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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Colored national convention, held in Rochester, July 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1853.
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carried out ; besides an academy of the same kind established in Southern Ohio.
Between these two varities of schools, there need be no hesitation in deciding as to which is best adapted to our special wants. Under any circumstance, Manual Labor Establishments commend themselves to the patronage of all classes. The long entertained beliefs that mental effort may be made and continued without any reference to physical exercise, are rapidly passing away. And with them, also, those more injurious and unfriendly views of true gentility and scholarship, that hitherto have held labor in contempt. Literature has too long kept itself aloof from the furrowed field, and from the dust and bustle of the work-shop. The pale, sickly brow and emaciated form have been falsely shown to the world as the ripeness of mental discipline ; and sun-burnt and brawny muscular arms, have been among the majority of students synonymous with dulness of parts, and ignorant vulgarity. Thanks, however, to true views of the dignity of human nature, and an appreciation of the correct laws of physical development ; labor has received the anointing of the highest refinement, and healthy frames are proven to be the best accompaniment to high intellectual power.
Moreover, with regard to ourselves, a consideration of our position in this country, teaches us that our inheritance is one that can only be ameliorated by the combination of practical art, with literary preparation. Hitherto our educated youth have found no corresponding channel to their accademic equipment, and so they have failed to make their mark on society and the age. The work-shops, as a general thing, are closed to them, while at the same time they are reproached for lack of inventive or industrial talent. We know that we cannot form an equally useful part of any people without the ability to contribute our full share to the wealth, activity, social comforts, and progress of such people. If, then, the necessary education to fit us to share in these responsibilities, cannot be generally had, by reason of the prejudices of the country, where best they can be taught, namely in the work-shops and counting-houses, and the other varied establishments of the land, that have to do with the machinery of activities carried on around us ; we must needs consider the importance of making our Literary Institutions contribute by a change of form to filling up this want in our midst.
The agricultural life, standing pre-eminent, and looming in importance above all others, would, demand a prominent place among the internal arrangements of such a school. Farming, as a scientific system, ought to be a part of the course of every scholar, and especially of that class of students whose highest interests would be benefitted by leaving the cities, for the freer and no less noble life in the country. No professorship in any college can claim more on the score of usefulness than that of agriculture. In none of the Institutions thus far open to us, has labor in this department been at all regulated on scientific principles. Literary preparation has absorbed most of the attention of students, because of the order and beauty infused into that phase of college life. The department of labor has ever remained crude and unseemly--subordinate in position and outline to the other, and, therefore unable to provide that extensive field for industry, as to warrant the title assumed by them of Manual Labor Institutions. We make no complaint against the incompleteness of any of the existing schools, in order to detract from their usefulness in other ways. We only believe it desirable, that a more thorough plan be established that will combine the literary course of the schools, scientific agricultural knowledge, theoretic mechanics and engineering, and, what is a feature we hope to see engrafted on the plan, a series of work-shops under systematic and skilful instruction. Not simply as a means of furnishing poor students with the facilities of continuing under instruction, but to remedy also as far as may be the disadvantages under which we labor in acquiring a knowledge of the mechanical arts.
To this end we advise the maturing of a plan by some other suitable Committee for erecting in some locality, central, as to population, a school of a high intellectual grade, having incorporated an Agricultural Professorship, or an equivalent thereto, a professorship to superintend the practical application of mathematics and natural philosophy to surveying, mechanics and engineering, the following branches of industry : general smithing, turning,
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