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men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”
On the great experiment that is now in progress in the United States on that momentous question, I have ventured to touch in a previous volume.*
The adoption of any one form of religion by the State being impossible in that country, it has been thought equally impossible by some, it has been deemed undesirable by others, that any religious instruction involving points of doctrine should be taught in the schools established by the laws and supported by the funds of the community. It is assumed, that the doctrines of religion will be taught at Sunday schools, by the paid ministers of each religious denomination, aided by voluntary teachers, attending at the Sunday schools for that purpose.
As this question has become one which must be thoroughly and deeply considered in this country, I availed myself of such opportunities as I could command during a short tour in the United States in 1851, to inquire into its practical working in the public schools there.
* Notes on Public Subjects, &c.
For that purpose, I visited various public schools in New York, in Philadelphia, in country villages in the interior of Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh on the Ohio, in Cincinnati, in Cleveland on Lake Erie, in the State of Rhode Island, and finally, in Boston. In every instance, I was aided in my inquiries either by the superintendents of public instruction, or by the masters of the schools, and in some instances by both together. The facts were gathered from the state of the schools exactly as I found them, without preparation, and without their being previously aware either of my visit, or of the nature of the facts which I wished fairly to ascertain. The result was as I have stated it in the volume above referred to, namely, that of the pupils attending the day-schools, in some cases a large, in others a small, but generally a very considerable proportion, “ either did not attend any Sunday school, or did so only very irregularly."
The only hostile criticism upon those statements, which has come under my notice, has been directed against the information given me respecting the Sunday schools at Lowell, by the Rev. Dr. Edson, for twenty-seven year's past the rector of a church at Lowell, and a gentleman held in the highest estimation by all his neighbours. Dr. Edson, after giving me his reasons for having arrived at the conviction that the public-school system had already undermined" among their population, " to a great extent,' the doctrines and principles of Christianity, stated to me his belief that less than half of the whole number of children (at Lowell) between the ages of five and sixteen attend any Sunday-school, or do so only most irregularly.”
This statement of Dr. Edson's excited great attention at Boston and in the State of Massachusetts generally, and was subjected to violent attacks in some of the public papers. An inquiry was very soon instituted by the
Board of Education, throughout the State, and the result was, I am informed, that the children at the day-schools who did not attend at some Sunday school were found, at that time, to constitute a very small per-centage of the whole. Without entertaining the slightest particle of suspicion that such a result was unfairly obtained, I confess its purport does not in the least surprise me, considering how probable it is that many parents would have been awakened to the propriety of sending their children to Sunday school by the discussion that had arisen.
I beg, however, again to call attention in this country to some additional evidence since furnished to me by Dr. Edson, which, as it rests upon public documents, will scarcely admit of dispute.
These documents are:-1. “The Annual Report of the School Committee of the City of Lowell, for 1852, with a Summary of Returns ;” 2. “ The Annual Report of the Lowell Sabbath School Union." Of this latter document Dr. Edson says :—“ This Union is a voluntary association for the benefit of Sunday school instruction, and comprehends fifteen out of twenty-four Sunday schools in the city. The schools not associated are e-the Roman Catholics, who have three schools; the Unitarians, two; the Universalists, two; and two not connected with any particular form of religion, and claiming not to teach any particular religion.' I have not the numbers connected with the nine schools not associated, but I have reckoned them, by a large estimate, at the average number attending the associated schools."
Dr. Edson then subjoins the following Table, completed by estimates on the above-named basis. It will be seen that it bears out in a remarkable manner, and almost to the letter, the statement which he made to me as the result of observation only, namely, that less than half of
the whole number of children between five and sixteen (in Lowell) attend the Sunday schools.
" According to the summary appended to the Annual Report of the Lowell School Committee, the total number of pupils in the time-books from January, 1851, to January, 1852, was
9012 Subtract sent to other public schools of
same rank,' because these names are repeated in the time-book .
636 Subtract also sent from primary to grammar schools,' for the same reason
629 Subtract sent from grammar-schools to the high school
1394 Total number of pupils attending the dayschools for the
7618 According to the report of the Sabbath School Union for 1852, in the statistical column 'under fifteen years of age,' and filling the blanks with estimates derived from the average of schools reported of the same persuasion, the total number of children under fifteen in those schools for the year 1852
1947 + 348 = 2295 Add for schools not associated-namely, Ro
man Catholics, 3; Unitarians, 2; Universalists, 2 ; of no particular religion, 2 ; 9 schools-estimated number of pupils therein, under 15, according to the average of schools reported .
1377 Add for such pupils above 15 in the public
schools as may be in Sunday schools (estimated)
Total number of pupils attending the Sun
day schools, according to statistics and estimate
Dr. Edson's statement to me, founded on general observation, was,
that less than half of the whole number of children (at Lowell) between the ages of five and sixteen attend any Sunday school, or do so only most irregularly."
Multiplying the above number of 3876 by two, will give 7752.
The number 3876, therefore, exceeds the half of the number 7618 by 134 only (7752 — 7618 = 134); and Dr. Edson's statement to me, with regard to the attendance at Sunday schools being less than half of that at the dayschools, is proved to be almost literally correct, by the published statistics of the day and Sunday schools of Lowell, completed by fair and liberal estimates.
It will be seen,” Dr. Edson adds, by perusal of the Report of the Sabbath School Union, that the tendency of each particular school is to report itself large. It is but the natural result of a laudable emulation of the schools between themselves to report as many as circumstances will justify, and of course to include those pupils whose attendance is but very irregular and of inconsiderable amount.
It may be remarked also that there are included in the 3876, pupils privately educated, or otherwise not belonging to the public schools. If these were added to the 7618, it would somewhat affect the ratio of the two numbers,” in the way of further confirmation of Dr. Edson's calculations.
When it is remembered how much it is the custom among
and middle classes in the United States to send their children to the Sunday schools, and to attend themselves as teachers, it is perfectly safe to infer that the great majority of those who neglect to send their children, belong there, as in this country, to the least educated portions of society.