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And if the operations of the Irish Society, aided as they are in opening the eyes of the people by the bad and violent conduct of the priests, be continued without providing for the Church an Irish-speaking Ministry to receive the converts, and to preserve them in the Church, Romanism may, indeed, for a time be weakened, but it will be by the introduction of Dissent in some other form.
But the familiar and colloquial use of a language, especially of one spoken only by the lower orders, cannot be acquired without considerable practice, and at an early age. And, therefore, instead of confining our attention to a plan like one formed by the late Archbishop of Tuam for promoting the study of Irish at the University, we have thought it necessary to provide also for its being taught to boys at School; and in the want of existing institutions to found one especially for the purpose, with the hope of connecting with it other remedial plans, needed in the present state of the Irish Church, equally with the Irish-speaking Ministry. Of course, if a school is to be established, every thing should be done to make the education in it as perfect as possible. And we certainly contemplate exerting ourselves to place our own in every point on a footing with the first classical institution of the kind, so that it may be fit not only for boys who propose to devote themselves to the Ministry, but for the sons of the gentry generally; for whom, if they are to possess a proper influence with the people, the knowledge of Irish is also very desirable.
And instead of excluding the influence of English improvement and English literature, few things will so tend to promote it as gaining the hearts of the peasantry, and opening their minds to further inquiries by the use of Irish. This has been proved by experience in the case of the Gaelic.
We could not contemplate an Institution of this kind so immediately connected with the Church, without defining at once the authority under which it was to be founded and governed. And we resolved, in conformity with the usual plan observed in the foundation of our best English Grammar Schools, to place it strictly under its proper Ecclesiastical Superior. The Bishop of the diocese, wherever the School is placed, will, of course, exercise his authority as Ordinary over it. But as the plan seemed likely to benefit the whole Irish Church, we thought we could not do better than apply to the Primate of all Ireland at once, and request him to take our own body under his immediate superintendence and controul, while we were forming the Institution ; and his Grace has entered into our object with the warmest interest.
With respect to ourselves, we desired to avoid the serious inconveniences attending the operations of large and heterogeneous Societies; and the more so, because if other parts of our plan are carried out, they will require to be watched over with constant care, and managed with much consistency and delicacy. We resolved, therefore, that the number of the immediate Directors should be as limited as possible, embracing no more than are necessary for the adequate superintendence of the Institution, and confined to personal friends, who could communicate frequently together, place confidence in each other, and therefore act with more decision and firmness in difficult circumstances. Our object, in fact, is to place ourselves, as a body, as much as possible in the position of the individual founders of our ancient schools and colleges; who took some time to organize and mature their Institutions under their own eye, and with the assistance of episcopal advice; and when the institutions were able to stand alone, secured to them a proper degree of independence, and left them finally under the visitation of the Church. The chief difference is, that to carry out our own plan fully, we shall require large pecuniary aid ; and therefore must take care to provide a security that the funds entrusted to us are properly applied. This we have done, by consulting with the Primate on the best mode of investing them from time to time, and of auditing our accounts.
I come now to a feature in our plan, on which the importance and success of the whole seem mainly to depend.
It is a great defect in our present system of education, even within our best schools, that it is carried on by one Head Master, possessed generally of a considerable income, while the Ushers and Tutors are not permanently attached to the schools, and have very small salaries ; and therefore it cannot be expected that the greatest talents and energies should be devoted to the work. We are strongly impressed with the idea of uniting all those who are to be associated in instruction in something like a collegiate body; giving them a common table, a common interest in the Institution; and placing them under a Warden or Head Master, very much as the Fellows engaged in tuition stand in the Colleges of our Universities. There is no reason why a collegiate arrangement, which is found so useful in the education of young men, should not be extended to the education of boys. And we hoped by this to give a greater degree of respectability to the Institution ; to secure a higher class of men to conduct it; to provide for its permanence; to save considerable expense, by making the numerous advantages of such an establishment a remuneration for services in the place of money; in this way to economize our funds, and enable ourselves to reduce the expenses of education ; to ensure a greater number of teachers, and a better division of labour; and to engage permanently the interest of a large number of persons in the prosperity and improvement of the Establishment. And there are many circumstances in the present state of Ireland which render such a plan not only more feasible than elsewhere, but more necessary. Undoubtedly, the information of such a body will be difficult, and require time, and careful superintendence at first. But what it is worth while to do, it is worth while to do well. And having before us the example of the mode in which our old collegiate schools, such as Eton and Winchester, were originally erected, and adhering steadily to those principles, which experience in other cases has shown to be sound, we do not despair of forming it by degrees, as our students and our funds increase.
This collegiate form then enabled us to take in another important feature in our plan. To obtain a facility in the use of a language, particularly in one, which in the present day is only spoken, persons must at an early aye be in the habit of mixing and conversing with those who speak it. Mere composition and grammatical knowledge are not sufficient to give a clergyman in Ireland that command of the Irish language, and, as connected with it, that knowledge of the peculiar habits and tone of mind of the people, which are necessary in order to gain free access to their thoughts. We hope, indeed, to be able to found our School in the neighbourhood of an Irish-speaking district. But even then it may be objectionable to allow boys to communicate with the peasantry with the freedom which would be required to form an intimate acquaintance with the language. And we resolved therefore to bring within our own Institution, and under our own eye, a sufficient number of persons speaking Irish, whom we might employ not only as servants, masons, carpenters, and labourers, but in those subordinate offices which are usually attached to schools.
The necessity of creating and employing such a body of men in our Institution suggested another idea. It is an obvious and solemn duty imperative on all persons who employ servants and labourers, but particularly on bodies connected with the Church, to provide for them a sound religious instruction, and not abandon them, as is too often the case, to themselves, as if we had only to receive and pay their services, without thinking of their minds and souls. We resolved, therefore, from the first, that we would place all the labourers and servants, whom we employed, under a regular course of religious instruction, comprising daily prayers, the reading of the Scriptures, and such a clerical superintendence, as any clergyman would wish to see established in his own parish, or among his own dependents.
We thought it possible to secure sufficient time for these purposes, without interfering with the hours of necessary labour. We wished to attempt a system, which, if successful, might be imitated by manufacturers and others, who desire not to lose sight of the glory of God and the salvation of men, while employing their fellowcreatures for the accumulation of wealth. And we found many things in our existing collegiate establishments which seemed to recognize such a plan as a natural part of them. Had this been thought of in England, the conduct and state of our manufacturing poor would have been very different from what it is at present. But in Ireland there are peculiar reasons for attempting it. The poorer members of the Church of Ireland require great instruction and discipline, to secure them from the difficulties to which they are exposed by the artifices of Romanism on the one hand, and by the natural temptation to run into opposite excesses on the other. The Irish also are a peculiarly quick and intelligent people, fond of reading, and delighting in receiving instruction (I had almost said in going to school), even at an advanced age. It would too often be a labour and a task to an English peasant, if he were compelled to sit dowiì, either before or after his labour, and to receive lessons in reading his Bible, but this to the Irish is a luxury and relaxation. Their natural devotional habits all fall in with frequent public prayers, and religious instruction, such as the Church of England wishes to provide for all her members. And we felt that we might then
hope to exert a salutary influence over them in other respects, and to introduce among them those habits of neatness, order, sobriety, and steady industry, which are so necessary for the improvement of Ireland It is clear, that without these the lower order of Irish will remain, as they are now, improvident, the creatures of impulses, and subject to all the alternations of famine and distress. And these habits cannot be inculcated except by persons who have a command over their minds. And this command can scarcely be obtained except through the medium of religious influence. And sufficient religious influence cannot well be created, except by the presence and continual action of a body of clergymen, and others devoting themselves to religion and religious education. We should wish in every branch of labour in which they were employed to provide for them the best models, books, and instruction; to teach those who had families to improve their cabins; to find proper employment for their wives and children ; to introduce among them such little domestic manufactures as might exercise their industry, and contribute to their comfort, without taking them from their own fireside, or leading to the usual vices of a manufacturing population.
It was this obvious duty of endeavouring to educate and improve the servants and workmen whom we employed, that led us to another idea. There is at present a great want among the poorer classes in Ireland, of members of our Church, not merely opposed to the errors of Romanism, but imbued with vital religious princi. ples, and with an accurate knowledge of the doctrines of their own communion. And we thought that if we trained up our own people, as we propose to do, it would be easy afterwards to provide various situations for them, in the estates and houses of the resident gentry of Ireland.
In these situations, besides their value as persons in whom their employers might confide, we thought that they would prove of great assistance to the Church by exhibiting to their unhappy countrymen in their own rank of life, who are now suffering under the delusions of Romanism, the true principles and character of our Church exemplified in their own conduct. Conversion, it is found, is generally wrought by influence of this kind, by the imperceptible working of example, by private conversation, and by habits of daily intercourse. The clergy cannot gain access to the peasantry at all hours, nor can the peasantry see enough of the clergy, as persons placed above them, to enter thoroughly into the spirit of their conduct. Too many of the Romish priests also have studiously instilled into the people a contempt and detestation of our Church, by misrepresenting its principles, charging it with the worst crimes and errors, and loading it with calumnies. And nothing will so effectually remove these prejudices, as for the poor to see among themselves, and in their own rank of life, members of the Church, taught steadily to discharge their duty, and acting up to the true principles of their own communion.
Although personal piety and practical religion must be the chief objects in such an education as is here proposed, the position of the members of our Church in the midst of Romanists, who are employing every engine in their power to gain converts, will render it necessary to give them instruction in her distinctive doctrines, and even in those controversial questions, which in Ireland are continually forced upon them. The Romish Church has not neglected these means of spreading her errors; and even among the poorest classes there is often found a degree of information on such subjects, which will require equal information to counteract its influence.
And thus if the Bishops of the Church should wish to create any office analogous to that of Readers or Catechists, or other subordinate teachers, a body of men may be found ready provided with elementary knowledge, and capable of being further prepared for such a work, and employed in parishes as assistants to the clergymen, while they are at the same time able to maintain themselves by their own labour.
The creation, indeed, of such an office is a question into which it is not for us to intrude. It rests wholly with the Bishops. But whether or not this use might be made of our Institution, we hope to make it the means of raising up good and well instructed men, who, wherever they were placed, might, in their private capacities, as fathers, friends, and neighbours, set truth before the minds of their associates by the holiness, reasonableness, and consistency of their own religious belief and practice.
As the education of these men would require several clergymen to superintend and conduct it effectually, we propose to extend the collegiate body, so as to provide
ample machinery for the management of the whole Institution. Some members would be engaged in tuition, and others, as it were, in parochial duties.
We have not overloaded the importance of procuring a certain quantity of land. Economy as well as other considerations, would induce us to desire this. We might then hope, with the assistance of the influence derived from religious training, to introduce improvement, not only in the agriculture, but also in the general habits of the Irish peasantry: for, without religious influence, it is impossible to conquer the indolence, prejudices, and inveterate habits, which now interfere with this great object.
I need not repeat, that we shall require considerable funds. We hope that ultimately the Institution will support itself, but we cannot make ourselves responsible for the maintenance of so many persons, or expect to carry out the plan fully without having a large capital, in addition to an annual income. The capital we propose to leave as far as possible untouched in the hands of proper trustees, so as to secure it to the Church, to which it is given, and to enable the Institution to recover from such reverses and convulsions as past experience may lead us to anticipate in Ireland. The income must be raised by annual subscriptions, and it is by obtaining these, and by using your influence to interest members of the Church in our success, that you will do us great service.
This is the general outline of our plan. New ideas may develope themselves as we proceed, and modifications be suggested by experience. But the cordial approbation which it has received from persons of the greatest experience and authority, assures us that there is nothing impracticable in it; as there is nothing which does not seem obviously called for by the present circumstances of Ireland and of the Irish Church. It is for that Church that we are humbly working, as the only real pacificator and healer of the wounds of that unhappy country. And every step which she makes in her work will be felt, we are convinced, not only in England, but throughout the whole empire, over which Romanism is now spreading her emissaries in every direction from that centre. Of Englishmen, indeed, the first duties may seem to lie nearer home; but it was by England that Romanism was first introduced into Ireland, and on the most mature reflection it appears, that there is nothing which more immediately affects the interests of England, both spiritual and temporal, than the state of Ireland ; and no point, therefore, to which we should sooner direct our attention and our aid. With these views we cannot but take the deepest interest in the plan. Whether it succeed or not, depends on a blessing from above. But it will be something to have attempted it; and attempted it upon principles of obedience to rightful authorities, and after models which have already been tried and proved to be good. Believe me, my dear friend, very sincerely yours,
Notice of Book The National School Expositor. By Francis Mason. (Martin, 44, Upper York-street: London.) Sir,-I herewith enclose to you a little book, which, if you think worthy of friendly notice in the English Journal of Education, you would oblige me by making the clergy, who are so much interested in Church Schools, acquainted with its existence. The author of it is Mr. Francis Mason, who is a National schoolmaster at South Shields, in the diocese of Durham, and also a valuable and truly indefatigable member of the Church, It would be well if all our schoolmasters had the same clear views of the Church and her doctrines, which the author of this little publication appears to possess. That you may the more readily form some judgment of its merits, I shall refer you to his attempt in the explanation of the following terms, viz.:-" One Catholic Apostolic Church,” “ Baptism,” “ Bishop," “ Chant," “ Christened,” “ Communion of Saints,” “Elect people of God,” “The Faithful,” “ Font,” “Heaven,” “Paradise," "Sabbath day,” “Sunday," “ Selfwill,” “Spiritual Pastors,” “ Tithes,” &c. How well would it be for the rising children in our schools, through the means of such a little manual as this, to receive something like clear views of these important subjects, and thereby become intelligently as well as affectionately attached to the Church, whose baptized and nursed children they are.
Perhaps in addition to this communication you will be good enough to call the attention of the clergy and school teachers, in a short notice of your own, to this unpretending but useful little work. If, by way of sample, you could give to the public two or three of the author's attempts to explain some of the terms to which I have alluded, you will confer a favour upon all parties concerned in the business of Church instruction,
*** The Editor has looked over this little book with some care, and is greatly obliged to his correspondent for having forwarded him a copy. The want of some cheap manual of this sort has long been a subject of complaint, and the present attempt to supply this want seems in every way deserving of encouragement. Seventeen shillings could not easily be better spent than in circulating 100 copies in a large parish; not but that the poorest child, in the first class of any of our schools, would be glad enough to give threepence for one. It is feared, that comparatively few of our teachers and school managers are yet fully awake to the importance of grounding children well in the meaning of words. They forget, that language is the instrument as well as index of thought, and that he who gives a child a good word, and fastens a meaning to it, does something towards helping him to good principles.
The following is a fair sample of the book :One Catholic and Apostolic Church, the communion of the faithful throughout the world, who believe and obey the doctrines of the Gospel, and live upon its holy sacraments, administered by an apostolically authorized ministry, having bishops, the successors of the apostles, for its rulers.
Bishop, overseer of the flock of God, one of the higher order of the clergy, who has the charge over a diocese; one of the successors of the apostles.
Communion of Saints, that holy and spiritual fellowship, which true Christians, both living and departed, have with the Lord Jesus Christ, their head, and with one another.
The Faithful, all the true members of the Catholic Church, who live agreeably to the vows and promises of their baptism, and adhere steadfastly to the faith once delivered to the saints.
Sunday, the first day of the week, the Lord's day, or weekly festival, on which the Christian Church commemorates her Lord's resurrection
Self-will, following the devices and desires of our own hearts, doing that which is right in our own eyes, and despising or neglecting the will of God.
Spiritual Pastors, God's duly appointed ministers of the One Catholic and Apostolic Church, comprehending Bishops, Priests or Presbyters, and Deacons.
Tithes, the tenth part of all property, reserved by God to Himself, to be dedicated to the keeping up of His worship and service in the world, in a manner suitable to His honour and glory.