« PreviousContinue »
herself, are faithfully depicted in the tale under the above title. The Ghost Hunter and His Family was originally written by me, framed by my brother, and published in 1833, in The Library of Romance, edited by Leitch Richie. No use was made of the second sketch. I did not like the subject. I left it in the suggester's hands, but he never wrought upon it.”
In the autumn of 1828, Banim commenced to write a new series of The Tales By the O'Hara Family-the title adopted by him for the work was, The Denounced.
It was written amidst pain; and the dread of still greater suffering. He left his cottage at Seven Oaks, and removed for change of air, to Black Heath; and from his new residence, he thus, in 1829, wrote sorrowingly to Michael :—
My dear Michael,
"Black leath, April 3rd, 1829.
I have been obliged to remove hither. Seven Oaks was too far from London for business, and I longed for change of air. For the last five months scarcely three weeks' work in me, and in consequence, my tale has flagged. Had it been God's will to give me health, it would have been ready before now."
The volumes passed, as usual through Michael's hands, and appeared in July, 1829, and are not worthy the author of The Nowlans. One does not, however, wonder that the tales are below the standard of Banim's reputation, when we recollect that they were put together hurriedly; while sickness was a frequent visitant, while the working inental power was available only at frequent and desultory intervals, and while compulsive inactivity, and the inevitable heavy outlay consequent on illness, together with the constant change of residence, in search of the health, that was not to return, were at the same time causing a necessity for funds, and an incapacity to create them.
After the completion of the work, Banim's health became more feeble, and in change of air and scene lay his only hope of restoration. On the 20th of August, 1829, he wrote thus, from Black Heath, to Michael:-
"My dear Michael,
We shall be obliged to remove farther from you; Iam ordered to the French coast-to a milder climate, and where constant baths can be had at a cheap rate-these I am advised to use freely. I must shift my place when there is a necessity. Any
where in pursuit of health, for without that precious blessingI need not conclude the sentence."
This resolution of removing to France was forthwith carried out, and in the Sixth Part of John Banim's Biography, the reader shall know the history of very bright and very gloomy days passed by Banim in his pursuit of Health, and all her rosy blessings"-blessings never found, yet ever longed for, even amidst pains and griefs, until at length even hope died, and then he was, like Schiller, "Better and better, calmer and calmer."
Before closing this paper we desire to inform all our readers, who admire the character and genius of John Banim, that during the past quarter we visited the burial place of this noble-hearted Irishman, and that we with difficulty discovered it. He is buried in the grave-yard of the Roman Catholic Chapel of St. John, Kilkenny, where also are interred Dr. Burgo, the ecclesiastical historian and the Rev. Mr. O'Donnell, the Father Connell who gave the title to Banin's last novel.
When Banim was dying he said to Michael-"I have only one request now, lay me so that I may be nearest to my mother-with my left side next her." And so they buried him more than twelve years ago, and so for twelve years and some months he has lain without stone or monument to mark his grave. Thomas Hood died in 1845,-he has a public monument: Moir, Blackwood's Delta, died in 1851,-he has a public monument. Have these examples of public gratitude no teaching for Irishmen ? is the only memorial of John Banim to be a bust, quite unlike him, in the Tholsel of Kilkenny ?must Michael Banim drag, from his own small funds, the money to purchase a tomb-stone for JOHN BANIM'S GRAVE? We sincerely hope that such may not be the case, and, to avert it, we beg the aid of the Irish Newspaper Press, particularly of the Kilkenny, Carlow, Waterford, and Tipperary Journals.
ART. III.-MECHANICS' INSTITUTES.
1. Lectures and Addresses in aid of Popular Education. By The Right Honourable the Earl of Carlisle. London: Longman and Co. 1854.
2. Speeches on National Education. By The Right Honour able Lord Brougham, in the House of Lords, July and August, 1854. London: Ridgway. 1854.
3. Lectures on Education, delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. London: Parker.
4. Importance of Literature to Men of Business. Glasgow: Griffin & Son, 1854.
5. Annual Report of the Committee of the Clonmel Mechanics' Institute. Clonmel. 1855.1.7
In the paper appearing in the foregoing number of this REVIEW, entitled "Adult Education," our readers will remember that we endeavoured to show of what vast importance properly organized Evening Schools would be to the laboring classes. We also showed, that in proportion to the importance of these schools, is the difficulty in establishing them and of securing to them a considerable attendance. This, we stated, is made manifest in Dublin by the very few schools of this character at present in operation. Having offered every suggestion in our power on the management of these schools, we have done our duty as far as it came within our province. We can only hope, that for the common interests of society, these, or some other suggestions calculated to promote the intellectual and social improvement of the working classes may be adopted, for we should remember
"The mind untaught
Is a dark waste where fiends and tempests howl;
As Phoebus to the world, is knowledge to the soul." Before entering on the immediate subject of the present paper, we would ask our readers to bear with us while we examine the classes of adults and boys generally to be found attending the Evening Schools. Our object in this, is to ascertain if these schools are sufficient in themselves to supply the kind of education sought for by the more advanced members of the working classes; for, if so, we cannot
see the utility of advocating the establishing of Mechanics' Institutes, which may be considered Adult Schools on a larger scale.
Now by enquiring what class of pupils attends Public Evening Schools, and the course of education taught in these schools, we shall find a large proportion consists of those, whose education has been sadly if not wholly neglected in youth, and who are, consequently, learning the mere rudiments of knowledge; while a small, a very small proportion indeed, is engaged upon the higher branches. It is clear therefore that, under such circumstances, the course of education in these schools can be little more than elementary.
Again, we also know that the Teacher's time must be more or less engaged by the majority of his Pupils, and the majority in the present case consists of those pupils scarcely able to read and write. It is manifest then the minority is neglected, which therefore quits the school, and be it remembered, this minority forms the intellectual portion of the school. They see that they are neglected, they know that the Teacher of an Evening School cannot devote his time to a few and neglect the many. The consequence is, that advanced pupils are scarcely ever to be found attending Evening Schools, and no matter what their anxiety and solicitude may be to perfect themselves in knowledge, there is no opportunity afforded them to do so in these Institutes. It will appear here from what we have stated, that Evening Schools as they are at present conducted in Dublin, are not schools where those who have passed through our primary National Schools may pursue their studies, and in so doing acquire a knowledge of those subjects which their pursuits in life may require. The demand for a higher class of schools or institutes is increasing daily, and will continue to do so till it becomes irresistible. Further, it is our belief, that no matter how efficiently Evening Schools be conducted, they will not be attended by that class of adults whose object is to advance themselves above the mere working man. We may look on these schools as preparatory, and we have little doubt, if properly managed, would become so many feeders to Mechanics' Institutes of a like class. When we write that these schools are merely preparatory, and the course taught in them purely elementary, we do not assume that teachers in these schools possess only the literary acquirements necessary to impart instruction in the rudiments of knowledge; how
ridiculous would it not be to teach Algebra or Astronomy to a pupil to whom Arithmetic and Geography are only known by name. The advanced branches not being taught argues in no way against the qualifications of the Teachers; as well might it be said that a man cannot speak French because he happens to speak English. Those acquainted with Evening Schools and the class of pupils attending must know that mere elementary instruction is all that can be expected to be given in them, since the teachings must always be adapted to the capacity of the pupil, yet by this class of instruction. much good can be effected, among the poor creatures simple as it be, and could Evening Schools succeed in only doing this, there is no doubt that they would effect the object for which they were intende-to impart education to those who have been debarred its blessings in early youth.
A large majority indeed of the working classes of our city consists of those either wholly illiterate, or those, as has been already hinted, whose education has been sadly neglected: but, from the very nature of things, this majority, we are happy to state, must necessarily continue to diminish, and institutes of a higher order will appear, and the working classes attain a more exalted rank in the social scale than they at present occupy.
We have now shown the portion of the working classes attending Evening Schools, their capacity to receive instruction, and the course of instruction that must necessarily be taught in these schools. We have also endeavoured to prove that these schools cannot be substituted for Mechanics' Institutes. We would next direct the attention of our readers to the more advanced and intellectual. class of the Working multitude, and we feel happy to be able to declare, that this class is by no means inconsiderable.-This is the class that is debarred the means of pursuing their studies in the more advanced branches of knowledge, which are entered upon in our primary schools, and hence we find that some of the brightest and most promising of our youths when at school, allow their minds to slumber, and so wax into indifference until at last the bright future which lay before them is darkenedand dispelled by their want of progress; they become recklessthe prospect of toil and sorrow takes the place of the happy manhood, which they have painted for themselves; want of mental occupation drives them to the ale-house, and thus they are early