The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37
Much good may be done by the improvement of Schools, if people would leave their sons longer at them; but this is of secondary importance to the education gained in life itself at an age when a manly mind and manly energy are brought to topics of real interest. The Americans can rise from the lowest condition to the head of the republic; so little necessary in the nature of things is our slavelike degradation of the poor.
In old days, every Statute of Parliament was read aloud to the people assembled in the monthly Shiremote, that all the laws might be known to those who had to obey them. What a school of life was that! Ten times over worth all the much pervaded schools of modern days! Of course the Acts of Parliament were then short and intelligible, and dealt in principles; they were written for common men, not for lawyers.
But without more leisure free institutions remain mere shadows or screens; and a magnificent national literature will not save the mass of the people from barbarism.