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Education, And Case Of Appeal
by [?]

[Footnote 1:
Plans for the Government and Liberal Instruction of Boys in large Numbers; Drawn from Experience. London: 1822. 8vo.]

[Footnote 2:
The distinguishing excellence of the Madras system is not that it lodges in the pupils themselves the functions which on the old systems belong to the masters, and thus at the same blow by which it secures greater accuracy of knowledge gets rid of a great expense in masters: for this, though a great merit, is a derivative merit: the condition of the possibility of this advantage lies in a still greater–viz. in the artificial mechanism of the system by which, when once established, the system works itself, and thus neutralises and sets at defiance all difference of ability in the teachers–which previously determined the whole success of the school. Hence is obtained this prodigious result–that henceforward the blessing of education in its elementary parts is made independent of accident, and as much carried out of the empire of luck as the manufacture of woollens or cottons. That it is mechanic, is no conditional praise (as alleged by the author before us), but the absolute praise of the Madras system: neither is there any just ground of fear, as he and many others have insinuated, that it should injure the freedom of the human intellect. ]

[Footnote 3:
We have since found that we have not room for it; the case is stated and argued in the Appendix (pp. 220-227); but in our opinion not fairly argued. The appellant’s plea was sound, and ought not to have been set aside. [At the end of the Paper I have restored this ‘CASE OF APPEAL’ from the original work.–H.] ]

Of this we may judge by two criteria–experimentally by its result, or a priori by its internal aptitude for attaining its ends. Now as to the result, it must be remembered that–even if the author of any system could be relied on as an impartial witness to its result–yet, because the result of a system of education cannot express itself in any one insulated fact, it will demand as much judgment to abstract from any limited experience what really is the result as would have sufficed to determine its merits a priori without waiting for any result. Consequently, as it would be impossible to exonerate ourselves from the necessity of an elaborate act of judgment by any appeal to the practical test of the result–seeing that this result would again require an act of judgment hardly less elaborate for its satisfactory settlement than the a priori examination which it had been meant to supersede,–we may as well do that at first which we must do in the end; and, relying upon our own understandings, say boldly that the system is good or bad because on this argument it is evidently calculated to do good or on that argument to do evil, than blindly pronounce–it is good or it is bad, because it has produced–or has failed of producing–such and such effects; even if those effects were easy to collect. In fact, for any conclusive purpose of a practical test, the experience is only now beginning to accumulate: and here we may take occasion to mention that we had ourselves been misinformed as to the duration of the experiment; for a period of four years, we were told, a school had existed under the system here developed: but this must be a mistake, founded perhaps on a footnote at p. 83 which says–‘The plan has now been in operation more than four years:’ but the plan there spoken of is not the general system, but a single feature of it–viz. the abolition of corporal punishment: in the text this plan had been represented as an immature experiment, having then ‘had a trial of nine months’ only: and therefore, as more than three years nine months had elapsed from that time to the publication of the book, a note is properly added declaring that the experiment had succeeded, and that the author could ‘not imagine any motive strong enough to force him back to the old practice.’ The system generally however must have existed now (i. e. November 1823) for nearly eight years at the least: so much is evident from a note at p. 79, where a main regulation of the system is said to have been established ‘early in 1816.’ Now a period of seven or eight years must have been sufficient to carry many of the senior pupils into active life, and to carry many of the juniors even into situations where they would be brought into close comparison with the pupils of other systems. Consequently, so much experience as is involved in the fact of the systems outliving such a comparison–and in the continued approbation of its founder, who is manifestly a very able and a conscientious man,–so much experience, we say, may be premised for the satisfaction of those who demand practical tests. For ourselves, we shall abide rather in our valuation of the system by the internal evidence of its composition as stated and interpreted by its author. An abstract of all that is essential in this statement we shall now lay before our readers.