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THE

EDINBURGH REVIEW,

NOVEMBER, 1811.

No. XXXVII.

Art. I. Report of J. Lancaster's Progress from the Year 1798,

with the Report of the Finance Committee for the Year 1810 : To which is prefixed, an Address of the Committee for Promoting the Royal Lancasterian System for the Education of the Poor. 8vo. pp. 36. London. Printed by J. Lancaster at

the Royal Free School Press in Southwark. 1811. An Account of the Progress of Joseph Lancaster's Plan for the Education of Poor Children, and the Training of Masters for Country Schools; with Lists of Subscribers. 8vo. Printed by

J. Lancaster at the Royal Free School Press. 1810. A Comparative View of the two new Systems of Education for the

Infant Poor; in a Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Officialty of the Dean and Chapter of Durham, at Berwick-uponTweed, on Tuesday, April 23d; and at Durham, on Thursday, May 12th, 1811. By the Rev. R. G. Bowyer, LL. B., Prebendary of Durham, and Official. 8vo. pp. 25. London.

Rivingtons. 1811. The National Religion the foundation of National Education; a

Sermon preached in the Cathedral Church of St Paul, London, on Thursday, June 13th, 1811, being the time of the Yearly Meeting of the Children educated in the Charity Schools in and about the Cities of London and Westminster : To which is added, a Collection of Notes, containing Proofs and Illustrations. By Herbert Marsh, D. D. F. R. S. Margaret Professor of Di-, vinity in the University of Cambridge. Preached and printed at the request of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 4th Edition. 8vo. pp. 34. London. Ri

vingtons. 1811. WE laid before our readers, a year ago, a full, and, as far

as we either are conscious ourselves, or have ever heard during the controversy, an impartial view of the great question VOL. XIX, NO. 37.

concerning

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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 particularz Mr Lancaster's method is superior to the other; and an estimate, 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 other 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 openod his school

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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 when 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 adversaries,-and the means of promoting it, which are within the reach of almost

every
one who

peruses these pages.

It is already 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; until, in 1805, 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 1805, thie King began to inquire into his merits, and those of his plan. The result was perfectly satisfactory; and obtained for the new system that liberal and ample support which his Majesty has uniformly bestowed upon it, with the steady consistency so peliarly belonging to his character. The Prince of Wales, and 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 system, increased the funds destined for its maintenance, and secured it, for a while at least, from the interested or ignorant calumnies of bigotry. While the school under Mr Lancaster's immediate superinA 2

tendance

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 indefatigable founder was spreading the new system still more effec tually through the kingdom, by repeated 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 sums 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 accumulated. Mr Lancaster was on the point of meeting the fate of almost all benevolent projectors, whom ridicule and distrust inay have spared in the outset of their career ; and the ruin of liis plans would in all probability have been involved in his own. It may be proper to state, somewhat more particularly, the oria gin of his embarrassments,

The sums cxpended in erecting the necessary buildings, at the institution for training schoolmasters, amounted to above 35006,-exceeding, by 2876l., the sums subscribed for this purpose. The expenses of boarding the young men during their education for schoolmasters, were about 12001. a year; while the annual fund, begun by the Royal Family for this purpose, was for some time only 600l. 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 failure 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 64491.9 while his whole property was only valued at 35001.

Such was the almost hopeless state of his finances carly in 1803, notwithstanding the respectable patronage which he enjoyed, and the 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,

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