« PoprzedniaDalej »
funds to be provided; or for the exercise of undue influence in matters which cannot well bear the peremptory control of Government. On the contrary, the consent of those interested will, generally speaking, be required for whatever step of importance is taken; the reformed administration of charitable funds should go hand in hand with the improvement of education; and should the whole measure be adopted, this is provided for. But the two features of the plan are not necessarily connected; and the omission of any change in the present constitution of charities, and confining the functions of the Board to mere enquiry and correction of abuses in their management, would only have the effect of lessening the funds which might otherwise be available for better education of the people, and consequently of increasing the expense of an improved system of instruction.
That expense, in either case, cannot be very considerable; and as the heaviest part of it will be distributed over several years, it certainly will not be at all felt by the country. We have no means of ascertaining, with any thing like accuracy, the amount at present expended on education; but some approximation to it may be made. There being, in round numbers, about 35,000 day schools of all descriptions, the expense of each can hardly, upon an average, fall short of sixty pounds a-year. Indeed, if the rent of the buildings be taken into account, that sum will not by any means suffice. But supposing it adequate-we have here above two millions yearly already applied to education, in part by subscription, the rest by payment from the children, and the latter portion considerably exceeding the former; for it is a most important result of the returns, that a much larger proportion of the whole children taught at day-schools are pay scholars than free scholars. Of 478,000, the number attending unendowed dayschools in 1818, 310,000 paid for their tuition, and only 168,000 were free scholars. In 1833, there appear to have been 730,000 pay-scholars, and 390,000 free-the proportion being nearly the same at the two periods. This is a consideration of great importance; because it shows that the schools now existing may with certainty be continued and improved, and that it only requires a judicious treatment to effect the salutary changes required. If funds were suddenly provided by the State without the greatest caution, the voluntary subscriptions would be wholly withdrawn, and by far the greater portion of the payments from the children would cease. But by judicious management both may easily be continued, and the present education revenue of above two millions, altogether independent of endowments, secured.
Another approximation to that revenue is afforded by the number of the children. These amount, in all, by the last returns. to about 1,100,000, exclusive of about 153,000 educated at en
dowed schools. The expense of the latter is about L.250,000 a-year, but this is probably under the mark; for it was, in 1818, returned at L.300,000. Taking it at the smallest sum, we have the expense of each child, L.1, 13s. 4d.; at the larger sum, L.1, 18s. 6d. But as the endowed schools have no rent to pay, but only repairs, the real expense must be considerably greaterprobably, not less than L.2, or L.2, 5., at those schools. If the cost of the unendowed day-schools, is only L.1, 10s., we have an income of above a million and a half. But the result, from considering the number of the schools, is perhaps more to be relied on.
The number of children attending each school is here material to be considered. In 1818, the average of those attending unendowed day schools, was 34-of those attending endowed dayschools 40-and of those attending Sunday schools nearly 90. In 1833, the unendowed day had 32; the endowed day, 37— the infant day-schools, 30, and the Sunday schools, 94. From hence it appears, that much fewer attend each ordinary dayschool than might have been supposed, even after all the pains taken to extend the new system of Lancaster and Bell. The returns of 1833 do not enable us to state how many of the schools then existing were upon the new system; but the returns of 1818 give that proportion. Of the 14,000 day schools then established, 820 were on the new system, and were attended by 105,000 children, being an average of 128 to each school. The proportion of these new schools, to the schools on the old system, does not seem to have increased, but rather to have diminished since 1818, as the general average of all day-schools has fallen from thirty-four to thirty-two. Now these particulars are important to the question of the expense likely to attend the proposed improvements in national education, for they lead us to the conclusion-first, that in order to provide the additional means of instruction manifestly required, there will be no necessity for incurring an expense equal to that of the existing schools; and, secondly, that much of the present expense may be saved by judicious reforms. In certain situations, no doubt, it must always be impossible to have schools attended by large numbers of children, as in villages, or in other places where all sects cannot agree upon a plan of instruction. If there are not a large number of inhabitants, or if those, though more numerous, are so decided in religious opinions, that one portion insist upon the church catechism and liturgy being taught, and the rest are Dissenters from the Establishment-then the schools must be multiplied, and the expense of them increased. But in all populous places it is clear, that whatever be the divisions of opinion, there must be children enough to support schools of one hundred,
or even one hundred and fifty. But suppose. the average of the whole schools only varied to between 60 and 70, or about doubled, the whole expense of educating the children now instructed would be reduced to one-half; and the number of those children might be doubled without increasing the present expenditure. Undoubtedly this calculation proceeds upon the supposition that the emoluments of teachers are not to be higher than they are at present. But with the increased qualifications of teachers their emoluments must be augmented. Therefore, notwithstanding the improved management of both old and new schools under the proposed reform, a considerable increase of expenditure will be required. The heaviest charge, however, that which alone will be felt,-is the providing new school rooms; and a judicious combination of aid from the state, with individual and local exertion, will greatly lighten this burden.
It remains to observe, that there can be no greater error than theirs (if such there be) who suppose that this plan will not operate a universal reform in the education of the country. It will be as universal as effectual. Without the pretensions of a. new national system, it will have all the advantages of one; it will give education wherever it is now wanting, and it will, in a very few years, render that education deserving of a name, which it now usurps without any title.
But, unhappily, the quarter from which the principal objections are to be apprehended is in the opposite direction. Many will resent the change on the score of expense. We have shown that this cannot be so heavy as might at first be apprehended. The grant of L.100,000 a year from the State, for a few years, would probably suffice for all the expense which local exertion and local rates could not defray. And who that reflects upon the times when we expended much more than that sum every day on the extra charges of war, and above the ordinary expenses of the nation, can suffer such a consideration to weigh as dust in the balance against the attainment of by far the most important benefit which a nation can desire, or its rulers bestow ?
Upon the religious differences that prevail in the community another difficulty may be raised. It may be said that, if the new schools are placed under ecclesiastical superintendence, the Dissenters will object; and if they are exempt from such interference, the Church will be unfriendly. We have great confidence in the good sense of both these parties; and their real wish to see the people universally and really educated. Nor does it appear at all difficult to reconcile all the differences which exist between them upon the question. In the great majority of places there are sufficient numbers of children to support
schools of both kinds—that is, schools where the church catechism and liturgy are introduced, and schools where the religious instruction of the Church, or of any particular sect, is forbidden,the Bible alone being taught, and the children left to receive from the pastors of their families the kind of tuition in spiritual matters which belongs to their particular form of belief. The plan in question is so framed as to prevent any creed or observance being imposed, which the bulk of the community disapproves, in any given district. It may happen that the minority, being overborne, are obliged to support a school, from the rules of which they dissent. But this is a remote possibility; for if the minority is at all considerable, there will, in all likelihood, be a second school established by the same local authorities, on such principles as may be adapted to the views of that minority; and the Board will in every case be able to prevent any school at all from being established, unless the wishes of the minority, as well as those of the majority, shall be consulted. It may thus happen that occasionally the conflict of sects shall prevent any thing from being done; but this is far better than undue compulsion, or oppression; and it will only lead, in the mean while, and in the first instance, to increased individual exertion; and end, before long, in a general agreement to compromise by adopting a middle course.
In conclusion, we shall be asked if our ideas of a complete system of education are confined to the elementary, branch, improved, as we have above described, and enlarged by the important additions of what the whole people ought to be taught, and may easily be taught, before the age when nearly their whole time must be devoted to daily labour? We make answer, that as far as the interference of the state is concerned, we apprehend little, if any thing, can be done in the other and higher branches; but it is very clear that these may most safely be left to the people themselves, when the elementary instruction shall be improved and generally established. At least, it cannot be doubted that, by attempting more in the first instance, more attainable objects might be frustrated.
In the desires of such benevolent men as Mr Wyse and Mr Simpson, every one must sympathize,-even those who may conceive them somewhat tinged with enthusiasm, or too sanguine in their expectations. But it would be a grievous error to suppose that they are even over-sanguine, except as regards the question of time, Sooner or later those wishes for the improvement of mankind will be accomplished; and they will be best accomplished, that is, most surely and most safely,-if the operations of the state are confined within their proper limits, and the higher branches of education spring, by the culture of the people, from its elements, fostered if not planted by the public care.
NOTE to the Article in Number CXXIX., entitled' Re'cent Publications on the War in Spain.'
The notice, in the above article, of Mr Honan's book on The Court and Camp of Don Carlos, concludes as follows:- Mr 'Honan had not been more than two days at Madrid when he 'was ordered to leave Spain, after some communication, he says, 'had passed between the British Ambassador and the Spanish 'Government. He expressed his readiness to go if an order from the Police came to him; but he was suffered to remain unmolested for a month; and in order to satisfy his friends that their 'fears of his personal safety among the excited Christinos were unfounded, he had purposely frequented all kinds of places of 'public resort, and gone unmasked to masquerades, where there 'were hundreds who knew his political leanings, and his recent 'visits to the Carlist quarters. It seemed, he says, as if the government had seen the folly of their objecting to his residence. 'But one morning at six o'clock he was awakened by an officer 'from the Police, who produced an order and a passport for Lisbon. He was not suffered to communicate with any one, even 'his banker, except the British Minister, whose house was next 'door; and was carried away as soon as he had dressed himself 'and breakfasted, and paid his bills. He was strictly guarded on the journey; the officers who accompanied him being well 'armed, and one of them always sleeping in the same room with him. After ten days thus passed, in the depth of winter, he was 'liberated upon their arrival at the Portuguese frontier. We 'take for granted that there must have been some pretext stated, ' at least, to the British ambassador, for this very extraordinary proceeding. Surely no man can think of contending that Mr 'Honan's opinion being favourable to the Carlists, while he was acting in every respect an open part, and only doing what he professed to do, and being what he avowed himself, offered the shadow of a justification for such an outrage? It is true there is only the statement of one party before us; but it must be rez 'membered that nearly the same narrative was made public at 'the time, and has received no contradiction. At any rate it is now before the world, with the name of the writer, the sufferer; ' and there can be no doubt that some explanation will be given -it is to be hoped a satisfactory one.'
An explanation of the proceeding here so pointedly mentioned has been very lately laid before the public. It is contained in