The Lord Chancellor
rose to move for a Return connected with a very important subject—a subject which was at present occupying, to a great extent, the attention of the country. That Return would throw a very great light on the state of education at the present moment, which, as connected with the morals of the people, must be viewed with a considerable degree of interest. He had stated to many who had addressed him on the subject, his reason for hesitating before he brought in a Bill for adopting a general system of education. He had said, when reference had been made to Scotland, that whereas the Bill of Charles 1st (the Parish-School Bill), although it had worked most beneficially for the people of Scotland, because it was adapted to their peculiar situation, yet, did not appear to be equally applicable to the people of this country, their situation being extremely dissimilar. Indeed, when the subject was examined (and it had been examined by a Committee of which he was Chairman), it was found that nothing could be more different from the situation of Scotland when that measure passed into a law, than the situation of England at the present moment. It was not, therefore, right to argue, that because such a measure had effected good in Scotland, the principle should be now adopted with respect to England. The great difference was this—that at the time when the Bill was passed there were no schools in Scotland. Therefore, the best plan that could be devised to remedy that evil was, the plan which could most speedily be carried into effect, and the consequence was, that a school, with a small garden, was established in every parish, which was supported by particular funds. But, if they proceeded in like manner to plant schools in this country, a rate for their maintenance would be necessary. The people of Scotland, at the time the Bill was passed, had no experience of rates; but in this country they had sufficient experience of rates and of schools also. If in England the Legislature said, "Let there be a school in every parish," it would tend, he was convinced, to put an end to 844 the present means of education derived from voluntary contributions, which were now paid to a very large amount. If, having paid the usual subscription, the collector called on the individual the next day, and said, "I come to collect the school-rate," he would, most probably, come to this conclusion—"I shall pay the rate, I think that is enough; but I will get rid of the voluntary subscription." At the same time, he was ready to admit, that voluntary means alone were not altogether to be trusted to provide for the purposes of general education. He had admitted the fact in that place, on a former occasion, when he was censured for abstaining from the general establishment of parish schools on the Scotch plan. He had on principle refused to adopt that course. But though, in his mind, there was a very great risk in adopting the compulsory system, still it appeared to him, that there was a much greater risk in doing nothing at all; and it was a very gross mistake to suppose, because that particular door, a general compulsory system, was not open, that therefore no door was open by which provision might be made to remove the lamentable want of education which prevailed, especially in the great towns, where it was more observable than even in the country parts. He had, however, ample reason to believe, that in the interval between 1818 and 1828, when the Test and Corporation Acts were removed, a great increase in the amount of education, and that, too, of a most beneficial description, had taken place. In 1828, when those Acts were repealed, it was found necessary to consider whether the Dissenters, who, in consequence of the restrictions imposed on them under the law, were not willing to avail themselves of many institutions for education, would do so when the Test and Corporation Acts had ceased, and they had, to a certain degree, arrived at the privileges of Churchmen. The result of those inquiries was, that though the objections of the Dissenters were lessened, they had by no means ceased. He had thought it expedient, however, to ascertain by private inquiries, whether there had been an increase or decrease of education during those ten years? He had, with that view, addressed a circular to the clergymen of between 500 and 600 parishes, taking them in various parts of the kingdom, and requesting the necessary information. He had received about 500 an- 845 swers, and the result was, that the number of schools in those parishes, from which he had received replies, had been doubled; and the number of scholars more than doubled. In those 500 or 600 parishes of England and Wales, there were, at the commencement of the ten years, 1,400 schools, which had increased to 2,800; at the beginning of the period between 5,000 and 6,000 scholars were educated at those day-schools, which number had, at the expiration of the ten years, increased to 12,000. This, he conceived, was a most satisfactory Return. Those, however, who were friendly to parish schools, had thought fit to attack this statement in those periodical publications which were devoted to their opinions. They charged him with exaggeration, with having selected the parishes, and with not having stated the case fairly. They observed, that there were 13,000 parishes in England and Wales, and they argued, that while an increase of education might have taken place in the 500 parishes to which the Return referred, yet, that the course of education might have been retarded, or suspended altogether, in other places. Now, there was something so exceedingly improbable in supposing that education should go on prosperously in 500 parishes, and that in all the rest it should fall back, that the proposition really did not call for an answer. It did, however, so happen that the Return made to Lord Kerry's Motion in the House of Commons, entirely confirmed his view of the subject. That Return afforded a comparative view of the state of education in two districts in 1818, when the Education Committee was sitting, and in 1833, when Lord Kerry made his Motion. The county of Bedford and the town of Manchester were the districts chosen, and they were chosen because Bedford was an agricultural county, and Manchester was a great manufacturing town. The whole county of Bedford had, in the year 1818, 136 day-schools of all sorts; it had now 244: the number of scholars in 1818 was 3,980; it was now 5,633: being an increase, in the means of education in that county, of as five to three. It had not, indeed, doubled; but it amounted to more than five to three. So that his calculation, of which complaint had been made, was very near the mark. In 1818, the Sunday-schools in the county of Bedford were attended by 4,738 scholars; that number was now in- 846 creased to 15,234: being more than three to one—indeed, considerably more than treble. It would thus appear, that education in the county of Bedford, taking Sunday-schools and day-schools, had more than increased two to one. With respect to Manchester, that great, and wealthy, and enlightened, and ingenious town, education had there increased in a much greater proportion than in the county of Bedford. In 1818 it possessed (not including Salford) only fifty day-schools, which were attended by 2,628 scholars. By the great exertions however—and they were as meritorious as they were great—of the enlightened leading inhabitants, instead of fifty day-schools, there were 216; which were attended by 10,000 and odd children. So that in Manchester the increase in the day-schools was more than four to one. Now, if other places had increased in anything like the same proportion, he thought it would be found—and he had no doubt it would—that the calculation which he had made with reference to 500 parishes was greatly underrated. That, he believed, would be the result, when the whole Return was laid before their Lordships. The Sunday-schools in Manchester had increased in the same ratio as the similar schools had done in the county of Bedford. In 1818 the number of scholars was 8,000; in 1833, no less than 24,400. This result was most satisfactory; and, when its importance was considered, did it not show that it might be very imprudent to run the risk of doing away with the system of voluntary contribution by imposing a school-rate? A rate to the amount, as had been calculated, of 1,200,000 a-year, would not effect the object of general education. It would not be enough that a large sum of money was granted. Something else would be necessary. They might plant schools—they might water the plant which they had put into the ground—they might be assisted by funds compulsorily obtained—but did it follow that the plant, or the school, would take root? What he meant by taking root, was, that individuals should nourish it, and should feel a strong desire to send their children to be educated at schools thus supported. Was there any certainty that such would be the case? And should the contrary happen, what was the use of a rate?—what was the use of paying a salary to a master, when no one attended the school? It had 847 been asserted, that the people in this country did not feel the same thirst for education that was cherished in other parts of the empire. He understood that in Ireland, when schools were opened, the children of the poor people were immediately sent there. That such was the case in Scotland he knew. Now, if there was a backwardness in that respect amongst the people of England, the voluntary system offered a far greater chance of removing it than one of a compulsory kind. Those who subscribed voluntarily to a school naturally took an interest in it. They watched over it, they superintended it, and they endeavoured to induce the poor to send their children thither. But if a compulsory system were adopted, all that beneficial superintendence would cease. He did not say, that children would not be sent at all to those schools, but he believed, that they would not attend in such large numbers. With respect to aiding and assisting voluntary contributions, one course, he thought, might be advantageously taken. It was within the power of Government to adopt it; and he rejoiced to see that, to a certain extent, the plan to which he alluded had been pursued, according to the recommendation of the Education Committee in 1818, who had stated at length, the grounds on which their opinion was formed. The proposition was, to advance a sum of money to encourage those to proceed who were willing to advance the money in the formation of schools by voluntary subscription. This had been tried on a very small scale; and such advantages had been found to result from it as had induced the other House of Parliament, most wisely in his opinion, to apply a further sum of money to the same end. What he adverted to was, voting only small sums, say 20,000l., to enable such persons as wished, by voluntary contribution, to found schools to overcome the first impediment—that of securing school-houses. Such a sum had been voted, and he would undertake to say, that never was 20,000l. better laid out. There was no fear whatever that Parliament would ever repent of that vote. It was clear, that Parliament had not done so, since 20,000l. more had been voted still further to carry on the plan. What was the effect of this measure? Why, that not less than from 40,000l. to 50,000l. had been voluntarily subscribed, in addition to the aid granted 848 by Government. The consequence was, that, in one year, means of education were suddenly called into existence sufficient for the instruction of 30,000 children, which was equal to a population of 500,000 souls. This statement had reference to two of the three ridings of the great county of York. There was in the system of education proffered to the poor in this country, a deficiency which was greatly to be lamented. As it was "not all gold that glittered," so neither was it all education that outwardly looked like it. There was a serious lack of really useful education. Many children might darken the school-house door,—they might talk and buzz there all the day,—they might depart to their homes in the evening; and yet, during their attendance, so little might be taught them, that it would not be improper to say, that their time was all but lost. It was, to be sure, better that they should attend, as they were thus kept out of mischief, than be doing wrong elsewhere; and that, perhaps, was the most favourable view that could be adopted. This was an undeniable fact; and the defect was entirely owing to the great want of improvement in the general system of education, and especially in the deficiency of cheap seminaries, where those who meant to become school-masters themselves might be properly instructed. This was a point to which he anxiously hoped and trusted the attention of the Legislature would be speedily called, and that the other House of Parliament, jealous and properly watchful over the public purse as it was, would take care to provide for this great, glaring, and universally acknowledged defect; and, with that object, would add to the 20,000l. already voted, 20,000l. more, towards the establishment of seminaries, or normal schools, for the education of those who would afterwards be called to preside over inferior schools themselves. It was not to be supposed that education could be placed on a very secure or solid foundation, in a country containing a population of 14,000,000 or 15,000,000, when the system depended so much upon casual aid. Probably, however, the Legislature—for the attention of the country had, of late, been strongly directed to this point—would take up the subject, and place the system of education on a more solid basis. The voluntary principle should, however, always be adhered to,—nothing like compulsion should enter into the system, In 849 Prussia the contrary course was pursued. Education was forced under the rigour of military punishment—under the dread of the serjeant—under the fear of the corporal. Now, he did not think, that any one measure could be devised by the mind of man, so admirably calculated to make a system of education unpopular, as that of compelling people to send their children to school. He was, therefore, decidedly adverse to the introduction of a compulsory system in any sense whatever, either by forcing parents to send their children to school under certain penalties, or depriving them of certain privileges if they refused to let them attend. A knowledge of the benefits that were to be derived from education—a knowledge of its great usefulness in every rank and condition of life—ought to be the great incitement to seek it; and every effort ought to be made to disseminate that leading principle, in order that all might profit by it. As to another species of compulsion—that of a rate—he would not consent to it; for he would never sanction any proposition which coupled the word "education," with the word "rate." The best course to pursue, instead of introducing any bill, was to try a little more experience on the subject. By instituting small seminaries, by founding normal schools for the education of schoolmasters, aided by the liberality of Parliament, he thought much might be done; and he had great hopes that this Session would not be suffered to pass without some attempt being made to take up these matters in an enlightened spirit. Such an attempt would, he was sure, be successful, and receive general approbation. He should next call their Lordships' attention to those funds which which were already applicable to the purposes of education, and to other purposes, but which had not been advantageously administered, and had, in many instances, been grossly misappropriated. The returns under Mr. Gilbert's Act, in 1805, gave the amount of those funds at 310,000l. The returns, however, which had since been made, and which were now on their Lordships' table, showed how greatly the amount given under Mr. Gilbert's Act was underrated. It was found, notwithstanding the under-lettings,—notwithstanding the various modes in which these revenues were prevented from reaching their proper destination—that the charitable funds connected with the counties of York, Cum- 850 berland, Surrey, Bedford, and a number of others, to the amount of fourteen or fifteen, whose population exceeded 7,000,000 (being half the population of England and Wales)—it was shown, that the total charitable funds of these counties, which, under Mr. Gilbert's Act, were returned at 150,000l., did, in fact, amount to 428,000l. This would give, for the whole country, an amount of between 800,000l. and 900,000l. a-year—a magnificent sum to be applied to charitable purposes! But, he was convinced, that if those bequests were justly and fairly managed, they would amount to 1,500,000l. annually, and would be more than sufficient to supply all the expense of a national education. There was another part of this interesting subject on which he would make a few observations. He had said before, and he repeated now, that it was not every one who founded a school or an hospital who ought to be called charitable. He knew, that he had been blamed for using that language; it was, however, language that he had held in that House, that he had held elsewhere, and that he would always hold, because he knew that it was just, and did not warrant the unkind interpretations that had been put upon it. He would boldly assert, that there were no greater nuisances in this country than some of the institutions called charities. He wished he could say of them, that they were innocent—that they did no harm or good—that they were mere nonentities, neither producing benefit, nor generating evil. Unfortunately, he could say no such thing. Many of them, he affirmed, were positive nuisances—many of them were of such a description, that the law ought not to allow them; and many of them, in their origin, were of such a kind as the law did not allow. As an instance, he would point their Lordships' attention to that splendid building the Foundling Hospital, with its now large revenue, which would, by the improvements that were daily taking place in the neighbourhood, amount, in the course of time, to 150,000l. a-year. It was not a foundling hospital, though it was so designated, nor had it been so for half a century past. Why was the alteration made? Because it was a nuisance,—because it produced the most mischievous effects: the desertion and the abandonment of children, were its immediate fruits. In consequence of that establishment, 851 children had been brought into existence who otherwise would not have seen the light. Seeing that the institution offered a premium for vice, the governors had made a rule, which, for half a century, had made this institution anything but a foundling hospital. They came to a resolution, "that in future no child shall be, on any account, admitted into this hospital until its parents are examined." Now this might be, and undoubtedly was, a very safe and beneficial provision; but it altogether altered the original object of the institution, which was for foundlings properly so called, and not for those whose mothers and fathers were known. Again, the Small-pox Hospital, before the discovery of vaccination, must be considered by the law a nuisance. Indeed, the late Lord Ellenborough, speaking on this subject, said, "These splendid towers must all come to the ground, notwithstanding the intention of the testator, if it were found to propagate and perpetuate, instead of curing, repelling, and preventing disease." That establishment had since been converted into a fever hospital, and partly into an institution for vaccination. These were extreme cases; but while he alluded to them, let it not be supposed that he did not highly admire institutions which might be termed real charities. Too much praise could not be given to those persons who established charities for the cure of diseases, for the alleviation of accidents, for the watching over of insanity, for the softening down of those bodily and mental evils to which the human frame was subject, and which no human foresight could avert. It was pleasing to see such charities beneficially endowed; they were worthy of private munificence. But this could not be said of institutions which encouraged people to be extravagant, in the hope of ultimately receiving relief, or which induced improvident marriages—marriages entered into as none should be entered into—before the parties were able to provide for their offspring. Having thus expressed his opinion with respect to things miscalled charities, he had no hesitation in declaring it to be his intention, if those who were at the head of them adhered with the same crassid ignorance of what ought to be done to the course which had so long been followed—if they displayed the same dogged feeling in resistance to all improvement—if, instead of applying the funds committed to their 852 charge to those purposes that would be useful and beneficial to the community, they chose to expend them on that which was prejudicial and baneful to the community—if they continued in that course, he should then be disposed to listen to the suggestions which had been made by individuals in Parliament and out of it, and to view those persons as not any longer entitled to act upon their own false principles, converting that to public mischief which ought to be devoted to public benefit. If they did not mend their ways—if they did not apply in a better manner the funds which the munificence of former times had supplied for charitable purposes, he should call on Parliament to look on those estates as placed peculiarly under their care, and to see that the trust was more beneficially and more safely executed than it had been. It was sufficient for him to give this general notice. He knew that, unless in their public capacity, the trustees could not be called to account; but it was sufficient for him to give this general notice, knowing that the parties had the means in their own hands of preventing any parliamentary interference, by shaping their conduct according to existing circumstances. That was what was done in the case of the Foundling Hospital, and the same course was adopted, to a certain degree, by the trustees of the Small-pox Hospital. They ought to prevent the interference of the Legislature by removing the cause of complaint; if not, it was the duty of Parliament no longer to abstain from that proper and necessary interference which the interests of the public required. He should now conclude by moving "for a Return of the charities in the following counties," with the list of which he would not trouble their Lordships.
The Earl of Malmesbury
was strongly in favour of Sunday-schools. He entirely agreed with the noble and learned Lord in his objection to a compulsory rate. He did not, however, coincide with him in the propriety of establishing Normal-schools. They were not necessary, because those who founded charity-schools always selected proper masters.
§ Lord Wynford
was sorry that a subject of so much importance as the present had been brought before the House without notice. The speech of his noble and learned friend, when it went before the public, was calculated to produce an im- 853 pression which ought not to be produced, and which, moreover, would not be produced if noble Lords were prepared with the information to answer it which was in existence. He admitted, that if any of the property which had been left by the donors of charitable institutions had been misapplied so as to become a nuisance instead of a benefit to the community, the House had then a right to interfere with it; but if that property was administered conformably to the intentions of the donors, then the House had no right to interfere, and the trustees would be guilty of a breach of trust if they did not protest against such interference. His noble and learned friend, acting on a mere ex-parte statement, had charged certain trustees with a neglect of duty. He could not reconcile a charge founded on such partial premises with his notions of justice, and he was sure that the Legislature would not take the measures which his noble and learned friend had intimated his intention to recommend without an inquiry by Select Committees of both Houses, if not an inquiry at the Bar of that House. For the great mass of benefit which the country had derived from the diffusion of education, it was indebted to no other class of men save that much calumniated order, the clergy of the Church of England. Any interference with the system which was now adopted through their instrumentality would be productive of more evil than good to the community. The only fault which now attached to the schools which the clergy had established in their respective parishes was, that the children were not kept at them long enough. That, however, was the fault of the parents of the children, or rather it was the result of their poverty and not the fault of the clergy who superintended such schools. Improve, exclaimed the noble Lord, the condition of the poor, give them sufficient wages to maintain themselves and their families in comfort and respectability, and you will have no reason to complain that they do not keep their children long enough at schools. But, as things were now administered, no sooner was a child able to earn something for his parents, than he was taken from school, and his education was altogether neglected. He insisted that wherever schools had been established, there had been no difficulty in providing schoolmasters for them competent to afford all the information 854 required by the children. He denied the right of Parliament to pass a law imposing a rate for the purposes of education. Such a rate was very different from the rate imposed for the maintenance of the poor. The maintenance of the poor by a compulsory fund was justified by the necessity of the case, but no such necessity existed with regard to education. On whom, too, would such a rate fall? On the landed interest, which they had recently been told was in a condition of great and long-continued depression. In conclusion he would again say, that if the trustees of any fund destined for education had abused their trust they might be corrected; but he was for not forming an opinion without information, still less could he consent to act in the dark.
The Lord Chancellor
wished to say one word only in explanation. The information of which he had availed himself was obtained from the Reports of the Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament to examine into the state of charitable institutions—Commissioners who had examined both sides, and had had a full hearing of the trustees themselves. There were cases mentioned in those Reports in which trustees had wished to employ the money committed to their charge in a more beneficial manner than that which the donor had contemplated, but had found themselves prevented by the existing state of the law from making the improvements which they desired. For instance, in the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire, at Wakefield—no, he believed it was at Leeds—a revenue of 3,000l. or 4,000l. a-year was now devoted to the maintenance of a grammar-school. Now, according to the construction put by the law on the term "grammar-school," it was a school in which Greek and Latin and Hebrew, one or all of them, was to be taught, but not ciphering or arithmetic; and yet there could be no doubt that in such a district the latter branch of information was more necessary than the former. Now in such a school, unless you taught Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, it was doubtful whether you had any right to apply the funds of the school to the teaching of arithmetic. Certainly, until the funds were provided for the teaching of the former, you had no right to teach the latter. The trustees had been asked in one or two such cases whether they would teach the last, and their answer had been, 855 that they did not feel themselves authorized to move against the intentions of the donors, and that they, therefore, preferred to leave things as they were. With regard to the obligations which the country owed to the clergy of the Established Church, he preferred considering those obligations in the light in which they had been viewed by a noble Earl on a former night, to considering them in the light in which they had been viewed that night by his noble and learned friend. Judging from the speech of his noble and learned friend, the world might suppose, that all the benefits now derived from the more general diffusion of the benefits of education were owing to the exertions of the clergy of the Church of England. God forbid, that he should either say or do anything to diminish the debt of gratitude due to that venerable body for teaching, preaching, and successfully exerting their money and their time in promoting the planting of schools, and in advancing the education of the people. He would be the last man in the world to whisper a doubt respecting the great merits in this respect of that learned, pious, and enlightened body; still he would say, that there were other parties to whom some portion of credit was also due for having co-operated, and not without effect, in the same great and glorious cause. In consequence of the exertions made, he would not say by that much-calumniated, but by that little-eulogised Committee of the lower House, which sat in 1818 upon the subject of education, and of which he had had the honour of being Chairman—he hoped that he might be permitted to arrogate to that Committee the credit of some of the beneficial effects which by its labours, had since been produced; for he might, without exaggeration, assert that the benefits of education were diffused twice as far now as they were then. In that Committee, quorum pars minima fuerat, he had given full credit to the clergy of the Church of England for the exertions which they had made in different parts of the country. There was likewise another cause which had been productive of great benefit to the further diffusion of education. What did his noble and learned friend think of the exertions made by the sects of the country? What did he think of the invaluable labours of the enlightened and pious clergy of the different congregations of Dissenters? They had been great 856 coadjutors with the Committee of 1818 in increasing the education of the people; they had spent their money, and their hard-earned money, willingly in that cause; and they ought to have the more credit for spending it, for they had less to spend. When a rich clergyman of the Church, with an income of 3,000l. or 4,000l. a-year, spent his 40l. a-year in promoting education in his parish, the Dissenting clergyman, with an income of barely 100l., was often spending his 3l. or 4l. a-year on the same object. He gave the Dissenting clergymen, under such circumstances, as much credit for spending their mite as he gave to the Church of England for spending its million. He thought that the exertions of the one ought not to be passed over in silence, whilst they were straining their throats and making the walls echo with the praises of the other. There was one little chronological fact forgotten by those who overlooked the merits of the Dissenters. They were the first in the field, they set the example. Dr. Bell and Joseph Lancaster were used as the champions on each side of this question. Dr. Bell created the schools which were now called the national schools; Mr. Lancaster the schools which were now called the British and Foreign schools. There was a controversy as to whether Dr. Bell imported or Mr. Lancaster invented, the Madras system of education, by mutual instruction and by writing in the sand; but there was no controversy, there was not even a doubt as to this point, that if Dr. Bell was the inventor of the system, it was, as far as he was concerned, a hidden invention, which had never shed a blessing on mankind, and that Joseph Lancaster was the first person who practically taught schools in England upon that plan. Joseph Lancaster imported it; and the importer of an invention was, as his noble and learned friend knew, entitled by law to be considered the inventor and to take out a patent for it. He therefore, gave his praise as a patent to the importer, but in so doing he had no wish to withhold his praise from the inventor. He spoke from having a full knowledge of these matters for he had taken an active though humble part in them. He had moved the first Resolution which embodied the School Society, and expressed the object it was to have in view. Originally that Society consisted chiefly of 857 Dissenters but, among the distinguished personages who gave the Society their support the late Duke of Kent stood prominent—a name never to be mentioned without honour, where education or charity was spoken of. Then there was the name of the Duke of Sussex, not to be held in less distinction. There was the Duke of Bedford, the late Lord Somerville, a Presbyterian by-the-by, but all the rest were Baptists, Quakers, Moravians, Unitarians—all manners of sects, but scarcely one churchman. One thing that association did—it produced action on the part of the Church, and then the Church kept pace with the Dissenters. The Dissenters having begun in 1810, and having continued during the year 1811, induced the Church late in the year 1812 to come forward also and to found the national society. If gratitude were to be measured by priority, the Dissenters, who began the system, were certainly entitled to the larger share. He was not, however, prepared on that account to assert, that if the Dissenters had not founded a single school, had not taught a single boy, and had not founded any society, the Church would not have done that which everybody knew it subsequently had done. When the Dissenters had evidently succeeded, and it was morally certain, that the people would be taught, though it was uncertain how, then, to his infinite delight, he had seen the clergy of the Church step forward to take a share in this holy task. He would mention another debt of gratitude which was due to the same venerable body. The institution of infant schools was admitted to have been of great benefit to the cause of education. A few persons, of whom be was one, met together in the year 1818, and after some deliberation planted an infant school in the city of Westminster, not more than a quarter of a mile from the place in which he was then speaking. They carried it on successfully for two or three years, and of the eight persons who, during that period, had the superintendence of it, he believed that only himself and the Marquess of Lansdown were churchmen. They had no connexion whatever with the clergy of the Church. One or two Dissenting clergymen assisted, and to his great delight, the scheme met with complete success. Other schools on a similar principle were established in other parts of the country, and in three or 858 four years afterwards he was gratified to find, that the clergy of the Church of England followed—no, he would not say followed, for he meant nothing disparaging to that venerable body—were not behind the rest, but came forward willingly and overtook them, and were not deterred by a consideration which might have influenced weaker minds and more groveling dispositions—he meant the fear of imitating other men, and of acting upon the example set them by the Dissenters. They gallantly neglected all such considerations, they boldly started in pursuit, they were stimulated by the ambition of making themselves useful, and they propagated infant schools with as much success as the Dissenters had propagated them previously. There was also another mode in which the clergy of the Establishment had greatly benefited the progress of education. In the year 1827 some of his friends and himself had formed the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. That Society, beside other useful results which it had accomplished, had brought down the price of books one-third, to the delight of every class in the community, save one, and that one was the class professionally engaged in the sale of books. It was said, that the Society was a monopolist of books, and that it was impossible for individuals to compete with it. Now, if it were a monopoly, there was this difference between it and other monopolies. The objection to other monopolies was, that they tended to raise the price of the articles which they monopolized—the objection to this monopoly was that it had lowered that price. When that Society was originally formed, he had said in private, that if it succeeded, their excellent friends, the clergy of the Church, would immediately afterwards act upon the same plan, and so it turned out even as he had predicted, for they had scarcely published the Penny Magazine one week, when the Saturday Magazine was brought forward as its rival. God forbid that he should say one word of disparagement of the Church on that account. No; he was too much delighted with the co-operation of the Establishment to breathe the slightest whisper against it; but the fact was, that the date and the chronology were not in favour of the clergymen of the Establishment, and they proved beyond all dispute that the Church acted after the Dissenters in point 859 of time, though they did in substance exactly the same as the Dissenters. They nobly came forward in establishing schools, in planting infant schools, and in spreading cheap literature, but he repeated that, in point of time, they came forward after the Dissenters had begun, continued and succeeded, in all those three different objects. If the clergy of the Church were not entitled to a monopoly of the gratitude of the country, they were at least entitled to a great share of it, for those good objects would not have been obtained to more than half the present extent, if the Dissenters had not had the honour and benefit of the assistance of the clergy of the Church.
§ Lord Wynford
contended that before the Dissenters had performed any of these splendid services, respecting which his noble and learned friend had vaunted so largely, the clergy of the Church of England had sedulously promoted the cause of education in their respective parishes by promoting the formation of parish schools. Before any of these Dissenting associations were in existence, there had existed in the Church the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.