Excerpt from An Essay on the Education of the People
Although the establishment, in many of our chief towns, of schools of art, libraries, and other institutions for public instruo tion, patronized and assisted by a numerous body of enlightened philanthropists, bespeaks the dawn of a brighter era in the history of our country, it is yet to be lamented that there are many individuals, whose co-operation is desirable, who are either unfriendly, or indi 'ereut, to the diffusion of knowledge amongst the people at large. Such, indeed, is the effect a free press, up holding, for the most part, liberal and extended views on this subject, that those who are unfavourable to popular education seldom venture to give publicity to their opinions. But' their silence is to be lamented, as it might otherwise be hoped that the controversy they would provoke would lead-to their conversion for the gratifying revolution in the public mind in favour of a more liberal system of foreign and domestic policy lately intro deced into the councils oi the nation, ad'ords the pleasing as surance that objections to the instruction of the people, whether founded on erroneous views, or on antiquated prejudices, would ofi'er no stubborn resistence to arguments founded on the philo sophy of the human mind, and the deductions of experience. If, however minute objections, that may be entertained, cannot be met, because they are not avowed, we may, at least, grapple with those which are more apparent 3 and it is with this view that I am induced to lay before the public a few observations on.
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