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original notions are equally faulty, and their consequent arguments run parallel with each other to the same wrong conclusion. The want of distinguishing terms for the different degrees of the original vague idea of property has undoubtedly in both cases a great deal to do with this error, and if we do not take particular heed, similar illusory arguments will often lead our judgment astray. We say, for instance, “my house” to express the most absolute possession we may have; a father says “my son," and in another case we say, like the boys, “my birthday”-using the same word “my” in three different cases where it obviously does not convey the same meaning. Indeed, if we had several words for the different degrees of possession or relation alluded to, we should as little confound them as the adjectives scarlet and pink for different shades of the red colour. This scarcity of terms creates confusion by inducing us to transfer with apparent but deceitful logic, notions and conclusions from one particular case to a series of more or less dissimilar ones. The boys above mentioned spoke and acted about their birthday as they would have done about a toy or any other real property. And the father in question, although he may try to strengthen his argument by the addition of the word “ own,” saying “my own child,” is in a fair way to fall into the same illusion. Such an objection conveyed in the words above quoted, is then itself too vague, the argument is far from being distinct and conclusive on our point, it requires further examination as to the real meaning of the expression “my child.” Now this cannot signify anything like material property in such a sense as it was understood in antiquity, or amongst barbarous nations, where a father had unlimited power over his family, nor anything approaching to such a definition ; our christian principles reject such interpretation of the words. Otherwise, what were to become of the child at the death of his father? On whom should the right of the latter pass over? When, how, and why should the relative position undergo a change as the son grows up ? Besides, other persons lay claim to similar appellations, the one calling the same individual “my brother,” another “my friend,” the Sovereign “my subject," we all “ my fellow citizen,” thus expressing all a certain right to or expectation from his person or doings. The most vehement exclamation about “my child," or even “my own child” does, therefore, on account of the vague signification of the word “my” not yet carry with itself an absolute conclusion on this point.
In short we must, in order to come to a decision, directly inquire what are the positive claims of a father to his child, how far goes his right to dispose of him according to his own will and pleasure? To so pointed a question an equally sharp answer is ready. A father ought not to speak about claims, he has only duties towards his children. However stern and harsh such a sentence may at first sound, it is fully borne out by a reflection on the nature of the relative position as well as by the spirit of christianity, and in reality its harsh aspect is softened by the use of milder terms, and by that mutual affection which turns duties into pleasures. The signification of the words “ That is my child,” so far as the present inquiry is concerned, can therefore only be : Nature and Providence intrusted that child to my particular care, I am to be its special protector, guide, benefactor, I am as far as I can contribute to it, answerable for its present and future welfare and doings. But even if we would so far abate from the strictness of our sentence as to admit that a father may call respect, obedience and eventually material assistance from his children, things which he has a right to exact from them. There is nothing in all this which gives him a title to dispose of them to his own advantage or according to his pleasure, and still less which exempts him from the strict duties imposed upon him. Amongst the latter, one of the most prominent and indisputable is that to provide for the future, to educate and instruct; and if, therefore, by the community or otherwise, means are especially provided to that end; which cannot be dispensed with or otherwise compensated for, an exclamation against interference with personal liberty and natural rights loses all its ground, amounts almost to contradiction, and can only be looked upon as a specious pretext for evading imprescriptible duties and gaining selfish objects.
But if we thus reduce or rather entirely deny the right of a father to dispose of his child to his own advantage and according to his own will and pleasure, one might at first sight suppose that any claim of government to exact the sacrifice of time and exertions from the same child, to directly interfere with instruction and education is still less founded, and defensible. If, however, for analogy's sake, we went on in the same way as above, to examine the bearing of expressions like those alluded to, “my fellow citizen,” “my subject,” the result would be in favour of our views and public education. The relation between government, representing the community, and the individual is essentially different from that between parents and children. The former is originally, and to some extent always, founded on a kind of voluntary agreement, therefore changeable, varying according to different times and circumstances; the latter based on the natural position between parent and child, and therefore unalterable. The former necessarily partakes of the nature of a mutual compact, each party, the community and the individual, taking upon themselves promises, guarantees, rights and duties. The moment a child is born it is silently received into society, and at once partakes of favours and benefits, just as, in a more ceremonious way it becomes a member of the Christian church. But as the promises given at the christening by the sponsors, are to be considered as binding, although at the time the child was unable to appreciate the respective favours and duties, so all nations agree, that in return for protection and other benefits received from society, the community is justified to expect that everyone submit to their laws, and in proper time, far from being a nuisance or cause of disorder, become a useful member of that same society. Opinions as to how far liabilities go in this respect, have in different times and amongst different nations, undergone the most essential changes : they were indeed carried from one extreme to another. At one period the State, disregarding all natural ties, and setting aside every consideration of individual interests, required the exclusive disposal of life, property, all material and intellectual faculties of every one. Those times have long passed by. Then came ages of despotism, feodality, predominant church influence, each regarding the individual in a different light, and shaping their respective pretensions accordingly. Now we are living, as it were, in an age of reaction in favour of personal independence, many going in their zeal so far as to deny that, if we provide for the rising generation means most suitable and of almost absolute necessity for their own personal welfare, as well as that of the community, we may not even require anyone to make use of the same. This is certainly another extreme, and truth, as usual, lies in the middle. We are undoubtedly justified to require, if only for the sake of self-preservation, as a kind of guarantee for the stability of our social existence, that the younger members of our community become acquainted with those general moral and religious principles upon which society rests, and that they, as far as public education can contribute to that object, be trained and brought up in the esteem and practice of such principles, besides cultivating their minds and acquiring such elementary knowledge as may be most proficient to their own happiness. For it must not be forgotten that the aim of public education, and this refers particularly to National Schools established by Government, is not only to impart to children some primary knowledge and abilities, but to influence their feelings and form their character, keeping them from idleness, bad company and consequent evils, by occupying them suitably for a considerable portion of their time, accustoming them to good morals, and even if we would exclude any reference to a special religious creed, by infusing into their hearts an esteem and love for all that is to be respected and valuable in the private person as well as in social relations. This view of the question renders it necessary once more distinctly to mention what has several times already been hinted at. The request, that a certain proficiency in knowledge be acquired, and a moral and religious training be submitted to, supposes that means thereto be made available for everyone without inadequate inconvenience, or in other words : compulsory measures must be considered not as an isolated regulation, but as the natural result of a whole system of national education. To bring up the rising generation according to the wants of the age ought to be matter of general interest: provisions to that effect ought to be made by Government. Their efficiency controlled, care taken that improvements in the system and its working keep pace with the progress of time. The whole question thus placed is only of comparatively modern date, and owes its origin to the advanced state of national development and social intercourse, or as it is generally termed, to the progress of civilization. The more we go back in the history of a nation the more simple we find the features of common life, as well as the relations and reciprocal duties between individuals and governments; but the development of a nation brings with it more complicated intercourse and new obligations on both sides ; at first no establishments like public schools are necessary; they gradually become so for the different classes, and at last for the whole people. Even at a period not very distant the life of an individual presented a far simpler aspect than in our days; the different classes of society were more strictly separated like so many castes, everyone moved in a limited sphere, with comparatively little prospect of extending the bounds of his native position, the respective acquirements and duties were circumscribed into a narrower compass, the mind and will received less excitement to stir and exert themselves. All these things have undergone an essential change, and one of the consequences is that a degree of instruction and education which was sufficient under the previous circumstances, is no more so at present. The fact is acknowledged, the question remains how to supply for the increasing want. The higher schools seem less subject to the influence exercised by the spirit of the age, or their institutions more sheltered by that attachment to existing forms for which this country is so distinguished. The middle classes of society felt the necessity of more suitable preparation for their respective station in life and an altered system, first and most, being as far as pecuniary means are concerned able to provide for their own wants, but left to themselves in doing so, they have mostly fallen into the hands of persons who make a speculation of education; the respective establishments are only too often managed like a tradesman's business, and fall short of that standard to which they ought to be raised. For the lower classes the same necessity of improved teaching and training is generally -felt; private exertions are everywhere made, their insufficiency is acknowledged, Government has to a certain degree stepped in by granting pecuniary assistance, but as yet there is no national system established. In the meanwhile the causes which call for interference and assistance go on rapidly increasing. To remain any longer silent or inactive must sooner or later lead to a reaction, and prove prejudicial to the common interest. On the Continent the instruction of the people has far outdone us, and the people at large enjoy the advantages of a superior general instruction, the benefits derived therefrom and the constant progress in that line are clearly visible. It is therefore surely time to ask —Is not the social position of this country so far developed that elementary instruction and education have become undeniable requisites for each individual even of the lowest class; and does not this on the one hand impose upon Government the obligation to make adequate provisions, and on the other upon the people that to avail themselves of the same? Is not the welfare of the individual as well as of the state closely connected with such institutions? Finally, is England to remain behind other nations in civilization ? But here the more special question about compulsory measures must rest.*
EXERCISE OF IDEAS.--The ideas which we convey to a child are of little importance compared with the benefits arising from the vigorous exercise of his powers, in re-producing, arranging, or combining these ideas. The knowledge which we convey to our pupils is the ore thrown into the crucible; but the knowledge which we draw from them is the gold after it has been elaborated and refined. Children should be accustomed to relate, in their own language, whatever they may have seen, read, or heard : this will also induce habits of attention and reflection, and will show them how the ideas of others may really become their own.-From Miss Crampton's excellent Notes of a Plan to combine Education with Instruction.
Boys' MANNERS.It is too much the fashion among boys to scorn gentle, loving manners, or leave their sisters to learn such ways, while they try to be what they call men. A boy who wishes to be a true man, “the noblest work of God,” must begin while he is young to be honest and honourable, and “ do as he would be done by,” for he will be the same person when he grows up that he is now, only stronger, larger, in mind and body, and better able to do good or evil. Let us by all means have “honour among boys.”-N. Y. Independent.
* The views here advocated by a learned foreigner are adverse in some respects to our own. --Ed. J. E.
THE NEXT STEP TOWARDS NATIONAL EDUCATION.
BANCUR demur to any local rate Bill for schools, does by no means
G extend to a satisfaction with the present state of things. We C u agree with Sir John Pakington in toto as to the extent of ignorance.
We differ only in the remedy. He has just sent us his Manchester speech. Here are some strong hits, well aimed, which strike home, and cannot be parried. He wrestles thus with the fallacies of Messrs. Baines and Unwin :
“Mr. Baines says, “ Objection 6: The measure is perfectly unnecessary. We possess, on official evidence, the great fact of the rapid and steady progress of Education during the whole of the present century. Mr. Unwin does not lay down this proposition in terms quite so dogmatical ; but in common with many other men of ability, who have spoken and written upon the subject, he holds, in substance, the same views. “ These speakers and writers
rely upon this single fact--that by the census of 1851, the proportion of children at school had risen to one in eight, and two-thirds of the population, whereas the proportion was much lower twenty years before. It is upon this increase of numbers that they mainly rely. But mark what these gentlemen omit from their consideration. I believe I am right in saying that, throughout their speeches and pamphlets, there is not to be found anywhere a reference to the quality of the Schools. I deny altogether that the question is solely, or even mainly one of numbers—their boasted one in eight and two-thirds is a proportion inferior to that of other countries—it is insufficient and unsatisfactory : but numbers become comparatively immaterial, if the schools to which the children go are not worth having.
"Now I wish to challenge this issue- I do it broadly and I do it fairly—if I am wrong, let me be convinced ; but let me be convinced by good and legitimate evidence. I say that the question is only evaded when it is stated that our condition is satisfactory, because a certain number of children attend school. The question I ask is this--From the Tweed to the Land's End, are the schools of England such as they ought to be? Where they are good and no doubt there are many very good-have we any security for their permanent continuance as good schools And what prospect is there of their progressive improvement ? '
Sir John gives to the statistics by which the "peace, peace” cry is supported, this conclusive answer :
“A table in one of the last reports of the Committee of Council on Education, shows that out of 500,000 children attending inspected schools, 75 per cent. did not pay more than 2d. per week for their education; there were 35 per cent. paying only id. ; 40 per cent. paying 2d.; and the remaining 25 per cent. paying 3d. 4d. or perhaps more. And we all know that the cost of anything like good education in this country is 5d. or 6d. a week.”
Here is another hard fact for the digestion of the statistic-mongers :“I have already touched upon the quality of our schools, and the first fact to which I ask your attention is to be found in the minutes of the Privy Council on Education for the year 1854-5. There is a tabular and an official statement of the number of schools, the number of scholars attending them, and the quality of the education given. From this I learn that the number of schools under Government inspection is 4,800, and the number of scholars attending them about 500,000; and you are probably aware that, speaking of the kingdom at large, these inspected schools are, beyond all doubt, the very best we have. I admit that here and there, you will find a very good school, which, for some reason or other, its supporters will not submit to Government inspection: still such schools are exceptions to the general rule. And if you examine the table to which I refer, you will perceive that the inspectors state that, of these 4,800 schools, and these the best in England, only fifty per cent.—one half--are satisfactory. This, then, I call a' great fact. How do Mr. Baines and our opponents get rid of it? How, with such a state of things, can we wonder that the results are bad?