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but besides this,'it produces a feverish excitement, with indefinite ideas of fear, and makes the mind dwell on acts and associations which it is better to banish from our thoughts as much as we possibly can. Parents are not sufficiently cautious how such edge-tools are handled by children. A short time ago there appeared in the London shop-windows a penny picture of the devil, with a pair of horns, tail, fork, and other suitable appendages, carrying off a number of the leading political characters of the day, in whom, according to the ingenious draughtsman, this personage is supposed to have a peculiar interest. This picture, ridiculous as it was, worked its effect on a child within our knowledge, and caused much misery and some sleepless nights. At present it is difficult to prevent a child from seeing such absurdities, and after all, the mischief is not in most cases of a permanent character, though we are much inclined to think that it sometimes is; but there are parents who unwisely give their children such trash to fed upon, when there is better food in the market.
Indecent prints are the most demoralizing of all the forms that the imitative arts can take. No parents give such pictures to their children, but they cannot always prevent them from being seen, because they often appear in shop-windows, at least in London. The mischief which such prints cause depends on the age and temperament of the spectator: that they do much harm in many cases is notorious. An efficient system of police might possibly check the appearance of such prints in windows, though the question between the boundary of decency and indecency would be often violently disputed. With such kind of prints, however, we have no further concern here, than merely to say that they, as well as those men. tioned just before, belong to one large class, which comprehends all prints of all kinds that tend to fix in the mind either false fears or false desires. By fears and desires that are false, we mean, as to the first, fears which are an indefinite apprehension of some evil, but are not fears of that class which tend to determine conduct in the right way; as to the second, we mean such notions of present or future pleasure as are not founded in truth, and are determined by general experience to cause misery and not happiness.
According to these principles we object to many prints, which appear even in religious books, such as representations of the torments of the wicked in a future life ; for, though God has declared that the wicked shall be punished, man does not know the precise mode of the punishment, nor can he, without a gross act of folly, attempt to represent such
subjects. On these principles we object also to some of the illustrations which appear in such books as Mant's and D'Oyley's Bible, though they are all taken from pictures of various degrees of excellence. None of these illustrations, however, are so absurd as some which appear in the older Bibles, and in various books of devotion. Our objection to most pictorial illustrations of this class is, that they are bad for children, because they are either not the representation of a truth, or because they attempt to represent something which cannot be represented : whether or not they are good for older people is not now our business to inquire.
The first proposition laid down was that children should not see prints which tend to mislead or deceive the understanding : the rule may be a very good one, but a wide diver
ity of opinion may arise upon the interpretation of it. In a recent Number of this Journal (No. XIV. p. 246), a set of historical pictures was recommended as a useful means of fixing great historical events in the memory, and it was there remarked, that · Correctness of costume in such prints, or good taste in the drawing, however desirable if they can be easily obtained, are of very subordinate importance. From this remark we entirely dissent: to us such a principle appears likely to be productive of so much mischief as to render null whatever good there may be in the rest of the plan. If we were to make a series of historical illustrations of this kind, and introduce various discordancies of dress, and circumstance, we should be associating in a child's mind a number of things that are not true, with a general fact supposed to be historically true : and the amount of error thus implanted in the mind might be much greater than the worth of the historical fact or facts intended to be fixed there. Most persons who have attended to the history of their own minds will probably be able to refer some of their opinions and prejudices of mature age to no better authority or evidence than that of a picture.
The objection here laid down is one that might be extended by some people to all fiction—to all works of fic tion, to all fictitious representations, whether on the stage or in pictures. But our remarks here have reference to children only, nor do we mean to say that even they should be excluded from all pleasures which belong to the class of fiction and imitation. We should all lose much real pleasure if these arts were banished from life, to the dulness and monotony of which they often give a pleasant stimulus and a cheerful variety. As to children, it may be remarked, as it often has been, that they are not so dull as to take all fictions for realities; and that a child, when he reads fables in which animals and even inanimate things act like rational beings, never for a moment supposes that these things are true, while the value of the moral lesson thus conveyed is not diminished by the wrapping in which it is enveloped. We admit, almost in its full extent, the assertion that children are not deceived by fables; but on the other hand, we think that, as to any moral benefit, if that is the object aimed at in giving lessons in this form, they are just as efficient as a puppet-show and no more. If they amuse children and do them no harm, that is enough. But the mischief which arises from allowing children to feed their restless curiosity chiefly on fictitious scenes, whether represented in pictures, or exhibited in the shape of
ovels, or poetry, is perhaps the cause of a large portion of that feebleness of character which is so apparent in our actual society.
There is much difficulty in stating accurately the question as to the fictitious part of pictorial representation, we mean when it is designed to teach children something by it: if it is merely intended to amuse, we have no objection to all the absurdities and humours which we see in some of the common caricatures. The more absurd and laughable such things are, the better. But when pictures are systematically presented to children with the professed view of inculcating facts, (which it must be remembered will often incidentally inculcate opinions also,) we cannot be too careful to let our facts be true in all cases where particular truth can be attained ; and in all other cases, we should give to our pictures at least that general truth and that reasonable probability which will bear the test of future examination, when the child is grown up into a man, with the recollections in his head which it is the professed design of the scheme to make permanent.*
* It is designed by this Society to publish a series of prints illustrative of English History. Most of them will be historical scenes, represented, we believe, as far as is practicable, with regard to the conditions which have been here laid down, as necessary to the usefulness of the scheme. Some of the prints will contain views of edifices and places of historical celebrity, together with correct views of armour, dress, and other things that illustrate the subject.
: ADMISSION OF DISSENTERS AT THE UNIVERSITIES. Our attention has been drawn to this Charge*, not less by the sound and judicious views which it developes, than by the tone of truly Christian mildness and liberality which pervades every part of it. It does not fall within our plan to notice publications of this class, and it is only with reference to a part of this Charge which touches on the subject of education that we introduce it here. We wish to direct attention to that portion of it which refers to the particular question of the admission of dissenters into the universities, on which, in a preceding Number, we have expressed our opinion, and which we rejoice to find (at least in the general principle) supported by so powerful an authority.
With reference to the subject with which we are more immediately concerned, the Bishop observes (p. 14)
•As to the claim of admission into our universities, far more desirable is it, that it should be amicably settled between the parties immediately interested than become a matter of legislative interference.'
We need hardly say that in this sentiment all true friends to the measure most heartily concur; but we fear there is little chance of any amicable settlement. In fact, the principle on which the opposition has been raised and supported in the universities is precisely of that nature which must forbid the possibility of such an arrangement. To us, indeed, the objections alluded to, viz., those which result from viewing the matter as a religious question, appear untenable; but we fear there is little chance of bringing the heads of the universities to think so, and while they remain in their present persuasion all compromise or accommodation is hopeless. Nothing short of a law will ever effect a change in their system. While we firmly believe that such is the fact, we earnestly wish that it were otherwise ; and that we could indulge in the same expectations that the Bishop of Chichester has here expressed. The Charge continues thus :
•Involved as the question is in extreme difficulty, yet I should be sorry to find the difficulty insuperable. Perhaps, indeed, after due consideration, it might not be found impossible to frame provisions by which those who are not members of the Establishment should obtain degrees in all the faculties excepting theology: without detriment to the interests either of the established religion or of the universities.'
In the general truth of this opinion we entirely agree. Matri* A Charge, delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Lewes. By Edward Lord Bishop of Chichester. 1834. July-Oct., 1834.
Admission of Dissenters at the Universities,
culation and graduation without religious tests could in no way diminish the respect felt for religion; while, in fact, the compulsory subscription to a number of propositions like the Thirty-nine Articles, which the candidate does not even profess to understand, has a very strong tendency to diminish, if not destroy, the conscientious spirit in which alone such subjects ought to be approached.
The Bishop proceeds to a more particular detail : not only does he see no evil likely to arise, but'In some respects both might be benefited: as a separate examination might be instituted for students in theology, which would prepare them much more suitably, than they are in general now prepared, for admission into holy orders. My notion is shortly
is: and it is not one which I have taken up as an expedient for getting rid of present difficulties, but which I have entertained after long and serious consideration. Instead of admission to the degree of A.B. in the January term, it might take place in the June preceding. Then, such young men as are looking forward to lay professions and employments might betake themselves without loss of time to their destined occupations; while such as were intended for the ministry should have a course of study laid down to which they might apply themselves diligently till the ensuing spring or summer. They should then repair to their respective universities, and there undergo an examination. Unless they acquit themselves to the satisfaction of their examiners, no college testimonials for orders should be granted, nor should they be permitted to appear as candidates before any bishop. Whether this or any other arrangement be judged expedient for the very desirable object of extending to dissenters the facilities of obtaining knowledge which are possessed by ourselves; it might perhaps appear more advisable that such suggestions should be addressed to the universities than to a meeting of parochial clergy. But the close connexion of the subject with the great questions now agitated, and the vital interests at stake, as well as the advantage which would be derived from a purely professional examination in the university for holy orders, justify me in offering them to your attentive consideration; if they be not even appropriate to one of the main objects of our meeting:'--p. 16.
This plan for altering the period of examination, and adding a separate theological one, is, as the author admits in a note, specially suited to the Cambridge system; but he intimates an expectation that the Oxford plan might be accommodated to it likewise. As to the probability of either university, especially Oxford, listening to any such suggestion, we cannot say much; but the plan itself appears to us a very good one. In Oxford, the examination in the rudiments of religion is much insisted on, not only for clerical but for all candidates. If the Bishop's plan were adopted with only this modification, that