15 SEPTEMBER 1855, Page 13


10th September. Sia—In page 919 of the Spectator of the 8th September you quote certain facts with regard to education, or rather ignorance, and say that they prove " the necessity of further exertion." As you alone of all your contemporaries ever venture to face or tell dis- agreeable truths, perhaps you will allow me to inquire, in your columns, whether " further exertion" is not a mere dream, until we cast away cant, and face facts on the following points ; which I state simply, without re- dundant ratiocination, in consideration of the claims upon your space. 1. Must we not cast away cant about "intelligent artisans" thirsting for knowledge and hungering after instruction, and acknowledge the disagree- able fact, that for the most part the working classes of England are bipeds who desiderate fine clothes and tobacco, hunger after beef and pudding, and thirst for beer ?

2. Must we not cast away cant about the right of such a biped to be an autocratic paterfamilias, and assert the truth that the law has a right to binder such bipeds from making their children as brutal as themselves? 3. Must we not cast away cant about "local self-government" and "Saxon Alfred's olive-tinctured brow," and confess that farmers who see nothing in a peasant-boy but a possible pig-feeder, and " gentlemen " of the Manchester school who reckon human beings not as heads but hands, are not altogether fit to form educational boards ? 4. Must we not cast away cant about "religious feelings," and "rights of conscience," and say out that children are not to be damned for the brute vices of ignorance in order that they may be preserved from the taint of infinitesimal heresy ? 5. Must we not cast away cant about "England's commercial greatness," and admit that we are paying for cotton stuffs and Brummagem buttons about a thousand individual healths and intellects, to say nothing of souls, per diem ? 6. Must we not cast away cant about "liberal institutions," and open our eyes to the fact that something very different from "representative govern-