The Eighteenth Century: Experiment and Enlightenment

  • W. A. C. Stewart


THE WORK of at least two educationalists, begun as early as the 1750s, foreshadowed some of the experiments usually as-cribed to the new school of educationalists inspired by Rous-seau. These pioneers were William Gilpin of Cheam School and David Manson of Belfast. Unknown to each other, they made some highly original reforms in school discipline, organization, and teaching method. Their innovations were the expression of a critical attitude to traditional forms of education, but neither Gilpin nor Manson was influenced by Continental theorists. They did not consciously start a movement, yet they were the pioneers in the whole progressive tradition in England. It is to William Gilpin that I turn first of all.


Eighteenth Century Corporal Punishment Natural Surrounding School Discipline Young Pupil 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    ‘An Account of the Rev. Mr. Gilpin ’, in W. Gilpin, Memoirs of Dr. Richard Gilpin (London, 1879), p. 127.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cited in C. P. Barbier, ‘Gilpin, Master of Cheam ’, Glasgow Herald, 14 Sept. 1957.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    W. D. Templeman, The Life and Work of William Gilpin (Urbana, Ill., 1939). pp. 58 –9.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    ‘Biographical Sketch of the late Rev. W. Gilpin ’, in Rev. Richard Warner, Miscellanies (Bath, 2 volst, 1819), ii, p. 155.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    [C. P. Barbier], ‘Submerged by Dr. Syntax: William Gilpin of Cheam ’, Times Educational Supplement, no. 2226, 17 Jan. 1958, p. 67 (hereafter T.E.S.).Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Sir H. C. M. Lambert, ‘A Cheam School Bill in 1766 ’, Surrey Archaeological Transactions, xxv (1924), pp. 80 –4.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    C. P. Barbier, William Gilpin, His Drawings, Teaching and Theory of the Picturesque (Oxford, 1963).Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    J. J. Marshall, ‘David Manson, Schoolmaster in Belfast ’, Ulster Journal of Archaeology, xiv (1908), p. 59.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Manson, New Pocket Dictionary, quoted in W. J. McCallister, The Growth of Freedom in Education (London, 1931, p. 332.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    J. A. Comenius, The Great Didactic, trans. M. W. Keatinge (London, 1896), p. 331.Google Scholar
  11. 1.
    J. H. Warner, ‘The Basis of J. J. Rousseau’s Contemporaneous Reputation in England’, Modern Language Notes, vol. lv, no. 4 (Apr. 1940), pp. 270 –80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 2.
    W. Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, and its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness (London, 2 vols., 1793), ii, p. 504 n.Google Scholar
  13. See also [W. Godwin], An Account of the Seminary … at Epsom in Surrey for the Instruction of Twelve Pupils … (London, 1783), p. 4.Google Scholar
  14. 3.
    D. Williams, Lectures on Education (London, 3 vols., 1789), i, pp. 110 –11 (hereafter Lectures).Google Scholar
  15. 4.
    E. Légouis, The Early Life of William Wordsworth, trans. J. W. Matthews (London, 1897), pp. 56, 365 –6.Google Scholar
  16. 7.
    R. L. Edgeworth, Memoirs (London, 2 vols., 1820), i, pp. 177 –9.Google Scholar
  17. 9.
    E. C. Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë (London, 2 vols., 1857), i, p. 49.Google Scholar
  18. 11.
    J. J. Rousseau, émile, trans. Barbara Foxley (London, 1961), p. 124.Google Scholar
  19. 17.
    H. A. Taine, The Ancient Regime, trans. J. Durand (London, 1876), p. 273.Google Scholar
  20. 18.
    For an account of the cult of the noble savage, see H. N. Fairchild, The Noble Savage (New York, 1928);Google Scholar
  21. C. B. Tinker, Nature’s Simple Plan (Princeton, 1922).Google Scholar
  22. 19.
    B. Simon, Studies in the History of Education, 1780 –1870 (London, 1960), pp. 17 ff.Google Scholar
  23. 20.
    N. Hans, ‘Franklin, Jefferson, and the English Radicals at the End of the Eighteenth Century ’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 98, no. 6 (1954).Google Scholar
  24. 21.
    J. Brown, Sermons on Various Subjects (London, 1764).Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    V. Knox, Liberal Education; or, A Practical Treatise on the Methods of Acquiring Useful and Polite Learning (London, 1781), p. 3.Google Scholar
  26. 29.
    A. H. Body, John Wesley and Education (London, 1936), pp. 19, 52.Google Scholar
  27. 30.
    Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (London, 2 vols., 1799), ii, p. 255.Google Scholar
  28. 32.
    A. A. Evans, ‘The Impact of Rousseau on English Education ’, Researches and Studies, University of Leeds Institute of Education, no. ii (Jan. 1955), p. 19.Google Scholar
  29. 33.
    Cited in G. E. Hodgson, Rationalist English Educators (London, 1912), p. 162.Google Scholar
  30. 4.
    Williams, A Treatise on Education (London, 1774), p. 24 (hereafter Treatise).Google Scholar
  31. 22.
    D. Williams, Lectures on the Universal Principles and Duties of Religion and Morality (London, 2 vols., 1779), i, p. 195.Google Scholar
  32. 35.
    T. Morris, General View of the Life and Writings of the Rev. David Williams (London, 1792), p. 13.Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    D. Williams, ‘More Light on Franklin’s Religious Ideas ’, American Historical Review, xliii (July 1938), pp. 803 –13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© W. A. C. Stewart 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. A. C. Stewart

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations