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minations, which may be extremely brief, but must be carefully recorded for reference, may test the progress of each class in each principal part of its instruction. When an evil is once fairly manifested, the remedy will generally be easy enough. Had such a system been commonly pursued, I should not so frequently have heard, at my examinations, “Who could have thought it!” when the children were unable to answer the simplest questions on things with which they were considered to have been long familiar, and, not unfrequently, after the clergyman had been visiting his school with great perseverance and a great sacrifice of time.
There is one other most powerful means of improving the education in our schools, for the influence of which we must wait, viz., the interest taken in the child's progress by his parents. I am told that in Scotland this is the most effective spur to the exertions of the scholars, and affords them great aid towards their improvement. In South Lancashire considerable interest is felt by the artizart in the education of his family; but it is different with the “ factory hand.” A large proportion of parents here, as well as everywhere else, are too ignorant to value the learning of their children; still less can they encourage and assist them in the work of the school.
This condition of things is indeed discouraging. Still, it may be hoped that it is connected with circumstances, which, though affecting large masses of our countrymen, are peculiar, and not to be looked upon as being hopelessly permanent. They are in Lancashire, for the most part, results of the rapid formation of a population, where the elements of true civilization have not been able to keep pace with the growth of what they act upon; and improving influences of all sorts have been in a like condition. As the country becomes better educated, and a good education is made cheap, and the means of obtaining it placed at every man's door, it can scarcely fail to be better understood, and in time more highly valued. A race of only moderately well-educated parents, under such improved circumstances, will greatly aid the education of the succeeding generation. It is hardly worth speculating upon the limit that it may be possible thus to reach. It is sure to be too low; and will be made lower by premature determination. We have only to aim at making it as high as possible.
Perhaps it may be permitted to one, whose occupations have been undertaken from interest in them, to entertain, and to be indulged in the expression of, sanguine views of the possible, and probable, success of the cause he has laboured in promoting. It is strongly impressed on my mind that persons have not yet, generally, attached anything like sufficient importance to the education of the labouring classes,—that the country has not done, or thought of doing, more than a very small fraction of what it ought to do, and must do, to this end, -that even the most sanguine of the current views respecting the results that might be realized, and ought at least to be aimed at, fall far short of the sober truth respecting them. Even the moral regeneration of the people, depending on influences about which we are not perfectly agreed, and on causes, the working of which we certainly cannot calculate, is manifestly to be improved, to an extent that no sober man would wish to define, by the diligent use of means adapted to that end. But the means by which men's intelligence is to be cultivated, and their physical and mental faculties exercised, are more within our reach; we can employ them without hesitation ; and their results may be more safely estimated. And surely no satisfactory correction of a higher estimate of results can be established by adducing merely negative evidence from facts of the past, or present. An end, which can only be effected by the long continuance, and growth during their continuance, of social arrangements peculiarly adapted to it, may be quite attainable ; even though it may never, in the world's history, have been 'attained, under social arrangements that were not made in contemplation of such an end. Something has been done before our own eyes, by ourselves; more has been done by some of our neighbours; and perhaps by them as much as fairly corresponds, when fairly estimated, with the means they have employed. Let us use the means more abundantly, and we shall probably reap more abundant results. And those who are disposed to fix some low measure for what is attainable, may be desired to consider the results actually realised in the middle and upper classes of society, and the circumstances under which, and the means by which, they have been realised. Take from these classes a child of average culture, at 13 years of age; compare that child with an average instance from the lower classes. What a difference in knowledge, in the power of acquiring knowledge, and of applying it, in the culture of the reason and the imagination !
Yet consider the means by which this difference has been produced; amongst the rest, the influence of daily intercourse with educated persons, and that of good teaching. Surely we may look hopefully to the effective employment of like intluences. The difference between the two children only shows that we have a very wide margin to work upon, and that we may confidently hope to reduce it greatly.
Results are at this moment being produced, which will show that much more may be done for the children of the poor than has hitherto been thought of. And, in the realization of the most sanguine anticipations of results from the instruction in the schools for our people, there is surely nothing to apprehend ; for
every part of the instruction, of which the secular character alone has been contemplated in the above observations, is, and it is to be hoped will not cease to be, connected with moral and religious training, and the whole penetrated by moral and religious influence, so far as man can provide, by the employment of suitable means.
Factory Schools, and Factory Children. Having introduced what remarks I had to make on the general results of my inspection, in connexion with the review of that part of my work in which I had only general objects before me; whereas, during the latter part of the time my attention was directed specially, and almost exclusively, to the selection of pupil-teachers ; I may now proceed to report the general results of my observations on the schools frequented exclusively by children working half the day in factories, and on the scholars of this class, of whom a few were very frequently found in other schools.
In some places, where the population was not crowded, and where, perhaps, other circumstances, such as the state of the demand for labour, the ventilation of the cotton-mills, &c. were favourable, the physical condition of the factory children was not obviously low. But in each of the exclusively factory schools that I visited, the difference between its scholars and those of other schools would have been at once obvious, even though there had been no difference in the state of their clothes, &c. Not only was there a duller, less awakened aspect in a bench of factory children, but there was a greater proportion of pale sickly faces, and more manifestations of low organization and bad tendencies; and the contrast in the looks of the factory children with those of the other scholars, amongst whom they were found, was often quite painful; and it was equally striking and painful in respect to their comparative culture. They stood usually a head and shoulders above the children of equal attainments, amongst whom they were mixed
- dirty, ignorant, and dull. I would refer to the “ general observations” on the girls' school of St. Paul's, at Staley-bridge; and in my diary, written after a visit to a school composed of factory children only, I find the following remarks upon the scholars of that and another similar school :
"A fearful deficiency they present, and one that can scarcely be supplied, without very much greater assistance from Parliament than has yet been given or contemplated. The educating power applied is good, but there is not half enough of it. The vacant countenances are still painfully before me;
and the dull replies to the commonest questions, on subjects of universal and unbounded interest, still ring in my ears.'
In another diary is this passage.
« The master seems an intelligent, active man, quite equal to his work; but the state of his school, as to instruction and intelligence, is a sad illustration of the working of the factory system. He cannot attempt anything, beyond a routine of the most elementary instruction. To produce moderately satisfactory results, he would require an able assistant, and an additional hour's charge of each set of children.” One set comes each morning, and a different set succeeds in the afternoon.
In some instances the spectacle presented was of a less unsatisfactory description. For example, I find from my diaries, in a report upon an excellent school consisting chiefly of factory children, the following remarks :
“ With special attention to the point, I could discover but little difference between the whole-day and half-day scholars of the upper classes. All are fused together, and the whole-day scholars sacrificed to the greater number. The master says that the halfday scholars are very anxious not to be left behind. In the lower classes there was many a sad instance of backwardness and ignorance; e. g., boys of 11 and 12 years old scarcely able to read monosyllables.”
Doubtless the diminution of the children's half day's work, by an hour, under the late statute, will render their school-hours more instructive; for it was a constant complaint of the teachers that the poor factory children, when they came to school in the afternoon, were too fatigued to apply with effect to their learning.
Again, I cannot but think that more might be done, to make those school-hours effectual, by an improvement in the character of the instruction, by having better teachers, and more of them. The supply of such increased teaching power will soon be, if it be not now, merely a matter of money; and, when it is considered that the children earn above 3s. a-week, and that the payment for their instruction is usually but 2d., it could scarcely be considered a hardship, for such an object, were the Legislature to insist on the school-fee being at least doubled, and on its being applied to support well-appointed schools.
If, in conjunction with a decided improvement of this kind, it were insisted on that no child should be permitted to work in a factory, unless, besides having attained the requisite age, it had also attained a reasonable amount of instruction for its age, a great deal would be effected towards a better state of things. At present, the benefit that the factory child derives from being obliged to attend a school for half a day, as a condition of his being employed in the mill during the other half, is, in a considerable proportion of instances, small, on account of the deplorable state of ignorance in which he has been allowed by his parents to grow up. It seems requisite to make it the interest of the parent to provide for his children that early instruction without which, as a foundation, little good can be effected during the present compulsory period of school attendance.
Under such regulations, moreover, the interests of those by whom poor-rates are paid would induce them, if permitted by law, to aid the parent, when necessary, in the early education of his offspring.
I am aware that the application of an educational test is considered to be accompanied by great difficulties. Those difficulties would be surely the least imaginable in the case of very young children, whose attainments have to be tested in certain arts, almost mechanical, or in exercises of memory mainly. Moreover the failure of the test, to a great extent, in individual cases, and the liberal exercise of a mild discretion on the part of the person whose duty it might be to apply it, could be of little moment here; the general effect would be in a great degree produced by the mildest application of any reasonable test. And then, as to the difficulties to be encountered in deciding such cases, they cannot surely be greater than those which a medical man has in deciding on the health of individuals, which is constantly done for various important purposes ; very imperfectly, no doubt, but still, on the average of a large number of instances, sufficiently for what is required.
With a reasonably good education, and diminished hours of labour, and that labour of a light kind, carried on in thoroughly well-ventilated rooms, there would be little to apprehend from the consequence of the employment of children in cotton factories. Hitherto, there can be no doubt, the consequences have been the degradation of the race, from one step to a lower, continually. Something has been done to diminish the evil, and avert the curse; but much more remains to be done ; and against its being done, the supposed interests of both the classes immediately concerned will, of course, not cease to create opposition.
Bad as the condition, as regards education, of these poor factory children has been, it is not worse than that of other, and at least equally numerous, portions of Her Majesty's juvenile subjects. Still, the even greater difficulty in the way of improving the education of the children of agricultural labourers, and others, supplies a strong argument for persevering attempts in favour of children who are employed in large numbers, and within a small compass; so that they are accessible and can be dealt with.
The cases of greater difficulty may, perhaps, be met effectively, when the others have been successfully treated, as they have been already, to some useful extent.
But the measures that have already been taken in this direction are by many looked upon with suspicion, as if they savoured of a despotic interference with things that claim to be let alone. And such suspicious would be well founded, could these questions be let alone by the Government, consistently with a due regard for the general interests of the country; as they assuredly cannot be. It will scarcely be contended that a civilized and Christian country has no right to provide against savages and heathens being nourished in its own bosom, and admitted to a share in all its advantages and privileges, at whatsoever risk. And yet the claim 10 exercise such a right is commonly questioned; as if its exercise were an infringement on the national liberties, instead of being a preservative and safeguard to them. Here again we must waitwait for a change in the current of public feeling-wait for the next advance towards that state of it, when the very populace will look