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wonder whether his vanity allowed him to perceive how strongly his own caricature of his literary and moral character was impregnated with truth. Goldsmith's literary merit is principally in his style. In that he is eminently fortunate. The taste of his readers is always satisfied; but craving intellects,--minds that want food as well as flavour,—too often rise from his table, with the
appearance only of having dined. In the same way the moral merit of Goldsmith lay in the ease, and spirit, and sympathy of his nature. He had a strain
of those free and generous qualities which make the whole world kin; and which the world accordingly repays by the generous imprudence of palliating every fault. It requires no small effort-an effort which the idolatrous challenge of Mr. Prior would perhaps alone have enabled us to make--1o analyze the evidence respecting Goldsmith as it exists, and form an impartial opinion upon the whole. We are sorry that it has been
But society cannot afford, even in fictitious sketches, much less in the realities of life, that too favourable associations should be raised on behalf of characters and conduct of this unstable class. It is impossible not to see, that as a relation, a friend, or a member of society, he was wanting in the plain and solid materials which alone can make a man, for long together, happy in bimself, or useful to others. A certain number of Goldsmiths in the world would be enough to turn it upside down. Social good humour and extreme sensibility are among the most delightful graces by which our nature can be adorned. But unless they are supported and directed by principle and common sense, the utmost that they can effect, is to throw a painful splendour over those disorders which they probably will cause, and in which they must inevitably end. They resemble those lovely plants which have no real strength and substance of their own—no leading shoot pointing upwards ;--- which, without they find a stouter stem to climb and lean upon, are seen running wild in all directions, and trailing their flowers in dishonour on the ground. Principle and common sense make no great figure in the world by themselves--no more does the canvass in a picture. But they are as indispensable to life as canvass to the picture, however glorious may be the colours which are afterwards to be laid ART. XI.—Speech of THOMAS Wyse, Esq. M.P., in the House
of Commons, on Tuesday, May 19, 1835, on moving for leave to bring in a Bill for the establishment of a Board of National Education, and the advancement of Elementary Education in Ireland. 8vo. Dublin: 1835.
It would not be easy to point out any member of the legislaI"or more useful to his country, than Mr Wyse. With decided opinions upon all the ordinary party questions, he has given his support to the most liberal course of policy without falling into any excess of violence; and he has devoted himself; from his first entrance into Parliament, to promoting that great object so essential to this country, so absolutely necessary to Ireland-a System of National Education upon sound and enlightened principles. He began his labours in the memorable year 1831; and although the struggles of that and the following year for Reform prevented the due attention from being paid to his urgent appeals, he yet had the satisfaction of finding a material part of his suggestions adopted and acted upon by the Government, in the establishment of the system which has excited so much animosity amongst the bigoted and ill-informed, and so much hope of general improvement amongst all the rest of the community. The publication before us contains the admirable speech which he made on introducing his more extensive plan, in the session of 1835; along with several other speeches made by him during the preceding years upon motions connected with Education. It contains also a copy of his. Bill, which was referred to a select committee; and our readers are acquainted with the important body of evidence there adduced, under his superintendence. Not the least valuable portion of that evidence was the examination of our countryman, Mr Simpson; a man whose unwearied exertions in spreading knowledge among the working classes place him in a high rank among the philanthropists of the time.*
Although Mr Wyse's plan of Elementary Education is con
* Mr Simpson's Lectures have bad great success. Considering the obstacles which fastidious persons of his own class in society always oppose to such useful labours, the merit is very great of bim who disregards such impediments and steadily does his duty. Sir R. Wilmot Horton, before he went out as Governor of Ceylon, had just earned the same praise by the like admirable conduct.
fined to Ireland, and in many of its details would be inapplicable to a country differently circumstanced, its principles are nevertheless of universal application. These may be summed up in a few words, but we shall first state the plan itself. We proposes that a Board be formed, under the Chief Secretary as its President, and whom he would make the Minister of Public Instruction,—the Board to be as it were his Council, and to consist of the Protestant and Catholic Archbishops, a Presbyterian Clergyman, and five lay members. This is nearly the composition of the present Board. The functions which he vests in this body, are the general superintendence of all Schools subject to their jurisdiction; that is, of all those founded by their aid; the preparing of masters by Normal or Training Schools; the laying down, from time to time, general regulations for Schools and Teachers; the appointing teachers to Schools; but chiefly the planting of Schools where these are wanting. This is to be done by the Board making a proposal to the rate-payers of any parish, that the expense of the land, building, and master's house will be defrayed, provided the parish binds itself to furnish the salary, repairs, and other current expenses. This the parish is enforced to do by assessment, subject to the ordinary process of the Irish Grand Jury presentments. The amount of school sees is to be fixed by the rate-payers, and a committee is to be chosen by them, of at least four of their number, with the Protestant and Catholic clergyman, the senior magistrates, and medical officer. This committee is to manage the affairs of the School, and superintend the conducting of it in all respects, except the instruction, with which they are only to interfere when directed of the Board.
This is a summary of the plan. Respecting several parts of it, even as regards Ireland, it is impossible not to perceive, that great difference of opinion may be entertained by those who generally are of the same political sentiments with Mr Wyse. But the fundamental principles appear to be sound. These manifestly are, the providing a general superintendence of Education in some connexion with the Government, but not by any means under its entire control; and the extension of that superintendence over the country, but with a full share of power given to the inhabitants of districts. There can be no doubt at all that the aid of Government is necessary to accomplish the purpose in view; there can be as little doubt that neither in England por in Ireland can it be endured that the uncontrolled superintendence of education, the undivided power of directing public instruction, should be vested in the Government. The check of popular influence is absolutely necessary to prevent abuse, and, indeed, to guard against encroachments of a dangerous kind. The co-operation of local authorilies will be found equally necessary, in order to make the plan pursued in each instance suit the peculiar circumstances of the place. These principles are to be kept steadily in view, and must form the rule of any practical, and indeed of any desirable improvements in the elementary education of the country.
Mr Wyse's views, however, are not confined to elementary education, for he justly regards that as only one, though certainly the most important branch, and his present bill is confined 10 it. But both in his speech now before us, aod still more in the extensive and learned work which he has since published upon education generally, he has applied himself to the other branches. These are the education of the Middle Classes-University (or as he calls it, superior) education --Supplementary education, or the education given by adult schools and Mechanics Institutions to those who had not the benefits of early cultureand Subsidiary education, or the means provided for continuing and improving the knowledge acquired, -as literary institutions, museums, libraries. All these branches may easily be connected with the general functions of the Board, except, perhaps, the second, or University education; at least there are great difficulties in the way of such a superintendence being exercised over Universities, as Mr Wyse conceives may be, without any difficulty at all, maintained over Academies for the middle classes, Mechanics' Institutions for the working classes, and Scientific or literary Institutions for all. For our own part we entertain more than doubts how far any of these branches can be systematically connected with the state; and that, not merely on the ground of the expense which must, of necessity, arise from constant assistance furnished to all the institutions in the country.-an expense to which no limits could be prescribed—but because there seems no reason for withdrawing those institutions from the mapagement of the parties interested in them, or for exercising any superintendence over them, any more than over the private studies or other pursuits of the community-to say nothing of the dangers resulting from the habitual interference of the Government with the affairs of such portions of the people as are able lo provide for their own improvement in knowledge. This risk is not to be overlooked even in what regards merely elementary education : great care must here be taken to prevent undue influence--to guard against the tendency which all public works have towards abuse-to check the constant inroads of encroachment with its silent and persevering foot~-to keep out those long and insinuating hands which all established authorities, be they civil or ecclesiastical, are wont to stretch in every
judicious combination of public with private management this may be cflected in a great degree. Notwithstanding all precaurions, considerable harm will be risked, and no little abuse will be occasioned; but the great and paramount object of securing a universal diffusion of the means of knowledge among the people is sufficient to justify the risk, and its inestimable advantages counteract the evil. There cannot be the same excuse for establishing a systematic interference with the whole intellectual pursuits of the adult part of the community. If the Government removes all obstructions to the diffusion of knowledge, discountenances all monopolies, gives up all taxes pressing upon learning, and affords countenance and encouragement to such undertakings as are, by their magnitude, placed beyond the reach of private enterprise, it perhaps does as much in this direction as can be either reasonably expected from it, or safely intrusted to it.
While we are upon this important topic, we may mention the chief defect in the constitution of Mr Wyse's Board, because it is connected with the risk to which we have been adverting. The Chief Secretary is to be the Minister of Public Instruction. To this there is the objection, both that his official duties must render it impossible for him to give any adequate attention to this department, and that, unless a majority of the Board are independent of the Crown, the whole department will become a mere Ministerial board, and liable to the charges both of jobbing and undue influence. Now he proposes to have five lay-members named, and, we presume, during pleasure, by the Government; together with a Protestant and a Catholic Archbishop, and a Presbyterian Clergyman. As it is unlikely that the three clerical members should agree, and as, if they do, they are outvoted two to one by the others, the voice of the Government must be preponderant in every case. It seems to us absolutely requisite, that all the members except those in office whose co-operation with the Board is useful, and whose control over its expenditure is necessary, should be appointed, like the Judges, during good behaviour—that is, only removeable by a joint address of the two Houses of Parliament. Some members of the Government ought to be on the Board; but the majority of the whole should be independent of the Crown, both to preserve uniformity of proceeding, and to guard against abuse or undue influence. All the members who are not in any other office; that is, all the working members, upon whom will devolve the business of the department, should be of this description. The addition of others connected with the Church, seems to be necessary in the peculiar circumstances of Ireland; on this we profess not to have any opinion, when we observe that Mr