Edward Everett Hale.

We, the people : a series of papers on topics of to-day online

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in Greek because they are learning Greek. They
are learning Greek because they want to and be-
cause the good God gives them the desire to en-
large their lives on every side. Or suppose they
are learning the history of America, or suppose
they are learning the history of the world, is
there any law, divine or human, which should
say that they shall not learn this on Sunday as
well as on Monday or Tuesday? And if the


teacher is willing to consecrate the hours of Sun-
day in this way, any church ought to be willing
to encourage that teacher.


AS I understand it, on the loth of February
there will meet a congress of educators
at Chicago, to consider the great ques-
tions connected with public education
in its relations to morals and religion.

If the congress carries forward the best sug-
gestions of the committee which has called it, it
will not omit a very real and important step,
worthy of the century and of the country.

The National Bill of Rights, as the early arti-
cles of amendment to the Constitution have been
called, may be called "The Bill of Rights of the
Nation." The First Amendment provides that
Congress shall pass no laws regulating Religion
in the several States.

Rightly or not, this provision has been inter-
preted as meaning that no State shall pass such
laws, although it does not make any such state-
ment. Certainly there is a general repugnance
to legislation which shall give any advantage to
Jew over Gentile, to Christian over Jew, or to
Mormon over agnostic, in the discipline of the
[ 220 ]


public schools. We certainly have no objection
to this repugnance. The humblest citizen has
that equality with the most honored before the
law that the law must not dictate to him his
religious observances. They are matters be-
tween him and God.

But, all the same, the State may and must see
that the humblest child of the humblest citizen
shall have sufficient and real training in morals.
Obedience to law is the very beginning in a re-
public, and the State must see to it that the child
grows up in homage to right and in hatred to
wrong. Right and wrong, justice and injustice
are not to be shoved off into a bin with cinders
and ashes. They are not to be reserved for
"optional," or "elective," or "voluntary" classes.
Duty is to be the centre of public education.

It would be quite possible to arrange in any
town that the supervisors of public education
and the superintendents of the Sunday-schools or
Sabbath schools should meet regularly once a
month and determine mutually on arrangements
by which each system should help the other.
"Our first class in the High School will have the
history of America in the next three months."
"Is it so ? We will have a class of all your High
School pupils who are in our Sabbath school,
and we will appoint the most competent man in


our church to follow the history of the country
with that class, in special reference to the place
which religious observance and the will of God
have had in that history."

Or it may be that the school supervisors say:
"Our natural history class teaches botany this
month." And the superintendent says: "I will
have every Sunday at church a teacher who shall
make the study alive with its suggestion and in-
struction as to the life of God and work in His
harvest fields."

And so of half the studies of the schoolroom.
Every week-day study, indeed except the hum-
blest mechanism of the multiplication table or of
the spelling book may be made alive by the
suggestions which the Sunday-school teacher can
give, and which the Sunday-school journals may
and ought to be giving, side by side with what is
called the public system.

No men and women in the country ask for
this co-operation between the divine realities and
the human necessities as largely as the best pro-
fessional teachers.

It is quite time that the terror of friction or
difficulty between them and the organized insti-
tutions of religion should be utterly swept away.

[ 222 ]



MINISTERS and directors of Sunday-
schools should understand that appli-
cation for seats in the convention at
Chicago must be made in advance.
It is certain that the attendance will be very
large, and it must be limited to persons who are
practically interested in the subject. A letter
from any clergyman or any official representa-
tive of a Sunday-school, if received early enough,
will secure admission to the convention. Such
a letter should be written at once, and addressed
to Dr. C. W. Votaw at the University of Chi-

To my own mind the duty for which the
Council of Seventy are attempting to preside
will be best fulfilled if something can be done
to bring the Sunday-school organizations into
closer connection with the public school system.
This has been attempted once and again in
this country, and to a larger extent in Great
Britain and the continent of Europe, by efforts
by which the different religious organizations
shall send to the day schools, at certain hours,
officially appointed persons who may instruct the
children on subjects supposed to be especially
religious. I remember Mr. Barrows gave



some valuable accounts of the working of this
system in the State of New York when it was
provided for by law. It is perhaps enough to
say that it has never worked for any long time in

In place of an elaborate system like this, it
still seems possible to make an advance on our
customs of to-day which are not regulated by
any system.

i. Could not the superintendents or super-
visors of education, in any place where there are
such officers, keep themselves in communication
with the leaders of the Sunday-schools as well
as with the head masters of the public schools?
This need not be done by any statute, but by
common consent. Would it not be possible for
such public officers to notify the chiefs of the
Sunday-schools in some detail of what they are
doing? Suppose they said, "Such and such a
class is to be engaged for the next six months
on the history of the United States. We can-
not put too much force on it. We are going to
do thus and thus. Can you not appoint a com-
petent person who shall unite in one class boys
and girls who will be studying such a text-book,
and cannot you enlarge that study and prepare
for it by what belongs to the history of the
United States in your special point of view?


We want to teach that right is right, and that it
is better than wrong. We want to show that
good conquers evil; we want to show that God
rules in this world, and the devil does not. You
can command the services of some man or some
woman who can on Sundays give such sugges-
tions to boys and girls as they study the poor
little compressed text-book which we call the
History of the United States, so that they shall
be interested in the study of history from its
larger side."

2. Take it from the other point of view
from the view of the Sunday-school. Would
not the life and spirit of a Sunday-school be
materially enlarged if the minister and super-
intendent, knowing that in the high school the
teachers had arranged for a course in botany or
in geology, should select some gentleman or lady
competent for the matter, who would watch
what the high school was doing and who would
take the oversight of that study? Are there not
distinctly religious lessons which can be gained
by the study of vegetation or the crystallization
of snow or the flying of birds, or the habits of
insects and fishes and beasts, such as would cre-
ate a new interest for every day of the week in
the boys and girls who had been well led on Sun-
day in taking a large view of what the schools


call natural history, or "science" ? I have seen
the study of botany so conducted in public schools
that you would say it would make children hate
all subjects connected with the growth of plants
till they died. On the other hand, I have known
that study so woven with the study of almost
everything which is important in time and eter-
nity that the young student could not walk five
rods in summer without new gratitude to the
Lord of life. In my own notion of a good Sun-
day-school there is always involved the thought
of two or three of the most spirited and spiritual
members of the church as engaged in giving such
suggestions to the boys and girls.

3. What has been said of history and of
natural science may be said of social order the
social order of our own time. The older classes
of boys and girls in Sunday-schools ought to be
taught something of temperance and intemper-
ance, of crime and punishment, of poverty and
pauperism, of the emigration and the relation of
races to each other. Exactly the same thing
may be said of the older classes in the public
schools. It is impossible to say that such sub-
jects belong more to Sunday or to Monday; they
belong to every day in the week. Every Amer-
can citizen, man or woman, ought to know what
are the fundamental principles which govern


every official of the town or the national legisla-
tion in such affairs. If this is so, the superin-
tendents of the Sunday-schools and the superin-
tendents of the public schools may very well
come into close accord in the arrangements which
are made, whether by the school committee or
by the directors of the church, in harmonizing
the work which is done in the Sunday-school or
by the public authorities.

As things go, I see and read of many clubs
and conventions of Sunday-school teachers. I
see and read of many clubs and conventions of
public school teachers. I am yet to hear of the
first meeting of ten persons or ten thousand per-
sons who have conferred, as this Chicago con-
vention is to confer, on the harmonizing of dif-
ferent forms of work carried on by all these

I have not yet read through the proceedings
of the great teachers' convention of the
country, which was held in the city of Detroit;
but I have read enough to know that not one
hundredth part of the time spent in that great
assembly was devoted to any consideration of
the moral education of the children, nearly
twenty million in number, for whose benefit the
convention was held. Athletics, drawing, music,
Latin, Greek, political economy, and everything


else which the cyclopaedia teaches about were rep-
resented, but not one per cent, of the hours given
to the difference between good men and bad men,
between good boys and bad boys. This was not
because the assembly was not an assembly of
good men or good women. If any one of them
had asked me to dinner, we should probably have
spent our whole time on the matter which was
thus left on one side by the managers of the con-
vention. And this leads me to believe that the
Chicago convention of next month can really do
something efficient in combining the efforts, more
than princely, which the people of America
chose to make for the education of the children.


THE convention of teachers at Chicago
has discussed in a very satisfactory
way the question of morals in the pub-
lic schools. It is not by a mere coin-
cidence that the important questions connected
together in this discussion are at the same time
under discussion in the House of Lords and in
the House of Commons. On the whole, we
have escaped in America, particularly in recent
years, the most difficult questions regarding the
relation of the public schools with the ecclesiasti-


cal boards. In England they are still in the
midst of such discussions. But all the same, the
first duty of the teacher, or of a board of school
instructors, is to see that the schools make better
men and women, so that every question of moral
education is always in order and always will be
in order till the end of time.

The connection between moral observances
and religious institutions is so close that when
our constitutions, whether of the State or the
nation, distinctly forbade any elevation of one
religious communion above another, that prohi-
bition, of course, interests profoundly the pro-
fessed teachers of religion, and they are nervous
and eager lest the supreme rights which religion
claims and ought to claim shall be disowned.

The best rule in any community is to leave
much in such matters to the discretion of the
teacher. The local board of education will of
course instruct the teacher, who will profit by
their knowledge of the circumstances. But
there is no reason whatever why you should trust
a teacher in every several detail of education
and not trust her in the central matter from
which every detail springs, and by which every
detail is regulated. If you give an intelligent
woman discretion as to whether she shall read
one poem of Milton's or another, and whether


she shall read one speech in Hamlet or another,
you ought to trust her so far as to judge whether
she should read aloud a psalm of David or a
speech of Saint Paul or a parable by the Saviour
of man. If by misfortune the children think
the teacher is a fool, the teacher will do them no
good at all. If, on the other hand, you employ
a teacher who is not a fool, you must give a free
rein to that teacher in carrying out her daily
work. If she appears to be such a fool as to
disobey the Constitution of the United States,
or the law of the State, all you have to do is to
dismiss her and engage some other teacher who
will have at once more discretion and more good
will. In this matter I write with some feeling,
because in Massachusetts this is substantially the
rule we have to adopt. It would be perfectly
within the power of a young teacher of Hebrew
education to insist on making her Scripture read-
ing in the school exercises wholly from the Old
Testament. She might do this, or might not do
it, according to the wish of the parents with
whom a good teacher is sure to be intimate. And
even a Boston town meeting would find itself too
busy to examine the question whether the nine-
tieth Psalm or the fifth chapter of Matthew was
a proper lesson to be read at the opening of the




A NEAR friend of mine makes brick, and
he makes very good brick. His com-
pany has a reputation. Like most men
placed as he is placed, he has lots of
young fellows who think they would like to be
in his office. They would say they should like
to be "on his staff," if they knew enough.

They see very good fellows, whom perhaps
they know, coming in and out fellows who are
paid regularly every Monday morning and who
are able to go sometimes to the theatre at night
and so they think they would like to be in the
Norumbega Brick Company.

That is not its real name, but it will do for
now. I suppose my friend has ten such young
fellows who come to him to know if he can em-
ploy them. And they all of them have recom-
mendations from the high school or some college,
perhaps, and they can write a good hand, and so
on and so on.

Well, he is a good-natured fellow, and he
has a particular time of day to talk to them; and
when they come round he is civil and examines
the letters and writes down the references, and
then, when the man thinks the necessary exam-
ination is over, my friend says to him: "Are

[231 1


you coming into this office because you want to
earn ten dollars a week, or are you coming here
because you want to know how to make the best
brick that is made in this world, and because you
want this company to succeed?"

And he tells me that he thinks he never makes
a mistake he tells me that he thinks that in the
mere look of the boy's face he can tell whether
he wants to help the world forward by making
the best brick in the world, or whether he wants
a soft thing which shall pay him ten dollars a
week in an employment where he can wear a
boiled shirt and keep his hands clean.

Sir John Lubbock, who is one of the wisest
men in the world, said in an address he made at
Glasgow a few years ago that the difference be-
tween a German clerk in an English banking
house and an English clerk of the same age could
be easily described.

And then he described it, making the same
observation which my friend the brickmaker has
made on this side the water. He said that if you
take a German clerk into your banking house in
London, you have a man who is interested in your
business, who follows it out in its details, and
who at the end of a year understands what the
banking house is for, and what are its relations
with all parts of the world.



He says, for instance, that a German clerk
will know the inner history of a bill of exchange,
what it stands for, whether it is drawn against
butter, or drawn against lumber, or drawn
against coal. He will know where the coal or
the butter or the lumber came from, and where
it is going; and he will know why that bill of
exchange, which may be a bill of exchange on
Morocco or Ispahan, came into existence.

Sir John Lubbock says, on the other hand,
that the average English clerk cares nothing
about this curious history. He says that the
clerk writes his name in the proper place, that he
puts on the stamp in the proper place, that the
bill of exchange is all right, but that when the
young man goes home that afternoon he goes
home to play cricket or to take his sweetheart
to the theatre, and forgets everything that he
has been doing if he can, and that he does not
care in the least to prepare himself for his work
the next day.

Here is the difference between two sorts of
men: One is thinking simply of his own pretty
self I by myself, I. What shall I drink? What
shall I do? How shall I be clothed? and prac-
tically he thinks of nothing else. The other
man is thinking of the best interests of the world
in which he lives.



Shall the world in 1920 have better brick
than it has to-day ? Shall the people in the Mo-
hawk Valley who make the butter be better paid
for their butter, and shall it go further and fur-
ther? Shall the people of this town, or of this
county, or of this city, be more awake to the
privileges of American citizens than they are

The old theologians would have said that the
first set are looking toward hell and are walking
into hell as hard as they can go, and that the
other set is looking toward heaven and walking
into heaven as fast as they can go.

We are not apt to use such phrases now, but
they express sufficiently well the difference be-
tween two sorts of men, and, I might add, two
sorts of women.






THE papers in this volume were written
from day to day, to scan the purpose
of each day.

They are strictly "ephemeral," that
is, and were meant to be.

They take it for granted that the reader is an
American citizen, living in the great republic of
America, and sharing in the duties and the
privileges of that position.

At the same time, it is true that millions of peo-
ple in this country were born under feudal institu-
tions wholly different from those of America.
Many of them were educated under those insti-
tutions. It follows that some of them do not
understand the very language of the United
States. They use the words "government,"
"president," "administration," without knowing
what these words mean in America, to Ameri-

I once heard the Rev. William Henry Furness
say that he had never read any author who was
educated under feudal institutions who under-
stood what Jesus Christ meant when He spoke



of the "Kingdom of Heaven." Such a person can-
not understand what we Americans mean when
we speak of the Christian Commonwealth.

It is, however, impossible, of course, to stop
day by day to define terms, or to enlighten igno-
rance on such fundamental points, in the restrict-
ed limits of a "leader." "Some things must be
taken for granted" in such articles.

But, in collecting such papers, I wish to print
at the same time two addresses, prepared for
different college Commencements, which do go
into a definition of terms, and into an explana-
tion of the very simple principles on which the
American constitutions are formed. I venture
to ask the special attention to these papers of
gentlemen and ladies who write for the press,
who have learned the language of England, of
France, of Germany, of Russia, of Italy, or of
Spain, before they learned the political language
of America. I print two addresses which dis-
cuss fundamentally several subjects which are
referred to in the fifty "leaders." One of
them is on the five great duties before all the
world at this time. Another, delivered before
the students of Smith Colllege in 1902, defines
the relations of the educated citizen to his asso-
ciates in the republic.

There are also one or two allusions among



these "leaders" to a comprehensive plan of old-
age insurance. That properly cannot be dis-
cussed in the short compass of a daily leading
article, and with the kind permission of Dr.
Walker we print here at length an article by
myself on this subject written for The Cosmo-
politan at the same time that the other papers
were published.


name. Better far than any of the
kindred names. Better than Inaugu-
ration. Better than Ordination. Bet-
ter than Commemoration. Simply, it is the
commencement of life for young men and young
women whose self-directed lives begin to-day.
Let us hope, also, that it is a day of renewal of
life to all their friends who sympathize in their
hopes and join in their enthusiasm.

This old century has done good work for man-
kind in destroying, root and branch, the old hab-
its of any selfish forelook on such occasions.
That accursed introspection demanded by the
old theologians is done with forever. And all

*An address delivered at Columbus, Ohio, at the Com-
mencement of the University.



the narrow individual inquiry about "I" and
"me" and "mine" is forgotten and trodden under
foot. For the world really believes now what the
fathers only pretended to believe : that every man
must bear his brother's burden; that he who is
greatest among us is a servant of all, and that we
live "each for all, and all for each." There is
good chance now for forelook in the five hun-
dred colleges which, in these pleasant summer
Wednesdays, are making prophecies for this
"brave new century which hath such marvels in
it." It will be hard if he who collects them all
and reads them all do not come out upon some
notion of a social order more vigorous than the
world has tried, and with hopes for new advance
which are real and not shadowy.

It is true enough, if you choose to say so, that
the visions of old Commencement Days have
often been vague and transitory, as a camera
picture thrown upon a cloud. But in this year
and in these years before us, we have a right to
expect marching directions more positive, be-
cause the world knows what it wants better than
ever. We have a right to expect triumphs more
marvellous than ever, because he who leads and
those who are led have now such gigantic forces
at command.

I say "gigantic forces," forces of giants. I


am assured on high authority that the men in
an American city to-day control a thousand times
as much power as their grandfathers or their
great-grandfathers controlled in the year 1801.
For one instance, the great engineer, Mr. George
Morison, told me not long ago that a single first-
class steamship in her six days' voyage from the
city of New York to the city of Liverpool creates
and uses more force than the Pharaoh Cheops
had at his command for building the great pyra-
mid. On the average, each of these men is prac-
tically a thousand times as strong as he would
have been a hundred years ago. In the year
1 800 there were five steam engines in the United
States. To-day there are hundreds within five
miles of me as I speak, each of which creates
more power than did all those five.

On higher authority yet on the highest au-
thority I can say that these legions of giants
will be swayed by the moral forces. The victo-
ries of the twentieth century are to be moral vic-
tories. The nineteenth century has taught men

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Online LibraryEdward Everett HaleWe, the people : a series of papers on topics of to-day → online text (page 12 of 15)