17 MAY 1879, Page 12




Sin,—It was natural that the Spectator should enjoy a quiet laugh over the recent action of the Birmingham School Board in relation to Mr. Dixon's motion. But those of us who still abide by a purely secular instruction in Board Schools cannot laugh. We are vexed,—and chiefly with Mr. Dixon. On the 1st inst. that gentleman, without any consultation with his colleagues, moved, "That in the opinion of this Board, it is desirable that systematic moral instruction be given in all the Birmingham Board Schools." He urged that he was only advocating the extension and systematising of what was already given,—a specious plea, which, remarkably enough, even Mr. R. W. Dale was not proof against. The motion was carried, but how ? The Spectator says "by a large majority," thereby im- plying that Mr. Dixon's motion secured the general support of his own party. The fact is, only three of the Liberals present voted for it, and one of those regretted that the question had been brought before the Board, and believed that when it came to be considered in committee it would be found impracticable. The "large majority" was composed of four Liberals (including the Chairman), one Independent, and five Churchmen I am willing, therefore, to believe that the Spectator will own that it was a little unguarded when it spoke of the Board "not liking the result of its own system not even enough to bear with it any

longer." How far the words may express the present feelings of the chairman of the Board—and of course, he may be waver- ing in his adherence to "unmixed secularism "—I shall not undertake to say ; but it may be fearlessly asserted that this is not a case to which you can apply the proverb,—Ex t1210 dine omnes.—I am, Sir, &c.,