Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
Foreword to Richardson's "The Education
Problem and Its Solution" (S595a: 1901)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Wallace's Foreword to this 1901 work, a seven chapter excerpt from John Richardson's larger study How It Can Be Done. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S595A.htm


    [[p. (3)]] From every side we now hear complaints of our imperfect system of education and the evils it inflicts upon us both at home and abroad. We may assume, therefore, that a great majority of our people recognise the importance of education, and really wish that it should be as good as possible, and that the whole of our children should receive the full benefits to be derived from it.

    All who hold these opinions should not only read, but carefully study this little pamphlet, in which the author has explained in detail, and in a clear and even fascinating manner, the most thorough and admirable system of education and training ever yet set forth; and has, further, demonstrated that, after the preliminary expenses of establishing and working the system till those who enter the schools as children quit them at the age of 21, the whole immense organisation will become self-supporting, and be no cost whatever to the ratepayers, while it must certainly become, in every way, an enormous gain to the whole community.

    Every humanitarian, every advocate for justice and for equal rights, must surely feel bound to support a proposal which does away with the terrible cruelty and injustice to which millions of helpless and innocent children all over our land are now exposed; while every Christian, whose religion is not a mere form, and who really believes in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, must recognise the inherent right of every child to receive the best education and upbringing that can be given to it.

    What will be the immediate and the ultimate result of such a system of education it is not necessary to enquire, and perhaps impossible to predict. But, if education and refinement, and a true and full preparation for a life of physical and intellectual activity, are good things, their results must also be good. They will, at any rate, profoundly change for the better our local and imperial [[p. 4]] governing bodies, both by supplying a much larger choice of intelligent candidates, and, more especially, by the production of a body of intelligent voters such as the world has never seen before. To such a body we may safely leave the social economy and civilisation of the future.

    It is with the greatest confidence, therefore, and with a most profound sense of its importance that I recommend Mr. Richardson's plan, in its entirety, to the careful consideration of my fellow-countrymen.

    --Alfred R. Wallace, April 18, 1901.


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