« PredošláPokračovať »
macadamized—a rare thing in the States. The tions 11,553, and of volumes now in the library, drives along the heights behind the city are 33,958. The amount expended for the purchase charming, being thickly studded with orna- of books was 13,535 dollars, and for periodicals mental villas and mansions, which show at once 700 dollars. the taste and wealth of the merchants of Cin- " While the purchase of learned and expensive cinnati. The views of the river, with its banks books has not been omitted, it has been an here and there covered with vines, and of the rich, especial aim during the past year to strengthen wooded uplands, extending far away beyond, are the library in the department of healthful readgrand. In fact, nature and art have combined to ing, which is most in demand. The circulation make Cincinnati one of the most attractive cities and the wants of the public have been closely of the United States.
watched to this end. Popular standard works My kind friends in the University of Virginia have been duplicated, and in some instances as had given me letters of introduction, which many as ten copies of the same work have been opened my way at once to a refined and literary procured, and they have been constantly in circircle, and gained for me free access, besides, to culation. No attempt has been made fully to all public institutions, schools, and colleges. supply the first demand for a popular book; but The kindness and courtesy shown me during my when the merit of a new book was sufficient to stay, I can never forget.
create a permanent demand for a considerable
number of copies, this demand has been promptly THE PUBLIC LIBRARY.
and fully met......It is, however, the function of One of my first visits was to the Public public libraries, as they are supported by the Library, which has been recently placed in a whole community, to supply such good books, new and handsome building. The general plan even if they be not learned or profound, as are and arrangements are all that could be desired. suited to the tastes and capacities of the people. There are large, separate reading-rooms for When this demand is liberally supplied, by far males and females, amply supplied with periodi- the largest portion of the income remains to be cal literature. The Library is open free to every expended in books adapted to the wants of resident in the city above the age of sixteen, and persons of a higher culture.” to non-residents on payment of the small sub- After mentioning valuable donations in books, scription of three dollars a year. It is sup- bound pamphlets, and newspapers, the Report ported, like the public schools, by a special gives the following encouraging details regarding
readers,” and the use made of the library by The last annual Report is most interesting the public :Like all such reports in America, it is not confined The number of loan accounts in the ledgers to dry statistics and details ; but it brings out reported last year was 6,773.
The present with much force and point broad principles, which number is 11,261...... The circulation of books should be carefully studied by the municipal during the year has been 100,256 volumes, twoauthorities of every city, both in Europe and thirds of which have been the work of the past America, and by statesmen and patriotic legis- four months. The same rate maintained through lators as well. This country ought not to be the year would give a circulation of 200,000 behind the United States in providing liber- volumes...... The largest number issued in one ally for the mental and moral training of the day was 1212......For each of five successive masses of the population.
Saturdays in March and April, the issues were The Report says :-" The number of volumes more than 1000 volumes. In a single week in the library one year ago was 22,537. The more books have been taken out than in the additions for the present year have been 7,901 whole corresponding month of the last year volumes by purchase, 361 by donation, and These results have been reached without a printed 3,291 by the deposit of the theological and re- catalogue, or any means within reach of appli ligious library; making the total number of addi- cants of knowing what the library contained
other than inquiring of the attendants. With a expense, so that they would be entirely free from printed catalogue, the use of the library must even the semblance of benefaction to the poorlargely increase during the coming year." å mighty change would gradually be effected.
The above statistics refer solely to the lending The clerk, the shop-boy, and the artisan, would department, in which books are given out to be be drawn away from the dazzling snares of the read at home. It is right to observe that the billiard-room and the tavern; and the inexInstitution, in its present enlarged form, is new, perienced girl, just entering on life's work, and had not yet come into full operation when would be kept from the dangers of the public the Report was printed. In addition to the promenade; while all would be benefited by lending, there is another department of no less the spread of a healthy literature among the importance: it is for casual reading and con- families of the community. The minds of the sultation. A mechanic, an apprentice, a shop- poor as well as of the rich must have some emgirl, or a milliner, may drop in here during ployment. The faculties will not lie dormant. the intervals of work, or in the evening, or on It becomes the duty, therefore, of wise anil Saturday afternoon, and read a book from the patriotic legislators to supply a fitting field for shelves, or a magazine from the tables, with as mental activity--to place books within the reach much freedom and security from interruption as of those who will read them ; and thus to proif at home. Might not this be one way of mote education, and take away, at least, all lessening the numbers in the public-houses of excuse for indolence and vice. I cannot but feel our cities? Of this department the Report that hitherto we have neglected our duty in this
matter. We are pained to see the public-houses “The reading-rooms are supplied with 255 crowded each evening with men who have been periodicals, of which 127 are American, and toiling hard all day; we are horrified at the 128 foreign. Fifty-eight of these periodicals amount of drink consumed, and the amount of are paid for from the funds of the theological misery entailed; but I fear we do not always and religious library. The number of readers adopt the best means of checking this monstrous has steadily increased. The issues of books for evil. We forget that these poor men have no consultation have been 16,053, and of periodicals home comforts. They have nothing there to 20,719. In the reading-room on the third improve or to employ their minds; they have, in storey are kept the current files of forty-four general, no amusements, except what is conreligious newspapers, sent to the theological and nected with drink; and men cannot live like religious library."
molluscs. A suitable book, or a popular magaThese facts are most encouraging. They open zine, would be a treasure to many a young a wide field for thought and effort on the part of mechanic who has just entered upon housethose who would afford to the working classes, keeping. It might save him from a host of
and masses of the people in our large towns, the temptations, and a world of future misery ; but same means of mental improvement possessed by where is it to be had ? He has not the means those who have libraries of their own. The of buying. Place such a library as that of Cinyouth of both sexes who go out fresh from the cinnati near his home-give him such a reading. schools, instead of being finally and absolutely room, free and comfortable, where he can spend cut off, as they are in most places, from every an hour of an evening-and you afford that man department of literature, and from every means a fair chance of rising in the social scale, and of carrying on education, have here--within their raising his family with him. reach, and free--in the reading-rooms, and on The religious aspect of this Report is also enthe shelves of the library, the best works in all couraging. I have often been amused at the departments of knowledge. I believe that if way in which the managers of our public libraries such facilities as these for mental culture were treat religious books. They shun them as they given freely and generally in our towns and would the plague. A work may be of the large villages at home-given, too, at the publie highest value--it may be an ornament to the
literature of the age; but the hint that it treats
YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION. of Christian doctrines immediately places it in the “Index.” It might treat of the Hindu I was taken to the rooms of the Young Men's Shasters, or the writings of Confucius, or the Christian Association, where I found every effort Koran, or the prophecies of Joe Smith, and be being made to induce young men to spend their admitted; but if it touch upon the Bible, it is spare hours in profitable reading, or in some deexcluded. Surely this is miserable truckling to partment of Christian work. They contain a select party fear and sectarian prejudice. · Christianity library and a number of religious periodicals and is our common faith ; the Bible is the common newspapers. The members of committee, and property of Christendom. Let the standard others judiciously selected, make it a point to works of all parties and sects find a place in our search out young men who have just come to the public libraries, where those who will may have city, or who are entering upon business, and to access to them. I would compel no man to read place before them, in a calm and respectful yet or hear; but I would give every man an oppor- earnest manner, the claims and advantages of the tunity to read and learn. In the United States, society. Much good is thus effected; and many a as a rule, they have no such scruples as we have youth, thrown without experience amid the here. No objection was made to incorporate a temptations of a large city, finds in that society whole theological library with the public library friends, a refuge, and a home. of Cincinnati. Religious books, religious periodi
PUBLIC SCHOOLS. cals, and even religious newspapers, are there
I was greatly pleased with the public school just. Why should the Christian man be debarred system of Cincinnati, every grade and department from that literature which he loves by the pre- of which I had an opportunity of inspecting under judices of others. No work which is moral in the efficient guidance of Mr. Wisnewski, the asits tendency, and popular with any considerable sistant superintendent. The school buildings are section of the people, should be excluded from a new, and admirably planned. The teachers are public library.
almost exclusively females. In the elementary It is pleasing to observe how large a number department I found some striking peculiaritiesof books are taken out of the library on Satur- for example, among the first lessons given to a days. The fact is suggestive, for it shows that child on entering school is to read the script letter, there is a felt want among the working-classes and then to write, or try to write it, with a pencil. of something to read upon Sundays; and it may So also English Composition begins to be taught indicate, also, that, if that want were met fully at a very early period—in the second school year. and judiciously, Sabbath desecration might, in German is taught in most of the schools. This part at least, be checked.
is necessary, for one large quarter of the city is On the 12th of March 1871, this library was almost exclusively inhabited by Germans. Anfirst opened on Sunday. It was hoped that the other peculiarity I thought admirable was, that opening of the theological department and the music, drawing, and gymnastics form a part of reading-rooms to the public might attract a large the daily routine for both boys and girls. The class of readers who had not the opportunity of music is taught scientifically, and not merely by visiting the library on other days; and perhaps ear; and as the children commence very early, also draw in young men from the streets and natural defects of ear, voice, and even taste, seem drinking-saloons. These expectations have not to be largely overcome. The singing was very been realized; or at least were not when the Re- sweet. For the regulation of gymnastics there is . port was written. The number of Sunday readers a special committee of the school board, whose was small; but it was observed regarding them duty it is to supervise that department. It is a that they appeared to be studious and sober-minded standing rule that the teachers in each room of persons, who eagerly embraced the opportunity the intermediate and district schools shall give a afforded them.
lesson every session of their school, in gymnastics
or calisthenics, of not less than five nor more than | portion of the Bible, by or under the direction of ten minutes. None are exempted from these ex- the teacher, and appropriate singing by the ercises except such as present a medical certificate pupils. of inability. Another rule on this subject struck “ The pupils of the common schools may read me as exceedingly wise and judicious. It is as fol- such version of the Sacred Scriptures as their lows: "For the better guarding of the health of parents or guardians may prefer, provided that the pupils of grades F, G, and H (being the such preference of any version, except the one lowest) from injury by too long confinement in
now in use,
be communicated by the parents or their school-rooms, there shall be allowed to the guardians to the principal teachers, and that no pupils of these grades, at the close of each recita- notes or marginal readings be read in the schools, tion, the space of five minutes for calisthenic ex- or comments made by the teachers on the text of ercise in the room, during which time the room any version that is or may be introduced." shall be well ventilated; and the recitations shall be shortened for this purpose.” Each recitation
THE TRACT HOUSE, continues an hour, and it is delightful to see those The Western Tract and Book Society is one of little things engaging heartily and vigorously, the most useful Christian institutions in Cincinunder their skilled teachers, in free calisthenics. nati. Its object is “to promote the diffusion of Mind and body are thus trained together, and divine truth, point out its application to every with the interludes of singing and drawing, the known sin, and promote the interests of practical wearisomeness and fagging of school life are religion by the circulation of a sound evangelical largely avoided.
literature.” It is the only society of the kind in
the great West; and though there are others, THE BIBLE IN THE SCHOOLS.
somewhat similar in object, in the Eastern States, Cincinnati, like New York, has unfortunately none of them is so direct in its aim, or so decided been the battle - ground of sects. A deter- and energetic in its work, as this. It exposes mined effort was made to banish the Bible alto- error in every form-philosophic, scientific, ecclegether from the public schools. Such influence siastical. It strikes at its very root. It con was brought to bear on the school board that demons with unsparing severity the evil practices they adopted a resolution to the effect, “That re- and the denioralizing social habits of the age. ligious instruction, and the reading of religious It defends the integrity of the Bible against all books, including the Holy Bible, are prohibited assailants. It upholds the sanctity of the Sabin the common schools of Cincinnati, it being the bath. It presses the paramount duty of mission true object and intent of this rule to allow the work both at home and abroad. It spreads far children of the parents of all sects and opinions and wide the seed of divine truth. It prepares in matters of faith and worship to enjoy alike the and publishes, in a cheap form, valuable treatises benefit of the common school fund." The rule on the leading points of Christian doctrine and was carried in committee by a vote of twenty-two duty; and it makes grants of its various publicato fourteen. But a large and influential body of tions on easy terms—sometimes, when the cirthe citizens applied to the superior court to pre- cumstances are peculiar, free-to public libraries vent its being carried into effect. The judges de- and reading clubs. cided against the rule, refusing to admit that the My visit to The Tract House, 176 Elm Street, Bible is a sectarian book, or that "religious in- was interesting and instructive. It impressed struction ” means necessarily “sectarianism.” An me deeply with the thorough earnestness and appeal was made to the legislature. Before it came sound practical sagacity of the men who are up for discussion, however, a compromise was engaged in Christian work in this commercial effected, and the regulation regarding religious in- city. In a new country, where progress is rapid, struction now stands as follows in all the schools
energy and sagacity are needed. The natural rein the state of Ohio: "The opening exercises in sources are enormous; wealth is accumulated with every department shall commence by reading a amazing facility; and the tendency of the mind
under such circumstances is to become absorbed everything they touch. Their schemes and dealin commercial enterprise, and to forget those ings are so subtle, and so bold withal, that they higher duties of intellectual and moral culture have given a bad name to many lawful and laudwhich can alone give real power and stability to able enterprises. But these men constitute only a nation.
a fraction of the community. Deep down in the America is inundated with adventurers. Their heart of the nation at large lie those noble and aiin is to get wealth by any means. They fre- ennobling principles of honour, freedom, and
, quent the centres of industry. They try to touch Christian truth, which must ever, in the end, everything that will "pay;” and they pollute make a nation great.
ON THE CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES.*
ĪT is a common act of cultivators to cut off and Christian charity. We subjoin two extracts ; the
the head of a plant, in order that it may first from the lecture of Dr. Dykes, the second from that send up many shoots instead of one. of Mr. Gibb.-Editor.
Sometimes this beneficent operation is performed undesignedly by the beasts of the field. Re
THE PLACE AND MEANING OF AUTHORITY IN vealed religion—that tree of righteousness which our
MATTERS OF FAITH. Father, the Husbandman, has planted in our worldhas been so treated, and so benefited. Adversaries, from I question if there be a word in the English language the first ages downwards, have been the means of which is at present suffering more from the cold shade multiplying its branches and extending its power. of unpopularity than this unfortunate word "authority.” Every blow has issued in a more varied and more The pendulum has swung just now a long way to the vigorous life. The present is perhaps the most active side of intellectual revolt against received belief; while and adventurous of all the ages. Paul would have even in the fanıily and in the state there appears a delighted to live in such an age as ours. When he growing relaxation of those bonds which have hitherto enumerates the grounds of encouragement and hope for been held to imply subordination and obedience. It is his work in a certain place, it is with a species of glee not that people are really bowing either their minds or that he adds to the catalogue of comforts, "and there their wills to "authority" of some sort much less than are many adversaries.” It becomes us, as men of smaller they did before. Only they have taken to questioning power than Paul, yet with the same divine resources those particular forms of authority to which formerly an to draw upon, to be calm and hopeful in the conflict. unhesitating respect used to be accorded ; and this The Lord sits King upon the floods. He that believeth questioning of old authorities is readily mistaken by shall not make haste.
careless thinkers for a genuine independence of all Corresponding to the number and energy of the blows authority whatever. aimed against the foundations of the faith, defences So strong, and even excessive, is this prejudice of the spring up on every side, as from a living tree many moment, that I may fairly assume, when I address an shoots spontaneously spring forth where one has been audience of cautious and conscientious young men, that wounded. Some “shipwrecks,” alas! may be made you are aware of it and on your guard against it. You where souls are unstable, in such a season of storm; but feel, of course, that if you would judge truly and act where the faith is living, its life may be invigorated by wisely, you have more to fear at present from this onethe hardy training of the times.
sided tendency to independence, than from a too easy Among the many contributions to the evidences acceptance of authority; the latter being in the highest which are springing up, an interesting little volume has degree unfashionable, while the former is what people just fallen into our hands, contributed by four ministers who speak grandly call the “spirit of the age.” and professors of the English Presbyterian Church in Especially will such caution and watchfulness against a London, in the form of lectures to the young men of temporary current of fashion be wise, when we deal their own communion. The lectures, though con- with an authority which claims (as Holy Scripture does) tributed by a denomination, are eminently catholic. to speak in the name of God, on matters of eternal life The arguments are pervaded, we think, in a remarkable and death, and to whose teaching the whole of the degree, by strength and gentleness, philosophic fairness, Christian ages have hitherto been accustomed to bow.
It were a calanity never to be enough deplored, should Some Present Difficulties in Theology." Being any one throw off the authority of words which God Lectures to Young Men, delivered at the English Presbyterian
had really given on purpose to guide him to everlasting College, London. With Preface by the Rev. J. Oswald Dykes, D.D. London; Hodder and Stoughton.
life, and by doing so should perish, simply because he