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[p. 21]

Two months later, in April, 1837, the act1 establishing the Board of Education was signed by Governor Edward Everett, and now Horace Mann comes into the story of the movement, for he was appointed secretary for the board. This appointment was unexpected to him and to others, for Mr. Brooks and others who knew and appreciated what James G. Carter had been doing for fourteen years, advocated his appointment. It is thought that Edmund Dwight, of whom we shall hear more presently, was responsible for Mann's appointment. There has never been any question that whoever it was that secured the appointment of Horace Mann to this important office, it was wise, discreet, and a tribute to someone's knowledge of men, for later events showed that Mann was emphatically the one for the place.

Until the date of Mann's appointment he had had nothing to do with the cause to which he gave so much, and on which his fame rests, except some experience as a tutor and one term as school committee man in Dedham. He was a lawyer in active practice. He had recently completed printing a revision of the statutes of Massachusetts and was serving a second term as president of the Senate when the act was passed establishing the Board of Education. What he did, what he endured, what attacks he had to meet, what financial sacrifices he made, all are matters of record, and his fame is secure.

Brooks says that he thought that now it was time for him to return to his professional duties, as that for which he had labored had been accomplished when the board was created. But Mann urged him to keep on with his lecturing until normal schools were secured. Brooks replied that they were secured, now that the board had been established. Brooks, however, did continue, for the movement had acquired such great momentum that he was needed to guide it by explaining just what was needed.

1 Acts of 1837, Chap. 241. An Act relating to Common Schools. The secretary shall diffuse information of educational methods ‘to the end that all children in this Commonwealth, who depend upon common schools for instruction, may have the best education which those schools can be made to impart.’

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