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will not take place until about September advanced. Such an extension of the operanext. The Executive Committee refer to tions of the Association would, however, the fact, that the controversy between the require that its members should be more advocates of voluntary and compulsory numerous—more ample funds and more modes of supporting religion, is now placed complete organisation-and the Committee in a position of advantage for the former, have, accordingly, considered whether some such as it has never before occupied in this slight modifications of its present machinery country. A fair Parliamentary footing has and modes of action might not be devised, been given to the cause of free Christianity, which, without restricting the catholic and the sentiments to which utterance is basis on which the Association rests, or now given in the House of Commons, and putting in abeyance the ultimate object at the encouraging number of votes recorded which it aims, would obviate the objections in favour of views greatly in advance of entertained by important sections of sothose which, until lately, have been treated ciety, who are already one with them in as unassailable, prove that the question has principle, and whose co-operation would passed into another phase, and suggest the greatly increase the Committee's power of inquiry, whether it may not be advisable to active influence. They are now engaged adapt the society's future course to the in ascertaining the views of such parties, more promising circumstances in which it and express their satisfaction at their prosis now placed. The Committee state, that pects of success in this direction. Under they have been compelled to forego many these circumstances, they are anxious to passing opportunities of dealing with the make more complete preparations for the evil of the State Church system in its more next Triennial Conference, and more fully practical forms; and though they believe to realise their plans, than would be posthat the wisdom of their decision has been sible if the Conference were to meet in justified by the results which have flowed May. They have, therefore, resolved upon from it, they are now impressed with the the postponement already mentioned, the conviction, that if, without abandoning ef- interval being employed in perfecting those forts to create a sound public opinion, by arrangements which, they have reason to means of the platform or the press, they believe, will open up to the Association a could bring to bear upon passing ecclesias- new era of prosperity. The annual public tical questions a more direct and concen-, meeting is, however, to be held in London, trated influence, the cause in which they on Wednesday, 4th of May. We look for are engaged would assume an aspect of ward with much interest to the results of immediate importance, and be more rapidly this meeting.
THE NEW EDUCATION BILS..
The Educational Bill which Lord John Russell obtained leave a few days ago to bring into the House of Commons has just been printed; but the early hour at which we must go to press renders it impossible for us to do more than give a mere outline of its provisions, reserving our comments till we have had leisure to examine more carefully the scope and tendency of the measure. It is entitled, “ A Bill for the Promotion of Education in Cities and Burghs in England," and contains thirty-three sections. It is permissive rather than obligatory in its character. In towns with a corporate organisation, power to impose a rate, not exceeding sixpence in the pound, for educational purposes, may be obtained, but only if the proposal be approved of by at least two-thirds of the town-council. The municipal council so adopting the provisions of the bill are empowered to appoint a school committee, partly composed of the councillors, partly of other citizens, to whom the duty of carrying out the regulations of the act is committed. The functions of this local committee are numerous and important. They are to receive and decide upon applications from the managers of schools to be admitted to a participation in the benefits of the act; to receive registers of the attendance of the scholars at the schools brought within the operation of the measure ; to cause such schools to be inspected annually at least by a government inspector ; to receive quarterly lists of scholars; to make certain payments in aid of the schools from time to time, and on certain conditions; to set apart funds towards the establishment of evening schools ; and to certify at stated intervals to the Committee of Council on Education the expenditure they incur in carrying into effect the provisions of the act. The produce of the educational rate is to be applied in just proportions to the aid of all schools within the burgh, which have been, or may be, recognised by the Committee of Privy Council. Every application for admission to the benefits of the act is to be accompanied by a certificate that the general instruction in the school includes reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar, English history, and the elements of geography; and in the case of a girls' school, plain needlework. The school committee are to decide upon the application, but an appeal from their decision may be made to the Committee of Council on Education. It is competent for a parent or guardian of a child received into any school under the operation of the act, by giving notice to the master, to withdraw his child from any branch of instruction to which he (the parent or guardian) may object on religious grounds; and no child attending the school is to be required to attend, or abstain from attending, any particular Sunday-school or place of religious worship contrary to the wishes of his parents or guardians. Authority is given to the guardians of the poor to require the attendance at school of children between the ages of four and twelve who are not receiving instruction, and whose parents or guardians are in the receipt of out-door relief. With regard to smaller town and country parishes, proportionate grants of money are to be given, partly from the sums annually voted by the House of Commons, and partly from other sources, of which the object will be, not only to assist existing schools, but to provide for the erection of additional school-houses in poor and thinly peopled districts. A distinguished public writer, who has long strenuously advocated the adoption of a broad and comprehensive system of education, says of the government bill,—“ This is not much to do, but it is, at any rate, some steps in advance. We cannot say that the proposals satisfy us, but perhaps they are as much as a practical government, with other business on hand necessary to be done, and with liberal views, could venture to put forward with any present expectation of success. The stoical philosophy about controlment of desire is more required in connection with education than with any other of the national wants. Here we have emphatically to consider, as Epictetus would ha it, what things are within our power and what things are not. Absolutely necessary as it is that steps should be taken towards the extension and improvement of the education of the masses in this country, we can take literally steps alone. This is a road on which we cannot take strides if we would not risk a tumble. It is, therefore, something to be able to say of the educational measures promised by the government, that they are of a kind to produce, if adopted, really good results. Had more been undertaken, in the existing temper of the public mind on such questions, nothing might have been performed. To extend the influence of the schoolmaster without arousing the bitterness of sectarian passions—so to introduce an educational measure that it should not lead to the waste of a whole session in fruitless debate—was not only the policy which all might have expected from a government constituted like that of Lord Aberdeen, but was probably, in present circumstances, the only sensible course open to any government. Mountains are not moved easily, as Charon in the dialogue very properly objected, when Mercury, anxious for an extended prospect, too eagerly suggested that it only involved a rolling up one upon the other of Ossa, Pelion, Eta, and Parnassus. Moreover, as Charon further urged, it may be doubtful policy to mount too high above our neighbours' heads, for it involves the danger of seeing nothing distinctly at so great a distance. So it is, that if we would see our way clearly upon this great subject of national education, through all the honest as well as dishonest prejudices that surround it, we must not take too high a stand."
It will be observed that the proposed measure applies only to England and Wales, a separate bill is promised for the reform and extension of education in Scotland. What may be the precise nature of the Scottish educational measure, we have of course no means of knowing, but there is considerable probability that it will be based upon the plan recommended by Sir James Shuttleworth, in his new work entitled Public Education as affected by the Minutes of the Committee of Privy Council from 1846 to 1852, with suggestions as to future policy.” The seventh chapter of the volume is devoted to the consideration of the condition and prospects
of elementary education in Scotland, and the whole question is discussed with great ability and candour, and an intimate knowledge of the present state of religious parties in Scotland. The history of the parochial schools is first traced ; the limits of the authority vested in the presbyteries and heritors are pointed out, both the excellencies and defects of the system fully stated, and the necessity of a thorough reform in the management of the schools so as to adapt them to the existing state of the country, is strongly insisted on. An account is next given of the General Assembly's and Sessional schools; of the origin and progress of the Free Church Educational Scheme, and of the condition of the numerous Adventure Schools' throughout the country. It appears that in 1850, there were in Scotland 4371 schools.* Of these 1872 were connected with the Established Church, 1049 were parochial schools, the remainder were General Assembly's schools, and Sessional, Private, Endowed, and Subscription schools, more or less under the control of the clergy. There were 815 schools in connection with the non-established religious bodies, 626 of these belonged to the Free Church, 78 to the United Presbyterian Church, 48 to the Scotch Episcopalians, and 63 to the Roman Catholic and other minor bodies. Of 1684 schools unconnected with any religious communion, 1123 are said to be Adventure Schools.' It is calculated that the scholars attending all the schools in Scotland amount to 225,000,; and assuming that one-eighth of the population of the country ought to be at school, then there are 133,848 who are either not at school at all, or who belong to the upper and middle classes of society, and are receiving instruction in grammar schools or at home. One-third, therefore, of the children who ought to be at school in Scotland receive no public instruction, and one-half of the remainder are so taught by incompetent masters that their education is almost fruitless. Sir James then proceeds to pass in review the various plans which have been proposed for the extension and reform of the parochial schools. He discusses first of all the scheme propounded in the resolutions of the National Education Association, and affirms that it cannot be carried into operation, as it would encounter the uncompromising opposition of nineteen-twentieths of those religious communions which now have charge of 2687 schools in Scotland. He next considers the plan proposed by Dr Candlish, which attempts to provide for the establishment of a common school by the adoption of the Shorter Catechism of the Assembly of Divines, and the omission of every other test than the teaching of religion in accordance with this formulary. To this plan Sir James objects that it involves the obvious and fatal incongruity of the management of a school for religious instruction by a committee of purely civil qualifications, elected by the rate-payers or heads of families,—that it provides for religious instruction, but sweeps away every vestige of religious government—that while the householders and the heads of families are to elect the master, the school is to be under the inspection of the civil government and the jurisdiction of the courts of law, without any local managing body,--that it overlooks the scruples of those who object to the imposition by law of any form of religious teaching, and that the plan would be opposed by the Established Church, by all who object to tests as obnoxious to civil freedom, by those who resist the interference of the law with religion, and by the non-Presbyterian communions.
The necessity for the interference of the legislature is however urgent, and Sir James is of opinion that there are two modes in which a legal provision for public education, equal to the wants of the whole of Scotland, might be made consistently with an equality of civil rights. The first, by establishing a common school for all but the non-Presbyterian communions, and separate schools for them. The second, is by supporting the separate schools of every religious communion in Scotland. To the first of these plans Sir James gives a decided prefer
He proposes that two-thirds of each local school committee should consist of the minister, and of two elders, deacons, or wardens elected by the rate-payers from each Presbyterian and Congregational Church in the school district, having a certain number of members in communion. Such a mode of election would insure a representation of the parentage of the scholars among the office-bearers thus selected. The remaining third should consist of heritors possessing the right of appointing the master under existing statutes, when they are sufficiently numerous, or of such heritors and also of rate-payers of a certain amount, both elected from time to time. In towns, one-third of the committee should consist of persons of civil qualifications only, annually elected by the rate-payers. To the school committee thus constituted should be confided the appointment and dismissal of the master, with a power of appeal on his part to the committee of Privy Council, whose decision should be final. The selection of teachers should be limited to those holding certificates of merit, but no other test should be required. The school committee would settle the scale of school fees, the hours of school keeping, the routine of daily instruction, the books to be used, the subjects to be taught, the discipline to be observed, the periods of vacation, and every other matter of internal economy.
To this number must be added the schools in 40 parishes, from which no returns were made.
Under such a scheme of management it would be necessary to provide for the protection of the minority by requiring, First, That any scholar might be withdrawn from any branch of instruction or any religious service to which his or her parent or guardian might, on religious grounds, object; and that such a parent or guardian might provide for the instruction of such child (during the period of such withdrawal), elsewhere than in the school. Secondly, The Committee of Council, or the Central Board, should have power to make a supplemental provision of schools in those few parishes in which a minority of the inhabitants could satisfy the central authority that they could not permit their children to be brought up in this new Parochial School without a violation of the rights of conscience. The support of the schools under this scheme would be derived from four
1. From the school fees of the parents. 2. From subscriptions which might, as at present, be in part raised locally, and in part distributed from a central fund. 3. From a charge on the rates of the whole of Scotland to be collected and distributed as two separate funds, one for burghal, and the other for landward parishes. The rates should be assessed and collected by the same machinery as the poor and prison rates, carried to separate rural and burgh funds, and either transmitted to the Treasurer for Education in Scotland, or to the Treasurer for County and Burgh Boards. 4. From endowments or mortifications which may either be of particular or general application, like the Dick Bequest, and the funds raised by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge.
Sir James Shuttleworth also proposes that the working of the system should be superintended by an Executive Board of Education for Scotland, to be composed of a permanent Chairman, who should be appointed by Her Majesty in Council, the Lord Advocate, the Solicitor-General of Scotland, the Rector of the High School, together with five other persons, one of whom should be eleeted by each of the Universities of Scotland. The permanent Chairman should also be the Treasurer of Public Education in Scotland. If the school-rates were distributed by the Executive Board, a secretary with an office in Edinburgh, and clerks should be appointed by the Board.
Such is a brief outline of the plan proposed for the reform and extension of our Scottish educational system, and, as it will no doubt speedily attract the attention of the public and the legislature, we recommend it to the careful consideration of our readers.
Printed by THOMAS MURRAY, of 2 Arniston Place, and WILLIAM GIBB, of 12 Queen
Street, at the Printing Office of MURRAY and GIBB, North-East Thistle Street Lane, and Published by WILLIAM OLIPHANT, of 21 Buccleuch Place, at his Shop, 7 South Bridge, Edinburgh, on the 27th of April 1853.
UNITED PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE,
FOR JUNE, 1853.
THE MAKING UP OF GOD'S JEWELS.
“ On that day when I make up my jewels.”—Mal. ii. 17.
In every age of the world, though the great mass may have been wicked in the extreme, God has had a seed to serve Him. When the old world was full of violence, and all flesh was corrupt before Him, the was a Noah-a just and upright man, perfect in his generation. When Sodom was a sink of sin, and the cry of its wickedness went up to heaven, though there were not ten righteous men to save it from the flames, there was a Lot that kept his garments clean; having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reproving them. When the bulk of the Jews was given to idolatry, and Elijah, lamenting their defection, cried out with many tears, " O Lord God, they have killed thy prophets and digged down thine altars, and I only am left, and they seek my life," he was told, that at that very time there were seven thousand men in Israel who had not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. And when the whole nation was carried captive to Babylon on account of their crimes, which had provoked the Almighty to banish them far from home, there were still some who maintained their integrity, and sooner than renounce their religion, were ready to go into a flaming furnace or a lion's den. At no time, perhaps, was wickedness more rampant than in the days of Malachi. Then iniquity abounded, and the love of many waxed cold. Sinners were stalking forth with unblushing front: they mouthed the heavens, and were stout against God. They snuffed at Ilis worship, called it a wcariness, and counted it a vain thing to serve Him.
But amidst this awful degeneracy, there was still a remnant that sought after God-stars in this dark night, green spots in this waste howling wilderness, gems amidst the dross. “ Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to the other, and the Lord hearkened and heard it.” And mark their reward. “ They shall be mine, says the Lord of Hosts, on that day when I make up my jewels.”
I. The name here given to the people of God is worthy of our attention. They are called jewels. And doubtless it is for good reasons they are so
VOL. VII, NO. VI.