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of their powers, or to the fact of their having been carefully chosen by well qualified judges out of a large number of candidates for the post. Nor have they the advantage of that sort of unofficial inspection which is usually invited by those heads of schools whose connexion with the universities enables them to induce distinguished men to conduct their annual examinations. Indeed the con. dition of the latter class of seminaries is generally matter of great notoriety, not only from the reports of the yearly examiners, but from the good or ill success of their pupils at Oxford and Cambridge, and it may be questioned whether any system of official inquiry could be devised which would answer the purpose better. And since the practice is almost universal, and not only not opposed, but, in point of fact, invited by the masters themselves, we may take it for granted that it is conducive to their material interests. Again, a parish schoolmaster may distinguish himself at Battersea or St. Mark's ; he will have full justice done to his labours in the report of the government inspector; he knows, in short, that he will be judged by competent men and recompensed according to his true worth. Why should the master of a school adapted to the wants of a class of boys between these extremes, be wholly debarred from all these advantages, merely because he has not had a university education, or been connected with
any of the training institutions ? There is another point in which a system of inspection is very desirable. The course of study ought to be arranged and limited according to the wants and capacities of the
3 Even at Eton, the closest of all foundations, the posers and examiners for the Newcastle Scholarship are often strangers to the place.
boys, and a stop put to the abominable system of puffing, which compels masters to promise in their advertisements that every boy shall learn everything. Surely it is time that people should be made to understand that the chief object of school education is to show boys how to learn and think for themselves, by soundly teaching them the elements of a few branches of study. Suggestion is all that can be expected or desired of a schoolmaster, and a spirit of selfdependence in research, with a good insight into the proper method of approaching a difficult subject, will be far more valuable to his scholars than any crude mass of facts got up by rote, however wide the field may be over which they range.
The tendency of the present day is to turn the attention of boys to too many subjects, and to compress the period of education into too narrow limits. The merits of their masters are therefore apt to be measured by the number of subjects taught and the shortness of time in which the race through them is accomplished. But it should be borne in mind that masters can supply neither intelligence nor industry; and the best master is not he who makes the most show of learning, but he who induces the largest number of boys to make the
* It is worth remark that so far as my opportunities of observation have extended, I have found that the works of English writers are invariably excluded from schools where the classics are not read. A short time since I had occasion to make inquiry into the books used in a large school where no Greek was taught, and only the rudiments of Latin. No English book was regularly read. A collection of short extracts from writers in poetry and prose was in the hands of most of the boys, and about a dozen were occasionally examined in a few pages of an historical work. Not even the Bible or Shakspeare were ever read aloud in class. Yet the prospectus contained a long list of sciences. fullest use they can of the several abilities with which it has pleased God to endow them.
Before dismissing the book it will be as well to give a short account of it. In the year 1597, Bacon, then a rising barrister, published a thin octavo containing Meditationes Sacræ, a Table of the Colours of Good and Evil, and ten Essays. In 1612 he reprinted the Essays, increased to thirty-eight (forty are named in the index, but two were not written), and, finally, in 1625 he again issued them “newly written,' and now fifty-eight in number. This was the last edition printed in the author's lifetime, and he seems to have superintended it himself with the greatest care, as might be expected when he was dismissing his favourite work finally corrected and enlarged.
I have to repeat what I have before remarked, that it is surprising to find with what freedom the text has been tacitly altered. I am very far from saying that an editor ought never to make any change in the received.text, but surely, as a matter of honesty, he ought to note the slightest alteration in the margin ; more especially in dealing with a work which has received such careful supervision from its author. Even Mr. Basil Montagu's edition is
very far from rigidly correct; indeed it is a book of little value, and costs an enormous sum. De mortuis nil nisi bonum, therefore I shall not say more about it. But it ought to be clearly understood that to tamper with an author's text without indicating the changes made, ought not to be merely called injudicious, but branded with shame as highly dishonest.
The Colours of Good and Evil were not reprinted by the author in English after the year 1597, but he incorporated them almost literally into the De Augmentis. It would have been more proper, therefore, to have printed them with the Advancement of Learning, but as publishing considerations rendered that inconvenient, I have added them here.
The references are given to the most important quotations, for which I am alone responsible.
LONDON, June, 1853.