Mr. President: I am called to a position which I have tried to avoid. For more than a quarter of a century I have kept a profound silence concerning my connection with the introduction of the present system of State Normal Schools in New England, and should have kept silence to the end, had not this noble, patriotic, and Christian celebration induced some friends to tempt me to break that silence, averring it injustice to withhold the facts. It happens that I alone possess all the historical documents, and I have used them in writing a history of one hundred and sixty-eight pages concerning the public movements in 1835 to 1838, not for publication, but as a legacy to my children. I have carefully preserved in one large quarto volume all the manuscript, documentary evidence, and in a folio, all the printed evidence of the facts I have stated, carefully noting dates and places. Now can you imagine anything more ridiculous and contradictory than for a living man to stand up here and read his posthumous histories? Has God opened a seam in the dark cloud of the grave that he may send one ray of light to increase the full-orbed joy of this sacred occasion?You note that he mentions three books he prepared, but of them only one, the last mentioned, has come to light. The manuscript history and the volume of manuscript documentary evidence have eluded discovery, but the folio of the printed evidence, with dates and places carefully noted, is before you. He began the book as a ‘Common place Book,’ using
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1 History of Missionary Agency of the State Normal Schools of Prussia in Massachusetts in 1835-6-7 and 8. Read at the Quarter Centennial Normal School Celebration in Framingham, Massachusetts, July 1, 1864, by Rev. Charles Brooks, Medford. Boston Evening Transcript, July 13, 1864. Also, printed by request: not published. Boston, John Wilson & Son, 1864.
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