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the Following up in Paronsidered bech we think a fer paid to the
Government Education Bill and the time granted to the Universities allow, we propose to dedicate a few pages to the consideration of some points which we think it would be well to have very seriously considered before the Education Question is again taken up in Parliament.
Following in Lord John Russell's track, we cannot separate the education of the middle and upper from that of the lower classes. Not only must the improvement of all three go hand in hand, if social order is to be preserved; but, in a country so free as ours, where no impassable gulph separates one class from another, the whole body politic must be cemented together, and mutual good feeling must be kept alive by opening easy means of transition for the promising youth of one class to rise into another. Our fathers, in old days, so far as they understood the wants of society, endeavoured in some measure to attain this object. They did not, it is true, think much of the serf-like population of the lowest class ; but, through grammar-schools and exhibitions, they tried to unite the middle with the highest
The following extract from Mr. Tremenheere's recent · Notes con Public Subjects in the United States and Canada '(p. 253.) shows how this important point is attended to by our Canadian fellow-countrymen. The old country is not, we trust, too selfsufficient to be willing to learn from the young.
• In Canada the public grammar-schools, established by an 'amended Act of 1819, provide a higher education for all who desire it, and are an appropriate supplement to the system of elementary schools. The Act contemplates these schools being set on foot in every district in the province.
By section 6., ten children may be sent to them by the 'trustees, to be taught gratis, selected from the most promising 'pupils in the common schools. By a provision in the Muni
cipal Law of 1849, power is given to the county councils to defray the expense of sending to the college or to the university as many of the pupils of the different public grammarschools as shall be deserving, and as, in the opinion of the respective masters, shall be of competent attainments for entering into competition for any of the scholarships, exhi.bitions, or other similar prizes offered by the university or
college for competition among such pupils, their parents being “unable to bear the expense.'
It is of great importance that we should have amongst ourselves some similar connexion between all our establishments for education, from the lowest to the highest.
Viewing the subject then thus widely, we begin by fully VOL. XCIX. NO. CCI.
acknowledging that Lord John Russell deserves the warm thanks of his country for the efforts he has made to spread sound education in every class. But he would himself be the last to maintain that the progress which he hopes to make by the Bills already introduced into Parliament, and the speeches he has already delivered, is to be acquiesced in as sufficient. One of the best points in his labours is the establishment of a system, which will probably greatly extend itself year after year. Great evils cannot be remedied at once: what a wise statesman proposes to himself, when he takes in hand the task of remedying them, will be, to construct the proper machinery and set it in motion, and to look forward to great results as it continues working, though these results may not come till after his own day.
Our object in the present Article is to note some of the points in which our Educational Reform, however it has advanced, is still behind the wants of the age, in its relation to the lower, the middle, and the upper classes. We believe that in each of these departments, even where the deficiency is at present most appalling, Government has taken the first steps towards improvement; but it is wrong to give the impression that there is not much which is amiss still left untouched. We now write in the hope that the plans already auspiciously undertaken may, year by year, be enlarged, and that this great work may prosper more and more in the hands which are engaged in it.
There seems every prospect, with the measures now proposed, that the education of the industrious poor, both in town and country, will soon be thoroughly attended to. The adoption by the Committee of Council of the minutes of 2nd April last, by which greater facilities are given for the erection and maintenance of schools in rural districts, the increase in the number of Inspectors, and the further adoption of the Supplementary Minutes of the 20th of August last with regard to Queen's scholars and certificated teachers, are very important steps in themselves, even independently of the other measures contemplated in the Charitable Trusts Act and the Education Bill. We believe that, henceforward, the chief deficiencies in our educational machinery, which it will be most difficult to remedy, will be found to lie below and above the industrious poor.
What we would now urge, therefore, is the necessity for effectual measures being taken :
Ist. To extend education to the lowest -- the destitute and degraded classes :
2nd. To infuse life into the education of the middle class : 3rd. To secure that that thorough reform of the educational
April last the Commoon be ththe indust the in
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establishments of the higher classes — the Universities and public schools — which the nation imperatively demands, be not frustrated or delayed by the timidity or ignorance, or selfinterest, of any persons entrusted with the ordinary administration of these great establishments.
I. And first of the lowest poor. The progress already made is encouraging : 17,015 Church-of-England schools for the poor already working — 1,500 schools of the British and Foreign School Society, besides a fair proportion for the sects * - new schools also rising on every side — and fresh facilities afforded by the Privy Council for building and supporting new schools, as well as adding greatly to the usefulness of the old — all this gives a cheering prospect. We really need not now despair that in a few years all the children of our respectable poor, both in town and country, may have their education well provided for. With regard to these there is no need for any Prussian state-drilling, forcing the children to be taught. We may trust to the spread of right feeling, through the influence of Government schools, which, as their influence is more and more felt, will year by year stir up more of a generous rivalry, and love of sound instruction both amongst parents and children. And all this has a fair prospect of being effected, without any sacrifice of religious principle, by the exertions of the various religious communions, each aided by the State in its efforts to give education according to its conscientious views of what is the best mode of training a Christian child. Lord John Russell may well congratulate himself on the part he has borne in the measures which, since 1839, have produced such good fruit, and which give so rich a promise of much more abundant increase.
But the millions of the respectable poor, whose wants, it is granted, the system of popular education now fairly launched may be expected before many years to meet, are by no means all the poor. We may divide the people of any country in such a state of civilisation as ours, into four classes – the rich - the comfortable - the poor — and the perishing. Sir J. K. Shuttleworth is hardly right f, we think, in calling the classes, the neglect of whose education produces so many social evils, the industrious poor. From want of education individuals and families may sink from the industrious classes to the perishing; but the industrious classes are not usually the parents of crime and misery, and the ignorance that spreads ruin. The perishing
is the beser well conoh, sinc
* See Lord John Russell's Speech, April 4. 1853.
sink our wedden emere ter to find spate
are 'a very large class amongst us: and it is very doubtful whether our educational efforts have as yet made any permanent impression upon this class. The ragged schools, it is true, have neither becn idle nor useless. But we have heard the system of ragged schools well described by one of their most zealous and talented supporters, as the working of the pump to keep out of the hold the water which must otherwise sink our vessel. Ragged schools are a temporary expedient to meet a sudden emergency: we cannot do without them; but it would be much better to find some regular system by which the hold could be made perfectly water-tight.
Doubtless, our present schools for the poor, frequented principally by the children of the respectable poor, may be expected in time to work downwards. If a good system is persevered in, they will gradually gain the power to attract and elevate many poor children who are at present outcasts. Sound political economy, as well as sound religion, leads us to expect that the perishing class may gradually be diminished — that at last it may even entirely disappear. The poor whom the Scriptures intimate God intended should never perish out of the land—who will always divide it with the comfortable and the rich — are not the perishing class. There is nothing degrading in that poverty which God's providence seems, by a rule never to be departed from, to have assigned as the lot of the overwhelming majority of the human family in all stages of civilisation. And we may hope that the degraded poverty of the perishing class will in time be almost, if not entirely, absorbed, by general good government, and good financial measures, and the spread of better and more Christian principles through all ranks. But this happy consummation is as yet very far distant. We have now an overwhelming class of outcasts at the bottom of society, whom our present system of popular education has not as yet reached—who are below the influence of our religious ordinances — and scarcely operated on by any wholesome restraints of public opinion. It is certain that such a class is found at present in all the civilised countries of Europe. Nay, the same evil presses hard on our younger brethren of the United States, whom we usually regard as so much happier in this respect than ourselves. Nowhere shall we find more vivid pictures of the misery of such a class than in a New England writer*, and we have all heard of the ex
rishing it with never
civio verishet be deoverty
* Theodore Parker's Speeches, &c. Boston, 1852. Vol. i. p. 135, 136.
cellence of the New England schools. Witness the following extracts which teach a lesson for our own towns :
• Let us look and see how we have disposed of the little ones in Boston,- what we are doing for them or with them. Let 'me begin with neglected and abandoned children. We all • know how large and beautiful a provision is made for the edu*cation of the people. About a fourth part of the city taxes 6 are for the public schools. Yet, one not familiar with this
place is astonished at the number of idle vagrant boys and girls in the streets. It appears from the late census of • Boston, that there are 4948 children between four and fifteen
who attend no school. I am not speaking of truants, oc'casional absentees, but of children whose names are not re• gistered at school, permanent absentees. If we allow that • 1948 of these are kept in some sort of restraint by their parents, and have, or have had, some little pains taken with their culture. ..... there still remain 3000 children who 'never attend any school, turned loose into your streets. Suppose there is some error in the counting, that the number is overstated one third, still there are left 2000 young vagrants • in the streets of Boston. ..... What have these abandoned
children to help them? Nothing, literally nothing. They ' are idle, though their bodies crave activity. They are poor, ‘ill clad and ill fed. There is nothing about them to foster self-respect: nothing to call forth their conscience, to awaken and cultivate their sense of religion. They find themselves beggars in the wealth of a city ; idlers in the midst of its 'work. Yes, savages in the midst of its civilisation. ...... • If you could know the life of one of these poor lepers of • Boston, you would wonder and weep. He was born un'welcome amid wretchedness and want. His coming increased 'both. Miserably he struggles through his infancy, less tended * than the lion's whelp. He becomes a boy, he is covered only with rags, and these squalid with long accumulated filth. He wanders about your streets too low even to seek employment; now snatching from the gutter half-rotten fruit, which the owner flings away. He is ignorant: he has never entered a school-house: to him even the alphabet is a mystery.'
Again, addressing the Teachers' Institute, at Syracuse, New York, the same writer says :
The children of most parents are easily brought to school .by a little diligence on the part of the teachers and school
committee; but there are also children of low and abandoned, • or at least neglected parents, who live in a state of continual • truancy : they are found on the banks of your canals, they