Public Exercises 581
in our colleges, for instruction in botany, agricultural chemistry, the best system of
draining, &c. These are well enough in their place, but are of public injury, so far as
they foster the opinion that a liberal education is unnecessary for the farmer, and all
that it is important for him to acquire is such knowledge as is immediately
connected with his pursuit. My object is a higher one. I announce that our farmers
should be liberally educated gentlemen; that they should have the advantage of a
thorough college course, that they should be taught Latin, Greek, and Mathematics,
and that this intellectual training is necessary to prepare them for the high and
important position, as a class, which they occupy in this State.
With this introduction Mr. Stevenson went on to show the need of
educated farmers in the political life of the State, especially in the
halls of legislation ; as political leaders and advisers of their
communities; as members of the inferior courts and justices of the
peace, as members of school committees and as promoters of literary
production. He emphasized the fact that the common school system
was dependent for support and operation almost entirely on the
agricultural population; for the proper management of these schools
men of liberal education are required; our colleges should as far as
possible educate the sons of farmers so that to them may be safely
committed this sacred trust.
Let us then, said the speaker, recognize more fully our common schools as a part
of our system of general education. And let us educate those to whom are
committed the education of the masses. Imagine in every school district in North
Carolina an educated farmer, who takes charge of the administration of the public
fund for the education of his neighbors, presiding over the deliberations of the com-
mittee, deciding upon the qualifications of teachers, stimulating by his own example
the desire for knowledge, in a word, carrying into every neighborhood of six miles
square the intellectual influence of college experience. How soon would the clouds
of ignorance which have hung over the State be dispelled like the mists of night
before the rising day!
1856-B. F. MOORE
The address at the Commencement of 1856 was by Bartholomew F.
Moore, a native of Halifax, but at that time a lawyer of Ra-
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