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Such is iIk: result of the exertions made directly for the extending of Schools hy means of the Society's grants. The real effect of the measures will he best understood from the matter which was next proposed for observation, namely, the degree to which the instruction of the children of the labouring classes has been effected—the work of education which has'been accomplished.
A very few observations, founded upon a document of authority, may be sufficient to determine this point. It is known that in 1833 circulars were issued from the office of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, to the overseers throughout the kingdom, in order to ascertain the actual amount of children under education. Two volumes of an abstract, formed out of the replies from 33 counties of England, containing a population of 10,117,800 souls, have just appeared. This is a very little less than three-fourths of the kingdom; and if an average be formed from this large proportion, it will appear that the total number of children (including the returnsof endowed Schools, infant Schools, village and preparatory Schools, and every kind of week-day School) who are receiving daily instruction, is about 1,377,000, and the total number receiving Sunday instruction is about 1,548,000. But unfortunately the abstract does not enter sufficiently into particulars to make it appear to what extent duplicate entries have occurred in regard to the daily and the Sunday School returns; and all which can be stated on this matter amounts to this, viz. that in the returns of the 33 counties, there are comprised 115,305 daily scholars, who are also Sunday scholars, and are known to create duplicate entries; and 31,050 Sunday scholars, in places which have no other School, and cannot produce duplicate entries. The Committee, therefore, have not any sufficient data for ascertaining the exact amount of children now under a course of instruction in England and Wales. The gross total of these scholars, according to the abstract, must he somewhere between the amount of Sunday scho
lars (1,548,000,) and the joint aropun of Sunday Scholars and daily scholars (2,825,000.) diminished by the daily scholars who are known to be comprised and reported in the Sunday school returns. But the nearest approximation to this latter number will be obtained by taking the daily scholars who are Sunday scholars also, from the National Society's Report; (for the children receiving Sunday and daily instruction in National Schools, are 324,305,) whereas in the returns from which the abstract is formed they are only stated at 115,305: but with the aid of this document it can only be determined that the children receiving instruction are certainly more than 1,518,000 Sunday scholars, and less than 2,500,000 Sunday and daily scholars together.
There do not appear to be any means of deciding how far the higher amount (2,500,000) may be occasioned by duplicate entries; though, on the, other hand, it appears in the abstracte that daily Schools, particularly tlios of a private description, are omitted to a considerable extent in many large and populous places. The circumstance, however, which must be chiefly gratifying to the friends of the National Society is this, viz. that whilst the abstract states the gross increase of Schools between the years 1818, whon the last parliamentary inquiry was made, and 1835, to have been, in the 33 counties, 1,276,706 out of 2,014,144, or somewhat above 100 per cent., nn examination of the accounts of the Society, at the same interval, shews that National Schools have been advancing at the rate of above 300 per cent;—in fact, that the work of education in the Society's hands has been carried forward with an acceleration three times greater than that which has been created by the exmions of the public at large.
At the period of the Society's incorporation in 1817, theninouiitof children in National Schools was 117,000; and allowing for the increase which was made in the subsequent year, and comparing these with the amount to which the Society's scholars have now arrived, at the present time, viz. 516,181, the Committee feel no dimculty in establishing this fact, so highly creditable to the District Societies and the local superintendents of Si-hook, and so truly a subject of thanksgiving to Almighty God.
But great as the progress of Schools has been, and much as the public have reason to be gratified with the result, a great deal more remains to be done. There are yet multitudes of populous and other places to be provided with Schools, being utterly destitute of any means of instruction for the children of the poor; there are also many in which the means of education greatly needs to be enlarged : and others, again, in which the character and description of the education given requires to be materially improved.
Then the parliamentary abstract of education, just referred to, shews that in regard to places which are of less consequence in respect of population, but which excite a high degree of sympathy in every christian mind, ignorance prevails to a very grievous extent. From this document it appears that there are upwards of 2000 places (consisting of the smaller parishes, separate townships, or hamlets, and extra-parochial places, with populations varying from 50 and 100 souls and upwards to a considerable amount) in which there does not exist a single School of any kind. To these, it will be an especial object of the Committee to devote its attention in the course of the ensuing year, and to circulate such information as may show in what manner the local wants may be remedied.
With the pressure upon its own resources for aid in building School-rooms, nothing material, asa national measure, can be done by the Society towards the maintaining of Schools, or the improvement of the salaries of those who are employed to train and teach the young; and yet it is plainly unreasonable to expect that a class of persons [of superior abilities, and capable of filling situations which are remunerated with better salaries, should renounce such opportunities of temporal advantage, and devote themselves to the arduous duties of a parochial School. The difficulty always experienced by the Society has been
that of providing salaries for teachers, not that of finding well educate*! persons who were willing to enter into training, and devote their time to the education of the young. Such persons are never wanting where adequate salaries are provided.
It is, therefore, to the increased pecuniary remuneration, or the other advantages afforded to teachers of Schools, in connexion with the instruction which they may obtain at the Central School, that the Committee must look for the means of bringing them up to that standard of attainment and station in society which it is so plainly desirable that they should hold.
Something towards the maintenance of Schools, and the better remuneration of the masters, may often be effected by requiring (where the plan has not been already adopted) small weekly payments for the education which is bestowed.
Something may also occasionally be effected by applying towards the support and encouragement of Schools any small bequests and charitable endowments, which may be left at the discretion of the Clergy or others, without a specific appropriation to any particular use. How much may be accomplished this way by friendly representations will be best conceived when it is known that out of the 300 applications for aid in building Schools, which have been last received by the Committee, there are 58 cases in which an arrangement, such as is here contemplated, has been brought about; and endowments, though generally of a small amount, have been applied for the purposes of education.
But the measure most capable of being generally adopted, and which carries with it advantages far exceeding the mere increase of salary or pecuniary advantage to be gained for the schoolmaster, is the building of a dwelling-house in the immediate neighbourhood of the School, and connecting with it a garden sufficient for the master's use, and, where possible, for that of the children also.
Such a measure, in addition to the advantages which are open to all teachers by attendance at the Central School, would materially assist in producing the full effect and benefit which is hoped for, and has been already, in great measure, obtained from the existence of National Schools. By these and other methods that have been recommerlded by them from time to time, the Committe trust, under Divine Providence, to create among the working classes throughout the country such a degree of intelligence and strong moral feeling, derived from a direct acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures and the doctrines of the Church, as may prove their best protection against the dangers and temptations to which tliey are exposed, and their best security for continuing in the ways of godliness, and obtaining the rewards which it promises in this world and the next.
S.P. c. K.—Bath and Bedminster District Committee.
The annual meeting of this Society took place at Wrington the 18th ult. The proceedings commenced, as usual, by service at the parish church, where an excellent sermon was preached by the llev. David Malcolm Clerk, B.C.L. Vicar of Yatton, before the Lord Bishop of the diocese, and a numerous assemblage of the friends of the Society, who afterwards adjourned to the Boys' National School, where the Lord Bishop opened the business of the meeting by offering the usual prayers. His Lordship then called on the Hev. Henry Thompson, Curate of Wrington, (who acted for the Secretary,the Rev. William Downes Willis) to read ihe report, which he prefaced with a few words of regret at the absence of that laborious officer.
The report, after adverting to the early labours of the Parent Society, proceeded to state that in the course of the last year that Society had placed at the the command of Archdeacon Broughton the sum of 3000/. together with hooks to the amount of 100/. for the benefit of the convicts, who are deplorably destitute of the means of religious instruction. They had voted 500/. to the Bishop of Calcutta for the promotion of the Society's designs in India; and the like sum for the
same object for the next two years: 100/. to the New Church at Port Elizabeth, Cape of Good Hope; prayer books to the amount of 250/. for the emancipated negroes; 300/. for books for the coast guard; and 10,000/. for the purpose of building churches, schools, &c. for the emancipated negroes; beside many minor grants. The Bath and Bedminster account is as follows—
Prayer Books. . . 2,349
Tile literary committee's publications are 70,754. Grand total, 106,655. Tlie report concluded by adverting to the exertions of the Society for the instruction of the young, and the importance of increasing our efforts in proportion to the great demand which the circumstances of the times had created.
Lord Mountsandford moved the adoption of the report, which was seconded by Wm. Pinder, Esq.
The Venerable the Archdeacon of Bath (Dr. Moysey), in proposing the Second Resolution—" That this meeting acknowledges with grateful satisfaction the steady zeal and active diligence which have characterised from the first the proceedings of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and still continues to direct all its operations," enlarged at considerable length on the alarming increase of Popery, which the Society was doing its utmost to withstand. It was melancholy to reflect that from quarters whence this corruption might expect discouragement, it met rather with countenance and support. Accordingly, the papal superstition was exhibiting itself in every corner of the land, and aiming at nothing less than establishment. He could not exactly say that the Romish places of worship were called churches, but they were built with ostentatious pretence. This crisis the Society from the first had endeavoured to avert. Popery not only departed from tke word of God, but actually opposed it. The Society, as a faithful representation of the Church of England, presented to the world a genuine exhibition of that word, and an explanation professedly founded on the word itself. The great doctrine of the one Mediator, in opposition to the many and false mediators of the papal system, the Society had heen diligently inculcating from the first, and the knowledge of him she was faithfully disseminating at the present time. One favourite scheme with irreligious men at the present day, was to write books full of worldly wisdom, but studiously excluding religion. Such books the Society had met by others equally useful in scientific and practical knowledge, but, at the same time, directed to the inculcation of higher things. Thus was the Society adapting its exertions to every variation of the times, and holding forth under all changes the immutable word of God.
The Kev. Henry Thompson seconded the resolution. He observed that there was an agency at work even behind Popery, which was infidelity, endeavouring, by means of popish and other error, to overthrow Christianity itself. The Church of England, as the bulwark of Christianity, was attacked; the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, as the most active and efficient instrument of that Church, was not spared by the infidel faction. This would be of small consequence, were it not that these calumnies had influenced persons sincerely religious, and been the means of withdrawingor withholding contributions from the Society. The principal argument was, that the Society had been supine in days gone by. The very allegation proved that the charge could not apply at present. This might seem enough; but futile as the accusation would have been, if true, the report proved it to be groundless. It had been now shown that the alleged past supineness of the Society was a mere chimera. The Society had always wrought in pro portion to its means, and it did more now thnn it did formerly, because it was better known and supported. Let the meeting support it now liberally, if they wished to see those exertions continued. He trusted that al'icr what had been said that day, wo should hear no more in that neighbourhood of the past inactivity of the Society.
William Jeffs, Esq. proposed the third resolution: "That this meeting contemplates with grateful pleasure the munificent grants made for the spiritual instruction of the negroes and the inhabitants of Australia," and called the attention of the meeting to a highly
interesting correspondence with Archdeacon Broughton, respecting; the present destitute state of the Australian convicts.
The Rev. Canon Barnard seconded the resolution. He observed that the Society must have derived great benefit from the disclosures made by the Archdeacon's letter.
The Rev. W. Carus Wilson moved the fourth resolution :—" That this meeting hails with feelings of the highest gratification the blessing which has attended the Committee of General Literature and Education, in substituting christian and wholesome instruction in the place of false sentiment and pernicious matter, and also in the steady progress of the National School system in the united district of Bath and Bedminster."
William HeDry Harford, Esq. of Barley Wood, seconded the resolution.
Colonel Daubeny moved,—" That this meeting, impressed with a deep sense of the benefits which have resulted from the improved system of management adopted in this district, earnestly recommend the same for adoption in all district societies." The gallant speaker remarked, that the best conceived designs without suitable means to carry them into effect, would be as useless as the most ill judged schemes. Organization was of the very first importance, and, as far as organization went, the system of the district might be said to be perfect. He would read from the Christian ReMembrancer a general sketch of the plan now pursued. The whole district was parcelled out into a number of divisions, consisting of four or five parishes each; in each of these one of the Clergy undertook gratuitously the office of corresponding secretary: his duty was to keep a little depository of the Society's books at his house; to make known the nature and objects of the Society; to collect subscriptions by circular within his division; to preach an annual sermon in behalf of the Society at each church in the same; to maintain correspondence with the secretary at Bath, and to pay the subscriptions to a travelling agent, who came round yearly, and brought with him specimens of the Society's books. The effects of the system had been successful beyond the hopes of its warmest friends, though it had only been tried five years. It had liquidated large debts, greatly increased the permanent income of the Society, and, above all, materially extended its operations. The gallant Colonel trusted
that the Society all over the country would be alive to the importance of the subject, anil that the Bath and Bedminster system would soon be universally adopted by all district committees. He would press the importance of all contributions, small as well as large,—all would do the Society good; nor would they do less good to the givers.
The Rev. David Malcolm Clerk seconded the resolution. As one of the corresponding secretaries, he could bear distinct testimony to the excellence of the Bath and Bedminster system. He had himself sold in the last year, books to no less a value than 14/. on the Society's terms, in his division alone.
To what an extent might the eager desires of the lower classes for the Scriptures and Liturgy be gratified, if the adoption of this system were any thing like universal! He would even suggest that the corresponding secretaries should be multiplied, and that every parish should become a distinct division, with its minister for secretary. The thanks of the Meeting were then voted to the Itev. Chairman, to the Treasurer and Secretary, and to the Lord Bishop, for the interest he had always manifested in behalf of the Society. After the dismissal blessing, the meeting separated, a liberal collection being made at the door.
Domestic.—The Lords, ns we predicted, have nobly done their duty— the sting has been extracted from the radical hornet, and the Municipal Corporation Bill is powerless of evil. To this, England is indebted to the Peers. We subjoin his Majesty's Speech—as it is culled by courtesy; we shall make no comments, out of respect to our King. But to us, it very much resembles Lord Burleigh's shake of the bend, or Gratiano's "infinite deal of nothing."
THE KING'S SPEECH.
"Mi/ Lords and Gentlemen, "I find with great satisfaction, that the state of public business enables me to relieve you from further attendance, and from the pressure of those duties which you have performed with so much zeal and assiduity.
"I receive from all Foreign Powers satisfactory assurances of their desire to maintain with me the most friendly understanding; and I look forward with confidence to the preservation of the general peace, which has been, and will be, the object of my constant eolicitude.
"I lament that the civil contest in the northern provinces of Spain has not yet been brought to a termination; but, taking a deep interest in the welfare of the Spanish Monarchy, I shall continue to direct to that quarter my most anxious attention, in concert with the three Towers with whom I concluded the treaty of quadruple alliance; and I have, in furtherance of the objtcts of that treaty, exercised
the power vested in me \<y the Legislature, and have granted permission to my subjects to engajje in the service of the (lueen of Spain.
'* 1 have concluded with Denmark, Sardinia, and Sweden, fresh Conventions, calculated to prevent the traffic in African slaves; I hope soon to receive the ratification of a similar treaty which has been signed with Spain.
"1 am engaged in negotiations with other powers in Europe and in South America for the same purposes, and I tru»t that, ere long, the united efforts of all civilized nations will suppress and extinguish this traffic.
"I perceive, with entire approbation, that you have directed your attention to the regulation of Municipal Corporations in England and Wales, and 1 have cheerfully given my assent to the Bill which you have passed for that purpose. 1 cordially concur in this important measure, which is calculated to allay discontent, to promote peace and union, and to procure for those communities the advantages of responsible government.
"I greatly rejoice that the internal condition of Ireland has been such as to have permitted you to substitute for the necessary severity of a law, which has been suffered to expire, enactments of a milder character. No part of my duty is more grateful to my feelings, than the mitigation of a penal statute in any case in which it can be effected consistently with the maintenance of order and tranquillity.
"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I thank you for the readiness with which you have voted the supplies.