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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53

Probable State Results Detailed

page 16

Probable State Results Detailed.

But revenons à nos moutons.

Under such educational auspices

(a) Representative Men for public posts would be selected with a due regard for the qualifications needed for such posts, and especially our legislators would, as I indicate above,

(1.) Not only have had large practical experience in life, but be thinkers acquainted with the laws of political economy, i.e., with those principles which the wisdom of ages has shown render a nation prosperous or unhappy—and who have the time to apply those principles to the status quo (for as a French moralist has most wisely written, "Pouvoir sanssavoir est fort dangereux")

(2.) Who are moreover not financially needy (and therefore not hungry for office, or emolument, thereby minimising in New Zealand politics the applicability of Walpole's maxim that "Every man has his price"), and

(3.) Who also have not failed to manage their own affairs successfully; for society's interests, be it remembered, are only an aggregate of individual interests.

(b) Gaols, Hospitals, Lunatic Asylums, and Orphan and Industrial Homes would be, comparatively speaking, denuded of inmates. (See Lord Brougham's published address to the House of Lords on the Education of the people, and Mr. Bowen's speech on introducing the present Education Act in the New Zealand House of Representatives, although contra, read a very quaint and smartly written book containing some very startling facts and figures, entitled "The Education Craze," by D.C.L., published in 1878 by Harrison and Sons, wherein the author inter alia says:—"It may, on the contrary, be asserted with truth, that any system of universal and compulsory education must, of necessity, be based upon erroneous assumptions, if it be founded on the belief that crime is inseparable from ignorance," and he quotes "Fact against Fiction," by the Hon. Grantley Berkeley, published in 1874, with facts, figures, and other assertions in support of his view.) For not only would crime be wonderfully reduced in quantity and enormity, but public health would be maintained by a due regard to its primary supports-good food and clothing, fresh air, pure water, exercise, and light, and thereby advances be made towards Dr. B. W. Richardson's Utopia city.

(c) Poverty—which I conceive to be almostsolely the result of indiscretion—would not only be directly minimised but indirectly discouraged by our realising the cruelty and impolicy of persistently collecting for or subscribing to all sorts of case3 of pecuniary distress instead of acting on sound principle) by educating, as I propose; and also by instituting the further precautionary measure of a system of national insurance, such as the Rev. Mr. Blackley's, which to my mind is the soundest proposition in recent times, brought forward for the purposes of national benevolence.

I have no space to enlarge on the subject, which is indeed a wide one, but for those ladies, and other benevolent persons amongst us, who are under the hallucination they are doing good by persistently collecting subscriptions or subscribing for all sorts of cases of pecuniary distress, I would suggest, in passing, to them to read the Rev. Mr. Blackley's treatise, and also an article in Good Words, for March 1882, by the Rev. Brook Lambert, M.A., entitled, "Some Sins of Almsgiving"; and also the Hon. Mr. Atkinson's speech on 10th July, 1882, on introducing his scheme of national insurance to the General Assembly.

And before leaving the subject I cannot refrain from further mentioning for their consideration, a curious circumstance, of which I am assured by shopkeepers, door keepers, and others in a position to know that the persistent buyers in this city of the petty luxuries of life, such as the first fruits and vegetables of the season, and the patronisers of the drama and of entertainments, and the indulgers in spirituous liquors and tobacco are in by far the largest proportion relatively—the artisan and hand labouring classes. And this is which might be quoted, which convinces me, in respect of poverty, that "there is but little bad luck in the world, but there is a heap of bad management."

page 17

(d) Bankruptcies and Compositions with editors—which are really only the product of want of commercial tone—would be reduced to the extremely rare cases of undoubted misfortune —if indeed such a word has any meaning at all—so long as the word indiscretion remains in our language.

And, although being foreign to my subject, it is impracticable for me to now pursue it I cannot refrain—in passing—from suggesting to those interested in it, to read thoughtfully Lord Sherborne's (the late Mr. Robert Lowe's) able article on "What shall we do with our Bankrupts," in the Nineteenth Century for August, 1881—wherein he advocates the abolition of all bankruptcy laws—and I also venture to mention to those interested, that possibly some aspects new to them may be found in an article I wrote for the Observer of the 29th January, 1881, entitled, "Bankruptcy; Considered as one of the Fine Arts."

(e) Social Intercourse would not then hear the reproach of Punch where, in writing on civilisation, it is said, "The philosophy of this age is peculiarly the philosophy of out-sides." Because shams would receive a fatal blow at the hands of realities; and

(f) Art, Science, and Literature would, with increased enlightenment, be increasingly encouraged and promoted, and would in their turn exercise a mellowing tendency; yielding that refinement, subtlety, and ecstacy of pleasure which are only known to their intense votaries (Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes emotlit mores, nec sinit esse feros).

Thus would the commonwealth be advanced in vigour and virtue, and thus might we hope to realise the pre-eminent wisdom of the maxim—

"Il faut se faire valoir,"
"That goodness is no name,
And happiness no dream."

R. Laishley, junr.

Note.—I have not had space to discuss, in my three articles, many questions relating to the subject of great interest and importance, especially as to whether the State is justified, at the public expense, in establishing and supporting technical schools, to teach the arts and industries, the science, and the practical works and duties of life, or what would be the result to the State, if it did so. But, for those interested in the subject, I would refer them, amongst other authorities, to J. G. Thorold Roger's Essays on National and Technical Education; to Professor Laurie's work published this year on the training of teachers; to Professor Huxley's public addresses; to an interesting article in Demorest's Magazine for last February on "The Relation of the Teacher to the future of Education;" and to "The Education Craze," above quoted.

Nor can I refrain from especially referring those concerned in infant and adult education to (in addition to works already quoted) Dr. Temple's Essay (the first one of the celebrated Essays and Reviews), the celebrated German philosopher, J. P. F. Richter's "Levana;" to the equally celebrated English philosopher J. S. Mill's remarks on the same subject in his work on Political Economy; and to Professor O. S. Fowler's "Science of Life."