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As guardians indeed of the school property, the Court of Assistants appear as we have already remarked, to have performed their duty both honorably and efficiently; nor are we disposed to criticise too severely their distribution of its annual income, though we may think that in some important particulars its ample funds might have been, not more honestly, but more wisely, applied. But the administration of the school property is one thing, the government of the school is another; and assuredly a body constituted as is the Court of Assistants, can not be considered as in all respects “suitable and efficient for the purposes and duties” which the Governing Body of a school is or ought to be called upon to fulfill. The number is, in our opinion, too large, and as it is impossible that the members of the Court should be selected with any special view to their knowledge or experience of educational matters, or to their literary or scientific attainments, it must, we think, inevitably happen that the majority will consist of persons indisposed to trust to their own judgment in considering any plan that may be brought before them for the improvement of the school, or the extension of its field of usefulness. The tendencies of such a body will not be progressive, and it is, therefore, no matter of surprise that we should have bad to echo the complaint of a Commission which reported more than a quarter of a century ago. The plan for the extension of the school which we have proposed, will probably necessitate important changes in the nature and working of the system, and it is evidently most desirable that the renovated institution should be watched during its early years with an attentive and intelligent eye.
That a school of such magnitude as this will be, should be administered with a view solely to the higher educational interests of the metropolis, is what the country has a right to demand of those who will have the distribution of its ample resources; but the recent history of St. Paul's School has shown that there has been a growing tendency in the Court of Assistants to narrow the sphere of its operation, and convert it more and more from a public school into a mere charitable foundation, useful doubtless to individuals, but of inferior public importance. It would be a grievous injury to the cause of classical education if the same principles of exclusive patronage were allowed to obstruct admission to a school which might and ought to become the first in London, and one of the first in Great Britain. More liberal views we know to be entertained by those members of the Court who bave taken the most active part in the management of the school, and whose opinion is therefore most valuable; but the evidence of these gentlemen gives us little reason to suppose that their views are gaining ground among their colleagues.
These, in our opinion would, under circumstances otherwise favorable, be valid reasons for recommending some modification in the Governing Body, similar in principle to the changes proposed in those of Eaton, Winchester, and Westininster. The time seems to have arrived when more formal and systematic effect should be given to the memorable ordinance of the founder, that on important occasions recourse should be had to the advice of "well-literate and learned men.” The spirit of this ordinance would be preserved by such a reconstitution of the Governing Body as should include on the one hand the Magter, Wardens, and Surveyors, with perhaps one or two elective members of the Mercers' Company, and on the other an equal number of persons extraneous to · the Company, to be selected by the Crown in consideration of personal eminence or special fitness to superintend a place of liberal education.
ENGLISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
REPORT OF HER MAJESTY'S COMMISSIONERS.*
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS of England which have long held a prominent position as places of instruction for the wealthier classes the Colleges of Eton and Winchester, and the Schools of Westminster, the Charterhouse, St. Paul's, Merchant Taylors', Harrow, Rugby, and Shrewsbury —from their position at the head of the whole system of Public School Education in England, and from the interest which attaches to them as old, well-known, and influential institutions, are worthy of yet farther notice than has already been given them in preceding volumes of this Journal. We deem no apology needed for calling the attention of our readers to the exceedingly interesting and valuable report, recently published, of the Queen's Commissioners, appointed to inquire into their condition and management.
This Board of Commissioners consisted of the Earls of Clarendon and Derby, Lord Lyttleton, Hon. Edward Turner Boyd Twistleton, Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, William Hepworth Thomson, and Henry Hatford Vaughan, appointed July 18th, 1861, to inquire "into the nature and application of the Endowments, Funds, and Revenues belonging to or received by” the above-named Colleges and Schools, “and into the administration and management of the said Colleges, &c., and into the system and course of studies respectively pursued therein, as well as into the methods, subjects, and extent of the instruction given to the Students," and the fullest authority was given to make such examination of
persons and records as might seem necessary. In the course of the inų vestigation, which has not wanted in thoroughness and diligence, series
of questions were proposed to the several Governing Bodies and to the Head Masters of the schools, examinations were inade of persons who were, as well as of others who had previously been officially connected with them, and also of many who had been educated at them. The Professors and Tutors of the Universities, and the Council of Military Education, (in respect of the Military Schools of Woolwich, &c.,) were inquired of, in order to learn the results of the instruction given and the standing of the graduates. The investigation was also extended to the more recently founded Colleges of Marlborough, Cheltenham, and Wellington,
• Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Revenues and Management of certain Colleges, Schools, and Foundations, and the Studies pursued and Instruction given therein; with an Appendix and Evidence. Vol. I. Report. London, 1864.
and to the City of London and King's College Schools, with their improved systems of instruction, and advantage was taken of a favorable opportunity which presented itself, to inquire into the Higher Schools of Prussia.
In this first volume of the resulting report are embodied the conclusions at which the Commissioners arrived respecting the nine schools, collectively as well as separately. In Part II. of the report, the schools are treated of separately and a succinct statement is made of all the material facts that the inquiry had elicited in regard to each. Part I., on the other hand, contains the broader results of the inquiry, the conclusions which they suggest, and the views of the Commissioners respecting the government and management of these great English schools, and the education they afford, pointing out defects in the range and methods of that education, and suggesting enlargements and improvements.
From this first portion of the report we propose to make such abstracts and extracts as will express these views and suggestions of the Commissioners, and give a correct idea of the general character and condition of these schools which have become especially identified with what in England is commonly called Public School Education. For Public School Education, as it exists in England and in England alone, has grown up chiefly within their walls, and has been propagated from them; and though now surrounded by younger institutions of a like character, and of great and increasing importance, they are still in common estimation its acknowledged types, as they have for several generations been its principal centers. The opinions and suggestions of the Commissioners, moreover, less than many of the facts which they disclose, give curious evidence of the strong power which traditions and custom have over the English mind, and how tenderly they treat and uphold opinions and laws that have the hoar of antiquity upon them. Yet their opinions, as here expressed upon various educational problems which have been long tested in these schools, are of great importance to ourselves in relation to our own present and future higher institutions of learning.
Origin.-These schools were founded within a period ranging from the close of the 14th century to the beginning of the 17th century-from the reign of Richard II. to that of James 1. Winchester, the earliest, founded by William of Wykeham, is older by several generations than the Reformation, and the revival of classical literature in England. Eton, half a century later, was modeled after Winchester ; each was an integral part of a great collegiate establishment, in which the promotion of learning was the principal aim, but not the founder's sole purpose. Westminster is one of the many grammar schools attached to cathedral and collegiate churches for which provision was made after the dissolution of the monasteries; but it acquired, or perhaps inherited from the ancient school of the monastery of St. Peter, an importance peculiarly its own. Harrow, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Merchant Taylors' and St. Paul's were among the multitude of schools founded in the 16th century, either by grants of
church lands from the Crown, or by private persons, with endowments sufficient to afford the best education known in that day, to so many day scholars as the neighborhood was likely to supply or the reputation of a competent teacher to attract.
Endowment.--The endowments of these schools vary very much and bear no proportion to their magnitude. Charter-house, Eton, and Winchester have annual revenues amounting to £22,750, £20,500, and £15,500 respectively. St. Paul's, Rugby, Shrewsbury, and Harrow have £9,500, £5,600, £3,000, and £1,000. Westminster is sustained from the revenues of the chapter to which it is attached, and the Merchant Taylors' School by the Merchant Taylors' Society. But it is the opinion of the Commissioners that to a large and popular school, so long as it is large and popular, a permanent endowment is not of essential importance; there can be no doubt, however, that such an endowment is of great service in enabling any school to provide and maintain suitable buildings, to attract to itself, by exhibitions and other substantial rewards, its due share of clever and hard-working boys, to keep up by these means ils standard of industry. and attainment, and run an equal race with others which possess this advantage, and to bear, without a ruinous diminution of its teaching staff, those fluctuations of prosperity to which all schools are liable.
Government. The schools exhibit great diversities of government and constitution. The Governing Body of Eton College consists of the Provost and Fellows; of Winchester College, of the Warden and Fellows; of Westminster School, of the Dean and Canons of the church. These persons hold the college property and appoint and dismiss the Master. In the other schools these rights belong either to specially corporated trustees, or, as in the case of St. Paul's, by the will of Dean Colet, to the Court of Assistants of the Mercers' Company; in the Charter-house School, to the Governors of Sutton Hospital; and in the Merchant Tay. lors' School, to the Merchant Taylors' Company. The nature and extent of their power of superintendence over the Head Master is determined by documentary authority and by usage. In some cases his power is practically unfettered and supreme, at others his power of effecting changes is limited to recoinmendations to the governing body.
Uniformity in the constitution of these Governing Bodies is not essential, but some modifications are considered by the Commissioners desirable, and some common features should belong to them all. Such a body should be permanent in itself, being the guardian and trustee of the permanent interests of the school; though not unduly large, it should be protected by its numbers and by the position and character of its indi. vidual members from the domination of personal or local interests, and of personal or professional influences or prejudices; and might well include men conversant with the world, with the requirements of active life, and with the progress of literature and science. In the case of some of the schools a certain proportion of the Governing Body should be nominated .by the Crown. Their powers should include, at the least, the management of the property of the school and of its revenues; the control of its expenditure; the appointment and dismissal of the Head Master; the regulation of boarding houses, of fees and charges, of Masters' stipends, of the terms of admission to the school, and of the times and length of vacations; the supervision of the general treatment of the boys, and all arrangements bearing on the sanitary condition of the school. As regards discipline and teaching, the Head Master, on the other hand, should be as far as possible unfettered. The appointment and dismissal of assistant masters, the measures necessary for maintaining discipline, and the general direction of the course and methods of study, which it is his duty to conduct and his business to understand thoroughly, had better be left in his hands. The introduction of a new branch of study, however, or the suppression of one already established, and the relative degrees of weight to be assigned to different branches, may be better judged of by such a body of governors as suggested, men conversant with the requirements of public and professional life and acquainted with the general progress of science and literature, than by a single person, however able and accomplished, whose views may be more circumscribed, and whose mind is liable to be unduly pressed by difficulties of detail. What should be taught, and what importance should be given to each subject, are therefore questions for the Governing Body; how to teach is a question for the Head Master. The Governing Body should, however, act upon such matters in connection with the Master.
If it is important that a thorough understanding and opportunities for unreserved communication should exist between the Governing Body and the Head Master, it is even more so that he should be on similar terms with his assistants. That there should be friendly intercourse between them, and that an assistant should be at liberty to make suggestions to his chief, is not enough. Valuable suggestions and useful information, which individual masters, and they only, are qualified to afford, may often be lost for want of a recognized opportunity of communicating them; and private interviews, however readily granted, are not an adequate substitute for free and general discussion. The practice introduced by Dr. Arnold at Rugby, of meeting all his assistants for consultation at frequent intervals, appears to have had the happiest results. A similar practice exists at Harrow, and comparing these schools with Eton, it is evident that the assistants here have a thorough sense of coöperation with the Head Master and with each other, which is wanting in the latter.
It is the invariable practice at Eton, and almost so at Winchester, to recruit the staff of Classical Masters, the Head Master included, from those who have been educated at those schools respectively. The other schools are restricted by no such rule or usage. The usage of one school differs much from that of another, and it is very desirable undoubtedly that the masters of every school should be perfectly familiar with its system of discipline and teaching, its unwritten customs, and all that stamps it