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people attending these lectures amounted to briefly, the French rural problem, and then we 3ð millions. It is not necessary to dilate on shall be able to see whether and to what extent the value of these good works in bringing the school exercises an alleviating or an together parents and teachers in the rural | aggravating influence. districts, in brightening village life, and in Here again of course one can only speak stimulating and consolidating village interests of the five departments which one visited; yet Let it suffice to say that in many places it is lying as they did on the borderland between helping the school master to become the “lay north and south they are probably typical of a rector” of the parish.
great many other departments. Such then is the sketch of the French school Speaking, broadly then, local industries and especially of the French rural school I except when grouped round centres like Flers have to offer you. Incomplete and superficial and Lisieux seem to be declining. The village as it is it may nevertheless perhaps produce industries, once such a feature of these parts, on you some faint impression of the effect it are practically extinct. Agriculture while not produced on me by the thoroughness of the | the prosperous thing it was under the Empire organization, by the capability of the expert (a matter that still makes the older peasant a element in supervision and guidance, by the Bonapartist at heart) has certainly improved rare enthusiasm and self-devotion of the during the last ten years, though land has teachers, and by the correlation of subjects fallen one-third in value. In many places the and the coherence of aim that distinguish yield per acre of corn has doubled, thanks to the curriculum of the primary school. Of the use of artificial manures. Dairy farming course there are blots, in some places the and cattle breeding are flourishing, exept where super vision is too drastic, the intrusion of the foot-and-mouth disease is prevalent ; but politics too obvious, the teaching is lukewarm, the great change from arable to pasture has and part of the programme remains unrealised. had a bad effect on the peasant. It has made But judged en bloc-and I think my opinion him more lazy than he was. Horse-breeding, will be endorsed by my colleague, Mr. Medd, | especially for the remounts (the French prefer of whose competence I do not need to speak encouraging home industries to buying here--the general efficiency of the school is "screws” in Hungary) is a paying business, certainly remarkable. Mr. Medd and myself and hundreds of thousands of fowls and millions wrote entirely independent reports, yet anyone of eggs are sent from these districts to Leadenmust notice that on all great questions we hall Market. The cider districts are the most somewhat arrived at practically identical con- | prosperous in France. If the apple crop is a clusions.
failure owing to the wet, the hay crop grown And this brings me to the last and most under the trees is usually heavy: if the season difficult part of the problem. How does the is too dry for hay, the apple crop is a school stand in relation to the rural problem ? | bumper one. The vine districts seem to Is it a power for good, or does it merely help have turned the corner, and nearly everyto accentuate the rural crisis ? Judging by | where vine-growers are making money. The what I saw, and heard, the French school is new method of replanting and grafting have not out of sympathy with the home. At the robbed the phylloxera of its worst terrors. time of my visit its struggle with the Church Agriculture has been immensely aided by the was distinctly on the wane, while the school establishment of agricultural professors, who is certainly in good odour among the vast not only conduct local experiments but analyse majority of country folk. The great mass of soils, suggest the proper manures, and enthose one interviewed assuredly did not look courage co-operative purchase on a large on it as an engine for setting boys against scale. Much again has been done by the the land or increasing the longing for town life. construction of light railways, the foundation Yet so much has been said, often unfairly, of agricultural shows, the creation of syndiagainst the English rural school; such extrava cates among the farmers for buying manures, gant ideas have been advanced about the extent | implements, and pedigree bulls. Some of these of its evil influence, that a statement of the societies run into thousands of members. French rural problem may help to open the Mutual assurances against loss of crops or eyes of those people who apparently think that cattle are very widely practised, although coa few changes in the school curriculum would operative selling is in its infancy. But le prove a “cure-all” for every ill the country- | manque de bras c'est la plaie du pays. side is heir to. Let us first consider, very Labour is getting ever scarcer. The hirrvests would stand rotting in the fields if the in the primary and higher schools should foreigners did not arrive in shoals to reap them make the pupils they turn out more anxious or the Ministry of War did not allow the to follow the profession of their fathers and to soldiers to go and lend a hand. Still the sons profit by the services of the agricultural pro. of the land-owning class no longer flock to fessor. But the other problems are clearly Paris as they did. But the landless men still beyond the competence of the school to solve, go. The attractions are higher wages, the gla- | except that of alcoholism, and here the mour of town life and conscription. Half the teachers, though rather in the towns, have iural conscripts, says one authority, never come | already started a vigorous campaign to rouse back to till the soil. Those interested in preserv- the younger generation to its dangers. ing our village life had better note this when they so much then for the school and its serhear conscription mooted in England. Another vices to the locality. But the French, while cause of the depopulation is the low birth not unheedful of local needs, none the less rate. This is due in part to the love of recognise that the school has also a national comfort which restricts the number of chil. and a world-wide aim. They do not forget dren in the family, and to the absurd system that it is the nursery of the citizen of to. of inheritance. The English system of primo- morrow, and true to the teaching of the geniture, says a witty Frenchman, confines | French Revolution they are far from neglectthe number of fools to one per family, we ing the claims of humanity. While the French French have found a method for rendering secondary school represents in some ways the the whole family imbeciles. Certainly the quintessence of the culture of the past, the division of property in assuring to each child French primary school embodies to a certain a pittance, is a great incentive to slackness extent some of the newest and most modern and lack of enterprise. But the chief cause ideals in education. Their ways are probably of depopulation is alcoholism. Fifty years ago not altogether our ways. Their aims may France was probably the most temperate differ, but the principles they have set becountry in the world. Now it is by far the fore them seem well worthy of our consideragreatest consumer of alcohol. According to tion and imitation. They desire to give the statistics France consumes annually 14 litres of pupil a practical education, to render him as pure alcohol at 100 per cent. per head. We only much as possible in sympathy with his present come a bad sixth in the list with 9:23 per cent. | and with his future surroundings; but they but even our record looks black beside Canada's | none the less desire to keep his education 2.63 per cent. The cause of all this paradoxi- general. They do not degrade the literary cally was the phylloxera, which, by making | side of the curriculum, but transform it by wine comparatively dear, drove the people to choosing more suitable subjects. They try, beetroot spirit, absinthe, and other deadly ' in a word, to combine the education of the poisons. The effects have been appalling. In enlightened worker with that of the enlightened Rouen a workman's morning breakfast often citizen. consists of slices of bread served in a soup turcen containing a litre or half a litre of spirit; the coffee even is left out. The same soup is not infrequently served at the evening meal,
DISCUSSION. and this is the fare the children are brought up on. The whole race seems threatened. In the
The CHAIRMAN said he knew of no one more fourteen years between 1874-1888 the number qualified to speak on the important subject of rural of recruits in the Northern Departments unfit
education than Mr. Brereton, who had made an
investigation of the subject on the spot, and had for service has increased sixfold, and in the
possessed facilities which were denied to many district of Domfront there are some cantons in
other people, being an expert French scholar and which, owing to the prevalence of alcoholism,
qualified in other ways. the recruiting of young conscripts is becoming almost impossible. The asylums are filled up
Mr. J. C. MEDD said with regard to elementary with these alcoholics. In that of Alençon
schools, he did not think that the French school had 60 per cent. of the males and 70 per cent. of anything to teach the English. Frequently there was the women belong to this category.
a better system of teaching and better co-ordination In the light of the above facts it is clear that of subjects in France, but with regard to agricultural the higher primary school may do something instruction he thought the English schools were at for industry; the agricultural education given the present time conducted on the right lines. The French admitted that they did not teach culture connected with the produce of the land, and agriculture in the schools, but taught horticul. | could there be a more elevating thing than to take ture to a limited extent. The object of the young children, and show them how the natural proelementary school was not to give specialised in cesses worked ? At present, if one asked a child struction, and the only subjects which should be who was regularly attending school to name the first introduced into elementary schools were those calcu- | tree he saw, he shook his head, and the same result lated to develop intelligence. He quite saw the occurred if he were asked to name the birds, or the necessity of introducing subjects which developed various grasses, or the flowers in the hedgerow. powers of observation, and, what was most im- | Having laid the groundwork, the children would be portant, to awaken the child's intelligence. It had so fascinated with the study that they would continue been said that man had a good deal of curiosity, it in the evening continuation schools. At present, but very bad eyes. At the same time there were some when they left the primary school they went into an things in the system of French primary education occupation which took up all their energies, and not which Englishmen could well imitate. In the evening having had a love of the country implanted in them, schools instruction became technical and utilitarion, they migrated to the town, and the country knew them He wished local authorities would take a lesson no more. If the boy had remained in the country from France in encouraging and developing English he would not only be getting a living but enjoying schools as the schools were developed in France. | it. But the great point was to be able to hold out The extraordinary growth of such schools across the some good feature, some prospect other than that Channel was entirely due to the voluntary effort of being mere wage receivers. He would have a of the rural teacher, and of this no one could school - garden connected with every rural school speak with too much admiration. Often those even in the country, where there should be crops, ing efforts were not rewarded pecuniarily at all. He seeds, fowls, rabbits, a pig, and other types of regretted that the Bishop of Winchester's amend. agricultural work. If such children could see ment was not carried last night in the House of a prospect of becoming cultivators later in life, Lords. He thought attendance at evening schools, not only would the exodus from the country ought to be made compulsory for two or three years, to the town be stopped, but the balance would in the interest of the people themselves. He saw no be turned the other way, and people would reason why in England there had not been an return to the country from the towns. Only thus additional class, an extra standard for children under would many of the terrible social problems be solved, the age of 15, added to a conveniently situated school such as overcrowding. He trusted that local in the district. Such provision enabled children to be authorities would have the seose to introduce that benefited by proper instruction up to the age of 15. form of education in every rural school in the That kind of thing had been successfully carried out country. in Scotland, and should be equally possible in England. He thought the advanced schools should Mr. FRANCIS OWEN joined in the regret at be divided into three sections: an agricultural section, the enormous change which had come over the a commercial section, and an industrial section. One country in regard to the subject under discussion. might find schools with an agricultural tendency in He thought children were deteriorating in inthe country, and with a commercial tendency in telligence, because they did not now seem to think towns, but there was no reason why schools for themselves. He believed they should be taught should not have each of those three divisions. | how to study a text-book for themselves; they should For the first year the education would be the same for be taken carefully through it, and the various points all, and at the second and third years the lad would explained in a way which would help them to specialise as he wished. A committee of the Central elucidate a subject for themselves. He related his Chamber of Agriculture had just considered the ques experience as a chairman of a technical education tion of the rural school in relation to the rural exodus, committee, and pointed out how deticient in Third and it would have been an advantage if that com. Standard subjects some of the boys were who had mittee had heard Mr. Brereton before their sitting. passed the Sixth Standard, and been employed for
an interval since. The Right Hon. Jesse COLLINGS, M.P., disagreed with Mr. Medd when he said that the teaching of Mr. MARK WEBB suggested that as the word agriculture should not be given in the rural elementary agriculture had been somewhat objected to, the schools. He thought that was just the place in which American term," Nature study,” might be employed. that education should begin, when the child's mind It had been mentioned that children might be taught vas in a pliable and receptive condition ; thus would to think, but the child would not think unless somebe implanted in the child's mind at the earliest thing attractive was provided for him to think about. moment a love for the country and everything rural. With regard to Mr. Brereton's mention of starting Could there be a greater means of increasing powers of hostels round agricultural colleges, as in Surrey, Mr observation and increasing intelligence than by teach- Macan had said that special authorities, supported ing all those methods grouped under the term agri- by special County Councils, should be brought into existence to do that particular work. He (Mr. Webb) them to take a very great interest in agriculture, which had had the privilege lately of hearing and seeing ex- was best done by cultivating the system of “ Nature planations of a great deal of the work which had been study," that elementary knowledge which could be done in England, and he could never have hoped that developed later in technical pursuits. He thought the so much could have been done so suddenly.
so-called technical education question had not been
solved either here or in France, and the French did not Sir EDMUND HOPE VERNEY, Bart., said that last manage such things any better than we did in this summer he made the acquaintance of several school. country. He thought the solution lay in training masters in France, and he could corroborate the remarks teachers who should be competent to give the as to the admirable spirit which animated them, and instruction required, and then there could be estabthe great desire for education there was in France. lished rural schools with a proper curriculum. In one of the poorest quarters of France it was the practice to send a thousand children every summer,
A vote of thanks having been passed to Mr. at the public expense, into the country districts, at a
Brereton, was briefly acknowledged by him. cost of 62 per child, and he did not know of any parallel to that remarkable action in this country. In England, in the rural districts, everyone hated education. The labourer's wise came with tears in her eyes to beg that her children might be excused from school so that they might earn a
Miscellaneous. little pittance in the field. The farmer complained of his labourer, who knew as much as he knew himself, which would never do. The squire and the OLD AGE PENSIONS IN NEW SOUTH parson also hated it, and the clergyman's wife, who
IVALES.* was generally about the worst of the lot, said “ What are we going to do for servants ?" He had heard
In New South Wales the Old Age Pension Act of eloquent speakers in the country move meetings one! 19co was ass
| 1900 was assented to on the rith December of that way or another, until they came to the subject of 1 year, but the first payments of pension claims were education, and then it was evident that was not | not made till the latter half of 1901. A successful wanted, and it was obvious that a wet blanket had į applicant for a pension must have shown—That he is been thrown over the meeting. Each speaker seemed
at least 65 years of age; is residing in the State on to dwell upon the importance of developing the
the date when he makes good his claim to the intelligence of the child, and the only difference
pension ; has been residing in the State for not less was as to the way to do it and its effect.
than twenty-five years immediately before that date: He disagreed with Mr. Jesse Collings, because
that during the twelve years immediately before the however their eyes were opened, when that was
date when he makes good his claim he has not been brought about the young men were not such fools as
imprisoned for four months, or on four occasions, for to remain in the country. There was no hope for them,
any offence punishable by imprisoninent for twelve and no prospect. What went to the root of the whole months or more; that during twenty-five years matter was the need for a radical reform of the land immediately preceding the date of his claim he has laws, without which the troubles in connection with not been imprisoned for a term of five years, with or that subject would not be solved, and people would
without hard labour ; that, if he is married, he has not be prevented from going to the towns, where ! not at any time, for a period of six months or more, they were free, and found careers open to them.
deserted his wife, or without just cause has failed to
provide her with sufficient means of support, or has The CHAIRMAN said we could not be said to have
neglected to look after such of his children as were developed any system in this country in connection
under the age of 14 years; that he is of good with the subject under discussion. No system of any
character, and is leading, and has been leading for other country should be copied, because systems
five years at least, a sober and respectable life; that must be evolved according to the natural character
his income does not amount to £52 a year or more ; and surroundings of the people. Having regard to
that he has not deprived himself of income or property the great progress which had been made in national
in order to qualify for a pension; and that, if a education during the last ten years, he thought before
naturalised subject, he has been naturalised for at another ten years there would be a system of education
least ten years before the date on which he claims his in this country which would compare most favourably
pension. No alien, Australian aboriginal, or Asiatic, with that of any other country in the world. He i
¡ is entitled to a pension. A person of 60 years of age agreed that the primary school was not the place in
in or more, and yet under the age of 65, may obtain a which technical instruction must be given, but in
| pension if he is unable, through bodily ailment or which introductory instruction must be provided. He
defect, to earn his own living, and if he, in all other agreed also with Mr. Jesse Collings, that the intelli.
respects, fulfils the conditions stated above. When
"es fence of children should be so awakened as to enable
• Communicated by Mr. John Plummer,
the claimant has satisfied himself that his claim is a l of each pension granted was £23 4s. per annum, or proper one, and can be established, he must send the 8s. id. per week. The pension list is growing form of pension-claim, properly filled up and with the rapidly, as a large number of persons eligible delayed declaration upon it witnessed, as required in the form, making claims; and on the 31st March, 1902, it is to the clerk of the nearest Court of Petty Sessions, or estimated that 22,500 pensions were payable, involving to the Deputy-Registrar for Old-Age Pensions for the a sum of about £521,900. district. The claim will then be examined by the District Board for Old Age Pensions, and the Board may require a claimant to appear before them personally, or to produce further evidence with regard
IRRIGATION IN SOUTH AFRICA. to his claim. If he receives an intimation from the The following notes on the importance of irrigation Deputy-Registrar that he is required to appear before for the supply of water to the gold mines are from the Board or furnish additional evidence, he must be the Report of Sir William Willcocks, K.C.M.G. :prepared to satisfy the Board in regard to his claim. Valuable as water may be for agricultural purposes, The Board may authorise some officer to make it is a thousand-fold more valuable for gold washing inquiries, and in that case he must give the officer at the Rand mines. The gold-bearing strata are any information he can. When a pension claim is singularly free from water, offering in this respect a admitted by the Board, the Deputy-Registrar issues marked contrast to the dolomite which lies just above a pension-certificate to the claimant. If the Board them. As I understand, about seven cubic feet of does not grant the pension the claimant may appeal ore yield £1. To wash out this gold there are needed against it, but he must do so within one month after ten tons of water for each ton of ore. A ton of ore the Board's decision on his claim has been made
may be taken as twelve cubic feet, and a ton of water known to him. He can get the necessary form for his as 35 cubic feet. Of the water used, one-fifth is appeal from the Deputy-Registrar of the district on permanently lost, and the remaining four-fifths are applying either in person or by post. After pro used again. From these data it results that forty perly filling the form, the claimant must send it cubic feet of water are needed to work out to the nearest Clerk of Petty Sessions, being £1. Now in the dolomite region we may say informed of the result of his appeal in due course. that 150,000 cubic feet of water will be needed to The fact of a man having been granted a pension irrigate one acre of land for one year, of which the will not prevent his wife obtaining one also if she nett yield may be taken as £5. In other words, in is 65 years of age and otherwise eligible. Where agriculture 30,000 cubic feet of water will yield £1, the pensioner has an income of over ios. a week | as against 40 cubic feet in the Rand mines. As the apart from his pension, a deduction from his pen. Rand mines are the principal source of wealth of sion is made according to a scale fixed by the Act. South Africa, it is only reasonable that round JohanIf the pensioner bas property over the value of nesburg all agricultural interests should yield to the
390, a deduction will also be made on that | gold mining interests during the life time of the account. Since the pension is for the personal sup- mines. Now the Rand mines produce £20,000,000 port of the pensioner, it cannot be transferred to of gold per annum, and need 800,000,000 cubic feet any other person in any circumstances, or attached per annum, or 25 cubic feet per second. Up to the for the purpose of meeting the pensioner's debts. | present the water needed for the mines has been Six months' imprisonment is the penalty which may obtained partly from the mines themselves, partly be imposed upon any person who tries by false state. from the numerous reservoirs on the steep sides of the ments to obtain a pension to which he has no claim, hills round Johannesburg, where the most considerable or one of a larger amount than he is entitled to. reservoir dam is a 40 feet high wall of masonry, No pension can be given to any person who is kept | partly from a well south of the Klip River, and partly by a charitable institution, or who receives relief from from the Johannesburg Water Company. During one, unless such a person suffers from some bodily years of deficit rainfall the mines are put to great defect or ailment which prevents him from taking difficulty to meet these demands for water, and somecare of himself. In such a case the reason. times they are put to considerable loss, while tens of able cost of his keep or of the relief he receives thousands of workmen and plant lie idle. It is, will be paid out of his pension. According to Mr. moreover, contemplated to raise the output of Coghlan, the State Government Statistician, the the mines to £40,000,000 per annum. To number of claims received under the Old Age increase the output certainly, and to insure the Pensions Act during the six months of 1901 in which present working of the mines even, it is considered it was in operation was 28,709, and of these 22,113 essential by the Chamber of Mines, Johannesburg, were allowed by the district boards adjudicating on that something should be done to ensure a permanent the claims. During the same period the number of supply of water to the mines. Now, fortunately for deaths of pensioners was 543, so that the actual Johannesburg, not only are the Karoo strata overnumber of pensions on December 31st was 21,570. ! lying the dolomite interspersed with thick seams of The total sum payable in respect of pensions on the coal, which can be delivered at the mines at eight same date was £500,334, so that the average amount shillings per ton, but the dolomite overlying the gold