2 FEBRUARY 1850, Page 6


A Committee, appointed at a recent conference in Edinburgh, of friends of national education, have determined "that an effort shall be made to unite the friends of this great cause on principles at once so general and SD definite as to form a basis for practical legislation" -, and with this view, they have published a series of resolutions which they recommend to the consideration of the country. The resolutions are to the following general effect. Without attempting to approximate with statistical precision its exact con- dition, there can be no doubt that Scotland has greatly sunk from its former elevated position among educated nations : a large proportion of the youth in thickly-peopled industrial districts, and in the Highlands and Islands, are left without education. The parish-schools of Scotland are "defective and objectionable, in consequence of the smallness of the class invested with the patronage the limited portion of the community from which the teachers are selected, the general Inadequacy of their remuneration, and the system of management applicable to the schools, inferring as it does the exclusive control of Church Courts." It is of vital and primary importance that "sound religious instruction be communicated "—" there will never be any enlargement of education in Scotland on a popular and national basis which will not carry with it an extended distribution of religious instruction" : "the duty and responsibility of communicating religious instruction to children have been committed by God to their parents, and through them to such teachers as they may choose to intrust with that duty " : "were the power of selecting the masters, fixing the branches to be taught, and managing the schools, at present vested by law in the heritors and the Presbyteries of the Established Church of Scotland, to be trans- ferred to the heads of families under a national system of education," such an arrangement would give a far better security than any at present exist- ing "both for a good secular and a good Christian education. Dr. Chal- mers's principle is maintained, that there is no other method of extrication from the difficulties with which the question of education in connexion with religion is encompassed, than " that in any public measure for helping en the education of the . people Government should abstain from introducing the element of religion at 'all ; . . . . leaving this matter entirely to the parties who had to do with the creation and management of the schools which they had been called upon to assist." Provision should be made to include in any scheme "not only all the pariah-schools, but also all existing schools, wherever they are required by the necessities of the population, whose sup- porters may be desirous to avail themselves of its advantages." The teach- ers should not be required to subscribe any religious test; normal schools for training teachers should be established, and the possession of a certificate of qualification be made DealTAIITY to entitle a teacher to become a candidate for any school under the national system ; and provision should be made for the adequate remuneration of the teachers. The main features of the system might be as follows-1. Local boards, popularly elected by all male heads of families being householders, should select the masters, generally manage the schools, and, without undue inter- ference with the master, direct the branches of education to be taught. 2. A general superintending authority, responsible to the country through Fare lament, should keep the local-boards up to their duty, prevent and remedy abuses collect and preserve educational statistics,' and dam such en- lightened views as their authoritative position and command of aid from the lue4iheest intellects in the country -would enable them to communicate." Committee subscribing to the document published includes the names of Dr. James Begg, Dr. John Brown, Mr. John Hill Burton, Mr. William Chambers, Mr. Adam Black, and Mr. James Craufurd, Sheriff

of Perthshire.

At a meeting of papermakers, authors, publishers, and printers, held in Edinburgh last week, to promote the object of repealing the excise-duty on paper some interesting statistics were exhibited, by Mr. William Chambers, papas, Durham, and Mr. Charles Cowan, M.P. The duty on paper, amounting to three-halfpence per. pound, does not materially affect the more expensive class of publications—it does not ex- ceed 3d. or 6d. a volume ; but on cheap publications it becomes a tax of almost 20 per cent on the value of the paper used. During the five years ending 1848, the Messrs. Chambers paid for paper the sum of 63,425/., and of this sum 14,335/. was exacted as duty ; they at present pay 1,200/. a year to Government. A journal published by their firm, which circulated 80,000 copies a week, was abandoned under the pressure of the paper-duty. This step was in effect the abandonment of a business that circulated 18,0001. a year lathe employment of labour; a sum equal to the maintenance of 600 families at 12s. a week, or 2,400 of the population. On the coarse paper used by tradesmen for wrapping their retailed goods the duty amounts to 70 or 80 per cent of the original cost, and "40 per cent on the combined cost"—out of every 101. paid, 4/. is exacted as duty. This amounts in large ironmongery businesses to a tax of more than 2001. a year; in the grocery business the grocer escapes by weighing with the sugar, &c., which he sells, the heavy absorbent paper which wraps it; but the burden is thus thrown on the poor man and is onerous in proportion to his poverty—in proportion to the smallness and faequency of Ms pile-hazes. While the DWI in comfort- able circumstances orders forty pounds' weight of sugar at once, the poor man comes for it in forty or eighty parcels, and he loses at least as much sugar as the weight of all the coarse absorbent paper which is used for wrappage. A paper has lately been manufactured in France from straw, which could be purelmsed in the Edinburgh market at 35s. or 40s. per ton, 18.9d. or 2s. per hundredweight; but upon this niaterial, which would cost leas than one farthing a pound, would be charged a tax of three-halfpence a pound. The Paris journal La Prase is published at 40 francs a year, (365 numbers,) or the smallest fraction above one penny a number. The circulation was lately about 30,000 a day, or about 10,950,000 copies a year, weighing about 342 tons. Our excise-duty of 14/. 10s. on this quantity would be 5,000?.,— that is to say, a rate of some 29 per cent on the whole cost of the paper, and one of 10 per cent on the gross return of the publication exclusively a ad- vertisements. The stamp-duty and the paper-duty together would absorb the whole return of the publication. Mr. Cowan, as a manufacturer, acceded to Mr. Chambers's opinion that if the excise-duty were removed, and a com- plete free trade in paper established, we should compete advantageously with France and Belgium, and should supply the Colonies on the most far eourable terms.

A clerk in the Jedburgh Savings-bank has just decamped with 5001. He is supposed to have sailed for America by the same vessel which carried his brother delinquent from Aylesbury.—Neweasae Journal. a slide and in filling caught at some iron rails; the sharp point of one of Mr. James Milligan,ig hosier, walking along a street in Dumfiecs, slipped on which 'hitched tightly inside a ring which he wore on his little finger. On rising from the :round and inspecting his hand, which was benumbed by a terrible wrene.h, he found that his finger had been torn completely away, and was hanging on the point of the rail, with its tendon curled round the iron. He walked to a surgeon, had the wound dressed, and has since suftbred a re- gular amputation of the stump.

There have been very heavy falls of snow in Aberdeenehire, Caithneea, and the other Northern counties. The stoppage of traffic and long delay of the mails, though forwarded on horseback or by choke, have occasioned much inconvenience.