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eminence. The greater part of
have had time to make any , singular
competency, have parts to act in society, which the
poor are neither required nor able to perform. To qualify them for these parts, the rich have usually the means of a more comprehensive education; that sort of education, which is termed liberal, and which is afforded at the grammar school. But the poor may, if they can continue long enough there, receive the same benefit. And if it happens, that a poor boy has talents and diligence, and friends to enable bin to proceed to a great length uninterrupted in his studies, he may have all the benefit which the rich can receive. He has indeed a right to all the classical instruction the grammar school can afford. It is his inheritance, and it is not unfrequent to see boys of this description, avail themselves greatly of this inheritance, and in consequence of their virtues and abilities, rise in the world to high proficiency; such as may exalt their condition. They are called away to assist their parents, in procuring a livelihood; or to engage in trades' for their own future maintenance, Still they may have acquired something from the Latin school, which will give them a superiority over competitors of their own rank, if it be barely
, a slight acquaintance with grammar and orthography. But who knows what may be their lot in the vicissitudes of life? and if they are destined to ascend, they are qualified for their elevation.
But in general it may be asserted, that all may be done which can be done for the majority of the poor, in the article of education, without interfering with the old established plan of the grammar schools ,without destroying the distinction, which is very great, between them and the parochial charity schools, or the common day schools, which modestly profess to teach nothing more than the arts of reading, writing, and ciphering. The poor
religiously, morally, and most usefully, educated without at all trenching upon those high or ornamental attainments which add a grace to polished society, which qualify for professions, for state employments, and form the gentleman and the scholar. They may enjoy all the benefits which prudence, common sense, and their station in society admit of, all that a regard to their ową bappiness allows, without degrading or diminishing the old system of classical foundations, which, in the very nature of things, must be particularly desirable and suitable to those who can live, and be extremely useful to the community, without the necessity of
Let nothing then here advanced, be understood as designed to militate, in the slightest degree, against charity schools, or schools appropriated to reading, writing, and ciphering, whether parochial, national, or private. May such schools increase and multiply, and
be supplied wherever deficient. May they still be encouraged by christian benefactors. And indeed it is satisfactory to observe, that in addition to the parochial and national schools scattered all over the kingdom, there are petty schools, and humble seminaries for children in many à cottage, in almost every village and hamlet, and almost every street or lane of the towns throughout the extended empire. Statistical writers may hardly vouchsafe to dignify some of these homely tenements with the name of schools; but whatever name they bear, they communicate very widely the power of reading, and often of writing and casting accounts. The bible, the prayer book, and the catechism form their library. There is usually an aged matron in every part of the rural parish, who has seen better days, and who brings the little learning she acquired in tliose better days, to the thatched lodging of her decrepid age, and distributes it to the children around her, for the poor pittance of a weekly mite. Some lame, disabled, or superannuated man, often the parish clerk himself; some widow, confined to her home by an infant family; some female orphan, untit for hard labor, admits ihe infant circle, for a morsel of brearl, to sit round the embers on her hearth; while, with exemplary care and assiduity, she teaches them to spell and read, never, on any account, omitting the scriptures, the manual of devotion, and the catechism. All these humble justruct. ors earn their scanty livelihood by keeping these petty schools, and is it charity to deprive so many thousands as there are of them, and each, an object of charity, or rather of reward, of their honest and useful means of supporting life i Shall all these be thrown out of their employment, and sent as useless paupers to tlie parish poor-bouse, because the new act of parliament opens the grammar school for the reception of their scholars. It is an injury both to the cottage teachers, and to the grammar school, which it not ouly degrades but robs, in this instance, by diverting the suiids to purposes never thought of by the pious founder. Nay, in many cases the founder has virtually forbidden it by requiring in his stalutes, that no boy shall be admitted into his school who cannot read, not English only, but Latin, and who cannot write legibly. The intention of a founder in preserving grammar studies undegraded ought to be held sacred, more especially wherë the most important interests of those whom he designed to serve, are deeply concerned in a literal compliance with it.
Wills, charters, and acts of parliament, have combined to give the natives and inhabitants of certain districts, their heirs and successors for ever, the privilege of being educated without expense, in the highest accomplishments of the human mind, (for such certainly are the accomplishments which the study of the HUMANITIES affords or leads to); and this right has for centuries devolved from father to son, as one of the freehold and unalienable advantages at
Tex EBASING the value of this inheritance. And after all, the
tached to their place of nativity or habitation. There is great injustice in reduction of grammar schools to schools for spelling, reading, and writing, is, to render them in fact, mere charity schools; for when the grammar, schools are so degraded, by making half their business to consist in teaching spelling, reading, and writing, Latin and Greek will be in little request. They will be, as in some academies, merely nominal studies, adapted to adorn an advertisement, and answer the purposes of didactic quackery; for the majority of parents and scholars will decline the Latin and Greek part of the system, and the proposed change, which seems to favor the poor, is in fact no favor at all; for it is but the supply of a superfiuity Schools for the poor, and schools for spelling, reading, writing, and ciphering abound, even so much as to hurt each other's prosperity, by the multitude and competition. The more decent orders of society will be driven out of their own grammar schools, by pride and indignation at the idea of confounding them with parish establishments, and by a proper dislike to low and vulgar association for their progeny. And who will be benefited ? Not the children of the poor, who have already places and opportunities, free of cost, for the attainment of all the learning which is likely to serve them, or of which, through want of time, they are alone capable. No injury is done to poor families by preserving the grammar schools in the state intended by the founders; on the contrary, it is a great advantage to them; as it preserves a perpetual opportunity of giving their children, under more favorable contingencies, a chance to rise in life. It would not be surprising, if the poor, made duly sensible of the advantage of the grammar schools, in their pure unmixed state, were to petition parliament against the very ingovation which is proposed, under the color of more extensive beneficence to them, than that of the pious founders. If the middle and higher ranks were to combine with them in such a petition, they also would consult their interest in a matter most important to their families and the successors to their property. They may not now want the benefits gratuitously afforded, but are still greatly interested in preserving them in their original state. Families often fall to decay; and then," when house and land are gone and spent,” there is a cheap education for them of the highest excellence. There is often also an exbibition or fellowship attached to the school, that may help to restore the family, or may place it in the road that leads to fame and fortune. Gentlemen of moderate property, with large families, are enabled by the free school to give all their sons an education as good as their own, and the means of maintaining their paternal place in society. The boys may be qualified at the classical school (but not at the spelling, reading, writing, and ciphering school) for the magistracy or the
senate; they may be rendered by gratuitous education at the grammar school (which is a most important advantage) fit company for the most enlightened and polished circles, and sit down, unrecommended by riches, among princes and nobles with a manly, though modest, confidence.
With the utmost respect for the defenders of our country, I venture to make a remark of the lamentable deficiency of educa-, tion among many in the army and navy. I do not say, “let the laurel yield to the gown;" but I do say, that as many enter these professions, especially the navy, at the age of thirteen or fourteen, they are removed from the grammar school before they have aca. quired even orthography, or at least any useful knowledge of grammar. They who wield the sword like Cæsar, lose their glory, (unlike Cæsar in this instance) when they hold the pen. The dispatches from victorious heroes, I have been informed, are often illiterate; and, in company to which their exploits have raised them, must they not sink in esteem, when they are found inferior, to the menial at their backs, in correctness or propriety of language: They rank and associate with people of the highest class, perhaps as peers of the realm, when, lo! this general and that admiral, so celebrated in the rolls of fame, feels himself out of his element, and no less awkward than the gentleman or scholar he converses with would feel, at the helm of a man of war. He speaks English scarcely better than a Frenchman, or any other foreigner, yet shall , he be a man of great understanding, and such as would have shone . in the senate, as well as in the ship, had he continued long enough at the grammar school.
The countless numbers of persons whose vocations require some portion of classical knowledge, or scholar-like attaiuments, cannot; but incur irreparable disadvantage, by the degradation of the grammar schools, and their metaniorphosis to schools preparatory to trade. How greatly superior in character, and probably in skill, do the numerous bodies of attorneys, surgeons, and apothecaries, become, when they have bad the good fortune to spend a few years, in their early youth, at the grammar school. How many persons are there in the civil, military, and naval line, pos-, sessing, with the ideas and rank of gentlemen, small incomes; how many, in places and offices scarcely lucrative enough to support a family, all of whom would fall into the contempt which narrow circumstances excite, if they were not rescued from it by their education ; and they could have had no education, except in reading, writing, and accounts, but for the grammar school, founded in the town or parish in which they had the good fortune to be natives or inhabitants ? Such persons, so educated, maintain the rank of gentlemen, descend not from their parental level, and
often rise above it, by the exercise of virtues, or the display of abilities, the seeds of which were cultivated at the classical nursery; ar place devoted, like the common field in the neighbourhood, to public use. And can these numerous and spirited tribes submit to have so valuable a privilege taken from them and from their posterity, or, by a mischievous alteration and deterioration, rendered either useless or unacceptable ?
There is a character or description of persons in England, scarcely known on the continent, yet most useful and respectable, when duly and uniformly supported; a character and description of persons that preserves, in a great measure, the independent spirit of the nation; that becomes a blessing to a neighbourhood, and is indeed, when accompanied, as it often is, by plain, blunt honesty, by judicious, as well as upright conduct, and by a wellcultivated understanding, a maiu stay of the constitution. I mean the true ExGLISH COUNTRY GENTLEMAN; not merely an overgrown rich man, in a melancholy mansion that forbids approach ; not a mere minion of fortune, that despises the poor, and crouches to the great: but a man, living on his own estate, doing good to all his neighbours as be has opportunity, exercising hospitality on generous, not selfish, motives, and scorning to sell his birthright for a mess of pottage. This valuable character is very much formed and preserved in this country by the grammar school ; where the young esquire, at a distance from the corruption of the metropolis, instead of being rendered effeminate by frivolity, or servile by sycophantic example, associated in youth with honest neighbours of simple manners, and at the same tinie, was early imbued with the noble sentiments of classical lore, the spirit-stirring lessons of heroic history, and the fascinating charnis of poetry and eloquence.
The Clergy of this country constitute a most enlightened and respectable body of gentlemen : they are well educated at the grammar schools: they have much leisure, not being constantly employed, like the popish clergy, in ceremonies of little meaning, and attended with no edification : they therefore read and improve their minds during life. The whole of their lives is a course of education, but they began it at the grammar school ; and if that had been wanting, they might have been ignorant, like the poor priests in a Roman catholic country. I speak of them now not merely as. clerical and ecclesiastical persons ; but as' gentlemen, possessing the qualities of true gentlemen in mind, manners, and accomplishments, and owing their rank in society to the grammar school, which introduced them to the University. As a body of ecclesiastics, they are confessedly not equalled in all Europe; and they owe their superiority to their initiation in the hŲMANITIES, in those seminaries over which, to their honor and the public benefit, they al