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of the empire depends wholly on the conduct of the multitude; and such being the case, can any one doubt the paramount importance of the diffusion of sound instruction?
This is not a subject that ought any longer to be trifled with, or left to individuals or societies. The astounding exhibition of ignorance made at the late trials for rioting, shows how wretchedly the agricultural population is educated. A larger proportion of the manufacturing population can read and write; but a knowledge of these arts is not enough. Besides being instructed in them, and in the duties and obligations enjoined by religion and morality, the poor ought to be made acquainted with those circumstances which principally determine their condition in life. They ought, above all, to be instructed in the plain and elementary doctrines respecting population and wages; in the advantages derived from the institution of private property, and the introduction and improvement of machinery; and in the causes which give rise to that gradation of ranks, and inequality of fortunes, that are as natural to society as heat to fire, and cold to ice. The interests of the poor are identified with the support of all those great principles, the maintenance of which is essential to the welfare of the other classes. And, were they made fully aware that such is the fact, it would be a contradiction and an absurdity to suppose, that the securities for peace and good order would not be immeasurably increased. Those revolutionary and anti-social doctrines, now so copiously distributed, would be rejected at once by an instructed population. But it is not easy to estimate what may be their influence in a period of political excitement and public distress, when addressed to those whose education has been entirely neglected, and whose judgment is, in consequence, guided by prejudice, and not by principle.
We hope that the attention of Parliament and the country will be speedily called to this most important subject. The foundations of real security are beyond and above the law. They depend on the knowledge and morals of the people. Nor can there be a doubt, that rulers who neglect to provide their subjects with the means of procuring cheap and really useful instruction, are justly chargeable with the neglect of a most essential duty.
We have not chosen to encumber this article with any remarks as to the condition of the Irish poor, and their immigration into England. These are subjects that require, and must have, a separate discussion.
ART. III.-1. A Latin Grammar, for the Use of Westminster School. London : 1830.
2. Græcæ Grammatica Compendium, in usum Scholae Regia Westmonasteriensis. London : 1830.
T may be remembered by some of our readers, that, in a former number, we attempted to give a brief account of the system of education pursued at the College of Eton, and to explain its principal merits and defects, so as to enable a person unacquainted with that school to form an estimate of the probable advantage which a boy may derive from becoming one of its members.
parents and guardians, in making the important decision on which so much of a boy's future welfare must depend, are naturally guided by a comparison of different establishments, and are compelled to select the best, without regard to its absolute merits, we have thought that we should perform a useful work in extending our regards to other public schools; among which that of Westminster, by reason of its numbers and antiquity, claims our first attention.
The school of Westminster is governed by a head-master and an under-master, who respectively preside over the upper and under schools, and by five ushers, to each of whom is allotted the care of a particular class or form. The number of boys ordinarily varies from 300 to 350, of whom rather more than twothirds are in the upper school. This division contains four out of the eight forms into which the school is divided, viz. the sixth, the shell, the fifth, and the fourth. The under school likewise contains four forms, viz. the third, the second, the first, and a small class called the petty. Every one of these forms is again subdivided into an upper and an under part, the period requisite for passing through each of these parts being half a year. A year must thus elapse after the first admission of a boy into a form before he can be removed into that immediately above it. Such is the general rule; but to reward singular merit, and to punish great neglect, the customary time is shortened or prolonged at the discretion of the head-master. No boy
* It should, however, be observed, that the third form is divided into four parts, the upper part and under part being again respectively subdivided. So that, according to the regular course, a boy is detained two years in that form.
is allowed to pass from one of these forms to another, without undergoing an examination by the head-master in the upper, or by the under-master in the lower school. This examination takes place once at least in the course of every year. The boys are further divided into two orders, viz. the Town Boys, who answer to the Oppidans at Eton, and the King's Scholars, or those who are admitted on the foundation, and (unlike their corresponding order at Eton) enjoy, in consequence, very considerable advantages. The King's Scholars are always forty in number, and they are chosen yearly from all boys, under the age of fifteen, in the upper, fourth, fifth, and shell forms, who wish to become candidates for admission into college. The election being absolutely free, the competitors are numerous; and, after a long public examination, in the course of which the numbers are gradually diminished, the eight or ten boys who remain at the head, become formally elected to supply the vacancies occasioned by the annual elections to the two universities; and they themselves, after a period, varying from four to five years, are, in their turn, appointed either students of Christ Church at Oxford, or scholars of Trinity College, Cambridge. The Town Boys lodge in five boarding-houses, in each of which an usher resides, and exercises a personal superintendence ; while the King's Scholars inhabit a large dormitory, set apart for their exclusive use, and are subject, out of school, to rules and discipline of their own. In comparing the respective plans according to which the boys on the foundation are managed at Eton and Westminster, it cannot be doubted that the scale preponderates greatly in favour of the latter institution. At Eton, boys, generally either on first coming to the school, or while they are in the lower forms, are admitted on the foundation, either as a matter of favour or charity to the parents. Not only are they not selected for their merit from the whole school, but they are commonly inferior in attainments to boys of their own standing. And the change from an oppidan to a colleger, so far from being reckoned an honour and reward, is, at Eton, universally considered as a degradation; so that the collegers form a caste completely distinct from the rest of the school, and little intercourse or good feeling exists between the two orders. But that which at Eton is a stigma, becomes at Westminster an honour; as an admission into college is made a distinction, and is a path to attaining places on the foundations of Christ Church and Trinity. If this wise plan were adopted at Eton, and the conveniences of the collegers judiciously increased, there is no reason why King's College at Cambridge should not, under an
improved system, rear its head, and regain a respectable rank among the colleges of its university.*
A considerable number of hours in the week are passed in school at Westminster. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are whole school days; the other three week-days are half holydays. On the former days the school hours begin at eight o'clock in winter and seven o'clock in summer, and, with the exception of one hour allowed for breakfast, continue till twelve. The school meets again at two, and continues till five; on half holydays the same order of time is preserved till twelve, when the school breaks up for the day. The boys, therefore, never go into school more than twice a-day, when they remain there for three consecutive hours. They are not, however, occupied during all this time in repeating and construing lessons already learned, but also in preparing for the next day. If there is sufficient time after the lesson is finished, (which is of a variable length,) exercises, such as themes and verses, may be done in school. In construing the appointed lessons, places are taken in all parts of the school beneath the sixth form, and the emulation of the boys is purposely excited by the masters. In both these respects, the system of Westminster differs greatly from that of Eton, where, in the upper school, no places are taken, the masters appearing to consider that this kind of emulation necessarily leads to jealousy and ill-will among the boys; and the school times are shorter and more numerous, and are exclusively occupied in the repetition of lessons learnt out of school.
The only whole holydays at Westminster are the saints' days, and some few other days of solemn ceremony. On these occasions all the boys are required to attend morning service in Westminster Abbey; but in the evening of whole holydays, as well as on all half holydays, the church is not irreverently made to perform the office of a roll-call; although the substitute for compulsory attendance in chapel is not a little extraordinary. All the boys, of whatever age and habits, and whatever may be the weather or season of the year, are confined in their respective dwellings; the Town Boys in their boarding-houses, the King's
The King's Scholars at Westminster' (said Mr Brougham, in presenting a report of the Select Committee on Education) were on a similar foundation. The boys might be either of the richer or the 'poorer classes; but here a vast improvement was introduced into the 'rule of admission. Boys were placed on the foundation, not from any regard to the circumstances of their parents, but their own respective merits.'-Parl. Debates, vol. xxxiv. p. 1234.
Scholars in their dormitory, from the hour of two till five. What may be the advantage of this social imprisonment of three hours in the middle of the day, during which silence and quiet are neither expected nor imposed, we confess that we are unable to discover. The boys are then again allowed to go out till six o'clock in the winter, and half-past eight in the summer, the time increasing in proportion as the weather becomes milder and the nights less dark.
The instruction at Westminster, as at most other public schools, is, for the most part, confined to a study of the chief Latin poets, and of portions of the chief Latin prose writers and Greek poets. The books read in the higher parts of the school are, Virgil, Horace, Terence, Cicero's Orations, or the first Decad of Livy, Homer, and some of the Greek tragedies, particularly the four plays of Euripides, published by Professor Porson. To these must be added, for the sixth form, the three first books of Euclid, the work of Grotius de Veritate Religionis Christiana, and collections of speeches from the Latin and Greek historians. With the exception of these two collections of Conciones et Orationes, no book of extracts is used at Westminster; but the authors are read continuously, a practice which (for reasons which we detailed in a former number) meets with our decided approbation. No Greek prose writer, with the exception of Xenophon, is read in any part of the school.* As far as this limited range of books and subjects extends, the selection appears to have been discreetly and judiciously made; but here our approbation of the system of classical instruction at Westminster must stop. In all parts of the school, from the lowest boy in the lowest form, up to the sixth form, the Latin and Greek grammars are inculcated in every possible shape, and appealed to on every occasion, as the grand test of advanced proficiency, and the supreme object of diligent application. Even in the higher forms, what is called the holyday's task,' consists in learning by heart large portions, not of Homer, or Virgil, or Horace, but of the doggerel Latin verse into which grammatical rules, with their various exceptions or limitations, have been violently tortured; while the unhappy boy, toiling through these wilds of poetical grammar, bewildered, and unconscious of an object, is told, as if in mockery, that
Visum est grammaticæ metricis lenire laborem
* Parts of his Anabasis and Memorabilia are occasionally read in the higher forms.