Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and 10,579 widows. Thus the proportion per cent. of those who were remarried was 11.02 for the whole of England, and 12:34 for the metropolis. The proportion of annual marriages to persons of all ages was 1 in 130 in all England, 1 in 102 in London : the annual marriages were to the persons aged from twenty to forty, nearly as one to forty in England, one to thirty-seven in the metropolis ; or, more exa 2:515 per cent.; and 2.675 (as regards London.) There was, altogether, one marriage to every 136 males and females living in 1842, but only one person married for the first time to 76.3 persons living, which may be considered equivalent to one first marriage to 153 persons living: 11 per cent. of the persons married had been married before, and had been enumerated in the returns of previous years. In 1839 the number married out of 100,000 males was 1,625; and of 100,000 females, 1,553; in 1840, 1,597 males, and 1,526 females ; in 1841, 1,574 males, and 1,504 females; and in 1842, 1,506 males, and 1,439 females. Thus, it will be perceived, there has been a yearly decrease during that period. The annual average has been, however, one in sixty-four males out of 100,000, and sixty-six females.

NATIONAL EDUCATION.-CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE LORD

BISHOP OF MEATH AND THE GOVERNMENT.

(From the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal.) [The following correspondence between the Lord Bishop of Meath and Sir James Graham, forms the Appendix to a Report on the subject of the National System of Education in Ireland, drawn up by the Archdeacon of Meath, and which has been, or shortly will be published. The Editor begs to acknowledge the kindness of the Archdeacon of Meath in favouring him with an early copy].

Ardbraccan, Navan, Jan. 2, 1845. SIR,—The question of National Education is at present engaging the anxious attention of the public, and particularly of the established church in Ireland ; and I am aware that it has also been frequently under the consideration of her Majesty's ministers. The great majority of the clergy have been hitherto opposed to the government system; it is of great importance that they should be reconciled to it, and that a final settlement should be made, by which they may be enabled to co-operate in so desirable a work.

I consider it my duty, as a bishop of an Irish diocese, to lend my assistance in the attainment of so desirable an object; I therefore take the liberty of addressing her Majesty's ministers through you, as the home secretary of state, upon this subject, of such vital importance to the well-being of the established church, as well as of the country at large.

When the intention of establishing a national system of education, by parliamentary grants, was first announced, and ever since, I have uniformly advised that the clergy of the church in Ireland should endeavour to make such an arrangement with government as would render their exertions available for the work. But I had no influence, and my opinion had no weight against the great majority. I knew, however, the pure motives by which they were guided; having witnessed the exemplary patience with which they endured privation and persecution, the withholding and subsequent reduction of their incomes. I respected their conscientious opinions upon the education question, although I was obliged to dissent from them. Differing both from the government and from the clergy, and failing in my feeble and unaided attempt to bring them to an agreement, I kept aloof from the discussion of the question, of the progress of which I have continued an attentive and impartial observer. I foresaw objections to the establishment of one uniform system; I wished to see the appointment of a board, such as has since been formed in England,

which might give aid to schools on different plans, neither compelling those who could not, or would not, consent to read the scriptures, to accept the highest kind of education, nor sinking those who wished for the highest to the level of those who would not advance beyond the lowest. Experience has proved that the uniform plan could not effectually work, and that it failed in promoting united education, which ought to be a primary object in any system.

I was aware of the conflicting difficulties which government had to encounter, and of the opposite principles they had to reconcile, owing to the peculiar circumstances of this country. I felt that the first step which a prudent and provident executive ought to take towards establishing the peace and prosperity of this country, as well as towards the promotion of the moral and religious improvement of its population, was to endeavour to have all the children of the lower orders educated upon the best plan, and in the best manner that might be feasible under their peculiar circumstances.

There has been, for many years past, a great desire among the lower orders, of all religious denominations for education; the pastors of a large proportion were far from anxious that the children of their flocks should be edu. cated at all, but they found it impossible to resist their ardent desire. Their next object was to prevent their reading the scriptures ; for the attainment of which object they exerted the whole power of their influence and authority. Government considered it necessary to make concessions upon this point, in order to their effectualizing their primary purpose, but in doing so, they met with another difficulty, and an opposing principle; they ran a risk of alienating the great body of the Protestants, who considered scriptural instruction the necessary basis of national education ; and in endeavouring to reconcile these opposing principles they met with another difficulty, the danger of counteracting another primary object of national education, the union of children of different persuasions in the same schools.

These difficulties we must keep steadily in view in any arrangements we may endeavour to make for the purpose of conciliating all parties to co-operate in the work. The principles and rules under which, in deference to the feelings and objections of Roman catholics, the national schools were established, would have bound our clergy, who might have become managers of schools, to give facilities to the pastors of all religious professions, for teaching their peculiar doctrines in the school-rooms. To this the clergy of our church could not consent, conceiving it to be not only against their consciences to afford facilities for the teaching of error, but inconsistent with their oaths and solemn vows, to allow the teaching of doctrines in their school-rooms which the legislature had obliged them on several occasions to abjure upon oath, and which their ordination vows, imposed both by the legislature and the church, had obliged them most solemnly to disclaim for themselves, and to labour to eradicate from the minds of others.

The commissioners have, however, from time to time, made such changes as would, if fairly carried out, remove the above objection. The greatest changes have been made by the rules of 1843, which left more in the discretion of the patrons and managers than had been hitherto allowed, and thereby an opening was made for the clergy to join them. This occurred soon after my appointment to the see of Meath ; I availed myself of the opportunity thus afforded of effecting what I had so long and so anxiously desired-a cordial co-operation between government and the clergy in the promotion of national education; and, accordingly, I issued the circular letter, a copy of which is prefixed to the “Report” which accompanies this; in which I endeavoured to point out to the clergy the principles upon which I conceived that they would be justifiable in effecting a union with her majesty's government, and by which letter I also endeavoured to procure information as to the state of education in the diocese; and, moreover, to elicit the free and candid opinions of the clergy upon the whole question. This led to a lengthened correspondence between the arch

deacon and the clergy, as well as to frequent discussions between them and him at clerical meetings; the result of which he has detailed in the first part of his accompanying report, which will give her majesty's ministers a fairer sample of the state of education in Ireland, and of the conscientious and unbiassed feelings of the clergy, than, I think, could be elsewhere procured.

In the course of our inquiry it became necessary to investigate the proceedings of the National Board of Education'; and in approaching this part of the subject I can truly say that both I and the Archdeacon were guided by a spirit of strict impartiality, and a wish to find the materials of a cordial and candid union. If the result has been such as to disappoint our hopes, the fault has pot been ours.

In endeavouring to make such an arrangement as may enable the clergy to co-operate in a national system, we turn to her majesty's ministers, for they only have the power of making it. The commissioners have no power of making such an arrangement; they cannot form or give permanency to rules ; they cannot give security for the continuance of any system or regulation, without the consent of government. When an arrangement was contemplated between them and the heads of the Presbyterian body, the latter applied to the Lord Lieutenant, and through him the settlement was made. It appears, by Lord Stanley's letter, that it was intended from the very first that the Board should act under the direction and control of the executive ; this is also maintained by some of the commissioners in their examination before parliamentary committees. Mr. Blake's words on such an occasion were,

we are the mere creatures of the Lord Lieutenant.” The grant is annually made by Parliament" to enable the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to issue money for the advancement of education in Ireland." I speak of their powers, for it seems as if in their practice the rules of 1843 had been made without the previous consent, or subsequent approval, of the Lord Lieutenant. The very constitution of the Board shews the necessity of such control, to insure impartiality and consistency, as well as public confidence. In a body composed of sections representing different religious professions, it must happen that some particular section--whose members may have most leisure,most activity and ability, and most punctuality in attendance—will occasionally gain the ascendancy, and be expected to work the system most in accordance with the views and wishes of their own peculiar profession, which are also their own. To prevent such a reality, or such a suspicion, the control of her majesty's ministers is necessary.

I proceed, therefore, briefly to state the principles upon which the great majority of the clergy of this diocese are willing to co-operate in the work of national education; and, to smooth the way to an object I have so much at heart, I shall not propose any rule which can be reasonably objected to by the commissioners, because the rules which I shall propose are those of which they themselves have already approved. Their rules of 1843, which left so much discretion the hands of local patrons and managers, would, with some little alterations, prove acceptable to the generality of the clergy of this diocese (and, I have reason to believe, to many of other dioceses also), on the following conditions : that the concessions granted by those rules to three-fourths of the schools, but which are only temporary, and at any time revocable, shall be permanently continued, under the sanction of government, and shall be extended to all their schools, of every description, including the other fourth ; and that the same rules shall also be substituted in the trust deeds, in place of the conditions now required therein, which are at variance with these rules.

It is necessary to explain this proposal, and in doing so, to state our objections to the present plans of the Board ; because it may appear at first sight, that if we approve of those rules, and of the indulgence they afford, we have no reason to complain.

It was originally intended by the government, that whatever rules and regulations should be in operation in the national system, should extend to all

the schools, whether built by the commissioners, and vested in them, or whether placed under their management and inspection, and aided by them with salaries and school requisites. In the year 1843, for the first time, a distinction was made, and the schools divided into two classes—such as were vested, and such as were not vested; the former consisted of those, the schoolhouses of which had been partly, or altogether, built by grants from them, and the sites vested in them by trust deeds, which bound the patron to the original rules, slightly modified ; the latter class consisted of those which, not having been vested in the Board, but having been put into connexion therewith, became subject to their control and inspection, and to which they granted salaries and school requisites. These were subject to the rules of 1843, which, however, or any one of them, were revocable at pleasure, or the school itself liable to be discontinued. It appears to have been the intention of the Board, according as funds should have become available, to have built a sufficient number of school-houses to answer the demand for education in all parts of Ireland; and, of course, accordingly as these were increased, the others would have been discontinued, and the rules of 1843, and their indul. gence, which had induced the patrons of the schools to forego aid from other sources, and put them under the control of the Board, would have ceased altogether. All the schools would have become vested in the Board, and subjected to the original objectionable rules. Thus the rules now in operation in three-fourths of the schools will be superseded altogether, and the objectionable rules and principles not now enforced even in the one-fourth, will become the standard rules of the whole. This consummation would have eventuated in putting down all the schools of the clergy, and again excluding them from all participation in the work of national education. At present the nonobservance of rules is connived at. The clergy of the established church cannot consent to conduct schools upon the mere connivance of the commissioners; but they will observe, with good faith, whatever rules or conditions they may agree to.

The rules and conditions of the trust-deeds are now in abeyance; a return to them would be alike objectionable to Roman-catholic patrons as to us. Why keep them still in abeyance, and liable to be called forth at any time, for the purpose of driving out the established clergy, who may join the Board under the protection of the concessions of 1843?

I give this as a mere outline of an arrangement which I beg to suggest for the consideration of her majesty's ministers. The accompanying report contains some minor particulars, to which no objection can be anticipated. I do not consider it necessary to enter into minute details, until I shall have ascertained whether her majesty's ministers are willing to entertain the question. We shall be ready at any time to submit a plan in detail.

The attempt to establish a system of national education in Ireland was a great, but doubtful experiment; considering the materials upon which it had to work, and the instruments which had to be employed, it was impossible to foresee the effects and the results ; and, like all great experiments, particularly those of a moral and political character, it requires to have the principles and machinery occasionally altered, corrected, and adapted to the better working which experience, and experience alone, can suggest. An act of parliament never yet was passed in so perfect a form, as to enable it effectually to work without alteration and revision. The Church Temporalities' Act required several subsequent acts, and still requires further revision, amendment, and ex. planation. Shall it be said that the question of national education alone is so clear, and unembarrassed with difficulty, as to work smoothly on theoretical principles, and disclaim the aid of practice and the wisdom of experience ?

I have the honour to be, sir,

With the greatest respect,

Your faithful and obedient humble servant, The Right Hon. Sir James Graham, Bart.

EDWARD Meath.

1

LETTER FROM SIR JAMES GRAHAM, BART., TO THE BISHOP OF MEATH.

Whitehall, Feb. I, 1845. MY LORD BISHOP,- In fulfilment of the promise which I gave to your lordship, I have carefully considered the report of Archdeacon Stopford, transmitted in your official letter to me; and I have made inquiries into the allegations which impute bad faith to the Board of National Education in several important particulars.

Considering the character and station of the members of that board, among whom are an archbishop of the established church, and the Queen's solicitorgeneral in Ireland, I did believe, even before inquiry, that the accusations against the board proceeded either from error or misconstruction. I am now entirely confirmed in that opinion by the inquiries which I have instituted. I will not enter into a discussion of the point at issue, lest I should be entangled in a controversy which I seek rather to allay than to provoke; but I must be permitted to express my opinion that the commissioners have executed their difficult trust with fidelity, and that the alterations which have been made from time to time in the school rules are consistent with the spirit of the original institution, and have been rendered necessary by defects which experience has disclosed. I may also add, that, by the admission of Archdeacon Stopford, these modifications are not such as justly to excite the jealousy of protestants, whether presbyterian, or members of the established church.

Her majesty's ministers are not prepared to recommend any alteration in the composition of the board; the present members command their confidence, and are quite competent to deal with any proposals for changes either in the trustdeeds, or in the rules. It will be always open to your lordship, through the Archbishop of Dublin, to bring under the special notice of the board any suggestions which appear to you calculated to conciliate the co-operation of the clergy of the established church, without a departure from the intent of the original scheme, as set forth in Lord Stanley's letter to the Duke of Leinster, in 1832, when the board was first instituted.

I am sensible that the unwillingness of the parochial clergy to co-operate, has deprived the measure of a portion of its efficacy and salutary influence. It would, indeed, be a work of charity and peace, if, by their exertions and forbearance, these heart-burnings which have hitherto prevailed, should be extinguished, and if all classes of the people of Ireland were thus admitted to the full benefit of the national education, which, under the direction of the present board, the legislature has thought fit to establish.

I have the honour to be, my lord bishop, The Rt. Hon. and Rt. Rev.

Your faithful servant, The Lord Bishop of Meath.

JAMES GRAHAM.

FROM THE BISHOP OF MEATH TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR JAMES GRAHAM, BART.

Mould's Hotel, Suffolk Street, London,

Feb. 11, 1845. Sir,—I had the honour of receiving your letter of the 1st inst. in Dublin, on my way to London.

The very high respect I have always entertained for her majesty's present ministers, and the confidence I have always reposed in their integrity and wisdom, make it most painful to my feelings to differ from them upon any subject, and more particularly upon a question arising out of a sincere desire upon my part of reconciling the clergy of my own diocese, and also many others, with the measures of her majesty's government regarding national education in Ireland. Nothing but a strong sense of duty to the flocks committed to my care could have induced me to differ--on the one side, from the majority of my brethren on the Irish bench, and, on the other, from her majesty's ministers.

VOL. XXVII.-April, 1845.

2

« AnteriorContinuar »