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Taking the fundamental regulations of the East India Company's officers' meritorious orphan institutions in India as, so far, a long tried, successful, practical guide, can it be doubted that an annual contribution of one day's pay, or little more than per cent., would be most cheerfully bestowed towards so desirable an object by every officer of the British army whether on full or half-pay? In which case, from that single source alone (supposing the officers to be between 14,000 or 15,000) would at once be created an average annual income of near 60007.'
It is next proposed, that the married members of the service should contribute two additional days' pay per annum, from which it is calculated, on the supposition of th of the officers of the army being married, that an additional annual income of 1400l. to 15007. would arise.
As to the institution for the education of officers' children, the writer proposes that the charge should be 187. for a boy, and 147. for a girl; or 301. for two boys, and 24l. for two girls, exclusive of clothing, which appears to us a less sum than the cost of educating such boys or girls would come to, and therefore the deficiency would have to be supplied by subscription or other means.
'Taking 167. as the probable medium rate, and that one in every twenty officers sent one pupil, making 750 in all, it follows that a further addition to the funds would thereby be accumulated of about 12,000l. per annum.'
Such an establishment as the orphan institution proposed by Major Lachlan might be open to abuse, if its constitution were not sound. One probable objection is met by the writer thus:
'It might be advisable, with a view of, in some degree, discouraging inconsiderate early marriages, and checking undue demands upon the funds from such a cause, that no officer should be entitled to claim the benefits of the Orphan branch of the institution for his children, until he shall have either actually served seven years, or attained the age of twenty-five, except under very particular circumstances, the merits of which might be left to the decision of the council or committee of management.'
It is not our intention, as we said, to go into the details of Major Lachlan's pamphlet, which we recommend strongly to the perusal of all military officers. That the design is good, and the object of the highest importance, no man can for a moment doubt. The general tenor of the writer's remarks is judicious, and he is evidently one of those people (of whom
* Every officer of the East India army, on entering the service, is bound to contribute towards the maintenance of this laudable establishment, in proportion to his rank-subalterns paying 3 rupees; captains 6 rupees; and majors 9 rupees per mensem; or about 1 per cent. on their annual income-about five times more than what is above proposed,
there are unfortunately too few we fear, for the immediate success of his scheme) who is ardent and sincere in the cause which he advocates, and whose zeal is created by profound convictions.
The officers, both naval and military, stationed at different places in the island, have already felt the importance of exerting themselves to procure for their children a good education at a cheap rate. The consequence of this has been the establishment in several places, for instance at Chatham and Rochester, of proprietary schools, in which the children of officers, as well as those of other parents, receive a much cheaper and better education than is given either at the old country grammar schools, or in the ordinary boarding schools.
In advocating the establishment of such an institution as Major Lachlan proposes, we do not forget how much better it would be if all the middling classes, including military and naval officers, could unite in the formation of such institutions, wherever they are wanted. As the children of officers are not by any means, as a general rule, brought up to the profession of their parents, their education will have nothing of professional character about it; and it is obviously better for them to mingle with boys of various classes in life, than altogether with those of one profession. In the present state of affairs, however, while education is still no part of public administration, it is probably more easy for the exertions of individuals to effect an important object when they confine themselves, as Major Lachlan does, to addressing a body who are peculiarly interested in the formation of such institutions, than if they were to make a general appeal to all classes.
In our fifth Number we made some remarks on the project of the Naval School, an institution which, since that time, has been fully established, and is now in operation. We have no means of knowing, at least in any detailed way, how far it has answered the views of its founders; but the design appeared to us then a good one. It might be well worth the consideration of naval and military officers, if both parties would not gain by uniting their strength in the establishment of any new institution; and indeed the co-operation of these two classes with those of other liberal professions might lead to the establishment of such a school as would eventually be a model for the country. It is not possible, nor, if possible, is it profitable, for all the sons of military and naval officers, of members of the medical profession, of clergymen, lawyers, and gentlemen of moderate fixed income, to be brought up to the profession of their parents, or to the enjoyment of ease without labour. Many of them must, and more of them ought to be
brought up to those various branches of business, which are not included in the general term of professional occupations. A large part of such youths would be more usefully and honourably employed in passing an apprenticeship after having had a suitable education, and thus preparing themselves for some department of business, than in receiving a Latin and Greek education, in which Latin and Greek are not learned, and little besides is attempted to be taught. It is a further disadvantage of the exclusive Latin and Greek education that at present it is associated with certain ideas of self-importance, and of contempt for many of the less ambitious walks of life: it tends to raise the views of all to professional pursuits which cause much immediate expense, accompanied with only remote profit, doubtful success even for the clever and the industrious, and certain failure to those not gifted with at least moderate talent and persevering industry.
At the present time, the education of the classes to which we refer is preposterously one-sided; all or nearly all Latin and Greek often ill-taught, with a general neglect of really necessary knowledge, and a total neglect of the important principle of giving to boys that education which will be useful to them and adapted to their probable condition in life. In addition to this, the cost is considerably greater than it need be, owing partly to the number of establishments for education being out of all proportion to what is wanted. Each has its own house and teachers to support, with a profit to the proprietor, and other expenses incident to each individual establishment, a large part of which might be saved by institutions on a more extended scale. We are informed by a gentleman who has had experience in these matters, that in a school of 200 boys, the annual charge for the food, education, and books need not be more than 247. 10s. per annum; not including the rent of the establishment, outfit, and repairs; and that, with proper economy, it might be done even for less. If the middle classes could secure to their sons, for 247. or even 30 per annum, a good education, instead of the bad one for which at present they often give 60%. or more, the advantage is too great not to excite a strong desire to possess it.
When the middle classes of this country are more fully impressed with the immense advantages which they may gain. by throwing off the anti-social and exclusive opinions to which they sacrifice so much of their true interest and happiness, we may expect and hope to see every county provided with at least one large school or college, which shall give to the children of the middle classes that kind of education which is suited to their probable condition in after life. Such establishments APRIL-JULY, 1834.
should be essentially public, as far as superintendence is concerned, and open to all who can pay for them. The religious differences need cause no difficulty; children must be brought up in some religion: and the simplest rule is, for each child to be taught the tenets which his parents profess. This could be effected without any difficulty.
That which Major Lachlan recommends as so important to the orphan children of military officers, the establishment of an Orphan Institution, is equally felt to be an urgent want by other members of society; and not only by those who are in moderate circumstances, but by those who have the command of wealth.
Children who unfortunately lose both their parents at an early age run great risk of being entirely spoiled; their condition, if they are well provided for, is sometimes not a more fortunate one than if they were left nearly destitute. In the one case, the want of a proper guardian, and, as sometimes happens, the early command of too much money, may prove as injurious to the formation of a good character, as the disadvantages inseparable from being left in a needy condition. If there were institutions to which a parent might with confidence entrust the education of the children whom he leaves, the whole community would gain by such an arrangement. The less wealthy might contribute an annual sum during life, in order to give them the advantage of having their children educated there, if they themselves should die early, and the wealthy might of course secure the same advantage in more ways than one. Such a plan is only a life insurance, with a provision for the education of orphan children.
That such a want exists in the community, many persons' experience may probably convince them, by some unfortunate instances which they may recollect of children who have been greatly neglected after the death of their parents. In the military profession, the want may be more urgent than in any other, but it is precisely the same in principle as that which other classes also feel.
In the numerous schemes which are proposed at the present day, relative to improvements in education, there is no doubt much that is of little value; much also that is valuable, is difficult to reduce to practice. But this is no reason for treating with neglect the plans of well meaning people, from a combination of which good often comes, or at least appears in the shape of a small residuum, after the anticipations of enthusiasm have evaporated; nor is it any objection to attempting such a scheme as Major Lachlan's, which is undoubtedly good in design, that it may be very difficult to carry into effect. It
would be no cheering reflexion if a man could convince himself that much of our social life, and especially all that concerns education, is not capable of great amelioration; capable also of being made a branch of state polity, and of diffusing through all classes the vivifying effects of sound knowledge and kindly sympathies. To what purpose do we all live together in a community, except to render one another mutual service-to obtain that by union which we cannot get without it, or only imperfectly, and at a dearer rate?