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you ready to vote for a Sir Robert Inglis, in preference to a Sir William Molesworth, and if not,—why not?
Some of you will say, there is a world of difference between our views and those of Sir Robert Inglis,-while between our principles and those of Sir William Molesworth, there is a general agreement.
But we must urge upon you the same practical consideration, which we just now pressed upon the notice of men holding our own opinions. Are you not placing matters which are not now under discussion, irrationally before questions which are urgent. Say that Sir William Molesworth is “liberal,"--of what practical import is that phrase at the present moment ? You have a “liberal” Government at the present moment ;-and what are the first measures which you may expect from it? In all probability, Endowment of Popery will be the first, and a State Education, the second. Surely it is abundantly evident that all the old questions are at an end,—the old names and phrases worn out. You have obtained “Reform” and “Free Trade.” There is no contest on any of these points. Church matters are now coming into the first place, and surely you may perceive, without much difficulty, that the “liberal ” opinions now fashionable in Parliament, are opinions tending to a general endowment,—not to the abolition of endowments altogether.
In this state of the case, surely it is unreasonable in the last degree, to be governed by names and phrases belonging to a bygone state of things. The one question which is rapidly coming on, is, the endowment of Popery. Oppose that, when you can, by your own candidates, and on your own principles. But when this is not possible, do not be deluded into supporting a man who is disposed to establish and endow Popery, merely because he passes by the name of “ liberal.”
A LETTER TO THE REV. W. F. HOOK, D.D., Vicar of
Leeds, on his proposed plan for the Education of the People. By the Rev. Richard Burgess, B.D., Rector of Upper Chelsea. London: Hatchards. 1846.
This succinct but most conclusive reply to Dr. Hook reached us just as the present number was going to press,—but we cannot allow the opportunity to pass, without snatching a few of the best things in the pamphlet, and transferring them to our pages.
Dr. Hook's Letter, startling and astonishing every one as it did, was, like most of Dr. Hook's productions, rather “overdone.” Mr. Burgess plainly tells him,
“ In your zeal to make out a crying case for government interference, you have committed two faults; you have sought to depreciate both the number and efficacy of Church schools, and you have very much exaggerated our educational wants."- (p. 4.)
Dr. Hook, in his usual magnificent style, had demanded “ eight millions and a half for building schools ;-- and an annual sum of £1,141, 571, besides voluntary subscriptions, for the support of these schools when built.
Mr. Burgess thus shews him the excessive character of this demand :
“I now come to show how you have, in your zeal for securing Government assistance, exaggerated our educational deficiency. You think it will be adınitted on all hands, that there ought to be a school in every district capable of accommodating scholars in proportion of one in six of the population!' and upon this economistical fiction you proceed to found all your estimates and educational statistics. In three little cantons of Switzerland somebody ascertained in 1832, that the proportion of scholars in elementary schools to the whole population was about one in five, and in some of the German states they boasted of one in six, until the calculation reached Austria, and then (in 1832) it was one in ten; in England we were set down at one in eleven and a half, and Russia figured in the last degree of ignorance, as one to three hundred and sixty-seven. These tables have been handed about ever since ; and they are the patent materials for periodical attacks upon the comparative ignorance of our population, both in parliamentary debate and in Letters on Education : it turns out, however, upon a more careful inquiry, that one in six must be left to the dreams of the economist, and practical men find that they must be content with one in ten. In Prussia, where all is perfection in these matters, the golden proportion fails. In 1838 it was ascertained that the proportion in Berlin, was one in ten; in Breslau, one in nine ; in Cologne, with Deuz, one in eight; in Konigsberg, one in nine ; in Danzig, one in eleven; in Magdeburg, one in eight; in Elberfeld, with Barmen, one in seven; in' Aix-la-Chapelle; one in thirteen; in Posen, one in thirteen ; in Stettin, one in ten,--that is to say, in the large towns in Prussia, taking them of all descriptions, the proportion of children at school to the population, averaged in 1838 nine eight-tenths, and this in a country where the means of giving private education only provide for two out of fifteen children. In our country the number of parents who can provide education for their children
is far greater in proportion than any country on the Continent; and what is more, English parents (it may be a mistaken pride, but let it be their praise) will not avail themselves of elemosynary or public elementary schools, if they can at all afford to educate their children at private schools. I believe it may be shown (and I think I have shown it) that one-third of the children of this country of an age to go to school, are educated at the expense of their parents; and after this to propose to make provision for one in six of our population in elementary or government schools, is almost to throw ridicule upou the whole subject. Indeed you seem to have discovered the fallacy of this estimate before you got through your letter; for, after giving us four or five pages of arithmetic, and frightening the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a demand for £8,312,500, you relieve both your readers and budget by turning over a new leaf, and without losing your balance, you say, “Let one in eight be adopted.' But why should not I say as I said in 1842, let one in ten be adopted. Let us take the proportion of the large towns in the model country of Prussia; for, to use the words of the official gentlemen who published the government measures in 1839, “ The interference with primary instruction in towns, occasioned by the early employment of children in the manufactories, by the less settled habits of the population, and by other causes, is greater than in the country;' and this interference with us occurs in the great majority of our working population. Until you can devise some measures to keep children at school beyond the ages of eleven or even ten years, it is in vain to talk-I do not say of one in six, but one in eight; and however it may serve as a subject for declamation, or for assaults upon societies, or for provoking statesmen to jealousy, no practical man will dream in our country, until there be a complete revolution in our social economy, of seeing more than one-tenth part of our towns' population in our elementary schools at one time. Instead, therefore, of presuming, as you have done, that 2,660,000 children would be in attendance on elementary or public schools, which is theoretical, I would presume to reduce the number by something more than one million. Taking our population of England and Wales at 16,000,000, the number of children for which school accommodation should be provided is 1,600,000; if that number were in actual daily attendance, it would imply that nearly 2,000,000 were under instruction; perhaps a few infant schools might supplement the deficiency. If our population increases at the rate of 365,000 in the year, let that be met by a proportionate increase of schools as the day requires.
“What then, according to this estimate of our educational deficiency, is there yet to be provided ? If there be already one million of scholars at the least in connexion with the Church, and 100,000 (I speak of daily scholars only) in dissenters' schools, all we want at present is a provision for an additional half a million, and I am of opinion that such a provision might be made without disturbing the present system either of the National Society or the Committee of Privy Council on Education.”—(pp. 8–12.)
Dr. Hook's new notions of high-churchamanship are thus glanced at.
• The opinions you have put forth with respect to the Established Church are not singular, they are propounded in our Senate, and in our public meetings, by men who have advocated them all their lives. But the wonder of all bishops, priests, and deacons, including the lay members of the National Society's committee is, that they should ever have been put forth by a 'high churchman. I never knew before what a high churchman was; it never occurred to me, who have no pretensions to that designation, that the Church of England ought only to be looked upon' as one of the many corporations of the country,' and that it stood, with respect to the State, upon the same footing as the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London! I have always looked upon it as the Church of England, established according to the laws of God
and this realm: it is necessarily united with the State by its hierarchy being appointed by the Sovereign, who is its temporal head; its sacred fabrics are upheld by a legal impost, which constitutes it the church of the people ; but I learn for the first time that a high churchman considers it the duty of the State to provide that dissent be perpetuated among our children 'according to the traditions received from their parents.'”—(p. 16.)
The main objection, however, which is felt to Dr. Hook's plan, is, that it is substantially the same with that propounded in 1837 and 1839, and so generally opposed, in those years, by Churchmen of all classes, and even by many Wesleyans and Dissenters. It proposes to leave Christianity altogether out of the State education ; permitting, however, the ministers of religion of all classes, to come in for one evening in the week, besides Sunday, for the purpose of giving" religious instruction.” Mr. Burgess thus exposes the fallacy of this scheme.
“ The plan you have given to the world is precisely that which was proposed by the gentlemen of the Central Society of Education in 1837 ; the exponent of that plan was Mr. Simpson of Edinburgh, a very excellent person and an able writer. “The arrangements, as l stated,' he says, ' before the committee of Parliament, must be this, the secular education and the religious shall be placed in different bands, the secular teachers, as well infant as advanced, shall confine themselves to natural knowledge and its inseparable concomitant, natural theology, and shall not be permitted to meddle with revealed religion either perceptive or doctrinal, which shall be taught, and its relation to natural knowledge demonstrated, by the proper religious teacher-the pastor,—the children of each sect having the benefit of the instruction of the pastor of that sect;' for this instruction, Mr. Simpson says, a part of one day in the week besides Sunday would suffice-you added a part of a second day in the week. This gentleman, observe, did not propose religious instruction to be withheld, but regularly given, only not in the secular school. A storm burst upon the Church and country at this proposed scheme of national education; the alarm was sounded in every parish, and throughout the land; both among churchmen and dissenters the cry was heard, “ To your tents, O Israel.' It was said that the secular instruction would receive all the attention, and that religion would be thrust into a corner; pictures were drawn of the various denominations coming to the general school to select their pupils for religious instruction, and a Romish priest was seen walking off with one child, and a Socinian preacher with another; sometimes a dispute ensued whose should be the living child, until at length when the hurly-burly' was over the whole scene appeared to vanish, and the school was left without any religious instructor at all. The cominittee of council on education next devised what they thought a modification, and these were 'the careless people, among whom the notion first prevailed that religion may be treated as either general or special.' General religion, that is, such as all sects and parties would agree in, was to be given in the se. cular school: but the peculiar doctrines of each sect were to be inculcated in different corners of the room. This improved scheme fared no better than the other; it was by many considered the worse of the two, but now, at the end of eight or nine years, the old exploded plan has been renewed in a letter addressed by the Vicar of Leeds to the Bishop of St. David's!”(pp. 18--20.)
And again, “Let us take a scene at one of those government schools on a Wednesday 1846.
afternoon : you have allotted two class rooms for religious instruction, and you say to dissenters and churchmen, divide et impera. The minister of the Established Church is made comfortable enough; he has a room to himself, with “ Bibles on the shelves, and he introduces a few copies of the Catechism and Prayer Book, obtained on the subscriber's terms from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; but would you turn the Roman Catholic priest, the Independent minister, the Wesleyan, the Socinian teacher, and maybe the Jewish rabbi, into the same room? They all arrive at the secular school at the some hour upon pain of public censure for a neglect of duty, and they all make their selections of the subjects which they contend ought to belong to their sect; but you must at least give each of them a room, the Bible on the shelf for the Socinian, to be provided by the State, in ust be Belsham's translation, for the Roman Catholic priest the Douay version, and may be for the Independent the most recent variorum edition of Dr. Conquest. And if all these various operations are to be carried on under the same roof, I know not to what building we could more appropriately apply the title of Harmony Hall! But you may rest assured that after a little time the minister of religion would cease to appear on the Wednesday, and soon grow slack on the Friday, and the religious teaching would be finally left to the secular master; let him transfer himself into some of the rooms which you call the school of religion, and the thing is done. I am persuaded the clergy of our Established Church will never co-operate in such a scheme, and that such separation of secular and religious instruction will never be tolerated by the Orthodox Dissenters.'
"I cannot better describe the confusion that must ensue by your arrangement, than by adopting the language of a writer of the present day, whom you are bound to respect. 'To expect from an heterogenous mass of lukewarm friends and open adversaries, of professing churchmen and avowed dissenters, of enthusiasts, furious in their zeal, and cold calculating politicians; from a combination formed by an unholy and unhallowed mixture of the orthodox with heretics; of those who adore and those who blaspheme the blessed Trinity, the one and only God,-to expect from such materials as these to distil the pure blessing of Christian unity and concord-this has, by experience, been found to be a hope as wild and vain as that which led his dupes of old to seek for gold in the crucible of the alchymist.'! And yet this same writer would bring all these heterogenous materials in and about our elementary school, the very place where our last hopes are fixed of laying the foundations of that unity whose absence you deplore.-(pp. 25-27.)
Finally; Mr. Burgess thus gives a last blow to the whole scheme, in a passage which must, we imagine, decide the whole question in the mind of any serious and well-principled man.
“The fatal error of your scheme, as it appears to me, is in the limited functions you would assign to the schoolmaster, forgetting that the master is the school, religiously, morally, and literally; it is the master who must form the mind of his scholar, and he can only fashion it after the model of his own. If you have an unbeliever in Christianity for your master, it is in vain you will bid him be neuter on the subject of religion; that very neutrality would serve his purpose: if he professes to believe, and his neutrality can be depended upon, I would not give much for his Christianity; for the language of the Christian, in every condition of life is,' we cannot but speak forth the things we have seen and heard.' If ever the time should come when the teachers in our elementary schools should be forbid to touch on the subject of religion, or enjoined, upon pain of dismissal, to give no motives to morality, nor to religion a creed, we may prepare for an age of continental infidelity, and it will be sınall consolation to reflect that the plan for unchristianizing
Speech of Dr. Hook at the meeting of the National Society,