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modate several societies; thrce, if the meetings are twice a week; and sis, if they only meet once.
In the third place, it is evident that the want of time preventing the classes of whom we are treating from pursuing a systematic course of educalion in all its details, a more summary and compendious method of instruction must be pursued by them. The great majority must be content with never going beyond a certain point, and with reaching that point by the most expeditious route. A few, thus initiated in the truths of science, will no doubt push their attainments much farther; and for these the works in common use will suffice; but for the multitude it will be most essential that works should be prepared adapted to their circumstances. Thus, in teaching them geometry, it is not necessary to go through the whole steps of that beautiful system, by which the most general and remote truths are connected with the few simple definitions and axioms; enough will be accomplished, if they are made to perceive the nature of mathematical investigation, and learn the leading properties of figures. In like manner, they may be taught the doctrines of mechanics with a much more slender previous knowledge of geometry and algebra, than the common elementary works on dynamicks presuppose in the reader. Hence, a most essential service will be rendered to the cause of knowledge by him who shall devote his time to the composition of elementary treatises on the mathemalics, sufficiently clear, and yet sufficiently compendious, to exemplify the method of reasoning employed in that science, and to impart an accurate knowledge of the most fundamental and useful propositions, with their application to practical purposes ; and treatises upon natural philosophy, which may teach the great principles of physics, and their practical application, lo readers who have but a general knowledge of mathematics, or who are wholly ignorant of the science beyond the common rules of arithmelic. Nor let it be supposed, that the time thus bestowed is given merely to instruct the poor in the rudiments of philosophy, though this would of itself be an object sufficiently brilliant to allure men of the noblest ambition; for what higher achievement did the most sublime philosophy ever propose to itself than to elevale the views and refine the character of the great mass of mankind? But if extending the bounds of science itself be the grand aim of philosophers, they indirectly, but surely, accomplish this object, who enable thousands to speculate and experiment for one to whom the path of investigation is now open, It is not necessary that all who are taught, or even any considerable proportion, should go beyond the rudiments; but whoever feels within himself a desire and an aptitude to proceed further, will do so, -and the chances of discovery, both in the arts and in science itself, will be thus indefinitely multiplied. Indeed, those discoveries immediately connected with experiment and observation are most likely to be made by men, whose lives, being spent in the midst of mechanical operations, are at the same time instructed in the general principles upon which these depend, and trained betimes to habits of speculation.
Fourthly, The preparation of elementary works is not the only, nor, at first, is it the most valuable service that can be rendered towards economizing the time of the labouring classes. The institution of Lectures is, of all the helps that can be given, the most valuable, where circumstances permit, that is, in towns of a certain size. Much may thus be taught, even without any other instruction; but, combined with reading, and subservient to it, the effects of public lectures are great indeed, especially in the present deficiency of proper elementary works. The students are enabled to read with advantage; things are explained to them which no books sufficiently illustrate; access is afforded to teachers who can remove the difficulties which occur perpetually in the reading of uneducated persons; a word may often suffice to get rid of some obstacle which would have impeded the unassisted student's progress for days; and then, whatever requires the performance of experiments to become intelligible can only be learnt by the bulk of mankind at a lecture, inasmuch as the wealthiest alone can have such lessons in private, and none but the most highly gifted can hope to master those branches of science without seeing the experimental illustrations.
The branches of knowledge to which these observations chiefly apply, are Mechanical Philosophy and Chemistry, both as being more intimately connected with the arts, and as requiring more explanation and illustration by experiment. But the Mathematics, Astronomy, and Geology, the two former especially, are well fitted for being taught publicly, and are of great practical use. Nor is there any reason why Moral and Political Philosophy should not be explained in public lectures, though they may be learnt by reading far more easily than the physical sciences.
In all plans of this description it is absolutely necessary that the expenses should mainly be defrayed by those for whose benefit they are contrived. It is the province of the rich to lay the foundation, by making certain advances which are required in the first instance, and enabling the poor to come forward, bolh as learners and contribulors. But no such scheme can either take a deep root, or spread over the country so as to produce the good for which it is calculated, unless its support is derived from those who are chiefly to reap its benefits. Those benefits are, as far as regards instruction in the principles upon which the arts depend, of a nature eminently fitted to improve the condition of the learners, and to repay, in actual profit, far more than the cost required. But, even for instruction in other branches of learning of a more general description, and only tending to improve the moral and intellectual character, a fund is provided by the substitution of refined and cheap and harmless gratifications, in the stead of luxuries, which are both grosser and more expensive, hurtful to the health, and wasteful of time. The yearly cost of a lecture in the larger cities, where enlightened and public-spirited men may be found willing to give instruction for nothing, is indeed considerably less than in smaller places, where a compensation must be made for the lecturer's time and work. But it seems to us advisable, that, even where gratuitous assistance could be obtained, something like an adequate remuneration should be afforded, both to preserve the principle of independence among the working classes, and to secure the more accurate and regular discharge of the duty. We shall therefore suppose, that the lectures, as well as the current expenses of the room, and where there are experiments, of the apparatus, are paid for; and still it appears by no means an undertaking beyond the reach of those classes. The most expensive courses of teaching will be those requiring apparatus; but then those are likewise the most directly profitable to the scholars. Contributions may be reckoned upon to begin the plan, including the original purchase of apparatus; and then we may estimate the yearly cost, which alone will fall upon the members of the Association. The hire of a room may be reckoned at thirty pounds; the salary of a lecturer, forly; wear and tear of apparatus, twenty; assistant and servant, ten; clerk or collector, ten; fire and lamps, five; printing and advertising, fifteen; making in all 1301. But if two or three courses are delivered in the same room, the expenses of each will be reduced in proportion. Suppose three, the room may probably be had for fifty pounds, the printing for twenty, and the servants for thirly; so that the expense of each course will be reduced to about a hundred pounds. Each course may occupy six months of weekly lectures; consequently, if only a hundred artisans are to be found who can spare a shilling a week, one lecture may be carried on for 1301. ; and if 120 artisans can be found to spare a shilling a week, three courses may be carried on during the year, and each person attend the whole. This calculation, however, supposes a very inconsiderable town. If the families engaged in trade and handicrafts have, one with another, a single person contributing, the number of 100 answers to a population of only 770, supposing the proportion of persons engaged in trade and handicrafts to be the same as in the West Riding of Yorkshire ; and 710, taking the proportion of Lancashire. If, indeed, we take the proportions in the manufacturing towns, it will answer in some cases to a population of 5500, and in others of little more than 500. But even taking the proportion from towns in the least manufacturing counties, as Huntingdonshire, the population required to furnish 100 will not exceed 900, which is a town of about 200 houses. One of three times the size is but an inconsiderable place; and yet in such a place, upon a very moderate computation, 200 persons might easily be found to spare sixpence a week all the year round, which would be amply sufficient for two lectures. In the larger towns, where 5 or 600 persons might associate, five shillings a quarter would be sufficient to carry on three or four lectures, and leave between 1501. or 2001. a-year for the purchase of books. The most complete establishment will always be that in which a library is combined with the lecture; and it is advisable that, in places where at first there is not money or spirit enough to begin with both, a library only should be established, to which the lecture may afterwards be added.
The men themselves ought to have the chief share in the management of these concerns. This is essential to the success, and also to the independence of the undertaking ; nor is there the least reason to apprehend mismanagement. If benefit societies are, upon the whole, well conducted, we may rely upon institutions being still better conducted, where the improvement of the mind being the object, those only will ever take a part who are desirous of their own advancement in knowledge, and of the general instruction of the class to which they belong. Neither is there any fear that the suggestions of persons in a higher station, and of more ample information, may not be duly attended to. Gratitude for the assistance received and the advice offered, together with a conviction that the only motive for interfering is the good of the establishment, will give at least its just weight lo the recommendations of patrons ; and if it were not always so, far better would it be to see such influence fail entirely, than to run the risk of the apathy which might be occasioned among the men, and the abuse of the institutors themselves, which might frequently be produced by excluding from the control of their affairs those whose interests are the only object in view. The influence of patrons is always sure to have at the least its proper weight, as long as their object plainly is merely to promote the good of those for whom the Institution was founded; and as soon as they are actualed by any other views, it is very fit that their influence should cease. There is nearly as little reason to apprehend that the necessity of discussing, at meetings of the members, the affairs of the Institution, will give rise to a spirit of controversy and a habit of making speeches. Those meetings for private business will of course be held very seldom ; and a feeling may always be expected to prevail, that the continuance of the establishment depends upon preserving union, notwithstanding any diversity of opinion in matters of detail, and upon keeping the discussion of rules and regulations subordinate to the attendance upon the lectures, the main object of the establishment. The time when information and advice is most wanted, with other assistance from the wealthy and the well informed, is at the beginning of the undertaking; and at that time the influence of those patrons will necessarily be the most powerful. Much depends upon a right course being taken at first ; proper rules laid down ; fit subjects selected for lecture; good teachers chosen—and upon all these matters the opinions and wishes of those who chiesly contribute to found the several institutions are sure to have a very great weight.
A REPLY TO THE OBJECTIONS URGED AGAINST THE
SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION OF THE PEOPLE.*
Although there is a good deal in this discourse with which it is impossible for us to agree, yet the tone of moderation which the reverend author preserves through the greater portion of his remarks, must be mentioned as extremely praiseworthy, and as somewhat rare in such controversies. It must be admitted, too, that the subject which he has undertaken to discuss is one fairly belonging to the province of the religious instructor, and which he may handle without incurring the smallest blame for narrowness or illiberality—the superiority of religious to temporal knowledge, and the risks we run from too exclusive an altention to the latter. While others are instructing the community in literature and science, it is, beyond all doubt, the duty of the clergy to give the information which is necessary for its religious improvement; and, provided there be no misrepresentations used, they may fairly urge the greater importance of that kind of knowledge, and take the requisite pains to prevent olher pursuits from interfering with the attainment of it. A report was prevalent that Dr. Shuttleworth had stood forth to sound the alarm against educating the people in those branches of science which Laplace declared them fitted to learn, and from which Lord Liverpool indignantly deprecated their being excluded. The sermon, in which this warning was said to be proclaimed, is now before us; and it is with great pleasure that we testify that it is any thing rather than a confirmation of the rumour. Some few matters are perhaps not stated with perfect candour; others are represented a little inaccurately; but there is nothing like an attempt to raise an outcry of a religious kind, or to point the thunders of the church against the secular instructors of the people. On the contrary, it seems substantially intended to reconcile the pursuits recommended by the preacher with a large allowance of scientific improvement.
• Dr. Shuttleworth's Sermon ; preached in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, May 8th, 1828. – Vol. xlviii. p. 520. December, 1828.
After observing, that the extraordinary pains taken to diffuse knowledge in the present day, though calculated to excite feelings of "pride and selfcongratulation,” are yet fitted, at the same time, to make us " ask ourselves, where all this will end ?” he proceeds to show in what consists the dangers of a disproportionate attention to the pursuits of science. And it is a singular thing, that he assumes the friends of popular education to exclude from their plans every branch of knowledge, except mathematical and physical science. The following passage contains a great deal of important truth respecting the value of intellectual improvement, which the author had, in the sentence immediately preceding, distinctly stated that it was not his wish to depreciate, but only to show the necessity of connecting with religion. But it closes with a most inaccurate suggestion, which, being further enforced in the next passage, requires some animadversion.
"Were we to estimate the whole of the advantages resulting to a nation from the pursuits of science and general literature, solely by what may in a familiar acceptation of the term be considered their value, that is to say, by their immediate tendency to promote such discoveries as may be exclusively useful for the acquisition of wealth, or the accommodation of our social existence, we should, I acknowledge, be taking a much too contracted view of the subject, and greatly undervaluing the many momentous blessings which we derive from them. The laws and principles of mechanism, the physical combinations and properties of the elements, and the profound truths derivable from the abstract calculation of figures or of numbers, may be made familiar to thousands; yet the inventive faculty, which derives from such knowledge the germ of new and valuable discoveries, which are to form part of the intellectual wealth of future ages, is, by the sage economy of Providence, dispensed but to a few. It, however, by no means follows, that those persons whose talents do not qualify them to become benefactors io mankind by their inventions, are not, therefore, elevated in the scale of sentient beings by the mere possession of scientific attainments. Knowledge (if by that term we mean to imply nuthing more than the means for the acquisition of a specific end) may, it is true, be considered in one point of view as unprofitable, where ibat end is not attained, and where it terminales in barren contemplation : but, on the other hand (when we recollect that its tendency is to develop the energies, and to give us a taste for the esquisite pleasures of our spiritual nature, and consequently to make us more indifferent to the gross animal enjoyments which we participate in common with the brutes), it may, with no less confidence, be pronounced to be in itself intrinsically good, though, like all other gi!ts of Providence, liable to be perverted by abuse. Such, accordingly, is the judgment expressed respecting it by the Word of Revelation. “Behold,” says the Almighty, with reference to ihe fall of our first parents, and whilst pronouncing that fearful judicial sentence which was to operate so fatally upon their descendants, “behold, man is become like one of us 10 know good from evil :" from which words we must ne. cessarily, I think, derive the conclusion, that, though knowledge may be accidentally dangerous from its inappositeness to the party possessing it, and sinful, where its acquisition implies the breach of a command or perversity of disposition, still its abstract and original tendency is to add to the dignity and perfection of the being of whom it is an attribute. And in this point of view will a Christian, and especially a Protestant Christian, who knows how much of the purity of his religious belief inay be attributed to the dissemination of general literature, be disposed to consider it: not wishing for a single moment to limit the high gratifications of scientific research to any more favoured or privileged classes of the community, or to check, in any one instance, the progress of legitimate inquiry, but only anxious that the most easily perverted of all the transcendent gifts of the Almighty be not irausformed from a blessing into a curse; only anxious, that whilst investigating the mighty wonders of the physical universe, they forget not that great Being who called that universe into existence; and that they mistake not the impatient eagerness of newly-excited curiosity, which loves to depreciate every thing established, and to ponder over its own speculations upon what it conceives to be original principlts, rather than to submit to the wisdom inculcated by experience, for that comprehensive grasp of intellect, whose real characteristic is sobriety and caution."
The risk which students of natural science are here supposed to run, of forgetting the great Author of Nature, appears wholly chimerical. But the author immediately afterwards states it in a way much more incorrect, and, as we take it, wholly contrary to the truth of the case. • It is an acknowledged, and a no less painful than perplexing fact,” he says, “ that even welleducated persons, whose studies have particularly led them to the investigation of the beautiful and astounding mechanism of the universe and of the economy of the animal world, have often been disposed to scepticism with regard to the existence and providence of a God.” It is Dr. Shuttleworth's general practice to express himself with many qualifications, and lo