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June 201 who finds it necessary for his subsistence, or to one who has enough to live on without it, were absurd; as it is obvious, that though it might be highly prized by the first, it would be despised by the last. What follows? One who had such a salary as to bear a great disproportion to his teaching fees, would disdain the drudgery of teaching a few dirty boys for trifling gratuities. His school would thus be so much neglected, as to discourage parents from sending their children to it. In consequence of this, the schools in many country parishes, would gradually be deserted; and the office of schoolmaster, in most of these parithes, would become a mere sinecure, to be given to the dependants of heritors, or parsons, or those who had interest with the kirk sefsion, who would covet the salary, merely to assist them in prosecuting some other business, without once thinking of teaching at all. Where these incumbents were peculiarly favoured by those of high rank in the parish, it would not perhaps be thought necessary to open a school at all; but even where this could not be dispensed with, unless the teaching fees were greatly raised, the office of teaching would be performed by a deputy, who, for an allowance far short of the present salaries, would discharge the functions of the office. This is an evil which is felt even in the present state of things, and is loudly complained of in many country parishes*. But if even the small salaries at present be an object of cupidity to those who have not an intention seriously to teach;

With a view to obviate this inconvenience, we frequently see, in advertisements for teachers to large parishes, this clause inserted:-The place will not be given to any one who does not enter into an engagement, that be is not to prosecute the study of divinity. Needy students of divinity are almost the only persons who now, covet the place of schoolmasters, with a view to teach by proxy, as a small interim support. Were the salaries larger, we should soon find abundance of other competitors for the' office.

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how much more desirable, in this view, would they become, were the salaries augmented! The evil, which is now only in part felt, would be then universally experienced. Thus would the industrious part of the community be loaded with a heavy burden, to support a set of lázy › drones, who would prey upon the labour of others, without making any kind of useful returns. Idleness would -thus be encouraged at the expence of industry, and to the prejudice of literature; as it might soon be discovered, that all the learning necefsary in the performance of this -office, would, on many occasions, be an ability to grant a discharge for their salaries.

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"Thus, likewise, would the real teachers of youth be degraded to a much lower rank in society than they hold at present, and involved in much greater abjectnefs and povérty. Like poor curates in England, who are able to draw but a scanty pittance from the rich incumbents, who live at their ease on their abundant salaries, our poorer deputy teachers would obtain a still more scanty pittance from the nominal schoolmasters; so that in the one case, as well as the other, the important functions belonging to the office of each, would come to be discharged by a set of men, who would be involved in a state of abject pover ty, very unbecoming the station they hold in life. And as we know that the circumstance which tends so much to degrade the officiating clergy in England, is prevented from being experienced in Scotland, merely because the stipends of our parsons are such as not to admit of their living at a distance from their cures; and, as we observe such a strong tendency already in our schoolmasters to imitate the English parsons in this respect, have we not the greatest reason to suppose, that, were their salaries augmented, the evil would be proportionally extended, and similar unhappy effects be experienced from it?

VOL. ix.

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June 20 "I know it will be alleged, that the smallness of the schoolmasters salaries, would, at the best, be such as to be no temptation for any person to look after them with this view; but though they could not be very great, yet it will not be denied, that even a small addition to a man's living, when it brings no trouble along with it, is a very desirable acquisition. And as we know that there are always abundance of persons to be found, who would be glad to perform the office of schoolmaster for much less than the salaries at present allowed in Scotland*; it is plain, that if these salaries were augmented, they would become more desirable than they now are, by those who meant only to teach by proxy; and consequently the evil, as has been said, would be augmented in proportion to the rise of the salary.

* Many attempts were made by our forefathers, while the knowledge of political economy was in its infancy, to regulate the price of labour by the power of the civil magistrate. Experience has now taught us, that these attempts have ever proved inefficacious, and are therefore now in general laid aside. I might add, that they have proved the unobserved source of many of those political disorders, that now distrefs the community; and therefore should be guarded against as pernicious. The present applica

tion is an attempt of this kind; and, if it should be inadvertently complied with, would, like all others of this sort, prove the source of new disorders in the state. The just price of every kind of labour, as well as of every other commodity, is best ascertained by that which it will bring in a free market. If the wages, in any kind of business, be higher than that of others, in the estimation of those who are at perfect liberty to choose for themselves, many men will be desirous to be employed in it; and therefore a superabundance of hands will ever be found, in case of a vacancy in it; but if the wages are too low, a scarcity of hands will be experiencad, and every one will fhow a backwardness to engage in that employIn this last case, if the business must be carried on, a rise of wages becomes inevitable; and, in the first case, if the competition for employment be great, it indicates that the wages are too high, and that in sound policy they ought to be diminished. This is the mode that nature points out, for regulating, with the strictest justice, the price of all kinds


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Should it be thought that this evil might be obviated by certain restrictions imposed on incumbents, it would be easy to fhow from experience, how inefficacious all. such restraints have ever proved in similar cases; and it could be clearly demonstrated, that, in the present case, they would be peculiarly inefficacious, as it might so frequently be the interest of those persons to wink at the execution of the law, who would be intrusted with the enforcing of it. Should they, however, discharge their duty, with as much zeal as it can be expected men who are not peculiarly interested can do, it does not appear that they could do much service. A man may be compelled, indeed, to open a school; but it is a very difficult matter to compel him to cause the scholars, who are put under his care, to make a proficiency in learning, where he thinks it his interest they should not do so; and if parents find their children advance slowly, they will naturally avoid sending them to school. I know a particular instance, where a well meaning man bequeathed. several

of labour, in a well ordered society, without tyrannical force or constraint upon any person whatever.

If we were to apply this rule to judge of the propriety of the claim in the present case, we fhould be forced to own that it was directly contrary to justice and sound policy; as it is obvious, from the number of competitors on every vacancy, that the present salaries of office are not judged inacequate to the charge, by those who are to perform the duties of it. So long, then, as this idea prevails among this clafs of men, it is vain to think of raising the price of that labour above the rite at which they estimate it themselves; for as those who fhall obtain by law a title to draw this higher price, will find others ready to discharge the dutics at the lower rate, which they themselves deem reasonable, the first will put into their own pocket all the superfluous wages, and the real labourers will reap as little as if no more were paid by the employer for that work, than the ex-act sum which they receive. Here we see the origin and rationale of the order of curates in England; and thus we are enabled to predict the similar dency of the present demand of the schoolmasters in Scotland..

annuities of twenty pounds each, to be given as salaries to men, for opening schools in certain parts of the country, for teaching poor children. The salaries have been ever since afsigned to those who were judged well qualified for the task. Schools have also been opened by these several teachers, that no legal objection might lie against their drawing the salaries; but few, indeed, are the scholars that have been taught at these schools. Similar effects will ever be experienced in similar circumstances.

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Thus are we led, from a candid examination of particulars, to conclude, That no beneficial effects whatever could possibly result to the community, if the prayer of the petition should be complied with; but that, on the contrary, many hurtful consequences would result from it. It could not tend to make education cheaper than at present, but the reverse; nor could it make teachers more afsiduous and attentive, but rather would make them carelefs and indolent: It would thus tend very much to discourage the cause of literature, instead of promoting it, in Scotland. It would not even make the teachers themselves more wealthy, or put them upon a more respectable footing, than they now are; but would render them poorer, and more abject in circumstances, than it is pofsible for us at present to conceive. It would deprive a great body of the people of a considerable part of their property, for the sole purpose of encouraging idleness, without any prospect of benefiting the public in the smallest degree.-From which considerations, and others that might be added, I am led to conclude, that the present demand of the schoolmasters is improper in every sense of the word; that the granting the prayer of their petition, would be highly impolitic, and would tend to introduce a disorder into the community, that would in time be attended with the most pernicious consequences, which could not without great difficul

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