Thanks to the New York Public Library Google has many issues of the mid 19th century periodical Journal of Sacred Literature, edited by John Kitto.
In the third volume, published in 1849, there is an interesting article called 'The Schools of the Hebrews,' translated from the French original by Dom. Augustine Calmet. 'The Schools of the Hebrews' purports to give an account of Jewish education and academies throughout the ages, and is supplemented by the translator's account of modern Jewish learning societies in Europe (beginning pg. 103).
First mentioned is the Chevra Shas. "Every member must read a folio every morning . . . Once in seven years the whole of the Talmud is concluded; when a grand feast is made null and void . . . (See pg. 104 for the interesting account given between my dots ( . . . )).
There is much more of interest, but let me just mention one note towards the end (pg. 106): "The fourth association is termed [Chevra Mikra] or Scripture Society . . . The members of the society have a profound knowledge of the Scriptures . . . Since the 'London Society for promoting Christianity amongst the Jews' began to accommodate the Jews abroad with cheap copies of the Old Testament free from all the above commentaries [ie, Rashi, Radak, Ibn Ezra, Abarbanel, Metzudoth, etc.] there is generally to be found in every large town inhabited by Jews in Poland and Russia, a society of young men called Chevrah Tanach, whose object is to read the Bible without any comment; for which purpose these young men have a room for themselves; for the Beth Hamedrash would not be allowed for that purpose. All these young men are sceptical about the Rabbinical oracles, and it is most probable that the present movements amongst the Jews, and the cry for reformation and 'no Rabbinism,' owe their existence, under God, to the London society, in giving free course to the oracles of God amongst the Jews, to whom they were first committed."
*Edit: tz"l 1843. MenachemMendel pointed out the following: This is actually from Moses Margoliouth's The Fundamental Principles of Modern Judaism Investigated, pp. 84 ff., which can be seen here (I hope). This was published in 1843. It was taken either directly from there or from the Rev. W. Ayerst's The Jews of the Nineteenth Century, which quoted Margoliouth and was published in 1847. I came across this last year while who knows looking for what.
Margoliouth's name came up in the post about the Rambam image the other day.