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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

The State has No Right to Educate

The State has No Right to Educate.

The Catholic, however, is equally unwilling to transfer the responsibility of the education of his children to the State. His conscience informs him that the State is an incompetent agent to fulfil his parental duties. While the whisperings of his conscience are clear and unmistakable in their dictates, it pleases him to hear what others, non-Catholics, have to say on this important aspect of the subject.

The late Gerrit Smith, whose character as an able and fearless philanthropist I need not dwell on, in a letter of Nov. 5, 1873, to Chas. Stebbins, of Cazenovia, and intended for publication, says: "The meddling of the page 13 State with the school is an impertinence little less than its meddling with the church. A lawyer, than whom there is not an abler in the land, and who is as eminent for integrity as for ability, writes me: 'I am against the Government's being permitted to do anything which can be intrusted to individuals under the equal regulation of general laws.' But how emphatically should the school be held to be the concern and care of individuals instead of the Government! It is not extravagant to say that Government is no more entitled to a voice in the school than in the church. Both are, or ought to be, religious institutions; and in the one important respect that the average scholar is of a more plastic and docile age than the average attendant on the church, the school has greatly the advantage of the church."

The views of Gerritt Smith and of the Catholic parent coincide in a remarkable degree.