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remain nearly the same in society as at present. Having done my part, I commit it to the disposal of a wise and gracious Providence; and to its own merits, with a discerning and benevolent public.
It is a curious, but by no means an uncommon circumstance, in London and its neighbourhood, for boys belonging to different schools to quarrel and challenge each other to fight. A false idea of the superiority of their different teachers, makes the boys in one school treat those of other schools with contempt.
This party spirit is one of the best materials that can be wished for, to work upon and direct to useful purposes. It is a thing in which the human abilities are developed to an astonishing degree; and I have no doubt it would be possible for the society proposed, to raise a spirit of emulation and commendable rivalship between any number of schools under its patronage. They might contend who were the best proficients in reading, writing, and arithmetic;-which school could produce the greatest number of boys who had begun and finished their education in the shortest time;—who were the greatest proficients in the knowledge of their moral duties; above all, who could produce the greatest number of such as had been bad, obstinate, and almost incorrigible boys, metamorphosed into the opposite character; and other equally valuable
objects might be specified for prizes. Public examinations might be fixed, where impartial decisions should be made, and rewards adjudged to the most deserving teachers. The teachers would feel their own honour deeply implicated in the contest. This would be a powerful cause of industry on the part of the teachers and scholars-great exertions would be made. The boy who will run the risk of a broken head for the honour of his school, will undergo double fatigue in a contest relative to the simple elements of learning, if the matter is so contrived, that the gauntlet of defiance shall be thrown, by a desire previously raised among the boys themselves; as every class of mankind naturally take the greatest interest in whatever originates among themselves. It would have another beneficial effect: the decision of superiority, and distribution of prizes, would be made in public. The distribution of prizes, in particular, would be likely to receive much attention, from its being always a pleasing sight, attractive to young persons of property and distinction; who would thus be instructed in the science of education, and most likely become its future promoters and guardians.
perusing the various accounts of the funds and expenditure of the institution, the reader will observe, that the singular economy which prevails in it at present, was unknown, and unthought of, at its commencement; it is the gradual result of a series of experiments, which have occupied near seven years in making.
Within the last twelve months, a school for girls has been established, the numbers in which have varied from 150 to 200. Considerable difficulties have attended this establishment; and the success has been, in some degree, equal to our expectations. It is probable, another year will show how far the system of tuition and emulation may be applied to needlework, and various other branches of industry. The care of the girls has rested chiefly on M. and S. Lancaster. The whole subscription, for one year the school has been opened, does not exceed forty guineas. The surplus expence has been cheerfully defrayed by my sisters and myself.
If any thing worthy notice, and likely to benefit the rising generation, should result from the plans of education for females now under trial, they will be laid before the public; and the satisfaction attending the trouble of detail, will be a sufficient reward for it.
I have given up to the institution, at different times, several hundred pounds, exclusive of the profits of this publication. I have boarded several boys, at my own expence, for two, and some three years; and we have laboured together day and night to improve the institution. As their exertions have been great, suitable rewards have not been withheld; and these at my own expence. The labour attending our endeavours has not been in doing what we are now doing, the instructing and keepin order 800 children, by means of boys of the same age and abilities as themselves, but in finding the method how to do it, and executing the first attempts to the design when formed. Had we known what we now know, when I first began to keep school, that would probably have been accomplished in two months, which has occupied seven years. This experience has been cheaply bought, all things considered.--Had I not engaged in the pursuit with all the energy of youth, the fond attachment of a parent to a favourite child—had I not been able to inspire my lads with some degree of the same zeal as myself and if the blessing of