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It is abundantly evident from these facts, and the Chap. same has been proved in other countries, that no reliance x'
can be placed on the voluntary system for the support of education, and that unless the means of instruction Difficulties are provided at the public expense, the education of the ject^andb" people will always be in a most unsatisfactory state, and °^TM^.ot its blessings in a considerable portion of society wholly mentunknown. Whatever ministers to the physical necessities or pleasures of the people is easily rendered selfsupporting, but it is otherwise with what tends to their moral improvement or social elevation. These can never be safely left to private support, for this plain reason, that a large portion of society, and that the very one which most stands in need of them, is wholly insensible to their value, and will pay nothing for their furtherance. Had the property which once belonged to the Church still remained in its hands, and been righteously administered, it might have solved the difficulty, because it was adequate to the gratuitous support of the whole religious and educational institutions requisite for the country. But as so large a part of it had been seized on by private cupidity, and been alienated from the Church at the Reformation, this precious resource was lost, and nothing remained but assessment, and there the difficulty at once is felt.
At first sight, it appears easy to solve the difficulty by sg simply establishing a school-rate in every parish, to be iu dimcuicollected along with the poor-rate and prison-rate, and attempts at which, at a trifling cost to the community, would afford to t!o^Bolu the children of all adequate means of instruction. This was what Lord Brougham proposed in England, and
Of this number 53,000 wero at dame schools, where only the rudiments of education were taught. Small as the proportion of educated children was, it had only become such as it was of late years, for of the total educated about 200,000 were at 1520 Lancasterian schools, which only began to be established iu 1803, so that before that timo not more than one-twentieth of the population was annually receiving instruction.—Ann. Reg. 1820, 50.
Chap. which has been long established with great success in
'America. But a difficulty, which has hitherto been found
1820- insurmountable, lies at the very threshold in this country, which is the more serious that it arises from the combined sincere convictions and selfish jealousies of the ministers of religion and their zealous followers. What religion is to be taught 1 Is it to be the Episcopalian, Catholic, or Dissent? If the last, which Dissent, for their name is legion? So great is this difficulty, that it has hitherto been found insurmountable both in England or Ireland, and caused all attempts at a general system of education to fail. Each sect not only gives no support to any attempt to establish any general system of education connected with any other sect, but meets it with the most strenuous opposition. Nor is this surprising, for each considers its own tenets and forms the ones most conducive to temporal wellbcing—and not a few, the only portals to eternal salvation. go Scotland is the exception. Its parochial schools were Probable established in 1696, when the fervour of the Reformation wiving it. in a community as yet only agricultural had produced an unusual degree of unanimity on religious subjects, and the burden was laid entirely on the landholders. No general school-rate could by possibility succeed now, in the divided state of the religious world in that country. The difficulty might perhaps be solved by simply levying a rate, and dividing it in each parish, for the support of schools, in proportion to the number of families belonging to each considerable persuasion; and possibly this is the way in which alone the difficulty can ultimately be overcome. In urban parishes, at least, where the evils of want of education for the poor are most strongly felt, it would be easy to establish in every school a room or rooms, in which the elements of secular education are taught to all, while in an adjoining apartment the children of the different persuasions are in succession instructed on religious subjects by their respective religious Chap.
teachers. A general rate might be levied on all for the —
support of the teachers in the first; a special rate on 1820those professing each persuasion for the instruction in the last. This is done in several schools in manufactories in Scotland, and is generally practised in America with perfect success. The system appears complicated, but it is perhaps the only way in which the difficulties connected with the subject can be obviated, or a general assessment, Trenmn for educational purposes be reconciled with the sincere, haiv.Ameand therefore respectable, scruples of the serious portion 6i.' of the community.1
But supposing this difficulty surmounted, another, and a yet more formidable one, remains behind, to the magni- wimt is to tude of which the world is only beginning to awaken. wlthX When the people are educated, what is to be done with ck^e!*?' them 1 How is the country to get on when so many more are trained to and qualified for intellectual labour than can by possibility find a subsistence, even by the most successful prosecution of any of its branches 1 How is the constantly increasing multitude of well-educated persons, armed with the powers of intellect, stimulated by the pressure of necessity, not restrained by the possession of property, to be disposed of, when no possible means of providing for them but by physical labour, which they abhor, can be devised? How are they to be prevented, in periods of distress, from becoming seditious, and listening to the suggestions of the demagogues who never fail to appear in such circumstances, who tell them that all their distresses are owing to the faulty institutions of society, and that under the reign of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," they will all disappear before the ascending power of the people? How, in such circumstances, is the balance of the different classes of society to be preserved, and the great, but inert, and comparatively unintellectual mass of the rural
Chap. population to be hindered from falling under the domi
nion of the less numerous, but more concentrated, more
1820' wealthy, and more acute inhabitants of towns? If they do become subjected to them, what is that but classgovernment of the worst and most dangerous, because the most numerous and irresponsible kind \ And what is to be expected from it, but the entire sacrifice of the interests of the country, by successive acts of the legislature, to those of towns? England has already felt these evils, but not to the degree that she otherwise would, from the invaluable vent which her numerous colonies have afforded to her surplus educated and indigent population: in America they have been wholly unknown, because the Far West has absorbed it all.
These observations are not foreign to a work of general
Effect of history : its subsequent volumes will be little more than a Tn"eadi°Dg commentary on this text. And without anticipating the perrionof march of events, which will abundantly illustrate them, it mankind. may be observed that the maintenance of despotic institutions in a country of advancing intelligence is impossible; that as knowledge is power, so knowledge will obtain power; that the wisdom of government with a people growing in information, is gradually and cautiously to admit them to a share in its duties; that the only way to do this with safety, is by the representation of interests, not numbers, the latter being class-government of the worst kind; and that, with all that, safety must mainly be looked for in the providing ample outlets for the indigent intelligence of the state in colonial settlements. It is impossible it should be otherwise, for it is by the force of education that the destinies of the species are to be worked out by the voluntary acts of free agents. The desires consequent on information, with their natural offspring, democratic ambition, are the great moving powers of nature; and in the last days of man, as in the first, it is by eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge that he is torn up from his native seats, and impelled by the force Chap. of his own desires to obey the Divine precept to over- x' spread the earth and subdue it. 1820
Another subject, destined in the end to be attended g3 with paramount importance, though its moment was not Dufraiperceived at this time, was at the same time introducedofGram"-' into Parliament, and showed how closely the growing 1TM^TM* intelligence of an era is connected with the desire for an toYoJk-*TM extension of political power. This was Parliamentary ,l,ireReform. Lord John Russell on 9th May introduced the subject by proposing three resolutions: 1. That the people were dissatisfied with the representation; 2. That boroughs convicted of bribery should be disfranchised; and, 3. That their members should be transferred to some populous place not represented. Grampound had been convicted of bribery in the last election, on so extensive a scale that it appeared in evidence that " perhaps there might be two or three electors who had not received bribes." The bill disfranchising the borough passed without any opposition, but a great division of opinion arose as to the place to which the members for it should be transferred. In the bill, as it originally stood, it was proposed that they should be transferred to Leeds; but the aristocratic party, in both Houses, inclined to give them to some rural district, where their influence might be more easily exerted. The bill was not pushed through all its stages this session, in consequence of the proceedings against the Queen absorbing the whole attention of the legislature; but it was revived in the next, and, as it passed the Commons, the franchise was conferred on Leeds. In the Lords, however, this was altered, and the members were bestowed on the county of York. With this alteration the Reform party were far from being satisfied; but they wisely agreed to it, and the bill, thus amended, passed into a law. Thus was the foundation laid of the great fabric of parliamen