HC Deb 15 March 1824 vol 10 cc1043-6

The House having resolved itself into a committee on the Irish miscellaneous Estimates, Mr. Goulburn moved, "That 21,615l. be granted to defray the expense of the Protestant Charter Schools of Ireland, for the year 1814." He briefly stated the reasons which rendered it necessary to call for a larger vote for this purpose, in the present, than in the former year. It was occasioned by the desire of the government to relieve the Foundling-hospital from the care and maintenance of a considerable number of children who had now arrived at the age of 13 or 14, and whom it was proposed to spread over the different charter-schools.

Mr. Hume

said, that the Protestant charter-schools were a mere charity, and ought to be supported by the funds which had been left for that purpose. If parliament were called upon to grant money, it should be for general education, and not for the service of a particular class. Last year the right hon. secretary pledged his word that the sum demanded this year would be less than it was theft: but instead of that, there was an increase of 4,615l. He should therefore, bearing in mind the reduction promised by the right hon. secretary last year, move as an amendment, that 14,000l. be substituted for 21,615l.

Sir J. Newport

maintained, that all the grants respecting education in Ireland ought to be postponed until the House had declared the principle on which they, would proceed with respect to them. The doling out separate sums in this manner destroyed the benefit which it was in tended to confer. He wished the subject to be treated as a whole, and to be submitted to a committee above stairs, for the purpose of ascertaining in what way the bounty of parliament could be rendered, most available. He would move as an amendment, that the present resolution be postponed.

Mr. Goulburn

was utterly at a loss to conceive why, because it might be desirable to appoint a committee to inquire into the present state of education in Ireland, the charitable institutions for that object should suddenly be deprived of their usual support. With respect to charter-schools, he admitted that the establishments were more in the light charitable institutions than of places, where systems of education were laid down. As a charitable system he was prepared to maintain it.

Sir M. W. W. Ridley

said, they were now going to vote away a sum of money, and were told, that an inquiry into the subject of education in Ireland was immediately intended; was it then, under these circumstances, too much to ask a delay of ten days or a fortnight?

Mr. C. Grant

did not think that the inquiry as to the state of education in Ireland could possibly end during the session. With respect to charter-schools in Ireland, he condemned the principle, on which they were founded. He regretted that the estimate under the consideration of the House had been increased in amount this year. He must object to the institution of charter-schools, because he was convinced that the public money might be laid out to more advantage. There were powerful objections to them, both of a local and general nature. They were opposed to the feelings of the people of Ireland, and to their prejudices. The grant, however, could not be suddenly withdrawn, and for the present he would not oppose it.

Lord Althorp

said, that what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman carried with it great weight. If it was clearly to be understood, that an inquiry into the system of education would take place, he would not object to the vote for the present year.

Mr. Goulbum

said, that with respect to a committee, he could not give any pledge or opinion one way or the other.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, he could not but discover an alteration in the tone of the right hon. gentleman with respect to education in Ireland, and rather feared that the right hon. gentleman would oppose the motion for a committee. The House had now, for the first time during the last ten years, been called upon to give its approbation to the principle of charter-schools in Ireland. In former years, the failure of those establishments was admitted, and promises were made, that the grants would be reduced. But now the right hon. gentleman proposed to augment them. The right hon. gentleman had endeavoured to show a connexion between charter-schools and the Foundling-hospital. But that connection would make him more disposed to oppose the grant. He objected to charter-schools, because they were founded on an exclusive principle. He objected to that principle as much as he did to the proposition brought forward by the Catholic clergy the other night. He did not wish to see an exclusive system of education, either by the Catholics or by the Protestants, at the public expense; and, in his opinion, the House could only justify the refusal to the Catholics by discountenancing an exclusive system for the Protestants. With respect to the Foundling-hospital, that establishment was formerly supported by a tax on the citizens of Dublin. They complained of it, and the tax was removed; but then came down an augmented vote for that establishment—an establishment which had greatly added to the vice, the misery, and the sufferings of the people of Ireland. The principle had the same effect invariably, wherever it was applied; and it was a curious fact, that in Paris, since the institution of a foundling hospital in that city, the exposures of children had increased from the ratio of one in ten, to the ratio of one in three.

Mr. Hume

said, that the Irish government had formerly pledged itself to reduce the grant. It had accordingly been partially reduced: but now it was proposed, notwithstanding the pledge of the government, to increase it by a sum of 4,000l. This was a positive breach of good faith on the part of the Irish governments.

The House divided: For the Amendment 33: For the original Resolution 74.

List of the Minority.
Alhorp, visc. Martin, J.
Barrett, S. M. Monck, J. B.
Bennet, hon. H. G. Newport, sir J.
Bernal, R. Parnell sir H.
Davies, T. H. Phillips, G.
Denison, E. Rickford, W.
Duncannon, visc. Ridley, sir M. W.
Fergusson, sir R. Robarts, A. W.
Gordon, R. Robarts, G.
Grosvenor, gen. Robinson, sir G.
Guise, sir B. W. Stanley, lord
Hutchinson, hon. C. H. Tierney, right hon. G.
Hume, J. Tremayne, J. H.
Hobhouse, J. C. Western, C. C.
James, W. Whitbread, S. C.
Kennedy, T. F. Williams, J.
Leader, W. Wrottesley, sir J.
Lennard, T. B.
Lamb, hon. G. TELLER.
Macdonald, J. Rice, T. S.