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matter of tradition. But the whole tendency of the change has been to draw down candidates for the priesthood (if such a mode of speech is allowable) from the higher classes, not to raise up neophytes from the lower; for, owing to the clerical profession having become honourable in the eyes of the rich in this world, so, in proportion, has the Church found greater facility in recruiting her ranks from that source. And she has consequently become less and less careful to provide for her poorer members, who are unable to obtain a clerical education for themselves, the means of doing so.
The clergy being thus identified with the gentry of the country, not so much from reverence for their sacred character, as from their gentle birth, another consequence has arisen, namely, that their families have become, in common estimation, gentle likewise. So that if in any case the clergyman himself has sprung from the lower or middle classes, he becomes permanently separated from them, and absorbed in another sphere. It is indeed but seldom, that the occupier of the manor farm, or of the village mill, has the disposition or the means of educating his son for the Church, or the elevating pleasure of witnessing his admission to his sacred functions; but should this occur, he cannot look forward to his grandchildren resuming the calling which he himself followed; they are compelled by a social necessity to struggle after permanently maintaining themselves in that rank which ought to have been confined to the personal office of their parent. Hence originate those distressing appeals which are now frequently made in behalf of the children of clergymen, tenderly and delicately nurtured, and led to anticipate suitable prospects in after-life; all of which is suddenly broken off by their father's death, and the cessation of the income, which depended on him alone. Hence, also, originate those schemes for the liberal education of such children on easy terms, well intended, indeed, but dangerous as tending to foster, while it cannot cure, the evil we have spoken of. Till the last few years, the difficulty of obtaining a title for orders, owing to benefices being so exclusively the subject of private patronage, and to the less frequent employment of curates, contributed, no doubt, to the exclusion of all but the higher classes from the priesthood. But even the great demand which now exists for more clergy, and the imposition of very onerous duties, has but little changed the state of the case. The humblest curacies are accepted by gentlemen of good birth; and not to speak of those purer motives, which are daily actuating young men more and more, every one with active energies, and wishful for the means of employing them, naturally prefers an immediate sphere of duty to the distant prospect of the bar, or the precarious expectation of some civil or colonial appointment.
Now, if, together with this exclusion of the middling and lower classes from the clerical order there co-exists a great want of sympathy on their part with the Church,—and who that knows anything of the state of our manufacturing towns, where Sectarianism may till lately have been considered the established religion; or of the difficulty with which the farmer is induced to co-operate in any diocesan or even local good work for the benefit of the Church ; or, lastly, of the sluggish state of the labourer's mind, whose instinctive traditionary attachment to the parish church is likely to be shaken by the first exciting preacher who visits his village, will deny this,—the question naturally arises, whether there is not some connexion between the two phenomena, whether the Church's loss of power over the affections of these classes is not in some measure owing to the exclusive gentility of her priesthood? We cannot indeed, do otherwise than admit, that other and perhaps still more influential causes,—the infringement of Catholic unity, and the neglect of many Catholic practices and doctrines, have contributed to the same result. But this is beyond our present scope ; as regards this, our minds revert to the days of William of Wykeham, and William of Waynflete, whose very surnames (supplied as they are by the place of their birth, in default of any family patronymic) attest their humble parentage, and we inquire of history by what means the talents of such men became consecrated to the Church, and her system invigorated by their energies.
In the following lines I will confine myself to giving what seems to be the true account of the mode by which our ancestors effected this object. In a second letter (if you will kindly afford it admission) I will inquire how far this ancient mode is still available for the immediate exigencies of our own day, and offer a few suggestions on the best practical means of supplying them.
And now to begin at once with the present branch of my subject. It was in great measure the endowed Grammar schools, and their connexion by means of exhibitions with the Colleges, which anciently gave to the less opulent classes the means, first, of obtaining for their children the rudiments of a really Christian and liberal education, and next, of carrying on those rudiments to maturity, in the higher sphere of the University.
As regards the Grammar schools themselves, it would be a mistake to suppose that it is from the Reformation period alone that these institutions bear date. Dean Colet's noble foundation of St. Paul's School took place in the last year of the reign of Henry VII. (1508), and in his Life by Knight we are told that within the short period of thirty years prior to the Reformation, the schools enumerated in the note* were founded. And with regard to the numerous schools nominally founded by King Edward VI., it is to be observed, that most of them
* “One at Chichester, by Dr. Edward Story, Bishop of that see, who left a further benefaction to it by his last will, dated 8th December, 1502; and then at Manchester, by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, who died in 1519. Another at Binton, in Somersetshire, by Dr. Fitz James, Bishop of London, and his brother, Sir John Fitz James, Lord Chief Justice of England. A fourth at Cirencester, in Gloucestershire, by Dr. Thomas Ruthal, Bishop of Durham. A fifth at Roulston, in Staffordshire, by Dr. Robert Sherborn, Bishop of St. David's, predecessor to Dr. Colet in the deanery of St. Paul's. A sixth at Kingston-upon-Hull, by John Alcock, Bishop of Ely. A seventh at Sutton Colfield, in Warwickshire, by Dr. John Harman (alias Veysey), Bishop of Exeter. An eighth at Farnworth, in Lancashire, by Dr. William Smith, Bishop of Lincoln, born there. A ninth at Appleby, in Westmoreland, by Thomas Langton, Bishop of Winchester. A tenth at Ipswich, in Suffolk, by Cardinal Wolsey. Another at Wymbourn in Dorsetshire, by Margaret, Countess of Richmond. Another at Wolverhampton, in Staffordshire, by Sir Stephen Jennings, Mayor of London. Another at Macclesfield, in Cheshire, by Sir John Percival, Mayor of London ; as
formed part of the chantries, hospitals, and other collegiate bodies, which fell into his hands on their dissolution by act of parliament, in the first year of his reign, and that his bounty consisted in re-granting (on the petition of the inhabitants) a small portion of the confiscated revenues in order to re-establish the schools.*
Now, that the principal object of all the grammar schools, thus founded previously to the Reformation, was the education of youths expressly for the priesthood, is so well known that a single instance from Carlisle's History of Grammar Schools may suffice:
“ The Parochial School at Chichester was founded by Edward Storey, sometime a Monk of Boxgrove, and afterwards Bishop of Chichester in the reign of Edward the Fourth. He commences his statutes and ordinances, with lamenting the want of the necessary learning in the Clergy of his diocese, to provide a remedy for which evil he founds this school, endowing it as already stated, and directing the head master to instruct, with the assistance of an usher or second master, (to whom is allotted a stipend of 40s. per annum,) any youth of the diocese in Latin and plain chaunt. From whence it appears, that this foundation is not to be deemed merely a grammar school, in the modern and accepted idea of that term, but rather an Ecclesiastical seminary for the preparation of youth for the ministry, and is placed under the immediate inspection of the bishop of the diocese; to whose protection it is most earnestly recommended by the Founder.”-Vol. 2, p. 592.
This is the case of a private foundation, but the same object is (I believe) contemplated in most if not all the grammar schools attached to our cathedrals. Such, at least, is the opinion of one who, before his removal to a higher sphere of duty, devoted himself to the cause of education at home, and whose name I am thankful to be able to connect with these pages. After quoting the statute of the cathedral church of Ely relative to the grammar school, which statute, it is to be observed, is not peculiar to that cathedral, but regulates all those of the New Foundation, fourteen in number, i.e., the larger half of the cathedrals of England, bishop Selwyn proceeds as follows:
“ This statute has been quoted at great length, because it contains perhaps the most convincing proof of all, that the intention of the founder was to draw supplies of candidates for holy orders from the poorer classes, to be trained up for the ministry, under the care of the chapter. This statute breathes the same noble spirit as the charter—"That piety and useful learning may in our Church continually spring up, grow, flourish, and, in due season, bring forth fruit, to the glory of God, and to the advantage and honour of the state,” &c. This preamble expresses, in very forcible words, what seems to have been the object of the founder, viz., to nurture and foster humble merit, at every period of its growth; to select from the children of the poor, the youths of greatest promise, to train them in the Cathedral School; to maintain them in the University, by the cathedral scholarships; to prepare them for orders in the cathedral class of theology; to employ them in the subordinate ministry of the cathedral and diocese; and, in the end, to reward them with the cathedral patronage.
“It appears therefore quite evident, that the degenerate free-schools, which are at present attached to some cathedrals, do not realize the intention of the founder. He could not have wished the boys to be instructed in “the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew languages," merely as a qualification for apprenticeships, or other commercial appointments. He could not have desired that the boys should be (as much as possible) also another, by the Lady Thomasine, his wife, at St. Mary Wike, in Devonshire, where she was born ; and another at Walthamstow, in Essex, by George Monnox, Mayor of London. 1515. Besides several other schools in several parts of the kingdom."-Knight's Life of Colet, p. 100.
* Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, 2, 2, 282.
such only as had shewn a natural aptitude for learning, if he had intended that, at the age of seventeen or eighteen, the door should be closed against their further advancement. He could not have required them to come to the school, prepared with a knowledge of reading, writing, and the first rudiments of grammar, if he had designed them to fill situations for which those acquirements would be amply sufficient. We must therefore suppose, that the main object of this foundation was the promotion of piety and of the glory of God, by the education of able ministers for the service of the Church.”—— Are Cathedral Institutions useless ? p. 58, 2nd edition.
With regard to schools founded subsequently to the Reformation the case was indeed somewhat different ;—the promotion of the glory of God and the good of His Church continues the object of Education ; but it is to be attained by the general discipline of the scholars rather than by their special devotion to the priesthood. I will give a few instances of this from the same work :
King Edward the 6th founded the Grammar School at Crediton, that the Children of the county of Devon
“ May hereafter from their infancy be endued with more polished learning than was formerly usual, so that when they arrive at maturer age they may go forth better instructed, thinking thus certainly to adorn and ornament not less with literature than with wisdom the English Church of Christ.”—Carlisle, vol. I, p. 255.
In 1552, the same King founded the Grammar School at Louth,
“That'good literature and discipline may be diffused and propagated,” that youth may be brought up to “science,"; "it being as it were the foundation and growth of our commonwealth.”—Vol. 1, p. 822.
Merchant Taylors' School was founded in 1561,
“For the better education and bringing up of children in good manners and literature.”—Vol. 2, p. 49.
The Grammar School at Hertford was founded in 1617, "Pro eruditione puerorum in lingua Latina et alià politiori literatura.”—Vol. 1, p. 547.
Still it is to be observed, that in all these cases, a liberal educationan education, that is, forming the best basis for a subsequent theological one, and qualifying a scholar for admission to our great theological seminaries—the universities, is carefully provided. Every apt scholar therefore, however humble of birth or destitute of resources, on leaving these schools had, as far as mental culture goes, the clerical profession open to him.
And this idea of educating the poorer classes, liberally, continued down to a much later period than may be supposed. In 1692 Gilbert Hannam, a coverlet-maker, founded a grammar-school for the benefit expressly of “ the poore men's sons of Midhurst,” at which the children were to continue “ till they understand the Latin and Greek tongues and be fit for the University.”—Vol. 2, 606. Another late instance of the same intention on the part of the founder,-extending, as it does, to the special object of training his poor scholars for the priesthood, and indicating by the phraseology that he was almost puritanical in his doctrines, and therefore, that a sense of the benefits of such a connexion as we are advocating, has been by no means exclusively felt by any single school or party in the Church,-I will quote more at length. In 1647 the Rev. Abraham Colfe, Vicar of Lewisham, founded a grammar-school in that place, the free scholars of which are to be
“Destitute orphans, the children of parish-pensioners and of Day-labourers, Handycrafts'-men, mean Tradesmen, painful Husbandmen, or of any other honest and godly poor persons, in every parish, so that the children be of a good wit and capacity and apt to learn, who shall be always chosen in the first place, before the children of them that be of better ability.”
Some of these, after being strictly examined and found every way fitting for their skill in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, are to be sent to one of the universities, and to have each an exhibition of £10 per annum for seven years. And the exhibitioners are to set down under their hands in the Book of Records before the Minister and Church officers of Lewisham, that they purpose
“By God's grace, if the Lord seem not to hinder them by offering a very fair opportunity of present employment to God's glory, in another calling, at or before the end of eight years, to take upon them the function of the ministry, and in the meantime, while they stay in the university, that, through God's help, they will take each of them the degrees, both of Bachelor and Master of Arts, and duly take Sermon Notes :that they will preach one or two Sermons in Lewisham Church, will set forth a few Sermons in print, and do their endeavours to write some learned commentaries on the Holy Scripture or other Books of Divinity, and will give one book always of every book they print, and also the copy of all their Sermon Notes, to the Public Library at the School ;-yea, and if God enable them, that they will do some further good for continuance to the parish of Lewisham.”
One extract more from this will I must be allowed to make, although bearing less directly on my subject, because it so well illustrates the Founder's tender care for his school. He directs that
“If any of the proper pastors and ministers incumbent of the several Parishes of the hundred of Blackheath, and also of Chislehurst, have any sons, every one of them shall have full power and liberty to send one son, yet but ONE only at once, out of one house, to the Grammar School, to be taught freely, yet with this condition, that every such minister that useth this privilege, being not far from the School, do take the opportunity at least once in every two or three months, to visit the Grammar School, and for one or two hours, strictly to examine the scholars of the Higher and Lower Forms, about the books they learn, the manner of teaching, the daily exercises they make, and how they profit therein. And this I humbly and earnestly request in love."
After reading such admirable provisions, how painful it is to find Mr. Carlisle's account conclude with this sentence:
"At present neither Latin nor Greek is taught in either of the Schools; and the Exhibitions are never paid, as there are no Scholars at Lewisham to profit by them.” Vol. I. p. 579.
So far we have been engaged in considering what were the means which our ancestors employed to give the children of the poor the rudiments of such an education as would qualify them for the priesthood. We have to consider next, what means they employed to carry on this education to maturity.
These means (as I have already hinted) were the connexion of each Grammar School with some college in the Universities,—such connexion consisting as well in pecuniary exhibitions as in a salutary supervision and control, the appointment of the master being also generally vested in the hands of the College. The advantages of this connexion are obvious : you will find them adverted to by Robert Nelson in his Life of Bishop Bull (p. 10) and a copious list might doubtless be formed of good servants of the Church, who without their aid would