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the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient, ordine retrogrado," by a computation backward from ourselves.” We hold the great Verulam's plea and creed. For in these anticipations we are aware that olden times are not to be our mark. We do not want the merry England which many would restore. We love the greenwood glade and the brookcircled village with an enthusiasm no less than theirs. We would stint no proper manly sports. But they would bring back servility and incuriousness, masking with revel and game. They applaud an antiquity of ignorance and of brutality. Besides, a new order of men belongs now to us. They are of British heart, but their labour is not, like that of their fathers, on the soil. They are our artificers and operatives. We can hail no condition of the people in which they are not included. Yet, strange is it, that many would relegate this race. They pray for a universal yeomanry, and would be glad to raze every factory. With admirable consistency they make a national boast of our commerce. They tell of ancient countries, Tyre and Corinth and Alexandreia, with their ports and trieremes,—of Spain, with her galleons, and Venice, with her argosies,—how all are surpassed by our fleets and wares. What barter would they leave us? We know that they have secured for corn the right of export. But is it likely to be demanded, even might it be spared? What freights, for exchange is the basis and philosophy of commerce, must our noble barks bear forth to the world? We trade with distant marts for their products, -what are to be our returns? What have we to send ? They want not our grain; we ourselves need often to go to them for it. An agricultural country cannot be commercial, but in the superabundance of its crops. If these theorists could have their will, the net of the fisherman would only be left to our wharfs, and the keels which now cleave the deep would rot on our shores.—But we hasten back from these remarks. We seek the happiness of the whole people. We set not class against class. Each is wanted. None must be proscribed. The national character has received new elements into it, and its future development must always henceforth be more mental in its stamp and more independent in its bearing. Much remains to be done: but much is doing. Verily, we believe, that our star is rising to the centre of the sky. We believe that we have begun to renew our youth. The bane is known. The antidote is applied. Our diviners are mad. Our enemies are found liars to us. Other nations wane. Surrounding empires fall.
* “In inverted order.”
“Meantime, the Sovereignty of these fair Isles
The discipline of slavery is unknown
The quantity of instruction in the country is not so much an occasion for reproach, as its character. No doubt can exist, that it is in many instances deficient. It is committed to those who have no lettered and no religious qualifications for it. The system is often mechanical and cruel. This is a most important question. But it will rectify itself. Education cannot be repressed within ancient limits. And we foresee, in its certain improvement, its certain support. When the teacher shall be wholly given to it, when he shall feel the true delight of teaching, when it shall be his proper profession, when he shall not have taken it up because a bankrupt in all besides,—then, shall his qualifications secure his recompense, and men must see, in what is communicated, a good deserving their most liberal rewards.
A noble guide to the higher education of the country is found in our Grammar schools. They are not numerous, but are widely dispersed. Nicholas Carlile describes four hundred and seventy-five such foundations. They are chiefly classical, and slightly mathematical. They are not always praised to their merits. They have, perhaps, too obstinately resisted the spirit of the age. They have not sufficiently adapted themselves to mercantile and scientific instructions. But it is their honour that they have not yielded to every popular cry. They have preserved the healthy tone of a humanising literature in the country. They have been the means of opening the doors of distinction to many of the poor. They have encouraged genius and worth. We should most solemnly deprecate their descent from their present standard. Nor do we wish them less religious. They are, however, too sectarian in their general management. It is in vain to say that they are sacred trusts. How large a proportion of the educational apparatus of the land is daily modified by circumstances! How much has passed from Papal testators into the custody of those who do not, at least thus far, offer the mass and pray for the dead! Yet is not this the tenure of the property? We think that this may tend to redeem a considerable portion of the education among us, when contrasted with its various Continental forms. We allow that many European nations anxiously support systems among them of no mean standard. The cultivation of native speech and literature, —the enforcement of arithmetical and geometric learning,-gymnastics, – music, -vary their method beyond our own. In some particulars they may excel. But we believe that they possess nothing which corresponds with this almost national feature. The great instrument and store of education, which are found in Grammar learning, no accomplishments can equipoise. In their Universities are to be seen philologists the most sagacious: we for. get not Brunck, Matthaei, Schleusner: but the people that are thus taught fall far below the same number of our countrymen who are well versed in this noble scholarship, the foundation and the grace of all. If the superfices be wider in other nations, it is at the expense of solidity; and we, perhaps, if this were the only choice, should prefer the ingot to the leaf. There is so obvious an advantage in the instruction of the poor, that it might be expected that all good citizens would encourage it. By it alone can relative duties be understood, provident habits established, and domestic restraints approved. The wild nature only thus is tamed. The intellectual essence only thus is developed. The immortal destiny only thus is shaped. But if love of our brethren move us not, let us be determined by our fears. Education, of a terrible kind, inevitably proceeds. Men are learners, though you teach them not. In glens, in fastnesses, in forests, are to be found instructors of the most straggling tribes. Superstition, profligacy, infidelity, do not sleep. They “sit in the lurking places of the villages: their eyes are privily set against the poor. They crouch, and humble themselves, that the poor may fall by their strong ones.”* In our cities and our towns there are throngs which no means seem to reach. We must be more visitorial and aggressive. “The cause which we know not we must seek out.”f * Psa. x. 8–10, * Job xxix. 16.
* Wordsworth. Excursion.