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acts, of words, on the part of the master, witnessed by the servant, which tend directly to corrupt him. Were there no fagging in schools, and were the intercourse between boys, differing considerably in age, limited to that which it would be by the very nature of a good system, the intercourse between the older and younger boys would, we think, as a consequence, be of that kind which would exercise all their best sympathies; it would be sufficient for that purpose, and nothing more.
In many of our schools where fagging exists, we have no doubt that many older boys do behave well to their fags, and do not take any improper advantage of their power: many masters also set a good example to their servants, use them well, and by their words and actions exercise a beneficial influence over them. An older boy, under the fagging system, may in some instances do the same towards a junior ; but while we admit the possibility of this, we beg to observe that the analogy between master and fag, and master and servant, which we have pointed out as existing in a certain case, is not one that must he insisted on to any great extent, either for or against the system of fagging. In the case which we have taken, it seems to us to hold, so far as the influence of had example goes. As to the abuse of power by the master, the servant can free himself from that, by taking his leave. In the case of the fag, the remedy is not so clear; and that the power of a senior over a junior is liable to abuse, and that it is not unfrequently abused, will, we think, be admitted even by the boys in our public schools. And how can this be otherwise, especially in those endowed schools where so many boys of different ages are so much thrown together, and shut up in the same room for so large a part of the twenty-four
hours? In these rooms, fagging probably had its origin, and no place so well calculated for the production of this kind of government.
Let us now see on what the supposed necessity of the fagging system, as explained by our correspondent, rests.
Boys (see “Letter of a Wykhamist,” p. 287) in English boardir:g schools, " for nearly nine months of the year, live with one another in a distinct society:" “at their studies and at their amusements, by day and by night, they are members of one and the same society, in closer local neighbourhood with one another than is the case with the ordinary society of grown men:" "for this their habitual living they require a government.” Doubtless they do require a government, and a good government: the question is, What shall it be? “It is idle,” says our correspondent,“ to say that masters form, or can form this government; it is impossible to have a sufficient number of masters for the purpose; for in order to obtain the advantages of home government, the boys should be as much divided as they are at their respective homes." It certainly is idle to say that masters in this country do, as a general rule, form the government; it is perhaps equally idle to say that they can form it, for they have generally neither the inclination nor the kind of knowledge, nor the habits that are necessary to enable them to form a good school go. vernment. But why cannot masters form this government? The reasons are curious.-(See Letter, p. 287.)-The object of a school, it is assumed, is to obtain the advantages of home government: to obtain this, boys should be divided as much as they are at their respective homes; there should be no greater number of boys under one master than of
brothers commonly living under one parent: nay, there should be fewer, inasmuch as there is wanting the bond of natural affection which so greatly facilitates domestic government, and gives it its peculiar virtue: a father with thirty sous below the age of manhood and above childhood would find them difficult to govern; but it is more difficult for a master to govern thirty boys who have no natural bond to attach them either to him or to one another; and hence, for all these reasons, if you have a large boarding school, you cannot have it adequately governed without a system of fagging; and hence it is concluded, that a government among the boys being necessary, the actual constitution of public schools places it in the best possible hands. This government of boys, it is further said, like every other government, requires to be watched, or it will surely be guilty of abuses.
All this rests on the assertion, that boys in boarding schools form a distinct society; that by day and by night they are all in a close local neighbourhood to one another; and that this must be the case. On that cir: cumstance in the constitution of nearly all large boarding schools, which most reflecting men believe to be the radical evil in such schools, is grounded the defence of all the evil consequences which flow from it. But boys must not be allowed to form a distinct society of their own: they are not sent to school to form a society for themselves; they are sent to live in a society framed and governed by the intelligence and virtue of a man whose profession it is to train boys. Boys are sent to school, among other purposes, to be instructed in the knowledge of social life, not a social life founded on their own notions, but one which shall be a fit introduce
tion to the social state of manhood. It is next assumed that "the advantage of home government is the object to be obtained at school ;" but it cannot be obtained, and therefore the advantage of home government must be abandoned. There is then no reason, as far as we can see, for sending boss to boarding schools at all, for we do not choose to admit that the bare instruction itself is an objeet worth obtaining at the cost of the “ advantage of the home government," supposed by our correspondent to be the best government. But it is generally supposed -and though the supposition is not always a practical reality, it is on this supposition that boarding schools were founded, and to the existence of this supposition they owe their continuance—it is generally supposed, we say, that school government is better than home government, and for this among other reasons boys are sent to boarding schools. And this supposition appears to us, on the whole, to be founded in truth: First, many parents have not time to give to their children that attention which they require, many have little inclination, many more are totally unfit for governing their children well, from defect of temper, education, and numerous other causes ; * they therefore send them to a man who makes it his profession to undertake to do what most parents cannot do. Secondly, it is known that boys must some time enter on life, and that it is better that this entry be preceded by a proper state of preparation than by none at all, or by an incomplete preparation; and there is no preparation for boys so
* See Bishop Butler's Sermon, preached at Christ Church, London—“ Consider next the manner, &c." Various parts of this admirable discourse have a bearing on various parts of the question discussed in this article.
good as to grow up among those of the same age, but not solely of the same family, provided all the society thus arising is framed and governed by a man who has made the government of boys his study. Again, the absurdity of the proposition is pushed so far by our correspondent, that he asserts, in order to obtain this supposed advantage of home government, that the number of boys under a master should be less than the number of brothers commonly living under one parent that is, less than two. For the number of boys commonly living under one parent, to take the phrase in any sense that is consistent with a meaning, is not much above two upon the average of marriages in one of the most prolific countries in the world (Belgium); and if we take into the account the difference of age in boys of one family and the consequent departure of some of the boys from the paternal roof, while the others are still young, it is clear that some of the male children may have all the advantage of this home government to themselves, and in many families must have it all to themselves; that is, a boy must often be brought up alone, which no person will call a good bringing up. Further, father with thirty sons,” or, we will say, a much less number, “all below the age of manhood and above childhood, would find it no easy task to govern them effectually.” We are not much inclined to undertake any
discussion with those who first assume an impossible case, and then take the benefit of the argument in applying it to a possible case. A man with thirty children below the age of manhood must evidently have several wives, and it is probable that this circumstance would considerably increase the difficulty of governing his family, unless he adopted our principle of division