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VII.-Tue WAR AND THE FUTURE :
1. Speech of Lord Palmerston, at Romsey.
of “ The Leeds Mercury."
912 VIII.- QUARTERLY RECORD OF THE PROGRESS OP
REFORMATORY Schools AND OP Prison
IRISII QUARTERLY REVIEW.
No. XVII.—MARCH, 1855.
ART. 1.--ADULT EDUCATION. Education in Great Britain, Being the Official Report of
Horace Mann, of Lincoln's Inn, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, 1) George Graham, Esq., Registrar General ; with Selected Tables. London: Routledge and Co. 1854.
Among the many means devised to ameliorate the condition of our working classes none, perhaps, contributes more to their moral and social improvement than the opening of Evening Schools.
Had public Evening Schools been in operation twenty years ago, how different would be the state of society at the present day! We should not have the thousands that we at present find unable to read and write: had we taught adults then, they would be more earnest for the education of their children now, and would have prepared for them opportunities of self-improvement that might have saved them from pauperism, and perhaps from crime.
Much, no doubt, has been done for the education of the people since the National System of Education was introduced into this country; and doubtless, succeeding generations will feel and appreciate its happy effects ; but we are to remember that, notwithstanding the many glorious and successful efforts made to educate the poor, our "laboring multitudes” remain, to a very great extent, in a sad state of iminorality and intellectual deficiency. This can be accounted for in a great measure by the poverty or selfishness of parents who, seeing a demand for juvenile labor, accept, through necessity or a desire of gain, even the low remuneration for it; and remove the child from school, to which, perhaps, he never returns : thus sacrificiug, at the altar of slavish toil, a child gifted VOL. V.-NO. XVII.
possibly by nature with talents which, if properly cultured, would raise him to a position in society that was unattainable by any of his forefathers.*
For such, therefore, we see the great necessity not only for Evening Schools, but also for having these schools placed under the management of properly qualified persons.
There are few who do not acknowledge that by the influence of these asylums of morality and instruction, and such these schools would be if properly carried out, the progress of vice may be retarded, haunts of blasphemy and intemperance deserted, the seeds of knowledge disseminated, and a taste for literature and self-improvement cultivated among that class of society who otherwise might have plunged into the dark abyss of crime, for which ignorance affords but too many avenues. The task that is before us, therefore, is to educate,-as far as existing circumstances will permit, those waxing into manhood, or with whom some of its years have already elapsed.
Children of the laboring classes are employed at an early agesome permanently, others temporarily—at a rate of recompence which, though apparently but trifling, is sufficient for their maintenance, and more than sufficient to induce their parents to remove them from school. It is evident that even the lowest amount of wages which the child of a laboring man will receive-(from Is. 60. to 2s, per week) must be so great a relief to the parents as to render it almost hopeless that they can withstand the inducement, and retain the child at school, in the face of such temptation. And this inducement will be almost equally powerful, whether or not there be one where payments from the children are required. It is not for the sake of saving a penny per week that a child is transferred from the school to the factory or the fields, but for the sake of gaining a shilling or eighteen pence a week; and the mere opportunity of saving the penny by sending the child to a free school would not restrain the parents from making a positive addition to their weekly income, if the absence of the child from school would ensure it.
Many children obtain permanent employment at the age of nine, and all from that age upwards are considered capable of certain kinds of agricultural labor. Indeed, some persons qualified to judge, are of opinion that the business of a farm laborer cannot be thoroughly acquired if work be not commenced before eleven or twelve.
In mechanical employments, labor begins even at an earlier age. Children begin to be employed in factories, in needle-making, buttonmaking, as errand boys-and in various other capacities, some as carly as six, others at any time from six to ten. Among the middle classes, children remain longer at school, and the boys become apprentices etc., at the age of fourteen or fifteen. In very few cases_ excepting those where the sons are destined for professional pursuits, and placed by fortune beyond the necessity for labor, or proceed to college—is the period of education protracted beyond fifteen. Mann's Report on Education in Great Britain, page 9.