« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Nothing will they accept, - no bond, no handsel, but universal education. There is a fervour in their language, and a dauntlessness in their bearing, bespeaking the generosity of their ambition, and worthy the majesty of their cause. With their 173 colleges and 16,233 students, their 3242 academies with their 164,159 scholars, — their 47,209 primary schools with their 1,845,264 pupils, they wield a mighty, though insufficient, apparatus.
Hail Columbia ! Thy staremblazoned flag waves over no empty, barren, freedom! From the rampart of olden institutions, of which we are neither wearied nor ashamed, we can gratefully honour thee, O banner! never to be mocked,—but most we honour thee, in thy peaceful folds ! We quarrel not with the liberty which thou dost assert, nor with the resistance which thou didst rally! Thine was a righteous quarrel ! Be thou ever ensign of the wise, the the good, the free!
“Quis genus Æneadum, quis Troja nesciat urbem ?
Virtutesque, virosque, et tanti incendia belli ?
It is a pleasing thought that the Education of the world is not quite neglected. Our Missionary Societies gather, daily, hundreds of thousands of children
“Who can be ignorant of the Ænean race and their city of Troy? Of their valour, their heroes, and the provocations of their noble resistance? We carry not in our bosom hearts quite so unexcitable as such ignorance would suppose."-Virg: Æneid : lib. i. 571, &c.
beneath their care. The Missionary is the Schoolmaster wherever he sets his foot. He runs to and fro, and knowledge is increased. Nor is every heathen nation ignorant and rude. China welcomes our labours with its three hundred millions of people, half of whom at least can read.* The machinery of learning is well established, its thinking classes are divided into four literary orders, and not a man can rise to any office of dignity and trust but as he abides the most searching and prolonged examination into his educated fitness. This is not simply a lovely theory or a bare possibility: it is the unvarying practice.
* Medhurst's China.
ON THE STATISTICS OF DOMESTIC EDUCATION.
It is very necessary that, in our endeavour to estimate the condition of our population as to the means of culture and improvement, we should adopt proper rules for enquiring into its sections and proportions. In the absence of sound information, and in the neglect of rigid proof, we may soon bewilder ourselves, -- as the slightest deviation from a right line leads to every divergence.
The common computation gives us, on an average, the one-fourth of our population as children between five and fifteen years of age.
About one-fourth part of the population of the American United States is between the
of four and sixteen. In Massachusetts it is so, almost without a fraction. Says the eloquent Horace Mann, in his Oration before the Authorities of the City of Boston, July 4th, 1842,-“Although there may be slight variations from this ratio in other States, yet undoubtedly the number four is an integer, by far nearer than any other that could be taken, which, when compared with unity or one, would show the ratio between the whole population, and the number
of children within them, between the ages of four and sixteen years." The variation is not sufficiently great between the Old and the New Country to affect the argument. But this cannot be the general period for education among the industrious classes. The latter age is too late, and the former is not sufficiently early. The youth, who is fifteen years old, is wanted for labour, and long before. The child of five ought to have been under instruction at least two years before. From three to thirteen years the amount is a little greater than from five to fifteen, and it somewhat exceeds the fourth. But that fourth, though of the educable age, cannot be seen in the general teaching institutions of any country, much less in schools of a partly gratuitous character. It includes not only the offspring of the poor, but likewise of the wealthy and middle orders.
The common computation of statesmen, in their schemes of legislated instruction, has given the eighth of the population as the proper figure for its scope. This, doubtless, anticipates the absorption of many present schools in such a national system. It would seem that it must supersede almost all of a humbler character.
Perfect estimates are not to be obtained. The following are founded upon the best documentary evidence. Parliament has stamped its sanction upon it. It comes to us in the shape of its corrected and authorised reports.
The horrors of the last war being terminated, our struggle for existence as well as place among the nations being crowned with victory, the Imperial Senate was summoned to a new course of investigation. A champion of right and liberty,-profoundly versed in the great question of education, illuminating it with a potent eloquence, rose among his fellows, the advocate of the poor and the scorpion scourge of their oppressors.* He flashed conviction, at least he invoked vengeance, on those who had not only neglected the instruction of the labouring ranks, but embezzled the revenues devoted to it. Malversation could not be more flagrant. The business of the orator was, however, the general education of the people. From 1816 to 1819 a committee sat of which he was chairman. Out of their respective Reports we gather the facts which we now exhibit, public schools being the only subjects of the enquiry. There were 4167 endowed schools. Of unendowed schools there were 14,282. Sunday schools were rated, with manifest injustice, at 5162. The amount of children supposed at that time to be educated in England, was said to be 644,282. Of these 166,000 were at endowed schools, and at the unendowed 478,282. Though the population of England and Wales in 1821 was not quite 12,000,000, here is a discouraging deficiency. But we may now pass from 1821 to 1835. We find the same zealous apologist for education pursuing his cherished theme
Henry Brougham, Esq., now Lord Brougham.