Popular Science Monthly/Volume 63/July 1903/The Story of English Education I
|THE STORY OF ENGLISH EDUCATION.|
By J. E. G. DE MONTMORENCY, B.A., LL.B. (Cantab.),
THE history of education in England is a subject of profound interest and of singular importance; for it is intimately associated with all the great crises of the national life, and exhibits, as no other subject can, the effects of the interplay of religion, learning and politics upon the sociological development of a great people. The subject is, moreover, one that belongs to all the daughter-nations of England, whether, like Canada, they are still, to use a simile from Roman law, within the English manus, or whether, like the United States, they have become sui juris. For it is necessary to go back far in time if we would trace with honesty the obscure streams of thought, learning and tendency that are responsible for the great systems of education in force in the various parts of the English-speaking world to-day. We have indeed to go back to times which are the common property of that world, and delve among the records of fifteen hundred years of strife and effort if we would understand the meaning and the direction of modern education as conceived by the Anglo-Saxon race. It is well sometimes to dwell, if only for a moment, on the permanence, the persistence, the soundness of the social forces that through a millennium and a half have emanated and still emanate from Britain. Fifteen hundred years almost exactly measured the period of the great Roman race from Romulus the first king to Romulus the last emperor. The Anglo-Saxon race at the end of a similar period shows little sign of exhaustion. It has, as we are often reminded by reformers of every possible type, faults and vices enough; but in the main they are the vices and faults of youth—of youth somewhat impatiently and curiously approaching adolescence after an infancy of fifteen centuries. I desire in these pages briefly to consider this infancy and to indicate the main educational lines that have been followed in so vast a period of preparation. To do so will, I believe, be valuable, for, in the storm and stress of modern times, men are perhaps a little apt to neglect the principles of progress that have been wrung, at the cost of infinite tears, from nature in the past—principles that are the motives of history if we will but read it.
We know from the writings of Tertullian and Origen that it is now at least seventeen hundred years since Christianity took root in Britain; while Zozomen and Euscbius reveal to us, in the fourth century of our era, a complete and organized British church, holding the: catholic faith, represented at the great church councils, and in intercourse with Palestine and Rome. This early church undoubtedly i possessed and disseminated some measure of culture in the Isle, and: when the first contact with the See of Rome came, that culture was certainly broadened, though from first to last during the Saxon period the spiritual control of Rome was specifically rejected. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, came to Britain in 596 A. D., and to him in the year 601 A. D. Pope Gregory committed the charge of 'the Bishops of the British.' The church as reorganized by Augustine and his followers maintained the old independence, and when 1 Theodore of Tarsus, a successor of Augustine in the See of Canterbury, deposed Wilfrid, Bishop of York, Pope Agatho was unable to compel either king or archbishop to restore him to his seat. This Theodore of Tarsus is one of the earliest names in English! education. He and the Abbot Adrian, about the year 668 A. D., brought to England new means and methods of education. They made each of the greater monasteries an educational center, and it is certain that in this dark age Greek itself was taught to those who would learn. Indeed, the first important period of English culture was at hand. Bede tells us in his 'Ecclesiastical History' (Vol. IV., C. II.) that in the year 732 A. D. there were living in England disciples of Theodore and Adrian, who knew the Greek and Latin tongues as well as their own language. The use of Latin became indeed so usual that Bede speaks of it as 'the vernacular': 'The • Creed and the Our Father I have myself translated into English for the benefit of those priests who are not familiar with the vernacular.' He himself taught in the monastery school at Jarrow, and wrote small treatises on the Trivium and Quadrivium for use in monastic schools. Alcuin was born into this first spring of learning in the year 735 A. D., and he boasts of the learned men and noble libraries of England. Charlemagne did all that he could to benefit by the scholarship that existed in our island, and in securing the services of Alcuin he initiated that earliest movement of Gallic culture which resulted in the creation later of the University of Paris. The first English period died away all too soon. "The sloth of the priesthood, the unrest of the land, the red ruin of the Dane, killed it south to north, and when Alfred came all that was left were some stray vestiges of scholarship in far Northumbria. "The age was dark indeed, and despite the remarkable efforts made by the church of Rome in the ninth century for the extension of learning and the founding of schools, little could be done. Alfred did what could be done. He founded and endowed with an eighth of his income a school mainly for the children of his nobility. Possibly, however, even serfs could attend this school. He also secured the freedom from tribute of the Saxon school in Rome. From this time forward we find that steady educational progress can be noted. King Ethelstan, by a law of 936 A. D., bestowed certain special benefits on learned clergy and thus founded the doctrine of 'Privilege of Clergy'—the right of a person (lay or clerical), who could read, to special rights in relation to the criminal law. This privilege in the middle ages certainly aided the spread of learning and though, when abolished in England in 1826, it had long outgrown all meaning and even all harmfulness, its importance as an educational factor must not be forgotten.
The development of education from the ninth century onwards was in the hands of the national church for many generations. It was the practice, both in England and in France, from the end of the eighth century, for the mass-priests to hold at their houses schools for young children and, at any rate from the tenth century, it was usual for parents to pay school fees. The Church of England by thus creating an elaborate educational system rapidly established a new claim to the possession of a national character. With the coming of the Normans in 1066 and the sudden increase of papal influence, we might expect to find, as we do find, the bishops speaking on educational questions in an authoritative manner. Rome realized the importance of exercising control over schools, and of fostering their increase, and she developed this policy in spite of the stern anti-Roman position eventually exhibited by William I. We must note here two canons on the question of education which, though promulgated at national synods sitting at Westminster, really emanated from Rome. Canon XVII. of 1138 A. D. ordained that schoolmasters should not, under penalty of ecclesiastical punishment, 'hire out' their schools. This canon made for efficiency. The man who took the fees must teach the school. Canon VIII. of the year 1200 ordained that nothing should be exacted by the church from schoolmasters in return for the license to teach. This canon shows how widespread was church control over education in the opening of the thirteenth century. This power of granting licenses to teach created a valuable and valued monopoly, and local records (such as the records of Beverley Minster) prove that many a stern fight took place between licensed and unlicensed schoolmasters for the lucrative right of instructing youth, and that on occasions the secular and spiritual courts came into
collision on the subject. The crown, moreover, as in the Ferendon schools case, decided in 1344, absolutely declined to admit ecclesiastical patronage over the grammar schools of England. From about this same date the absolutism of the church over education was threatened in various directions.
The 'Black-Death' of 1348-9 had the result of driving foreign priests from the land. After the terrible ravages of the dread pestilence had been smoothed away by the hand of time, we find that one of the lasting economic results was the fact that priests of English birth and speech served the churches and schools. We know this from contemporary documents. John de Trevisa tells us that immediately after the 'Black Death' John Cornwaile, master of grammar, 'chaunged the lore in gramer scole and construccioun of Frensche in to Englische'; and by the year 1385 'in alle the gramere scoles of Engelond, children leueth Frensche and construeth and lerneth an Englische.' The influence of Rome was diminished by the growth of a purely national English priesthood. At this very time the Lollard movement dealt a new blow at papal power. John Wyclif entirely repudiated Roman Catholicism, and his ideas rapidly permeated the country. Many Lollard schools were founded, while great and successful efforts were made by Wyclif's followers to protestantize the existing grammar and parochial schools. The revolt was so effective that by statute in 1401 and by the constitutions of Archbishop Clarendon in 1408, Lollard schools and Lollard schoolmasters were suppressed with violence, and for the space of some fifty years were apparently exterminated. In the meantime the Commons, possibly through fear of Rome or of Lollardy, or both, determined if possible to stop the spread of education among the unfree classes. The Articles of Clarendon more than two centuries before had forbidden villeins to become clerks without the permission of their lord and special manorial customs to the same effect were not unusual. The Commons determined to strengthen if possible these old feudal, customs—originally designed to preserve for the lord of the manor the labor of his hind—and in 1391 petitioned King Richard II. to ordain and command that henceforward no neif or villein should send his children to the schools for the purpose of enabling them to alter their social status by the acquisition of 'clergy.' Such a retrograde movement was impossible. Even in the twelfth century the serf had been able to struggle by means of education into a higher class, and it was impossible now to close the door. The king, therefore, and boldly, rejected the petition, and in a few years the first statute of education, setting forth the right of man to education, became law. This act, passed in 1406 (7. Hen. IV. c. 17), declared that 'every man or woman, of what state or condition that he be, shall be free to set their son or daughter to take learning at any school that pleaseth them within the realm.' This great step was reached just five hundred years ago. The universal right of all, bond or free, to education was placed on a firm and unalterable basis. Until that was done it would have been hopeless for the 'New Learning,' for the Renaissance, to take root in England. Great movements take hold, not of individuals but of nations, and unless this nation had been free and fit to learn it never could have received the new life of the spiritual movement, which, beginning with the work of Wyclif, concluded with the ironies of the political reformation under Henry VIII. The tremendous though futile efforts made by Robert Grossteste, Bishop of Lincoln, Roger Bacon, and their school to introduce the awakening culture of the thirteenth century into England proved that the work was impossible till England had become once more a free nation, speaking its own tongue, and proud of its own personality. The end of the fourteenth and the opening of the fifteenth century show us an England where these conditions, despite the growing power of the Papacy, were fulfilled. The power of the Pope in England was, despite its total illegality, immense. It was tolerated as a balancing force to political Lollardy, on the one hand, and a turbulent baronage on the other. The country paid a heavy price, in illegal taxation and the farming of benefices in the interests of Rome, for the political benefits derived from the tacit suspension of the anti-papal legislation on the statute-book. But the great power of the papacy during the fifteenth century was exercised in regard to education on the whole, to good effect. During that century the whole social order was changing. The feudal system was in its last stage, and under the stress of the Wars of the Roses the entire machinery of tenures was falling to pieces. The church during this period not only kept learning alive, but developed the grammar schools and made them effective feeders for the universities, drawing upon every class of society for the supply of scholars. It is true that the temporary suppression of the Lollard movement involved the closing of many schools, but it is evident that at the very period when these schools were attacked a larger policy was in the air. I have referred to the statute of 1406 which gave the right of education to all. The famous Gloucester Grammar School Case decided further (in 1410) that at common law every man who was able had the right to teach, and this fact undoubtedly bore fruit. Throughout the century competition among schoolmasters was keen in all the great centers of population, and there can be no manner of doubt that during the fifteenth century, before the introduction of printing, educational activity was preparing the way among all classes for the introduction of the 'New Learning' and the final rejection of papal interference in spiritual affairs.
When we regard the great movement known as the Reformation apart from the local incidents that appear to have precipitated it, we seem to see, in the present connection at any rate, the working of long ripening issues. The crown in the fifteenth century had been glad enough to play off Rome against a rebellious and heretical commonalty and a dangerous baronage. The opening of the sixteenth century presented a new scene of action, from which the feudal barons had disappeared. The commonalty and the king had now one thing in common: the old-standing hatred of papal interference and foreign taxation; while the moving force of the new learning was urging both king and people, unconsciously enough perhaps, towards the same end. The Renaissance, the lessons of history, and the hope of gain, all combined to make men see in a free and purified church that vision of national liberty and national isolation which had always been the ideal of English statesmen from Alfred onwards. So the Reformation came, affirming, only in more downright fashion, the policy laid down by Edward III. in the famous statute of Provisors of Benefices. The independence of the church of England indeed had been asserted over and over again from British times to Magna Charta, from Magna Charta down to the Reformation-Parliament, which, in the seven years from 1529 to 1536, finally did away with de facto papal supremacy. The notable fact of the Reformation legislation for us is that it finally broke the bond that Rome in the teeth of history and the law had bound round England. The separation from Rome played a notable part in the history of English education. The first result was an unhappy one. I have pointed out that in the century immediately preceding the Reformation the educational system in England was in many ways effective. In fact there was a primary class of schools that fed the grammar schools, while the grammar schools fed the universities. There are still extant a considerable number of both primary and secondary schools that were created during that period; but the number is but a small proportion of the noble medieval system. Henry VIII. and the ministers of his son Edward VI. in their haste to abolish all traces of Rome, to divert all papal taxation and to absorb the property of papal foundations, destroyed innumerable educational foundations. The chantry legislation alone would have compassed the practical destruction of the medieval system. It is, however, probable, nay, almost certain, that the Tudors had no desire in any way to injure national education. The advancement of learning was a thing dear to the hearts of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary I. and Elizabeth, but learning itself fell before the progress of a definite and destructive political policy. It was intended to recreate the destroyed foundations, but the funds nominally allocated for this purpose were diverted to other and less laudable uses.
The course of destruction, however, left the universities untouched— untouched—indeed, their position was strengthened—and the desire for a national system of education grew with the development of the Reformation. Queen Elizabeth showed herself keenly interested in the task of creating the means that should bring the opportunities of learning within the grasp of her poorest subject. It is true that she insisted on the religious conformity of schoolmasters to the established church. To so insist was part of her conception of national unity; but this, at that date, was in no way inconsistent with an enlightened educational policy. Shortly after her accession she published special injunctions on the subject of education, while the bishops closely enquired into the character and quality of the teaching in their dioceses. Parliament moreover specially excepted all educational foundations from annexation on religious grounds, and also by the statute of apprentices of 1562 exempted 'a student or scolar in any of the Universitees, or in any Scoole' from the strict provisions of that act. Moreover, commissioners for charitable uses were appointed—a commission that still occasionally sat in the nineteenth century—who enquired into the abuses of educational foundations. A statute of 1588, which is still in force, attacked with increased vigor the dire corruption of these foundations. The act aimed alike at the universities and the schools. All educational foundations were, moreover, relieved from the burden of subsidies and other taxation. Nor was this all. The queen in 1571 incorporated by statute the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in order to secure 'the mayntenannce of good and Godly literature, and the vertuouse Education of Youth within either of the same Universities.' It is interesting to note that this quotation from the pre-amble to the act uses, so far as can be ascertained, the word 'education' for the first time in its modern sense. We may say then that the great queen removed, in so far as in her lay, all artificial draw-backs to education; she opened up all educational endowments to the fittest scholars, and she gave a new and as yet unexhausted impetus to the university system, while she inspired both church and state with a new interest in educational matters.
After the death of Elizabeth, we find that the subject of education was doomed, in view of new political problems and in spite of the personal interest that James I. and probably Charles I. took in letters, to some neglect. Yet Parliament even in the stern days of 'the Great Rebellion' had time to think of education, for we find that Cromwell passed in 1649 a measure for education in Wales as well as a general act that diverted to national education tithe-rent charges of the value of £20,000 a year, and directed that if the annual sum fell below that amount it should be supplemented out of the national exchequer. We thus find in England as early as 1649 provision for parliamentary grants in aid of national education. Local rates in aid of education existed in rare and sporadic cases, perhaps a century earlier than this; while it is interesting to note that in the colony of Massachusetts Bay as early as October 25, 1644, the general court granted a voluntary rate for the maintenance of poor scholars at Harvard College, and the Connecticut code of 1650 dealt with the whole question of rate-aided education. It is also well to remember that while this beginning of state and rate aid had almost died away in England before the beginning of the eighteenth century, yet the English crown in 1695 confirmed a New England statute creating a system of rate-aided education. The idea, however, soon vanished as completely in the American colonies as it did in the mother country. The restoration of Charles II. in 1660 sounded indeed the death note of the commonwealth conception of national education. It achieved as well an even more lamentable result, for it reduced the great Elizabethan system to a state of coma. Elizabeth, we have seen, insisted on religious conformity, but she did not allow this to interfere with her educational policy. The Act of Uniformity of 1662 and the Five Mile Act of 1665 seem to us to have been literally designed for the extinction of education. These acts involved such a peering into the lives of schoolmasters, such a course of inquisitorial folly, that the position became intolerable. Men would not become schoolmasters, and practically all secondary and (apart from a certain new movement to be referred to immediately) primary education ceased to exist. Education has no meaning when none but political and religious hypocrites are allowed to teach. The campaign against dissent and Roman Catholicism may possibly be defended on political grounds, but, from the point of view of national education, the result was lamentable. For the third time national education had been destroyed; it seemed hopeless to try and evolve a fourth system.
That fourth system, incorporating much of the wrecked materials of the old systems, is receiving its coping-stone to-day. We must, therefore, briefly trace its growth. The Uniformity legislation that followed the Restoration was so severe in character that a reaction or a revolt from its operation was inevitable. The decisions of the courts of justice were the first sign of this reaction. The courts held that a school-master, if he was a nominee of the founder or of the lay-patron of a school, could not be ejected from the school for teaching without the bishop's license (Bates's case, 1670); while it was decided in Cox's case in 1700 that there was not and never had been ecclesiastical control over any schools save grammar schools; that the church, in fact, had no control over elementary education. In Douse's case, decided in 1701, it was held that it was not a civil offence to keep an elementary school without the bishop's license. Hence the elementary school could escape the inquisition of the bishop whether imposed by statute or ecclesiastical law. An act of 1714 exempted elementary schools from the penalties of the conformity legislation, and so such schools could, if they would, multiply. The opportunity for a great movement was at hand: the question for England, perhaps the question for civilization, was, would it be seized? To attempt to deal in any detail with the manner in which this opportunity, emerging so obscurely among the bitter political conflicts of the time, was seized, is beyond the scope of a review article, but I may indicate some broad aspects of the movement.
First, we must remember that the modern system, though it includes now all the endowed educational foundations that had fallen on to evil days at the end of the seventeenth century, did not in any sense spring from those old foundations. It was not till the middle of the nineteenth century that the abuses in these foundations were remedied. "Whoever will examine," said Lord Kenyon in 1795, "the state of the grammar schools in different parts of this kingdom will see to what a lamentable condition most of them are reduced. * * * empty walls without scholars, and everything neglected but the receipt of the salaries and emoluments." The state of the Court of Chancery was such that it would have ruined any individual as well as the endowment to have brought almost any specific case before the courts. These foundations lay dormant till better days—till the days of the grammar school act of 1840 and the endowed schools act of 1869. It may be stated generally that it was not until after 1870 that the ancient grammar schools and endowed schools—the numerous secondary schools of the country which are now proving of such vast importance in coordination with the state-aided primary system became in any sense efficient. Yet we have to look to a certain class of endowed schools for one source of the modern elementary system. In England and Wales there were in 1842 some 3,000 endowed schools and of these more than 1,000 were founded between the years 1660 and 1730. This extraordinary movement, which has left so vast a result, is certainly difficult to understand. About the year 1660 church and state had practically suppressed endowed education, and yet in the face of that suppression a huge endowment movement arose. One explanation is certainly Bates's case, which decided in 1670 that a schoolmaster presented by the founder of a school or by a lay patron could not be ejected from his office by reason of his not holding the bishop's license. This case was a direct incentive to all dissenters, and to all who hated the Erastianity of the period, to found schools where children could be safely educated. This appears to be a reasonable explanation of a movement which was as remarkable as it has been unnoticed by historians,-This explanation finds support in the fact that the charity schools movement—largely supported by dissenters—to some extent synchronized in its early rapid development with this school endowment movement. The Act of Uniformity (1662) pressed with great severity on the dissenting schoolmasters, and, in order to give them relief, Dean (afterwards Archbishop) Tillotson and Richard Baxter (the distinguished writer and dissenter) combined in 1674 to draft a 'Healing Act' that should make the spread of elementary education possible. The bishops would not accept the compromise, but it is probable that it had some indirect effect, for the church made few attempts to interfere with dissenting schools, though they were often attended by church children.
The earliest 'voluntary' schools were started in Wales in 1672 by Thomas Gouge, a clergyman of the established church, who had been ejected from his living on Bartholomew's Day, 1662, under the provisions of the act of Uniformity. The bishops sanctioned his Welsh schools, and in 167-1 a strong committee of churchmen and dissenters was formed in London to carry on the good work. In 1675 there were 1,850 children at school, of whom 538 were educated by Welsh voluntary subscriptions. John Strype, writing before 1720, connects this work with the charity school system, started in 1698 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. This latter movement was immensely successful and spread all over the country. In 1729 there were no less than 1,658 schools, containing 34,000 children. I have elsewhere estimated that, allowing a considerable margin for overlapping between the endowment movement and the charity school movement, there were over 2,500 schools of all classes founded in England and Wales between 1660 and 1730, that over one hundred schools received supplementary endowments and that 650 unattached educational charities were created. These schools supplied the poor with such education as was to be had in the eighteenth century—the education given was ineffective enough, but it was at any rate better than nothing. Special efforts were made in heathen Wales. Griffith Jones, a clergyman of the established church, in 1730 started 'circulating schools' in the towns, villages and wild country districts. The teachers stopped in each district for a few months only and then passed on to other centers. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge helped the movement, and large funds were supplied by a Mrs. Bevan, who carried on the schools after Griffith's death in 1761. At that date there had been 3,000 schools opened, in which 150,000 scholars had been taught. There were 10,000 children in the schools in 1760. In 1779 Mrs. Bevan died and bequeathed her large property to the carrying on of the work. Her estate was thrown into chancery and the schools were closed for thirty years. Such were the changes and chances of education in the eighteenth century. All higher education—apart from the work, often great, of individuals here and there, such as Isaac Newton and certain university developments (such as the foundation of various chairs) destined to bear fruit in later days—was asleep, while primary education was poor indeed. It was, however, living and awake and so led on to the great revival of the nineteenth century.
Three new causes united with the new foundations and the charity schools to produce this revival. The first was the Sunday School system, tried by John Wesley in Savannah in 1737, but only introduced into England in 1763, made a national system by Robert Raikes, of Gloucester, in 1780 and brought to London about 1785, when the Sunday School Society was founded. In 183-1 there were about 1,500,000 children with 160,000 voluntary teachers in the Sunday Schools of England and Wales. The secular work done by these schools was most valuable. In Manchester we find that in 1831 Sunday Schools were open for secular instruction for five and a half hours on Sunday and for two evenings in the week, and that the ages of the scholars varied from five to twenty-five years. Manchester in those days was still writhing under the scourge of universal child labor, and the Sunday Schools did work that secured the social salvation of thousands. In Mr. Benjamin Braidley's Manchester Sunday School there were 2,700 scholars, taught by 120 unsalaried teachers, all, save two or three, former scholars. The self-sacrifice to be found in the Manchester of those days perhaps more than balanced the sorrows involved in the policy of the Manchester school and David Ricardo. The second cause to which I have referred was the introduction of the monitorial system between 1798 and 1803, by Andrew Bell, a clergyman of the established church (who subsequently founded in 1811 the National School Society), and Joseph Lancaster, who received the close support of King George III., and from whose work sprang in 1814 the British and Foreign School Society. These two men worked with immense vigor at their task and quarreled with no less energy. Their quarrel for precedence as the discoverer of the monitorial system was taken up by the political parties of the day. The tories or church party supported the claims of Dr. Bell, while the whigs and dissenters rallied round Mr. Lancaster. The system was in itself a bad one. It was the parent of the modern pupil-teacher system and gave permanence to the lamentable practice of employing untrained teachers. We may, therefore, believe that the quarrel for precedence was unimportant. It had, however, two vast issues. It created the modern religious or denominational controversy which has had such a marked influence on the development of primary education in England, and it also brought education into modern politics.
The third cause to which I have referred above is this connection between education and politics, a relationship which has evolved the elaborate educational system that found its completion in the education act of 1902. The earliest legislation on the subject of national elementary education in the modern sense was carried through Parliament in 1802—just a century before the great statute of last year. The factory act of 1803 was intended to deal with the health and morals of children employed in cotton and other mills and factories. The state of the children in these factories and mills was deplorable: ignorant beyond all imagination; housed under conditions subversive of all health, of all morality; working by methods that involved the stagnation of intelligence; these children presented a fearful problem and constituted a positive menace to the future of society. The act of 1803 was passed without discussion: it directed the mill rooms to be whitewashed twice a year and to be ventilated; it ordered an apprentice to have one suit of clothes a year and not to work more than twelve hours a day exclusive of meal times; it forbade work between nine at night and six in the morning; it provided that male and female apprentices should sleep in separate rooms and not more than two apprentices should sleep in one bed; it made medical attendance compulsory in case of infectious disease; it directed the mills to be inspected by visitors appointed by the justices and ordered the children to be taught the elements of knowledge and the principles of Christianity. It is an awful picture; a picture for which the discovery of machinery and of the usefulness of children in machine work are responsible. This reformatory measure was petitioned against in the following year by both manufacturers and parents and it was never enforced. Many generations of little, seven-year-old slaves—the thought is heart-breaking—were to be worn away in the mills before, late in the century, effective relief came. Until 1878 children under nine years of age could be employed in silk mills. At the present time every child in the country—who is not specially exempt on the ground of adequate private teaching, sickness, inaccessibility of school, or other reasonable excuse—is compelled to attend school full time between the ages of five and at least twelve years (save in the case of children employed in agriculture when the child may be partially exempted at eleven). Moreover every local education authority may make by-laws compelling attendance up to the age of fourteen years. The child can, however, be employed during holidays or during hours when the school is not open; and this is a source of abuse. A child can not do his school work and school play and also be an up-hill down-dale errand boy. However, the change in the matter of child labor is remarkable since that year of grace 1803 and it may be admitted that some forms of employment in non-school hours are better than idleness with its concomitant evils.
From this time parliamentary interest in educational matters increased very rapidly. Mr. Whitbread's bill of 1807 provided for the establishment of schools and the appointment of schoolmasters by the magistrates in every school-less district. All poor children were to be entitled to two years schooling between the ages of seven and fourteen years. The bill was mangled in the Commons and lost in the Lords. In 1816 a select committee was appointed to report on the education of the lower orders. In 1818 it reported on the condition of the country at large. 'The anxiety of the poor for education' was daily increasing, though the opportunities were very bad. The single-school (mostly church-school) districts showed, however, an increasing degree of liberality, and the religious views of the school were not pressed upon the children of parents holding other views, provided that the children were really taught such other views. This committee recommended the universal use of a conscience clause, the establishment of rate-supported, free parochial schools in very poor districts—the principle of the act of 1870—and, in rich districts, the making of grants to aid in the building of schools the maintenance of which would fall upon voluntary subscribers—the principle adopted by Parliament in 1833. Had both these suggestions been accepted in 1818, educational progress in the nineteenth century would have been far more rapid.
In 1820 Mr. Brougham introduced his first education bill. In his speech he fully recognized the labors of the clergy on behalf of education, and he noted the great improvement of the position since 1803. Then only one in every 21 persons in the population was at school, while in 1820 it was one in every 16 persons. This meant, however, that still one fifth of the population was without the means of education. Moreover, London was still 'the worst-educated part of Christendom.' The bill proposed the universal establishment of parochial schools with efficient teachers. Funds were to be found by local rates and by the diversion of old endowments. The religious teaching was to be undenominational. This bill was opposed both by the dissenters and the Roman Catholics, and was abandoned after the second reading.
Thirteen years now passed without legislative effort, but these years saw the growth of a great volume of public opinion. Mr. Brougham's pamphlet entitled 'Observations on the Education of the People,' published in 1825, ran through twenty editions in less than a year, and on all sides the importance of the problem received recognition. The year 1833 produced the first results of the educational renaissance. On Saturday, August 17, the House of Commons voted the sum of £20,000 in aid of private subscriptions for the erection of schoolhouses. The new era of definite state intervention in the education of the people may be said to have opened with this vote. From that date to this an ever-increasing annual vote for education has dignified and justified the statute book.
(To be continued.)
- See the Canon de scholis reparandis pro studio literarum promulgated at the Concilium Romanum in 826 A. D., in the time of Pope Eugenius II. This canon appears to be little known to educationists. It should be read in
- I believe that benefit of clergy still nominally exists in some states of the Union.
- See the de nugis curialium (Distinc. 1, Cap. X.), by Walter Map (fl. 1180 A.D.).
- I have dealt with it at some length in my volume on 'State Intervention in English Education,' published last year by the Cambridge University Press.
- Over £10,000,000 was voted by Parliament for Elementary Education in England and Wales for the year 1902-3.
connection with decrees of the third Council of Lateran (1179 A. D.), the fourth Council of Lateran (1215 A. D.) and the Council of Vienne (1311 A. D.).