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tempts to throw the over-taxed and afflicted poor on their own resources. In 1822, he published the “Life of Alexander Reid,” his great grandfather, of which a second edition was called for in 1828. Almost from the time of his arrival in Manchester, he and Mr. J. E. Taylor had given their gratuitous assistance to Cowdry's Gazette. In 1821, Mr. Taylor established the Manchester Guardian. In June, 1824, Mr. Prentice purchased the Gazette, from Mr. Cowdry, at a cost of 1,200l. for Copyright, and 400l. for printing materials; the Gazette was in 1829, incorporated with the Manchester Times, which he conducted until June, 1847, when he sold the property to Mr. A. W. Paulton : having thus had an influential portion of the press under his command for twentythree years, and much influenced it by his writings for seven years before that. For a historical review of the inveterate Toryism, the sterile intellectuality of Manchester, the outrageous suppression of public opinion on all public questions, the prosecutions of 1817, and the massacre of 1819, we refer to Mr. Prentice’s “Historical Sketches.” There it will be seen how much the political pioneer or instructor had to contend with during the greater part of the thirty years of his residence and public writing in Manchester. But in all those years he perseveringly and undauntedly advocated perfect freedom of trade, and a wide basis of representation. The repeal of the combination laws, the repeal of the test and corporation acts, the abolition of slavery, catholic emancipation, the abolition of the East India Company's monopoly, peace at home and non-intervention abroad, religious liberty, abolition or reduction of the taxes on knowledge, education, schools for infants, successively occupied his attention ; but free trade, and a full, fair, and free representation he adhered to with a pertinacity of iteration that was remarkable to all, and offensive both to positive destructives and those who wished to have graduality in doing nothing. In one instance his pertinacity in accusing the corn laws as one of the greatest causes of distress probably saved the town from a great conflagration.—(See “Historical Sketches,” 1826.) Five years after that time, when he had faced and reasoned with an infuriate mob of hungry law and loombreakers, and by reasoning calmed them to the great relief of the owners of town property, he became involved in a libel case, in which an important principle in jurisprudence arose. It was in 1831. The Manchester tories had petitioned against the Reform Bill. One of them, was said by Mr. Prentice to be known for nothing better than giving indecent toasts at public dinners. Mr. Prentice was a disciple of Jeremy Bentham, and held his doctrine that a jury ought not to declare any man guilty of a false libel without proof of falsehood. In a defence of an hour's length he argued this point, and told the jury plainly, that as they had been all sworn to give a true verdict according to the evidence, and there had been no evidence of falsehood, and there had been a positive refusal of proof of the truth, they would perjure themselves if they found him guilty of a false libel." The jury was shut up sixteen hours and a half, and there being no probability of their coming to a decision, a juror was drawn, and thus the prosecution ended. Ten of the jury were for a verdict of acquittal, and two for one of “guilty.” The Times, the Ewaminer, and other London papers, spoke of the defence as a bold and masterly one, and likely to popularize and to bring into practical effect, a doctrine which previously had been shut up in Bentham's volumes, read only by the few. He wrote to Bentham, asking his felicitations on the result, and in his reply—which is given in full in Bowring's Life of the great Jurist—he says:— “Yes: I do felicitate you, I felicitate the honest and intelligent jurymen, I felicitate myself on this your virtual acquittal.” In concluding his letter, he says: “It is with no small satisfaction and admiration, that I have observed the ability with which you turned to account the material with which I had the pleasure of furnishing you, and the important additions which you made to them.” Bentham added an important and very characteristic postscript to his letter: “P. S.—My advice to jurymen is plain and unmisunderstandable, and nothing can be easier than to follow it; examine the indictment, and if in any part there be any assertion that is either notoriously false, or not proved to be true, do not join in declaring it to be true, but say, Not Guilty " Prentice's introduction to Bentham, an honour eagerly sought by great men of all nations, was through his friends Colonel Thompson and Dr. Bowring, who, in the Westminster Review, were promulgating the reform and free trade principles, which found a hearty echo in the Manchester Times. When Colonel Thompson’s “Corn-law Catechism” appeared, he obtained liberty to re-print it, and gave away four thousand copies to the readers of his paper, a gift which spread very widely in Manchester and its neighbourhood, that thorough knowledge of the question which, no doubt, contributed much to make the town and its manufacturing dependencies take the lead in opposing une landowners' monopoly.


In 1827-8 and 9, Mr. Prentice was instrumental in the establisment of Schools for Infants. He saw that the system could not be widely spread so long as a building had to be erected at a cost probably of 500l., before a school could be established, and his object was to have the buildings which were occupied only one day in the week as Sunday Schools to be used for all other six as Day or Infant Schools. For this purpose he visited some of the neighbouring towns and gave gratuitous lectures on the subject. William Grant, Esq., (one of the Brothers Cheryble,) one day asked him how he was going on, “I succeed wherever I go,” said P., “but it is an expensive hobby to ride, and I must give it up.” “You must not do that, my dear sir,” said Grant, “God Almighty has blessed you with ability, and He has blessed me with money. If you give your time it is but fair that I should give my money. Be kind enough to accept this twenty pound-note, and spend it in riding your hobby.” In December, 1830, he published a small tract on the subject which went through two editions. A third edition was published in March, 1832, when the reform bill was in progress. In the preface the author said: “At the period when I send this edition to the press, there is an additional incentive to every labourer in the vineyard of instruction. The probability of a great extension of the elective suffrage, makes it a duty of all who have the welfare of their country at heart, to promote the means of enabling those to whom the right is to be extended, to evercise it for the public good. I know of nothing more likely to effect so desirable an end, than the establishment of schools which not only instruct the child, but make it a most influential teacher of the parent, by awakening a perception of social relations, and the obligation of social duties.” A fourth edition, stereotyped by Childs, of Bungay, appeared in March, 1847, the author saying in the preface : “As the subject of National Education has recently excited much discussion, as great encouragement has been given to voluntary effort by the exhibition of what it has already done, and as there is a wide-spread conviction that religious and moral instruction cannot, without great difficulty, be conveyed to considerable portions of the community unless it be commenced before the labour of childen, however small its reward may be, becomes important to their parents, I have been strongly urged to reprint this small tract, the only one published, so far as I know, which briefly states the advantages of very early tuition.” His labours and the circulation of his tract gave a very decided impulse to the Infant School system. Mr. Prentice is no advocate for loading the infant memory with things difficult to be understood, and would not bind down the young learner to irksome tasks that a display may be made of early acquirement. He is for physical and moral, rather than intellectual, training. He says: “Holding, as I do, the opinion that the principal aim of the system ought to be to take care of the personal safety of the child, and to seize the incidents that arise during its play for instilling religious sentiments and teaching practical morality, I deem a school-room necessary only as a place of shelter and protection If I saw all the children of a village pursuing their sports on the common or in the green lane, or gathering “king-cups in the yellow mead,” and some staid, sober, kindly-dispositioned person near them, not interrupting, but not unobservant of their amusement, and ready at all times to curb the tyrannical, to protect the weak, and to speak an affectionate admonition to all, as circumstances gave him the opportunity; and if I saw him collecting them occasionally to join in such exercises as he might find best calculated to excite emulation, and to teach them with as little as possible of the show of teaching, that scene would seem to me the model of an Infants School. Such a model would exhibit rather an extension than a diminution of the parental care ; for the more the superintendence of the teacher can be made to represent the watchful and affectionate superintendence of the parent, the more perfect the system; and the parent we know can teach most effectively where the greatest number of objects present themselves to suggest incidental teaching, and where there is a sufficient number of children to allow of the full play of the imitative and emulative faculties. Order and discipline are indeed essential parts of the system of Infant School tuition, as they must be of every effective system of education, but it is not that order that represses the sports of the child, nor that discipline which binds it to tasks beyond its years. Nor is a protracted confinement within walls other than an accidental part of the system, arising out of the changes of temperature in our variable climate, and the prevalence of cold and wet weather. I should be sorry indeed to see a child snatched from a piece of daisycovered turf, or a bank of wild thyme, to be chained to the form in a joyless school; I should be sorry to see it taken from the delightful employment of gathering wild flowers and stringing them into gay garlands of, to it, surpassing beauty, or even from the fruitless pursuit of the gaudy butterfly ; I should be sorry to see it torn from these innocent pleasures and hurried away to a close room, there to be held in thraldom by an austere birch-flourishing pedagogue. Paley, in the spirit of that amiable philosophy which made him look on the bright side of the provision made for mankind, said that to his mind nothing so fully conveyed the benevolence of the Deity as the pleasures which little children enjoy. “I never,” said he, “ saw a young healthy child at its sports without perceiving a new evidence of the finger of God, and a new proof of His love, benevolence, and protection.” The Infant School system, as I understand it, and as I trust it is understood by the most influential of its supporters, does not step in to interrupt those sports in which the child experiences so much delight. It does not tear the happy being, rejoicing in the novelty of its young perceptions, from the fair works of creation, but it follows it into the scene of its enjoyments, and points from nature up to nature's God. It checks not the admiration with which the daisy is regarded, but teaches from it the lesson of humility and meekness suggested by that “wee modest crimsontipped flower.” It checks not the seemingly idle gaze at the linnet perched upon the thistle and scattering the down-suspended seeds in the breeze, but thenee directs attention to the wonders of the vegetable world. It damps not the delight with which the lily of the field, arrayed in a glory exceeding that of Solomon, is viewed, but ingrafts upon the delighted survey associations of a directing Providence, and leads to the conviction that if God so gloriously clothe the grass of the field which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, He will not disregard the rational and immortal creatures whom He has so much more wonderfully endowed. No ; it would be cruel to anticipate the cares which are in ample store for maturer years. We have all enough to endure in manhood; let us not for pity s sake abridge the innocent pleasures of infancy. “But the infant scholar cannot be always in the fields acquainting himself with the wonders of nature, and admiring that beauty which is lavished on the humblest weed and the most insignificant insect. Nor if he could be, could he always have a protector and a judicious superintendent of his

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