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and Raphoe—to which Charles I. added one at Carysfort, in Wicklow, and one at Banagher, in King's County. But even these institutions could not be said to succeed, if success meant a fulfilment of the object of their foundation. They were richly endowed: the rentals of their estates amounting in the reign of William IV. to nearly 7,000l. a year; they were open to all classes and sects. But the Roman Catholics persisted in regarding them as seminaries of Protestantism and proselytism; even the scholarships and exhibitions offered to deserving scholars of small means failed to attract competition; and in 1835 the entire number of free scholars in the seven schools fell short of two dozen. There were, indeed, other pupils in sufficiently fair number, but they, as private boarders in the master's house, or as day boys, paid fees quite beyond the means of the lower middle class, whom it was the most desirable to attract. Nay, though according to the terms of their foundation, the schools were open to all, the masters refused to take Roman Catholics as boarders or day boys, believing probably that their presence would deter Protestant
have certainly done good service in supplying the want of public schools in Ireland, which was destitute of such as England reckons public schools 'till the foundation of S. Columba's. The only schools in the whole island which could be pronounced really successful for the objects in behalf of which they had been set up were some grammar-schools which Erasmus Smith, a London alderman, in the reign of Charles II., had established in different parts of Ireland, where he had obtained grants of land. As the estates which he left for their endowment rose in value, other schools were opened by his trustees, till, a few years ago, they amounted to eighty-nine in number, with 11,000 children. But even these a very careful inquirer into the subject pronounced to be more or less mismanaged,' and would not allow them to form any exception to the broad assertion that 'in Ireland all endowments, both public and private, have worked badly;'1 one chief cause in every instance being, as he believed, that, even when the greatest pains were taken to veil it, the system adopted was one of religious exclusion.
Happily, the Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1833, Mr. Stanley (the late Lord Derby), was a man of keen perception and unflinching resolution. He not only saw that religious divisions were at the bottom of many of the worst evils of Ireland, but he also forecast a statesmanlike mode of grappling
1 Godkin's Education in Ireland, p. 43.
with some of their most salient manifestations. He determined to substitute a system of mixed education for the previous one of exclusion, and established a Board of National Education at Dublin, on principles so tolerant that even a Roman Catholic prelate did not refuse to take his seat at the Board. The National Schools were placed under its superintendence ; fresh schools were opened in great numbers; and so judiciously did its regulations show that there was no desire to force the religious doctrines and practices of Churchmen on the, Roman Catholics, that Roman Catholic children began to pour in as pupils; and the Commissioners, after nine years' experience, could venture to report that they were succeeding in teaching all classes and sects, 'by lessons both of precept and of habit, that religious differences should not prevent civil concord. In referring with satisfaction to the results of the national' system of education in Ireland, we are of course only thinking of the exceptional condition of that anomalous country. As a general rule, and particularly for England, we hold that denominational education impartially succoured by the State is not only most sound in principle, but that practice proves it to work most satisfactorily. We are neither writing politics nor ethnology, so we are not concerned to explain why Ireland should not be as England in this respect. With this single remark we leave the question-- religious differences in England are not combined with differences of race involving the “earth-hunger.'
To be sure the organisers of the Irish National system were so far from wishing to exclude religion from their system, that the most noteworthy of all their class-books was a series of Scripture extracts in a new translation, out of which Romanist, Protestant (i.e. Anglican), and Presbyterian were able without conscientious scruple to study in common. At the same time it would not be candid to conceal the fact, which is cheerfully avowed by all who speak from local knowledge, that by efflux of time the schools have practically become denominational, according to the religious complexion of each district.
But Archbishop Murray could not live for ever; and on his death in 1852, his successor, Dr. Cullen, now a Cardinal and the chief dignitary of the Romish Church in Ireland, instantly reversed his conciliatory policy, issuing a pastoral, in which
1 Out of seven Commissioners one was Archbishop Murray, and another was the Chief Remembrancer, Mr. A. Blake, both Roman Catholics. The others were Archbishop Whately, the Duke of Leinster, and Dr. Sadleir, Churchmen; Mr. Holmes, a Unitarian barrister, and Mr. Cuchill, a Presbyterian minister.
he denounced some of the school-books which Dr. Murray had approved, and for which he had even obtained the sanction of Pius IX., ‘reprobated the project of giving a united religious instruction to Catholic and non-Catholic children in the same class,' and insisted that 'separate religious instruction was the only protection for Catholics. Even members of his own religion differed from him ; for Mr. Kavanagh, the Head Inspector of National Schools, cordially attested the success of the system of united education, short as the period had been of its operation ; stating, in his evidence before a Committee of the House of Lords, that there had been a decided improvement in the country through its impartial working ;' and that, 'as the children of different creeds became acquainted with each other, they learnt to entertain more kindly feeling towards each other.'
Above twenty years before, one of the ablest of the Roman Catholic prelates, Bishop Doyle, had predicted not only that such would be the effect of united education, but that no other system could possibly have the same result. A sentence of his evidence in 1830 before a Committee of the House of Lords is worth quoting :
"I do not see how any man wishing well to the public peace, and who looks to Ireland as his country, can think that peace can ever be permanently established, or the prosperity of the country ever well secured, if children are to be separated at the commencement of life on account of their religious opinions. I do not know any mea. sure which would prepare the way for a better feeling in Ireland than uniting children at an early age and bringing them up in the same school, leading them to commune with one another, and to form those little intimacies and friendships which often subsist through life. Children thus united know and love each other as children brought up together always will ; and to separate them is, I think, to destroy some of the finest feelings in the hearts of men.'
No one ever questioned the strict orthodoxy of Bishop Doyle, his thorough understanding of all the principles, and his earnest zeal for the interests of the Church to which he belonged. Yet even he could detect nothing in the system of united or mixed education at variance with his views of religious duty. It is not unreasonable to believe that the realisation of Bishop Doyle's anticipations which was already witnessed in every part of Ireland, had influenced the Government of the day in their resolutions to carry the principle further, and to extend it to a higher class, and to students of maturer age. There was as yet no open university or college in Ireland. Dissenters, Protestant or Roman Catho
: It iso Doyle's anticipat, had influenced The Robert Peel, the differeer by being be
lic, had, indeed, in the last decade of the eighteenth century, been admitted at Trinity College, and had been allowed to obtain degrees. But the scholarships and fellowships were confined to members of the Established Church ; so that there was but little inducement for those of any other sect to avail themselves of the opening of the lecture-rooms; to which it may be added that the system was too costly for the majority of the Roman Catholics or Presbyterians, who, for the most part, were of a poorer class than the Episcopalian gentry. Maynooth, though exclusively Roman Catholic, was confined to students preparing for the priesthood.
The combined influence of these considerations suggested to Sir Robert Peel, in his second ministry, the foundation of new colleges in the different provinces, where university education, being made cheaper by being brought home, as it were, to the inhabitants of each, should be placed within reach of those whose narrow circumstances had hitherto debarred them from such an advantage ; and where, moreover, the members of each religious sect might be brought together and from uniting in their early years in the same pursuits, both of study and of amusement, might, in their mature age, continue as men the friendly intercourse and cordial co-operation of their youth. Accordingly, in May, 1845, he proposed to Parliament the establishment of three colleges, one at Belfast for Ulster, one at Cork for Munster, and one at Galway for Connaught. Leinster, it was considered, was sufficiently provided for by Trinity, with which it seemed more prudent not to interfere. The education was to be most comprehensive, embracing all the most important branches of literature and science, except theology; while, a not insufficient provision was made for the separate moral and religious supervision and instruction of the students of each denomination. The scheme did not embrace the erection of rooms for either professors or students. But lodging-houses for the reception of the latter were to be licensed by the Presidents; and clergymen of each denomination were to be appointed with the title of Deans of Residence, to take charge of the pupils of their persuasion, to watch over their conduct, and to give such religious instruction as might consist with the other arrangements of the colleges.
The inducements to youths of limited means to avail themselves of the advantages offered to them were framed in a spirit of great liberality. There were, indeed, no fellowships, such as the English universities find so valuable, both as rewards for high attainments, and as a means of cherishing
the lifelong attachment to their Alma Mater, which is so prominent a characteristic of Oxford and Cambridge men. But above fifty scholarships were founded at each college, to which prizes for composition in English and Latin have been gradually added ; while a degree of the first or second class is not a barren honour, as in England, but brings with it a substantial reward of money. It is probably no exaggeration to say that a scholar who closes his career with a first-class degree may have received the whole of his three years' education without costing his parents a single farthing.
Peel's proposal was resisted by a strong party, with O'Connell as its mouthpiece, among the Roman Catholics, whose clergy were conscientiously and immovably opposed to any proposal withdrawing any part of the education of the youth of their persuasion from the control of their priests; as well as by a small body of Churchmen, who, justly regarding religious instruction as the most valuable portion of education, disapproved of the then strange and novel phenomenon, its entire omission from the curriculum of the Queen's Colleges as objectionable in principle. The opposition, however, failed in gathering any Parliamentary strength; the Colleges were founded and opened in the autumn of 1849,and from the first it was seen that, though the ecclesiastical chiefs of the Roman Catholic Church denounced them, there was a large party among their flocks which did not share their feelings. Two Roman Catholics of eminence, one being a priest, accepted the presidencies of the colleges at Cork and Galway ; several others competed for and obtained professorships ; and Roman Catholic pupils sought matriculation in numbers which bore a very fair proportion to those of the different forms of Protestantism, if it be recollected that in the southern and western provinces the vast majority of the Roman Catholics is composed of men of the very poorest class, equally unable to appreciate the value of the best, or to afford the very cheapest education.
And this willingness of Roman Catholics to avail themselves of the advantages thus offered to them was not a temporary feeling created or sharpened by novelty. On the contrary, their numbers have continued steadily to increase in at least as great a proportion as those of any other denomination. At present they equal the members of the Church of Ireland, and they fall very little short of those of all the different branches of Presbyterians taken together,' while
1 The Presbyterians in Ireland are divided into the regular Presbyterians, the Non-subscribing Presbyterians, and the Unitarians, who likewise class themselves as Presbyterians.