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between parent and child, should not be here exerted. Parents and children are subjects. Parents are pledged by their social condition to seek every benefit of the child. A breach of that condition is proved. The State enforces it. The child has lost his natural, and even civil, protection aud guidance. It is an orphanage. It is time for the control of that child to be taken up by another. The original trust is deserted. A conventional one must be substituted. The wilful neglect of educating his children justly lays the penalty of shame on the parent, when he beholds a third party do that which he would not do himself.
An analogous proceeding is legalised among us. The labour of young persons was deemed to be too prolonged in our factories. A bill was passed to restrict it to eight hours, from nine years of age to thirteen. This might seem only to affect the exaction of masters, but it was not without its compulsory influence on parents. It has been feared, at least, that many of these are not mindful of the proper strength of their children. Poverty has too much rested on the returns of this labour. It might have been said, that parental instinct would have rendered all interference unnecessary. The objection was overruled,--and public functionaries are now seen in our factories, the appointed guardians of those whose tender age the kindness of fathers and mothers is not left to defend. Who can question the right of parents in their children? Yet their responsibility is not suffered to be final. Our
Constitution knows not of any self-terminating power. The favourers of interference not seldom boast, that which others fear,—the probable extinction of youthful labour.
But the case is to be made out, ere we provide for it. We have been generous beyond the limits of the argument, in meeting it in its supposititious form. Few will assert, that education should be imposed where it is voluntarily pursued. And is it a common thing, that the children of this country are thus neglected ? Is there not a pride, often too lavish of the means, in our poorest fellow-subjects, to educate their families ? The contrary spirit may sometimes be shown. The vicious will most likely be careless of their offspring. We are, however, persuaded, that this is the very small exception. There is a general desire, even among the most ignorant, that the line of ignorance should end with themselves. Ere now, the parent has become the pupil of the child, and endeavoured to surmount those practical inconveniences which he already resolved that child should never feel.
The main objection, in many minds, against leaving the education of their children to parents, is, their supposed unfitness to make a proper selection of the teacher and the course. This disqualification, however, does not appear, when the medical or the legal adviser is to be chosen. A certain repute or experience is generally a sufficient test. It will be urged, that this objection is, at least, valid in religion. We do not allow
• it. It is the duty of the poorest to "take heed what
they hear :" To "beware of false teachers :" To "try the spirits.” There can be no external guarantee. No order, no office, no system, can be the pledge of uni form or sound doctrine. Every man must be fully persuaded in his own mind.
It is a principle which has gained ground of late, that most things are done best by government. We must have observed a gradual encroachment upon private interests and companies which once existed, and in periods of no high liberty, with a strong independence. The East Indian Firm of political commerce, that vast Proconsulate, is drawn into the vortex of the all-encircling State. The Bank of England is gradually obeying the same gyration. The great transit-system of these realms is evidently regarded with this evil eye. These are questions of property with which we do not intermeddle. They are only regarded passingly by us as symptoms of a reigning spirit, of a domineering idea. But centralization is now so strongly justified, that education is placed among its principal duties. The most unconstitutional measure of modern times provoked, on this account, little resentment. There were epochs, and there have been men, that would not have endured the Order in Council which originated the Committee of the Privy Council for Education. We might have as reasonably received, in full insignia of his office, a Minister of Public Instruction : some Ædile to rear our schools, some Censor to inspect our
families. It is to be deplored, that the leaders in the muster-roll of our senatorial philanthropists indulge an opinion whose consequences they can have never examined. They seem to think it at present impracticable, even for a long time they admit that it must proceed with great caution, - but still they hail the consummation of public staff and police for national training. Statesmen, lecturers, journalists, appear upon one side. It is espoused as an incontrovertible truth. Lord Denman, that great justicer and magistrate, --whose voice is always on the side of liberty, abashing from his seat in court and council a world's wrong-doing, the murder of the slave's deliverer abroad or the espiery of the letter's confidence at home, --contending for the subject's right against the legislature's prerogative, — throwing open the prison-house where the champion of millions lay, not by legal quibble but by constitutional demand, -has pronounced his sentence:-“It is the bounden duty of the State to provide for the education of the people.” De Tocqueville thus declares his opinion :“The first duty which is at this time imposed upon those who direct our affairs, is to educate the democracy; to warm its faith, if that be possible; to purify its morals; to direct its energies; to substitute a knowledge of business for its inexperience, and acquaintance with its true interests for its blind propensities."* We must, nevertheless, ask, What is there in government which requires this function, and which qualifies
Democracy in America.
for it? We may then produce reasons to prove that its interference is prejudicial to the cause itself.
To gain a just conception of civil government, we may very properly enquire into the representation of the Holy Scriptures. If it be that Divine vicegerency which many have described, its picture and model will be enshrined there. We read of the King, who should supersede the Theocracy, that when he "sate on the throne of his kingdom he should write him a copy of the law, lest his heart should be lifted up above his brethren." We read that “he who ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of the Lord." We read that “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” But none of these quotations place a sceptre in the monarch's hand to sway the conscience, to subject the soul. All that this government respects is the overt act. No intimation is afforded that it is responsible for the opinions of the people. And if it were thus respon . sible at any former time, it would be unable to exercise its duty in this and other countries, at their present date. The people are now the teachers of their rulers. Opinion works up from the lower to the higher gradations of society. Senates and kings but ceremoniously perform the national will. Scarcely ever does it happen that they are in advance of the public mind. From it, but slowly, they gather their informations and their decisions. What, in our time, maintains the religion of the privileged classes, but the religious manners and principles of the common people ?