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drudgery-would be to inflict an intolerable wrong-to make these lads more discontented and defiant than they are, and to affect most injuriously the physique of the rising generation - bad enough already. Besides, it would be found very hard in this country to enforce school attendance upon working boys. But the possibility of doing so, it is hardly worth discussing, for the electorate would never allow such a tyrannical Act to pass. Compulsory education, even of school children, is unpopular enough, and the country would not stand compulsion being applied beyond the existing limits.
Out of this dilemma the success of the new movement will release us. Its method is to make the evening school a place of welcome, of pleasure and recreation, mixed with solid usefulness and educational work. I hope that the Board will, as it is seen how the experiment works, allow more recreation to be interwoven by the voluntary teachers into the code subjects taught by its own paid teachers; and that the latter will enter into the spirit of the method and infuse into their own teaching more life and reality, and make it bear more on the concerns of the boys and girls' daily life. This will be all the more needful as, from having, this first session of the experiment, only those who are students for pure study's sake, we begin to gather in those who are less eager for knowledge and more bent on recreation.
The work begun during this winter is no test; but it has prevented schools from dying out as they generally do at the end of the session, and in some instances added to them. But our sound has not yet gone out; our specific has not been tried on the roving street boys and street girls whom we want to attract in; and it is on the ultimate power of the system to draw in these outsiders that its claims will rest.
It is for the prodigals of education that we want the windows of our house to be full of light and suggestion of entertainment. We want the stream borne outward of song, and the music of the drill, and the running of many feet in the maze, and the clinking of dumbbells, and the inspiriting word of command, and the shadow of graceful movements, to bring in those young wasters of their youth. Then we shall show them our pictures vivid with colour, and bring them round Greater Britain, and make them travelled, and teach them of science and art, and carry their minds far back into the realms of history and show them many wonders. And their minds will glow like the pictures and begin to teem with new thoughts and ideas; and, they will slowly understand wby it was they were dragged to school as little children, spite of tears and often with poor little empty stomachs. The drawing class will impart a new delight, and in the other art olasses, carving wood and modelling—that strange making power of man--the likeness of the Highest will begin to develop, and the Geist to come into eyes till now dull and defiant. Thus our new leaven will work until the whole mass is leavened ; and those weird crowdss of haggard boys and wild, unkempt girls have disappeared from the
highway; for the servant abroad has gathered and compelled them to come in by the best compulsion, the irresistible attraction within, to the house of wisdom.
It may possibly be assumed that there is something antagonistic in this movement to work of a similar kind actually going on in church schools and clubs. So far from that being the case, the new association will gladly help, where help is needed, to fill with a fuller life the work being carried on through those channels. But the main reason why so much is undone is that the Board Schools, which form a large part of the educational system, have had no organ such as church schools have for assimilating children of a larger growth,
They have no clergy to shepherd the children and follow them out into life, to retain their affections and collect them to social gatherings, and by the combination of the simple pleasures of their lives with religious duties to bind them together. They have no guilds, no homes in the country. There has been nothing hitherto but the bare, hard machinery of education, without the faintest hold of love or interest beyond code work. And yet these schools stand where schools were needed most, and where, as child life is thickest, so boy and girl life is thickest also, and they are the only fostering wings that ever the pupils passing through them know. Those hundreds of thousands have never consequently been affiliated to any religious body, but, having passed through and had their wretched portion of education divided to them, they get no more care and are lost in the sea of human life. But there stand those splendid palaces of education through which they have gone, forming a vast network over the whole of the world-like city, and provided, for those past scholars, under the new evening-school code, with a staff of paid teachers, always on the spot to maintain discipline; with all their apparatus ; with playgrounds—oases in the mighty deserts of London,
All that is needed is to bring them the organised life and friendship which religious workers supply in the denominational schools. The local secretary and the body of voluntary helpers, with the eveningschool managers, will form the soul of the new body, which will grow from term to term, and attract to itself more and more of the lost children of the schools. Religious work, far from being hindered by taking these young people out of the streets, will be made by degrees possible among them. Decency, order, good taste, are not antireligious, but the best handmaids of religion. Those boys and girls who have received the shade of thought and refinement, and had the roughness and studied brutality of the streets removed, will be touched by the Old Story as they could not have been in the former days. Music will find its way into their souls, and the beauty of religious art and pageantry will exercise its glamour. There will be the imagina tion to climb above vulgar things, eyes to see, and ears to hear.
The idea, then, is not only to make the evening school bright with
song, with gymnastic exercise set to music like the soldier's march, with vivid pictures awakening the dull imagination, bounded hitherto by the bricks and mortar and dustbins in courts and alleys, to scenes of travel and history, and natural phenomena, and the wonders of nature and science; not only to set young fingers carving and drawing and modelling, and fill empty heads, but also to fill empty hearts; to give friends to those boys and girls; to give them right hands of fellowship; to go with them to the cricket-field, to the swimmingbath, on country rambles. To pilot a party of London boys through the forest is a new experience; the world becomes fresh to old eyes from theirs. Wonder inexpressible as a pair of jays dart out before us, chattering down the long avenues; or the wood-pigeons persuade, or the cuckoos are recognised as the original of the cuckoo-clock. The commonest things are gathered as if they were enchanted, until the freight they intended to bring home grows beyond bounds, and the discovery of Nature's prodigality at last makes them throw all away save some little branch or flower, as an evidence that fairyland exists. Then we can have botanical and entomological excursions, and open their minds and imaginations by these country dips. Gradually the life of the evening school will become corporate ; it will not dissolve at the end of each session ; by the grace of the Board we shall keep all that we have gained, and wind refining influences round our young people, and implant a purer taste, which will begin to reflect itself on public amusements. • The Great' and the Jolly,' and all the other unspeakable vulgarians at whom men cacchinated, will be hissed off, and real humour will return to its deserted abode ; and real singing, and beautiful dancing, and true sentiment, and business good and true to art and nature of all kinds, will again be appreciated. Time will develop our plans. Those lordly schools will still be our centres; their paid and regular staff, the great dependence and permanent strength of the work, will enter into it with all their hearts when they come to understand it fully, and see its ends and aims; our voluntary work will be a graft on the strong stem, to make it fruitful; but all the fruit will not be on this little grafted bough; the whole tree will be glorious with fruit and blossom.
Then we shall begin to extend our work still further; to make provision that once in the year the country sun shall bronze pale faces; to draft our girls and boys away to hospitable country houses or cottages where the Squire will make them the welcome guests of the villagers for a happy week or two—balcyon days in their toiling, noisy, ugly lives—days that will illuminate and sweeten the year by pleasant recollections and joyful hope. Then, linked with our school life-centres—and who can tell but that the Board, backed up by public opinion, may take this up ?-we shall establish higher and technical schools, not barred with golden bars against the poor, but open without payment to needy talent. So, having found out in our first grade evening schools the natural resources of the country, we shall pass them on and develop them; and 'apprentices whom their masters teach grudgingly and of necessity, trying to spin out teaching to the last, lest they should know too much and possibly break away, and so prevent them from ever becoming thorough workmen, we shall, in these universal technical schools, teach the highest and fullest and best, without regard to their selfish masters' scruples and fears.
From the mass, submitted to the test of simple art classes, talent will be separated and handed on to a more advanced training. Every boy may have friends, opportunities, possibilities opened to him, horizons of hope. He will by his teachers be linked to a world of greater culture than his own, and also have his eyes and heart opened to the fact that he is not overlooked, not uncared-for, in this vast crowd of human beings. Plans will thus widen out, and, through unsatisfactory results and many impediments, we must look forward and see the day of great things through the day of small beginnings. It will need continuous well-directed energy and order to work out a system, and there must be no carpet-knights in posts of trust and responsibility. Away through the evening the children of light must speed, with unflinching punctuality and the sense of a great trust. Nothing must make them fail or weary to realise the great ends which will be gained by the faithful discharge of small duties, and the vastness of the scheme, in which they are links, will stimulate them and quicken their pulses. There are many looking on who are profound unbelievers in voluntary work and workers, and prophesy,
They won't stick to it.' But I believe that when we get the right men-as we shall in course of time—and get rid of the wrong ones -weed out our mistakes—there is something so distinct, so hopeful, and so approaching to a new faith and the light and heat of enthusiasm its passage generates in this movement, that there is no room for fear of our voluntary workers failing. I do not depend on the upper classes' alone—this is a working-men's movement. Young workmen I have found throw themselves into it heartily; they are willing to go long distances; and I think to see teachers of their own class among them has a great influence on the taught. Here there is no suspicion of condescension, no instruction from a superior's point of view; but one of themselves, entirely on their own level, who comes in a brotherly way to make them happier or better. This is the feeling we must all aim at imparting to those we teach; and we must try in this work, as much as possible, to get rid of the disadvantages of birth, 'gentility,' difference of sphere, to drop on our side all ideas about difference of station. We shall not really derogate thereby from any respect to which we are duly entitled, but it will be given freely and even lovingly.
THE DISSOLUTION AND THE COUNTRY.
In the debate rising out of the defeat of Mr. Disraeli's Government on the Irish Church resolutions in 1868, Mr. Gladstone stated what were the conditions which in his view justified a Minister in making an appeal to the country by way of dissolution against an adverse Parliamentary vote. There must, he said, be in the first place an adequate issue of public policy. There must, in the second, be a reasonable probability that the decision of the country will reverse that of the House of Commons. Both these conditions certainly exist now.
Mr. Gladstone, in his latest manifesto, stated that the issue before the nation is the gravest which has been submitted to it during the past half-century. He might probably have said with truth that it is the gravest which has been submitted to the country since the Act of Union with Ireland was passed. There is no ground for doubting that not only Her Majesty's Ministers, but the parties and groups of parties allied against them, hold, the one with alarm, the others with hope, that there is a fair chance of the country refusing to countenance the vote against Home Rule for Ireland. Both sides are eager, but both sides feel that the result is supremely uncertain. Mr. Gladstone mentioned another condition which had been alleged to justify dissolution of Parliament, but of which he denied the force. A Ministry may not dissolve simply for the purpose of obtaining from the country a vote for its own continuance in office. Usually this disallowed consideration is inseparable from the others. Whatever may be the definite issue before them, the constituencies will ordinarily vote less upon that than upon the general character of the Administration which makes appeal to them. Certainly this will be so in the elections which are now impending. The country, if it returns a Ministerial majority to the new Parliament, will vote more for Mr. Gladstone than for Home Rule. It will vote for Home Rule because it is proposed by Mr. Gladstone, and not for Mr. Gladstone because he proposes Home Rule. If his attitude on the subject had been the reverse of what it is, if the provisions and machinery of his Bills had been wholly dissimilar from what they were, there is no reason to doubt that the members of Parliament who went with him into the lobby on the 8th of June would still have accompanied him thither, and that, with the exception perhaps of Mr. John Morley, his Cabinet would