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management of it, is the first object of the Bill. At the present time it is supposed that there is actually in existence unemployed school-room sufficient, or nearly sufficient, to supply the demand. This cannot, however, be expected to be always the case. Now, in the mode adopted for the supply of this deficiency, the non-interfering principle of the bill, as evidenced in Section xi., is, we think, particularly conspicuous. An accurate enquiry is first to be made, with the assistance of the inspectors of schools for the district. The result of this enquiry is to be communicated to the municipal council in the shape of a report, setting
forth the amount of additional accommodation required. This report is to be advertised in the local papers. And it is not till the expiration of sixty days from such public advertisement, without notice of any intention to erect such school within six months—not, that is to say, till every possible facility has been given, but without success, for the provision of the required accommodation by voluntary effort-nor even then, except with the express sanction of the Committee of Council, that the Municipal Council are empowered to make the necessary provision out of the rate. It is clear, therefore, that the principle of the bill is to hold out every possible inducement to individuals to supply the want. The Church has only to step forward and secure the ground for herself. Failing this, any denomination of Dissent may do the same. It is hardly possible, as we think, to conceive a case in which neither the Church nor any denomination of Dissenters will bestir themselves. We believe, that in every case there would be many competitors for the vacant ground; and, therefore, no call for the Municipal Council to exercise those powers, which are evidently only intended as a last resourse. We are of opinion that there never will be-certainly never need be--a rate-built school. Supposing, however, such a remote contingency-for a remote contingency we believe it is—to take place : supposing that, other means failing, the required school can only be builtand accordingly is built-out of the rate - then follows, almost necessarily, as it would at first sight appear, the undoubtedly objectionable condition, that, though in such schools “instruction in the daily reading of the holy Scriptures is always to be provided for," “ no distinctive religious creed or formulary is to be taught." Now, we have no hesitation in plainly avowing that, though far better than no edubation at all, we do think this prohibition of all distinctive religious creed or formulary very objectionable. We hail with pleasure the daily reading of the holy Scriptures as an immeasurable improvement upon the godless character of the projected ratebuilt schools of the National Public School Association. But still we are fain to confess that the idea of no distinctive teaching is very distasteful to us; and were we not, as we have observed above, fully persuaded that the rate-built schools under the Manchester and Salford “ Plan” will be few, if any at all, we should consider this, if insurmountable, a very serious objection. Such, we believe, likewise is the feeling of many of the most active promoters of the bill; and, with them, we should be disposed to erase section xi. from the bill altogether, and leave out entirely all provision for supplying additional school-room out of the rate. And this, it may
be observed, may yet if necessary be done, without in any way affecting the integrity of the bill; for, as Mr. Entwisle, the able chairman of the Manchester and Salford Committee, has plainly asserted in a paper read before a very large and influential meeting at Manchester, August 28th—“ These ratebuilt schools are proposed as an ultimate resource in case of deficiency; and, though a necessary consequence, by no means constitute the main object of the provisions of the bill.” This assertion Mr. Denison passes by without notice as though it were not in existence, though he has extracted from the same paper, and placed in large letters on the title page of his pamphlet, “ The Church and the School”—another sentence from which he argues throughout, and which, taken in this isolated manner, gives some colour to the argument --that the rate-built schools are an integral part of the bill. However objectionable in theory, we have nevertheless already seen that, in fact, such schools are seldom if ever likely to be called into existence; and that, as a consequence, even if the exclusion of all distinctive teaching in them were a condition absolutely incapable of modification, there would be no practical advantage gained by the abandonment of section xi., though this might clearly be done and yet leave the bill itself as complete as before. We are by no means sure, however, that the objectionable condition is incapable of modification. We are rather disposed, on the contrary, to think that it is susceptible of such modification as will wholly remove its objectionable character. With this view more than one suggestion has been already thrown out. In a letter, for instance, addressed on Nov. 5th, by the Rev. W. Gill, vicar of Malew, to the editor of the Manchester Courier, the following suggestion is made—“It occurs to me that a very simple way of dealing with the difficulty would be to introduce a clause of redemption into the bill ---that is, to provide that it
shall be open at any future time to the Church or to any body of Dissenters to buy up such schools on reimbursing the municipal council the amount, or a certain portion of the amount, of the outlay incurred upon the schools, and thus to bring them into connection with some recognised religious body.” Such a course as this would go far to remove objections from the minds of those who do not agree with us in opinion as to the improbability of rate-built schools ever existing in fact, and cannot be objected to by any one on the score of unfairness. The Bishop of Manchester, in the very important and valuable “Charge” lately delivered on the occasion of the primary visitation of his clergy, suggests a still bolder course.
His lordship argues, if a school is built by rate for a workhouse, a lunatic asylum, or a jail, it is claimed as a matter of course for a Church of England school. Why should not the Church of England, exactly in the same way, lay claim to and appropriate every school built out of the rate? We have noticed these suggestions, not so much for the purpose of criticising them or pronouncing any definite opinion upon them, as to show that the objectionable condition in question is not altogether unsusceptible of modification ; and that, in all probability, even before the bill is printed, or at least in its passage through the Legislature, it will be so altered in this only one objectionable point as to conciliate the support of the country in the same remarkable manner in which it has already obtained that of almost all classes in the municipal boroughs of Manchester and Salford, as is shown not only by the committee being formed as already noticed of representatives of all sorts of opinions, both in and out of the Church, but by the equally remarkable fact that no less than sixty districts or parochial meetings, at which the whole plan has been fairly explained and discussed, have already almost unanimously decided in its favour; that a petition to the same effect has been signed by 33,715 out of 43,330 rate-payers canvassed; and that two of the largest and most influential meetings ever held in Manchester pronounced the same decision-one on the evening of August the 28th, and the other, at which not less than 5,000 persons were preeent, on that of December 2nd.
We have little sympathy with any plan which unites all denominations for secular instruction and leaves religious teaching for a separate time and place. Neither do we think that the genius of the people of England is at all in favour of one uniform system of teaching for all places, or the centralization of the whole management of schools in the
hands of the State. We much prefer a plan which offers efficient assistance to all existing schools without disjoining religious from secular instruction; and which, while it so far brings the schools under the control of the State as to secure their efficiency and open the door for the admission of all those improvements which it is peculiarly in the power of the State to discover and recommend, leaves them, nevertheless, to a great extent under local management, and so encourages local interest, and gives scope for a variety of system suited to the variety of place and population.
We have seen, then, that the population of Great Britain is greatly on the increase; that even in the agricultural counties it demands immediate attention; and in the manufacturing districts is of such enormous magnitude as to have astonished even the royal cortège; and to have given rise in Manchester also to two separate plans for providing an education in which all may participate. We have seen that there is a generally prevalent and daily increasing feeling that the existing instrumentalities of education are not sufficient; that the voluntary system has had a fair trial and been found wanting; and that the eyes of all are directed to some new resource. We have seen that the scheme of education which has taken its rise in the agricultural districts-namely, Archdeacon Denison's “Outline of a Plan for combining State Assistance with safety of Church Education”—even if it did not in most of its details tend to the exclusion of the laity from their proper and most useful share in the work of education, having no reference whatever to any except Churchmen, is of far too partial a character to supply the wants of a nation now unhappily split into a variety of religious denominations. Of the two schemes which have taken their rise in the manufacturing districts, we have seen that one-namely, the “ Plan for the Establishment of a General System of Secular Instruction in England and Wales adopted by the General Council of the National Public School Association"_besides being the most unscrupulous violation of the rights both of conscience and property ever heard of, is based upon a principle so alien to the
genius of the people of this country, and so justly hateful to them, as to have already caused its summary rejection by a large majority in a full house; nor is it ever likely to conciliate any large portion of public regard, unless the clergy, by standing too stiffly upon some supposed unalienable right of holding the reins of education exclusively, and holding them so as to put a stop to education altogether rather than associate any one else with themselves, should
drive men perforce almost to adopt any scheme of national education, rather than risk the terrible consequences of daily increasing ignorance. The other scheme, however, which has taken its rise in Manchester-namely, “ Instructions for the Draft of a Bill to Pronote Education in the Municipal Boroughs of Manchester and Salford”—we have seen is of such a character as can leave the clergy no excuse for an exclusive and dangerous maintenance of their claims. Supported by Churchmen, both clergy and laity, of all shades of opinion in the locality in which it has originated, having equally gained the confidence of Dissenters of all denominations, warmly approved by the merchant princes whose extensive works have been the means of concentrating the population, and equally palatable to the labouring classes themselves, the Manchester and Salford plan, though it is open to some objections-none of which, however, are insurmountable, and all have been much exaggerated—offers no violence to any rights either of conscience or property-compromises no principles—makes use of all existing instrumentalities, only stepping in where a deficiency is proved, and not summarily sweeping away everything already in existence in order to make room for itself—does not arbitrarily constrain every one to adopt the same prescribed plan of education, but providing efficient instruction leaves individuals to choose for themselves; does no more than put the school-wages into the hands of the parent, leaving him to choose what school he pleases for his child ; and, above all, is local, tentative, experimental; capable, if a failure, of being, without detriment to any one, either amended or entirely done away with; or, if successful, equally capable of being adapted for the use of the country at large. To stand in the way of making an experiment so reasonable, so safe, and, as we think, so likely, with God's blessing, to be successful, would be a policy as suicidal to the clergy themselves as fatal to the cause of sound religion and morality. But we cannot bring ourselves to believe that the clergy will ever take so rash and fatal a step as thus to open the door for the godless scheme of the National Public School Association, by refusing to give a trial to that which, though not exclusive, is fair to all, oppressive to none, and based upon the written word of God. We cannot bring ourselves to believe that the archidiaconal trumpet, so loudly sounded from East Brent, will gather together more than here and there a few desultory skirmishers, or prove otherwise than sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. We are fain to hope better things of the