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to enhance the value of the impressions already taken. The wealthy collector is not satisfied with his proof impression of a plate before letters, unless he is assured that his poorer neighbour shall never enjoy even a ten thousandth impression of it. No humble Englishman is to be permitted to point out to his eager children how here an uncle fell on the plain of Balaklava, or how there a brother died for England on the heights of Inkerman, lest forsooth some retired pawnbroker should be shocked with the intelligence that a mechanic or other low person in the village had an engraving pinned up against the wall, just the very ditto of the one in the gilt frame hung up in his own drawing-room. Now, what should we say if a few wealthy book-collectors had proposed to enter into an agreement with our illustrious historian that no second edition of his great work should be published, and only a limited number of the first, so that Macaulay’s “History of England” might be shown to the curious behind a screen, or in a glass case ? Such a proposal would kindle a universal indignation ; yet how does it differ in principle from the case of Vandalism I have brought under your notice? Of the genuine aristocracy of this country, I will say this, they exhibit but little of that contemptible feeling. Their galleries are thrown open to, or are accessible to the public. They freely lend their most valuable pictures for exhibitions, as just now at Manchester. They willingly allow them to be copied. How often do we see a like churlish feeling exemplified, when some old castle or baronial mansion, approached through huge branching oaks, those grand old trees, along shady dells and living walls of verdure, passes into the hands of some retired stockbroker or other millionaire? The crumbling fence or ragged hedge, which beyond man's memory let the poor wayfarer, or the tired traveller, or the sketching tourist, contemplate God's beauties in the calm and quiet scene spread out before him, soon gives place to the smug brick wall, bristling with broken glass, and threatening notices to all would-be trespassers.
In the observations I have the privilege to address to you from this place, I may be permitted to assume that you are the representatives, at least for the present, of that numerous, useful, and important body, the educators of the youth of England. What this country shall be some twenty or thirty years hence, you have no small influence in determining. You
are the connecting link between the present and the future. On a recent occasion I endeavoured to show, what may have seemed strange to some, that the power to acquire the elements of knowledge depends rather on the moral than on the intellectual nature of man—that it is rather a question of energy, of perseverance, of determined will, than of fine intellect or of original genius. It is told of some old Greek philosopher
- I forget just now of whom—when he was asked what was the best education for boys, replied, “ That which will best fit them to discharge their duties as men.” This is a great truth which ought never to be lost sight of. When this is practically forgotten, you ignore the very essence of education, which is “to educe,” to “ draw out” the faculties, as it were, for future use, and to “instruct,” that is, to furnish the faculties so drawn out with available and useful knowledge. Remember, you are educating boys, who, when they leave you, are not to become pleaders in the law-courts of ancient Athens, or candidates for office in the Forum of republican Rome. No! but it may be their lot in far distant regions of the globe, in the face of difficulties and dangers, under trials and temptations, to uphold the great name of their native country-to show that as she is first in arms, she is second to none in arts, to show that while they carry with them the instruments of civilization, and the truths of science beyond the reach of barbarous tribes to understand, or if understood, to appreciate, they have not left behind them those qualities of justice, fair dealing, integrity and truth, which are instinctively manifest to the whole human race. “ One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
To you a great trust is confided. On the character of a lad which has received its impress from you, may some few years hence depend the weal or woe of thousands. The boy who on one of your forms has learned to rule himself, may undergo that discipline which will qualify him to govern a subject nation. This is no impossible contingency, when you consider. that the whole of the civil appointments, hitherto in the gift of the East India Company, have been by Act of Parliament thrown open to the widest and most unreserved competition. Bear in mind that you are not educating Italians or Poles, men whose education would have little influence either for good or evil beyond themselves; but you are training up the
great pioneers of civilization, the men to whom under Providence it may be given to realize the community of nations.
Again, if you consider education with reference to its bearings on the welfare of our own country and the security of its institutions, you cannot but agree with me that the stability of everything we hold dear is based on the intelligent loyalty of our people, as this latter alone depends on their right education. What the people of this country will to be done, be it for good or evil, must be done. Need I refer to the Reform Bill, or to the repeal of the Corn laws, or to the Russian war, all of which were carried through by the people themselves in despite of the most strenuous opposition. Louis XIV. used
6. I am the State.” The middle classes now with much greater truth may say, “ We are the State,” for when united on any question that question must be carried. They are, therefore, the depositaries of that despotic, absolute, irresponsible power which in every independent state must of necessity exist somewhere. Now, is it not a matter of the very highest importance that these classes should be instructed in their duties, that they should be taught how freedom, as it is the birthright of every Saxon, so is it in our day the exclusive possession of Englishmen and their descendants. They should learn how other nations, too, once were free, but lost - their freedom because they abused it, and did not know how to enjoy it. They should be shown how much wiser and safer it is to repair and restore than to pull down and demolish. They should be made to understand how a state of progress, how the condition of development is just as natural to the growth of society as it is to any other growth, whether animal or vegetable; how internal change may be consistent with the most perfect security, and promote the welfare of its members, just as the oscillations of the ocean, while they do not affect its mean stability, are the condition of life for all within its bosom. Teaching these principles of political action, you will breathe life into them by showing how they flow from the letter and the spirit of that Great Charter of human freedom, wrested from no earthly prince, but the free gift of the Eternal King. You know how he, who was himself a Roman citizen, disdained not to acknowledge as a brother Onesimus the slave.
I have now endeavoured to prove the importance of edu
cation, whether we look abroad or at home, whether we regard it as the true safeguard of our political and religious liberties, or as the means of making known to the many those truths brought to light by the unwearied labours of the profoundest intellects among men. It is a signal test of the reality and rapidity of our progress, and the remark is due to Dugald Stewart, that, “the discoveries which in one age were confined to the studious and enlightened few, become in the next the established creed of the learned, and in the third form part of the elementary principles of education. Among those who enjoy the advantages of early instruction, some of the most remote and wonderful conclusions of human reason are even in infancy as completely familiarized to the mind as the most obvious phenomena which the material world exhibits to their senses.” It is, therefore, your duty to cultivate by every
your power that love of knowledge, which is inherent in the human breast, though but too often dulled by the allurements of pleasure and indolence; you must, therefore, rouse a spirit of perseverance, energy, and self-reliance to come to your aid. To encourage the development of these moral qualities I know no means so effectual as competitive examination, now become so general, and now being carried into effect by the Society of Arts, for the benefit of the large number of Mechanics’ Institutions and schools in union with it. I need not here enter into the details of this plan, which must be familiar to most of you, and is accessible to all. It was only this morning I read a review in the Times of Mr. Meadows's work on China. That gentleman, whom the reviewer admits to be qualified above all his predecessors to pronounce a just opinion on China, asserts it as his conviction that the stability, peace, and prosperity of that immense region, with its three hundred millions of inhabitants, is due to the system of competitive examinations. Mr. Meadows maintains that “in every case the institution of public service “ examinations, which have long been strictly competitive, is “ the cause of the continued duration of the Chinese nation; “it is that which preserves the other causes and gives efficacy “ to their operation. By it all parents throughout the country “ who can compass the means are induced to impart to their “sons an intimate knowledge of the literature which contains “ the three doctrines above cited, together with many
"conducive to a high mental cultivation. By it all the ability “ of the country is enlisted on the side of that government “which takes care to preserve its purity. By it, with its impar
tiality, the poorest man in the country is constrained to say “ that, if his lot in life is a low one, it is so in virtue of the “will of Heaven,' and that no unjust barriers created by his “ fellow-men prevent him from elevating himself. In conse
quence of its neglect or corruption, if prolonged, the able “men of the country are spurred by their natural and honour- able ambition to the overthrow of the-in their eyes, and in “the eyes of the nation-guilty rulers. A new dynasty is “then established, which consolidates its power by restoring “ the institution in integrity and purity; and all the legis“ lative and executive powers are again placed in the hands of “ the Heen-nang, the wise and able, who—the ablest men “ being always the best-rule the country, not only with great “ soundness of judgment, but with much of that righteous“ness and benevolence' which is dictated as well by their
own moral nature as by the old and venerated rules of na“ tional polity. Then follows one of those long periods which “ are marked in Chinese history by the reign of justice, peace, “content, cheerful industry, and general prosperity, and a “glorious succession of which has made the Chinese people “not only the oldest, but so vastly the largest of all the na6 tions."
To be sure, it is often objected to examinations that they encourage cram; that men who are actually far superior to others seem at an examination to be as much inferior to them, owing to timidity, nervousness, and want of presence of mind; and, moreover, that proved intellectual excellence is no guarantee for moral worth. Now, let us see what vitality there is in each of these objections. Whatever force there may be in the objection against cram, as derived from the practice of the Universities, it cannot affect the examinations of the Society of Arts. What is the accepted meaning of the word cram? Why cram means this : -When a limited number of examiners, whose habits are indolent, and whose knowledge is stationary, continue for years, off and on, to examine in the same subjects, a sort of family likeness is found to grow up in their questions; it is discovered that the examiners have favourite text books--that they have a fancy for certain points