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To The Editor Of The English Journal Of Education.
The writer of the article on the "Decimal Coinage Question" in the May numher of the Journal appears to have relinquished his position in the advocacy of his peculiar basis, (which I showed to be unworthy of beingtermcdrfeesmaJ at all) and to have taken up the new one of hostility to the generally received system. He seems to have created a sort of distinction and separate interest between merchants, bankers, and arithmeticians on the one hand, and the community at large on the other. Then he admits that the millesimal division of the pound sterling would be advantageous to the former class, and makes an attempt to show that it would be opposed to the interests of the latter. But mark the language of his demonstration,—" It needs but very little reflection to convince oneself that, so far as the masses are concerned, the scheme would prove to be both impracticable and mischievous, and consequently a complete failure." I must say that, however small the amount of reflection may have been which has brought the writer of that sentence to such a conclusion, I find it difficult to adopt his views. At the same time I think a greater amount of reflection would not be thrown away; for further thought exercised upon the subjeet would have presented the mistaken notion that the penny is to be depreciated by act of parliament, or that the same act is to remodel our pence tables so as to make "20d. Is. 7 Jd., or 30d. 2s. 5d., 40d. 3s. 2*d. and so on." The fact of the matter is, we should require no pence table were the real decimal system introduced. I will not pretend to say such would be the case if the mixed method advocated in the March number were adopted.
But the unanswerable part of the article, in the estimation of the writer, is introduced in the shape of a Saturday night list of purchases effected by the wife of a mechanic . The great error in the introduction of that list of articles is the supposition, (the fallacy of which I pointed out in my previous letter) that the prices of these articles are invariable. Take for instance sugar, of which half a pound, at 2jd. is made to last a week in this mechanic's case. Now, within the last twelve months, the best sort of moist sugar (and it is always the best that the poor pay for, whether they obtain it or not,) has ranged from 41s. to 54s. per cwt. Will it then be affirmed that the 2Jd. the half pound is invariably the price of the mechanic's sugar? I will allow that there is a good deal of ingenuity exhibited in the selection of both the articles themselves and the particular quantities of each in this fictitious bill of parcels; the ingenuity is not sufficiently covert to distort the real facts of the case. With this care in the selection I am somewhat surprised that cheese should have been taken as one of the articles; for I showed in the number for April that the mil system would certainly be preferable with such goods, in the purchase of which the buyer has invariably to pay extra for the small quantities beyond the weight asked for. But, as in the case of the sugar just named, thesmaller divisions of coinage would be of great advantage to both shopkeepers and customers in the increased facilities offered for the adjustment of wholesale and retail prices,so with every other article mentioned in the list. To whatever extent, too the operation of competition may be abused on the one hand by unprincipled dealers, and carped at on the other as ineffective in producing legitimate results, there is now in the hands of every customer a sure preventative to abuse; and as to results, the operation is the same whether with the decimal or the present currency.
Some of the articles, too, admit of a distinct method of adjustment, such as is now employed whenever the wholesale marketable value fluctuates, or other causes influence the retail price. With the first article named in the Saturday night's bill, could the mechanic's wife be induced, either by experience or the advice of a friend, to buy two ounces instead of one ounce of tea at a time, no difficulty would occur, for two ounces at 3d. would be 6d. or its exact equivalent 23 mils, i. e. 2 cents, 6 mils. But supposing she were as perverse as the few advocates of the twenty-penny system, there is the usual method of correcting the difference. Lately the duty on tea was reduced to the amount of 4<L per lb.; but before this reduction took place, tea, in small quantities, sold at 3d. per ounce, the price stated in the article, and although 4d. per lb. gives the difference of jd. per ounce, no apparent reduction took place.
How is this accounted for? Aa inquirer is informed that it ia not the same sort of tea, a mixture is made, such that the constant price, 3d. may be retained and the quality of the tea varied. Is there any subtle principle in the use of a decimal coinage that makes such a mode of arrangement peculiar to the present system? I do not recommend this plan in the existing state of things, nor would it be as necessary with a decimal coinage as with the present; but did all other methods fail this could be employed. I do not recommend it, because the poor always pay the best price for small quantities and therefore no more expensive mixture ought to be possible.
Let me in conclusion, Sir, urge Mr. Good to adopt the more practicable, philosophical, and general basis, and add his influence to bring about the speedy introduction of the currency founded upon it.
Importance Of Work For "women.—But is it certain that a girl will give up her occupation when married? Are there not quite enough women carrying on business, professions, different works after marriage to prove that it is possible, and much for the benefit of husbands and children? It is absurd to look to remote consequences and possibilities; all we can do is to walk straight on the little bit of way we see clearly with our foggy vision? If it be right for girls to ask for work, give it to them. If your daughter says, '; Teach me a trade," you have no right to refuse her. She may have to earn her own living; and hard indeed will be the struggle, if with no training, no habits of work, she enters into competition with the skilled workers of the world, and those who have habits of hard application.— Women and Work, by Barbara Leigh Smith.
Fondness For Teaching.—The question is often asked by those about to engage in teaching :—" I wonder if I shall like teaching." Now, Tone of the first requisites for success in this vocation is a fondness for the occupation,—an ardent love for the work; and we would have beginners in the profession enter upon their labours with nothing less than a determination to love the work. This determination, before a practical trial has been made, cannot, as we think, be regarded as premature or inconsiderate. No person should engage in teaching, without having first studied the nature of the calling, and his fitness for its duties; and public sentiment now quite generally demands, also, some special professional training for the work. In the case of an individual who has thus studied his vocation and himself (we use simply the masculine pronoun for the sake of convenience, including, of course, teachers of both sexes), and also, perhaps, made some special preparation for engaging in it; and who still has a desire to make a trial at teaching; it it is fair to presume that there is enough in such a person's tastes and predilections to constitute a guarantee, that the labours of the teacher will be, in a good degree at least, congenial to him. Hence we think such a beginner in teaching may safely resolve to love the work.—Canadian Journal of Education.
History Of The Penny.—The ancient English penny was the first silver coin struck in England, and the only one current among our Saxon ancestors. At the time of Ethelred it was equal in weight to our 3d. Till the time of King Edward 1. the penny was so deeply indented that it might easily be broken and parted, on occasion, into two parts—these were called halfpence; or into four, these were called fourthings, or farthings.—Canadian Journal of Education.
Duties Of Parents To School Children.—Never give heed to any complaint made by your children against the teachers, till you have had an opportunity of making a proper inquiry. Nothing is more common than for children to come home and make complaints against their teachers, and the better the discipline of the school, the more prone troublesome children are to do so; they dislike correction, they do not like tasks or control, and they frequently come home with gross misrepresentations, tending to excite the ire of their parents. In all cases of complaint, therefore, go to the schoolmaster or schoolmistress, speak in a mild and friendly maimer and let him or her fully understand that you do not come there to find fault, but to inquire. At the same time show your readiness to support them in their duties, if you think they are properly performed. If you do this, the teacher will listen to anything you have to say, and you will co-operate together cordially and happily for the benefit both of your children and yourselves.— Canadian Journal of Education.
JUtes Of S00ltS.
Collegiate Education Discussed, &c. in a description of Gnoll College. Stanford, London, 1857.
j£-—AHEEE very amiable and well intentioned men—Messrs. W. Bullock C)ftTO Webster, Lewis C. Hertslet, and Trelawny Saunders—conceived the idea of starting a college in a largo house recently vacated by a family near Neath, in South Wales, where everything useful to mankind may be taught by a body of professors, who, together with the funds for the purpose, are at present floating in the sanguine expectation of the triumvirate aforenamed, who by the way constitute themselves " The Resident Executive Council." It is but fair to these gentlemen to say that they give in their elaborate programme of studies a great preponderance to useful sciences and practical arts. From "lithography" to " mining," from the "higher calculus" to "book keeping," from "human history" to "veterinary medicine," from "cosmical and nautical astronomy" down to the "bleaching of linen," nothing escapes the Gnoll curriculum.
It is indeed admitted that there is " a sole objection" to the plan-—' namely, that inasmuch as it avowedly includes perfect tuition in every known branch of art, science and letters (except theology, which is entrusted to the spare time of the Vicar of Neath, or such Dissenting Ministers as the students prefer), "it is too complete to be carried into action." We confess that we are rather of that opinion ourselves. We venture also to suggest that it is a crotchet of the English public to be a good deal influenced in their estimate of new schemes by the reputation of their supporters, and the amount of money they invest in the undertakings they patronise. These little preliminaries to success arc omitted in the pretty little volume before us. When wo see them added to a future edition, we shall be better able to say something of the future destiny of Gnoll College.
The AngeT s Message; or the Saviour made known to the Cottager.—This little book, like all those hy the authoress of the "Peep of Day," is well worth reading, and we recommend it for all young children in village schools. It is printed in good type and prettily illustrated.
Daily Text Book. By J. Drage.—This is the third edition of Mr. Drnge's text book for schools and private families. We have before passed our opinion upon it, and do not think it necessary to repeat it, as the fact of its going through a third edition does not alter the view we had previously taken. It has been favourably reviewed in the educational periodicals and has been highly praised by Mr. Bowstoad, the British and Foreign School Inspector.
Since the first article was in print, the title of " Associate in Arts" has passed the Convocation of Oxford. There was a strong sentiment against it, and the scrutiny proved that if those who were opposed to it had made the smallest effort at organization, it would have been rejected. Many who voted in its favour did so rather in compliance with the energetic entreaty of those who had charge of the measure, than from their own sense of the propriety of the designation.
Cambridge is acting differently from Oxford. That body is proceeding with more deliberation, and has deferred the consideration of the subject to October Term. It is said that " Associate in Arts" does not sound well in Cambridge ears. The two Universities seem to be taking each their several way. Perhaps it is best so: there might be difficulty in producing harmony from the concert of instruments so complex. The badges of the two Universities may come to have as distinct a value as their Degrees have: and the wholesome effect which the upper ranks of society experience from the mixture of Oxford and Cambridge men may be repeated with no less benefit in the middle classes. According to the different bents of individual minds, or according to the preference felt throughout any particular school for Oxford or Cambridge pursuits, so the candidates might offer themselves for examination either in the Oxford or Cambridge Schools, and became accordingly either Sociates of [theUniversity of] Oxford, S. [U.] 0. or Sociatea of [the University of] Cambridge S. [U] C.
The old family likeness by which the two ancient Universities have ever been recognised as sisters should still be preserved in the general analogy of their forms, though individual character should assert its place in the subordinate lineaments.
Facies non omnibus una,
The Educational Conference was opened by a remarkably well expressed and sensible speech by Prince Albert, whose manner is admirably adapted for a meeting of this sort, and whose choice of language and pronunciation evince a finished English education. Amongst several excellent remarks, after summing up the paucity of attendance, the Prince said—"Gentlemen, these are startling facts, which render it evident that no extension of the means of education will be of any avail unless this evil, which lies at the root of the whole question, be removed; and that it is high time that the country should become thoroughly awake to its existence, and prepared to meet it energetically. To impress this upon the public mind is the object of our conference. Public opinion is the powerful lever which in these days moves a people for good and for evil; and to public opinion we must therefore appeal if we would achieve any lasting and beneficial result. You, gentlemen, will richly add to the services which you have already rendered to the noble cause, if you will prepare public opinion by your inquiry into this state of things, and by discussing in your sections the causes of it, as well as the remedies which may be within your reach. This will be no easy matter; but even if your labours should not result in the adoption of any immediate practical steps, you will have done great good in preparing for them. It will probably happen that in this instance, as in most others, the cause which produces the evil will be more easily detected than its remedy, and yet a just appreciation of the former must ever be the first and essential condition for the discovery of the latter. You will probably trace the cause to our social condition, perhaps to a state of ignorance and lethargic indifference on the subject amongst the parents generally, but the root of the evil will, I suspect, also be found to extend into that field on which the political eoonomist exercises his activity—I mean the labour market—demand and supply. (Hear, hear.) To dissipate that ignorance, and rouse from that lethargy, may be difficult; but, with the united and earnest efforts of all who are the friends of the working classes, it ought, after all, to be only a question of time. What measures can be brought to bear upon the other root of the evil is a more delicate question, and will require the nicest care in handling, for there you can cut into the very quick of the working man's condition. His children are not only his offspring, to be reared for a future independent position, but they constitute part of his productive power, and work with him for the staff of life. The daughters especially are the handmaids of the house, the assistants of the mother, the nurses of the younger children, the aged, and the sick. To deprive the labouring family of their help would be almost to paralyse its domestic existence. (Hear, hear.) On the other hand, carefully collected statistics reveal to us the fact, that while almost 600,000 children, between the ages of three and fifteen, are absent from school, but known to be employed, no less than 2,200,000 are not at school, whose absence cannot be traced to any ascertained employment, or other legitimate cause. You will have to work, then, upon the minds and hearts of the parents, to place before them the irreparable mischief which they inflict upon those who are intrusted to their care, by keeping them from the light of knowledge—to bring home to their conviction that it is their duty to exert themselves for their children's education, bearing in mind at the same time that it is not only their most sacred duty, but also their highest privilege. Unless they work with you, your work—our work, will be vain; but you will not fail, I feel sure, in obtaining their co-operation if you remind them of their duty to their God and Creator. (Hear, hear.) Our heavenly Father, in his boundless goodness, has so made his creatures that they should be happy, and in his wisdom has fitted his means to his ends, giving to all of them different qualities and faculties, in using and developing which they fulfil their destiny, and running the uniform course according to his prescription, they find their happiness which he has intended for them. (Cheers.) Man alone is born into this world with faculties far nobler than the other creatures, reflecting the image of him who has willed that there should be beings on earth to know and worship him, but endowed with the power of self-determination, having reason given him for his guide. He can develop his faculties, and obtain that happiness which is offered to him on earth, to be completed hereafter in entire union with him, through the mercy of Christ. But he can also leave these faculties unimproved, and miss his mission on earth. He will then sink to the level of the lower animals, forfeit his happiness, and separate from his God, whom he did not know how to find. Gentlemen, I say man has no right to do this. He has no right to throw off the task which is laid upon him for his happiness. It is his duty to fulfil his mission to the utmost of his power; but it is our duty, the duty of those who Providence has removed from this awful struggle, and placed beyond this fearful danger, manfully, unceasingly, and untiringly, to aid by advice, assistance, and example, the great bulk of the people, who without such aid must almost inevitably succumb to the difficulty of their task. They will not cast from them any aiding hand, and the Almighty will bless the labours of those who work in his cause." (His Royal Highness sat down amidst loud applause.)
It is quite an event in these times that a Prince, the Consort of a Sovereign, and the Father of the next Sovereign, should thus express himself. These are sentiments which, twenty years ago, would have been deemed as savouring of democratical tendencies.
The Prince's speech will have great effect in rendering obsolete the still too prevalent notion that intellectual advancement is antagonistic to the duties of labour. Shoals of people who never dream of yielding to reason fall prostrate before the dicta of Princes. It is a glorious thing to find this vulgar idolatry (always the most conspicuous among those who are the most recently elevated in social rank) turned to such good account.
His Royal Highness laid too much stress upon the delusive statements of the Educational Census. That of 1801 was avowedly short of the actual number at school, and it was demonstrated in a paper read in Section E, that that of 1851 as largely overstates the number. These statistics were not of the Prince's formation, and we no wise won