--Quite a large auditory of ladies and gentlemen assembled in the lower hall of the Mechanics' Institute building, Friday evening, to witness the closing exercises of the Night School
connected with the Mechanics' Institute.
A temporary platform had been erected on the northern side of the hall, which was occupied by the President
of the Institute
, the teachers of the Night School
, the speakers and the committee of the Institute
, Messrs. Macfarlane
, who have charge of the school.
The members of the Night School
were out nearly in full force, numbering, say, one hundred and thirty pupils present out of 180.
The exercises commenced with a brief address from the President
, A. M. Bailey
, who urged the claims of the school upon the citizens, and gave the pupils some wholesome advice to guide them in future life.--He then introduced Mr. Salter, senior
teacher of the school.
Under his direction sundry of the scholars declaimed and recited, a declamation on the necessity of resistance, a poem "The Southland fears no Foe,"a declamation on the glories of the Union
, and two comic dialogues admirably rendered.
There may have been other performances by the boys, but they are not now called to mind; but it may be truthfully said that all the youngsters acquitted themselves most handsomely, and reflected very great credit upon themselves and upon their instructors.
At the conclusion of the exercises, the President
introduced to the audience Thomas J. Evans
, who delivered an address to the school.
The theme of the discourse was "Obedience," and the basis idea this pregnant sentence. "No man is fit to govern who has not learned to obey." The value of obedience, in the family, in the school-room, and in society, was ably enforced, and much of the disorder, anarchy and confusion of the times in this country was traced to the failure to inculcate the virtue of obedience among those charged with the training of the young Obedience to law was shown to be the moral condition of all things in nature, and the violation of the principle attended with inevitable pains and penalties.
The young folks were exhorted to learn how cheerfully to obey, and the exhortation enforced by illustrations of the rewards which, in frequent historic instances, has followed upon obedience.
The entire effect was admirably conceived and executed, and afforded high satisfaction to old and young alike.
The next order of the evening was the presentation of the three silver medals given by the Institute
to the three scholars most distinguished for punctuality, good conduct, and progress in study.
The medals were quite pretty and handsomely engraved.
The presentation was made by N. A. Sturdivant
, in a neat, prettily conceived and admirable address.
One to John R. Marks
, the inscription stating it to be given as a reward of "application and progress," another to R. C. Burton
, for "punctuality and good conduct," and the other to Bernard Remke
, for "zealous devotion to learning." While the inscription did not so state, these medals were awarded only to those scholars who stood pre- eminent among their fellows for the three traits, punctuality, decorum in school, and actual progress in learning.
The presentation was accompanied with some remarks to the school, &c.
After this, Mr. Salter
announced the names of such of the boys as had specially distinguished themselves in any study, and quite a lengthy list it was; and then delivered an admirable address, filled with sagacious counsels to the boys of the school, and words of affectionate parting.
This, it was expected, would end the ceremony, but one of the larger pupils came upon the platform, opened a box, and took out a large and finely bound copy of the Holy Bible
, and presented it to Mr. Salter
as a token of esteem and respect for their teacher.
The present was a very fine one, and totally unexpected by the recipient, whose feelings well night forbid a suitable response.
This done, President Bailey
announced the evening's exercises closed, and the conclusion of the session of the Night School
for the winter of 1860-61.
A gentleman who kindly furnished us with an account of the exercises, after the above was in type, says: ‘"The friends and patrons of the school were delighted with the indications of progress given by the pupils who participated in the enologies, declamations, odes and dialogues prepared for the occasion.
is true to her highest glory, the Virginia
Mechanics' Institute will receive substantial encouragement in the prosecution of the noble end sought to be attained by its founders."’