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the Christian Brothers and Church Education Society, Wilson's of Mullingar, but at once will pass on to “The Report.”
“What a gift had John Halsebach, professor at Vienna, in tediousness, who being to expound the Prophet Isaiah to his auditors, read twenty-one years on the first chapter, and yet finished it not." author of "The Report of the Endowed School Commissioners ” had not read these words of the shrewd and witty Thomas Fuller, or mistaking it for praise, he has endeavoured, with no small success, to imitate the Austrian professor. The fourth volume, consisting of some three hundred pages, contains “The Report,” giving what is intended to be a summary of the three years' labours of the Commissioners, and of their recommendations for the improvement of Endowed Schools. Were this gift of tediousness, however, the only defect in the Report, it might be pardoned, though “the date is out of such prolixity," as there are many useful suggestions contained in it for providing efficient inspection and supervision of endowments, &c.; but it is but one, and not the least, of many defects. Indeed we are not surprised at the Report not being an unanimous one. It is the Report of three only of the Commissioners, Mr. Hughes having dissented from it in a short and clearly-written letter, which appears in pages 284 to 286 of the Report, and Mr. Stephens, in a long and able, if not always clear and precise letter, printed separately, and extensively circulated, we believe, at the expense of individuals. The ruling idea of the three Commissioners who signed the Report was, that “mixed education,” i. e., the education of Protestants and Roman Catholics in the same institution, was both desirable and practicable in Ireland, and that to effect this desirable result, every trust should be warped, and every effort should be directed. This has led them to define, for the purpose of altering the management, and in a most arbitrary way, what are termed in the Report “exclusive" and "non-exclusive" schools; the first being those into which pupils of only one religious denomination have a right of admission, or where the trustees have power to compel all the pupils to receive religious instruction in their own tenets. They have also, in defiance of the clearest evidence of the intentions of the founders, classed as non-exclusive schools those which really were exclusive, and vice versa, and this in a way which indicates a remarkable peculiarity of reasoning or perceptive powers. It is unnecessary to advert to the Royal or Diocesan Schools ; by their founders they were most clearly intended to be “exclusive.” They were provided for the purpose of instruction in the one religion, then that of the State, and the only religion recognised by law, that of the Established Church. The enlarged liberality of feeling in modern times, by permitting, or rather winking at, some deviation from the intentions of the founders, and tacitly allowing the infringement of the trust in admitting Roman Catholics to the benefits of these institutions, has now induced the Commissioners to class all these as " non-exclusive' schools, the management of which is to be taken from the present trustees or patrons. But what can justify them in their application of these terms to the Rathvilly and Heavy's charities? In the one case, a Protestant testator gave a considerable sum to the Bishop of Ferns, and the minister and churchwardens of the parish of Rathvilly, for the establishment of a school “to be conducted on the most liberal and enlightened principles, under the care of the said bishop, minister, and churchwardens." In the other case, a Roman Catholic testator bequeathed his property to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath and other trustees, to found a school in Mullingar, and desired “that no difference of religion should be the ground or reason for not selecting, excluding, or expelling any child from the benefit of this bequest. Highly honourable to the testator was this language. What excuse can be given for the obliquity of mind which has classed the Rathvilly School as “non-exclusive," and Heavy's, in despite the plainest language which could be used, as “exclusive"? Such glaring errors or misapplications of a theory are to be regretted, and deprive the Report of much of that authority or respect which it might otherwise command. Space will
not permit us to notice in detail the various recommendations of the Report, by which the Commissioners propose to check the abuses arising from want of inspection, and power to superannuate aged masters, &c. One, however, the basis of all, we must allude to, as presenting another instance of inconsistency. We have before referred to the Board of Education, and Erasmus Smith's Board of Governors. It may be stated of them, that many members of each Board are nominees of the Government, and that both Boards are inefficient, and the attendance of governors, save at an election, when parties canvass for votes, and the best canvasser, but not, perhaps, the best or fittest man, is selected to an office, is very irregular. This appears sufficiently from the evidence of Mr. Kyle and Mr. Barlow. The “Report” recommends the abolition of the Board of Commissioners of Education, and the establishment of a new Board, composed wholly of nominees of Government, and that one of them should receive a liberal salary for the performance of his duty; and that in this Board should be vested the control, management, &c., of the Royal, Diocesan and Non-Exclusive Schools, vested in the present Board. Now, if anything appears clear from the voluminous evidence taken by the Commissioners, it is the utter unfitness of the Crown or Lord Lieutenant of Ireland as patrons of persons to be heads of boards or schools for educational purposes. The patronage of all the worthless and ill-managed Diocesan Schools was vested in the Lord Lieutenant; so of the Royal Schools, which failed or languished. The present Board of Education is nominated by the Crown; and we cannot understand how it is likely that the new Board would, in any circumstance connected with its constitution, be at all a more efficient one than that it is proposed to supersede. Even the National Board of Education, appointed wholly by the Crown, and with ample funds at its command, cannot be deemed an exception to our general remark; as Mr. M.Blain in his report says, vol. iv. (Ap.) p. 9:-“I must be permitted to state, that in several instances of the National Schools I have found teachers not at all qualified for their positions and duties, and schoolhouses and rooms quite unsuited to the reception of scholars.” We have ourselves very little doubt that the new Board would not be an improvement on the old, and that the paid Commissioners would be appointed through interest and not merit, and that political and not personal considerations would influence the entire working of this body; and to this Board the Commissioners propose to
transfer the management of all non-exclusive schools—the number being unascertained, as Mr. Stephens' Letter, pp. 11, 12, shows, that it is rather doubtful whether the proposed scheme of transfer would include 455 schools, or eleven merely. We incline to think the larger number was intended, but that it was deemed safer by the framer of the Report to suggest legislation by a general definition, capable of most sweeping and confiscating application afterwards, than by a candid enumeration of the particular schools, the management of which was thus intended to be altered. This might awaken remonstrance. The other seems shorter, and is less calculated to excite suspicion or opposition. At present it is doubtful whether the proposed scheme is a covert plan of giant confiscation, or an alteration in the management of some few schools, equally innocent and useless.
But another instance we must give of the curious effect of clear evidence on the minds of the Commissioners. We have before noticed the Fast superiority from the first of the Armagh Royal School over all the others, and of the increasing efficiency of the Dungannon School. Now the patronage of these has been exercised for more than two hundred years by the Primates ; and their liberality, which has tended much to the efficiency of those schools, has in no little degree been caused by their being patrons. The patronage of the Royal Schools, which have been either total failures, or only of late gaining a respectable position, has been in the Crown; yet the three Commissioners recommend, p. 64, that the patronage of all the Royal Schools should be vested in the proposed Board, to contribute to their permanent efficiency.
We cannot now notice the various other recommendations of the Commissioners. There is no doubt of the great abuses which have prevailed, and are still but too prevalent, in the management of very many endowed schools throughout Ireland. Flagrant abuse of patronage, neglect, want of inspection of the schools, and mismanagement of every kind, have too often disappointed the benevolent intentions of the founders; and we looked with anxiety to the appearance of the Report of the Commissioners, which we hoped would contain a fair, reasonable, and well-devised scheme for the correction of all abuses, and insuring increased efficiency in these well-intended establishments. Tediousness and trifling, inaccuracy of statement, and an obliquity of perception, have, we greatly fear made their Report as worthless as it is expensive, and have thus disappointed the expectations of all those who, like ourselves, hoped for a well-considered plan of improvement, naturally flowing from the evidence, and thus recommending itself, rather than a report characterized by Mr. Stephens, one of the Commissioners, Letter, p. 29, as "vicious in principle, bad in law, and defective" in not making adequate provision for the better regulation of those noble endowments in Ireland, and which would be a most unjust and unsafe basis for any legislation.
CHRONICLES OF AN OLD RACE.
“Though now my voice is seldom heard,
I tell thee, stranger, I have sung
HER NAME IS INISFAIL, THE “ ISLAND OF DESTINY."
SAE SLEEPS! her cheek is pale with the sorrow of ages and the heartwrung tear yet glitters beneath the darkly-drooping eye-lash-and the heaving of her bosom falls slow and measured as the wearied ocean, for the storms have swept over her soul.
Long and weary had been her vigil on that lone rock, foam-worn by the rolling water, and her face was ever turned westward, where, far beyond cloud and tempest, lingered one ray of golden glowing light, a memory of her glorious noon.
And the wild storm raved around her, and the red wrath of hearen flashed by her. The salt foam of ocean was wet on her cheek, and rusted on the stringless harp that lay beside her; for one by one its chords had burst, and from each dying note a wild wail of unearthly melody passed through the nations. And that music is the only chronicle of her story : fierce and gentle, like the high blood of the brave; soft, winning, and tender, as the first smile of love; free, brilliant, and flashing, as the humour of her children, it tells of a race who wore, on their proud and open brow, the very bearing of their mother, Natureterrible in their strength, unmatched in their beauty, intense in their sorrow, reckless and childlike in their joy—alas ! too wayward in all.
And still her eyes looked westward ; but the storm grew wilder, and the cries of death came up, borne on the blast from below, for her children were falling in the valleys. Dark night overshadowed them, and the hurtling of demon wings was in the air ; the hand of famine was ice-cold on their hearts, and the hot breath of pestilence scorched their cheeks. And then an agony came over her, and the closing night enfolded her.
But a gentle breeze came from the east, and cooled her brow, and fanned her fevered head, and she slept. Her sister, younger and stronger, watches over her, bending from her island throne. Much hath she wronged that stricken one, but she hath made much amends.
She sleeps! Dreams she now of the past, or hath she visions of the future? May the just God of nations grant her a glorious awakening!
HOW THE SUN SET AND ROSE IN THE DAYS OF CONNOR MAC NESSA, KING OF
ULSTER, B, c. 15.
Tas sun was setting red on Carntogher, when the fair-haired hunter left the lake of Favail
, and the baying of hounds, and the voices of men, died away behind him through the woods of Calga. All night long the east wind blew cold on his cheek, and whistled through his hair. The old oaks of Calga murmured above his head, the white owl hooted after him, and flapped softly by ; the wild deer rose up from his lair with a startled crash, and bounded far before him; the hungry wolves swept across his path in howling packs ; but straight as the rays of the bright star that guided him through vale and forest, lie held his course. The Finn swelled black as midnight in his way, but he breasted it at the Wolves' Pool, and with unbated breath, pressed right up Gortfinna, for Ardan's was the fleetest foot in Erin save one, and that was Rori's, the King's jester. The grey light of morning was upon the world when Ardan rested on the crest of the mountain, and looking eastward, he saw a bright spot like silver upon the far water of Neagh, and then the hunter bent his head in adoration before the Royal Sun. And his dog Luath, the bravest hound in Uladh, gazed upon him in wonder, with eyes and ears, as was her wont, and laid herself down to sleep beside him, for she knew that this business concerned not her. But when the good hound laid her nose to the earth she was discomforted, and rose up with a whining note, and tracing the ground onwards to the brow of the mountain, she looked down intently, and lifting her head, gave forth a melancholy cry. And Ardan, rising from his prayer, followed her, and looked and listened earnestly, but he only heard the calling of the birds on the heather, and the lowing of the cattle far off upon the plain. And he chid Luath for her folly, and unwinding his sling, he fitted it to his hand, and sprang lightly down the mountain side, and Luath followed him in distrustful submission. But when they entered the woods of Deire Toirc she recovered her spirit, and sprang joyfully forward; then before an open glade she stopped with a sharp challenge, and the light bounding of a deer fell upon the ear of the hunter, and flying into the open space, a noble stag stood full fronting him with branching antler and brown heaving flank. Then whirling the thong round his head, Ardan struck him full upon his broad forehead, and with a high bound in air, he fell forwards on his knees, and ere he could gain his feet, the sharp teeth of Luath were in his throat, and ploughing the ground with his antlers, again he fell forward. But now the white knee of the hunter was upon his side, and the keen knife of the hunter was in his heart, and spurning the turf, he died like a beast of game.
Now, not many bowshots off was the bawn of Angus the shepherd, and Angus was the friend of Ardan. So he broke the stag like a skilful hunter, and tying the carcase by the strong tendons high up in the oak boughs above the reach of the prowling wolves, he threw the best pieces across his shoulder, and held his way toward the dwelling of Angus,