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How pleasing are the touches of domestic tenderness and order, which some incidental passage, in a classical author, unfolds, as marking the Roman common life. We are accustomed to think of it only in its severer forms. We call
before our minds unrelenting sternness and stoicism. But the parental character was not despoiled of its nature. beheld in the most ardent desire to train offspring for all social duties. While it assiduously prepared them for the State, it resigned not that business to it. Thus, in the Adelphi of Terence, the wit of Syrus does not hide from us the parental influence in education : “ Ut quisque suum vult esse, ita est.”* Nor does the weakness of Demea conceal the indefatigable earnestness of that influence :
“Nil prætermitto : consuefacio : denique
Inspicere, tanquam in speculum, in vitas omnium
An education not provided in this manner, an apparatus set up independently of all popular choice and control, can never be valued as it must be to be availing. If it be presented as a dole and boon, it will be depreciated by those who see in it no kind motive. If it be enforced by payments, the exaction
* “ Parents make the character of the child."
+ “I omit nothing : I am always teaching : my chief injunction is, that he look into the lives of all, as in a mirror, and out of them select a pattern for himself.”—Act 3, sc. 4.
will irritate the more that it is irresponsibly applied. The party stands neither in the capacity of the beneficiary nor the creditor. He must receive and he must contribute. It is well known that the simple gift is rarely estimated. Sweet is the bread of care. The proceeds of labour inspire a delightful independence. How many a Bible is treasured, towards which the little weekly instalment was devoted! How manly is the feeling of many a frugal swain when he accounts with the village schoolmaster for the humble tuition of his children ! An eleemosynary education, or that which is eked out by compulsory pittance, will never warm the heart into gratitude. In such a scheme of national instruction there is a boasted uniformity. But this is a property which eats out the core, which destroys the life, of every scheme of honourable competition. Repetition convicts no error, experiment opens no truth. The mind of every child is to be impressed in the same way. The next generation is to beat time to the step of this. But far different is the earnestness of the voluntary education for which we plead. The private teacher owes his success to studious thought and constant selfimprovement. He must compare his plans. He must divine his pupils. He must revise his proceedings. He must advance with others. If he pause, he will lose the race. Education is his commodity and he must ply it. Empiricism will not be the unlikely consequence of this rivalry; but his greatest mistake
cannot be so unsuitable as the success, his lowest effect cannot be so superficial as the triumph, of a national education.
It is argued, with much of the air of an afterthought, that if little be achieved by this method in the education of youth, yet that, in securing such a number of teachers, a nucleus is obtained for social advancement. These, it is contended, are in themselves a vast accession to the stock of national learning and intelligence. We cannot concede it. Such men are nothing in a community but as instructors. Their instructions are carried very generally to the limit of their own knowledge. They have been trained for a certain office, and are most uninfluential out of it. And what is their independence in lending themselves to a uniform system of literary and religious tuition ? They are the underlings of a despotic power. They are the drudges in the execution of its decrees. They may educate the people in this slavish rut; they may educate them well : but what are they in themselves ? What discoveries will they make ? What high-souled virtues will they establish ? What barriers of prejudice will they throw down? What lights will they carry forward into the future? We mark them with a deep jealousy. They are the ready agents of every anti-popular plot. They are the Prætorian guard. They are as the Switzers and the Janisaries of the tyrants who hate our “nature's onward plan.” Subserviency is written on their brow. They are held in
leash to assist, at any moment, the iron arrest of enquiry and the reckless suppression of liberty. They are the task-masters to crush the human spirit. Mechanically inured for mechanical duty, they are creatures of the routine, the circle, the groove : they are not the men to think, to reason, to soar away towards the sun of truth. They are the puppets of a show,they are only impelled and managed by unseen springs and wires.
Other countries, other powers, may see, in this uniform training, the precise means to as precise an end. They proclaim that their purpose is unitive. They would melt down all discordances of opinion into a common mould. The following extract from Le Siècle of 18th March, 1837, cannot be mistaken: “An end of this kind can only be obtained by the means of education, which, in taking generations at their source, finds neither prejudices nor interests contrary to its influence. This is above all necessary, after a revolution which has fractioned the country into so many parties; for if education were free, parents would entrust their children to those schools wherein their principles were professed ; society would still remain divided; political strife, party and religious hatreds, would thus be perpetrated from age to age; and it would be impossible for government to accomplish the peaceful mission with which it has been charged. We would, therefore, have been willing enough to restrain paternal authority, and the rights
of teaching, in favour of the University, provided that University had received the impulse of a national government." Was that the wolf-bark of the Corsican dynasty ? Was it the toothless doting of the elder Bourbon ? It is the apology of the second revolution, of the regenerated nation, of the popular kingship, of la Jeune France, in favour of its educatory catholicon! The University, it is intimated, is not quite in unison with the movement. There is no Napoleon to cow it. There is no Charles to entice it. If it were less independent, more democratic, it might take the masterdom of all the ideas and convictions of the people! This may be the language only of journalism. Another extract shall be taken from the Report which was drawn upon Public Instruction, 1837, by M. Dubois, member for La Loire, member of the Royal Council of Public Instruction, a general Inspector of the University, and Director of the Normal School. “ Thank God and the progress of civilization, it is now admitted that the State cannot allow the education of the people, nor yet the higher branches of knowledge, to be exposed to the mercy of political and religious parties, and to the changes of private industry.”
“ Can a government allow the principles, the rules, the manners, and the habits, religious, civil, and political, on which it is founded, to be tossed about by every wind of doctrine ? Every day, complaints are heard about the anarchy which prevails in public opinion. Would it, by chance, be