Imatges de pàgina

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 bogs, received and boarded 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 opportunity 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; be 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, tho 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 fluctuated greatly within a recent period, some having fallen comparatively low. while others enjoy a rank and popularity higher than ever before. The course of study of all these schools appears to have been originally confined to the classical languages and to have 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 have shared largely in producing it. School education alters slowly and runs long in the same groove; a master can only teach what he has himself learned, and is naturally inclined to set the highest value on the studies to which his own life has been given. At the two oldest of the schools this tendency has been strengthened not only by ardent attachment to their peculiar traditions, but by the habit of receiving as Masters only men brought up within their own walls. The great schools, again, have always educated principally with a view to the Universities; the path of access to the learned professions lies through the Universities; the work done at school tells thoroughly and directly on the examinations for admission to the Universities and for University prizes and distinetions, whilst it has not, until recently, assisted a youth to obtain entrance into the public service, civil or military, at home or in India; the clever. est and most diligent boys, for whom the system of study has been chiefly molded, have gone to the Universities; and all the Masters have been University men.

The two classical languages, with a little ancient history and geography, held, until a short time ago, absolute and exclusive possession of the whole course of study. It now includes, at every school, arithmetic and mathematics as well as classics; at every school, except Eton, either French or German also—at Rugby and the Charter-house, both French and German, though at Rugby the natural sciences may be substituted. At Merchant Taylors' it includes Hebrew and drawing. Lectures on natural science are given at Winchester, and occasionally at Eton to those who wish to attend. There is also a lecturer on chemistry at the Charter-house, and periodical voluntary examinations in natural science at Harrow. Drawing may be learned as an extra at all the schools, and generally some instruction in music may be gained in the same way.

The means of classical instruction include the study of Latin and Greek grammar, the daily construing and occasional translation into English of Latin and Greek writers, the repetition of passages, chiefly of Latin and Greek poetry, that have been learned by heart, and the practice of composition in verse and prose. Construing, repetition, and composition are the chief occupation of the higher forms. There is some reason to think that the grounding in grammar is not always so thorough and accurate as is desirable, or that sufficient care is not taken to keep up what is thus acquired as the boys advance in their work. Different grammars, both Latin and Greek, are used in the different schools. The range of authors construed is sufficiently various and extensive, unless Eton be an exception. The assiduous practice of repetition, and that of composition, original and translated, has long been among the characteristics of the great English schools, and a high value is still set upon them by English schoolmasters.

The average time assigned to arithmetic and mathematics is about three hours a week in school and the same amount devoted to preparatory work. At a majority of the schools, marks are given for mathematics, depending generally upon the relative time devoted to it, which determine more or less a boy's rise in the classical forms of the school. In every school, except Eton, two hours a week, exclusive of preparation, are also given to modern languages, marks for which count in promotion only at Winchester, Harrow, and Rugby. There are distinct prizes at all the schools for proficiency in mathematics and in modern languages respectively. Classification in both these branches is, however, dependent upon that of the classical school, which is found a great hindrance to advancement. Indeed, both share the disadvantage of being subordinate to the principal study, which is that of the classics. The chief honors and distinctions of the schools are classical; their traditions are classical; the Head Master and the Tutors are men distinguished chiefly as classical scholars, and attached more or less ardently to classical learning; the path of promotion and the subjects on which the time and thoughts of the boys are employed are mainly classical; classics are also, to a great majority of the boys, intrinsically more attractive than mathematics, and to the oldest and most diligent more so than French and German. But mathematics at least have established a title to respect as an instrument of mental discipline; they are recognized and horrored at the Uni. versities, and it is easy to obtain mathematical masters of high ability who bave had a University education. It is otherwise with the study of modern languages, which in each of these respects, but especially irán. last, labors under peculiar and great difficulties; while it ba it should time to establish itself and has to make head against a sbeing called up of tradition and habit. Hence the success with uber may vary from 15 pursued is, in different degrees, not ansi. The second condition is indeing and the pains and ability es school. It has been urged in favor of especial deficiency in paumber of hoys animates the teacher, and enaspeaking generally, hüse life into his class. But it is still more impormatics and in .peciation of being called up should be strong enough to good capacitjaghly efficient stimulus from the top to the bottom of the study *', that the benefit of being called up should be shared by all the mode-ery frequently; and that the class-master should not be tempted, teac de number before him and the limited time at his disposal, either to abis over the more backward, or to abate his standard of accuracy, or in less searching in his questions. Differences in the method of teaching tiy in some degree affect the question, but as a general rule and in the t-sence of special circumstances, the average number should not much, | at all, exceed thirty.

The time actually spent in the school preparation of lessons, in the case of the upper boys, is small. An Eton fifth form boy is in school, on a whole school-day, about three hours, or during the week, from fourteen to fifteen; an upper boy at Harrow is at school about four hours and a

• Of these 3 were Composition Mastera. A Classical Master has since been added.

There is an Assistant Master of writing and urithmetic. 1 One of these also teaches mathematics.

One of these also teaches natural science.

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