Pritchard's Contribution to General Education 187
Many reports of Pritchard's speeches on the educational needs of
North Carolina are to be found in the Biblical Recorder. In nearly all
of them he used the arguments he had advanced in his
"North Carolina should be a state devoted to mechanical as well as agricultural
industry, and the wonderful growth of Durham has given us an instance of what
might be done. North Carolina has the coal, iron, copper, the water power, etc., and
should develop in this direction. Technical schools were needed for skill and
success in manufactures. The designers of this country and many of the foremen in
the more difficult and elegant styles of mechanical productions are imported. The
people are becoming wealthy and their taste cultivated, and they now desire elegant
figures and articles of beauty, as well as those which are serviceable. The thing in a
carpet or window curtain, or even a piece of calico, which makes it sell is the beauty
of the figure, and the designers who get up these figures must be highly educated
men.
"Dr. Pritchard then showed how education increased the sources of a people's
enjoyment, made labor honorable, decreased crime and increased virtue, and how
necessary it was to the maintenance of republican institutions that the people should
be intelligent.
"The next point presented was the present condition of education in North
Carolina. It was shown from reports of the Superintendent of Public Instruction that
only one-half of the children of the state were enrolled in the public schools, and
that the average attendance was only one in three, that the average length of term
was only nine weeks, instead of nine months, and one dollar the amount of each
child's tuition for a year. We have 400,000 people who cannot read and write-about
one in three, how long before we can hope to realize the boast of the Swiss
statesman that there was not be found in all his country a man or woman, not an
idiot, who could not read and write.
"Three things are necessary to the establishment of an effective school system.
First, the people must be shown the value of an education, so that they will be
willing to be taxed to sustain schools; secondly, the politicians must be sufficiently
intelligent to see this great interest in its true light, so as to be willing to pass the
necessary laws; and thirdly, competent teachers must be found. For these reasons
we must have schools of higher learning-colleges, seminaries and universities-to
lead the people. An educated man can mould the opinions of a thousand others, and
thus the blessings of education may be widely diffused.
"We must have colleges, and our colleges must be more largely patronized, and
in order to do the work expected of them they must be better equipped. They should
have chairs of English Literature, of Chemistry in its application to agriculture, of
Natural History, and they should have gymnasiums too. They should have money
and a good deal of it to do these things. Then each college should have eight or ten
good Academies as feeders, and the basis of all education taught by them should be
the Christian religion. Moral education was to be placed before mental.
... "There was room for all the schools we had, an urgent need for all, and while
he intended to work with all his might for the building
indeed, down to the
elementary up of Wake Forest, it would not be by attempting to disparage or decry
other institutions. He hoped to see a perfect state system of education extending
from the University, which he hoped should soon be made a university
school.
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