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distinctly and by name to Dr. Bell, recommending his book to the friends of education, acknowledging without reserve the value of several useful hints' he had adopted from it, and stating, that in some things he had been endeavouring to walk in his footsteps,' and then let any candid person say whether, if Dr. Bell had regarded him as a mere plagiarist, he would not have availed himself of the opportunity afforded by the receipt of this letter, to unmask his hypocrisy and to expose his pretensions ?
The editor says, 'It does not appear what answer Dr. Bell returned to this letter. As the original reply is now before us, we can supply the deficiency. It shall speak for itself.
Swanage, 6th Decr., 1804. * DEAR FRIEND.—I was yesterday favoured with your letter, and the outlines, &c. I had before heard of your fame, and the progress wbich you had made in a new mode of tuition, and have long expected the pleasure of seeing you at Swanage, and, though your letter does not promise me a speedy accomplishment of this expectation, still I shall hope that you will fulfil your intention as soon as shall suit your conveniency.
When I put my Essay on the A. B. C. into the hands of my bookseller I said (with the apology suited to such enthusiasm,) that' before the end of the next century every school in Europe would be taught on this principle.' I was pleased to see it some time ago acted upon and recited in the reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, and am delighted to hear that in the beginning of the century you have afforded such a specimen of the success of this system. I am fully sensible of the many disadvantages which you have to encounter, and as recounted by you they are, for the most part, such as I could have foreseen. I shall endeavour to find my original reports at Madras, that I may communicate them; but you will not meet with the details which you expect in them, as they were presented to those who had daily opportunities of seeing the seminary, Nor can I pretend to recite a thousand particulars by letters which I could do viva voce, and which I hope to do soon in thy school, which I promise myself much pleasure in attending when I am next in town.'
After answering some questions which Lancaster had put relative to his mode of selecting monitors, and of preparing sand for the alphabet classes, he proceeds ;
'I have been strongly urged to publish a brief extract of my essay for general circulation. Now, you will do me a kindness by taking a copy of my publication, and drawing your pen through every line which you think might be spared, without any essential defect of information, taking care to efface whatever is not necessary to give an idea of the system of instruction. By this means I apprehend the pamphlet may be reduced to a very few pages. At the same time I shall be glad of any observations which you may see fit to make, and particularly whether any part is difficult to be understood, and where you think a fuller explanation necessary.
In this way I may have an opportunity of recommending your institution, more general and more effectual than any other I could propose. For this purpose I must see every thing with my own eyes, and by hearing of your difficulties I shall best know what requisite information I omitted in the report of my system which does not comprehend more than the general principle and outlines of the mode of tuition. At all events I shall trust to your erasing every thing which can possibly be left out in my publication as not bearing upon the elucidation of the system, but which I thought it necessary to insert in the first publication for this reason.
• My success in this new mode so far surpassed my expectations, and appeared so wonderful to those who witnessed it, ibat I was often told the report would not gain credit in Europe. On that account it appeared absolutely requisite to give authentic documents to prove the reality of the facts recorded, and this was the main object in introducing the system to the world. Without ascertaining the facts I expected little attention to the system, which I imagined would be by most people ranked amongst those novel and delusive theories which often appear on the stage of existence, only to vanish for ever. It is now time to give circulation to the system itself, in a manner calculated for general use, and unencumbered of every thing foreign to its elucidation and demonstration.
'I take the liberty to make this request to you, the only person to whom I have applied, and whom I have been induced to apply to in consequence of your letter, the object of which I suppose can be best forwarded in this manner; and, because I consider, that to one who has matured the subject of these communications as you have done, and had such experience, it will cost no trouble to expunge such parts of my publication, as does not go to the explanation of the system ; and, as it is a far easier task for any person, master of the subject, to do this than the writer, whose mind is often warped by prejudices unknown and unfelt by himself. How far mine is so, I shall know from your communication compared with my own ideas.
'Let me once more mention my purpose, to discard as much as can possibly be parted with, so as not to injure the explanations of the system. The object of my original publication was not merely to narrate the outline of an experiment, but also duly to authenticate the facts by which the experiment was proved to be successful, in order to hold out grounds for others to give it a further trial, and to correct and improve my system, which I am confident will admit of many alterations and amendments; but which alterations and amendments will only occur to some rare genius, if he has no experimental practice, or to those who like you are engaged in similar attempts, and in a situation widely different from that in which I was placed ; and, under circumstances, many of which you have detailed, that do not admit of the same practices, and which require an alteration suited to the situation, circumstances, genius of the nation, and condition of the youth,
When I began this letter I meant only to acknowledge your acceptable communication, to request the favour of a visit from a friend with whom I can indulge and revive my old favourite pursuits, almost forgotten in this insulated situation in which I am placed, and to say, I would not fail to visit your institution as soon as I can make it convenient to be in London. When this will be I cannot at present say, but your letter has revived and renovated old ideas, and I have written as to an old friend. I dare not venture to read over this long and hasty scrawl, lest I should treat it as I wish you to do the experiment-reduce it to a few lines.
I am anxious to see your book, and still more to see yourself ; and remain, my good friend, your sincere well wisher,
· A. Bell.' Be pleased to send my experiments, which I trust to your goodness to erase as proposed-by two-penny post, under cover to John McTaggart, Esq., Scot's Yard, London, whom I expect soon to see at Swanage. Scot's Yard, is in Bush Lane, Cannon Street, near the Exchange.'
Lancaster shortly afterwards visited Dr. Bell at Swanage; he remained there several days, and seems to have been pleased with his visit. A year afterwards, Dr. Bell, in writing to Mrs. Trimmer, smiles at the absurdity of his attempts 'to form teachers by lectures on the passions,'-a thing he never pretended to do,—and observes, sensibly enough, that it is by attending the school, seeing what is going on there, and taking a share in the office of tuition, that teachers are to be formed, and not by lectures and abstract instruction;' but he finds no fault with Lancaster beyond this, that he'solicited' his 'subscription oftener than once,' 'which,' says the Doctor, I flatly declined ;' not, however, on the ground of his acting unfairly, but simply for this reason, that he had determined to confine his offices to the schools under his own immediate eye.
Mrs. Trimmer seems to have been the first to suggest the idea of Lancaster's criminality, and the motive is but too obvious. Her letter is dated Brentford, Sept. 24th, 1805,' in which, after informing him of her intention to insert some extracts from his. * Experiment on Education,' in a periodical she was publishing, she adds,
From the time, sir, that I read Mr. Joseph Lancaster's Improvements in Education,' in the first edition, 'I conceived an idea that there was something in his plan that was inimical to the interests of the established church; and when I read your · Experiment in Education,' to which Mr. L. referred, I plainly perceived he had been building on your foundation. You know, without doubt, how the public mind is, I may say, infatuated with his plausible appearances, and I judge, by the republication of your Experiment,' that you are not an unconcerned spectator of this perversion of what you have
applied to so excellent a purpose. Engaged as I have long been, in striving to promote the interests of the church, by the exertion of my little talents for the instruction of the rising generation, and the prevention of the mischief that is aimed against them in various ways, I cannot see this 'Goliath of Schismatics’ bearing down all before him, and engrossing the instruction of the common people, without attempting to give him a little check. Indeed, I told him a year ago, that I should, at my first leisure, attempt to analyse his system, and this I shall soon set about. But, preparatory to it, I thought it might answer a good purpose to point out in an incidental way, by means of a review of your work, that Mr. Lancaster was not the original inventor of the plan. If the sale of your pamphlet is extensive, I may, perhaps, have done what was unnecessary; but, knowing my motive, you will not think me impertinent.
“I have the honour to be, rev. sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,
"SARAH TRIMMER.' To this letter Dr. Bell replies in a style unworthy of himself, and altogether unlike his former communication. Mrs. Trimmer's letter, although the production of a sensible and christian woman, was jesuitical ; it was all but an avowal that she was about 'to do evil that good might come. It was to Dr. Bell, 'Satan in the guise of an angel of light.' It found something'in him that responded to its evil suggestions. It awoke slumbering jealousy and pride, and it drew from him the following pitiful remarks on the character and conduct of his last year's guest.
During his stay with me, which was of some days' continuance, I detailed many particulars of my practice, and many opinions on the conduct of a school, with which he was in some points totally unacquainted. I observed his consummate front, his importunate solicitation of subscriptions in any and every shape, his plausible and ostentatious guise; and, in his third edition, I think I see something which indicates that he is confident he cannot stand alone, basking in the sunshine of royal countenance and popular applause, forgetting, for a while, his own presentiment, • That, as much as he is cried up, so much will he be hereafter traduced.'
r The plan of instruction in a public charity, by teachers, assistants, tutors, as I have styled them-or, monitors, as he denominated them
-appears to me, who am an enthusiast, so simple, so natural, so beautiful, and so true, that it must sooner or later have obtained a footing; and all I ever expected by my humble essay, printed rather than published, was, that it might fall into hands which would bring the system forward sooner than might otherwise h appen in the course of things. J. L. has certainly contributed to this consummation. How far he has directed it to the best purpose s, and whether he has intermixed much quackery, conceit, and ignorance, is another question.'
In her next letter, Mrs. Trimmer gives a more particular VOL. XVII.
account of the mode of proceeding which she proposes to adopt, in her intended work on Lancaster,' and, we confess we want language to express the ineffable disgust with which some portions of that letter has inspired us. Lancaster's faults! They were as motes in the sun-beam when compared with the meanness of his calumniators. She thus writes :
Of all the plans that have appeared in this kingdom likely to supplant the church, Mr. Lancaster's seems to me the most formidable. I will not say that he has any ill intentions ; but his plan is favour. able, in an eminent degree, to those who may have, and after what I have read in the 'Abbé Barruel's Memoirs of the History of Jacobinism, concerning the use made by the Illuminati in Germany, &c.' of schoolmasters and schoolbooks, I cannot but view with a very jealous eye a system which proceeds upon the same generalizing plan, wh has en resorted to so fatally against the interests of revealed religion on the continent. As you condescend to read
•Guardian of Education,' I beg leave to refer you to vol. i. p. 21, where you will find a translation from a work of an excellent man, M. De Luc, who gives there the history of the origin of the philanthropines, which have done so much mischief; the consequences of which you will see in a translation from the same author, in the number of the Guardian’ which I have the honour to send you, (viz. M. De Luc's letter.) Mr. Joseph Lancaster's school is, in my estimation, a direct philanthropine, and he has seized upon your admirable plan of instruction, as an engine to give it a speed, and a consequence, which he could by no other means have obtained without it.
He certainly has brought your excellent plan forward; and had I the power, I certainly should not have the wish to do any thing that should have a tendency to stop the progress of it, nor would I deprive Lancaster himself of the merit of having brought it into operation in this country; because he may really be considered, so far at least, as an instrument of good, if he prepares the first teachers of this kind, provided they are under proper inspection and controul afterwards. But as for his central school and his organized plans to educate the whole body of the common people, without any regard to the religion of the nation, I will certainly do my utmost to check him there, in hopes that others of more ability than myself will be roused. And this is the way I mean to proceed ; I will give him all possible credit for the utility of his mode of instruction in reading, writing, &c., if I mention Dr. Bell it will probably be incidentally only; or I may even say, “That, in some respects, J. Lancaster has improved upon your plan.'. I will urge the admission of Lancaster's plan into all charity schools, &c., under certain limitations. In short, I will strive to write so that his numerous subscribers may not think I mean to attach blame to them for the patronage they have given him; which indeed is not properly given to him, but unknowingly to the inventor of the plan. Having done this, I mean to show what the education of the lower orders ought to be in respect to religion and morality, and