EDUCATION AND IMMIGRATION.
New Zealand Tablet, Volume XII, Issue 41, 30 January 1885, Page 23
EDUCATION AND IMMIGRATION.
Thb following letter, translated into Flemish, has appeared in the Gazette Van TUelt Selwyn Street, Addington, Christchurch, Canterbury, N.Z. August 30th, 1884.
Mr. Editor,— As my dear friend, Mr. F. Van de Vyvere de Muelenaere of Thielt, has been kind enough to send me a copy of the Courtier de Bruxelles of the 11th of last June.l have taken the liberty to write to you, and to send you a copy of the New Zealand Tablet. The parts marked in the leading article will show you that tha educational system, which obtains in these colonies, is an exact duplicate of that which the Belgium people have recently bo triumphantly overthrown. In confirmation of this statement, I give you au extract from the New Zealand Tablet of November 4th, 1881. Catholics are not untrammelled, they can point back to the famous Bo wen Bill, as it was originally framed, and in which it was provided that no Catholic could send his children to a Catholic school, or employ a private tutor without a special license to do so.' The clause that contained this outrageous provision was, indeed, thrown out, but it was only thrown out because detected in time by the Bishop of Dunedin, and the indignation of Catholics throughout the Colony roused against it. The following is Bishop Moran'a illustration of the above provision: 'Let us suppose two cases, one is that if a Catholic gentleman whose sons are taught at home by a graduate of Oxford, and whose daughters are under the charge of a highly-educated governess. There is a government school in the neighbourhood, and the gentlemen of the committee, having the management of this school, take it into their heads, as might easily happen, that their dignity demands that this Catholic gentleman shall either send his children to their school, or humbly request an exemption certificate. He takes no notice of these ignorant aad vulgar men, and the consequence is, tnat they are authorised, by this measure, to summon him before two magistrates, and obtain an order, directing him either to dismiss his tutor and his governess, and send his children to a government school, or pay a fine of forty shillings weekly during six months for each child. 1 This will be sufficient to show you the nature of our Education Act, as originally framed in 1877, and though these outrageous provisions are expunged from the present Act, in substance, they are incorporated in it in essence, and as eff actually preclude the Catholics of the Colony from any participation in its benefits as they would have done, if the Bill, as originally framed, had passed into law. The enclosed paragraph, from one of our local papers, will inform you as to the kind of project M. de Harven and party have in view for the settlement of Belgian emigrants .in New Zealand
From 1847 t0.1852 lived at Ttiielt in Belgium, and consequently know something of the Belgian people. Their jpatient. economical, and industrious habits, which I so frequently admired whilst among them, eminently fit them for successful settlement in New Zealand. Nothing could give me greater pleasure than to see a considerable number of them arrive. I would travel a long way on foot to meet them, and should experience an exquisite pleasure in doing all 1 could for them, but if our Government refuses to give them the liberty to educate their children in precisely the same way in which they are being educated in their own country, I think it is the duty of every influential man in Belgium to do all in his power to dissuade them from coming at all. 9
They would be a sort of alien race, the Catholics of New Zealand being but one-seventh of the population, chiefly from Ireland. The other six-sevenths are divided into the conflicting sects of Protestants, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregatioualists. Methodists, Baptists, and Freethinkers. Besides, we have a considerable contingent of the Salvation Army. True to their instincts and historical traditions, they have laid aside their petty jealousies, animosities, and cordial hatred of each other, and, in the matter of education, have all combined to persecute their fellow-colonists the Roman Catholics. Still I am happy t inform you, and I feel sure that you will be pleased to be informed, that the Catholic Church has taken deep root in New Zealand, and is making considerable progress. So superior are our schools to those of the Government that many Protestants send their daughters to be taught by the nuns in our convei t schools. "In conclusion. I hope you will think it prudent to give publicity to these facts, and submit them to the consideration of M. de Harven and his party, before any steps are taken to form a settlement of your countrymen in New Zealand.
Apologising for having taken the liberty of writing to you at such length, I beg to subscribe myself your obedient servant, •'Thos. Milneb."