Зображення сторінки

c. 87.

In the proceedings taken by the Treasury, to carry into effect the Act “for facilitating the foundation and 1 & 2 Vict. endowment of additional schools in Scotland,” their lordships resolved: “That if they have before them an accurate estimate of the cost or real value of the school, schoolmaster's house and garden, they will approach a fair and equitable principle, in assuming, as fit endowment of the school, the interest of a sum equal in amount to double the estimated value or cost.”*

inferiority of the Dutch Normal Schools, because inspection is more efficient.

The degradingly insufficient payment of almost all schoolmasters in England is at once a cause and an effect of the known incapacity of many. There is here a sure and fatal reaction. And not only must there be a better scale of salaries, but signal merit should meet with signal reward in public honour. Surely this is a matter eminently within the concern and obligation of the state. Under the most favorable circumstances there must be far more of disinterestedness in the avocation of the schoolmaster than in almost any other. It is beautifully said by Guizot, in the circular addressed by him to every schoolmaster throughout France, in order to the execution of the law of 1833 : “ The foresight of law, the resources of power will never succeed in rendering the simple profession of communal schoolmasters as attractive as it is useful. Society is not able to make any adequate return to him who devotes himself to its duties. There is no fortune to be made, and but little renown to be acquired in the discharge of its painful obligations. Destined to see his life pass away in a monotonous employment, sometimes even to meet with the injustice or with the ingratitude of ignorance, he would often become melancholy, and would perhaps succumb, unless he derived his strength and courage elsewhere, than in the prospect of an immediate and merely personal interest. A deep conviction of the moral importance of his labours must sustain and animate him; the austere pleasure of having served his fellows, of having unostentatiously contributed to the public good, must become the worthy reward for which he is indebted only to his conscience. It is bis glory to pretend to nothing beyond his obscure and laborious sphere,-to exhaust himself in sacrifices scarcely recognized by those wbo profit by them,-to work, in short, for men, and await his recompense from God.”- Rupport au Roi, par le Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat au département de l'Instruction Publique sur l'execution de la Loi du 28 Juin, 1833, relative à l'instruction primaire, p. 77.

• Return relating to Schools, (Scotland.) June 5, 1840, Commons' Sessional Papers, No. 382.

On receiving this proposed regulation the committee for education of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, very properly remonstrated that, considering the description of school-houses fittest for those localities (the highland parishes, which were divided, quoad sacra, under the Act 5 Geo. IV. c. 90,) this mode of fixing the amount would, probably in all cases, afford a salary considerably less than the minimum salary of the parochial schoolmasters (twenty-five pounds); — a salary, therefore, which might not always ensure even the existence of the schools, but would certainly ensure their inferiority to every other class of schools in the country, excepting those scarcely meriting the name that subsist on the fees paid by the scholars. On these grounds, the committee stated their conviction that this principle of adjusting the amount of the endowment, if adhered to, would “wholly frustrate the purposes of the Act, and that not only by calling forth an inferior class of teachers to occupy the schools, but also at the very outset by deterring the heritors, under that prospect, from giving the required accommodations."*

To this remonstrance the Lords of the Treasury answer, that they feel satisfied the general principle they have laid down for their guidance “will be looked upon as by no means illiberal, when considered with reference to the quantum of assistance afforded in other parts of the kingdom.” of Surely there is but too much truth in the assertion of a foreign observer of our social life, that “the enquiry in England has been, not what must be done to give every child the best possible education, but what are the best means of educating the greatest possible number of children at the smallest expense of capital and of human labour."

• Mr. Gordon's Letter to Mr. Baring, Ib. p. 6.
+ Treasury Minutes, Ib. p. 14.

[ocr errors]

tion lative mea

sures ne

visions of

The greatest difficulty which will continue to lie in 4. Legisthe way of a healthy and universal popular education in this country, when the proselytizing struggles of cessary to

the promoreligious parties shall have given place to a catholic tion of faith in the christianizing tendencies of all real know- popi

education. ledge, is undoubtedly that severe competition in the labour-market which contributes, alongst with many other causes more easily dealt with, to induce tens of thousands of English parents to barter the soul's health of their children for a paltry pittance of gain wrung from those children's premature toil. The attempt partially to lessen this evil_as far as Educa

. tional prorelates to one great section of the manufacturing population of the country-by the educational provisions of the Factothe Factory Act, has, to a considerable extent, confessedly failed.*

“It appears to me,” said Dr. Kay, before the Select Committee of the Commons on Education, of 1838, “that the cause of failure . . . . is, that no means were given for compelling (ensuring ?] the erection or provision of schools; and that as the schools, to a very large extent, are deficient in many districts, no means practically existed for enforcing the regulation of children attending school while in employment.”+ And Dr. Kay proceeded to suggest a legislative enactment (of course, operating cautiously and gradually) that parents should not be allowed to send their children to labour in any

ries Act.

• Of 2,000 factory children recently examined by Mr. Leonard Horner, in Manchester, 186 did not know the alphabet, 372 knew their alpbabet only, and 509 were able to read words of one syllable only; 1053 therefore (or 53 per cent.), conld not read. Of the remainder, 322 read the testament with difficulty, and only 611 with any ease. Of the entire number, only 441 were able to sign their names. These children were receiving from five to seven shillings each week, and the parents of many of them upwards of thirty shillings.

+ Report, &c., 1838, Q. 89, seq.

Industrial schools.

factory until after proof of a certain amount of previous instruction. But how, under the existing conditions, is this instruction to be obtained ?

The only practicable answer to this question is also the answer to the question, 'How shall the obstacles arising from nearly similar causes in agricultural districts be surmounted?'—it is, by the establishment of industrial schools, that is to say, of schools in which children, without neglecting the ordinary and necessary branches of instruction, shall be taught to do something which shall help their parents to support them. Comparatively little has yet been done in this wide field, but still enough to prove that adequate exertion will meet with certain and abundant success.*

I am far from thinking that because the educational provisions of the Factories Act have but very partially attained their object, therefore the legislature is to abstain from further interposition. I think, on the contrary, that Dr. Kay has indicated the true course which this interposition ought to take.

But if it be right that legislative power should interpose for the factory children, why for them only? Do none others stand in need of similar protection ? Unfortunately, all the evidence that has been obtained on the subject affords cumulative proof that similar temptations have produced similar results throughout the great mass of the working classes, both manufacturing and agricultural, of our country.

But a compulsory provision respecting education is said to be 'tyrannical,' "un-English,' 'a monstrous innovation,' &c.; and these assertions are usually followed by tirades against 'Prussian despotism,' and the like.

Compulsory provi. sion.

• In proof of this assertion, see the pamphlet entitled Industrial Schools for the Peasantry.

Such a provision, however, has no necessary connexion with despotism, for it obtains in the democracies of Switzerland; it is not an innovation, for in some countries it is nearly three centuries old; it is not preeminently Prussian, for it is general throughout the continent of Europe, and, in some shape, is not unknown in the United States of America ; it is not even unEnglish,' for in principle-apart altogether from the recent acts of the legislature, with reference to factories and workhouses it is strictly analogous to what has been repeatedly declared to be the established law of the land. In the well-known case, for example, of Wellesley against the Duke of Beaufort, Lord Eldon asserted the general power of the Court of Chancery to interfere as against the father, for the protection and due education of the children, but that it can interfere usefully only where there is property belonging to the children, on which it can act. “It is not, however,” he adds, “from any want of jurisdiction that it does not act, but from a want of means to exercise its jurisdiction, because the court cannot take on itself the maintenance of all the children in the kingdom,"* &c.

But in truth these scarcely ingenuous declarations against a compulsory provision in any general educational measure do but serve to divert attention from the real points at issue. Such a provision is not at present proposed, and to discuss its merits is therefore wholly unpractical. It will be time enough for this, when opportunity to obtain a good education shall have been offered to all who need it, and when the desire for it shall have been encouraged, as most legitimately it might be, by making rights and franchises contingent on its possession.

• Russell's Reports, p. 21.

« НазадПродовжити »