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Wyse conceives it quite a matter of course; the constitution of the Government Board, in 1832, also shows that such an intermixture was deemed essential to the success of the plan in that part of the empire in England, it is equally certain that no such addition should be made to the body; and that the members of the Government should rather belong to it for the sake of helping than directing the operations of the Board, and in order to provide a salutary control over its financial proceedings. Some one of these members will probably become a kind of Minister of Public Instruction; but without the power of perverting this engine to any party purpose, or of adapting its movements to individual caprice. The bill which was introduced into the House of Lords, in 1835, and is now again before that assembly, was framed upon this principle. The Board which it constitutes has a majority of its members independent of the Crown; namely, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and three members appointed on the footing of the Judges: these four members are empowered to perform all administrative acts, without the assent of
any of the other three, unless where either the expenditure of money, or the appointment of offices is concerned; in both of which cases there ought plainly to be a ministerial responsibility interposed; and the three irremoveable members are charged with all the judicial functions belonging to the Board. There can be no doubt, that in practice, those three members will constitute the department; and that they will not be interfered with, unless upon great occasions, where the Interposition of the whole body is desirable. But in order to prevent any possibility of danger, at least as far as undue influence is concerned, the fundamental principle is adopted, of requiring a concurrence of the local authorities, to all acts whereby either the plan of education, or the raising of money by rates, may be affected.
The first great object, in the view of all those who are anxious for the promotion of education, will thus be attained, the formation of a department of public instruction. In order to understand clearly the details of the plan, and the principles upon which these details are grounded, it is necessary to consider summarily the present state of education in England; for this will at once show what ought to be supplied, and what ought to be preserved.
That a vast mass of education exists in England,—if by education be meant teaching of all kinds, from the best to something barely deserving the name, in schools of every description,— cannot be denied. Nor can it be doubted that the number of those schools, and of the children taught in them, has greatly increased during the last thirty years. Indeed, of their
increase during the last twenty years we have the most unquestionable evidence; there remaining now no dispute upon this head, unless it be respecting the rate of the increase.
By the Parliamentary returns of 1818, it appeared that there were then in England and Wales, of day-schools, endowed and unendowed, about 18,500, educating 644,000 children. Of these, about 4100 were endowed schools, educating 166,000 children; the rest were unendowed, and supported by voluntary contribution, and the payments of those taught. In fifteen years, a very great increase had taken place of the latter class. The endowed schools remained, of course, nearly as before; only that the numbers taught had fallen off sensibly, being reduced from 166,000 to less than 154,000. The number of unendowed schools had risen from about 14,300 to 34,800; the number of children from 478,000 to 1,122,000, being considerably more than double in fifteen yearsbeing indeed a rate of increase of trebling in about twenty yearsso that in 1833, when the last account was taken upon Lord Kerry's motion, there were, of day schools, endowed and unendowed, about 39,000, educating, in one way or another, 1,276,000 children. This includes about 3000 infant schools for 89,000 children.
It is quite certain that these returns are far from being accurate in the larger towns; but it is equally certain that they may be relied upon with confidence as to the two most material points, to elucidate which they are cited-First, as they were obtained by a similar process in 1818 and in 1833, there is no reason to suppose that they are more inaccurate for the one period than for the other; consequently they exhibit, correctly enough, the rate at which education is increasing, in amount. Secondly, the error is most likely to be by omission, as it arises in by far the greater number of instances, from neglect. Where this is not the source of the error, religious distinctions probably occasion it ;--the returns coming from persons belonging to the Establishment, who may not include all the dissenting seminaries in their returns. When we find, indeed, that they only give 925 schools, educating 51,822 children, as all the day-schoolssupported by dissenters in England and Wales, we cannot doubt that a great many dissenting schools have either been omitted.
altogether, or returned as belonging to the church. considerations may be added, the result of the enquiry made by the statistical society of Manchester; by which it appears, that in that township, about 2000 children had been returned who were not taught, and above 10,000 omitted who were. We are entitled,
therefore, to conclude, that both in 1818 and 1833, the returns exhibit an amount of education considerably under the truth; and that at the present time, there are probably above 40,000 dayschools, educating above 1,400,000 children; besides the Sunday schools, amounting to nearly 17,000, and educating nearly 1,600,000 children.
Now we are first to ask, if the education be sufficient in amount for the population of the country supposing the kind of it to be good. Taking the number of the people at 14,000,000, it appears from the returns of 1821, respecting ages, that between the ages of 7 and 14, there must be 2,650,000 children; and between 5 and 14, 3,400,000. Some authorities maintain, that in order to furnish the complete means of education, there should be schools for the whole number of children between 2 and 14; that is about 4,600,000. Others hold this to be more than is
necessary, by about two years, from 12 to 14; but regard the infant schools as indispensable, perhaps the most important of any. None suppose that even if the infant schools are confined to cities and towns of a certain size, and are thus only provided for about half the number between two and six years of age, or about 600,000, and if twelve shall be the greatest age, any thing less than schools for 3,000,000 can suffice, the population being always supposed 14 millions. Indeed, if infant schools were laid wholly out of view, and provision were only made for children between six and twelve, schools for 2,500,000 would be wanted; and we have seen that there are not above 1,400,000 taught at all the daily schools of every kind; leaving a deficiency of about three-sevenths. But 2,500,000 is greatly below the mark; and assumes the most important branch of infant education to be omitted. It may, therefore, be safely laid down as evident, and without any exaggerated view, that the deficiency instead of three-sevenths is full one-half; and that additional schools of different kinds are now wanting, for as great a number as the existing schools can at present accommodate.
The deficiency exists chiefly in the larger towns, as regards
*Of these, 375 were returned twice over, and 1590 were falsely returned by one individual giving in three schools that never existed. The wilful error is an accident not likely to happen in other places.
the place, and in the infant Schools as regards the kind of education. The state of the larger towns in this respect may be seen by comparing such counties as Middlesex and Lancashire with the rest of the country. In those two counties there are schools for only about a fifteenth of the people-that is, there are not above 200,000 children taught. In the rest of England and Wales, there are about 1,100,000 taught; or about a tenth of the population. So it was in the returns of 1818; while the general average of the country, including those two counties, was onefifteenth; for Middlesex that average was only one-twentieth, and for Lancashire a twenty-fourth. Thus the means of education are by far the most deficient in those places where it is by far the most wanted. The deficit of at least three-sevenths, but more correctly one-half, in those means, is not distributed equally over the country; it is by much the greatest in the districts where the population is the most dense, and where the necessity of moral culture is the most urgent. Even in each of those districts, the deficit is unequally distributed. In the country parts of Middlesex it is less felt than in the capital; and in the remoter parts of Lancashire it is less felt than in the great manufacturing towns. We may add, that this deficit exists most in the places where a well conducted administration of the means of instruction would find it the most easy to supply it; there being incomparably greater facilities for establishing schools in large towns than in villages and country places.
As regards the kind of education, in like manner the deficiency is greatest where the necessity is most urgent. The infant schools are almost every where most inconsiderable in number. They amount in the whole to less than 3000; and are attended by no more than 89,000 children. Now there are at the least 1,200,000 of the age to which this culture is adapted; and if we only reckon the large towns as peculiarly fitted for such establishments, and as most requiring them, Middlesex and Lancashire alone would require infant training for five times as many as are at present taught in the whole country. The benefits which may, without any romantic exaggeration, be fairly expected from multiplying these institutions annually in the larger towns, are inestimablefar exceeding those derived from any other branch of education. The moral, as well as the intellectual character, is in great part formed when the child reaches seven or eight years of age. His temper and disposition may then be fixed for good or for evil. No one denies that much may be done, even after that period of life, to reclaim; but how much more easy and sure is prevention, in this case, than cure? It is the result of the almost universal
experience of men engaged in administering the criminal law, that the effects of punishment in deterring from the commission of offences, by the example of punishment, are very far from being so considerable as the bulk of mankind have been accustomed to suppose. This overrating of the yirtue of such inflictions proceeds from assuming, that, when men are planning the commission of crimes, they are in a calm and calculating frame of mind; whereas they are acting under the influence of great necessity, or great excitement. The truth is, that habit here, as in all things, is chiefly to be considered; and by far the most important use of punishment is, that its existence becoming known, the idea of it becomes associated with guilt, and forms and strengthens in the mind the habit of regarding the latter with aversion. But a far more sure and effectual way of creating virtuous habits of thinking is to be found in the system of infant training. Habits of prudence, industry, and self-control thus become the first rather than the second nature; so that a continuance in virtuous courses is easy,--requiring no kind of effort; and the departure from them is also difficult and unnatural. Give a child, it has been correctly said, the habit, from its earliest infancy, of sacredly regarding truth, of scrupulously respecting the property of others, of abstaining from acts of improvidence, of regarding all with kindness-and he will as little think of lying, or stealing, or running in debt, or behaving cruelly, as of rushing into an element in which he cannot breathe. But among whom are the bulk of criminals to be found in the present state of society? Not among the rich, nor among the middle classes, nor yet among the artisans,-the more skilful of the working classes; but among common labourers,-those who are constantly pressed with the difficulty of obtaining subsistence, and for whom every allowance is fairly to be made, in the hard necessity of their lot. It is towards this class that the lawgiver is bound to direct his utmost attention, with a view to the grand object of lessening the number of offences; and if, among this class, the trial be made of infant education, no one can doubt of the result. A sufficient number of infant schools must be established in every considerable town, to train the children of this class. The necessity is impérious; and the Government of the country violates its most sacred duty, if to this necessity it refuses to yield. No one who has well considered the subject, especially with the benefits of the experience which has already been had, though upon a most inadequate scale, both in France and in this country, of the prodigious success which invariably attends infant training,doubts what the result must be. The source of crimes would be cut off; that class, among whom almost all criminals are bred,