Billeder på siden

centre and striking a half-mile radius, the following Institutions were to be found: at least twenty Churches of the National Establishment, with vicars, curates, district visitors, Sunday Schools, &c.; a still larger number of Dissenting Chapels, with numerous ministers and other helpers; nineteen Elementary Schools aided by Government grants, twenty-seven other Elementary Schools, and an innumerable number of Dame and such like places of instruction. In spite of all this machinery this wretched boy did not know his own name, except that he was generally called 'Diddlego;' could, of course, not read; nor had he the slightest knowledge of the very elements of religion. Were this an exceptional instance it would stand for nothing, but within that very half-mile radius at least twenty thousand children are at this moment quite in the same position, or one but very slightly removed from it. Without doubt, the Education Bill of 1870 has a vast field for labour, unfortunately not on a virgin soil, but on one rank with the growth of many years of ignorance and neglect.

The complete change in the Educational aspect of the country which this new measure must produce, will before very long, it is to be hoped, make great alterations in the existing Schools for the People I have attempted to describe. This consideration, however, has not induced me to give up the work, a large part of which was written before the Act of 1870 was framed. That measure has indeed rather stimulated me to hurry on its completion, as I ventured to hope that in issuing a succinct account of each description of School I should save others many a weary search for information connected with educational matters. The tracing of the history of each educational system becomes more and more difficult as the action of the State tends to assimilate all Schools to one common

mould, and the characteristics which once were so marked in individual schemes gradually get softened and reduced to one uniform standard.

It is feared that the severe critic will fail to find novelty or originality in these pages. To this omission I must indeed plead guilty. My object throughout has been to secure accuracy, and as rarely as possible to draw deductions of my own, but rather to state facts as they existed at each period and to leave my readers to form their own conclusions. In investigating the history of most Schools I have received cordial assistance from those particularly interested in them, both by the loan of rare and original documents and early publications as well as by their personal co-operation.

Without this I need hardly say my task would have been very much more arduous, and the result of my investigations far less satisfactory. I should be ungrateful to my own Department if I failed to mention the great use which the Educational Library at the South Kensington Museum has been to me.

In concluding a work which for nearly two years has almost entirely absorbed every moment of my spare time apart from my official duties, I would wish thus publicly to thank my esteemed friend the Rev. J. Cornford and my brother Dr. Bartley, to whom I am so much. indebted for helping me in the somewhat tedious task of revising and seeing these pages through the press, and for many valuable suggestions which I have received from them throughout the progress of the work.



January, 1871.

« ForrigeFortsæt »