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truly patriotick wish is accomplished, we, for our parts, shall think, that an inestimable benefit has been conferred on that generation, and an incalculable advantage obtained for the whole community. But even those who may think differently, have no reason, on this account, to undervalue the discovery of Mr. Lancaster. The system which he has invented, may be applied to teach the catechism as well as the scriptures; and should be extolled and adopted, therefore, by all those who really wish to see the catechism familiar to all the children in the kingdom. Mr. Lancaster does not bind over the schoolmasters whom he instructs, to take all their lessons, as he himself does, from the inspired writings alone. He has no objection that they should employ his method to imprint the catechism of the church of England; or the confession of faith of the Scottish church; or the liturgy of the Romanists, upon the minds of their respective disciples. All that he wants is, that his method should be made known and adopted; and all that his advocates want is, that the merit of discovering, and of bringing that method to practical perfection, should be ascribed to him who deserves it. What should we think of the liberality of those who should pretend to undervalue the invention of firinting, because the inventor happencil to be a sectary 2 or of their common sense, who should cry out against its general adoption, upon the same orthodox ground 2 Yet printing is not more capable of being applied to diffuse all truth and all knowledge, than the beautiful discovery of Mr. Lancaster. Considering him, indeed, as the sole practical teacher of that inestimable discovery; the only person from whom, as yet, this art of universal instruction can be safely derived; we cannot help regarding it as a most fortunate and providential circonstance, that he should happen
to belong to a sect which does not think it necessary to bring forward its peculiar doctrines in a system of elementary education. If the invens tor of this valuable method had been a bigoted catholick; a sour presbyterian; or a narrow minded member of the church of England, and had, consequently, insisted upon exemplifying it only in teaching the peculiar dogmas of his own particular church; it is evident that none but the members of that church could have derived any benefit from his exertions; and that it would have been difficult for persons of another persuasion to have acquired that thorough and practical knowledge of it, which might qualify them to act as schoolmasters within the limits of their own congregations. The unexceptionable demeanour of Mr. Lancaster, however, can revolt none; and holds out an acceptable invitation to all. He appears, in his school, as a Christian only; teaching nothing but what all Christians agree in revering; and desiring them all to come and learn, from his manner of teaching the bible, how every thing else that they may wish to add to it, may be most effectually taught.
The real motive of the opposition which has been attempted to Mr. Lancaster, is, we will venture to say, by no means the fear of infidelity, but of dissent; and it is truly pitiable to see Dr. Bell himself among the first in furnishing us with proofs of this assertion. He has not scrupled, indeed, to insinuate, in his last publication [p. 317] that the instruction of youth should be committed to the parochial slergy; and that schoolmasters should be licensed by the bishop. After stating that such is the law (which it is not) he suggests, that “ little more remains to be done, than to give it consistency, uniformity, and stability;” (that is to say, to refeat the existing statutes) and, he adds, that “it may suffice for the present, to begin with putting Sunday schools for the poor under existing and aftfiroshriate authorities.”
... We certainly do not quote this for the purpose of entering into a legal argument with the reverend author. We do not mean to take the trouble of reminding him, that all manner of toleration has now, for above thirty years, been the right of dissenting teachers by statute, as it always was, in sound policy and natural justice. Nor do we intend to upbraid him with referring, for the rights of the church, to obsolete canons, which denounce a series of excommunications against persons guilty of omissions, habitual to almost every British subject, of whatever religious denomination. But we state the substance of Dr. Bell’s suggestion, for the sake of recording the fact, that there exist certain persons, whose almost avowed designs are hostile to toleration; who are preparing the minds of the people for attempts to extend the powers of the hierarchy; who, not con
tent with sceing the established
church in possession (we thank God, in undisturbed, undisputed, unenvied possession) of the privileges so conducive to the temporal, as well as spiritual welfare of the realm; would madly seek to extend her power, and lessen her security; to exalt her name, and debase her character; to clothe her with new attributes, and bring into jeopardy her very existence. Now, therefore, we, in our turn, must be permitted to speak of dangers, and to occupy ourselves with alarms; we must presume to warn and admonish; we must denounce, as enemies to the peace and liberties of the community most certainly, but as worse enemies, if it be possible, to the welfare of the church, and the whole religious interests of England, those who first, by half concealed stratagem, and now by more than half declared ag
gressions, undermining where they durst not assault, and attacking what they hoped to find defenceless; would wage war against the dearest rights of the people, for the purpose of involving the clergy in trouble and shame; and lay society itself waste, in order that the church might pass through the highest perils, to the most certain corruption. Against the machinations of such men, we warn, above all, the wise and pious part of the sacred order to which they belong, and the temporal rulers whose ears they may, perhaps, seek to gain, by promises of assistance and support. Distrusting both our authority and our powers of persuasion, we would warn both those classes, in the language of the most powerful supporter of the establishment who was ever suffered to die unmitred: “The single end,” says Dr. Paley, “ which we ought to propose by religious establishments, is the preservation and communication of religious knowledge. Every other idea, and every other end, that have been mixed with this; as the making of the church an engine, or even an ally of the state; converting it into the means of strengthening or of difJusing influence; or regarding it as a support of regal, in offiosition to flofular forms of government; have served only to debase the institution, and to introduce into it numerous corruptions and abuses.” Whoever has done us the honour to follow us through the detail which we have now brought to a close, will probably be prepared to admit, among others, the following positions: That the new system of education is calculated to promote the cheap, rapid, and easy diffusion of knowledge, in an unprecedented degree. That the merit of devising it belongs to Joseph Lancaster," although one of its principles had been previously known to Dr. Bell, and exemplified in the school at Madras, but without those other principles, which, when taken together, constitute the new system.
* Moral and Political Philosophy, vol. ii. p. 305.
That to Joseph Lancaster, alone, belongs the praise of introducing the new system into practice, and enabling mankind to benefit by it, and preparing the way for its universal reception.
That the plan pursued by Dr. Bell, and recently attempted to be set up in opposition to Mr. Lancaster's, has no one peculiarity which can entitle it to a preference; while, on the contrary, it is deficient in many of the most important points, and especially fails in the article of economy.
Lastly, that, while great praise is due to Dr. Bell for his exertions in Madras, and for his attempts in England, there is no good whatever to be expected from any endeavours to keep alive the opposition to Mr. Lancaster, commenced by his friends; but that every real friend to the education of the poor, will consider the system of the latter as the only one well adapted to the attainment of that desirable object.
The length to which this article has already extended, precludes the possibility of adding (as was our intention) asketch of the proceedings of Mr. Lancaster’s friends, and of the success which has attended their liberal and persevering exertions in behalf of the best interests of mankind.
FROM THE LITERARY PANORAM.A.
HUMBOLDT’S POLITICAL ESSAYS ON NEW SPAIN.
[Concluded from p. 236.]
VERY little foresight was necessary to authorize our opinion, that the colonies of New Spain were ripe for separation from the parent state, as suggested in the former part of this article. It is not, therefore, as claiming much credit for sagacity, that we introduce the continuation of this subject, by remarking, that, since our last publication, intelligence has arrived, of Mexico, with its provinces, generally, having assumed the character of independence. This event was to be ex
pected. Whether it will issue in such an entire separation of interests from Old Spain, as too often converts old friends into new enemies, cannot, at present, be determined. Many are the questions which may arise in consequence of such a revolution. For instance, as to religion. Being catholicks, will the Mexicans retain their subjection to the head of the catholick church? will the head of the catholick church continue to bestow his apostolick benediction on revolters from their natural sovereign, his most catholick majesty : Great was the traffick, formerly, in this country, in religious articles, bulls, indulgences, pardons, rosaries, girdles, &c. but this source of wealth to the popedom, must now fail. Not much can the peninsula afford to expend at Rome, for such purchases; and still less will the fervour of religious zeal, after a while, induce the Mexicans to remit for that purpose. As to the political condition of the inhabitants, it should seem, that no great energy has been of late transmitted from the sovereign in Europe to his subjects in the new world. The wisdom that emanated from the court of Madrid was not prodigious; and the vigour of administration was not superiour, in degree, to what the country to be governed might have afforded. The mass of the people will feel no loss when the European parent is devested of the supremacy over them. Whether they will be sensibly gainers by the change, must, with many other inquiries, be referred to the decision of time. We avail ourselves of M. de Humboldt’s words, to state, that old “Spain is five times smaller than Mexico.” [We do not approve of this mode of stating the proportion: the translator should have said, “ Mexico is five times larger than Spain..] Should no unforeseen misfortunes occur, we may reckon, that, in less than a century, the population of New Spain will equal that of the mother country.” At present, the population of Mexico is almost equal to that of the United States of America. Our traveller thus compares these two countries:
* It is admitted by sir.T. Bernard, that no charge of borrowing from Dr. Bell can possibly be brought against Mr. Lancaster. Indeed, he accuses both Mr. Lancaster and his defenders, of never having “examined Dr. Bell's principles or their application.” [p. 103] And, if they never did understand them, Dr. Bell himself furnishes their best apology; for, after the lapse of twelve years, and the publication of three “ditions of his plan, he announces the purpose of additional matter in the fourth to be. to “give minute and farticular instructions for reducing his scheme to practice.” p. 29.
“If the political force of two states depended solely on the space which they occupy on the globe, and on the number of their inhabitants; if the nature of the soil, the configuration of the coast, and if the climate, the energy of the nation, and, above all, the degree of perfection of its
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social institutions, were not the principal elements of this grand dynamical calculation, the kingdom of New Spain might, at present, be placed in opposition to the confederation of the American republicks. Both labour under the inconvenience of an unequally distributed population; but that of the United States, though in a soil and climate less favoured by nature, augments with an infinitely greater rapidity. Neither does it comprehend, like the Mexican population, nearly two millions and a half of aborigines. These Indians, degraded by the despotism of the ancient Azteck sovereigns, and by the vexations of the first conquerors, though protected by the Spanish laws, wise and humane in general, enjoy very little, however, of this protection, from the great distance of the supreme authority. The kingdom of New Spain has one decided advantage over the United States. The number of slaves there, either Africans or of mixed race, is almost nothing; an advantage which the European colonists have only begun rightly to appreciate since the tragical events of the revolution of St. Domingo. So true it is, that the fear of physical evils acts more powerfully than moral considerations on the true interests of society, or the principles of philanthropy and of justice, so often the theme of the parliament, the constituent assembly, and the works of the philosophers.”
When reporting on Mr. Arrowsmith's map of these provinces (copied mostly from M. de H.) we suggested the possibility, that, hereafter, the sceptre of dominion, over both east and west, might be held by a sovereign of Mexico. The baron enables us to add, that “a king of Spain, resident in the capital of Mexico, might transmit his orders in five weeks to the peninsula in Europe, and in six weeks to the Phillippine Islands in Asia.” He might raise in his kingdom what commerce collects from the rest of the globe: sugar, cochineal, cacao, cotton, coffee, wheat, hemp, flax, silk, oils, and wine, metals of all kinds, not excepting quicksilver, superb timber, with various requisites for the support of marine power. The eastern coast, nevertheless, is ill provided with ports; for Vera Cruz, which is one of the best now used, is merely a bad anchorage, between dangerous shallows. It is well known, that the project of
a canal, cut across the isthmus, to
unite the two seas, has long been contemplated with interest in Europe; and we remember to have seen a private memorial addressed to the king of France, the burden of which was, the dread entertained by the French statesmen, lest England should obtain possession of this territory, by permission of Spain; should form a canal, and, thereby, obtain facilities for commerce in the South Sea; against which, all the navy of France might in vain attempt to oppose effectual obstacles. M. de H. examines the feasibility of this scheme, and describes the localities of nine different points, on which it has been proposed to be executed; stating the advantages and disadvantages of each. There is no present appearance, favourable to the execution of such a plan, which leads us to investigate further the character of this proposal. The elevations above the level of the sea, which distinguish the provinces of New Spain, are known, among the inhabitants, under three appellations. The first is the Tierras Calientes; the sultry districts; these produce abundance of sugar, indigo, cotton, and bananas; but they are visited by the yellow fever. Yet impetuous winds, from October to March, cool the air to 60° of Fahrenheit at Vera Cruz; at the Havanna to 32°. Rising on the Cordilleras, we come to the Tierras Templadas, the temperate region; about 4,000 or 5,000 feet above the level of the sea; the mean heat of the whole year is from 68° to 70°; and it seldom varies more than eight or ten degrees. But to this height the clouds ascend; thick fogs, therefore, are frequently their envelope; but when
this country is free from them, it is a delightful region. The third elevation is the Tierras Frias, the cold districts; rising from 7,000 to 8,000 feet or more. The
mean temperature is under 62°. At
Mexico the thermometer has been known to fall several degrees below the freezing point. Still higher elevations have winters proportionately rude; with snow, ice, and other atmospherick phenomena. It would be worthy of some intelligent naturalist, to form a comparison between these gradations under the torrid zone, which, rising in height, increase in rigour; and those countries, northward and southward, of which the winters are more severe as we advance towards the poles. Supposing the earth to be depressed at the poles, it is fair to ask whether the elevation of one country produces effects analagous to the depression of the other ? and to infer, that nature has more than one way of producing the same effects. The heights at which the precious metals are found, deserve our attention. “A remarkable advantage for the progress of national industry, arises from the height at which nature, in New Spain, has deposited the precious metals. In Peru the most considerable silver mines, those of Potosi, Pasco, and Chota, are immensely elevated very near the region of perpetual snow. In working them, men, provisions, and cattle, must all be brought from a distance. Cities situated in plains, where water freezes the whole year round, and where trees never vegetate, can hardly be an attractive abode. Nothing can determine a free man to abandon the delicious climate of the valleys to insulate himself on the top of the Andes, but the hope of amassing wealth. But in
Mexico, the richest seams of silver, those
of Guanaxuato, Zacatecas, Tasco, and Real del Monte, are in moderate elevations of from 1700 to 2000 metres.” The mines are surrounded with cultivated fields, towns, and villages; the neighbouring summits are crowned with forests; and
* From 5576 to 6561 feet.