Page images
PDF
EPUB

Evil Effects of Trade in Art. 71 impress the public with a great idea of their own artistic knowledge by the merciless manner in which they treat works which cost those who produced them the highest efforts of mind or feeling

The works of art, by being publicly exhibited and offered for sale, are becoming articles of trade, following as such the unreasoning laws of markets and fashion ; and public and even private patronage is swayed by their tyrannical influence.

ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT.

ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT incessantly strove after dominion over that universality of human knowledge which stands in need of thoughtful government and direction to preserve its integrity; he strove to tie up the fasces of scientific knowledge to give them strength in unity. He treated all scientific men as members of one family, enthusiastically directing, fostering, and encouraging inquiry, where he saw either the want of or the willingness for it. His protection of the young and ardent student led many to success in their pursuit. His personal influence with the courts and governments of most countries in Europe enabled him to plead the cause of Science in a manner which made it more difficult for them to refuse than to grant what he requested. All lovers of science deeply mourn for the loss of such a man.

THE OLD PARISH SCHOOL.* LOOKING to former times, we find that our forefathers, with their wonted piety and paternal care, had established a system of national education, based upon the parish organization and forming part of parish life, which met the wants

* This and the next five paragraphs, which must be read in connexion with each other, are extracted from an address delivered on the 22d June, 1857, at the Conference on National Education.

73

The Old Parish School. of their day, and had in it a certain unity and completeness which we might well envy at the present moment. But in the progress of time our wants have outstripped that system, and the condition of the country has so completely changed even within these last fifty years, that the old parochial division is no longer adequate for the present population. This has increased during that period in England and Wales from, in round numbers, 9,000,000 to 18,000,000, and, where there formerly existed comparatively small towns and villages, we now see mighty cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Leeds, Birmingham, and others, with their hundreds of thousands, springing up almost as it were by enchantment; London having increased nearly two and a half millions of souls, and the factory district of Lancashire alone having aggregated a population of nearly three millions within a radius of thirty miles.

THE ENGLISHMAN'S JEALOUSY OF CONTROL.

This change could not escape the watchful eye of a patriotic public; but how to provide the means of satisfying the new wants could not be a matter of easy solution. While zeal for the public good, a fervent religious spirit, and true philanthropy, are qualities eminently distinguishing our countrymen, the love of liberty, and an aversion from being controlled by the power of the State in matters nearest to their hearts, are feelings which will always most powerfully influence them in action. Thus, the common object has been contemplated from the most different points of view, and pursued often upon antagonistic principles. Some have sought the aid of Government, others that of the Church to which they belong ; some have declared it to be the duty of the State to provide elementary instruction for the people at large; others have seen in State interference a

The Englishman's Jealousy of Control. 75 check to the spontaneous exertions of the people themselves, and an interference with self-government; some again have advocated a plan of compulsory education based upon local selfgovernment, and others the voluntary system in its widest development. While these have been some of the political subjects of difference, those in the religious field have not been less marked and potent. We find on the one hand the wish to see secular and religious instruction separated, and the former recognised as an innate and inherent right, to which each member of society has a claim, and which ought not to be denied to him if he refuses to take along with it the inculcation of a particular dogma to which he objects as unsound; while we see, on the other hand, the doctrine asserted that no education can be sound which does not rest on religious instruction, and that religious truth is too sacred to be modified and tampered with, even in its minutest deductions, for the sake of procuring a general agreement.

« EelmineJätka »