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TO THE EDITOR OF THE ENGLISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. SIR,
So thoroughly are the minds of most persons who have thought of the matter made up in favour of the natural basis, the pound sterling of a decimal coinage, and so frivolous are the objections advanced against it, that it becomes mere waste of time to discuss the basis. The point to be brought under the notice of teachers and all who have an influence upon the masses, is the desirability of the introduction of the system, and not the quibble as to what the basis of that system shall be.
With the well-known acutness, and the grasp of perception possessed by the writer of the first article in the last number of the Journal, it is very remarkable that he did not perceive that the system of coinage, which he advocates, is not a decimal system at all, unless we admit into our accounts no coin of higher value than his new twenty-penny piece. He implies the retention of all our present pieces as coins of exchange, and advocates the adoption of three others, entirely new, as coins of accounts. Let me ask him whether with such a mixed plan any good would accrue to the community, or whether the object for which it is desirable to obtain a decimal system would be effected. The fact of introducing three new coins as coins of accounts is of itself an objection sufficient to overturn the plan. Besides we should be obliged either to divide the number of twentypenny pieces by twelve to obtain their value in pounds sterling, or to introduce another coin of the objectionable value of 16s. 8d., which to all intents and purposes would become the basis of the system. If we were a poor nation, and did not at present possess a coin of higher value than 18. 8d. with which to transact all our mercantile business, the system of your correspondent would not be altogether impracticable. But in a moneyed country like this, the application of his plan would entirely fail. In fact it is not desirable that it should succeed, as it would be open to all the objections of a change without effecting any of the advantages sought by the introduction of that change.
It was my intention not to touch upon the objections urged by your correspondent, but to place the enclosed address upon the subject at your disposal, and to dismiss the matter. But, such a course would carry with it the imputation of a want of courtesy, as the article contains an argument which is not touched upon in that address.
Mr. Kirkham's evidence which was brought forward in argument and which appears of a very anomalous character and to possess all the marks of careful preparation for the parliamentary committee deserves some amount of attention. He sold on the day in question 400 articles at an average of 2 d. each. Now it is affirmed that had he charged eleven mils under the new system he would have been a gainer of 4s. 8d. over his legitimate profits. In short he would have laid the heavy tax upon his unfortunate customers of something like half-a-farthing each! Then from this solitary case of Mr. Kirkham, the poor man's merchant in the purlieux of Liverpool, a generalization is made embracing the whole country from Johnny Groat's to Land's End (probably Ireland also) by which it is clearly shown that five millions and a quarter would be annually lost to the poor and destitute-those who could only afford to expend their earnings by the penny-by the adoption of any other than the cash system.
Now, sir, I will say nothing of the admirable minuteness of the calculations, the felicitous power of generalization, or the logical correctness of the conclusion in the above statement, but I will simply ask (supposing the market value of the articles or the occasion to have been such that had the mils instead of farthings become the current coin of the realm that day and caused a loss to each customer of half-a-farthing in the average purchase of two articles to the amount of 2 d. how long would the market value of all the series of articles remain the same to make this loss to the customers a constant increment in the income of the seller? Probably not half-a-dozen of the whole number of articles would have the same value, the following week, and it will scarcely be urged that the smaller coin of the new system presents less advantages for a re-adjustment than does the penny or its half. I hold that if it be possible to conceive a difference in the price of small purchases, the people themselves will be the gainers, and shop keepers will have less difficulty in adjusting the charge in the sale of small quantities. Take the very example your correspondent suggests, the purchase of meat or cheese at 7d. or 8d. per lb. ; if at first the charge of 29 mils or 33 mils should appear awkward; there can be no doubt that the awkwardness would be more than counterbalanced by the greater exactness of the charge for the few ounces over the lbs. that are invariably cut. Were your correspondent to consider this cause of loss to the public, he would doubtless be able to show how many millions the public lose annually in Great Britain and Ireland by not insisting upon having the exact weight of meat and cheese cut which is asked for.
I am, sir, &c.
A NOBLE Boy.The following touching episode in street life-life in Paris—is a beautiful gem, and should be in all memories surrounded with pearls of sweetest thought and gentlest sympathy :--About nine o'clock in the morning, a little boy of twelve, whose jacket of white cloth and apron ditto, distinctly indicated that he followed the profession of pastry-cook, was returning from market with an open basket on his head, containing butter and eggs. When he had reached the vicinity of the church of St, Eustache, the little fellow, who could only with difficulty make his way through the crowd, was violently jostled by a stranger who was passing, so that his basket tipped, and fell to the ground with its contents. The poor lad, when he saw his eggs alí broken, and his butter tumbled in the gutter, began to cry bitterly, and wring his hands. A person who happened to be in the crowd that gathered around the little fellow, drew a ten sou piece from his pocket, and giving it to the boy, asked the rest who stood grouped around him to do the same, to make up the loss occasioned by this accident. Influenced by his example, every one present eagerly complied, and very speedily the boy's apron contained a respectable collection of coppers and silver. When all had contributed their quota, our young vatel, whose distress had vanished in a moment, as though by enchantment, warmly thanked his new benefactors for their kindness, and forthwith proceeded to count the sum he had received, which amounted to no less than 22 francs and 35 centimes. But, instead of quietly putting this sum in his pocket, he produced the bill of the articles he had lost, and as its total amounted to only 14 francs, he appropriated no more than that sum; and then observing in the group that surrounded him, a poor woman in rags, the gallant little fellow walked right to her, and placed the remainder in her hand. Certainly it would have been impossible to show himself more deserving of public generosity, or to acknowledge it in a handsomer manner. The boy's noble conduct was greeted with the applause of the crowd, who were delighted to find such delicacy and propriety in one so young.---Burritt's Citizen.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ENGLISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. SIR,
Will you, or any of your readers, kindly give an opinion on the following case respecting the Capitation Grant.
The school is a mixed one, under inspection, kept by a certificated master, whose wife teaches needlework in the afternoons.
Part of the fourth condition on which the grant is offered is—"That at least seven-tenths of the whole income, including the grant, shall be applied to the salary of the teacher and assistant teacher.”
It is assumed that the term “assistant teacher" is not applicable to a teacher of sewing merely, but to the teacher referred to in the concluding part of the fourth condition; and that the master's salary (exclusive of augmentation on certificate), upon a division of the joint salary_that is, deducting £12 as mistress's salary-being less than the said seven-tenths, he is entitled to such increase or part of the grant as is required to fulfil the above mentioned condition.
Can the teacher’s augmentation on his certificate be taken into consideration in estimating the amount of his salary for the purpose above mentioned ? It appears from the fifth condition that it may be accepted by the Committee of Council, in lieu of so much voluntary contribution; but this would of course carry the augmentation to the side of the school income, and not add it to the salary paid by the managers. Suppose the school income from voluntary contribution, school pence, and
capitation, to amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. .. £90 0 0 Seven-tenths of the same is .. .. .. .. .
63 0 0 Joint salary
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 70 0 0 Less mistress's .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
12 0 0 Master's salary .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 58 0 0
INQUIRY OF PARENTS AS TO THE PROGRESS OF THEIR CHILDREN.-"A certain youth had, for a long period, frequented the school of Zeno, the philosopher. When he returned home, his father asked him, what he had learned. The son modestly answered, that he would show him that by his conduct. The father was greviously offended, and beat him. The son remained perfectly composed, and said: 'I have learned to bear a father's anger with patience.'”
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ENGLISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. SIR,
It strikes me as a defect in the present government system of school inspection and patronage, that there is no middle path allowed. A teacher is compelled to elect whether he will fall under the banner of the National Society or the British School Authorities. Now this is really a hard matter. There are many teachers who eschew both systems; who have more of the religious element in their schools than is generally to be found in the British System ; while they do not teach the distinctive doctrines of the Church of England. What I would propose would be, to allow a third group of schools, neither National nor British, but still retaining the religious element; such schools to be examined by the inspector in Scripture history and doctrines, in addition to the other subjects.
I believe such a step, on the part of the Committee of Council, would tend to increase very greatly the number of schools under their inspection. There does exist among many teachers and school committees an objection to attach themselves to either one or the other of the above societies. And in existing British Schools the inspector ought to have the power to inquire into the religious instruction, when requested to do so, by the teacher or school committee.
A. M. [However desirable our correspondent's wish may be, it is, we believe, impracticable. The number of sects is too large and multiform, and each is often too small. The Established Church, on the contrary, is large and united, and from being established has a claim of distinctiveness which the other denominations have not. Other schools may have voluntary religious examination by the inspector, if they request it.
The managers should take double care to provide compensation for the demand on time and exercise which the Government make by stimulating the secular element; that is to say, they should take care that religious instruction keeps pace with secular instruction.
Ed. J. E.]
THE MOTHER'S INFLUENCE.—The solid rock which turns the edge of the chisel bears for ever the impress of the leaf and the acorn received long, long since, ere it had become hardened by time and the elements. If we trace back to its fountain, the mighty torrent which fertilizes the land with its copious streams, or sweeps over it with a devastating flood, we shall find it dripping in crystal drops from some mossy crevice among the distant hills : so too the gentle feelings and affections that enrich and adorn the heart, and the mighty passions that sweep away all the barriers of the soul and desolate society, may have sprung up in the infant bosom in the sheltered retirement of home. “I should have been an atheist,” said John Randolph, “ if it had not been for one recollection ; and that was the memory of the time when my departed mother used to take my little hand in hers, and cause me on my knees to say “Our Father which art in Heaven !!”
KNOWLEDGE NOT EDUCATION.—Mere knowledge is oftentimes a curse. It is a power for evil as well as good. But education, as we have defined it, is invariably to every class and to every individual a priceless boon. Education, by Daniel Cornish.
DIGEST OF THE PLANS OF THE COMMITTEE OF PRIVY COUNCIL
FOR THE BUILDING & MAINTENANCE OF SCHOOLS.
D H E managers of schools, after they have ascertained the general
nature and conditions of the assistance which may be had, should write to the Committee of Council as the first step in applying the minutes to their own cases. Full instructions will then be sent, by procuring which, at the outset, a good deal of delay and trouble may be avoided.
All communications to the Committee of Council should be addressed to the Secretary, Committee of Council on Education, Downing Street, London.
I. Building and Improvement of Schools and Teachers' Houses. The Committee of Council give 6s. for every square foot of area in the schools and class rooms where residence is attached, and 4s. where none; provided that the owners and occupiers of property in the parish raise an equal sum. If the local contributions and the government grant together fall short of the total estimated cost, the difference may be made up from such other sources as are available ; but the grants by government will not exceed the sum locally raised: proceeds of old materials, collections in church, and the value of a site given may be reckoned as so much locally contributed. [See Minute 1853, Letter August 1853.]
The Committee of Council require application to be made before the site is conveyed in trust, the building commenced, or any contract entered into. The needful instructions are furnished on application both for plans and for the conveyance.
The Committee of Council grant two-thirds of the cost of introducing parallel desks, and one half of the cost of other improvements (not being simple repairs or restorations.) If a boarded floor is laid down at the same time as parallel desks are introduced, the grant for the whole cost is at the rate of two-thirds. A boarded floor is no longer a sine quâ non in obtaining annual grants, provided the actual floor can be reported by the Inspector to be warm and dry, and the ventilation of the room to be sufficient.
In seeking to obtain grants, for the improvement of existing buildings, applications should be made to the committee of council, before the work is begun, just as in building new schools.
The Site, if not already, will have to be conveyed in trust, and the right of inspection will have to be legally and permanently secured to Her Majesty's Inspectors, either by endorsements on the old deed, or by a clause in the new one.
II. SITES. Great facilities are now given under the School Acts for obtaining Sites for Schools. Almost any property, however otherwise inalienable, to the extent of not more than one acre, may be conveyed for the purpose of a School Site. The Acts of Parliament are 4 & 5 Victoria, cap. 38, 7 & 8 Vict. cap. 37, 12 & 13 Vict. cap. 49, 13 & 14 Vict. cap. 28, and 18 & 19 Vict. cap. 131. When required, these Acts may be obtained on application to the Committee of Council.