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-who know how much time and intellect is necessary for mastering them even when assisted by youthful faculties, an unembarrassed mind, and a good tutor and who are aware that a mere smattering of them is almost wholly useless with regard to their application, say to this? They will call it miserable quackery. It is scarcely possible to make the mass of men masters of arithmetic after they pass twenty or twenty five; and the adult who can only devote an hour or two every other day to reading, who can barely read eight or ten volumes ayear, and who is at the same time dabbling in various kinds of reading, and various arts and sciences, will be about as good a geometrician or algebraist after, as before, receiving Mr Brougham's education.
But the learned gentleman's grand engines of education, are lectures. To those who are already well instructed in an art or a science, a lecture on it is of great service. It is a detail of what has been already comprehended, and it recalls it to, or imprints it more deeply on, the memory. But lectures are almost wholly useless for teaching working men, for the first time, the arts and sciences. To such men, a large part of the language, from the technical terms, must be incomprehensible, and this and the nature of the subject renders it impossible for it to be remembered. Where is the memory which will retain any portion worth mentioning of a course of lectures on a strange subject, for three months after its delivery? Even when a lecture bears upon the calling of a mechanic, he will derive no great benefit from it; it will bear upon the theory rather than the practice of his calling, therefore it will supply little or nothing that can be kept in the memory by daily use. But those whose callings are not at all, or very indirectly, connected with it, will forget the whole a week after hearing it. Every educated man knows, that not only full tuition, but the frequent use or study of any branch of knowledge,
is essential for keeping it in the memory; and that the mass of labourers may hear a course of lectures on any art or science every year of their lives, and still be unacquainted with it.
When it is remembered that a mechanic must have a very considerable share of previous instruction in an art or a science, and either a strong personal interest in it, arising from his occupation, or a decided natural predilection for it, to relish and profit by lectures upon it, it will be seen that the lectures which have been delivered at the different Mechanics' Institutions must have been perfectly worthless to the overwhelming mass of the mechanics in regard to useful and lasting instruction. When it is remembered how much patient study is necessary for acquiring a competent knowledge of any single art or science, and how little leisure the mechanics have for purposes of instruction, it will be seen that Mr Brougham's momentary tuition, imperfect treatises, and superficial lectures, will do scarcely anything towards giving the mechanics a scientific education. As to the labourers and lower artizans, it is clear that they are intentionally passed by; not a single lecture is given that is not evidently above their comprehension and foreign to their needs.
The learned gentleman, notwithstanding, in substance asserts, that, by his scheme, the working classes, not the higher mechanics only, but the labourers and lower artizans as well, will be, not merely "half-informed," but "well educated, and even well versed in the most elevated sciences"! This is the age of quacks, and really this outstrips Dr Eady. If any farther refutation be necessary, Mr Brougham himself shall furnish it. He says that the higher classes, to deserve" being called the betters" of the lower ones, must now "devote themselves more to the pursuit of solid and refined learning; the present public seminaries must be enlarged; and some of the greater cities of the kingdom, especially the metropolis,* must not be left
A scheme has been put forth for forming a University in London, against which we trust every friend to his country, and the sound and proper education of his countrymen, will array himself. If new Universities be wanted, let them be formed, but let them be formed in places remote from the din and frenzy of party-politics. In this political country, the students of a London University would be eternally assailed by the seductions of party-prints and party-leaders; they would be comparatively VOL. XVII. 4 B
destitute of the regular means within themselves of scientific education." Now the higher classes, if they cannot be accommodated at the public seminaries, or lack the funds for entering them, still possess infinitely better means of acquiring education than the lower ones, notwithstanding the Mechanics' Institutions and other contrivances of Messrs Brougham and Co. They receive a far better elementary education, possess far more leisure, have at their command far better libraries, can obtain the best books of instruction, and the most able teachers, and mix in the most intelligent society, which is one of the most efficient instruments of education. When this is the case, why is it necessary for the existing public seminaries to be enlarged, and new ones to be formed, to prevent the higher orders from being surpassed in learning by the lower ones? If the working classes can be thus miraculously educated by reading an hour or two every other day, skimming over eight or ten volumes per annum, and hearing an occasional course of lectures, how does it happen that the higher classes can only be educated by the old, long, laborious, and costly mode of education? Are the former blessed with a prodigiously greater share of intellect than the latter? No! Then here is Mr Brougham himself demolishing, according to his wonted custom, his own pamphlet.
Now those parts of education which the working classes in general need the most, and which are the farthest from their reach, he virtually rejects. We say virtually rejects, because, although he speaks of general reading, he lays his whole stress upon party politics, political economy, and the arts and sciences. These are to be taught the first; these are to be taught whatever may remain untaught. No lectures are delivered, and scarcely any are recommended which illustrate human nature, the differences between man and man, and nation and nation, the principles of society, the duties of individuals and communities, &c. &c., although such lectures would come home to the breasts of all, would bear powerfully on the interests of all, would tend greatly to enlarge the understanding and produce good conduct, and would in substance be far more capable of comprehension and retention than scientific ones. If the labouring orders are to become even smatterers only in "the most elevated sciences," they must devote to these their hour or two every other day for their whole lives; they must not look at any other knowledge; the days of miracles have ceased, and they must either acquire only a very little of science, or no other instruction at all.
Now comes the cui bono. If the working classes were well versed in party-politics, political economy, and
free from discipline, and they would always be among the most violent in political convulsions. At present the sons of all the better classes—of middling and wealthy commoners, tradesmen and merchants, as well as of country gentlemen of good blood, and Peers, are educated promiscuously and harmoniously together at our Uni versities. We need not dwell on the advantages of this. If one of the English Universities be more Whiggish than the other, this forms a division of party only, and not of class. But a London University would be scorned by the Aristocracy; it would belong wholly to the democracy, and it would, particularly if Brougham and Co. had any share in its formation, be the rival of the others in politics and religion too. Party-enmity towards the aristocracy, and the worst principles in respect of both politics and religion, would assuredly pervade it. We are very certain, that the education-mongers of the day would never dream of a London University if they did not mean it to be a political engine; in truth, the Poet who has put forth the plan, states that it ought to teach "liberal opinions." In regard to the expense of the existing Universities, could no regulations be formed for reducing it? When we see that the London students are to be boarded at home, and must necessarily be exposed to the gaming, beautiful women, costly entertainments, &c. of the metropolis, we are pretty sure that a London University would in the upshot be not less expensive than those of Oxford and Cambridge. Besides, every father-even the decent country farmer-wishes his son to be educated FROM HOME if possible. This is desirable on the score of due control, the eradication of injurious prejudices and habits, the acquisition of a better knowledge of the world, &c., as well as on that of family harmony.
If the Aristocracy be blind to the object of the education-men, woe to it!
Brougham on the Education of the People.
the most elevated sciences, where
One of the means recommended by Mr Brougham, is of so pernicious a character that we must not pass it without reprehension. He says, "There are many occupations in which a number of persons work in the same room; and unless there be something noisy in the work, one may always read while the others are employed. If there are twenty-four men together, this arrangement would only require each man to work one extra day in four weeks, supposing the reading to go on the whole day, which it would not; but a boy or a girl might be engaged to perform the task, at an expense so trifling as not to be felt."
We believe that there is not a master in the kingdom who would suffer his workmen to do this; if, however, there be such a one, we are sure that his suffering it would speedily bring him into the Gazette. A workman to do his work well, and a sufficiency of it, must devote to it, not only his hands, but his whole attention. If his ears and thoughts were directed to the book, instead of earning his wages, he would be a nuisance. A master finds it imperiously necessary both to keep everything from his men that might divert their attention from their
work, and to use stimulants to get this
We proceed to a most important part
The chief duty which the committees of management have to perform, is to select the books and the lecturers. Well, the mass of the mechanics are grossly ignorant; they are assembled together to be educated; they know nothing of books, or the character of lecturers; very bad political and religious opinions notoriously prevail among them to an alarming extent; every one knows that a profusion of most pernicious publications would incessantly court their attention; partypolitics are to form a part of their education; and yet they are to have the choice of their reading. The committee is to be voted for by the whole, so that it is scarcely possible for a welleducated, respectable man, to be chosen a member; and, at the best, such men can never form more than the contemptible minority. If, therefore, the mechanics think good to choose the most useless and pernicious worksif they think proper to have the writings of Bentham, Carlile, Paine, Cobbett, &c., nothing is to exist to prevent them. Let any one recall to mind
what the working classes read a few years ago; let him ascertain what they now read; let him figure to himself what they will assuredly read in times of distress; and then he will know what opinion to form on this matter. If the upper classes will give their time and money to establish reading societies like these, they will richly deserve all the calamities which it will surely bring upon them.
Mr Brougham asserts, that no evils have arisen from this plan in London and Glasgow, where it has been tried. In regard to London, the one-third of the committee, not mechanics, is composed of himself, Dr Birkbeck, &c.; of men, who, from their reputation, rank, or loans to the institution, have the management as exclusively in their hands, as though they constituted the whole committee. They are men, too, who, it may be fairly supposed, would not admit any books whatever. But in no other place would the educated members of the committee obtain any such influence. In regard to Glasgow, he gives nothing but his assertion. He states that no books are excluded, save those on theology. Now we remember, that five years ago, the working classes of Glasgow were in a state of open rebellion; they were among the worst-principled men in the nation, although the Mechanics' Institution had existed among them twenty years. In the last twelve months, they have proved themselves to be as low as any other part of the population, in regard to correct knowledge and principles. We do not know that this is to be ascribed, in any degree, to the faulty regulations of the Institution, but it certainly proves, that the Institution has had no effect whatever in giving education to the working classes as a whole. The Mechanics' Institutions, which are now forming, must yield better fruits than the Glasgow one has done, or they will be, at the best, perfectly worthless, touching the great end of education.
That a power should be vested in a certain number of the masters, and other members of the better classes, to exclude all improper publications from the Institutions, is unquestionable; and that such a power would conduce greatly to the benefit of the mechanics themselves, and would interfere in no degree with their just independence, is alike unquestionable. To form the
people into bodies for purposes of reading, and to give them the exclusive power of selecting their books, when it is known that they are grossly ignorant-that their principles are, to a great extent, very questionable-and that the press constantly teems, more or less, with seditious and infidel publications-with publications striving to array the lower classes against the upper ones, and to dissolve society, would be, in fact, to prepare the most efficient scheme of national ruin that has ever yet been devised, prolific as latter times have been in such schemes. That such a scheme should have been put forth by a senator, by one who is called a statesman, and who aspires to become one of the leading rulers of this nation-and that it should be applauded by a portion of the upper ranks, shows, alas! that education is most deplorably needed in other quarters than among the working classes.
Considering the object of this pamphlet, and the character of those to whom it is especially addressed, a spirit pervades it of the most reprehensible description. The party-fanatic peeps forth in almost every page. The author assumes the mask of the plebeian, scatters around him sneers against the upper orders, covers them with jealousy, and does quite sufficient to convince the labouring ones that they ought not to be listened to, or trusted. It is, indeed, scarcely possible to divest ourselves of the belief, that one of the main objects of the pamphlet is, to divide, and sow discord between servant and master-the lower ranks and the higher ones. In one part Mr Broughain makes a fierce attack upon almost every description of charitable institutions, and calls upon their supporters to abandon them, and give their money to his reading and debating clubs. His call will, we trust, be scorned as it deserves. These shallow visionaries, who call themselves political economists, thus eternally labour to harden the heart, destroy sympathy between man and man, and crush that spirit of benevolence, charity, and generosity, which forms so glorious and beneficial a part of the English character. This character, which has so long formed so proud and resplendent an example to the rest of the world, is to be beaten down into a vile and stinking compound of party-politics and the love of
money of demagogue and pedlar's fraud and stony-heartedness. We say, and we know its truth from personal observation, that the mass of their charges against charitable institutions, and more especially against the poorlaws, is false. The Englishman, however, is a creature of passion, and although they may be able to give him the heart of a monster, they will not be able to give him one of marble. In another part, the learned lawyer introduces some wretched and hackneyed stuff respecting tyrants, bigots, intolerance, and superstition. No one but the bigotted and intolerant slave of party would have ever dreamt of using it in an address to the working classes and their employers on education.
Upon the whole, the summary of Mr Brougham's scheme is as follows:
It makes no effectual provision for the education of the village population, and its author evidently feels no solicitude for such education.
It makes, in effect, no provision whatever for the education of the labourers and lower artizans of cities and towns, and it only supplies education to the higher of the mechanics-to that part of the working classes which has the least need of it.
When all the institutions are formed which it is calculated to form, not more than twelve or fourteen thousand members will belong to them in all Great Britain. These must belong to them for life to be imperfectly educated, and, of course, the mass of the working classes must still be without education.
The education which it will give to the contemptible few will be confined almost exclusively to party-politics, political economy, and the arts and sciences. If they devote every moment of their leisure to these for life, they will become only imperfectly acquainted with them, consequently they will have no time to bestow on the acquisition of other kinds of knowledge.
A large portion of this education will assuredly be highly injurious to the mechanics, and the remainder will as assuredly be utterly useless to the vast mass of them. They will scarcely acquire any of that knowledge which they need the most, and which would yield them great benefits. It does not appear that the working classes of Glasgow, as a whole, possess more scientific knowledge, after twenty-five
years' tuition, than those of other places; but it does appear that there are yet among them some of the most ignorant and worst-principled of the British people.
The scheme, according to reason and experience, is calculated to take the working classes from the guidance of their superiors, and place them under that of literary traitors; to give a stimulus to those abominable publications which have so long abounded, and fill the hands of the mechanics with them; to make these mechanics the corrupters and petty demagogues of the working orders generally; to dissolve the bonds between the poor and the rich, create insubordination, and foment those animosities which unfortunately prevail so much already between servants and masters; to give to times of national trouble and distress the most terrible consequences; to injure industry, good workmanship, and morals; to make the mechanics, who, to a great extent, hold in their hands the elective franchise, in almost all open places save counties, the slaves of the worst kind of faction; and to bring the most grievous evils upon the working classes themselves, as well as upon their superiors.
The scheme, from its perfect indifference to the education of all the labourers save those who possess, or are likely to possess, political influence, and from the bitter party-spirit which pervades it, has manifestly been got up for party-purposes principally.
Such is Mr Brougham's scheme for the education of the working classes. We will now suggest some of the alterations and additions which are imperiously necessary for rendering it worthy of the least countenance.
In the first place, exclude, as we have already said, all leading party-men, no matter whether Tory, Whig, Burdettite, or Benthamite, from all share in the formation and management of the reading societies. Such men should be suffered to do nothing whatever beyond subscribing their money. Education is not a party-matter; it has nothing to do with party, and it cannot be touched by party-leaders without ceasing to be education without being transformed into a national plague. Of course, Messieurs Broughain, Burdett, Place, &c. and even the Marquis of Lansdowne, must be dismissed.