ページの画像
PDF
ePub

country. The system of public schools drew Daniel Webster from obscurity to guide and enlighten his country; and more Websters are required. The respect for education displays itself in the embellishment of the grounds of the country schools. In place of the low and comfortless school-room, brick structures are now reared in the large towns, seventy feet in length by sixty in width, and four stories high, well ventilated, and warmed by furnaces. The books are improved, and libraries provided. The local committees give place to able superintendents and boards of control. Music is added to the studies, -- schools of design are established, -normal schools to prepare teachers, are provided. Institutions are started to educate the deaf, dumb, blind, and idiotic: all these are at the public charge. Academies and colleges follow, and schools for arts, law, medicine, and divinity succeed; and to stimulate the whole, teachers' institutes, school journals, and agents are employed by the State to disseminate information, and fan the public enthusiasm. Appeals are constantly made to the public to suffer no waste of talent or intellect; to give the luxury of learning to the class doomed to toil, and to counteract the bad influences of the home of the illiterate emigrant by the attractions of the school.

Under these incentives the taxes for schools are cheerfully paid, and education progresses. What are its effects? Do we not see them in the quickened action of the American mind, in its more rapid adaptation of means to ends; in the application of steam and the great water power of the country, as a substitute for labour; in teaching it to move the spindles, the loom, the saw, drill, stone-cutter, and the planing, polishing, and sewing machines; in replacing the living man and woman by steam carpet looms and artificial reapers; in teaching the locomotive and car to surmount steep acclivities, and wind round sharp curves at trifling expense; in designing new models and new modes of constructing, rigging, and steering ships upon the sea, diminishing the crews while doubling the speed and size of the vessel; inventing new processes for spinning and bleaching; new furnaces for the steam engine, and new presses for the printer?

A few years since, the question was asked by a distinguished divine, Who reads an American work?' The question now is, Who does not read an American book, journal, or newspaper?' The trained soldier can effect more than the raw recruit, and the skilled artisan more than the rude plough-boy. Disciplined America can entrust the guidance of her mechanism and the teaching of her children to the trained female, and devote the strength and talent of the male to agriculture, navigation,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

construction, and invention. Temperance seems to follow in the train of education. Thirty years since spirits were used to excess in many of the States. A marked change has occurred as education has advanced, and now in some States the sale of spirits is almost discontinued. The saving thus effected more than counterbalances the whole cost of education.

The effect of education on morals is well illustrated by the progress of Massachusetts in one branch of manufactures, that of boots and shoes. While in some countries the manufacturer dares not entrust the materials to the workmen at their houses, in this State the artisans are scattered in their rural homes, the materials sent to them with entire confidence, and returned weekly ready for the market. Among other great branches of industry, this now amounts annually, in this little State, to 6,000,0001, sterling.

In this same State, in the face of a large immigration of labourers from Ireland, and liberal outlay for their shelter, pauperism has been virtually receding. We learn from Hunt's Merchant's Magazine for June, 1851, that in the twelve years preceding, in that State, population had increased 40 per cent., wealth 120 per cent., and the cost of pauperism but 38 per cent., although 2,880 foreigners were aided in 1837, and 12,334 received assistance in 1850. • Thus, in twelve years,' the writer remarks, the cost of maintaining the poor, distributed per capita upon the population, has fallen from 44 cents. per head to 43, and the percentage on property has been actually reduced onethird. Native pauperism is comparatively diminished, and the

principal draft on the charity of Massachusetts is the temporary • aid given to the foreign emigrant.'

We learn by the census returns lately published, that in 1850 the whole number of churches and meeting-houses in the United States was 36,011, containing 13,849,896 seats, or room for three-fifths of the existing population. In this growing country nearly one-fifth of the inhabitants are under the age of six; and if we deduct those who from sickness, extreme youth, old age, or domestic duties are unable to worship together, this must be a very liberal provision. By the same returns we find the whole number of foreigners in the county was 2,210,828, or less than one-tenth the entire population ; and while the annual expense for paupers was but 600,0001, the permanent foreign paupers were 13,437, and the native 36,947 only. With respect to crime the ratio is still more striking. Of 27,000 crimes in the United States during 1850, no less than 14,000 were committed by foreigners. In a country whose natives are educated, more

than half the crimes are traced to illiterate foreigners, forming less than one-tenth of the whole population.

It seems, then, to be established in America, that general education increases the efficiency of a nation, promotes temperance, aids religion, and checks pauperism; while all concede that it diminishes crime. Why should its effects be different in England, and why should we not find, in education, a cheap and most admirable substitute for prisons and penal colonies? If in America, holders of property sustain education, because they insure their own safety, and the security of their fortunes, by the instruction of the masses, why should not the same results attend education in England ?

Again, if America with all her accessions from natural growth and immigration, cannot afford to lose the mines of intellect hidden in the popular masses ; if she is not rich enough in intellect to suffer their faculties to run to waste, can England, comparatively stationary in growth and population, afford such loss ?

The future contests of nations will not be confined to warlike encounters. They will be in the field of science and arts, and that nation will attain to the highest distinction which shall excel in the arts of peace. If other nations are cultivating and developing the human intellect, let not England be distanced in the course. She can appreciate the effective force of the skilled artisan, the disciplined soldier, and trained athlete. Will she not appreciate the value of disciplined mind, of educated labour? Do not her position, climate, and wealth enable her to wield them with the most advantage. If the humble citizen of a village in America considers himself the foster father of the children of the poor, the natural guardian of those Heaven has intrusted to him, and under moral obligations to educate his wards, will the philanthropists of England exhibit less benevolence ? And is there any country in which the natural powers of the mind offer a more favourable field for cultivation in which education is likely to yield a more plentiful harvestthan England? We have so lately given a full consideration to the subject of popular education in this country, that we need not here dwell upon its importance: we will only add our conviction, that whenever the conflicting religious views which now impede its extension shall have been reconciled, no difficulties of a merely economical character will prove insuperable.

ART. VII. – 1. Thirty-second Annual Report of the Manchester

Chamber of Commerce. Manchester : 1853. 2. Report of the Central Board of Health of Jamaica. Printed

for the Honourable House of Assembly. Spanish Town:

1852. 3. Report by Dr. Sutherland to the General Board of Health on

Cases of Fever on board the Steamers · La Plataand · Med

way.' December, 1852. 4. The Fever at Boa Vista in 1845-46, unconnected with the

Visit of the 'Eclair' to that Island. By GILBERT KING, M. D. R. N., Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets. London:

1852. 5. Some Account of the last Yellow Fever Epidemic of British

Guiana. By DANIEL BLAIR, M.D., Surgeon-General of British Guiana. Edited by John Davy, M.D., F.R. S., London and Edinburgh, Inspector-General of Army Hospi

tals. London: 1850. 6. General Board of Health. - Second Report on Quarantine.

Yellow Ferer. London: 1852. 7. Report on the present Mode of conveying Small Pox and other

Fever Patients to the Hospitals in Public Vehicles. By R. D. GRAINGER, Esq. London: 1852.

: That very useful and vigilant association, the Manchester

Chamber of Commerce, in their succinct review of the several mercantile questions to which their attention had been directed during the year 1852, pronounce the quarantine regulations, as enforced in this country and in others, to be cumbersome, cruel, and costly, and ineffectual towards securing the end for which they are established. We fear that this opinion, however sound, will find little favour in the eyes of philosophers of the school of Dr. Copland, who reveres these regulations as measures which alone can protect the lives of thousands, however they may for a time affect the pecuniary 'interests of the few,- of the speculator and the capitalist, the modern curses of the general community.'* Under this denunciation, it may be some consolation to Manchester to learn that a boly very different from their own - the Central Board of Health of Jamaica, — an island where, by sad experience, the attributes of yellow fever and other epidemic diseases are but too familiarly known,-has condemned the same regula

Dictionary of Medicine, Pestilence, Hæmagastric, p. 163.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tions, in language even more emphatic: • The Board,' say they, ' are of opinion that Quarantine Laws, as at present con

ducted in this island, are an irksome encumbrance, interrupting commerce, obstructing national intercourse, perilling life,

fostering and engendering disease, and squandering large sums • of public revenue.'

Bearing in mind that the real impediment to the progress of human improvement consists in the opposition it must encounter from all persons who may be interested in perpetuating the reign of ignorance and error, we proceed to consider the principles upon which quarantine is conducted with reference to two very different diseases, - small pox and yellow fever.

On the 14th of February, 1852, her Majesty's frigate • Arethusa’ arrived at Plymouth, having on board several patients suffering from small pox, of which disease some deaths had occurred during the voyage. This is a malady propagable, as we all know, by the lancet, and which no man denies to be communicable by contagion ; but instead of placing the frigate in quarantine until a certain number of days should have elapsed after the sacrifice of the latest victim, and thus confining the healthy, for an indefinite term of imprisonment, in the same vitiated atmosphere with the sick and the dying, the authorities wisely admitted the “Arethusa ' to free pratique ; the sick, twelve in number, were immediately landed, and received into the Royal Naval Hospital, where two of them died. But no epidemic of small pox broke out at Plymouth in consequence of the humane course pursued on this occasion. The disease was one which, when appearing epidemically, has repeatedly devastated whole communities, in Great Britain as well as in other countries: it is not, like yellow fever, limited

* We fear there is too much truth in the following remarks of a scientific contemporary on this subject :—'The administration of the * laws relating to quarantine is entrusted to a set of persons whose "ignorance can be equalled by nothing but their obstinacy. To these • persons offices of rank, authority, and considerable emolument are

assigned; and indeed their authority rests upon, and their emolu'ments are derived from, maintaining the opinion and the principle • that yellow fever is a contagious disease, and can be imported from 'the West Indies and the South of Spain. So long as these gentle. men are in the receipt of large sums of money for maintaining these • opinions, it is altogether unreasonable to expect that they will ever . relinquish these opinions, or be made to admit that yellow fever is

not contagious and cannot be imported. To expect such a concession • is to require too much rom ch frail materials as those of which men and physicians are composed.' (Edinburgh Med. and Surg. Journal, April, 1852, p. 498.)

6

« 前へ次へ »