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On the new Law on Public Instruction in France. Pre

pared by M. Guizot, Minister of Public Instruction, discussed and adopted by the Chamber of Deputies on the

25th June, 1833. The fifteen years of peace, which elapsed between 1815 and 1830, have established, in many of the nations of Europe, although incompletely, such a system of amelioration and reform, that in the German States, among a population of about fifty millions, there is not, at the present day, a single adult to whom an elementary education has been denied.

France cannot be said to present so favourable an aspect. With regard to the question of public instruction, as with many others, the Constituent Assembly and the Convention could only proclaim general principles ; they bequeathed to more peaceful and settled times the task of reducing them to practice. When those assemblies ceased to exist, the work was neglected, and in this respect, the Directory*, the Empire, and the Restoration, form a long and dreary episode. It belongs to the present generation to connect the broken chain of time, and to carry into effect all that is valuable in the principles of liberty and equality cast abroad upon the world by the French revolution of 1789. To demonstrate the disparity which now exists in France between prevailing ideas and institutions, it will be sufficient to take a cursory view of the various branches of public instruction.

But before we proceed further, it appears necessary to give, for the information of our readers, a brief outline of the mechanism of public instruction in France, and of the means adopted for extending its advantages to every part of that country. d There is a separate minister for the department of public instruction, under whom there is a council, called the University Council, (or the Royal Council for Public Instruction,') consisting of nine members, including the secretary, and seventeen inspectors-general.

The council prepare and issue the rules and regulations which are to govern places of public instruction, and to authorize their establishment.

To the department of the Minister of Public Instruction belongs all that relates to public and private teaching, as

* Gouvernement Directorial.

Primary (or elementary) schools. {

Boarding schools, and private charity subscription schools.*


Normal schools.
Secondary schools, or royal colleges.


Tertiary Schools or Faculties of

Polytechnic school.

College de France. In the January Number (p. 151) of this Journal will be found a short sketch of the constitution and objects of the two classes of elementary, and of the normal schools. Our present concern is with the secondary schools or royal colleges, and with the tertiary schools, or faculties of science, literature, law, and medicine, &c.

SECONDARY SCHOOLS, OR ROYAL COLLEGES. The royal colleges, of which there are five in Paris, and one in each department, are public establishments, each adapted for the reception of four or five hundred in-door, and a greater or less number of out-door pupils.

The in-door pupils are lodged, clothed, fed, maintained, and instructed, for the sum of 1500 francs, during the first year (500 francs being for outfit), and 1000 francs per annum for

* Ecoles gratuites fondées par des particuliers.

+ Elementary instruction in the departments. The number of children of both sexes who learn to read, is nearly two mil. lions; but almost half the communes of France refuse to tax themselves voluntarily to assist the government in spreading the advantages of popular instruction.


35,007 Number of elementary schools. Superior

373 Private


Total. 44,472

Number of pupils who attend the elementary schools.






Total . 1,907,021

Expense of elementary or primary instruction
Portion of the expense paid by the communes
Ditto by the departments
Ditto by the state, (difference at its charge)
Number of communes taxed ex officio
Amount of the taxes

francs cent. 10,162,706 19 7,693,793 50 2,034,051 41 405,801 30

19,032 60 1,994,319

every following year. The charge is somewhat less in the departments.

The out-door pupils belong, for the most part, to the boarding-schools of each town in which the College is situated; they are sent by the directors of these institutions to the royal colleges, on the annual payment of 55 francs for each pupil, and they daily attend the professors of these colleges.

An inspect or-general (or examiner).*
A head-master.
A censor.
Three sub-directors (or superintendents).
An intendant (or steward).
Under-masters (number unlimited).
A superintendent of the infirmary, a doctor, and a surgeon.
Two chaplains.

THEIR DUTIES, The inspector-general examines once a year into the nature of the studies, and the progress of the pupils.

The head-master and the censor have the chief management of the college.

The three sub-directors are bound to preserve good order, and the sphere of their superintendence extends to the scholars, the under-masters, and the domestics.

The steward looks after the clothing of the scholars, provides the food, the furniture, pens, ink, paper, &c.

The under-masters look after the scholars during school. hours, and assist the pupils if required; they dine with them and accompany them to the dormitory, attend their recreations, and sleep in an adjoining chamber.

The superintendent of the infirmary has the general management of that establishment, which the doctor and surgeon of the household visit every morning.

The professors come twice a day (Thursday and Sunday excepted) to give instruction to the scholars ; the hours are limited to two in the morning and two in the afternoon.

The chaplains perform divine service on Sundays and festival days.

The domestics look after the pupils' wearing apparel, and perform the various domestic offices of the establishment; they sleep in the next room to that of the scholars to be at hand in case of accident, and follow them in their walks or their play for the same purpose.

* The inspector general and the professors do not live in the college.

The porters, besides their peculiar duty, have to ring the bell at the hours of rising, study, recreation, &c. &c.


French language (one year).
Classical languages (six years).
Rhetoric and Belles-lettres (one year).
Philosophy (one year).
Physics or mathematics (one or two years).
History, geography, modern

Taught incidentally during the

nine or ten years passed at languages, writing, and drawing.


These accomplishments are not generally taught,

and are paid for separately. Singing

MORAL STUDIES, INSTRUCTION IN THE CATHOLIC RELIGION. The institutions or pensionnats correspond to the academics or boarding-schools in England, but they are placed under the superintendence of the Royal Council for Public Instruction. "Paris contains thirty-four institutions, and sixtythree pensionnats for the instruction of children of both sexes. TERTIARY SCHOOLS, OR


The seat of the faculties of science and literature is at the Sorbonne, a celebrated college founded by Robert Sorbon in 1253.

The establishments of law and medicine have separate class-rooms adapted to their several purposes.

The general administration of the four establishments is vested in a rector, who is usually president of the Royal University Council, an inspector-general, nine sub-inspectors, and twenty-four members of the separate councils of the four establishments.

The courses of the department of science, like that of literature, are public and gratuitous. The lectures are delivered by men of the highest capacity, who are paid by the government.


There are nine professors attached to the department of the sciences; they give instruction, three times a week, in the higher branches of algebra, and the integral and differential calculus, descriptive geometry, philosophy, astronomy, mechanics, mineralogy, chemistry, botany and zoology.

To the department of literature belong thirteen professors, who also attend three times a week to deliver lectures on Greek literature, eloquence, Latin and French poetry, ancient and modern history, philosophy, geography, &c.

The faculty of law is specially devoted to the study of law. The course of study is divided into six sections: first, the Institutes of Justinian; second, the civil code; third, the Pandects; fourth the commercial code ; fifth, the civil and criminal code ; sixth, the executive law.

The courses of the several faculties are gratuitous, but in order to obtain the privilege of attending them it is previously necessary to deposit with the secretary a certificate of birth, a diploma of the degree of bachelor of arts, and, if the student is a minor, a formal statement of the consent of his parents. Two years' study is the qualification for a bachelor ; three for a licentiate, and four for a doctor of law. But these degrees are never conferred without a public examination, and a regular attendance during the period of instruction.

The faculty of medicine consists of twenty-three professors, eight honorary professors, and forty-five fellows. The lectures, which are given every day, except Sunday, are on the following subjects.

Anatomy and physiology;

Medical chemistry;

Medical physics ;
Medical natural history;


Surgical pathology;

Medical pathology;
Operations and dressings for wounds;
Therapeutics and materia medica ;

Forensic medicine;
Midwifery and diseases of women and children;

Clinical medicine ;

Clinical surgery;

Clinical midwifery. The students undergo a public examination by the professors and fellows; nothing but evidence of ability can raise any person to the rank of Professor in the Schools of Medicine and Surgery.

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