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phan; Henry Clay was a mill boy; Daniel Webster was the son of poor parentage; Andrew Johnson was a tailor, who when married could neither read nor write; his wife taught him to read; he was self-educated and self-made; General Grant was a tanner; the great commouer, ALEXANDER II. STEPHENS, was a poor orphan boy; Abraham Lincoln split rails and labored in his youth with his hands for his living; and I believe the President-elect, General Garfield, was born of poor parentage.
Then it is true that in this country as well as every other the intellect of the country is not confined to the sons of the wealthier or the ruling classes; and I maintain that the State has a right to have the intellect of the whole country developed out of the mass of the wealth of the country and brought into action for the protection of society and the building up and development of the country. How can this be done? Only by the education of the children of all cla-ses of society. I have no doubt many a man has lived in the United States, of intellect as grand as those I have mentioned, who has died unknown to fame. Why so? Because no circumstance has led to the first stage of development that has made the person himself conscious of his own powers. That bright boy has never been sent to school; he has never been taught even the first rudiments of a common education; he has been contined to labor in the backwoods, in the factory, in the shop, or in the mines, and while he may have been regarded there as one of the most intellectual of his comrades, there has been no development that showed his powers to either hun or them, or that gave the country the benefit of those powers.
Educate the whole mass of the people and you have the benefit of all this power. Let me illustrate. The honorable senator who has just taken his seat was too modest to refer to it because he is from New England, but we find a noted example there. When the Puritans, as we term them, landed in this country and located themselves on the bleak shores of New England, they commenced building up society by the organization of churches and the building of houses of worship, and they located the school-house near the church. They established a system of common schools that was intended to embrace the whole population and to give every child an opportunity to have a common education. They commenced early and laid deep the foundations of their universities and colleges. The result has been that they have endowed and built up colleges of a very high order, where immense numbers of the young men of this country have been educated.
Go out through the mighty West and over the Territories to the Pacific Ocean, and what do you find? Where was the member of Congress or the senator in this hall educated? Usually at a New England college. Where was the minister of religion, or the village doctor, or the lawyer, or the local politician educated? Most of them in the New England colleges. Thus they carried New England ideas with them all through the West, which have controlled in the organization of society and the legislation of States, and in that way New England may be said to have dictated laws to the continent. Her ideas, taught to the youths that have gone out West and scattered all over this broad land, have been carried along and ingrafted upon society, and we are obliged to admit that they have done a great deal in controlling the destinies of the country.
It was not only so with New England; but there is another very noted example worthy of our attention. I refer to the Kingdom of Prussia. At the time Napoleon the First led his armies over Europe like an avalanche, and swept down kingdoins and empires before him, Prussia was a third-class power, devastated by the ravages of war. At the end of the great struggle, in making preparations to build up society, she early took into account the importance of educating the whole mass of her people. She eu
dowed universities liberally; she established a system of public schools throughout the entire kingdom, and she not only by her legislation from time to time made provision for the education of all her children, but she made their education compulsory. She permits no father who has been the means of bringing offspring into society to say, "I will not permit my child to be educated; I will not send him to school." She says: "The State has an interest in it and it shall be done." The law requires the parent to send the son, and then the State gives him the rudiments of an education. He must have it; the good of society requires it; the law compels it.
How did it work? From a third-rate power Prussia rose rapidly to a second-rate power; and within the last few years the test of strength came between the Kingdom of Prussia and the Empire set up by Napoleon, when his successor, a wise statesman, was upon the throne. What was the result? That little third-rate kingdom, overrun by Napoleon the First, had risen to be a power in Europe, and when the struggle came Prussia swept over France, dethroned the monarch, the successor to Napoleon the First, and dictated terms to France upon her own soil. Why was it so? It may be said she had abler generals; that her armies were better handled. There was another reason; she had a better educated people. Her whole people were educated. Every man felt an individuality in what he was doing, and then she had all the best intellects of the kingdom educated to fill the different places where it was necessary to have ability. A government that educates all her brightest intellect has greatly the advantage of one that educates only that portion of her intellect that is born in the wealthier and higher classes of society.
Under the Prussian system, as I understand it, if a boy shows great brightness and is intellectually adapted with proper training to the position of a professor of chemistry, he is carried through the university, and he is fully developed and educated in that department of science. If another shows great talent for the military, he is passed through the military department; and if he has a master mind, he is inade a master of the military profession; and so in each department. Therefore, when Prussia called upon her sons to rally under her banner, she had her ablest intellect cultivated in their respective positions, and they were ready to step forward and fill each place with a firstclass man. This was not so with the French. They have colleges and universities of the highest order; they have education of the highest order; but they have not the whole mass educated as they are in Prussia. There may have been some of the ablest generals by nature and some of the most useful men that the army could have required in other positions who were in the ranks, whose power was not known because they had not been developed by education, and therefore the state lost the benefit of their mental powers. I say the state has the right to the aid of all the mental power of its people, and it can have it in no other way than by the education of all the masses of the people of the state. And this should be done by the aid, as far as necessary, of all the wealth of the state.
Take our own country, to-day. In the backwoods, among the mountains, peradventure away out among the Rocky Mountains, or down in the wiregrass of the South, there is many a bright-eyed boy, who has intellect of the highest order, in one of the humblest cottages or cabins of the land. And there, if neglected, he may stay and work his way through life with no opportunity to show the power he possesses. But send him to the common
school and let the rough be knocked off that diamond until it begins to glitter, and you cannot then stop him. He will go forward, and the more the diamond is polished the brighter it will sparkle, till it shines out in all its brilliant splendor and magnificence. But this could not have been done
without education enough to show what was in the boy. Therefore, without the education of the mass of the people and of the whole people, you cannot have the benefit of the whole intellect of the country brought to bear in the building up of society and the development of the resources and power of the state.
But there is another good reason, Mr. President, why those who come from my section of the Union should advocate this measure. The honorable senator from Vermont [MR. MORRILL] referred to the fact of the large illiteracy of the people of the United States. He did not carry it out and show to what States or sections this illiteracy applies most. I regret to say it is from my own section. There are several reasons why it is so. Under our old system of society we looked more to the education of the ruling class than we did to the education of the whole mass. In other words, we did not, as they did in New England, furnish the money to establish systems of public schools where all the children could be educated, but we educated our children through the means of private schools, where only the wealthier classes and those who were well-to-do could send their children. Consequently there was a larger number of illiterate persons in our society than there was in the society of New England or any other State that had a properly endowed public school system.
But this was not all. We had there a large slave population, amounting in round numbers to four millions at the time they were emancipated. Under our system as long as we kept and used them as slaves it was 1egarded unsafe to educate them. Therefore their education was neglected, and it was a very hazardous experiment when they were made citizens without education.
The honorable senator from Rhode Island [General BURNSIDE] referred to the condition of the Scotch people at a time when they were not educated, and told us how degraded they were and how they were looked down upon, and to the elevation that they afterward attained when by a common-school system they were educated up to a high point. Let me follow his example and trace something of the history of another race of people. Take the African race, and go back two and a half centuries, and where were they and what were they? They were heathens; they lived on the continent of Africa in a state of the wildest ignorance and most savage barbarity. The different tribes engaged from time to time in warfare, and in many instances the rule was indiscriminate slaughter; but if they took prisoners they were spared, out of no mercy to the prisoner, but because he was valuable to them to be sold as a slave. At the period when this country was first settled those wars were raging on the continent of Africa, and it was then considered, not only by the tribes themselves but by Old England and New England, that they were proper persons to be made slaves. Companies were organized for the purpose of engaging in the importation and traffic, and it is said that the reigning queen and afterward the kings of England owned stock in those companies. In that day it was believed to be right.
I do not mention this subject now with a view of bringing up any mooted question about slavery, but I am speaking of the history of the negro. All then considered slavery was right. The negroes were imported into this country as slaves and sold into slavery from British vessels and the vessels of New England. They were sold to us in the South. We bought them, we believed it was right to buy them, and they believed it was right to sell them. In a word, at that time the negro was considered as only fit to be a slave, and fit for nothing else. and he occupied a much more degraded position than the Scotch did at the time referred to by the honorable Senator from Rhode Island.
And just here permit me to refer to a chapter in the history of my own State. The original charter of the colony of Georgia made it a free State, and the trustees for a number of years persisted in their refusal to permit negro slavery or rum to be brought into the colony. Finally it was discover d that the adjoining colony of South Carolina and other southern colonies that had adopted slavery were more prosperous than that of Georgia, and the people from the other colonies refused to emigrate to Georgia and stay there unless they were permitted to carry their slaves with them. About that period in our history, John Wesley and George Whitefield, the two great divines who under Providence were the founders of Methodism, and who planted the church on our soil, associated themselves with the colony at Savannah, and Whitefield established his orphan asylum, which was intended to be and was in fact a noble charity. After considerable effort to sustain it, he came to the conclusion that it was his true interest to purchase a plantation and slaves in the colony of South Carolina, which he did, and which he declared did much to enable him to maintain his asylum. And this great divine became one of the ablest and most zealous advocates for the establishment of slavery in the colony of Georgia. Finally the pressure upon the trustees became so great that they yielded, and slavery was permitted and soon became an established institution. I simply mention this to show that in my own State slavery was prohibited by law at a time when the people of the mother country and of New England were importing slaves under the sanction of law without a question that the traffic was legitimate.
Slavery was found to be unprofitable in New England and the Middle States, and, like every other traffic, it was carried where the commodity was most needed and would pay best. Consequently the slaves were sold by the ancestors of the people of New England and the Middle States to our ancestors in the South, and the money obtained for them was doubtless invested in building up your towns, your factories, and your commerce. At that time, however, neither section believed that the other was doing wrong in engaging in the importation, the traffic, or the use of slaves.
Thus matters passed for a long period. Slavery was recognized by all, and the savages imported as slaves were trained here in the practices and ideas of civilization till they were very much elevated in the scale of Christian civilization before slavery was abolished. They were taught not only the principles of civilization but the principles of Christianity.
I well recollect, years ago, before the war between the States, in one of the assemblages of the Presbyterian Church in New York, the Reverend Dr. Stiles used in substance this noted expression, "the southern church holds up to the gaze of heaven and earth more converted heathens (referring to our slaves) than can be shown in heathen lands as the result of the labors of all the missionaries of all the Protestant churches combined." Yes. of this four million people we held up a large number who were converted to Christianity and reclaimed to civilization. In other words, Providence seems to have had a great design in this matter. They were brought here as slaves; indeed they were prisoners and slaves at home and sold as such by their own people. We used them as slaves, and we believed we had the right to do so. And while they were going through this long training of slavery they were improving all the time intellectually and morally. But the time came when the same overruling Providence that permitted them to be brought here as slaves determined in His divine decrees that they should no longer be slaves. And who can say that it is not the design of Providence that the descendants of those who by the rulers of Africa were sold into slavery, improved and elevated by slavery till they were fit for freedom, may not be the instruments in the hand of God in redeeming Africa from the darkness and thraldom in
which she is now shrouded, and in bringing her to the marvellous light of Christian civilization?
But let us notice further the remarkable history of this people. The two sections of the Union were arrayed in hostility against each other on the subject of slavery. If you of the North had proposed to tax yourselves and pay us for the slaves, in the then temper we would not have agreed to accept it. We would have said, "We have constitutional guaranties that we shall hold them, and you must not interfere." On the other hand, if it had been proposed to tax the people of the United States to pay for them and liberate them, the people would have submitted to no such taxation. Therefore that was impossible. The passions and prejudices on both sides of the line were aroused into active play. There was but one way to eradicate slavery, and that was to tear it out by the roots; and as Providence was working out a great problem, we were plunged into the war between the States, and the institution was staked upon the result. Neither side contemplated abolition at the commencement, but as Providence designed it, the termination of the struggle was the abolition of slavery.
Here, then, was another step taken in the wonderful development in connection with this race. From having been prisoners of heads of tribes in Africa and sold by their own people into slavery, and from having gone through a long period of servitude, the time had come when Providence determined they should no longer be slaves. But as our friends of New England and the Northern States had engaged in the importation of them and had sold them to us, and made profit by it, and as we had used slavery and made profit by it, and no section could charge that another was alone respon sible, every section and every part of the Union had to bleed for it, and we all had to bear burdens to get rid of it. But we are rid of it.
When the Constitution of the United States was formed, slavery was not only tolerated and provision made for the surrendering up of fugitive slaves to the owner on requisition, but at that time the States were not ready to cut off the importation; those engaged in the traffic wanted to make more money out of it. They were unwilling to give it up, and it was insisted upon and carried, and incorporated into the Constitution that the importation should not be abolished prior to the year 1808. So guarded were those who framed the Constitution on that point that in making provision for its own amendment, it is expressly provided that that clause shall not be ainended prior to 1808. Then negroes were slaves, and slaves were property, and that property was guarantied to us by the Constitution of the United
But when we went into the struggle of 1861 we were well aware that if we failed we hazarded our title to our slaves, and that abolition was a possibility. At the end of the struggle, when we surrendered our armies and the then President of the United States adopted a policy without consulting Congress, of reconstructing the Union, he required us to call conventions in the Southern States; and the Congress having submitted to the States the thirteenth constitutional amendment, we adopted it. There was no contest made over it in the South. The Southern States, as well as the Northern and Western States, agreed at the end of the struggle that slavery should be abolished; and we put into the Constitution a provision that forever guarantied the abolition. Then the negro had taken one more step. From a slave he was a freedman without the rights of a citizen.
Then followed a proposition by Congress to the States to adopt the fourteenth amendment. That amendment declared him to be a citizen. In other words, it declared all persons born or naturalized in the United States to be citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.