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the prejudices of individuals. A public
school does not appeal for a reputation to
this parent or to that parent: it appeals to
the nation. Its masters hold a public trust,
and not a private speculation. Take your
son away, or leave him herewhich you
please. Every boy in this school has his free,
fair, equal chance among his fellows. We
have the right hand of welcome just as ready
for the son of an actor, as for the son of an
archbishop. No small social animosities of
yours, or of any man's, shall worm their way
into this place. In school or out of school,
we have one rule here to which all parents
and all boys must conform, or leave usthe
rule of Fair Play. That is the language
which a public schoolmaster could hold
to-morrow to any parent in England, who
raised a cruel, and senseless objection
against the reception of any well-conducted
boy as a pupil of the school. Where is "the
proprietor of a select establishment for
young gentlemen," who can take the same
resolute ground? It is in the very nature of
his speculation, that it places him at the
mercy of the parents. If there were no
other objection to private schools than the
objection which this fact implies, surely the
case against them, even thus far, rests
unmistakably on a practical foundation.

A prejudice against the stage merely, is a
prejudice which we can pity and pass by.
But a prejudice against the stage which
asserts its ignorant distrust of actors by
cruelly fastening itself on innocent children,
by meanly grudging them their education, and
by pitilessly endeavouring to deprive them of
a place in society at the very outset of life, is
a prejudice for which we have no mercy.
Bigots of this class are past reproof and past
argument. It would indeed be monstrous
to suppose that the question wanted any
arguing at all. To say that Mr. Wigan's
son and Mr. Phelps's daughter are the
children of gentlemen, and have a right and
claim to be educated along with the children
of any other gentlemen in this empire, let
them be whom they may, is about equivalent
to saying that two and two make four.

Our hope of ever seeing the scandal
abolished which is cast upon our social
system by such proceedings as are here
disclosed, does not depend upon any such
desperate prospect as the possible letting
in of light upon minds which have no
capacity for receiving illumination. Mean
class prejudices of all kinds are only finally
scattered and disposed of when they come
into collision with the sense of the nation at
large. This sense is represented, in the question
of education, by the system of our public
schools; and a general extension of that
sound, liberal, and thoroughly independent
system, in the future, seems to us to offer the
only hopeful prospect of effectually reforming
the gross abuse which is here exposedto
say nothing of other abuses into the discussion
of which we need not enter at present. A
growing distrust has arisen of late years in
the popular mind towards private schools.
No very long time has elapsed since their
shameless charges were publicly commented
on, in the strongest terms and in all
directions. At this moment, their system of
education is being subjected to a public test,
and is not answering that test to the national
satisfaction. The facts disclosed in these
pages will certainly not tend to improve their
character in the estimation of any fair-
minded judges. Upon the whole, the chance
does not seem hopelessly remote that the
next move in education may be a move
towards the extension of public schools, and
towards the consequent extinction of
prejudices which, exceptional as we trust they
may be, are nevertheless, so long as they
exist at all, a disgrace to our country and our

We are not putting this matter forward as
Mr. Wigan's private grievance or as Mr.
Phelps's private grievance. The names of
those gentlemen have been frankly mentioned,
because their appearance here runs no risk
of being misunderstood, and because the
sympathy which we offer to them, and which
we believe our readers will offer to them
also, is such sympathy as men of high
character may honourably accept. We bring
this matter forward, not as the grievance of
two individuals, but as the grievance of
every man among us who has an interest in
seeing the reputation of his countrymen for
common intelligence, and common decency of
feeling, properly maintained.


FINDING himself in possession of a holiday,
Samson Brown, an arid man of business
comfortable, but not a Cr┼ôsus—betook
himself by rail to a village not many miles
distant from London. He inquired at the station
whether there were return-tickets that
commanded a period of three or four days; but,
receiving an answer in the negative, he paid
his second-class fare down, entered a carriage,
and sighed to think how his liabilities would
be renewed when, his holiday expired, he
once more sought the great metropolis. He
submitted, however, to Fate, and was soon
absorbed in his favourite paper.

When, startled in the midst of one of the
most interesting articles in the Economist, by
a harsh shout announcing the arrival of the
train at the desired station, Samson Brown
alighted from the carriage, his first thought
was to stroll about the village, and ascertain
the nature of the accommodation which it
presented. All he knew about the village
was this: it stood a very little way down
in the page of the month's Bradshaw (which
he had borrowed from a friend), and
consequently it could be reached at a very small

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