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The fact is, that all these evils are maintained consistently with the 'feeling of what is right and honourable' entertained by the most influential of the Eton boys,—by those whose opinion on all subjects of morals is paramount,--and are rampant still, just because the system' does not fasten the responsibility upon the pusillanimous head master, who ought, by authority, to prevent young boys from learning to become drunkards,—or perish in the attempt. Any argument which justifies the scenes at the “Tap' and Christopher,' would have justified the maintenance of the Chamber of Horrors; but that has been abolished, and so could these, were the Eton authorities anxious to abolish them. We are warranted in saying that some, at least, of the assistant masters would gladly aid in the good work.
Another instance of the working of the principle of nonintervention was until quite lately exhibited in the timehonoured custom of shirking. The abolition of this strange usage is, we believe, the only one of the numerous recommendations of the Commission, that has been, as yet, effectively carried out. Although defunct, it deserves recording, as a specimen of what Eton boys and masters, too, once thought right and honourable. This was shirking :-if a boy was seen by a master out of bounds, or going into any prohibited place, or doing any prohibited act, and he, seeing the master, avoided him, if only in the ostrich-fashion of hiding his head behind a furze-bush or post, while his legs were all the while visible,-he shirked’ the master, and the latter by a legal fiction did not ‘see' the boy ; and what was, perhaps, still more amusing (if it is amusing at all) was that if the boy honestly and courageously went forward to meet the master, he got punished for-disrespect! The master would say, What do you mean by this impertinence in not shirking me' ?that is, as the assumption is that you have a right to do ' wrong, why don't you avail yourself of it?' One of the masters gave it as his deliberate testimony that this practice
at the bottom of a great deal of evil at Eton ’ inasmuch as 'a boy might do what was wrong, but the fault often seemed to consist in his being found out.'
There are two other features of the public school system very much depending, one would suppose, for their origination and maintenance on the boys' own sense of right,' for we can scarcely imagine them to have formed parts of any plan of school discipline, settled and arranged beforehand by wisdom from without, -we mean the monitorial system' and ` fagging.' They are both probably of high antiquity, and many argu
Monitorial System and Fagging.
ments, some of them very plausible, have been adduced in justification of them. Their advocates, indeed, estimate them so highly as to consider them' essential' to the efficient management of a large school. Without, however, entering into a discussion of their value in maintaining discipline, or of their tendency to foster private and personal tyranny, while professing to prevent it,-on the homeopathic principle that like cures
like,'—we may remark generally that the experience of Eton, by far the largest of the public schools, and therefore, by theory, most in need of them, is conclusive against their necessity. Both, the former especially, are falling into desuetude, without any injury to the discipline, and are, therefore, proved not to be essential. On the whole, we are not disposed to pronounce any wholesale condemnation of the Eton discipline as a theory. The practice needs an extensive reform first, and careful superintendence afterwards. Everything, however, is of course, liable to perversion and corruption, and many cases could no doubt be found at Eton, of private wrong and secret cruelty. But such cases occur in private schools to quite as great an extent. It is sad to think that wherever children are brought together, the disposition to tease one another is detected. Diabolical as the pleasure really is, which one human being gains at the expense of the torture and distress of another, all who are well acquainted with boy-nature know that there are few pleasures more keenly enjoyed. We are not then prepared to say that there is more tyranny at a public than at a private school on the average ; but we do emphatically say that neither the monitorial system, nor ' fagging' should be left without challenge to the boys' own sense of right. No part, indeed, of the arrangements of a school, whether public or private, should be exempt from authoritative interference; the amount of which should, of course, depend on the discretion-guided by conscience-of the masters.
This want of authoritative interference with real and recognised evils is the fundamental vice of the entire Eton system. The head master of Eton must know very well that what we have called the traditional method of conducting lessons both in the pupil-room and the school-room is a positive absurdity, aiding and abetting rather than correcting the normal indolence of boys; wretchedly barren in results, and, in fact, ruining every year more intellects than it saves. He must know that the employment of one-third of his own valuable time in the soulless task of hearing the young men at the head of the school say lessons by heart, and of more than one-half of each private tutor's time in 'correcting exercises' up to perfection point,
are also absurdities. He must, moreover, know that the Eton code of ethics, founded on the boy's sense of right, involves, nay, connives at and encourages much that is evil; that the muchvaunted gentlemanliness of the boys may consist with enormous idleness, indifference to every kind of intellectual excellence, gross ignorance, habits of drinking, wasteful expenditure of money, and general self-indulgence. These and a thousand other evils
cry aloud for correction. They neither are nor can be necessary parts of any really noble system of training-moral or intellectual — and authoritative interference, founded on earnest conscientiousness, would be sufficient to put an end to the great majority of them. But we fail to see any disposition on the part of the reverend rulers of Eton to employ it. Their apathy with regard to the interests of the pupils is something marvellous, and stands in marked contrast with their quick and delicate appreciation of their own. As a proof of their real indifference to improvement we find that out of the 32 'general recommendations of the Commissioners affecting all the public schools, and the 64 specially framed for the benefit of Eton, scarcely half-a-dozen have yet been carried into effect-nor will they be, until an executive commission takes the place of the repeatedly baffled Public Schools Bill founded on the Report.
Finally, what conclusion can we come to respecting Eton, as supplying its share of education for the people ?' Does it perform this duty relatively better than those schools which minister-and so inadequately minister, as we have seen—to the wants of the people at the bottom of the social scale? We do not think it performs them so well. We decline altogether to accept • Eton Education as the proper and sufficient training of those classes who, in so many cases, urge prescriptive rights, and in others interpose influence' where merit alone should prevail, as their only warrant for holding high positions, as our rulers, and thus swaying in various ways the destinies of our great country. These positions are by right ours-the people's—to give, not theirs by right to receive. The claim that they may do what they will with their own, must not much longer include the right to do what they will with ours also. The presumption that a gentlemanly bearing involves capacity for statesmanship, must be rebuked. We want this and some
* It appeared from various communications addressed to the Pall Mall Gazette, in January 1867, that · Mr. Balston had not interfered in any
way since 1861 with the perfect liberty the Eton boys then enjoyed of frequenting the public houses of the town as much as they pleased ; also that he had not enforced the rule of limiting the number of boys to • be educated by each tutor to forty;' and that'no steps had as yet been ' taken to make the study of French part of the regular business of the school.'
The Book of Common Prayer.
thing of infinitely more importance. We want in every department of public business, really efficient men. We want in every public servant the most perfect combination we can obtain of extensive knowledge, mental ability, and moral character. Does Eton, as we know it now, appear peculiarly qualified for the supply of such men? We think not. Yet, at Eton, perhaps for centuries to come, will the upper classes of English society receive their school training. If, however, these “upper classes 'wish also to remain ruling classes,' let them take heed. Whether they believe it or not, the new order of things which the recent revolution in politics will sooner or later bring about, will assuredly affect them also. If they are to retain their prestige, it will be by virtue of their superior education mainly, and they must, themselves, see to it, that Eton furnishes the education they will want.
[Since the above article was in type, the intended resignation of the head master has been announced. We should heartily congratulate Eton on losing Dr. Balston, were it not but too certain that the 'system' will, as long as resistance to reform is possible, remain unaltered. The gentleman named as his probable successor has certainly a high reputation in the school for gymnastics, boating, and rifle-shooting ; but, as far as we are informed, for nothing else. Such an appointment would show-probably would be intended to showthat Eton has not yet been brought even to shame, much less to repentance. ]
ART. III.-(1.) The Annotated Book of Common Prayer; being an
Historical, Ritual, and Theological Commentary on the Devotional
with special reference to existing Controversies. By the Rev. R. P. BLAKENEY, LL.D. Second Edition. London : James
Miller. 1866. (3.) The Principles of Divine Service. An Inquiry concerning the
True Manner of Understanding and Using the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer, and for the Administration of the Holy Communion in the English Church. By the Rev. Philip FREE
MAN, M.A. Parts I. II. London: J. Parker & Co. 1866. (4.) The Directorium Anglicanum; being a Manual of Directions for
the right Celebration of the Holy Communion, for the saying of Matins and Evensong, and for the performance of other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the Ancient Use of the
Church of England. Third Edition. Edited by the Rev. FRED.
GEORGE LEE, D.C.L. London: T. Bosworth. 1866. (5.) Micah the Priest-maker. A Hand-book on Ritualism. By
T. BINNEY. London: Jackson, Walford, & Hodder. 1866. (6.) The Sacraments and Sacramental Ordinances of the Church ;
being a Plain Exposition of their History, Meaning, and Effects.
By the Rev. J. H. BLUNT, M.A. London: Rivingtons. 1867. (7.) Tracts for the Day: Essays on Theological Subjects. By
various Authors. Edited by the Rev. ORBY SHIPLEY, M.A.
London : Longmans, Green, & Co. 1867. (8.) Our Principles and Position. By Promoters of the Catholic
Revival in the Church of England. No. I. Protestantism and the Prayer Book. By the Author of the "Autobiography' in
the Church and the World.' London : T. Bosworth. 1867. (9.) Our Church and her Services. By the Rev. ASHTON OXENDEN.
Tenth Thousand. London: W. Macintosh. 1866. (10.) The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of Baptism
and the Lord's Supper, with other Services. Prepared for Use in Evangelical Churches. By Ministers and Members of the Established and Nonconformist Churches. London : W.J. Johnson.
1867. (11.) The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacra
ments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, as amended by the Westminster Divines in the Royal Commission of 1661, and in Agreement with the Directory for Public Worship of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. Philadelphia : W.
S. and Alfred Martien. 1864. (12.) Liturgical Purity our Rightful Inheritance. By John C. Fisher,
M.A. Second Edition. London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co. 1860. THERE comes a time in the history of a devotional manual like the Book of Common Prayer when it passes out of the region of criticism into that of faith, when traditions give it the authority of precedent, and tender associations the sanctity of religious experience. The Book of Common Prayer has been the “use' of worshippers for generations. Its origin is associated with our great national struggle for emancipation from the bondage of a corrupt faith. Its very incongruities, like a veteran's scars, are memorials of the fierce and fluctuating conflict. It has been the service book of almost the entire nation-of court and legislature, of university and parish. In the remotest English hamlet, and in the far-off English Chaplaincy, the familiar words of the Liturgical service fall upon the ear of the worshipper. Our fathers for many generations were familiar with it, and were led by it to their highest communion with God. The history of Protestant worship in England is chiefly associated with it. The memory of our dead has been enshrined in its sublime words of blessed hope.