Imatges de pàgina

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 its 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 prac. tically unfettered and supreme, at others his power of effecting changes is limited to recommendations 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 nominatrd .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 with a character of its own, as well as that they should be animated with a warm attachment to it. We believe, however, say the Commissioners, that even where tradition has most power it is not very difficult for an able and intelligent man to acquaint himself sufficiently in a short time with the distinctive features of the system which he has to administer; and the experience of a great majority of schools has amply shown how heartily such a inan can throw himself into the working, and how thoroughly he can identify himself with the character and interests of one to which he has previously been a stranger. It must be observed at the same time, that a school which is debarred, or which bebars itself by a restriction of this kind, from taking the best man that can be had, must necessarily suffer from it to a greater or less degree; and it must be disadvantageous also for any school to be officered exclusively by men brought up within its walls, and imbued with its peculiar prejudices and opinions, and without experience of any system or any methods but its own.

Statutes-Necessity for a Power of Revision and Alteration.-Several of these schools possess ancient statutes or rules designed to settle permanently, with more or less of minuteness, their organization and course of teaching, but in some with no provision for the relaxation of them, or for their adaptation to new circumstances of a different state of society. Dean Colet, founder of St. Paul's, expressly authorized the Court of Assistants of the Mercers' Company to alter and amend his ordinances as might be deemed requisite from time to time. A similar power was given to the governors of Harrow, has been created at Winchester, and exists virtually to a greater or less extent at other schools. In the absence of them, recourse is invariably had to the principle, as it may be called, of desuetude; and it is assumed that old constitutions which contain minute directions and create no authority for varying them, must, when the lapse of time has rendered an exact compliance with them impracticable, be construed by the aid of such usages as have been gradually established by necessity or convenience. No accumulation, it is plain, of stringent or even imprecatory terms, as in the case of the Eton statutes, can ever secure perpetuity to institutions which from their very nature must undergo a change. Often, too, the spirit of the statutes, which it would be desirable to observe, is violated or forgotten. It is clearly expedient, if not indispensable, for the permanent continuance of foundations of this nature, that most extensive powers of adaptation and amendment should exist in all cases, and it seems only necessary to provide that they should be lodged in proper hands. There is evidently no security that practical changes will be made well and advisedly, which are introduced without deliberate intention, without responsibility, and without the intervention of any higher authority to protect the permanent interests of the founda. tion from being undermined by private and personal interests. The principle to be pursued, where ancient statutes are not abrogated but reformed, is sufficiently clear. The statutes of founders are to be upheld

and enforced whenever they conduce to the general objects of the foundation and so long as those objects continue to be practicable and useful, but they are to be modified whenever they require a closer adaptation to the wants of modern society.

Foundation Scholars; their Government and Condition.-Speaking generally, the foundation boys are, in the eye of the law, the school. The legal position of the Head Master of Eton is that of teacher or "informator " of seventy poor and indigent boys, received and bearded within Eton College; the Head Master of Harrow is legally the master of a daily grammar-school, established in a country village for the benefit, primarily, of its immediate neighborhood. A foundationer at Harrow, Rugby, and Shrewsbury, is ordinarily a day-scholar, sharing gratuitously, or almost gratuitously, in the general instruction of the school. At Eton, Winchester, Westminster, and the Charter-house, he is a boy separately lodged, separately boarded, maintained as well as educated free of charge or at a comparatively small expense, and obtaining, or having the opporlunity of competing for, a farther provision, more or less valuable, when he leaves school. But in every case, except those of Merchant Taylors' and St. Paul's, and perhaps Shrewsbury, the bulk of each school, as now existing, is an accretion upon the original foundation, and consists of boarders received by masters or other persons at their own expense and risk, and for their own profit. The proportion actually existing between foundationers and non foundationers, at the several schools which admit the latter, was as follows in 1861;

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In respect of these classes, there is, to a small extent, a real division of power and of responsibility. The Head Master can expel a non-foundationer; he can not expel a foundationer. But as convenience clearly required that the management of both classes should be one and the same, the Governing Body bas acquired an indirect control over the whole school by virtue of their direct authority over a part of it; and it is desirable that for the purposes of government, instruction and discipline, all the boys should in every case be considered as one school, subject to the same authorities and in the same degree.

The position held by foundation boys among their school-fellows varies much at different schools. But it seems tolerably clear from the evidence that in none of the schools is he lowered in the estimation of his companions by the mere fact of his receiving an eleemosynary education, and apart from causes which judicious management may remove, there seems to be nothing to prevent the foundationers from taking socially as well as intellectually an equal or (as in some cases they do) even the foremost rank in the school. It may generally be said that they enjoy advantages equal to those which the founders intended for them. Their situation has, at several of the schools, been greatly and progressively improved during the present century; and it is doubtless now better than it has been at any former period. They are better lodged, better fed, better taught, better attended to, than they ever were before—without meaning to imply that their position is better than it ought to be, taking into account the intentions of the several founders, the increased value of the endowments, and the change of manners.

There is no doubt that the collegiate schools were primarily though not solely designed for the benefit of meritorious poverty, as were the independent grammar-schools for the benefit of some particular town, village, or neighborhood. At Westminster the qualification respecting poverty is considered obsolete, and admission to the foundation has long been the prize of a competitive examination, and the same principle has been recently introduced at Eton and Winchester (with little or no preference for poverty) with excellent results. Speaking generally, it must be said that the difficulty of assigning a precise meaning to the word poverty, the doubt what class of persons, if any, at the present day, really answers to the pauperes et indigentes scholares of the Lancasterian and Tudor periods, and the further doubt whether poverty is not after all best served by giving the widest encouragement to industry, coupled with the interest which every school has in collecting the best boys from the largest surface, have tended and will continually tend to render the qualification of indigence practically inoperative. Respecting the right to gratuitous education originally couferred by the founders upon the children of the places where the schools were located, it is to be observed that the parents of the boys thus privileged are chiefly-at Harrow almost exclusively-strangers to the neighborhood, who have come to reside there temporarily, for the purpose of obtaining, at little expense to themselves, a good education for their children. As this was certainly not intended nor contemplated by the founder, the abolition of the local privilege in these cases is recommended.

Course and Subjects of Instruction.—The nine schools were educating altogether, at Christmas, 1861, 2,696 boys, between the ages of eight and nineteen years, the average age being not far short of fifteen years. Their numbers have Auctuated greatly within a recent period, some hav. ing fallen comparatively low.while others enjoy a rank and popularity higher than ever before. The course of study of all these schools appears to bave been originally confined to the classical languages and to havo remained substantially unaltered from a very early to a very late period, governed in a great measure by established custom and babit. The position which the classics now hold is due in the first place perhaps to their intrinsic excellence as an instrument of education; but other causes

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