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British colonies. Under such circumstances it required surely the blindness of enthusiasm for exclusive peasant-proprietorship to assign to that source the growth of the shipping and trading prosperity of the Channel Islands, just as it had required the intrepidity of that enthusiasm (to give it no harsher name), to describe those islands as terrestrial paradises of a dense population, entirely fed by a self-supporting agriculture on the system of la petite culture.
We cannot close our present remarks without some brief reference to continental views and proceedings on the subject of operative associations, and labour-regulations and theories. Those have been interrupted in their calm and regular development by the great war between France and Germany; but a portentous phenomenon which has followed in the train of that war—the insurgent apparition of the INTERNATIONAL, with its myriad incendiary hands, and tongues, and pens—terribly demonstrates how the speculative delusions palmed on popular ignorance may blaze out in more than metaphorical conflagrations kindled by popular fanaticism. Some years before proletaire absolutism fired its own funeral-pile in Paris, a rather remarkable instance was reported of that esprit prime-sautier in the French work people, which has rendered Parisian proletarism, from the first outbreak of the French Revolution to the present day, the ever ready and ever formidable instrument of political and social perturbations, unwillingly endured in their too frequent recurrence by the French nation at large, and now at length suppressed with a strong hand by the national armed force. A few years back, the English operative - Internationals' tried to get their Parisian brethren to join in a grand combined strike. Why should we give ourselves any trouble about raising the rate of wages ? '—was the reply of the latter to their comparatively practical English industrial corevolutionists—when we are just on the eve of suppressing wages altogether, and becoming our own employers-(nos propres patrons.')
It may be regarded as a somewhat noticeable sign of the times, that a recently reigning Emperor, and two rival pretenders to, or rival candidates for, the throne he so lately filled, should, within the last few years, have emulously exhibited in action or speculation their sympathies with the working classes, as their best title to sovereign power. Each, of course, exhibited those sympathies with a difference,' according to their respective positions and antecedents. The Ex-Emperor of the French laid claim to every grand idea of operative elevation in the social scale of the future, as an idée Napoléonienne. The Comte de Chambord, in a manifesto dated from Venice, 20th April, 1865, traced all the
ills that afflict the working classes to the individualism'engendered by the French Revolution, which, in his royal view, has been the parent of industrial monopoly and the abuse of competition. (To logicians of a less august order, monopoly and competition might seem contradictory terms.) The Comte de Paris, in his recent opuscule, entitled “Les Associations Ouvrières en Angleterre,' kept in view, throughout, his political object of contrasting the liberties of England with the half-liberties of France under the Second Empire, and the illusory compensation for the substantial benefits of self-government held out by ostentatious official patronage of industrial interests.
The most remarkable fact of the present epoch, as regards this subject, is the abolition of the system of legal penalties against operative combinations, which is in course of being effected in Continental States—a system which in principle was abandoned in England nearly half a century back, at the epoch of the repeal of the old Combination Laws in 1824. Nothing remained to do in this country but what is just being done by Parliament—nothing but the crowning of the edifice' of operative emancipation. No objection is now opposed to the legislative recognition of the corporate existence and corporate rights of Trades' Unions, except their adherence to regulations adverse to the freedom and safety of the larger unorganized union of peaceful citizens and workers outside their pale. It is near half a century since legislation in this country abandoned its old untenable position, of proscribing all operative combinations as criminal. And the only limit the law now seeks to impose on the freedom of Trades' Unions is that of enforcing respect on their part for the equal freedom of the great majority of their non-unionist fellowwork people, who may continue to think fit, as hitherto they have thought fit, to stay out of the unions.
The Continent now stands just at the turning-point of industrial legislation at which we stood in 1824—it being also remembered that the liberty of meeting for any purpose is as new a concession, generally speaking, on the Continent, to every other class of citizens as to the working class. In 1842, when M. Leclaire-the Paris house-painter, since celebrated-first adopted in his own establishment the principle which is now assumed in high economical quarters to be universally applicable, of conceding a share of profits in his concern to a select portion of his work people—the government of Louis Philippe thwarted his project by refusing him the permission requisite to assemble his work people for the purpose of laying his plan before them. In Prussia and Austria, the law has hitherto punished, as formerly in England, with fine and imprisonment, any workman who combined with his fellows for the purpose of obtaining concessions from their employer by striking work. Similar legislation has been in force in Belgium and the other smaller states. Operative emancipation is achieving itself almost suddenly in continental Europe, and is producing phenomena if not of lawlessness in action equal to some of our unions, yet of far more Utopian extravagance in speculation—as witness the doctrines promulgated at the International Labour-Congresses of late years. Wages have been indignantly characterized as an humiliation to labour-capital as a hostile power, when in any other than Labour's hands. It has been loudly proclaimed to be the foremost duty of the State to set operative productive associations on their legs by lavish subsidies at the public charge; and the doctrines of the late Ferdinand Lassalle, the apostle of State-support to co-operative societies, are articles of economic faith among large numbers of the working population in Northern and Southern Germany. In short it is clear that continental proletarism, breaking from its old fetters, will wage an internecine war against property and social order.
• Lorsque le faible devient fort,' impressively writes M. Edmond About, * lorsque l'opprimé devient libre, son premier mouvement n'est pas d'user, mais d'abuser. Déliez les mains d'un brave homme enchaîné sans cause légitime: il ne jettera pas la chaine, il la ramassera avec soin pour l'attacher aux mains de celui qui la lui a donnée. S'il agissait autrement, il ne serait un homme, mais un ange.'
Art. IX.-1. The Elementary Education Act, 1870. 2. Minute of the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of
Privy Council on Education, establishing a new Code of Regula
tions, 1871. 3. The School Board Chronicle, Nos. I.-XX. February to July,
1871. 4. The Sixtieth Report of the National Society, 1871.
THE period which has elapsed since we last called attention considerable modifications, it has become law, and has thus inaugurated the first scheme of education in England which can in the strict sense be called · National,' as really providing for the elementary instruction of every child in the country. As a necessary corollary to it has followed the New Code, reversing in many important respects the Revised Code,' of which we have heard so much in measured praise and unmeasured censure, and certainly indicating very distinctly a resolution on the part of the Education Department to deal with the great cause entrusted to its care in a more generous spirit, in respect not only of larger pecuniary supply but of greater liberality of idea. As a consequence
unexampled educational activity. The Education Act had then just been introduced into the House of Commons; now, after passing through an ordeal of fierce discussion and emerging with
* · A, B, C, du Travailleur,' p. 151.
† In April, 1870.
considerable * The National Society has made grants to no less than 1411 schools (which, of course, are Church schools only) to be erected at an outlay of 848,000l., and to contain 195,000 children,
of the same legislation, School Boards have been created in the metropolis, in all the largest towns, and in many even of the smaller towns and hamlets, wielding large powers under the Act, and evidently prepared to exercise them with energy and ability. Last, but not wholly least, the influence of the time has spread to the existing school system. There has been an extraordinary creation of new voluntary schools; the Education Department, we hear, stood fairly aghast at the number of applications for building grants—the last which the state is ever to make to voluntary agencies—and as the close of 1870 approached, its experience showed a state of things not unlike the bustle and excitement of the last day on which railway schemes can be deposited for the consideration of Parliamentary Committees. The Church of England has been stirred to new efforts to preserve and complete the system which has done such noble work during the last thirty years ; * the Roman Catholic body, occupying here, as on all other questions, an exceptional position, has shown extraordinary munificence in the creation of new schools for its own people, If the voluntary system is to die, as its opponents prophesy, it is certainly resolved to die hard ; if, as we hope, it is to live, it is taking the right means to secure a new power of vitality and a new lease of life. All these movements mark an educational crisis.
The public mind is roused to the importance of the subject, and, in spite of all the disturbing influences of party or sectarian jealousy, is resolutely bent on doing the work set before the country in a practical and uncontroversial spirit. It is, of course, inevitable that thorough consideration of the problem should disclose its enormous magnitude, its bewildering intricacy, and its ineradicable difficulties; nor are there wanting the men who, from sheer timidity, cry out that there are lions in the path,' or with per
verse ingenuity seek to exaggerate and even to create perplexities. But we do not believe that at the present time they have much power over public opinion. Englishmen have a strong belief in the soluitur ambulando principle; they have over and over again done what theorists pronounced to be impossible ; and, if their work does show some abstract imperfections, they are always ready to consider such imperfections abundantly compensated by solidity and practical energy: they prefer an irregular reality to a ‘faultless monster that the world ne'er saw. Accordingly at this moment they are more ready to listen to the practical educationists, who declare that the thing has been already done in great part and shall be done completely, than to the alarmists, who cry out that the attempt is hopeless, or the revolutionists, who would use this cry as an excuse for making a clean
sweep all former erections, and building up a new fabric on the vacant space, perhaps with the ruins of the old. The time may come when the cold fit will return; then, we fear, timidity and economy, party spirit and revolutionism, will gain a hearing. Meanwhile it is earnestly to be desired that the great impulse given may carry us well over the dead point, and that the creative enthusiasm of the present moment may have done what it will be in great degree impossible to undo.
Progress then, and great progress there will undoubtedly be. But we are of the number—which we hope in England is still considerable—of those who are not content to be going fast, without knowing whither we are going ; we would welcome all necessary change, but both theory and experience teach us that those changes are most orderly and healthy which are real developments of what has grown up by a gradual and natural growth, and which preserve at every step the link of an organic continuity with the past. Rejoicing in the present educational enthusiasm, sympathizing to the utmost with the various movements thus combining to secure the triumph of the good cause, we yet think it natural that men should ask, What are really our present educational prospects? Shall we secure a real improvement and growth? Can we hope, even approximately, to attain our great ideal, the education-elementary, indeed, but substantial-of every English child ?
These questions assume various forms, and are asked in various tones of feeling and opinion. But, speaking generally, the real points of interest to the country are these three : First, What will be the effect of the new system of rate-supported schools, backed by the compulsory power of the law, upon the voluntary system, which has hitherto been thought to be congenial to our national character, and which has certainly done considerable work?