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the founders of our schools and colleges admit the possibility of a secular education; that they always treated theclogy as the ground of humanity, humanity as the one adequate illustration of theology. When this fact had been admitted and had been turned against them, it being alleged that our ancestors either did not understand the principles of education at all, or understood them only in application to their own times, then they began to enquire what had been the case with those who had undertaken the management of these schools or colleges in lat years, with a sincere desire to make the instruction in them a reality and not a delusion. They found that, however little such men may have cared for ancient precedents, however much they may have desired to act for and with their own age, they were thrown back upon the old doctrine ; were obliged to discard the later theories and practices which were inconsistent with it. They heard of Dr. Arnold's labours and reforms at Rugby. They heard that they had produced more or less effect upon all the public schools. They asked what the nature of them was, and they found that a contempt for this division between secular and religious education lay at the root of them all. He taught his pupils, that the sermons on Sunday had to do with the work of the week; that they could not come to Thucydides with one set of maxims and go to the Bible with another. He taught them that they were not to think of one part of their studies as intended to secure their happiness in a future world, another as helping them to make their way in this; that both were to be pursued in the fear of God; that each in its own proportion was to be a means of delivering them from what is sordid and secular. This was a most cheering example to those who, against many plausible arguments froin the necessities of our times and from our inconsistencies, were struggling for the oneness of education. They were themselves charged with pursuing a “ lofty ideal;' here was the case of a man working out a practical problem : they were said to be infected with ancient bigotry; here was the case of a man immeasurably preferring the present generation to every other : they were said to aim at the exaltation of the Church above the state; here was the case of a man who looked upon the state as entitled to a supreme control over the spiritual as well as over the outward interests of man. Assuredly they were not convinced by his arguments on this last point. They seemed to be hasty generalizations from his experience of the necessity of dealing with education as one entire province. One entire province it may be, to whatever hands it is entrusted; but it may be quite a distinct province from that of civil government. There this evidence that it is; if you try to identify them in our day, you must dislocate education in the way in which Dr. Arnold showed it ought not to be dislocated. But this dissent from his logical inference only made them regard his testimony on the point of fact as more clear and more valuable.
Such were the feelings and reasonings of those who opposed the popular notion of secular and religious schools seven years ago.
You will see,
I think, that they are not affected by any facts or any arguments which Dr. Hook has brought forward. Our education, he says, is very inadequate in respect of the quantity of persons who are able to avail themselves of it. But, most of all, he objects to its quality. Undoubtedly this is the great evil. Unless it be remedied, the removal of the other would be nothing. In fact that evil cannot be removed if this remains. If you make your schools indifferent, they cannot raise the tone of thought and feeling even in the class which is most under their influence; that class wiil not affect others; there will be no increased appetite for education in the people at large. Even if you compel them to come, you cannot compel them to receive that for which they come; they will not receive it, for this is the very characteristic of bad education that it is not received; it does not enter in; it does not bear fruit. Supposing then you adopt any system which shall not improve the quality of education, but stamp with permanence that which is bad in it already; and so diminish the probability of its being better, you must not turn round and say, "Yes, but what could we do? The poor must have some knowledge; if they cannot have the best, at all events let them have what is possible ; if we cannot make them men, at least let us give them their appointed doses of arithmetic and history on ordinary days, and their appointed doses of religion on Wednes. days, Fridays, and Sundays. This course I have argued is just the one which has brought weakness into our education; just the course out of which by slow, painful, and often tortuous efforts earnest men are trying to escape ; what possible statistics, then, about the greatness of our crimes and the scantiness of our schools, can justify you in giving it the slightest sanction, far less in establishing it as the system for the whole land ?
And let us beware of the delusive notion, that what is true of the upper or middle classes is not true of the lower. Whatever reasons there are for thinking that this division of education into secular and religious is a poor scholastical conceit, when it is applied to the former, -a conceit paltry in itself, yet most mischievous when it is invested with a practical significance,--all these reasons have tenfold weight respecting the latter. Your Rugby or Oxford scholar may perhaps pass decently and respectably through the world, with his modicum of secular knowledge, and his modicum of religious knowledge. The former may enable him to administer the laws not very ill at quarter sessions; the latter to preach a sermon of the average length and substance in a church or chapel. He may be a fair official, may act his part in society without being hissed, perhaps with applause. But the condition of the poor man is different. He is not an official; he is not dressed and powdered and masqued for social acting. The question in his case is, whether he is to be a man, or merely an animal; this and this only. If your education be of that kind which raises him to the functions and feelings of a man, it has done its work; if it do not this, it does nothing for him, let him have as much arithmetical and historical teaching on Mondays and Tuesdays, and as much religious teaching on Wednesdays and Fridays as he may. Pestalozzi at Yverdun, Zeller at Beuggen, men to neither of whom the feelings of English churchmen can possibly be attributed, who differed widely from each other, and who were wholly occupied with the poorest children, both made the discovery that they must treat them as having religious capacities, or else cease to educate them at all; that they must make their whole education religious, or else no part of it. But had we no such instances, we might conclude on plain grounds of reason, that if this arbitrary division stood its ground well in the discipline of well-dressed boys and girls, it would break down the moment it was fairly tried upon those who dwell in the cellars of Manchester and St. Giles
It may be asked, however, whether Dr. Hook has not some method of practically overcoming this difficulty; of preventing the secular education from being so secular as at first it seems likely to become. He has such a method. He attaches a great, and assuredly not an exaggerated, importance to training schools. He admits that every thing in the management of a school must at last depend upon the teacher. He therefore urges the government to seek teachers from the best of these training schools. He advises them not to establish such schools of their own. Let us consider how this will work. The secular school is established expressly to include the children of English Churchmen, Dissenters, and Romanists. The government seeks a teacher for this school, say from St. Mark's College. Dr. Hook thinks the education there admirable. I quite agree with him. I think it admirable, precisely on this ground that the idea of one education for religious and one for secular purposes is there entirely thrown aside ; that the discipline is altogether a religious one ; that the object is not so much to give a certain quantity of christian or church lore, as to form christians and churchmen. Well ! but would it not be a gross fraud upon Dissenters and Romanists, to set a person so trained over a school which you tell them is to be wholly free from any English Church influence ? What signifies it, that there is no teaching of books which the Romanists or Dissenters would dislike? Is not a man infinitely more than a book ? Can he help communicating that tone of thought and feeling which has become the pervading one of his life—which he acquired while he was learning that art which he is now called to exercise. But the teacher is fetched from the training school in the Borough Road. Then every observation which has been made about the dissenter applies to the churchman. The letter of the precept not to introduce dogmatic points, may be observed ; the spirit of it cannot be. The tone of mind which the teacher has received he must impart; if that tone be one which the churchman disapproves, as it may be inferred from his own different model that he does, you are surely not dealing equitably with him when you insist that this shall be communicated to his children, while they are studying under the comprehensive roof of a secular school.
But the government, of course, will see these objections at once. It will not and cannot take Dr. Hook's advice. It must have a training school of its own. And how are the teachers in this school to be formed ? Either by English Churchmen, or by Dissenters, or by Romanists, or by those who are indifferent to all religion. In the first three cases they are offensive to some of those who frequent the secular schools, in the last to all.
*Psha!' some wise men will exclaim ; 'what do poor children, or poor parents, be they Churchmen, or Dissenters, or Romanists, care about tones of thought and feeling? Provided you do not cram the children with positive doctrines which are offensive, you may be sure they will never find out what silent influences are at work upon them.' A very honest remark, certainly; one which I am sure will never come from Dr. Hook,—which, I trust, will never come from any member of the present government. If the whole system be one of cajolery, if the poor man's children are to be made that which he does not wish them to be, only because he is ignorant of the process, I am certain there will be a curse upon it, and upon all that take part in it, be they churchmen or statesmen. But are we sure that they will not be able to find out our cheating? If the people themselves are so stupid, have they not religious and political guides who will watch all the acts of the secular schoolmaster, who will perceive quickly enough, and will proclaim loudly enough, that he is neither honest to himself nor honest to his employers; that he perhaps began with attempting to accomplish both objects, then relinquished one as hopeless, and has at last ended in performing neither.
These thoughts have, I trust, suggested themselves long ago to the minds of the present ministers, and convinced them that Dr. Hook's scheme is not one which can meet the actual wants of the nation; and that it is one which will enlist against it the deepest, strongest, most wholesome, least party feelings in Churchmen as well as Dissenters. They will also, I trust, have reflected on this plain truth—that if they create a system, they cannot create men to work it. They must take what they find people with all the disadvantages of having received this or that religious bias, of belonging to this or that religious body. English society is full of heterogeneous elements; their system can but be composed of these elements; and the flatterers who shall tell them they have any charm to bring these elements into harmony, lie as grossly as those who told Canute that the waves would roll back at his bidding. Is not the existing plan, then, the plan which Lord John Russell's government set on foot in 1839, if it be carried out, much simpler, much honester? Is it not far better to say-We see that you all are doing something in your different schools. We will help you to do much more, and to do it, if you will, much better. We will not force you to work feebly a general plan, when we see that you might work at all events with some efficiency a particular plan. But we will insist that you shall work out that plan fairly; you shall not pretend that your English Churchmanship, or your Dissent, or your Romanism, is an excuse for being drones. What you say you can do, in the name of all that is holy, do. Show what is in you: whether you
your powers natural, human, or divine-if you have them, put them forth. If you fail, then on you be the sin. We, as a government, have cleared our consciences. We have done all that a government can do to save the people from perishing for lack of knowledge; since, whatever of moral energy there is in the country aiming at this end, we have not stifled, but encouraged and awakened.'
But if we may expect this kind of speech from a wise government, may we not expect a hearty, not a suspicious response to it, from a wise and faithful clergy? May we not expect them to say— Yes ! this is what we want-not patronage, not favour, but room and verge enough to exercise the gifts which God has bestowed upon us; opportunity to show that we can use them in submission to Him, for his glory and for the deliverance of our brethren from the heavy yoke of ignorance?' Suppose the government should propose a large additional grant, say a million, for the purposes of education ; suppose they should levy it by some scheme of taxation 'which will fall on the proprietors of each district ; suppose they determine that it shall be administered, as it is now administered, by the Committee of the Privy Council; suppose they multiply inspectors, and make the condition of the school more than ever the measure for determining the support that will be afforded it; suppose it assumed, as of course it will be in the whole measure, that no respect whatever shall be shown to this school or that, in virtue of the religious profession of its conductors, but simply in virtue of its practical efficiency--there is nothing in such regulations which I think clergymen may not cordially welcome. If, in addition, it is proposed to make the presence of children in some school compulsory, or no longer to make the National and British and Foreign School Societies the media through which grants are distributed; though these suggestions might be open to debate, they ought not surely to be regarded with any anger, or to be hastily rejected. So long as the ministers ask us only to assist them in completing their own measure, we should, it seems to me, cheerfully meet their call. For I think we did them injustice when they brought forward that measure before. We identified it with a prin. ciple which we felt bound to oppose, and which, I believe, we are still bound to oppose ; we did not see that they have not the least necessary connection with each other; that one may in fact be the best means of preserving us from the other. Acting upon this false notion, I for one felt much displeased with those clergymen who consented to be government inspectors. I am now convinced that they were acting right, and I only wish that we who took upon ourselves to censure them were half as righteous as they ; that we discharged our duties with as little care for the frowns or favour of statesmen and churchmen, with as much feeling of our responsibility to God. For this wrong we are bound to make amends ; and the least we can make is, not to impede any plans that may be de. vised for the good of the land, by suspicions and jealousies. One condition assuredly we may demand, and should demand of the government, if we give our consent to increase the powers of the educational department of the government. We may insist that the agents in that department, from the highest to the lowest, should be chosen, not for their cleverness and dexterity, but for their simplicity and straight-forwardness.
For courtesy Englishmen are thankful when they can get it; these qualities they hold to be needful in all persons, indispensable in those who concern themselves with popular instruction. It might seem to a half wise minister, that when various interests are to be dealt with and reconciled, a shrewd diplomatist, who “understands human nature,” and “can manage parties,” is the best of all instruments. But a truly wise man will reject such notions as foolish and vulgar; he will know that men of all doctrines and degrees like plain dealing, and are provoked and outraged by any departure from it. If Her Majesty has any servants who are skilful in whispers and byeplay, Lord John Russell will find them suitable employment, I hope, in the foreign courts, and will allow the schools in England to be looked after by more homely people.
It is only then if the government should destroy their own plan and substitute another for it, that I think they should be stoutly resisted. This is what Dr. Hook urges them to do. Having confessed a change in my own opinion upon one important point, I cannot complain of him for changing his; and I have already said, that I believe the change is less than has been supposed. He still adheres to that principle which induced him to oppose the government measures before; the principle for which I have been contending has probably never seemed to him important. Those who do think it all important, will prove their conviction, I trust, in two ways. 1st. They will take care to weed the notion of these two educations wholly out of their minds, their modes of speech, their practice. 2nd. To prevent the establishment of that notion through the length and breadth of our land, they will cheerfully give up all contention for imaginary rights and privileges.
If we determine that we will call ourselves teachers of the whole nation when we are not, we do but destroy the possibility of our ever becoming such; for to act upon a fiction is to enfeeble our moral and spiritual energies; to deny facts is not to resist the opinion of a government or of an age, but to fight against God.
Your obedient servant,
F. D. MAURICE.