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CHE GOVERNMENT EDUCATION BILL. On Friday night a numerously attended public meet. ng of the supporters of the National Education Union md other friends of the religious education of the people vas held in St. James's-ball, London. The Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G., occupied the chair, and was sup- ported by the Duke of Northumberland, the Duke of Norfolk, the Marquis of Salisbury, the Earl of larrowby, Lord Howard of Glossop, Lord Eustace Jecil, M.P., Earl Percy, M.P., Lord Sandon, M.P., klr. W. H. Smith, M.P., Colonel Akroyd, M.P., tfr. Beresford Hope, M.P., Mr. Corrance, M.P., Mr. 3unliffe Brooks, M.P., Mr. Hugh Birley, M.P., iev. Dr. Barry, &c. The Chairman, who was loudly cheered on rising, said that rere met on that important occasion in this 19th century, in his age of progress, in aperlod of civil and religious freedom, fter so many conflicts and disputes on religious grounds, to upport the cause of religion in the national education of the ountry, and to protest against the exclusion or discourage- aent of religious teaching in our schools. They were there o demand impartial justice, and to enforce those great irinclplesof religious liberty for which they had so long and rdently contended. The necessity for a great measure of atienal education being on all sides admitted Her Majesty's fovernment had brought in a bill which has been committed o the care of an able and upright man-M r. Forster; and if he tad been all-powerful to frame the measure there would have een no need for their gathering in that hall. But this was not o, and they were therefore asked to support those great rinciples which the right hon. gentleman had enunciated. t was not for that meeting to consider details. Their busi- ess was with the great principles involved in the questlon- whether the children of this country, under a system of ational education, should or should not receive the Bible nd religious teaching ? ( Sear, hear.) Now, the bill brought )rward by the Government was not by any means all they 'ished or had a right to demand but if it did not do all bey could desire for religious teaching, at least it did not tep over on the other side and exclude it from our national :hools. The bill left the people to decide whether they rould have religious teaching or not, and the responsibility f deciding must rest upon local bodies, and not fall rith its full weight upon the national shoulders. (Hear.) he "religious difficulty" was not, he believed, felt by is great mass of the people. The feeling throughout is country was with them. A hundred amendments ad been proposed, all more or less coming towards is proposition they desired to carry, but all falling lort of the mark. They must now make a very eclded effort to carry their point, and secure the teaching fthe Bible as an essential, and not as an extra. (Hear.) .eligious teaching must be given within school hours. lear.) Let this be done, and they would grant as many mscience Clauses and timetable8 mm their adveiurlM could ions to relegate religious teaching to odds id ends of time would be an outrage upon tile national lelings and a gross violation of religious liberty. If their ?ponents had their way they would be called upon by public ixes and local rates to contribute to the foundation of shools from which the Word of God and all religious teach-.I Ig would be excluded, but to which they were to be com- piled to send their children, where the children would arn that the State had determined religion to be a se- mdary and by no means necessary part of education. The Jble earl concluded an eloquent speech by adjuring those resent, by the honour of the nation and the safety of the !?P'e> to work with heart and soul to secure that the niaren of Great Britain should be nurtured in the faith, ar, and admonition of the Lord. Mr. Cowper-Temple, M.P,, proposed the first reso. ition as follows opl?,t?n of this meeting any system of Na- Education which excludes religious teach- & nnlwk °'discourages it is wholly unsatisfactory »d unworthy of national support." Hughes, M.P.( geCOnded the resolution, which was l7iA^anlmSusl/\ He said that he should be appearing ITimSL fBIK ? colours if he did not state that he v. Education League. He joined that or- Sntov whichC^e tt WM the flrst that 8tarted in this lts banner "National Education rate-supported, and perfectly fair those fonr ^H, ?i°1?llaatious 1,1 the country. He still stood th«vf Principles, and it was because he did so that 'IlW°re, It never was a part of the pro- ^had Wn !°? ty t0 exclude religious teaching. That !«nritv of thaf »ince Us formation by a very small n who advrtP.tB^0iety» composed, no doubt, of very able l^nW wou^d «^Sec"lM- teaching. He believed that the >untry d emphatically declare against secular educa- the hiffh«H *at the pubUo Bchools of this country, °« would find fKntheUnddown t0 the Schools, could K element of religious teaching in all. oth^ "hore mischievous, as Dr. Arnold and °« would find fKntheUnddown to the Ragged Schools, could K element of religious teaching in all. oth^ "hore mischievous, as Dr. Arnold and Son from to t0 8eparate 4116 idea ° £ .Sall8bury, who, on rising to propose the ^'hfl had to iriv^th recelved with long-continued cheeriDg, dd fttions alrJad»^ Practical commentary to the theoretical r0P^««t action .L al<i beIore tlle meeting. Their duty lay > steady determination to show by prac- cal Mi in that which had been enthusiastically ChrifttL^einbly- Mr- HuKhes had wi»ely spoken, Dd Th«rVeellng, Dpon the folly ot ™r sectarian •gerence* inere wag aothing which could fill all followers f th0Ji!hso mnphgon with peeper melancholy than te see iat, witn so mucn experience of the value of that religion, ley were rer agreement. But, in answer to the jproacne g ^gainst themonaccount of their sectarian their combination for the purposes t educate ouid ask them to look at that platform. e itheir nohi admiration to the hearty Protest- atism ot chairman, which always met with a arm eloauen? an assembly of Englishmen, and 11110 5 «flected th ?nd buraing words were being uttered e had, there were sitting beside him on iat pla«°"? j^an Catholics who, probably, if they ad spoked wouiu nave retorted on his Protestantism with nti-Protestan as eloquent and as burning; but he had Iso reflectea Protestants and Roman Catholics, having othing in common except their love for one Saviour, had »et together hat platform in furtherance of a common wise. When nerence which seemed attimes world-wide UTink into | hcance it became necessary to ask the »U8e which g them all together. Depend upon it, the •undatioD* o .Common faith were not lightly threat- led when 8 80 widely, could meet together in »sponse to °* that association. There was no inference so wme oetween Christians as that which separated hristians a^hu^8e, who proposed that no Christianity lould be ^u^easurfi 0 iS- They did not altogether like the overnment • and if they had to frame an educational olity for j. 'twould not probably be the same as iat of the b before the House of Commons. They >lt, however, a desire such as had never before een expresse ..arisen for a system of national edu- ction, and t y bound to sink every difference which Juld by WVth„„0,>Me be called a minor point, fhen, howev > y had made these concessions there rose a sect ol P ,rs—not the Birmingham League— ho said that t "sciences were injured if any religions sachingatali 8 en to the children in rate-supported Jhools. Id ask these gentlemen of exquisitely elicate consC, th° e?lember that Christians had con- :iences as well as tnemselvea. The vast mass of the work- ig Peoplebene at education without religion was not > be desired f° pkildren. The philosophers to whom e referred proposed; however, to take their children 'hetherthey wo n0 tQ sen(j them to school, to work iem through the hours of the day anj to exclude from the 3ucation of their inas that one subject upon which their ilnds should dwe. it he took his neighbour's horse and ode it for twelv_ urs a <jay, it might be paid that the wner was not prevented from riding it afterwards. This 'as the whole at -ig8ue between the supporters of sligious education ana the Secularists. Religion must either e taught or oere was no neutrality in this matter, ffear, hear ) Rwigiois zeal was by far the most powerful gency In the promotion of education. This might be the ffsprlng of a detestame superstition. He would not contest hat point, but the fact remained that this religious zeal of tie various Christian denominations had covered the land rith churches and schools, and the question for practical olittcians dealing buman motives was whether they [Ould have this vast xorce against them or on their side, 'hat the Union did was to recognize this craving for na- ional education and yearning for religious instruction. It rq incontestible that the active force of the opposition to his movement was hostility to Mitgion, partly the reaction of inner controversies, which had produced a fe6ltng of anti- eligious propagandlsm. The more influential and distln- uished Nohdomformists were on the side of the Union but small section, using their religious organization for olitical ends, had consented to play the part of catspaw in his matter. (Cheers and interruption) The crisis was one f uncommon danger, and one which called upon all Chris- Ians to join together in earnest and long-sustained defence f the great principles now at stake. (Much cheering.) The oble-Marquis concluded by moving :— That the following petition be signed by the chairman, in behalf of the meeting for presentation to Parliament:— "That your petitioners view with great alarm the at- empts now being made to introduce a purely secular system if elementary education, and to exclude the Bible and all leflnite religious teaching from primary schools. That your petitioners are satisfied that exclusively secu- ar teaching is opposed to the desires and convictions of the :reat bulk of the people of this country, who are in favour of christian teaching for a Christian nation. "Your petitioners, therefore, pray that your honourable House will adopt those principles of the Education Bill which provides for liberty of religious instruction in all public schools." Mr. C. Buxton, M.P., in seconding the resolution, said he hoped it would be remembered that they were seeking liberty of religious teaching. They did not want to force re- ligious teaching where the parents of the children were opposed to it. The one thing they sought was that where the parents desired education to be associated with religion the State should not step in to refuse them that boon. He was not himself opposed to some of those restrictions as to the time and manner of religious teaching which might seem necessary as a fair compromise between contending parties. It seemed to him very important that the ministers of reli- gion should not be driven but of the schools, while there could be no doubt that many educational reformers were bent upon expelling them. He was quite able to sympathize with those who felt a dislike to the idea of the education of the people being a work of charity under the patronage of their superiors, and he was glad to find the people more de- sirous than formerly, that the education of their children should be their own business. Mr. Thomas Chambers, M.P., and Mr. Beresford Hope, M.P., supported the resolution, which was carried unanimously.







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