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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

is perhaps premature to criticize the institution when so little is known in regard to its plans. So long, however, as these are not disclosed the institution must be judged by what has been made public. It is known that when the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole asked for the assistance that it so well deserves, the executive committee replied that they would assist the laboratory if it were given to them, and the corporation actually voted to give the laboratory to the institution.

We hope and believe that the appearance of seeking to aggrandize the Carnegie Institution at the cost of other agencies and of men of science, instead of cooperating with them for the advancement of science, is not real, but due only to lack of information in regard to the purposes of the institution. It is, however, but just to men of science that this information be made public at an early day. The lines of Mr. Carnegie's great gift were drawn broadly and generously, and in spite of the apparent mistakes that have been made, there is every reason to believe that the institution will be conducted in the spirit in which it was founded.

 

THE BRITISH EDUCATION BILL.

It is a striking fact that the British parliament and the British people have in recent months been occupied chiefly with the concerns of primary education; and it is at the same time somewhat depressing to consider that almost no attention is paid to the subject here, the daily papers publishing fuller details of the last divorce case connected with the nobility than of the bill now before parliament. The bill which the House of Commons has sent to the House of Lords is really of very great interest. The affairs of primary education in Great Britain and Ireland have been somewhat anomalous. About half the children who receive free education attend the board schools, supported by the state and by local taxation, and corresponding pretty closely to our public schools. The voluntary schools, controlled chiefly by the church of England, provide for the other half of the children. They do not share in the local taxes, but when they remit tuition fees they receive from the general government a per capita grant of $1.25 for each student. The main feature in the bill passed by the House of Commons is the support of the voluntary schools by taxation, local and central, leaving them largely under the control of the church. This is undoubtedly a step in the direction of local and state control, and might be supposed to be acceptable to the liberal and radical parties and distasteful to the conservative and church parties. The exact reverse is the case; the bill has been made the chief measure of the government, and has been bitterly opposed in and out of parliament by liberals and nonconformists. It is claimed that it is a subversion of the principles of free government to tax the community for schools which are conducted by the church and which teach the creed of the church. As a matter of fact the denominational schools are already supported in part by taxation as is also the established church. It, however, appears to be a real hardship that the children of dissenters must be sent to schools where rites are practised that are distasteful to their parents. Our public schools are so completely exempt from denominational control that we can scarcely understand the position of the bishop of London when he says in a public address 'an undenominational education is a rotten system.' The bill will doubtless be passed, and the church will for a while receive from rates what has hitherto been paid by subscription. But it seems almost evident that the voluntary schools will be less subservient to the church than hitherto and that a long step has been taken in the direction of popular control.