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58
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
Again, if our view of this matter be right; if it is the design of the Creator that man be the subject of education; if through enlightened education alone he can be led forward in the path of his duty and his destiny; how iniqui­tous are all those schemes of government which keep any class of men in designed ignorance. The light of heaven is not more the right of all than the light of knowledge; and a scheme to appropriate to a privileged class of persons the glorious rays of the sun, while all beside are to be wrapped in the chill shadows of night, would not be more a conspiracy against the natural rights of man, than is any system which would shut out from the view of the people at large the intellectual light imparted by education. Yet such has been, and still is, the very basis of most of the political institutions of the East­ern Hemisphere. From the founding of the first empire in the valley of the Euphrates, to the present hour, despots have dreaded the dif­fusion of knowledge, as they would the diffusion of offensive weapons. They know that an en­lightened and instructed people are difficult to be subjected to unlawful power. They know that the ignorant are weak, and easily made the slaves of authority. They have therefore con­spired in all ages to thwart the design of provi-
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