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Slave Trade Extinction Bill, the Catholic Relief Bill, the Parliamentary Reform Bill, ignorant indeed and craven must he be, who, in such a cause as Education Reform, can despair.
Another class,—we know not whether to call them friends or foes to education,--are the Indifferents, the Apathetics. They are not to be taken in by any such quackery—they are for a solid beef and pudding organisation of society: they regard physical and intellectual enjoyments not only as distinct, but as opposed. Hence, the moment you talk of instruction they instantly turn you round on bread. “Give poor-laws first, and then we will consent to think of schools.”. We say, give both, and both at once, or rather give no poor laws, unless you are quite sure you can give education too. So far from giving a stone instead of a loaf, it gives, by the skill to produce them, two loaves instead of one. These philosophers are the political materialists of society, they believe in nothing-but what they can touch with flesh and bone. Beyond the mere brute man, the mechanical dealing and paying machine, they know little of man or men around them. No effort, in their minds, is worth any thing, which cannot in the instant be coined into pounds, shillings and pence. These men when pressed for their co-operation in furthering education, profess the love but doubt of the possibility of advancing the people; and in order to prove their apprehensions true, take care by a refusal of all assistance to make them so. Projects with them, however feasible, if they extend beyond an hour are “phantasms :” if they go into details which they have not read or reflected enough to understand, “crotchets:" if persevered in, “ hobbies” and “bores.”—It is in vain to point out to them that there has never been any great measure, involving large and important changes, which has not successively been all three. But all this is ignorance disguised by vanity,-selfishness opposing usefulness under the respectable pretext of experience and sagacity. They are by half the world called “the friends of education,” and they submit to the honour without a word. If doing nothing for, and not a little against, education, be friendship, they deserve it. But appeal to them too frequently, or rouse them too abruptly, and to get rid of the importunity--they become at once its avowed enemies. They are in general, however, more quiescent. In this state they form the sand bag, the great dead weight—the vis inertiæ, against which the cause of education, even more than against direct hostility, has still to strive. Of such is a large portion of the country, and some eight or ninetenths, we regret to say, of our legislature and government.
These men, as we have said, are the dubious, and seem like bats between either army; but there are others--" friends of
education” as they insist upon being called—who are scarcely less its foes. We do not speak of the wild and impracticable enthusiast, who sees existing things only as visions, and clothes unrealities with flesh and bone—we do not attack the empiricist, who drunk with his own local success, has the vanity to expect his experiment will be enshrined in the statutes of a nation-still less do we mean to call to trial the open adventurer, who trades with the effrontery of any other market jobber, on the intellects and morals of the rising generation. These are cases too notorious, and too easy to be mistaken, to merit a moment's reflection. The pseudo-support and hollow protection to which we would direct attention, is less noticed and more pernicious. The “ friends of education," the “true educationists," of whom we speak, are the powerless men in power, the “can't be done" men, who make an outcry about the outcries of others, in order to avoid the necessity of doing any thing themselves. Let them get noise and tumult enough to divert the public attention, and they seize with earnestness the happy opportunity to fall asleep. “The people do not ask—the country is not ripe”—but they take especial care that no unnecessary hints shall be conveyed to the people—and that the country shall be kept as far as possible from
Not that they oppose—oh no! nothing can be farther from their thoughts—they only want a little time for consideration, a little interval of repose—“ Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.” --Prov. xxiv. Parliamentary discussions there are none, for the Opposition sit mute, and let the subject pass through-they make way for it between their ranks, that it may run itself down. If such a grievance as a debate be probable, there is an easy mode of getting rid of it, (an important expedient in parliamentary strategics). The House is counted out by an impromptu secession, on some appointed day and hour, and the orator is extinguished with the House. Should the Minister at last, by some unhappy blunder on his side, be driven into an observation upon the subject, he takes care to make it answer the safe purposes of silence, or indulges in some complacent panegyric on the exertions of government, with an Exchequer feeling for pounds, shillings and pence. The school-houses are filled with legs and arms !--the Voluntary system works so well ! why should we disturb the progress of good by overdoing it?what can the nation want more? These truisms, as they are considered in the House of Commons, are replied to on the Opposition side by a thorough assent so far as inaction and penury are recommended, but when the debate comes to the question of teaching, they insist on some millions of Bibles more ! In all thiseducation on both sides is left out. The.“ practical men” have omitted the most practical and essential part of the whole';they have required teaching, and not yet produced teachers —they have mistaken the mere mechanism of education for its spirit and soul. To talk to such men of any thing "general,” is an absolute waste of time. John Bull, time out of mind, has been their servant and victim, — time out of mind the “ practical men,” the “tape-tiers," have been the dispensers of his conscience and purse. Admirable work have they made of it, if we are to take the Statute Book with all its incoherences and oversights as a proof. Urge these men, the mighty movers of great events by little means, who would consider themselves lost, if they moved out of their pinmaking department in Parliament, to set boldly about a broad and effective system of National Education, and they shrink in dismay. They will plant for you a little school, with a little master, in a snug little village; but the moment you ask for education for a Country, you speak madness, their “micromegas” faculties cannot rise so high; they are, by their very nature, opposed to construction and system. They love to see legislation picturesque, and take care that no one law, man, or duty, shall in any way answer or set up for the brother of another. It is to be hoped that we shall some time or other emerge from this Lilliputian knick-knackery of legislation, into something larger and worthier of men holding the destinies of a great people in their hands. What a system on a national scale may produce, even with all its defects, has been proved sufficiently in Ireland to give a little courage. It is not with 10,0001. for a Normal school or two, nor with 20,0001. thrown out as a bone of contention between rival systems, that much "national” good can possibly be expected—that we can reform the education of a nation. We have spent millions upon our wars, we actually are spending in Spain not less this year than half a million sterling; our bayonets in Ireland cost us thousands; 20,000,0001. entailing a debt of 800,0001. a year, has been given to the slave proprietors in the West Indies, for a great moral object—nay, a palace of our king's has cost 800,0001., and we traffic and haggle when education is in question, for a few thousands. But money is not enough; with thousands no more than with hundreds, if we have nothing else, can we build up the mind of a nation. Mind must be treated by mind, and to carry this treatment generally and effectively, into operation, it must be done on system. Κεκριμενα μη κινειν is no maxim to be adopted where there is on every side around us abuse or deficiency. We must have a “ National System,” by which every man in the country, and his children after him, shall be secured, not the husks on which
men have hitherto been feeding, but a substantial, applicable, enduring education,-physical, intellectual and religious. Well does Herder, complaining of these defects even in his day and country, exclaim
“What is the meaning of the word learning. We have upon this subject the most erroneous ideas, if we believe that it means to fix in our memory strange words ? Words are sounds—unaccompanied with thought, we learn like parrots. Words without thought are to the human soul a pernicious opium, which at first plunges us into a sweet dream, but from which follow all the evil consequences of such a dream of mere words, (Wortraüme). They deaden the soul, they keep it firmly locked in inactivity; it falls away and dwells in a slumber of injurious thought,” &c.
And such has been in great measure the result of our Voluntary system of education and of our leaving educationists wholly to themselves. It is surely time for us to try something else: we have to rescue infancy from corruption, to render youth fit for the duties of men, to see that age does not forget the intellectual vigour and acquirement, the Christian precept and habit of youth. We know not how this on a sufficiently large and permanent plan can be attained, but by a wise, liberal, and general system for the three countries, of National Education. The example of all countries (for England is now the only state without one), ought surely to be provocation and encouragement enough. If it be an object desirable to a nation, it can only be effected by the legislature and government; the legislature and government, for the sake of the nation, ought not to let another session pass without attempting it. In this they not only discharge a duty, but lay the foundation of the surest prosperity and highest fame. We think with Schwartz
“ The other relation, in which the state is bound to take due care of the rising youth, depends immediately upon the duty which she owes to herself, inasmuch as she falls or rises in proportion to the education of the new generation. If youth goes astray, the whole of the people gradually fall away from all attachment to the state, the bonds of law are loosened, disorder ensues, and at last breaks out into the condition of savage life. The better youth is brought up, the deeperrooted is all citizenship and society, the richer with hope and blessing flourishes the entire state. Hence, the instruction of youth is as much an obligation imposed upon the State, as his own education upon each individual ; and hence, also, is it that she can never sufficiently establish and secure her own welfare, unless she educates well for the present and the coming age, her own children (Landeskinder). The state is the more imperatively bound to this solicitude, inasmuch as she stands in the place of the community, or rather of all mankind, and is placed there by God to advance the order and improvement of humanity; and while she discharges a debt towards her own, to those children especially hers, she at the same time performs a duty of love (Liebesflicht) towards other nations, for the improved culture of the one travels to the other whenever it may be wanted, and thus she becomes a light which throws its illumination on every side around. Such is the natural position of a state which provides by wise laws for the education of her youth: she fulfils a sacred duty both towards herself and towards ber species. Hence advance, proportionally with their solicitude for education, the fame and glory of such countries, both with the present and with all coming generations.”—Die Schulen, p. 133.
Art. II.-1. The Catholic Church, Five Sermons preached in the
Parish Church of Blackburne, on occasion of the commemoration of the Reformation, celebrated October 4th, 1835.
By the Rev. J. Whittaker, D.D. 2. The Duty of contending for the Faith ; A Sermon preached
in the Church of St. John, Swansea, on Sunday, October
4th, 1835. By the Rev. Henry Roxby Maude, LL.B. 3. The Prevalence of Popery considered ; A Sermon preached
in Mount Sion Chapel, Tunbridge Wells, on Lord's-day
God's appointment, leaving the axes of their unerring revolutions, to interfere in each other's functions ; or rather, to descend from a sphere so high above our theme,—could we imagine such a tribunal as Lucian has devised for the letters of the alphabet, before which any day of the year might sue its neighbour for trespassing on its appropriated functions,—we are right sure that the fifth day of moody November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, would apply for a solemn writ against the fourth day of the preceding month, as having unjustifiably usurped its duties in the calendar of bigotry. It is true, that, for some years, thanks to the good sense and feeling of our fellow-countrymen, the bonfires of that day had waxed pale and faint; Guy Fawkes, with his lantern, had been plucked by the police, as á nuisance, out of the hands of city urchins; the bells in many places had refused to peal their tones of gratitude, and even the indulgence of immunity from lesson and birch had been, in many schools, withdrawn, for the commemoration of the festival. These were bad symptoms; and something new must be done.
Consultation was held, due deliberation was taken, and the sacerdotal caste decided