Слике страница
PDF
ePub

every one who speaks the language of Shakspeare, or who looks to England as his national fatherland.

Nor yet is the honour of the bard confined to those who are in any degree or in any sense his fellow-countrymen ; for our Teutonic brethren in Germany, the vivacious and intelligent people of France, and even the more phlegmatic natives of remote Russia (whose very civilisation dates from a period much less removed from us than the Shakspearean), have each and all claimed the permission, I might well say even the right, to place a chaplet on his tomb. As for our kinsmen beyond the Atlantic, they were separated from us since the bard of Avon sang ; so that they are entitled to claim him in common with ourselves, and they have equal pride and pleasure in rendering a tribute similar to our own. Their claim to a share of the literary treasures of our AngloSaxon tongue is so legitimate, that we could not deny it if we would ; and it is so creditable to them that we would not if we could.

Amid honours so universally paid, our own little celebration is but as a drop in the ocean ; yet the duty, however trifling, should be honestly and heartily performed. To such a man as Shakspeare, the trite expression “one of a million” is wholly inadequate. Nor was he merely one of even a generation; for many millions of civilised men may exist in successive generations, and yet no rival to him be found. Wbile possessing no trait of character in itself unusual or extraordinary, he was remarkable for having no talent wanting. He presented one of those exceptional cases of the coincidence of numerous rare qualities, or qualities in a rare degree, the likelihood of whose occurrence dwindles away, in accordance with the law of probabilities, till it almost vanishes in a cipher.

To others who may be supposed to possess partialities for their own national writers, he appears as a great planet among

[ocr errors]

secondary satellites; and as time rolls on, successive generations, each more numerous than the preceding, will pay their homage to his genius. Through his writings will our language and national life be made increasingly known; and it is gratifying to feel that, as a whole, he presents a fair picture of English life in every phase. His monument has, therefore, been reared, though no sculptor had lifted chisel or touched marble. More during than brass or any tablet which moth and rust can corrupt, is the memorial reared by himself in his own writings. Every month draws troops of pilgrims to the spot where his ashes rest; while year by year his writings produce, like the beauties of Nature's face itself, pleasures ever fresh and ever new. They call forth praises to Him who gives no talent in vain, and who blessed our country and dignified our race by giving to us especially, and to mankind in general--a Shakspeare.

SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF THE LIVERPOOL

BLUE COAT HOSPITAL.

PART III.

By John R. Hughes Esq.

[READ 10TH APRIL, 1862.]

In the former papers were noted, with more or less detail, the records of the Institution during one hundred years of its establishment, ending 1809. The latter year witnessed, not alone the School's centenary, but also the gratifying spectacle of a former pupil, nurtured within its walls, George Brown Esq., occupying the high position of Treasurer, which gave him the chief rule of the establishment. This office he retained during the succeeding year, with so great advantage to the School as to elicit the special approbation of his colleagues. At a meeting held on the 1st January, 1811, the grateful thanks of the Trustees were respectfully presented to him " for his very meritorious, judicious and most advantageous “ services in behalf of the Institution. His successor was Edward Sephton Esq., who filled the office one year. At this period the Earl of Derby, who, besides being one of the Governors and Trustees, was a warm friend of the Institution, wished to place in the School a child who appeared not to belong to the parish of Liverpool. This the Trustees, however much inclined, could not permit, as it was in direct opposition to the Hospital charter, granted in 1739-41. Mr. Sephton was requested to write to his Lordship, apprising him of the fact. This letter was dated 8th October, 1811, and stated that

At a quarterly meeting of the Committee of the Blue Coat Hospital in Liverpool, on Tuesday, the 1st October, in the year 1811, the Trustees having taken into consideration the recommendation of the Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, for the admission of a child (who does not belong to the parish of Liverpool), are unanimously of opinion, however much disposed to oblige so kind a friend of the charitable Institution, that in this instance, however much they lament the circumstances, they cannot accede to his Lordship's wish consistently with the spirit

and often repeated expressions of the charter. The letter added that

from the first meeting of the Committee after the decree from the Chancery court of Preston was received, it has been the invariable practice strictly to restrain the admission to the children whose legal settlement has been proved to be in Liverpool.

This case suggests the remark that some expressions of the charter have come, at this distance of time, to be misunderstood. By it every child seeking admission into the Blue Coat Hospital is required to belong to the town and parish of Liverpool. Elsewhere, however, the disjunctive form, town or parish, is used. Again, at the period of the founding of the Blue Coat Hospital, Liverpool had been only some ten years erected into a parish, distinct from Walton, to which it had before been attached We also know that for many years the old borough and parish of Liverpool were co-extensive; but under the Municipal Act the town was greatly enlarged, taking in portions of adjoining townships. From these circumstances the question naturally arises,- and, indeed, has arisen,-as to the meaning of the terms town and parish, as laid down in the charter. The expression town throughout precedes that of parish. Eminent counsel seem agreed upon the reading that the two forms of expression in the first instance clearly convey the meaning that children of parishioners, even though not townsmen, are equally eligible for admission ; while in regard to the second point, they say that children belonging to the adjoining townships, even when

[ocr errors]

The very

those townships became incorporated with the town, are not eligble within the meaning of the charter, inasmuch as the town may be enlarged to almost any extent; nor could some extension have been otherwise than contemplated at the period of obtaining the charter (1739-41), by the introduction of such clause. So recently as the 24th April, 1857, the opinion of the present Solicitor-General, Sir Roundell Palmer, was had, confirmatory of others previously obtained.

The construction put upon the words may fairly be esteemed in harmony not alone with the direct letter, but with the spirit of the charter. Assuming, however, that even a more liberal and extended construction could have been given, it would have increased the number of applicants, already too many; while the vacancies remained precisely the same. year following that in which the Earl of Derby sought admission for a child not belonging to the town, there were on one quarter day no fewer than 138 applicants, while there were only 8 vacancies !

Mr. Sephton having occupied the Treasurership for one year, was followed, in 1812, by Wm. Beckwith Esq.; and Matthew Gregson Esq., (the well-known author of "Gregson's “ Fragments") filled the post in 1813. During Mr. Beckwith’s time the “Madras system” of education-so named from originating in the Military Orphan Asylum at Madras“ was introduced into the School with great success; and the method pursued received the high approbation of the Rev. Dr. Bell, the excellent and philanthropic founder of the scheme. Although the “Madras system ” was introduced to this country in 1797, on Dr. Bell's return from India, it had made comparatively little way at the time it was adopted in the Blue Coat Hospital.

Its distinguishing characteristic, the principle of tuition by the scholars themselves, was esteemed worthy of a trial at the Blue Coat School, as it gave to the master

the

« ПретходнаНастави »