Ill.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : Ch.

Proceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 online

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Online LibraryIll.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : ChProceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 → online text (page 2 of 13)
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this State which keep up a classical department, but without success. I have
assured mj'self, however, that the proportion of such schools to the whole
number is very small. Even where classical teaching is provided it is gen-
erally as a mere appendage to the arrangements of the school, and is so
little appreciated that it is very difficult to maintain it regularly and efficientlv.
High schools therefore are doing very little in this direction.

In the second place such schools do not exert the moral and religious
influence which ought to prevail in an academy. We have lately been dis-
cussing the question of Bible reading in the public schools. Whether the
movement to abolish this is to be successful or not the controversy has put
in a clear light the impossibility of giving a decided religious tone to these
institutions. No one expects that any longer, and many regard the matter
with indifference because it is a fundamental feature of the school system
that the children board at home. They therefore enjoy such religious
instruction and influences as their parents choose to provide for them.
They are also under parental care in respect to habits and conduct out. of
school. But an academy is necessarily a boarding-school, and towards its
pupils it must discharge, in part at least, the duties of a parent. It is there-
fore not without reason that the organization of such schools is looked upon
as a religious enterprise. They ought to be springing up all over the States,
working not in hostility to the public schools, but as supplementary to them,
and bringing the advantages of liberal culture within the reach of those who
live away from the cities, under moral and religious influences which may in
some sort supply the place of the associations of home.

But, in the third place, the inevitable tone of the public schools unfit them
to do the work of feeders to the colleges. I am sure that there is a wide-
spread misapprehension on this subject. It is difficult for many persons to
understand why a school which produces admirable results in certain direc-
tions should be disqualified by that very fact from accomplishing certain
other results. Yet such is the case, and I think that the more successful our
public schools are in their appropriate work, the less will they be fitted to
take the place of academies. For one of the most important elements in an
institution of learning is the impulse it gives to its pupils. Many schools
are almost worthless because they give little or no impulse of any kind.
They are mere machines which push the scholars through a certain routine
of studies, mills which grind a yearly grist, and often grind it exceedingly
fine. But a good school inspires new life in its pupils, gives them new aims
and profoundly influences their tastes and inclinations. They are carried
along by it with rapid strides in their development of character. What kind
of an impulse does it give.' In what direction are they borne-.' These are
significant questions. So important have they appeared that it has been
questioned whether the effort to carry on scientific in connection with the
literary departments of the colleges, is wise. The tone of the two depart-


ments must be so diverse, the impulse tliej seek to give so dissimilar, that it
is perhaps a waste of energy to attempt to make them work together. In the
college a love of learning for its own sake, enthusiastic study and research
for the purpose of culture, for mental growth and expansion of view, ought
to be the prevailing sentiment. The old term " humanities." by which liter-
ary and classical studies were designated very happily indicated their .scope
and intent In a school of science on the other hand, there must be equal
enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge, but it must be directed alwavs to some
practical end; to making skilled chemists, engineers and manufacturers: its
scope is narrower and more simple. Both forms of culture are valuable
and necessary, but each has methods and tendencies of its own, and each is
apt to derogate from the claims and the spirit of the other when they are
forced into unnatural union. I think that experience has tended to confirm
the wisdom of these views. They have prevailed in France; thej' are gam-
ing in favor in New England.

It requires no extended statement to show how these cons'derations aftect
the fitness of high schools to take the place of academies. The impulse of
our public schools must always be towards business life. The principles
whicii have led to their establishment determine this. As already indicated,
their mission is to prepare as many of the youth as possible for the intelli-
gent discharge of the duties of citizenship. Moreover, the great majority of
the pupils must always tend towards business, and think liglitly of culture.
These two facts determine the influence of the schools. The tendency will
alwavs be to drift men from, rather than towards the colleges. The four-
teenth annual report of the public schools of this city says of the high
school: "The number of male pupils who complete the classical course
with the expectation of entering college, is comparatively small. The large
majority of those who enter the school take the studies of the general depart-
ment, thinking not of professional life, but of business of some kind, the
avenues to which are so many and so inviting." The same report shows, out
of fifty-seven graduates for the year, only seven from the classical depart-
ment. In no school in the State are the opportunities for classical study
better, or the inducements to enter upon it superior, to those of our high
school. Even the establi^-hment of a separate classical sciiool, as a portion
of the State system, will not change this tendency. It is inherent in the
very nature and constitution of the whole system. The impulse is so fully
given in the grammar schools, that few pupils will break away from it and
turn themselves towards the classical school. The high school is the natural
head and termination of a course; that to which the ambition of the lad
points from the beginning, and beyond which he encounters few influences
to draw him on Does not this consideration in part explain the fact that
during forty-six years ending with iS6i only six hundred pupils entered
college from the Boston Latin School; while during only twenty-eight years
preceding the same date, more than a thousand entered from Phillips Acad-
emy at Andover.

The public schools, then, can not take the place of the academies, because
thev do not occupy the field, and are not adapted to the want; because they
can not exercise the proper religious and moral influence; and because their
tone and the impulse they give to their pupils is not of the kind needed for
encouraging advanced culture.

IV. Let us, then, proceed further to inquire briefly what are the elements
essential to a good academy. They may be summarized thus: Stability,
independence, responsibility. The patrons must have assurance that the


school is not a mere temporary experiment, an individual enterprise, to be
maintained in such ways and for such a time as it can be made iinancially
successful. They must feel in the first place that it is to continue, and
steadily to seek the accomplishment of a definite purpose In the second
place, they must recognize that the school is above individual caprice and
dictation, not compelled to sacrifice right methods, high aims, and strict
discipline to catering for patronage. Finally, they must feel that its policy
is shaped and directed b}' competent hands, by whom the teachers are
appointed, and to whom they are responsible. In short, an academy must
be something more than a mere private school.

One of the first essentials to the establishment of such an institution,
therefore, will be an endowment. This need not be large to begin with. I
think twenty-five thousand dollars would form a good basis for the founda-
tion of an academy. This fund ought to be increased, with the growth of
the school, to four or five times that amount. A library, laboratory, cabi-
nets, etc., could be built up in the course of time. They are all valuable
adjuncts to its work, but none of them are vital. I hear very much on this
subject with which I have no sympathy. I fear our tendency is to over-esti-
mate the importance of these material accessories of education, fine build-
ings, cabinets, libraries, etc., and to under-value the importance of life.
Men — earnest, able, devoted teachers, with culture and heart and power to
•give to the work, are, in my view, the most indispensable requisite. They
make a school Their value to it is beyond compute, and I would have
means provided for paying them, if the school had to be organized in a gar-
ret. Depend upon it, fine buildings do not make fine institutions, and as
long as we persist in spending our money on brick and mortar instead of on
brains, — on chemical retorts and fossil ferns and trilobites instead of on liv-
ing men, — our progress in educational work will be rather in show than in
substance. Let the endowment be, in the beginning, sufficient, with the
increase from the school, to secure the services of one or two efficient teach-
ers, and trust to the influence of the school and future eftbrts in its behalf to
provide for its growing wants.

In the second place, an academy must have a properly constituted board
of overseers. This is too manifest to need discussion. Besides taking care
of its finances and general management, this board ought to provide for
stated and competent examinations, that its instruction may be made
thorough and progressive

In conclusion, I urge the establishment of academies on the ground that
the interests of the Church require this at our hands I fear we are suffering
materially from a lack of breadth of view in our educational work. .The
most absorbing thought in our eftbrts at present is the training of candidates
for the ministry This is the interest which appeals inost powerfully and
most constantly to the hearts of the Church; and the need of educated min-
isters is indeed pressing. But we must be careful that we do not let it stand
in our light, and prevent us from seeing both other great necessities and the
most effective means of providing for this. An educated laity is hardly less
essential to the cause of true religion at the present time than an educated
clergy. The various Christian and charitable labors of the Cliurch were
never more dependent upon the counsel and efforts of the laity. As teachers,
as lecturers, as leaders in science and literature, as legislators, indeed, in all
the departments of active life, how essential is it to have intelligent, edu-
cated Christian men! We need a re-awakening on this subject. If we felt
''its importance as we ought, we should certainly recognize more fully the


need of putting in operation the train of causes which will bring as many
as possible to obtain a thorough education. If we felt it as we ought, voung
men of ability and promise in the Churches would be sought out and helped
to obtain an education, without exacting from them in advance a pledge
that they will enter the ministry.

But even in the narrower view of supplying the pulpits of the denomina-
tion, it can hardly be questioned that we are not pursuing the wisest course.
When a young man enters an academy, he is generally at the age at which
liis character first takes its direction, when religious influence is most essen-
tial and most likely to produce its legitimate fruits. If we were more active
in furnishing the schools needed, in expanding the scope and increasing the
patronage of our educational institutions, can it be doubted that, with the
blessing of God, we should reap the fruits of our labors in the conversion of
many while pursuing their studies.'' and still further in the turning of many
to the work so loudly calling for laborers.? We must make a wise use of the
means within our reach, we must put in operation the proper train of causes,
if we expect to produce the best results. If our colleges are languishing from
a lack of organization and breadth of view in our educational work, are not
all our interests as a denomination suffering from the same cause.' It is a
law which even Churches can not afford to overlook, that we shall reap as
we sow. If we sow sparingly, we shall reap also sparingly. Have we not
sown sparingly, while making our arrangements for a most bounteous har-
vest.' For, see, our educational institutions are strong in proportion as they
are farther removed from the people. Our seminaries receive the most favor
and attention ; our colleges are not wholly overlooked ; but our academies
— there are no such institutions among us. And yet they should be, as it
were, the fallow fields in which to make our abundant sowing. What cen-
tres of influence and power they may become ! Think of Dr. Arnold's work at
the head of Rugby, and the number of men in public life who received their
impulse and the mould of their characters from him; or of Dr. Taylor's
direction of Phillips Academy at Andover, and its influence in New England
and throughout the country, if you would estimate the moral power of a
good academy. We must recognize the academy as a necessity and as a
source of power, as we never have done, if we expect to infuse new life and
strength and progress into our whole system.

The discussion of the paper by Prof. STEARNS was introduced
by Prof JOHN STEVENS of Ohio, who expressed himself as fully
endorsing the sentiments of the paper, especially those which related
to file pressing demand for academies in the several States.

JUDGE BECK, of Iowa, wished to enter his protest against ev-
ery sentiment uttered in the paper of Prof STEARNS. He wished
to enter his most decided protest. We do not need academies — at
least not denominational academies. Such institutions in Iowa are
abortions. The counties in that State are authorized to establish
academies, and have done so to a large extent. We can not com-
pete with them. He counselled his brethren of Iowa to support
their colleges. If you attempt to establish academies in every coun-
t}-, you will starve both. We are unfortunately divided in Iowa.
We are attempting to carry three colleges, which is too much for


US, at present ; but we hope that we may make a success of them
in future. As a denomination, the Baptists did not want to support
academies, for such institutions were not purely denominational.
The Baptists should support their own denominational colleges and
seminaries. For his part he would support no other. And he
would say to the Baptists, of Iowa, don't give a cent of their money
nor a tithe of their time and energies for any educational institutions
but those of their own denomination.

Rev. THOMAS BRAND, of Iowa, could not but think that a
large portion of the delegates from Iowa would disagree with the
last speaker in regard to the establishment of academies. The Bap-
tists of Iowa were in a condition to be benefited by the deliberations
of this Convention. We have four institutions which, while they
rank merely with academies, bear much more imposing names. If
they were only content to be known as academies and do the work
of academies,' it would be far better for us. What we most need
are feeders for our colleges. He referred to the Congregational col-
lege at Grinnell, as an instance of the failure of preparatory
departments. The professors were looking anxiously for the time
when this may be done away with, and academies be established
all over the State to prepare students for our colleges. He was,
therefore, in favor of the sentiments of the paper read.

Prof. TEN BROEK, of Ann Arbor, thought, if by a resolution
of tliis body we could establish a Rugby or a Phillips Academy, he
would be in favor of the sentiments to which he had listened in the
paper read before us. But it recommended what everybody knew
can never be done. He thought the whole thing impossible, and
was opposed to dissipating our strength as low down as the acade-
mies. The Union schools of Michigan had done their work admir-
ably well in furnishing students for the State University. He
thought we had better complete what we had already begun, rather
than attempt impossible things.

Dr. READ, of Minnesota, thought it not wise to carry out the
plan proposed in the paper, in the Western States, how*ver well it
might work in the old States of the Union. He thought it easier to
establish colleges in the West than academies. People in the West
were taken by the name university or college, and will give money
and lands for establishment and support, while they will not look
at a proposal to establish an academy. If only a preparatory
department were established at first, it would accomplish all the good
claimed for academies, and give an impulse to young men towards
a liberal education. The wisest course for us in the West is to con-
centrate our efibrts and our means on institutions already estab-


Dr. EVERTS thought the apparent difference on the subject
was more on a question of names than anything else. The friends of
academies were also the advocates of colleges. He urged that the
efforts of the denomination be directed to the securing of their proper
share in the control and management of the institutions of learn-
ing which are being established by the State, rather than attempt
to run counter to them by establishing denominational schools of the
same character.

Prof. OLNEY, of Michigan University, had only a few remarks
to make. The subject of cooperation with the State system of
education was one of vast importance. We do not do well to
resign our share of control in the State institutions. The work of
preparing students is being done well by the academies of the
East. It is being tolerably well done by the high schools of Mich-
igan ; but it is not being done at all in the West, except in the pre-
paratory schools of the colleges. The high schools of Michigan
feel the influence of the State University, and they are aspiring to
prepare students for the University, and consequently they are doing
a most excellent preparator}'^ work. The two work together —
the University receiving the certificates of qualification in scholar-
ship of the schools. Would it not be well for the colleges of other
Slates to establish the same relations with the high schools ? It
would greatly benefit both, and then we should soon have univer-
sities in fact as well as in name. The most advanced scholars which
enter the University at Ann Arbor come from the high schools.

Rev. A. OWEN, of Michigan, said the expression we have
heard from Michigan did not fall in with events. He* thought that
experience had shown that high schools are not adequate feeders of
our colleges, even in that State. Nearly all who graduate from
these schools go out into secular life. It is felt that in universities
the infidel element exerts an influence altogether disproportionate
to its numbers. He thought after the primary school, the State
government ought to have little to do with education. We want
academies under religious control as feeders of our colleges and
universities. He was not in favor of beginning at the top and working
downwards in our educational system — that is, establishing colleges
first and academies afterwards. After Iowa had taken stand against
Iowa in this discussion, it is essential that Michigan should be
opposed by Michigan. In Michigan the brethren are hampered by
the fact that denominational influence can not prevail over secular
power. It can not even compete with it. He spoke in favor of
academies. They have a college in Michigan, which suffers because
it has no streams to feed it. We should now shape our eftbrts for


the future, and fix the localities for the feeders of the colleges. It
was not necessary to have a college in every State.

Prof. STEVENS, of Ohio, spoke decidedly in favor of orepara-
tory departments in colleges. They were an absolute necessity in
the present condition of things in that State.

Rev. J. V. SCHOFIELD, of Iowa, thought his friend (Judge
Beck ) had mistaken a secular academy for one under religious
influence, as proposed in the paper. He had established one of the
former, and it had gone to pieces, as was quite natural. Nor did
he agree with Dr. Read, that we should establish the college, and
wait for the academy, as an offshoot or outgrowth of it. He opposed
schools where they were afraid to read the Bible. He favored
learning and religion. In many parts of Iowa colleges were lan-
guishing. Public schools alone could not be sufficient to feed the
higher institutions. There v^as a necessity for academies, under the
control of the Baotist denomination.

Rev. E. A. GASTMAN, Superintendent of Public Schools in
Decatur, Illinois, indorsed some of the views presented in the paper
read. On the subject of academies he thought there was a ditierence
of opinion. With many of the sentiments of the paper he heartily
agreed. But he opposed the establishing of academies by the denom-
ination, so generally as recommended, for the reason that the Bap-
tists could not sustain them as distinctively denominational institu-
tions. He referred to numerous failures where the experiment had
been tried. He thought the reason why young men went out from
our high schools into business was not owing to the want of acad-
emies, but to the intense activity of the age. He did not think
that the increase of academies would remedy this evil. The com-
mon school system, he was aware, was not perfect ; yet through
the high schools it was doing much to recruit and keep up our

Rev. Dr. MARSENA STONE, of Ohio, said, whatever may
have been the success of high schools in Michigan, as feeders of the
colleges, they had utterly failed in Ohio. The difficulty is that
those who have control of our high schools in Ohio are not only indif-
ferent but generally opposed to classical studies. In that State there
is a majority for academies, for preparatory schools as preparatory
schools. It is impossible in his State to fit students for college in
the common or high schools. It was seldom that good men would
assume the duties of school trustees, and whenever classical studies
were introduced, they would not be continued for more than a year
before other trustees would be elected in opposition to snch a course,
and thus the student preparing for college would be thrown out-


Rev. Dr. PATTISON, of Chicago, spoke from forty years
experience as an educator. He thought the subject of academies was
one of great importance. VVe must have more college students.
He meant college students in a proper sense, not preparatory stu-
dents. The preparatory schools of the colleges were almost the
only source of supply of college students in this country. But these
schools had a depressing influence upon tlie college course, for one
reason, that they so largely outnumbered the regular students. He
thouuht that if Iowa were to establish academies throughout the
State, in ten years a majority of them would be empty. He thought
it better to have three or four well-endowed academies or colleges —
whichever we might name them — in that State, than to attempt so
general a system as had been suggested. VVe can not sustain Bap-
tist colleges without Baptist nurseries, which we could not expect
to have in the general high schools of the country. They were
sought by young men who cared only for a secular education — an
education to prepare them for business, for making money, and not
those who had aspirations after learning, for learning's sake.

The following paper was then read by Rev. H. L. Wayland, D.D.,
President of Franklin College, Indiana, upon


I retain enough of the traditions of a military life, to know that it would
be a violation of al! the Articles of War and of all the Army Regulations,
for a subordinate to urge his own incompetence as a reason for declining to
•execute the order of his superior officer. And so, when the general of our
peaceful army, whose commission is the Baptist Educational Commission,
bade me attempt this subject, I obeyed without gain-saying, though I was
as well aware as you can be, of the moment and delicacy of the questions

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Online LibraryIll.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : ChProceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 → online text (page 2 of 13)