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different religious persuasions of those to whom these public means of education are applied. On this subject it was inquired of Mr. Butterworth, whether it was in his opinion desirable to unite all denominations of protestants in some general plan of giving instruction to the poor? The question gave rise to the following judicious remarks, by -' that honourable member.
“ Considering the prejudices of partialities that exist, I scarcely think such a plan practicable, where catechisms are insisted upon; but Mr. Green, of Blackwall, has given in his evidence, some account of an approach towards union ; if, however, it be not practicable to unite different denominations, I would much rather see rival schools than none at all. I am not sure, indeed, whether two systems are not, on many accounts, extremely desirable to stimulate each other, and if carried on without hostility, may be mutually useful to each other and to society. In a country like this, where the views of individuals are so various on religious subjects, I am not aware that an union of all parties in one specific and uniform plan, is necessary for the great end of general instruction. I apprehend, that if the national establishment were to pursue the excellent plan which it has adopted, to the full extent to which it is capable of being carried, and if at the same time the various other denomi. nations of christians who cannot conscientiously join in those plans, were zealously to pursue their several systeins of education, (supposing the Bible to be always taught) I am of opinion that in a short period provision might be made for the education of the whole juvenile population of the country; and I apprehend that while every encouragement is given to the national schools, due encouragement might also be given to the British and Foreign School system, and to other schools not exclusively connected with the national esta. blishment.”
The Rev. T. T. Walmsley, secretary to the National Society, in his examination, supplied soine interesting particulars as to the establishment, that will be acceptable to our readers.
“ Can you tell the committee how much money you have received from your commencement ?-From the establishment of the society in 1811, to the beginning of June, 1815, the whole sum was rather more than 24,0001. the greater part of which had then been applied in the erection and enlargement of buildings for schools; since that time we bave received an additional six thousand pounds, in consequence of a strong appeal made to the public on the exhausted state of our resources.
“ How much is your income in annual subscriptions ?- should suppose abgyt 15001, a year,
“ The regular subscriptions, or including casual donations ?—No, annual subscriptions only ,
“ How many schools have been erected since the beginning ? There is only the National School we have erected altogether. .“ Where is that?–Baldwin's Gardens, Gray's-Inn-Lane.
- How many schools have you contributed towards the erection or extension of?-Up to June, 1815, a hundred and twenty-two schools have been erected or enlarged by the partial assistance of the National Society, in sums from 15l. to 5001.; considerable supplies of elementary books have been furnished; 336 masters and 86 mistresses, have been trained in the principles and practice of the national system, and are now, with few exceptions, conducting important schools in town and country; whilst a succession of masters has also been kept in constant pay at the Central School, for the purpose of being sent out wherever their services were required for the formation of new or the regulation of old establishments; and, lastly, besides that great number of children who have already quitted the different national schools after having received a competent share of instruction, more than a hundred thousand children are actually returned to the committee, as at this time under a course of education in 570 schools formerly united to the National Society. Since that period, I should think about 140 schools have been united, in addition to that 570.
“ Do you include in the above calculation the Sunday schools established in different parts of the country ?-Yes.” (p. 49–50.)
The same gentleman states the grants made by the Society, with the expense, and time required for instruction.
“ Grants of Money made by the National Society,
1813 ........................io. £2,332
“ According to the plan of the National Society, what is the expense of books for fifty boys?—The total expense of books for fifty children is 1l. 3s. 11d. amounting to less than sixpence for each child; but as under good management each of the tracts comprehended in this calculation will serve six children in succession, the real expense for books, for suitable instruction in reading and in the first rudiments of religion, cannot be calculated at more than one penny for each child.
"" What is the expense of slates and pencils for the sanie number? -Not more than two-pence halfpenny a child.
“ Can you give the committee an estimate of the expense of teaching 500 children --The room being given, I conceive four shillings and two-pence a head abundantly sufficient.
“ And proportionably larger for a smaller number, and smaller for a larger number?—Yes, of course.
“ What is the longest time that you take a boy for education ? We admit them at seven years old, and they may remain till they are fourteen; I should conceive two years abundantly sufficient for any boy.
is Does not one great advantage of this system consist in its keeping every one of the boys actively at work during the whole tipie?--Yes, and I may add that they have not an idle moment. (p. 56–57.)
Mr. Allen, treasurer to the British and Foreign School Society, underwent a long and interesting examination; and being recalled, explained the extent of the deficiency of education throughout the country, and the sum that would be adequate to supply every child requiring this sort of assistance throughout the island. ." From your observation upon the state of education among the lower orders, what should you say was the proportion of uneducated poor in the country generally? As far as our inquiries have gone, it has appeared that, taking the whole population, about one in twenty would require education upon the general plan; that is, we calculate that one-twentieth part, including all ages, require to be assisted in education...
." Do you mean, that supposing the population of England and Wales to be ten millions, about five hundred thousand require education ?-Certainly; I think that they have not the means of obtaining it without assistance.
« What should you calculate would be the expense, upon the British and foreign school plan, of giving education to that number?—The expense will vary according to local circumstances; where the number of children are sufficient to form a school of 500 or 600 in one place, the total expense per annum, in my opinion, need not exceed 2001. or so much. We generally calculate that the expense per head, in the largest schools, should not exceed five or six shillings; but it is obvious that local circumstances, such as the price of provisions, the rent of premises, &c. will cause a difference in different places. .“ Should you think twelve shillings a head a fair average, taking schools of all sizes into account, one with another?-Yes.
" Do you mean thereby to cover the expenses of school-rooms ? All expenses, except those requisite for the first erection of the build. ing; but, as I stated before upon my last examination, the expense of every school upon the British and foreign society plan, consists in the salary of the master, the rent of the room, and about 201. more or less, according to the size of the school, for apparatus, together with the expenses of school-rooms, fuel, &c.
“ Then do you mean to calculate, that from three to four hundred thousand pounds a year would suffice for the education of all the poor now uneducated ?--Certainly; if the sum of 400,000l. could be devoted to that purpose, every child requiring this sort of education might be provided with it throughout England and Wales, so as to leave not an uneducated person in the country; and in my opi. nion, a much smaller sum would suffice.
“ Do you consider this as a moderate or large estimate ?-Certainly as a large estimate.
“Can you give the Committee any estimate, generally, of the expenses of a school-room ?- The school-room at Kingsland, in the neighbourhood of London, was erected for a less sum than 4001., and will contain 300 children; but in many parts of the country, an old barn or an old warehouse might be found, which would prevent the necessity of erecting a new building. *** Should you say, that, generally speaking, in the neighbourhood of London, a building for 5001. would admit from 500 to 600 children into the school ?--I should think from four to five bundred. It is to be recollected, in estimating the expense for a certain number of scholars, we calculate upon the number of children who shall be at any one time receiving the benefits of education in one school-room, but it never happens that the total number are always present. Thus, in a school-room wbich is calculated to hold 1000 children, you will never get more than between 800 or 900 to attend at one time, and that is particularly the case in manufacturing districts; persons will keep their children at home a day or two for certain purposes of business, but still they are getting about three or four times as much instruction as they would procure in a Sunday school,
" Suppose a grant were made merely of the money required to build the school, and the annual expenses were to be defrayed by subscriptions, would such meet with assistance, in your apprehension, in the progress of the system ?In my apprehension it would do every thing, because it would encourage benevolent persons in the neighbourhood to promote school associations throughout their districts, on the plan recommended by the British and foreign school society, in which the poor themselves would become imerested in the education of their children, and receive it, pot merely as an act of charity, but as a thing which they themselves had subscribed for.” (p. 294–296.)
Mr. Francis Place, who was particularly acquainted with the Lancasterian scheme, gives that plan a decided preferencé, on account of the accommodation and care of the children, and the rapidity of the mode of instruction. Ac« cording to that method, he computes the maximum of expense for a school capable of containing 600 boys sixteen
shillings, and the minimum twelve shillings, per annum, supposing no charge of rent for the school-rooms. (p. 474.) On the subject of these apartments, Mr. Wakefield in his examination observed, that the mere assistance from government to provide them gratis, would be so great an encouragement to education, that subscriptions would increase, and the zeal and the liberality of the public would be sufficient for all other purposes. With regard to the charge of teaching, the computation of this gentleman is much below that of Mr. Place : he says that one penny for each child per week would be adequate ; and he adds, “ I am not speaking from any calculation of my own, but from the information I have received in conversation with the different committees to which I belong, for schools under the Lancasterian system.” (p. 79.)
It is impossible that, in any terms adequate to the expression of our feelings, we can recommend this work and this subject to the attention of the public. We plead the cause of the rising generation and of posterity of those wholly incapable of judging of the importance of instruction to their morals and their happiness. Could we bring forward to observation the myriads of human beings in helpless infancy, whose love and gratitude will reward the active friends of humanity: could these friends behold the workings of the heart, the trickling tears, the loud and yet tremulous joys of the innocent beneficiaries of their zeal and liberality, all admonition would be vain, and all exhortation needless ; and Britain, in the possession of a virtuous and intelligent people, would find a better security for her liberty, her constitution, and her laws, than all the restrictions and limitations that legal ingenuity can invent, national jealousy demand, or lawless ambition require.
Crit. Rev. VOL. IV. Nov. 1816.