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Queen's College, London
Similes. A Poem. By AGNES STONEHEWER
. Parts 11. and 111. By the Hon. 'Mrs. G. R.
The Ninth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Promotion of Social Science was held at Sheffield, and, after a preliminary service at the parish church of St. Peter's, Lord Brougham opened the proceedings of the week by delivering the inaugural address in the Music Hall on the evening of the 4th ult. He reviewed the progress made by Social Science during the past year, not confining his remarks to our own country, but extending his observations to the farthest limit of the earth, and including every subject in his comprehensive speech, from Parliamentary Reform, and questions relating to Capital Punishment, to Dressmakers' Limited Liability Companies, and Degrees for Women.
"Nothing,” he tells us, “can be more gratifying in all respects than the spread and success of co-operation, both as regards the comfort and improvement of the people ; and if the middle classes have gained much, the working classes have had a larger share in the benefit. The question naturally occurs, are these classes, preponderant for their labours as well as their numbers, to remain for ever excluded from a direct share in the choice of our representatives? The working classes generally, and even a large proportion of the middle order, are prone to be too impatient for the adoption of measures which they deem expedient. They do not give them due consideration ; they do not perceive the checks which experience has shown to be required for securing safety and conformity with other institutions. The lesson is slowly learned which these classes have never well understood, or only apprehended to make it an object of ridicule or clamour, how much of the best of laws may be the result of compromise or mutual concession, and how often in carrying through any measure, the most important and
beneficial, such compromise has been not only expedient but necessary; nay, how much the whole of our social system has been a succession of compromises. In considering any of the proposals for extending the parliamentary suffrage, this circumstance is of prevailing importance. The want of room in a workman's house often obliges him to attend a club, and therefore the best assistance that can be rendered him is to facilitate the forming of clubs, which among other advantages have the great merit of coming in competition with the ale-house. Accordingly, three years ago there was formed, in connection with our Association, the Working Men's Club Institute, and its operations have been very successful in enabling working men all over the country to form clubs. In all cases the object has been the relaxation and social intercourse of the day labourers. Lord Lyttelton, and others, have strenuously supported the institute. It must be added that nothing can be more erroneous than the notion prevailing in some quarters that the object of these clubs is for education and other matters of use to the working classes. These may arise out of them, but the main object is to give the labourers that amusement and relaxation which they require after their work. In our congress at York, the subject of female education, as connected with the university examinations, was resumed. Some difference of opinion was occasioned by the mistake that the proposal concerned degrees for females ; whereas it was certain that this could not be the case, the examination conferring no degrees at all, as had been fully stated at a preliminary meeting. But, fortunately, the University of Cambridge received most favourably the memorial signed by above 1,000 persons connected with education, as well as many others, including some of the most prominent and active members of our own Association. The memorial was presented towards the end of last year, and the question was referred to a special syndicate, who, after a careful consideration, made a report recommending the proposed extension. In accordance with this, a grace of the Senate was passed, giving effect to the recommendation of the syndicate. The scheme is to continue in force as a tentative measure for three years, at the expiration of which there is every reason to believe that it will be made permanent. In the meantime ladies' committees are arranged for the superintendence of the examinations at several of the local centres, and the promise of candidates is already very considerable. Of the complete success of the movement it is scarcely possible to entertain a doubt. The direct result of examinations cannot fail to be most beneficial, and the moral value of such a recognition by one of our old universities of the importance of female education is likely to be widely and deeply felt."
After dwelling on the improvement in the discipline of county and borough gaols urged by Lord Caernarvon, and effected by the gratuitous labours of Sir Walter Crofton, he proceeds to state the post-office accommodation to savings banks has been an incalculable benefit to the humbler classes. Above 3,000 of these have been established, the permanent deposits in which are nearly six millions, and almost all in sums under £3. This is exclusive of those in former banks. After noticing the principal events which have taken place on the continent of Europe and in America since the last Congress, Lord Brougham concludes by remarking, that “Social Science has pre-eminent claims to our regard, and promoting it is our highest duty to our Heavenly Father. That duty we delight to perform, rejoicing to be the instruments of His justice and mercy, and devoutly thankful to His goodness, which makes what he commands a pleasure to obey."
On the following morning, Sir Robert Phillimore, as President of the Jurisprudence Department, delivered his address, which was followed by a valuable paper by Mr. Moffatt, M.P., on “Bankruptcy Law.” He maintained that no creditor should be compelled to give a debtor quittance for his debt, till it had been paid in full, and that after-acquired property should therefore be liable for undischarged debts. He adverted to the present system of the adjudication of bankruptcy, and its conflict with voluntary trust deeds, and asserted that the practical operation of the law was to confiscate the rights of the creditors.
The Educational Department met to consider “What better provision ought to be made for the education of girls of the upper and middle classes ?" and a paper prepared by the Rev. F. D. Maurice was read, entitled, “ The Education of Girls,” which we are able (thanks to a local paper) to give as follows :
“I have taken part for some years in a London College for the Education of Girls. Those who established it were convinced (1) that it was desirable for girls to have as much male instruction and superintendence as possible. (2) That it was desirable that they should receive this influence in classes rather than through merely individual teaching. (3) That it was desirable that these influences should not be separated—as they must be in boarding-schools—from the influences of home. I do not mean that they hoped or wished to supersede female instruction, or the teaching of separate masters, or any existing schools. I mean merely that they were led by various observations and reflections to believe that an education was wanted, and might perhaps be given, which even the best schools managed by ladies-or the best teaching which is not social-does not supply. What these observations and reflections were it may not be of much importance to record. But each person who is engaged in such a college may fairly be asked whether his experience-it must be, of course, in great part an experience of his own mistakes and failures--appears to him to justify the maxims on which it was founded. Mine has been small in comparison with that of many of my colleagues, but, so far as it goes, it has convinced me that the maxims were sound. My belief that male instruction-formal methodical male instruction is needed for girls, is certainly not derived from any apprehension that female lessons are likely to be more frivolous or insincere than those which we impart. Those words sound almost impious when one remembers the testimonies which the most earnest thinkers and doers in the world have borne to the influence of their mothers, especially in saving them from frivolity and insincerityparticularly in making them steady and conscientious in their study and their work. I should suppose that men of science and men of business have owed the habit of observing facts, the preservation from mere dreaminess, the flights of fancy, very much indeed to the counsels of their mothers-still more to the examples of minute and steady diligence which they have afforded. And if we consider the women who have done most for their own sex or for ours-especially on the subject of education-we shall find that there is nothing for which they have laboured more than to cultivate an honest and truthful temper, to banish whatever they thought was likely to interfere with it. Miss Edgeworth is an obvious instance. Whatever defects we may find in her scheme of education, or in the remarkable series of books which illustrate it, the last complaint any reasonable person can make of them is that they exalt the fancy too highly—that they do not encourage the most profound reverence for fact. If any man starts with the notion that this reverence does not exist as strongly in the other sex as in his own, if he supposes that to inculcate it is his peculiar vocation, I suspect he will misunderstand his pupils and will never give them the help which he might give them. It has always seemed to me that I acquired more of this blessing from my female pupils than I could impart to them. Precisely because I have this conviction, I think that it is in our power to give them a kind of aid which they could not ordinarily obtain, even from women far more accomplished than we are. In trying to teach them a little modern history I am continually reminded of a tendency in my own mind to generalise. I see how dreary my lessons become to them if I give way to that tendency, and what a demand there is in them for acts and actors, for living deeds and living persons. That which is especially our masculine infirmity is discovered and rebuked whenever we seek to hold any serious intercourse with them. But it may also be cured. Our temptation is to seek for laws apart from facts; theirs is to seek facts apart from laws. If they compel us always to connect our grand enunciation of laws with their lively apprehension of particular facts, we may be saved from much vagueness, pedantry, pomposity-from building on mere hypotheses, or from describing endless circles, when we fancy we are making progress. On the other hand, they may be saved from the passion for mere petty details, which