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desirous that their children should also partake of the education provided by the society, they are not refused. Here then is neiiher an eagerness for conversion on the one hand, nor absolute exclusion on the other. We are indeed aware that many well-intentioned churchmen would, even in the case above described, prefer a single school for the whole district; and that they would prefer it for this very reason, that it might eventually become the means of bringing the children of the whole district to church. But if this be the object in contemplation, a positive or declared rule, that the parents may use their own pleasure in respect to the place of worship for their children, would be no less subversive of that object than inconsistent with the principles of the National Society. It would operate with the dissenters as an inducement, in the first instance, to withhold their children from church, and become an argument, in the sequel, for refusing, when solicited, to grant their consent. In whatever light, therefore, the case in question be viewed, the inference, which has been dednced from the above quoted resolution of the National Society, will remain unaltered. Where it is prudent in the conductors of a school to avail themselves of the dispensation which that resolution entrusts to their discretion, it should be applied in the form of silent concession, and not be published as a general law. If this distinction be disregarded, we shall be always in danger of deducing inferences both false in themselves and injurious to the welfare of the Established Church.
We should trespass too long on the patience of our readers, if we attempted to resolve every difficult case which might present itself to the conductors of schools in union with the National Society; but however various the cases may be, we must never lose sight of the object and end of the institution,' education in the principles of the established church. If this object be neglected, we might as well have remained without a National Society altogether; we might as well have confided the entire education of the poor to the Lancasterian institution. If churchmen and dissenters must make a common cause, in which the interests of the church are to be surrendered, we cannot employ a more appropriate agent than Mr. Lancaster. The Lancasterian Institution possesses the same advantages with other institutions on the broad basis ; it furnishes just so much religious instruction as places churchmen and dissenters on a level; and hence is enabled to furnish schools for all instead of schools confined to the principles of a single party. But if the established church is one of the contracting parties, if that church is worth preserving, if that church cannot be preserved without a strict adherence to that which forins its distinguishing character, and this distinguishing character is lost in such institutions as those
to which we allude, we must clearly perceive, not only that the National Society should be strenuously supported, but supported especially in respect to that tery object for the promotion of which it was originally formed. Consequently, there is no advantage to be gained in any other respect which could compensate for the loss of the advantage in that. "If, for instance, it be true, that instruction is conveyed at less expense in the schools of Mr. Lancaster than in those of Dr. Bell, yet if the grand object of the National Society is obtained in the latter but not in the former, there is no saving whatever which could compensate for the loss of that object. Besides, there is nothing to prevent the National Society from adopting the method of Mr. Lancaster, where it is cheaper than Dr. Bell's, and at the same time as good; for we may lose, either in time or in progress of learning, still more than we gain by a saving of expense. There is, indeed, one point in which, if general expenditure be considered, the same number of children throughout the kingdom could be instructed in reading and writing for less money, if the education of the poor were entrusted entirely to Mr. Lancaster, than they can be when a district is divided between Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster. One master and one school would suffice for a thousand children belonging indiscriminately to churchmen and dissenters. But if a second school be established for the benefit of the former, it is evident that the same quantum of reading and writing for the thousand children, when thus separated, will be purchased at a greater expense than if they were united. This argument will certainly weigh with those to whom the established religion is a matter of indifference, and still more with those to whom it is a matter of dislike. But no man, who is attached to our religion, will grudge the additional espense which may be necessary for retaining the poor of the establishment in the religion of their fathers. If it be further objected that the children of one party may bear so small a proportion to the children of the other, that a school consisting only of the former would not possess the same mechanical advantages as the school which comprehended all the latter, we answer, that the objection still applies to the expense only of the schools, and that it does not affect the progress of the scholars. Thoughi
, according to the new method, one master can direct a school of five liundred as well as of fifty, no man will pretend that he cannot direct a school of fifty as well as one of five hundred. If he can superintend the operations of thirty monitors and thirty classes, le cammot be less able to superintend them when reduced to ten or to five. The
progress, there. fore, which is made by the children of each class in reading and writing, may surely be as great, when only fifty of them are together, as if they amounted to five hundred. Consequently the in
convenience which is sustained is again only in the pecuniary expense, in having two schools instead of one. No positive loss is sustained by the scholars in respect to their learning, though the subscribers to the smaller school have so far a want of gain that their subscriptions do not provide for the same quantity of learning which the mechanism of the system might admit. But if this deficiency is compensated by the prevention of greater evils, there is no reason to complain ; and surely the mere saving of expense can never be put in competition with the preservation of the Established Church.
A society founded for this important purpose, in the present state of religious parties, when the legal barriers provided by our ancestors are already prepared to break asunder, is calculated to render inore essential service than at any period of our history. It was formerly imagined that when a religion was established by law it was necessary to provide some security for the danger of a confederacy against it, which mere envy at the advantages of an establishment will always excite on the part of those whose religions are protected but not supported by the state. To break, therefore, the force of such a confederacy, and to prevent it from producing effects which might be subversive of the establishment, it was deemed a matter of prudence to lodge the power of the state in the hands of those who were interested in preserving the establishunent, and to exclude from power all those who were interested in overturning it. And this precaution, which is common in all countries, did not appear to be less necessary in England than in despotic countries; it did not appear to be less necessary where political power is diffused through every rank, ihan where it emanates from the will of an individual; it did not appear to be less necessary where men are governed only by the law of the land than where they are governed by the edicts of a tyrant. But we now live in an enlightened age, when the ancient barriers appear to be no longer necessary; we are gradually abolishing all religious distinctions; we have societies founded on the principle of surrendering, as it is called, our ancient prejudices; and to those which previously existed may be now added The Protestant Society for the Protection of Religious Liberty'* If religious liberty in this country is now in need of protection, let not that protection be withholden; religious liberty is a blessing which should be denied
* See the resolutions at a meeting holden the 29th of July, and printed (among other papers) in the Courier of August 7, 1812. In the words of the first resolution the committee of the · Protestant Society' ' represents the most numerous congrega. tions of Dissenters and Calvinistic Methodists in the metropolis, and many hundred congregations of various denominations in England and Wales. In the same resolution it is declared that their efforts shall be persevering to obtain the repeal of every penal law which prevents the complete enjoyment of religious liberty.'
to no one; without it, neither truth can prosper nor mankind be happy. Restrictions of every kind are evils in themselves; and therefoie should never be imposed but with the view of preventing still greater evils. Whether the restrictive laws which are now in force are still necessary to prevent the evils against which they were intended to guard, is a question which we readily submit to the judgment of the legislature. Without delivering an opinion either on the wisdom or the expediency of weakening the fences which our ancestors placed to protect the Established Church, we shall only notice the fact, that various causes are now operating which tend to remove them altogether. But if the religion which is established by law should be reduced, in respect to qualification for power, to a state of equality with those which are not so established, or if (in other words) while the honours and emoluments, set apart for the ministers of religion, are granted by the laws of this country exclusively to one religious party, the making and the administering of the laws should be conferred indiscriminately on all religious parties, we must be prepared for such an alteration in the laws, as will communicate at least a share of those honours and emoluments to the persons from whom they are now withholden. When all
parties shall equally possess the power of the state, it will be difficult for one party to retain exclusively the profits of the church. We do not now inquire what might finally result from an order of things so novel in this country: but contemplating its possibility from present appearances, we submit the serious consideration of it to all those who are attached to the religion which is now established, not merely for the sake of temporal advantages, but from a conviction of its intrinsic worth. Even if this religion should be deprived of the influence which attaches to the enjoyment of political power, it will be no less the duty of every sincere believer to remain faithful to its cause; aud the interest of its faithful adherents must assuredly excite them to additional exertions in proportion as the legal securities which they have hitherto enjoyed are wearing away. Whether these exertions are directed to the preservation of the present securities, or, in the event of their being surrendered, to the means of obtaining new support; whether the religion which is now established is destined to retain its present pre-eminence, to be rendered equal or inferior to others in power and emolument; there is only one line of conduct now prescribed by duty and interest to those who are anxious that the religion of their fathers should descend to their children.
From the preceding reflections we may derive very powerful arguments, in addition to those which were previously stated, for our zealous support of that society which has been the subject of the present article. It is a rallying point for all the friends of the establishment throughout the kingdom. The Prince Regent, who represents, and is destined to become himself the head of the Established Church, is the declared patron of the society: the con- : stituted guardians of the Established Church, the archbishops and bishops of both provinces, preside over and direct it. But it is not a mere clerical society, as its adversaries assert ; five princes of the blood are at the head of its benefactors, ten temporal peers or privy councillors are numbered among its vice-presidents, and one half of the committee consists of laymen. A society thus calculated to diffuse the most extensive benefits throughout the kingdom should be liberally aided by every man who is at all concerned for the preservation of the established religion. We are indeed aware that the present demands on the bounty of the public are urgent beyond example; that in proportion as religious zeal is. drawn into one channel there will be less to flow into another; and we fear that, when the National Society was first rising into notice, the contributions to it were checked by the additional activity then given to the operations of a different institution. We are likewise aware, and relate it with exultation, that affiliated societies, on the same plan with the National Society in London, have been already formed in various counties of this kingdom, and that others are now forming for the same laudable purpose, whence we must expect that numerous contributions, which would otherwise have gone to the general fund, will be reserved for the respective counties. And if the object of the National Society is but obtained, it is immaterial where the contributions are deposited. We hope, therefore, that every county in the kingdom will soon have an affiliated society in union with the National Society. The wants of the poor in our immediate neighbourhood demand our primary attention; and as we are best acquainted with their wants, we are best able to judge in what manner they should be supplied. But there is a point of view from which, if we examine the National Society, we shall perceive the absolute necessity of supporting it at the same time with the provincial societies. A number of detached bodies, though founded on the same principle, and having the same object in view, can never produce the same effect as if they acted in concert; the aggregate amount of single efforts can never equal what arises from an union of strength; it is the skilful combination of forces under one head which leads to a successful issue. In this respect a continued support of the National Society is absolutely necessary in order to give full effect to the provincial societies. In one sense, indeed, it may be regarded like the others as a mere local institution; in establishing a school or schools in the metropolis it does only what provincial societies perform in their respective towns; and so far it may be considered