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by their most zealous supporters'; and it is our own firm con. viction, that they will never realize the expectations of their promoters until some means be devised by which they may be made accessible to the middle and lower classes, with whom there is always in every country a large undeveloped fund of genius and talent, and, until this is done, education as a system is imperfect in Ireland.

We do not ask the state to bear the whole expense of having those classes taught the study of languages. In any case the expense will be very trifling, but we feel conscious that, if any attempt were made to confer such a boon upon the country, it would be hailed with such gratitude that the people them. selves would willingly share in defraying the expense.

The following is an extract taken from an able letter, written by the Rev. James M'Cosh, L.L.D, to the Earl of St. Germans, when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, on the subject now occupying our attention :

Without such intermediate institutions the work begun in the National Schools will be improperly intercepted. I am not one of those who think it is for the good of the country that the higher classes of society should be brought down, but I am convinced that it is for the advantage of the country at large, and even of the higher classes, that facilities should be given to the more deserving members of the lower ranks to raise themselves to a higher elevation. It is for the benefit of the whole social atmosphere, that the more fervent and aspiring parts of the lower stratum should be allowed to mount upwards and carry their heat and energy along with them into the upper regions. I believe that a country is not wisely or impartially governed which does not prepare a way by which the son of the tradesman or small farmer may, if gifted with the proper talents and perseverance, rise to the higher offices of the land. "But there are no such facilities at this moment in Ireland : a young man might have genius and indomitable perseverance, equal to that of my two countrymen, Robert Burns and Hugh Miller, but there are wide districts in Ireland, whole half counties in which he could not at this day find the means of acquiring that smattering of the Latin language, which the two eminent persons referred to were enabled to procure at their own door in Scotland, and no possible means of enabling him to rise to any of the learned professions. I hold that if a country be equitably governed, there will be provision made for enabling young men of ability and energy to rise beyond the common schools to the colleges, and thence, if they have crowning merit, to the very highest offices in church and state. Such fresh blood ever poured into the veins of the upper classes in rank and profession would greatly promote their health and energy, and would bring them into a state of more friendly sympathy and fellowship with the other portions of the community. The Irish in the more sequestered districts have been taught to look upon themselves as a people trampled on and crushed, and I know nothing better fitted to gain their generous hearts, than to find that their promising youth, instead of pining in poverty in their turf-built cabins, or being driven to far distant shores, have really the means of rising to honour and competence in their own land.


The existing deficiency, while so far limiting the benefits which the lower storey of the building might effect, is found to be a still greater hindrance to the utility of the upper storey. When the difficulties with which the Queen's Colleges have had to contend are taken into account, they may be regarded as wonderfully successful. Still they might accomplish much more than they have hitherto done, provided the Government of the country were to finish what they have so well begun. And here I may be permitted to remark, that I believe there is a great misunderstanding among the friends of the Queen's Colleges as to the chief hindrance to their entire success. Certain influential members of various churches have spoken strongly against them, and this circumstance is supposed to constitute the main obstacle with which they have had to contend. This, in my humble opinion, is a mistake. The influences referred to have been brought to bear against the National Schools without much visible effect. I have far too high an opinion of the independent spirit of the Irish people, to believe that they are to be deterred by such influences from supporting institutions which have as they see a beneficial tendency. I am convinced that the grand difficulties with which the Queen's Colleges have had to contend have proceeded, not from ecclesiastical opposition, but the utter want of adequate feeders. Give us only a sufficient number of Classical Schools judiciously planted throughout the land, and in a few years the class rooms of the Queen's Colleges would be crowded. "Nay, I am persuaded that Trinity College itself would feel the influence, in an increased number of young men, belonging to the middle and lower classes, eagerly seeking to take advantage of its high scholarship and its many privileges.

I do not plead, then, for these intermediate schools merely as a means of increasing the usefulness of the Queen's Colleges As a professor in one of these Colleges, I acknowledge that I am anxious to make them thoroughly fulfil the end designed by them. I would not be worthy of the office which I have the honour to hold, were I not desirous to see them accomplish the good which they are fitted to serve. But I plead for upper schools, not on the grounds of promoting the welfare of the Queen's Colleges, I plead for them as fitted to benefit every other Collegiate Institution in this island or in Great Britain to which Irishmen are accustomed to resort. I plead for them as calculated to elevate the Irish people to a bigher status in the scale of nations, and scatter innumerable blessings throughout the land."

We know of no reason why a duty of such public interest should not be undertaken by the state; the country is no doubt indebted to it for what it has already done, but the legislature

that has given us the national system of education should not debar us the means of distinguishing ourselves in those Colleges that are little more than useless ornaments to the nation at present.

If the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland be not vested with authority to afford a classical education to the middle and lower classes of society, they have only to apply for it to have it granted to them. They have surmounted all dangers that could impede the success of the system ; they have proved to the world how uncalled for and how undeserved were the slanderous attacks made upon them, nor were some of those attacks made upon them in their corporate capacity, but upon many of them as individuals. They have now gained the confidence of the liberal and unprejudiced clergy of all churches and their followers, and nothing remains to crown the system they have stood by and upheld, though calumniated and assailed, by those who, when they found they could not employ it as an agency of proselytism and by it degrade the Irish poor, pronounced it to be godless and irreligious, but to fill up the gap between their schools and the colleges of the country. This done, the educational wants of Ireland are supplied, and the opponents of the national system silenced for ever.

We thought thus when we visited the Manchester Athenæum some few days ago, and we were reminded of the eloquent address delivered to its members by Sir A. Alison, in which he said:

" In vain does an utilitarian age ask, what is the use of such pursuits? What benefit is thence to arise to society? In what respect is the sum of human happiness to be increased by this extension? What, I would ask, in reply, is the use of the poetry of Milton—the music of Handel—the paintings of Raffaelle? Why are the roses more prized than all the harvests of the fields, though they are beautiful alone?—To what does every thing great or elevating in nature tend, if not to the soul itself, to that soul which is eternal and invisible, and never ceases to yearn after the eternal and invisible, how far soever it may be removed from whatever affects only present existence, and which in that very yearning at once reveals its ultimate destiny, and points to the means by which alone that destiny is to be attained ? Regarding then literature in its highest aspect, that of the great fountain not merely of useful knowledge, but of elevated and generous sentiments, let me earnestly entreat you to apply vigorously to that which alone can give the passport to its whole treasures--the study of foreign languages. Charles V. said, that whenever he read a foreign language he felt a new soul within him. It is the command of them which is the great cause of the difference between men of culti. vated minds and mere ordinary information. How great soever may be the genius of our own writers, there must ever be a certain sameness in their conception. Foreign reading is like foreign travel. ling, you receive new ideas at every step. No amount of informa. tion derived merely from the writers of our own country can supply the deficiency. No mind can become enlarged which is not familiar with the the thoughts of remote ages and distant countries, and no commerce can be extensive, in which foreign is not largely exchanged for domestic produce. It is by the collision of Aint and steel, not by steel alone that fire is struck. It is by promoting this interchange of ideas that commerce in every age has so powerfully contributed to the advancement of the human mind.

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Art. 1.-A QUARTETTE OF IRISH POETS. 1. The Poems of Thomas Davis. Now first collected. With

Notes and Tistorical Illustrations. Dublin : Published by James Duffy, 7, Wellington-quay. London : Simpkin,

Marshall and Co., Stationers' Hall Court. 1553. 2. The Poetical Works of Gerald Griffin, Esq. London:

Simms and M'Intyre, Paternoster-row; and Donegall-street,

Belfast. 1851. 3. The Poems of J. J. Callanan. A New Edition, with a

Biographical Introduction and Notes. Cork : Messrs.

Bolster, 70, Patrick-street. 1817. 4. Miscellaneous Poems and Songs. By Francis Davis, (the

“ Belfast Man.") Belfast : Printed and Published by John Henderson, Bookseller to the Queen. Dublin : James M'Glashan, D'Olier-street, London : E. Farrington, 16, Bath-street, Newgate-street. Glasgow : Griffin and Co. 1852. Though true it is that the poets whom we have chosen to form the subject of this review are already known, in a superficial way, to a small portion of Irish readers, it is also certain that the public of this country are very far from having an adequate acquaintance with their beauties, or from forming a just appreciation of their literary merits. There is not a puny little volume of English verse, with the name of an English author on the back, and the evidence of a Della Cruscan intellect in the unrivalled neatness of its gilded cover, which we may not easily find upon the tables of the salon or the boudoir; but should we not seek in vain in the same abodes VOL. V.-NO. XX.


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