Images de page
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

things. He was a great student of and life, are to be daily and hourly civil law ; but it is said,

brought under its controul ; that a Jura mihi multum, plus pagina sacra wrong thought, an ungentle word, placebat;

an ambitious spirit, are greater ofNamque fuit morbis, hæc medicina meis. fences than even a false quantity, or It is added : Dum vixit, hoc a sin against Greek metre ? Are sæpe in ore habuit, Satis diu vixi, the masters as anxious respecting si Deo satis.”

the character, disposition, and habits But we must get back, my friend, of their boys, as respecting their to your homily. As, however, we literary attainments ?

Do they have talked so long together, and watch over them as carefully in their digressed to so many other things, hours of recreation, in their grounds, I will for the present excuse that their walks, their chambers, and their portion of it which relates to the cloisters, as in the regular hours changes made generally by the Re- of study; and this not with harsh formation, especially as we may have academical espionage, but with paa better occasion for our argument ternal solicitude and Christian afwhen we take our walk to the ca fection? Do they do their utmost thedral. But as your eye happens to prevent every species of injustice, to be fixed on yonder college, just oppression, and tyranny among them? tell me before we leave it, whether Do they regard their pupils rather you think the Protestant Reforma- according to their moral than their tion and the increased knowledge of mental qualifications ? Do they give modern ages have effected all they as many premiums for good tempers might have effected, and ought to as for good verses? Do they feel have effected, in our academical that their business is not merely to bowers. Without invidiously se

attend in the school at statutable lecting any one example, take our hours just to hear statutable leslarge endowed scholastic establish- sons, and then to dismiss all care, ments generally. I will only pro- spending the rest of their day in inpound a few queries which can dulgence, and consigning their pupils offend no man.

Answer them as to their own management; not preyou think truth and charity warrant. venting faults, but punishing them; Are our children and youth at these being severe without being vigilant ; foundations really brought up after making the seniors responsible for the full spirit of their baptismal en the juniors, in order that they themgagements ? Is it the earliest and selves may be spared trouble, and in dearest wish, and most indefatigable return allowing the responsible parendeavour of the instructors to teach ties such power over their compathem to renounce the devil and all nions as generates every species of his works, the pomps and vanities tyranny and cruelty which one boy of the world, and the sinful lusts of can exercise towards another, with the flesh? I do not ask whether no other solace to the object of opthey attend the regular routine of pression than that when his turn prayers, go to church on Sundays, comes he will be revenged by opand have possibly, besides, a few pressing others? Is the Sabbath formal instructions in matters of bib- kept holy? I would put the whole hical knowledge or theology; but is matter upon this issue. I will only the general atmosphere of the place say, that whatever may be urged of Christian in the elevated and spiri- muster-roll prayers and services on tual sense of that exalted epithet ? that day, these eyes have witnessed Do the boys really learn to think scenes which would well nigh break that religion means something that the heart of a Christian parent; such to glorify God, and enjoy him for scenes, however, as might naturally ever, is the great object of human be expected where scores and hunexistence; that the heart, affections, dreds of boys are together without

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

any proper supervision. I had occa in posts of influence and authority
sion some time since I say not in them, who are most anxious to
when, or where—to witness a scene correct the evils to which I have
of the following kind, in one of our alluded, and who would be the first
large public schools. It was Sunday to lament how little comparatively
afternoon; and the masters and boys has been effected. But speaking
having duly attended Divine service, generally, it is mournfully notorious
and thus performed their duties, were that our public schools are not the
at leisure to attend to their recrea- places where boys will best learn
tions. Some of the former were en virtuous and godly living." In
tertaining dinner parties of friends; some of them, and those in high
while on their table was lying the repute, I am quite sure that those
John Bull Sunday Newspaper, which hallowed instructions which a pious
having on its unblushing front the mother instils into her child, teaching
Bible and Crown, and being furious him his sinfulness and misery, lead-
against Catholic emancipation and ing him in penitence and humility
parliamentary reform, appeared to to the cross of his Saviour, exhorting
beconsidered no unmeet sequel to the him to become a meek and lowly
Sundaysermon. Notone of the masters disciple of Jesus Christ, and to live,
was attending to the conduct of the according to the tenor of his bap-
boys; some of whom were writing tismal privileges, to the praise and
Latin verses, or learning lessons for glory of him who loved him and gave
the next day; some were reading himself for him; would be ridiculed
frivolous books ; others were idling and exploded as fit only for a Me-
about in groups within the extensive thodist Sunday-school.
range of their allotted haunts, talk I think by this time you

will coning, laughing, and jesting; and jecture that I am not by any means numbers were busily engaged in the convinced that our old endowed fruit-shops and pastry-cook shops, public schools have gained as they openly, and without any attempt at ought to have done, by the Proconcealment, either on the part of testant Reformation; I mean to say, the buyers or the sellers, and appa- that the spirit of the Reformation rently without the least conscious- has not duly penetrated their walls. ness that they were committing any Nay, in one important respect they offence against the law of God, the have gone back; for the object of law of the land, or academical dis- the founders was to teach, not merely cipline. The masters knew of these two dead languages, but, far more things; they passed under their eyes anxiously, whatever was at that time every Sunday; it was their duty, considered the rightful institution of and within their competency, to have a Christian. The latter was, howprevented them : in particular, with ever, mixed up with much that was one word, they could have prohibited false in doctrine and superstitious in buying and selling on the Sunday, practice; and this was swept away the tradesmen as much as the pupils by the Reformation. Greek and being under their controul; but they Latin were left, and may still be had not interfered in the matter. If had ; but what was afforded in place the boys did no mischief, and gave of Popery? Too little, I fear; and them no trouble, all was well. That thus, because boys are not now to the law of God was violated, and be juvenile monks, they are not to the souls of those committed to their be any thing that can be mistaken trust endangered, seemed to be no for religion. They are to be nothing subject of their consideration. I but young gentlemen versed in Latin speak, of course, only of the system, and Greek, and duly fitted to become and not of individuals. Some of our men of the world, as the world is public schools are better conducted now constituted, including the dethan others; and there are those sires of the flesh, the desires of the

[ocr errors]

eye, and the pride of life. I do not at least, to grant our public schools mean to disparage the classical part whatever they ask in relation to their of the tuition ; though, if you ask my temporal advantages ; in order that private opinion, it is, that the great in this matterof religion I may stand majority of boys will learn even the on vantage ground from my conclassics much better, so as really to ciliatory concessions. The basis of understand and enjoy them in after our academical education, I scruple life, and with incomparably less of not to say, is pagan ; the classics are severity and misery, under well our text books; we learn to admire conducted private training, than and imitate where we should shudder at Eton, Winchester, or West- and avoid ; while heathen virtue, minster, where, under the ordinary with its alleged magnanimity, and system of easing the master by heathen examples with their alleged making the boys swallow down every moral dignity and elegance, are too thing by memory, stimulating the apt to cast into the shade, the meek clever boys, but only flogging the and self-denying virtues of the disciple dull ones instead of teaching them, of a despised and crucified Master. I five-sixths learn next to nothing, am naturally reminded of this topic in and half of those who learn anything, writing concerning Winchester, not learn only to hate what they have only because that city is the site of learned, and to solace themselves by one of the most venerable and vaforgetting it as soon as they become luable of our public schools, but betheir own masters. Besides which, cause of the reminiscences of a cerit is a frightful waste of human life tain controversy which occurred some to devote ten or a dozen years to thirty years ago, with which a name mere words, to two dead languages, intimately connected with Winchesas if there were nothing else to be ter, and in every sense entitled to known, when the same time well the appellation of very reverend, is employed would have laid the foun- closely united. One word, my friend, dation for such an education as Locke on that individual, and that matter. and Milton describe and recommend, I have a venerable portrait in my and which includes the full deve- mind's eye; and as you love plalopment of the human faculties in tonism, and church-discipline, and all their range, and the acquisition pulpit eloquence, I beseech you to of those literary and scientific trea- gaze at it for a moment. sures which in the present age are see yonder Gothic building at the not denied to the children of our corner of the close, just beyond the tradesmen and mechanics. What cathedral; the identical house, if talented legislator for this mighty I recollect rightly, where Eleanor commercial nation was it who boast- Gwynn took up her abode, when the ed that he was educated at one of excellent Dr. (afterwards Bishop) these seats of romantic attach- Kenn, then a prebendary at Winment,” and could once write Greek chester, refused to yield to King Sapphic verse; but thanked his stars Charles's request, that she should be that he did not know an acid from entertained in his prebendal mansion? an alcali; that he was as innocent Well, but to my story ;-only just of political economy as an unborn begging you to say nothing to your babe; was not certain whether cot- friends of those two Grecian sash ton wool was an animal or vegetable windows, with which its present worproduction ; and that the last time thy occupant has varied its dull unihe had ever heard of what was doing formity of style, to the great relief of in the United States of America was the building, and reminding one of in one of Lord North's speeches ? the grateful variety of an opera air

But these are secular matters, and on a church organ. I think that I am speaking only of religion. venerable resident must have been I am willing, whatever my private deep in writing a sermon, or had opinion may be, for argument's sake just discovered a new platonic author

Do you

[ocr errors]

on the day of the accident. But Some partial good was, however,
there he is; look at him, as he effected by the discussion : but
issues forth to pace his morning the root of the evil remains, I fear,
round of exercise and friendly gratu- in its full vigour. Dean Vincent,
lation in his green old age, and with the head master of Westminster,
little to betoken a more than octo succeeded in shewing that he for one
genarian, Do you remember him did somewhat more in the way of
in his days of vigour; when to hear religious instruction than Dr. Ren-
him deliver one of his earnest im- nell appeared aware of; but it
passioned discourses at the Temple were vain to say that the defence
was esteemed one of the literary, convinced any right-minded man,
and I hope religious, luxuries of edu- that our public schools are really
cated men in the metropolis ? I have nurseries for the spiritual graces of
recently heard him read the service, Christianity. Dr. Rennell had the
at his own cathedral. It was af- high honour of being much vitu-
fecting to witness the triumphs of perated on the occasion ; and I look
desolating time, even in a compara- with admiration at the religious
tively vigorous old age; yet there courage with which, under all the
was still so much of nerve, of heart, delicacies and difficulties of the case,
of earnestness, of pathos, as might he ventured to thrust his hand into
put to shame many an ecclesiastical this hornet's nest, from which he
lounger, who had not numbered could not expect to retract it
one third of the years of this vener- without many a painful sting. I
able man. I am not discussing the trust and I believe that the system
doctrines of different schools of theo- has somewhat improved of late years;
logy, or I would freely give you my but put it at the best, and much is stil}
notions respecting that to which he wanting to render our public schools
may be considered as belonging- in general a hopeful sphere for the
the school, I might say, in part, of acquisition of that knowledge which
our Gaskins and Potts, and other makes wise unto salvation, and those
much respected names, but in the spiritual habits which are the orna-
case of Dr. Rennell accompanied by ments of the youthful Christian.
a warmth and heartiness which does Has it ever occurred to you, my
not always characterize it. My only dear friend, to calculate what por-
object is to remind you, by way of tion of deterioration is caused in
corroborating my own remarks on our church, by means of our public
the studies of our public schools, of schools, on account of their close
what this most competent judge connexion with our universities, and
thought and said of them thirty years the number of candidates which
ago. He was an Eton man, and they furnish for holy orders ? I
the son of a prebendary of Winches- lately fell in with a party of these
ter, and long.resident himself in the seedling ministers of Christ, going
metropolis, so that he had the best op- down to one of our universities; and
portunity of studying the matter in never was I more shocked with the
immediate reference to several of conversation and deportment of half
these institutions. I need not re a dozen young men, than on that
mind you how strongly he spoke of occasion. Yet in a very few years
the great neglect of Evangelical in- almost every one of these youths
struction in these seminaries; and will be a clergyman, and probably
of their tendency to promote vice have the spiritual charge of one or
and irreligion. The Bishop of Meath more parishes. I am afraid we are
united his efforts with those of our most of us too tender in treating of
worthy dean, and a controversy com these evils ; our Dissenting friends,
menced, which it is to be regretted and the world at large, at home, and
was suffered to die away before foreigners abroad, use no such deli-
the matter was probed to the bot cacy; and much that they have
tom and the evils fully corrected. urged might do us good, if we would

say, Let

weigh it. Did you ever see a work within the arbitrary limit, is driven much read in America, entitled, away in disgrace, his entrance at “Thoughts on the Anglican, and the universities is barred up, and his Anglo-American Churches ; by John prospects in life are blighted. Why Bristed, Counsellor at Law; pub- not, upon the same principle, have lished at New-York in 1823, and re decimated the population of a tuprinted in London by the Dissenting multuous village at the late rick-burnpress, and much be-praised by all ings, and hanged every tenth man, anti-church-and-king writers ? I am innocent or guilty, and without reminded of it, not only from its judge or jury, or trial, as an example reference to the topic in hand, but to the rest ? Justice would because Mr. Bristed was a pupil at the school perish rather than punish Winchester College, whence he was one innocent boy, or one boy not expelled at the well-known rebellion, proved to be guilty. It were a better some half a century ago, the un moral lesson to the world, that the happy results of which are felt in most magnificent of our foundamany families to this hour. One tions should become extinct, than of the best and most amiable men that it should be propped up by an whom I ever knew was one of the act of injustice under the abused expelled lads. He always declared, name of necessity or wholesome selike Mr. Bristed, that he had no con- verity. But this is not the only cern in the rebellion; nor was it illustration of the injustice of our pretended that he had, but he came public schools; for injustice runs within the line of those who were throughout their whole system; I to be banished, and banished he was, mean that injustice which arises from and lost all his brilliant prospects in there being little or no discrimination life, and met with great toils and as respects the health, the capabilities, privations, against which,with his sen- and the moral or intellectual habits sitive delicacy of mind and body, he of the pupils. Look at the case of was but little fitted to contend. It is Cowper, that unhappy victim of pubreplied, that the hardship of these lic-school injustice. I am told that his occasional decimations and amputa was a peculiar instance; but I believe tions upon

innocent individuals is ad- similar instances are frequent. One mitted; but that it is necessary, for general system is fixed, which is not that there is no other way of ma allowed to accommodate itself to naging a public school. Now I deny circumstances; it is a Procrustean that any thing that is unjust can be bed; it fits one half, and the other necessary; and it is unjust to punish half must have their limbs either the innocent with the guilty. Our stretched or lopped, as may be ne

ublic schools are built upon a system cessary, to fit it. It has not the of injustice. The masters do not pliancy which justice requires. Where superintend the boys, in their hours the masters of a school become perof relaxation, so that they are left very sonally acquainted with the tempers, much at liberty to devise every evil habits, endowments, and constituwork, the only check to which is the tions of their pupils, matters are fear of severe punishment and ulti- graduated accordingly: but this is mately of expulsion. It may chance not the case in our public schools, that a well-disposed boy does his and cannot be where boys are set to utmost to oppose the bad spirit of manage one another, and to tyrannize his companions; that to the last over one another, just to spare the he refuses to co-operate in their master the labour of supervision. It plans, and is grievously taunted is like slave-driving, where the driand punished by them for it; and ver, himself a slave, works the gang yet when one of these sweeping, I without any sense of justice, because had almost said revengeful, expulsions he himself is liable to be punished takes place, this very boy, if he fall by the manager for the faults of his

« PrécédentContinuer »