Изображения страниц

concern us.

affair too confident, and the second Revolution opened with a prospect, bright and auspicious, for national education. With the principle of such government interference, we are not now called to deal: facts alone

The present Monarch--in exile himself a teacher of youth-put himself at the head of the instructors of his people; and in the memorable law of June 26th, 1833, he demands the presentation of a triennial report, to himself personally, of all these Elementary Schools. In the return offered by M. Villemain, we find the following particulars. Thirty-three thousand and ninety communes, out of the whole number of thirty-seven thousand two hundred and ninety-five, have now these primary schools. The children admitted to them amount to 3,000,000. During the past five years, £1,200,000. have been spent in building or purchasing school rooms. There are also many classes for adults. These include 68,500 persons, who repair to them in the evenings, after daily labour, crowding from the champ and the atelier,--and during the hours of the Sabbath. There are 555 Infant schools, beautifully called Salles D'Asyle,—which receive a total of 51,000 scholars. Each commune must, for itself, or in conjunction with others, form one of these primary schools. The admission is gratuitous in all these communal establishments, where poverty cannot afford the ordinary terms, which are very low. Each citizen has a legal right to enter his children. The teachers obtain small stipends of about £25. These are increased according

to the number of the pupils and the wealth of the district. There are also higher schools, les écoles supérièures, and many scholars pass from the one to the other. The Roman Catholic Religion, as that of the majority, is taught. Special Schools exist for Protestants, in which there is declared the fullest liberty, save that there is the same inspection of them by the Prefects, who, generally holding the popular faith, can scarcely be welcome visitants or impartial judges. One provision is certainly liberal. Each school is under the maire, a municipal council of twelve, the curè, the common magistrate, and the Protestant pastor, if there be any. These are subject to the control of a similar body of the arondissement, and that one to that of the department. This is superintended by the representative of the king. The funds for these schools are compulsory, but only according as there is need. The communes are to avail themselves of


local revenue, and of any donations or bequests for that end. Then they may levy, contributions fonciere, personnelle, et mobiliere. * If there be deficiency after all, it must be supplied from the national exchequer. The attendance is voluntary. The consciences of the parents are consulted in all that regards the religious education of their children. That enlightened educationist and statesman, to whom we have referred, says in his report: “This subject has given rise to no serious difficulty.

* For all expenses of rent, of the child's education, and of school furniture.

The mixed schools,-namely, those made up of pupils of various persuasions, have answered well; but separate schools have been specially maintained for the legally recognised dissenting minority of a community, when proper reasons have been shown for it, and when there were means to do so. Thus, in 1840, while there were 28,818 schools for Roman Catholics, there were also 677 for Protestants, 31 for Jews, and 2059 of a mixed character.” The simultaneous method of tuition is at present the favourite, to the rapid abandonment of the individual and mutual. Laborde claims the invention, but it is a mere copyism of the British system. The adult schools depend most strictly upon voluntary support: none are taxed for them. They are countenanced by government, but are directed by that class of persons who possess both lay and ecclesiastic character,religious, but not cænobitic,-the sæurs and the freres. It is supposed, but is not stated, that these schools are all registered and placed under general supervision. The teachers of the elementary schools are 62,859. They are all examined in their qualifications, whether stipendiary or not, and are not suffered to hold the station without brevet d'instruction. The model schools are 79, in which the more proficient children, intended to be teachers, are received from the primary ones, and are kept three years. The discipline is very severe, and if any of these in didactic training be careless and negligent, they are quickly dismissed. It is impossible to see such a system in operation,

[ocr errors]

whatever we may think of its basis, without admiring its arrangement and acknowledging its influence. To this apparatus may be added a higher order of education, -in 46 Royal Colleges, having 18,697 students; in 287 Communal Colleges, with 26,854 students; while £80,000. were paid in 1842 towards their expenses. It is calculated, however, that the third of the population, at present, can neither read nor write. *

In Germany, education has found its favourite theatre, and throughout the compass of that great country it has advanced with gigantic strides. The cradle of the Reformation, that true æra of popular knowledge, it might be expected to furnish specimens of mental power and culture.

And there is an earnestness, a heart, an inborn life, in all it does. A closer examination may sometimes disappoint, - like the ShadowSpectre of its Hartz, the wild and the romantic of its intellect may disappear. It still retains the wonderful; and there is a course of development which points to a glorious future. Its Scholarly Burschdom is itself a great type and influence.

It is a confederacy, a fascis, against tyranny. It is an adolescence of mind bursting out against prejudice and prescription. It is the sacred youth which guards its country and would hasten its age.

Its folly and fanaticism is often suf

* See the Public and Domestic Economy in France, by the Editor of Galignani's New Paris Guide. Also, Chambers' Information for the People, 1835.

ficiently apparent. Yet there is strength in such a sodality. There is certain success in such a cause. The enthusiasm cannot be lost. While it exists, woe to the traitor and to the spoiler! Invasion and perfidy cannot live before it! It is knowledge incited by patriotism, warmed by bravery, and refined by sentiment! It is a thermal spring, like those of its own land, which no season nor accident can freeze or diminish! But it is with its humble plans of national education that we must now content ourselves. We will put the statistics of this matter into the form of question and answer:

What proportion of the population can read and write ?

The proportion, in the whole population, of children attending the public or parish schools, is as one in six or seven. In the Roman Catholic states, where they are generally only under instruction from six to twelve years of age, the proportion is less than in the Protestant, where education is carried forward until fourteen and fifteen years. At least, 5,000,000 attend school, about an equal number of boys and girls: in Prussia alone there are 2,000,000 in 22,000 schools. Very few villages can be found without one; and even in mountainous districts, where the inhabitants are necessarily scattered, proper regulations are enforced to prevent any serious neglect. No villages are suffered to have one in common, if distant more than two miles from each other, in a flat country, or than

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »