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that of superintending the instruction of the poor, night after night, throughout the winter season. These are the friends of the Church, these the defenders of the Establishment which they revere; not those who revile the fanatic, but those who borrow his zeal without his errors: not those who declaim against Dissenters, but those who unite with them in promoting the public welfare, without dissimulation or compromise; not those who reject a visible and tangible good through fear of some possible and speculative evil, but those who sow and water where they find the soil ready, and trust to Providential care that the plant which so springs up will not prove poisonous. Whilst such men are existing, are acting, are increasing around us, the Church will stand secure; not because it is fenced in by tests and maintained by privileges (which however we are far from intending to undervalue, though utterly insufficient alone and by themselves), but because it is 'rooted in the hearts of the people, and cherished by their affections ; for, in defiance of privilege on one side or hostility on the other, the people in the long run will always attach themselves to those who best promote their highest interests, as rational and immortal beings.

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Art. III.- Report from the Select Committee of the House of

Commons, appointed to inquire into the Education of the Lower Orders in the Metropolis, with the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 7th, 14th, 19th, and 20th June, 1816. Reprinted. 8vo.

Gale and Co. London, 1816. PHILOSOPHERS, and moralists, and politicians, in viewing the misery of man, differ as much in the feelings which it excites, as in their opinions respecting the remedy to be applied. By one class of men the misery of their fellow creatures is surveyed with mere apathy, by another, with simple disgust; while even of those who profess to feel, commiserate, and sympathise, many avoid the contagion of sorrow, lament its existence at a distance from its influence, satisfy themselves with strenuous wishes for the unfortunate, or with calm speculations on the possibilities and varieties of relief. From the great extent of human calamity, and the consequent impossibility of effecting its total cure, some infer that nothing should be attempted, and that all efforts for the purpose of melioration will but increase the evil. Why inundate the world with Bibles? Why educate the poor? Why attempt to check slavery? Why dispatch missionaries to enlighten and Christianize mankind? Více, and slavery, and ignorance, and

VOL. IX. NO. XVII.

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irreligion, ever have existed, and ever will; you can achieve nothing effectual: the experiment may even be ruinous to your selves; be content, therefore, with your own superior privileges, and leave the world to its natural and irremediable fate!

We do not of course deny that there may be a portion truth in these and similar remarks, as far as they apply to ordinary facts; but the inference intended to be derived from them, espe cially when it assumes the shape of an universal maxim, is both cruel and incorrect; for if man be a responsible agent-if he possess individually a certain circuit which he is expected to occupy and fill-if

it be true that a whole is composed of the sum of its parts—if a little happiness gained, or a little misery removed, is better than nothing done-if our conduct is to be judged at last with reference to our means, opportunities, and abilities—if these and a thousand other postulates equally trite and undeniable are conceded, it will follow, that to attempt what is within our capacity for the good of mankind is a duty from which we are not exempted by any abstract reasoning, however plausible, respecting the general condition of the world.

On these grounds, amongst others, we have frequently, in our humble measure, advocated the cause of various charitable institutions, not assuming that all is to be expected from them that feeling hearts desire, or sanguine spirits anticipate, but from a general view of individual responsibility, and a rational hope and expectation that, where the great Author of existence excites benevolent desires in the hearts of men, he intends that, in the usual order of affairs, the efforts to which those desires give birth shall be productive of corresponding events.

These remarks, we imagine, apply to the volume now before us; and there is no subject, perhaps, at the present moment that better deserves an enlightened and impartial consideration; for which reason, notwithstanding the many remarks applicable to the topic contained in the preceding article, we have determined to devote an entire paper to the great question now before Parliament.

For the first time in the annals of the world, the question has arisen, whether the whole population, not only of Great Britain, but ultimately of every country on the globe, shall enjoy the advantages of intellectual cultivation, as an instrument improving both the moral and the physical, and we may add also, the eternal, condition of mankind. Till the present century such a question could never have been seriously proposed with a view to any practical result, since never till the discovery of the new system of education could a speculation of this kind, however laudable, have been carried into effect. We are therefore called upon, as a nation, to decide not for ourselves only but for posterity; to

pronounce our opinion respecting a project which is possibly to affect every future generation of mankind, and even to re-organize the moral structure of the world. A new æra has arisen; a machine of almost unlimited powers is discovered; and the British public, after having given it an impartial trial, are to decide, perhaps with a casting vote, whether it shall return to oblivion with those destructive arts which from time to time have been invented and concealed, or whether it shall be put into full effect at the risk of all its consequences. The question having been once agitated, we have not even the alternative of remaining neutral; the plan must be either adopted or discarded ; nor will the experience of past ages furnish an adequate precedent, because never, till the present century, was it possible for the experiment to be fully tried. We are helped, indeed, in our reasoning, by the example of Scotland and other select cases, and we shall find all these individual instances corroborative of the good effects of general education; still, however, our largest induction of facts in the present state of human experience may be too limited or imperfect to extort an irresistible and unqualified conviction. Many points of expediency remain to be settled, and many ominous forebodings to be deprecated; it is necessary both to prove that the measure is wise, and if wise, that it is capable of being carried into practice.

The general opinions of the British reviewers on these topics have been long settled, and frequently promulgated; but the recent introduction of the subject into parliament, and the great probability that some legislative measure will shortly ensue, have rendered the discussion at the present moment peculiarly important and appropriate. The report before us is so short, as to convey no idea of the specific measures intended to be proposed, the Committee having with great labour employed themselves hitherto in procuring the necessary evidence, with a view to report upon it more fully in the course of the present session.

From the report before us, notwithstanding its brevity, we are able to glean several specific propositions which may serve very well for our notes and illustrations.

1. That the Committee have reason to conclude that a very large number of poor children are wholly without the means of instruction,

2. That the parents of those children are very desirous of obtaining for them that advantage.

3. That the Committee have observed, with considerable satisfaction, the highly beneficial effects produced upon all those parts of the population which, assisted in whole or in part by various charitable institutions, have enjoyed the benefits of education,

4. That they feel persuaded that the greatest advantages would result to this country from the adoption by parliament of proper measures, in conjunction with the prevailing disposition in the community, towards supplying the deficiency of the means of instruction which exists at present, and for extending the blessing to the poor of all descriptions. 5. That os

although the Committee were not instructed to examine the state of education beyond the metropolis, they have, in addition to what appeared in evidence, received communications which show the necessity of instituting a parliamentaryinquiry into the management of charitable donations and other funds for the instruction of the poor of this country, and into the state of education generally, especially in the larger towns; and the Committee are of opinion that the most effectual, as well as least expensive, mode of conducting such an inquiry would be by means of a parliamentary commission.”

First.— T'he data on which the first conclusion rests, though derived chiefly from investigations conducted in the metropolis, are by no means inapplicable to a variety of other cases. Almost the whole of the numerous witnesses whose voluminous evidence now lies before us agree so fully and unequivocally in vouching for the lamentable fact of the deficient means of education, that we should be content to lay it down as a position proved and incontrovertible, were it not certain that doubts have existed on the subject, which, in proportion as they prevail, must tend to diminish the public activity in supplying the defect.

A large part of the population of London, as well as of every other considerable town, consists of persons who come under the general denomination of the poor; and in some particular districts, these constitute almost the whole aggregate of the inhabitants. In parishes of this description, the want of the means of education must necessarily be most felt; and from the inclination of respectable persons in general to avoid as far as possible any connexion with neighbourhoods so uninviting and offensive, the evil naturally increases, and, in proportion to its increase, cuts off the ordinary means of improvement. Where the poor are duly intermixed with the rich, their comforts and their morals can scarcely fail to procure a reasonable degree of attention; but when huddled together, as is literally the case in many parts of the metropolis, almost as closely as cattle in the pens of Smith field, it cannot in the ordinary nature of things be expected that their wants and wishes should be even known, much less supplied,

The evidence of facts fully corresponds with this natural pre.. sumption, as will appear by giving a few specimens of the returns made to the inquiries which have lately been instituted on the subject of general education. We may select almost at random

In the neighbourhood of Covent Garden, for instance, amidst 215 poor houses which were visited, there were but ninety-seven boys, and seventy-five girls, who could pretend to read, or had the means of learning to do so, to 145 boys, and 112 girls, who were destitute of the means, though of proper ages to have employed them with advantage. In the same district another respectable witness gave the following details; namely, that 1850 houses had been visited, the total number of uneducated children in which was 2,748, and of educated, but 2,042, and that, upon a general calculation, the district marked out for examination in that vicinity, containing about 3000 houses, was burdened with not less than 53,000 children wholly untaught, to 39,000 who had attained, or at least possessed the means of attaining, some portion of useful elementary learning.

In the returns made from the extensive district bounded by the River Thames, Gracechurch-street, · Bishopsgate-street, through Kingsland-road, to Stamford-hill, we find it stated that the population eastward of this boundary amounts to about 250,000 souls. Of this quarter of a million, about three-fourths may be computed as either above or below the ordinary age of education. The remainder may be thus classed :Number of children whose parents are able to pay for their education, about

12,000 Number of those who are taught in charity, parochial, and national schools, about

5,000 Number taught in Sunday-schools by gratuitous teachers, about

- 10,000 Wholly untaught, say

- 30,500 Upon the ratio of this calculation, which it appears was made with considerable pains and accuracy, and is presented to the Committee as very correct, it would seem that the number of children destitute of education in the whole of the metropolis cannot be much short of 120,000!

Several of the witnesses agree in estimating, from inquiries conducted on a very large scale, that the uneducated children in London very considerably exceed those of a contrary description, even in parishes the most liberally supplied with the means of cheap or gratuitous instruction. Mr. Allen, the Treasurer of the British and Foreign School Society, whose opportunities of information appear to have been numerous and extensive, considers 100,000 as about the probable number of children wholly uneducated in the metropolis; and this calculation coincides pretty well with that of several other gentlemen who have devoted much attention to the subject. Another witness, who is the Superintendant of the establishment in the Borough-road for

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