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ever, is the scene of a manufacture,) Wapping, Whitechapel, Newington Butts, Bermondsey, only one child in twenty-seven is taught.—York is a seat of considerable influence, of much refinement, of great religious privilege, though its mural glories have waned. Philanthropy is active there, and the religious feeling strong. Yet the education of its youth is but as one to twenty of its citizens.*
Let us turn, after this rapid survey of such great abodes of the oppidan population, to the vast theatres of skilled and artistic labour. A huge obloquy rests upon them. The number of inhabitants in Manchester and Salford is 353,390. The total of children taught there is 28,553. The proportion is more than one to twelve of those inhabitants. Leeds, borough and parish, contains 152,054 souls. Its learners are 15,155. This is almost a tenth of the whole. And yet has it been said that the ratio was one in forty-two! Mr. Edward Baines, a native of that town,—a gentleman of most Christian character, of the highest intellect, of spotless integrity,—has, with pains-taking and research above all praise, collected facts and arranged tables on Educational Statistics, which already have acquired the authority of a standard.† They are a noble and dispassionate vindication of a people traduced beyond
* See Publications of the Central Society of Education, and the Bristol Statistical Society.
+ ." The Social, Educational, and Religious State of the Manufacturing Districts,” &c., by Edward Baines, Jun., Esq.
measure and example. The most perfect specimens of industry, of enduring patience, of strict order, — sufferers to a heroic dint, disciples of most self-denying truth, enthusiasts of hope in each convulsion of traffic and extremity of want, the men of clear spirit and stout heart, — the humble patriots, true to their country, whose principles gold has been tried in vain to debauch, - servants loyal and devoted, but who cannot be made slaves, -it sickens us to think how they have been reviled! Look at the education among them, in comparison with the proud cities of the land ! Not among them are the idle, the venal, the obsequious, the vassal, and there is the offence! They will not be yoked to the chariot of courtly oppression, nor can they be dragged at its wheels, and that is their crime ! They are full of thoughts,--they raise enquiries, they demand reasons, and hence their reproach! They will be persuaded in their own minds, and it is charged as their contumacy! A large district was searched for the proper information. It was constituted of the manufacturing counties of Derby, Lancaster, Chester, and York. It included 2,208,771 persons. The returns, which were carefully sifted, are as follows: One, in every ten, of the population is found in day schools : one, in every five two-fifths, is enrolled in Sabbath schools. And these were the returns made in times, and collected from scenes, of unprecedented distress. The state of clothing always forms a most important condition of attendance. Also, much of this education
is paid for by the poor themselves, who have for these four years obtained, with difficulty, and greatly through charity, a bare subsistence. No expense is sooner curtailed in affluent families, in seasons of pressure which must be felt by all, than that required in the tuition of children. We might expect that among the poor, the reduction would be very great. And yet how much smaller is it than we might have supposed that it must prove! Is not this a most gratifying census !
We may now survey the agrestian population. The very term, we have already found, was used by the Latins in the sense of the rude. Rusticus was a sort of correlate. Paganus meant simply a villager ; but as villages were less likely to receive knowledge than towns, it became a word to denote ignorance; and as towns received Christianity before the villages, those who remained idolaters were called Pagans. There is no argument in the variations of such etymologies against this class. Its moods of mind, its means of information, may have entirely changed. Many arguments are inapposite. Taking, for instance, crime as the general accompaniment, if not the fruit, of ignorance, we might look to the commitments from different manufacturing and agricultural counties. During the last seven years these have greatly increased. Now were we told that they had doubled in Yorkshire and Lancashire, — though two Ridings of the one, and though the higher sides and acute angle opposite the base of the other, are really agricultural, it would lie
as the probable charge against the evil influence of the manufacturing system. But the same holds true, -the commitments have, during this period of seven years, doubled,-in Rutland and Westmoreland. Such contrary evidence is not, therefore, availing on either side. Yet, as it applies to Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Shropshire, as well as to Monmouth, which, as a great mining county, points another way, it is clear that it might be given a preponderance.
There is, notwithstanding, proof of greater demoralization in the agricultural districts. The number of illegitimate children in 1839, 1840, 1841, was double in Norfolk of those of the West Riding of Yorkshire: they were very nearly double in Herefordshire of those of Lancashire. This is peculiarly the sign and test of low gross ignorance: and he who would make light of it, by appealing to the licentiousness of other ranks of life, fails to understand,—that, in the humbler classes, this vice can scarcely obtain very widely among the scattered population, in which homestead virtues were once supposed to find their favourite abode, without a weight of prevailing ignorance that destroys the honour of intercourse and the sense of shame.
It is no wish on our part to disparage any labouring class. We would be the champion of all. We seek the good of all. But when certain criminations are made of one, when at its expense every other is flattered, it becomes a question of truth; and until it be determined, no healing measure can be applied. There is a volume which is entitled “Reports of Special Poor Law Commissioners on the Employment of Women and Children in Agriculture.” It abounds with disgusting facts. Lord Ashley and Sir James Graham cannot have read it, though sitting in the Parliament to which it is addressed, One Reverend and beneficed Clergyman, the Rev. T. A. Maberley, of Cuckfield, Sussex, represents the farmers as opposed to the education of the young : he says, that he “remarks a particular deficiency in the feelings of the women as to chastity: in many instances, they seem hardly to comprehend or value it as a virtue.” P. 201. Mr. Gee, of Brothertoft, near Boston, in Lincolnshire, says, “Field-work is a very bad thing for girls : forty-nine out of the fifty are seduced by it." P. 252. These pectures may be overcharged; these numbers may be exaggerated. We own ourselves incredulous. But for incomparably less flagrant corruptions, for corruptions incomparably less confirmed, have millions been denounced. Why should not the descriptions of both the forms of labouring life be considered as the exception rather than the rule ?
The inhabitant of a manufacturing town has frequent proof of the intellectual difference between the rural, and the technie, labourer. In consequence of the higher wages and increased comforts of the town, many workmen are allured from the country. If they ennnot acquire the art themselves, they may obtain some employment kindred to their own; the temptation is to provide for their children. They are seen,