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against it? Why is its currency so much de- tem. Was he not justified in saying that the ranged and depreciated? Why is such a lan- substitution of the cash system would melioguor pervading that rich and resourceful rate the condition of the West? It would encountry? able it to owe less, have fewer and better banks, more money and better money, and more and better population.

He said, there was another aspect of the subject entitled to the serious consideration of the real friends of the West. It is the influence which the credit system would give the East over the West. Some of the causes of this influence had been sufficiently alluded_to in considering the topics of discussion. He hoped gentlemen would recollect them, and make the proper application of them.

He knew that these were effects of more causes than one; the general system of credit was one; but he had no doubt that one of the most prolific sources of the calamities with which the West is afflicted, is the credit on the public lands. This had tempted them to go beyond their means, and contract debts which they could not pay; it had depreciated the Western paper currency, and had tended to augment and vitiate that currency. Could any one fail to see its operation in producing these effects? He would ask his colleagues whether He would only add, that a large Western the Western country would not now be in a debt would give the Eastern politicians, in a better condition, if there never had been any struggle for power, a powerful weapon. It credit given in the sale of public lands? Would would render it impossible that the West it not be more independent, and have more and could have a fair and equal contest. It would better money? Would it not owe $22,000,000 be the talisman, whose spell, in the hands of less? He said, that that country never could dexterous men, might be subjugation or disbe restored to its naturally healthy and pros- solution. Such men would not only have the perous state, as long as such an immense debt advantage derived from the debility, languor, is suspended over it, like an incubus, which paralyses its best fiscal and moral energies, Is it not desirable to extricate it from this condition? Is it not the duty of its friends to make an effort? He said that he did not know anything which Congress could do, that would tend more to this result, than the adoption of the cash system. That will prevent the accumulation of the debt, and tend to correct and restore the Western currency. Should it be adopted, those who migrate from the East and transplant themselves in the West, would buy only as much land as they could pay for; the purchase money they would carry with them from the East, and all they could make on the land for four years, would add to the resources, and swell the currency of the West, by being distributed among its people. But if this system be rejected, then the Eastern immigrants will only make the first payment with their Eastern funds; they will generally purchase as much land as they can make the first payment for; the remaining three-fourths, for which they get credit, must be made in the West, and, when paid, abstracted from its resources. Is there not a great difference between adding the three-fourths to the capital of the West, and abstracting them from it? Will not the credit, then, always oppress the West, render good money scarce, and increase the amount of bad money? Under the credit system, not only is an immense sum annually withdrawn from the West, which, under the cash system, would be retained, but that sum consists of specie, or the best paper of the West. The withdrawal of this makes a vacuum, which must be filled by an augmentation of a vacillating paper medium. This augmentation depreciates and vitiates the currency; this currency the public debtor must take, but the government will not receive it from him In addition to those considerations, he said, it should be recollected, that the same quantity of land which would draw from the West $800,000, under the credit, would only take $500,000 under the cash sys.

and distress which a large debt would produce in the West, but they could hold the appalling sum in terrorem over the devoted West, and say-pay, or submit. Then, said he, might you see enforced the maximum, "parcere subjectis, debellare superbos.” He said, he hoped that these consequences would never be realized; but, as a Western man, he was anxious to render an occurrence of them impossible, and to rescue the West from danger before it might be too late. He said, if he were an Eastern man, and desired supremacy over the West, and labored under such a destitution of principle as to resort to legislative power to effect it, he knew nothing which he would so strongly advocate as the continuance of the credit system. He would make the debt as large as possible. To counteract such policy, he desired the cash system to pass; and, in advocating it, he felt sure he was advocating the best interests of the West. He said, let the Western people get out of debt, and leave their posterity free, and then they would have power, and wealth, and independence. Nature had decreed it. They will then preserve their influence, their rank, and their public spirit; they will then move and act in the majesty of their native and characteristic independence; they will be a great, a powerful, and a happy people.

Gentlemen need not fear that the march of Western power or population would be retarded by the cash system. If the view he had taken of the whole subject be correct, the effects of the system would be very different. He could not see how the system could impair the power, or diminish the population of the West. Would it impair the strength of the West to get out of debt, and add to its resources? Or would it diminish or obstruct the current of immigration to the West, to of fer to the immigrants terms of purchase more advantageous to them and to the country to which they wish to go, than those now offered? Or would it check population to prevent the

monopoly of large tracts of good land by speculators, who would not settle on them? He said, that if the cash system would prevent the immigration of any class of citizens to the West, it would be a class that would not be a very valuable accession to the strength, the morals, or the wealth of the West, but who would only increase the Western debt, and diminish the real and substantial resources of the Western country.

paraphernalia; to confine its expenditures within its actual means, and make its citizens independent cultivators of the soil, and not the tenants of the speculator or the government. The cash system, so far as it could operate, would tend to these wholesome results, by distributing the lands, in small tracts, among the people, for their own use, and by frustrating speculation, and preventing monopolies. He expected much good from it. He hoped, therefore, that it would be adopted.

He said, that the Western country would populate soon enough; men would go to it whenever it should be their interest to go. It He had, in an immethodical manner, he is not good policy to invite or decoy them said, offered some of the considerations which thither any sooner. Let the principle of pop- would influence his vote. He had endeavorulation, and the rule that regulates and con-ed to show that the cash system is required trols it, have their natural operation. Do not by the fiscal and political interests of the endeavor to increase its fecundity, or accel- general government-by the advantages it erate its results, by artificial expedients. It would afford to the bona fide purchaser-and cannot be desirable to have a mushroom pop-by the substantial and permanent welfare of ulation; let it grow gradually and naturally, the Western country. Whether he had been and it will be homogeneous, and happy, and successful, would appear from the decision of strong. Let the body politic work its own cure, if diseased. There is a recuperative spirit in it—a vis medicatrix nature, that will preserve its health and vigor. He did not profess to know much of political pathology, but he thought there could be no doubt that the resources and ultimate power of the West are certain, if its friends would forbear their nostrums, and let things regulate themselves according to the natural laws of health.

Let the population of the West grow on its own natural resources, without the artificial aid of a delusory credit. The surest way to increase an efficient population, which alone will strengthen the resources and power of the West, is to expel bloating luxury and speculation, by stifling their pander, morbid credit, and encourage industry, virtue, and ecnomy. The first step towards this policy is to extricate the West from debt, with all its

the committee. Whatever that decision should be, he would be contert. He had discharged his duty to himself and his country. If he had erred, he should be supported by the approbation of his conscience, and the clearest convictions of duty; and he believed he would, at last, be sustained by the opinions of his fellow-citizens, and the verdict of posterity.

If the bill should pass, he hoped that his friends, who differed with him on this interesting subject, and especially the Speaker, (Mr. Clay.) who would follow him in the debate, might live long enough to witness and to enjoy, the benefits which, he believed, would result from it, not only to the Union, and to the poor and actual settler, but to the great interests of the West-to its strength, prosperity, and power, and to the indepen'dence and happiness of its people.


In 1821 the Legislature of Kentucky directed a committee, appointed for that purpose, to obtain information and report concerning the best and most practicable mode of organizing some system for popular education. That committee reported to the Legislature of 1822-3, facts' communicated from gentlemen in other States where Common Schools had been tried. The report was referred to the committee on Education, of which Mr. Robertson was chairman, having been elected from the county of Garrard for that session, after having resigned his seat in Congress for an entire term.

Mr. Robertson made the following report, which was adopted. The circulation of that report awakened public attention to the subject, which finally resulted in the adoption of a system of Common Schools in Kentucky. And in these proceedings we may see the initial steps taken by this State on this interesting subject.





[Session of 1823.]

THE select committee on so much of the Governor's message as relates to Education, to whom was referred the report of the Commissioners on Common Schools, have considered the subject submitted to them, with as much attention as the short time allowed them for deliberation would permit, and now beg leave to make the following report:

It can scarcely be necessary, in this enlightened age, to present to a free people any arguments in favor of a general diffusion of knowledge, farther than what have already been advanced by the commissioners; and were there even any peculiar circumstances attending the situation of Kentucky, which might render it expedient to take an extensive survey of the value and utility of common schools, with a notice of their history and effects, moral, social, and political, your committee would deem it only necessary to call the attention of the community to the ample and judicious remarks upon this subject, contained in the report of the commissioners. Availing themselves, therefore, of that valuable document, which presents so satisfactory and imposing a view of the subject, they will confine themselves, in this report, to a few hasty and prominent considerations, supplementary to the suggestions made by the com


Rome, for an exemplification of this truth. It is abundantly attested by the records of more modern times. Wherever ignorance and its concomitants predominate, no matter what may be the name or the form of the government, the destinies of the many are controlled by the artifices of the favored few; the voice of reason is hushed, and she is made the puppet of passion, and prostituted at the shine of ambition. No free institutions, however perfect in theory, ever were, or ever can be, durable or effective, unless the public mind be generally enlightened. Ignorance, if predominant, will inevitably convert a free and happy government into the most oppressing and galling despotism.

Under a form of government like ours, whose very basis is the equality of the citizens -whose soul is public opinion-it is more peculiarly essential that knowledge should be accessible to all. If the great mass of the people be ignorant, liberty will soon be stifled; her votaries will be amused with her shadow, while her substance is gradually drawn away, and her vitality extinguished. The great objects and tendencies of education are, not only to enlighten, but to liberalize and expand the mind, to improve the heart, and thereby to meliorate and dignify the condition of society. The muses are the natural associates and guardians of liberty. Their residence is her favorite abode. To enjoy our rights, we must understand them well; to secure and protect them, we must not only feel their value, but be acquainted with their extent and appropriate limitation.

Ever since the period when the intellectual and moral darkness, which hung over mankind during the middle ages, was dispelled by the light of science, and of civil and religious liberty, which dawned in the fifteenth century, the march of liberal ideas and true philosophy, although slow, has been steady That theory which pronounces all men and constantly progressive, until the time has equal, is in practice a delusion, unless all have arrived when the rights of man are generally the capacity to know, and thus to preserve inunderstood, and he is restored, in some por- violate, their civil and political rights. No tions at least of the civilized world, to the dig- species of inequality is so much to be dreaded nity of his nature, and elevated to his just rank in a popular government, or deserves so highin the scale of being. This happy consum-ly to be deprecated by the patriot and philanmation has not been the result of blind chance; but of the natural and powerful influence of reason, in its gradual developments. Ignorance and superstition are the talismanic agents, by the aid of which the ambitious demagogue has ever been enabled to deceive and control, and by which alone tyrants have subjugated the great body of the people. No people were ever long free, unless they were not only virtuous, but enlightened. We need not recur to the ancient histories of Greece and

thropist, as the inequality of mind and of mental attainments. Fortune ever has been, and ever will be, unequal in the distribution of her gifts; but this inequality should, as much as possible, be counteracted, and its anti-republican tendency checked and restrained by the guardianship and benevolence of a provident government. The intellect of every citizen, especially in a republic, is the property of the commonwealth. Indeed, the cultivated minds of the people constitute the chief

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