being posed in my own college vacations 
with questions on obscure passages in the Herodotus 
of the Gr^eca Majora,) he prosecuted the now all 
absorbing object of his life, fiUiiig for college. After 
his day's teaching and in his school-room he would 
work far into the night on his Latin and Greek ; often, 
as he- has told me, walking up from that counting 
room on the wharf through the Wiscasset street at 
two in the morning to his bed at Mr. Carleton's. To 
add to his burden of care and anxiety after the loss of 
his parent-s, the- young sister and brother, already re- 
ferred to, must, as he felt, be looked after. His 
characteristic independence of spirit and heroic self-re- 
liance would not allow them to be a burden even on 
the kindest friends ; and he rented a house, still stand- 
ing on the southern side of Wiscasset Point looking 
out upon that beautiful bay, himself and these two 
children constituting the little household. And so 
he kept school ; soon, however, under the enlarged 
convenience of a more commodious apartment in 
what bad been the Brooks' Hotel, and then again in 



the brick Academy — a seliool which had a name in 
the town for thorough teaching and discipHne ; at odd 
hours by day studying for college far into the night, 
and all the while overseeing the needs of his little 
household even to their weekly washing with his own 
hands. But those studies by firelight and by moon- 
light, and those long evenings subsequently with 
Greek, came near ruining his eyes and caused him 
years of trouble. 

In 1817 he was brought to the notice of Rev. 
Reuben Nason, (Harv. 1802) Principal of the Academy 
at Gorham, Me,, a superior classical and mathemat- 
ical scholar, who needed an assistant ; and, though he 
had employed recent graduates for the position, he 
ventured to take young Smyth to fill the vacancy; 
who fully met the demands of the situation and al- 
ways regarded it a kind Providence that directed his 
steps thither. He remained with Mr. Nason a mem- 
ber of his family nearly two years, doing his duty 
faithfully and efficiently as a teacher, hard at work all 
the time on his Greek and Latin and Mathematics un- 
der the most competent council and aid, so far as need- 
ed, of his excellent friend, and winning the high es- 
teem and respect of that superior scholar who used to 
spealc of young Smyth as his Greek giant. For the 
tastes of the student were decidedly for Greek. It 
was several years before he detected in himself aaj 
peculiar turn for mathematical science. 


He at leugtli attiiined his second object of am- 
bition and entered Bowdoin College in Jiinioi- stand- 
ing September 1820. Such an example of student- 
life as was then to be exhibited ia rare and worthy of 
record. It may encourage some toiling, heartsick 
one, who may imagine his lot to be peculiarly hard, 
and is tempted to give up in despair, to hear of the 
efforts and self-denials of one of a former generation 
on these grounds, under the sliadow of these Halls 
and these pines, for an education now wortlr much 
more than it was then. He occupied with a towns- 
man and classmate, Boynton, a room in the building, 
afterwards burnt down, which stood on the sight of Mr. 
Henry C. Martin's residence opposite the College Halls. 
I have referred to the sei'ious injury done to his eyes 
by those firehght and moonlight studies and long eve- 
nings over Greek and Latin. Through college he 
was compelled to wear a green shade and to study by 
another's eyes. His room-mate read his lessons to 
him, he occasionally raising his blinder to glance for 
a moment at a Mathematical formula or a diagram or 
a phrase. What all students would regard as a grie- 
vious misfortime and trial he used to speak of as 
probably an advantage in one respect, as it contribu- 
ted to form in him habits of abstraction and concen- 
tration, for which he was so remarkable and in which 
much of his strength lay. 

After getting settled ui college life the independ- 
ent, self-denying spirit of which 1 have spoken led 


liim to bring to liis side the young brotlier and sus- 
tain both as he might. This self-sacrificing college 
student often deprived himself of a dinner for the 
sake of that brother ; lived day after day on bread 
and water ; not mifrequently did not know one day 
where the next day's meals were to come from ; and 
thus, studying with the eyes of another, often at his 
wits' end for support, with that care of the brother up- 
on him part of the time, he soon took the lead of an 
able class and held it to the end, graduating with the 
English valedictory in 1822. 

It ought to be distinctly understood, that Professor 
Smyth was unusually reticent about himself, his feel- 
ings, or experiences, or his personal history. Some 
of these particulars no living person has heard him re- 
fer to. Some of tliem I myself knew, or remember 
distmctly as reported at the time ; some I have heard 
him rather incidentally mention. He rarely referred 
to himself He left not a scrap of autobiography, 
though urged to do it by his children. What he did 
for himself or friends or for the public good he did for 
the sake of the object, not to be seen or talked of 

After graduating, Mr. Smyth taught a school for a 
short time in what used to be called Pres. Allen's 
Academy, designed to be preparatory for the col- 
lege, a gothic structure near the site of the dwell- 
ingwhicli stands nest to Capt. Samuel Skolfield's, south 
"westerly from the college yard. He then spent a 
year in the Andover Seminary, throwing all his cn- 


thusiasm into the stmly of the Hebrew and the Greek 
of the New Testament under the eminent Prof. Stuart. 
In 182S he received an appointment from his Alma 
Mater as Proctor^and Instrueter in Greek ; then be- 
came Tutor in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy ; 
in 1825 adjunct Professor in Matliematics and Natural 
Philosophy, and so his life's work began. 

It has been already remarked, that his predilec- 
tion was for Greek. When he came to be a teacher 
in that branch, nothing could have been more to his 
taste. He loved Greek, and has since confessed to 
friends a sort of regret that he accepted the offer 
which consecrated his life to mathematical science 
and that he had not adhered to his first love. In truth, 
we may say, it was almost an accident that revealed 
to himself, as well as to others, the pecuhar talent and 
power, genius it may be called, which has given him 
so much of a name and reflected so much reputation 
on the college. His success, as a Tutor of Algebra, 
quite unexampled with us, led to the somewhat singu- 
lar application to him of a large representation of a 
college class who had completed their usual course in 
Algebra the year before, to hear an extra recitation 
in that branch mth tlie black-board which he had 
first introduced into the recitation room. Quito an 
enthusiasm was excited for a study not apt to be pop- 
ular, was reported of by students wherever they went, 
and thus was made known the eminently fit person 
to relieve Prof. Clcaveland, (who from the opening of 



the college had been sole Professor m that depart- 
ment and for several years had added tp his charge 
Chemistry and Mineralogy^) of part of his duties, and 
one who, as an author in Mathematical Science, 
Wfts to win a name known extensively in our own 
country and in other lands. In 1828 Mr. Smyth be- 
came Professor in full of Matlaematics and Natural 
Philosophy and devoted himself with his peculiar ar- 
dor to a branch which^ as we have said, came unsought 
into his hands. 

Eeference has been made already to the enthusi- 
asm of lais nature and his unusual jDOwer of coucentrac 
tion. His mind was quick to kindle and his powers 
to arouse themselves to seize on some engrossing sub- 
jectj and, while the occasion demanded, he was totus 
in iUis. As soon as he came to the chair of his de- 
partment he set about studying the French systems. 
He read and mastered the M^canique Celeste, a,nd his 
private manuscript will show fonnulse which he care- 
fully elaborated while that great work was in 
hand. At that time it was quite an achievement, I 
think, it being stated that but tliree or four individ- 
uals in our country had accomplished it. A some- 
what amusing instance of his power of concentration 
I recall to mind. An occasion of some disturbance 
had required the intervention of the College authori- 
ties. At a late hour they returned harried and wea- 
ried to their homes and needed rest. The next morn- 
ing he told me, that before he took his bed he went 


into liis study and took a turn at the Mecanique 
Celeste which composed his nerves and ensiu-ed him 
a good night's sleep. 

As the result of these studies he soon set himself 
to the work of supplying a need which he felt of test- 
books for his classes, and, as the first fruits, issued a 
email work on Plane Trigonometry, availing himself 
of the ingenuity of the late Mr. L. T. Jackson of this 
town in preparing blocfe on a novel plan for strik- 
ing off the diagrams. The first edition of his Alge- 
bra from the press of Mr. Griffin of this town ap- 
peared in 1830, which first adapted the best French 
methods to the American mind, received warm com- 
mendation from Dr. Bowditch, and was adopted as a 
text-book at Harvard and other Institutions. It 
passed tlirongh several editions and then gave place 
to two separate worlds, the Elementary and the larger 
Algebra. Then followed an enlarged edition of tlie 
Trigonometry and its applications to Surveying and 
Navigation, and treatises on Analytic Geometry, 
and on the Calculus, the last being so clearly and 
satisfactorily developed and with so much originality 
as to receive emphatic approval in high quarters, par- 
ticularly from the late Prof Bache, and constituting, 
it has been said, quite an era in the means of instruc- 
tion in this profound and, as heretofore reputed, diffi- 
cult branch. And all this, while he was hearing two, 
often even three, recitations a day, besides preparing 
and, delivering Lectures on Natural Philosophy and 



more recently-j on Astronomy. His classes will re- 
member tlie interest of his Lectures on Steam. Cyrus 
Hamlin (of the class of 1834,) now Eev, Dr. Hamlin 
of Constantinople, spent his long winter college vaca- 
tion in constructing with his own hands a small loco- 
motive, which the college added to its apparatus, and 
which the Professor has constantly used to illustrate 
the subject with pleasing effect. Those who have 
heard these Lectures, as well as those on Astronomy, 
have testified to their interest and value. Beside be- 
ing scientific, they were discursive in a proper degree, 
sometimes eloquent, always earnest and instructive. 

" I wish I was not so much a man of one idea" ! 
he often exclaimed when he came back from the vil- 
lage street without doing his en-and, or left the day's 
mail where he happened to have called on his way. 
And so he was in the less common application of the 
phrase, which was one result of his power of abstrac- 
tion. Whatever subject of high interest got possession 
of his mind, if it did not refuse admission to any other 
claimant on his attention for the time, it was abstrac- 
ted and distant towards it. It was in some respects 
his misfortune, the absorbing interest of some one 
matter engrossing his thoughts and activities to the 
neglect of whatever else he happened to have in hand. 
His recitations on this account were perhaps shorten- 
ed ; or in some other way we could detect that his 
miud and interest were engaged elsewhere. But no 



one that knew him ever attached to his conception 
of Prof. Smyth the thought, that he was a man of 
but one idea in the ordinary sense of tB.e expression. 

For thirty years at least he bent his efforts to the 
main work of his life ; and yet all along liis toilsome 
path were by-ways of deep moralj or social, or public 
interest, often of positive self-denying labor, which drew 
him aside. He was a whole-souled, large-hearted man. 
Personal interests occupied with him an inferior place. 
Had it not been so, lie would have acciunulated com- 
petency from his published works, whereas, had that 
been his only resource, the fruits of his years of labor 
would have left but a pittance for his children. To add 
to the lack of what may have been the best manage- 
ment for his own interest, he lost the stereotype plates 
of the more important of them in the Portland fire of 

But any real object of philanthropy, of national 
or of town interest, any thing that touched the life 
of the College, was sure to find one mind and heart 
ready to respond to its demands. Some recall how 
his enthusiasm was fired by the bloody, but fruitless, 
struggles of the Poles for national life ; how eagerly be 
watched the progress of the conflict, seeking for the 
best maps to detect their stragetical movements, mak- 
ing himself famiUar with every phase, political or 
military, of the unequal contest and with the name 
and CLualities of the leaders. Then his deepest sympa- 


thy was awakened in the Hungarian revolt and its 
disastrous and ignominious result. The case of the 
Cheroliees and their compelled removal from their own 
lands, in its turn, enlisted his feelings, not in its pal- 
try aspects as a political question, but a,s a question 
of right and wrong involving high principles of nar 
tional justice and honor. In the late civil war during 
the operations of tlie national forces on Missionary 
Eidge and the vicinity in Georgia, he could not help 
thinking of the retribution which a righteous Provi- 
dence seemed to be visiting on a people who were the 
means of intlicting on a jjoor Indian nation, just im- 
merging into civilized life through the instrumentality 
of christian missionaries, a grievous wrong and outrage. 

Prof. Smyth was among the first members of the 
Temperance Society formed in this town when Eev. 
Dr. Justin Edwards promulgated and advocated with 
;so much effect the doctrine of total abstinence from 
mtoxicating drinks. It was indeed one instance of 
the energy with which he seized on a principle, that 
at the age of sixteen, when he saw the direful effects 
of intemperance around him in all elates, he delibe- 
rately formed the determination that he would never 
indulge in a custom which he saw to be the cause of 
unmingled wretchedness and woe, and adhered stead- 
fastly to this resolution through life. 

A debate in the Brunswick Lyceum made of him 
an anti-slavery man, or rather turned his thoughts to 
that subject and inspired a sentiment and opinions 


which he maintained his life through. The claims of 
the American Colonization Society were made a sub- 
ject of debate occupying several evenings. Prof. 
Smyth Imffenedj somewhat accidentally as it seemed 
to me at the time, to take the adverse side of the 
q^uestion. With his accustomed ardor whenever a 
moral element was involved, he went to the bottom 
of that subject, readnig every thing of importance 
within reach, whether speech or document, whether 
foreign or domestic, and came out fully persuaded in 
hia own mind. Henceforward for several years he 
gave himself with great earnestness to that cause so far 
as he could do so without neglecting official duty ; de- 
livering public addresses sometimes at the risk of pub- 
lic disturbance and outrage. He was Corresponding 
Secretary of the Maine Anti-Slavery Society and pre- 
pared some of the ablest Reports which the cause 
produced ; for a year edited the Semi-monthly Advo- 
cate of Freedom printed in this town ; and carried on 
a controversy in the Christian Mirror with Eev. Eufug 
W. Bailey of South Carolina on the main points at 
issue. He undoubtedly took high gi'ound on the sub- 
ject and was deemed by many to be of the extremists, 
as he was not one to compromise with what he be- 
lieved to be error or wrong. But it cannot be said 
of him justly that he could see but one side of a ques- 
tion. In the height of the conflict, with opinions as 
decided and thorough as any man's, he would not go 
with some of hia brethren in denouncing the Ameri- 


can Board of Commissioners because they would not 
take what was deemed an advanced step in the matter 
of slavery as involYed in sorae of the Indian. Missions, 
and maintained a controversy in the public papers in 
defence of the Board with able and adroit champions 
of the more radical view. "Were these articles collec- 
ted they would make quite a volume and would be 
a valuable contribution to the anti-slavery literature 
of the times. He never swerved, no not for an hour, 
from his allegiance to the cause of human freedom 
and the rights of man. Though exposed to reproach 
and annoyances, to hard speeches and harder looks, he 
was not a man to be deteiTsd from his purpose or to 
quail in whatever he regarded a matter of right, 
truth, and duty. 

Then came the subject of Public Schools. The 
method of graded schools for the large Central Dis- 
trict of Brunswick was proposed to the inhabitants, 
and awalfened violent opposition from quarters 
whence opposition to such schemes of public good 
usually comes. The project soon engaged his earnest 
co-operation. He was chosen on the Board of Agente 
successively for seventeen years; most of the time was 
chairman, and exercised vigilant supervision of the 
schools. The amount of labor he performed in secur- 
ing and perfecting the system, in building the large 
brick school-house for which he fumislied the working 
plans, and in general superintendence, few can con- 
ceive ; and all, with no other remuneration than the 


■consciousness of rendering an important public service. 
He took great interest in children and once declared, 
that he desired no other inscription upon his tomb- 
stone than the simple words, " The Friend of the ChUd- 
ren" Tlie town owes a tribute of gratitiade, respect 
and love to this friend of its schools and its chikh-on. 
And not this town only, but every town in the State. 
By personal advocacy of the "grailed syst-eui" in dif- 
ferent towns by publiclectures; and yet more before a 
Committee of the Legislature with a force of argu- 
ment and earnest, eloquent persuasion, that made 
some of oiu' Legislators marvel that a College Profes- 
sor could labor so heartily and so efficiently even for 
common schools, — he was instrumental in effecting 
that a particular provision in relation to the schools 
•of the Village District of Brunswick became a 
.general law for the State. Hon. Phinehas Barnes, 
whom we shall refer to again in this connection, in a 
letter to the writer states, that he witnessed the pre- 
sentation of tlie case before the Committee, and that 
his argument and appeal in favor of the system was 
one of the best pieces of reasoning and eloquence he 
ever heard. Moreover subsequently, when a case was 
made by those in Brunswick opposed to the graded sys- 
tem in order to test the legality of certain proceedings 
under the act, and it was carried up to the Supreme 
Court, Prof Smyth tlioroughly studied the case, 
searched the legal' authorities, drew iip a paper con- 
itaining what seemed to him the principles of public 


policy involved, and put it into the liands of the coun- 
sel for the Board of Agents, Hon. Mr. Barnes, who 
found it emhraced the main points at issue. The op- 
posing counsel was Hon. Samuel Fessenden. Mr, 
Barnes was successful in the triuiuphaiit vindication 
of the constitutionality of tlie Act. The memory of 
Prof. Smyth will be a cherished tradition in the 
school-history of Brunswick. 

1 le was for many years one of the Trustees of the 
first Parish fund ; and for forty years or more an active 
member of the Congregational Church and Society in 
Brunswick. He was for a long period also one of the 
Parish Assessors or Coiriraittee ; a teacher in the Sab- 
bath School; ever watchful of the interests of the 
Chiu-ch; jealous of its good name; mitil within a few 
years uniformly present at its private meetings; and a 
liberal contributor of his means, often beyond his 
means, for tlie support of the institutions of religion 
and of every good work. When the present church 
edifice was erected he was the working member of the 
building committee, giving important counsel in its 
plan, even to the framing of the building, and con- 
stantly supervising the work. When subsequently it 
was deemed expedient to make a change in the 
heavy tower of the structure, he furnished the work- 
ing plans for a spire which for grace and beauty was 
not surpassed. Indeed mechanics gave him the credit, 
of being a master mechanic and deferred to his judg- 
ment and taste in nice pomts of architecture and' con- 



struction. None knows tlie amount of time and la- 
bor he expended on this enterprise ; and, after its 
completion, for the convenience and comfort of wor- 
shippers, even superintending the care of the furnacea 
and in other ways invading the sexton's privilege. 

We come now to speak of the last public work 
of Prof. Smyth's life, the measures for erecting a Me- 
morial Hall for the college. No one else was thought 
of to take this matter in hand. His patriotic spirit, 
his long-tried devotion to the college, his unsiu'passed 
energy and indomitable resolution, the inspiring en- 
thusiasm of his character, and his mechanical and ar- 
chitectural skill and taste, marked him out as the only 
man for the occasion. One even most conversant 
with him and who had most free access to his thoughts, 
purposes, and plans, can scarcely enumerate the ex- 
tent of his correspondence on the subject; his jouraey- 
ings to and fro from Bangor to New York for sub- 
scriptions; his long walks in Brunswick and its neigh- 
borhood to obtain contributions, to consult mechanics 
and contractors, or to engage hands for the work ; his 
visits to otiier towns to examine pviblic buildings 
in order to ascertain dimensions of buildings re- 
ported of well or iU for public speaking, that ^his own 
audience-room might not fail in this respect; to in- 
spect quarries of building stone ; or his careful study 
of architectural designs, sketches and plans in the 
college library; or his personal labor in meditating 
and drawing plans himself, that architects might 



readily, conceive tlie idea and object of the proposed 
structure. For the last two years his mind and 
thoughts have been intent on what he often said was 
to be his last labor. Every dollar of the thirty thou- 
sand on his subscription book he solicited, and had 
collected nearly twenty thousand of the amount, in 
person. Not that he coveted the credit of the work ; 
but such was the man. Had the project been to sur- 
vey a piece of land, or to set a post by the road-side, 
when determined upon by competent authority, he 
would set about it at once, whether a committee were 
with him or not ; more especially in such an entei> 
prise as this, not waiting for others, or thinking of 
others. His friends sometimes thought it would have 
been better for him, if not for the cause, if he would 
invite others to co-operate at least in a part of the la- 

These various activities of Prof Smyth's busy life 
were exercised outside of his official relations. The 
resources of the College have always been so re- 
stricted as to impose on its Professors, for the most 
part, an unusual amount of tutorial duty ; for many 
years three daily recitations, or an equivalent, four 
days at least in the week ; a heavy draft on the In- 
structors, we may say in passing, but perhaps to the 
advantage of the style of teaching. If lectures were 
given they were the result of extra labor. In later 
years Prof. Smyth heard two daily-recitations, and 
gave experimental lectures as were required by his 


ilepartmcnt. During tlie last year or iwo, arrange- 
ments were made to relieve him farther, that he might 
devote himself to the work of the Hall. Still he had 
his anmial course of recitations and lectures in As- 
tronomy, and had completed it just before his death. 
As before intimated, it is just to say that these calls of 
public service were felt in the recitation room. His 
abstracted manner at times made an impression of a 
mind pre-occupied, so that a student might take ad- 
vantage of exemption from the usual scrutiny. But 
let a second experiment be tried of the Professor's ab- 
straction, the experimenter would be likely to find 
himself at once exposed to an eye which no error or 
subterfuge could escape, and perhaps uncomfortably 
exposed to others. Pupils may thus occasionally have 
suffered loss, but the College doubtless gained by the 
contribution it freely made to a public interest. More- 
over, as years grew upon him it would not be strange 
if he accommodated himself with less facility to less 
quick or less diligent pupUs, But his ability as a 
teacher was never called in question. In explanation 
he was precise, simple, and clear. He had great 
power of inspiring interest; his own enthusiasm, 
which often kindled, especially in certain branches of 
his department, at the blackboard, being communi- 
cated to his class. Later classes will carry through 
life his setting forth of what he termed the "poetry 
of mathematics," as exemplified in the^ Calculus. 



As an officer of govemmeut he was energetic, fear- 
less, and resolute ; decided, though often moderate in 
counsel, and iinwavering under severest trials of firm- 
ness. Pupils seldom ventured to trifle with him. He 
had great power of rebuke and command, and often 
by a sharp turn or a stroke of wit restored good hu- 
mor. His fertility of resource availed him in defeat- 
ing the most ingenious devices for interrupting or 
evading a recitation. It is thought that no combina- 
tion ever gained an advantage over hira. He always 
gave an impression of reserved power. College offi- 
cers experience fluctuations in the favor of their pu- 
pils; but no one probably is remembered with more 
universal interest or ever has been greeted with more 
cordiality by the Alumni than Prof. Smyth. Every 
graduate kiieiv his devotion to our Alma Mater. It 
was earnest, constant, and self-sacrificmg. Jealous of 
its reputation and honor he was vigilant and active in 
promoting its welfare. His daily prayer a.scended in 
its behalf; he contiibuted according to his ability to 
its pecuniary relief; he was aeti\-e in improvements 
of the college premises, laying out avenues and plant- 
ing trees -with his oivn hands. We cannot but think 
that in his last work for it his life was the sacrifice ; 
for few can know, as we have said, his various and 
exhausting labors during the hvst two years. He 
repeatedly declared that had he foreseen the 
anxiety and labor which it would cost, he would 
not have undertaken it. Wore the spirit which ani- 


Mated him to pervade the body of alumnij not only 
would the Hall at once arise to grace the college 
grounds, but other pressing needs of the College be 
speedily satisfied. 

I ha-ve only to add to the enumeration of Prof. 
Smyth's -various public services, that until within two 
years he was Treasurer of the Me. Branch of the Am. 
Education Society, almost, I think, froiil its establish- 
ment ; and was thus brought into contact with a large 
number of young men with whom his own experience 
had taught him to sympathize, and who always re- 
garded him as a friend in need. 

Such were the prominent activities in the remarka- 
ble life that has now passed away. It only remains 
to indicate the leading intellectual and moral traits of 
character which marked the man who has moved and 
acted among us these forty-five years ; and this does 
not demand special elaboration or particularly nice 
discrimination, smce the absence of concealment or 
simulation in him was so entire, that he was seen and 
read of all that had to do with him. 

Of the qualities of his mind no one conversant 
with him could doubt that liis Creator endowed him 
with a power of intense application, of wide compass 
and great clearness of thought, of strong grasp of 
principles, and of exhibiting truth, often massive'trvith, 
with great precision and force. He had a peculiar 


faculty of seizing on tlic salient points and the funda- 
mental elements of any subject lie approached. 

One could not but give him the credit of childlike 
simplicity. He was simple in his tastes, in his man- 
ners, and in his desires. There was no pretence or af- 
fectation in his nature. Bett-er had it|been for him 
sometimes, it may be, if he could have masked^or con- 
cealed his feelings. Who did not know where or how 
he would stand on any question of college life, or of 
the day 1 Who was not sure that he spake what he 
meant and meant what he spake ? His influence was 
always for tlie real in things, ' and has been a most 
valuable lesson of life for those who came under its 
power. No charge of insincerity or false-heartedness 
was ever laid upon him. 

One could not he long associated with Prof. Smyth 
without discovering that, when aroused, he was a man 
thoroughly m earnest. The account we have given 
of him has been from childhood to his last hour an 
exemplification of the deep earnestness and enthu- 
siasm of his nature. It brought out of him an amount 
of work both of body and mind of which the world 
affords rare instances ; an example to be commended 
to young men of one great element of success in 
life's work. 

Those who were connected with Prof. Smyth in so- 
cial life had abundant proofs of his profoundly sympa- 
thetic nature. They cannot forget when the daugh- 
ter of a brother Professor was prostrated, as was 



feared, by fatal disease, how his sj^mpsithies were 
stirred, as if she had been hia own child ; how he 
watched for her and over her, almost taking the place 
of a nurse. Neighbors did not live long by him 
without delicate, considerate manifestations of tender 
care and solicitude. In his own household his love 
" was wonderful, passing the love of women." How 
with all the persistence of his strong nature he con- 
tended with disease which within these few years has 
invaded his family ; ransacking the medical library for 
authorities, studying cases imtil Medical Professors 
came to the conclusion that he understood them as well 
if not better than themselves ; and "when all was in 
vain, how the strong man was shaken, though submis- 
sive as a child under the blow ! He bore with him to 
his grave the anguish of those sorrows. "We who 
knew him best tliought the care of the Memorial Hall 
was a merciful provision for his relief in those troubles, 
as it gave him an engrossmg oJyect for his mind to 
work upon. But the dark shadowy scarcely ever lifted. 
A few minutes before he expired, referring to the dis- 
tress he felt, he said : " It is hard to bear pain, but 
how much more that dear child (his daughter) had to 

During the war of the Rebellion neivs came of the 
battle at Chickamauga, and soon after, tidings that a 
son was on that bloody field ; then that he had fallen. 
AU appliances of telegraph and mail were employed 
to ascertain the truth. Assurance, doubly sure, seemed 



to come at last that he would never see that son again, 
and by the same mail which brought a iew lines from 
the son himself, announcing that he was taken prisoner 
in the battle, and was then in the Libby prison. But 
the anxieties, the suspense and agony of those days ! 
It seemed as if it would kill him. 

The facts of Prof Smyth's life reveal most clearly a 
singular self-sacrificmg spirit. What reward or remu- 
neration, what personal advantage could he have ex- 
pected from his labors for schools, or for the church, 
or for the Memorial Hall? What self-interest conld 
have prompted him to furnish working plans for 
school-house or church-spire ; or to rise from his bed 
and go down to the school-house in a drenching storm 
to see that the rain did not undermine the wall or 
flood the cellar ; or at midnight in a driving south- 
easter to go over to the church then in building, to 
make more fast an ill-secured transept window ; or to 
serve as a tender to the mason who was putting up a 
chimney in the tower? I asked him why he did not 
hire a man to do that work. He replied, he thought 
it easier to do the work himself than to go over the 
village to find a suitable hand for it. Or withm this 
year, what gain to himself in walking two or three miles 
twice the same day, to see a man he wished to employ 
in some stone work for the foundation of the Hall ; 
and then in other directions, as far, or farther, to in- 
spect cLuarries of stone ! I asked him wliy in the 
world he did not hire a conveyance. The answer was., 



lie did not wish to abridge the memorial fund a single 

Another element in the character of Prof. Smyth 
was true magnanimity of spirit. One like him, a man 
of strict views of discipline in school or college, of 
decided opinions and fearless, determined spirit, could 
not pass through life without encountering oppo- 
sition, sometimes ill temper or even outrage. But he 
never harbored resentment, or remembered injuries. 
The excitement of conflict passed over his spirit and 
left no ripple behind. 

I may add that he was blessed with a'genial, buoy- 
ant spirit. He never betra^^ed a moody or sullen tem- 
per. There was in him a vein of fine humor. He 
enjoyed it in others, and no one could turn a witti- 
cism or convey a compliment with more delicacy or 

It remains to bear testimony to Prof. Smyth as a 
christian man. In this character he left the record of 
nearly fifty years in his daily life, in the free inter- 
course of friends, in the social meetings of the church, 
in college halls, in his relations to public philanthropic 
movements of his time, and in the pulpit of the sanc- 
tuary. He came to experience the power of religious 
faith and hope while an amstant in Gorham Academy 
under the faithful and hear1>searching ministrations 
of Rev. Asa Rand. He once communicated to me 
something of his experiences at that time, from which 



of Rev. Asa Eaiid. He once communicated to me 
something of his experiences at that time, from which I 
judged that a deep and thorough work of divine grace 
was wrought in his heart. When under conviction of 
his sinfulness and ruin at the preaching of the word, 
as he once told me, in his characteristic simplicity and 
honest dealing witli himself, he felt as if the preacher 
was aiming at him personally ; and as he went home 
from the sanctuary he felt that others must know that 
he had been the subject of the discom'se. He was 
abashed and shy and walked by the roadside to avoid 
public notice. He then suffered from such mental dis- 
tress as one of his strong nature may experience, 
until he fell sick of a typhoid fever. He was brought 
down to the gates of death; for hours was thought to 
be dying; but at length was raised to health. As 
new life was gradually restored, his anxieties concern- 
ing his religious state were revived and he passed 
through a severe conflict, as we have been informed 
by one who had the best opportunity to know the 
circumstances. In the depth of his mental distress and 
darkness, his friend, Eev. Mr. Nason, sat with him a 
whole night endeavoring to quiet the anxious inquirer. 
With the morning light {as this friend writes,) his 
darkness was dispelled and hope and joy beamed 
upon him ; the garment of praise was given him for 
the spirit of heaviness. He seldom spoke of his per- 
sonal religious experiences. He never had exstatic 
joys or peculiarly buoyant hopes. He once declared 


that he anticipated his sim might go down in a cloud. 
At the outset, however, he took his stand as a chris- 
tian young man and became connected with the Con- 
gregational Church in Gorham. He seized with the 
strong grasp of his intellect and heart on what are 
termed the doctrines of grace. It was at the time 
when the religious controversy between Drs. Woods 
and Ware was attracting the attention of the chris- 
tian public, and he was led by his discussions with a 
gentleman with whom he boarded, while he kept a 
winter school, to study and ponder over the points at 
issue and defend what he regarded to be the truth. 
He entered college as a christian young man, and al- 
ways, as an undergraduate, adorned his christian pro- 
fession. His design and expectation being to enter 
the christian ministry, after graduation he spent a 
year^, at the Andover Seminary. But Providence 
otherwise ordered. In 1825, however, he received 
license from the Cumberland Association, and for sev- 
eral years preached with acceptance in Brunswick 
and neighboring towns. Of late years he has, with 
rare exceptions, declined this service, chiefly on ac- 
count of his want of voice. Many can remember his 
discourses as marked by weighty thought, clear ex- 
hibition of truth, simpHcity and vigor of style, and 
earnest and eloquent enforcement of the motives of 
the gospel and the issues of life and death. 

Of later years it has been plain to all that observed 
him, that the heavy discipline of domestic bereave- 


Hient and sorrow has tempered and deepened his tone 
of piety. None but those intimately associated with 
him knew how bitter a cup of affliction he drained 
to its dregs. It was affecting to witness the childlike 
submission of his spirit in family prayer, in which he 
never failed to malie mention of his children in their 
dispereionj of all afflicted ones, of the College, the 
Church, the Nation, a world in sin, of the rest which 
remains, and the glories of God's everlasting Idngdom 
of blessedness and joy. Not long before his departure 
he was heard, when walking the room by himself, 
humming the hymn, "Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer 
to thee." He req^uested a member of his family, in 
her morning care of the sitting-room, always to leave 
the bible on the mantel, that when he came in wea- 
ried from his work he might have it at hand to take 
down and read as he sat by the fireside. Among his 
last sabbath readings was Pilgrim's Progress, particu- 
larly the closing chapters of that wonderful allegory ; 
and his mind was deeply interested and impressed by 
the scene of Standfast crossing the river. And here 
was another Standfast in actual life, himself so soon 
to receive his summons to cross the river ! 

Eepeatedly within the year he spoke of his day of 
labor as drawing to its close ; often expressed a doubt 
whetlier he should see the last great work of his life 
completed; and often said, that he should not live t© 
«njoy the new Hall, tliough his eyes might be glad- 


dened by the sight of its majestic proportions audits 
attractive interior and appointments. His last morn- 
ing, a gentleman from another college called at an 
early hour upon him and spent some time in inspect- 
ing the plans of the Hall and in conferring with him 
on the acoustic properties of the proposed audience 
room. At eleven he went out on the ground to meet 
a contractor with reference to the foundation work, 
and was there seized with severe distress in the breast, 
faltered and sat down, pale and ill. The man ob- 
served it and told him he ought to go home at once, 
offering him assistance, which he however declined. 
With great diihculty he reached home, and staggering 
with help from one of the family to a lounge threw 
himself upon it. After such applications as could be 
devised he seemed to be relieved ; but remarked that 
he believed his work was nearly done. He expressed 
a doubt whether he should be able to take the after- 
noon train for Lewiston, whither he had arranged to 
go to inspect a Hall with a view to its dimensions. 
He soon came to the conclusion to go to his chamber 
and his bed. He walked up stairs unassisted, but at 
the top told his son, who was at his side, to hasten as 
his strength was fast failing. As soon as possible he 
threw himself into the bed ; seemed to revive, told his 
son that he wished he would go for the afternoon's 
mail and to get a liniment for his pain in the chest. 
There were indications, that within a few days he had 


been using a liniment, though no explanation would 
he give for what purpose. The son left the room for a 
few moments ; he was heard to breath heavily ; they 
hurried to his side ; he was unconscious, his eyes were 
fixed, and he expired. 

Hia work was indeed done ; — a life-work j scarcely 
with intervals, almost without vacations, as he often 
said. Yes, done, so far as his living, active, present 
energy is involved. But his work lives. He helped 
to lay foundations. The influence of such as he, and 
in his position, lives through generations. The work 
is done and the workman has gone to be seen no more. 
Fellow teachers, brothers Alumni, Students, let ua 
renew our diligence, each in his work, for are we not 
taught that we know not when the master will call, 
whether at midnight, at the cock-crowing, or in the 
morning ? 





The Rural Schools of Maine 

state Superintendent of Common Schools. 



The authorized eclitiou of the Report of this departmeut, for 
1895, is exhausted. Tbere have been so many calls foi' that 
portiou of the report describing the condition of the rural schools 
that it has been decided to issue these pages of tlie volume iu 
pampblet form for distribution among the teachers and patrons of 
the ijublic acbools of the State. 

State Supenntendent of Common Sc/ioola. 


A uniqll; exa:,iple or iMEiiiOi! uecoi. iiiu\ 

The rough, bare, tmplaatered walls changed to an. attractive room 
hy oriiaiTients furnished by the good taste and deft fingers of t«acher 
and pupils. 





During the summer aud fall of 1895 the state superinten- 
dent visited two hundred rural schools in eight different 
counties of the State. This tour was undertaJien because it 
is believed that the schools cannot be improved until it is 
known wlmt they are, and that this knowledge can only be 
gained by a cavet'al study of the schools themselves. It was 
felt that no one had a right to pronounce judgment in so 
impoi-tant a matter except upon the most reliable testimony. 

On the following blank a record was made of the facts 
learned about each teacher and school visited. 



Name of teacher Age 

Permanent P. O. address 

Name of school Town : County 

Length of term No, enrolled No. present 

She has attended Common Schools. . . .terms. 

High " .... " Graduated . . . 
Normal " .... " " 

Acad'y or Sem'y .... " " 

College or Un'ty . . , .years, " ... 

otherschools terms, " ... 

She has taught in Rural Schools terms. 

Primary " " 

Grammar " " 

Normal " " 


She has taught in High Schools temis. 

" " " Academy or Seminary " 

" " " other schools " 

" " " this achool " 

List of books she has read on Petlagogy 

Names of educational papers and magazines she is reading , . 

Kumber of visits by Superintendent 

" " S. S. Committee 

" " parents 

She la a member of the following educational associations . 

Number of meetings attended within the year . 

She has attended Summer School 

How was Reading taught? 

" Spelling 

" Penmanship ' 

" Number 

' ' Geography 

' ' History 

' ' Language 

" Physiology 

" Book-keeping taught? 

" Civics " 

" Music " 

" Driiwing " 

" Map Drawing " 

Number of books in library 

Number of papers and magazines in library . 
List of apparatus 

Kind of house Condition . 

' ' desks " 

" outliouses " 

" gj'ounds " 


Kind of fences Condition . 

" ventilation Value . . , 

"Was the room tidy ? 

Was the room attractive ? 

What has the teaclier done in these directions . . 

Strongest point about the teacher 

Weakest " " " 

Strongest feature in the work 

Weakest " " " 

Does the school pay ? Why ? 

It will be noticed that this outline is so complete that two 
hundred of these documents furnish sufficient data for aver- 
ages which may Ije trusted to tell the story as to what the 
schools are. It is believed that a careful study of so large a 
number of schools, representing the extreme limits of the 
State, and including some of the sparsely settled sections, as 
well as the oldest portions, furnishes facts for a reliable esti- 
mate of what the best schools are doing, and of the condition 
and work of the "poor" schools in different sections of the 

K"o attempt will be made in this report to give a detailed 
statement of the work found in the best schools, nor will 
extended comments be made on what ivas seen in the average 
school that deserved commendation. The statements found 
in another section of this report must suffice in these partic- 
ulars. While the general object of these visits was to JeaiTt 
what the schools are, still the particular purpose was to ascer- 
tain the facts which would enable the visitor to give a detailed 
description of those schools in which incompetent teaehere 
were found, and to offer some suggestions as to the methods 
by which they may be improved. It is to be understood that 
the criticisms found belciw apply, in full, only to those schools 


■which are viinked as "poor' or "very poor." They are true 
only in a limited sense of those which are rated as "fair," 
"good" or "excellent." 

I wish the above paragraph might be re-read each time the 
reader comes to any new description of poor teaching, 

0£ the schools visited six per cent, are ranked as "excel- 
lent," tweuty-one per cent, as ' 'good," tliii-ty-two per cent, as 
"fair," and forty-one per cent, as "poor" or "very poor." These 
terms are used to represent the different kinds of schools 
found and to arrange them in classes so that they may be con- 
veniently referred to in the subsequent portions of this report. 

In my comments on the teachers and the work they are 
doing I wish to say, at the outset, that in point of schoJai-ship, 
in quality of methods, and in the thoroughness of the work 
done, I found teachers who compare favorably with those 
who rank highest in our graded schools. They know the 
facte they are required to teach and are familiar with the 
subjects in which they should give instmction. They empha- 
sized the essentials and gave but little time to the non- 
essentials. They were conversant with the work done in the 
best schools and it was clear that their methods were tlie 
result of reading, study, observation, adoption, adaptation. 
They possessed unusual energy, strong personality and great 
power of control. They despatched the details of tlie work 
expeditiously and quietly. Their manners indicated culture 
and breeding. The mental and moral atmosphere of the 
school was inspiring and wholesome. 

The above sentences fairly express my judgment as to these 
teachers and their work. Having said this much in commen- 
dation I feel free to state, with equal frankness, other facts, 
which I regret it becomes my duty to place in this I'ecord, 
For this report to be of value to the State, or service to the 
teachers, it must be based on facts which fairly represent the 
condition of the schools inspected. 

It is a matter of some interest to note that no one portion 
of the State has all of the good schools, and that no one sec- 




tioii is suffering tVom all the poor schools, but that the good 
and the poor are about evenly distributed. 

Some of the best weue discovered in what might properly 
be called "back districts." It is also true that some, which 
were ranked as "very poor," were found within a few miles of 
the larger centers of population. These facts have both their 
encouraging and discouraging aspects. It is encoui'aging to 
know that there are no sections so far hi advance of all the 
others that any need be discouraged by the contrast. It is 
gratifying to find that some of the best schools are maintained 
in parts of the State where apparently tliere are but few things 
to assist in making a model school. 

It is discouraging to know that there are communities in all 
pai-ts of the State that are so little interested in their chil- 
dren as to be willing to tolerate such teaching as to clearly 
indicate that parents, teachers, and children are destitute of 
the desire to have schools which can be of any service to them. 

It is as astonishing as it is discouraging to see teachers in 
our schools who claim to be graduates of institutions of con- 
siderable standing, who cannot pronounce familiar words 
correctly, or give the children any information in regard to 
matters which come within the range of their observation or 
experience. They cannot read intelligibly, they cannot 
speak or write grammatically in continued discourse, and they 
know comparatively little about the facts contained in the 
text-books used. In a word, they are grossly and densely 

Any one who is familiar with school work knows that it is 
possible for students to graduate from an institution of a high 
grade and yet be unlit in point of scholarship to take charge 
of any school. They have neither the capacity nor the desire 
to master the studies which they have pursued, but by some 
skill, which would do credit to persons of greater ability, 
they have worried their way through the course and secured 
tlieir diplomas, while in point of attainment they are not 
scholars, in any sense of that term, 


It is to be regretted that some of our higher schools are 
willing to allow students to enter their classes and take the 
sciences and advanced work in languaae and mathematics, 
when the inatrnctors in charge of theie inatitutions iinow that 
they have little knowledge of the common English branches. 

It is hoped that the time is not fai distant when the exami- 
nations for admission to our secondaiy ■schools will be of 
snch a character as to force candidates to have a reasonable 
mastery of the studies pursued in the common schools before 
they are allowed to take this more advanced work. The 
authorities of these schools should protect tliemselvea and the 
common schools by insisting upon a rigid examination in tlie 
common English branches before students are admitted to 
their regular courses. 

One is shocked to see glaring advei-tiaements of some 
favorite brand of tobacco in so many of our school-rooms. It 
is not easy to understand why a teacher is willing, either to 
bring such pictorial illustmtions into her school, or allow them 
to remain if found there. It is vastly better to leave the 
walls bare than to have them covered with pictures which will 
interest children in things about which they should not be 
thinking, or will place objeetiona! matters in such a light as 
to give them a tacit approval. 

If it is impossible for the teacher to provide pictures of 
merit she would better not make the mistake of disfiguring 
the walls of the school-room with advertisements of a ques- 
tionable character. When reproductions of some of the linest 
works of art can be bought at a nominal price, the excuse 
that one cannot obtain good pictures is seldom a legitimate 
one. The fact that children are so vitally influenced in their 
tastes, judgments and conduct by things placed before them 
in a pictorial form justifies one in speaking decidedly on this 

The fact that there are so few children in the common 
schools over thirteen years of age should alann all who believe 
that the safety of the republic depends on the education of 




the citizen. Eightj-seven per cent, of all the ehilclreii found 
in the schools visited were under the age named above. This 
fact means that children are leaving school at a much younger 
age than fomieiiy. As iar as could be learned, those who 
have left school are not attending otlier or higher schools. 
The tendency to leave school and engage in some work, or 
waste the time in idleness, is increasing each year. If these 
tendencies are allowed to control the children, the rural 
echoola will soon be made up of pupils who i>eiong in the 
primary grades only. 'llie law provides that all persons 
between five and fifteen years of age shall attend school for at 
least sixteen weeks each year. It is evident that this law is 
evaded in a large number of instances. It is not necessary to 
state that it is of the highest importance that school com- 
mittees and truant officers see that this law is enforced. 

It was gi-atifyiug to find some schools with so large an atten- 
dance. One school in Cherryfield, "Washington county, had 
seventy-two pupils enrolled and sixty-nine present. In this 
school there were only ten pupils over thirteen years of age. 

The record shows that the average attendance in the schools 
visited was twenty-one, the average lengtli of the terms was 
ten weeks and the average age of the pupils was between nine 
and ten years. 

These figures, considered in connection with other facts, 
indicate that the weakest place in our schools is not in 
the number attending any one school, but in the fact that 
pupils leave school before they have had time to acquire the 
elements of an English education. It is not possible for the 
average child to so master the subjects taught in our common 
schools, before he is thirteen years of age, as to give him the 
education he will need in performing the duties which fall to 
the lot of the average citizen. 


The criticisms found in this section of the report are to be 
understood as applying in full to those teachers who are 
ranksd as "poor" or "very poor." 



There U a feeling on tlie part of some patrons of the public 
schools that many o£ the teachers of the State are too young 
to be able to perform properly the duties deTolviiig upon 
them. The statistics collected during these visits show that 
the age of the youngest teacher found in charge of a school 
was fifteen years, the oldest forty yeai-s. The average age 
was between twenty-four and twenty-five years, and a com- 
paratively small number was found under twenty years of 
age. These figures make it clear that this criticism on 
teachers is not well founded. 

But the record reveals an educational and professional 
standard which is to be deplored. Fifty-two percent, of the 
teachers visited acquired all the education they have in the 
common schools. Thirty-eight per cent, have attended acad- 
emies or seminaries for about one year. Ten per cent, are 
graduates of normal or training schools, academies, seminaries 
or high schools of a standard grade. It was disappointing 
and discouraging to learn tliat only twenty-three per cent, of 
the teachers have read or are reading works on teaching, and 
that about an equal per cent, have read or are reading educa- 
tional papers or magazines. Less than thirty per cent, are 
attendants on the meetings of any educational association. 

It is not encouraging to have to make record of the fact 
tliat ninety-four per cent, of these teachers have taught only 
in district schools. These figures show a lack of experience 
that helps to explain many criticisms made on the work done 
by so large a per cent, of these teachers. 

While it is trae that some of the teachers who are superior 
scholars were inferior instructors, it is also true that no 
teacher was discovered who was deficient in scholarship who 
was successful as an instructor. In this particular, at least, 
the theory held by leading educators and the facts as found in 
the school-room agree. There have been times when people 
believed if a teacher had muscle enough to subdue the big 
boys and frighten the small ones, he was fit to teach the 
average district school, although he might be as innocent 
ot scholarship as his instruction was destitute of usefulness. 



It would be impossible to convey to any one, ^vllo is not 
familiar with the facts, a fuU appreciation of the extent to 
which some teachers are ignorant of the matter contained in the 
text-books from which they ate supposed to give instruction. 
But a small number are faniiliar with subjects outside of the 
text-books, while those who have an appreciative knowledge 
of the forms of nature by whicli they are surrounded, the 
events or the persons who have made or are making history, 
are so rarely seen as to attract attention when found. 

It is mortifying to the visitor to see ao little ability to 
devise new ways of conducting the recitation, to use new 
illustrations and explanations, and give a larger and more 
intelligent view and conception of the lessons. 

In not a few schools there was little to indicate that the 
teacher had any special place of beginning the work, or any 
reasons for beginning at the place where ahe did. The lea- 
sons were assigned without any apparent thought, attention 
or care as to the assignment. The recitation, too often, was 
simply a stupid recital of words in which the teacher did a 
large part of the work, and the pupils divided the suifering 
with the visitor. There was little to indicate an assured gi-asp 
of the subject discussed, or an intelligent comprehension of 
the thought expressed. There was no evidence that any 
method was being used, and in many cases the fact that there 
is such a thing as a method did not seem to have dawned upon 
the teacher. One teacher asked what was meant by this 
word "methods" she heard used so often recently. 

A few things have come to be accepted by intelligent 
people who have attended the public schools, who believe in 
them and who make a study of their work. It is their de- 
cision that no one is fitted to take charge of the education of 
children who has not mastered the facts which she is expected 
to teach, and that in addition to this knowledge, professional 
training and experience are' needed to make the best teacher. 
It is to be regretted tliat these simple facts, which are so 
generally known, are so little influential in the selection of 



teachers. It is passing strange that supcriufceiidiiig school 
committees and auperint«ndeuts are willing to employ teach- 
ers without attempting to ascertain if they have any of this 
fitness to teach. 

It should be understood that the teachers are not entirely 
to blame for their incompetency. Many of them have been 
trained in schools of the same character as those they are 
"keeping ;" they have been urged to take charge of schools 
before they were fitted to do so, and they have been tolerated 
in school when they and those who employed them knew they 
were not doing satisfactory work. The attempt to place all 
this responsibility on the teachers is to do an injustice 
without helping to coiTect a serious evil. 

The State will have good teachei-s when parents and school 
officials demand more preparation for the work and better 
teaching. Aa long as superintendents are willing to employ 
the teacher who will work for the lowest salary, so long will 
a large number of incompetent teachers be employed. If 
parents would cordially assist in consolidatmg schools, these 
officials would feel justified in paying reasonable salaries, and 
they would exercise greater care in assuring themselves that 
the teachers employed are fitted by nature, training and 
experience to teach a school of a quality that will win the 
approval of an intelligent and progressive community. 

But it is only just to state that all of the incompetent teachers 
are not to be charged to the common schools. Some who have 
received all of their training in these schools show a very fair 
grade of scholarship, while those who have "been through" 
institutions which are supposed to specially fit them for their 
work exhibit a lack of knowledge which seems incredible. 

The vii-ility of the children is sapped by the pi'actice of 
so many teachers who are trying to do the work for the 
children, instead of being willing to think sufficiently to 
induce the children to do the work themselves. Usually 
it is a small matter for a teacher to solve a problem and 
give a crude analysis of the work done, but it is quite a 
different thino' to have the children ask and answer such 





questions as wiJl compel them to thiiili. out the solution. 
There is but slight appreciation of the fact that it is a 
sacred duty which the school owes the pupils to furnish 
such training as will make it a pleasure for them to work, 
tliink, dig. 

The visitor is impressed with the extent to whioh teachers 
and children fail to appreciate the fact that books talk about 
real things, about men and women who have lived, forms of 
nature that surround them and things that have happened. 
In many schools, books are used in such a way as to wan-ant 
the feeling that they treat of a different world, and have to 
do with something entirely separate and apart from the life 
and experience of the teacher or the child. 

It is, pitiful to see the extent to which children are rendered 
torpid, stupid, incapable of intellectual or emotional activity 
by being forced to say things which they do not understand, 
to study and recite technical terms and definitions, which are 
beyond their comprehension. 

The average child cannot think in the language of the 
average t«xt-book. In si)ite of this fact, he is required to 
commit to memory and recite words, year after year, when 
the recitation means nothing but a slavish grind. The child 
infere from his experience that what is said in books has 
notliing whatever t^i do with the men, or things with which 
he comes in contact. 

It is strange that teachers will peimit children to interrupt 
and render practically useless the recitation, by allowing pupils 
who should be studying, to ask help in finding ansivers to the 
simplest questions in their lessons. 

In too many schools there was a stream of pupils from the 
desks to the teacher, and from the teacher to the desks, ask- 
ing foolish questions, questions which the children could 
themselves answer with a little study, and which when 
answered by the teacher are of no benefit to them whatever. 

The extent to which the children are injured by all this 
blundering is manifest in their lack of the power of applica- 



tioii, the iibiHty to atady out things unaided by others ; and 
these facts account for their being limp, careless, helpless, 

One is shocked to see the jnanifestations of boorislmess, 
clownishness, slovenliness, which a teacher will permit in her 
presence without comment, certainly without i-eproof. There 
is but little evidence that the children have yet been inspired 
to want to do better than they are doiiig. 

One can but be impressed with the frequency- with wliich 
he hears teachera speaking in loud, shrill, harsh tones, a key 
much above the natural one, and with a force entirely dispro- 
portionate to the demands made upon the voice. 

Many teachers are not careful enough in their manners, in 
their intercourse with the children. Their tone, appearance 
and carriage are not always creditable to an insti'uctor. They 
do not seem to realize that their personalitj' maj' count for 
much in helping the children to better ideas and ideals of life 
and living. 


It ifi difficult to convince the public of the extent of the 
ignorance of pupils in the schools which are ranked as "poor" 
or "veiy poor" about things witli which they come in daily 
contact. One can hardly realize that it is possible for chil- 
dren to cultivate and handle flowers all their lives, to stub 
their toes every day against rocks, to care for animals regu- 
larly, without knowing something about what they are, and 
having some appreciation of their beauty and usefulness. 
They are equally ignorant concerning the men and women 
who have attained distinction in New England. Who they 
are, what they have done, the character and value of their 
8ei"vices, are things which have never come within the range 
of their reading ()r instiuction. The blank stare which 
mantles their faces when they are questioned concerning the^e 
mattei^s is )iainful to witness. 

In their regular work they are allowed to stumble through 
sentences of which they have no comprehonsioii, guesji at 


answers und become; dazed and lo&t in a labyrinth of mystoiies 
of which they have but the slightest knowledge. The recita- 
tions are valine, blundering, unintelligible, because thej' are 
unintelligent attempts to talk about things of wliich the}' 
know but little, in terms of which they know less. That 
they fail to add to the child's stock of ideas or increase his 
store of facts is not strange. They have not been trained to 
see, discnminate, contrast or compare. They cannot speak 
or write English with facility, correctness or force. 

The extent to which teachers permit children to speak in 
indistinct, drawling, mumbling, hesitating tones is surprising. 
A large proportion of them close their sentences with the 
rising inflection, as much as to aaj', "Have I given the cor- 
rect answer?" Many of the questions are so worded that the 
child can answer them by yes or no, and he is often allowed 
to guess twice on each question. 

In many cases the teacher, after asking a question , will state 
the answer, and ask the pupil if his answer does not agree 
with hei's. It is not necessary to pronounce judgment on 
such teaching ; it condemns itself. 

There is not that evidence of self-respect and desire to excel 
on the part of the children which it was hoped would be seen. 
They are not only lacking in these things, but they are want- 
ing in grasp, tenacity, po^ver to assimilate thought, and indi- 
cate that they have not done the work and earned the respon- 
sibility which develop fiber and vigor. They are unwilling 
to apply themselves and are willing to be dependent upon 
others. They show a lack of resolution, strength, sturdiness, 
and are blind and deaf to sights and sentiments of beauty. 
They are wanting in alertness and accuracy and are deficient 
in eagerness, enterprise, ambition. 

When the visitor looks at the reverse side of the shield, 
he is impressed with the energetic, wide awake, progressive 
quality of the children who are found in rural schools which 
are in charge of competent teacliers. They are not always 
courteous, and are sometimes wanting in thoughtf ulness . 



They- frequently speiik in tones that gi'ate on yoar ears and 
are not always careful abont the way they stand, sit, or 
walk. They are frequently boisterous, sometimes a little 
coarse, occasionalJj' rude, but seldom vulgar. Even a brief 
study of them and their work will convince any one that their 
eyes are open, that their minds are receptive and acquisitive, 
and that their hearts and heads are being attuned and trained 
to see and enjoy beauty in life, literature and art. 

It is not necessary to visit many schools to discover that 
there is no class of people in the State who can be more bene- 
fited by physical training, than the children in the country 
schools. They have to engage in manual labor in such a way 
as to develop strength of muscle without giving a correspond- 
ing ease and grace of movement. Such physical exercises 
should be given as will enable a child to gain absolute con- 
trol of his muscles. If a child can do this, he has an advan- 
tage over his untrained companion which can be appreciated 
only by those who have attempted t« make their way in the 
world among men and women of refinement and culture. 

There never was a time when grace and ease of movement 
were not useful. The present makes larger demands in this 
direction than any previous time. Aa tlie children of to-day 
are to be the men and women of to-morrow, and are to asso- 
ciate more largely with all classes than any previous genera- 
tion, the importance of this matter cannot be overstated. 

The rapid introduction of improved means of transporta- 
tion will not only pennit, but make it necessary for people 
living in the remotest parts of the State to come into immediate 
contact and intimate as&ociation with people from all parts of 
the world. To meet these lai^er requirements satisfactorily 
the children must get fi'om the common schools something 
more and something better than they ai'e receiving to-day. 

Many children have an unwise and unreasoning ambition. 
They feel that if they are reading in the sixth reader, recite 
ing from the large geography and struggling with the intri- 
cacies of cube root, they are being educated, ilany pupils 


! 1 




in the rural schools are floundeiiiig in these subjects, who 
should be studying the third reader, mustering fractions and 
learning the geogmphy of their own State. It is a great 
mistake to allow children to attempt work which their pre- 
vious training and present abilities do not fit them to study. 

These mistakes account for the unwelcome facts that they 
are wanting in thoroughness, lacking in application and desti- 
tute of the power of comprehension. And much o£ this 
disgrace is due to the feeiing that the book the children study 
and not wliat is learned is the all important matter. 

Children must be led to see that it is necessary for them 
to master the studies assigned to the common school course 
in order to he fitted for the duties and responsibilities of life ; 
that they must be able to i-eud understandingly, write intel- 
ligibly, talk with ease and cipher with certainty; that they 
must be able to appreciate the beauty iind the wisdom of the 
works of art of some of the masters, whether they be given 
them in the form of pictures or poems. 

It would be iinjust to close this section of the report with- 
out making record of the feet that in the schools of North- 
eastern Aroostook the boys and girls are noticeably courteous. 
Whenever a visitor enters the school-room, the pupils rise in 
their places, and after bowing, remain standing until a signal 
from him gives them pei'mission to sit. Whenever and 
wherever met, outside of the school-room, the boys lifted 
their hats and the girls courtesied. All these things were 
done with an ease and grace which show that they inherit the 
instinct fi'om their parents, and that they have been carefully 
trained in the home and at school. When the majority of 
the people of a community are thoughtful and courteous, it is 
simply yielding to an unconscious impulse that makes the 
chiklren conform to the forms and usages of good society. 


The work in arithmetic in forty-three per cent, of the 
schools is characterized by a senseless committing and reciting 



of rules, and an unreasoning explanation of problems, with 
little 01' no attempt to connect this work with the daily experi- 
ences of the children. Much of the work consiat-s of puzzles 
to be guessed, and analyses which were paiTot-like recitals of 
words that would convey as much meaning if their order were 
reversed . 

Too much work is assigned for each lesson. Not enough 
is done in the way of illustrating, explaining, testing the 
principles taught. When the lesson is assigned and the 
words are recited, it is assumed that the work in done. The 
children are grossly deficient in their knowledge of the four 
fundamental rules and common and decimal fractions. Tliey 
do not understand the principles, they cannot apply them 
and they are lamentably lacking in the ability to peiform the 

In most of the schools but little time is given to mental 
aiithmetic. The average child is dependent on his book, 
his pencil and his slate in solving the simplest problems. If 
he is asked to multiply 25 by 5 he laboiiously works out the 
result on his slate. Teachers fail to understand that at least 
one-third of the time given to this subject should be devoted 
to mental arithmetic; that the children during this recitation 
should not be supplied with books ; that the teacher should 
read the problem, the pupil should repeat it, solve it and 
give a simple, intelligible analysis, and that dui"ing all this 
time he should rely entirely upon his memory for his facts 
and his mental processes for his results. Such training will 
develop the memory and power of concentration, and give 
speed and accuracy in the work. 

In many of the schools but little time is spent on the work 
which gives the diild a clear idea of number and of its simple 
combinations. But few children are so taught that they 
know what 1, 2, 3 and 4 are. They do not seem to compre- 
hend their values, or what purposes they serve. The Grub4 
system of developing the idea of number is used in but few 
schools. The child is left to think of figures as hieroglyphics 



the meaning of which it is not a part of his buainess to know. 
He atumblea through the fundamental rules Jind is pulled 
through fractions without knowing much about them, and 
passes on to work in percentage and square and cube roots, 
and with these he struggles and flounders for yeai-s. The 
solution of simple, practical examples which are within his 
comprehension, and that have to do with his daily life, is a 
foxTU of work that does not seem to have occurred to the 
teacher, or come within the experience of the child. 

Great changes must be made in this matter of instruction 
in arithmetic. The work in the four fundamental rules, frac- 
tions and the simple application of percentage must be so 
thoroughly done that the children can add columns of figures as 
easily as they can read a line of print, perform the combinations 
as rapidly as they ai'e announced, combine fractions aa readily 
as whole numbers and use percentage aa familiarly as they do 
the addition tables. Parents , teaehera and children must come 
to appreciate the fact that these are the topics in arithmetic 
for which they will have the greatest use in life, and that from 
the study of these they can gain as much power aa from any 
part of the subject. When a child has finished arithmetic, he 
should be able to perfoi-m all the combinations with speed 
and accuracy, he should be able to apply all of the principles 
learned and formulae given in the ordinary experiences of 
life, and he should be able to use what he has learned m an 
intelligent, mtelligible manner. 

The objects to be sought in teaching arithmetic are the 
ability to understand and the power to use. The child must 
first be taught the significance and value of the symbols 
which he uses, and then he must be so instructed as to be able 
to combine these readily and accumtely. 

He should begin to reason as soon as he has acquired a sufii- 
cient store of facta and such a mastery of principles as will 
enable him to derive benefit from the process. 


One I'ealizes what a school is not doin^ when he heai's 
pupils and teachers saying Ediiiburg for Edinb(U'o', asslum 
for saylum, Cy-cieeB for Cyclades, im-iii'-ous for im'-pi-ous, 
re'-cesa (inteiinission) for re-eess', stip-u-lees for stip-ules, 
ep-i-tome for e-pit'-o-me, es-cen-trie for ec-cen-tric, and so 
on through a Hst that might be extended to almost any limit. 
Some teachei'8 and most pupils do not know how to use a 
dictionary. The diacritical marks, the marks of accent and 
the hyphen are cabalistic symbols which convey no meaning 
to them. They do not know the names or values of tlieee 
eharactei-s and therefore do not know how to apply them to a 
given woi'd. They do not seem to realize that the woi-da in a 
dictionai-y are arranged according to their spellings. The 
ability to use a dictionary efficiently is limited to a compara- 
tirely small numlwr of the pupils in the public schools, a 
much smaller number than many people suppose. 

In forty-five per cent, of the schools the recitations in read- 
ing were exercises in pronouncing words without an intelli- 
gent attempt to discover their meaning, beauty or force. 
The thought, and the skill with which it is expressed, are items 
which did not seem to interest the children and this concep- 
tion ot reading had not yet dawned upon the teacher. They 
failed to get ideas from the M'ords, the sentences, or para- 
graphs. They could not see the jiictures painted in poems, 
the portraits sketched in selections, and there was no appre- 
ciation of the richness of the thought of the author. They 
failed to feel the warm life that throbbed in his woivis and 
burned in his sentences. It was a monotonous, profitless grind. 
The children did not realize that what they were reading bad to 
do with anything which had been, or anything that existed at 
the present, or anything that was to exist in the future. They 
seemed to think, so far as they thought at all, that it was some- 
thing outside of their relations and interests. It did not touch 
their lives, or any life at any point. It was unsympathetic, want- 



MM^MH V" -r^ sm ^* 1 



' r/ \ ^ ^ 

— ~v„. -.-,~-.^. 




ing ill joy, destitute of human interests. It was dreary, heavy, 
hiboiious. It was weariness to the teachers, drudgery to the 
children and productive of imbecility to both. Some of the 
masterpieces of English were read in such a way as to give 
none of the zest, inspii-ation, breadtli of view, range of vision, 
gi-asp of thought and inspiring and toning influence which 
are redolent in these selections. 

Children fail to sense things. They do not see the beauty, 
the force, the iuipressiveness of the selection studied, or the 
means used to express them. There are no poems in pictures, 
no pictures in poems for them. They fail to hear as well as 
to see. 

In some cases children seem to have the power to call 
words rapidly and easily, without being able to grasp the 
thought expressed. The ability to convey in their tones 
some Bu^gestion of the thought which the selection contains 
is something which they have not realized can be done. 

For a teacher to reveal to a pupil the beauties, wisdom and 
inspiration of literature, she must have an appreciation of and 
love for literature. Its force, beauty, richness, strength 
must appeal to her and not appeal in vain. She must possess 
the artistic instinct, the ability to see and express, and have 
breadth of vision and power of appreciation. The most the 
average child needs is simply to be introduced to things, but 
for an introduction to be of any service, to result in any help 
to him, it must be given by one who fathoms the thing intro- 

It is the silent, subtle, immaterial quality of the teacher 
that is most influential with the child. It is this quality 
which moulds, guides and controls him long after the teacher 
hus ceased to instruct. These are the things that are hardest 
to put into words, but are mos^t potent in life. 


It is difficult to describe the work done in Language in the 
schools classed as "poor," or "very poor." As far as conld 


be ascertained tlie eftbi'ts of tlie teacher weve limited to ask- 
ing tlie questions found in tlie book and listening to recitals 
of the words of the text. The extent of the work was nar- 
rower than the book used. There was little or no attempt 
made to have the children talk about the subjects studied. 
Incorrect fomia of speech used by the children did not attract 
the attention of the teacher, at least, no attempt was made to 
correct tliem, and the knowledge of the pupils in this subject 
did not make it possible for them to tell in what the eiTors 
of a faulty construction consisted, nor enable them to give 
the coiTect form. The study period was evidently devoted 
to memorizing definitions and rules. 

That this study should assist the pupils in enlarging their 
vocabularies, or help them in the con-ect use of language did 
not seem to be thought of. The pupils were not asked to 
talk, or write about things of which they had some definite 
knowledge. No attempt was made to reveal to tbem the 
force, beauty, or peculiar meaning of words. As a rule, 
words were not subjects for study, but symbols, the value of 
which they sometimes understood, but more frequently did 
not. Sentences were collections of words the significance 
and force of which they sometimes realized, but usually failed 
to apprehend. 

The work in grammar failed to assist the children in writ- 
ing and speaking in continuous sentences with ease, force 
and propriety. Much of the written and oral work was 
characterized by elliptical, ungrammatical and meaning- 
less sentences. It was not definite, accurate, helpful, 
nor did it train the children in the fine choice of words, 
happy forms of expression, and striking sentences which 
characterize clear thinking, interesting talking and attractive 
writing. The time was almost entirely devoted to a study 
about language instead of practice in language. The meager- 
ness of the children's vocabularies was painful to witness. 
They knew but few words and these they seemed to know 
more through an act of the memory than through any proper 
comprehension of their meaning. 



This subject can never be taught successfully unless the 
teacher is able to select tlie voot, prefix and suffix of words, 
and give the meaning of each and combine them in such a 
way as to express the thought which the word conveys. The 
children must be so directed and assisted in their observa- 
tions of and talks about things tliat they will develop the 
ability to see, know and express, in the happiest way, the 
idea which their study has given them. It takes years of 
training to fit one to select and arrange the words which will 
clearly described and forcibly voice the thing seen, heard, or 
thought by the speaker. In its written form more attention 
must be given, not only to the construction of the sentence, 
but to its mechanical features. Indenting and pai'agraphing, 
the use of capital letters and marks of punctuation should be 
taught, by having the children use them pi-operly in all their 
written work. When pupils are prepared for the high school 
they should be able to talk and write intelligently about any 
subject of which they have an accurate knowledge. 

The best work in language will be d()ne when it is taught 
in every grade, in every recitation during the entire course; 
when all lessons are lessons in language ; when the teacher 
uses correct and vigorous English, and is able to train the 
children to do likewise. 

There is, in the common schools, no study which yields so 
slight a return for the time devoted to it as the subject of 
grammar. It is often disliked by the pupils, dreaded by the 
teacher and frequently a mortification to the visitor. If it is 
ever to be raised to the plane it should occupy, the teacher 
must fit herself thoroughly for the work and must help the 
children to such a command of language as comes only from 
observation, reading, study, practice. 


The most of the time devoted to geography is spent in 
learning the location of small towns, insignificant rivers and 
unimportant mountains, capes, bays, etc. Much time is given 



to the geography of Africa and A&ia and the Islands of the 
Sea. But few teachers make any use of the fact that the 
moat of the physical phentimena of the world are found within 
the immediate vicinity of the school-rooms in which they 
teach. To make a diagram of the school-room, a picture of 
the school-house, a map of the school yard, town and county 
has not yet occurred to tte average teacher. But few teach- 
ers make a careful study of the location of the objects in the 
school-room, school-house and school yard. Children read, 
talk and recite about islands, lakes rivers and mountains, 
without realizing what these things are, or discovering that 
they have in their immediate vicinity small islands, tiny 
rjvera and low hills. 

The teacher should make a careful study of the boundaries 
of the town in which she is teaching, its physical features, 
the industries followed by the people, the places of note or 
interest, and all those items which go to make «p the his- 
tory and present condition of the community. The school- 
room is an epitome of the town, the town of the county, the 
county of the state and tlie state of the nation. The county 
and state should be studied in the same general way as the 
town has been. These should be followed by a careful study 
of the United States and Europe, and then something should 
be learned of the general features of Africa and Asia. 

Beginning at home lead the children to learn about things 
in the vicinity of the school, then aid them in getting adequate 
ideas of things at a distance. By this plan they will be able 
to understand and appreciate what they study, because they 
will have something at hand with which they may compare, 
contrast and measure the thing studied. 


A large part of tiie time de^'oted to the study of history is 
given to committing to memory unimportant dates and 
describing and locating unimportant events. History is 
taught in such a way that children fail to comprehend that it 





is simply a record oi: past efforts. Tliej' somehow get the 
idea that the men who have lived, the things that have been 
done, belong to another and a different world. They do not 
understand that we are making histoiy in the present, that it 
does not deal entirely with the past. Too much time is given 
to details, and not enough to studying great events — the causes 
producing them andthereaultsflowingfromthem. None of the 
teachei's seemed to have made a careful study of the men who 
have given color to history. "Who they were, whotheirances- 
tora were, when they were boi'n, where they were born, the 
schools they attended, the experiences through which tlaey 
passed, their vocations, their avocations, the influence which 
they exerted, the things they have tried to do and failed to 
do, the things they have succeeded in doing; their quality, 
character, personality, strength, weaknesses; their talent, 
genius ; the ways in which they hare seiTed the world, the 
ways in which tliey have injured the world, occupy but little 
of their time and less of their thought. 

If one knows the gi'eat events and great men of the past, 
he is able ty stand upon mountains from whose summits lie 
can survey the surrounding country. The details will cluster 
around these men and these events so that he can see the 
genesis, the relations, the hat-mony, the progress of history; 
he can see where we started, along what roads we have come, 
what point we have reached and in what direction we are 

When studied in this way history means something, says 
something. It becomes an inspiration, an aspiration. It 
develops, it strengthens, it moulds, it purifies. Taught in 
the usual way it is dwai'fing, benumbing, stupefying ; it gives 
the children false ideas of men, wrong ideas of events and 
paralyzes where it should inspire. To teach history in this 
better way the teacher must liave a love for, an appreciation 
of the subject. She must know something more than a list 
of dates, a catalogue of names, an outline of events. She 
must know something of the philosophy and range of history ; 
in a word, she must have the instincts of the historian. 




It is very gfatifying to be able to state that the work in 
oral and written spelling and penmanship was fairly credita- 
ble, when the ages and training of the pupils are taken into 
consideration. This statement contradicts the accepted theo- 
ries concerning these two studies. 


Of the schools visited but a small nnral>er were supplied 
with books for supplementary work in any of the studies. It 
cannot fairly be said that any of the schools had a sufficient 
collection of books to justify one in dignifying it by the name 
of a library. It is to be regretted that not a single school of 
all those visited was supplied, or had supplied itself, with 
papera or magazines for the pupils to read in connection with 
their regular work. 

About ninety per cent, of the schools were supplied with 
maps, some of them of recent issue, most of them so old as 
to be practically valueless. About fifty per cent, had some 
kind of a chart, either the Complete Chai-t or a language chart. 
About one-half of these were of an issue that made tliem of 
some sei"vice to the schools. 

Any one who is at all familiar with this work must see that 
the schools are fatally defective in cei-tain lines because they 
are not supplied with books and papers for the pupils to read, 
or charts, maps, globes and simple apparatus for illustrating 
the regular work. 

While it is unwise to spend a large sum of money at any 
one time for material of this kind, yet it is the highest wisdom 
to buy some inexpensive helps which will give the schools an 
opportunitj' to do something outside and beyond what can be 
done with text-books alone. No school can do reasonably 
creditable work unless it is supplied with some of these 
things. Books are so cheap that a few may he furnished for 
each school at a small expense, and these may be passed 
from one school to another, and in this way all the pupils 



may have the benefit of all tho books purchased by the town. 
Superintendents would render tlieir schools a great servii;e 
by pui'chasing cheap editions of the English classics instead 
of buying so many fourth, fifth and sixth readers. The 
expense would be much less to the town if this plan were 
followed and the. opportunities for the pupils would be vastly 

It is hoped that this question will be carefully considered, 
and such steps taken as will remedy the evils which exist in 
these particulars. 


These visits revealed some startling facts. In only two 
pel' cent, of the schools is instiirctioa given in book-keeping ; 
in four per cent, civics are studied; in about an equal 
per cent, instruction in music and drawing is given ; in 
thirty-two per cent, map drawing is used, and in less than 
five per cent, an intelligent attempt is made to have the chil- 
dren learn something about plants, minerals and animals. 

Teachers are required by law to give instmction in civics, 
and in i)hyaiology and hygiene, with special reference to the 
evil effects of alcohol and narcotics. It has come to be an 
accepted fact that instruction in music and drawing is necessary 
to the beat work in the other branches. There are but few suc- 
cessful teachers who try to teach geography without using map- 
drawing to a gTcater oi' less extent ; not the elaborate pictui'es, 
which were foimerly made, consisting of shivering coastlines 
and delicately tinted pohtieal divisions, hat an outline showing 
the boundaries, rivers, mountiiins and cities of the section 
studied, all of which may be drawn by the pupil in much less 
time than he could describe orally, what he indicates by his 

SUintARY . 

One has not enumerated all the evils found in the schools 
which are ranked as "poor" or "very poor" when he has 
reported that the teachers are deficient in education, ignorant 


of oiodern methods and lacking in personality. And one Iiaa 
not completed the list, when he has added to these serious 
charges the money spent in paj'ing their salaries and the 
other expenses incident to maintaining the schools. Nor is 
the catalogue completed, when one has joined to all these 
items of expenses and to this list of hori-ors the fact that the 
children have wasted the most precious and susceptihle years of 
their lives. The serious charge is found in the false ideas which 
children get of what a school should be, the bad habits which 
they form and the dwarfing, and in too many cases, the 
quenching of the student spirit in the child. 

If a child has a teacher in whom he has eoniidenee, for 
whom he has respect, and in whose presence he rejoices ; if 
she unconsciously moulds and inspires him to do and to be 
something worthy, then the school makes it possible for the 
child to make the most of the best in him. 

For these things not to be done means a failure more dis- 
astrous than many people can realize. For them to be done 
means a blessing richer than anj' lifetime of success can meas- 
ure. These are matters of which the teacher, school officials 
and parents need to think and think seriously. For any of 
these parties to be responsible for these evils on the one hand 
is to be responsible for a crime. For all these parties to 
bring about the advantages which come fi'om the other con- 
ditions is to do a work, the value of which can never be 

The facts stated in connection with these visits to the rural 
schools of Maine may seem harsh to those who are not familiar 
with the conditions which exist in other states. But after 
visiting and studying the rural schools of five states, repre- 
senting different sections of the Union, and two countries in 
Europe, it is only just to say that these criticisms apply with 
substantially equal force to those schools as to our own. This 
fact should not comfort or encourage us, but rather stimulate 
us to concct the evils which we find in our own comnuinities. 




Sixty-five per cent, of the school buildings visited are 
located so near the road, and the yards are so small that the 
children are forced to use the public highway for play- 
grounds. Fifteen per cent, have yards from fifty to sixty 
feet sijuare; ten per cent, have yards about one hundred feet 
square ; five per cent, have still larger yards, and about five 
per cent, have no limits to their yards which the visitor could 

Not over five per cent, of all the yards are enclosed by 
suitable fences. In about the same number trees have been 
planted or flowers cultivated. It is evident to the most 
casual observer that in most cases the lots, on which school 
buildings have been erected, were selected without any special 
reference to their beauty or healthfulness ; that the matter of 
size did not enter into the calculation in the selection of these 
lots, and the necessity or desirability of improving them 
seems to have been a matter of too small consequence to 
receive attention. 

A brief study of this question ought to convince any one 
of the wisdom of selecting lots for school yards which are 
sightly, well drained and in every way adapted to the pur- 
pose for which they are used. They should be, if possible, 
two hundred feet square, and in no case less than one hundred 
twenty-five feet square, and they should ]>e surrounded by 
fences of as durable a quality as the means of the town will 
pennit. The people who form Ihe community in the vicinity 
of the school should be urged to beautify them hy planting 
trees, and the teachers and children should be induced to 
adora them by cultivating flowers and slu'ubs. 

These suggestions are made with the understanding that it 
will be impossible for many towns to make all these changes 
in any one year, but if the school officers will take the matter 
in hand, make the change in one neighborhood this year and 
another next, in a few years all the grounds will be put in 


yuch condition as will nialre tliem oiiiaiiients in tlie c 
ities in which they are located, and a credit to the State. All 
must realize that this matter of making aehool yards attrac- 
tive is one of no small impoi-tance, and that it may be of 
great assistance in training the children to love the beautiful 
in nature. 


There is every indication that extensive repairs have been 
made on the school buildings within the last eighteen months. 
These improvements were seen in newjy shingled roofs, 
freshly painted exteriors and interiors, and desks of a modern 
pattern. Inquiiy developed the fact that many of these 
changes had been made within the time given above. This 
woald seem to prove that the placing of the school property 
in tlie hands of the town has resulted in ii marked improve- 
ment ill the condition of the school buildings. 

Taken as a whole, the school imildings are in a better con- 
dition than they were a few years ago. 

All but two of the school-houses visited were built of wood. 
Twenty-one per cent, were ranked as in poor condition, sixty 
per cent, as fair, fifteen per cent, as good and four per cent, 
as excellent. Thirteen per cent, of these buildings were sup- 
plied with modern desks. Of those having plauk desks, 
forty-seven per cent. wevQ ranked as being in poor condition, 
thirty-two per cent, as fair, and twenty-one per cent, as good. 
In but two instances were the rooms visited listed as untidy. 
Sixty per cent, of the rooms wei"e ranked as unattractive. 
In ninety per cent, of these it was noted that the teacher had 
done nothing to improve their condition. 

But there are some things about these school buildings of 
which no one can approve. As has been already stated they 
are located too near the road and are in such a position that 
the dust sifts through the doors and windows, and the noise 
and confusion incident to travel distui'b the school. In one 
case a building was found situated entirely within the limits 



of the roud, being located betweoii the fmice and the tmveled 
portion of tlie highway. All such conditions are hurmfnl to 
any school and must prevent its doing the best work. 

In only one instance waa there evidence that any attenijit 
had been made to place the windowb at a proper distance 
from the floor, or to ventilate the room by any other means 
than by opening the dooi-s and windows. Tiie number, size 
and location of the windows, the distance ol the bottom of 
the windows from the floor, the location of the stove, the 
system of ventilation and the arrangement of the beats are 
items which should receive intelligent treatment. 

One would expect parents to be as careful of the eye.-;, 
comiort and heulth of their children as our best breeders are ol 
their blooded stock. The construction and furnishings found 
in the average school-house, do not indicate that this is the 

One is shocked to see the vandalism that has been com- 
mitted on so many school-houses. Clapboards have been 
removed, doors, windows and shuttera have been bi'oken, 
and desks, walls and ceiling have been defaced and mutilated. 
Everything that could be injured bears evidence of the pollut- 
ing and destructive hand of the young or old barbarian. 

Many of the school buildings are not provided with locks 
and but few of the windows are fastened, and there is every 
reason to believe that not a few are used as places of ren- 
dezvous by lawless characters. 

The improvements which should be made in the condition 
of the school-houses must be made gradually because of the 
financial limitations of many of our towns. But it is tme that 
all of the towns can do something in this direction each year, 
and if this plan is pursued, in a shoi-t time all the buildings 
will be put in good condition. There is no towil in which 
the willful destruction of its property- may not be prevented. 

Since making these visits it has been decided to prepare 
plans for school-houses to be printed in the next repoi-t of 
this Department, together with some suggestions and explana- 
tions as to the matters referred to above. 



In twelve per cent, of the schools visited the teachers had 
attempted to relieve the barreimess of their school-rooms by 
decorating them with drawings, engravings, charts, maps, 
leaves, flowers and other simple material which may be 
collected by any teacher who believes in the educational value 
of such decorations and has energy enough to prepare them. 
In some school-houses, which were rough board shells, the 
ceilings and walls were entirely covered with material devised 
and prepared by the teachers and children, and they were 
among the most attractive rooms visited, because of the artistic 
effects produced by a skillful use of nature and home made 
decorations. It is not easy to explain why all teachers do 
not do something in the line in which some have done so 

Some of the school-rooms are dingy and barren heyond all 
possible description. The bare walls, the scarred and battered 
desks, the creaking and gaping floor, the broken backed stove 
pipe and the creosote stained chimney make up a combination 
which must be revolting to any child of ordinary susceptibili- 
ties. These m^ses of ugliness might he concealed by use of 
the means indicated above. 

It is hoped that the time is not distant when the outside 
and inside of the school buildings will be painted in such 
tints as will be not only attracrive but helpful to the eye. If 
but one of these things can be done, it is urged that the 
interior be painted in such a way as to relieve the children 
of the torture that must come from sitting in rooms which 
shock every instinct of I'efinement. The marked improve- 
ments which have evidently been made along these lines 
within a compai'atively short time are a sufEcient excuse for 
not pressirig this matter further at this time. 


The outbuildings of the average school-house in the rural 

sections of the State are a moral and physical menace to those 




who have to use tiiem. Jn many of them the windows have 
been removed, the doora are torn from their hinges, and in 
quite a number there are no partitions between the sections 
used by the boys and those assigned to the girls. All of them 
have the ordinary vaults and in most cases they have not been 
cleaned for years. The fearful odor whicla greets a person 
who is forced to go in the vicinity of one of these shanties, 
suggests conditions unpleasant to describe. But three out- 
buildings were found that couid safely be called respectable. 

The outbuildings of a school-house should be well built, 
with separate compartments for the boys and girls. The 
vault should be so arranged that it may be easily cleaned and 
this should be done at least twice each term. The building 
should be located in the rear of the lot and if it were sur- 
rounded with evergreens it would change a thing of hideous 
aspect to a comparative bower of beauty. 

The condition of these hovels is so shocking that I fee! 
justilied in calling special attention, in strong language, to 
the duties of the towns in this connection. 


About one-sixth of the school buildings are supplied with 
mode™ desks. The remainmg iive-sixths have the old- 
fashioned seats and these are marred and scarred by jack- 
knives and the experiences incident to the average rural 
school. It is gratifying to notice that in most school-houses, 
where new desks have been supplied, those of an improved 
pattern have been furnished, and it would seem that in a few 
years the old plank desk will be a thing of the past and thiit 
suitable seats will adorn ail our school-rooms. 


The most of the schools are supplied with the regular text- 
books, although some were found where the committee had 
failed to furnish them in sufficient quantities. A few were 



supplied with books of a very iiifci'ior quulity, but no g'eiieral 
criticisms are called for in tliis direction. 

It was noticed that as a rule the boolis were not properly 
cared for by the school authorities, by the teachers, or by the 
children. TJiey were handled roughly, cut and marked pro- 
miscuously and there was pi-actically no effort made to keep 
them clean, or preserve thcra from unnecessary wear and tear. 
But few of the achool buildings were provided with cases for 
the protection of the books while not in use, and there was 
evidence that they were left on, or in the desks during vaca- 

Each school building should be supplied with a suhstantial 
bookcase, with a strong lock, and the books should be placed 
in this receptacle daring vacations. These precautions should 
be taken as a matter of economj'. 

The time has come ^'hen parents must rise in their might 
and demand that qualified teachers shall be employed to take 
chaise of the education of their children. They must not 
permit the teacher to do the work which should be done by 
the children. The parents must insist upon faithfulness, 
thoroughness in the work done, and regularity in attendance. 
They must bring such influences to hear as will convince 
school officials and teachei's that they are tlioroughly in 
earnest about these matters, and that no teacher can retain 
her position, with the approval of the pati-ons of the school, 
unless she is familiar with the facts which she is to teach, has 
some well considered methods of instiiiction, and is capable of 
compelling such work on the part of the children as will result 
in their growing in strength, knowledge and ability. 

One is astonished at the extent to which parents are willing 
to remain ignorant of the schools which their children attend. 
In a large number of cases they seem to know little or nothing 
about the teacher, the work which their children are doing, or 
the way in which it is being done. One man ^vas discovered 



who was uiiiible to tell the name of the teacher who had charge 
of the school which his children attended. Aboat eighty per 
cent, of the schools report that they have had no visits from 
parents for the purpose of learning what the worli is, or 
assisting in making it move efficient. 

One is at a loss to discover the reason for this apathy. 
Every intelligent parent must know that it will be a great 
advantage tohischiidrenifhe visit the acliool, know the teacher 
and give her tbe benefit of his counsel. If parents would 
take the trouble to visit the school and inform the teaehera in 
a truthful and proper way of the abilities, limitations and 
peculiarities of their children , they would be more tlian gratified 
with the results which would come from such conferences. 
The teacher is obliffed to spend the most of the first term in 
stumbling upon the characteristics of tbe cliildren whom she 
has to teach. She finds some hhy, some fonvard; some who 
appear to be insolent and some who have every symptom of 
stubbornness. Some are prompt and proficient iu their 
lessons and others are halting, stumbling and unsatisfaetoiy 
in their work. Unaided, she must study out bow much of 
these vaiying conditions are due to inheritance, or home train- 
ing, and how much is caused by timidity, embarrassment, or 
excitement. All this information must be in the possession 
of the parents at the beginning of the term. If the teacher 
could have the benefit of it she could start with her work in 
a way that it is impossible for her to do under present 

It is hoped tliat the good time is coming when parents will 
see the necessity of visiting the school, conferring with the 
teacher and being frank in their statements as to the abilities 
and deficiences of their children. The welfai'e of the school 
depends lai'gely on their willingness to impute the best motives 
to the teacher for the. corrections she finds it necessary to 
administer, and the methods she uses. If parents would 
invite teachers to their homes, treat them as persons in whom 
they have a personal interest and for whose work, at least. 


they entertain a high respect, tlie eiEcienoy of the schools 
would be wonderfully increased. 

As it is, parents are to a great extent either indifferent or 
hostile to the schools. Scathing criticisms are pronounced 
upon the teacher and her work, based often times entirely 
upon the reports made by children who have been angered, 
it may be, by wholesome restraint. The tavorite child comes 
home with a complaint that he does not receive the assistance 
which he imagines he needs, or that he has been corrected 
for some misdemeanor, and at once the family take up the 
cudgels for the child against the teacher, all of which means 
a fatal injury to the school and the child. 

It is for the interest of parents to give the teacher that cor- 
dial, hearty and unstinted support which will show the child 
that she has their confidence and respect. Without these 
helps the teacher is striving against fearful odds ; with them 
she enters upon her work with an almost certain guaranty of 

It hardly seems credible that purents are willing to allow 
their children to come under the instruction of a person of 
whose scholarship, character and training they know nothing. 
It is still more strange that they are willing that all these 
things should be true and still make no attempt to change this 
ignorance into definite information. It is the most strange of 
all that they cannot see that eveiy interest which they have 
in their children lies in the direction of making the school, the 
most useful that co-operation can render it. This cannot be 
accomplished until parents and teachers work in harmony for 
a common end; until each "knows, appreciates, respects and 
sympathizes with the other ; until the teacher has the full 
benefit of the knowledge and influence of the parent, and the 
parent feels that the teacher is the guide, director and friend 
of the child. When these conditions exist the common schools 
will be something vastly different from what we find them 

In this work the responsibility rests largely with the par- 
ents. The teacher comes to the neighborhood a stranger, with 


j_,L^i 111 illl Pl.L-'LM 




all the ehyneaa of youth and inexperience. If acquaintaneea 
are to be formed, friendsliips are to be developed and the 
advantages which come from co-operation are to be eiiioyed, 
the advances must be made by the parents. In many cases 
the teacher is a pilgi'im and too frequently there is no one to 
take her in. 

In the olden time the lawyer, the minister, and the teacher 
en]oyed a prestige in the community which is not accorded 
them at the present time. In losing this estimate of these 
characters we have lost much which would be of infinite bene- 
fit to those who accorded it and of vast encouragement to 
those who received it. The teacher's position is a responsible, 
dignified and useful one. All who are interested in the 
advancement and welfare of the community should recognize 
these facts and yield a cheerful tribute to those who occupy 
these positions. 

It is impossible for one to give his best service if he feels 
that he has not the confidence and respect of the community 
for which he labors. One would not think of employing 
another to serve hira and then seek in every possible way to 
cripple his power to work. This is what is practically done 
in many schools. It seems strange that pai'ents cannot realize 
tliat these are facts. It will be stranger still if the time 
does not come, and come soon, when they will realize that 
they must act upon an entirely different line of policy if they 
are to be faithful guardians and honorable citizens. 


The highest function of the school is character building ; 
not to succeed in this is to fail grievously. The teacher 
must hel]D her pupils to see that hatred, jealousy, envy, 
untrust worthiness, and unkind words and acts injure, to an 
alarming extent, those who indulge in them ; that one cannot 
cherish these feelings or do these things without being made 
miserable, and in time he must come to be small, mean and 
ignoble in thought, feeling and life ; that he who is generous. 


kindly, sympiithetic, giud in the wuccesses of others, ready to 
add to their joys and eager to promote their prosperity, will 
receive a greater blessing than he beatows ; thut nothing 
reflects greater credit on one than an unwillingness to think 
or believe ill of others ; that he is the best who believes and 
says the best of othei-s ; that a harsh judgment of othera 
reveals much of malice and little of good in the one guilty of 
this offense; that gentleness, uprightness and thoughtful sym- 
pathy bring, to their possessor the sweetest joys known to 
this life. They shouUl learn that altruism results in happi- 
ness as selfishness must end in misery, and that no one can 
afford to spend in unworthy rivalries the strength ivhieh 
ought to be given to winning honest success. The trae 
teacher will use every influence she commands to bring home 
to the hearts of her pupils these truths. 

More study and effort should l>e given to developincr the 
conscientiousness of the children. The controlling sentiment 
of the school should condemn the act of the wrong doer. 
"We must so train the children tliat we can believe what they 
say, trust them alone, and have them feel that they are less 
than honest if their tasks are done for them. There is great 
danger of permanently injuring children by being con- 
sciences for them — by trying to decide all questions for them . 
We must not allow them to feel that we will direct them lo 
the extent of always pointing out the right, and that by posi- 
tive restraint we will prevent them from going far wrong. 
They must not feel justifieci in thinking that they are safe so 
long as they do not run against barrier's which we have 
erected. To prevent these calamities wo must cnltivate in 
them the desire to decide the questions that arise in their 
experiences on their merits, and have the decisions and the 
carrying them into effect their voluntary act. 

When the lives of great men are used to interest the chil- 
dren in what has been done in the world and to nurture in 
them worthy ideals, but little need be said about their having 
been presidents, or the buttles they have fought, or the money 



they have accuiiiiilatcd, or the pablic honors they have received. 
With these things they will become fumilar without special 
effoit on the part of the teacher. She should, howpvei-, make 
impressive the struggles, the triumphs over obstacles, the 
honesty, gentleness, purity, manliness, generosity, dignity 
and largeness of soul of the men studied. The deeds which 
these qualities malie possible and that truly glorify liistory, 
and the thoughts which min'or the genius that gave them 
expression are most fascinating and helpful to children 
when properly presented. If the child's interest in these 
things can be enlisted, his respect, admii'ation and love 
for the pure is assured. If the teacher can make real to hini 
the patience and faith of Columbus, the serenity and fortitude 
of Wf^hington and the honesty and simplicity of Lincoln, 
she has accomplished a great work. 

Teachers do not appreciate the good they can do by cai'e- 
fully preparing themselves to talk to their pupils on the topics 
on which they need instruction. Everyone is aware that 
tliere is too much talking, but most people are also conscious 
that there is but little effective talking. Ability to do a thing 
■well comes to the average mortal because of practice and a 
sincere desire to excel. It is the duty of the teacher to select 
some subject that needs attention and so prepare herself that 
she can present to her pupils new ideas or old ideas in a new 
form. Striking fonns of expression, apt illustrations and 
fresh facts contnbute largely to one's success. These talks 
must not be too frequent, or at stated times or in any sense 
perfunctory. Do not fail, as you value your influence, to 
stop when you get through. Remember that brevity is not 
only the soul of wit, but it is a most effective form of empha- 
sis. For a teacher to be able to say iu well selected English 
and well turned sentences, and with a grace and force 
peculiarly her own, something that is worth the saying, is to 
possess a wonderful power for good over children. 

The value of wliat a teacher does depends on what she is ; 
her personalty teaches more than her words. Unless she 



helps to breed in the children worthy motives and ennobling 
ideals, she is a failure — absolute, ghastly. The desire to be 
worthy is worth more than glib recitations ; the thirst for 
knowledge is more to be coveted than high ranks ; a love for 
the best in literature and life is more fruitful than class 
honors, and the wish to do the right because it is right is 
more blessed than fantastic diplomas. The highest work of 
the school is to give such instniction, furnish such stimulus 
and form such habits as will help the child to be prompt to 
do justice, and alert in responding to the beat within him. 
The motives that move him and the principles which govern 
him must come spontaneously from an honest heart. 

Every lover of children must regret that there are so few 
teachers who realize that the great writers use language as a 
mirror in which to reveal the life of the past, the life of the 
present and the life that is to be ; that the gi'eat painter uses 
color and form to place before the vision the same revelations. 
One who baa any interest in knowing life must learn to 
interpret, to appreciate what the seers have revealed to us. 

The historian writes the record of the past. The annalist 
and journalist write the record of the present. The poet 
writes the record of the future. We must study, ponder, 
estimate the work of the historian. We must read and sift 
the record of the jouraalist and the annalist. We must take 
in, as we take in the breath of life, the prophesies of the poet. 
It is life's greatest work to appreciate life. What the masters 
have given us furnishes food for the soul. Using this, life 
will be enlarged, made abundant. Without it, we are 
dwarfed, crippled, starved. 

There is a larger number of people, than ever before, who 
have an honest concern for the betterment of the untrained 
classes of society. They desire to improve their condition 
socially ; they seek to assist them to help themselves financi- 
ally ; they sti'ive to train them intellectually. Their efforts 
are sometimes futile because of their hot haste to complete 
the reformation of the world during this year of gi-ace. It 


TIIF Br-^T 0^ TUC rJ!FSI'-»;i 




has taken the race many centuries to reach its present vantage 
ground. The best thing it has won during the journey is the 
strength which comes from expexience. If we were made 
perfect in a minute, we should not have stiffening enough to 
hold us straight. 

There are certain changes which must be made in the scope 
and character of the worl; done by the public schools it' they 
are to receive the sympathetic and unstinted support of the 
public. These reforms are of such a nature that they can be 
most successfully wrought into the system by personal and 
local influences. 

It ought to satisfy the ambition of any one, to be able to 
breed such a public sentiment in any community as would 
make it impossible for a superintendent or superintending 
school committee to refuse to furnish the schools with such 
English classics as will give the children an opportunity to 
read, and study, and know something of the masters of Eng- 
lish undefiled. 

If inexpensive reproductions of a few pictures of real merit 
and value could be placed on the walls of our country school- 
rooms, and if the teachers could be so educated in these mat- 
ters that they would come to enjoy and appreciate these 
things themselves, and if through this appreciation the chil- 
dren could be led to enjoy, appreciate and appropriate them, 
a greater work would be done for the children than can be 
done by any school which pursues the narrow policy of limit- 
ing the work of the children to text-books. 

I earnestly hope that the time is not distant ^vhen some of 
the good people of the State who believe that visions of life 
and beauty are means of grace, will take these matters in 
hand, will give them the study which their merits demand, 
and will see that such steps are taken as will result in well 
ordered and beautiful school-yards, well built, well ventilated 
and well furnished school-houses, and will cause to be placed 
in the school-rooms such material as will enable the children 
to have intimate and appreciative acquaintance with some of 



the best things that the mastei's- have given ub in litorytarG 
and in art. This is a field of labor in which all who seiiously 
desire to do service to the young people of the State, have an 


There was apportioned to the cities, towns and plantations 
by the State for the year 1895, 518,185 70-100 dollars for 
the purpose of giving instruction in the public schools main- 
tained by these municipalities. This is a large sum, when 
we take into consideration the population and valuation o£ 
Maine. The State should not shirk the responsibility of 
seeing that this money is expended in such a way as to do 
the greatest good. At the present time the State receives tlie 
money for the School Fund, appoi'tions it to tlie different 
jflUDiciimlities and with these perfunctory acts its duties and 
responsibilities seem to cease. This condition of affairs can- 
not continue ivithout permitting a great wrong to the children. 

The time has come when it is clearly the duty of the State, 
and one from which it should not shrink, to satisfy itself tliat 
this money is expended with a wise economy. It should 
know to whom it is paid, for what it is expended and should 
have some definite information as to the quality, ehar'acter 
and training of those who have charge of the instruction of 
the youth who, a generation hence, are to be placed in control 
of all its interests. All thoughtful citizens realize that this 
money cannot be wisely spent unless it is used to pay for the 
seiTicea of competent, trained instructors. The State can, 
witli a small expenditure of money, ascertain if her teachers 
possess these two essential requisites. The time has come 
when a Board of Examiners should be appointed, whose 
duty it shall be to provide for the examination of all persons 
who desire to teach. In some of the counties it would be 
necessary to hold but one examination each quarter ; in 
others it would be better to hold examinations in two, three 
or four different towns. These examinatious should be held 
at such times as will give persons ivho desire to teach an 



oppoi't unity to demonstrate their fitness to oiigiige in tlie 
work, Tliey should not be, at first, of such a nature iis to 
eliminate from the profession a iarge number of those who 
are now teaching, but they -should be of such a character as 
to prevent those who are grossly unfit for the work from 
remaining in the seiTice, and should be of such increasing 
thoroughness that those who are but partially prepared for 
their duties will see the wisdom of more thorough preparation , 
or the necessity of leaving the profession. 

The expenses of this Board could be paid many times from 
the saving which would come to the State in having an eligi- 
ble list from which school officials shall select their teachers. 
The lowest estimate that can be fairly made of the incompe- 
tence of the teachers is that one-fifth of them are not qualified 
to fill thei^Iaces which they occupy. This means that there are 
over one thousand teachers in the State whose education is so 
deficient as to render them failures as instructors. Assuming 
that these schools are in session only twenty weeks and admits 
ting that they cost the towns only $150 each, for the full year, 
the aggregate sum paid for "keeping" these schools is 
$150,000. One needs to consider this question but a moment 
to realize that it is impossiblef or the State any longer to neglect, 
with safety, its duty in this matter. The issue is upon us ; 
we must meet it. We must decide whether we will or will 
not be true to the trust committed to us. 

It is not intended to imply that such examinutions would 
eliminate all the incompetent teachers from our schools. It 
is believed they would make it impossible for a large pro- 
portion of those persons who are lacking in scholarship to 
receive authoritj' to teach. 

in the first place the most of the teachers who are not 
qualified to take charge of a school realize their unfitness and 
would not volunteer to be candidates for certificates. Some 
would be dropped because they could not secure certificates. 
The best would be retained and these would be made better 
by the study they would be induced to make to prepare them- 
selves for their work. 



Tliia law would place in the hand:, of the St<ate the power 
to say from what list of persona the teachers shall be selected. 
If towns desire to make more thorough examination of can- 
didates for positions in their schools, the law should leave 
them free to do so. It should leave the matter of employing 
teachers and the management, discipline and everything con- 
nected with the general adrainiati-ation of the school in the 
control of the local authorities. 

It must be apparent to all that the possession of a certifi- 
cate from a State Board of Examiners would help to give the 
people of a community confidence in the scholarship and abil- 
ity of the teacher placed over their children. This confidence 
has much to do with making a school successful. Without it 
but few teachers can succeed ; with it a much larger number 
would do credit to themselves and render acceptable service 
to others. 


It was, for a long time, a mooted question whether it was 
possible to prepare a courae of study which could be used 
with profit in rural schools. This controversy has been 
decided in the affirmative, by the success with which the 
courses of study prepared for the cities have been used in 
their rural schools. Experience has made it clear that 
it is as ea&y to grade a rural as a city school. The only 
danger lies in making the divisions too numerous, and attempt- 
ing too much in the way of details. 

An outline course of study in which is stated simply and 
plainly the subjects to be taught, the order in which fchey are 
to be taken, the topics to be studied in each subject at a 
given time, cannot be otherwise than helpful to all who are 
connected with the school. 

To have this outline in the hands of the teacher, with some 
suggestions as to the methods to be used, is to help to give 
definiteness and symmetry to the work. If these directions 
are followed with reasonable faithfulness the course must be 
of sreat aei-vice to the children. 






be no question but that within five years all the schools of 
Maine will be doing substantially the same work along alt the 
lines of study required by the statutes of the State. When 
this is done a pupil who is transferred from one town to 
another may continue his studies without loss of time. 

If this course will help to bring about a fraction of the 
changes that it makes possible, the results will be of inestima- 
ble benefit to the children of the State. It is hoped that this 
matter will be taken in hand and that all concerned therein 
will give to it that suppoi-t which will insure its largest