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IAbout the WortS.

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I RACING FIXTURES. - ... -..--


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OPINIONS OF TEE PRESS. The Daily News says The Bill contains the material of a settlement. Its leading merits are the narrow limits within which it confines interference with existing agencies, and the scope which it allows to volun- tary effort in the new element which it introduces. Yet while apparently doing little, it brings education home to every child in the kingdom. By the slightest means it does the largest work. The two most serious objections to which it lies open are the scope which it gives to local bodies, and the manner in which it deals with the religious difficulty. The power of direct interference which the Government reserves for itself should the school boards prove inefficient or obstructive may meet the for- mer danger. The concession which Mr Forster makes to the denominational principle in new public schools is likely, we fear, to make every borough and parish the scene of sectarian squabbles, Churchman striving against Nonconformist, and Baptist against Methodist, for ascendancy, and for the privilege of exercising a tolerant patronage through the medium of a con- science clause. This mistake, however, if it should prove one, admits of, correction. Mr Forster is to be congratulated on a measure which, in combined moderation and boldness, and in constructive skill, may compare with the best projects of modern legislation. The Standard- The Bill, as a whole, is an eminently moderate, but by no means a hesitating or timid measure; and it is not surprising that it met with the approval of most of the best friends of education on both sides of the house. It provides a system of national education which absorbs and preserves thb present volunteer schools; it establishes school boards, which, being limited in number, and selected by elective bodies, will consist generally of the best men in the district; it gives us rate schools without damaging the present schools, without relieving the parents of their duties, above all, without heathenisms our pri- mary education. It does all that we expected; it avoids nearly all the evils we most dreaded, and which, we feared, were in- separable from its main proposals. It is wise, brave, and just; and its courage and justice are not the less remarkable because they are chiefly shown at the expense of the favourite theories and most passionately cherished dogmas of the extreme Radical school. It is, as we believe, and as Mr Dixon evidently per- ceived, in its present shape, a heavy, if not fatal, blow to the objects of the Secular or Heathen party and as such we could forgive and even welcome it, if its defects were more serious and its provisions less urgently needed than we believe them to be. Government, says the Times, have capped their first success by a second. The Bill, it considers, has been framed in a spirit at once comprehensive and conservative, and confidence is expressed that it will secure the approba- tion of Parliament. The Pall Mall Gazette discerns in the Bill a fitting set- tlement of one of the most important of contemporary questions though it considers that it has one unfortunate blot in that the direct compulsion of the parent is left to the voluntary action of the school boards. The Spectator thinks that a more statesmanlike measure than the Government Education Bill was never laid before the country. It is stringent in principle, and elastic in the application of principle; it wastes no resources; it supplies vast wants; it solves the religious difficulty and yet does not ignore religion; it respects all consciences and yet enforces neglected obligations; it will cover the coun- try with efficient schools without striking down one effi- cient school that now exists; it sets up a high ideal, and it does all that statesmanship can do to hasten the time when the whole country will accept that ideal with absolute unanimity." The Saturday Review confines itself to an enumera- tion of the provisions of the measure, admitting, how- ever, that the spirit in which it is conceived does credit to the Government, while the manner in which it was brought forward on Thursday will confer just distinction on Mr Forster. The Bill is the subject of very favourable comment in several of the French papers. In this country," says the D6bats, "the question of gratuitous and, if need be, compulsory instruction has been long under discussion without making any progress. In England, where they know how to decide and determine, there is much less talking and much more action; more work and less noise. Thus the question of gratuitous and compulsory education will be settled in England before it is even officially recog- nised in France." The Temps writes in exactly the same sense. England, the country par excellence of personal right (it says) does not fear to make that right gi\ e way in presence of the superior right of children to the acquisition of the elementary knowledge indispensable to the development of the human faculties; and she will have the honour of preceding us in this fertile path."

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