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fellow subjects, we can only say, that his notions are such as the philosopher and the practical man niust equally condemn. Who, in truth, can really have persuaded himself, that the way. to benefit his
country, or even to introduce such corrections and improvements in its institutions as the lapse of time and the course of events may require, is by continual efforts to hold up to public odium the various branches of the legislature, particularly the highest; to throw suspicion upon the proceedings of the courts of judicature, and to bring into contempt the great establishnients for national religion and national education? Upon whom can the practical lessons afforded by the history of Europe for the last thirty years have been so entirely thrown away? Prejudice may be entertained against English education by those who themselves do not happen to have enjoyed its advantages, the nature of which they therefore do not thoroughly comprehend : and this feeling, by no means universal or even generally prevalent among those who have been brought up under a different system, is in the present instance too conspi
the notice of the most careless observer. From what cause a like prejudice against our Established Church may spring, we cannot take upon ourselves to determine : but it is as impossible to peruse the publications now before us, as it is to read the productions of a certain Northern school of critics, without observing a continual eagerness to censure the conduct of the Church of England, and to speak of its distinguished characters with expressions of bitterness or derision.
The above remarks are forced from us, and are made rather in sorrow than in anger. Whether they be justified by the conduct of the late parliamentary investigation, the voice of the public must decide. We are not ignorant how jealously our countrymen are disposed to feel on the subject of charitable endowments ; nor do we wish to see this jealousy abated or lulled asleep: it is the best security for those institutions, the peculiar and distinctive boast of this island. But we also know, that they are too clear-sighted to be long deluded by any suggestions, however specious, from those improvers who, if once admitted into the garden for the purpose of weeding it, would infallibly proceed to root up the fairest and goodliest products of its culture, and convert the soil to purposes of a totally different nature.
In submitting the merits of this subject to our readers, we purpose to adopt the simplest and plainest course. The importance of the subject is in itself sufficient to command their attention. It is our wish only to put them in possession of the facts, and to leave them to form a dispassionate opinion for themselves.
On the 21st of May, 1816, the Honourable and Learned Member for Winchelsea moved for the appointment of a Select
Committee of the House of Commons, to inquire into the state of Education of the Lower Orders of the People in London, Westminster, and Southwark.' To prove the necessity of such an inquiry, the learned Gentleman mentioned the result of investigations lately pursued by some benevolent individuals in the metropolis, associated with the view of promoting the education of the poor; who, in the course of their laudable pursuit, had discovered in some parts of the town, particularly the districts of St. Giles's and Shadwell, that many thousands of children were totally destitute of education, and that this state of ignorance was accompanied by the most shocking misery and depravity. He threw out, at the same time, an idea of proposing some scheme for educating the poor by parliamentary assistance, to be tried in London, in the first instance, by way of experiment. The motion thus stated was agreed to unanimously, and without the least expression of jealousy from any part of the House: and a Select Committee was appointedTo inquire into the Education of the Lower Orders of the Metropolis, and to report their observations thereupon, together with the Minutes of the Evidence taken before them, from time to time, to the House; and were instructed to consider what may be fit to be done with respect to the children of Paupers who shall be found begging in the streets in and near the Metropolis, or who shall be carried about by persons asking charity, and whose parents, or other persons whom they accompany, have not sent such children to any of the schools provided for the education of poor children.' With their powers and the objects of their attention thus accurately defined, the Committee forthwith commenced their inquiries, and continued them with laudable industry till the 19th of the following month. The result of this labour was published in the shape of Minutes of Evidence; in which appear the examinations at large of many persons connected with, or possessing information relative to, the different Charity schools, Sunday schools, and Catholic schools in the metropolis, as well as those in the connection of the National Society, and the British and Foreign School Society. In addition to these objects of inquiry, to which they were directed by their instructions, the Committee, of their own accord, examined evidence respecting Westminster, the Charter-house, and St. Paul's schools, as well as other establishments, which have, ever since their foundation, been appropriated to the classical education of the higher and middling orders of society.
The day after the Committee had concluded their sittings, a short report was presented to the House, recommending, in general terms, that Parliament should take
in concurrence with the prevailing disposition in the community, for extending the blessing of education to the poor of all descriptions ; urging like
wise the expediency of instituting an inquiry into the
inquiry into the management of Charitable Donations and other Funds for the Instruction of the Poor in different parts of the country, and the state of their education generally; and suggesting that the best method of conducting such an inquiry would be by means of a Parliamentary Commission. But respecting a most prominent part of the operations of the Committee, their inquiries into the state of the Great Schools where the higher orders receive their classical education, not a syllable was said in their Report to the House. The mover of the Committee however, who had been appointed Chairman, in his speech on the presentation of the Report, alluded to this subject, and vindicated the course taken by the Committee, by saying,' that they conceived, though the commission, under which they acted, did not necessarily lead them to any inquiries concerning the higher schools, yet that it authorized them to include these schools at their discretion.' The distinction here taken by the learned Gentleman shall be examined by and bye, as well as the other grounds alleged in justification of what must strike every person, at first sight, as a manifest transgression of the limits appointed for their inquiry. At present we have only to remark, that the Chairman expressed, on that occasion, great satisfaction with what had been discovered respecting the state of those great establishments, particularly Westminster, and the purposes to which the several endowments were applied. By this complimentary language, so completely at variance with his subsequent expressions on the same subject, he seems to have lulled the suspicions of the House and of the country; at least, this is the only way in which we can account for so extraordinary an assumption of power by the Committee having met with no disapprobation at the time from any quarter of the House. The notice of a motion for the appointment of an itinerant Commission of Inquiry, to be made at the beginning of the next session, was well received, and obtained the approbation of the ministers. In the session of 1817, however, no such motion was made, and the Committee was prevented from pursuing the business, as is stated, by the indisposition of its Chair
But in the last session, the Committee renewed their operations with a wider field of action, and in pursuit of a higher description of game. They now obtained the title of · The Select Committee on the Education of the Lower Orders ;' and their powers being no longer confined to the metropolis, they extended their investigations to charitable endowments in different parts of England: they examined the Lord Register of Scotland relative to the parochial schools in that part of the kingdom; and Mr. William Parnell on the subject of education in Ireland; and they received the voluntary deposition of the Chairman himself touching an institution for the instruction and improvement of certain Swiss poor, and German princes and nobles, at Hoffwyl in the Canton of Berne.
Having, two years before, invaded, without control or censure, the great establishments in the metropolis in which the sons of the nobility and gentry are educated, they now, though still empowered only to inquire and report on the Education of the Lower Orders,' felt themselves authorized to overhaul the Colleges of Eton and Winchester. Accordingly, the Chairman summoned before him the Provost of Eton, and different gentlemen holding situations at Winchester; he satisfied his curiosity by a minute examination into all particulars relative to the internal economy, government, and expenses of these establishments; he published the Bursar's book, or accompt of all the receipts and disbursements of Eton College for the preceding year, as he had before done those of the Charterhouse; and by the absolute power which, it seems, the Chairman of a Committee of the House of Commons possesses over all his Majesty's subjects, and over every thing held precious and sacred in the kingdom, he compelled them to produce their statutes. Those of Eton he has printed, as well as those of Trinity and St. John's Colleges, Cambridge. This part of his measures, however, we merely name at present, and shall take occasion to revert to it hereafter. The Committee, during this session, though they did not entirely lose sight of the instructions which they received at their appointment, yet devoted the greater part of their time to matters apparently of a very different description. They examined into the circumstances of a select number of endowed schools, of some of which circumstances the Chairman has availed himself in his character of an author, as matter of charge against their trustees or visitors: each of these will come under our review in its order. But the inquiry did not stop here: the Master and two of the Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge, were minutely examined respecting the exact amount of their several incomes, as well as the number, value, and disposition of livings in their college patronage. This inquiry was necessary, it appears, to the full performance of that duty, which enjoined him to report on the Education of the Lower Orders, and the state of the mendicant children of paupers: and accordingly this examination stands upon record, a rare specimen of propriety and delicacy.
Thus far every thing proceeded smoothly. The Committee indeed was (as is generally understood) but thinly attended. Not more than three out of the forty members of it were, if we are rightly informed, in the habit of lending their assistance to the Hon. Chairman : but they lent it so cordially, that every thing appeared to go on according to his wishes. The session and the parliament
itself were drawing to their close, when a Bill was brought into the House for the appointment of a Commission to inquire concerning Charities in England for the Education of the Poor,' which Bill was intended to invest the Honourable Chairman and others of the Committee, along with certain persons recommended by them, with full power to inquire generally into the State of Education;' to examine the abuses, not only of charities relating to education, but of all charities whatever; to demand the production of what papers they chose; and to enforce the answer of whatever questions they might be pleased to put, or to commit to prison on refusal. Here, at length, some disapprobation was expressed: the Ministers, who had all along encouraged the inquiry, as far as its avowed objects were concerned, objected to the provision by which the Commissioners were to be named by parliament, conceiving this nomination to belong to the just and constitutional prerogative of the Crown. Of his disappointment on this head, the writer of the Letter to Sir Samuel Romilly' complains very bitterly. Moreover the Bill, in its progress through the two Houses, had its objects, which seemed before to know no limit, somewhat defined; and the enormous powers of the Commissioners were curtailed. Among the alterations, the learned author most piteously laments that three commissioners are now made requisite to constitute a quorum instead of two; that they are not to have the power of compelling persons to produce deeds and papers, the disclosure of which may be injuridus to their own properties; that their inquiries are to be confined to the narrow sphere of charities for education, instead of extending to all charities whatever; and that the Universities of England, the great Schools, and establishments having special visitors, are exempted from their jurisdiction altogether. For the imposition of these restrictions by the legislature, he can find, in candour, no better motive than a wish to destroy the efficacy of any inquiry, and to perpetuate the abuses complained of. The capital grievance, however, yet remains to be told. The Chairman and his Committee had kindly prepared a list of persons proper to be appointed by the Crown as Commissioners under the act; but when the names appeared of those whom the Prince Regent, ia execution of his powers, had nominated, behold, the list was not the same! only two of the persons recommended were found therein; and, monstrous to tell, the name of the learned Chairman himself was omitted! On this he could contain himself no longer; and as parliament was not likely to meet for some months, he was under the necessity of relieving himself by a pamphlet, in which all the fury of his indignation is poured forth upon the heads of the Ministers, and of the House of Peers, as conspiring to screen the abuses of charitable funds, and upon certain distinguished inVOL. XIX. NO, XXXVIII.