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be the property of the town; located in the High School room; be in charge of the Principal of the High School; be free to all teachers and to all who propose to teach, and make this known to the Chairman of the School Committee. He explained how carefully the list of books for this library was made out by the advice of some of the best educators in the land, and by careful discussion of the merits of most of the books by the teachers. He explained at considerable length, in a very interesting manner, how teachers and people would be benefited by this first library in the State exclusively for teachers, and asked if it would not be a wise expenditure of the small sum needed, for every town to buy such a library and throw it open to the teachers, with some provisions for its use.
The Chairman called upon the teachers, at Mr. Bird's suggestion, to speak to those present of the particular merits of some few of the books presented. He first called upon Mr. Whitney, the Principal of the High School, who, in the name of the teachers of the town, thanked Mr. Bird and the donors of the funds with which the books were purchased, for their invaluable aid in the work in which they are engaged, and who said that he knew that with the gift they were accepting an obligation to undertake to labor for higher ends, and giving their consent to be judged by a higher standard than heretofore.
Mr. Whitney was followed by Messrs. Chase, Russell and Sawin, of the Grammar Schools.
[Nothing we believe, would do more to promote the interests of education than to have the excellent example set by Mr. Bird, followed in every town in the State. We have in our own library 267 volumes, expressly on the subject of education, and 175 volumes of journals and reports. We cannot say that we have read them all, or that they are all worth reading; but we think there are nowadays enough works on education, to form a valuable, professional library, and that teachers ought to be acquainted with the literature of their own profession.]
Mission Schools. — Our friends interested in mission work are beginning at the right end in educating the children. We believe that much time and labor has sometimes been wasted by the most sincere and devoted people in trying to convert adults to views which it was beyond their capacity to comprehend. A teacher, who has transferred his labors from the schoolroom to the missionary room, writes us : “ If Boston is the · Hub of the Universe,' and New England the Schoolmaster of the Continent,' your readers may be interested to know how the country schools ' in some of the 'out districts' are getting on. The following extracts are from letters recently received. Of the Female Seminary, Mr. Perkins writes :
" Rev. Mr. Knapp, American Missionary at Bitlis, near Lake Van, writes : “An opening has at length presented for the education of females bitherto quite inaccessible to educational efforts. A Protestant family wished to betroth the only remaining unmarried daughter to one of our theological students. The latter refused to be thus engaged unless they first gave the girl an education. Her friends accordingly applied to Mrs. Knapp, to see if there could be some way devised by which females could be educated in this town. She replied that if there could be found enough to form a class she would engage to secure a teacher. The desired number was promised ;” and now there is a school of fifteen boarders, supported by their parents and taught by Mrs. Knapp, assisted by the missionaries, Knapp and Burbank.'
“ The following is from Sophia, Turkey in Europe :
". The Bulgarians, also, are a “rising people.” It is surprising to see the progress they have made within the past twenty years. There is now not a town in which there is not a school of from two to five hundred scholars; and the school buildings compare favorably with our high school buildings in America. There are more than one thousand villages in which there are schools, and each year adds one or two hundred to the number. School-books, also, have greatly increased. There are now reading books, arithmetics, grammars, geographies, etc., prepared in good taste and printed in Vienna. This people are destined to have a future. They will one day rule the soil they now so assiduously cultivate. I believe the Board has never commenced a mission among a more interesting people, nor one which promises a more abundant harvest if properly cultivated.''
The missionaries of the “ American Board” are doing a great work in educating as well as Christianizing the people among whom they labor. We should be both surprised and delighted, could we glance, for a moment, into the wellordered schools in countries where, within our own remembrance, there was no printed language, and where ten years ago it would have been a “shame” for a woman to know how to read.
New England institutions begin at home, but, like the best kinds of charity, they do not stay at home.
C. A. Berkshire Teachers' Association. — A county teachers' association was formed at Pittsfield, October 11th, with the following officers : President, Hon. B. F. Mills of Williamstown ; Vice-Presidents, Prof. John Bascom of Williams College, Rev. C. V. Spear of Pittsfield, Hon. E. W. B. Canning of Stockbridge ; Secretary and Treasurer, J. E. Bradley of Pittsfield ; Executive Committee, the President and Secretary of the Association, and Messrs. Rice and Gilman of Lee, and Tolman of Lanesboro'.
The discussions elicited much interest, and able addresses were delivered by Prof. Bascom and Hon. Joseph White, Secretary of the Board of Education.
The Association receives the support of teachers of all classes, supplies a want long felt, and bids fair for usefulness.
(We regret that the following notice was received too late for insertion in our last number :)
TEACHERS' INSTITUTES will be held this Autumn in the following places : At Marlboro', coinmencing Oct. 21 ; South Hadley, commencing Oct. 28; North Easton, commencing Nov. 4 ; Winchendon, commencing Nov. 11 ; South Dennis, commencing Nov. 18.
A. J. PHIPPS,
PRACTICAL DEPARTMENT. A LESSON ON COMMON Things.-[We have thought that it might interest and assist some of our readers if we brought together some information respecting a few of the less known articles mentioned in the newspaper lesson" of last month. When such lessons are given, let the teacher, if possible, exhibit the article itself and lead the children to observe its properties. Through the help of the village apothecary or grocer, or, if the teacher is near a city, of some friendly dealer in drugs and dyestuffs, a very interesting and instructive little collection of substances used in the arts can be made at a very small expense, and a mixture of the strange products of foreign countries will give an added interest to the familiar products of home.]
Gall-nuts are excresences formed upon the young twigs of the various species of oak. Galls are also produced upon other plants, but the nut-galls of commerce are produced on the species of oak called Quercus infectorius, a small shrub about five or six feet in height. They originate in the puncture of an insect Cynips galla-tinctoria. The puncture is effected by the ovipositor of the insect and an egg is at the same time deposited ; an interruption of the ordinary functions of the tissues of the plant takes place at the spot where the egg is inserted ; the consequence is an excrescence of vegetable matter principally tannin, is formed round the egg and furnishes a nidus for the grub or larva when hatched. When this takes place the grub eats its way out through the side of the gall, after which the vitality of the excrescence either decreases or ceases altogether." - Popular Economic Botany.
There is a good account of various kinds of galls formed on different plants by different kinds of insects in the nineteenth chapter of Rennie's interesting “Insect Architecture,” (old edition,) and much that is valuable about American gall-flies in Harris's “Insects Injurious to Vegetation," Chapter VI. of the beautiful edition published by the State of Massachusetts, one of the exquisitely colored plates of which contains representations of several species, and of the oak-apple which is one of their products.
The best galls of commerce come from Aleppo and Smyrna. They contain more than 25 per cent of tannin. They yield a fine black color with any of the salts of iron and are largely employed in the making of writing ink. About 700 tons are annually imported into England.
Let the children collect for the school museum the various kinds of galls to be found in the neighborhood — the great hairy excrescences from the wild-rose, the common oak-apple, the little galls on the under sides of various leaves; and let them hatch and examine some of the insects. Let the teacher procure some nut-galls so-called, and show the process of making ink. And let these matters be made the subjects of compositions on the part of the pupils — otherwise the information will go in at one ear and out at the other. Or let the information given one day be made the subject of careful questioning the next. “I tried the children with an oral lesson to-day,” said a new teacher of a primary school to us the other day. “It was a thing they had never had before, and I
did not expect much. But when I examined them the next day I was surprised to find that they answered almost every question correctly.” So much for teaching in a natural way.
Catechu, Terra Japonica, Cutch and Gambier.—“ Under these names we receive very large quantities of vegetable extract which contains tannic acid in great abundance, and is consequently very valuable in tanning processes. The various names under which this article comes. serve to define several well-marked varieties, which probably originate entirely from the different modes of manufacture adopted by the natives in various localities of the Indian Empire, [Hindos tan] whence we derive the entire supply of this useful material.
Catechu is the extract of the wood of Acacia Catechu (natural order Leguminosc) the seeds of Areca Catechu (nat. ord. Palmacece.) And the leaves of Nauclea Gambir (nat. ord. Cinchonacec.)
The Areca Catechu is a small spiny tree, rarely twenty feet in height. The wood is hard and heavy, and the centre is of a very dark-red color, approaching to black; it is from this portion that the extract is made. In India it is made by the poorer natives, who move from place to place selecting jungles where the Acacia is most abundant. They cut down the trees, and chop the heart-wood into chips, which they boil in water. When the water is deeply colored, it is strained off and submitted to the process of evaporation, fresh supplies of the decoction being added, until the whole by evaporation becomes thickened sufficiently; it is then poured out into clay moulds, and left to dry in the sun.
An interesting sketch from the letters of Dr. J. D. Hooker, published in Hooker's Journal of Botany, will give a painful insight into the life of the “ Kutt" makers of India.
“ At half-past eight, A. M., it suddenly fell calm, and we proceeded to Chakuchee, the native carts breaking down in their passage over the projecting beds of the flinty rocks, or as they hurried down the inclined planes which we cut through the precipitous banks of the streams: Near Chakuchee we passed an alligator just killed by two men, a foul beast about nine feet long and of the Mager kind. More interesting than its natural history was the painful circumstance of its having just swallowed a child that was playing in the water while its mother was washing her domestic utensils in the river. The brute was hardly dead, much distended by its prey, and the mother standing beside it. A very touching group was this! the parent with her hands clasped in agony, unable to withdraw her eyes from the reptile which still clung to life with that tenacity for which its tribe is so noted, and beside her the two athletæ leaning on their bloody bamboo staffs, with which they had all but despatched the animal.
“The poor woman who lost her child, earns à scanty maintenance by making catechu. She inhabits a little cottage and has no property but her two Bhiles (oxen) to bring wood from the hills, and a very few household chattels, and how few these are is known only to persons who have seen the meagre furniture of the Dhanga hovels. Her husband cuts the trees in the forest and drags them to the hut; but he is now sick, and her only son, her future stay, was he whose end I have just related.
“ Her only food is rice, with beans from the beautiful-flowered Dolichos trailing round the cottage; and she is in debt to the contractor, who has advanced her two rupees, to be worked off in three months by the preparation of 240 lbs. of catechu. * * * All day long she is boiling down the catechu-wood cut into chips, and pouring the decoction into large wooden troughs where it is inspis sated.”
The catechu made from the Acacia Catechu is also called Cutch and Terra Japonica. The first of these names is derived from cate, a tree, and chu, juice. The term Cutch, is said to be also from the native language, in which it is called kutt. The term Terra Japonica was applied by European pharmaceutists when the substance was first imported as a kind of astringent earth from Japan. In commerce one variety is termed catechu, and another cutch, although the source is the same. The former has been poured out upon mats, when about the consistency of honey, and dried in the sun; when sufficiently hardened, it is cut into small, square pieces and thoroughly dried, and in this state packed into cane baskets for exportation. Cutch is of a darker color, and comes much mixed with the broken leaves on which it has been laid to dry.
Gambier or Gambir is an extract of the leaves of the Nauclea Gambir, a plant belonging to the natural order of the Cinchonas or Jesuits' bark trees. It is made by boiling the leaves, and evaporating the decoction to syrup. In appearance it resembles cutch, but is not so glossy in its fracture, and is rather lighter in color. It is mostly imported from Singapore.
Sumach or Shumac is the dried and powdered leaves of Rhus Cotinus (nat. ord. Anacardiaceæ.) “This material was known to the ancients, by whom it was used for tanning as well as dyeing. It contains large quantities of tannin, as well as a yellow coloring matter. More than 13,000 tons were imported into England in 1852. [According to the report of the Boston Board of Trade, 24,000 bags were imported into Boston alone in 1863 — weight of bags, 50 to 100 lbs.]
It will be observed that all these substances are valuable for the amount of tannin they contain. The best oak bark contains about 20 per cent of this substance; gall-nuts 30 to 33 per cent; best foreign sumac 19 to 24 per cent; and catechu as much as 55 per cent. Now tannin is the substance on which the process of making leather out of raw hides depends. Let the teacher explain what tanning is, and take the children to a tan-yard to see it, consulting, if he does not understand it himself, some good cyclopædia like the “ English,” which contains a good account under the head of Leather Manufacture, in the Arts and Science Division. Or let him read, when it shall be published, the chapter on Leather in Dr. Lankester's excellent little book — “The Uses of Animals in relation to the Industry of Man.”
Madder; Rubia Tinctorum (nat. ord. Galiaceæ [Rubiaceæ, Gray.]) “Madder is one of the most important dyes known. There are several distinct species used, but the European madder is from Rubia tinctorum i. e. [dyer's red, cf. rubeus, rubere, etc.] This plant is extensively cultivated in Southern Europe and in Holland. Large quantities of the root come from Smyrna, Trieste, Leghorn and other