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fwHAT THE SOUTH CAN LEARN FROM NEW ENGLAND.
CLARENCE POE. I PROMISED LAST week that by way of round ing out my impressions of the Middle West, I might say something this week of what I saw on a recent trip from Virginia to Massachusetts. This subject, it happens, is especially adapted to our “Educational Special,” not only because of what I saw in Massachusetts, but because I first went to the University of Virginia where 1 had been asked to make an address on agriculture in the schools. The authorities of the University of Virginia are greatly interested, as all educational leaders should be, in the development of rural life. A "Rural Life Week” is now a regular feature of the University Summer School for Teachers, and during this week speakers from all over the South and from the National Department of Agri culture, are present to make speeches, the object being to interest the teachers in agricultural edu cation and in nil the problems of rural develop ment It is to be regretted that every university in the South does not show a similar interest In adapting education to the farmer’s needs. When one goes to the bottom of the whole matter. It ap pears that a re-directed system of education is the fundamental need in the whole problem of rural progress anyhow. I talked with an editor-farmer from New York State not long ago and he told me • Ka* In onltn nf f*.w*<l rmi Ic rtirnl mall flnlivftrv rural telephones, etc., the drift to the towns in central New York was still marked. "And It Is bound to continue,” was his remark, “until the schools themselves recognize the dignity of farm life and begin to teach the hoys and girls in the formative period of their lives that knowl edge and skill may be applied to farm work as well ns to other work. So long as the objective point of our rural educational system seems to be n town Job, so long will the drift to town con tinue.” I believe that this theory is correct. I recall that when myself a pupil In a country school, one of my deskmates came to me one day and said, "I am not going to school any longer ns 1 have decided to bo ft farmer," nnd his decision was the natural and logical result o fthe misfit scheme of Instruction In force In all our rural schools. It Is high time. Indeed, for us to develop a se ries of text-books and a complete educational sys tem which will train pupils for farm life ns well as for town life. ji It Is also especially fitting that this subject should he emphasized at the University of Vir ginia, for as Dr. Chas. W. Eliot has recently pointed out, It was Thomas Jefferson, the pioneer In so many other things, who was also the pioneer ndvocnte of agricultural education In America. Hardly any modern writer would express the mat ier more forcibly than JefTerson did In a letter to his friend. David Williams. November 14, 1 803: "The schools, instead or storing tneir pu pils with a loro which the present state of society does not call for, converted Into schools of agriculture, might rcstoro them | their graduates] to thnt great calling, quali fied to enrich and honor themselves, and to Increase the productions of the nation instead of consuming them.” ja There was another thing in which Jefferson was deeply Interested to which 1 wish to call attention, an idea. In fact, which was the one great unreal ized ambition of his life. This was his anxiety to establish in the South the township Bystem of gov ernment which has been such a tremendous fac tor in the development of New England. At the first session of the Virginia Legislature, he tells us. his bills abolishing entails and primogeniture "laid the axe to the root of pseudo-aristocracy." "And had another which I had prepared been adopted by the Legislature, our work would have been complete. It was a bill for the more general diffusion of learning. This proposed to divide every county into w'nrds of five or six miles square, like your townships; to establish in every ward a free school for reading, writing, and common arithmetic; to provide for the annual selection of the best subjects from theHo schools, who might re ceive, at the public expense, a higher degree of education at a district school; and from these district schools to select a certain num ber of the most promising subjects, to be completed (in education) ut a university, where all the useful sciences should be taught. My proposition had, for a further object, to impart to these wards those por tions of self-government for which they are best qualified, by confiding to them the care of their poor, their roads, police, elections, the nomination of jurors, administration of justice in small cases, elementary exercises of militia; in short, to have them little re publics, with a warden at the head of each, for all those concerns which, being under their eye, they would better manage than the larger republics of the county or State.” On aaother occasion, JefTerson declared that there were two measures which he proposed to fight for as long as he had breath In his body— “general education to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure and endanger his freedom”—and secondly, this ward or township method of government. These two measures he regarded as absolutely indispensable to the de velopment of a pure democracy in the South. Largely because of the sparseness of population of the Southern States, however, and partly because of the aristocratic spirit which prevented the slave-holding element from meeting the non-slave holders on equal terms, Jefferson’s great idea has never been worked out in the Cotton States. And without his scheme a democratic government is forever incomplete. m It was something of a co-incidence that I went almost directly from Monticello, where I visited Jefferson’s home, leaving with this thought of his township government in my mind, on to Massa chusetts where I found the system in practical op eration. And this township system of government In the last hundred years has only justified increas ingly the tribute paid it by JefTerson in 1816 when he declared it to be “the wisest invention ever de vised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self-government and for its preservation.” In the South we have had. unfortunately, no active, vital system of government below the county—I almost said below the State, for the counties have done little besides administer justice and collect taxes. How much further advanced our whole Southland would be if we had had township meet ings at least once a year, gathering all the people together to discuss roads and schools and taxes, and health matters and public improvements, etc., etc., and everything looking to public progress and the public welfare. This is what New Eng land has done for generations, and her material progress is largely due to it; this is what the South has not done, and our backwardness is part ly due to our not having done it. Once a year there is the regular annual “town meeting in eacn rural eownsnip or civil aisirici in Massachusetts: that is to say, all the voters of the town or civil district meet together and all the business of the township or district is ar ranged for. The township school committee is elected; selectmen (whose duties for the town ship correspond to those of county commissioners for the county) are chosea: they transact all the general legislative business fer the township. Assessors are named. Certain ether citizens are named as overseers of the poor. Other men are named ns road commissioners. Other men com pose the board of health, or the duties of this hoard may be left to the selectmen. Registrars are elected by the same meeting. Numerous oth er smaller positions are filled bo that some man of the township is designated for nearly every public duty: for instance, one man is named as "fence viewer,” and instead of two farmers having an expensive law-suit about a line fence, this man judges the matter and settles it once for all. J* Not only are all these officers named for the routine work of the township, but any question bearing upon the public welfare of the community may be brought up and settled. This meeting has entire authority as to what the expenditures and the tax rate of the township shall be; it debates and decides upon the public improvements; it de cides what road improvements shall be made, etc. etc. If any new matter comes up or new interest develops in some old subject, a certain percentage of the voters may call another meeting, provided the selectmen and regular officers do not handle it satisfactorily. The tremendous Influence that New England ha: (Continued on page 466.) | “ What’s The News?” | '*7 The Week's Happenings. THE SENATE has passed the bill providing for the admission of Arizona and New Mexico as States. The conference committee’s report on the Railroad Rate bill has also been adopted, on the Railroad Rate Bill has also been adopted, the House bill have been retained, the “long and short haul” clause has been incorporated, the pro vision permitting the pooling of rates has been left out and the powers of the Interstate Com merce Commission increased. The bill in its final form is more of an “Insurgent” than an Adminis tration measure. A dispatch from Washington announces the in teresting results of a religious canvas, covering cities of 25.000 and over. “In every 1,000 inhab itants there were 469 church members, while for the area outside these cities there were 363, and for the entire country there were 391. As com pared with 1890 the report shows a gain of 90 communicants in each 1,000 of population for the principal cities, and a gain of 51 outside of them.” This item from the Springfield Republican de serves attention: “In the debate on the two Dread naughts, Senator Hale made the stunning predic tion that each ship completed would cost nearly $18,000,000. It is very possible, come to think of it. And, at this rate, the $50,000,000 battleship will arrive in about 10 years.” Charles R. Helke, former Secretary of the Su gar Trust, has been convicted in the sugar-weigh ing cases of conspiracy to defraud the United States Government, and will probably be sentenced J to the penitentiary. A former branch superinten dent, Ernest Gerbracht, has also been convicted. The “regular” Democrats in Tennessee have re nominated Governor Patterson for a third term and endorsed Benton McMillin for United States Senator. The platform favors the repeal of the State-wide prohibition law. The House has adopted a new rule providing that a bill may be recalled from a committee at any time by a majority vote. The former control of measures by the Committee on Rules and the chairmen of other committees is thus completely broken down. The Louisiana House of Representatives has voted in favor of adopting the Income Tax Amend ment to the Constitution, but the Senate opposes it, and no action is likely to be taken at this ses sion. Richard Parr, the detective who unearthed the sugar-weighing frauds in the New York Custom House, will received a reward of $100,000. Glenn H. Curtis has broken all aviation records in America by flying from Albany to New York, 150 miles, in 2 hours and 46 minutes. Governor Gilllett, of California, announces that the Jeffries-Johnson prize fight will not be per mitted in that State. The recent Democratic State Convention In Ar kansas was controlled easily by Governor Don aghey and his friends. New Orleans is actively pushing its plan for a great exposition to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal. There is a remarkably good wheat crop in Mis sissippi. Mr. Roosevelt is back in New York. a Thought for the Week EVERY BOY in this nation must be taught to work, and to desire to work, and in the de gree in which the home neglects this part of his education, the school must, whether it would or not, take it up and carry it to comple 1 tion. And so in the future the problem of the teacher will not be a mere problem of instruction; > it will be the infinitely larger problem of making men and women capable of doing their share of 1 the world’s work in the best possible way.—Fas eett A. Cotton.