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greater than that wielded by any other official in the empire. this centralisation has been an unpurposed, though an inevitable, growth; and there seems no way out of it except by delegating some of the powers to the county governing bodies which we are now promised. County autonomy, controlled by a central official council consisting partly of experts, is not inconsistent with the State's obtaining all the best ends of a national system-nay, it is probably the only way of best attaining these ends.
We say that the power already exercised by the Department, and the many burdens that it has even now to bear, must subject it to a great strain; and this, among other things, forbids our suspecting it of designs on the secondary education of the country. Were there any indications of such a design, the proposed inroad into this new domain would certainly have to be resisted. For, while admitting that secondary instruction is a subject clamantly calling for State organisation, the work would have to be set about under very different auspices from that of the present Department, and would have to be controlled by a larger and more liberal spirit. We believe the fact simply to be, that impatient professors of all the 'ologies' have been struck with admiration of the mighty instrument which the Queen in Council had put into their hands, and have pressed their various pet educational instruments on the perplexed Permanent Secretary. The result has been, that round the simple and meagre Code introduced by Mr. Lowe in 1861, there has grown, by inevitable accretion, the list of specific subjects which now call forth so much adverse comment. We cannot believe the Department to be insensible to the humour of the situation, and we half suspect that they have wilfully given the modern spirit' full rein just to see what the issue would be.
We not only acquit the Department of any such ambition as that attributed to them, but we believe that they are only acting on the line of the true Liberal tradition in education, viz. that it is the duty of the State in its own interest to see that all its citizens have at least an opportunity afforded them of being educated, not only up to the level of their existing position in the social scale, but up to the level of their possible position. Nor are we inconsistent in supporting, at the same time, both the House of Lords and 'the Department:' the apparent inconsistency is reconciled by a proper understanding of the aims and the social restrictions of popular education. We believe that the more education a man has, if the substance and method of that education be first wisely settled, the better citizen he will be— nay, the better will he do even the humblest work assigned to him. If any discontent arises, it will be due not to the fact of the man's education, but to the fact that he is educated beyond the level of his neighbours, and that, while raised by his ability and acquirements out of sympathy with the life of his fellow-labourers, he is nevertheless debarred from finding occupation more suited to his intellectual life, which he yet sees to be easily within the reach of
men socially more fortunate than himself while in respect of education they are his inferiors.
The question put before the country by the House of Lords is not at all whether the Department is trenching on the sphere of secondary education and spending money illegitimately. The term 'secondary' education is loosely and inaccurately used. The real point is-and some of the speakers seemed to be vaguely conscious of it-Up to what age is imperial revenue to be burdened with the cost of education for the poor; and having determined this, how shall the time at the disposal of the child be used? Are we at present using the time profitably and getting our money's worth? As a matter of fact, the school education of the masses of the population ends in the twelfth year; nor is it likely, while poverty continues, that it will ever be otherwise. But surely it is the function of the State, always presuming that it has any educational function at all, to encourage the continuance of school life as long as the pressing physical necessities of the poorer classes permit. The House of Lords (we refer to the reactionary members) may rest assured that in the present, or indeed any, constitution of society, the prolongation beyond the twelfth year will not be great. The age of fifteen is not likely in any case to be exceeded, and the longer the period of school life is, the more fruitful is the result of the earlier years of training, and the more certainly will the level of intelligence of the humbler classes be raised-not only of those who benefit by the prolonged instruction, but of the whole social class to which they belong. And is it necessary at this time of day to argue that this is a matter of State concern? Nations are now industrial communities competing with each other, and the weapon with which they now compete, and must for the future compete, is intelligence. It is no longer an open question whether we are to rely on the intelligence, as well as on the moral and religious upbringing, of the operative classes: we must do so. Technical training in the various manufacturing industries can reach only the few, and we believe that infinitely more important than any amount of technical training is the general intelligence of the workman as that has been developed in the public school. Given a well-exercised, open mind, and the requisite technical knowledge and aptitude will be very easily acquired.
The leading aim of the primary school then is the cultivation of the human intelligence, and we sincerely believe that this is not attainable under the restrictions which Mr. Lowe devised in the Revised Code of 1861, or those which Lord Sherbrooke would now reimpose. The meagre requirements of Mr. Lowe would probably cost as much to the State as a more liberal demand, and would bring back to society little or no return. We are persuaded that the bare technical arts of reading, writing, and arithmetic are of less moment to the individual and the community than the assiduous cultivation of the intelligence, even to the comparative neglect of these arts. It is fortunately true that a certain amount of discipline is indirectly given in the course of ac
quiring reading and writing; but would not more of these accomplishments themselves be acquired were the daily instruction made subordinate to the training of the spiritual instrument by which they are acquired? Lord Sherbrooke attempts to strengthen his position by giving us his experience of boys who had passed the sixth standard, and who could not act as his readers in such a way as to make listening on his part an occupation either pleasing or profitable. So then we are to understand, by Lord Sherbrooke's own confession, that his policy has been a failure. We should have expected nothing else. Mr. Lowe instructs boys in the deciphering of printed characters, and then complains that when all is over they cannot read to him satisfactorily blue-books or the Fortnightly.' Why should they? Reading aloud in any sense other than the mere naming of vocables is an act of intelligence, and an act requiring an ever higher intelligence as the subject-matter of what is read grows in subtlety and complexity. Even with the help of more disciplined and better-informed minds, very few of the middle and upper classes can read in a style that satisfies at once the understanding and the ear of a cultivated listener. In fact, no accomplishment is more conclusive evidence that a boy has been educated than the power of reading well. We are quite ready to agree with Lord Sherbrooke: good reading is more important than a knowledge of the elements of Latin or of electricity and magnetism; and until the former is done, the latter may be left out of the curriculum of the people's schools. But how is reading, such as Lord Sherbrooke desiderates, to be obtained? Only by familiarising the mind with the subject-matter of books, and giving it command over the words of literature, and the ideas which those words denote. The House of Lords would not, we believe, object to this, but they are probably not aware that in accepting this as the standard of education, they aim very much higher than the promoters of a smattering of the specific or so-called 'secondary' subjects do. Such a result is not to be attained except by a curriculum of instruction, carefully adapted to the age of the pupils, in the realities of sense and of thought. The Education Code should aim at this, and not at the beggarly knowledge of the vocables of a reading-book which has been carefully restricted in its scope to secure for the pupil a Government 'pass.'
If we ask next on what materials the intelligence of the young is to be led to exercise itself, we answer again, on the realities of sense and of thought. By the former we mean nature and man's relation to it, without any pretence to science and its (to children) barren terms and empty formulated expressions; by the latter we mean the ideas and language of moral and religious truth, and of imaginative literature. It is only in this way that we bring the young mind in direct contact with the substance of the mental life of all who have emerged above barbarism, and thereby prepare them for the future teachings of the lecture-room, the village library, and the church. By such instruction we awaken the intelligence and engage the moral affections of the young, and so best fit them for their future lives. Reading should
accompany, or, at least, closely follow, the movements of the active opening mind; and then, at whatever stage we have to part with the child, society will be the better for what we have done, and the child himself will have received a start in a truly rational life, and have such consolations in the toils and vicissitudes of his humble career as an awakened spirit can give. To imagine that a boy so educated will be a worse ploughman or a worse man than if he had been left in the condition of dumb driven cattle, is to suppose a contradiction in thought and to despair of the future of humanity. To imagine, on the other hand, that we attain the human and humane ends of popular education by sprinkling the misunderstood terms of all the sciences through our schoolrooms is the very folly and perversity of educational fanaticism. All that such misapprehension of the relations of science to the work of the people's school can result in is the pretence of knowledge-a pretence as hurtful to the teacher as to the pupil, and certain to bring discredit on the very name of education.
The training of the intelligence by presenting it with the food suited to its period of growth and which it can readily assimilate, is, however, after all, only a means to a higher end-the moral and religious education of the pupil. This is the supreme consideration in the case of each individual, and therefore also in the people's school. We say moral and religious, for though we are far from denying that a certain moral education can be given without religion, we are satisfied that, deprived of the inspiration of religion and of the motives and aspirations of the spiritual life, the morality will be bald and meagre. The result, apart from all theological and ecclesiastical considerations, will not be satisfactory so far as the mere humanity of the child is concerned. It is melancholy to think that our religious strifes are to shut out the child of the poor man (who is profoundly indifferent to them) from all that most deeply touches the heart and awakens the sentiment of mankind. Is it reasonable that the children of the poor should be debarred from all that most surely furnishes consolation and hope in the chances and changes of this mortal life, because a few of the dogmas that have been erected on the broad human basis of our common Christianity are distasteful to the illuminated few? The poor man and the struggling woman among the poor cannot be expected to find a substitute for religion in that self-complacent sense of superiority which suffices to sustain the heart of the intellectual Agnostic. The moral and religious influence which should pervade the life of the school, and which is quite compatible with the relegation of dogmatic teaching to a fixed hour, is, we regretfully admit, beyond the power of the State to produce at command. Moral teaching it can, however, in any case require; and for the rest it must rely on the general purport of its instructions to teachers and inspectors, but above all on the training which it gives to the teachers whom it rears for the public service. It may be possible to inspire them.
We have indicated the true work of the people's school. It does
not change its character at any stage of the school curriculum. Whether the child leaves at the age of ten, twelve, or fourteen, the instruction he receives is still substantially the same as at the age of six. We believe that, so far, we carry with us Lord Norton, the Bishop of Exeter, and the majority of those who voted with them; and we are quite certain that we have the assent of the few who have given time and study to the science and art of education. 'Educational enthusiasts,' where they have any knowledge of the repressive conditions under which the common school is worked, desire no more than has been here sketched, and they will be content with no less. For such results our millions would indeed be well expended.
But it is evident that to attain such results the Code of the Department must begin and end differently. It ought to lay down the material of instruction, and the course of intellectual discipline, through which the child is to be carried from year to year. Infants -that is to say, all under seven years of age-have to be trained to the use of their observing powers, in ways which we need not here specify in detail, but which are quite well understood. In the course of this training their minds would be brought into healthful contact with sensible objects, and a broad foundation laid for subsequent real studies. Satisfaction should also be given to the cravings of imagination and sentiment by means of child-literature and with the help of music. The moral and religious impressions made on the heart at this early stage would never in future years be obliteratedwould never, because they could never. The rudiments of reading, writing, and ciphering would not, of course, be omitted, but they would, we maintain, be more successfully taught by being held in subordination to the higher ends of intellectual discipline and moral training. The successive years of school life would simply repeat and expand and confirm the teachings of the infant school in ascending forms. The gradual additions made to real knowledge would, by the time the child had reached the sixth standard and his thirteenth year, have brought him into intelligent relations with nature. Science in any form would be eschewed, but the more practical results of science would be intelligently apprehended. The Natureknowledge to which we point would find its final expression in the primary school in such admirable statements of what is now covered by the term 'physical geography,' as that of Professor Geikie, in his little shilling book on this subject; while the laws of healthy living and the rudiments of an understanding of social and economic conditions would also find their place. Moral training, conducted in a religious spirit, arises daily, nay hourly, in connection with such teaching: it finds its opportunity in every act of school-life when the master is competent for his important and delicate task. All this is quite practicable. Were it not practicable, popular education would be doomed to failure. With such a curriculum specific subjects which bear the illusory appearance of being 'secondary' subjects would disappear, and the minds of the Lords would be tranquillised.