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Baron Meyer de Rothschild, Mrs. William Grey herself, the present First Lord of the Admiralty, the subscribers to the testimonial to Lord Lawrence, Mr. Phillips Jodrell—who, both by gift and loan, largely aids in the education of ladies intended for teachers—and lastly Mr. R. S. Wright, who devotes 1001. a year as a scholarship to Girton College, being the proceeds of his fellowship at Oriel.
We have now given a sketch of the past and present of women's education in this country. It would be difficult to show greater contrasts than the two pictures present. Dr. Chalmers said with truth of religion, apropos of the poor and godless masses in Glasgow, that those who need it most are the last to seek it. In our haste we might have said the same as regards female education in this country. Nations that are beginning to revive, and nations that are beginning to live, have alike long preceded us on the road. We were distanced even by little Piedmont, who forestalled us in her compulsory education for girls and boys by nineteen years. Normal schools have , also existed in Piedmont for more than thirty years, extended now to the chief cities of Italy, and containing, strange to say, three times as many girls as boys. Though the Italian Government has been hampered by the number of private schools attached to nunneries, yet the regulation laid down, under penalty of dissolution, that only teachers bearing the Government diploma shall be employed, minimizes the misuse of their power. Educational courses, both at Rome and Florence, are also provided by the State, and the fifteen Italian Universities are open to women for instruction, examination, and degrees. Russia, on the other hand, may be said to be taking the lead of all other European countries in female culture. A powerful tide of intellectual life is sweeping across her vast plains from Poland to Asia, extending upward into latitudes where the mind has been supposed to freeze as much as the body. Wherever institutions for the higher forms of learning are opened to women, they are at once overcrowded. Twenty-six institutes (boarding-schools), founded by successive Empresses, receive the daughters of the poorer noblesse. One hundred and eighty-six gymnasia or day schools, of different grades, for middle-class education, scattered through the Empire, contained, in 1872, 23,400 girls, and turned out annually about 1000 certificated pupils. The highest schools of medicine and surgery are opened to women. The Russian girl, in her thirst for knowledge and determination to obtain it, is altogether a new and curious product in our hemisphere. With the crudest notions of political science, she is panting to enter the arena of the physical Vol. 146.—No. 291.
sciences. The mere varnish of French fashions and frivolities, which the upper class of society have imbibed, have but little to do with this movement. The intellectual sap comes not from the surface but from the heart of the nation. A signal and most curious proof of the honour in which female education is held among the Russians was afforded on the marriage of the Duchess of Edinburgh. What Royal or Imperial bride ever received such wedding presents as those which the Russian people thought most acceptable to their Grand Duchess? The Moscow nobles established in her name thirteen exhibitionsanswering to the number of the arrondissements’ in the Government--for the local schools for girls. The Nijni-Novgorod municipality founded fifty exhibitions, half for boys, half for girls. The municipality of St. Petersburg voted 3000 roubles a year for the technical education of women; the municipality of Moscow founded a grammar school for 100 girls. These facts may be held to represent a partial, and perhaps forced development in the chief capitals. But Tobolsk, in Siberia, did the same in its own fashion, and from the length and breadth of the Empire-from Riga to Yaroslav and Perm—from Irkutsk to the river Don-flowed tributes of the same kind.
But while admitting our own shortcomings in this particular respect, and honouring all the efforts of other countries, it would be only a false modesty that would lead us to blush before them. Our lot for generations has been to work out other problems, as much for our neighbours' benefit as for our own. Too prosperous to feel an evil until it becomes, as in this case, national in dimensions ; too complicated to move quickly; and too free to be impatient about moving at all ;—this woman-question, in our social polity, has come late upon us. Not that the right of women to high culture has ever been disputed here, or their capacity to receive it ever left without proof. Too many fathers have voluntarily placed their daughters in point of education on a par with their sons ;—too many distinguished English women have adorned their homes and society, and fulfilled alike the highest and the commonest duties too admirably ;-for any other reproach to be cast on us, except that we have trusted too blindly, both as individuals and as a public, to the sense and duty of parents to perform their responsibilities. Even with all the pitiful shortcomings in home and school tuition, there is an insensible education that women pick up in England, partly from their greater and easier contact with men, and from the diffusion of the periodical press, which is peculiar to this country. How else can we account for the fact that, despite the better instruction under certificated teachers long enjoyed in other countries, our ladies are found as a rule superior to their foreign sisters in general sense and intelligence, courage, and independence of mind? What man of sense also is there in England, who really objects to a well-informed companion for life? The very ploughman who cannot, or who could not read and write, is proud of a missis' who can do both. There is no need to take cognizance here of the fool or the brute who despises, or affects to despise, a woman he knows to be superior to himself—and as little of the so-called strong-minded,' graceless, useless woman, who pleases her own sex as little as she does the other. Education in itself is the firm and hearty supporter of the throne of Duty, never its usurper-meant as a resource for leisure hours and old age-as an additional bond between husband and wife, father and daughter, and only affecting the duties of either in the shape of better sense in their exercise.
If the two sexes appear in some respects to be arrayed against each other in this question, it is owing to those circumstances which have disturbed what has been hitherto thought the natural arrangements of life. A new thing, only suspicious because it is new, is demanded, to remedy a lost balance, and the esprit de corps is at once up in arms on the one side, and the sense of a long-existing grievance militant on the other. For one charge driven home with some asperity against the male sex is that, while English boys have been helped by endowments in every form, English girls have not had so much as the crumbs which fall from their tables. But this injustice may be included among those things which are not what they seem. In past days the necessity for women of the gentry and middle classes to earn their own living, did not enter into the general calculation. Benefactors left endowments for the benefit of the male descendants of their own townsmen for ever, simply in the belief that they, equally for ever, would be the bread-winners of the community. In providing for the man, provision was believed to be made for the woman, as the greater includes the less. To bring up his sons to the struggle and competition of professional work, has been generally as much as the lawyer, the doctor, and still more the poor clergyman, could do. The notion of reckoning his daughters in the same category never entered into his plans, either of necessity or economy. In most cases where an over-numerous family, with a preponderance of boys, required an elder sister of the class of the real gentry to go out as a governess, a high principle supplied a motive for self-culture. But to what were such earnings devoted ? In nine cases out of ten to helping their brothers to enter professions, either in the way of fees or outfits. There is less reason for surprise at the
indifference indifference shown to girls' education, as regards a means of livelihood, when we know how shallow and narrow has been that of our boys. Why is it that, not unjustly, Carlyle has called us the worst instructed nation in Europe'? Simply because, while taking the lead in all practical progress, we have not associated what we think the most practical thing of all-namely, the earning of money—with high mental culture. Our national liberties have allowed self-made uncultivated men to advance in material prosperity. They have got on by industry and natural shrewdness—by good heads more than by well-stored brains. The indifference even of our respectable poor to the education of their children has had its root here. Experience has shown them that the man with a little learning above his station, who wanted to be a clerk where he should have been a servant, has found it less easy to get on than one of lower pretensions. The Scotchman is the British subject who values education most, and thrives best upon it; but whether his hardy home, his instinct for getting on, or his better education, be the secret of his well-doing, it would be hard to say. Even the Scotch girls, be it remarked in passing, are found least backward in preparation for the office of a school or home governess.
To return to the question of endowments. There is no doubt that the disproportion between the number of endowed schools for boys and those for girls, ascertained to be as 829 for the one and 14 for the other, with an income of 277,0001. for the one and less than 3,0001. for the other, is far from honestly representing the intentions of many a testator. That boy and girl were put on a level in the old Grammar Schools, is evident from the quaint little figures of each, which stand over venerable portals in old market-places. Still, it may be said that if there has been encroachment on the one part, there has been indifference on the other. So complete, however gradual, has been the non-attendance of the girls, that in numerous instancesand we may cite the old school at Crewkerne for one-the boys have simply taken possession of their vacant places.
It would be foreign to the purpose of the present paper to discuss the important question, how women of comparatively gentle birth, high culture, with no means of maintenance, are to maintain themselves? The uses to which women may apply the superior education which they have now the means of acquiring, open out many subjects of controversy, and would supply ample materials for another article. We would only observe, in conclusion, that equality of attainment with the other sex will not go far to stem the evil entailed by the present preponderance of unmarried women in the middle ranks of life.
We We trust more to the indirect influence of better education for that; an education which shall prevent much of the folly and waste of resources which have entailed the suffering that now prevails. It is only fair also that women who cast in their lot with their brothers to labour for their bread, should do so for better and for worse. Young men of no high intellectual promise leave homes where they have been softly nurtured for lives of backwoods' labour and hardship; and by the same rule, women of ordinary abilities, small energy, and no means, must be content to enter the lower and even servile ranks of employment here. No honest work can degrade them
Who sweeps a room as by God's laws,
Makes that and the action fine.' We trust that the ladies will forgive us if, in consideration of our having, as we hope, treated the question of the education of women with impartiality and courtesy, we deliver our souls of a slight parting thrust, to the effect that, while the example set by the sex they have undervalued will do some men much good, it will also do some women no harm to realize more gratefully the toil incurred by most fathers and husbands to secure to them homes of softness and ease.
Art. III.—Despatches, Correspondence, and Memoranda of F. M.
Arthur, Duke of Wellington, K.G. Edited by his Son the Duke of Wellington, K.G. [In continuation of the former
Series.] Vols. v.-vii. London, 1872–78. ON November 16, 1830, the Duke of Wellington's ministry
was beaten in a division on the motion to refer the Civil List to a Select Committee. On the following day the Duke and Sir Robert Peel announced their resignation in the two Houses, and Mr. Greville, having buried the ministry in his diary, proceeded to indite an epitaph on the Prime Minister, in which the following passage occurs :
On the question of the Test Act, it was evident that he was guided by no principle, probably by no opinion, and that he only thought of turning it as best he might to his own advantage. Throughout the Catholic Question self was always apparent; not that he was careless of the safety or indifferent to the prosperity of the country, but that he cared as much for his own credit and power, and never considered the first except in their connection with the second. The business of Emancipation he certainly conducted with con