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“ seemed disposed to copy him on every point,” except on that of the training of teachers. And the good Doctor, with his eager practical mind, is filled with scorn at the notions of Lancaster upon this subject. Lancaster, with the haïve simpleness of an inquiring mind, had expressed his opinion that it was as well for a teacher to know something of the nature and growth of the mind and soul upon which he had to operate. Dr Bell calls this “forming his teachers by lectures on the passions ;” and thunders out, “Nothing was ever so burlesque !” And he goes on,-seeing with perfect truth, as far as he does see—“It is by attending the school, seeing what is going on there, and taking a share in the office of tuition, that teachers are to be formed, and not by lectures and abstract instruction.” Most true; but “it takes all sorts to make up a world.” How to train a teacher is a problem which still remains to be solved; and at the present time there are many good and true minds hard at work upon it. But to put the question upon its lowest ground, it is plain that the teacher, who has intrusted to him a very difficult task, ought to know something, be it more or less, of growing human nature of the laws according to which human knowledge is acquired, and of the chief hindrances to the production of strong minds and healthy souls, – just as the carpenter is the better for knowing the grain and fibre of woods, and the farmer for learning the chemical components of soil and manure.
If Dr Bell ever had any kindly feeling for, or sympathy with, Lancaster and his labours, the notable Mrs Trimmer, who-according to her own account—had
“long been engaged in striving to promote the interests of the Church," very soon put all that out of his head. She made two great discoveries : one, that Lancaster was “building on the foundation of Dr Bell ;” and the other, that "there was something in his plan that was inimical to the interests of the Established Church." Here was the ecclesiastical trumpet clearly blown. Dr Bell would have been unfaithful to his Church had he forborne to treat and to describe Mr Lancaster as an impostor and a plagiarist. And so the armoury of evil names is ransacked. Quackery, conceit, ignorance, a consummate front " (whatever that may mean), a "plausible and ostentatious guise "—these and many other accusations are thrown vigorously about. In the case of Dr Bell, all this only meant that he was jealous of Lancaster, and looked upon him as a kind of poacher. But Mrs Trimmer saw farther. She saw that Lancaster was an incendiary and a conspirator. “Of all the plans,” she says in one of her letters to Dr Bell, “ that have appeared in this kingdom likely to supplant the Church, Mr Lancaster's seem to me the most formidable.” And she mixes him up with Jacobins, Illuminati, Philanthropinists, sectarists, and infidels, and is determined to erase him and his works from the face of England. Here is a quiet straw - plaiting Quaker, who tries to teach large numbers of poor children, and he is spoken of as a kind of spiritual and diabolic Guy Fawkes. Joseph Lancaster, on the other hand, wrote nothing in reply, but quietly said to his neighbour Friends, “Sarah Trimmer is a bigot; and having set up to herself that golden image, the Church, she wants every knee to bow down to it.” But Mrs Trimmer will not let Lancaster alone even in his private life. “It is a curious fact," she says, " that he was not originally a Quaker, but an Anabaptist, intended by his father (who is a preacher himself) for what they call a minister.? Whether he changed for the love of a pretty Quaker, whom he married, or whether the broad brim was the best cover for his scheme, I cannot say.” Had all this taken place at the present day, one would say that Mrs Trimmer was suffering from the spreti injuria amoris ; but in the early part of this century, all good Churchmen believed that they, and they alone, held the patent for the Christian religion, and this kind of language was employed to deter all persons from interference with their exclusive rights.
Dr Bell is more kind, if at the same time a little too patronising. "In his (Mr Lancaster's) hands this beautiful system has the advantage of being conducted with admirable temper, ingenuity, and ability; and he discovers much contrivance, and even wit, in the ramifications of its application.” But in another letter, written at a later date, he describes the simple childlike man as “illiterate and ignorant, with a brazen front, consummate assurance, and the most artful and plausible address, not without ability and ingenuity, heightened in its effects under the Quaker's guise." His family, too, were anything but what they ought to be. “His account of his family in unguarded moments -Dissenters, Roman Catholics, infidels-is most extraordinary.” In another letter, Mrs Trimmer flatters Dr Bell by describing Lancaster's procedure as "a perversion of your excellent plan for purposes deeper than meet the eye." This is one of the very oldest methods of abuse, and one of the most effective. You do not know anything about the intentions of the other man, and you are therefore free to conjecture the very worst. . The King was going to help Lancaster; and a school was about to be opened at Windsor on his plan, to be called the King's School. But a zealous ally of Mrs Trimmer's, the Rev. Mr Plimley, rector of Windsor, defeated this philanthropic “attempt of the arrogant Quaker.” Mrs Trimmer even succeeded in disturbing the repose
1 The italics and the scorn are Mrs Trimmer's.
of the higher orders of the clergy. “The dignitaries of the Church," she says, “even the highest,
even the highest, are fully convinced of the danger of the plan of forming the children of the lower orders into one organised body." The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge are desirous to take an active part against him. . . . In short, his wings will be clipped in some degree." Such wrath disturbs celestial minds—such passions ruffle the quiet bosoms even of the sage barn-door fowl.
1 Mrs Trimmer's italics.
The trustee of a charity school in Whitechapel had fallen in love with the System, and was anxious to have it introduced. Mrs Trimmer was also contemplating a girls' school at Brentford. Accordingly Dr Bell came up to town. In commencing the organisation of the school at Whitechapel, “he first chose about twenty of the best and cleanest boys, and having tried them in reading, etc., he selected ten or twelve of the best of them as teachers and assistants for the different classes. He then selected, by further trials, the two best of them for the first class, and the two next for the second ; and so on, till he had five or six sets of teachers.” He told all the boys present that he was going to help the scholars to teach themselves, and at the same time he
was also going to seek instruction at their hands." When Dr Bell, soon after, left for Swanage, some obstacles arose; and his excitement and determination rose with the emergency. “By—meaning through and under-God!” he exclaimed, "the work will go on, and flourish and spread far and near."
Mr Davis, the trustee of the Whitechapel school, was