Obrázky na stránke

cipline, and secure the moral conduct of the masters while training, they are boarded and lodged within the premises. Seven or eight weeks are generally found sufficient for their instruction. Accommodation was at first provided for 32 masters, but that has been increased. The number sent out properly trained in 1824, was 207. The total number sent forth from 1813 to 1824, both inclusive, was 840. Of the first 771 admitted, 461 were Protestants, and 310 Catholics. These masters have been maintained, and had their expenses defrayed in coming from, and returning to the country, at an average expense of 77. each. In 1824, the society established a similar branch for mistresses, and accommodation for 36 was provided, which will enable them to send forth an annual supply of about 220*.

The society endeavoured by providing and preparing a variety of publications, which they sell at a very reduced price, to supersede the books then in general use through the country, which are described as calculated to incite to lawless and profligate adventure, to cherish superstition, or to lead to dissension and disloyalty.' In the course of seven years ending 1824, the society had issued 52 works of a miscellaneous nature, of which the total issue was 956,702 volumes. The loss of the society upon the sale amounted to about 650l. per annum. The society also supplies spellingbooks, slates, and other school requisites gratuitously to schools in connexion with them, and to all purchasers at cost prices. The amount of these given gratuitously in 1824, was 33951. Os. 11d.; the amount sold at low prices, 7071. 12s. 9d.

The society employs six inspectors, of whom two are Roman Catholics, who inspect each of their schools at least once in the year; and, according to their reports, gratuities to the masters and mistresses are bestowed, or withheld. The gratuities vary from 17. to 107., and are stated to have operated in a very salutary manner. The total amount so distributed in 1824, was 40097.

Having thus detailed, without comment, the objects and proceedings of the Kildare Society, as given in the first report of the commissioners of 1824, we shall postpone, till our next Number, an examination of the causes which have rendered that society obnoxious to the Roman Catholics, as that question involves the larger question of the difficulties which, up to this time, have prevented Ireland from receiving a really national education. We reserve, also, any consideration of that part of the society's objects, which relate to the preparation and distribution of books for the peasantry and for * 1st Report, p. 41–43.

schools. The Kildare Place Society has received from the public funds up to 1828, 170,5087.*; and there has since been an additional grant of 30,000., making a total of 200,5081.

VI.-The London Hibernian Society.


In 1806, an association was formed in London, under this title, for establishing Schools, and circulating the Holy Scriptures in Ireland.' The society has conducted its proceedings in such a way, that it has received many Catholic children into its schools; but at the same time has incurred the most unmitigated aversion of the Roman Catholic clergy. We cannot be surprised at the latter circumstance, when we find a deputation of this society, in 1808, using these expressions in a published report: The hope that the Irish will ever be a tranquil and loyal people, and still more, that piety and virtue will flourish among them, must be built on the anticipated reduction of popery.' This society had, in 1824, three classes of schools, day-schools, adult-schools, and Sunday-schools. It is stated in the 18th printed report of the society, that the day-schools were in 1823, as follows: in Ulster 326 schools, having 31,702 scholars; in Leinster 31 schools, having 2665 scholars; in Connaught 204 schools, having 18,271 scholars; in Munster 92 schools, having 8749 scholars, making in all 653 schools, and 61,387 scholars. The persons in attendance at the adult-schools at the same period, amounted to 10,117, and at the Sunday-schools to 17,145, giving a total of 88,649; the Sunday-school attendance was, however, stated to be generally a duplicate attendance,so that the actual number will be 10,117 adults and 61,387 children. Of the day-schools, 340 are in connexion with the Society for the Education of the Poor, (the Kildare Place Society,) and a few with the association for discountenancing vice. Some also have received aid from the Lord-Lieutenant's fund §. This society also circulates the Scriptures, and in the year 1823, issued 2005 English Bibles, 12,297 English, and 2000 Irish Testaments ||. The society disavow the object of making proselytes from the Roman Catholic to the Protestant communion. The system upon which the schools are conducted is as follows: the resident parochial minister is offi

* Report of Committee, 1828.

+ 1st Report of Committee, 1824, p. 60.

The returns from the clergy to the commissioners, (see Report, 1826,) only show a total of 37,507 scholars, including 13,770 connected with other societies. The Lord-Lieutenant's fund has received £40,998 of the public money. This mode of encouraging education was commenced in 1819:-431 grants have been made to aid schools established by voluntary subscription.

1st Report, p. 65-67.

cially the permanent visitor; but clergymen of every denomination are solicited to superintend the concerns of the schools; the teachers are selected according to their moral character and competency, persons of every religious denomination being alike eligible; a competent number of inspectors are constantly employed to itinerate through the districts. To guarantee the pledged non-interference of the society with the religious tenets of those under their care, no books of religious controversy, tracts, or catechisms, are admitted into their schools; the scholars are taught reading, writing, and cyphering, and to commit to memory, and to repeat to the inspector, four chapters at least in the gospels and epistles; the teachers to be paid according to the result of the inspection, and not to be allowed for pupils not present at the examination*.

Whatever might be the rules of the society, they were either so acted upon, or supposed to be acted upon, that in 1823 a very great number of the Roman Catholic children were withdrawn from these schools, as well as many of the masters of the same persuasiont. The schools belonging to this society were, in some districts, visited by the commissioners. In most cases they were common cabins, and sometimes even hovels. The masters were usually from the lowest ranks of the peasantry, and have themselves frequently received but very little education. As might be expected in these circumstances, too little regard, generally speaking, is paid to cleanliness, order, and regularity. In most of these schools there is a want of the useful requisites; and writing and arithmetic appear to be less attended to than in any other class of schools. The great object of the schools, and that to which their attention is almost exclusively given, is the reading of the Scriptures, and committing those portions of Scripture to memory which are to be repeated to the inspectors at the next quarterly examination‡.' This society has not directly received any assistance from the public funds.

VII.-The Baptist Society.

The Baptist Society for promoting the gospel in Ireland was established in 1814 for the purpose of employing itinerant preachers in Ireland, of establishing schools and of distributing Bibles and tracts, either gratuitously or at reduced prices. The general objects of the society appear to be the same as those of the London Hibernian Society. It

* 1st Report, p. 68.

+ 1st Report of Committee, p. 81.
P. 81.


is in a similar way opposed by the Roman Catholic clergy. The number of day-schools belonging to this society is 95, principally in Connaught and Munster, 18 of which are exclusively for females. There are also 14 evening-schools, principally for adults, and some Sunday-schools. The number of children is stated to amount to upwards of 8000*.

VIII.-The Irish Society.

The object of this society is to enable the Irish peasant to peruse the Scripture in his own tongue. The funds arising from voluntary contribution amounted in the year ending March, 1824, to 9041. Os. 9d. There are about 50 schools where children are received, and also schools for adults.

IX.-The Sunday-School Society.

Looking to the extent of the good which it has diffused, with the small means it possesses, we should say that this institution is one of the most important and useful that has been devised for advancing the education of Ireland. Sunday-schools are doubtless but a first step in civilization; but we have seen that up to the date of the union that first step had not been taken. The Sunday-School Society was founded in 1809.

Its funds arise from voluntary contributions; and its object was to promote the establishment and facilitate the conducting of Sunday-schools, by disseminating the most approved plans for the management of such schools, and by supplying them with spelling-books and copies of the sacred Scriptures, or extracts therefrom, without note or comment (the only books which the society disseminates amongst the scholars), either gratuitously or at reduced prices: it was provided that it should not assume to itself any control over the internal regulations of the schools in connexion with it, nor use any other interference in their concerns than that of kind admonition and advice. The society offers its aid without exception to every school that meets upon Sunday,—the nature of the assistance given ensuring its application to the purpose of religious instruction. Reading is necessarily taught to such as come uninstructed. No direct pecuniary assistance is ever given either in salaries or any other form. The receipts of the society for the year ending March 3, 1824, was 21047. 12s. 1d., and the produce of books, &c. sold was 3167. 198.-total 24211. 11s. 1d. During the same year a grant of 12,000 testaments was made by the British and

*The returns to the commissioners exhibit only a total of 4377.

and Foreign Bible Society. The society requires from the schools which it assists a yearly report of the number of scholars in attendance, their progress in reading, and other particulars. In the province of Ulster, where these schools have been carried to the greatest extent, the proportion of scholars, by the general returns in March, 1824, was 1 in 16 of the population, according to the census of 1821. In Leinster the general proportion was 1 in 86; Connaught gives only 1 in 193; and Munster only 1 in 354. The ratio of the whole population was 1 to 44 at the period referred to. In 1824 the number of schools was 1640, and of scholars 157,184. In 1825, although there was an increase of 62 schools and 259 teachers, there was a decrease of scholars to the amount of 6353. This is ascribed principally to the general establishment during the preceding year, of schools held on Sundays in the Roman Catholic chapels, which measure withdrew from the neighbouring Sunday schools many of the children of that communion. The commissioners state that children have a peculiar pleasure in attending these schools-that they are often held at the cottages of the poor themselves, or the dwellings of patrons or teachers-that the system of instruction has found its way into hospitals and gaols-that even domestic servants have stipulated with their masters that they should be permitted to attend these schools. They add the following testimony to the value of this species of education, humble as it may be, which brings all classes into contact, which sets up no sectarian distinctions, which cultivates the social feelings, and which is unsupported by any grants lavished in ignorant waste, or demoralizing consumption:-' A marked improvement in principle and conduct, an increased respect to moral obligation, a more general observance of relative duties, and a greater deference to the laws, are invariably represented as among the fruits of the education here received; and we entertain no doubt that it is one of the most powerful instruments for raising the character and advancing the general welfare of the people*.'

We have thus taken a view, as complete as our limits will allow, of the various institutions which have for their object to promote the general education of the people of Ireland. The greater number of these establishments have been supported, to a considerable extent, by the public funds. It may be well to recapitulate the sums of money which have been supplied by the state :

*First Report, 1825.

JAN.-APRIL, 1832.


« PredošláPokračovať »