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To His Excellency the Governor and the Honorable the General
IN presenting this THE SIXTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT, it is a pleasure to be able to assure you, that the interest manifested by the people of this commonwealth in our admirable public school system, continues unabated. The influence which this system is exerting, and which it is destined still more to exert, over all the important interests of society, is universally acknowledged. The absolute necessity of a rightly cultivated intellect and heart, to the maintenance and perpetuity of our free institutions, is becoming more and more apparent to the common mind. Our free schools, as a system, are relied upon for the accomplishment of this result. So fixed is this impression in the public confidence, that the danger is, lest we trust too much in this system as a system; lest our faith in the theory, lead us to neglect the working details essential to its largest and triumphant success.
It is not enough for an efficient railroad corporation, that an engine of great power and beauty is constructed for its use. A skillful engineer and an attentive fireman must be employed. The wheels and machinery must be carefully examined, and the bolts,