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•EDUCATION IN WALES. TSiere are one or two peiitts in connection .o. the policy of ihe Welsh Alliance which it is wfefi to recall, feven -at the :rilE: of considerable repetitidt, because they throw a great deal of light "upon what 'is the greatest con- itroversy of the hour. It is nOw quite plain that Mr FORSTE\Rt.s Bill will not be accepted in its present form, by a large and influential "section of the liberal party, and the country is eagerly discussing whether education shall be secular or sectarian, and whether it shall be made • compulsory by Parliament, or left, as far as that question is concerned, to the decision of the school boards or the circumstances of the district. Now, as regards the "religious difficulty," it must strike everyone at once as a singular fact, that Welsh dissenters, who are remarkable for their religiousness, and for the care with which they educate their children in the principles of religion, should be amongst the most eager advocates of secular instruction. There is, it is true, some difference of opinion as to the use of the Bible, but even on that point, as far as can be gathered from the proceedings of the last few weeks, we believe there cannot be a doubt that the mass of feeling is for purely secular teaching. If proof is needed, this singular fact is sufficient to show that, so far from being opponents of religion or religious teaching, a vast number of the advocates of secular education are the very men who think most of, and do- most for, the scriptural instruction of the young. The question, of course, is, not whether it is well to educate children in the principles and practices of religion, but whether it is right that the State should undertake that duty, and also, whether the perfunctory teaching of religion by State officials is likely to do more good than harm. If the matter could be dis- cussed on these grounds, without the importation of religious bigotry and bitterness, the controversy would be much more useful, and much more easily decided. The practical question, however, with regard to Mr FORSTER'S Bill, is, how far its denomi- national clauses shall be modified; and we may say at once that the Alliance is aiming at what it considers right, but what nobody, we imagine, can believe attainable at present. It is sometimes wise to ask for more than you expect to get, and-as long as the Welsh members are not committed to the whole programme of the Alliance, it cannot imperil the passing of the Bill that impracticable demands should be made. Mr WATKIN WILLIAMS, whose course on the Welsh Church question might have led us to expect less moderation from him than from some of his colleagues, strongly insisted, at the conference, upon the necessity of not putting off all legis- lation by striving for the impossible; and it was satis- factory to find that Mr WILLIAMS'S views were shared in by the other Welsh members. On the religious question they will support Mr DIXON'S amendment, and, notwith- standing Mr FORSTER'S earnest advocacy of what he calls religious education, it is to be hoped that Government will consent to modify their Bill, so as to prevent the in- justice and sectarian bitterness that will result from its present provisions. Dr EDWARDS and Dr REES put the matter very concisely and effectively, as far as it regards the Principality, when the deputation waited on Mr GLAD- STONE and his colleagues, on Wednesday. The nonconform- ists in Wales are in so great a majority that in many places they can carry the day and establish their own schools, but it will be at the cost of continual strife; and this strife, so fruitful of evil, Mr FORSTER is asked to prevent. Another argument of much weight to Welshmen was urged by the deputation. In a large number of districts, to vote against the landlord will be to incur a real or fancied danger of such serious magnitude, that the ratepayers cannot be expected to exercise their legal right. The spirit which animated the whole Principality at the last election can hardly be looked for in separate parishes and men who might risk their livelihood in a party contest would scarcely go the same length of self sacrifice in order to secure the appointment of a school board. These arguments are directed also against the proposed constitu- tion of the board by councils and vestries, and there can be little doubt that if the measure passes in its present form, and boards which have the control of the religious and compulsory questions are appointed by vestries and town councils, great dissatisfaction will be spread through- out the country. The Alliance asks that the ratepayers at large shall elect them under the protection of the ballot. As to compulsion, it is asked that Parliament shall decree it, that the matter shall not be left in the hands of the members of school boards, many of whom will have an interest in children's labour and cannot be expected to give an impartial decision, and that the difficulty and confusion which would be caused by compelling attendance in one parish and not in the next may be avoided by at once de- claring that every child in the land shall be taught to read and write. The Alliance asks for other amendments in the Bill, as will be seen from the report which we give on another page, but the three great improvements at which it aims are, unsectarian teaching, imperial compul- sion, and the election of school boards by the ratepayers and by ballot; and in all these particulars the measure must be amended before it can receive the cordial support of the people of Wales. We hope, however, that Mr WATKIN WILLIAMS'S advice will be remembered, and that we shall not be deprived of one step in the right direc- tion because we cannot all at once arrive at the gaol.—Os- westry Advertizer.


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