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liberty of omitting what he conceived to be objectionable, or of inferior importance, or unsuitable to the circumstances of the school, which he was desirous of improving.
Considering the recent origin of the new system of education, it will not be thought extraordinary that it should still be short of perfection. That it is a system still capable of improvement is indeed acknowledged by the original inventor himself, with a candour and ingenuousness, which reflect on him the highest honour. In a letter to R. L. Edgeworth, Esq. after mentioning his having lately been occupied in new modelling the Charity Schools of Whitechapel on the principle of the Madras Asylum, he adds, "When I entered the school, I said "before all present, that at the same time I was going to assist the scholars in educating themselves, I was also to seek instruction at their "hands. In less than a fortnight I had occasion to "mark two boys who fell upon improvements of "my practices in the Asylum. It is thus, if I were "allowed to follow the bent of my own inclination "in the superintendance of a large seminary, I "would seek to fill up the outlines of my plan "with subsidiary practices." Encouraged by this candid avowal on the part of Dr. Bell, the author feels the less reluctance in stating, that during a pretty constant attendance upon his parish school for more than a year and a half, he has reason to believe that it has been his good fortune to fall upon some practices, which are not altogether undeserving of attention. These will be found detailed in their proper places: and he needs only observe here, that no alterations in the practices either of Dr. Bell's or of Mr. Lancaster's schools were attempted by him, without much previous consideration; and that none were finally adopted,
See Madras School, page 307.
which had not undergone the test of a long course of experiment; and whose merits had not thus become, to his apprehension, apparent and unquestionable.
The author is well aware, that there may be persons who will feel some surprise at finding the English grammar, and the higher rules of arithmetic, forming a part of the plan of education described in the following sheets; and who will perhaps be disposed to question both the propriety and necessity of introducing them into a village school: he begs leave therefore to observe, that, circumstanced as he was, it was scarcely possible, with any prospect of permanent success, to practise the new method of teaching upon a less comprehensive scale of instruction than that which he has adopted. The whole of the new system of education" hinges," as Dr. Bell very properly remarks," upon the "teachers of classes b.' If they are of a proper age, and possess the necessary acquirements, the system will succeed; if they are incompetent, it will be sure to languish; and will perhaps ultimately fail. In the Enmore school, the teachers are mostly the children of farmers; and from eight to thirteen years of age and surely there is nothing unreasonable in the parents of these children being desirous of having them instructed in all such branches of learning, as are usually taught in the common writing schools of the neighbourhood, where persons in that rank in life have been accustomed to receive their education. Had the English grammar, and the higher rules of common arithmetic, been excluded from the plan of tuition followed in the school, the author would have had to boast of but few, if any, of that valuable set of little assistants, who are the main supports of the new system; and to whose steadiness, docility, and
See Madras School, page 48.
When the author determined no longer ago than at the commencement of the year 1810, to give the children of his parish the benefit of the new system of education, he did not know of a single instance, in which even the attempt had been made to introduce it into a village school. At present, however, such is the zeal excited in its favour, the time seems to be fast approaching, when every village shall have this invaluable blessing within its reach. Under the exalted and widely extended patronage which this system now enjoys, he cannot doubt of its general diffusion: and he looks forward with confidence to the exertions of "the National Society for promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church" for the removal of every obstacle which may stand in the way of its complete success. There are many things which still remain to be provided, before this new and peculiar mode of instruction can be generally acted upon, in its most perfect form; and he presumes to suggest that the deficiencies, which now exist, cannot so effectually or with so much. propriety be supplied, by any men, or body of men, as by the National Society. REGULAR SETS OF LESSONS, in all such branches of learning as it may be thought advisable to teach, prepared under the direction of the Society, and published with its sanction, would be universally acceptable to persons concerned in founding, or regulating, schools upon the new system, and in the principles of the Established Church. That this method of teaching requires a peculiar apparatus to be provided, will soon become sufficiently evident to any one who shall attempt to practise it. To supply it, even in a limited and imperfect way, for the use of his village school, has been by far the most laborious. part of the author's undertaking; and as, of those persons who are real friends to the system, few may have the leisure or the inclination to devote so
much time, as he has done, to this humble but useful employment, he anxiously hopes that this subject will be among the first to occupy the attention of the Society; and that the result of their deliberations and of their labours will be, that the Church of England will thenceforth possess a regular and well-digested course of progressive instruction, expressly adapted to the new method of teaching in which course, thus planned and provided under the immediate inspection of the governors of the church, the greater part of its infant members would probably be trained up, for many succeeding generations.
With respect to the extent of the instruction to be afforded in the Church of England schools, the author cannot conclude these introductory remarks without expressing his hopes, that it may be such as fully to meet the wishes of that class of the community, for whose use they are principally designed. In order to become generally and permanently useful, they must be popular: and no. school will be popular, or will long continue so, from which writing and arithmetic are excluded. In the present state of society, the humblest individual has continual occasion for some acquaintance with these useful branches of learning. Of this the poor seem now to be fully sensible; and the instances are frequent of their submitting to much inconvenience, and incurring an expence which they often can but ill afford, for the sake of having their children instructed in them. That the new schools, therefore, may not disappoint the hopes of those who shall promote their establishment, but may prove the means of securing to the church the education of its own infant poor; especial care must be taken, that the plan of instruction be not on too contracted a scale. In a preceding page, reasons have been assigned to shew the necessity, in certain circumstances, of making even