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one, with the stolid, unmeaning countenance which ignorance produces in the other—the good effect of education on their industrial habits— on their social habits—in fact, so far as my own experience here goes, and judging from those who have left school, it makes them, generally speaking, a totally different race of beings),—they will not hesitate as to the course they ought to pursue.
It may not be consistent with the occupations of those engaged in a very busy and active life to pay much attention to the education of those among whom they live, yet there are many ways in which they may give encouragement to it and to the schoolmaster without much encroachment upon their time. They are many of them alive to the beauties of Nature-they can enjoy the growth and expansion of a flower — watch each petal unfold itself, and look with pleasure to its full opening and beauty-watch it from its blossom to its fruit - why not, then, take some interest in the opening and expansion of the human mind? What can be more gratifying to the feelings, than seeing its gradual improvement under your influence, and that you are rendering it capable of using those reasoning powers with which it is endowed, and which are intended as the source of its highest gratification ?
Archbishop Whateley, in his “ Introductory Lectures on Political Economy,” says :
" A plant could not be said to be in its natural state which was growing in a soil or climate that precluded it from putting forth the flowers and the fruit for which its §Â§Â2Ò2ÂòÂ2Ò2Â2Ò2ÂÒ m2ūŻÒ2ūtiņ22\\2 \\2\§§Ò2 Â§Â2–22ti2m22ti2 m growing near the boundary of perpetual snow on the Alps, stunted to the height of two or three feet, and struggling to exist amidst rock and glaciers, would describe that as the natural state of a tree which, in a more genial soil and climate a little lower down, was found capable of rising to the height of fifty or sixty yards. In like manner, the natural state of man must, according to all fair analogy, be reckoned, not that in which his intellectual and moral growth are, as it were, stunted and permanently repressed, but one in which his original endowments are, I do not say brought to perfection, but enabled to exercise themselves and to expand like the flowers of a plant; and especially in which that characteristic of our species, the tendency towards progressive improvement, is permitted to come into play. Such seems to have been the state in which the earliest race of mankind were placed by the Creator.”
That there are many among those who have paid attention to the subject of education, both of my own profession and others, who have fears of doing too much—some for one reason and some for another—there is no doubt; but if they will only look a little further into it, and see what can practically be done, and what, in those instances where most has been doing, is the good effect upon their conduct, I am well assured they will find no ground for fear.
The cry that it is teaching too much-it is teaching them astronomy, mathematics, etc., is very high-sounding, and implies much more than can be done, or even is attempted ; then, again, consider the small number who remain even for this ; – but the fact is, it is not teaching them astronomy, etc., but it is merely making them acquainted with facts in those subjects of a scientific kind which they are capable of understanding—which will be verified afterwards by their own experience—which open their minds, and bear upon their occupations in life-facts most useful and interesting to them, and which, even independent of their usefulness, give a greater interest to education than can be given in any other way.
It might as well, and with as much truth, be said that floating a small paper boat in a tub of water was teaching them navigation ;-besides, why assume that knowledge, when communicated to the lower orders, must necessarily have a tendency to evil ?-why imagine that a boy who is told how the sailor steers by the compass, and who knows a little of geography, will run away to sea and become a Paul Jones, a buccaneer, or a pirate, rather than, if he does so, that he will run in a right course-go to China, or join Mr. Brooke in Borneo, and help to civilize the world. But even in Shakspeare's time there seem to have been those who objected to much being done in this way, although I think there are few at present who would quite adopt the words which he puts into the mouth of Jack
Cade, in his Henry the Sixth: “ Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school; and whereas, before our forefathers had no other books than the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used; and thou hast built a paper-mill. It will be proved to thy face that thou hast men about thee that usually talk of a noun and a verb, and such abominable words as no Christian ears can endure to hear.”
In presenting this outline of secular teaching in our elementary schools, I have done it with a view to its helping to an improved system, and towards what I think most important at the present time, the establishing schools combining the education of the labouring classes with those of the employers. This has been the aim which I had in establishing the Somborne School, and it is, in my opinion, one of its most important and leading features, and has, in this respect been completely successful.
The number in the school when visited by the Rev. H. Mosely, her Majesty's Inspector, in March 1847, was 173, and their average ages throughout the school-boys, ten years and three months, girls ten years and eight months; and although many of the labourers' children remain considerably beyond the usual ages in schools of this kind, yet, generally speaking, they leave between ten and eleven, and many even before that. It appears from the report of Mr Mosely, in 1845, that the average age of the monitors in the numerous schools which he inspected is not more than eleven years.
The number of children at present (April 1848) in the school is upwards of 180, in addition to which there is a small infant school of about thirty children, kept in a cottage hard by, and managed in turns by the girls who are pupil-teachers : from this it would appear that a very large proportion of the population is at school, being upwards of a sixth of the whole, but about thirty are from neighbouring parishes.
The proceeds of the school for the year from Christmas* 1846, to Christmas, 1847, were £152 2s. 2d., this includes
* See the note on next page.
books, the payments for which during the year by the children amounted to £29 14s. 6d. This is a sure test of the value which the parents attach to the education their children are getting. · It is now advanced in its sixth year,* and, having watched the working of it in all its bearings, from the first, with a great deal of attention, I feel that I may, with some degree of confidence, offer a few observations, in addition to those I published in a pamphlet entitled Hints towards a Self-paying System of Education.
The reception the pamphlet met with, and the number of attempts which are being made in the same direction, and which I hope may meet with the same success, have in some measure led to this publication. I there stated, that schools for the education of the children, both of the labourer and the employer, might be very extensively established in the larger parishes throughout England, by the assistance of the clergy and others interested in the education of the poor : this I still repeat, and with increased conviction of its truth. I repeat this passage from knowing that it has been misquoted and reasoned upon as if I had said in all parishes-a thing manifestly impossible in small ones — but these ought, and no doubt would, for the bigger children, take advantage of the neighbouring schools.
Increased experience has confirmed what I then stated, that the better the labouring classes are educated, the better they will become in all the social relations of life, and that no great improvement can be effected in the
* The school goes' on with the same satisfactory results, both pecuniary and moral, and an increasing conviction of its usefulness to all classes: the quarterly payments and pence for the year ending with Dec. 1848, were £115 198. 2d., ; and for books for the same time, £25 9s.; for the year ending with Dec. 1849, £123 78. 7d., and for books, £39 18s. 2d. ; in addition to which during the last year, the children have purchased tooth-brushes, hair-brushes, combs, scissors, etc., to the amount of £2 14s. 2d.
It is now in its eleventh year, continues perfectly self-paying, and, in all respects, is going on in the most satisfactory manner.
This was written in 1853.
manners of the people but by the education of the rising generation.
“It is difficult, if not impossible, to change the habits of men whose characters are formed and settled. The prejudices of ignorance that have grown up with them will not yield to new impressions, whilst youth and innocence may be moulded into any form you may choose to giye them."
There is one class of men in our rural districts, and no doubt a similar class in towns, to whom schools of this kind Hare the greatest possible boon, the tradesmen and smaller farmers. Hitherto they never have had an educa. tion for their children within their reach, but when it is so they show themselves willing and anxious to profit from it.
With respect to the more wealthy farmers, and also professional men living in the country, many of them will, as they do here, send their children to these schools, if well conducted, when they see it is an advantage to them to do so. It would be folly to suppose that any prudent parent would hesitate to send his children when a good education is to be had at them, at a comparatively small expense, merely because their primary object was the education of the poor, and when he sees clearly that the interests of both classes may be advanced by his doing so.
The gradual improvement of the labouring classes will be such, and also of the class immediately above them, that each will see their true interests in a better light than they have hitherto done, and there will be no longer that fear of coming in contact with each other in early life which there has been, and which has been productive of anything but good.
That the occupying farmers as a class, and I speak of them more particularly from not having much knowledge of the employers of labour in towns, are against the education of the labourer, there is no doubt ; for they seldom speak of it in any other terms than as “a parcel of stuff, a parcel of nonsense ; what do they mean by attempting to teach the children all this ;-we shall not be able to get labourers,” etc. All this is mere prejudice, and will soon die away.
One objection running in the minds of many of them is