« PoprzedniaDalej »
mit a system of compulsory education to be adopted with advantage, may be doubtful.” And he proceeds to argue that the way may be gradually paved for its introduction, adding, “ we are at a loss, however, to understand how the just rights of Parents would be infringed by compulsory education, unless we are prepared to admit their right to ill treat those whom they have been the means of bringing into the world.”
This passage is principally interesting as shewing that those who haye usually advocated civil liberty to an extent that endangers the Commonwealth, and religious liberty to the subversion of the Established Church, do, nevertheless, admit that liberty has some limits. But it sounds paradoxically. And it seems difficult to know by what arguments compulsory education can be justified, which would not also justify the state in enforcing uniformity of Creed in religion and politics ; for in both cases the rights of others, and public morality, are affected.
If education is to be conducted by Officers of the State, (which the Candidate Schoolmasters accredited by the Rector of the Normal School would be), and if education is to embrace religious instruction, and most probably, political economy, the effect of the Government scheme will not be remote from compulsory uniformity in religion and politics. It will be difficult to say how far this varies from despotism.
“ The New Poor Law Act has placed it in the power of the intelligent gentlemen at the head of the board of Commissioners for carrying it into effect, of introducing an uniform system of education throughout all the workhouses in the country. At present that which has been pursued, in those which have come under our notice, has been very unsatisfactory. To the value of education the persons who constitute the majority of the boards of Guardians are entirely dead.” page 15.
It may be inferred from this last passage that, as the writer thinks, there are not at present parties competent to superintend the working of the Government scheme of education in the different districts of the country. Are the Clergy, many of whom are to be found in the boards of guardians, included among those who are entirely dead to the value of education? Perhaps this is the reason why the Bishops have been excluded from the Board of education.
ENDOWMENTS. After pointing out the various ways in which schools may be and are supported, -viz. by endowment, by voluntary payments, and by local rates,-with their various objections, Mr. Duppa says, “ perhaps there are few subjects which will require more anxious consideration than that of endowments. It is one, too, of more than ordinary difficulty, owing to the prepossessions and fears of the country upon it. Its importance, however, is so great, that it must be settled. It could hardly seem possible, that the circumstance of an individual giving or bequeathing property, for the noble purposes of education, should generate evils as great as the absence of education itself; but so it is. The questions for investigation, on this head, appear to be, what are the restrictions imposed by different founders which are now discovered to be prejudicial? What the spirit as well as the letter of the gift? Whether the spirit rather than the letter should be fol. lowed? Whether when the spirit as well as the letter is narrow, the gift ought to be abandoned, or applied according to the doctrine of cy pres, or placed at the discretion of the State ?” page 23.
A grave passage ; and one which to many minds will appear teeming with revolutionary principles. Were it put to the vote, whether a man would not be discouraged from founding and endowing Institutions, or leaving testamentary bequests, by the idea that his intentions might be thwarted by some future enactment of the state, the affirmative would probably be carried unanimously. What appears to one man “ narrow in spirit and in letter," may to another wear the aspects of truth and charity. And as the State is often represented by parties of opposite sentiments, on religion, education, and social welfare, endowments would naturally be planted, and plucked up, according to the different principles which happened to be in the ascendant.
The whole question seems to turn upon this; whether there are any immutable principles or not, by which a man may, or may not, have
been influenced ; or, whether the principles which guided him, in making his gifts, are now held by any living individuals ? Whether they are held by a majority, or by the party in power, cannot affect the question.
If education were compulsory, it might be more difficult to decide whether the State should not interfere to make it confor. mable to the shifting fashions of the age. But so long as attendance at an endowed School is not compulsory, then justice requires that the founder may be allowed by his testament " to do what he will with his own.”
Thomas Wyse, Esq. M. P. gives a short account of the state and history of Schools in Scotland, Ireland and England. He says—with respect to Scotland." The Scotch system to a certain degree, was a state system. The system was a pretty literal transcript of an organization belonging to a form of civil and religious government far more central in spirit than that which has succeeded. The Parochial School system of Scotland, as well as the Parochial system of Ireland, was a portion of the Catholic ecclesiastical code of the country, preserved and engrafted on the civil one. So early as 1494, the principle of taxation for educational objects, and of compulsory attendance at School, was recognised by the Scotch legislature. Twenty pounds Scotch was fixed by statute as the penalty for noncompliance. In 1615 an order of the Privy Council, confirmed by an act of the Scotch Parliament in 1633, gave it additional force.” page 30.
In the above paragraph, we learn an interesting fact, that the principle of centralization is not a new principle, but a relic of the Roman Catholic Church; and as the City of Rome was the centre, it may explain why several living members of that Church are so anxious for its re-establishment. We learn, also, that compulsory education emanated from that Church: but from the acknowledged ignorance of those days, it rather affords an argument against despotism in the management of national education,
Again : “ A school was required to be erected in every parish; and this duty was imposed, not on the poor, but on the rich. The principle of this arrangement is important. It does not consider the advancement of intellectual purposes, as a matter of mere political economy. It does not treat education like a sale of woollens or wines. It does not require supply to wait upon demand. It suggests and excites demand by supply. It precedes instead of following. This is natural. From whom are such aspirings to come? By whom are such tastes to be taught, but by those long habituated to their enjoyment? The educated, and not the uneducated, are they who are best qualified to construct a system of national education. They are, if so it must be called, the true creators of the market. It is a great moral police, preventive and corrective, in the maintenance of which, every man from king to peasant, more than in judges, courts, jails, or gibbets, is interested. If compulsion is not to be used, it is only because compulsion is not, in all cases, the best means of obtaining this end. It is just to use it, on the principles professed, and acted on, by all shades of German governments; but in other countries, under other modifications, it may not be expedient. Its application, or non-application, does not affect the end. That end appears obvious, incontestable; it imposes obligations as sacred as any by which the frame of society is held together. We hear every day the same plea ; this or that measure may be good, but not fitted for contemporary society,—for the national mind as it is. The answer to such an apology for indolence or timidity is surely very obvious ;-change the national mind, make it other than it is, re-educate it, make it capable of bearing your law. It is not the laws which should bend to men, but men who should be gradually brought to bend to the laws.” page 32,
The foregoing is, in every point of view, a most remarkable passage. With the single substitution of the words Established Church for School, the first paragraph is verbatim the argument so unanswerably urged, in recent controversies, respecting the voluntary system in religion.
Proceeding from a Roman Catholic, many persons would be inclined to identify it with that intolerant spirit which forbids men to think for themselves, and which is often used to justify those who “ lord it over God's heritage.”
Proceeding from a legislator who ranks among the popular party of the state, it shews an ominous coincidence between Democracy and Despotism.
Assuming, as it does, that “ the national will” may sometimes be opposed to law; and that the national will should, in that case, be made to bend to law; it leaves untouched the difficult and delicate point of who is to bend the national will—by what means it is to be bent and to what laws it must yield ? It establishes, that a minority may sometimes be right; and ought sometimes to rule. It introduces a form of Government once considered odious, and always dreaded, “ an Oligarchy."
“ The Scotch Parish School was never intended to be the sole, the monopolising School, but the sample School, the Muster Schule of the parish, suggesting and teaching how others might be raised, -all fed at the same table of knowledge as well as of religion, a double tie of brotherhood was secured by this doubly holy communion.” page 34.
This passage forcibly and beautifully describes that union between Education and Religion so earnestly contended for by the great Body of the Clergy and Laity of the Church of England. It is impossible to imagine why the writer of such a passage should not promote, with all his warmth and zeal, that excellent Society already chartered, “ the Society for promoting the education of the Poor, in the principles of the Established Church.” Can it be that Mr. Wyse wishes to connect the education of the people with any other than the Established Church?
Paper by George Long, Esq. on the Endowments for Education in England.
This is an elaborate and important paper, Its object is to give a statement of the Laws with regard to endowments for education, and to propose an entire alteration of the principles of those
“ Many of these endowments, which date from the earlier periods of our history, continue, with some slight modifications, to ful