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the general reader,—the ignorance and wretched bigotry of our raving priesthood and overbearing Aristocracy, having contrived to make men generally believe, that they will find nothing in the writings of that great philosopher, but attacks upon religion and kingly government. In consequence of this atrocious libel on the character of his works, they have been lost to the English public. We have therefore only to hope, that what Rousseau did for the French people above seventy years ago, may soon be accomplished for the English nation by one of her own citizens. No investigation that can be conceived equals in importance the one here recommended to the attention of the present race of our philosophers.
When recommending this universal and similar education to all the infants of our country, a question may very properly be started as to the propriety of mixing together the children of all classes. Would it be advisable to unite in one school the infants of the poor labourer and his rich employer—the child of the nobleman, country-gentleman, professional men, merchants, rich and poor tradesmen, and labourers ? Considering the powerful aristocratic feelings of every class of our people, a more delicate inquiry could hardly be set on foot. A strong suspicion haunts our minds that a universal clamour will be raised against us in consequence of the opinions we shall hazard on the occasion.
It should be remarked at the outset, however, that the plan proposed contemplates not the necessity of any such mingling of ranks. There is no intention of proposing to make it incumbent on any to send their children to the National Schools; and to those who know the feelings of English society, every expectation of getting people at present to accede to such a plan, would appear in the highest degree preposterous and absurd. The bare possibility of such a thing is all here contemplated ; and the advantages and disadvantages of such possible proceedings is what we are desirous of considering.
In a thoroughly well organized society, the mere children of all the inhabitants would suffer no unnecessary privation. To the full and complete development of the physical being, an infancy of thorough comfort is absolutely requisite ;-therefore, if the proper proportion existed between population and capital, whatever might be the frugal and simple fare and living of some of the adults, the children would all be equally well provided for ; that is, they would all be fully fed, warmly clothed and lodged, and kept in a state of perfect cleanliness. This is all that is needed : any thing more is not only not an improvement of the condition of the children, but is actually a positive mischief. The children of the rich merchant or tradesman, (and we mention these as most likely to fall into the error,) who are never permitted to brave any inclemency of the weather, who are the hot-house plants of a drawing-room, are not physically well reared; their luxurious living is an evil of fearful amount. The more thorough-bred parts of our societythat class who are what may be termed gentle, in the narrowest use of the term, are not accustomed to bring up their children in any of this mischievous luxury, but acustom them to an exceedingly plain and simple fare, to active exercise in the open air. They clothe them well, keep them warm, and defended against the severe inclemency of the weather ; but, nevertheless, make them hardy and robust, by partial and well-directed endurance. In all essential particulars, the physical education of the young children of a nobleman is similar to that of the children of a peasant who has a sufficiency. So far, then, as regards their mere physical well-being, the mingling together of all classes would produce no mischief. The Infant National Schools would, according to the proposed scheme, possess everything needed for the comfort and wellbeing of the children; and the training and discipline to which they would be subjected, would be that which the most instructed and experienced minds of the community should suggest as best fitted for their perfect education. What then, we ask, would be the evil, morally or mentally, to the children? To us, no evil appears likely to arise to them, while great and lasting benefit might from thence result to the community at large. Many an anxious mother will exclaim against us, and accuse us of having very hard hearts, and dull heads, for proposing that her dear little ones, that the elegant, well-bred, little Miss should be permitted to come in contact with the offspring of John Robin, the ploughman; that the gentlemanly Master - should consort with the said John Robin's eldest boy, Dick, who is destined perhaps to succeed his useful father in the humble character of a poor tiller of the soil. The very idea will appear revolting to the well-bred mother, to the fashionable, elegante Mrs.
The whole matter does certainly look very horrid at a distance. Let us, however, take courage, and approach somewhat closer to it. Let us learn its bearings in detail. It may, by way of preface, be remarked to the delicate and polished lady, who is now made the representative of her class, that previous to the dreadful over. turning of the happy old regime in France, there was a certain class of persons called nobles, who were the absolute beau ideal of all that was polite, refined, and elegant. The word fashionable is of modern growth, is a vulgar plebeian word, and has only come into use in consequence of the possibility of superiors and inferiors mixing together in society. They managed these things better in Old France. This very polished and refined class were almost all of them reared in the family of a peasant. Their infancy was passed in the care, and among the children, of some poor and attached retainer. Every noble had a foster-brother, which foster. brother had been brought up with him. They had been governed in the same way; had been accustomed to the same food, warmth and clothing ; and yet this identity of training, did not prevent the noble in after years from becoming all that his polished and delicate and exclusive. minded mother desired. Why, then, under similar circumstances, might not English fashionables reach the same excellence ? Is the Englishman so addicted to rude and boisterous manners, that nothing but exclusion from all intercourse with the rest of the world, from his very infancy, can give him even the semblance of politeness ? Leaving, however, this reasoning from analogy, we will take an example.
Suppose a village in the country, (let the reader choose any which he knows,) to have a National Infant School: suppose the gentry around to send their young children to this school. One thing in the outset is certain, viz., if they did so, they would be extremely careful in selecting the teachers; in providing for the comfort of the children; and in seeing that all were specially clean and neat. Mrs. A. and Mrs. B. and half the alphabet, send their darlings there,—the hopes of their separate families,—the representatives of all the many excellencies of the A.'s, B.'s and C.'s. Is it not certain that Mrs. A., and if there were any, the Misses A. and X. and Y. and Z. would constantly be where the children were ? Would it not become a part of their daily avocations, their most important and agreeable duties, to inspect the conduct of such school, and the welfare of the little beings whom it contained ? In fact, should we not list into the business of education all that was kind, good, and instructed among women ? And from whence, we would ask, could there be obtained more powerful, more excellent assistance ? Could this single step once be effected, we should have no fears for the remainder.
In the present condition of the population of the great towns of the empire, this intimate union of all classes may not be considered practicable. In the country, where the various portions of the population are much more intimately known to each other than in the towns, the diffi. culties do not seem to arise from any thing but the prejudices of some portion. These prejudices, we feel certain, would quickly diappear, and gradually the system contemplated would spontaneously be followed. In the towns, particularly in London, the poor live wholly unknown to the rich. They have no intercourse with them; and have never been accustomed to look upon them with much kindly feeling. The poor of a parish in London never even know who are the rich of their parish; the rich know not the countenances of the poor. In the country it is otherwise ; and, consequently, there is a degree of confidence respecting the poorer classes which does not pervade the minds of the rich in London: and in London, therefore, there could be no mixture of the classes. This circumstance, however, need not, ought not to deprive the poor
of the aid and countenance of their happier brethren. If national infant chools were established in every parish in London, it ought to be considered part of the duty of the classes who have wealth and leisure, to superintend the management of these places of public education. The visits of the better instructed women of society might be of the same essential benefit in the town as in the country. They would introduce improvement, good order, cleanliness. They would bring to the consideration of a difficult subject instructed minds and kind sympathies ; and great and lasting benefits would result to the mass from the welldirected endeavours of this small and favoured portion of society.
The limits to which we are necessarily confined, preclude the possi. bility of comprehending in one paper the whole of this extensive subject. Many papers can alone accomplish it; and assuredly no right-minded reader will deem the space ill employed which is devoted to such a purpose. Our next paper will discuss somewhat in detail the subject of infant schools. The one which will succeed that second paper will be occupied with the consideration of the schools which are to receive the children leaving the infant schools; the next and last of this series, the expense, and mode of government of the whole. The subject of universities, though forming an important part in any well-connected scheme of national education, had better, for our purposes, be left for separate consideration,
J, A. R.
CORN-LAW HYMN.–No. I.
Why prosper they who curse the soil
And libel heaven with mouths unfed ?
God! do thy nation-girding seas
Harki millions cry for justice, Lord ! I have spoken harshly of a great man in error; his errors being the more dangerous because he is great. But it becomes me to shew why I think him in error. If we are to be corn-lawed, and no improvement is to be made in the condition of Ireland, the moral restraint of Messrs. Malthus and Co. -I know not whether a personage, who shall be nameless, is one of the Arm--would, if acted upon, produce the gradual extinotion of the English and Scotch people. True, their place would be supplied by Paddy, who boasts that he has tinged our language with the brogue; and that two in six us are already Irish, one way or other. But will those comfortable philosophers, who are at ease in their possessions, tell us what would be gained by the exchange?
Do they really think that England and Scotland could be gainers by carefully draining from their veins every drop of the blood of Knox and Hampden-Locke and Watt ? Are nations to be self sacrificed, without any possible motive, individual or national ? What considerate and fat personages our saintly sages must be! No! rather let the " scourge of God," the law of population, become, in his hands, another Alaric-till the executive and the monopolists fight for the taxes ! Their next cry will be, '' Transfer to us all the taxes, and rob the national creditors! but touch not
« Give us the malt-tax," already cry the landlords. the corn laws! So shall those transfers, and that robbery, take not from the public burdens the weight of a brass farthing.
CORN-LAW HYMN.No. II. God of the poor! thy foes and ours Say, Good is wrought by evil powers ; The woes that scourge the toiling throng Make Commerce rich, and Science strong. Dread they the cloud which, splendour-nursid, Frowns o'er their pomp, and longs to burst"? No, “ See," they cry,
u our wealth ! our bliss! What land,” they ask, “ can vie with this ?” But why plant thorns, that flowers may grow ? To lift the high, why crush the low? Let commerce plough the tranquil main, And sinking hope will rise again. Sees't thou, oh God! our deadly strife, Our war for bread ? for life, for life? How like the strife of seas and skies, While struggling thousands fall and rise ! On howling foam, and tossing wave, The rich and poor, the lord and slave, Float like frail shells, amidst the shocks Of senseless logs, and solid rocks. What, though at times, the sun shines down, Through shatter'd clouds, on ocean's frown? Though rocks may scorn the sea and sky, While logs are safe, and navies die ? Can sun-lit surge, or sun-lit shore, Cheer them who shriek in ocean's roar ? Lord, what avails the transient blue That smiles on storm, and shipwreck, too ? Ah ! what avails the dying might That struggles still, through gloom and light, If in them both we feel and see The might of fatal prophecy ? The sun that shines from deadly skies, No comfort brings to him who dies : A torch may glare on jail or tomb, But chains are chains, and doom is doom. Seest thou the worms that base.y bind, In loathsome bonds, the sea and wind ? To be like Death, and frown alone, Those worms would overthrow thy throne. Teach them, but not too sternly teach, That each on all, and all on each, Depend alike, for weal or wo, Because the Lord hath will'd it so. Oh, give thy toil-redeemer birth! Let slaves be men! enfranchise earth! Let plenty smile on famine's tomb! Where danger shrieks, let safety bloom ! Could Love divine, and boundless Might, Bid sailless worlds plough seas of light, That pride might gloat on servile forms ? And reptiles feast on angel-worms ? No. Let all lands exchange with all The good which freights this foodful ball; Then will the strife of millions cease; For Free Exchange is Peace! is Peace!