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concerning the Education of the Poor. Feeling, in common with every true friend of his country and of mankind, the unspeakable importance of diffusing the blessings of instruction among
the lower orders of the people, our only anxiety was to see the most effectual means employed for this great purpose ; and, so far from taking any lively interest in the discussions between Mr Lancaster and Dr Beli, we were disposed to concur in Sir T. Barnard's benevolent wish, that one half of the poor might be educated by the one plan, and the remainder by the other. It was with infinite reluctance, therefore, that we saw ourselves forced into the controversy carried on by the friends of the two systems; nor should we have descended at all into the arena, had it not become pretty evident, that an effort was making by a religious (we believe it would be more correct to say a political) faction, to cry down Mr Lancaster and his supporters; not because his method was inferior to Dr Bell's--for the heat of controversy has never, we believe, excited any one to this pitch—but because, although acknowledged by all to be both the cheaper and more efficacious of the two, it was invented and propagated by a Sectarian. For an ample account of the two systems, and a statement of the claims to the merit of invention, which both the worthy persons in question undoubtedly have, we must refer, once for all, to the article in our Number for October 1810. The reader will there find, in what particulars Mr Lancaster's method is superior to the other; and an estiinate, from facts, of the degree in which it possesses that superiority. Indeed, a word may suffice to turn the scale
wholly in its favour ;-it embraces every thing contained in Dr Bell's method, by which the work of instruction either is, or is pretended to be, facilitated ; and it comprehends, in addition to Dr Bell's inventions, (if we are to call them his, for the sake of avoiding a dispute about words, it being abundantly plain that many of them are neither Dr Bell's nor Mr Lancaster's *), a number of inventions which no one has ever denied to Mr Lancaster, calculated, in an eminent degree, both to expedite the work of tuition, and to diminish its expense. We have no 0ther ground for preferring Mr Lancaster's method to Dr bell's,
except In addition to what has already been said on this point, we would only refer the reader to the account of the Chevalier Paulet's establishment at Paris, contained in the Literary Repository for April 1788, and republished by Mr Lancaster in 1809. The most important and fundamental of the methods claimed for Dr Bell by his friends, are there detailed minutely, many years before he opezed his school
every one who
except only this, that it teaches reading, writing and accounts, better and cheaper. Its enemies cannot deny this; nor do they attempt to deny it; but they say, Mr Lancaster is a dissenter; and he does not, together with the branches of education just mentioned, teach a fourth branch, viz. theology; that is, the doctrines of the Church of England. This is truly, and in a few words, the present state of the question.
Having, in the article referred to, brought down the history of the system, and of the controversy arising out of it, to the time whea Mr Lancaster had completed his discoveries, we now resume the subject, in order to make our readers acquainted with the progress which it has made in the country,--the condition in which it is now placed,- the new efforts which are making by its baffled adversarios, -and the means of promoting it, which are within the reach of almost
peruses these pages:
It is alreally known to our readers, that for many years Mr Lancaster laboured alone, and almost unassisted, in the promotion of his great plan for the universal diffusion of education. In 1798, his school in the Borough was opened: by degrees it increased in size, and, with its increase, his methods of saving expense were gradually invented and perfected; uintil, in vsos, when it had been converted into a free school, it was the means of instructing and training to habits of industry, as well as of knowledge, a thousand poor children at one and the same time. During this period of solitary exertion, the expenses of his undertaking were defrayed partly by the profits of a printing press attached to the school, and the sale of his publications, and partly by the subscriptions of public-spirited individuals, in whom benevolence is instinctive, and the love of their country regulates their care for the welfare of its humblest inhabitants. Among these, we must give the first places to the Duke of Bedford and Lord Sommerville, the two earliest patrons whose kindness it has been the fortune of Mr Lancaster to experience. In 180.5, the King began to inquire into his inerits, and those of his plan. The result was perfectly satisfactory; and obtained for the new, system that liberal and an ple support which his Majesty has i:niformly bestowed upon it, with the steady consistency so reliarly belonging to his character. The Prince of Wales, anı! the other branches of the Royal Family, followed the example set by the illustrious head of their house; and the patronage thus secured to the systein, increased the funds destined for its maintenance, and secured it, for a while at least, from the interested or ignorant calumnics of bigotry. While the school under Mr Lancaster's immediate superin A 3
tendance was thus thriving, and affording, not only the means of instruction to those immediately frequenting it, but the model for similar establishments in other parts of the country, its
in. defatigable founder was spreading the new system still more effectually through the kingdom, by repeatedl journeys to the great provincial towns, where he superintended the formation of schools, and by educating in the Borough a number of young men, who might act as masters in these new seminaries. Notwithstanding the utmost skill in economizing the expenditure, and a frugality and self-denial, as to personal expense, perhaps without any example, the sims required for these enlarged undertakings so far exceeded the profits of the printing press, and the donations of the patrons, that a considerable debt was acoumulated. Mr Lancaster was on the point of meeting the fate of almost all benevolent projectors, whom ridicule and distrust may have spared in the outset of their career ; and the ruin of his plans would in all probability have been involved in his own. It may be proper to state, somewhat more particularly, the origin of his embarrassments.
The sums expendeel in erecting the necessary buildings, at the institution for training schoolmasters, amounted to above 35001.,_exceeding, by 2876l., the sums subscribed for this purpose. The expenses of boarding the young men during their education for schoolinastery, were about 12001. a year ; while the annual fund, begun by the Royal Family-for this purpose, was for some tinie only 6001. An attempt had been made, at Maiden Bradley, under the patronage of the Duke of Somerset, to establish an institution for training village schoolmasters; but it unfortunately failed, and produced a loss of 12001. The failnre of a person at Camberwell to defray, as he had engaged, the expenses of a school erected there, burthened Mr Lancaster with a further debt of 4001.; and by these, and some other outgoings of inferior note, he was indebted to the amount of 64491., while his whole property was only valued at 35001.
Such was the almost hopeless state of his finances early in 1808, notwithstanding the respectable patronage which he enjoged, and thie rapid progress which his great plan was making. Surrounded as we are by the blind zealots of a religious faction, and the interested politicians who would turn their fury to account, and employ it in the encouragement of ignorance and servility, we feel it necessary to guard, with a scrupulous caution, against every misconception, and to anticipate, at each step, the falsehoods which the enemies of education will not fail to invent. Lest, therefore, they should continue to pervert their hireling press to the abuse of this good man and his works,
and accuse him of extravagance, of squandering away the funds uf his institution, and thus loading it with debt, (nor would such a charge be in anywise more false and shameless than the calumnies with which their writings daily teem against him), we shall present an extract from one of the reports made of the state of his affairs by a committee of his creditors themselves; and we do so the more willingly, because this passage offers one of the most affecting pictures any where to be found, of virtuous industry, and honest, enlightened zeal, struggling against the hard necessities of a poverty occasioned by excess of charity and benevolence. It states, that the committee, when, in 1808, they • first examined into his affairs, and the nature of his embar
rassments, were exceedingly gratified to find, that his debts • originated from engagements entered into with different trades• men for accomplishing the various objects of rendering his sy's • tem for the education of the poor an institution for national • benefit. The principal of these were for bricklayer, timber• merchant, carpenter, typefounder, stationer, furniture, and • other necessaries for such an establishment. They found, that
although there were at that time in the family twenty-four persons to be boarded, there was scarcely a debt owing to any butcher; for the family, during a considerable time, bad on
ly enjoyed the taste of butcher's, meat when an occasional do& nation at the school furnished them with the means of pur
chasing a small quantity. The family had subsisted chiefly on
bread and milk ; and, to the honour of a Baker in the neigh• bourhood, to whom there was a considerable debt owing, it • must be mentioned, that when a degree of surprise was mani• 'fested at having given so large a credit, he replied “ Tho " good which Mr Lancaster has done to the poor of this neigh“ bourhood is such, that, as long as I have a loaf left, I will
give the half of it, to enable him to continue such beneficial " exertions.”
We believe that there are few readers of this touching pasbage who will not regret that the name of the Baker has been concealed from them. The rest of Mr Lancaster's creditors, however, (and we say it without any insinuation of blame) were not of the same clescription; and he could no longer hope to enjoy his personal freedom. Writs were out against him in different counties; and, not to give our readers the pain of going through such afflicting details, his own fate and that of his system was at hand, when, most fortunately for the community, the state of his affairs attracted the notice of a few private individuals, most of them in humble stations, but endowed with an nilightened zeal and generosity which would adorn a throne.
At the head of this most honourable list, we must place Mr Joseph Fox,-- man by no means in allurnt circumstances, but earning a comfortable income by the labours of his profession. Impressed with a strong whef in the excellence of the new systein, and foreseeing the incalculabie b vefits which must result from its universalliflusion, he was resolved, at the risk of involving his own affairs, to stay, if possible, the ruin which seemed impending over Mi Lancaster's. Upon inquiring into the state of his debts, and finding that the sum of thrce thousand sir hundred pouuds wouli be required in the first instance to relieve the concern, this generotts and courageous man instantly gave bills to that amount; and it has fallen to the lot of hini, who now pars this feeble homage to such rare virtue, to see those very bills picserved, with the proofs of their punctual para ment, and, as a frugal mark of respeci, bound together in a smail volume, of eloquence for surpassing the eloges of acades micians, or the chronicles of kings and conquerors. Together with Air Fox, five other worthy and enlightened men joined in relieviny Mr Lancaster from his difficulties. These were, Mr Jackson, * member of Parliament for Dover, Mr William Alien, Mr Corston, Mr Surge, and Mr Foster. They examined the wirele state of Mr Lancaster's allairs-undertook the entire management of his pecuniary concerns--advanced, partly by way of gift, parily by loan, considerable sums of money, re paying, in this way, some of the large advance originally made by Mr Fox-obtained, by soliciting their friends, a loan of no less than 40001. for the use of the Institution-and thus put the New system upon the same footing on which it stood before the comiencenent of Mr Lancaster's difficulties. To particularize the time and labour bestowed by these six individuals, and especially by Mr l'ox and Mr Allen, in promoting this great scheme or beneficence, would require an enumeration far too long for the bounds of this present article. . Since the beginning of : 808, it is perhaps no exaygeration to say, that each of thein (certainly each of the two whom we have particularly mentionau), has it this good work doubled whatever previously formed the busiacss of his active life. The money which these indivi
* In the delighuul task of testowing unqualified praise, we would fain avoid expressing ourselves inore warmly of one individual than anodier, where all are so eminently deserving; but the various employments of Mr Jackson, both in his public and private character, as a muchant, a senator, and an East India Director, in all which capacities lois equally respectable, make his excitions for Dir Lasse castor ocul teritorius.