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THE WORLD A SCHOOL.
N a State which had elections before it had legal voters; rail
roads before it had freight and passengers for them; and newspapers before it had printing offices; a State which one of its gifted and honored sons described in a magazine (which rose, fell and faded because it was published before it had readers), as the "hottest, coldest, driest, wettest, thickest, thinnest country in the world,” there can be nothing surprising or worthy of apology in the fact that, on an occasion like this, an individual should be selected to speak to classical scholars, who does not kimself know one Greek letter from another; and who, so far from. knowing anything of the Latin particles, does not know a particle of Latin; that one should be chosen to address, with an implied obligation to instruct, gentlemen who are proficient in the mechanic arts, yet who himself could not construct a symmetrical toothpick, even with the plans and specifications before him; nor that there should be delegated as the “guide, philosopher and friend” of teachers and students of the science of Agriculture one who, should there arise in future times a contest like that
ANNUAL ADDRESS, delivered before the Kansas State Agricultural College, at Manhattan, May 26, 1875.
which has raged over the authorship of the “Letters of Junius," might be put forward as the probable writer of that singular compendium of ignorance, “What I know About Farming,” instead of the late Horace Greeley.
While thus disclaiming any necessity for an apology, your orator will not, however, avail himself of ten thousand timehonored precedents, and, after first announcing that he is “
“entirely unprepared to make a speech," proceed to demonstrate the truth of that preliminary remark to the absolute conviction of everybody; but, avoiding educational bays and inlets which he has never navigated, will head out to the sea which no man owns; which has no beaten paths; over which the man who sails, though it be for the thousandth time, still sails a discoverer - a tenthousandth edition of Christopher Columbus; and, instead of speaking of this man's books, and of that professor's school, he will speak of a book which no man wrote, and which is not yet completed; he will discourse of a University for which men's schools and colleges and universities are, at the very best, but a slight preparation: and these thoughts and suggestions will be brought together under the general title of “THE WORLD A SCHOOL.”
Possibly some may inquire by what process a speaker, confessedly ignorant of many valuable things found in books, and deprived by chance, circumstances, and, in early life, want of inclination to acquire what is commonly called an education, has obtained the knowledge which he proposes to impart; from what store-house, they may ask, does he propose to draw his facts and inferences ? The reply is, that this qualification and these facts and applications are obtained through what is itself an educational process, although it is never mentioned in the educational journals, or discussed at the teachers’ institutes, or supervised by that oppressive mystery, the Bureau of Education at Washington; and this sort of education is called in America and by Americans, "Knocking About."
The course varies with every scholar, and occupies various periods of time. With most Americans it lasts from early manhood, sometimes from early boyhood, to the end of life. It is the fate of very few to graduate early; to find some sailor's snugharbor where they may ponder over what they learned, and be knocked about no more. The students of Knock About University cannot locate on the map the seat of that institution; it has no special post-office address. Like love, it is found in the camp, the court, the field and the grove. The student resides at no particular boarding-house; and, as I have said before, the course varies with each student, though the course is by no means optional, since the student frequently pursues branches which he does not fancy; and, indeed, instances are of record where the course has suddenly ended at the branch of a tree. In the course of his studies the student may be transported from the banks of the Ohio to those of the Sacramento, and thence to the James. He may be transferred from the society of students of the Septuagint to that of the professors of the seven-shooter. become in turn, or be all at once, a preacher, a newspaper correspondent, and a soldier. He may be at the same time a member of a presbytery and of a general's staff, and perform at once, and in different ways, the functions of an embassador of Heaven and of the Sanitary Commission. To-day he may be learning to set type, and to-morrow building a church; to-day he may be fear