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said, that if the common schools were properly divided into classes, according to the ages of the children, such as from 8 to 10, 10 to 12, 12 to 14, and that the real amount of their solid attainments were probed, it would be found that one-third only of each class could really answer well, so as to prove an intelligent comprehension of what each had been taught. He was satisfied that it was only by searching examination, and the results thus obtained in actual knowledge, that we could test the progress and amount of education among the people, and not by statistical estimates and enumerations. It often happens, that where much has been taught, little has been retained. The untowardness of children, and the indifference of their parents, are often the causes ; but oftener still it resulted from imperfect teaching, and the too prevalent habit of being satisfied with indefinite answers by the children themselves, who should be made to understand distinctly, and then to express clearly, what they have learned. Religious instruction, the Dean held, could not be perfected without secular instruction. It was impossible to perform the great practical duties religion so strongly enjoins, without a competent knowledge of such secular sciences as may be requisite to enable us to perform them thoroughly and with due advantage to society. Thus the labourer is under a moral obligation to improve the value of his labour. It is by the study of useful secular knowledge that we learn to avoid selfish indulgence, and to fulfil the requirements of the great Christian duty of diligence and industry in wbatever stations of life we fill. The lecturer illustrated this by various examples, and showed how humanity to the brute creation, and many other virtues, were instilled and aided by a study of nature and her laws. He dilated eloquently on the tendency of beautiful scenery, and the study of the natural sciences, to evoke feelings of veneration, and uplift our hearts in adoration of God. He instanced the popular explanations of the laws of electricity, and the simplifying of the great truths of astronomy, and their apprehension by the people, as admirable means of enhancing the moral sense.
Drawing also makes the band delineate what the mind conceives, and thus aids its functions : while the head which is unable to master mechanical truth is often equally unable to understand moral truth. Thus geometry contributes to the education of the head almost as much as to that of the eye.
The Dean praised drawing-schools, instanced the success of that at Hereford, but held that they should always begin with a thorough course of elementary drawing. Mr. Hyett had rendered good service to the study of geometry by the cheap instruments he had introduced. The Dean next mentioned and recommended the use of the half-guinea microscope, made at Birmingham for the Society of Arts. This encourages a love of nature. If we wish rural walks to do children good, we must give them a taste for rural sights.
The Dean made many allusions to decimal arithmetic, and dilated on its manifold advantages, and on the marvellous economy that would result from its introduction into the accounts kept at the Customs and other public offices. He dwelt next on the merits of Savings Banks and on private Banks for deposits. He denounced Benefit Societies: 8,000 out of 9,000 had been found to be held at public-houses ; and shoals of them had become insolvent. Savings Banks have received slight increase only of deposits during the last ten years, though there has been so large an in
crease of prosperity and wages. He recommended the purchase of deferred annuities by school teachers. To secure an annuity of £20 per annum, to begin at 55, it would require a payment of only £3. 138. 4d. per ann. from 25 to 55 ; and if death occurs before 55, the office returns the whole of the annual premiums received. Pensions were contemplated to school teachers, by the Committee of Council, but the lecturer advised them to take the matter into their own hands. He next advocated the purchase of school-books by scholars, and a system of graduated school fees according to the rank of the parent.* It was said that this was not fair, for that shop-goods were sold at the same price to rich and poor. It might be replied, however, that this equality of payments was not universal ; for instance,—the Railway Companies conveyed passengers in first, second, and third class carriages, over the same distances, at eqnal speed, for very different prices.
In New England, education had been enforced as early as 1647, by the Pilgrim Fathers, by a compulsory Act, to make towns appoint teachers in grammar-schools, where there were but fifty families. The Dean espoused the project of similar legislative furtherance to education here, by means of graduated school fees, supplemented by local rates. He defended the Farmers from the accusation of being averse to education, by instancing the liberality with which they had rated themselves in aid of the school he had established at King's Somborne, by a twopenny rate for the annual cost, and a six-penny rate for additional building, this year.
The Dean delivered a glowing eulogium on the vast social moralizing benefit of education to a parish. Blunt had well said, that there was no better way of regenerating a bad parish than by means of a good school. Children love their parents in proportion to the sacrifices they make for their good ; thus do schools supported by school fees cultivate the benign affections of filial love, far exceeding in the culture of the social virtues the gratitude called forth by the charities of the rich. The child is impressed with kindly emotions, not by the largesses of the Lady Bountifuls, but by the privations of his poor parents, who out of his scanty means spares enough to supply his children with education. Thus, as Blunt remarks, “ does the school become the epitome of the parish.”
The Reverend Lecturer approved of the prize system, and of alternate day labour for farm boys, and thought the farmers of Gloucestershire, stimulated by the Cirencester College, would perhaps be induced to try the latter. Efforts were making, encouraged by some of the chief employers of labour in Birmingham, who had petitioned for it, to extend the provisions of the factory Act to other labour. He disbelieved the cry that farmers would not stand the system. It was not in the spirit of the present day to persist in resisting the progress of knowledge among the people. The vast extension of machinery superseding the necessity of manual labour mightily facilitated the spread of knowledge and given time for mental improvement. The making of iron plates smooth, for certain mechanical purposes, used to cost 12s. per square inch : by improved machinery it now costs 1d. per inch. The population
* The practical difficulty is, how to draw the line fairly between each class. — * ED. E. J. E.
of the whole world could now not do by hand labour what the machinepower of Lancashire alone effects with perfect ease, and infinitely better.
The County of Gloucester had availed itself as much as any, of the grants in aid of education. The Counties of Hereford, Salop, and Worcester as little as any, and less than Gloucestershire, though their population exceeds it by more than 60,000. Their backwardness and low moral standard the Dean attributed greatly to the prevalence of ciderdrinking, against which he inveighed in strong terms. It was known to diminish bodily strength in a singular degree ; and he especially denounced that worst phase of the truck system, which consisted in paying part of the wages of labour in cider. The Dean advocated nightschools for adults, and lectures, as capital modes of giving instruction to the people; and said how usefully Clergymen might employ the leisure they could spare, after fulfilling their spiritual and parochial ministrations, to this legitimate and useful mode of diffusing the stores of their own information and intelligence. Judge Talfourd had admirably enforced in his last charge this duty of kindly sympathy between classes as the great want of England.
The Dean saw no reason to despond at the slowness of education. Like all the great advances in machinery and art, its progress must be slow and gradual. They had to-day had a pleasing proof of its extension to the poorest classes, afforded by the excellent specimen of the instruction given in the workhouse. They must each persevere in the good work. Those who strove to educate were the salt of the earth; as Franklin had said, that the character of a doer of good was of more importance than any other reputation. The book-hawking system was another useful auxiliary in the good work. An old quaint writer had said of books :-“Books are the masters which instruct us without rods, without anger, and without pay. If we mistake their meaning they do not murmur, and if we are ignorant they do not laugh at us." We must never, however, forget, in our anxiety to give the power to read, to ascertain what becomes of the power when it is acquired.
The Dean then enlarged on the duty of improving the cottage comforts of the poor, and some other physical means of facilitating mental improvement and social progress. Thanks were unanimously voted to him for his valuable lecture; and he assented, at the request of the meeting, to print his lecture. The association then adjourned at once to luncheon, at which the Bishop presided. Two subjects,—Annuities for Teachers, and Prize Systems, were proposed for discussion, which proved tame and uninteresting.
It is highly to be desired that, at future meetings of this and similar associations, the teachers should be encouraged to take a much larger, and the clergy a much smaller part in the proceedings. It should be remembered that the institution is for the benefit of the former class, who have few if any other opportunities of discussing what so closely interests themselves; whilst the clergy have manifold occasions of doing so. We trust there will for the future be summer as well as winter meetings, and that the next lecture at each association will be given by a school teacher. We trust that the clergy and gentry who are members will forgive this hint. It will, if taken in the spirit in which it is offered, be assuredly the means of giving these useful associations a vitality and practical utility they will not otherwise attain.
HANTS AND WILTS ADULT EDUCATION SOCIETY, AND CON
FERENCE OF INSTITUTIONS IN UNION. On the motion of the Bishop of Winchester, seconded by the Bishop of Salisbury, the chair was taken by the Dean of Hereford.
The CHAIRMAN addressed the meeting. He gave some interesting details of a visit to Mr. Whitworth’s factory in Manchester; he drew attention also to the “halftime system” in the factory districts of Lancashire, and suggested whether some similar provision might not be made for the children of agricultural districts. He stated that the objects of this meeting referred rather to adult than to elementary education, and pointed out forcibly the importance of making provision for carrying out the education that had been given in school. This Society had been established since he left the county, but he considered it a movement of a very important character. The class of subjects it was proposed to teach, and the ground the Society proposed to occupy, might be judged of by the diagrams, apparatus, and models before thein. When formerly in Basingstoke every one was foretelling ruin from the railway, but he saw no sign of it. Why should they not anticipate the same result from steam in all its applications ? The steam plough, the steam thrashing-machine, and other agricultural machines. The day was coming when skilled labour would be valued, nay, necessary ; and it was wise in us to prepare for it, whether by the night-school, by half-time, or through the agency of the institutions in union with this Society they were assembled to consider; and he hoped these questions, with those which, according to the printed schedule in their hands, would be brought under consideration, would receive that attention from the members and the various institutions they represented, which they so richly deserved. The Chairman then called on the Secretary to read the Report.
REPORT OF THE HANTS AND WILTS ADULT EDUCATION SOCIETY.
Presented October 7th, 1856, at Basingstoke. In presenting their Report of proceedings for the year ending Sept. 1, 1556, the Committee venture to congratulate the Society on the success which has attended its labours. The great work of promoting, stimulating, and aiding Adult Education, is not one which can be accomplished without long-continued exertion and patient forbearance. There is much lost ground to make good, and prejudices, interests, and difference of views are to be overcome before we can agree upon any common platform of operations. When this is agreed upon, it will still be necessary to allow for very wide diversities of circumstances and conditions in the arrangements for carrying out our objects. Great as the improvement has been in our elementary schools in their method of teaching, and the more practical range of subjects, it may be questionable whether our greatest difficulty, the early removal of children from school, has not rather increased than diminished, and whether the very efforts we have made to improve school teaching, have not tended to abridge its duration. It is beside our office to enter into this branch of inquiry which belongs rather to the province of elementary than Adult Education ; but as it is our duty to take up the youth as we receive him from the elementary schoolmaster, it is necessarily of vital importance to us and to our hopes of carrying on his education, that his teaching in the elementary school should be sound, enlightened, and liberal, that so he may be prepared to receive without risk or danger those impressions that the opening world cannot fail to make, and that the various calls and ramifications of labour, industry and skill necessitate. It has been a question, and is one to which the attention of this meeting is called, at what age, for the purposes and operations of the Society, Adult Education should be considered to commence. Fifteen is the age that has been hitherto taken, but judging from the correspondence of many members on the subject of evening schools, there would appear to be a difference of opinion, or at all events of practice on this subject, and as the starting point of our exertions is a matter of considerable importance, it would be well, perhaps, if it be wished that any higher or lower standard should be taken, that the wishes of the Society should be formally expressed.
During the past year several important institutions have been received into union, while the number of schools and small country reading-rooms has increased. Among the number of institutions are those of Fareham, Gillingham, Havant, Lymington, Newbury, Odiham, Poole, Ringwood, Shaftesbury, Titchfield, Warminster, Wilton, and West Cowes. Amongst the schools those of New Alresford, Beechwood, Chawton, Erchfont, Empshott, Farley, Longstock, Pitton, and Woodlands, and among the smaller reading-rooms, those of Brightstone, Calbourne, Chilbolton, Longparish, and Hayling Island. Your Committee would draw your attention to an alteration in the Rules made at the Salisbury Committee Meeting, held in January, by which the terms of admittance for schools are reduced to 58., and the admission of any peculiar institutions, such as the book-hawking societies and drawing-schools is free, it having been considered that these institutions are not of a character to contribute anything to the funds of the Society.
For the purpose of establishing or enlarging libraries, there have been only three applications for grants of money during the past year. In book-purchases for institutions in union, there has been a considerable increase as compared with last year. In 1855, 170 vols. were ordered by the Secretary, at the desire of institutions in union, whereas for the present year, 320 vols. have been ordered through the agent to the Society of Arts, 100 of which are ordered by the Book-Hawking Society, but lately taken into union with us. The books so supplied to the various institutions in union, were at a reduction of 20 per cent. It may be interesting to many to know, that the greater number of these 320 vols. were from the General and Supplemental Catalogue of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. In addition to the books actually ordered, the Secretary for book-purchases has received numerous applications from local secretaries for lists of useful and popular books ; a desideratum which it is hoped the catalogue this day issued to members will supply.
At the last annual meeting at Southampton, it was resolved that this catalogue of books, formed, on the return made by the different institutions in union, of the 12 books or sets of books most in request among their members, should be printed for the use of the institutions. The value of this catalogue, first, as a guide to institutions purchasing, and secondly, as a guide to the tastes and studies of our members, it will be unnecessary to point out. For its imperfections your Committee would crave indulgence so far as they depend on them, and on the Secretary, by whose labours and classifications the details bave been carried out. Had your Committee been favoured by more exact answers to their questions, the labour would have been much diminished, and the result much more satisfactory. They had hoped this year to have been able, through the returns of the institutions, to have published a still more accurate catalogue, but they regret to say that out of 76 institutes and schools, only 19 have favoured them with any answers to their questions. The number deficient (57) is so large as to preclude any possibility of such a catalogue being prepared.
The attention of the Committee being directed to the means of promoting Adult Education, various efforts bave been made to which your Committee would anxiously crave your attention. In the autumn of 1855, at a meeting at Basingstoke, it was resolved to offer premiums to Evening Adult Schools, and the Paper (Ă) was issued, which, with the alterations now made in it, it is proposed to reissue for the present year. Under these proposals two schools only, namely, Empshott and Petersfield, have claimed and received the gratuity. At the same meeting the subject of itinerating libraries, discussed at Southampton, and referred back to the Committee, was taken into consideration. In these counties there are happily few parishes in which a lending library in some form or other, however modified and insufficient, does not already exist, or in which the cottage book-shelf has not become general through the active agency of the book-hawking societies. There did not then appear an opening for such a system of itinerating libraries, as had elsewhere been adopted with such good effect. The Committee thought that the same object might, to a great extent, be attained by the Union of Libraries, and the encouragement of the interchange of books. With this view the proposals (B) were issued. They were discussed by several institutions, and appeared to be very favourably entertained, but the absence of reports from the institutions, prevents our ascertaining whether in any or how many cases they have been acted upon. Your Committee would suggest, that very valuable service may be rendered to the cause, by the local secretaries assisting to group together the different libraries, and promoting their union. At a meeting held at Salisbury, in January last, the subject of prizes was taken into consideration, and it was resolved to offer premiums for the best examinations according to arrangements to be made by the secretaries. After considering the proposition at a subsequent meeting of the Committee at Basingstoke, it was resolved to carry it out by the issue of the scheme (C), which it is proposed, with only the necessary alterations, to repeat in the month of January, 1857, continuing the same subjects. This proposal arises out of the difficulty of bringing such questions before the public, and the want of information, notwithstanding all their efforts in circulating notices,