« السابقةمتابعة »
tion, without waiting for any such signal. And if, to look confidently forward to a proposed end, with feeble and disproportionate means, be to incur the character of visionary, then we fear that this imputa. tion must be made to rest upon them also. They have all been greatly less efficient than they might have been, from their neglect of the principle of locality. There are many associations which, by their resources, could have done that permanently and substantially for a district of the town, which they have vainly attempted, and have, therefore, done partially and superficially for the whole. The money which could have built a local school, and emanated enough of interest for ever to have kept it in repair, and provided the teacher with a perpetual salary, has been dissipated in transient and ineffectual exertions for the accomplishment of a universal object. The error is, to have been led away, by the splendour of a conception, far greater than it was able to realize. It is this ambition, to plan beyond the ability to execute, which has involved in failure and misdirection, so many of the efforts of philanthropy. And they who have so precipitately counted on any general result, that would be at all sensible, from the proceedings of any one society, however magnificent in its scale, and however princely the offerings that were rendered to it, have evinced themselves well entitled to the character of visionaries.
• The great mischief of any such society is, that it blinds the public eye to the utter inadequacy of its own operations. It sends a feeble emanation over the whole city; which were doing an important benefit, had it only the effect of making the darkness visible. But, instead of this, we fear that the light which thus diffuses, imperfect as it is, is rated, not according to the intensity with which it shines upon our population, but according to the extent in which it is thinly and obscurely spread over them. The very title of a school for all, is enough to deceive a miscalculating public, into the imagination, that all are provided with schooling. If, instead of trying to engross the whole, the society in question had concentrated its means and its energies upon a part, and upon such a part too, as it could overtake most thoroughly, there would have been no such pernicious delusion in the way of rendering a solid and en ire benefit to the labouring classes. The very contrast it had produced between the district it so effectually brightened, and the total darkness of the surrounding or contiguous spaces, would have torced that lesson upon the public notice, which, under the generalizing system, is thrown into disguise altogether. Instead of'a sembiance of education for the whole, let there be the substance of it in one part; and this will at length spread and propagate its own likeness over all the other parts. It will serve, like the touch of a flame, to kindle the whole mass into a brilliancy as luminous as its own. It never wouid be permitted to stand a barren and solitary memorial. O her men would soon feel a responsibility in other quarters, who now feel none at all. Other societies would speedily arise in other districts ; and the whole effect,
which was so vainly looked for, as the result of one great organiza
tion, will at length be made out, by the apposition of successive parts i to one another.
« Our earnest advice, for these reasons, is, that no benevolent soa ciety for education shall undertake a larger space of the city than it can provide for, both completely and perpetually; by reclaiming its families to a habit of scholarship for ever, through the means of a permanent endowment, attached exclusively to the district of its operations. It is far better to cultivate one district well, though all the others should be left untouched, than to superficialize over the whole city. It is far better, that these other districts be thrown as unprovided orphans, upon a benevolence that is sure to be called out at other times, and in other circles of society. Instead of casting upon them a feeble and languid regard, it is infinitely better to abandon them to the fresh, and powerful, and unexpended regards of other
Let none of us think to monopolize all the benevolence of the world, or fear that no future band of philanthropists shall arise, to carry the cause forward from that point at which we have exhausted our operations. If education is to be made universal in towns by voluntary benevolence, it will not be by one great, but by many small and successive exertions. The thing will be accomplished piecemeal ; and what never could be done through the working of one vast and unwieldy mechanism, may thus be completed most easily, in the course of a single generation. But the spirit of benevolence will not be evaporated among all these diffculties : It will only be nurtured into greater strength, and guided into a path of truer wisdon, and sobered into a habit of more humble, and, at the same time, far more effective perseverance. Man will at length learn to become more practical, and less imaginative. He will hold it a worthier achievement to do for a little neighbourhood, than to devise for a whole world. He will give himself more assiduously to the object within his reach, and trust that there are other men and other means for accomplishing the objects that are beyond it. The glory of establishing in our world, that universal reign of truth and of righteousness which is coming, will not be the glory of any one man; but it will be the glory of Him who sitteth above, and plieth his many millions of instruments for bringing about this magnificent result. It is enough for each of us to be one of these instruments, to contribute his little item to the cause, and look for the sum total as the product of innumerable contributions, each of them as meritorious, and many, of them, perhaps, far more splendid and important than his own. pp. 142-168.
From the details into which we have already entered, it appears sufficiently manifest, that the lawgiver who was called upon to frame a system of National Education in Scotland two centuries ago, and the Legislature of the present day, when devising a plan for supplying the want of education in England, had very different tasks to perform. In Scotland, there were
hardly any means of instruction generally diffused; in every part of England schools are now planted; and one of the principal difficulties is therefore to accommodate the new plan to the existing order of things, so as to improve and confirm it, and to make that which is created harmonize and not conffice with that which already exists. Another difficulty arises from the greater proportion of dissenters in England, and the greater difference of their tenets. But with reference to the period when the Scotch Parish Schools were first attempted to be planted, this circumstance does not in reality create so great a distinction ; because, although now the Scotch Secedere differ chiefly from the church on matters of discipline, and those form the bulk of the dissidents from the established church; yet, during the whole of the seventeenth century Scotland was divided into religious parties, remarkable for their mutual rancour, and differing most widely in all their tenets. The exhausted state of the country, from excessive taxation, the grievous amount of the parish rates above all, and the admitted inequality with which those press already upon the landed interest, may be stated as an additional obstacle to the favourable reception of any plan which must to a certain, though doubtless an inconsiderable degree, occasion at least a temporary increase of those burthens. We shall now proceed to describe the principles of Mr Brougham's plan, as gathered from the Bills before Parlia
It consists of four great branches, the nature and cornexion of which may be best understood by supposing we had a district to improve by teaching. The first object would be to find the means of providing a school, and endowing it with a sufficient salary. The next would be to find a proper master, and to keep him in the regular performance of his duty. The third would be to admit scholars upon proper terms, and to prescribe the fit method of educating them. The school being thus planted, endowed, placed under a master, and filled with scholars, there would only remain the task of examining how the endowments for education formerly existing in the district might be made most available for the purpose, either by connecting them with the new school, or by otherwise improving them. The same order of inquiry applies to the whole country, and gives rise to the whole arrangements of the plan. The first branch, then, is the Establishment of schools—the second, the appointment, visitation and removal of masters—the third, the admission and tuition of scholars—the fourth, the improvement of old endoroments. The three first branches form the subjects of one bill; the last is treated of in the other bill.
I. It is equally clear, that if we have a district in which a school is wanting, the first thing to be done is to put in motion the proposition for providing such a school. When the question is moved, the next thing is to have it discussed or tried before some proper tribunal; and if the judgment shall be given in favour of the proposal, the means must be devised of executing or carrying it into effect. Thus the first branch naturally subdivides itself into three-the moving, the trial, and the execution of the proposition for planting a school or schools in any ecclesiastical district, that is, any great parish or chapelry.
1. The Bill lays down two ways in which the question may be raised or moved. A complaint may be made by certain persons, that there is no school, or no sufficient school, in the district, and that one, two, or three schools are required for the use of the inhabitants; or an application may be made by the private conductors and owners of schools already carried on, and, failing for want of means, to place them upon the footing of parish schools, on certain conditions. It is necessary, in order to insure the complaint being made, that various persons should be authorized to prefer it. Accordingly, it may proceed, either from the Grand Jury at quarter sessions, who may present, as it were, themselves, or may adopt the complaint made to them by any householder-or from the resident officiating minister of the district--or from two justices-or from five householders. If none of these persons can be found to complain, we may be assured a school is not wanting in the place, either in the judgment of the inhabitants, or of the county at large. In order to make an application, the minister, or two justices, or five householders, must concur with the conductors or master of the private school. Both complaints and applications are to be made after four weeks' notice in the parish church or chapel, and upon the dcors. Two or more small districts may be joined in the proposal, the consents being here varied, so as to include all the ministers, and only to require three householders of each.
2. The trial is to be by the Justices at Sessions, and their decision to be final on all points referred to them. The parish or chapelry officers are to defend if they think fit, or if required by five householders; but the Justices may award the costs to either party. They may order schools to be provided, not exceeding three for any district; so that if several districts are joined, and a school is provided for them in common, and if, afterwards, from increased population, more schools shall be wanted, still the number of parish schools shall not exceed three for each of the districts. The master's salary is likewise limit
ed; it is not to exceed thirty pounds, nor to be less than twenty; but he is to have a house and garden ; or, if a garden cannot be had, an allowance for it, of not more than eight, nor less than four pounds a year. No change of salary is to be made during any master's incumbency; but, when the place is vacant, the persons paying school rates may, at a meeting with notice, augment the salary by any sum not exceeding twenty pounds, provided three-fourihs of the meeting concur. repairs of the school are to be made by the parish officers, as far as ten pounds in two years; but, if more be wanted, a complaint must be made either by the master, or, during a vacancy,
persons authorized to move, with the same notices, and triable in like manner as the complaint for providing a school. In all trials, the Education Digest may be given in evidence; but it may be explained or rebutted by other proof.
3. The Justices are to issue their warrant, which authorizes the minister and officers to obtain, from the Receiver-general of of the county, the sum specified for house and garden; and this is to be repaid to him by the Treasury, so far as 2001.; any thing over that to be paid out of the county rate. If any person's property is required, he must have had notice, so as to oppose the order at Sessions, if he thought fit; and a jury in she usual way, but from a neighbouring district, is to assess the damages, if he is to part with it. The parish officers are not to be concerned, under a penalty, in any building, alteration or repairs, or in selling any building or land, without the estimate of the county surveyor. The master's salary and repairs are to be levied, like other parish rates, upon the land owņers. The freehold of the house and garden is to be in the master; but he is not to vote at elections of members of Parliament, in respect of it.
Îl. The school being thus established and endowed, in order to secure its being always taught by a fit master, it is clear that means must be devised for requiring a proper qualification in the candidates, for appointing him by proper authority, and for superintending, or visiting him during his incumbency, or preventing him from continuing longer in office than while he shall be fit for it. The Second Branch, therefore, subdivides itself into three parts—the qualification and the election of the master, and the visitation of the school.
1. No person can either be appointed master to a school provided upon complaint, or continued in a school made a parish school by application, who is under 24 or above 40 years of age, and who has not a certificate to his good character, and being a member of the Established Church, from the resident minister VOL. XXXIV. NO. 67.