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A suitable education

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A suitable education the journey of a reform
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Klagstad, Donna Jean
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vi, 154 leaves : ; 29 cm

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Working class -- Education -- History -- England ( lcsh )
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England ( fast )
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History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 136-154).
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, History.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Donna Jean Klagstad.

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University of Colorado Denver
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A SUITABLE EDUCATION
THE JOURNEY OF A REFORM
by
Donna Jean Klagstad
B. A., Metropolitan State College, 1988
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
History
1993
I/*;


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Donna Jean Klagstad
has been approved for the
Department of
History
by
"l
X, /v
' ? r j
Date


Klagstad, Donna Jean (M. A., History)
A Suitable Education: The Journey of a Reform
Thesis directed by Professor James B. Wolf
ABSTRACT
This thesis examines the evolution of
ruling-class attitudes to state-provided education for
the working classes in England from 1830 to the
passage of the Forster Act in 1870. Unless impelled
to an artificial consensus by the threat of violence,
pressure for reform often builds very slowly, and the
struggle for public education provides an excellent
example of this.
Using contemporary books, pamphlets, journals,
and Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, this thesis
follows the change in opinion as to whether the
working classes should be taught, what they should
learn, and who should be responsible for teaching
them. At the beginning of the nineteenth century even
minimal literacy for the working class was considered
i i i


dangerous by a significant segment of the upper
classes-. By 1870 they acknowledged that universal
education with a thorough grounding in the basic tools
of reading, writing, and arithmetic was necessary, and
that it required governmental backing and supervision.
The thesis also discusses the effects of class
and religious prejudices in the development of the
English system, and the influence of events outside
the sphere of education, such as the expansion of the
political franchise or the dawn of economic competi-
tion for Britain. Religious bickering, more than any
other single cause, retarded the development of
consensus on the reform of education, and class
prejudice prevented the imposition of a single state
system to accommodate all children, even in the imper-
fect sense in which that is realized in the United
States. Working-class students remained segregated in
state schools designed to give them an inferior
education, a problem which has persisted into modern
times.
Finally pressure from advocacy groups, and the
sense of crisis generated by outside events pushed a
IV


still somewhat unwilling government into a half-
hearted educational reform. Like most such compro-
mises, the bill, which would have thrilled a previous
generation of educationists, failed to live up to the
expectations of the reformers of its own day.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidate's thesis.
v


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1 . BEFORE THE YEAR OF REFORM.......................1
Notes..........................................15
2. THE ERA OF REFORM AND THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL 18
Notes......................................... 38
3. CHARTISM, FREE TRADE, AND PUPIL TEACHERS ... 43
Notes..........................................63
4. AVOIDANCE AT THE TOP...........................66
Notes..........................................89
5. REVISION AND REFORM............................93
Notes.........................................116
6. AVOIDANCE ENDED? A CONCLUSION ............... 120
Notes.........................................134
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
136


CHAPTER 1
BEFORE THE YEAR OF REFORM
1
"The 'Gentleman1 has had his day." Melvyn Bragg
wrote confidently. His 1977 book Speak for England
was a hymn to education and to its efficacy in break-
ing down class barriers. He appeared to have good
reason for his faith. His great-grandfather was il-
literate. His grandmother, a farm laborer born in the
post-1880 era of compulsory schooling, learned to read
and write before going to the fields at age fourteen.
His father moved into the middle class, and Bragg
himself took a degree from Oxford and worked for the
BBC. The story of education was, Bragg enthused, "a
2
story of success."
But the people who built the system which taught
Grandmother Bragg to read never intended that her
grandson should matriculate with theirs. They in-
tended to keep him in the forge or behind the plow.
From the time Parliament spent its first pound on pub-
lic schools to the time it decided all English chil-
dren should be taught to read, the ruling classes
debated many things. They wondered if the working
1


class should be educated at all. If they should, who
should teach them? What should they be taught?
Should they be forced to learn? Should they be given
their education? The country's leaders wanted to give
the laboring classes an education 'fit for their
station in life.' That a fitting education for the
working class was fundamentally different from that
which the upper classes obtained for themselves, was
the only unchanging, almost unchallenged, assumption
underlying more than forty years of public debate.
Preservation of class distinctions played a minor
role in the educational discussions, however, when
compared with religion. Contemporaries and historians
alike rightly blamed England's long delay in estab-
lishing its most unsystematic system of public educa-
tion on what came to be called the religious diffi-
culty. Even there, class played a part. When the
great religious revival gained hold of the Victorians,
Nonconformity belonged largely to the middle class,
while most of the gentry clung to the Church, so the
Dissenters' struggle to be free from the tyranny of
the Church was tinged with rebellion against the
tyranny of the aristocracy. The two upper classes
2


then engaged in a dispute over the right to prose-
lytise the working classes, whose souls had long been
neglected.
Where monarchial or dictatorial governments may
move at the whim of their rulers, representative
governments, even those which, like that of Victorian
England, represent only a privileged minority, seldom
move without consensus. Violence, or the threat of
violence, may induce an artificial consensus in which
groups who fundamentally disagree with each other act
together for mutual defense. In such situations
statesmen may even act against their own convictions.
The Duke of Wellington shepherded Catholic Emancipa-
tion through Parliament, though he would have been one
of the first wolves to take a bite out of it had the
Catholic Association not been prowling across the
water. The Reform Bill of 1832 passed due to essen-
tially the same kind of threat. In the cause of edu-
cation, however, no association ever appeared ready to
take up arms.
The struggle for working-class education was a
more typical social reform. A slowly increasing num-
ber of people wrote on the subject and lobbied the
3


influential.
Gradually a knot of activists formed who
pushed for immediate and drastic change, and, in reac-
tion against them, conservatives dug in to defend the
status quo. The debate became more and more public
and interested more and more people. Pressure for
some kind of government action grew, but at a plodding
pace, jolted into faster movement only at times of
perceived crisis. Without any outside threat, govern-
ment simply awaited the development of a natural
consensus.
In the case of working-class education, the
process was retarded even further, not only by the
religious difficulty, but by the fact of Britain's
unchallenged position. It was very diffcult to
generate a sense of crisis when English work and
English workmen were acknowledged everywhere as the
foremost in the world. Economic complacency made it
easier to avoid religious controversy by doing
nothing. From the time the first Sunday Schools were
founded to the time of the Forster Act, the state
wasted nearly a century.
The eighteenth century saw an immense growth of
readily available literature. At the same time, the
4


expanding evangelical movement, whether that of Church
or chapel, wanted to teach the poor to read the Bible.
To that end, Sunday Schools grew up in almost every
parish. So that the newly literate from the Sunday
Schools might have something appropriate to read, Mrs.
Sarah Trimmer, beginning in the 1780s, produced a new
genre of instructive moral fables for the poor, and a
decade later Hannah More, a Clapham Saint and founder
of the Mendip schools, began to issue the Cheap Repo-
sitory Tracts, hoping they might prove as attractive
3
as cheap editions of Thomas Paine.
In 1808 two Quakers, Joseph Fox and William
Allen, founded the Royal Lancastrian Institution to
promote mass education on the principles laid down by
Joseph Lancaster, principles later made infamous by
Charles Dickens in Hard Times. In 1808, however, the
Gradgrind system of instruction seemed an ideal solu-
tion to the problem of providing cheap instruction to
the poor, and subscriptions to the Institution came
from every quarter, including from the royal family.
Because the Lancastrian movement, renamed the British
and Foreign School Society in 1814, aimed at embracing
all children in its scheme, it taught no specific


religious creeds. Students learned to read their
Bibles and there their religious instruction ended.
However nondenorainational their schools, Fox,
Allen, and Lancaster were undeniably Nonconformists.
In his preface to the 1809 report of the Society for
Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of
the Poor, Sir Thomas Bernard, while congratulating the
Dissenters on their activity in the field of educa-
tion, advised his fellow Churchmen to imagine what the
fate of the establishment might be if an entire gener-
ation of children grew up outside her communion. Two
years later the Church instituted the National Society
for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the
Established Church. National schools not only re-
quired their students to learn the Anglican catechism
and service, but to attend Church and the Church Sun-
day School every week. In vain did more practical men
such as James Mill urge Anglicans to save their cate-
chism for Sunday and allow sectarian differences to
subside, as they naturally would, if children of all
5
creeds went to school together. Instead, the Church
of England claimed exclusive educational rights as the
state-appointed guardian of truth, while the Noncon-
6


formists feared, not without much justification, such
an enormous expansion of Church influence. The two
Societies began squabbling immediately, but between
them they laid a foundation of religiously based
education which no one in their century and beyond was
able to undermine.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century educa-
tional reform, like so many others, was almost washed
from the public mind by the horrific tide of revolu-
tionary blood from France. Libraries, reading clubs,
and debating societies spread the radical message
throughout the working classes and terrified the
classes above them. Suddenly, teaching the poor to
read their Bibles no longer seemed an innocuous form
of philanthropy. A correspondent of Gentleman's
Magazine in September 1797 spoke for many of his
contemporaries:
The laborious occupations of life must
be performed by those who have been born
in the lowest stations; but no one will
be willing to undertake the most servile
employment, or the meanest drudgery, if
his mind is opened, and his abilities
increased, by any tolerable share of
scholastic improvement: yet these employ-
ments and this drudgery must be neces-
sarily performed. It will, I think, be
found upon examination, that a small
tincture of what is usually called learn-
ing generally infuses a spirit of ambi-
7


tion, and prompts a man to raise himself
from a life of drudgery to a state of
more ease and emolument. If he is dis-
appointed in his views, and his ambition
exceeds his income, he has recourse to
fraud and other criminal pursuits to
gratify his desires.... The man, whose
mind is not illuminated by one ray of
science, can discharge his duty in the
most sordid employment without the small-
est views of raising himself to a higher
station...His ignorance is a balm that
soothes his mind into stupidity and repose,
and excludes every emotion of discontent,
pride, and ambition.... A man of no
literature will seldom attempt to form
insurrections... while those who are
qualified by a tincture of superficial
learning, and have imbibed the pernicious
doctrines of seditious writers, will be the
first to excite rebellions, and convert a
flourishing kingdom in£o a state of
anarchy and confusion.
Fortunately for the cause of education, the
spirit of the day told against this gentleman's point
of view. The lessons of Locke and Rousseau, as
interpreted by William Godwin, William Thompson, and
Robert Owen, lived not only in such radical hearts,
but in those of sound utilitarians. James Mill and
Robert Dale Owen agreed that early childhood education
would solve most of the country's political and social
problems, for "...if a child be taught in a rational
manner, it will itself become rational, and thus, even
7
on the most selfish principle avoid wickedness." Sir
8


Thomas Bernard told his benevolent readers they had
more to fear from the ignorant than from "instructed
and enlightened Christians [sic]" who would easily see
that the existing arrangements of society were best
0
for all concerned. Both the Societies and the other,
smaller educational associations constructed their
mission to the poor on this foundation.
Radicals, Christians, and utilitarians parted
company on the content rather than the fact of educa-
tion for the working class. Richard Carlile and
Robert Dale Owen would have the children follow Paine
and come to God, if they came at all, through sci-
9
ence, but following Paine in anything was just what
the upper classes intended schools to prevent. Hannah
More wrote, "I allow of no writing for the poor. My
object is not to make fanatics, but to train up the
10
lower classes in habits of industry and piety." The
Societies were not so strict. They taught all four Rs
- reading, writing, arithmetic and religion using
the Bible as the primary, if not the sole, textbook.
Only a few of their patrons were as generous as Henry
Brougham, for many years the parliamentary patron of
education, who encouraged the working class to study
9


science, politics, and economics on the grounds that
the interests of peace and stability as well as
religion would best be promoted by an intelligent
11
citizenry.
Men such as Brougham, Samuel Whitbread, and
Thomas Wyse brought the educational crusade into the
House of Commons, but with little success. Whitbread
sponsored a bill in 1807 which swiftly died. Nine
years later Brougham set in motion the first in what
proved to be a long line of select committees to
inquire into the necessity for education, and it
brought back a report recommending that Parliament
12
take action, but only the converted heard its
message.
The idea of involving the state in education
evoked mixed emotions among the intellectual leaders
of the time. Adam Smith had pointed out that neither
Greece nor Rome possessed any large system of public
schooling, and while he deprecated the job being done
by the British universities and believed all institu-
tions of learning should be self-supporting, he also
said it was the duty of the government to take the
education of the poor in hand. He thought the state
10


had a responsibility to act, both because the whole
state stood to benefit from an increase in law and
order, and because the poor, unlike the classes above
them, had in modern times grown too stupid from a lack
of challenging work to see to the matter for them-
13
selves. He would be cited as an authority by both
the voluntaryists and the supporters of state schools
over the coming decades.
Thomas Malthus and some of the working-class
radicals agreed that the state should leave well
enough alone, though for different reasons. Malthus
opposed charity on principle because, as he wrote in
his Essay on Population, one of the "laws of nature"
said no man. had any claim on society for anything he
could not obtain through his own labor. The working-
class radicals, on the other hand, feared exactly the
sort of efforts at mind control which made their
social superiors converts to the gospel of education.
Mrs. Trimmer entertained no doubts. The state could
not afford to leave the minds of poor children in the
hands of "their ignorant and corrupted parents." To
James Mill the danger inherent in allowing a govern-
ment to wield such a powerful tool as public schools
11


was more than compensated for by the benefits of lit-
eracy, and access to a free press ensured that bad
14
government could not endure. The combination of the
utilitarian and philanthropic viewpoints laid out a
rationale for intervention by the state, but the in-
terests of the Gentleman 's Magazine correspondent
still carried more weight in Parliament. Brougham
brought in another bill in 1820 which met the same
fate as Whitbread's earlier effort. It was fifty
years premature.
Since utilitarian theory envisioned children as
completely plastic creatures capable of being molded
into any conceivable shape by their environment, the
idea of a fluid class structure was inseparable from
their philosophy. James Mill admitted as much, and in
this he was every bit the visionary. But the greatest
of visionaries still needed someone to grow his food
and weave his cloth. The entire environment did not,
he said, consist of the school. Work needed to be
performed, and by far the largest proportion of human-
ity was required to perform it. Therefore, this large
mass of humanity could never spend the time on learn-
ing necessary to attain the highest of intellectual
12


levels. Most of the ruling classes professed to
believe the laborers incapable of great intellectual
accomplishments, but they had no desire to test this
faith. Patrick Colquhoun's Treatise on Indigence
recommended education for the poor, but within strict
bounds:
Nothing is aimed at beyond what is neces-
sary to constitute a channel to religious
and moral instruction. To exceed that
point would be utopian, impolitic and dan-
gerous, since it would confound the ranks
of society, upon which the general happi-
ness of the lower orders, no less than that
of those in^gore elevated stations,
depends ....
Even the name of the 1816 committee of inquiry
betrayed the bias of its creators, socially the most
advanced politicians of their day. It was titled the
Parliamentary Committee on the Education of the Lower
Orders.
By the time of the great Reform Bill of 1832, the
parameters of the long educational debate were quite
clearly delineated. To save the souls of the poor, to
keep society safe from their depredations, and to mold
them into useful beings required training which either
the state or upper-class charity must provide, but
training carefully designed to keep the Lower Orders
13


lower. Sarah Trimmer's morality tales in which chil-
dren hoped for no better fate than to take their
divinely ordained places as servants and laborers were
as popular in 1830 as they were when first written.
J. M. Goldstrom's 1972 analysis of published readers
used in schools for the working classes found that
maintenance of the class structure came in second only
17
to Christianity as a concern of the authors.
Over the next forty years, as the state slowly
lurched toward implementing a national system of
elementary schools, the world underwent an almost
miraculous transformation. British industrialism
spread around the world, competitors grew up, and the
old country acquired a new Empire. This miracle
affected some of the attitudes of the upper classes.
Old fears faded, and new ones took their place, but
after all, when it finally came, the Forster Aat was a
reflection of the old world rather than of the new.
14


Notes
1. Melvyn Bragg, Speak for England: An Oral
History of England 1900-1975 based on interviews with
inhabitants of Wigton, Cumberland (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1977), 479.
2 Ibid., 61, 306.
3. RCobert] K. Webb, The British Working Class
Reader 1790-1848: Literacy and Social Tension (London:
George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1955; reprint New York:
Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, 1971, Reprints of
Economic Classics), 25.
4. Society for Bettering the Condition and
Increasing the Comforts of the Poor, London, Of the
Education of the poor; being the first part of a
digest of the reports of the Society for Bettering the
Condition of the Poor (London: W. Bulmer and Co.,
1809; reprint, London: Woburn Press, 1970, The Social
History of Education, gen. ed. Victor E. Neuburg), 40.
5. James Mill, "Schools for all, in preference
to schools for Churchmen only," Philanthropist (1812),
in James Mill on Education, W. H. Burston, ed.,
Cambridge texts and studies in the history of
education, gen. eds. A. C. F. Beales, A. V. Judges, J.
P. C. Roach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1969), 131, 190.
6. Letter to Gentleman's Magazine (24 September
1797), in J. M. Goldstrora, ed., Education: elementary
education 1780-1900, Sources for social and economic
history series, gen. ed. E. R. R. Green (Newton Abbot:
David & Charles, 1972), 22-23.
7. Robert Dale Owen, An Outline of the System of
Education at New Lanark (1824), in Brian Simon ed.,
The Radical Tradition in Education in Britain: a
compilation of writings by William Godwin, Thomas
Paine, Robert Owen, Richard Carlile, Robert Dale Owen,
William Thompson, William Lovett, William Morris
(London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1972), 172; James
Mill, "Education," Essays on Government Jurisprudence
15


etci (1828), in James Mill, 52, 89-93.
8. Society for Bettering the Condition of the
Poor, 2-16, 47.
9. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794),
41-43; Richard Carlile, Address to Men of Science
(1821), 95-96, 124-126; Robert Dale Owen An Outline
of the System of Education at New Lanark (1824),
168-170, in Simon.
10. Letter to Dr. Beadon & William Wilberforce
(1801), from William Roberts, Memoirs of Hannah More
2d ed. (1834), in Anne Digby and Peter Searby,
Children, School and Society in Nineteenth-Century
England (London: Macmillan, 1981), 75.
11. Henry Brougham, Practical Observations upon
the education of the people, addressed to the working
class and their employers (London: Longman, 1825;
reprint, Didsbury, Manchester: E. J. Morten
(Publishers), 1971), 5, 32.
12. U. K., Report of the Parliamentary Committees
on the Education of the Lower Orders in the Metropolis
and Beyond (1816), in Jtohn] Stuart Maclure, comp.,
Educational Documents: England and Wales, 1816-1968,
2d ed. (London: Methuen Educational Ltd., 1968), 19.
13. Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and
Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan,
with a preface by George J. Stigler (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1976), 2:282-340.
14. Thomas Malthus, Essay on Population (1798),
in Webb, 124; Thomas Hodgskin, Mechanics Magazine
(11 October 1823), in Patricia Hollis, ed. & comp.,
Class and Conflict in Nineteenth Century England
1815-1850, Birth of Modern Britain, gen. eds. A. E.
Dyson, R. T. Shannon (London: Routledge and Kegan
Paul, 1973), 336; Sarah Trimmer, The Oeconomy of
Charity (1801), in David Vincent, Literacy and Popular
Culture; England, 1750-191 A, Cambridge studies in oral
and literate culture, gen. eds. Peter Burke and Ruth
Finnegan, no. 19 (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1989), 73; James Mill, Edinburgh Review
(February 1813), in James Mill, 32.
16


15. James Mill, "Education," 69-71, 104-107.
16. Patrick Colquhoun, Treatise on Indigence
(1806), in Hollis, 333.
17. J. M. Goldstrom, The Social Content of
Education 1808-1870: A Study of the Working Class
School Reader in England and Ireland (Shannon: Irish
University Press, 1972), 22-25, 5.
17


CHAPTER 2
THE ERA OF REFORM AND THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL
The 1830s were turbulent times. They began with
agricultural riots sweeping the south, trade unionism
growing in the factories, and, of course, the great
agitation for Parliamentary reform, and ended with the
birth of Chartism and the Anti-Corn Law League. It
was also the decade in which the British government
first decided to involve itself officially with
schools, but not, at first, in England. Scotland
established parochial schools in the seventeenth cen-
tury. In 1831 Ireland was given a national and, in
theory at least, nondenominational system. When the
Reform Bill passed in 1832 only English and Welsh
education remained outside the pale of government
influence or assistance. In 1833 France, the last of
England's great rivals without a public education
system, adopted a law to build state schools modelled
on those in Prussia. English educationists held great
hopes for the new reformed Parliament.
Lord Ashley, later the seventh Earl of
Shaftesbury, sponsored a Factory Act in 1833 which
18


limited working hours for children and required them
to spend two hours a day in school, but it made no
provisions for enforcement or for schools. At the
very end of the session, at 2:00 A. M. on 16 August,
Lord Althorp, then Chancellor of the Exchequer,
introduced, as last of several items in the Miscel-
laneous Estimates, a £20,000 appropriation to be given
to the religious Societies for the purpose of building
schools. The grant passed in a very thin House the
next day after a minimum of debate.* Outside, the
news raised hopes even further. The Edinburgh Review
thought the grant was only a temporary stopgap, and
the Eclectic Review, the organ of the Congregational-
ists, assumed the lack of machinery in Lord Ashley's
bill meant the government was planning a comprehensive
2
educational measure to accompany it.
Great hopes often lead to great disappointments.
Over the next five years John Arthur Roebuck, Lord
Brougham, and Thomas Wyse brought in bills and reso-
lutions and even a motion for an address to the Queen,
but the only concession they won was the appointment
of another select committee to survey the present edu-
3
cational needs in England and Wales. As Wyse wrote
19


in the Dublin Review, the government preferred not to
face the controversy, and so it "...now and then opens
A
its eyes, but it is merely to shut them again."
The same men were active in the educational cause
outside of Parliament. Wyse formed the Central Soci-
ety of Education, the movements first large propa-
ganda association. Brougham, together with Charles
Knight, established the Society for the Diffusion of
Useful Knowledge to print cheap books for the working
classes and, later, the Society for the Diffusion of
Political Knowledge. He also participated in the for-
mation of the Home and Colonial Infant School Society
which ran schools for very young children on models
5
established by Owen and by Samuel Wilderspin.
In 1839 Lord Melbourne's government moved, but
not very far. By an Order in Council, rather than a
bill, it created a Committee of the Privy Council on
Education to control the distribution of the money
granted to the Societies each year, a function which
had previously been handled by the treasury. The
Committee intended to appoint inspectors to see that
the schools met government standards, and to fund a
nondenominational Normal School in which teachers
20


could be trained.
6
The Church cried out. Public meetings degen-
erated into brawls. Two months after the Order was
issued, Lord John Russell announced that the adminis-
tration yielded to public pressure and withdrew the
Normal School plan, but that was not enough. The
Church wanted no government interference with her
schools at all, and the Tories, having no bill to
oppose, moved against going into a Committee of
Supply. After three nights of heated debate, the
Commons went into committee on a government majority
of only five, and the following week approved the
actual education grant by only two. In the Lords the
Archbishop of Canterbury was able to command a much
larger majority for an address of protest to the
Crown. Though the government refused to cancel the
Order altogether, the Archbishop pushed it into a
compromise. The Committee of Council continued to
exist, and it appointed inspectors, but the arch-
bishops obtained a veto over the Committee's choices.
Lord Brougham, who had, meanwhile, introduced another
of his bills, gave up in disgust, saying in future he
would support whatever measure the government finally
21


brought in, but he wearied of standing on his own,
7
"Session after Session."
The controversy over state schools began at a
time when religious feelings ran especially high.
Neither the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts
nor Catholic Emancipation were more than five years
past when the Reform Bill increased middle-class and,
therefore, Dissenting influence in Parliament. The
Church felt her defenses crumbling all about her.
Having been forced to accept that as a tiny minority
there, she could not hope to win the fight for control
over the Irish schools, she was not prepared to make
further concessions. The British and Foreign Society,
by now a predorainently Dissenting organization, was
too poor to pose any real threat, but the Church was
terrified of what the state might eventually do.
Setting a pattern for the future, virtually the
entire debate on the creation of the Committee of
Council revolved around the religious difficulty.
After the death of William Cobbett, the quirky anti-
industrialist radical, in 1835 no one else stood up in
Parliament and declared the superiority of the illit-
erate, but, though all agreed the job of education
22


must be done, no one could agree how to do it. The
Church position, as proclaimed by her defender Sir
Robert Inglis, the senior Member for the University of
Oxford, was that national money should go only to the
national church. He shrugged off the Oxford Movement,
which horrified Dissenters and made many evangelical
Anglicans uncomfortable, as irrelevent, and insisted
that the point of having an established church was
that every man must contribute "...without any obliga-
tion on its part to contribute in return," just as a
man must pay taxes even if they are used to build
0
roads on which he will never travel.
The Anglican press attacked the administration,
Lord Brougham, and his bill. Rev. John Blunt in the
Quarterly Review could not understand why the clergy
should be removed from their "natural" role as educa-
tors just because they wanted to bring all children to
the Church. He warned that state schools, "rickety
schools for writing, accounts, and very small philo-
sophy," would be an innovation "which the dissenter,
and the dissenter only would rejoice in" because they
would inevitably lead to disestablishment and the fall
of the monarchy. Dublin University Magazine believed
23


Brougham to be ignorant of true religion, and that he
9
had taken up with "dissenters and infidels." The
government, according to the Church's supporters,
designed the proposed Normal school to foster latitu-
dinarianisra.
The Nonconformists, on the other hand, still
paying rates to maintain the fabric of an episcopacy
in which they did not believe, justifiably resented
the idea of paying more taxes to support National
schools where their children were not welcome. Nerves
became more taut as John Keble's Anglo-Catholicism
spread out from Oxford and widened the theological
gulf between Churchman and Dissenter. The Eclectics
Review referred to the National schools' "semi-
papistical notions" and proclaimed the great Dissent-
ing principle that state schools must admit students
10
of all creeds but the formularies of none.
Dissenters approved of the 1839 Order in Council.
The proposed Normal school complied with the great
principle. Even the Irish Catholic leader Daniel
11
O'Connell hoped his people would benefit. When the
Church succeeded in disemboweling the Order, Brougham
pleaded for compromise. He hoped his Dissenting
24


allies could see, as he did, there was no hope of
carrying any measure which failed to defer to the
Church. "Let the people be taught, say I," he wrote
in an 1839 pamphlet, "I care little, in comparison,
who is to teach them." He expressed his faith that an
educated people could not be led astray by false doc-
trines, and that even if they were taught by Jesuits,
12
it would be better than no schooling at all.
More than one hundred years later the official
historian of the National Society still referred to
the provision for inspection in the 1839 Order as
"State surveillance" and government "invasion" of
education, and to the Committee of Counail as a "rival
authority." He described the year's events as the
"...high-water mark of the Church's power in the
struggle to decide who was to determine educational
13
policy." He was right about the high water, but the
tide was to be a very long time going out.
The tide of anti-literacy sentiment had already
receded by 1830, leaving only a few brackish pools
behind. Cobbett and Lord Ellenborough both got to
their legs in the 1833 debates to say that reading and
writing only encouraged crime, but they were hugely
25


outnumbered by people such as Professor John Wilson of
Edinburgh who believed education to be a neutral tool,
one which could be as easily turned to good as to evil
14
uses.
Some men predicted great things to come in an
enlightened age. Rational behavior was, of course,
the ultimate goal, and its by-products were expected
to range from population control, improved personal
relationships, a reduction in accidents and disease,
and the end of cruelty to animals, all the way up to
universal brotherhood and an end to war. One writer
stressed to his readers the increase in quality they
could expect to find in domestic servants. Richard
Cobden, the great propagandist of free trade, expanded
this idea into the industrial workplace. He was the
first to write of the threat of economic competition
from America and of an educated workforce as the
15
foundation of prosperity and world power. The
working-class radicals dwelt upon education as a cure
for drunkenness and vice, the end of which was a
necessary first step on the road to social and polit-
ical acceptability.*^ The upper classes were no less
anxious to end the perceived immorality of the poor,
26


though the concern of some centred round reducing the
, 17
poor rates.
Religion still inspired many educationists to
work among the poor. Lord Shaftesbury may have been
the greatest, but was not the only Christian philan-
thropist of his age, yet at this time fear eclipsed
charity as the overriding motivation behind the at-
titudes of most of his peers. Crime, especially po-
litical crime and mob violence, were the reasons most
often mentioned for advocating the education of the
working classes. Increasing political turbulence
seemed even more dangerous than the normal, eternal,
varieties of mayhem.
Fear of the mob's new political power enhanced
the fear of actual physical violence. Although the
franchise qualifications laid down in the 1832 Reform
Bill later came to be seen as dividing the middle from
the working class, to those already inside the social
fortress before 1832 it seemed as though the mob had
broken down the door. James Simpson, a lawyer and one
of the founders of the Edinburgh Infant School, wrote
of the "...Crisis a great increase of popular power,
an immense extension of popular influence, without
27


commensurate directing knowledge, and controlling
virtue...." The Edinburgh Review spoke of fear of the
new franchise and of the need for education without
which it "...would be a worthless, perhaps a dangerous
gift." Roebuck talked of democracy as "inevitable"
18
and Wyse of "a reform revolution." All advocates of
education before, they believed Reform had made it
even more urgent.
The clamor over education as a public security
issue continued throughout the decade. By 1839, when
the government finally acted, fear of reform had faded
and those in power once again focused on the mob still
outside. Thomas Spring-Rice, Lord Melbourne's Chan-
cellor of the Exchequer until the end of the session
in which the Committee of Council was formed, pre-
scribed education to cure the "dissolute workman" who
listened to Richard Oastler and Feargus O'Connor and
became involved in unions and strikes. Sir James Kay-
Shuttleworth, the first secretary of the Committee of
Council and the man most often considered the father
of English state schools, also believed the working
man was being led astray by greedy and unscrupulous
leaders who preyed on his ignorance, and he offered
28


only two solutions to the problem. Either the govern-
ment must resign itself to ever-increasing military
suppression or it must devote its resources to
19
education.
An increasing segment of the upper classes came
to see the whole of education as a tool. They also
began to rethink both methods and content. The trad-
itional four Rs taught the traditional way had failed
to keep the explosions of the thirties from occurring.
Both the Societies devoted themselves almost exclu-
sively to a religious curriculum taught in the best
Gradgrind manner. Dr. Biber's Lectures on Christian
Education described the Societies' schools as so ad-
dicted to rote memorization "...that a parrot hung up
for some time in one of those schools, would unques-
tionably make as good an infant school mistress as
any," and Dr. Thomas Arnold warned that "... to expect
an important moral and religious improvement from the
machinery now in operation, is to look for a full crop
20
of corn after sowing a single handful of seed."
Though someone at some time in the decade recom-
mended that school curricula include almost every
branch of knowledge, with the exception of foreign
29


languages and the gentleman's classics, political
economy won out as the most favored single subject.
The Quarterly Journal of Education's first volume
advocated lessons on the theory of property, class
structure, the advantages of machinery, and the law of
21
supply and demand as applied to wages. As religious
indoctrination proved insufficient, the ruling classes
decided to add indoctrination with the gospel accord-
ing to Smith and Malthus. Not that religious educa-
tion was to be abandoned, far from it. The journals
all paid homage to its value and to the supremacy of
Christianity and morality over all other studies.
Even the official letter from Lord John Russell to the
Marquess of Lansdowne which established the Committee
of Council listed religious instruction as the first
item in the proposed curriculum for the Normal
, 22
school.
The last item on Lord John's list was inculcating
habits of industry. Many of the existing schools
taught girls plain sewing in lieu of arithmetic, but
Charles Forss, a teacher at an asylum for neglected
children at Hackney Wick, published a treatise which
caught the attention of Wyse and others, in which he
30


described the asylum's combination of religious and
secular study with work in the gardens and fields or
23
at practical trades. Though Forss's methods were
impossible for many city day schools to carry out,
they set the pattern for state institutions for
pauper, abandoned, and criminal children.
Until the Committee of Council and its sham
inspectorate were born, the government was not
involved in education in any way. It gave money to
the Societies, but left the running of the schools
entirely alone. Helped by the government grants, the
Societies expanded so rapidly that in the mid-thirties
even Brougham flirted with the idea that they might be
capable of handling elementary education, though with
some state assistance for infant schools and for the
cities.^ Of course, as has been discussed, the
Church objected to state interference as an assault on
her power, but objections came from other sources as
well, and for other reasons. Lord Ellenborough,
speaking for the old guard, feared state aid reduced
the "wholesome" gratitude which the poor should feel
toward their betters. The young Benjamin Disraeli
professed to see a possible danger to the spirit of
31


25
independence which made England great. The most
common objection, however, came mostly from radicals
who questioned whether the government, or any govern-
ment, could be trusted with an instrument as powerful
as the school. Prussia, the Mecca of the education-
ists, could not be held up as a model in this respect
since Prussia was undoubtedly under despotic rule,
however enlightened. As the classical scholar John
Stuart Blackie wrote in Taits, schemes for a state
system, however well-intentioned, might be "...rashly
to throw education out of the Church frying-pan into
the State fire."^
The revolutionary spirit was still abroad in the
England of the 1830s. The Monthly Repository, a
radical magazine but by no means as radical as much of
the more ephemeral unstamped press, predicted that
"toys" such as "coronets, stars, and garters" might
27
soon "be swept away." To such spirits the education
offered by the upper classes was "trash," designed to
make "more subservient slaves" of the working people
and render them "...spiritles [sic] and unresisting
victims of a system of plunder and oppresssion
r -i ..28
[sic]."
32


One step in toward the political center stood the
working-class radicals such as Francis Place and
William Lovett, artisans both, who supported education
as a means of social advancement, and yet another step
further in stood the middle-class radicals such as
Roebuck, Wyse, and Brougham who believed the laborer
capable of all types of learning, and who would even
accept his children sharing ah elementary school with
theirs, but who could not envision the working-class
29
child continuing on to higher education. The repub-
lican ravings of the unstamped press were enough to
frighten much of the middle class away. John Stuart
Mill described his father and the other Philosophic
Radicals as dedicated to two principles, "representa-
tive government and complete freedom of discussion."
Yet James Mill could complain to Brougham about the
"evil" of the "illicit cheap publications, in which
the doctrines of the right of the labouring people,
who say they are the only producers, to all that is
30
produced, is very generally preached."
Along with the desire for state involvement came
two related ideas, which attracted very little atten-
tion and almost no support, Prussian compulsion and
33


the American concept of free schools. Roebuck consid-
ered compulsion "absolutely essential," but virtually
all his colleagues believed such a policy to be inher-
31
ently un-English. Simpson advocated dropping fees
on the grounds that the poor paid taxes and deserved
something in return, and also that the lowest classes
who stood most in need of reformation were excluded
from education by their poverty. In his experience
even the small fee of twopence per week meant that his
schools were attended only by children of the respect-
able artisan class. The tenor of the evidence given
before the Parliamentary Committee on the State of
Education, however, leaned toward the remarkably
persistent notion that free schools would destroy the
vaunted independence of English labor. Besides, it
32
would cost too much.
Still, most educationists pressed for a compre-
hensive state system. Private charity, they declared,
could never produce a stable, permanent, uniform plan
available to all who needed it. Not only was it a
duty of the state, if only as "a mere matter of
police," to provide for the education of the people,
but only the state could afford it. Roebuck reminded
34


the radicals that the ideal of reform was not to make
government powerless. Lovett's new Working Men's
33
Association agreed.
Of course the working man should be educated,
said the "new squirearchy of the Pitt creation" in an
imaginary conversation with the Monthly Repository, he
should have a practical, useful education, "meaning by
this, that, like the Russian serf of the hornband, he
should be restricted to learning a single note.
Perhaps the squirearchy had more than a single note in
mind, but they definitely wanted no more than a short
tune, and that chosen from their own repertoire. From
the immense variety of knowledge which lower-class
children would only have time to sample, someone had
to pick out the relevant bits and make sure it was
served in, as the Bishop of London phrased it, "a safe
and unobjectionable form." Even religious lessons,
according to Rev. Frederick Denison Maurice, one of
the co-founders of Christian Socialism, could be tai-
lored so as to "...give to each class that peculiar
information which enables it best to fulfil its own
35
peculiar position...." The Committee of Council
planned to leave nothing to chance. Its minutes on
35


the proposed Normal school stipulated that prospective
teachers should learn "To give such a character to the
matter of instruction in the school as to keep it in
close relation with the condition of workmen and
servants.
Goldstrom's study of readers found that all of
them, from the pioneering Irish series to the British
and Foreign, Anglican, and Roman Catholic ones which
followed, preached one standard sermon on political
economy. With lots of hard work and frugality it was
possible to move up the social ladder. Not all at
once, but over several generations capital could be
accumulated and the descendants of the employed might
become employers. Along with this faint hope of
future reward went tales of the chaos which would
ensue if capital was removed from the hands of those
37
who currently controlled it.
After the thirties were over, the educational
debate would never be so open again. The Whigs had a
chance to impose a truly national school system only
while the radical pressure from outside was strong,
the Christian schools of all varieties still fairly
thin on the ground, and the middle class still fresh
36


enough from their reform alliance with the working
classes to accept an educational system designed to
serve them both. The religious difficulty prevented
it. The Church had won one battle. Next it was to be
the Dissenters' turn.
37


Notes
1. U. K. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates 3d
ser., vol. 20 (1833), cols. 730-736.
2. [James PillansI, "National Education in
England and France," Edinburgh Review 58 (October
1833) : 3; "National Education on Just and
Comprehensive Principles," Eclectic Review 59 (January
1834) : 13-14.
3. Hansard vol. 24 (1834), cols. 127-130; vol.
26 (1835), cols. 495-500; vol. 27 (1835), cols.
1333-1334; vol. 29 (1835), cols. 75-82, 222-223;
vol. 30 (1835), col. 479; vol. 36 (1837), col. 79;
vol. 38 (1837), cols. 1618-1620; vol. 39 (1837), col.
466; vol. 43 (1838), cols. 710-711, 730-731; vol. 44
(1838) , col. 1174.
4. [Thomas Wysel, "Education in England," Dublin
Review 2 (December 1836): 4-5.
5. W. H. G. Armytage, Four hundred years of
English Education (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1964), 112-113; Goldstrom, The Social Content
of Education, 82; Webb, 92; Gteorgel CChristopher]
T[rout) Bartley, The Schools for the people:
containing, the history, development and present
working of each description of English school for the
industrial and poorer classes (London: Bell & Daldy,
1871), 108.
6. James Kay-Shuttleworth, Four periods of
public education as reviewed in 1832, 1839, 1846, 1862
(London: Longman, 1862; reprint, Brighton: Harvester
Press, 1973, Society and the Victorians no. 14), 179,
267-268, 471-472.
7. Hansard vol. 48 (1839), cols. 227-229; vol.
47 (1839), cols. 1378-1380; vol. 48 (1839), cols.
681, 793, 1332; vol. 49 (1839), col. 128; vol. 194
(1869), col. 805; vol. 50 (1839), cols. 591-594.
8. Hansard vol. 45 (1839), col. 288; vol. 48
(1839) , cols. 604-607.
38


9. [John James Blunt], "Village Schools Lord
Broughams education bills," Quarterly Review 61
(April 1838): 451-461; "National Education," Dublin
University Magazine 14 (December 1839): 620-629.
10. "National Education on Just and Comprehensive
Principles," 13-19.
11. Hansard vol 47 (1839), cols. 1390-1391.
12. Henry Brougham, A Letter on National
Education, to the Duke of Bedford, K. G., from Lord
Brougham in "National Education," Dublin University
Magazine 14 (December 1839): 623-632.
13. Henry James Burgess, Enterprise in Education:
the story of the work of the Established Church in the
education of the people prior to 1870 (London:
National Society S. P. C. K., 1958), 76, 79, 90.
14. Hansard vol. 16 (1833), cols. 3-4; vol. 20
(1833), cols. 734-735; [John Wilson], "Education of
the people," Blackwood's Magazine 27 (January 1830):
1-3.
15. Jtohn] Atrthur] Rtoebuck], "National
Education," Tait's Edinburgh Magazine 2 (March 1833):
758; Thomas Dick, On the improvement of society by
the diffusion of knowledge (Glasgow & London: Wm.
Collins, 1833; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1838), 48,
103, 126-128, 329; James Simpson, Necessity of
Popular Education as a National Object (Boston [U.K.]:
Marsh, Capen & Lyon, 1834), 21, 25; Richard Cobden,
The Political Writings of Richard Cobden vol. 1
(London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1903; reprint, London & New
York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1973, The Garland
Library of war and peace, gen. eds. Blanche Wiesen
Cook, Sandi E. Cooper, & Charles Chatfield), 94,
148-151.
16. Francis Place, Improvement of the Working
People: Drunkenness Education (London: Charles Fox,
1834), 8-9; [William Lovett], The Life and Struggles
of William Lovett (London: Triibner & Co., 1876;
reprint, New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1984),
142-145; R[owlandl Detrosier, An Address on the
Necessity of an Extension of Moral and Political
39


Instruction among the Working Classes (London:
Wakelin, 1835), 12, 23.
17. James Phillips Kay [Shuttleworth], The
training of pauper children: report published by the
Poor Law commissioners in their fourth annual report
(London: William Clowes and Sons, 1839; reprint,
Didsbury, Manchester: E. J. Morten (Publishers),
1970), 3-4; Simpson, 28.
18. Simpson, v; Pillans, 1-2; (William
Hamilton], "Education of the people Cousin on German
schools," Edinburgh Review 57 (July 1833): 505;
Hansard vol. 20 (1833), col. 145; Wyse, 30.
19. [Thomas Spring-Rice], "Ministerial plan of
education church and Tory misrepresentations,"
Edinburgh Review 70 (October 1839): 154;
Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 228-230.
20. Dr. Biber, Lectures on Christian Education in
"Reform in Education," Monthly Repository 8 (1834):
511; Thomas Arnold, Sermons in Thomas Arnold on
Education, ed. T. W. Bamford, Cambridge texts and
studies in the history of education, gen. eds. A. C.
F. Beales, A. V. Judges, J. P. C. Roach (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1970), 59.
21. "Reasons for establishing a public system of
elementary instruction in England," Quarterly Journal
of Education vol. 1, in Goldstrom, Elementary
Education, 80-83.
22. Letter Lord John Russell to the Marquess of
Lansdowne, 4 February, 1839, in Maclure, 43-44.
23. Charles Forss, Practical remarks upon the
education of the working classes; with an account of
the plan pursued Under the Superintendence of the
Childrens Friend Society, at the Brenton Asylum,
Hackney Wick (London: S. W. Fores, 1835), 8-13; Wyse,
21-23.
24. Hansard vol. 16 (1833), cols. 633-636; vol.
27 (1835), cols. 1305-1315.
25. Hansard vol 16 (1833), col. 638; vol. 48
40


(1839), cols. 586-587.
26. [John Stuart Blackie], "National versus state
education," Tait's Edinburgh Magazine 8 o.s., 4 n.s.
(November 1837): 715.
27. Caius [pseud], "Cursory Remarks on Prejudice,
and on Education as a Cause," Monthly Repository 10
(1836): 369.
28. Bronterre O'Brien, Destructive (7 June,
1834), in Hollis, 336; Poor Mans Guardian (14 April,
1832), in Webb, 80.
29. Roebuck, 761; "Wyse on Education Reform,"
Monthly Review 142 (March 1837): 388; Hansard vol. 48
(1839), cols. 1319-1320.
30. John Stuart Mill, Autobiography in John
Stuart Mill on Education, ed. Francis W. Garforth,
Classics in Education, no. 43, gen. ed. Lawrence A.
Cremin (New York: Columbia University Teachers College
Press, 1971), 106-108; Letter James Mill to Lord
Brougham, 3 September 1832, in Webb, 62.
31. Hansard vol. 20 (1833), col. 153; vol. 22
(1834), col. 849; Pillans, 10.
32. Simpson, 135-140; Rev. William Johnson's
evidence to the Parliamentary Committee on the State
of Education, 1834, in Maclure, 31; Lord Brougham's
evidence to the Parliamentary Committee on the State
of Education, 1834, in Maclure, 39.
33. Hansard vol. 20 (1833), cols. 148-149;
"National Education on Just and Comprehensive
Principles," 15; Lovett, 135-139.
34. G. S. [pseud], "On education, and the
condition of the rural population," Monthly Repository
9 (1835): 676.
35. Wilson, 12; Bishop of London, quoted in
Kay-Shuttleworth, The Training of Pauper Children, 33;
[John] Frederick Denison Maurice, Has the Church, or
the State the power to educate the nation? A course of
lectures (London: J. G. and F. Rivington And Danton
41


and Clark, 1839), 39.
36. Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 180.
37. Goldstrora, The Social Content of Education,
72, 119; Richard Whatley, Archbishop of Dublin, Easy
Lessons on Money Matters, in Goldstrora, Elementary
Education, 84-85.
42


CHAPTER 3
CHARTISM, FREE TRADE, AND PUPIL-TEACHERS
The 1840s behaved like a typical March. They
came in roaring like a lion and went bleating out like
a lamb. Lovett and John Collins published their
Chartist manifesto from Warwick jail in 1840, only to
be eclipsed by the outrageous Feargus O'Connor and his
Northern Star. The last middle-class revolution, the
overthrow of protectionism, ended in 1846 with the
death of the Corn Laws and Peel's fall, and enjoyed
its final triumph in 1849 when the Navigation Acts
were repealed. Though Britain suffered through a few
troubles at the time of the great Continental revolu-
tions in 1848, Englishmen could, for the most part,
look smugly on and congratulate themselves upon their
good fortune, or upon the perspicacity which allowed
them to avoid such evils.
In 1843 the Tories put a tentative toe in the
educational waters, found them frigid, and promptly
pulled it out again. Sir James Graham, then Horae
Secretary, brought in a Factory Act including clauses
intended to actually provide schools. Lord Ashley
43


introduced it with a dramatic speech on the terrible
condition of children in the manufacturing towns, Lord
John Russell spoke in its favor, and at first the bill
seemed destined to coast through Parliament with bi-
1
partisan support. It was a small measure. Only
children employed in a few types of textile manufac-
turing fell within its scope, but the Tories obviously
thought of it as a possible prototype for future leg-
islation, and the country reacted to it as such. By
the time the bill came up for its second reading in
March, the harmony which greeted it had turned to dis-
sonance. A large and very vocal group of Congrega-
tionalists, Baptists, and Independents broke with the
British and Foreign Society and formed a loose confed-
eration devoted to the idea of purely voluntary educa-
tion. In the process they dropped enough ice in the
educational pond to convince Peels government to pull
out that chilly toe.
After 1843 an almost unnatural hush fell over
Parliament on the subject of education. When the
annual estimate came up in the Committee on Supply a
few of the old hands repeated ritual protests about
government inaction, but the constant flow of bills


and resolutions ceased. The Lords, not having any
input into the question of supply, stayed more silent
still.
In 1847, with the Whigs back in office under Lord
John, the administration once again bypassed Parlia-
ment and enormously expanded its educational role,
this time through the mechanism of the Minutes issued
by the Committee of Council. In future, the Committee
would offer efficient inspected schools money for
maintenance by paying an allowance to apprentice
teachers, offering them scholarships to training col-
leges, and by paying part of the salary of teachers
holding certificates of competency obtained either by
passing through this pupil-teacher process or by exam-
ination. The Committee even offered an old-age pen-
sion for retired teachers. Though Parliament took the
news quietly, the Dissenters who comprised the new
voluntary movement did not. Unlike their triumph
against Sir James Graham, however, this time they were
powerless to change the government's course.
Even the Church of England's own historian admit-
ted that the expanding influence of the Oxford Move-
ment in the 1840s hardened Church attitudes toward
45


Dissenters and made her cling even more stubbornly to
2
her Church-education-or-none position. But not
everyone at Oxford spewed out venom against Noncon-
formity. In 1840 Baden Powell, a professor of geo-
metry, wrote a plea for rational education on the
economic principle of the division of labor. The
denominations, he said, should teach religious doc-
trine separately, while the state should take respon-
sibility for a sound secular curriculum. Should the
state pay for a system "...which would instruct dis-
senters on sufferance under the supremacy of the
established Church, and feed them with crumbs, like
dogs, under their master's table?" Bigotry was the
one belief Powell thought could not be tolerated by a
3
national educational system.
Powell represented a split in the Church between
High Churchmen and evangelical liberals. The 1843
Factory Act brought on a break between voluntaryists
and other Dissenters. Before 1843 another volatile
element in the religious compound began to increase
its power as the attraction of industrial employment
brought Irish Catholics across the water. By the end
of the decade famine increased the stream to a torrent
46


and the Catholic Poor Schools Committee became yet
another voice the government could not ignore.^
Sir James Graham's bill contained a conscience
clause exempting Dissenting children from Church
services and from learning her catechism, but it
provided that each school's board of trustees would
include the local Anglican clergyman and two church
wardens, so Churchmen would always dominate the
boards, and only members of the Church could be
teachers. Amazingly enough, the first protest against
this arrangement came from the Church. Sir Robert
Inglis denied the state had a right to prevent the
Church from proselytizing or, as he put it, spreading
the truth. He wanted the state to instead restore to
the Church the "means which it had taken from her cen-
turies ago", by which he meant the property confis-
cated by Henry VIII, and then leave her to educate all
the children. The more moderate Frasers Magazine,
while accepting the conscience clause, approved of
5
prohibiting Dissenting teachers. With sentiments
such as those appearing in print, Nonconformists would
have had to be mad not to examine the bill closely and
protest against it.
47


Moderates on both sides tried to effect a compro-
mise. Lord John Russell introduced a set of resolu-
tions to modify the most offensive portions of the
bill, and the government accepted many of them. The
revisions allowed any school, whether run by the two
Societies, other Dissenting bodies, or the Roman Cath-
olics, to issue school certificates as long as the
school submitted to government inspection. Sir James
changed the conscience clause to require religious
instruction to be carried out at specific times, thus
making it easier for those who objected to withdraw
their children, and he permitted Catholic children to
be exempt from reading the authorized Protestant
version of the Bible. He said the amendments were his
"olive branch" offered in the hope of peace.^ Some
Dissenters were in a peaceable mood. Harriet
Martineau lobbied for the bill until she had written
7
herself "sick & weary," but less reasonable minds
inspired more effective pens.
Even Roebuck, never known as a friend of any Tory
government, said the discussion on the Factory Act
outside of Parliament was carried on with "an utter
g
absence of charity." The Eclectic Review, before the
48


revisions, described the bill as proof the Tories
practiced "...a bigotry as blind and rancorous as
would have suited the ministers of a Stuart." Talk of
concern for education was a ruse to set up "...a pre-
paratory ecclesiastical establishment, a sort of
Church of England Junior" to prop up a "tottering"
faith. Sir James's olive branch made no difference.
The bill was still his "insidious attempt to put down
dissent by law...." The Eclectic recommended dises-
tablishment as the only cure for the disease which
9
produced such measures.
Edward Baines, who from his position as editor of
the Leeds Mercury soon became the chief propagandist
and statistician of the voluntary movement, published
a rebuttal to Lord Ashley's pitiful picture of the
state of the manufaturing districts in which he ranted
on about the Factory Act being concocted with "Jesuit-
ical cunning" by his own Puseyite neighborhood vicar,
10
Dr. Walter Farquhar Hook. Baines's tone may have
been hysterical, but apparently not hysterical enough
to interfere with the credibility of his statistics,
at least not for those determined to believe him. For
the next twenty years, during which working-class
49


children were, as Dickens phrased it, "numbered and
11
estimated...and never taught," voluntaryists relied
on Baines to provide a painting with those numbers in
which universal education by purely charitable means
was never more than a few donations away.
In June the Dissenters gained their victory. Sir
James announced to the Commons that, with great per-
sonal sadness, he withdrew the educational clauses of
12
the Factory Act. Though the British and Foreign
Society continued to cooperate with the government, as
did the Wesleyan Methodists and the majority of the
Nonconformists, the Congregationalists and their
allies began to operate on a new principle of volun-
tary purity, free from the contamination of government
money and the demands it might bring. The voluntary-
ists joined the Church as a major obstacle to any
scheme for national education. By distancing them-
selves from the government they also, as Francis Adams
pointed out in his 1882 history, served to increase
the Church's educational near-monopoly. The Church,
already the wealthiest sect by far, continued to
collect grants and build schools while Dissenters,
despite raising astounding amounts of money, fell
50


13
proportionately further and further behind.
In 1846 Dr. Hook, the supposedly Jesuitical Vicar
of Leeds, stunned friends and enemies alike by pub-
lishing a book advocating the combined system of edu-
cation previously described by Baden Powell and
others. That such a work came from such a High Church
pen marked a transformation in the tone of the reli-
gious difficulty. Previously the most unreasoning
arguments had emanated from the Church. Dr. Hook by
no means signalled any great surrender on her part,
but the shrill voice of narrow-minded prejudice seemed
to come more and more from another quarter of Leeds.
The moderate press, from the Westminster Review
to Frasers and the middle^-class Chambers's Journal,
heaped praise on the Vicars head. Even the Anglican
Quarterly Review managed to accept his apparent con-
version with good grace and find some things to like
about his proposals, but the Eclectic, now the organ
of the voluntary movement, ripped him with cat-like
claws of sarcasm. "Inconsistency," it wrote, "is like
the motley and successive impersonations and eye-
deceiving shiftings of the mime: it seldom fails to
furnish amusement." Even Hook's mention of Wednesday
51


and Friday as possible afternoons when the various
clergy might be invited to give religious lessons was
suspected of being a way of infiltrating Puseyite
ideas into the schools, Wednesday and Friday both
having, according to the Eclectic, some special
significance to followers of the Oxford Movement.^
The government certainly did not read in Hook's
work a Church permission slip for a combined national
system. According to the Committee of Council's Sir
James Kay-Shuttleworth, the administration actually
favored such a plan, but found it "impracticable" to
implement given the state of public opinion. He
assured the religious bodies that the government at no
time considered divorcing religion from education.
The Marquis of Lansdowne, then Lord President of the
Privy Council, said much the same thing when laying
the Minutes of the Committee before the Lords. He
blamed the failure to bring in a comprehensive bill on
15
the current heat of the religious controversy.
Baines and company had no intention of damping
down the fire. Dr. Robert Vaughan, Professor of
History at the University of London and editor of the
British Quarterly Review, recommended the Congrega-
52


tionalists accept government overtures and take the
16
grants offered under the new Minute. He earned a
vicious spate of very personal attacks on his morals
from his co-religionists. The Eclectic warned its
readers:
There is a crisis now in English history
like to the struggle which convulsed the
country in the time of Charles I. Then
it was precipitated by royalty, now it
is impelled by utilitarian and doctrin-
aire politicians. Then the contest raged
around the throne, now it agitates the ^
homestead and the hearth of the citizen.
The voluntaryists very much enjoyed trading on their
Puritan heritage as the traditional watchdogs against
encroaching government power. Increasingly, they
tried to turn the religious difficulty into a radical
argument against state attempts at mind control.
Despite the furor over government interference,
the inspectorate of the 1840s had absolutely no power
over the schools. Their instructions stipulated that
they could not even offer advice to school managers
unless specifically invited to do so. According to
Kay-Shuttleworth, their chief value was to offer
evidence through their reports of the truly pitiful
18
condition of English education. Nonetheless,
working-class radicals were nervous about the role of
53


the state. Lovett and Collins's Chartism was as much
an educational manifesto as a political one. It
warned of the dangers of a "centralizing, state-
moulding, knowledge-forcing scheme" like Prussia's
which could be used to keep despotism intact. One of
the first steps the Chartists took was to establish a
national association to build community centers which
could serve as day schools for the children and night
schools for the adults. They realized, however, that
without the state they could never do enough. They
very much wanted government money, they just wanted
democratically elected local committees to actually
spend it. Despite their dangerous reputation, the
Lovett wing of the Chartist movement was composed of
thoroughly respectable working people, so respectable
that Lovett refused to hire admitted atheist G. J.
Holyoake to teach in the London school for fear of
19
offending Christians. It must have seemed strange
to them to hear their fears of state mind-molding
expressed by people wealthy enough to scorn government
grants, people who had taken a share in such molding
for some time.
In April of 1847 a Congregationalist-led meeting
54


assembled in London to protest the new Minutes passed
a resolution stating "...that it is not within the
20
province of government to educate the people."
Baines predicted the government would move from at-
tacking education to undermining freedom of worship
and freedom of the press. He hailed the overdue
realization that free enterprise had made England the
leader of the world, built her Empire, and effected
her great social reforms, and asserted that if left
alone the same forces would educate the people. To
those who spoke of defects or shortcomings in educa-
tion as it was, he said, "That is not a system to be
despised, or lightly to be superseded, under which a
21
nation like the English has been trained."
The Eclectic and other voluntaryist publications
followed the same lines. It was their new-found
belief that government could not be trusted with
education, that its intervention would violate the
principles of free trade and the grand traditions of
English liberty, and that, at any rate, the question
was moot because there were no real educational
deficiencies large enough to merit the attention of
the state. Baines habitually wrote off the lower
55


classes, the laborers who could not be considered
respectable, when compiling his statistics, and so
proved to his own and his followers' satisfaction that
nearly all who could be educated, were. The rest, who
made up what came to be called the residuum, he
thought beyond the reach of government, school or
. .22
church.
Though the voluntaryists conducted the new debate
over state schools primarily in secular terms, the
cloak of free trade and love of liberty failed to
conceal the religious nature of their opposition. The
new movement took its stand in support of a system
which virtually everyone else agreed had failed. The
Congregationalist heretic Dr. Vaughan referred to the
problem as a simple question of money. He maintained
that private charity could never keep up with the
fast-growing population. No matter how devoted to the
cause, few people could be expected to "become martyrs
23
to poverty" in order to support public education.
Abstract argument over the duty of the state gave way
to a war of statistics between Baines and the rest of
the world. The Chambers brothers, in their Journal,
called on the supporters of a national system to speak
56


out:
But we are told that the government has
not the power to institute so broad a
system as we desiderate. Perhaps such
is the case, though we are inclined to
think that a lack of courage to announce
the principle is more conspicuous than
a want of g^ility to carry it into
execution.
The eyes of the government, closed ten years earlier,
remained screwed tightly shut.
Though the voluntaryists denied the efficacy of
education as a cure for social problems, their legion
of opponents continued to prescribe it. Concern with
training the people for the exercise of political
power almost completely vanished from upper-class
minds by 1840, but with the Chartists roaming the
land, fear of political upheaval remained a potent
force. Thomas Carlyle used a recurring image of a
starving and shirtless worker wandering a land where
too many shirts were made, but even his exhortations
to change the way the upper classes treated workers
appealed to fear as much as to sympathy. He always
held up the threat of violence. "Good Heavens, will
not one French Revolution and Reign of Terror suffice
us, but must there be two?" Lord Ashley and Sir James
25
Graham each echoed the sentiment.
57


By the end of the forties, however, with Chartism
fading, garden variety crime crowded the political
species out of the field of concerns. The fear was
heightened by a perception that the population was
growing out of control, with possible Malthusian
consequences. Some men founded colonization soci-
eties, while others opened schools. Statisticians
compiled endless lists and studies of the educational
attainments of inmates at local prisons. Although the
Eclectic undoubtedly made a valid point when it said
lurid reports of crime were easily used to frighten
the public into adopting the educationists' prescrip-
tion, its own prejudices were too well known for it to
be taken seriously outside the voluntaryist circle.
Fraser's expressed the common view that an "inevitable
connexion between crime and ignorance" had become "one
26
of the admitted facts of the age."
Where a crash course in economics had seemed the
best serum against political agitation, the upper
class reverted to religion as the medicine of choice
once the focus changed to ordinary human sin. The
government never left it out. The original instruc-
tions to school inspectors stressed "...that no plan
58


of education ought to be encouraged in which intel-
lectual instruction is not subordinate to the ...
27
doctrines and precepts of revealed religion." By
the latter half of the decade some of the inspectors,
worried about all the little Olivers who would not
triumph over the atmosphere of their Fagin-schools,
decided that religion was even "more essential" to
working-class children than to their social betters.
They recommended, as the infant school pioneer
Wilderspin had done, that the child of the criminal
class be kept in school and away from his parents' bad
example as much as possible, and that "unwearied
attention" be paid to his religious education because,
unlike upper-class children, he could not be expected
28
to absorb morality from his environment.
Even children who went to school did not always
avoid Fagin's clutches. The ubiquitous prison surveys
showed that many prisoners once attended a school of
some sort, but most of those were as completely illit-
erate as their less fortunate companions. Harriet
Martineau referred to the National schools as a
29
"mockery." Educationists continued to be concerned
about the survival of rote memorization as the
59


school's primary method of instruction, but assigning
thirteen-year-old apprentice teachers to groups of
forty children in place of even younger monitors had
made no appreciable difference. Though theorists
proposed other methods, they all required money and
qualified teachers, both of which were in extremely
short supply. As Dickens observed in his 1848 preface
to Nicholas Nickleby, education greatly improved by
mid-century, but only for those who could afford to
30
pay.
Even the best of teachers, however, could never
transform children who came to school seldom, if at
all. The idea of compulsion received considerably
more attention in the forties than it had in the
thirties. The tenor of the arguments against it did
not change, and advocates of direct legal action were
still rarer than qualified teachers, but a small
middle ground appeared made up of those who suggested
various vague methods of moral persuasion or indirect
influence. They were the harbingers of the future.
In 1848 John Stuart Mill told the upper classes
it was too late for them to force feed their ideas to
31
the working class. He was one of the few who
60


thought so. From Professor Baden Powell, to Kay-
Shuttleworth and his inspectors, to Earl Carlisle, Dr.
Hook, and Lord Ashley quoting the catechism, all the
promoters of universal education still specified a
separate and different design for schools to be used
by the working classes. "Plainer," more "suitable to
the wants, capacities, and position of the poorer
classes," one "not meant to raise the working classes
above their condition," but to make them "worthy of,
but contented with, their hire,""good servants, good
parents, good neighbours, good subjects, and if it
32
please God, good members of Christ's church." Yet
inadvertently the government marked out one path for
those interested in social mobility. A bright student
who managed to stay in school long enough to take
advantage of the government stipend for pupil teachers
at age thirteen, and then won a Queen's Scholarship to
a training college could be assured of a life away
from the plow.
The educational clauses of Sir James Graham's
Factory Act, though hardly deserving the name, proved
to be the last actual governmental bill on the subject
for twenty-seven years to even get a serious debate on
61


a second reading. Parliament, pushed by an ever-
growing collection of education associations, would
never again be as silent as it was during the last
half of the forties, but most of the bills and motions
and requests for committees came from outside official
circles. During the decade the push for public educa-
tion ceased to be a radical concern and entered the
mainstream consciousness, but Whigs and Tories had
been badly burnt by holy fires. Neither side wanted
to incur such punishment again.
62


Notes
1. Hansard vo1. 67 (1843), cols. 75-78, 96-99.
2. Burgess, 158.
3. Baden Powell, State education considered with
reference to prevalent misconceptions on religious
grounds (London: John W. Parker, 1840; Oxford: D. A.
Talboys, 1840), 8-9, 41, 68-71.
4. Armytage, 116.
5. Hansard vol 67 (1843)., cols. 87-90, 104-105,
vol. 69 (1843), col. 561; "The government plan of
education," Fraser's Magazine 27 (May 1843): 626.
6. Hansard vol. 68 (1843), cols. 745-746,
1109-1118.
7. Letter Harriet Martineau to Richard Moncton
Milnes, 28 May 1843, in Harriet Martineau, Harriet
Martineau: selected letters, ed. Valerie Sanders
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 75-76.
8. Hansard vol. 69 (1843), col. 530.
9. "Factories Education Bill," Eclectic Review
77 (May 1843): 576, 593, 582-583; "The Government
Education Bill," Eclectic Review 77 (June 1843): 698,
713.
10. Edward Baines, Jr., The social, educational,
and religious state of the manufacturing districts
(London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co, 1843; reprint,
London: Woburn Press, 1969), 67-72.
11. Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of
Nicholas Nickleby, with an afterword by Steven Marcus
(New York: New American Library, 1981), 681.
12. Hansard vol 69 (1843), cols. 1568-1569.
13. Francis Adams, History of the Elementary
School Contest in England (London: Chapman and Hall,
63


1882; reprint, ed. and with an introduction by Asa
Briggs, Brighton: Harvester Press, 1972), 124, 131.
14. [William Edward Hickson], "Education of the
people," Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review 46
(October 1846): 188; "National Education," Fraser's
Magazine 34 (September 1846): 372-377; [W. Chambers],
"Are the people to be educated or not?," Chambers's
Journal 6 (10 October 1846): 235-236; [Henry Hart
Milman], "Education of the people," Quarterly Review
78 (September 1846): 384; "National Education Dr.
Hook," Eclectic Review 84 (September 1846): 280, 304.
15. Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 499-510;
Hansard vol. 89 (1847), col. 859.
16. [Robert Vaughan], "The education controversy
- what has it done?," British Quarterly Review 6
(November 1847): 532-535.
17. "Education Free From State Controul,"
Eclectic Review 86 (November 1847): 608-609.
18. Minutes of Committee of Council, instructions
to Her Majesty's Inspectors, 1840, in Maclure, 49;
Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 472.
19. William Lovett and John Collins, Chartism: a
new organization of the people, embracing a plan for
the education and improvement of the people,
politically and socially (London: J. Watson, H.
Hetherington, J. Cleave, 1840; reprint, with an
introduction by Asa Briggs, Leicester: Leicester
University Press, 1969), 73-75; Lovett, 245-249,
319-320; George Jacob Holyoake, Sixty Years of an
Agitator's Life (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1892),
1:177.
20. "National Education What will Dissenters do
next?," Eclectic Review 85 (May 1847): 636-637.
21. Edward Baines, Jr., Letters to the Right Hon.
Lord John Russell on State Education (London: Ward &
Co. and Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1847), 6-8, 39-40,
53, 3.
22. Baines, Manufacturing Districts, 29.
64


23. [Robert Vaughan], "Popular Education in
England," British Quarterly Review 4 (November 1846):
460, 481.
24. "Government Education," Chamberss Journal 7
(8 May 1847): 297.
25. Thomas Carlyle, Complete Works of Thomas
Carlyle, vol. VIII, Past and Present (New York & San
Francisco: The Wheeler Publishing Co., no date given),
262; Hansard vol 67 (1843), cols. 72-73, 1440.
26. "National Education," Eclectic Review 85
(January 1847): 109; "Education of the people II,"
Fraser's Magazine 36 (August 1847): 169.
27. Minutes of Committee of Council, instructions
to Her Majesty's Inspectors, 1840, in Maclure, 49.
28. Samuel Wilderspin, A System for the Education
of the Young (1840) in Vincent, 73; reports of HMIs
Joseph Fletcher & Rev. F. Watkins to Committee of
Council, Parliamentary Papers (1847) XLV, in Digby,
78, 119-120.
29. Letter Harriet Martineau to Richard Moncton
Milnes, 22 July 1843, in Martineau, 80.
30. Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, 8.
31. John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political
Economy (1848), in Webb, 12.
32. George William Frederick 7th Earl of
Carlisle, Lectures and addresses in aid of popular
education (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and
Longmans, 1852), 73; report of HMI Rev. Baptist Noel
to Committee of Council, Parliamentary Papers (1841)
XX, in Hollis, 337; Milraan, 380; report of HMI
Joseph Fletcher to Committee of Council, Parliamentary
Papers (1847) XLV, in Digby, 79.
65


CHAPTER A
AVOIDANCE AT THE TOP
The theory of evolution emanated from the England
of the 1850s. The decade began with the publication
of Herbert Spencer's Social Statics and ended with
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. More than
that, the British seemed to be at evolution's peak.
It was the age of the Crystal Palace. Tiny Britannia
ruled not only the waves, but all the lands they
touched, not directly yet, but through the force of
her personality. In 1852 the Eclectic Review exulted,
"The triumphs of freedom are written in the largest
1
characters on the face of our land." Self-doubt and
self-criticism did not vanish from the British intel-
lectual landscape. William Howard Russell reported on
the fiasco in the Crimea and Dickens made people cry
over his waifs, but Lord Macaulay proved that the
story of the nation was one of progress and Samuel
Smiles preached his sermons on self-help. Britain
still had work to do but, all in all, social evolution
was not a difficult theory to accept for a people whom
all the world acknowledged as the fittest.
66


Herbert Spencer wrote:
Of the three phases through which human
opinion passes the unanimity of the
ignorant, the disagreement of the inquir-
ing, and the unanimity of the wise it
is manifest that the second is the parent
of the third....
The educational controversy was plainly in the second
stage. He counseled patience until it reached the
2
third. Twice during the fifties the administration
of the day brought in education bills and abandoned
them before the second reading. Much of the debate
took place outside of Westminster, but participants
brought as much of it as they could inside through the
means of private bills and resolutions.
In 1850, on All Hallow's Eve, the membership of
the Lancashire Public School Association, which
included such well-known names as economist Richard
Cobden, the phrenologist George Combe, journalist and
radical MP William Johnson Fox and his colleague T.
Milner Gibson, met in Manchester to transform their
organization into the National Public School Associ-
ation, dedicated to free, rate-supported, secular
schools. In response the mayor of Manchester, and
assorted clerics and laymen devoted to the idea of
religious education formed the rival Manchester and
67


Salford School Committee. Their scheme also included
local rating, but in support of existing schools.
Both groups brought private bills into Parliament,
which inspired the formation of yet another lobbying
group, this one by the voluntaryists who objected to
both plans equally. The Commons avoided dealing with
any of them by appointing a select committee to study
their respective merits. The committee took testimony
for two years, in 1852 and 1853, but reported back
3
with no recommendations.
All of the other attempts at passing an education
bill ended in equal failure. Lord John Russell did
not bring in his 1853 bill for a second reading.
According to Lord Aberdeen the government found it
"utterly impossible" to carry on with it. In 1854 the
Manchester and Salford Committee and Lord Brougham
both tried again, in 1855 it was Lord John, Sir John
Pakington, and Milner Gibson with three separate
bills, and in 1856 Lord John proposed another set of
resolutions. After they were gutted, Earl Granville
dropped a second government effort.
Educationists did have a few successes in the
decade. Through its Minutes the Committee of Council
68


gave additional financial support to schools by means
of a capitation grant and, at the tail end of the
session of 1856, in a very thin House, it carried the
creation of a new title, the Vice-President of the
Committee. William Gladstone, among others, objected
to the appointment on the grounds that there was no
national school system to administer, but the govern-
ment thought differently, and this new official re-
lieved the Home Secretary of the duty of answering
5
questions concerning education in the Commons. Sir
John Pakington won one as well, if yet another study
could be called a victory. In 1858, on his motion,
the government agreed to appoint a royal commission to
enquire into the condition of public education in
England and Wales.^ The Commission, led by the Duke
of Newcastle, sat for two years, thereby providing the
government with the best of excuses for avoiding the
education question for a good while longer.
The activity of the secularist National Public
School Association added a new element to the
explosive religious mix, one the High and Low Church,
the Catholics, and most of the brands of Dissenters
could agree to hate. Though the secular movement
69


stressed that it was not anti-Christian, it just
wanted to remove religion from tax-supported schools
so that the government could escape the quagmire of
the religious difficulty and get on with educating
people, it was immediately branded as atheist by every
side. The Reverend Francis Close labelled the secular
scheme "revolutionary, republican, intolerant,
destructive," "evil," and "repulsive to every national
feeling," while the Eclectic carefully pointed out
that the avowed atheist Holyoake attended the confer-
ence in Manchester. John Howard Hinton, secretary of
the voluntaryists committee, constantly referred to
the Association's idea as teaching Deism. He liked
the Manchester and Salford bill no better, since he
did not consider Bible reading to be sufficient
religious education.^
The fifties were the voluntaryists heyday. Their
theories meshed well with the self-help philosophy of
the times, and they were in no danger of being
railroaded by an alliance of Church and State because
the National Society itself was carrying on a feud
with the government over changes the Committee asked
to be made in the management clauses of the schools.
70


The Anglicans and the Catholics shared a similar
position on the role of the state in education; it was
0
to open the purse and get out of the way. To the
beleaguered politicians the voluntaryists must have
looked like an improvement. At least they did not ask
for money.
As it had in the forties, the voluntary movement
carried on its public debate on the question of the
role of the state rather than overtly on the religious
issue, and it acquired some new allies and new argu-
ments. Where would you rather have been for the last
two years, asked Sir Robert Inglis and the Earl of
Harrowby in 1850, in England or on the Continent with
its vaunted state-controlled school systems and its
revolutions? Later, the shambles the government made
of supply in the Crimea left it an open target for
questions about its competence nearer home. William
Unwin, president of the Congregationalists' teacher
training college, even professed fear of tainted elec-
tions if the state were allowed to build an enormous
bureaucracy of teachers, inspectors, and school staff,
9
all dependent on patronage for their livelihood.
Both church and chapel professed to see political
71


danger in state control of education.
The next most commonly used argument against
state intervention was that it violated the principles
of free trade. The voluntary party openly called
those who favored state schools socialist or communist
and discountenanced any departure from Cobdenite
principles, even though Cobden himself was active on
the other side. Robert Lowe, who soon afterwards made
his name an anathema to educationists, explained the
free trade position in a different way, one in which
the government had a positive role. To stimulate
demand, Lowe said, the state should offer a multitude
of prizes for scholastic achievement. It should throw
open all lower echelon jobs such as messenger or post-
man to everyone who could pass a competitive examina-
tion. Once sufficient demand was created in this way,
supply would naturally follow, and the government
would not have to take on the responsibility for pro-
10
vidmg the actual means of education.
Though Hinton, Unwin and the other voluntaryists
before them said it first, Smiles popularized the idea
that the state could ruin the people by giving them an
education:
Whatever is done for men or classes, to
72


a certain extent takes away the stimulus
and necessity of doing for themselves;
and where men are subjected to over-
guidance and over-government, the inevi-
table tendency is^£o render them compar-
atively helpless.
Of course, the voluntaryists carried on with their
other contentions, that no method enforcing a school
rate could possibly be fair and that it would ruin
private charity, but most of all Baines obsessively
reiterated his thesis that all was well in the world
of working-class education. England's percentage of
children of school age actually in school was always
lower than that on the Continent. In the Baines-eye
view, that was only natural. As an industrialized
nation, a higher percentage of the English were
working class and must be expected to spend a shorter
amount of time in school. As for working-class
poverty as an excuse for the state to assist their
schools, well, free trade and emigration had so raised
average wages that no suah plea aould be made. Board
of Trade statistics proved Englishmen spent £4 per
capita on liquor and tobacco, so they could certainly
12
afford schools for their children. When the results
of Horace Mann's census were published, the Eclectic
crowed. In 1818 1 in 17.25 children went to day
73


schools, by 1851 the figure was 1 in 8.36. Obviously,
the Eclectic said, such figures proved the voluntary
13
system had done its work well.
A far from silent majority took the opposite
view. Baines, wrote Sir John Pakington, looked only
at what was done and called it sufficient. Pakington
looked at what was left undone and said there was no
1A
excuse. Pakington's comrades did not want the ex-
isting system destroyed and a Prussian one erected in
its place, but they faced up to two practical issues,
lack of money and low educational standards, and their
answer in both cases was the state. Ultimately only
the state could collect money enough to extend any
system nationwide, and the state could not be expected
to provide funds without setting some standard of
eff iciency.
In 1850 Joseph Kay, the brother of Sir James
Kay-Shuttleworth, published an influential two-volume
study of all the continental systems, including those
in the smaller states such as Switzerland and the
Scandinavian countries. Educationists had sent fact-
finding missions abroad, mainly to Prussia and the
United States, since the controversy first began.
7A


Victorian England was very proud of her Germanic heri-
tage. In the view of constitutional history founded
by Bishop William Stubbs, Britain inherited the repre-
sentative traditions which brought about the Magna
Carta and eventually the Glorious Revolution from her
Angle and Saxon ancestors. America, of course, was
England's child. In studying them, therefore, English
educationists studied, not their country's future
rivals, but the cultures most similar to their own.
Both Prussia and the United States had universal,
state-funded educational systems, theoretically, at
least, aimed at all classes of their children, long
before Parliament voted that first grant in 1833. Two
generations of researchers sought there for models
upon which to build, and for statistics with which to
fight the battle for English schools.
Kay, in his book, remonstrated against the miser-
able pittance England spent on schools in comparison
15
with her much poorer neighbors. And it was a tiny
amount indeed. In 1852, according to Lord John
Russell, the Committee of Council spent £188,000. To
qualify for grants, the aided schools must have raised
at least twice that amount in charitable subscrip-
75


tions. Using Lord John's estimates once again, the
working classes paid approximately £500,000 in school
16
pence so, Baines and his liquor consumption figures
to the contrary, the poor were already paying their
share of the educational bill and could hardly be
looked to for more. The question was not whether the
state would be involved in education; that decision
17
had already been taken. The question was how fast
it could be pushed into doing its fair share.
With the National Public School Association and
the Manchester and Salford Committee schemes so much
before the public eye, the idea of free compulsory
education attracted considerably more attention. For
the first time comment was about evenly split between
those favoring compulsion and those opposing it. The
opponents, such as Hinton and Gladstone, continued to
stress violation of the traditional principle of
18
English liberty. But English liberties were
increasingly violated for the public good. Sanitary
measures, including compulsory vaccination, passed by
the public watchdogs, though not without a good deal
of snarling and barking. Influential men, even those
outside of the National Association such as poet and
76


school inspector Matthew Arnold, began to think of
19
education as another such salutary measure.
On the question of free schools, however, no such
change in public opinion was brewing. In mid-decade a
bill known as Mr. Denison's Act allowed the Poor Law
Guardians to pay school fees for the children of
outdoor paupers, but it did not mandate such payments
or make sending the children to school a condition of
the parent getting relief, so it was virtually a dead
letter from the beginning. As for the employed
worker, so the most popular theory went, he would be
pauperized by having either the state or private
charity relieve him of so essential an obligation as
that of educating his children. He could never
properly appreciate the value of something which he
received for free. The voluntaryists added a
variation on the Bainesian theme. Why should such a
well-paid workforce as the English need to be given
20
their schooling? However, the most honest reason
for opposing free education was the fact that the
money would come from the writers' own pockets.
Almost all the people who wrote on the subject, no
matter what their point of view, were involved in
77


working-class schools in some way. They feared, quite
rightly, that a free, tax-supported, system would draw
21
paying students away from their own institutions.
The voluntaryists would accept almost any educa-
tional deficiency rather than risk contamination by
the state. Baines ignored the residuum, and Hinton
asserted that the idea of education as an antidote to
pauperism and crime was an "exploded notion." Even
Smiles's Self-Help played down formal schooling. In
his stories experience of life, observation of the
world, hard work, and more hard work, brought success.
Reading, though it had its uses, might be mere enter-
tainment, an unimportant sideline. After all, George
Stephenson learned to read as an adult, and he still
22
put the world on rails.
Despite Hinton's explosion, crime continued as
the main theme of those who wrote to justify educating
the working classes, though the North British Review
simply advised walking the streets of Baines's
23
Leeds. Normal thievery and murder topped the list,
especially after the end of transportation, but, with
the memory of recent events in the rest of Europe
still fresh at the beginning of the decade, and the
78


resurgent agitation to expand the franchise at the end
of it, fear of political crime once again shadowed the
minds of the upper classes. Kay worried about
"...democratic ideas of the wildest kinds, and a
knowledge of the power of union daily gaining
ground.... Some radicals, however, thought the
sufferage and education questions might profitably be
tied together. W. J. Fox more than once suggested
that the government create an educational qualifica-
tion for the franchise, giving the working class an
incentive to study, and getting more intelligent elec-
25
tors into the bargain. Twenty years had passed
since the first great reform and those enfranchised
then had been absorbed into the structure of the
ruling classes. No one referred any longer to a need
to educate them. The concern expressed in the fifties
was all for educating the voters of the future.
For the public at large the Exhibition at the
Crystal Palace in 1851 proved the incomparable
supremacy of British industrial might, but a smaller,
more observant segment of scientists and manufacturers
saw signs that the rest of the world was nipping at
the lion's heels. Economic motivations for educating
79


the laborers were mentioned, for the first time,
almost as often as those having to do with crime
prevention. In fact, Prince Albert invested some of
the profits from the Exhibition in a scheme to teach
the industrial applications of design and science. He
bought the land in South Kensington where the Natural
History Museum and the Victoria and Albert were built,
and in 1853 he established the government department
of Science and Art with the famous chemist Dr. Lyon
Playfair at its head. Aside from organizing the Royal
College of Science, the new department sent its own
examiners out to the schools and offered grants for
teaching students in its special subjects. In future,
Dr. Playfair said, raw material would no longer be the
basis of manufacturing superiority, "intellect" would.
He concerned himself with "...efforts to arouse public
attention to the need of reforming our education so as
to fit it for the increasing competition of the
world.26
Playfair did his job well. In the fifties
science topped religion as the subject most often
suggested for the primary school curriculum. Even the
voluntaryists considered the possibility that their
80


schools might attract more children if they offered a
27
more practical and scientific education. In a long
article for the Westminster Review called "What
knowledge is of most worth?" Herbert Spencer categor-
ized learning into five types which he believed should
be studied as he described them, in descending order
of importance: that required for self-preservation,
that required for indirect self-preservation such as
methods of earning a living, parenting skills, skills
required to get along socially and politically, and
subjects studied strictly for pleasure. His discus-
sion of each of them led straight to science. From
science came the lessons in health which best pro-
longed the lives of both parent and child. All manu-
facturing processes by which a man might earn a living
were based upon science. As he had proven in Social
Statics, society ran on scientific principles, and
even in the realm of the arts, how could one under-
stand a sculptor's magic without a knowledge of basic
28
physiology? Science was Spencer's religion.
Political economy, Spencer's "Science of Soci-
ety," retained its devoted adherents as an antidote to
political unrest. Spencer, of course, recommended it,
81


and Lord John Russell reminded Parliament of its use-
fulness. There even existed an entire system, the
Birkbeck schools, which based its curriculum on
teaching the "conditions of well-being," although,
since they did not teach Christianity as well, they
29
were ineligible for any type of government grant. A
sizeable number of educationists urged the study of
literature and the other liberal arts on the working
classes, simply so they might experience the pleasure
30
of learning. Perhaps only Matthew Arnold wondered
how a laborer's child who left school by the age of
ten was supposed to absorb all the worthy subjects his
betters recommended. Arnold posed the question the
1860s would try to answer. Science in all its permu-
tations was a wonderful object of study, but could
31
little Oliver read and write?
An even more important question to the deeply
religious Victorian upper classes was, did Oliver
understand his Bible? On this matter public opinion
changed not one whit over the course of ten or twenty
years. To provide a purely secular education as the
Birkbeck schools did, or as some members of the
National Public School Association proposed, was to
82


"give the husk without the kernel."
There remained a
very strong element of class prejudice on this matter
as well. Religion in school was so important for the
working-class child, especially the child of the
residuum with whom educationists began to be con-
cerned, because he was thought so little likely to be
32
offered it at home.
Cobbett's heirs, or those of his comrades still
left alive, had by 1850 changed their method of
attack. Having lost the battle for the preservation
of illiteracy, they took their stand against the
expansion of the curriculum. "Was there ever anything
more absurd?," asked the Member for West Surrey, than
the idea of teaching mathematics to "mere" laborers,
"It really seems as if God had withdrawn common sense
from this House." The Reverend Mr. Fitzygram, in his
1859 Hints for the Improvement of village Schools,
displayed sense more to the taste of the Honourable
Member:
It seems to me to be of the utmost im-
portance to keep each class of society
in its proper place; and with this in
view, to give to each child such a
measure of instruction as its station
in life is likely to require, and no
more. For is it not right that the
farmer should be better educated than
the labourer, and the gentleman better
83


than the farmer?
And yet more of this common sense, this time from
Charles Adderley, the Tory Vice-President of the
Committee of Council, who told the Commons, "There
must be labourers, and there must be scholars, and no
Act of Parliament could make these convertible
4. ,,33
terms."
One by-product of the increasing awareness of
Britain's imperial role in the 1850s was a tendency to
refer to the education of the working classes in
imperial terms, as "missionary work" relieving the
"barbarism" of working-class neighborhoods and bring-
ing "civilization" to "people more like wild beasts
than men." James Rigg, Methodist divine and editor of
the Wesleyan London Quarterly Review, even argued
against the voluntary movement by asserting that free
trade theories did not apply to communities "in an
early stage of development." If the voluntaryists did
not object to state interference in Ireland or India,
they had no right to object to state interference with
3 ^
the British working class.
Another new development in the fifties was the
slow realization that the elementary schools as they


then existed reached only the upper layers of the
working classes. Defining the working class was a
problem then and has remained one for historians ever
since. In the 1830s those to whom the upper classes
referred as workers undoubtedly included the artisan
class. Indeed, the artisans were the element everyone
talked about. They were the men such as Place and
Lovett, the radicals and revolutionaries who made all
the trouble. In those days everyone assumed, as
Baines continued to do, that the residuum would be
with them always, and always too unclean to get any
education unless they could be lured into one of the
Earl of Shaftesbury's Ragged Schools. By the 1850s,
however, the artisans had come more and more to
resemble the respectable middle class and the middle
class began to grumble about providing an education
for people almost as well-off as themselves.
Archibald Campbell Tait, who would be Archbishop
of Canterbury when an education bill finally passed,
defined four classes, "...the rich the comfortable -
the poor and the perishing." The education of the
perishing was being ignored although they provided
35
most of the members of the criminal class. The
85


religious bodies intentionally designed their schools
that way. Arnold reiterated year after year in his
reports that the schools he inspected excluded the
truly poor. Wesleyan schools charged 2d to 8d per
week in fees and catered mainly to the children of
farmers and tradesmen, and even the British and
Foreign schools, though usually cheaper than the
Wesleyan, did not try to attract the poorest classes.
Arnold defended their expanded curricula on the basis
that they were appropriate for the students actually
being taught, but he wrote, "...of the education of
the masses, I, in the course of my official duty, see,
36
strictly speaking, little or nothing." Baines, in
ignoring the residuum, was only being true to his
sect. The 1846 report of their Board of General
Education said, "...Congregationalists never arrogated
to themselves the power nor the purpose of educating
all the neglected children in our cities, towns, and
-ii 37
villages.
It was these perishing, and now more dangerous,
children of Tait's that the ruling classes wanted the
state to target next, while the artisan's child began
to be considered "... a higher class than had any
86


On the
right to be educated at public expense.
other hand, the tiny minority of mavericks, such as
the Dean of Hereford, Richard Dawes, who believed that
working-class and middle-class children should go to
school together accused the Societies of deliberately
not providing a good enough education to attract the
39
employer's child. The future Primate spoke for a
larger segment of the flock when he said, "It is not
to be expected that farmers and tradesmen should send
their children to be the playfellows of the children
of day-labourers in the parish schools." But Tait and
Lord John and other liberals of their stripe would not
chain the plowboy to his plow. Tait envisioned what
eventually occured, a series of schools, with a chan-
nel left open for advancement by merit from one to the
next, so that it was at least possible for a boy of
genius to get to the university,^ but never, ever, an
open gateway for the ordinary laborers' child.
By the end of the fifties Lord John was a Liberal
as well as liberal. It was in June of 1859 that the
remaining Peelites, the Whigs, and the Radicals met in
Willis's Rooms and formed their often uneasy coalition
called the Liberal Party. It became their duty to
87


deal with the problem of education when, as they knew
it inevitably must, the Newcastle Commission reported
its findings. They dealt with it in what most educa-
tionists considered to be a most illiberal manner.
They then managed to continue the bipartisan policy of
avoidance for nearly another decade.
88


Notes
1. "The Rival Educational Projects," Eclectic
Review 93 (April 1851): 495.
2. [Herbert Spencer], "The art of education,"
North British Review 21 (May 1854): 139-140.
3. "Rival Educational Projects," 477, 485-487;
"National Education: Local Scheme," Eclectic Review 97
(February 1853): 131; Adams, 164.
4. Hansard vol 129 (1853), cols. 972-973; vol .
141 (1856), col. 1144.
5. Hansard vol. 143 (1856), cols. 1209-1218;
"National Education: State of the Question," Eclectic
Review 100 (October 1854): 488-490.
6. Hansard 148 (1858), cols. 1184-1185,
1247-1248.
7. Francis Close, National Education: The
Secular System, The Manchester Bill, and the
Government Scheme Contrasted (London: T. Hatchard,
1852), 8-9; "Rival Educational Projects," 481-482;
John Howard Hinton, The case of the Manchester
educationists: a review of the evidence taken before a
committee of the House of Commons in relation to the
state of education in Manchester and Salford (London:
J. Haddon & Son, 1852; reprint, Manchester: E. J.
Morten (Publishers), 1972), 2:84-85.
8. Hansard vol. 109 (1850), cols. 297-304; vol.
112 (1850), cols. 817-819; Close, 33; [Robert John
Gainsford], "Lord J. Russell's Education Bill," Dublin
Review 38 (March 1855): 222-229.
9. Hansard vol. 109 (1850), col. 48; vol. 112
(1850), col. 823; [Isaac Taylor], "Education for the
metropolis of manufactures," North British Review 24
(November 1855): 37; William J. Unwin, A Letter to
the Right Hon. Lord John Russell, M.P. on the
resolutions for establishing a system of national
education submitted to Parliament, March 6, 1856
89


(London: Ward & Co., no date given), 27.
10. "Rival Educational Projects," 493; Hinton,
2:13; Hansard vol. 151 (1858), cols. 149-150.
11. Hinton, 1:75-76; Unwin, 5; Samuel Smiles,
Self Help, with Illustrations of Character and Conduct
(London: John Murray, 1859; reprint, London: Sphere
Books Ltd., 1968), 11.
12. Edward Baines, Jr., Strictures on the New
Government Measure of Education (London: John Snow,
1853), 9, 23.
13. 493. "National Education: State of the Question,"
14. (London: Sir John Pakington, National Education Hatchard, 1856), 10-12.
15 . Joseph Kay, The Social condition and
Education of the People in England and Europe (London
Longman, Shannon: Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1850; reprint, Irish University Press, 1971), 2:500.
16. Hansard vol. 125 (1853), cols. 528, 530.
17. [Henry Moseley], "Public Education,"
Edinburgh Review 97 (April 1853): 475.
18. Hinton, 2:93-94; Hansard vol. 141 (1856),
cols. 952-953.
19. Matthew Arnold, Reports on Elementary Schools
1852-1882, ed. Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Sandford (London &
New York : Macmillan and Co., 1889), 26-27.
20. Close, 20-21; Hinton, 1:38.
21 . "Rival Educational Projects," 489.
22. Hinton, 1:66-67; Smiles, 211-212.
23. [George Moncreiff], "Progress of popular
education in Great Britain," North British Review 16
(February 1852): 537-538.
90


24. Kay, 2:538.
25. Hansard vol. 125 (1853), col. 557; vol. 138
(1855), cols. 1804-1805.
26. TChoraas] Wemyss Reid, Memoirs and
Correspondence of Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair
(London: Cassell and Company Limited, 1899; reprint,
Jeraimavi1le, Scotland: P. M. Pollack Science Reprints,
1976), 141-149.
27. "National Education: Local Scheme,"145-147;
Hinton, 2:19.
28. [Herbert Spencer], "What knowledge is of most
worth?," Westminster Review 72 o.s. 16 n.s. (July
1859): 6-14, 30, 39.
29. Ibid., 17; Hansard vol. 140 (1856), col.
2014; William Ellis, Education as a Means of
Preventing Destitution: with exemplifications from the
teaching of the conditions of well-being and the
principles and applications of economical science at
the Birkbeck Schools (London: Smith Elder and Co.,
1851), 37.
30. Richard Dawes, Remarks occasioned by the
present crusade against the educational plans of the
Committee of Council on Education (London: Groombridge
and Sons, 1850), 41; James Augustus St. John, The
Education of the People (London: Chapman and Hall,
1858; reprint, London: Woburn Books Limited, 1970),
49-50.
31. Matthew Arnold, Reports, 31 .
32. Jelinger Cookson Symons, School economy: a
practical book on the best means of establishing and
teaching schools, and of making them thoroughly useful
to the working classes by means of moral and
industrial training (London: John W. Parker and Son,
1852; reprint, London: Woburn Press, 1971), 2, 4;
[James Harrison Rigg], "Popular education," London
Quarterly Review 12 (July 1859): 498; Hansard vol.
116 (1851), col. 1296.
33. Hansard vol. 141 (1856), col. 936; Rev. J.
91


Fitzygrara, Hints for the Improvement of village
Schools (1859), in Hollis, 340; Hansard vol. 151
(1858), col. 139.
34. Rigg, "Popular education," 499; Matthew
Arnold, Reports, 60; Ellis, 10; Hansard 125 (1853),
col. 563; Rigg, "Popular education," 489.
35. [Archibald Campbell Tait], "Government
education measures for poor and rich," Edinburgh
Review 99 (January 1854): 163-164.
36. Matthew Arnold, Reports, 4-5, 10, 53-54,
22-23.
37. Report of the Board of General Education
(1846), in Goldstrom, The Social Content of Education,
113.
38. Hansard vol. 116 (1851), col. 1273.
39. Dawes, 8, 12, 47.
40. Tait, 169-170, 160-161, 172-173; Hansard
vol. 139 (1855), col. 386; vol. 140 (1856), cols.
1959-1960.
92


CHAPTER 5
REVISION AND REFORM
In the 1860s the ruling class once again found
the mob at its door. It was quite a polite mob, to be
sure, and for the most part it knocked on the door
rather than beating it down, but it was terribly per-
sistent and refused to go away when the door failed to
open. In the first half of the decade, when it seemed
entirely possible that the United States would never
be united again, and that its great experiment in pop-
ular democracy would drown in blood, Europe was
swamped by what Matthew Arnold called a "tide of
1
reactionary sentiment," but, when the noise of the
shooting from across the water stopped, there still
was heard that persistent knocking. Some type of
government action became imperative in the field of
working-class education as well. The Newcastle Com-
mission brought forth the result of its labor in 1861
and forced the administration to react. In both areas
of reform the man of the decade, the man whose goal
appeared to be to make himself the most hated man in
England, was Robert Lowe.
93


The instructions to the Newcastle Commission
asked it to explore the best way of giving the poor a
"sound and cheap" education. At the time the state
assisted 6,897 schools, while a far greater number,
16,047 denominational, Birkbeck, Ragged, or factory
schools did without grants, many because they either
could not afford or did not choose to hire a certifi-
cated teacher. The Commission found that only 120,305
children grew up without attending any school at all,
but approximately 786,202 went fewer than one hundred
days a year and only 19.3% stayed in school until the
age of twelve, so most of the working classes were not
even getting the education "suited to their stations."
Expense, according to the report, was the primary
problem with the existing system. It already cost too
much and the appropriation kept growing. The Com-
missioners set three goals for reform: to keep chil-
dren in school long enough to learn reading, writing,
and arithmetic well, to make sure all schools taught
those subjects well, and to accomplish this without
eliminating other subjects. Much to the chagrin of
the more radical educational activists, it did not
recommend any sweeping changes to the system of volun-

94


Full Text

PAGE 1

A SUITABLE EDUCATION THE JOURNEY OF A REFORM by Donna Jean Klagstad B. A., Metropolitan State College, 1988 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts History 1993

PAGE 2

This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Donna Jean Klagstad has been approved for the Department of History jFI'ederick S. Allen "1 c -r .. I i I 7 'f 3 Dat1e

PAGE 3

Klagstad, Donna Jean
PAGE 4

dangerous by a significant segment of the upper old88e8. By 1870 they doknowledsed thdt universdl education with a thorough grounding in the basic tools of reading, writing, and arithmetic was necessary, and that it required governmental backing and supervision. The thesis also discusses the effects of class and religious prejudices in the development of the English system, and the influence of events outside the sphere of education, such as the expansion of the political franchise or the dawn of economic competition for Britain. Religious bickering, more than any other single cause, retarded the development of consensus on the reform of education, and class prejudice prevented the imposition of a single state system to accommodate all children, even in the imperfect sense in which that is realized in the United States. Working-class students remained segregated in state schools designed to give them an inferior education, a problem which has persisted into modern times. Finally pressure from advocacy groups, and the sense of crisis generated by outside events pushed a iv

PAGE 5

still somewhat unwilling government into a half-hearted educational reform. Like most such compro-mises1 the bill1 which would have thrilled a previous generation of educationists1 failed to live up to the expectations of the reformers of its own day. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recom end its publication. Signed n v v

PAGE 6

CONTENTS CHAPTER 1. BEFORE THE YEAR OF REFORM ........... 1 Notes . 15 2. THE ERA OF REFORM AND THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL 18 Notes 38 3. CHARTISM, FREE TRADE, AND PUPIL TEACHERS 43 Notes 63 4. AVOIDANCE AT THE TOP Notes 5. REVISION AND REFORM Notes 66 89 93 .116 6. AVOIDANCE ENDED? A CONCLUSION ........ 120 Notes . .134 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY .136 vi

PAGE 7

CHAPTER 1 BEFORE THE YEAR OF REFORM "The 'Gentleman' has had his day."1 Melvyn Bragg wrote confidently. His 1977 book Speak for England was a hymn to education and to its efficacy in break-ing down class barriers. He appeared to have good reason for his faith. His great-grandfather was il-literate. His grandmother, a farm laborer born in the post-1880 era of compulsory schooling, learned to read and write before going to the fields at age fourteen. His father moved into the middle class, and Bragg himself took a degree from Oxford and worked for the BBC. The story of education was, Bragg enthused, "a 2 story of success.". But the people who built the system which taught Grandmother Bragg to read never intended that her grandson should matriculate with theirs. They in-tended to keep him in the forge or behind the plow. From the time Parliament spent its first pound onpub-lie schools to the time it decided all English chil-dren should be taught to read, the .ruling classes debated many things. They wondered if the working 1

PAGE 8

class should be educated at all. If they should, who should teach them? What should they be taught? Should they be forced to learn? Should they be given their education? The country's leaders wanted to give the laboring classes an education 'fit for their station in life.' That a fitting education for the working class was fundamentally different from that which the upper classes obtained for themselves, was the only unchanging, almost unchallenged, assumption underlying more than forty years of public debate. Preservation of class distinctions played a minor role in the educational discussions, however, when compared with religion. Contemporaries and historians alike rightly blamed England's long delay in establishing its most unsystematic system of public education on what came to be called the religious difficulty. Even there, class played a part. When the great religious revival gained hold of the Victorians, Nonconformity belonged largely to the middle class, while most of the gentry clung to the Church, so the Dissenters' struggle to be free from the tyranny of the Church was tinged with rebellion against the tyranny of the aristocracy. The two upper classes 2

PAGE 9

then engaged in a dispute over the right to proselytise the working classes, whose souls had long been neglected. Where monarchial or dictatorial governments may move at the whim of their rulers, representative governments, even those which, like that of Victorian England, represent only a privileged minority, seldom move without consensus. Violence, or the threat of violence, may induce an artificial consensus in which groups who fundamentally disagree with each other act together for mutual defense. In such situations statesmen may even act against their own convictions. The Duke of Wellington shepherded Catholic Emancipation through Parliament, though he would have been one of the first wolves to take a bite out of it had the Catholic Association not been prowling across the water. The Reform Bill of 1832 passed due to essen-tially the same kind of threat. In the cause of edu-cation, however, no association ever appeared ready to take up arms. The struggle for working-class education was a more typical social reform. A slowly increasing number of people wrote on the subject and lobbied the 3

PAGE 10

influential. Gradually a knot of activists formed who pushed for immediate and drastic change, and, in reaction against them, conservatives dug in to defend the status quo. The debate became more and more public and interested more and more people. Pressure for some kind of government action grew, but at a plodding pace, jolted into faster movement at times of perceived crisis. Without any outside threat, govern-ment simply awaited the development of a natural consensus. In the case of working-class education, the process was retarded even further, not only by the religious difficulty, but by the fact of Britain's unchallenged position. It was very diffcult to generate a sense of crisis when English work and English workmen were acknowledged everywhere as the foremost in the world. Economic complacency made it easier to avoid religious controversy by doing nothing. From the time the first Sunday Schools were founded to the time of the Forster Act, the state wasted nearly a century. The eighteenth century saw an immense growth of readily available literature. At the same time, the 4

PAGE 11

expanding evangelical movement, whether that of Church or chapel, wanted to teach the poor to read the Bible. To that end, Sunday Schools grew up in almost every parish. So that the newly literate from the Sunday Schools might have something appropriate to read, Mrs. Sarah Trimmer, beginning in the 1780s, produced a new genre of instructive moral fables for the poor, and a decade later Hannah More, a Clapham Saint and founder of the Mendip schools, began to issue the Cheap Repository hoping they might prove as attractive as cheap editions of Thomas Paine.3 In 1808 two Quakers, Joseph Fox and William Allen, founded the Royal Lancastrian Institution to promote mass education on the principles laid down by Joseph Lancaster, principles later made infamous by Charles Dickens in Hard Times. In 1808, however, the Gradgrind system of instruction seemed an ideal solution to the problem of providing cheap instruction to the poor, and subscriptions to the Institution came from every quarter, including from the royal family. Because the Lancastrian movement, renamed the British and Foreign School Society in 1814, aimed at embracing all children in its scheme, it taught no specific 5

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religious creeds. Students learned to read their Bibles and there their religious instruction ended. However nondenominational their schools, Fox, Allen, and Lancaster were undeniably Nonconformists. In his preface to the 1809 report of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing th Comforts of the Poor, Sir Thomas Bernard, while congratulating the Dissenters on their activity in the field of educa-tion, advised his fellow Churchmen to imagine what the fate of the establishment.might be if an entire generation of children grew up outside her communion.4 Two years later the Church instituted the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church. National schools not only re-quired their students to learn the Anglican catechism and service, but to attend Church and the Church Sunday School every week. In vain did more practical men such as James Mill urge Anglicans to save their cate-chism for Sunday and allow sectarian differences to subside, as they naturally would, if children of all 5 creeds went to school together. Instead, the Church of England claimed exclusive educational rights as the state-appointed guardian of truth, while the Noncon-6

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formists feared, not without much justification, such an enormous expansion of Church influence. The two Societies began squabbling immediately, but between them they laid a foundation of religiously based education which no one in their century and beyond was able to undermine. Toward the end of the eighteenth century educa-tional reform, like so many others, was almost washed from the public mind by the horrific tide of revolu-tionary blood from France. Libraries, reading clubs, and debating societies spread the radical message throughout the working classes and terrified the classes above them. Suddenly, teaching the poor to read their Bibles no longer seemed an innocuous form of philanthropy. A correspondent of Gentleman's Magazine in September 1797 spoke for many of his contemporaries: The laborious occupations of life must be performed by those who have been born in the lowest stations; but no one will be willing to undertake the most servile employment, or the meanest drudgery, if his mind is opened, and his abilities increased, by any tolerable share of scholasti6 improvement: yet these employments and this drudgery must be necessarily performed. It will, I think, be found upon examination, that a small tincture of what is usually called learning generally infuses a spirit of ambi-7

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tion, and prompts a man to raise himself from a life of drudgery to a state of more ease and emolument. If he is disappointed in his views, and his ambition exceeds his income, he has recourse to fraud and other criminal pursuits to gratify his desires .... The man, whose mind is not illuminated by one ray of science, can discharge his duty in the most sordid employment without the smallest views of raising himself to a higher station ... His ignorance is a balm that soothes his mind into stupidity and repose, and excludes every emotion of discontent, pride, and ambition.... A man of no literature will seldom attempt to form insurrections ... while those who are qualified by a tincture of superficial learning, and have imbibed the perniciqus doctrines of sed.itious writers, will be the first to excite rebellions, and convert a flourishing kingdom a state of anarchy and confusion. Fortunately for the cause of education, the spirit of the day told against this gentleman's point of view. The lessons of Locke and Rousseau, as interpreted by William Godwin, William Thompson, and Robert Owen, lived not only in such radical hearts, but in those of sound utilitarians. James Mill and Robert Dale Owen agreed that early childhood education would solve most of the country's political and social problems, for ... if a child be taught in a rational manner, it will itself become rational, and thus, even on the most selfish principle avoid wickedness."? Sir 8

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Thomas Bernard told his benevolent readers they had more to fear from the ignorant than from "instructed and enlightened christians [sicl" who would easily see that the existing arrangements of society were best 8 for all concerned. Both the Societies and the other, smaller educational associations constructed their mission to the poor on this foundation. Radicals, Christians, and utilitarians parted company on the content rather than the fact of educa-tion for the working class. Richard Carlile and Robert Dale Owen would have the children follow Paine and come to God, if they came at all, through sci-9 ence, but following Paine in anything was just what the upper classes intended schools to prevent. Hannah More wrote, "I allow of no writing for the poor. My object is not to make fanatics, but to train up the lower classes in habits of industry and piety."10 The Societies were not so strict. They taught all four Rs reading, writing, arithmetic and religion -using the Bible as the primary, if not the sole, textbook. Only a few of their patrons were as generous as Henry Brougham, for many years the parliamentary patron of education, who encouraged the working class to study 9

PAGE 16

science, politics, and economics on the grounds that the interests of peace and stability as well as religion would best be promoted by an intelligent citizenry.11 Men such as Brougham, Samuel Whitbread, and Thomas Wyse brought the educational crusade into the House of Commons, but with little success. Whitbread sponsored a bill in 1807 which swiftly died. Nine years later Brougham set in motion the first in what proved to be a long line of select committees to inquire into the necessity for education, and it brought back a report recommending that Parliament t k 12 a e act1on, but only the converted heard its message. The idea of involving the state in education evoked mixed emotions among the intellectual leaders of the time. Adam Smith had pointed out that neither Greece nor Rome possessed any large system of public schooling, and while he deprecated the job being done by the British universities and believed all institu-tions of learning should be self-supporting, he also said it was the duty of the government to take the education of the poor in hand. He thought the state 10

PAGE 17

had a responsibility to act, both because the whole state stood to benefit from an increase in law and order, and because the poor, unlike the classes above them, had in modern times grown too stupid from a lack of challenging work to see to the matter for them-13 selves. He would be cited as an authority by both the voluntaryists and the supporters of state schools over the coming decades. Thomas Malthus and some of the working-class radicals agreed that the state should leave well enough alone, though for different reasons. Malthus opposed charity on principle because, as he wrote in his Essay on Population, one of the "laws of nature" said no man. had any claim on society for anything he could not obtain through his own labor. The working-class radicals, on the other hand, feared exactly the sort of efforts at mind control which made their social superiors converts to the gospel of education. Mrs. Trimmer entertained no doubts. The state could not afford to leave the minds of poor children in the hands of "their ignorant and corrupted parents." To James Mill the danger inherent in allowing a govern-ment to wield such a powerful tool as public schools 11

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was more than compensated for by the benefits of lit-eracy, and access to a free press ensured that bad 14 government could not endure. The combination of the utilitarian and philanthropic viewpoints laid out a rationale for intervention by the state, but the in-terests of the Gentleman's Nagazine correspondent still carried more weight in Parliament. Brougham brought in another 'bill in 1820 which met the same fate as Whitbread's earlier effort. It was fifty years premature. Since utilitarian theory envisioned children as completely plastic creatures capable of being molded into any conceivable shape by their environment, the idea of a fluid class structure was inseparable from their philosophy. James Mill admitted as much, and in this he was every bit thevisionary. But the greatest of visionaries still needed someone to grow his food and weave his cloth. The entire environment did not, he said, consist of the school. Work needed to be performed, and by far the largest proportion of human-ity was required to perform it. Therefore, this large mass of humanity could never spend the time on learn-ing necessary to attain the highest of intellectual 12

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15 levels. Most of the ruling classes professed to believe the laborers incapable of great intellectual accomplishments, but they had no desire to test this faith. Patrick Colquhoun's Treatise on Indigence. recommended education for the poor, but within strict bounds: Nothing is aimed at beyond what is necessary to constitute a channel to religious and moral instruction. To exceed that point would be utopian, impolitic and dangerous, since it would confound the ranks of society, upon which the general happiness of the lower ordersi no less than that of those elevated stations, depends .... Even the name of the 1816 committee of inquiry betrayed the bids of its creators, socially the most advanced politicians of their day. It was titled the Parliamentary Committee on the Education of the Lower Orders. By the time of the great Reform Bill of 1832, the parameters of the long educational debate were quite clearly delineated. To save the souls of the poor, to keep society safe from their depredations, and to mold them into useful beings required training which either the state or upper-class charity must provide, but training carefully designed to keep the Lower Orders 13

PAGE 20

lower. Sarah Trimmer's morality tales in which children hoped for no better fate than to take their divinely ordained places as servants and laborers were as popular in 1830 as they were when first written. J. M. Goldstrom's 1972 analysis of published readers used in schools for the working classes found that maintenance of the class structure came in second only to Christianity as a concern of the authors.17 Over the next forty years, as the state slowly lurched toward implementing a national system of elementary schools, the world underwent an almost miraculous transformation. British industrialism spread around the world, competitors up, and the old country acquired a new Empire. This miracle affected some of the attitudes of the upper classes. Old fears faded, and new ones took their place, but after all, when it finally came, the Forster Aat was a reflection of the old world rather than of the new. 14

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Notes 1. Melvyn Bragg, Speak for England: An Oral History of England 1900-1975 based on interviews with inhabitants of Cumberland , 479. 2 Ibid., 61, 306. 3. R[obert) K. Webb, The British Working Class Reader 1790-1848: Literacy and Social Tension , 25. 4. Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor, London, Of the Education of the poor; being the first part of a digest of the reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor (London: W. Bulmer and Co., 1809; reprint, London: Woburn Press, 1970, The Social History of Education, gen. ed. Victor E. Neuburg), 40. 5. James Mill, "Schools fdr all, in preference to schools for Churchmen only," Philanthropist (1812>, in James Mill on Education, W. H. Burston, ed., Cambridge texts and studies in the history of education, gen. eds. A. C. F. Beales, A. V. Judges, J. P. C. Roach , 22-23. 7. Robert Dale Owen, An Outline of the System of Education at New Lanark ( 1824), in Brian Simon ed., The Radical Tradition in Education in Britain: compilation of writings by William Thomas Paine, Robert Owen .. Richard Carlile, Robert Dale Owen, William Thompson, William Lovett, William Morris (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1972>, 172; James Mill, "Education," Essays on Government Jurisprudence 15

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etc. (1828>, in James Mill, 52, 89-93. 8. Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, 2-16, 47. 9. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794), 41-43; Richard Carlile, Address to Men of Science <1821>, 95-96, 124-126; Robert Dale Owen An Outline of the System of Education at New Lanark (1824>, 168-170, in Simon. 10. Letter to Dr. Beadon & William Wilberforce (1801>, from William Roberts, Memoirs of Hannah More 2d ed. (1834>, in Anne Digby and Peter Searby, Children, School and Society in Nineteenth-Century England , 1971>, 5, 32. 12. U. K., Report of the Parliamentary Committees on the Education of the Lower Orders in the Metropolis and Beyond (1816), in J[ohnl Stuart Maclure, comp., Educational Documents: England and Wales .. 1816-1968, 2d ed. , in Patricia Hollis, ed. & comp., Class and Conflict in Nineteenth Century England 1815-1850, Birth of Modern Britain, gen. eds. A. E. Dyson, R. T. Shannon , in David Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture; England, 1750-1914, Cambridge studies in oral and literate culture, gen. Peter Burke and Ruth Finnegan, no. 19 , in James Mill, 32. 16

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15. James Mill, "Education," 69-71, 104-107. 16. Patrick Colquhoun, Treatise on Indigence (1806), in Hollis, 333. 17. J. M. Goldstrom, The Social Content of Education 1808-1870: A Study of the Working Class School Reader in England and Ireland (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1972), 22-25, 5. 17

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CHAPTER 2 THE ERA OF REFORM AND THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL The 1830s were turbulent times. They began with agricultural riots sweeping the south, trade unionism growing in the factories, and, of course, the great agitation for Parliamentary reform, and ended with the birth of Chartism and the Anti-Corn Law League. It was also the decade in which the British government first decided to involve itself officially with schools, but not, at first, in England. Scotland established parochial schools in the seventeenth century. In 1831 Ireland was given a national and, in theory at least, nondenominational system. When the Reform Bill passed in 1832 only English dnd Welsh education remained the pale of government influence or assistance. In 1833 France, the last of England's great rivals without a public education system, adopted a law to build state schools modelled on those in Prussia. English educationists held great hopes for the new reformed Parliament. Lord Ashley, later the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, sponsored a Factory Act in 1833 which 18

PAGE 25

limited working hours for children and required them to spend two hours a day in school, but it made no provisions for enforcement or for schools. At the very end of the session, at 2:00 A. M. on 16 August, Lord Althorp, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced, as last of several items in the Miscellaneous Estimates, a ,000 appropriation to be given to the religious Societies for the purpose of building schools. The grant passed in a very thin House the next day after a minimum of debate.1 Outside, the news raised hopes even further. The Edinburgh Review thought the grant was only a temporary stopgap, and the Eclectic Review, the organ of the Congregationalists, assumed the of machinery in Lord Ashley's bill meant the government was planning a comprehensive educational measure to accompany it.2 Great hopes often lead to great disappointments. Over the next five years John Arthur Roebuck, Lord Brougham, and Thomas Wyse brought in bills and resolutions and even a motion for an address to the Queen, but the only concession they won was the appointment of another select committee to survey the present educational needs in England and Wales.3 As Wyse wrote 19

PAGE 26

in the Dublin Review, the government preferred not to face the controversy, and so it ... now and then opens its eyes, but it is merely to shut them again."4 The same men were active in the educational cause outside of Parliament. Wyse formed the Central Soci ety of Education, the movement's first large propaganda association. Brougham, together with Charles Knight, established the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge to print cheap books for the working classes and, later, the Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge. He participated in the formation of the Home and Colonial Infant School Society which ran schools for very young children on models established by Owen and by Samuel Wilderspin.5 In 1839 Lord Melbourne's government moved, but not very far. By an Order in Council, rather than a bill, it created a Committee of the Privy Council on Education to control the distribution of the money granted to the Societies each year, a function which had previously been handled by the treasury. The Committee intended to appoint inspectors to see that the schools met government standards, and to fund a nondenominational Normal School in which teachers 20

PAGE 27

could be trained.6 The Church cried out. Public meetings degenerated into brawls. Two months after the Order was issued, Lord John Russell announced that the administration yielded to public pressure and withdrew the Normal School plan, but that was not enough. The Church wanted no government interference with her schools at all, and the Tories, having no bill to oppose, movedagainst going into a Committee of Supply. After three nights of heated debate, the Commons went into committee on a government majority of only five, and the following week approved the actual education grant by only two. In the Lords the Archbishop of Canterbury was able to command a much larger majority for an address of protest to the Crown. Though the government refused to cancel the Order altogether, the Archbishop pushed it into a compromise. The Committee of Council continued to exist, and it appointed inspectors, but the archbishops obtained a veto over the Committee's choices. Lord Brougham, who had, meanwhile, introduced another of his bills, gave up in disgust, saying in future he would support whatever measure the government finally 21

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brought in, but he wearied of standing on his own, "Session after Session."7 The controversy over state schools began at a time when religious feelings ran especially high. Neither the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts nor Catholic Emancipation were more than five years past when the Reform Bill increased middle-class and, therefore, Dissenting influence 1n Parliament. The Church felt defenses crumbling all about her. Having been forced to accept that as a tiny minority there, she could not hope to win the fight for control over the Irish schools, she was not prepared to make further concessions. The British and Foreign Society, by now a predominently Dissenting organization, was too poor to pose any real threat, but the Church was terrified of what the state might eventually do. Setting a pattern for the future, virtually the entire debate on the creation of the Committee of Council revolved around the religious difficulty. After the death of William Cobbett, the quirky antiindustrialist radical, in 1835 no one else stood up in Parliament and declared the superiority of the illiterate, but, though all agreed the job of education 22

PAGE 29

must be done, no one could agree how to do it. The Church position, as proclaimed by her defender Sir Robert Inglis, the senior Member for the University of Oxford, was that national money should go only to the national church. He shrugged off the Oxford Movement, which horrified Dissenters and made many evangelical Anglicans uncomfortable, as irrelevent, and insisted that the point of having an established church was that every man must contribute" ... without any obligation on its part to contribute in return," just as a man must pay taxes even if they are used to build roads on which he will never trave1.8 The Anglican press attacked the administration, Lord Brougham, and his bill. Rev. John Blunt in the Quarterly Review could not understand why the clergy should be removed from their "natural" role as educators just because they wanted to bring all children to the Church. He warned that state schools, "rickety schools forwriting, accounts, and very small philo sophy," would be an innovation "which the dissenter, and the dissenter only would rejoice in" because they would inevitably lead to disestablishment and the fall of the monarchy. Dublin University Magazine believed 23

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Brougham to be ignorant of true religion, and that he had taken up with "dissenters and infidels."9 The government, according to the Church's supporters, designed the proposed Normal school to foster latitudinarianism. The Nonconformists, on the other hand, still paying rates to maintain the fabric of an episcopacy in which they did not believe, justifiably resented the idea of paying more taxes to support National schools where their children were not welcome. Nerves became more taut as John Keble's Anglo-Catholicism spread out from Oxford and widened the theological gulf between Churchman and Dissenter. The Eclectic Review referred to the National schools' "semi-papistical notions" and proclaimed the great Dissenting principle that state schools must admit students of all creeds but the formularies of none.10 Dissenters approved of the 1839 Order in Council. The proposed Normal school complied with the great principle. Even the Irish Catholic leader Daniel O'Connell hoped his people would benefit.11 When the Church succeeded in disemboweling the Order, Brougham pleaded for compromise. He hoped his Dissenting 24

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allies could see, as he did, there was no hope of carrying any measure which failed to defer to the Church. "Let the people be taught, say I," he wrote in an 1839 pamphlet, "I care little, in comparison, who is to teach them." He expressed his faith that an educated people could not be led astray by false doctrines, and that even if they -were taught by Jesuits, it would be better than no schooling at a11.12 More than one hundred years later the official historian of the National Society still referred to the provision for inspection in the 1839 Order as "State surveillance" and government "invasion" of education, and to the Committee of Council as a "rival authority." He described the year's events as the ... high-water mark of the Church's power in the struggle to decide who was to determine educational policy."13 He was right about the high water, but the tide was to be a very long time going out. The tide of anti-literacy sentiment had already receded by 1830, leaving only a few brackish pools behind. Cobbett and Lord Ellenborough both got to their legs in the 1833 debates to say that reading and writing only encouraged crime, but they were hugely 25

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outnumbered by people such as Professor John Wilson of Edinburgh who believed education to be a neutral tool, one which could be as easily turned to good as to evil 14 uses. Some men predicted great things to come in an enlightened age. Rational behavior was, of course, the ultimate goal, and its by-products were expected to range from population control, improved personal relationships, a reduction in accidents and disease, and end of cruelty to animals, all the way up to universal brotherhood and an end to war. One writer stressed to his readers the increase in quality they could expect to find in domestic servants. Richard Cobden, the great propagandist of free trade, expanded this idea into the industrial workplace. He was the first to write of the threat of economic competition from America and of an educated workforce as the foundation of prosperity and world power.15 The working-class radicals dwelt upon education as a cure for drunkenness and vice, the end of which was a necessary first step on the road to social and political acceptability.16 The upper classes were no less anxious to end the perceived immorality of the poor, 26

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though the concern of some centred round reducing the 17 poor rates. Religion still inspired many educationists to work among the poor. Lord Shaftesbury may have been the greatest, but was not the only Christian philanthropist of his age, yet at this time fear eclipaed charity as the overriding motivation behind the attitudes of most of his peers. Crime, especially political crime and mob violence, were the reasons most often mentioned for advocating the education of the working classes. Increasing political turbulence seemed even more dangerous than the normal, eternal, varieties of mayhem. Fear of the mob's nw political power enhanced the fear of actual physical violence. Although the franchise qualifications laid down in the 1832 Reform Bill later came to be seen as dividing the middle from the working class, to those already inside the social fortress before 1832 it seemed as though the mob had broken down the door. James Simpson, a lawyer and one of the founders of the Edinburgh Infant School, wrote of the ... Crisis -a great increase of popular power, an immense extension of popular influence, without 27

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commensurate directing knowledge, and controlling virtue .... The Edinburgh Review spoke of fear of the new franchise and of the need for education without which it" ... would be a worthless, perhaps a dangerous gift." Roebuck talked of democracy as "inevitable" and Wyse of "a reform revolution."18 All advocates of education before, they believed Reform had made it even more urgent. The clamor over education as a public security issue continued throughout-the decade. By 1839, when the government finally acted, fear of reform had faded and those in power once again focused on the mob still outside. Thomas Spring-Rice, Lord Melbourne's Chan cellor of the Exchequer until the end of the session in which the Committee of Council was .formed, prescribed education to cure the "dissolute workman" who listened to Richard Oastler and Feargus O'Connor and became involved in unions and strikes. Sir James Kay Shuttleworth, the first secretary of the Committee of Council and the man most often considered the father of English state schools, also believed the working man was being led astray by greedy and unscrupulous leaders who preyed on his ignorance, and he offered 28

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only two solutions to the problem. Either the govern-ment must resign itself to ever-increasing military suppression or it must devote its resources to d t 19 e uoa 1on. An increasing segment of the upper classes came to see the whole of education as a tool. They also began to rethink both methods and content. The trad-itional four Rs taught the traditional way had failed to keep the explosions of the thirties from occurring. Both the Societies devoted themselves almost exclu-sively to a religious curriculum taught in the best Gradgrind manner. Dr. Biber's Lectures on Christian Education described the Societies' schools as so ad-dieted to rote memorization ... that a parrot hung up for some time in one of those schools,-would unques-tionably make as good an infant school mistress as any," and Dr. Thomas Arnold warned that ... to expect an important moral and religious improvement from the machinery now in operation, is to look for a full crop of corn after sowing a single handful of seed."20 Though someone at some time in the decade recom-mended that school curricula include almost every branch of knowledge, with the exception of foreign 29

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languages and the gentleman's classics, political economy won out as the most favored single subject. The Quarterly Journal of Education's first volume advocated lessons on the theory of property, class structure, the advantages of machinery, and the law of supply and demand as applied to wages.21 As religious indoctrination proved insufficient, the ruling classes decided to add indoctrination with the gospel according to Smith and Malthus. Not that religious education was to be abandoned, far from it. The journals all paid homage to its value and to the supremacy of Christianity and morality over other studies. Even the official letter from Lord John Russell to the Marquess of Lansdowne which established the Committee of Council listed religious instruction as the first item in the proposed curriculum for the Normal schoo1.22 The last item on Lord John's list was inculcating habits of industry. Many of the existing schools taught girls plain sewing in lieu of arithmetic, but Charles Forss, a teacher at an asylum for neglected children at Hackney Wick, published a treatise which caught the attention of Wyse and others, in which he 30

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described the asylum's combination of religious and secular study with work in the gardens and fields or at practical trades.23 Though Forss's methods were impossible for many city day schools to carry out, they set the pattern for state institutions for pauper, abandoned, and criminal .children. Until the Committee of Council and its sham inspectorate were born, the government was not involved in education in.any way. It gave money to the Societies, but left the running of the schools entirely alone. Helped by the government grants, the Societies expanded so rapidly that in the mid-thirties even Brougham flirted with the idea that they might be capable of handling elementary education, though with some state assistance for infant schools and for the cities.24 Of course, as has been discussed, the Church objected to state interference as an assault on her power, but objections from other sources as well, and for other reasons. Lord Ellenborough, speaking for the old guard, feared state aid reduced the "wholesome" gratitude which the poor should feel toward their betters. The young Benjamin Disraeli professed to see a possible danger to the spirit of 31

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25 independence which made England great. The most common objection, however, came mostly from radicals who questioned whether the government, or any govern-ment, could be trusted with an instrument as powerful as the school. Prussia, the Mecca of the education-ists, could not be held up as a model in this respect since Prussia was undoubtedly under despotic rule, however enlightened. As the classical scholar John StuartBlackie wrote in Tait's, schemes for a state system, however well-intentioned, might be ... rashly to throw education out of the Church frying-pan into the State fire."26 The revolutionary spirit was still abroad in the England of the 1830s. The Monthly Repository, a radical magazine but by no means as radical as much of the more ephemeral unstamped predicted that "toys" such as "coronets, stars, and garters" might soon "be swept away."27 To such spirits the education offered by the upper classes was "trash," designed to make "more subservient slaves" of the working people and render them ... spiritles [sicl and unresisting victims of a system of plunder and oppresssion [ ] .. 28 SlC 32

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One step in toward the political center stood the working-class radicals such as Francis Place and William Lovett, artisans both, who supported education as a means of social advancement, and yet another step further in stood the middle-class radicals such as Roebuck, Wyse, and Brougham who believed the laborer capable of all types of learning, and who would even accept his children sharing an elementary school with theirs, but who could not envision the working-class child continuing on to higher education.29 The repub-lican ravings of the unstamped press were enough to frighten much of the middle class away. John Stuart Mill described his father and the other Philosophic Radicals as dedicated to two principles, "representa-tive government and freedom of discussion." Yet James Mill could complain to Brougham about the "evil" of the "illicit.cheap publications, in which the doctrines of the right of the labouring people, who say they are the only producers, to all that is 30 produced, is very generally preached." Along with the desire for state involvement came two related ideas, which attracted very little atten-tion and almost no support, Prussian compulsion and 33

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the American concept of free schools. Roebuck considered compulsion "absolutely essential," but virtually all his colleagues believed such a policy to be inherently un-English.31 Simpson advocated dropping fees on the grounds that the poor paid taxes and deserved something in return, and also that the lowest classes who stood most in need of reformation were excluded from education by their poverty. In his experience even the small fee of twopence per week meant that his schools were attended only by children of the respectable artisan class. The tenor of the evidence given before the Parliamentary Committee on the State of Education, however, leaned toward the remarkably persistent notion that free schools would destroy the vaunted independence of English labor. Besides, it would cost too much.32 Still, most educationists pressed for a comprehensive state system. Private charity, they declared, could never produce a stable, permanent, uniform plan available to all who needed it. Not only was it a duty of the state, if only as "a mere matter of police," to provide for the education of the people, but only the state could afford it. Roebuck reminded 34

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the radicals that the ideal of reform was not to make government powerless. Lovett's new Working Men's A t. d 33 ssoc1a 1on agree Of course the working man should be educated, said the "new squirearchy of the Pitt creation" in an imaginary conversation with the Monthly Repository, he should have a practical, useful education, "meaning by this, that, like the Russian serf of the hornband, he should be restricted to learning a single note."34 Perhaps the squirearchy had more than a single note in mind, but they definitely wanted no more than a short tune, and that chosen from their own repertoire. From the immense variety of knowledge which lower-class children would only have time to sample, someone had to pick out the relevant bits and make sure it was served in, as the Bishop of London phrased it, "a safe and unobjectionable form." Even religious lessons, according to Rev. Frederick Denison Maurice, one of the co-founders of Christian Socialism, could be tai-lored so as to ... give to each class that peculiar information which enables it best to fulfil its own 1 "t" .. 35 pecu 1ar pos1 1on .... The Committee of Council planned to leave nothing to chance. Its minutes on 35

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the proposed Normal school stipulated that prospective teachers should learn "To give such a character to the matter of instruction in the school as to keep it in close relation with the condition of workmen and servants."36 Goldstrom's study of readers found that all of them, from the pioneering Irish series to the British and Foreign, Anglican, and Roman Catholic ones which followed, preached one standard sermon on political economy. With lots of hard work and frugality it was possible to move up the social ladder. Not all at once, but over several generations capital could be accumulated and the descendants of the employed might become employers. Along with this faint hope of future reward went tales of the chaos which would ensue if capital was removed from the hands of those who currently controlled it.37 After the thirties were over, the educational debate would never be so open again. The Whigs had a chance to impose a truly national school system only while the radical pressure from outside was strong, the Christian schools of all varieties still fairly thin on the ground, and the middle class still fresh 36

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enough from their reform alliance with the working classes to accept an educational system designed to serve them both. The religious difficulty prevented it. The Church had won one battle. Next it was to be the Dissenters' turn. 37

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Notes 1. U. K., Hansard's Parliamentary Debates 3d ser., vel. 20 <1833), cols. 730-736. 2. [James Pillansl, "National Education in England and France," Edinburgh Review 58 , eels. 75-82, 222-223; vol. 30 (1835>, col. 479; vol. 36 (1837>, col. 79; vol. 38 (1837>, eels. 1618-1620; vel. 39 <1837), col. 466; vel. 43 (1838), cole. 710-711, 730-731; vel. 44 <1838), col. 1174. 4. [Thomas Wyse l 11Educat ion in England, 11 Dublin Review 2 , 179, 267-268, 471-472. 7. Hansard vel. 48 (1839>, cols. 227-229; vel. 47 (1839), cols. 1378-1380; vol. 48 <1839>, cola. 681, 793, 1332; vel. 49 (1839), col. 128; vol. 194 (1869), col. 805; vel. 50 (1839>, eels. 591-594. 8. Hansard vol. 45 <1839), col. 288; vol. 48 (1839), eels. 604-607. 38

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9. [John James Bluntl, "Village Schools -Lord Brougham's education bills," Quarterly Review 61 , cols. 1390-1391. 12. Henry Brougham, A Letter on National Education, to the Duke of Bedford, K. G., from Lord Brougham in "National Education," Dublin University Magazine 14 : 623-632. 13. Henry James Burgess, Enterprise in Education: the story of the work of the Established Church in the education of the people prior to 1870 , 76, 79, 90. 14. Hansard vol. 16 (1833), cols. 3-4; vol. 20 (1833), cole. 734-735; (John Wilson], "Education of the people, 11 Blackwood's Magazine 27 (January 1830): 1-3. 15. J[ohn1 Alrthur] Rloebuck1, "National Education, 11 Tcli t 's Edinburgh Magazine 2 (March 1833 >: 758; Thomas Dick, On the improvement of society by the diffusion of knowledge , 48, 103, 126-128, 329; James Simpson, Necessity of Popular Education as a National Object , 21, 25; Richard Cobden, The Political Writings of Richard Cobden vol. 1 , 94, 148-151. 16. Francis Place, Improvement of the Working People: Drunkenness -Education , 8-9; William Lovett], The Life and Struggles of William Lovett , 142-145; Rlowland1 Detrosier, An Address on the Necessity of an Extension of Moral and Political 39

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Instruction among the Working Classes (London: Wakelin, 1835>, 12, 23. 17. James Phillips Kay [Shuttleworth], The training of' pauper children: report published by the Poor Law commissioners in their fourth annual report , 3-4; Simpson, 28. 18. Simpson, v; Pillans, 1-2; [William Hamilton], "Education of the people-Cousin on German schools," Edinburgh Review 57 (July 1833): 505; Hansard vol. 20 (1833), col. 145; Wyse, 30. 19. [Thomas Spring-Rice], "Ministerial plan of education -church and Tory misrepresentations," Edinburgh Review ?0 : 154; Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 228-230. 20. Dr. Biber, Lectures on Christian Education in "Reform in Education," Monthly Repository 8 ( 1834>: 511; Thomas Arnold, Sermons in Thomas Arnold on Education, ed. T. W. Bamford, Cambridge texts and studies in the history of education, gen. eds. A. C. F. Beales, A. V. Judges, J. P. C. Roach , 59. 21. "Reasons for establishing a public system of elementary instruction in England," Quarterly Journal of' Education vol. 1, in Goldstrom, Elementary Education, 80-83. 22. Letter Lord John Russell to the Marquess of Lansdowne, 4 February, 1839, in Maclure, 43-44. 23. Charles Forss, Practical remarks upon the education of' the working classes; with an account of the plan pursued Under the Superintendence of' the Children's Friend at the Brenton Asylum, Hackney Wick (London: S. W. Fores, 1835>, 8-13; Wyse, 21-23. 24. Hansard vol. 16 < 1833 >, cole. 633-636; vol. 27 (1835>, cole. 1305-1315. 25. Hansard vol. 16 (1833>, col. 638; vol. 48 40

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(1839), cols. 586-587. 26. [John Stuart Blackiel, "National versus state education," Tait's Edinburgh Magazine 8 o.s., 4 n.s. : 715. 27. Caius [pseudl,. "Cursory Remarks on Prejudice, and on Education as a Cause," 11onthly Repository 10 (1836): 369. 28. Bronterre .O'Brien, Destructive (7 June, 1834>, in Hollis, 336; Poor Han's Guardian <14 April, 1832>, in Webb, 80 .. 29. Roebuck, 761; "Wyse on Education Reform," 11onthly Review 142
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and Clark, 1839>, 39. 36. Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 180. 37. Goldstrom, The Social Content of Education, 72, 119; Richard Whatley, Archbishop of Dublin, Easy Lessons on Honey Hatters, in Goldstrom, Elementary Education, 84-85. 42

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CHAPTER 3 CHARTISM, FREE TRADE, AND PUPIL-TEACHERS The 1840s behaved like a typical March. They came in roaring like a lion.and went bleating out like a lamb. Lovett and John Collins published their Chartist manifesto from Warwick jail in 1840, only to be eclipsed by the outrageous Feargus O'Connor and his Northern Star. The last middle-class revolution, the overthrow of protectionism, ended in 1846 with the death of the Corn Laws and Peel's fall, and enjoyed its final triumph in 1849 when the Navigation Acts were repealed. Though Britain suffered through a few troubles at the time of the Continental revolutions in 1848, Englishmen could, for the most part, look smugly on and congratulate themselves upon their good fortune, or upon the perspicacity which allowed them to avoid such evils. In 1843 the Tories put a tentative toe in the educational waters, found them frigid, and promptly pulled it out again. Sir James Graham, then Home Secretary, brought in a Factory Act including clauses intended to actually provide schools. Lord Ashley 43

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introduced it with a dramatic speech on the terrible condition of children in the manufacturing towns, Lord John Russell spoke in its favor, and at first the bill seemed destined to coast through Parliament with bipartisan support.1 It was a small measure. Only children employed in a few types of textile manufacturing fell within its scope, but the Tories obviously thought of it as a possible prototype for future legislation, and the country reacted to it as such. By the time the bill came up for its second reading in March, the harmony which greeted it had turned to dissonance. A large and very vocal group of Congregationalists, Baptists, and Independents broke with the British and Foreign Society and formed a loose confederation devoted to the idea of purely voluntary educa-tion. In the process they dropped enough ice in the educational pond to convince Peel's government to pull out that chilly toe. After 1843 an almost unnatural hush fell over Parliament on the subject of education; When the annual estimate came up in the Committee on Supply a few of the old hands repeated ritual protests about government inaction, but the constant flow of bills 44

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and resolutions ceased. The Lords, not having any input into the question of supply, stayed more silent still. In 1847, with the Whigs back in office under Lord John, the administration once again .bypassed Parliament and enormously expanded its educational role, this time through the mechanism of the Minutes issued by the Committee of Council. In future, the Committee would offer efficient inspected schools money for maintenance by paying an allowance to apprentice teachers, offering them scholarships to training colleges, and by paying part of the salary of teachers holding certificates of competency obtained either by passing through this pupil-teacheT process or by examination. The Committee even offered an old-age pension for retired teachers. Though Parliament took the news quietly, the Dissenters who comprised the new voluntary movement did not. Unlike their triumph against Sir James Graham, however, this time they were powerless to change the government's course. Even the Church of England's own historian admitted that the expanding influence of the Oxford Movement in the 1840s hardened Church attitudes toward 45

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Dissenters and made her cling even more stubbornly to her Church-education-or-none position.2 But not everyone at Oxford spewed out venom against Noncon-formity. In 1840 Baden Powell, a professor of geo-metry, wrote a plea for rational education on the economic principle of the division of labor. The denominations, he said, should teach religious doctrine separately, while the state should take responsibility for a sound secular curriculum. Should the state pay for a system" ... which would instruct dissenters on sufferance under the supremacy of the established Church, and feed them with crumbs, like dogs, under their master's table?" Bigotry was the one belief Powell thought could not be tolerated by a national educational system.3 Powell represented a split in the Church between High Churchmen and evangelical liberals. The 1843 Factory Act brought on a break between voluntaryists and other Dissenters. Before 1 another volatile element in the compound began to increase its power as the attraction of industrial employment brought Irish Catholics across the water. By the end of the decade famine increased the stream to a torrent 46

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and the Catholic Poor Schools Committee became yet another voice the government could not ignore.4 Sir James Graham's bill contained a conscience clause exempting Dissenting children from Church services and from learning her catechism, but it provided that each school's board of trustees would include the local Anglican clergyman and two church wardens, so Churchmen would always dominate the boards, and only members of the Church could be teachers. Amazingly enough, the first protest against this arrangement came from the Church. Sir Robert Inglis denied the state had a right to prevent the Church from or, as he put it, spreading the truth. He wanted the state to instead restore to the Church the "means which it had taken from her centuries ago", by which he meant the property confiscated by Henry VIII, and then leave her to educate all the children. The more moderate Fraser's Magazine, while accepting the conscience clause, approved of prohibiting Dissenting teachers.5 With sentiments such as those appearing in print, Nonconformists would have had to be mad not to examine the bill closely and protest against it. 47

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Moderates on both sides tried to effect a compro-mise. Lord John Russell introduced a set of resolu-tiona to modify the most offensive portions of the bill, and the government accepted many of them. The revisions allowed any school, whether run by the two Societies, other Dissenting bodies, or the Roman Catholios, to issue school certificates as long as the school submitted to government inspection. Sir James changed the conscience clause.to require religious instruction to be carried out at specific times, thus making it easier for those who objected to withdraw their children, and he permitted Catholic children to be exempt from reading the authorized Protestant version of the Bible. He said the amendments were his II 1" b h11 ff d h h f 6 o 1ve ranc o ere 1n t e ope o peace. Some Dissenters were in a peaceable mood. Harriet Martineau lobbied for the bill until she had written 7 herself "sick & weary," but less minds inspired more effective pens. Even Roebuck, never known as a friend of any Tory government, said the discussion on the Factory Act outside of Parliament was carried on with "an utter absence of charity."8 The Eclectic Review, before the 48

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revisions, described the bill as proof the Tories practiced ... a bigotry as blind and rancorous as would have suited the ministers of a Stuart." Talk of concern for education was a ruse to set up" ... a pre-paratory ecclesiastical establishment, a sort of Church of England Junior" to prop up a "tottering" faith. Sir James's olive branch made no difference. The bill was still his "insidious attempt to put down dissent by law .... The Eclectic recommended disestablishment as the only cure for the disease which 9 produced such measures. Edward Baines, who from his position as editor of the Leeds Mercury soon became the chief propagandist and statistician of the voluntary movement, published a rebuttal to Lord Ashley's pitiful picture of the state of the manufaturing districts in which he ranted on about the Factory Act being concocted with "Jesuitical cunning" by his own Puseyite neighborhood vicar, Dr. Walter Farquhar Hook.10 Baines's tone may have been hysterical, but apparently not hysterical enough to interfere with the credibility of his statistics, at least not for those determined to believe him. For the next twenty years, during which working-class 49

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children were, as Dickens phrased it, "numbered and estimated ... and never taught,"11 voluntaryists relied on Baines to provide a painting with those numbers in which universal education by purely charitable means was never more than a few donations away. In June the Dissenters gained their victory. Sir James announced to the Commons that, with great per-sonal sadness, he withdrew the educational clauses of 12 the Factory Act. Though the British and Foreign Society continued to cooperate with the government, as did the Wesleyan Methodists and the majority of the Nonconformists, the Congregationalists and their allies began to operate on a new principle of volun-tary purity, free from the contamination of government money and the demands it might bring. The voluntary-ists joined the Church as a major obstacle to any scheme for national education. By distancing them-selves from the government they also, as Francis Adams pointed out in his 1882 history, served to increase the Church's educational near-monopoly. The Church, already the wealthiest sect by far, continued to collect grants and build schools while Dissenters, despite raising astounding amounts of money, fell 50

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proportionately further and further behind.13 In 1846 Dr. Hook, the supposedly Jesuitical Vicar of Leeds, stunned friends and enemies alike by publishing a book advocating the combined system of education previously described by Baden Powell and others. That such a work came from such a High Church pen marked a transformation in the tone of the religious difficulty. Previously the most unreasoning arguments had emanated from the Church. Dr. Hook by no means signalled any great surrender on her part, but the shrill voice of narrow-minded prejudice seemed to come more and more from another quarter of Leeds. The moderate press, from the Westminster Review to Fraser's and the Chambers's Journal, heaped praise on the Vicar's head. Even the Anglican Quarterly Review managed to accept his apparent conversion with good grace and find some things to like about his proposals, but the Eclectic, now the organ of the voluntary movement, ripped him with cat-like claws of sarcasm. "Inconsistency," it wrote, "is like the motley and successive impersonations and eyedeceiving shifting& of the mime: it seldom fails to furnish amusement." Even Hook's mention of Wednesday 51

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and Friday as possible afternoons when the various clergy might be invited to give religious lessons was suspected of being a way of infiltrating Puseyite ideas into the schools, Wednesday and Friday both having, according to the Eclectic, some special significance to followers of the Oxford Movement.14 The government certainly did not read in Hook's work a Church slip for a combined national system. According to the Committee of Council's Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, the administration actually favored such a plan, but found it "impracticable" to implement given the state of public opinion. He assured the religious bodies that the government at no time considered divorcing religion from education. The Marquis of Lansdowne, then Lord President of the Privy Council, said much the same thing when laying the Minutes of the Committee before the Lords. He blamed the failure to bring in a comprehensive bill on the current heat of the religious controversy.15 Baines and company had no intention of damping down the fire. Dr. Robert Vaughan, Professor of History at the University of London and editor of the British Quarterly Review, recommended the Congrega52

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tionalists accept government overtures and take the grants offered under the new Minute.16 He earned a vicious spate of very personal attacks on his morals from his co-religionists. The Eclectic warned its readers: There is a crisis now in English history like to the struggle which convulsed the country in the time of Charles I. Then it was precipitated by royalty, now it is impelled by utilitarian and doctrin aire politicians; Then the contest raged around the throne, now it agitates the 17 homestead and the hearth of the citizen. The voluntaryists very much enjoyed trading on their Puritan heritage as the traditiona1 watchdogs against encroaching government power. Increasingly, they tried to turn the religious difficulty into a radical argument against state attempts at mind control. Despite the furor over government interference, the inspectorate of the 1840s had absolutely no power over the schools. Their instructions stipulated that they could not even offer advice to school managers unless specifically invited to do so. According to Kay-Shuttleworth, their chief value was to offer evidence through their reports of the truly pitiful condition of English education.18 Nonetheless, working-class radicals were nervous about the role of 53

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the state. Lovett and Collins's Chartism was as much an educational manifesto as a political one. It warned of the dangers of a "centralizing, statemoulding, knowledge-forcing scheme" like Prussia's which could be used to keep despotism intact. One of the first steps the Chartists took was to establish a national association to build community centers which could serve as day schools for the children and night scho6ls for the adults. They realized, however, that without the state they could never do enough. They very much wanted government-money, they just wanted democratically elected local committees to actually spend it. Despite their dangerous reputation, the Lovett wing of the Chartist movement was composed of thoroughly respectable working people, so respectable that Lovett refused to hire admitted atheist G. J. Holyoake to teach in the London school for fear of offending Christians.19 It must have seemed strange to them to hear their fears of state mind-molding expressed by people wealthy enough to scorn government grants, people who had taken a share in such molding for some time. In April of 1847 a Congregationalist-led meeting 54

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assembled in London to protest the new Minutes passed a resolution stating" ... that it is not within the province of government to educate the people."20 Baines predicted the government would move from at tacking education to undermining freedom-of worship and freedom of the press. He hailed the overdue realization that free enterprise had made England the leader of the world, built her Empire, and effected her great social reforms, and asserted that if left alone the same forces would educate the people. To those who spoke of defects .or shortcomings in education as it was, he said, "That is not a system to be despised, or lightly to be superseded, under which a nation like the English has been trained."21 The Eclectic and other voluntaryist publications followed the same lines. It was their new-found belief that government could not be trusted with education, that its intervention would violate the principles of free trade and the grand traditions of English liberty, and that, at any rate, the question was moot because there were no real educational deficiencies large enough to merit the attention of the state. Baines habitually wrote off the lower 55

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classes, the laborers who could not be considered respectable, when compiling his statistics, and so proved to his own and his followers' satisfaction that nearly all who could be educated, were. The rest, who made up what came to be called the residuum, he thought beyond the reach of government, school or church.22 Though the voluntaryists conducted the new debate over state schools primarily in secular terms, the cloak of free trade and love of liberty failed to conceal the religious nature of their opposition. The new movement took its stand in support of a system which virtually everyone else agreed had failed. The Congregationalist heretic Dr. Vaughan referred to the problem as a siple question of money. He maintained that private charity could never keep up with the fast-growing population. No matter how devoted to the cause, few people could be expected to "become martyrs d t b 1 d t. 23 to poverty 1n or er to suppor pu 1c e uca 1on. Abstract argument over the duty of the state gave way to a war of statistics between Baines and the rest of the world. The Chambers brothers, in their Journal, called on the supporters of a national system to speak 56

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out: But we are told that the government has not the power to institute so broad a system as we desiderate. Perhaps such is the case, though we are inclined to think that a lack of courage to announce the principle is more conspicuous than a want_of to carry it into execut1on. The eyes of the government, closed ten years earlier, remained screwed tightly shut. Though the voluntaryists denied the efficacy of education as a cure for social problems, their legion of opponents continued to prescribe it. Concern with training the people for the exercise of political power almost completely vanished from upper-class minds by 1840, but with the Chartists roaming the land, fear of political upheaval remained a potent force. Thomas Carlyle used a recurring image of a starving and shirtless worker wandering a land where too many shirts were made, but even his exhortations to change the way the upper classes treated workers appealed to fear as much as to sympathy. He always held up the threat of violence. "Good Heavens, will not one French Revolution and Reign of Terror suffice us, but must there be two?" Lord Ashley and Sir James G h h h d th t t 25 ra am eac ec oe e sen 1men 57

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By the end of the forties, however, with Chartism fading, garden variety crime crowded the political species out of the field of concerns .. The fear was heightened by a perception that the population was growing out of control, with possible Malthusian consequences. Some men founded colonization societies, while others opened schools. Statisticians compiled endless lists and studies of the educational attainments of inmates at local prisons. Although the Eclectic undoubtedly made a valid point when it said lurid reports of crime were easily used to frighten the public into adopting the educationists' prescription, its own prejudices were too well known for it to be taken seriously outside the voluntaryist circle. Fraser's expressed the common view that an "inevitable connexion between crime and ignorance" had become "one of the admitted facts of the age."26 Where a crash course in economics had seemed the best serum against political agitation, the upper reverted to religion as the medicine of choice once the focus changed to ordinary human sin. The government never left it out .. The original instructions. to school inspectors stressed ... that no plan 58

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of education ought to be encouraged in which intel-lectual instruction is not subordinate to the ... d t d t f 1 d 1. n27 oc r1nes an precep s o revea e re 1g1on. By the latter half of the decade some of the inspectors, worried about all the little Olivera who would not triumph over the atmosphere of their Fagin-schools, decided that religion was even "more essential" to working-class children than to their social betters. They recommended, as the infant school pioneer Wilderspin had done, that the child of the criminal class be kept in school and away from his parents' bad example as much as possible, and that "unwearied attention" be paid to his religious education because, unlike upper-class children, he could not be expected t b b 1 f h t 28 o a sor mora 1ty rom 1s env1ronmen Even children who went to school did not always avoid Fagin's clutches. The ubiquitous prison surveys showed that many prisoners once attended a school of some sort, but most of those were as completely illit-erate as their less fortunate companions. Harriet Martineau referred to the National schools as a "mockery."29 Educationists continued to be concerned about survival of rote memorization as the 59

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school's primary method of instruction, but assigning thirteen-year-old apprentice teachers to groups of forty children in place of even younger monitors had made no appreciable difference. Though theorists proposed other methods, they all required money and qualified teachers, both of which were in extremely short supply. As Dickens observed in his 1848 preface to Nicholas Niakleby, education greatly improved by mid-century, but only for those who could afford to 30 pay. Even the best of however, could never transform children who came to school seldom, if at all. The idea of compulsion received considerably more attention in the forties than it had in the thirties. The tenor of the arguments against it did not change, and advocates of direct legal action were still rarer than qualified teachers, but a small middle ground appeared made up of those who suggested various vague methods of moral persuasion or indirect influence. They were the harbingers of the future. In 1848 John Stuart Mill told the upper classes it was too late for them to force feed their ideas to the working class.31 He was one of the few who 60

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thought so. From Professor Baden Powell, to KayShuttleworth and his inspectors, to Earl Carlisle, Dr. Hook, and Lord Ashley quoting the catechism, all the promoters of universal education still specified a separate and different design for schools to be used by the working classes. "Plainer," more "suitable to the wants, capacities, and position of the poorer classes," one "not meant to raise the working classes above their condition," but to make them "worthy of, but contented with, their hire,""good servants, good parents, good neighbours, good subjects, and if it please God, good member.sof Christ's church."32 Yet inadvertently the government marked Qut one path for those interested in social mobility. A bright student who managed to stay in school long enough to take advantaga of the government stipend for pupil teachers at age thirteen, and then won a Queen's Scholarship to a training college could be assured of a life away from the plow. The educational clauses of Sir James Graham's Factory Act, though hardly deserving the name, proved to be the last actual governmental bill on the subject for twenty-seven years to even get a serious debate on 61

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a second reading. Parliament, pushed by an evergrowing collection of education associations, would never again be as silent as it was during the last half of the forties, but most of the bills and motions and requests for committees came from outside official circles. During the decade the push for public education ceased to be a radical concern and entered the mainstream consciousness, but Whigs and Tories had been badly burnt by holy fires. Neither side wanted to incur such punishment again. 62

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Notes 1. Hansard vol. 67 (1843)1 cole. 75-78, 96-99. 2. Burgess, 158. 3. Baden Powell, State education considered with reference to prevalent misconceptions on religious grounds , col. 561; "The government plan of education," Fraser's Magazine 27 , 75-76. 8. Hansard vol. 69 (1843), col. 530. 9. "Factories Education Bill," Eclectic Review 77 , 681. 12. Hansard vol. 69 <1843>, cole. 1568-1569. 13. Francis Adams, Histor.v of the Elementar.v School Contest in England
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1882; reprint, ed. and with an introduction by Asa Briggsi Brighton: Harvester Press, 1972>, 124, 131. 14. [William Edward Hickson], "Education of the people," Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review 46 : 235-236; Henry Hart Milman], "Education of the people," Quarterly Review 78 (September 1846): 384; "National Education-Dr. Hook," Eclectic Review 84 : 280, 304. 15. Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 499-510; Hansard vol. 89 < 1847>, col. 859. 16. Robert Vaughan], "The education controversy -what has it done?," British Quarterly Review 6 : 532-535. 17. "Education Free From State Controul," Eclectic Review 86 : 608-609. 18. Minutes of Committee of Council, instructions to Her Majesty's Inspectors, 1840, in Maclure, 49; Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 472. 19. William Lovett and John Collins, Chartism: a new organization of the people .. embracing a. plan for the education and improvement of the people .. politically and socially , 1:177. 20. "National Education -What will Dissenters do next?," Eclectic Review 85 : 636-637. 21. Edward Baines, Jr., Letters to the Right Hon. Lord John Russell on State Education , 6-8, 39-40, 53' 3. 22. Baines, Manufacturing Districts, 29. 64

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23. [Robert Vaughan], "Popular Education in England," British Quarterly Review 4 : 460, 481. 24. "Government Education," Chambers's Journal 7 <8 May 1847>: 297. 25. Thomas Carlyle, Complete Works of Thomas Carlyle, vol. VIII, Past and Present (New York & San Francisco: The Wheeler Publishing Co., no date given>, 262; Hansard vol. 67 (1843), cols. 72-73, 1440. 26. "National Education," Eclectic Review 85 (January 1847): 109; "Education of the people II," Fraser's Magazine 36 , 73; report of HMI Rev. Baptist Noel to Committee of Council, Parliamentary Papers (1841) XX, in Hollis, 337; Milman, 380; report of HMI Joseph Fletcher to Committee of Council, Parliamentary Papers <1847) XLV, in Digby, 79. 65

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CHAPTER 4 AVOIDANCE AT THE TOP The theory of evolution emanated from the England of the 1850s. The decade began with the publication of Herbert Spencer's Social Statics and ended with Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. More than that, the British seemed to be at evolution's peak. It was the age of the Crystal Palaae. Tiny Britannia ruled not only the waves, but all the lands they touched, not directly yet, but through the force of her personality. In 1852 the Eclectic Review exulted, "The triumphs of freedom are written in the largest characters on the face of our land."1 Self-doubt and self-criticism did not vanish from the British intellectual landscape. William Howard Russell reported on the fiasco in the Crimea and Dickens made people cry over his waifs, but Lord Macaulay proved that the story of the nation was one of progress and Samuel Smiles preached his sermons on self-help. Britain still had work to do but, all in all, social evolution was not a difficult theory to accept for a people whom all the world acknowledged as the fittest. 66

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Herbert Spencer wrote: Of the three phases through which human opinion passes -the unanimity of the ignorant, the disagreement of the inquiring, and the unanimity of the wise -it is manifest that the second is the parent of the third .... The educational controversy was plainly in the second stage. He counseled patience until it reached the third.2 Twice during the fifties the administration of the day brought in education bills and abandoned them before the second reading. Much of the debate took place outside of Westminster, but participants brought as much of it they could inside through the means of private bills and resolutions. In 1850, on All Hallow's Eve, the membership of the Lancashire Public School Association, which included such well-known names as economist Richard Cobden, the phrenologist George Combe, journalist and radical MP William Johnson Fox and his colleague T. Milner Gibson, met in Manchester to transform their organization into the National Public School Associ-ation, dedicated to free, rate-supported, secular schools. In response the mayor of Manchester, and assorted clerics and laymen devoted to the idea of religious education formed the rival Manchester and 67

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Salford School Committee. Their scheme also included local rating, but in support of existing schools. Both groups brought private bills into Parliament, which inspired the formation of yet another lobbying group, this one by the voluntaryists who objected to both plans equally. The Commons avoided dealing with any of them by appointing a select committee to study their respective merits. The committee took testimony for two years, in 1852 and 1853, but reported back with no recommendations.3 All of the other attempts at .passing an education bill ended in equal failure. Lord John Russell did not bring in his 1853 bill for a second reading. According to Lord Aberdeen the government found it "utterly impossible" to carry on with it. In 1854 the Manchester and Salford Committee and Lord Brougham both tried again, in 1855 it was Lord John, Sir John Pakington, and Milner Gibson with three separate bills, and in 1856 Lord John proposed another set of resolutions. After they were gutted, 4 dropped a second government effort. Earl Granville did have a few successes in the decade. Through its Minutes the Committee of Council 68

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gave additional financial support to schools by means of a capitation grant and, at the tail end of the session of 1856, in a very thin House, it carried the creation of a new title, the Vice-President of the Committee. William Gladstone, among others, objected to the appointment on the grounds that there was no national school system to administer, but the govern-ment thought differently; and this new official re-lieved the Home Secretary of the duty of answering 5 questions concerning education in the Commons. Sir John Pakington won one as well, if yet another study could be called a victory. In, on his motion, the government agreed to appoint a royal commission to enquire into the condition of public education in 6 England and Wales. The Commission, led by the Duke of Newcastle, sat for two years, thereby providing the government with the best of excuses for avoiding the education question for a good while longer. The activity of the secularist National Public School Association added a new element to the explosive religious mix, one the High and Low Church, the Catholics, and most of the brands of Dissenters could agree to hate. Though the secular movement 69

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stressed that it was not anti-Christian, it just wanted to remove religion from tax-supported schools so that the government could escape the quagmire of the religious difficulty and get on with educating people, it was branded as atheist by every side. The Reverend Francis Close labelled the secular scheme "revolutionary, republican, intolerant, destructive," "evil," and "repulsive to every national feeling," while the Eclectic carefully pointed out that the avowed atheist Holyoake attended the confer-ence in Manchester. John Howard Hinton, secretary of the voluntaryists' committee, constantly referred to the Association's idea as teaching Deism. He liked the Manchester and Salford bill no better, since he did not consider Bible reading to be sufficient 1 d 7 re 1g1ous e ucat1on. The fifties were the voluntaryists heyday. Their theories meshed well with the self-help philosophy of the times, and they were in no danger of being railroaded by an alliance of Church and State because the National Society itself was carrying on a feud with the government over changes the Committee asked to be made in the-management clauses of the schools. 70

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The Anglicans and the Catholics shared a similar position on the role of the state in education; it was 8 to open the purse and get out of the way. To the beleaguered politicians the voluntaryists must have looked like an improvement. At least they did not ask for money. As it had in the forties, the voluntary movement carried on its public debate on the question of the role of the state rather than overtly on the religious issue, and it acquired some new allies and new argu-ments. Where would you rather have been for the last two years, asked Sir Robert Inglis and the Earl of Harrowby in 1850, in England or on the Continent with its vaunted state-controlled school systems and its revolutions? Later, the shambles the government made of supply in the Crimea left it an open target for questions about its competence nearer home. William Unwin, president of the Congregationalists' teacher training college, even professed fear of tainted elec-tions if the state were allowed to build an enormous bureaucracy of teachers, inspectors, and school staff, all dependent on patronage for their livelihood.9 Both church and chapel professed to see political 71

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danger in state control of education. The next most commonly used argument against state intervention was that it violated the principles of free trade. The voluntary party openly called those who favored state schools socialist or communist and discountenanced any departure from Cobdenite principles, even though Cobden himself was active on the other side. Robert Lowe, who soon afterwards made his name an anathema to educationists, explained the free trade position in a different way, one in which the government had a positive role. To stimulate demand, Lowe said, the state should offer a multitude of prizes for scholastic achievement. It should throw open all lower echelon jobs such as messenger or post-man to everyone who could pass a competitive examina-tion. Once sufficient demand was created in this way, supply would naturally follow, and the government would not have to take on the responsibility for providing the actual means of education.10 Though Hinton, Unwin and the other voluntaryists before them said it first, Smiles popularized the idea that the state could ruin the people by giving them an education: Whatever is done for men or classes, to 72

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a certain extent takes away the stimulus and necessity of doing for themselves; and where men are subjected to overguidance and over-government, the inevitable tendency is1ro render them comparatively helpless. Of the voluntaryists carried on with their other contentions, that no method enforcing a school rate could possibly be fair and that it would ruin private charity, but most of all Baines obsessively reiterated his thesis that all was well in the world of working-class education. England's percentage of children of school age actually in school was always lower than that on the Continent. In the Baines-eye view7 that was only natural. As an industrialized nation, a higher percentage ot the English were working class and must be expected to spend a shorter amount of time in school. As for working-class poverty as an excuse for the state to assist their schools, well, free trade and emigration had so raised average wages that no plea could be made. Board of Trade statistics proved Englishmen spent per capita on liquor and tobacco, so they could certainly afford schools for their children.12 When the results of Horace Mann's census.were published, the Eclectic crowed. In 1818 1 in 17.25 children went to day 73

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schools, by 1851 the figure was 1 in 8.36. Obviously, the Eclectic said, such figures proved the voluntary system had done its work we11.13 A far from silent majority took the opposite view. Baines, wrote Sir John Pakington, looked only at what was done and called it sufficient. Pakington looked at what was left undone and said there was no 14 excuse. Pakington's comrades did not want the ex-isting system destroyed and a Prussian one erected in its place, but they faced up to practical issues, lack of money and low educational standards, and their answer in both cases was the state. Ultimately only the state. could collect money enough to extend any system nationwide, and the state could not be expected to provide funds without setting some standard of efficiency. In 1850 Joseph Kay, the brother of Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, published an influential two-volume study of all the continental systems, including those in the smaller states such as Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries. Educationists had sent fact-finding missions abroad, mainly to Prussia and the United States, since the controversy first began. 74

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Victorian England was very proud of her Germanic heri-tage. In the view of constitutional history founded by Bishop William Stubbs, Britain inherited the repre-sentative traditions which brought about the Magna Carta and eventually the Glorious Revolution from her Angle and Saxon ancestors. America, of course, was England's child. In studying them, therefore, English educationists studied, not their country's future rivals, but the cultures most similar to their own. Both Prussia and the United States had universal, state-funded educational systems, theoretically, at least, aimed at all classes of their children, long before Parliament voted that first grant in 1833. Two generations of researchers sought there for models upon which to build, and for statistics with which to fight the battle for English schools. Kay, in his book, remonstrated against the miser-able pittance England spent on schools in comparison "th h h hb 15 w1 er muc poorer ne1g ors. And it was a tiny amount indeed. In 1852, according to Lord John Russell, the Committee of Council spent ,000. To qualify for grants, the aided schools must have raised at least twice that amount in charitable subscrip-75

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tions. Using Lord John's estimates once again, the working classes paid approximately ,000 in school 16 pence so, Baines and his liquor consumption figures to the contrary, the poor were already paying their share of the educational bill and could hardly be looked to for more. The question was not whether the state would be involved in education; that decision 17 had already been taken. The question was how fast it could be pushed into doing its fair share. With the National Public School Association and the Manchester and Salford Committee schemes so much before the public eye, the idea of free compulsory education attracted considerably more attention. For the first time comment was about evenly split between those favoring compulsion and those opposing it. The opponents, such as Hinton and Gladstone, continued to stress violation of the traditional principle of English liberty.18 But English liberties were increasingly violated for the public good. Sanitary measures, including compulsory vaccination, passed by the public watchdogs, though not without a good deal of snarling and barking. Influential men, even those outside of the National Association such as poet and 76

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school inspector Matthew Arnold, began to think of education as another such salutary measure.19 On the question of free schools, however, no such change in public opinion was In mid-decade a bill known as Mr. Denison's Act allowed the Poor Law Guardians to pay school fees for the children of outdoor paupers, but it did not mandate such payments or make the children to school a condition of the parent getting relief, so it was virtually a dead letter from the beginning. As for the employed worker, so the most popular theory went, he would be pauperized by having either the state or private charity relieve him of so essential an obligation as that of educating his children. He could never properly appreciate the value of something which he received for free. The voluntaryists added a variation on the Bainesian theme. Why should such a well-paid workforce as the English need to be given their schooling?20 However, the most honest reason for opposing free education was the fact that the money would come from the writers' own pockets. Almost all the people who wrote on the subject, no matter what their point of view, were involved in 77

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working-class schools in some way. They feared, quite rightly, that a free, tax-supported, system would draw t d t f th t"t t" 21 pay1ng s u en s away rom e1r own 1ns 1 u 1ons. The voluntaryists would accept almost any educa-tiona! deficiency rather than risk contamination by the state. Baines ignored the residuum, and Hinton asserted that the idea of education as an antidote to pauperism and crime was an "exploded notion." Even Smiles's Self-Help played down formal schooling. In his stories experience of life, observation of the world, hard work, and more hard work, brought success. Reading, though it had its uses, might be mere enter-tainment, an unimportant sideline. After all, George Stephenson learned to read as an adult, and he still put the world on rails.22 Despite Hinton's explosion, crime continued as the main theme of those who wrote to justify educating the working classes, though the North British Review simply advised walking the streets of Baines's 23 Leeds. Normal thievery and murder topped the list, especially after the end of transportation, but, with the memory of recent events in the rest of Europe still fresh at the beginning of the decade, and the 78

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resurgent agitation to expand the franchise at the end of it, fear of political crime once again shadowed the minds of the upper classes. Kay worried about ... democratic ideas of the wildest kinds, and a knowledge of the power of union daily gaining d ,24 groun .... Some radicals, however, thought the sufferage and education questions might profitably be tied together. W. J. Fox more than once suggested that the government create an educational qualifica-tion for the franchise, the working class an incentive to study, and getting more intelligent electors into the bargain.25 Twenty years had passed since the first great reform and those enfranchised then had been absorbed into the structure of the ruling classes. No one referted any longer to a need to educate them. The concern expressed in the fifties was all for educating the voters of the future. For the public at large the Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851 proved the incomparable supremacy of British industrial might, but a smaller, more observant segment of scientists and manufacturers saw signs that the rest of the world was nipping at the lion's heels. Economic motivations for educating 79

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the laborers were mentioned, for the first time, almost as often as those having to do with crime prevention. In fact, Prince Albert invested some of the profits from the Exhibition in a scheme to teach the industrial applications of design and science. He bought the land in South Kensington where the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert were built, and in 1853 he established the government department of Science and Art with the famous chemist Dr. Lyon Playfair at its head. Aside from organizing the Royal College of Science, the new department sent its own examiners out to the schools and offered grants for teaching students in its special subjects. In future, Dr. Playfair said, raw material wduld no longer be the basis of manufacturing superiority, "intellect" would. He concerned himself with ... efforts to arouse public attention to the need of reforming our education so as to fit it for the increasing competition of the world."26 Playfair did his job well. In the fifties science topped religion as the subject most often suggested for the primary school curriculum. Even the voluntaryists considered the possibility that their 80

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schools might attract more children if they offered a more practical and scientific education.27 In a long article for the Westminster Review called "What knowledge is of most worth?" Herbert Spencer categorized learning into five types which he believed should be studied as he described them, in descending order of importance: that required for self-preservation, that required for indirect self-preservation such as methods of earning a living, parenting skills, skills required to get along socially and politically, and subjects studied strictly for pleasure. His discus-sion of each of them led straight to science. From science came the lessons in health which best prolonged the lives of both parent and child. All manufacturing processes by which a man might earn a living were based upon science. As he had proven in Social Statics, society ran on scientific principles, and even in the realm of the arts, how could one understand a sculptor's magic without a knowledge of basic physiology?28 Science was Spencer's religion. Political economy, Spencer's "Science of Soci ety," retained its devoted adherents as an antidote to political unrest. Spencer, of course, recommended it, 81

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and Lord John Russell reminded Parliament of its use-fulness. There even existed an entire system, the Birkbeck schools, which based its curriculum on teaching the "conditions of well-being," although, since they did not teach Christianity as well, they were ineligible for any type of government A sizeable number of educationists urged the study of literature and the other liberal arts on the working classes, simply so they might experience the pleasure f 1 30 o earn1ng. Perhaps only Matthew Arnold wondered how a laborer's child who left school by the age of ten was supposed to absorb all the worthy subjects his betters recommended. Arnold posed the question the 1860s would try to answer. Science in all its permu-tations was a wonderful object of study, but could little Oliver read and write?31 An even more important question to the deeply religious Victorian upper classes was, did Oliver understand his Bible? On this matter public opinion changed not one whit over the course of ten or twenty years. To provide a purely secular education as the Birkbeck schools did, or as some members of the National Public School Association proposed, was to 82

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"give the husk without the kernel.'' There remained a very strong element of class prejudice on this matter as well. Religion in school was so important for the working-class child, eapedially the child of the residuum with whom educationists began to be con-cerned, because he was thought ao little likely to be offered it at home.32 Cobbett's heirs, or those of his comrades still left alive, had by 1850 changed their method of attack. Having lost the battle for the preservation of illiteracy, they took their stand against the expansion of the curriculum. there ever anything more absurd?," asked the Member for West Surrey, than the idea of teaching to "mere'' laborers, "It really seems as if God had withdrawn common sense from this House." The Reverend Mr. Fitzygram, in his 1859 Hints for the Improvement of village Schools, displayed sense more to the taste of the Honourable Member: It seems to me to be of the utmost importance to keep each class of society in its proper place; and with this in view, to give to each child such a measure of instruction as its station in life is likely to require, and no more. For is it not right that the farmer should be better educated than the labourer, and the gentleman better 83

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than the farmer? And yet more of this common sense, this time from Charles Adderley, the Tory Vice-President of the Committee of council, who told the Commons, "There must be labourers, and there must be scholars, and no Act of Parliament could make these convertible terms."33 One by-product of the increasing awareness of Britain's imperial role in the 1850s was a tendency to refer to the education of the working classes in imperial terms, as "missionary work" relieving the "barbarism" of working-class neighborhoods and bringing "civilizdtion" to "people more like wild beasts than James Rigg, Methodist divine and editor of the Wesleyan London Quarterly Review, even argued against the voluntary movement by asserting that free trade theories did not apply to communities "in an early stage of development." If the voluntaryists did not object to state interference in Ireland or India, they had no right to object to state interference with the British working class.34 Another new development in the fifties was the slow realization that the elementary schools as they 84

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then existed reached only the upper layers of the working classes. Defining the working class was a problem then and has remained one for historians ever since. In the 1830s those to whom the upper classes referred as workersundoubtedly included the artisan class. Indeed, the artisans were the element everyone talked about. They men such as Place and Lovett, the radicals and revo.lutionaries who made all the trouble. In those days everyone assumed, as Baines continued to do, that. the would be with them always, and always too unclean to get any education unless they could be lured into one of the Earl of Shaftesbury's Ragged Schools. By the 1850s, however, the artisans had come more and more to resemble the respectable middle class and the middle class began to grumble about providing an education for people almost as well-off as themselves. Archibald Campbell Tait, who would be Archbishop of Canterbury when an education bill finally passed, defined four classes, ... the rich-the comfortablethe poor -and the perishing." The education of the perishing was being ignored although they provided most of the members of the criminal class.35 The 85

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religious bodies intentionally their schools that way. Arnold reiterated year after year in his reports that the schools he inspected excluded the truly poor. Wesleyan schools charged 2d to 8dper week in fees and catered mainly to the children of farmers and tradesmen, and even the British and Foreign schools, though usually cheaper than the Wesleyan, did not try to attract the poorest classes. Arnold defended their expanded curricula on the basis that they were appropriate for the students actually being taught, but he wrote, ... of the education of the masses, I, in the course of my official duty, see, strictly speaking, little or nothing."36 Baines, in ignoring the residuum, was only being true to his sect. The 1846 report of their Board of General Education said, ... Congregationalists never arrogated to themselves the power nor the purpose of educating all the neglected children in our cities, towns, and villages."37 It was these perishing, and now more dangerous, children of Tait's that the ruling classes wanted the state to target next, while the artisan's child began to be considered a higher class than had any 86

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right to be educated at public expense."38 On the other hand, the tiny minority of mavericks, such as the Dean of Hereford, Richard Dawes, who believed that working-class and middle-class children should go to school together accused the Societies of deliberately not providing a good enough education to attract the employer's child.39 The future Primate spoke for a larger segment of the flock when he said,. "It is not to be expected that farmers and tradesmen should send their children to be the playfellows of the children of day-labourers in the parish schools." But Tait and Lord John and other liberals of their stripe would not chain the plowboy to his plow. :Tait envisioned what eventually occured, a series of schools, with a chan-nel left open for advancement by merit from one to the next, so that it was at least possible for a boy of t t th t 40 b t gen1us o ge to e un1vers1 y, u never, ever, an open gateway for the ordinary laborers' child. By the end of the fifties Lord John was a Liberal as well as liberal. It was in June of 1859 that the remaining Peelites, the Whigs, and the Radicals met in Willis's Rooms and formed their often uneasy coalition called the Liberal Party. It became their duty to 87

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deal with the problem of education when, as they knew it inevitably must, the Newcastle Commission reported its findings. They dealt with it in what most educationists considered to be a most illiberal manner. They then managed to continue the bipartisan policy of avoidance for nearly another decade. 88

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Notes 1. "The Rival Educational Projects," Eclectic Review 93 CApril 1851): 495. 2. Herbert Spencer], "The art of education," North British Review 21 CMay -1854): 139-140. 3. "Rival Educational Projects," 477, 485-487; "National Education: Local Scheme," Eclectic Review 97 (February 1853): 131; Adams, 164. 4. Hansard vol. 129 (1853), cols. 972-973; vol. 141 (1856), col. 1144. 5. Hansard vol. 143 (1856), cols. 1209-1218; "National Education: State of the Question," Eclectic Review 100 (October 1854): 488-490. 6. Hansard 148 (1858), cols. 1184-1185, 1247-1248. 7. Francis Close, National Education: The Secular The Manchester Bill and the Government Scheme Contrasted (London: T. Hatchard, 1852), 8-9; "Rival Educational Projects," 481-482; John Howard Hinton, The case of the Manchester educationists: a review of the evidence taken before a committee of the House of Commons in relation to the state of education in Manchester and Salford (London: J. Haddon & Son, 1852; reprint, Manchester: E. J. Morten (Publishers>, 1972>, 2:84-85. 8. Hansard vol. 109 (1850), cols. 112 (1850), cols. 817-819; Close, 33; Gainsfordl, "Lord J. Russell's Education Review 38 (March 1855): 222-229. 297-304; vol. [Robert .John Bill," Dublin 9. Hansard vol. 109 (1850>, col. 48; vol. 112 (1850), col. 823; [Isaac Taylor], "Education for the metropolis of manufactures," North British Review 24 : 37; William J. Unwin, A Letter to the Right Hon. Lord John Russell, M.P. on the resolutions for esta.blishing a system of national education submitted to Parliament, March 6, 1856 89

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, 27. 10. "Rival Educational Projects," 493; Hinton, 2:13; Hansard Vol. 151 (1858>, eels. 149-150. 11. Hinton, 1:75-76; Unwin, 5; Samuel Smiles, Self Help, with Illustrations of character and Conduct , 2:500. 16. Hansard vol. 125 (1853), eels. 528, 530. 17. Henry Moseley], "Publio Education," Edinburgh Review 97 -(April 1853): 475. 18. Hinton, 2:93-94; Hansard vol. 141 (1856), eels. 952-953. 19. Matthew Arnold, Reports on Elementary Schools 1852-1882, ed. Rt. Hon. -Sir Francis Sandford , 26-27. 20. Close, 20-21; Hinton, 1:38. 21. "Rival Educational Projects," 489. 22. Hinton, 1:66-67; Smiles, 211-212. 23. [George Moncreiffl, "Progress of popular education in Great Britain," North British Review 16 : 537-538. 90

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24. Kay, 2:538. 25. Hansard vol. 125 (1853>, col. 557; vol. 138 (1855>, cols. 1804-1805. 26. T[homas] Wemyss Reid, Memoirs and Correspondence of Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair , 49-50. 31. Matthew Arnold, Reports, 31. 32. Jelinger Cookson Symons, School economy: practical book on the best means of establishing and teaching schools .. and of making them thoroughly useful to the working classes by means of moral and industrial training , 2, 4; [James Harrison Riggl, "Popular education," London Quarterly Review 12 (July 1859>: 498; Hansard vol. 116 <1851>, col. 1296. 33. Hansard vol. 141 (1856), col. 936; Rev. J. 91

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Fitzygram, Hints for the Improvement of village Schools <1859), in Hollis, 340; Hansard vol. 151 <1858), col. 139. 34. Rigg, "Popular 499; Matthew Arnold, Reports, 60; Ellis, 10; Hansard 125 (1853>, col. 563; Rigg, "Popular education," 489. 35. [Archibald Campbell Taitl, "Government education measures for poor and rich," Edinburgh Review 99 (January 1854): 163-164. 36. Matthew Arnold, Reports, 4-5, 10, 53-54, 22-23. 37. Report of the Board of General Education (1846), in Goldstrom, The Social Content of Education, 113. 38. Hansard vol. 116 (1851), col. 1273. 39. Dawes, 8, 12, 47. 40. Tait, 169-170, 160-161, 172-173; Hansard vol. 139 (1855), col. 386; vol. 140 (1856), cols. 1959-1960. 92

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CHAPTER 5 REVISION AND REFORM In the 1860s the ruling class once .again found the mob at its door. It was quite a polite mob, to be sure, and for the most part it knocked on the door rather than beating it down, but it was terribly persistent and refused to go away when the door failed to open. In the first half of the decade, when it seemed entirely possible that the United States would never be united again, and that its great experiment in popular democracy would drown in blood, Europe was swamped by what Matthew Arnold called a "tide of reactionary sentiment,"1 but, when the noise of the shooting from across the water stopped, there still was heard that persistent knocking. Some type of government action became'imperative in the field of working-class education as well. The Newcastle Com mission brought forth the result of its labor in 1861 and forced the administration to react. In both areas of reform the man of the decade, the man whose goal appeared to be to make himself the most hated man in England, was Robert Lowe. 93

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The instructions to the Newcastle Commission asked it to explore the best way of giving the poor a "sound and cheap" education. At the time the state assisted 6,897 schools, while a far greater number, 16,047 denominational, Birkbeck, Ragged, or factory schools did without grants, many because they either could not afford or did not choose to hire a certificated teacher. The Commission found that only 120,305 children grew up without attending any school at all, but approximately 786,202 went-fewer than one hundred days a year and only 19.3% stayed in school until the age of twelve, so most of the working classes were not getting the education "suited to their stations." Expense, according to the report, was the primary problem with the existing system. It already cost too much and appropriation kept growing. The Com missioners set three goals for reform: to keep children in school long enough to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic well, to make sure all schools taught those subjects well, and to accomplish this without eliminating other subjects. Much to the chagrin of the more radical educational activists, it did not recommend any sweeping changes to the system of volun-94

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tary schools aided by government grants. The existing schools were, as the Commissidn phrased it, "in possession of the ground."2 Acting in tradition established by previous governments, Palmerston's administration produced its response to the Newcastle report in theform of new Minutes issued by the Committee of Council. Lowe, Palmerston's Vice President of the Committee, offered up his proposals with the estimates at the end of the 1861 session with the assurance they would not be put into effect until the following year. By the time Parliament met again some very unparliamentary lan-guage had been hurled at the Vice President and his Revised Code. In 1862 the grant for education totalled 3 ,000. Although. the voluntaryists were inclined to use the most extravagant language in denouncing this "lavish system" and its "recklessness of expenditure,"4 cost had been a constant concern on all sides throughout the century. Lancaster's monitorial system became so popular and lasted so long simply because it promised to make education cheap, and from that day to the day instructions were issued to the 95

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Duke of Newcastle, and beyond, the search for bargain-rate education never ceased. In 1809 the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor advised endowed charities to expand their efforts by opening day schools on the monitorial plan, and for twenty-four years a Royal Commission instigated by Lord Brougham investigated the myriad of charitable trusts for the poor, many dating back to medieval times, with an eye toward diverting their funds to modern educational uses. When the Newcastle Commission sat, however, the trusts had still not fattened the public purse by so much as a farthing. Commissioner Nassau W. Senior, whose experience dated back to the Poor Law Commission of 1832, counselled the legislature not to let a "sentimental regard to the wishes or to the hopes of those who have long ceased to hope or to wish" stand in the way of doing their duty, but still the problem remained. Where would the state find the money to make working-class schools both "sound and cheap."5 Lowe introduced the concept of payment by results. His Revised Code did away with all of the existing confused mish-mash of payments, and replaced it with one larger capitation grant based on the 96

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number of students who passed examinations in the basic skills. He did not pretend his proposal would do away with the conundrum that rich schools qualified for the maximum in government aid while poor districts got no money all, but he saw only one solution to that problem, a new system. As long as the state only acted in aid of private charity, it could not provide schools in areas where that charity was not forthcoming. What it could do was make sure the schools it did aid gave good value for public money. Lowe made one promise for his Code, ... if the system will not be cheap, it will be efficient; and if it will not be efficient, it will be cheap." If schools did their job, he said, they had nothing to fear.6 Howls of pain from wounded educationists immediately sounded from almost every corner of the land. In the London Quarterly Review Rigg, who in addition to his editorship served as principle of the Westminster teachers' training college, cursed the Revised Code as ... a perfectly unique specimen of crude and destructive legislation." Kay-Shuttleworth called it "an act of gross impolicy" which would have disastrous effects, Pakington spoke against it, and Matthew 97

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Arnold accused Lowe of being a closet voluntaryist bent on wiecking the system committed to his care. The Code, said Arnold, should have been written by Edward Baines.7 Indeed, the Ealeatia chortled gleefully to see its opponents in such misery.8 The outcry was so great that Rigg predicted the Code would die in Parliament.9 Lowe proved Rigg wrong, but the victory cost him his place. Lord Robert Ceci 1 accus.ed him of altering reports from inspectors to make them seem more favorable to the Committee. Lowe denied the charges, but in April of 1864 resigned his office. Radical leader John Bright, who would soon have more acrimonious clashes with the ex-Vice President over extension of the franchise, wrote in his diary on the day of Lowe's resignation, "He has been hardly treated, but, as he has never shown mercy to others, he has received none."10 The Code lasted much longer on the job than its author. Although the number of subjects examined increased, the principle of payment for results saw out the century. As tempers cooled some educationists even found a few kind things to say of Lowe's scheme. Francis 98

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Adams admired Lowe's courage and, in the aftermath of 1870, regretted that the task of creating a new and comprehensive system had not been given to a man with such tenacity. The Code did save the taxpayers ,711 between 1861 and 1866 while the number of students in aided schools increased by 141,633. Arnold admitted that under its influence new readers were introduced into the classrooms, readers contain-ing texts and language intended to be more interesting to children, but he denied that the students were learning more from their .. He reported to the Committee in 1867: It is found possible, by ingenious pre paration, to get children through the Revised Code examination in reading, writing, and ciphering, without their really knowing how to read, write, or cipher. According to Arnold's description, the parrot did as well in Lowe's reformed classrooms as he had in old Thomas Gradgrind's.11 For five years after 1862 the world of education rested from its shock. In 1865 Pakington got the gov-ernment to appoint yet another Select Committee, but the attention of both parties was absorbed by the question of electoral reform. Then, in 1867, defying 99

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the devastation predicted by Lowe and his colleagues, Disraeli pulled off his great coup. The Liberals followed it with an education bill which even its sponsor, H. A. Bruce, admitted had no hope of getting through, and the Tories responded next spring with a bill of their own. The Duke of then Lord President of the Council, introduced their measure in the Lords, and even through a second reading, only t6 back down the following month in the face of hostile amendments.12 Outside the Parliamentary walls the educational debate increased in volume, and especially loud voices were once again heard from the north. In 1864 Manchester conceived another association, the Education Aid Society, which paid the school pence of children whose parents not afford it. This Society's sibling, the Manchester Education Bill Committee, helped write the measure which Bruce and William E. Forster brought in in 1867. But then Manchester passed on its role as voice of the radical north to Birmingham. The latter had already acquired John Bright as one of its MPs. George Dixon, first mayor and then MP, founded a duplicate Education Aid Soci-100

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ety, and there in Birmingham, at the beginning of 1869, the National Education League came into being with Dixon as chair, Joseph Chamberlain as vice-chair, and Francis Adams as its active secretary.13 The League wanted a secular state school, paid for by rates, available free to every child in the land, and it wanted direct compulsion. According to Adams, its arrival on the national scene was greeted with applause. He claimed that by February it raised pledges of sixty thousand.pounds, established branches in 113 towns, scheduled two hundred public meetings, and printed 250,000 pieces of propaganda. By March a National Education Union rose up to counter the radical effort. The Union program called for keeping the existing schools but requiring a conscience clause, offering free education for pauper and vagrant children only, and sending working children to school half days. It did not favor direct compulsion. Adams taunted the Union with having little to boast of except coronets. The League, though a thoroughly middle-class organization, at least tried to affiliate itself with the workers. Trade union leader Robert Applegarth was on its board, as was Holyoake, appar101

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ently no 16nger a source of fatal political contamin ation, but the league had no real representatives of the residuum.14 By its very nature, a class such as that which produced the street arabs would not produce leaders willing to trust and act with men like Dixon and Applegarth, or even capable of being recognized by such men as leaders. Thus the middle-class, Liberal, League and the Tory Union ended the sixties prepared to do battle for the soul of a measure they both knew must someday, finally, come; The expected bill, however, would not deal with the education of the middle or upper-class children of League or Union members, and only marginally with the children of artisans like Applegarth who were already getting an education. Other people's children would be more often limited to whatever the state put on offer. Throughout the fifties complaints had been raised about the curricula of elementary schools. The Newcastle Commission agreed; the instruction was usually ''both too ambitious and too superficial." Senior asked, "To what generation of labourer's children will it ever be expedient to discourse on the Schism of the Papacy, the Council of Basle, the Pragmatic Sanction, 102

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or the Wars of the Hussites?" Rev. James Fraser1 in his testimony before the Commission, phrased the goal so well that his idea was repeated again and again throughout the following years. He said that after leaving a proper elementary school a child should be able to read well enough to understand a newspaper, spell and write well enough to pen a letter to his mother, have enough facility with numbers to figure out a shop bill, and comprehend enough about his religion to enjoy "a plain Saxon sermon" and to know his duty to God and his fellow man.15 Lowe's Code embodied this idea. Lowe put many educationists in a very awkward position. On the one hand, theydid not want to give up teaching those subjects which attracted the respectable class and higher fees, but, on the other hand, they wanted the government to finance the education of students who left school without acquiring basic Rigg bemoaned the "crime" of denying a child knowledge of his language, his history, and the position of his country in relation to the rest of the .world. T. H. Huxley compared trying to teach the three Rs alone to ... making a child practise the use 103

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of a knife, fork, and spoon, without giving it a particle of meat."16 Kay-Shuttleworth complained the Code did not compensate schools for the mammoth job they did in civilizing children who entered them ignorant of the use of pen or paper, or of how to sit on a chair, and Arnold agreed the state owed the schools maintenance for teaching "orderly, decent human behaviour-."17 The faction which disliked the old curricula the most thought Lowe had not gone far enough. The Member for Swansea suggested aided schools should be prohibited from teaching anything at all reading, writing, arithmetic, and industrial training so that parents who could afford to pay for their child's education would not be tempted to obtain it at the expense of the state.18 Lowe's Code, as Arnold had rather grudgingly admitted, did improve the textbooks used in elementary schools, and Arnold continued to push for children to be exposed to better literature. Goldstrom's study, however, found that though the language was simplified as Arnold had noted, the content was very little changed. The only significant alteration was a diminished tendency to rely solely on religious lessons.19 104

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The Revised Code no longer specifically rewarded reli-gious education. For the first time a generation of children had a chance to escape such problems as, "There were 12 apostles, 12 patriarchs, and 4 evangel-ists, multiply the patriarchs and apostles together, and divide by the evangelists."20 According to many moderate educational activists, Jacob Bright and Nassau Senior among them, the working classes themselves did not take part in the violent sectarian quarrels over education, at least not those 21 among the Protestant sects. But their middle and upper-class benefactors continued interminably on. The Catholics complained of not being represented on the Newcastle Commission and of state aid to ... those fearful instruments of the Ragged Schools." The tried to stir up the public against aid to Catholic children because" ... a good Romanist must, of necessity, be a bad English citizen .... And the Church, which the Eclectic said had "an infinite capacity for takirig,"22 resisted giving anything back, except on her own terms. In 1860 the Committee of Council began trying to enforce the application of a conscience clause, an 105

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arrangement for Church schools to admit Dissenting children without requiring them to be baptized and learn the catechism, in areas where only one school existed. Lowe Dledded with the Ndtiondl Society to make the clauseapply everywhere, but there was no penalty he could apply. The Anglican Quarterly Review gave Lowe a public reply in its pages. The Society, in "an act of chdritdble tolerdnce," hdd chdnsed its rules so that individual clergymen, as each saw fit, might make exceptions to the resuldtion which barred Dissenting children, and that was quite concession enough. A hundred years later the words of their official historian still reflected the Church's attitude. Lowe, he believed, was probably agnostic, definitely a secularist, "cunning" and "unscrupulous," and plotting, through his Revised Code, to undermine the National Schools. From the office of a Vice President the outlook seemed somewhat different. H. A. Bruce unequivocally told his brother, "The main obstacle to a ndtional system is the Church .... "23 The end of the sixties brought one major change in the landscape of the religious difficulty. The voluntaryists at last capitulated. In 1868, when the 106

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Duke of Marlborough introduced his education bill, it included a clause to eliminate the stipulation that elementary schools must teach religion in order to be eligible for grants from the Committee. Baines, in a speech at Cavendish Chapel schoolroom in Manchester, announced that if the state were going to give money to secular schools that would absolve it of the sin of religious endowment. Under those circumstances, the Cqngregationalists and Independents would take grants to support their schools' secular curricula and supply only the religious portion purely voluntary 24 means. At the time of the debate on the Revised Code Baines, having taken a seat in the Commons like his father before him, brought all the old arguments and statistics against involving the state in education into Parliament. He even berated his fellow members who had state-aided schools in their districts when they could well afford to pay all the costs themselves. The representative on the Newcastle Commission recorded a minority opinion that the state should not interfere in education, and the Edinburgh Review, once a vehicle for Lord Brougham, under 107

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editor Henry Reeve threw its weight against the government on the basis of free trade principles.25 Once Baines made his surrender speech, however, the black and white question of involvement versus none faded away into the grey one of degree. The voluntaryists had artificially held back the debate for years. As Lowe wrote in 1867, the state had been part of the process so long that the time for deciding 26 on principle had past. By the 1860s the working-class radicals whose arguments the voluntaryists had co-opted saw the state almoBt as a against the religious, social, and political indoctrination built into the existing school system. State funds controlled by locally elected committees seemed the safest alternative. The 1868 Trades Union Congress issued a resolution along League lines supporting "free, national, unsectarian, and compulsory d t "27 e UCa 10n .... The working class certainly had something real to fear. Rigg still spoke of the "missionary spirit" of national education, and Sir John Pakington's 1865 Select Committee turned up a few dinosaurs in the countryside. The Rector of Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, 108

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described the various teachers he had appointed -a plowman, a nursery maid, a laborer's wife, none of whom could pass the examination for a certificate -and, when asked if he encouraged education, the Reverend Lloyd replied, "I do not like a child to stay very long in the school in that state of life, because I think it unfits him for his after duties." He preferred the children study the ways of horses and of 28 sheep. Westminster produced words as little comforting to egalitarian minds as those from Buckinghamshire. The Newcastle Commission spurned any idea of building an English system along American lines. There was no real basis for comparison between the two countries, it said, because in America there was no great dif-ferentiation of classes, and" ... the common schools which are supported at the expense of all are made use of by all." It recommended that in order to qualify for grants a school in England must register as "an elementary school for the education of the poor." Lowe, in opening the debate on his Code, reminded his audience: It must never be forgotten that those for whom this system is designed are the children of persons who are not able to 109

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pay for the teaching. We do not profess to give these children an education that will raise them above their station and business in life; ... We are bound to take a clear and definite view of the position of the class that is to receive instruction; and, having obtained that view, we are bound to make up our minds as to how much instruction that class requires, and is capable of receiving .... Baines even moved an amendment to the Code which would require aided schools to prove their students came from families too poor to pay for education.29 Plainly the administration had taken the complaints about middle-class children usurping places meant for the poor to heart. The code served two purposes. It did, as Lowe said, force schools to pay attention to the basic tools of learning so important to workingclass children, but it also served to segregate them further. One large difference between the old Chartist and the Trades Union Congress educational schemes was that the T.U.C. hoped the state would not only pay for schools but use the force of law to get children into them. Kay-Shuttleworth, Forster, Bruce, the Newcastle Commission, and all the official establishment agreed that compulsion was impossible. When Adderley brought in a bill in 1860 featuring a version of the indirect 110

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plans which had been bandied about in the journals for some time, Gladstone derisively advised him ... the passing of the Bill at the present moment was as much out of the question as a bill to abolish the House of Commons."30 Yet the idea continued to spread. That Dixon or Holyoake would proclaim the gospel of mandatory schooling could surprise no one, but by 1867 Matthew Arnold, who personally thought the concept at present, noticed it had, less, become a familiar one to the educationists he met around his district. Lowe, in 1862 declared II ... compulsory education is out of the question in this country. II In 1867, however, he wrote, "We must go further than permitting -we must compel. .,31 When it became part of the National Education League platform, compulsion was no longer a wild idea of.the radical fringe. The wild-eyed part of the platform was that which proposed to provide those schools for free. In pros-perous times, and with a government so concerned with trimming every possible expenditure, the notion that school pence should be waived any but actual paupers seemed too ridiculous to even merit much discus-111

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sion. Forster dismissed free schools as an imposition on the artisan who worked hard to pay his rates and would not appreciate seeing them spent to educate the children of the lazy and improvident.32 That the mob of the 1860s behaved with exemplary politeness when knocking at the door of the polling place showed itself in the tiny number of references to politieal crime in the journals. When John Bright or Kay-Shuttleworth alluded to pnlitiaal agitation as an evil in need of the cure, they meant the crime of trade unionism which they believed grew out of ignorance of political economy.33 Amongst the middle and upper classes fear of competition on the world markets far outranked fear of being burnt in their beds by hooligans. The Paris Exhibition took place in 1867, and to many it offer a prospect as frightening as Disraeli's reform. Playfair told Lord Taunton, chair of the Public Schools Inquiry Commis sion, that as an "inevitable result" of England's neglect of education other nations had already surpassed her in some of her basic industries. The Department of Science and Art raised the alarm, and it echoed through Parliament and the press.34 Only one 112

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motive for educating the people took precedence in ruling class minds when they considered schools for their workers, and that was the prospect of meeting them on the hustings. The Westminster Review plumped for -economic reasons as by far the more pressing of the two popular motives,35 but Lowe's dramatic evocation of the horrors of popular rule while he fought reform, and his subsequent conversion to the policy of universal education, more closely reflected the priorities of his class. They did not much fear, even Lowe did not really fear, the artisans whom they had just ddmitted to the franchise. Indeed, in the debates of 1867, it was Gladstone who compared the literacy rate in some districts to the electoral roll and found the former wanting. The Duke of Marlborough assured the Lords the state of English education was not so bad that any 36 danger could be expected because of reform. After all, the upper classes had spent the last twenty years complaining about those same artisans' children taking up space in classrooms meant for the truly poor. They could not help knowing, however, that real democracy lay just ahead. Lowe wrote of the need to teach the 113

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voters of the future: Even supposing that the classes now enfranchised possess this knowledge, we require a much better guarantee than we have at present that those who are to come after them will possess it also ... There is no effort we should not make -there is no sacrifice, either of money, or prejudice, or feeling, we should not submit to -rather than allow a generation to grow up in ignorance, in whose hands are reposed the destinies all of us, the destinies of the nation. The Liberals returned to power in December of 1868. Most educationists believed they could not have been given a better Christmas gift. Dissenter and Liberal politician James Stansfield greeted the new year with hosannas. Much like Melvyn Bragg a century in the future, Stansfield assured his readers that "government by a alaes" was doomed. In hie bright new world it was "impossible to doubt" that Gladstone's ministry would quickly solve the problem of national education. His sentiment, on the subject of education at least, echoed throughout the political world. The Westminster Review took it as a good omen that both Bruce and Forster were included in the Cabinet. Even a Conservative, looked forward to "a bold, statesmanlike measure."38 They should all have paid close attention to the new the Earl de 114

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Grey and Ripon, when he said that the bill the govern-ment intended to bring in would be designed "not to t th t h h 1 d t "39 over urn e sys em w 10 a rea y ex1s s .... It was no idle warning. 115

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Notes 1. [Matthew Arnold l, "The twice-revised code," Fraser's Magazine 65 , col 174; "The New Minute on Education," Eclectic Review 114 (October 1861): 481. 5. Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, 308-309; Armytage, 93; Nassau William Senior, Suggestions on Popular Education (London: John Murray, 1861), 376-378; Newcastle Report, vol. 1, chapter VI, p. 327. 6. Hansard vol. 166 (1862), cols. 223-225; vol. 165 (1862), cols. 204-205. 7. [James Harrison Riggl, "The revised educational code," London Quarterly Review 17
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Social History of Education no. 6, gen. ed. Victor E. Neuburg), 14; Matthew Arnold, Reports, 104-105, 219-220. 12. Hansard vol. 177 (1865), col. 926; vol. 188 (1867>, cols. 1317-1333, 1511; vol. 191 <1868), cols. 120-129, 1310, 1331; vol. 192 (1868), cols. 405-406. 13. Adams, 192-198. 14. Adams, 192-193, 197-198, 206-207; Henryl Wilkinsonl Holland, Proposed national arrangements for primary education , 45-46; J[ohnl S. Hurt, Elementary Schooling and the Working Classes 1860-1918 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979; Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1979, Studies in Social History, gen. ed. Harold Perkin>, 65-66. 15. Newcastle Report, vol. 1, chapter VI, p. 295; Senior, 335; evidence of Assistant Commissioner Rev. James Fraser, Newcastle Report, in Maclure, 75. 16. Rigg, "Revised code," .621-622; Thomasl H[enryl Huxley, "A Liberal Education; and where to find it," in T. H. Huxley, T. H. Huxley on Education, ed. Cyril Bibby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971, Cambridge.texts &studies in the history of education, gen. eds. A. C. F. Beales, A. V. Judges, J. P. C. Roach), 77. 17. Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods, 582-587; Matthew Arnold, "Twice-revised code," 356. 18. Hansard vol. 166 (1862), col. 1229. 19. Matthew Arnold, Reports, 87-88; Goldstrom, The Social Content of Education, 171-173. 20. Hansard vol. 166 (1862), col. 104. 21. Senior, 19-20; Hansard vol. 194 <1869>, col. 1246; [Margaret Foster 1, "Popular education," London Quarterly Review 16 (July 1861):514. 22. [John Morris], "Popular Education in England," Dublin Review 50 : 60-61, 89; 117

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"New Minute," 486, 484. 23. Hansard vol. 177 (1865), cols. 901-902; vol. 164 <1861>, cols. 731-732; [Frederick Meyrickl, "Popular education -the new code," Quarterly Review 111 (January 1862): 108-109; Burgess, 184-185; Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare, Letters of the Rt. Hon. Henry Austin Bruoe G. C. B. Lord Aberdare of Duffryn , 1;244-245. 24. Hansard col. 191 <1868), cols. 120-129; "Popular Education," Westminster Review 89 o. s. 33 n s : 42 9 25. Hansard vol. 166 (1862), cols. 197-201; Newcastle Report, vol. 1, chapter VI, pp. 297-298; [Henry Reeve], "Popular Education in England," Edinburgh Review 114 (July 1861): 10-11, 29. 26. Robert Lowe, Primary and Classioal Eduoation , col. 210; Lowe, 9. 32. Hansard vol. 194 (1869), col. 1239. 33. John Bright, The Publio Letters of the Rt. Hon. John Bright .. ed. H. J. Leech
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York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1969), 244-246; Kay-Shuttleworth, Memorandum, 6. 34. Reid, Playfair, 153; Bartley, 17; Hansard vol. 188 (1867), col. 1351; "Popular Education," 441. 35. "Popular Education," 436. 36. Hansard vol. 190 (1867>, col. 497; vol. 188 (1867), col. 1363. 37. Lowe, 8. 38. [James Stansfield], "The new parliament and Mr. Gladstone," British Quarterly Review 49 : 473; Hansard vol. 194 (1869), cols. 1248-1249. 39. Hansard vol. 194 <1869), col. 815. 119

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CHAPTER 6 AVOIDANCE ENDED? A CONCLUSION It is the necessary nature of a political party in this country to avoid, as long as it can be avoided, the consideration of any question which involves a great change. There is a consciousness on the minds of leading politicians that the pressure from behind, forcing upon them great measures, drives them almost quicker than they can go, so that it becomes a necessity with them to resist rather than to aid the pressure which will certainly be1at last effective by its own strength. Anthony Trollope knew governments well. By 1870 the pressure on the subject of education had become too great. Expectations had been raised too high. The administration had to act. The very table of contents of Science and Art inspector Sir G. C. T. Bartley's 1870 history of English education demonstrated the enormously con-fusing jumble of schools, under vastly different supervision, or none at all, which had grown up in the absence of any government plan. There were the Sooiety, Catholic, Wesleyan, Congregational, Jewish, infant, and evening schools eligible for grants from 120

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the Committee of Council. Science and Art ran its own sohools of design, plus trade and navigation schools. The Admiralty claimed responsibility for training institutions of its own, dockyard aohoola, and sohools for sailors' orphans. The Army trained its own men as well, and ministered to their orphans. Managers of industrial and reformatory schools reported to the Home Office, dnd were run by the Poor Law Guardians, and the Commissioners of Lunacy took charge of schools_for the mentally handi-capped. In addition to all these a multitude of pri-vately run charitable institutions, dame schools, Birkbeck schools, and mechanics' institutions also provided elementary education without benefit of the government's assistance.2 Unfortunately, had he writ-ten after 1870, Bartley would only have needed to add Board schools to the Committee of Council section and let the rest be. Both Forster, Gladstone's Vice President, and the Earl de Grey and Ripon opened the debate in their respective Houses by acknowledging the political and economic motives which caused them to lay a Bill on the table. In Forster's words: Upon the speedy provision of elementary 121

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education depends our industrial prosperity .... Upon this speedy provision depends also, I fully believe, the good, the working of our constitutional system. The question of state involvement in education had been settled by the collection of sixty years worth of proof that no other institution could handle the job. In 1984 Philip Gardner did a study of the private adventure and dame schools which appeared in such an infamous light in dll the mdnY Blue Books produced by the array ofcommittees on education. His thesis was that they had been maligned by the upper classes. He said they represented the real working-class education, the true expression of what the laborers wanted to learn; and that they symbolized working-class rejection of the education the govern-4 ment and the Societies pressed upon them. That may, in many cases, have been true, but the working classes also knew they could never sustain a complete system of their own. Frederick Rogers, a labor leader who spent his life fighting for union privilege and educa-tional reform, wrote, ... voluntary effort on the part of well-disposed groups of people, however strenuous and sincere it might be, is not sufficient to solve 122

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. 1 bl f "t d 5 any soc1a pro em o magnl u e .... Even the rich could not manage to create a universal system. The state gave the voluntary method every possible oppor-tunity to succeed. Even in 1870, it had chances still to offer. Whether or not the role of the state extended to applying some sort of compulsion to force the residuum into the schools seemed an open question as the 1870 debate opened. Forster was on record as supporting it, but Gladstone and two former Tory Vice Presidents did not. Shaftesbury approved, but the Duke of Marl-borough envisioned truant officers knocking on his own door. In the end, any radical. theories Forster may have entertained were overruled. His bill allowed local school boards to compel attendance if they chose, but it did not require it. In the same manner, following in the steps of Denison's Act, boards were empowered, but not required, to pay fees for poor children.6 A child in radical Birmingham stood a much greater chance of finding himself dragged into school, and his parents a much greater chance of not paying the pence from their pockets, than a child living on one of the Duke of Marlborough's rural estates. 123

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That a child of the residuum or his parent would take a great interest in the advantages of education in Birmingham versus that on the Duke's estate was questionable at best. The men with whom the young Rogers worked thought his obsession with the Forster Act amusing; they were more interested in jobs than schools. He said he never encountered any great surge of feeling on the subject among his comrades, despite the claims of the various propaganda organizations.7 The artisans, many of whom had long been educational activists, had a large stake in what the government wrought, but the system, whatever its features, would be one imposed upon them by the ruling classes, not one of their own creation. The middle and upper classes were very much aware of the social gradations within the working class, and, much as they wanted to maintain separate systems for themselves, they were concerned with mixing Tait's poor and his perishing lest the perishing contaminate the poor. Much of this concern had a selfish tinge, however. Had the Societies been eagar to rescue urchins from the street, Lord Shaftesbury's Ragged Schools need never have existed. An article by the 124

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Dean of St. Paul's in the National Society Monthly Paper recommended the really poor be left to the board schools lest the better students desert the Church schools for the state.8 At the center of the debate over the Forster Act, as it had been at the center of all debate on education since the century began, was the religious difficulty. Though the majority had come to feel that it must no longer stand in the way of some form of government action, the various sides were little closer to an agreement than they had been when Whitbread and Brougham stood before them. Indeed, the Irish Catho lics were pleading for the dismantling of the national system there, and for government support for their denominational schools under the same terms as those their Committee received in Ensland.9 Gladstone, the devout Churchman, who had argued from the Church's point of view on education all his political life, and Forster, the former Quaker who had left the Friends and married Thomas Arnold's daughter, had to determine how to cut through the undergrowth of decades and do what no other government had dared to do, pass an education bill at last. 125

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A fustrated Lord Brougham, in 1839, told Parliament, "The Church wished for education; but they wished to keep down the sects a little more. The Dissenters wished for education; but they wished to pull down the Church a little more." He also prophesied: ... I shall live to see the Parliament of England perform, at length, its too long-delayed and most sacred duty, of giving instruction to all classes, of all descriptions, all ranks, and all sects of people, upon the broad, universal, and eternal principles religious as well as of civil liberty. Brougham died an old man in 1868, but had he heard the debates of 1870, his opinion of the denominations would not have changed. The Radicals expected much from William Edward Forster. He owned quite a radical political reputa-tion. He belonged to a committee in Leeds headed by Dr. Hook; he ran a school connected with his own fac-tory in Burley; he was a member of Pakington's 1865 Select Committee on Education, and he co-sponsored and helped draft Bruce's 1868 bill. In 1870, however, Forster shocked all those who thought him their polit-ical friend. He told the Cabinet in October of 1869 much the same thing he told the Commons in February of 126

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1870. There would be no new comprehensive system. He designed his bill only to aaulk in the oraoks, and to do that as cheaply and with as little disruption to the existing schools as possible.11 of the for Forater's probably rested with his chief. Gladstone may have been the Great Liberal, but he was not a great liberal. His background was Peelite rather than Whig or Radical, and his heart remained with the Church and the Treasury. In 1856 he declared that if he had to choose between a purely voluntary system and one solely under the control of the state, he would prefer the voluntary method, because with whatever good intentions the creators of a state system began, he felt it would end in "hard irreligion."12 Gladstone's own project, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, ruffled many a clerical feather the previous year, and in 1870 the Prime Minister was much more concerned with Irish land than with English schools. He wanted an education bill which would raise a mini-mum of fuss. As he wrote hopefully to Catholic Archbishop H. E. Manning, the Forster Act was a "carefully framed & well balanced measure" and the only opposi-127

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tion he expected was from "the quarters of secularism."13 That opposition he certainly got. Adams, Lovett, and all the League supporters thought the education bill a sellout, ... that miserable abortion of Mr. Forster and his clerical allies," as. Lovett phrased it, and its author a traitor. They found it especially indefensible in light of the sizable Liberal majority. On 9 March a League deputation of over four hundred people, including Dixon, Chamberlain, and Applegarth, waited on the Prime Minister to sue for-concessions. Even Tory front-bencher Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy hailed the bill as a "Union triumph over the League."14 The bill which pleased Gladstone and so enraged the left wing of his own party proposed to do an educational survey of the country. In districts where schools were found in sufficient number, it would do nothing. Where an insufficiency existed, the Soci eties would have a year to fill the gap, and only if no such agency stepped in would the area need to elect a school board and levy rates, though it could do so at its own pleasure in any district. The requirements for grants included a mandatory conscience clause and 128

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nondenominational inspection on secular subjects only. School Boards, in communities which chose to create them, would be treated as any other school managers and left to decide for themselves what type of reli-gious lessons they would have in their schools, sub-ject to the conscience clause arrangements. The Committee of Council would be allowed to intervene di-rectly should a school board refuse to remedy a d f 15 e 1c1ency. Dixon met the Forster Act with a hostile amend-ment on the second reading, a very unusual step for a Member to take against a measure brought in by his own party. The Anglican and Wesleyan journals, on the other hand, gave Forster their praise. In a useless effort to keep Dissenting tempers under control, Gladstone advised the Bishop of Winchester, who wrote for permission to hold a public meeting in support of the bill, ... you had better not be too well pleased h th "16 Wlt e prov1s1ons. The Radical wing won a few concessions from their leadership. When the bill left the committee stage boards were no longer permitted to teach any specific catechisms or religious rituals, and the original con-129

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science clause was transformed into a time-table one, but the Church was still happy enough with the measure that only one Bishop thought it necessary to speak on its second reading in the Lords. On the third reading in the Commons Dixon warned that his faction would be back in future with bills of their own to amend this act, and Edward Miall, the voluntaryist Member for Bradford, offered one thought to Gladstone on behalf of the Nonconformists, "once bit, twice shy."17 In August i.t was finally over and, such a.s it was, England had an education bill, and the shape of her national schools system had been determined. Like London, it had no plan. It simply took a collection of independent systems, as London took a collection of independent villages, and called it one whole. The government still managed to avoid creating a system of its own. It was not a victory of which Gladstone's future official biographer could be proud. In 1873 John Morley wrote: There was a political obliquity in this which far surpassed that of the Conservatives in establishing household suffrage. And Mr. Disraeli had the satisfaction of dishing the Whigs, who were his enemies. Mr. Gladstone, on the other hand, the dissenters, who were his friends. 130

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Like most reforms entered into by reluctant governments, the Forster Act really pleased no one, and had to be amended again and again. Radicals remained upset, and Dixon, as promised, continued to bring forward new bills. In 1876, under the Tory Vice President Viscount Sandon, whose father headed the National Education Union, the government carried a bill for indirect compulsion .. In 1880 the Liberals made direct compulsion mandatory for all local authorities, and so caught up in part to the League position of 1870. After forty years of agitation, the Forster Bill was little different from many of Lord Brougham's propositions, but as the decades hdd Pdssed what was once a startling departure from tradition had become familiar. The Act catered to the conservatives in both parties because the radicals, after all, had nowhere else to go. The bill was sufficient to meet the perceived crises caused by the Reform Bill and the reaction to the Paris Exhibition. The sense of urgency passed, and the radicals could only continue their agitation. Thus the dialectic of reform moved on. The League dream of free schools did not become 131

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reality until 1918, .and eleven-plus examinations continued to determine each English child's future until swept away by the educational reform movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The Victorian ruling class dealt with elementary schools on the same principles by which it ruled the empire: free trade, keep it cheap, and work through private efforts wherever possible. The National Society was.the East India Company of education. An empire must have subject peoples, and in England they were the working classes. From first to last no one in power seriously entertained the notion that English schools, like American ones, might try to serve all classes together. Even the newly rich and newly enfranchised middle class, which might have been expected to understand working-class ambitions, wanted to segregate themselves and preserve the race of gentlemen to which their sons might aspire. Melvyn Bragg could not have had the company of many farm laborers' grandchildren at Oxford, and five years after he published his town's memoirs, the gentleman had yet to vanish from the scene. Indeed, Anthony Sampson, in The Changing Anatomy of Britain, 132

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found the influence of graduates of the traditional public academies such as Eton and Winchester to be "greater than ever." The school system, Sampson said, ... reinforces and perpetuates a class system whose divisions run through all British institutions, separating language, attitudes, and motivations."19 What the Victorians built, they built well. 133

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Notes 1. Anthony Trollope, Phineas Redux? with a preface by R. W. Chapman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973>, 34-35. 2. Bartley, table of contents. 3. Hansard vol. 203 <1870), col. 826; vol. 199 (1870>, col. 465. 4. Phillip W.l Gardner, The Lost Elementar.v Sahools of Viatorian England: The People's Eduaation , 4-11. 5. Frederick Rogers, Labour .. Life and Literature; some memories of sixty years (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1913; reprint, Brighton: Harvester Press, 1973, ed. David Rubinstein, Society and the Victorians, gen. ed. John Spiers>, 52-53. 6. T[homasl Wemyss Reid, Life of the Right Honourable William Edward Forster , 1:523; Hansard vol. 200 <1870), cola. 298, 234-235; vol. 199 <1870), cols. 467-474; vol. 203 <1870>, cols. 846-848, 840, 857. 7. Rogers, 52-53. 8. Hansard vol. 203 < 1870) col. 861; [James Harrison Riggl, "Denominational and national education," London Quarterly Review 33 (January 1870>: 287; Rev. R. Gregory, article in National Soaiety Monthly Paper, quoted in Hurt, 70. 9. Holland, 83. 10. Hansard vol. 50 <1839), col. 594; vol. 48 (1839), cols. 1324-1325. 11. Reid, Forster, 1:436-446, 463-464; Hansard vol. 199 (1870), col. 444. 12. Hansard vol. 141 (1856>, col. 946. 134

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13. W[illiaml E[wartl Gladstone, The Gladstone Diaries; with Cabinet Minutes and Prime-Ministerial Correspondence .. ed. H. C. G. Matthew , 106. 15. Hansard vol. 199 (1870>, cols. 450-462. 16. Hansardvol. 199 <1870>, col. 1931; [James Bowling Mozley], "The education of the people," Quarterly Review 128 CApri 1 1870) : 488; [James Harrison Riggl, "Mr. Forster's education bill," London Quarterly Review 34 , 15. 19. Anthony Sampson, The Changing Anatomy of Britain (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1982), 118, 128. 135

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Secondary Sources Armytage, W. H. G. Four Hundred Years of English Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964. Birchenough, Charles. History of Elementary Education in England and Wales from 1800 to the present day. 3rd. ed. London: University Tutorial Press, 1938. Bragg, Melvyn. Speak for England: An Oral History of England 1900 -1975 based on interviews with the inhabitants of Wigton, Cumberland. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977. Burgess, Henry James. Enterprise in Education: the story of the work of the Established Church in the education of the people prior to 1870. London: National Society S. P. C. K., 1958. Gardner, Phillip W.J. The Lost Elementary Schools of Victorian England: The People's Education. London: Croom Helm, 1984. Goldstrom, J. M. The Social Content of Education 1808 1870: A Study of the Working Class School Reader in England and Ireland. Shannon: Irish University Press, 1972. Hurt, Jfohnl S. Elementary Schooling and the Working Classes 1860 -1918. Studies in Social History, ed. Harold Perkin. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1979. Reid, TfhomasJ Wemyss. Life of the Right Honourable William Edward Forster. Vol. 1. London: Chapman & Hall, Limited, 1888. Memoirs and Correspondence of Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair. London: Cassell and Company Limited, 1899; reprint, Jemimaville, Scotland: P. M. Pollack Science Reprints, 1976. 136

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Carlisle, George William Frederick], 7th Earl of. Lectures and addresses in aid of popular education. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1852. Carlyle, Thomas. Complete Works of Thomas Carlyle. Vol. VIII, Past and Present. New York & San Francisco: The Wheeler Publishing Co., no date given . Close, Francis, Rev. National Education: The Secular System, The Manchester Bill, and the Government Scheme Contrasted. London: T. Hatchard, 1852. Cobden, Richard. The Political Writings of Richard Cobden. Vol. 1. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1903; reprint, The Garland library of war and peace, gen. eds. Blanche Wiesen Cook, Sandi E. Cooper, & Charles Chatfield, London & New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1973. Combe, George. Remarks on National Education being an inquiry into the right and duty of government to educate the p.eople. Edinburgh: Maclachlan, Stewart, & Co; London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.; Dublin: James M'Glashan, 1847. A Country Clergyman. Cpseud.) The Voluntary Principle adapted to Compulsory Education in Rural Districts. Oxford: J. Vincent (for private circulation), 1857. Cranbrook, Gathorne Gathorne -Hardy, 1st Earl of. The Diary of Gathorne Hardy, later Lord Cranbrook, 1866 -1892: Political Selections. Nancy E. Johnson, ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981. Dawes, Richard. Remarks occasioned by the present crusade against the educational plans of the Committee of Council on education. London: Groombridge and Sons, 1850. Detrosier, Rowlandl. An Address on the Necessity of an. Extension of Instruction among the Working Classes. London: Wakelin, 1835. 141

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