15 DECEMBER 1866, Page 2

The Manchester people are moving again for compulsory secular education

defrayed out of local rates. The Mayor of Manchester summoned a meeting for Monday, at which Alderman Bennett, President of the Education Aid Society, moved a resolution that -it was expedient to make complete provision for the primary instruction of the children of the poor by local rates under local administration, with legal power to enforce attendance. He said it was ridiculous to compel the working children of the factories to attend school, as the Factory Acts compel them, and not to compel the idle children of dissolute parents, who waste their time in learning vicious habits in the street, to do the same. And nothing but compulsion, in one form or another, would bring a great num- ber of children within the school walls. Dr. Watts reminded the meeting that while three-tenths of the absentee children could not (from poverty) attend school if they would, two-tenths would not attend it if they could, and that the latter plea could only be over- come by legal compulsion. Dr. Watts gave an excellent illustra- tion of the working of a different kind of compulsion by a bene- .-volent manufacturer, who gave notice that he would dismiss six months later any boy who could not then read small words, and found he had no one to dismiss, and then, again, threatened the same penalty within the same period to any boy who could not write, and found very few to dismiss when the period had ex- pired. Of course, a little clerical opposition was attempted, but the resolutions were carried by a very large majority.