« PreviousContinue »
School who cannot afford to pay—and were adult pupils admitted free, they would not appreciate the instruction given to them, no matter how superior might be its nature. This is the case in Ireland at all events, however different it may be in other countries. Out of the smallest means, the Irish are ever willing to pay for education. It may then be asked, why there are so many uneducated adults among the operative classes, if the Irish are so willing to pay for education ? Our only answer to this question is, that either the poverty of the parent, or the negligence of the child is the cause. However, no advantage should be taken of their willingness to pay, since we know in many cases it exceeds their ability. A rate of payment within the reach of the poorest adult should be laid down ; we would recommend that such a scale of payments be adopted as would be in proportion to the circumstances of the pupils, and at the same time so moderate as to be within the power of the poorest to pay.-By adopting this course an accunulative scale of payments inevitably takes place; but we would strongly urge that this scale should not be regulated according to the subjects taught, for every person acquainted with the organization or management of a school must be aware that such an arrangement has a very injurous effect on the progress of the pupils and on the working of the school. By way of example, in support of our views in this matter, let us suppose two pupils placed side by side in the same class, the parents of one being better to do in the world than those of the other; now, both are sufficiently qualified to enter a class where the course of instruction is carried further, but in order to enter this class a higher fee is to be paid. To the pupils whose parents are able to pay the fee there can be no difficulty, for parents willingly pay for the education of their children when circumstances permit; but the pupil whose parents are unable to pay the fee demanded, remains behind, not for incompetency or want of intellectual qualifications, but solely on account of his parents' poverty. All will admit that poverty is no crime, but few will deny that it is a misfortune, and certainly debarring the talented child of the poor man the means of raising himself from the lowly state in which he is placed by the circumstances of his parents, is not the mode by which to imbue him with a spirit of nationality or independece; on the contrary, it tends to depress this spirit and to make poverty hereditary.
We regret that in many schools receiving public aid the fees are regulated according to the subjects taught, a system both unwise and unfair, and one we would strenuously oppose, for we hold that in 10 schools supported by the State or by other public endowments, should such a system be tolerated.
The teachers of these schools are public officers and should make no distinction between their pupils while discharging their duties in the school-room. All should equally share their attention, and be eligible to any class for which their capacity or proficiency would qualify them. Public or National Schools were provided for the Education of the poor, and the State in conferring this invaluable boon on society, never intended a "royal road” to be opened in these schools on which the poor man's child dare not enter.
While we advocate the rights of the poor to National Schools, we do not desire that these institutions should be solely attended by the children of the poor, on the contrary, we are of opinion that these schools should be open to all classes, for the fact of the children of the poor associating with those of the middle classes, has a most desirable effect on both, and contributes most materially to the success and character of the school.* But what we contend for is, that the poor man's child be as eligible to receive instruction in any subject taught in the school as that of the rich man's, though the latter may pay a higher fee.
Before concluding this portion of our paper we would wish to suggest, that when teachers receive salary in addition to the school fees, the rate of payment for each pupil should not exceed 2d. per week; and in cases where they receive their entire salary from sources independent of the school fees, the latter should not exceed one penny per week for each pupil. And this payment, we would further suggest, should be insisted upon, for it is desirable that every pupil should pay in a school that is not understood to be a Free School. For the present we have confined ourselves to Evening Schools, but in our next paper we hope to be able to show the great want existing in our Metropolis for such Mechanics' Institutes as those advocated in England by Lord Brougham, and other zealous friends of the cause of Popular Education.
See Report on the Clonmel District Model School for the year 1850, by James W. Kavanagh, Esq., Head Inspector of National Schools : see also Mr. Frederic Hill's admirable work on National Education.
In closing our present paper, we consider it but just to mention the name of The Right Honorable Alexander Macdonnell, Resident Commissioner of the Board of Irish National Education, to whom the adult portion of the working classes of this city is deeply indebted for the part he has taken in encouraging Evening Schools.-Frequently has he contributed from his private purse to their support, and his benevolence to many a poor and hard-working teacher is too well known to call forth any comments from us.
With his name we feel justified in coupling those of Dean Meyler, Commissioner of National Education; and the Rev. Mr. Farrell,* manager of the Andrean Male National School.
These gentlemen have been indefatigable in promoting the cause of National Education, and well may they be proud of the signal success that has attended their united efforts in endeavouring to place the schools of their parish on a footing with some of the best organized schools under the Commissioner of National Education. We should not omit mentioning here the name of The Rev. Dr. Flanagan, who for many years supported, at his own expense, an Evening School, which was attended by a very large number of the laboring poor. We regret that this school has been closed for some tiine, owing to this liberal gentleman's funds being exhausted.
See Report on the admirably-conducted Ragged School under the management of this gentleman, given in IRISH QUARTERLY Review, Vol. IV., No. 16, p. 1237.
ART. II.-JOHN BANIM.
" TALES BY THE O'HARA FAMILY” PUT TO PRESS. THE
BOYNE WATER” COMMENCED. A PUBLISHER'S RUSE. TALES
In the other parts of this Biography* we related the various phases, sometimes sunny and frequently clouded, marking the life of John Bauim, and we paused in that epoch of his life-history in which, when in his twenty-sixth year, he had completed The Tales By The O'Hara Family, and had succeeded in obtaining a publisher.
Now had come the time for which, through all the sorrows of the weary past, he had toiled and hoped. True, it was not his first triumphhe had known that joy which elevates the dramatist when his thoughts are filling the hearts of an enraptured audience : he had heard great actors in his Damon and Pythias, and, as some noble passage in the play bad charmed the listeners, he had seen the surging, swaying crowds applauding to the echu. But this was a triumph too uncertain, and too much dependent upon the mass-and, in the probable success of The O'Hara Tales, he fancied that he saw the brightest dream-land of his brightest reverie-fame, competence secured, a happy home for Ellen, for liis mother, for all the full fruition of that
See IRISH QUARTERLY REVIEW, Vol. IV. No. 14, p. 270; No. 15, p. 527; and No. 16, p, 825.
charming wish which he expressed to Michael when he wrote: “That my dear Ellen, and my dear Joanna, should live together in love and unity, is my great wish and my hope too. To see them working, or reading, or making their womanly fuss near me, and under my roof, and mutually tolerating and helping each other, and never talking loud. And my mother, my dear, dear mother, sitting in her arm chair looking at them, with her old times placid smile; and my father and you doing whatever you liked. Tush! Perhaps this is foolish and utopian
Yet we must live together: that is the blessed truth. Such a set of people were not born to dwell asunder. And, perhaps, the old times would come back again after all. What is the reason, I ask, that, after a little while, we should not club our means, and dwell, as Mr. Owen preaches, in one big house, every mother's son and daughter of us; and have good feeling, good taste, and economny presiding over us? More unlikely things have happened. After the world is seen, it does not bear to be gaped at every day; and the only true aim of a rational creature ought to be, humble independence on any scale, and the interchange of those little and tireless amiabilities, that in a loving, and virtuous, and temperate circle, make life indeed worth living for-to me. And without these life is a compulsion : a necessity to breathe without enjoyment—to sweat without a reward.”
These were his hopes and heartiest wishes-success in literature could alone for him secure their attainment, and once attained, life would be to him fair as
“A light upon the shining sea." But, even whilst correcting the proof sheets of the first series of The Tales, he was preparing materials for a novel, and he wrote thus to his brother :
"London, January 17th, 1825. My dear Michael,
I am reading hard for a three-volume tale, and, if our present venture succeed, I may hope for a fair price.”
He was not however at all forgetful of his success as a dramatist, and he still negociated for the production of The Prodigal at Covent Garden Theatre, having, as we have already related, failed in inducing Elliston to accept it for Drury Lane. * But in this attempt he was, as the reader has
See IRISH QUARTERLY KEVIEW, Vol. No. 16. IV. p. 861.