Изображения страниц

life is steeped in lethargy, whose influence on the world cannot yet be determined, and who may perhaps be destined to enslave the nations of the world, including even the Slavonians. It is to this feeling M. Hilferding attributes the significant fact that, in reproducing his argument that The future of the Slavonians can never be established without the co-operation of the Russian people," the organ of the Slovaks rendered it-"The Slavonians can only be saved by a Slavonic policy."


dates for commissions rejected for the same want of knowledge is nearly or quite as great, and the managers of banks, insurance offices, and other establishments requiring good clerks can supply almost incredible instances of students' blunders in writing the commonest sentences. The same complaint is made in America, especially about second-rate schoolmasters; and judged by this test, middle-class schools in both countries greatly need reform. We have some doubt, however, whether There is also considerable force in the ar- the test is a very fair one, whether the gument that it is mainly the indifference of defect is not oftener in the scholar than in Western Europe to the Slavonic movement, the school. It would seem the easiest and the continued belief in the vitality of thing in the world to teach spelling, but it the present Austrian and Turkish monar- is really exceedingly difficult, so difficult chies, that favour the influence of Russia that we suspect spelling to be of the few among the Slavonian nations. The policy things which cannot be taught, in the of the Czar is to promote the establishment proper sense of that word, which must be of small Slavonic States on his borders out acquired mainly by the exertions of the of the ruins of Austria and Turkey, while pupil himself. No amount of practice which that of the western and southern Slavonians is to create a large confederate State, strong enough to maintain its independence against the encroachments both of Russia and Ger


The Czechs do not, however, expect to obtain their ultimate object without a war in Europe; but whatever may be the chances of such a war, of complications in the East, of the passiveness of united Germany, or of agreement for federal purposes between the Magyars, Bohemians, Poles, and other Slavonians, it cannot but be acknowledged that the political agitation of which Prague is now the centre is worthy of the most serious attention, organized as it is by men of high rank, as well as of great intellectual attainments, and embracing as it does, in a hitherto passive conspiracy, the majority of that part of the population of Austria which contributes the largest half both of the Imperial taxes, and the Impe

school-time will allow, and no system of dictation, however careful, can cover the area of the English language, and in English the sound of words is not only no guide to their spelling, but is a direct source of error, while the principles of the art cannot be reduced to formulas. It is only by reading that real accuracy can be attained, and at least half of mankind will not voluntarily read. Even readers, unless they take some interest in etymology, or have a liking for accuracy, or are moved by that idea of caste which, in England, is fortunately on the side of correct spelling, and which protects our etymology better than any Academy could do - find the burden of so many words too much for their memories. A few boys and girls acquire the art by some process which seems intuitive, and spell perfectly years before they can by possibility have read half the words they are ultimately required to use. The writer has known a child of eight to whom a blunder in spelling seemed an impossibility, who would spell with instant readiness words of which he had never previously heard; but that is a faculty, like the faculty for rhythm, sometimes found in children who are totally devoid of what is MR. FORSTER in his speech on Monday technically called "ear." The majority on the second reading of the Endowed have to learn spelling as they learn arithCharities' Bill, mentioned, as a proof of the metic, and a minority uninterested in the badness of many middle-class schools, the study defy the efforts of their teachers, number of men spun" in some examina- and to the end of their days need dictiontions for defective Spelling. He quoted aries for any lengthy composition. Printthe evidence of Dr. Gull as to medical ers all know how very little the spelling students, nearly half of whom fail in this even of the best educated is to be trusted, respect, and there is scarcely a professor in and we have reason to believe that if Engthe country who would not endorse Dr. lish journalists were weeded by an examiGull's remarks. The proportion of candi-nation in which etymological accuracy was

rial troops.

[ocr errors]

From The Spectator, 20 March.


the sine quâ non, the profession would lose | beyond her capacity, and ten minutes after some very competent members. One oc- discuss a foreign budget with keen intellicasional contributor to this journal, a man gence; and that is not an extreme case. whose education has been of a singularly The most extreme we ever knew was that perfect kind, and who is a true scholar in of an Oxford M. A., head master of a gramhis way, never sends in a contribution mar-school, and an almost unrivalled maswithout half a dozen etymological errors, ter of Greek lyrical poetry, who was honand there are double-firsts who would estly unable, and confessed himself unable, rather trust themselves in Greek than En- to do the simplest sum in simple addition glish without a pocket dictionary. It is a who, to get an account right, would put the curious proof of the accuracy of this view, actual coins on the table, and always called that the commercial schools which profess a boy to verify the weekly statistics of the to teach, and do teach, spelling, do not school. There must have been some odd turn out spellers half as accurate as the loathing for figures in him, as well as want public schools, which profess to teach noth- of interest, resembling the loathing some ing of the kind, and that hundreds of per- lads have for Euclid; but we should like to sons learn to spell, or rather begin to spell try the House of Peers with a stiff bit of well habitually, only in manhood, that is, notation. Not one in six would put down when the attention has at last been aroused. the figures right, and of their wives, not Whether the extreme case, that of a man one in sixty; yet they and all those we have of high culture, who absolutely could not mentioned have, at some time or other, learn to spell ever happened, we are un- learned these things, and are ignorant of certain; but almost all men who have to them only because their interest has never read much manuscript believe it, and a kin- been excited. It is just the same with dred inability, that of recollecting dates geography, of which educated and compeand figures, certainly does exist. But an tent men often do not know the simplest inability to spell, arising from a certain facts, though they have all learned them in failure of interest in words, is a distinct a way, as one usually learns things of no characteristic of English minds, and one interest, that is, without learning them. which it requires extraordinary effort to They have to learn them again when they eradicate, more especially among women. want them, and meanwhile are just as ignoSpelling, however, is not the only defi- rant as medical students are of spelling. ciency of this kind, though it is, of course, We should just like to make the English the one most observed, and owing to the Members in the House of Commons draw curious caste feeling mentioned above, a each for himself a skeleton map of Ireland, feeling entirely absent a hundred years and see how many of the maps bore a fair ago, it is the one most resented. The ig- resemblance to the truth. Yet they were norance of many cultivated men of arithme- taught about Ireland as well as England, tic is frequently astounding We feel sure, and at the same time. No doubt, the Engfrom our own experience, that hundreds of lish method of teaching geography, even in what are called well-educated men, and the very best schools, is ludicrously bad, thousands of accomplished women, could very few masters ever thinking that distannot do a rule-of-three sum if their fortunes ces and areas ought to enter into their depended upon it; while a number, pre- teaching, and leaving pupils under a happy sumably less, but still very large, cannot belief that they know all about Arabia if do any calculation on paper at all. We they can draw its outline, though they do venture to say the majority of middle and not know whether it is as big as Yorkshire upper-class women are worried by the sim- or as Europe. But still, most educated plest question about interest, and to a very large proportion the simple adding-up of household accounts is a wearisome labour, very inaccurately performed, while if the calculation is in foreign money they are hopelessly bewildered. They do not understand compound addition, while as to compound division, or any problem of any sort involving fractions, they frankly decline to make the attempt. We have personally known a lady, mistress not only of four languages, but of their literatures, give up the effort to discover what the fourth of a seventh was as something wholly

men once knew much more of geography as lads than they do as men, the reason being want of interest in the subject. To test them on it would not be fair to the schools, wretchedly bad as their system is, any more than it would be to test most girls' schools by their old pupils' knowledge of figures. They have been taught them fairly enough, but the memory, unstimulated by any interest, refuses to retain its load. The real failure is not in these things, but in the entire absence of any attempt to secure the main end of teaching, which is not the communication of knowledge, but


lead, will be considered on a future occasion. Here we merely desire to say a few words on the other question, and to express our unqualified approbation of the attempt, tardy and partial though it be, to recover some of our lost ground in Persia.

the development of the powers of the mind. | our interference in Afghanistan, and the conHalf an hour's chat by a shrewd good-tem- sequences to which such interference may pered arithmetician with a lad on the rule of three, its principle and its management, will give the student a more perfect control of that invaluable machine than years of 99 sums done by cram rules without the smallest notion why those rules yield accurate results. We know a child of eight, a girl, whose acquaintance with geography is far greater than that of most men, whose study of the subject was induced by the accidental awakening of an interest in the shapes of the different counties on the map, arising originally from some grotesque remark about the likeness of Britain to an old lady dandling Ireland on her lap. The teachers even in commercial schools are not such bad machines as they are described; but then they usually are machines, and we need intelligent teachers instead. Mere practice will not even enable boys to spell, and it is practice only which is required of them.

From The Pall Mall Gazette.



[ocr errors]


The general feeling in England is, no doubt, unfavourable to Persia. She is regarded as a weak, vain-glorious, faithless, and intriguing Power; greedy of gain; pliant and docile to Russia; restless and encroaching towards India; and there is a certain broad colouring of truth in all the features of this picture. But, whatever Persia may be in her political aspect to England, she is what we have made her. In turn we have bribed and bullied, courted and neglected her; and it is just as reasonable now to complain that she is not to be depended on, as it would be to complain of the waywardness of a spoilt child, or the want of tone of a worn-out musical instrument. Persia cannot be naturally unfriendly to England. She has been obliged, it is true, not unfrequently to truckle to Russia, because we have left her absolutely at the mercy of that Power; but, on the other hand, she has shown on many late occasions how much she values our friendship, and how anxious she is for our support. The Indian telegraph traverses her territory and is efficiently protected by her. She is prepared to give concessions to English capitalists for a bank for railways and for mines. She applied only recently for English officers to organize a naval force for her in the Persian Gulf, and she now invites the same assistance to put her army on an efficient footing. Are we, then, to neglect the opening, merely because the old Herat grievance rankles in our hearts, or because Russian influence of late years has been paramount in the country?

IT has been recently announced in the Indian newspapers and on inquiry the statement has been confirmed in this country that the Government has consented to revert to the old system of furnishing British officers to the Persian army. This decision is not only sound, but it is most significant, for, taken in connection with the recognition of Shir Ali Khan of Cabul, and the restoration to him of his father's subsidy of £120,000 per annum, which measures have also been authoritatively reported, it shows that the policy of "masterly inactivity," a policy described in the Edinburgh Review by Sir John Lawrence's ablest and In real truth, the deputation of British ofmost consistent advocate as folding our ficers to Persia is of more importance than hands and doing nothing," has been defi- at first sight appears. It is not that a score nitely abandoned. Whether the late Gov- of officers, commissioned and non-commisernor-General has been converted at the last sioned, can achieve any great results in ormoment by the force of circumstances, organizing or disciplining the many thousands whether, in sending arms and money to Ca- of ill-paid and half-clad Sirbáz" who bul, he merely yielded to pressure from the form the Persian army. In a purely miliHome Government, is really of no conse-tary point of view the employment of our quence. It is sufficient to know that we are now committed to certain definite measures of external preparation and defence, instead of remaining stubbornly on our own ground, and inviting aggression by a gratuitous declaration of immobility. The effect which is likely to be produced on the spot by the somewhat hurried character of

[ocr errors]

officers must be, as it always has been, a failure; but, politically speaking, there is every reason to anticipate a great success. In former times, when our officers served for thirty years continuously with the Persian army (from 1808 to 1838), it is notorious that they most powerfully seconded the efforts of our diplomatists to keep the Per

sian Government attached to our interests. abandon their professional prospects in InIn those days the names of Christie, of dia and adventure on a foreign service; but Lindsay, and of Hart were echoed through there should be no difficulty, when so imthe land, as the guardians and upholders of portant an object is at stake, in supplying Persia's honour; and even to the present this inducement, either from the Persian hour an Englishman in his travels in the Treasury or our own. country will not unfrequently feel the benefit of the old traditions, and be treated with attention and respect in token of the hold which his countrymen formerly possessed upon the affection of the nation.


From The Spectator, 13 March. THE STATESMEN AND THE CRIMINALS. LORD SALISBURY said, on Monday night, in the House of Lords, that he never could see what possible connection there was between the diminution of crime and the spread of education. Crime, he thought, was a consequence of moral depravity,' and though you might change the nature of the crime by diverting the criminal's tastes and powers into new channels, you would not diminish the "moral depravity" in him by altering the direction of his desires, and putting new and more powerful tools into his hands. That is a very narrow view of the noble Marquis's. We are very far indeed from thinking that crime is the mere product of circumstances and temptations, or that, by altering circumstances and diminishing external temptations, we could abolish crime, much less guilt; still, no one who has studied his own heart in the least has any doubt but that with a sufficiently unfavourable variation of the circumstances by which he has been, not made, but moulded, the evil of which he is conscious in himself might, and most prob

But it may be asked, supposing the jealousies and heartburnings of the last thirty years to be obliterated, and supposing the halcyon days of Futteh Ali Shah and Abbas Mirza to be restored, how would it profit us? Now the answer to this question is very simple. Although Persia cannot be of positive, she may be of much negative value to us. Although she cannot offer any military resistance to Russia, she may oppose to her a vis inertia of equal strength. Assuming, indeed, that the contiguity of Russia to India is an evil - and the whole argument proceeds on this assumption- the tone and temper of Persia do become a very important matter; for it is quite certain that without her co-operation, or at any rate her connivance, neither can the present position of Russia upon the Oxus be duly consolidated, nor would it be possible to extend the Russian dominion towards Khiva on the one side, or towards Mery and Herat upon the other. It must be further remembered that the only inconvenience we have hitherto sustained, or are likely to sustain for some time to come, from the Russian proceedings in Central Asia arises from the dis-ably would, have broken out in crime. quieting rumours that are circulated in the bazaars of India, rumours which invariably associate Russia and Persia in one common policy of hostility to us. Now if our officers were in acknowledged positions of trust and responsibility with the Persian troops, and the Teheran Court were clinging hopefully to our alliance, such an imputation would be impossible, and the Russian bugbear would thus be shorn of half its terrors.

On these united considerations we earnestly hope that a pitiful economy will not frustrate a scheme which is pregnant with good, and which, after repeated failures, is now, we learn, on the eve of execution. If officers are sent to Persia at all, they should be very carefully selected, and should be men of a superior stamp; not mere soldiers, but with a large experience of the Oriental character, and with a proved capacity for inspiring confidence among their associates and subordinates. Such officers will undoubtedly require a etrong inducement to

Does the noble Marquis suppose that he himself, or any other of the members of that distinguished branch of the Legislature, is so exempt from all "moral depravity' that if he had not been educated at all, nor brought up amongst those who loved the ideas and pursuits which are opened out only by education, but, on the contrary, confined to the monotonous excitements which appeal only to the heart and the senses and an embryo intelligence, he would have been quite beyond the possibility of crime? We suppose that scarce any of us, if any, are beyond the possibility of guilt, and it is surely a mere question of circumstantial advantages or disadvantages whether guilt passes into crime or not. The Marquis of Salisbury himself admitted that though education could not diminish crime it might diminish pauperism. Well, what a vast admission is that! Can he assert for a moment that poverty does not make the difference in thousands of cases between that moral evil which never even

[ocr errors]

wishes to infringe social arrangements, but | burglary, none of the crew would have been may even worship social arrangements with so violent against the "peelers," or a bitsomething like a very gross idolatry, and terer stickler for his share of the " swag." that moral evil which attacks social arrange- His old opponent in the Commons, on the ments unscrupulously as its most congenial other hand, Mr. Forster, the Vice-Presitask? As far as we have noted the bril- dent of the Council, had he been brought liant political career of Lord Salisbury, we up outside the world of education and sothink we can distinguish a very specific cial amenities, though he would have been modification and mollification of his moral quite as formidable as Lord Salisbury, tone as a debater and critic, coinciding would have been terrible in a different way. with the change of his external circumstan- He, it may be, might have been drawn into ces, in the passage from Lord Robert a Trade Union, and on behalf of such a Cecil to Lord Cranborne, and Lord Cran- brotherhood have become a desperate charborne to Lord Salisbury. As Lord Robert acter, a terrible picket against the "knobCecil he was one of the harshest and most sticks,". an enthusiastic rattener, a stern brow-beating of the debaters of the Lower executioner of the unlawful laws of such an House, frequently and skilfully imputing ignorant and tyrannical Vehmgericht. Nay, to his opponents an unworthy class of mo- if we may let our imagination dwell at all tives, as, for example, to the party which on so very delicate a field as the possible wished for the Bill legalizing marriage with affinities of illustrious and intellectual men a deceased wife's sister that the agitation for different classes of transgression of the was simply founded on a wish for new op- law, had they had none of the advantages portunities of "giving way to the pas- which Lord Salisbury thinks so utterly sions," and objecting to the "inexplicable without bearing on crime or "moral debashfulness of the clergy about subscrip- pravity," is it so absolutely impossible to tion, that it could be due to nothing else imagine that in another and very much but absolute unbelief. If Lord Cranborne worse world, some disreputable double or Lord Salisbury has taken wider, more of Lord Derby, instead of taking a leap in generous, and more statesmanlike views in the dark" to dish the Whigs," might have debate, has that nothing to do with the made his enemy stand and deliver on speaker's external circumstances? If so, Hounslow Heath, on pain of receiving a how can he possibly maintain that at the couple of balls in his head, and ridden to lower end of the social scale, where the York in some incredibly short time to prove moral chasm between pauperism and re- an alibi? or that some unfortunate wretch spectability is infinitely greater than any with a strange whiff in him of Lord Russell, between the different shades of social dis- might have been charged with feloniously tinction at the upper end, the difference placing obstacles across the railroad with between education and ignorance may not intent to throw the up train off the rails, to account for much more than the difference gratify a grudge against some of the pasbetween legal innocence and legal guilt? sengers? Is there absolutely no conceivaFor our parts, much as we respect the ble world in which Mr. Bright might have group of administrative statesmen of both been a prize-fighter, or Mr. Lowe a bodyparties, there is not one of them whom we snatcher, or Lord Westbury a devotee of cannot easily conceive, if born under less vivisection practised in open contravention propitious circumstances, and brought up of the law against cruelty to inferior creatwithout education, as being liable, like all ures, or Mr. Goschen an accomplished the rest of us, to fall into positive crime. coiner, or Lord Stanley a dangerous tramp Lord Salisbury, strong and able as he is, is and beggar? Would Mr. Disraeli be quite undoubtedly a strong partizan, liable to unimaginable as a Leicester-Square convery narrow views, witness this utter-spirator against foreign Governments under ance about education and crime, - and not the guise of a melancholy pedler of steel indisposed to be arrogant and overbearing pens, or Mr. Gladstone as a promoter of in asserting them. Suppose he had no ed- bubble companies, or the Bishop of Oxford ucation, no means of living, and no social as a begging-letter writer? Is no conceprank to widen and soften him, does anybody doubt but that he might have been one of the dangerous classes, the very dangerous classes himself? His slight hardness in defence of property-rights might just as well have been excessive hardness in assaulting them, they come from the same root at bottom, and if he had taken to



tion more inconceivable than that some alias of Mr. Walpole's should have been taken up for singing doleful ditties about the streets, with six starving children as his companions, and without strict adherence to history in his lugubrious narrative? or that some smiling bumpkin resembling a village Granville should have been charged

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »