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On a dit que c'était la manifestation arménienne de la Sublime Porte (30 septembre 1895) qui avait provoqué les massacres; c'est une grande erreur : la manifestation armée, si regrettable qu'elle soit, n'a servi que de prétexte; elle n'a nullement été une cause ; c'est la politique du Sultan, des ordres émanant directement du Palais qui ont été cause des massacres; les consuls étrangers en Arménie pourront déclarer que les préparatifs en étaient faits depuis trois mois et que la menace en était proférée partout publiquement.

D'ailleurs les derniers événements de Constantinople n'ont laissé aucun doute quant à la culpabilité et la complicité des autorités dans l'effusion de sang.

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Et présent quelle solution pourrait dénouer la situation ? voilà la question, très grave, qui occupe en ce moment le monde politique.

Avant de dire quelques mots sur ce sujet, nous voulons détruire certaines illusions qu'on se fait encore en Europe.

On croit que tout en laissant au Sultan continuer sa manière de gouverner, on peut améliorer la situation des Arméniens et par conséquent la situation générale de la Turquie. C'est une erreur.

Le Sultan doit régner mais non pas gouverner. Rien à espérer tant qu'il aura la faculté de se mêler des affaires d'état; cela doit être le premier point du credo dans la solution à adopter.

Il faudrait donc établir à Constantinople un contrôle européen ou une représentation nationale, qui aurait alors pour base une constitution élaborée conformément au principe de décentralisation, seul principe qui puisse donner satisfaction aux différents éléments formant la population de l'Empire ottoman. Cela serait le système autrichien de nationalités, atténué et approprié aux circonstances locales.

Pourtant, même en cette seconde eventualité la surveillance européenne serait nécessaire pour plusieurs années, afin de contrecarrer les velléités du souverain qui voudrait sans doute attenter de nouveau aux droits de ses sujets, comme il l'a fait une première fois.

Et l'agrément du Sultan à la solution, comment l'obtenir ?

Voici notre idée là-dessus : Si les ambassadeurs des six grandes puissances, agissant loyalement (mais avec une loyauté sincère), se rendaient ensemble au Palais de Yildiz et présentaient au Sultan, comme à un condamné, les décisions de l'Europe, avec la menace réelle d'une rupture collective immédiate, tout serait accepté en dix minutes.

Mais tant qu'il se trouvera une puissance quelconque, qui intriguera, ouvertement ou dans les coulisses peu importe, ou qui gardera simplement une attitude réservée, le Sultan n'acceptera rien.

Il y a encore l'emploi de la force; là il s'agirait de la manière
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dont la force serait employée. Si l'on agit énergiquement, le Sultan, poltron de nature, cédera ; mais si l'on emploie la force graduellement, d'une manière soi-disant méthodique, une opposition plus ou moins sérieuse est possible; le Sultan brûlerait alors ses vaisseaux en tâchant de provoquer une guerre européenne; mais l'Europe se rendrait ridicule si Abd-ul-Hamid pouvait faire la pluie et le beau temps suivant ses convenances.

DIRAN KÉLÉKIAN.

1896

THE VOLUNTARY SCHOOLS

WHEN the first Board schools were established the Voluntary schools, then without rivals in the field, were educating about two-fifths of the children who ought to have been in elementary schools. At the present date, after a quarter of a century of severe competition, they are educating four-sevenths. The number of children in Voluntary schools was in 1870 little more than a million ; in 1895, nearly two millions and a half. It is instructive to inquire why the promoters of a system which has shown such a marvellous power of growth should be now crying out for their schools to be saved from extinction. A review of the facts will ove that the difficulties which are now occupying the public mind have been before statesmen for half a century, and that, although they have been much discussed, and to some extent successfully evaded, they have never been solved. It will also show how ignorant of the history of the past those party politicians were who brought against the proposals of the Government in the Bill of 1896 the accusation of novelty.

The education of the people had been taken in hand by the Church of England, and other religious societies, long before the nation awoke to its obligations in that regard. The first Treasury grant, amounting to 20,0001., and appropriated to the erection of 'schoolhouses,' was made in 1833. From that date to 1870 the action of the State in promoting national education was confined to the grant of continually increasing subsidies to Voluntary schools established and managed by religious bodies, and to such control as conditions attached to the reception of the grant conferred. For a long time the idea of establishing schools which should be independent of all religious bodies was not within the sphere of practical politics; separation between secular and religious instruction was generally scouted. In 1840 the Government were 'strongly of opinion that no plan of education ought to be encouraged in which intellectual instruction is not subordinate to the regulation of the thoughts and habits of the children by the doctrines of revealed religion. As late as 1853 a grant was refused to a secular school on the ground that education grants had not hitherto been applicable

| The actual numbers were in 1870, 1,162,389; in 1895, 2,445,812.

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to schools exclusively secular, and that they' (the Committee of Council) believed that such a decision was in accordance with the views of the great majority of the promoters of education.' other hand, many Voluntary school managers resented the mild State interference which was the accompaniment of State aid ; some would accept neither the one nor the other. State control was as much a bugbear fifty years ago as control of ratepayers is to-day. The "management clauses' which it was proposed, in 1847, should be inserted in the trust-deeds of all Church of England schools as a condition of a building grant provoked an angry controversy extending over many years. The right of the State to interfere at all was denied. It was maintained that the education of the people was the exclusive prerogative of the religious denominations. Freedom from State control was demanded by Nonconformists and Roman Catholics as earnestly as by Churchmen.

In 1853 Lord John Russell introduced the first Education Bill. It was a permissive Bill, and applied to boroughs only; the absence at that time of any suitable local authority in rural districts was an insuperable bar to its extension to them. It made the town council, acting through a committee, to which persons not members of the council might be appointed, the education authority. Schools which were eligible for grants from, and were regularly inspected by, the Committee of Council might, on their own application, be aided out of the borough rate. The rate aid was to be in the form of a grant on average attendance, and was to be supplementary to a prescribed amount derived from subscriptions, endowments, or school fees. The charge on the borough was limited to the produce of a 6d. rate. Aggrieved managers had an appeal to the Committee of Council. Lord John Russell disclaimed, on the part of the Government, any attempt to disturb the then existing system, based on voluntary effort ; the object of the Bill was to strengthen and improve it. The Government were against secular education, and thought there should be religious training in the schools; but there was a provision in the Bill giving parents a right to withdraw their children from religious instruction. Objection was made then, as it is made now, that individuals might refuse to pay rates that were to be applied to purposes of which they disapproved. But the rate was not to be earmarked, but paid out of the general borough fund. A conscientious and recalcitrant ratepayer would have to refuse to contribute at all towards the revenues of the borough, on the ground that some part of its expenditure was such as he could not conscientiously approve. Scruples of this sort, if general, would put a stop to all social combination, either for local or national purposes. The establishment by a municipality of schools of its own, supported out of the borough rate, side by side with the schools under voluntary management, does not seem to have been contemplated in the Bill. It was thought that with rate aid Voluntary schools would in boroughs have covered the ground. The country schools, excluded by the Bill of 1853 from the possibility of rate aid, were to be consoled by an increase of the capitation grant. It was a scheme of State aid to country schools and rate aid to town schools. The Bill was coldly received. It was accused of novelty. The town councils were reluctant. The Bill was dropped. The Government declared they would pass it in another session, but they never did. On the collapse of the rate-aid scheme of the Government the increased capitation grant, originaly intended for the counties only, was extended to the boroughs, and for seventeen years longer the financial assistance given out of public funds to elementary education was exclusively State aid.

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Simultaneously with the Government two other parties in Parliament were promoting education Bills.' The one party aimed at the establishment in every place of a system of free schools, supported by local rates, and managed by local committees specially elected for that purpose by the ratepayers; these schools were to impart secular instruction, only leaving to parents, guardians, and religious teachers the inculcation of doctrinal religion. But opportunity was to be given for denominational schools to come under these local committees, and obtain support from the rates, upon condition that they restricted the inculcation of doctrinal religion to fixed times, and allowed scholars to be withdrawn by their parents from such lessons, and that they provided free secular instruction. The other party relied for the advancement of national education upon voluntary effort, stimulated and supported by State subsidies, although they admitted the necessity of some provision for establishing schools in places where voluntary effort failed, and proposed that it should be a condition in such schools that the Bible should be read.

In 1855 there were three education Bills before the House of Commons, all of which embraced provisions for aiding the existing Voluntary schools out of local rates. First, there was a Bill introduced by Lord John Russell, which permitted both towns and country parishes to submit schemes to the Committee of Council for both aiding and establishing elementary schools. The second Bill was brought in by Sir John Pakington, and may be considered to embody the views of the progressive Conservatives of that day. The educational areas were to be boroughs and Poor-law unions. The education authority was to be a school committee specially elected by the ratepayers for the purposes of the Act. The committee might levy an education rate not exceeding 6d. in the pound, to be paid out of the borough fund in towns, and the Poor-rate in the country. All the existing schools which were recognised by the Committee of Council were to share in the rate, and in the case of new schools. established by the local committees the religious

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