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INTRODUCTION.                                  21
Yet, in the midst of these opinions, while the press is teeming with books, papers, and pamph­lets upon this great subject; while the pulpit presses it upon the attention of the people; while the lecturer before the lyceum and the orator in our legislative halls are pouring forth eloquent appeals in behalf of education, is there not dan­ger that we are still insensible to its real value, and still ignorant of its real compass and mean­ing ? I have remarked that familiarity breeds contempt, that commonness begets indifference. May not our very familiarity with this subject lead us into habits of viewing it superficially? Is there not danger that a topic so much dis­cussed, the importance of which is so universally admitted, shall become to us, like the great ele­ments of nature, earth, air, lire, and water, a
indeed, our inquiries and observations have long since fully satis­fied us, that not only in our oicn prison, but in others, which we have visited or inquired after, depraved appetites and corrupt habits, which have led to the commission of crime, are usually found with the ignorant, uninformed, duller part of mankind. Of two hundred and seventy-six, nearly all below mediocrity, one hun­dred and seventy-five are grossly ignorant, and in point of educa­tion scarcely capable of transacting the ordinary business of life."
The inspectors of the penitentiary in Upper Canada say, " Of eighty-two, the whole number of convicts, twenty-seven had infe­rior education; thirteen were uneducated."
" In Prussia, after the school-system had been in operation four­teen years, the proportion of paupers and criminals had decreased thirty-eight per cent."
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