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minations in the general purposes of education, and excluded proselytism from the schools. To recapitulate the arguments brought forward by the Reviewers in resulation of these plausible, but hollow objections, would kad into a wide field of discussion. It will be sufficient to observe, that their victory over the champions of ignorance and the votaries of sectarianism was most triumphant. Their services to the cause of national education, during the progress of that interesting disputation, had a powerful influence in opening the eyes of the people to the delusion attempled to be practised upon them. The religious character of the Review was furiously attacked, in consequence of its strenuous defence of a liberal method of popular education. The hackneyed cry of “ The Church is in danger!”. resounded from all quarters ; and infamous creatures were to be found, who, for the sake of some paltry distinction in the world, were ready to accuse conspicuous persons of scepticism to turn common informers for the Establishment-and to convert the most beautiful feeling of the human heart to the destruction of the good and great, by fixing upon distinguished talents the indelible stigma of irreligion. These dishonourable artifices wero treated with the contempt they deserved : and the able writers who gavo their assistance to Mr. Lancaster when he was persecuted and slandered, continued their efforts in his behalf until his system had worked its way in spite of every obstacle, and placed the facilities of learning within the reach. of many thousands of poor children.*
Several excellent articles of a general kind, in reference to the education of the working classes, appeared in the Review, at different times, untik 1816, when the present Lord ChanceHor was the means of attracting public attention to the subject, by moving for a Parliamentary Committee to enquire into the state of instruction among the lower orders in the metropolis. The appointment of that committee, their protracted labours, their Report, Lord Brougham's Education Bill, and the discussion which it produced in Parliament, and among the friends of education in all parts of the country, furnished materials for a series of spirited and useful disserLalions, in the Review, both on the vital topic of national education, and on the incidental but no less momentous question connected with it, viz, the perversion of charitable establishments. The impediments which so long retarded the accomplishment of the first great measure were removed, after repeated and earnest discussions, by the force of public opinion. There were, however, obstacles to the other which required equal integrity and firmness lo subdue. Fraudulent oppression was not without its supporters, and they laboured, with incessant zeal, to oppose Lord Brougham's education enquiry. Aware that publicity would be the deathblow to corruption, their object was to stille investigation in its infancy; to protect from public scrutiny the monstrous abuses in the funds designed for general instruction ; and lo inalign the character of those who were desirous of seeing them honestly administered. The journal whose services are now under consideration was the most conspicuous ally in furthering this most useful and Lecessary of all Reforms. Amidst obloquy and falsehood it proceeded unwavering in its upright course; and the result was, that the sense of the country was roused-ihat the prejudices against innovation gradually died away —and that all classes became more anxious to sec a system esiablished for
* The various articles on the subject of the controversy between Bell and Lancaster, bat appeared in the Edinburgh Review, are referred to in a note to one of the Essays sa Education, embodied in this work.
diffusing universally, and fixing upon a permanent basis, the education of the people. The bill brought into the House of Commons to accomplish this object was lost. The causes of its failure need not be recapitulated here. Its main provisions were defended with distinguished ability by the Edinburgh Review ; though many persons conceived that the grounds of its advocacy were opposed to the arguments maintained, some years previously, in that journal, with regard to the exclusive system of Dr. Bell. The Reviewers have clearly shown, that their support of Lord Brougham's project involved them in no inconsistency; and that their views on both occasions were in substance the same.* It is quite manifest from their articles on this interesting subject, that their intention was to reconcile, if possible, the religious differences which had been awakened by some regulations in the Bill, connected with the influence of the Church; and to induce each of the contending parties to “ concede as much as might fairly be asked to the opinions of the other, and to conquer ils peculiar prejudices for the sake of a vast good to mankind." These efforts were not kindly received by some of the Dissenters, who entertained conscientious scruples concerning the tendency of the Bill. There can be no question, however, that the conductors of the Review were convinced that every attempt to establish a system for educating the poor together would be defeated, without mutual concessions from the partisans of all creeds and confessions. Those who dissented most widely from their reasoning and conclusions could not mistake the disinterested motives by which they were actuated. They wrole six admirable articles on the Report of the Education Enquiry, and on the System of National Instruction submitled to the Legislature by Lord Brougham. They are productions of inestimable value for the information they contain respecting Charity Abuses, and the ample funds in existence, which , if judiciously and honestly appropriated, would defray the expense of educating the whole people.
The establishment of literary and scientific institutions, for the intellectual improvement of artisans and mechanics, afforded another favourable occasion for the Edinburgh Review to exercise its influence for the benefit of society. The same class of individuals who raised so disgraceful an opposition, some years before, to the spread of information among the rising generation, again rendered themselves obnoxious by their hostility to Mechanics’ Institutes. It was of importance that their illiberalily should be exposed, and their shallow reasoning overthrown. They had no power to stop the march of human improvement; but they were not without the means of annoying and traducing those who accelerated its progress. The contributors to the Review undertook to chastise these foes to the best interests of mankind. They availed themselves of every suitable opportunity to unmask their designs, and disclose the real objects of their affected fears and unfounded clamours. In 1823, the Edinburgh Review directed the attention of its readers to the necessily and importance of early moral education, and pointed out, in a clear and well-written article, the advantages of Insant Schools. On the formation of the “
Sociely for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,” it ably advocated the objects of ihat excellent institution; and the various works on science, history, biography, and philosophy, published under its auspices, have been criticised and commended ;
Sec an admirable article on this subject in the number of the Review for March, 1921.
in some instances, perhaps, quite as much as they deserved. It has also offered many valuable suggestions on the benefits of reading societies, book clubs, public leclures, etc.
While an adequale share of attention has been allotted by the Reviewers to the instruction of the poor, that of the rich has not been forgotten. At the commencement of their labours, they discussed , in several clever disquisitions, the utility of classical acquirements. They examined the system of instruction adopted in our colleges and public schools, and exposed ils vices and defects. Their articles on the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and London, are peculiarly interesting; and there is reason to believe that they have been of essential service in promoting an efficient reform in all our academical institutions. The intellectual cultivation of the female sex. is a matter of deep interest, which has been frequently discussed in the Review. The articles on that subject will be read with great pleasure, and admired for the sound and enlightened views they take of the liberal education which women should receive.
Having made these general remarks on the manner in which education has been treated in the Review, it will be unnecessary lo give a minute account of the articles on that subject, which have been selected for this work. They refer to the important topics of female education; the utility of classical learning; the expediency of a legislative provision for the instruction of the poor; the best means of promoting the scientific improvement of the working classes; the efforts of the Irish Church for the education of the poor of Ireland; and the Oxford and London Universities. The last-mentioned Essay is a masterly defence of the principles upon which the London Institution is founded. It was clearly demonstrated, in the article on the Lancasterian System, that the elementary branches of instruction might be taught without at the same time inculcating any particular creed. The same line of argument has been applied to the higher walks of literature; and the Reviewers have proved, that the means of a scientific and literary education can be provided, at a cheap rate, for the rich and middle classes of the community, without any exclusion or preference on account of religion. As they truly observe, "the monopoly of some, and the undue influence of others, may be destroyed by the operation of this great principle; but it will advance ihe species, both safely and rapidly, in the great race of moral and intellectual improvement."
The friends of Civil and Religious liberly are under lasting obligations to the Edinburgh Review for its steady and unvarying support of those liberal principles, which it has maintained with so much firmness and energy against the combined influence of prejudice, ignorance, and selfishness. To all penalties and disabilities, on account of religious opinions, it has been uniformly opposed. The first number of that journal contained an elleclive appeal in favour of Catholic emancipation; and, during the progress of nearly thirty years, it never relaxed in its exertions to enlighten the publie mind on the bearings of that great question. Many powersul articles were written to enforce ils importance, to remove popular misconceptions concerning it, and to convince the Legislature of the advantages that would result from its early settlement on a sound and permanent basis.
It has not been thought necessary to select more than one of the numerous Essays, on the rights of the Catholics, contained in the original work. It was difficult to make a judicious preference; but after some consideration, the last that appeared, after the Emancipation Bill had become the law of
the land, was chosen. Able and convincing as are all the contributions on that interesting subject, the article with which the Reviewers closed their labours in behalf of an oppressed and persecuted body of people, is one of the best. It contains a pretty completo exposition of the history, effect, and final settlement of a question which the Edinburgh Review did far more to advance, and bring to a successful issue, than any other periodical journal.
The claims of the Dissenters were advocated in its pages with equal ability and earnestness. One Essay has been given as an example. It contains a sketch of the disqualifying laws to which that respectable and independent body were subjected before the abolition of the Test and Corporalion Acts. The rights of government are accurately defined with respect to the punishment of any class or denomination for holding peculiar religious opinions. Conclusive arguments are brought forward to prove, that the Established Church was not likely to gain proselytes from the persecution of Dissenters; that the obnoxious penal laws then in force were utterly inefficient as a protection to the Church of England from the hostility of its enemies.
On the disabilities under wbich the Jews still labour, but which it is to be hoped a reformed Parliament will speedily abolish, there is a very interesting article. In this admirable specimen of logical reasoning, there is a searching examination of the arguments usually employed to justify the exclusion of the Jews from political power. The idea that their religion unfils them for being legislators or magistrates, is shown to be absurd. The reasons drawn from Scripture against their emancipation are proved to be fallacious. Upon the whole, it is an unanswerable vindication of the privileges of a race of people whose exclusion from the rights of citizens cannot be justified, except on the frivolous grounds upon which it was so long contended that it was just and expedient to persecute the Catholics and Dissenters.
Under the head of Civil and Religious Liberly, two other articles have been added, which ought to be read and studied by those who are fond of allaching the stigma of persecution to particular Churches and sects. The first comprises a brief and interesting epitome of the history of toleration. The writer has produced abundant evidence to demonstrate, what statesmen, divines, and philosophers have been reluctant to admit, that “persecution has not resulted from any particular system, but from the prevalence of ignorance, and the force of those illiberal prejudices which are natural to the mind of untutored man. In support of this position, he adduces several pertinent examples of intolerance in the conduct of the Church of England and that of Scotland. He analyses, with great conciseness and perspicuity, the causes of the animosities which formerly prevailed between ihe Episcopalians and the Presbyterians; and adopts the opinion, that ihe diffusion of knowledge will ultimately extinguish religious persecution; restrain the pride and selfishness of mankind; correct their false notions of duty; and open more distinct and enlarged views of the real interests of nations.” The second Essay may be considered as a sequel to the preceding one. It is on the Toleration of the Reformers, and imparts a great deal of valuable information on the progress of the Reformation in Scotland. The great men concerned in that event were, it appears, hostile to religious freedom, taken in an enlarged sense, and to the right of private judgment This fact the author of the article establishes, by referring to their avowed object of extirpating the Catholic Church. He gives an account of a curious conference between Lethington and John Knox, illustrative of the perseeuting spirit by which the first Reformers were influenced; and replies to the ingenious apology which Dr. M‘Crie has made for the latter individual in his excellent“ Life of Knox.” The principles of that eminent man, as exemplified in his writings and religious policy, form the subject of some acute remarks. The benefits of the Reformation are impartially enumerated; and the article concludes with a moderate and discriminating encomium on the character of the Church of Scotland as it at present exists.
To the extensive department of Politics a sufficient number of articles has been assigned to present the reader with a faithful record of the opinions of the Edinburgh Review upon every subject of importance connected with the various branches of political science. Essays of this description comprise the larger portion of the original work. It could scarcely be expected, therefore, that the selections from a mass of information, extending over some thousands of pages, should occupy more space, in the plan of this publication, than what has been allotted to them. It has been the aim of the Editor to diversify the topics, and to give one or two articles on each. They refer to the most interesting questions on foreign and domestic politics, that have engaged public attention from the commencement of the French Revolution to the present time, to the fundamental principles of government, to an exposition of the leading doctrines of political economy,- to reform in the whole system of our political, civil, criminal, and ecclesiastical laws,—to trade and finance, -and to the colonial policy adopled by different ministries. The most convenient arrangement, in reference to these dissertations, will be, to consider them under the following beads, though the arrangement differs in some degree from the order in which they are placed in the volumes : - Foreign, General, and Miscellaneous Politics; Political Economy; Law and Jurisprudence.
Before giving a concise analysis of those on “Foreign Politics,” it may not be deemed improper to advert, briefly, to the attacks which have been made on the character of the Edinburgh Reviewers on account of their opinions and predications respecting the war with France. Their opponents have taunted ihem with being the apologists of Bonaparte, -with depreciating the efforts and undervaluing the resources of England, in her arduous struggle to defeat his attempts at universal dominion. It has been alleged, that they represented him as invincible, and spoke with derision of his adversaries; that they advocated principles derogatory to the character and insulting to the feelings of Englishmen; and that their most confident prophecies were falsified by subsequent events. It is worthy of remark, that ihe individuals by whom these imputations were disseminated were the organs of a party, whose invariable policy was to brand every man as an enemy to the freedom and glory of England who presumed to question the justice and policy of her contest with France, to condemn the manner in which it was carried on, and to point out its manifold evils. It was not surprising, therefore, that the Edinburgh Reviewers should be stigmatised by that class of politicians as Jacobins, Revolutionists, and traitors to the cause of British liberty. It is only necessary to refer to the spirit and principles of the numerous articles in that journal, on those momentous topics, for a triumphant defence against such aspersions,
The accusation that the Edinburgh Reviewers were the zealous champrons of Napolcon, is untrue. Of that illustrious man they never wrote in any other lerms than those of admiration for his talents, hatred of his ty-