Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

numbers of schools, the other of numbers of children. The classes are, Society Schools~ Dame Schools-Ordinary Schools -and Totals of the preceding three classes. 4. Sunday Schools -subdivided into two columns for numbers and children. In the Scotch Tables, there are no marks of reference; in the English and Welsh, there are three of importance one indicating that, beside the sum given, the endowment has other property not specified, or which cannot be valued in money--another that the school in question is a Dame school-a third, that the school in question is one either upon the National plan, or the plan of the British and Foreign School Society. ..

The reader will at once perceive how completely this Digest with its Tables must exhaust the subject, and present a picture of the state and the means of education in general and in dem tail; for the whole Island, and for each even the smallest parish and chapelry in it and of the education in all its branches, and in every point of view in which it may be regarded. It should be further observed, that these volumes contain the substance also of the two great volumes, the Population Returns, and the Poor Abstract, as far as relates to the number of people and of poor in each ecclesiastical district. Indeed it furnishes a statement not to be gathered from those other works without much labour, namely, a corrected statement of the inhabitants and poor for each of the ecclesiastical subdivisions; it is the first work in which the population of each chapelry has been assigned ; indeed no former work ever gave even the particular townships of each chapelry, and the townships of those parts of the parishes not included in the limits of the subordinate chapelries.

Beside the Digest and Table of each County in the Island, two General Tables are added, containing the Totals of the Counties in one view—but in a more complete subdivision. If we add the General Totals for all England, it will more satisfactorily show the construction of these Tables. The first relates to numbers educated:- And the Total is as follows-theimperfect returns having been filled up by calculating from the complete ones,

Grand Total, or General Result of a Table, showing the State

of Education in England. Population in 1811 - 9,543,610 Poor -. in 1815 - 853,249

404

.

Endowed Schools.
Number of new schools * - - 302

- of children educated there - 39,590

of ordinary schools - - 3,865

of children there - 125,843 Totals-Number of schools - 4,167

of children 165,433
Revenue - L. 300,525

Unendowed Day Schools.
Number of new schools

820
- children. -

105,582 - - - dame schools

3,102 -- - children

53,624 -- - ordinary schools

10,360 - -- children

319,643 Totals-Number of schools - 14,282

- -- of children 478,849

Sunday Schools. Number of new schools - - children

50,979 - -- ordinary schools - 4,758 - children : - 401,838 Totals--Number of schools - 5,162

--- children 452,817 The Second General Table gives the proportion of children taught gratuitously and paying for education; and this table is extracted from the details contained in the Digests of the different counties-the former table being deduced from the different tables. The grand total for England, in this Second table, is as follows. Endowments.-Free scholars - 145,952

Pay scholars · - 19,481

Total . - 165,433
Unendowed Day-schools-Free scholars 168,064

Pay scholars 310,785
Total = - 478,849
Total free scholars

322,518
- pay scholars

321,764 Total taught - 644,28%

aren

* On the National, and British and Foreign Plan.

We have been favoured with the following statement of the totals for Scotland. Endowed schools, including parochial schools · 1,144 Where there are taught

65,533 Unendowed day schools, including society schools 2,412 Where there are taught

110,770 Total schools - 3,556

- children 176,303 -or about fth less than oth of the whole population of Scotland. But the returns for Edinburgh and the Islands are extremely defective, so that the average is certainly rather above

ath, as is stated by Mr Brougham. Of the endowed schools above given, 267 are not parochial; of the unendowed, 202 are society schools, and 205 dame schools. The Sunday schools amount to 687, and are attended by 49,285. *

It is upon the mass of information contained in this Digest, and in these Tables, that the Plan for National Education, which we are now to consider, has been constructed; and as, in the course of the argument respecting its merits, we shall be constantly obliged to appeal to this work, it was necessary to begin by explaining its nature and arrangement.

Among the topics which we think may now safely be passed over in entering upon this discussion, the benefits of Education must be reckoned as one. Happily the season seems gone by

* A most absurd statement has lately appeared in the newspapers, purporting to be a return up to May last of the schools in England and Wales. No such return has been, or could have been made to Parliament; and this statement seems, from internal evidence, to be a concealed advertisement of a Book, which it mentions as used in 3682 schools. By this statement it is pretended that there are above 37,000 schools, taught by above 56,000 teachers, and attended by above a million and a half of children-consequently, that every human being in the kingdom above sixteen years old can read, at the least ; nay, that there are 7520 schools where French is taught, and 3327 where Greek and Latin are taught ; or, in other words, the English are so accomplished, that every third person speaks French, and so learned that every sixth person reads the classics. This fabrication, we must in justice add, cannot for a moment be supposed to have been made for the purpose of helping the arguments urged a. gainst the New Plan ; for it represents the Church Catechism as used in 22,583 schools; or, in other words, that nine millions and a half, that is, nearly the whole population, belong to the Church. So much for this statement ; which, whatever be its origin, is sufficiently discreditable to its authors.

for ever, when men could be found capable of denying, in a civilized nation, the policy of diffusing knowledge among the people. It is not indeed above twelve or thirteen years since some eminent persons thus lingered behind the times in which they lived; and, though gifted with genius to go before their age, preferred the doubtful fame of displaying ingenuity in support of an absurd paradox,– lavishing their eloquence in extolling the usefulness and safety of darkness in the most enlightened period of history, as their predecessors among the luxurious Romans, but, in the decline of Latin taste, bad employed their Rhetorick in making the panegyrick of rudeness and barbarity. But the case is now wholly changed; no persons, or next to none, have openly denied the policy, and even the duty, of Educating the people. If any still doubt it in their hearts, they are now fain to conceal their scruples, and, we suspect, will rather be found to oppose the measures in contemplation, by objecting to their details, than by attacking their principle. This great and salutary change deserves to be marked in passing; and relieves us from all necessity of adding any thing to the observations which we have formerly made upon the more general views of the question.

Another remark of a preliminary nature must be added. Some worthy persons, how deeply scever they may be impressed with the importance of universal Education, are disposed to question the expediency of Government interfering with the Instruction of the people, and that on two grounds :— They are suspicious of Government, and afraid of entrusting it with so powerful an engine of authority and influence; and they rely upon the general maxim of modern policy, which prescribes the rule of leaving the concerns of the people as much as possible to their own care. Now, we conceive that both these objections to a system of National Instruction countenanced and supported by the State, are founded upon most fallacious grounds

and we shall take them in their order.

1. Admitting that a superintendence of the education of youth were likely to give the Government some increase of influence, it would by no means follow that this price was not a cheap one for the benefit purchased, unless it were shown that any other means existed of securing the same benefit; and this consideration belongs to the other head of the argument. An established religion and endowed church certainly arms the civil magistrate with no small power-a power wholly foreign to the purposes of supporting a hierarchy, and only arising incidentally out of the means necessary for accomplishing those purposes. The expediency of such an establishment has accord

ingly been denied by many, who had never witnessed, or not duly reflected upon the numberless evils of unlimited fanáticism, and the great risks of the people receiving no religious instruction, or at least such instruction as could hardly lead to any religious improvement, were they left entirely to the tuition of their own stipendiaries, at all seasons of private and of publick fortune. But no man has ever denied the advantages, nay the necessity of providing for the administration of justice; and yet it may safely be affirmed, that the Judicial establishment of a State, in the present liberal-minded age, furnishes as much of what Mr Bentham terms the Malter of Influence to its government, as the hierarchy itself: For we believe that Lawyers have, in most enlightened countries, succeeded to no little portion of the sway once enjoyed by their predecessors, the Priests. But there is another and a most important circumstance to be taken into consideration. Not only may checks be devised which shall control the interference of the Government, and confine its operation within certain limits; but the principal portion of the influence thus acquired is over the minds of children, whose ripened understandings will easily shake it off, if indeed time does not silently efface its impression: and above all it is never to be forgotten, that the natural effect of the system is to increase, beyond all calculation, the power and energy of the people generally, and especially to furnish, in each individual instance, the very antidote most adapted to counteract any tendency which the mode of tuition might have, unfriendly to perfect independence. All considerations of patronage being put out of view for the present, because means may be devised of removing any such dangers, it seems obvious, on the one hand, that no very great harm can result from the Government, or the establishments connected with it, generally superintending the manner in which the first rudiments of learning shall be conveyed to children; and, on the other, that the progress of popular im- . provement will, by the great and certain supply of instruction thus obtained, be so accelerated as indirectly to counteract a far greater weight than can ever be gained by Government through the direct operation of such a cause. Let the people but read and write and cipher, and they must think for themselves : and it would, in our humble opinion, be quite as unreasonable to complain of the power which the superintendence of their education may give to their rulers, as to be alarmed at the chance of their knowledge leading them into habits of insubordination. Such fears on the part of the Governors have now happily been removed. It will argue very little for the good sense of the governed, if any considerable portion of them fall a victim to the

« AnteriorContinuar »