Page images

sarily imbibe the sentiments of their master, will soon acquire a contempt of the national Creed. The Office of Baptism, where the learning of it is enjoined, and the Office of Con. firmation, where the knowledge of it is required as an indispensable condition, will soon be regarded as the rites of bigotry and superstition. Can the result then of such an edu. cation be doubtful ? Will the children thus educated, have to choose, when they come to years of discretion, whether they shall be Churchmen, or not? No! They will long before have decided against the Church.

When we further consider, that this system of education has in other respects so much to recommend it ; that the mechanical part has advantages, which no other system possesses; that reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught by it, under one master, to hundreds of children, at a moderate expense ; that these useful arts are learnt also in so short a time, as to leave ample leisure for manual labor, which in charitable institutions is so usefully combined with the acquirement of knowledge ; and when we consequently consider, that such a system is both likely to meet, and actually does meet with almost general encouragement, we must clearly perceive that, if the system is accompanied with such religious instruction, as is calculated to create indifference, and even dislike to the established church, the most powerful engine, that ever was devised against it, is now at work for its destruction.'

In the Monthly Magazine for May, 1811, among the Provincial occurrences of the preceding month, no less than eight new Lancastrian Schools are mentioned. The establishment of the Lancastrian school at Northampton, is related in the following words, p. 389: “ In consequence of a lecture, delivered by Mr. Lancaster, at Northampton, some time past, a town-meeting was called, and the respectable inhabitants, in a most liberal manner, came forward with a subscription, to set up a school, in which bigotry and intolerance should have no share."-Both


It is a consolation, however, to know that the religious part of this system is neither an essential, nor even an original part of it. The admirable mechanism of this system, of which the inventor, in the opinion of an enlightened magistrate, “ deserves a statue to his memory," was originally combined with the doctrines of the established church ; and these doctrines were not detached from it, till it was adopted by that active and intelligent Dissenter, who brought it into general circulation. It was invented more than twenty" years ago by a Clergyman of our own Church, who also first practised it, and practised it with great success, in a public institution at Madras.' It rests on the simple principle,

the meaning and the tendency of such language, from whatever quarter it may proceed, are too obvious to need a comment. There is a very just remark in Mr. Lancaster's own book, at p. 185. “ that if any particular sect obtained the principal care in a national system of education, that part would soon be likely to possess the greatest power and influ. ence in the state.” Suppose then that Mr. Lancaster obtains “ the principal care in a national system of education," what is to become of the religion now established ? If already its doctrines are called bigotry, and its constitution intolerance, what must be its fate, if the “ power and influence,” arising from education, should be wholly withdrawn from it?

See p. 14. of A new and appropriate system of education, for the laboring people. By P. Colquhoun, L.L.D. 1806.

? « The new method of practical education, which has appeared under different shapes in this country, originated in the Military Male Asylum, founded at Madras, in 1789. There it gradually grew to ma. turity, and, after the experience of several years, was established in all its forms in that school.” See p. 1. of Dr. Bell's Madras School or Elements of Tuition. London 1808. « The nation is indebted to the genius, the ability, and persevering industry of the Rev. Dr. Bell, late Superintendent and Director of the Male Asylum at Madras, in the East

which, indeed, may be variously modified, of “ Tuition by the Scholars themselves.” The ingenious inventor, on his return to England, having explained the principle and theapplication of it,' retired to his parochial duties, ready, indeed, to afford information and assistance to all who desired it. Of this information and assistance, that intelligent Dissenter, by his own acknowledgment, availed himself. · And by the application of talents, which cannot be disputed, he gave such extension to the principle, as excited, and justly excited, general admiration. Having attracted the notice, and en

Indies, now Rector of Swanage, in Dorsetshire, for a most enlightened plan of education for the poor, which he some time since disclosed to the public, and for which he deserves a statue to his memory.See the place referred to in the preceding note.--" To him (Dr. Bell) the world are first indebted for one of the MOST USEFUL DISCOVERIES, which has ever been submitted to society.” Mr. Whitbread's Speech on the Poor Laws, Feb. 19, 1807. Note A.

' In a pamphlet printed in 1797, entitled, “ An experiment in educa. tion, made at the Male Asylum at Madras, suggesting a system, where. by a school, or family, may teach itself under the superintendence of the master or parent.”

? Mr. Lancaster, in the first edition of his work, which was published in 1803, says, at p. 45: “ The institution, which a benevolent Provi. dence has been pleased to make me the happy instrument of bringing into usefulness, was begun in the year 1798." Now this was nine years after Dr. Bell began his system, and one year after he had published the account of it in London. But when Mr. Lancaster began his school, he appears to have acted in the common manner; or at least not according to the new method. For at the close of his first edition, he says, “ I much regret, that I was not acquainted with the beauty of his (Dr. Bell's) system, till somewhat advanced in my plan: it would have saved me much trouble, and some retrograde movements. As a con. firmation of the goodness of Dr. Bell's plan, I have succeeded with one nearly similar, in a school attended by almost three hundred children.” It was probably in 1802, that Mr. Lancaster adopted Dr. Bell's me. thod: for in that year he corresponded with, and visited, Dr. Bell, at Swanage, where “ every requisite instruction toward forming a school on the Madras System, and upon a great and extended plan, was af

gaged the patronage, of many distinguished characters in the metropolis, he was soon invited to found seminaries in other places of this kingdom. It is true, that the religious part of the system had, in the mean time, and under his hands; undergone a complete alteration ; the Doctrines of the Church of England having been superseded by a few general maxims, which, it was supposed, might serve as a basis for Christianity under every form.' Whether the apparent liberality of this plan seduced the members of the church; whether they regarded only the mechanism of the system,



forded him.” See the British Review, No. I. p. 193. A few lines before the passage last quoted, Mr. Lancaster says, “ I ought not to close my account without acknowledging the obligation I lie under to Dr. Bell, of the Male Asylum at Madras, who so nobly gave up his time and liberal salary, that he might perfect that institution which florished greatly under his fostering care.--Dr. Bell had two HUNDRED BOYS, who instructed themselves.” See more extracts containing Mr. Lancaster's acknowledgments on this head, in a printed paper, entitled, “ New System of Education,” printed by C. Squire, Furnival's-InnCourt, and distributed by the patrons of the Clergy Orphan-School. These acknowledgments it is the more necessary to preserve, as Mr. Lancaster, in his later editions, has withdrawn them. But that the merit, not only of the invention, but of the first successful practice of it, is due to Dr. Bell, is proved by documents, which cannot be ques. tioned. See Dr. Bell's Madras School, p. iv. p. 125—242.

'“ The grand basis of Christianity alone,says Mr. Lancaster, p. 184,“ is broad enough for the whole bulk of mankind to stand on, and join hands as children of one family. This basis is, Glory to God, and the increase of peace and good-will among men.” This may be a basis perhaps for natural religion, but it cannot be a basis for the revealed doctrines of Christianity. It is a downright contradiction to call that the basis of a religion, which contains not those principles, which distinguish that religion from other religions. “ Glory to God, and the increase of peace and good-will among men,” are precepts which would be inculcated not only by a Christian, but by a Deist, a Mahome. tan, or a Hindoo.

and, mistaking instruction for education, supposed that every thing was done, if only the former were promoted ; or whether they percelved its religious tendency, and adopted it with the previous intention of counteracting that tendency as opportunity might offer, they concurred with the Dissenters in promoting the system, thus proposed to them.

Under these circumstances the Trustees of two of the Charity schools now before us,' very greatly to their credit as members of the Church of England, determined five years ago, to apply to the inventor of the system, being of opinion that “ the children of a Church-of-England charity school ought to be brought up in the principles and doctrine of the Church of England.” 3 With a zeal proportioned to the goodness of his cause, that friend of humanity undertook the charge. The principle of “ Tuition by the Scholars themselves” was applied there with complete success ; and again applied in unison with the Established

"The charity school for boys, and the charity school for girls in Whitechapel.

* See the Report of the Charity Schools belonging to the parish of St. Mary, Whitechapel, for the year 1806,7.

3 See the preface to an excellent Sermon, preached in the parish church of St. Mary, Whitechapel, on Sunday, Feb. 10, 1811, for the benefit of the charity-schools in that parish, conducted on the system of Dr. Bell. By T. G. Taylor, A. M. Vicar and Lecturer of Dedham. On this subject, Mr. Lancaster himself very justly observes, in the first page of his Introduction, “ that education, as it respects those who are unprovided with in, ought to become a national concern.” But then the very circumstance, that it is a national concern, leads to the conclusion, that such national education should be founded on the national religion. For it is not a "pharisaical sect-making spirit” which supports the nation. al religion, whatever epithets Mr. Lancaster himself may apply. The necessity of making the national religion the foundation of national education, is well illustrated by Mr. Bowles in his two Letters to Mr. Whitbread, and by Mrs. Trimmer in her Comparative View.

« PreviousContinue »