Page images

began with expressing in the strong two transmitted the required returns, est terms his sense of the assistance together with their remonstrances ? received from the clergy of the esta. In many cases a foundation was blished church. It was quite impos- supported by the charity and exer. sible that any words of his could do tions of the incumbent himself; he justice to the zeal, the honesty, and spoke of the working parish priest, the ability, with which they had lent not of the more dignified prelate, nor their assistance towards the attain of the pluralist. Upon these grounds ment of the great object which had he made out his case for intrusting been proposed as the result of the in- the clergy of the establishment with quiries. He need only mention, that the execution of the plan. He now after the committee issued their cir- submitted to the House a digest of culars, he received no less than 600 the proposed system. Nothing was returns, all in one day; and, two days more difficult than to ascertain the after that, as many as 2600 ; so that, number of poor children requiring within one week, about one-third of education in a country. All former the whole clergy had obeyed the estimates were extremely erroneous, wishes of the House, that is, those particularly those of Dr Colquhoun. who were sufficiently near the capital There were now educated at unento make their returns in such a space dowed schools 490,000 children, and of time. In a little while the commit- to these were to be added about tee received nearly all the remainder; 11,000, for 150 parishes from which but, in a correspondence maintained no returns had yet been made. In with so large a number of persons as the endowed schools 165,432 chil11,400, there was, as might be expect. dren were educated ; making a total ed, many defaulters; and they amount- (exclusive of the 11,000) of 655,432. ed to 600. To these another circular In England it appeared that on the was addressed; whereupon, as unie average 1-14th or 1-15th of the whole versally happened in such cases, their population was educated. The Bresnumber was soon greatly reduced ; law tables, on which the calculations and about 200 ministers only were still were made in France, included childefaulters. Another circumstance ap- dren between the ages of 7 and 13 peared to him worthy of mention : years; but he (Mr Brougham) had About 360 of the most distinct and full gone through the laborious task of of these returns had by some accident checking those tables by the digests been mislaid and lost sight of. The now before the House, which digests writers were consequently address. were made up from the actual stateed a second time, as supposed default- ments of clergymen, from the perers. Would the House believe--and he sonal knowledge of their own parishes; protested that it did appear to him a and the result was, that instead of onemost unexampled and incomparable ninth being the ratio of children reinstance of a very honourable and quiring education, as compared with meritorious feeling that so great and the whole mass of the population, he so zealous was their good will to a found that it was nearer one-tenth. most important national object, and Now in England the proportion of such the truly Christian meekness those actually receiving education was which they evinced, that out of those only one-fourteenth or one-fifteenth, 360clergymen no more than two mur. so that there appeared to be a consle mured at the fresh trouble that was derable deficiency. Another deducimposed upon them; and even those tion ought, however, to be made 101 the unendowed dame-schools, where worthy of admiration and of imitation. 53,000 were educated, or rather not There were about 12,000 ecclesiasti. educated, for it amounted to no edu- cal districts in England ; and of these cation at all, since the children were 3500 had not the vestige of a school, generally sent too young, and taken endowed, unendowed, or dame: they away just when they were competent had no more means of education than to learn. He admitted, notwithstand were to be found in the country of the ing, that these dame-schools were Hottentots. Of the remainder, 3000 most useful, on account of the regu- had endowed schools, and the rest relarity and discipline they inculcated. lied entirely on unendowed schools The average means of mere educa- of course fleeting and casual. In tion, therefore, was only in fact one. Scotland it was known that every pasixteenth in England; yet even these rish, great or small, had one or more scanty means had only existed since schools; some of them endowed, upon the year 1803, when what were call, which were formed the bulk of those ed the new schools, or those upon the where the majority of the population systems of Dr Bell and Mr Lancaster, was educated. Middlesex was three were established: they were in number times worse educated than all the rest 1520, and they received about 200,000 of England. Lancashire was next in: children. Before 1803, then, the a the scale, where it was 1-21st, or very mount of education was only as 1-21st, nearly half as bad again as the rest of and at that date England might be England. In the four northern coun. justly looked on as the worst-educa- ties taken together, the average was ted country of Europe. What a dif- 1-10th of the population ; but in ferent picture was afforded by Scot- Westmoreland singly, he was happy land! The education there was 1-9th, to say, that it amounted to 1-7th. In or between 1-9th and 1-10th. Wales Scotland, although all the children was even in a worse state than England: were educated, there was scarcely one at the present day it was l-20th, and whose parent or friend did not pay before 1803 it was 1-26th. The propor. something for it. Even the peasants tion in France at this day was 1-28th, took care to provide means for this but even this had only been pro- purpose: and we in this part of the duced by very recent improvements. empire might well envy Scotland the In 1819, only 1,070,000 children of possession of such a peasantry. We the population received education, might also be assured that there was but it was greater by 200,000 than no way of getting rid of the poor. in 1817. In truth, it had been almost laws, and of their increasing evil, ex. as bad as Middlesex, which, though cept by a restoration of those whole. the great metropolitan county, was, some feelings which England once without all dispute, the worst-educa. had, which Scotland still has, but ted part of Christendom. (Hear, hear.) would not long continue to have, if No sooner had the defect been disco- the poor-laws were extended to that vered in France, than the inhabitants country. He might here advert and set about to reform it, and, from the point the attention of the House to a zeal with which the subject was un- digest of the reports of the Scotch dertaken, no less than 7120 new clergy on this subject, as one of the schools had been opened, and 204,000, most admirable and affecting docuor the children of two millions of the ments which had ever been submitted whole population, had since 1817 re- to their consideration. In that might ceived education an example well be taken a correct view of the charac

ter of the people; in that might be be objected, that this was a great deal found manifested, in a thousand ways, too little ; but he did not wish for sithe peal and earnestness of parents in necurists, or to take from them the prvouring instruction for their chil- desire of obtaining day scholars. It aren. In Scotland there were parishes was his great object, that whilst meaotteen miles in length, and six in sures were adopted for bringing edubreadth. It was easier for an adult eation home to the doors of all, that to go to church than for a child to go all should still pay a little for it. The to school in such cases. But what expense was to be defrayed out of the was the expedient suggested by their parish rates, and he trusted the counneal and ingenuity? The schoolmas. try gentlemen would not complain of ter was taken into houses successive- this very small addition, which would ly, and was boarded in remuneration soon, he trusted, lead to a much greater for his trouble in teaching the chile reduction of these rates. The expense dren. Scotland was not remarkable of the school and garden, however, for abundance of animal food, but the should fall, he thought, upon the part parents gave him some kind of sub. of the community engaged in manus stance, probably better suitecl to their facture, and should be advanced, in means than to his appetite. There the first place, by the treasurer for was a curious similarity in this re- the county. The qualification of the spect between that part of the king, master should be a certificate from dom and the south of France. It was the clergyman and three householders observed, in a report of the French of the parish in which he resided. commissioners, that “ happy was the He must be above 24, and under 40: schoolmaster who lived in the rugged boys of 15, and men of 70, had ruined districts of the Pyrennees ; there he more schools than any other cause. was at least sure of not dying of hun. He must be a member of the estager, for the people, having no money, blished church; and the appointment boarded him by rotation.” How dif- was to be open to the parish clerks, ferently were we situated in this coun- as the union of the two situations try, and how ample were our means might tend to elevate both. The elecof diffusing instruction throughout tion was to take place in the followall classes ! The money which had ing manner: Ist. A meeting was to been thrown away on the Caledonian be called, by notice posted on the Canal, would have educated half of church-doors a month before the elecEngland, and the whole of Scotland. tion, of inhabitant housekeepers, rated • Mr Brougham now proceeded to to the school rate. They were to asgive a view of the provisions of the semble in the church between twelve bill which he was to lay before the and three o'clock. 2d. Proprietors of House. The determination when a above 1001. a-year might vote by their school was necessary in any ecclesi- agents, authorized in writing for that astical district, was to be made by the purpose. 3d. The senior parish-offiquarter sessions. A complaint might cer to preside, and have a casting vote be brought before them by the grand in case of equal numbers. It did apjury at Easter, by the clergy of the pear to him, that the system of pubdistrict, or even by any five resident lic education should be closely con: housekeepers. The salary of the nected with the Church of England, schoolmaster, as he proposed, should as established by law. When he came in no case be less than 201. per an. to consider the inestimable advantages num, nor more than 30%. It might of a system that would secure the ser,

vices of such a body of men as the Bible, and no form of prayer to be established clergy–when he looked used except the Lord's prayer, or pasto the infinite benefit that would arise sages of Scripture. Under these refrom having the constant, the daily gulations it was conceived that only superintendance of such a character the most squeamish dissenters could as a well-educated and pious English object to sending their children.churchman—when he became sensi. They were to be exempted from the ble how much the durability of the Sunday discipline, which consisted in system would be increased by giving taking the children once a-day to the it that solidity, that deep root, that parish church, and teaching them in wide basis which no new system could the evening the Church Catechism, possess or acquire without being graft. and certain portions of the liturgy. ed on an old stock, he felt the full Mr Brougham finally stated the force of the argument. A religious measures proposed for improving the education was most essential to the efficiency of the endowments for eduwelfare of every individual. To the cation that actually existed. It was rich, it was all but every thing to proposed that, in the establishments the poor, it might be said, without a for grammar schools, there should be figure, to be every thing. It was to an arrangement for teaching reading, them that the Christian religion was writing, and arithmetic, either by the preached-it was their special patri- master himself, or an assistant. This mony; and if the legislature did not might be supposed to lower the dig. secure for them a religious education, nity of these schools, but it would they did not, in his opinion, half exe- make them much more useful. The cute their duty to their fellow-crea- present incumbents, however, were tures. Let the House look to the to be exempted from this obligation. alacrity, the zeal, the warm-hearted. He proposed also to limit or prohibit ness which the established clergy ma- the system of boarding, which, in nifested for the education of the poor many of these establishments, engrossThey declared that blessings would be ed, the whole attention of the master. poured down on Parliament if they Mr B. finally stated the expense of carried into effect a religious system the plan. Taking the whole kingdom of education, which they expressly at the same rate with Devonshire, declared to be the most effectual bar which was the county least provided rier against the prevailing vices of the with schools, the expense would be time. Under these views, he propo. for building of new schools, purchased that the parson should have a veto sing of ground, &c. &c., 850,0001. on the election, and should have con- but taking the average with Cumberstant access to examine the school. land, which was only 400,0001., he The higher clergy were to have the could state the expense, on a liberal power of visitation; and the visitor average, to be only from 500,0001. to could dismiss theschoolmaster, subject 600,0001. These were not times in to an appeal to the metropolitan. The which any sums could be spoken of school fees were to be fixed by the as unimportant; at other times those parson and parish officers, and not to sums would have been thought little. be less than 2d. or more than 4d. a. The annual average upon the Devonweek. A certain number to be ad- shire scale would be 150,000l. : on the mitted gratis, or to have their fees Cumberland scale, 100,0001. paid out of the parish rates. No re- Lord Castlereagh said, that he had ligious book to be taught except the listened with much satisfaction to the

perspicuous details given with so that period it might be perfectly promuch ability by the honourable and per ; and a court like the court of learned gentleman. He was quite in- great session might have been abso. capable of giving any opinion at pre- lutely necessary. Now, however, that sent on the general merits of the pro- the boundaries of England and Wales posed plan, but he discharged his duty served for no other purpose than that by giving his consent to the bringing of a geographical distinction, and that in of the bill, reserving to some fu- the interests of their inhabitants had ture occasion the discussion of its become so closely interwoven that principles. From the importance of they could never again be easily sethe subject, and the great details in- parated, the case was completely alvolved in it, he hoped the honourable tered, and the necessity for the exisand learned gentleman would not tence of a separate court, like the press the bill during the present ses court of great session, was mate. sion. After the bill should have been rially diminished. It was urged, inbrought in, it could be printed, and deed, in favour of this system, that members could so be prepared for its the law was more cheaply adminis. discussion. He, at least, would give tered under it, than it could be under it his best attention.

any other. There was indeed a reMr Brougham expressed his ac- gulation by which every action must quiescence in this delay, though he be concluded within a week, but was would be better pleased to get the this consistent with the due adminisbill through in the present session. tration of law ? If the suitor did not

Mr Wilberforce and Sir James like such summary justice, he must Mackintosh expressed their approba- either submit his case to arbitration, tion of the plan.

postpone it for six months, or carry Mr Vesey Fitzgerald and Sir John it to the next English county. Mr Newport expressed their sense of the Campbell endeavoured to shew, that great benefit which such a measure the alleged cheapness was illusory, would secure to Ireland, though there unless in a few cases, where, if it apwere many details in the present bill peared expedient, the old system which appeared to them inapplicable could still be retained. Then there to that country. Mr Brougham sta. were no lawyers in Wales duly ac. ted, that in framing its provisions, Ire- quainted with equity proceedings, land had not been at all in view. which appeared indeed to be of only

Leave was then given to bring in secondary consideration in these cirthe bill.

cuits. He objected to the judges in Among the miscellaneous proceed- these courts being allowed to practise ings of the year, it would be impro- as barristers in other courts, and par. per to omit the proposition made for ticularly to the mode of their apthe abolition of the Welsh system of pointment. The nomination lay in judicature. This was brought for the treasury, and when a vacancy oc. ward on the 1st June by Mr Frede- curred, instead of looking about at rick Campbell, who observed, that the bar for the most proper person the present system of Welsh judica- to fill it, they looked at the House of ture was first adopted at a period when Commons, of which they knew much a distinct line could be drawn between more ; and if a seat could be secured, England and Wales, and when great or a vote gained by it, so much the animosities subsisted between the in- better. They were not very nice in habitants of the two countries. At their selection, as the salary was so

« PreviousContinue »