Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

instead of going at the rate of eight or ten miles an hour, we shall travel with the speed of a cannon-ball.

I shall do this with pleasure, because when you can trace the course by which your missionary came to China, you will be better able to think of our local position intelligently, and to pray for us definitely. And that you may continue to pray with the understanding, as well as with the heart, I hope to send you further accounts of this great Empire and its curious inhabitants.

Suppose yourselves, then, with me on board the Bosphorus," a long, narrow ship, with three tall masts, and a large chimney, that it may sail when the winds are favourable, and go by steam when they are light or contrary. The anchor is weighed, the steam is on, we have fired a salute, and are fairly off. That is the New Forest on the right, with the gentlemen's seats on the river bank, and there Netley Abbey, and Holly Hill on the left, about which we could tell you much, but we must hasten on. You can only take a glance at Cowes as you pass, and Ryde, away in the distance, and Osborne House, on which you may see the British flag flying, to show that the Queen is there. There is Alum Bay, with its rainbow-coloured sands, and the sharp rocks at the west of the Isle of Wight, well named "The Needles," and Portland Bill, which looks as if it wished to become an island. At Plymouth we stop to take in a cart-load of letters and newspapers, and then launch out into the open sea. Soon we reach the Bay of Biscay, where you may see some "crippled ducks," as sailors call vessels which have had their yards or masts blown away in a storm; for there has been a storm: although you did not feel it, I did; and a very unpleasant thing it is. Here is the beautiful island of Madeira, from which Popery lately banished the light of God's word, and all who loved it. If you ask your parents or teachers, they will tell you of what God did there by the labours of a Kalley and a Hewitson. Through the telescope you can see its sunny, vineelad slopes, and steep ridges, over which many an English invalid has panted in pursuit of health.

But see, there is a large tortoise floating past the vessel, moving its fins as if it wished to fly, but was too lazy to make the effort; and there is a brood of "Mother Carey's Chickens," as the sailor calls the Stormy Petrel, tripping lightly over the

waves, and following the vessel to pick up anything that falls overboard.

The first place we stop at is St. Vincent, one of the Cape de Verde group of islands. Do you not pity the African children running about naked on the beach, burrowing in the sand, or plunging into the sea for your amusement, and asking you to buy a few broken shells, all they have to sell; or calling out, "Good Engleese, give me a penny?" Some of them have a cross tied round their neck, to show that they are Christians; but the Popish priest who puts it there does not tell them about Jesus the Saviour; they trust to that cross of iron or brass, which can never save the soul, which is not redeemed by such "corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ."

The last of the Cape de Verdes which one sees is Fago, a splendid sugar-loaf mountain nearly two miles high; its top, the crater of an old volcano, like a cup broken at the edges, seems to pierce the clear blue sky; the clouds, which are only half way up its sides, encircle it like a hilt, and the dark waves of the Atlantic bathe its foot.

But what little island is that, with its curiously coloured mountains, green, and brown, and white, all strangely grouped? It is "Ascension," and those negroes, working so quietly and industriously, are Christians, who have been rescued from slave-ships and educated, and many of them converted, by the missionaries at Sierra Leone-a mission of which you may learn much in Miss Tucker's interesting book, "Sunrise within the Tropics.'

But I had almost forgot that we have crossed the Equator without your seeing the line, which one of the passengers nearly persuaded some simple people that they saw it through his telescope across which he had placed a hair, which looked very like the line as marked on maps. I dare say you would have submitted to a ducking or a fine for the amusement of seeing those, who had not crossed the Equator before, shaved and washed by Neptune and his rough associates.

Now we are near the southern point of Africa, as you may know by the number of Cape pigeons and the huge albatross, with its wings stretching sixteen feet, in which there is an extra joint, the sailors say, that it may "take in a reef" when it blows too hard. There is Robber Island, like a green button in the blue

ocean; and that is Table Mountain, with a cloud resting on it which is called the "table-cloth; and there is Cape Town, with its mixed population from many lands; in some parts of it you miglit fancy you were in England if you were not startled by the loud crack of a Hottentot's whip as he drives his covered waggon past, drawn by a team of eighteen or twenty bullocks.

But we must hasten away; we have not time to wait even to see the chase of a whale, which has foolishly come into the bay amongst the ships, and is now pursued by a great many boats armed with the harpoon.

But why, you will say,-why are the sailors reefing the sails so much, making them so very small? And why is the carpenter getting everything so securely fastened, as if he were afraid of their being washed away? Why is he lashing the hen-coops, and fastening the hatches, and making the cabin dark by nailing a piece of strong canvas over the skylight? (To be continued.)

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

CHINESE BIBLE FUND.

Amount already received ......£186 8 64 Collected by Miss Jane

A Working Man, Manchester
Mrs. Smith, Manchester, per Rev.
A. Munro...

1

2 0

...

1 0 0 00 2 3 0

6

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

1 2

050

Missionary-box,

0 16 0

....

070

0 5 6

200

5 7 0

In Missionary-box at Wilton-terrace, Prestwich, per ditto

Coll. by R. R. Glover, Esq. (additional)

......

[blocks in formation]

054

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Original Papers.

NATIONAL EDUCATION.

THE education of the people of England can scarcely be said to have become an object of practical attention till the beginning of the present century. Though there existed a large number of schools, endowed by the munificence of former generations, and, in a good measure, intended to be available for popular education, these institutions had, for the most part, become practically useless for that purpose: they were ill cared for, and ill-regulated. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, the efforts of Bell and Lancaster, eager to rouse the attention of the benevolent to the cause of education, the institution of the National Society (one composed of Churchmen), and of the Lancasterian Society, afterwards assuming its present name, the British and Foreign School Society (which was open to all denominations), tended to give a considerable impulse to this important question. The House of Commons had its attention directed to the existing deficiency of the means of instruction by Mr. Brougham, who procured the appointment of a Committee, which brought out much important information as to the abuses existing in the old educational endowments. Mr. B. brought forward, in 1820, his Bill for General Education, which aimed at the erection of parish schools throughout England; but, as the teachers of these schools were required to be in connexion with the Established Church, there was such opposition naturally made to it by Dissenters, as to procure the withdrawal of the measure. There can be no question that the labour of the Committee, and the introduction of Mr. Brougham's Bill, served a useful purpose, in making the upper and middle classes more aware of the great efforts which still, in the matter of education, required to be made.

The establishment of the present national system of education in Ireland, in 1832, naturally prepared men's minds for more attention being paid by Government to the subject in England. At that time many friends of education entertained high ideas of the system which had been established in France and Prussia; and a contrast was drawn between the possession of the means of education in those countries and the amount of them in our own. A writer in the " Edinburgh Review " for Oct., 1833, remarked— "We are in little danger of understating the number, when we say that not more than one-half of the poorer children in England, south of the Trent, enjoy the benefit of the education, such as it is, that may be called popular." In 1833, the first sum, 20,000l., was voted by Parliament for education; it was to be apportioned as aid in the erection of schools where at least onehalf the expense had been raised by private contributions. Ninety-eight new school-houses were the result of this grant during the subsequent year. Such was the commencement of the present Government system of education in England.

For a few years no great increase in the amount of aid was given. But, from 1839 onwards, the ratio has been greatly augmented. The manageNo. 77.-New Series.

K

VOL. VI.

ment of the sums voted by Parliament was then placed under the control of the Committee of Privy Council on Education. Yearly do the volumes of Minutes and Inspectors' Reports increase in bulk and in interest. The progress made during the last twenty years is such as to encourage the efforts of all patriotic labourers in the educational vineyard.

One of the greatest benefits rendered by the aid of Government has been the establishment of pupil-teachers in all the large schools; and these are allowed for at the rate of one pupil-teacher to every forty children; and the Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors bear uniform testimony to the great improvement in school efficiency, which the relief thus given to previously over-burdened teachers has afforded. The pupil-teacher system in this country dates from the Minutes of Council of 1846. The combination of the instruction obtained in a normal or training-school with the experience arising from the years passed as pupil-teachers, will tend gradually to form a class of very competent instructors.

Twenty years ago, there were in England only two training-schools, those of the National and the British and Foreign School Society; and how limited the efficiency of these were may be judged of by the fact that a three months' course of instruction was considered amply sufficient for the great body of persons there trained. A great difference may now be seen. Connected with the Church of England alone, there are no fewer than twelve training-schools for masters, and eight for mistresses. In these, and in the various similar institutions not connected with the Establishment, the course is considerably longer than used to be considered necessary. It is almost universally the custom for the students under training to reside within the institution.

No one can have even cursorily perused the Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, without being forcibly struck with the ability displayed in them. The visits of such a class of men cannot fail to have a powerful influence for good upon the schools they inspect. There were rather more than 1,900 schools inspected in 1852, in connexion with the English Church, and about 300 Dissenting schools; the latter number being, probably, about fifty below the real number liable to, or inviting inspection, owing to the death of the late Mr. Fletcher in the middle of his course of visiting his district. There are about twenty Established, and three Dissenting Inspectors in England and Wales. A large number of Dissenting day-schools, from jealousy of Government interference, do not desire either aid or inspection from the Privy Council Committee.

Comparing the kind of school-books now generally in use with those employed twenty or thirty years ago, we cannot help being impressed with the great improvement. The works now used present a far better gradation for the classes, rising, as they do, from lower to higher degrees of attainment. There is much more to draw out the whole faculties of the child under training; and, of course, they thus require a more intelligent class of teachers in order to make adequate use of them. Nor must we overlook the books which have been published of late years, upon the teacher's office and functions. Without supposing that any of these are more than partially successful in their treatment of the subjects which they embrace, their perusal cannot fail to be productive of excellent results to teachers. No one can read such works as Stow's "Training System," and the Dean of Hereford's " Suggestive Hints on Secular Instruction,"* without having

*See also his "Hints on a Self-paying System of National Education."

his mind greatly improved, and his ability to teach correspondingly augmented.

It is the universal complaint of managers of schools for the poorer classes, that the children, especially the boys, are not allowed to remain long enough to profit by their schooling. The Inspectors state that not more than ten per cent. of the children are above twelve years of age, and these are generally from a somewhat higher class than the rest of the scholars. One Inspector proposes that, in the factory districts, there should be a law that no child should be employed unless able to read and write correctly. A number of children in these districts are never sent to school until they begin to work in the factory, and then the law enforces their being sent to school for three hours in the day; so that their education, from the late time at which it commences, and the partial manner in which it is continued, must be of the most imperfect character.

We cannot compare one volume of the Inspectors' Reports with another without noticing the growing improvement in the architecture of schools. Many buildings, which have not been aided by Government grants, have doubtless profited in the details of their erection by the plans which have been issued by authority. In the older schools height and ventilation were generally but ill attended to; these are now matters generally well considered. The increasing employment of parallel desks, black boards, &c.; the better construction of offices, &c.; and the introduction of playgrounds where practicable, all prove the attention increasingly paid to the externals of school matters. It is to be regretted that an ill-judged economy, or rather parsimony, should ever interfere with the proper views of schools. Nor is it less to be regretted, where schools erected by well-intentioned persons of property have had an expense laid out on external things, and even on decorations, while the character of the instruction is such as to be contemptible in the eyes of the shrewder parents of the children, and even of the more clever among the children themselves.

We would be disposed to counsel such of our congregations as have not yet schools, and purpose to set them agoing, to apply for Government aid. Even if unsuccessful (and a large number both of Establishment and of Nonconformist parties who have applied have not succeeded), the various suggestions contained in the different Government plans can scarcely fail to be useful. The improvements these contain will strengthen the hands of the more intelligent and large-minded of the promoters of such educational undertakings. Whatever may be the educational future of England, we, as a Church, will be able to have the greater influence, just in proportion as we show ourselves the practical and patriotic friends of instruction from year to year. The example of others, especially of the Church of England and the Wesleyans, may serve as a stimulus to us. Let our contributions to education be as God hath prospered us.

It is of great consequence to secure the services of competent, and even of superior men as teachers. The frequent change of schoolmasters is constantly complained of, both by Managers and Inspectors. In the large Yorkshire district, where upwards of 400 schools are under Government inspection, the Church Inspector states that (irrespective of Government grants) the average salary of male teachers is only 481. per annum; and that of Dissenting teachers is probably below that sum.

Various very gratifying instances are recorded in these Reports, where parents were found perfectly willing to pay a larger weekly or monthly fee,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »