He had made a passionate study of education, only to come, gradually, to the knowledge that education is nothing but the process of building up, gradually, a complete unit of consciousness. And each unit of consciousness is the living unit of that great social, religious, philosophic idea towards which humankind, like an organism seeking its final form, is laboriously growing.
I have been long sensible that while i was endeavoring to render our country the greatest of all services, that of regenerating the public education, and placing our rising generation on the level of our sister states (which they have proudly held heretofore), i was discharging the odious function of a physician pouring medicine down the throat of a patient insensible of needing it.
Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal, but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation.
To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens...this brings us to the point at which are to commence the higher branches of education . . . . to develop the reasoning faculties of our youth, enlarge their minds, cultivate their morals, and instill into them the precepts of virtue and order.