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It is impossible to calculate how much time England has saved, and how much it has shortened its distances, by means of improved roads, in the last forty years. To go from York to London, that is, 200 miles, used to take six days; by the mail it now takes twenty hours, by the other coaches twenty-four. From Exeter, fifty years ago, they promised a safe and expeditious journey to London in a fortnight; private carriages now accomplish the 175 miles between that city and the capital in eighteen hours. Before the invention of steam vessels, indeed, the Post from London to Dublin took at least six days; in a stormy winter, in one instance, no less than forty-two. Now, whatever the weather, it takes no more than three.
M. de Villeneuve Bargemont (ancien prefet), has published a work on the statistics of pauperism in Europe, to which he gives the title of "Christian Political Economy." He estimates the indigent population of Europe at 10,897,333 individuals, out of 226,445,200, the whole population. He thus distributes them :
'England contains 3,900,000 poor, being one sixth of the whole population, which is taken at 23,400,000; the agricultural and the manufacturing population are in the ratio of 2 to 3, and the work performed by machinery exceeds that of 180,000,000 of workmen. In London there are about 105,000 poor out of 1,350,000; in Liverpool 27,000 out of 80,000; in Cork 26,000 out of 60,000; in Sunderland 14,000 out of 17,000.
"In Germany, where the employment is chiefly agricultural, there are about 680,000 poor, or one twentieth of the whole population. The agricultural population is 3 times greater than the manufacturing.
"In Austria, the proportion between the poor and the general population, is 1 to 25 or 1,280,000 out of 32,000,000. Here the agricultural population is compared with the manufacturing in the ratio of 4 to 1; Denmark is nearly on a par with Austria, the poor being 1 to 25, and agricultural employment 4 to 1 more than the manufacturing. In Spain, out of a population of 13,900,000 inhabitants, 450,000 are poor, or one thirtieth. The agricultural population is here 5 to 1 more than the manufacturing; in France, there are about 1,600,000 poor out of 32,000,000 or 1 in 20, and the agricultural population, compared with the manufacturing, 4 to 1. This proportion however varies of course according to the different localities M. de Villeneuve has divided France into 3 regions or zones of pauperism, containing about 20 departments, 10,062,769 inhabitants, and 770,626 poor, shewing that one thirtieth of the population are destitute.
"In Italy, the proportion is 1 out of 25 poor, the entire population is 19,044,000, the numbers of the poor 750,000, and the agricultural population is 5 times greater than the manufacturing. Belgium and Holland are about on a par with England, the ratio being the entire population, and the poor 7 to 1, and that of the manufacturing and agricultural 3 to 2; the population of Portugal 3,530,000, of which about 141,000 are poor, or 1 in 25, and agricultural employment is 5 times greater than manufacturing. Prussia contains 12,778,000 inhabitants, of which 425,000 are poor, a proportion of 1 in 30, the agricultural population compared with the manufacturing is here also 5 to 1. Russia in Europe contains a population of 52,500,000, of which 525,000 are poor, being a proportion of 1 in 100; manufactures here are at a low ebb, the manufacturing population as compared with the agricultural is only 1 to 14. The population of Sweden is 3,866,000, out of which 154,000, or one twenty-fifth, may be considered poor; agriculture is here 4 to 1 greater than manufactures. Switzerland has a population of 1,714,000, of which 17,000 are destitute."
NATIONAL EDUCATION IN IRELAND.
THERE are but two ways to silence agitation and quell disturbance in Ireland: one would be to lay the whole country under water for the space of half an hour, and the other is to give to the people a just and liberal Government. It is to be wondered at that among the extraordinary number of plans which have been thought of for the pacification and benefit of the Irish, the former plan has not been attempted, and it is a still greater wonder that a plan, embracing a sound Christian liberality, should have been thought of at all; as it is quite in opposition to every kind of precedent in the history of the unfortunate connection between the two countries. The Irish people possess an acuteness of intellect, an enthusiasm of heart, a nobleness of soul, which, had it been suffered to grow up even in the natural wildness and natural beauty of their own fertile land, would have exercised upon England a commanding force, and powerfully influenced her destinies. The Irish people have an innate love of all that is generous and free: their feelings and sympathies respond to whatever is honourable to human nature. Tremblingly susceptible of wrong; warmly, ardently, devotedly attached to their religion; alive to all the impulses of goodness which the essence of that religion would impart; they perhaps present as fine, and yet as melancholy an instance of a good people spoilt by bad government, as ancient or modern times can afford. It therefore gives us cause for congratulation to find, that the British Government, after so long an immersion in the penumbra of injustice, has for once made a stride into the open sunshine of liberality, and manifested a desire of throwing a pure and not a false light upon the land of Curran; of giving it the true solar ray, instead of mere moonshine;" and of freeing it from the pressure of that incubus-ignorance, which, "like a foul and midnight hag," has changed its healthy energies into the destructive force of the maniac, and perverted its moral and intellectual faculties from their primitive functions, and changed their manifestations.
If we recur to the educational history of Ireland, we shall find it full of that spirit to which both God and nature are opposed-the spirit of intolerance. Long before the Roman Catholic religion had ceased to be the established religion in Ireland, that spirit was at work, by prohibitary statutes, not perhaps so much ecclesiastical as secular, but still having a view to root out the native and dearest feelings of the people. At a later period, it was held penal for any but a Protestant to teach. Popish teachers were subjected to a VOL. I.-June, 1835.
fine of £20, and three months imprisonment. Schools were partially established, but on such a principle, that the richer papists could not send their children, and the poorer could not pay the charge. The object was proselytism; but the Irish would not be proselytised: and although in 1731, the clergy instituted "The Incorporated Society for promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland;" and which, since that year, has received from the public funds, £1,105,869, and endeavoured, by taking the children away from their parents, to extirpate the Catholic faith, and the natural ties of child and parent; and though marriage portions were bestowed upon female proselytes who would wed with Protestants, it was found to be utterly useless: all attempts to force, to wheedle, or to cheat the Irish out of their religion was altogether futile; and in 1808, the commissioners of the Board of Education," could not refrain from expressing their opinion, that during a very considerable period of its existence the institution appeared to have fallen short of attaining the purposes for which it was established. The fact was, that the money was applied in such a manner as to be more serviceable in killing than in teaching the children. In 1824, these boarding schools were reduced to 24; and upon further inquiry of the Parliamentary commissioners, it was found first, that, £753,685 had been spent in thirty years; that in this time 52,000 children had been taken from their parents to bring up; that out of these 52,000, no less than 41,000 had died; 400 had eloped, and the 10,000 who had lived and not run away, were, in their appearance, wretched and afflicted with disease, the consequence of ill-treatment and neglect. Flogging on the naked body, "belabouring with fists," the cat, the strap, and the rope's end, were the ordinary means used for driving the Catholic faith out of, and of forcing the Reformed religion into the children; and thus a million of money was spent to win the Irish people from Popery, with about as little chance of success as if the same had been applied to do a far more easy thing, sink Ireland into the sea.
Among other institutions, professedly founded for the moral and spiritual good of Ireland, were the Foundling Hospitals. But the public money was here equally lavished without the attainment of the objects in view. The nurses would not part with their foster children, and those that entered the establishment, from the want of a proper kind of instruction, became in the end more remarkable for profligate than for moral conduct. In 1792, a Society for Discountenancing Vice was established, and incorporated in 1800, having, originally, for its object the stopping of infidelity and vice, and the distribution of prayer-books, bibles, and religious tracts; but afterwards it lent its aid towards establishing and maintaining parochial schools, by building school-houses, and granting salaries to teachers. The schoolmaster, a member of the established church, taught the catechism to such of the children who were members of the national church; but the school was open to scholars of all persuasions. In 1824, there were 15,922 pupils, 9,578 being Protestants, and 6,344 Catholics; and the society issued 67,123 Bibles, 338,933 Testaments and Prayer Books, and 979,826 tracts; and according to the report of the Committee of the
House of Commons in 1828, the society had received £101,991..18..6 of the public money.
This system of leaving all persuasions free, proved that no plan of education for Ireland would answer that had a tendency to exclusion; and in 1814 the Government made a grant of £6,980 to the Society, for promoting Education in Ireland, better known as the Kildare-Place Society. The objects of which were
1st. To assist by pecuniary grants, as well the founding and establishment of new schools, as the improvement of schools already in existence, upon condition that the principles of the society be adopted for their regulation.
2nd. To maintain two model-schools in Kildare Place, in which to exhibit the plan recommended; and to train masters and mistresses of country schools. 3rd. To receive masters and mistresses from the country, in order to qualify them for carrying the plans of the society into effect.
4th. To publish moral, instructive, and entertaining books, fitted to supplant the objectionable works then in use.
5th. To supply to schools in connexion with the society gratuitously, and to all purchasers at cost prices, spelling-books, stationery, and other school requisites.
6th. To maintain a system of annual inspection of all schools in connexion with the society.
7th. To encourage by gratuities, but not by salaries, such masters and mistresses as should appear deserving.
The model schools in Kildare Place were well conducted, and were attended by 400 boys, of whom 156 were of the established church, 17 dissenters, and 225 Roman Catholics; and by 297 girls, of whom there were 79 of the established church, 9 dissenters, and 209 Roman Catholics: each child pays one penny weekly, the system adopted being a union of the Lancasterian with Dr. Bell's. The whole of the schools in connection with this society are about 1500, and the pupils are upwards of 100,000; and about 1000 masters have been under training, not quite half of which were Catholics.
The society has also attempted the publication of a series of books, which, consisting of Voyages, Travels, History, Biography, and Interesting and Useful Knowledge, comprising about 60 volumes, cannot be too strongly recommended. These the Society supplies at a cheap rate to schools, with all other school requisites, or makes gratuitous grants of them. A system of inspectorship is also established, and gratuities are afforded from one to ten pounds to zealous and indus trious teachers. The reasons why this society became obnoxious to the Irish, and is not agreeable with the views of the present Govern· ment, may be gathered from the following letter, addressed by secretary Stanley, in 1831, to his grace the Duke of Leinster.
"Irish Office, London, Oct. 1831. 'My Lord,-His Majesty's Government have come to the determination of empowering the Lord-Lieutenant to constitute a Board for the superintendence of a system of national education in Ireland, and Parliament having so far sanctioned the arrangement, as to appropriate a sum of money in the present year, as an experiment of the probable success of the proposed system, I am directed by his Excellency to acquaint your Grace, that it is his intention,
with your consent, to constitute you the President of the new Board; and I have it further in command to lay before your Grace the motives of the Government in constituting this Board, the powers which it is intended to confer upon it, and the objects which it is expected that it will bear in view, and carry into effect.
"The commissioners in 1812 recommended the appointment of a Board of this description, to superintend a system of education, from which should be banished even the suspicion of proselytism; and which, admitting children of all religious persuasions, should not interfere with the peculiar tenets of any. The Government of the day imagined that they had found a superintending body, acting upon a system such as was recommended, and intrusted the distribution of the national grants to the care of the Kildare-Street Society. His Majesty's present Government are of opinion, that no private society, deriving a part, however small, of their annual income from private sources, and only made the channel of the munificence of the Legislature, without being subject to any direct responsibility, could adequately and satisfactorily accomplish the end proposed; and while they do full justice to the liberal views with which that society was originally instituted, they cannot but be sensible that one of its leading principles was calculated to defeat its avowed objects, as experience has subsequently proved that it has. The determination to enforce in all their schools the reading of the Holy Scriptures, without note or comment, was undoubtedly taken with the purest motives, with the wish at once to connect religious with moral and literary education, and, at the same time, not to run the risk of wounding the peculiar feelings of any sect by catechetical instruction, or comments which might tend to subjects of polemical controversy. But it seems to have been overlooked that the principles of the Roman Catholic Church (to which, in any system intended for general diffusion throughout Ireland, the bulk of the pupils must necessarily belong) were totally at variance with this principle; and that the indiscriminate reading of the Holy Scriptures, without note or comment, by children, must be peculiarly obnoxious to a church which denies, even to adults, the right of unaided private interpretation of the sacred volume with respect to the articles of religious belief.
'Shortly after its institution, although the society prospered and extended its operations under the fostering care of the legislature, the vital defect began to be noticed, and the Roman Catholic clergy began to exert themselves with energy and success against a system to which they were, on principle, opposed, and which they feared might lead in its results to proselytism, even although no such object were contemplated by its promoters. When this opposition arose, founded on such grounds, it soon became manifest that the system could not become one of national education.
"The commissioners of education in 1824-5, sensible of the defects of the system, and of the ground as well as the strength of the objection taken, recommended the appointment of two teachers in every school, one Protestant and the other Roman Catholic, to superintend separately the religious education of the children; and they hoped to have been able to agree upon a selection from the Scriptures, which might have been generally acquiesced in by both persuasions. But it was soon found that these schemes were impracticable; and, in 1828, a committee of the House of Commons, to which were referred the various reports of the Commissioners of Education, recommended a system to be adopted which should afford, if possible, a combined literary and separate religious education, and should be capable of being so far adapted to the views of the religious persuasions which prevailed in Ireland, as to render it, in truth, a system of national education for the poorer classes of the community.
For the success of the undertaking, much must depend upon the character of the individuals who compose the Board; and upon the security thereby