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THE

IRISH QUARTERLY REVIEW.

No. XV.-SEPTEMBER, 1854.

ART. I-THE ENDOWED SCHOOLS OF IRELAND.

1. Report From The Select Committee on Foundation Schools and Education in Ireland. Ordered by the House of Commons to be Printed, 9th August, 1838.

2. Suggestions for a Reform of the Royal Schools of Ireland, in a Letter to Colonel Rawdon, M.P. By Rev. Richard H. Wall, D.D. Dublin: Hodges and Smith. 1851. 3. The Necessity for an Intermediate System of Education Between the Schools and Colleges in Ireland. By Rev. James M'Cosh LL.D. Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Queen's College, Belfast. Belfast: Shepherd. 1854.

Addressing, in 1850, the Dublin Statistical Society, of which he is a Vice-President, our present accomplished Under Secretary, in speaking of the rapid progress of Education in this Country since 1831, made the following remarks:-" The Schools of the National Board alone, established since that time, numbered on their rolls in 1848 no less than 597,459, and they have been steadily pouring out numbers yearly increasing. Infant Education begins their course, the agricultural Schools continue it into practical life, and a normal School at the same time instructs new schoolmasters. Within the last year the Queen's Colleges have been opened to complete and crown the academic scale." The idea which these words convey, has long been prevalent; all parties seem to have assumed that the National Schools with their different branches on one side, and the Queen's Colleges on the other, formed a complete. system of Education. There is, however, a serious chiasm in the "academic scale." Schools are wanted to educate the class above those who resort to the National Schools, and to prepare

VOL. IV.-NO. XV.

31

for the Universities those who desire to complete their education. The want of these intermediate Schools has been long felt. In 1845, Mr. Hamilton, one of the representatives of the University of Dublin, and a member of the Devon Commission, stated in the House of Commons, that "he had made particular enquiries, and had found that in nearly every part of Ireland, there was a great want of good Academical Institutions for the practical instruction of the middling classes." In the same year, Dr. Bagot, the present Dean of Dromore, as quoted by Dr. M'Cosh, ascertained that there were, in Ireland, 98 towns, containing a population exceeding 3000 each; and that of these, 18 had Endowed Schools, "leaving 80 towns of a population exceeding 3000 each, requiring good academies." Again, in 1853, Mr. Kirk M.P. for Newry, on a deputation to Mr. Cardwell, is reported to have assured that gentleman that "nothing would be hailed with more gratitude in Ireland than Schools of a higher order than those which now obtained. There was a chasm between the National Schools and the Queen's Colleges, which required to be filled up."

The very efforts which were made to promote Elementary Education tended still further to decrease the number of intermediate Schools. The National Schools, with their improved methods of teaching, the salaries to the Masters, and the other advantages which they offered, drew off from the classical teacher the merely English pupils who formed a large proportion of his School. The demand for classics only was not sufficient in most cases to support the School, and so, one by one, these humble Seminaries disappeared. The National Schools do not afford any means of supplying classical teaching, and consequently the void which they produced remains unfilled. The injurious effects of this want of preparatory instruction are strongly felt in the Queen's Colleges. Dr. M'Cosh, as a Professor of the Belfast College, declares his conviction "that the grand difficulties with which the Queen's Colleges have had to contend, have proceeded, not from Ecclesiastical opposition, but the utter want of adequate feeders." Sir Robert Kane, at a public meeting for the distribution of prizes in the Cork College, expressed his opinion that "the great and real impediment to the success of the College was the condition of the Secondary Schools."

When such difficulties exist in Belfast and Cork, we cannot expect a more favorable report from Galway. Accordingly we find the President of the Galway College, year after year,

reporting to her Majesty, that those Students who had come with some preparation, usually made very satisfactory progress, but that those who were insufficiently prepared, and their preparation required was very considerable, were unable to avail themselves fully as could be wished of much of the instruction that was given. Even Trinity College with all the advantages of the support of the best Schools in the country, will scarcely maintain the argument that the general state of preparation at entrance leaves nothing to be desired. Indeed a strong opinion against Irish School education appears to exist, if we may judge. from the avowed attempts to improve it by the introduction of English Masters. There is no doubt of the good intentions with which this plan was adopted, but it is equally certain that it was based upon an erroneous theory, and recent occurrences have painfully shown that sometimes the remedy has been worse than the disease.-Intermediate Education in Ireland, then, as well for its own sake as for the purpose of giving full efficiency to existing Institutions, requires improvement. But before we can discuss the propriety of providing new funds or framing a new system for the purpose, it is only right to consider the system and the means which at present exist. It is no more than common prudence to enquire whether the old house may not easily be rendered available for our purpose, before we incur the trouble, and expense, and risk of erecting

a new one.

The Royal Schools, the most important from their revenues, although not the first in point of time of the Irish Endowed Schools, were established in the years 1627 and 1629 by Letters Patent of King Charles I. In the former year, that Monarch granted certain lands in different places to the Archbishop of Armagh and his successors, for the sole use and behoof of the Master for the time being of the Free School, at the towns. of Mount-norris in County Armagh, Mount-joy in County Tyrone, Donegal, Lisgoole in County Fermanagh, and Cavan. Two years afterwards grants were made upon similar trusts for the Schools of Carysfort and Banagher. From some cause which is now unknown, the positions of the earlier Schools were changed, and they were established in the towns of Armagh, Dungannon, Raphoe and Enniskillen. The aggregate endowment of these seven Schools is 13,660 acres, which at present produce a rental of nearly £6000. In consequence of the great abuses which were found to exist under this arrangement, the estates

were, by an Act of Parliament, in 1813, vested in a Board of Commissioners, who, after paying the expenses incident to the estates, and keeping the School house in repair, pay the Master and his assistants salaries, which are generally regulated by the endowment of the School, and are directed to expend the surplus in the maintenance of Free Scholars, or in the foundation. of Exhibitions in Trinity College, Dublin. The Masters, at their discretion, and usually at the same rate as the best private Schools, charge fees for both board and tuition. The admission of Free Pupils appears to be regulated rather by the feelings of the Master than by any external control. If we exclude Carysfort, which has always been an Elementary School, and the two Schools recently established by the Board for the children of their tenantry, the annual number of pupils,* in each of the six principal Schools, on an average of the four years, ending 31 December, 1852, has been 464-of these 7 have been free. "The Royal Schools," we quote from the Report of the Committee on Foundation Schools, "were not precluded either by their Charter, or by any Act of Parliament or Bye Law, from receiving all religious denominations. Though the course pursued in the instance of Diocesan Schools, of appointing Masters from the Church of England and generally Clergymen, prevailed also in the case of the Royal Schools, it does not rest on any law. The Lord Lieutenant, as in the case of the Diocesan, has the appointment solely in his own hands, unshackled by any limitation of a religious exclusive character. The assistants also are usually Protestants but chosen from the laity. The Royal Schools have at all times been considered open to all religious persuasions."

The Diocesan Schools, the earliest attempt at intermediate education in Ireland, date from the 12th of Elizabeth. The statute under which they are founded is intituled " An Act for the Erection of Free Schools," and provides that there shall be "a Free School within every Diocese of the realm of Ireland, and that the Schoolmaster shall be an Englishman or of the English birth of Ireland." The School-house for each Diocese was directed to be built in the principal shire town of the Diocese, at the cost and charges of the whole Diocese, and by the "device

These figures are taken from a Parliamentary Paper, Ordered by the House of Commons, to be Printed, 25th April, 1853-No. 400.

and oversight" of the Ordinaries of the Diocese, or, in case of vacancy, of Vicars General. The Sheriff of the shire, and the Lord Deputy or Governor were to fix the Schoolmaster's salary, of which the Ordinaries of each Diocese were to provide the third part, and the Parsons and other ecclesiastical persons of the Diocese were to provide the remainder. Even in Elizabeth's own time, this Act seems to have been imperfectly carried out. Mr. D'Alton, in his evidence* before the Committee on Foundation Schools, mentions a curious record, whereby Queen Elizabeth, understanding that this Act was "slenderly or not. at all executed" in Limerick, empowered the mayor of that city, by mandate, to sequester yearly, and from time to time, so much of the livings, tithes &c., as belonged to the Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese until the Act was complied with.

Various statutes were made during the reign of William III., and his immediate successors, concerning those Schools, but with no satisfactory results. In the year 1813, by the same Act which regulated the Royal Schools, the Diocesan Schools, were placed under the control of the same Board, and permission was given to the Commissioners, with the consent and approbation of the Lord Lieutenant, to erect into one district two or more Dioceses, and to consolidate into one district School, the several Diocesan Schools of their united Dioceses. The Lord Lieutenant, with the advice of the Privy Council, is empowered to fix and apportion among the different Dioceses in a district, the Masters' salaries which are to be paid by the same parties, and in the same proportions, as the original Act of Elizabeth directs. The Act further enables the grand jury of the county in which the School is established to present on the county any sum or sums which they should think proper for purchasing a site, and building or repairing a School-house. Notwithstanding all these attempts to improve them, the Schools have never succeeded. In 1838, the Committee † of Foundation Schools thus describes their condition. "The Lord Lieutenant will not appoint Masters, unless a salary is secured, the salary is refused by the Clergy unless the School is built by the grand jury; the grand jury refuses to build the School, unless the Master stipu latesto receive a certain number of Free Scholars: the Master refuses to receive Free Scholars on the compulsion of the grand jury,

* Q. 821.
† P. 48.

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