HC Deb 30 July 1838 vol 44 cc811-3

On the vote of 50,000l. for National Education in Ireland being moved,

Mr. S. O'Brien

rose to call the attention of the House to the partial distribution of the grant. In his opinion, either power should be given to raise money by assessment, or the grant ought to be increased; or indeed both ought to be done, for without it national education in Ireland could not be effectually promoted, and the House would not do its duty to that country until a good school was established in every parish. At the same time, if there were a large proportion of both Protestants and Catholics in a parish who refused to unite in a system of education, he did not say that any assistance should be given to them. He hoped he had enabled the House to judge that this money had not been distributed according to the local wants of particular districts; that the grant ought to be increased, and also that a united education should be the basis of any system adopted in Ireland, so that those who might conscientiously hold different views from those of the board should not be excluded from its range and benefits.

Mr. James Grattan

was not prepared to increase the grant, though he wished to see the sums already voted appropriated with the greatest benefit to the country. He objected to the whole proceedings of the board, who, in his opinion, looked more to the quantity than the quality of education introduced, and thought that a better system ought to be established.

Viscount Morpeth

confessed, that the statements of both his hon. Friends who had just spoken, appeared to him a little affected, for the former complained of the number of grants which had been already made as not sufficient, whilst the hon. Member for Wicklow seemed to think there had been too much money voted for this purpose already, and deprecated the grant of more to be applied in the same direction. With respect to the expense of the establishment in Dublin, the greater part had been incurred in fitting up school rooms and training masters, a point of material consequence, as the want of proper teachers was so much felt in establishing the system of education that was to be adopted. With respect to raising money by assessment, by the regulations laid down in the letters of the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, it was expressly stated that local funds should be raised before any aid should be granted. When complaint, therefore, was made of the state of education in any district, it would, he thought, be found that the complainants had been deficient in the requisites laid down by the regulations on which the board was bound to act. As to altering the system itself, that was a large question on which Parliament might at some future time be required to give its serious consideration, both as to this country and as to Ireland, and also whether it should be made to depend on local contributions or not. The acrimony and hostility with which the board in Ireland was at first regarded, was daily decreasing; and he had no doubt, that the more its operations were known and watched, the more would it be said to meet the beneficent views of Parliament, in establishing a system of religious instruction to all classes, to which no difference of religious persuasion should form a necessary bar, and upon which the social condition of Ireland so much depended for improvement.

Vote agreed to.

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