Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Proemunire facias, in' manner 'as it is ordained in other Statutes of provisors : and other which do sue in any other Court in derogation of the Regality of our Lord the King."

PUBLIC EDUCATION. Accipe quid contra Juvenis responderit.Horace. Sir,-I could not peruse the Antijacobin of January last, without feeling some indignation at the manner in which public schools are there spoken of. I could have wished the matter to have been taken up by some one more capable of doing it justice than 1 am; but, rather than sạch an attack should go unanswered, I have, perhaps rather too rashly, presumed to offer to you a few observations ; in which (as you have declared your coincidence with the author) you will find yourself treated as a partner in the abuse, which he has so liberally bestowed on that system of education. The poem, which you so strenuously recommend, I have not perused, but from the extracts which you have laid before the public, I cannot say that I am as ready, by any means, to adopt the principles of the author, as you seem to be.

To reply to you in your own words, “ Puritanism, either in politics or religion, cannot be too strongly censured.” The latter alone is applicable to the present case; and in that opinion I perfectly agree with you; although, as well as yourself, I am far from being an advocate for ir-religion; and I trust I shall not appear as such, if, as far as lies in my feeble power, I endeavour to defend the cause of public schools, from the illiberal and unjust attack which has appeared against them. But, sir, how will you defend yourself from the charge of Puritanism, when you bring forward such absurd and frivolous objections to public schools, as some that you have named?'. Among the most serious of which is the use of the Pagan classics, and the singing of that highly indecorous song,

“ Unfortunate Miss Bailey!" what has she done to offend you? If such, sir, are the chief accusations, that you are able to bring against public schools, believe me, you will find few who will participate with you in the abuse of them. That there are evils arising from a public mode of education, I am willing to allow; but that the evils are greater than the benefits arising from it, I deny. Nor do I think, with you and the author, that the cultivation of the Pagan classics is totally incompatible with the principles of morality. Will the author deny that there are many incitements held out to youth, in the classics of ancient Greece and Rome, to follow the path of virtue, in preference to that of vice ? Has Xenophon has Cicero given us any lessons of immorality?

Virtus, virtus, inquam, C. Fanni, & ta Q. Muci, at conciliat amicitias, & conservat; in eâ est enim convenientia rerum, in eâ stabilitas, in ea Constantia. Cicero Does this look like vice? Or, if still unconvinced, let him peruse

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Bailey."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the works of Isocrates or Plato. How numerous, how admirable are the precepts there contained ! Will he object to the cultivation of these in public schools? He may perhaps reply:---This is not a case in point: these do not contain the immoralities to which I allude. But why, then, blame all the Pagan classics, for the partial faults of a few? Though an enemy to them, the author still seems to follow the classical idea of “

pars pro toto.” But, says he, I do not mean to insinuate, that the classics ought to be banished from our schools ; (for even he has owned that is a boy cannot acquire taste from writings, which possess not classic beauty;") but " I would erase froin them all corupting ideas." Bravo! most sapient author! you have given most excellent advice! But are you sure that this is not already the case? Will you assert that every satire of Horace is read in public schools? Will you assert that the objectionable passages, not only in that, but in all other books, are not omitted, or the immorality of them censured? When you can assert this, when you can prove it to be the case, (which I most strenuously deny) you may accuse, unanswered, the carelessness, or rather the total negligence, with regard to morality and decency, in public schools. Since then, you blame the attention paid to the classics, what would you recommend? Would you confine the youthful studies entirely to the perusal of English authors? In the best of these you will find objectionable passages; among the multitude of whom, eyen our immortal Pope has, now and then, suffered himself to run into a strain approaching to indecency. If every thing which bears an immodest aspect, must be omitted, shall we blot out from the Holy Scriptures (the most pure of all writings) those passages which the modest ear cannot listen to with satisfaction? These are introduced to deter us from following the vices which are there depicted. May not, in the like manner, the loose writings of the classics, instead of taking any serious hold of the mind, rather exhibit the licentiousness of their day, and, by holding forth so disgusting an example, excite our aversion rather than admiration? But, sir, I would not have you suppose, that the Pagan writers monopolize the sole attention of a public school. Reflect but for a moment;---Are not the works of Grotius and Burnet as capable of inculcating religious principles, as any you can recommend? And, sir, when you consider that these are not the only religious writings, which are attended to at a public school, you will hardly persevere in your opinion, that “ no pains are there taken to teach the rudiments of christian knowledge.” I am far from asserting, that the morals of a public school are perfectly free from objection, but

Distat, sumat ne pudenter,
An rapias.

HORACE. Nor do I pretend that a boy's religious principles can be there so well attended to as when tied to his mamma's' apron-string. I say religious principles alone; for as to the principles of honour, and the conduct of a gentleman, they are no where so strongly impressed

3

[ocr errors]

upon

his mind. I do not mean modern honour, but what you yourself admire ;

• The service of the heart sincere ;
• The geri’rous wish to warm affection dear;
« And, never doom'd from distance to decay,

Friendships, the growth of many a youthful day."
For selecting which, where will you find a more ample field? wbere
will the real disposition be more readily discovered ?

The next thing which you have animadverted upon, is, the manner in which the play hours are wasted. This accusation, indeed, you have confined chiefly to the schools of the metropolis. But, nevertheless, here, as throughout, I must disagree with you : not contented with painting the Devil black, you have painted hin blacker than be really is. You have witnessed a few, who have followed this vicious course, and immediately prejudged the whole You have extracted dross from the metal, and thence depreciated its real worth.

The assertion, likewise, which you have made, of the total want of all diffidence in boys,” thus brought up, I conceive to be aš erroneous as the rest of your attack. I do not mean to insinuate, that they possess that awkward, ridiculous, timidity, which characterizes the lout, who, never having mixed “intu æqualis," or with those who have had a less confined education than himself, sits at table, like an automaton, and the limit of whose conversation seems to be the negative and affirmative. But, that they are always ready to push themselves forward on all occasions, I receive as another of those many assertions, which you have advanced, without one convincing argument of their validity; nay, that very mingled society, which you seem to despise so much, is the most efficacious method, by placing every one on a par, of preventing that self-sufficiency, which you so unjustly attribute to those who have had a public education). In short, sir, you and the author seem to have gone on in the old system of extolling the old times, at the expence of the new ones, to do which with the greater facility, you have considered public schools as evils peculiar to the present day, which have sprung up in a moment, like mushrooms, not as having flourished for centuries, the purses of genius and literature, where

“Sons r'eap classic-lore,
" Where erst their honest sires have reap'd before."
I would ask, whether it is from these public schools, under the
direction of the most eminent scholars, and most estimable men, that
we are to look for the brightest ornaments of this nation, or from

« The parent smile, the petrifying frown,
The port majestic, the gold-headed cane,

“ E'en the snuff coat,
Of some village pedagogue; who, to quote the words of a late drama-
tist, “ Swells, like a shirt in a high wind," with the idea of his own

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

consequence, ~ while he enters the school with a hem, and frightens the apple-munching urchins with the creeking of his shoes?". His, sir, I fear, you will not find the seat of literature, but rather, what you attribute to us, (for I do not blush to'own myself to have been thus educated) the habitation of assuming ignorance. Look around you! although you have declared a public education unfit for every station of life which you have pointed out, still you will find that the highest offices of church and ståte are ably filled by those who have been thus brought up. We cannot accuse the legislative powers of inability, or the episcopal of immorality. “ Turning to the military man :" this is not the sort of education he requires, or in general receives; but, nevertheless, even in that profession, I could point out many, who have eminently distinguished themselves in the last campaign, vitiated as they have been by this destructive system. I shall now take leave of the subject; and if I have too presumptuously offered my opinion, and if I have weakly defended that which I have endeavoured to protect, I have only to beg that you will not attribute it to any want of strength in the cause, but to the inability of the writer.

C.T.

A regard to that principle of justice which has ever influenced our conduct, induces us to submit the preceding remarks to our readers, unaccompanied by any other observation of our own, than, that our sentiments, on this subject, as explained in our comments on the Bishop of Meath's Sermon, and Dr. Vincent's animadversions upon it, remain unaltered.

Observations on the Rev. Doctor Milner's Strictures,' on the

Charter Schools of Ireland, contained in his Tour through that country; entitled, An Inquiry into certain Vulgar opinions concerning the Catholic Inhabitants and Antiquities of Ireland," in a letter from a Member of the Incorporated Society, to R. H. Esq.

DEAR SIR, YOUR friend in the Imperial Parliament seems anxious to know what degree of credit he should attach to the statements of Dr. Milner, in the account which he has published of his late tour in this kingdom; this anxiety is natural to every man who feels an interest in the prosperity of the Empire, and I have long hoped to see a full and satisfactory answer to a work obviously calculated to excite and nourish a spirit of discontent and disloyalty in the great mass of the people of Ireland. For such an Answer I have neither time, nor probably ability : but as he particularly misrepresents the Charter- Schools, I think it my duty, being intimately connected with that Institution, to point out to your friend, and through him to the public, some of Doctor Milner's most palpable mis-statements, which, from the general temper of his work, I fear are intentional.

Page 23, Dr. Milner states “ the sum annually granted by Parliament to the Charter-Schools at 25,0001. independent of the rents of immense landed estates, for the purpose of purchasing the Children of indigent Catholics, inasmuch as no Protestant Child can be admitted into a Charter-School.” At page 228, this sum is exaggerated to 30,0001. and the landed property is asserted to be 30,000l. per annum, or probably a great deal more, with an assertion that it is the property of the Public; and in pages 228 and 232, the State is represented as contributing 60,0001. per ann. for the purpose of purchasing Roman Catholic Children, and educating them to hate and persecute their fathers, mothers, and brothers. In page 23 he says,

" that these purchased victims, in violation of the laws of nature, are uniformly, transported, in covered waggons, to the greatest distance possible from the residence of their parents, in order that the parent may never have the consolation of enibracing the child, lest he, or she, should again inake a Papist of it." In page 228 he states, the Incorporated Society to be a continuation of one of the most odious and fatal kinds of persecution, devised by the religious politicians of the last century;" and affirms, (page 22) “ that the government of this country has professedly acted upon this system, ever since it gave up that of putting its subjects to death, for adhering to their religion." To these extraordinary assertions, I shall add another, that breathes the same spirit, and attributed, in the public papers, to an Irish Member in the Imperial Parliament, viz. that “to elude the parent's search, the names of the children are frequently changed."

A simple statement of facts, on the truth of which your Friend may rely with implicit confidence, will be the best answer to Doctor Milner.

A public Parliamentary Grant is annually made, and its precise amount is so easily ascertained, being always stated in the public Papers, as well as in the Votes and Journals, that no person who can read English can offer any sufficieut plea for a mis-statement so wide of the truth as the above. The first Parliamentary Grant to the Incorporated Society was in 1752, amounting to 50001. since which period the annual grants have gradually increased to 23,0001 which sum they bave never exceeded, though stated by: Dr. Milner at 25,000l. 30,000l. and 60,0001. As to the immense landed estates belonging to the Public, and estimated by the Doctor to exceed considerably 30,000l. per annum, they are to be sought for in nubibus, the Society not being possessed of a single acre of this description. Several pious persons have, indeed, at various periods, devised to the Society both lards and considerable sums of money, which have been managed with economy, producing at present an annual income of about 97007, but these are vested in the society exclusively, in trust, for promoting the humane interions of the donors. On what authorities, or with what views Dr. Milner ventured to give the public such palpable and inconsistent mis-statements, I will not presume to determine.

The Doctor affirms that no Protestant Child is admissible into a

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »