HC Deb 24 June 1839 vol 48 cc731-93
On the motion of Lord John Russell

, the House resolved itself into a Committee of Supply. The noble Lord then said, that having already explained his opinions upon the subject of the vote of this evening, he should not think it necessary to enter into the general question in proposing it in a committee of supply. The objections that had been taken, or which might be taken, to the general subject of education, rested on a great principle, which could not be very conveniently discussed after the long debate which had taken place with respect to this subject before the Speaker left the Chair. It might be said, that the whole education of the people should be left in the hands of the Church, and that this House ought not to contribute any sums of money which should not be placed at the disposal of the Church; but these were not the questions now in dispute—but they were whether this House would agree to a vote of 30.000l. for the purpose of public education; or whether they would altogether refuse that grant, because that was the proposition which the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, had declared his intention to move. He understood certainly that that was the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, and that the ground of his objection was, that instead of the money being voted to be placed at the disposal of the Board of the Treasury, it was a sum exceeding that in amount which had before been given, which was to be placed at the disposition of a Committee of the Privy Council, consisting of certain of her Majesty's servants. He did not see, however, on what argument the refusal of the grant was to be placed. He could understand, as he had already said, the high argument that the House ought not to encourage any doctrine or opinion but that which was held by the Established Church, in connexion with the State, and that no contrary doctrine ought to be encouraged by the way in which a vote made in Parliament might be applied; and if hon. Gentlemen opposite were all agreed on that argument, it was like telling the House that they would decline the grant when it was made upon any other principle than that which they advocated. But with respect to the mere question of leaving this grant at the disposal of the board of the Privy Council, or of the board of the Treasury, it did not appear to him, although it might be convenient to them to sink their differences in form, that there was any ground on which they were entitled to make any objection to a grant for public education, and to the schools of Great Britain, upon any such suggestion as those which had been thrown out. He thought that a better argument might have been raised on the other view of the question; and supposing that there had been a Committee of the Privy Council specially appointed for the purpose of promoting education, and if the grant made by Parliament had been placed at their disposal, and given, as it was proposed to be, partly to the schools under the National Society, and partly to those belonging to the British and Foreign Society, and it had been proposed to make some change in the distribution of the money, and place it, as it was now placed, to be appropriated by the Board of Treasury, he thought that that might have been a tolerable argument. It might have been said, in reference to those persons who were proposed, "We have some power over the Members of the Council; they are before Parliament every year; and they are not persons who are hostile to the Established Church; but if you leave it altogether to the Board of Treasury, it is constituted for a different purpose, and cannot so conveniently superintend this matter of public education; they will view the subject as a matter not immediately before the Board, and the Board of Treasury will probably relieve some persons belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, and other sects differing widely from the Established Church." But if the changing from the Board of the Treasury to the Committee of Privy Council were set up as a reason for refusing altogether a vote for the sum applied for education, it appeared to him to be an extraordinary assertion to make on their part, if they said that that was a good argument. No: the objection which they really entertained was, that a great num- ber of hon. Gentlemen opposite had a strong and conscientious objection to any grant being made which might be disposed of in procuring the education of the people of this country on any other principles than those of the Established Church; and it was in vain for them to set up any other ground-work for the arguments which they had raised. But he begged, in moving this vote, to bring before the House the fact, that the difficulties now started had not now for the first time been brought forward; but they had occurred very early after the formation of the two societies, the National Society and the British and Foreign Society, which had undertaken, by the valuable aid which was given by Parliament, to superintend the wants of the people in respect to education. The British and Foreign School Society had been formed first, at the time that Joseph Lancaster, with great intelligence and industry, had undertaken to form a school, from which it appeared his chief object was to afford some education to the people at a cheap rate; but he being a member of the Society of Friends, and those who were joined with him being also members of the same society of Dissenters, it was laid down as a necessary condition, that all classes, of whatsoever sect, who should apply, should be admitted to the schools which were at first set up; and accordingly Protestants, Dissenters, and Roman Catholics, as well as members of the Established Church, were admitted to the benefit of the schools. When these institutions became generally known, and their principles became to be explained, George 3rd sent one hundred guineas for the establishment of the schools, which was afterwards continued. At their very first establishment, also, several members of the royal family contributed to them also, and took an interest in their character as well as in the mode in which they were conducted. Not only George 3rd sent donations, and Queen Charlotte, but the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke of Sussex, all took a part in favouring their formation, and at that time there seemed to be a general agreement, that in founding these schools it was desirable that all classes of Christians in this country should be enabled to send their children to be educated in the same school, and that there was no insuperable objection on the ground of difference of religious creed. But after a time those who differed from this opinion set up schools of their own, under the name of the National School Society; and he had in his hand a volume of the reports of the British and Foreign School Society, in which there was a correspondence which took place soon after the formation of that society, relative to an attempted union of the two institutions. Both the societies had branches at Canterbury, in which there had been children educated under their respective regulations, and the Friends of the British and Foreign School Society, at a general meeting, concurred in an opinion that it would be very desirable that they should present their respects to the Archbishop of the diocese to procure their union, without the necessity of children repeating the church catechism, and without their being called upon to attend any church but that to which their friends were in the habit of attending; and they requested his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent to become the medium of communication with the most reverend Prelate. This was in the year 1813. His royal highness accordingly wrote to the Archbishop, and stating his opinion of the British and Foreign School Society, said, that he might rely on his most zealous exertions, united with those of the committee to promote the objects which they had so much in view, believing the society to be most useful in promoting the cause of education among the poor, which he knew his Grace wished so much to secure. This was the Duke of Kent's observations, and he himself established a school upon the same plan in the regiment of which he was colonel. The most reverend Prelate wrote in answer, that the diocesan school of Canterbury, was united with the national institution, and subject to the same rules which governed that society. Among them was one which required that all children should be instructed in the Liturgy and in the catechism of the Established Church, and he therefore humbly submitted to his royal highness, that, under these circumstances, it was impossible for him to admit the adoption of the Lancasterian system. From that time, therefore, that effort having failed, the two societies had gone on, each on its own principles, but each anxious for the general advancement of education. What the committee of Privy Council now proposed to do was, to apply to those two societies the greater part of the funds which should be voted; but the Privy Council would not refuse to receive applications from schools in any populous or poor districts where it might seem education was more peculiarly required. Neither would they lay down as a principle that they would altogether exclude other schools, or that they would hold it to be a sufficient argument against giving aid to other schools, which tended to increase religion and morality, that they did not belong to the British and Foreign School Society, or the National School Society. It was on these grounds, therefore, that he asked for this vote. He could say for himself, as he said the other night, that it appeared to him, that in the education of the people of this kingdom generally, the principle which would be most likely to obtain the support of the greatest number of the people of this kingdom, would be the principle stated so clearly by the British and Foreign School Society, that of teaching the Scriptures during the week, and allowing the children of each denomination to go to their respective places of worship on Sunday. That was the principle which appeared to him to be the best. It was thought, by the National Society, that they could not submit to this, and what he believed was really wished on the other side of the House was, that no scheme should be supported by the State unless it were immediately connected with the Established Church—that was really their object. He did not believe that the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, or the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Tamworth, had that view. The right hon. Baronet had given him a lecture the other evening upon the danger of open questions; and he did not mean to deny that there might be those dangers which the right hon. Baronet, who had had experience on those subjects, had pointed out to him; but still there might be a question whether, if there were any great difference existing in a party, it was not as well to avow it at once, and to say, "We do hold different opinions," instead of attempting by means of getting a vote on some fine question, some incidental matter, to conceal that a very great difference of opinion was prevalent among them. The noble Lord, the member for Dorsetshire, and the hon. Member for Newark had stated their opinions in debate—and they would never be wanting in ability to sustain those opinons, or in fairness to avow them; and he did conceive that the opinions they stated were entirely at variance with the opinions which the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord had expressed. Therefore, although it might not be an open question on the other side, he conceived that the real difference between them was, whether they should put the whole education of the country into the hands of the Established Church, or admit that liberty of education, what was sanctioned by his late Majesty, and by his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, and which certainly the present Ministers were disposed to think was the only principle upon which education ought to be supported.

The question was put, that 30,000l. be granted by her Majesty for public education in Great Britain for the year 1839.

The question having been put,

Lord Mahon

said, he felt it his duty to meet the motion of the noble Lord with a direct negative; and, in so doing, he should scarcely have thought it necessary, but for the observations that had fallen from the noble Lord, to explain that his objection, and the objection of hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House, was not to a grant for purposes of education, if it were conducted on proper principles. He should have thought it unnecessary to offer such an explanation as to his own views, or to the views of other Members on his side of the House, in resisting this vote, but for the remarks of the noble Lord; for he could not have conceived it possible that those views could have been so utterly misunderstood, or so unjustly misrepresented, as they had been by the noble Lord, in the course of his speech. Would the noble Lord put them to the proof? Would he consent to move the same vote as had last year been taken, to be distributed on the same principles as formerly, or for even a much larger sum, if its application were to depend upon the rules which had governed its application last year? He called on the noble Lord to put them to that proof, and not to forget what had been explicitly stated by the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire—that the main objection was not to the transfer of the control over the Parliamentary grant from the Treasury to the Committee of Privy Council, but that the objection was to the alteration of the prin- ciple which was to govern the newly-appointed Board. He would say again, that if the noble Lord were to propose the same, or even a larger grant than that of last year, it would at once receive the cordial and ready support of every Member of the Opposition, if it were to be distributed on the same principle. But, if the noble Lord would not take that course, and if the vote which he proposed were to be regulated in its distribution, by the principle embodied in the Minute of the 3rd of June last—a principle completely at variance with that of the Treasury Minute of August, 1833—the noble Lord left him no alternative, and it became his duty to move a direct negative to the vote the noble Lord had proposed. Throughout the whole debate of last week, aspersions, similar to that just now uttered by the noble Lord, had been cast upon the zeal of hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House, in the cause of education. The hon. Member for Liskeard went so far as to say, that the whole of that side of the House was opposed to all education of the people; and the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, a learned Judge, thought fit to pass sentence against them on this point; but he gave judgment in a way unlike that in which he was accustomed to give judgment elsewhere—namely, without hearing or considering the evidence. Had those hon. Members looked to the lists of endowments and subscriptions for schools, emanating from Members on the Opposition side of the House? Looking at what was done in the cause of practical education by hon. Gentlemen around him, he must say, without meaning any disparagement to the exertions of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, that his hon. Friends need not shrink from the comparison. These were, after all, the real and practical proofs of zeal. He looked to acts, not professions. He respected the man who gave 50l. of his money to a school, or spent several hours of his time in superintending it, much more than the man who merely gave his vote to a vague and visionary Minute of the Board of Education. He remembered the remark of Rousseau, that many a man will profess the most generous and philanthropic views in behalf of the Tartars or Thibetians, or some distant people, whom it is impossible to relieve, but that the same man will button up his pocket, and hurry by whenever he sees a beggar in the streets. He (Lord Mahon) had not been able to do much in the cause, but he would yield to no man in his zeal for the intellectual instruction and improvement of his fellow-countrymen. But then he considered it indispensable that intellectual enlightenment should go hand in hand with religious instruction. If they did not combine the two, they would do worse than if they left the people uneducated. If they gave a man no education at all, they left him an ignorant boor; but if they gave him education without religion, in many instances, they made him only a dextrous knave, and, at all events, they did not fit him for the right discharge of many of the most important personal and relative duties which would devolve upon him. He would read to the House, in connexion with this subject, some important statistics by Mr. Guerry, who stated "That, in the department of Finisterre, only 14 in 100, and in Morbihan, only 15 in 100, of the male adult population could read and write. In three of the departments, forming the ancient province of Berry, the proportion was only 13 in 100. These were precisely among the departments in which crimes against the person were most rare. Crimes of property, too, were much less numerous. In Finisterre, only one person out of 29,000, on an average, was convicted of any crime against the person; in La Creuse, only one in 37,000. On the other hand, in the department Du Doubs, on the frontiers of Switzerland, which stood as second on the list of educated departments, and where no less than 73 in 100 could read and write, one out of 11,000 on an average, was convicted of crime. In the department Du Haut Rhin, in like manner, 71 out of every 100 could read and write, but one out of every 7,000 was convicted of crime."

Was it his intention to deduce, from these statements, any argument against education in general? Certainly not. But they showed that where utilitarian knowledge was made the first object, that where religious knowledge was wholly neglected, that where, as in France, the higher ranks were accustomed to entertain and ready to express sceptical and irreverent feelings with regard to Christianity, there the seed was evil, and no good harvest could be found. Without religion, education was rather an evil than a benefit; and what security was there that, by this plan of the noble Lord, religious education would be promoted? These, then, were the two principles by which he thought our conduct as to education should be guided—first, to extend and promote the education of the people—and, secondly, to take care, as far as in us lies, that intellectual improvement should not go forth without the sanction and safeguard of religious instruction. Now, he would undertake to show, that on both these principles the Government plan was deficient. While that plan professed to extend popular education, it would discourage the plans already in operation, and check the exertions now making to educate the people by means of private benevolence; and, in the next place, it failed to provide any safeguard for religious education. The government plan of education was comprehended in the Treasury minute of the 3rd of June, which he found referred to the former minute of the 13th of April; the latter was not abandoned: for the words were—"The plan is postponed until a greater concurrence of opinion is found to prevail." Who was to be the judge of that greater concurrence? Why, the very same Committee which had formed the unpopular plan. And what might not be twisted into a sign of greater concurrence by such favourable judges? A paragraph in some newspaper—a few petitions like that from Scarborough the other evening, signed by only twenty-five names—nay, even the very cessation of excitement might be construed into a feeling of greater concurrence where "the wish was father to the thought." There was no security that the plan would not be resumed so long as it was not abandoned, but only postponed. He had a right, in considering this subject, to take into account the minute of the Committee of the 13th of April, as much as that of the 3rd of June, as forming a part of the Government plan. How would the House consider the subject, if any civil right were proposed to be invaded, and the plan was postponed only, and not abandoned? If the ancestor of the noble Lord opposite—Lord Russell—while manfully striving against the corrupt Ministers of Charles the 2nd, had seen them bring forward a Bill to abolish trial by jury, or the newly acquired Habeas Corpus; if, in consequence of the clamour justly raised against such a Bill, it had been withdrawn, and another substituted by the Ministers, reserving to themselves the power of enacting the abolition they de- sired at any future time which they might find more convenient; would this have been deemed by Lord Russell an adequate security? Postponement would not in that case be esteemed as any security and why should it in this? He found, that the system of proportional grants, was to be discontinued. Under the existing plan great advantage was derived by the people, not merely from the sum granted from the public treasury, but from a much larger sum which it drew from the hand of private benevolence. The National Society, for instance, had received 120,000l. from the Government, and that amount had called forth no less than 222,000l. in voluntary contributions. Not only would the proposed plan tend to check that benevolence, but it would open the door to all kinds of irregular applications. With what confidence could the noble Lord go on with that plan? Was it a light thing for him to attempt to force it on the country with a majority of five only in that House in its favour, and with an overwhelming majority out of the House against it? Let the noble Lord have the very best plan that could be devised—let it be as free from objection as it was now liable to blame, he could not force it on the country while it was unwilling to receive it, and had no confidence in it. The best laws would be rendered inoperative if they had nothing but force to recommend them. Look at the case of the reforms of Joseph 2nd in Austria. The hostility called forth against them was not so much directed against the reforms themselves as against the attempt to force them upon the people against their opinions and feelings by the hand of despotic authority. He objected to the division of education into general and special, because it must either lead to a total indifference to all religion, and general infidelity, as it had in some parts of the continent, or it must lead to interminable controversies amongst the parents of the children. The children must either be allowed to lapse into perfect indifference, or they must be warned day by day against conversion from one system to another. He entertained the strongest objection to the introduction of different versions of the Scriptures into the national schools. He believed the introduction of the Douay Bible could not stand alone. If it were granted to the Roman Catholics, on what ground could they exclude the version of the Unitarians? If the permission were granted to one, it should be granted to all; and when he considered, that this regulation applied not merely to the normal school, but to the model school also, that it was designed for general adoption in the country, then he confessed his alarm and apprehension were increased, and his belief, that the plan of the noble Lord afforded no security for religious instruction. The noble Lord had that evening declared that he believed the object of hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House was to give the Church the sole and entire control over public education. That doctrine was very far from the wish of the great Conservative party in this country. That doctrine was not held by any of its leaders in this House. The noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, had not put forward any such claim, and his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, had expressly renounced it. It was not fair, then, to impute such a wish to that side of the House when they expressly disavowed it. What they objected to was a plan for withdrawing from the control of the Church, those schools which contained the children of her own religious persuasion. Nothing could be more injurious than to introduce a system for preventing the clergy of the Established Church from having the superintendence of their own schools. He had rather anxiously watched how the hon. Gentlemen of Roman Catholic tenets had treated this subject. He understood the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and also the hon. Member for Waterford, to say, that they did not think there could be any objection to the clergy visiting their own schools, but that they ought to be placed under a central board composed of laymen. [Mr. O'Connell: No.] He had so understood the hon. and learned Gentleman; at all events, that opinion was certainly put forward by the hon. Member for Waterford, Now, he would quote an authority upon this point which he thought would have some weight with the hon. Gentlemen from Ireland. About four years ago, a select committee on education was appointed on the motion of the hon. Member for Waterford, who, knowing the deep interest that he (Lord Mahon) felt on public education, did him the honour to nominate him on that committee. Before that committee, there had been examined the rev. Dr. Wiseman the principal of the English Roman Catholic College at Rome, and undoubtedly an acute and able man, and to his evidence he (Lord Mahon), begged to call the attention of the House, because it was very remarkable, that whilst the Roman Catholic Members opposite were calling out and objecting against the clergy of the Church of England having the superintendence over the schools limited to the members of their communion, and preferred the superintendence of a general board of laymen, yet the system at present adopted in the Papal states, went to an infinitely greater length than had ever been dreamed of for the Church of England. In the dominions of the Head of the Roman Catholic Church, there was not a single layman employed either in the central board or in the rural schools dependent on that board. Here was the evidence of Dr. Wiseman. He was asked:— There is a superintending board of education in the Roman states, is there not?"—Answer. "There is the congregation, as it is called, appointed to superintend the system of education throughout the states." "Are there any laymen upon that?"—Answer. "The congregation is composed entirely of ecclesiastics." "Must the schoolmaster necessarily be a clergyman?"—Answer. "I am not aware of any law requiring it, but I do not think I know of any instance to the contrary in rural schools."—"By whom are the schools for females generally conducted?"—Answer. "In every village there are generally two matrons, supplied by a sort of semi-religious order in Rome, called the Maestre Pie, who have a house in Rome from which they are sent out to the respective villages. Now, he really thought, that this fact ought to show hon. Members opposite, that those on his side of the House were not so unreasonable in the principle they advocated. But it had been said, that the results of the system pursued in other continental countries were in favour of the proposed Government scheme. He did not think that the assertion of the successful results of the mixed system of education had been made with a full knowledge of the facts. In Prussia, the system of joint education had been tried in several districts, and had been found to fail and he believed, that under the system now acted upon throughout that country, there was not a single school that was not in connexion with some church or other. In Switzerland, it was true that the es- tablishment of M. de Fellenberg, at Hofwyl, combined various religious persuasions, without difficulty or dissensions, as he (Lord Mahon) could vouch, from having twice examined that school with great attention, in successive years; but that school was a special one, educating young persons, not from Switzerland only, but from every part of Europe, and not adapted, nor indeed intended, for general imitation throughout any country. He contended, therefore, that that instance was by no means applicable to the proposed system, neither did it bear any analogy to the schools in other parts of Switzerland, with respect to which he wished to direct the attention of the House to another part of the evidence taken before the Committee, to which he had already alluded—he meant the evidence of Dr. Bowring. Dr. Bowring was examined as to the state of education in Switzerland, and a newly framed code for the schools in the canton of Thurgovia was produced, to which much importance and value seemed to be attached. The Committee examined Dr. Bowring as to how far the Protestants and Romanists were educated in the same schools. The Chairman asked him, Are the Protestants and Catholics educated entirely together; is the religious instruction given together with intellectual? Answer. It is rather uncommon to find in Switzerland a district which is not principally occupied by the partisans of one or the other of the great religious sects. In general there are Catholic villages and Protestant villages, and from that natural sympathy which exists between individuals of the same religious opinion, there is a tendency among strangers to settle among those whose religious opinions are the same as their own. He (Lord Mahon) had then put the following question to Dr. Bowring:— As to the Roman Catholics and the Protestants, the practical point would be how religious instruction is managed in those schools where Catholic and Protestant come together. One of your recent answers rather tended to show, that such cases were not common, because whole villages are mostly of the same persuasion; but if there are cases in which they do not intermix, how is the point of religious instruction managed? Now, let the Committee observe the answer of Dr. Bowring to that question. He said, I confess it is a question I never asked, because I am in the habit of dissociating inquiries of this sort from any investigation into religious opinions. I have looked through the law of public instruction of the canton of Thurgovia, which I have now before me, and I do not see, from beginning to end, any reference to the religious opinions either of children or parents. In that last point, however, Dr. Bowring was wholly mistaken as to the fact, for he (Lord Mahon) afterwards called his attention to the 68th article of that very law. It is enacted, Parents who are prevented by the great distance of their residence, or by the inaccessible state of the roads, from sending their children into the school of that religious persuasion to which their place of abode is ascribed, may receive from the commissioners of education the permission of sending their children to a school nearer to their residence, if belonging to the other religious persuasion; in granting that permission, the commissioners are to take care the school be not overcrowded. This article evidently shows in the canton of Thurgovia a general system of prohibition, or, at least, discouragement, of Protestants and Roman Catholics being educated in the same school, allowing only particular exceptions on account of vicinage. On the whole, he (Lord Mahon) was of opinion, that whether regard was had to the state and condition of things at home, or to the system of education practised abroad, there would be found great reason to distrust the proposal now brought forward by the noble Lord opposite for the adoption of Parliament. If, then, he was asked in what manner he thought the national education ought to be conducted in this country—if he was asked not merely to point out the defects in the system now proposed, but also to show how the public education could be conducted on safe and proper principles, he would answer by pointing to the immense improvements which had taken place in education since the commencement of this century, and especially within the last twenty years, through the exertions of the National and the British and Foreign School Societies. Looking to the results both in this and other countries—looking to the great amount and asperity of of religious differences in this country, he must say, it appeared to him that the system which best promised success was that which had hereto- fore been pursued. He wished the National School Society to continue in its career of extension and affording education to the people with the same amount of assistance as at present from the Government. He wished the British and Foreign School Society to continue its career, receiving the same assistance. In both cases he should rejoice to see an extension of the parliamentary grant. He rejoiced to know how many hundred thousand children belonging to the Established Church received instruction in the schools of the National Society. He hoped to see that number still further increasing. He rejoiced also to know that a very great number of the children of Dissenters received instruction in the British and Foreign School Society's schools, and were thus partakers of the parliamentary grant. So far from repining at this, it was his hope that these schools might receive the confidence of still greater numbers of the various denominations of Dissenters, and admit them within its walls upon its present principle. Taking the two societies together, he must say, that under the present circumstances of the country, such a course was best calculated for the developement of practical education throughout this country. Indeed, the only difficulty which encumbered this question was then put forth in the second minute of the third of June—namely, with respect to the poor districts, in which there were no contributions from private sources, and, consequently, no share in the proportional grants, from the Treasury, and which, therefore, remained destitute of education. He admitted that such cases occurred, and he also admitted, that they ought to be provided for. But could anything be easier than to provide a remedy for this defect without departing from the existing system? Let grants be made to the National and British and Foreign Societies, for the purpose of enabling them to assist districts from which there came no local contributions, or let the Government itself grant that aid, only guarding, by previously fixing the proportions, against favour being unduly shown to any sectarian body. To an extension of the grant for such a purpose, he was sure all on his side of the House would give the fullest and most cordial support. As to the exercise of discretion, he had no confidence, that under the proposed system, the board would dispense the funds with discretion: he contended, that the system ought to be guarded by fixed and certain proportions, so as to put the present or successive Government beyond the suspicion of undue partiality. He asked for the adoption of the principle embodied in the minute of August, 1832, and must inquire why that principle had been departed from? Those principles might not look as well on paper as the proposition for a central board, but they would work infinitely better. The object was, not to produce a paper plan, or merely to please the eyes of theorists and philosophers. The great fault which ran through modern legislation was, that Parliament was constantly endeavouring to apply uniformity and centralization to circumstances essentially distinct, in attempting to apply the same franchise and regulation to different states of society—the same principle to small hamlets as to large populous cities; to the sheep-walks of Northumberland as to the factories at Manchester. The real question now for consideration was, how to rear the greatest number of persons in right principles, and inculcate a knowledge of religion, and the practice of virtue. The proposed system, however well it might sound in theory, afforded no security that in practice it would produce these results. He fully admitted, that in considering any system of education, the Church had no right to claim the superintendence over the instruction of the children of Dissenters. On the other hand, he claimed with equal firmness, that the Church, which of late years had made such meritorious exertions in the furtherance of education, should not be slighted or set aside from its own schools by any new project propounded to Parliament. The opponents of the proposed scheme, on the part of the Church, joined most heartily in the demand for intellectual light; they had no fear for the citadel of truth, unless the enemy, like the Gauls of old, could surprise it in the dark— ——Arcemque tenebant Defensi tenebris et dono noctis opacæ. But then they had a right to ask that the State should not hang out false lights—that it should not, like the coastmen of Cornwall, in former days, place its lights on shoals and quicksands—lights that, in. stead of guiding the wanderer to his haven, served only to bewilder and destroy him. If that principle for which he contended was departed from, he believed that no satisfaction would be afforded to the people; they would tell the promoters of the scheme, that they had confounded two things that were essentially distinct; they would tell them, that it was one thing to show all possible forbearance and kindly feeling to those who walked, as he believed, in error, and it was quite another thing to protect and propagate the error itself. It was one thing to tell the Roman Catholics—for they, after all, were at the bottom of the system now suggested—that perfect equality of civil rights should be granted them, in spite of their religious differences, and it was another thing to tell them, that those differences were now mere trifles, and ought not to stand in the way of an united State education. From very early years, he (Lord Mahon) had been a supporter of what had been termed Roman Catholic emancipation. He had made some sacrifices to that opinion. He differed from his family upon it, and rather than compromise his own views upon that subject, he preferred remaining out of Parliament for several years, nor did he enter it until 1830, the year after that question was carried. He claimed no merit for his conduct on that occasion, for he acted only as he was sure every other Member in his place would have acted. But still he was entitled to say, that he had shown himself as ready to support the claims of the Roman Catholics when he thought them just, as to stand firm against them when he thought them encroaching and iniquitous. And if the views on education which he had now set forth, seemed to hon. Gentlemen opposite as they had said, narrow-minded and illiberal, he had the satisfaction of remembering, that they did not seem so to Mr. Wilberforce, they did not seem so to Lord Somers, they did not seem so to Locke. Nay, more, if he wished to characterise the system now proposed in a few expressive words, he knew not where he could find any more apt or appropriate, than in the language of a greater man than any he had yet quoted, the prince of modern philosophers, and the pride of human wisdom—Lord Bacon. In one of his best essays, Lord Bacon said, Contrariwise, certain Laodiceans and lukewarm persons think they may accommodate points of religion by middle ways, and taking part of both, and witty reconcilements, as if they would make an arbitrement between God and man … … There are also two false peaces or unities—the one when the peace is grounded but upon an implicit ignorance, for all colours will agree in the dark; the other when it is pieced up upon a direct admission of contraries in fundamental points. For truth and falsehood in such things are like the iron and clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image, they may cleave, but they will not incorporate. On all these grounds which he had urged on the committee, he trusted that it would not consent to the system proposed by the noble Lord opposite. He trusted that the committee would weigh well the numerous petitions which had been laid on the Table of the House—petitions not coming from any particular place—not emanating from any single sect, but speaking the almost universal opinions of the people; he trusted, that hon. Members on coming to a vote to-night, would not overlook the fact that the proposed scheme had so far been forced forward by a small majority, against the wishes of England; he trusted, that the voice of the people, which had been heard on this subject with no common force, would not pass unheeded, and that the Representatives would not tamely admit that which the constituencies had indignantly rejected, but would show, that the views of the majority of the House were in conformity with those of the majority of the people.

Mr. Baines

said, that as he had sat for two successive Sessions of Parliament upon School Committees, to inquire into the practicability of establishing a system of national education, and as he had devoted much time to the consideration of the subject of education, he found it to be impossible for him to consent to give a silent vote on the question; but he should not trespass at any great length on the attention of the House. The noble Lord, in the observations which he had addressed to the House, had confounded two things essentially different; he supposed that the plan of education which the Government had proposed in the Minute of Council of the date of April 10th, was identical with the plan proposed on the 3rd of June. He thought them to be very different, and he was ready to admit that the plan of the 10th of April was open to considerable ob- jection. He felt the force of these objections, and he had stated them both in public and private. That plan, however, had been altered, to obviate the objections that had been urged against it. The noble Lord seemed to think that the present plan was open to the same objections as the former one; but he (Mr. Baines) denied this to be the case. He would ask whether it was not a part of the original plan that a chaplain of the Establishment should be appointed to the normal school, and whether a second minister of the Dissenting denomination was not also to attend to give instruction, and in addition to this, that they might have the adherence of a clergyman of the Roman Catholic persuasion to the school, who must be introduced as a part of the system for the purpose of carrying this plan into effect? In the modified plan there was nothing of this kind introduced. In the first plan such an arrangement was proposed as to allow two or even three versions of the Scriptures to be used in the schools; but there was nothing of the kind to be allowed in the present plan. It might be said, however, that Ministers had reserved to themselves the power of reviving any portion of their former plan; but had not the country and the House also reserved to themselves the power of putting an end to it if such an attempt were made? The Government said, that in deference to public opinion they would alter the plan: was it not clear that the Government was responsible to public opinion if they attempted to carry the plan into effect as originally proposed by any indirect mode? Hon. Gentlemen opposite asserted, that Ministers would revive the plan; but were there no means by which the people could raise their voice to prevent them doing so, even if that House should not be sitting? He would, however, venture to say, that any Minister of the Crown who should dare to carry, when Parliament was prorogued, any obnoxious scheme into effect, in the face of such opposition to public opinion, would soon be brought to a sense of the danger that he incurred, and of the hazard that he ran. The parts of the former plan which they had retained he thought were most desirable, namely, that there should not be a grant of public money for any school without the Government having the right of inspection, and also that no money should be laid out without due responsibility being incurred somewhere for its proper employment. This part of the plan he fully approved of, and he thought that it placed any grant of money for education on a proper footing. He had heard with great pain the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire express some doubts as to the integrity and honour of those to whom the expenditure of this money would be intrusted. The noble Lord had long acted with those Gentlemen, and it was with great astonishment that he had heard such imputations thrown out so unnecessarily and so unjustifiably. He recollected the charges that were made against the noble Lord when he introduced his plan of education into Ireland, which the House was told would be neither more nor less than an attempt to restore Popery in that country, and the first step to render it the established religion of the empire. He recollected how the noble Lord had met these accusations, and he hoped that the present Ministers would manifest the same courage as was then exhibited by the noble Lord, and would persist in their own scheme of education. It had been stated that the adoption of this system would endanger the religious establishment. Now he thought that the Dissenters did complain, that all the members of the Committee of the Privy Council for Education were members of the Established Church, and that they had no control whatever there; how, then, the construction of this committee could be dangerous to the Church he confessed that he could not understand. He thought that it would have been objectionable to Dissenters if the ministers of the Establishment had acted as members of this committee, for it would have led to complaints and dissatisfaction whenever the applications of Dissenters or of the ministers of their respective denominations, placed before the Board had been refused. With regard to the petitions that had been presented, and more particularly the petitions from the Wesleyan Methodists, most of them were directed against the original plan, and not to the one that was now before Parliament; and if the parties were made acquainted with the alterations that had been made, they would find that the grounds of most of their objections had been removed. Most of these petitions against the plan that had been abandoned emanated from the Wesleyan Methodists; and if there were very large bodies of Methodists who had petitioned on the subject, there were also large numbers of Dissenters who had refrained from petitioning. Since the plan had been modified, he was satisfied that the reasons of most of their objections had ceased to exist, and he sincerely hoped that a strong feeling had grown up in favour of the plan promulgated by Ministers. A petition had been presented in favour of the proposed scheme from the representatives of the Independents, the Presbyterians, and the Baptists in the metropolis. This petition expressed a decided approbation of the plan proposed by her Majesty's Ministers. The petitioners, after stating their regret at the destitution both of secular and religious instruction, that prevailed amongst the poorer classes of the community, said, that they were satisfied that no voluntary association could successfully grapple with the evil. After alluding and replying in very forcible language to the unjustifiable claim put forth by the clergy to the exclusive control over the education of the poorer classes, the petitioners said:—"That your petitioners feel the deepest gratitude for the expression of her Majesty's most gracious wish, that the youth of this kingdom should be religiously brought up, and the rights of conscience should be respected; whilst they pray the House to sanction the grants of public money, under a proper system of lay inspection and the responsibility of the committee of Privy Council." Such was the opinion of the great body of the most influential of the Protestant Dissenters in this country, namely, the representatives or delegates of the Dissenters in London, and he believed, that the Dissenters in the country generally concurred in the same opinion. He felt convinced, that the change which had been made, had rendered the plan acceptable to the great body of the people, and thought, that it was a matter of essential importance, that the House should not oppose it. The present Government was the first to introduce any system of national education into this country, and he thought that they deserved great credit for having resisted the prejudices that prevailed on this subject, and above all the religious prejudices, which were often the strongest. The Government had now got rid of the reproach of wishing to keep the people in ignorance. He did not know a more important duty on the part of the Government, than to instruct the people. From the sincerest desire for the promotion of education, and from the anxious wish that it should not be in any way sectarian, but that all classes should have free access to useful knowledge, he hoped the House would sanction the plan of her Majesty's Ministers—with these feelings, and being impressed with the conviction, that this plan was as little open to objection as any that could be devised, he should give the proposition his support. The outcry that had been raised against it was nothing more than another attempt to raise the cry of no popery, which he was happy to find had been put an end to, both in and out of Parliament. They had been told that toleration had gone far enough, and that the time had come when they must make a stand; he hoped that the stand would not be made against the general diffusion of education. He trusted, that the House would not oppose the first scheme of national education that had been proposed by a government. He should give it every support in his power, and should regard with indulgence any faults which might be found to have crept into the Government scheme.

Lord Teignmouth

had listened with the utmost astonishment to the tone which had been adopted by some hon. Gentlemen opposite, considering the extraordinary concordance of opinion which prevailed as to the absolute necessity of making religious instruction form an essential portion of any system of education provided by the State. He was almost led to believe, that the noble Lord opposite had gone the length of propounding in that House, what he would not have attempted to assert anywhere else—the doctrine of a general Christianity, abstracted from distinct and peculiar tenets. He must for one, protest against the very pernicious powers in this respect, which it was proposed to intrust to the committee of Privy Council. He had listened with attention to the deprecatory speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down, but it had not in the smallest degree altered his conviction that the present Government, from the moment when it first came into power, had evinced a continued and uninterrupted hostility to the Church of England, which would, no doubt, have broken out into overt acts in other instances besides that of the appropriation clause, but for the constant, vigilant, and combined exertions of their opponents. The hon. Member for Leeds had spoken of certain bodies of Dissenters, as contrasted with the Wesleyans; but he would beg to remind the hon. Member, that the Wesleyans were as numerous as the whole of the rest of the Dissenters, with whom they might be considered, in Parliamentary parlance, to have "paired off" on this question. He had been quite astonished on a former evening to hear the hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard arguing in defence of a system of exclusive secular education. It was utterly monstrous to think of such a doctrine being put forward in an enlightened age. The instance to which that hon. Gentleman had referred, of individuals bred to the law and other professions, not having religious instruction mixed up with their professional education, was not at all a case in point, inasmuch as such persons were of course supposed to have been grounded in religion before they devoted themselves to professional pursuits. To him it appeared, that the schools of the National Society had a much higher claim on the consideration of the State, than the schools connected with the British and Foreign Society. As a conscientious believer in the truth of the doctrines of the Church of England, he must object to any system of education in which they were not enforced; and, on the same ground, he must also hold, that every religious system which was not conformable to them must be more or less false. If they looked at the question in a statistical point of view, they would find, that the Church of England was six times more numerous than all the Dissenters in this country, including the Wesleyan Methodists, and twelve times more numerous, excluding the Wesleyans. It was well known to every clergyman, that if an approved system of management were introduced into the schools of the national society, the Dissenters generally would be very willing to send their children to those schools; and Mr. Tuppa, the Secretary to the central Board of Education, had declared his opinion, that a very large proportion of the Dissenting population had no religious scruples to prevent them from sending their children to schools where the religious instruction was conformable to the rites of the Church of England. He (Lord Teignmouth) appealed to hon. Members as men of sense and candour whether considering these facts, he was not led to this conclusion—that he could not conscientiously give his support to any religious instruction but that of the Church of England. God forbid, that he for one should declare, the scriptural education which was communicated by the British and Foreign School Society, under proper inspection, to be hostile to the Church of England. He had been for 20 years engaged in promoting the work of scriptural education, and, in connexion with the Hibernian Society in Ireland, had been more or less instrumental in the distribution of copies of the Scriptures amongst no fewer than 38,000 Roman Catholics. But he would not hesitate to state his conviction that the British and Foreign School Society did not do that which it should do for the due distribution of its grants. He considered, that the very worst feature of the plan, which was said to have been abandoned by the Government, was retained—he alluded to that portion of it which gave grants to the clergymen of different religious persuasions; and in truth he did not perceive, that there was anything to prevent the Government from reverting to their old scheme, which he treated as a constant quantity. He saw no security against the introduction of Socinian and Unitarian versions of the Scriptures into these schools. When her Majesty's Government talked of introducing a system of general religious instruction into these schools, he appealed to hon. Members, as men of sense and discretion, whether, that would not naturally lead to a system of universal sectarianism? This was no metaphysical abstraction. When they should have stripped it of the flattering colours in which their fancy might have invested it, they would find it a crawling, obsequious, serpent-like, and by no means unvenomed thing, varying its hues like the chameleon, now presenting a most pious and evangelical aspect, now assuming the appearance of dissent, now strictly orthodox, and again glittering in all the splendour of a more gorgeous ritual. It was his conviction, that the Government must back out of this scheme just as upon most former occasions. The conclusion of the second minute of Council stated, that "a portion of the grant should be applied to the purposes of inspection, and of ascertaining completely the state of education in England and Wales." They would find it vain to attempt to struggle with the difficulties which they would need in attempting to carry this scheme into effect; and what would they then do? Why, abandon the scheme, and expend all the money advanced by the country for its furtherance in a new commission of inquiry. That committee would probably agree to their report in the year 1842. He would put it to the noble Lord (for whom he had the utmost respect) considering the state of the country, the intensely earnest feeling of the Church of England, and the growing impression in all parts of the country, that something must be done for education, and he would ask him why he did not come forward and place himself at the head of the Established Church, and, with God's blessing, save the country in one of the most difficult and perilous crises it was ever placed in. That was the proper position in which a Minister of the Crown should be; whereas it was a false position in which the noble Lord was placed. He (Lord Teignmouth) had heard of an officer in the Catholic Church called L'Avocato del Diavolo; he trusted the noble Lord would not choose that position.

Mr. Langdale

said the noble Lord opposite belonged to that section who were most consistent in the conduct they were pursuing. He could understand the consistency of the noble Lord when he said, to the Established Church, alone, should the education of the people of England be consigned. But he did not so well understand the ground taken by the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire. If he understood it it was this—that he was willing to give education to all the people of England except the English Roman Catholics. He acknowledged the number of petitions on the Table—he admitted there was a strong feeling on the subject throughout the country, but considering the means adopted for raising that cry, it was wonderful that the expression of feeling had not been more strong. But had there been any one instance in which a public meeting had been called to give the sanction of the people to the question? There was not a single instance; for where meetings had been called the supporters of the Government plan had been excluded from them. He wished the House to consider the tone of these petitions. Did the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, adopt the tone of them? There was no term so abusive—there was no imputation so infamous that it had not been used in these petitions against a particular class of religionists. If the noble Lord did concur in these petitions, he ought to adopt the tone, and concur in the plans brought forward in another place, and propose the repeal of Catholic Emancipation altogether. If they excluded any particular class, it was a breach of toleration—if they excluded the Roman Catholics from showing in a public grant, they made them pay a penalty for their religion. A great deal had been said about the State conscience. Those who talked in this manner in order to carry out their con- sistency, should tolerate only the National School Society. To be consistent, and support the Established Church on the State conscience, they ought to refuse all grants to any class not educated in the Established religion. To what class was it that they were now refusing a participation in the grant raised from the public taxes, to which all contributed? Was there nothing due in satisfaction to the Roman Catholics of this country, from the course adopted towards them formerly? During the time of severe persecution, they had raised funds for the education of their children, for the support of religion; they had invested large sums in the funds of Foreign States, under the faith of a solemn treaty. That fund was taken possession of under the plea of an almost obsolete enactment, and applied for the purposes of the State. He did not wish to use irritating language, but probably the application of that sum was not to any much more holy purposes than those superstitious usages under which the money was seized upon. It had been said, that funds ought not to be granted for the purposes of education in a religion which was wrong. If this was carried throughout, the parties using such language would be consistent with themselves. But, in the East, they made the same grants which were now asked for here; in the Western colonies and the penal settlements, they were doing the same; and they would hardly venture to refuse to the millions of Ireland that which they said it was not consistent with their conscience to grant to the poor, the helpless, and destitute, in this country.

Mr. Litton

was anxious to raise his voice against a system of education which, in Ireland, had totally failed. No man who had a regard for the established religion of the country, who valued it as the shield of our religious and civil liberties, could sustain the proposition of the noble Lord, the effect, if not the object of which, was to subvert the Protestant religion. He wished that hon. Members should distinctly understand, that no part of the plan contained in the minute of the 13th of April had been abandoned by the Government. The first resolution of the committee was, that education was to be based on religion, which was to be mingled with every part of education; and, in a subsequent part of the resolution, what we called "general education" was to be an education in religion of all kinds, and versions of different Bibles—the Socinian Bible, and the Roman Catholic Bible were to be introduced, and pastors of all religions were to have the direction of education. The Ministers had told the House that their first plan was postponed. But what did they mean by the postponement of the plan? They meant that they postponed it until they could find a convenient moment for bringing it forward again—until they happened to see the Protestants slumbering at their posts. It could not be doubted that, as soon as the Protestants were lulled into a state of quiescence, as soon as they were thrown off their guard, the original plan would be again brought forward. Now, what was it that was reserved by the terms of the minutes of the 3rd of June? Why, that the committee of the Privy Council should have power to make such improvements as they might see fit. This was neither more nor less than enabling them to make such changes, and grant such sums of money, as they might think proper. They were then to be the judges of their own improvements, and no other parties were to be at liberty to say whether the changes they might propose were good or not; but he would never consent to invest any four men with irresponsible power. No one could read the resolutions of the noble Lord without perceiving that it was the fixed intention of the Government to carry out their original project on the first favourable opportunity, and he would put it to hon. Members to say, whether any religious man in the country could agree to such a plan as that which it was evidently the design of the Government, at some time or other, to carry into execution? Some hon. Members of that House had advocated a system of national education without religion; but, happily, their sentiments found no response. This, then, was admitting that there should be some religion in any system of education which they might adopt; and, if he were right, the question arose, to whom should they delegate the power of prescribing the form of the religion to be taught in the national schools? He thought it should only be delegated to the Established Church, because of its connexion with the State. What he complained of was, that the plan now proposed went to allow all versions whatsoever of the Scriptures to be read in the schools, and that such a system could have no other effect than that of involving the juvenile mind in those doubts and difficulties which tended only to infidelity. This was his first objection; and his next was, that any attempt to bring children of different persuasions together for the purpose of education would only lead to discord, strife, and heart-burnings. Was it not likely that the ministers of each sect would endeavour to inculcate in the minds of the youth under their charge their own peculiar views with regard to religion; and, if such would be the case, how could any other result be expected from it but strife and vexation? This was not the way in which the youth of this country should be educated, neither was it calculated to give them that respect for the constitution which was necessary to render them good subjects. Educated in this way, must they not be led to think that exclusion from even the throne on account of religion was unjust? He was opposed to the distinction which had been made between general and special education, and he thought that a sytem founded on cold morality, and that was what he understood by general education, would only create doubt and difficulty in the young mind. The noble Lord said, he had his own opinions respecting the Roman Catholic religion—the Socinian faith—but, if he thought them wrong, why had he not the candour to say so? If the noble Lord considered the opinions of these sects erroneous, would he send his own infant son to a school in which such beliefs were taught? And if he would not, how could he justify adopting a principle in reference to the children of others, which he would not adopt in his own case? He (Mr. Litton) did think that the time was come when the Members of the Established Church must make a stand. He did fear the admission of the Roman Catholic priesthood into Protestant schools. Their only view was the ascendency of their own Church, and the principle of proselyting was the leading and guiding spirit of the Roman Catholic religion. There was another body whom he also feared, and they were her Majesty's present Government. The noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, never omitted an opportunity of offering indignity to the Established Church. He was continually derogating from the usefulness and credit which belonged to the clergy of that Church, by charging them with neglect of duty; and, from the tenour of the whole conduct of the noble Lord, it must be manifest to every one that the noble Lord was no friend —that he was, in fact,—the enemy—of the Church of which he professed to be a member. Every word he had said, and every thing he had done, tended to lower the Established Church in the estimation of the country, and lessen its power. He implored the people of England not to be mistaken or deceived as to the intentions of the Government. They would find that, if the proposition of June were adopted, that of April would not long be postponed; and therefore it was, that he said, let them not accept the grant on any such conditions as those on which it was proposed to be given. He trusted they would not suffer their faith to be tampered with or tainted; and why was it that, in Ireland, Protestant children were not permitted by their parents to go to the national schools, but because they feared their religious principles would be perverted. He hoped that the power now sought for would not be given to the Government, and he did so in the full belief that it would be used for the subversion of the established religion of the country.

Mr. M. J. O'Connell

said, the opponents of the vote which had been proposed seemed to lay great stress on one argument. They said that although the plan first proposed by Government was abandoned for the present, yet whenever a lull in the public feeling should take place the plan would be revived. But could not the plan be revived just as well whether the present grant was agreed to or not? Would not the Privy Council have just the same power? But, in fact, the opposition to the grant was, as has been admitted by several speakers, neither more nor less than an opposition to any scheme of any national education which was not placed under the control of the Established Church. The objection, however, applied with quite as much force to the grant of last year, which had been divided between the National Society and the British and Foreign Society. The real cause of the opposition was, that a party cry had been unfortunately raised in this country—a party cry of the worst character; for of all party animosities the worst was that in which, to the bitterness of political strife, there was added the threefold bitterness of religious bigotry. The Gentlemen opposite had taken advantage of that cry. But what was the position in which they had placed themselves? They had before coincided in the propriety of a grant to be divided between two different and discordant societies. One was purely an Established Church Society. The other admitted every variety of Dissenters, and he believed did not even exclude Unitarians. The only class excluded from the British and Foreign Schools were the Roman Catholics, who were prevented by the rules of their Church from reading any version of the Scriptures but their own. What, then, was the position in which the opponents of the present grant placed themselves? They said, "We will allow the benefits of education to every denomination of Christians except the Roman Catholics." Was this the meaning of conscience? Was this zeal for religion? In giving education to many varieties of Christians, they necessarily gave encouragement to many whose opinions they deemed erroneous. Did not this give an additional sting to the degradation inflicted on the only class that was excluded? Did it not tend to excite the odium theologicum in its worst and bitterest form? Hon. Gentlemen opposite ought to recollect that in the manufacturing towns of this country, and in many of the northern districts, there were large classes of their fellow-subjects professing a religion with which they might disagree (and whether in doing so they were right or wrong he would not argue), but a religion whose regulations prevented them from availing themselves of any of the means now provided by the State for the education of the people. Were the Gentlemen opposite, he would ask, prepared to refuse to this large body of the population the means of removing the ignorance which was asserted to be the chief cause of their continuing in their present religious belief; or would they prefer continuing that ignorance which was the prolific source of crime and every physical and moral mischief? If they truly believed their own doctrines why should they dread the visits of a proselyting priest? Why should they not rather eagerly grasp at the offer to communicate and diffuse knowledge which they must expect to further their own principles, if they believed them to be true? He trusted that her Majesty's Ministers would go on with their plan, however imperfect it might be, and they would find that the virulence and the excitement, the stimulating topics now so rife, and the bigotry that was now so rampant, would be but short-lived, while the gratitude which they should earn for themselves would be perpetual; and their consolation would be in that success, and he said it without profaneness that holy success, which secured to the poor and the humble all the blessings of a moral and religious education.

Mr. Cresswell

was desirous of stating in a few words the one or two reasons which should induce him to withhold his consent from the vote now called for; and inasmuch as it had been observed on both sides of the House that they were departing from the question really before them, he should state what the true question was which they had to consider. It appeared that her Majesty, by the advice of her Ministers, had constituted a committee to superintend the application of the funds to be voted by Parliament for the purpose of National education; and it had been said that the appointment of that committee so far from being desirable, could lead to no good; that instead of being an advantage it would be an evil; and here it was, that the policy or impolicy of the measure had been brought into direct discussion. By a majority of five it was voted that there was nothing so objectionable in the measure as to call for an address to the Crown praying that the Order in Council might be rescinded; but when they saw the majority so small, and the opposition so great, he did think that it became them to ascertain what the powers were which were to be given to the committee so constituted and so sanctioned. It was not merely the grant, but the use to which it might be applied which they were called upon to discuss, and it was for the House to say whether they were prepared, without the sanction of the House of Lords, to adopt such a course. It was said by an hon. Member opposite that this grant was withheld because of its effects, but it was obvious that without the grant there could be no effects. The committee might be appointed to determine the regulations, but if they had no money either to pay inspectors or to bribe schools to submit to them, what would become of their proceedings? The noble Lord opposite was a Member of the Central Board of Education, and what were the sentiments of a party connected with that Board? Why, he said, (in a pamphlet which had been published,) "Let the central board have power to build schools, let them have power to support good schools already established, and the way would be gradually paved for a more comprehensive system, and bringing charity schools under the control and direc- tion of the board." Now, this was a power which he would never consent to give to the Board, and for the best possible reason—that it would enable them by degrees to introduce any system of education they thought fit. Entirely concurring with all that had been said as to the magnitude of the interests involved in this question, as to the importance of national education to all classes of the community, and as to its effects on all their prospects here, and their hopes hereafter, he would not consent that that House should take upon itself to confer on any committee powers so extensive without the sanction of the other branch of the Legislature. He never would give his consent to a proposition so unconstitutional as that of wresting from the House of Peers their lawful interference, and that the House of Commons should take upon itself to legislate, by a species of sleight-of-hand on a subject of this kind. Was this novel, or was it his suggestion? To show that it was not, he had only to quote the words of the pamphlet to which he had already referred, and in which it was said, that All hopes of amendment were to be distrusted, owing to the balance of parties in the country, and perhaps it would be years before any Bill for establishing a system of national education would pass the House of Lords; but then a Bill for national education was not a sine qua non, as her Majesty's Ministers had the power in their own hands, if assisted by a vote of the House of Commons, of extending a new scheme, and reforming those that existed. He trusted that these were not the views of the noble Lord. He had now stated his first objection, and his second was, that he would not consent to delegate powers to a committee of the Privy Council, which would be in effect surrendering up his own judgment. If the object of the Government was the establishment of a permanent system, why had they not stated their scheme candidly to the House, in order that, if they approved of it, they might adopt it, or, if they disapproved of it, that they might at all events record their votes against it. He could not be said to use an unfair or an illogical argument, when he took the statement of those who were the supporters of the measure, and showed to the House what they thought would be the consequences that would arise from its adoption. He did not give this statement as the opinion of the noble Lord; he merely gave it as an evidence of the opinion of his supporters; and upon the ground that the measure would have the effect stated by its supporters, he should give it his strenuous opposition. Upon what grounds did the noble Lord ask their support of the proposed scheme? Was it that the opinion of the country was so strongly expressed in its favour, that there could be no doubt of the propriety of supporting it, and that it should be taken for granted it would have the assent of the House of Lords? Was it because it had been carried by the large majority of five, they should take that as an indication of how popular a scheme it was with the country generally, and that it therefore should of necessity have the acquiescence of the Lords? Before he should advert to the importance of that large majority, he would ask them to recollect how it had been composed; and it was, he would beg to remind them, a majority not upon an open question, but upon a strictly Ministerial question—upon a very close question. But did the noble Lord claim their votes upon the ground of the Numbers of that majority, as affording an evidence of how popular the measure was, as an evidence of the general confidence of the country? Could they come before the House, and say, we have the support of the country in this scheme,—we have the confidence of the people—there is but a miserable minority, so small that it is scarcely discernible, and therefore we are justified in demanding your support? Was it under those circumstances they asked for support? If it were, he, for one, begged respectfully to say, that his confidence in her Majesty's Ministers was not strong to induce him to forego his opposition to that measure. He wished that the House could have more definite information as to the scheme which was to be adopted. Was it the former scheme, or a new one? How could any one be expected to give his support to a scheme so doubtful and indefinite? Were they to believe that the noble Lord had entirely abandoned his former scheme, and that there was no idea of again adopting it? Or was that scheme merely postponed, to be virtually carried into effect if that grant should be obtained? He did not deny, that the noble Lord could not be blamed for bringing it into operation if he thought it the best scheme which could be adopted, and therefore it was why the House should hesitate before it voted a grant that might be applied by the noble Lord to the purpose of bringing the original scheme again into operation, which would be to be ex- pected if, as he had remarked, the noble Lord held it to be the best scheme. If he thought that plan the most desirable, was he not bound, as a minister of the Crown, to bring it into operation, if they gave him the power to do so by that grant? With respect to another topic, namely, the petitions against the Government scheme of education, it had been said that they were mostly against the former plan, which had been abandoned, and not against the latter. Now, the facts were, that the former plan had been abandoned so quickly, that all the persons who petitioned against it had not had time to petition also against the latter; but if the latter system proposed was pleasing to them, was it not to be supposed that they would state so to the House? Were they not bound, as honest men, to do so? Therefore, he would say, that their silence as to the second plan was an indication of continued opposition upon the part of those who had petitioned against the former scheme. The noble Lord had abandoned the former plan, and he now came before the House to say, that as they had refused to let him proceed with his former plan, he would now ask them to let him do as he pleased. But if, after the House had given its assent to the grant, the committee would give support to any schools it pleased (besides the two descriptions mentioned)—if a person established a school upon the former plan, and applied for a share of the grant in support of it, how could they refuse him? He trusted he would not be reckoned flippant in a comparison which struck him. The licensed victuallers complained generally of the beershops, and principally in consequence of the permission to consume beer on the premises. He had suggested to a person who had urged that objection, that it might be removed by depriving them of the privilege of permitting beer to be consumed on the premises, but the person to whom he had made that suggestion answered him by saying, that in such a case the evil would still continue, for the owner of a beershop would take the next or some adjacent house, and allow the beer to be consumed there. In the same way would this grant, by affording support to schools upon the former plan, enable the noble Lord practically to support that which had been abandoned. It had been said, a few nights ago by the hon. Member for Lambeth, that the religious liberty of the people was concerned in that question. He was not opposed to religious freedom, and he felt bound to say, that he did not see how religious liberty was affected by that question. Those who opposed that plan of education did not propose to prevent religious freedom; they did not seek to prevent any man from worshipping God according to the dictates of his own conscience, or to interfere with the religious feelings of any person. He did not see how religious liberty could be said to be concerned in the question, unless they had the same opinion of religious freedom which another hon. Member had of freedom of education, who had said that freedom of education consisted in every man having a right to receive his education at the expense of the Government. If they went so far as that with religious education, perhaps it might be said that religious freedom was concerned. If they maintained that, every man had a right to be taught his own peculiar religious creed in a temple erected at the expense of the Government; but, unless they went that length, he could not see what effect it had upon religious liberty. It had been said by another hon. Member, that every man had a right to his own creed, but that he had, at the same time, no right to interfere with his neighbour's religious belief, as he had reserved the privilege of judging for himself upon such a subject. If by that it was meant, that no man had a right to reproach, or annoy, or inflict any penalty upon his neighbour for his religious opinions, he fully concurred with the sentiment, but he denied that a man had no right to form an opinion as to the correctness of the religious doctrines of another. If he said, no man had a right to decide whether the creed of another was right or wrong, he could not agree in such a principle. Why, how could a person believe his own creed to be right, if he did not believe those which differed from it to be in error? If a man were to choose between two creeds, how could he select one in preference, if he did not think the other were wrong? But at the same time that he thought such a privilege ought to be allowed, he did not mean to deny to every man the right to select and entertain his own belief; he would say, let every man enjoy his own creed. Was it to be inferred, however, that, because they did not interfere with a man in his religious belief, they were to go further, and assist him to propagate his error? It was because the House was called upon to do so—to assist in propagating error—that he raised his voice against that scheme. If they wished they might vote for such a plan; they might shock his feelings by doing so; but he should have satisfied his own conscience in protesting and voting against it. He did not understand the argument which had been used by hon. Members of the other side—namely, that it was as unfair to ask Roman Catholics and Dissenters to support by their contributions, a creed from which they differed. If they granted funds for the maintenance of the Roman Catholic priesthood, they would not violate his (Mr. Creswell's) conscience, whilst he vindicated it by voting against that application, and exactly the same argument applied to Roman Catholics and Dissenters. They all knew that the respected body, the Society of Friends, refused to give their assistance or support to war, and, upon their principles, would they not violate the conscience of every Quaker in the empire, by obliging him to support the taxes that enabled them to proceed with the war? It was a most nonsensical mode of argument to say, that the consciences of Roman Catholics and Dissenters were done violence to, by giving a portion of the money of the state to the support of another creed. It had been said, that the experiment of teaching children of different religious persuasions in common, had been already tried, and found successful. Now, he would put the House in possession of the facts of the case; and they would then be enabled to judge how far the experiments which had been tried had proved successful. It was said there was a neutral ground in religion, upon which children of all creeds might meet, and this they would ascertain from the result of the experiment. About three years ago, the corporation of Liverpool devoted part of their funds to the purposes of that experiment, and they accordingly established two schools, in which children of all sects were received, and in which ministers of each creed were allowed to attend to instruct the children in their several doctrines, at particular times. The hon. Gentleman at the other side had alluded to the success of the scheme, but he had very much exaggerated the results of the experiment. At that period there was a strong Protestant feeling in Liverpool, and the consequence was, that the greater part of the Protestants, whose children had previously been receiving instruction at the schools, withdrew them when the new arrangement was brought into operation. Those who were opposed to the system of mixed religious instruction, had been accused of a disinclination to afford instruction: but how was that proved? By their subscribing a sum of 10,000l. for the purpose of affording education to those who were not inclined to avail themselves of the schools which had been established by the corporation of Liverpool. In the corporation schools, in the first instance, extracts from the Bible were given to the children, and not the whole Bible; of course he meant during the hours in which they were under the master of the school. The cry, however, against this part of the plan became so strong, that they were obliged to abandon it, and the whole Bible was placed in the hands of the children, with the exception of the children of Roman Catholics, who still had the extracts. But how had the special religious education gone on? In the year 1837 there were 320 Roman Catholic children in these schools, and no Roman Catholic had ever attended, nor had any Dissenting minister. The only person who ever attended was a minister of the Church of England. Here, then, was an end to the system of combined religious education. It was possible to have a combined secular education, but not an united religious system. He found, by a letter which he had this day received from Liverpool, that there were in the charity schools of Liverpool, the great bulk of which were daily schools, 8,957 children belonging to the Church of England, and 3,098 children of different religious persuasions, with 304 children of the Scottish church, making in all a total of 12,060 children. Of these, however, the Roman Catholic children were educated principally at one school, St. Patrick's, and the remainder were dispersed in various different schools. Now how any body could say that the combined system of education had been introduced in Liverpool with the most perfect success, he could not imagine. There was no neutral ground in religion. A clergyman, who felt much interest in the success of the system tried by the Corporation at Liverpool, offered his services upon the condition that the children should begin the day with some form of divine worship in which all might join. But this plan failed. Objection was started after objection, and at last it was proposed that they should repeat the Lord's Prayer. But that also was refused. The Roman Catholic priest refused to allow the Roman Catholic children to join in repeating that prayer, although it was given to them by an authority whom all reverenced. Where, then, would they find neutral ground on which might be built an altar at which all could worship? Combined religious education was, in his opinion, perfectly hopeless. Even if it were possible to induce parties professing different religious creeds to study together without striving for ascendancy or running the risk of having their religious notions unsettled, he should be unwilling to assent to it, for the more attached he was to his own creed the more reluctant he should be to have it assailed.

Mr. V. Smith

said, he should endeavour to confine the few observations he intended to make entirely to the subject now under discussion, and not follow the example of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, by entering into arguments, which as he thought, were more applicable to the former debate than to the present. The first argument of the hon. and learned Member for Liverpool was, that on this occasion they were interfering with the other branch of the Legislature, but he seemed to have utterly forgotten that the privilege of voting the public money particularly belonged to that House. The hon. and learned Gentleman had advanced it as something novel in the history of the country, that they were now proposing a vote for money for the purpose of establishing a principle independent of the other branch of the Legislature. But if the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to the acts of the last twelve years, would he not have found that the same thing had been done year after year? Would the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire have broached that same principle on which the hon. and learned Gentleman had so long dwelt? He would ask whether the system of Irish education was not established by a vote of that House? What, too, did the hon. and learned Member say to colonial education, to the education of the negroes, which was on a most comprehensive plan? And yet he talked of the House giving away this principle, or rather receding from it, because it was not done with the united voice of the other branch of the Legislature. There was one other argument of the hon. and learned Member to which he would advert, though he considered it more applicable to the previous discussion, and it was on the subject of the Order of Privy Council. He knew it was the determination of hon. Gentlemen opposite to fight this ground inch by inch; but they must allow that one inch had been already gained by their opponents, because they had got the assent of the House of Commons to that Order of the Privy Council. If hon. Gentlemen opposite thought not, let them again bring forward the question, and those on his side of the House would again defend it. He would admit the scantiness of the majority—being only five—[Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen might interrupt him by un-courteous laughter, but he was only asserting that which the House had done. He for one, on his side of the House, should be glad that the debate should be taken again and again. On his side, they were unanimous in the assertion of the principle of religious liberty which they had adopted, and he would ask his hon. Friends behind him, who said that there was not a very great difference between the present Administration, and that which might be composed of hon. Gentlemen opposite, whether this debate had not convinced them that there was a most important difference between the two? The hon. and learned Member for Liverpool had said he had no confidence in the administration, and he had no reason to expect that the hon. and learned Member should have any confidence; but the hon. and learned Gentleman should recollect, that on this occasion the Government, who proposed the grant, were responsible for the manner in which that grant was to be applied; and when hon. Gentlemen talked of the abandonment by the Government of their plan, and attempted to put them in a dilemma by using that argument against them, he believed he was justified in saying, that they had only abandoned that plan because it appeared to be unpopular. It was abandoned for the present because the Government had found it to be unpopular. They had not, however, abandoned the defence of that plan, but the plan itself; and they were prepared to defend it, believing it to be a good plan, knowing that it might be advantageously carried into effect if the country were in its favour. The first plan was abandoned, and when hon. Gentlemen talked of its now being carried on with the money now to be voted, he would say they were mistaken, for it was impossible. The present proposition was for 30,000l. to carry on the plan of the 3rd June now before the House, and if the Government devoted it to the former plan they would be held responsible for it to Parliament. He would not enter into a discussion of the plan of the 3rd of June now, but would call the attention of the House to the grants of monies that had been devoted to the purposes of education. In the year 1833, Lord Althorp first proposed a vote of money to be given between the British and Foreign School Society, and the National School Society; but he (Mr. V. Smith) would deny that that could be considered as "a scheme;" it was only a temporary expedient to allay the great thirst that then existed for education, whilst the Government and Parliament had an opportunity of examining the question. Was there any finality in that proposal? Why, the very year afterwards, at the suggestion of Mr. Roebuck and the hon. Member for Yorkshire, a committee was appointed to inquire into a system of national education, and he served on that committee. In the year 1835, a similar committee was appointed, and the result of it was a report, containing a great mass of information, which many hon. Members in that House would do well to read. In 1838, another committee was appointed, but they only reported in favour of the extension of education; but he would ask hon. Gentlemen whether they meant to call the present plan a scheme for national education? Was 30,000l. the sum to carry out a scheme of national education? Why, on the most trifling subjects of their estimates, the House would vote a larger sum. Let them look at their convict votes. Where public money was voted, the public had a right to see how it was distributed; and the vote now proposed was to be given to the Secretaries of the British and Foreign School Society, and of the National School Society; but was this to be called a scheme? A splendid scheme it was, forsooth! Why, he should be one of the first to object to it, if it were to be permanent; for, by the principle of the British and Foreign Schools, Unitarians and Roman Catholics were excluded. He also objected to the National Schools, and it was for the very reason for which the noble Lord, the Member for Marylebone, had praised them. The noble Lord had said, that it was their boast that Dissenters attended them in many parts of England; but, on the contrary, he (Mr. V. Smith) would say this was a great mischief. He would entreat the House, and it was from objections on religious grounds that he did so, in the education of children to avoid confusion of religions, but he was wholly persuaded of this, that greater confusion would arise from educating Dissenters in the national schools, than from any schools of the Government. What was the consequence of it on the minds of children of Dissenters? It was, that the master and pastor were at variance, the children hearing at school different doctrines from those which they were taught at home. If, indeed, he were not tempted to withdraw any grants for such a system, at least care should be taken to have a vigilant inspection of the schools, to see how they were conducted. The hon. and learned Member for Liverpool had said, that the clergy of the Established Church had been the sole educators of the people; but if the hon. and learned Member had asked him what was religious liberty, he (Mr. V. Smith) should say, that it did not consist in such a system. The hon. and learned Member had also said, he would not consent to the promotion of erroneous principles; but why would he vote for church extension in the Colonies, and in Scotland? Each of these cases was an instance that he consented to the promotion of erroneous principles? Where, he would ask, should the public money go, but into those barren regions, as the noble Lord, the Member for Marylebone, had called them, where religious education was most wanted, and where there was no other way of providing it? Where did they build their churches with the public money, but in places where there was a want of them? The hon. and learned Member for Liverpool had taunted his (Mr. V. Smith's) side with the smallness of their majority, and had asked them whether this was to be considered an open question. He would say nothing more to this, than that it was more likely to be an open question on the other side of the House, than on that of the Government. For how could the hon. and learned Gentleman possibly bring together all those speeches which had been made on the Opposition side during the debate on this subject? It would be curious to learn in what school all those hon. Gentlemen were educated. In his opinion the remark of the hon. and learned gentleman was most ill-timed. But the House having already sanctioned by a majority, small however as it might be, the Order of the Privy Council, whether they would now deny the Government all the power of carrying it out by refusing the grant of the money now proposed, he could not say; but of this he was satisfied, that the discussions which had taken place would show his hon. Friends in a most conspicuous light as the advocates of religious liberty. The noble Lord who had opened this debate had referred back as far as the reign of Henry 4th., to show that the Church had educated the people. He could also refer back to that reign, for the noble Lord would find, that in the sixth year of Henry the 4th, Parliament having been called upon to vote certain supplies, voted an address to his Majesty, saying, that he might as well take the temporal revenues of the Church. The Speaker went up with the address, but the archbishop, who was present, told his Majesty, that the Church furnished their vassals for the wars, and gave the country their prayers; to which the Speaker answered, as any other Speaker might, without any reserve, that that might be true, but he rather thought the prayers of the clergy would yield but a scanty supply. If, therefore, the noble Lord considered antiquity a great argument in his favour, those who wished to abolish the Church, might also find in antiquity reasons to support their views.

Sir G. Clerk

said, that after the full discussion of the question which had taken place, and after the various arguments which had been put forward with so much force and effect by hon. Members at that side of the House, and which were still unanswered, he should not feel it necessary, even if he had the ability, to occupy the time of the House for a long period. But he could not hear the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down, without offering one or two observations upon it. When the noble Lord first brought forward his proposition, he gave the House to understand what his intentions were as to the mode of proceeding he would adopt. In the course of the speech which the noble Lord delivered upon that occasion, he stated that it was his intention to proceed by bill, and that he intended to bring in a bill to carry into effect a system of national education. He could not be mistaken upon this, for in those channels of information which vended the proceedings of the House, the noble Lord was represented as expressing himself to this effect, and the statement that such was his intention appeared in more than one speech of the noble Lord. When the noble Lord was asked by his right hon. Friend, the Member for the University of Oxford, to explain the course he intended to take, he then stated that he intended to proceed by bill. It appeared, however, that the noble Lord had since seen reason to change his course, and to abandon that line of proceeding which he had originally intended to pursue. Whatever were the reasons that had satisfied the noble Lord, he trusted that he would reconsider his present determination, and would not only abandon his original intention of proceeding by bill, but of setting aside the House of Lords by a resolution. By pursuing his present course of asking a vote in Committee of Supply, he deprived the House of Lords of all opportunity of giving an opinion upon this important subject. This, he thought, in every sense, to be most objectionable. The settlement of so important a question as the establishment of a system of national education ought to have the concurrence of every branch of the Legislature. Well, then, with respect to the proposition before them. What security had they that if they voted this money the original plan of the Government would not be revived? What security had they that the original plan might not be carried into effect by means of this money, should the Committee consent to acquiesce in the proposed vote? The noble Lord and those who spoke at the otherside of the House said, that all the most objectionable parts of the first plan, such as the erection of normal schools, would be given up. But, though these declarations might be made, there was no other security than those declarations. There was no restriction whatsoever as to the application of this money. The committee of the Privy Council acting with the concurrence of the Government, would be perfectly at liberty to dispose of this money and to distribute it in whatever manner they thought fit. The hon. Member for Northampton, who had last addressed the House, had spoken of the plan introduced by Lord Althorp in 1833, and he certainly thought that he had spoken of it in a manner that was not to be expected from a Member of her Majesty's Government in speaking of the plan that had been introduced by that noble Lord. It was not for him to enter into a defence of that plan; but on every occasion in each successive year when a vote of money was asked for by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the purposes of that plan, it was invariably eulogised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as having been unusually successful, and as having given great satisfaction to the public at large. There were many different points on which the present plan differed from that which had been introduced by Lord Althorp in 1833, and the reason which principally induced him to address the committee, was in consequence of learning, for the first time, from the terms of the reso- lution, that it was intended to extend this plan to Scotland. It was with the deepest alarm that he viewed this attempt to extend this plan to Scotland. He would confidently venture to say, that no person connected with Scotland was aware of that intention, or had anticipated until the resolution was read, that it was intended to extend this plan to Scotland. If he understood the vote correctly, it was to the effect that a sum of 30,000l. be granted for the purposes of education throughout Great Britain. If this sum was voted, it would be placed entirely at the disposal of the committee of the Privy Council, to be distributed as they thought fit. The Chancellor of the Exchequer smiled, but he said, that the changes which this plan proposed to make called forth the serious apprehensions of all connected with Scotland. There were two most important alterations in the present plan, which would most materially affect that country. When the hon. Member who spoke from the other side of the House said that the suggestion of a system of national education was, for the first time, made by her Majesty's Government, that hon. Member was certainly mistaken in his statement. He would tell that hon. Member, that for more than a century, a system of national education had existed in Scotland—a system, too, it was, which, whilst it had given satisfaction to the people of that country, had raised their moral character to that high degree of excellence for which the people of Scotland were so universally remarkable. What was the peculiar merit of the scheme of public education that had so long existed in Scotland? Why, it was intimately connected and interwoven with the Established Church of that country. That system was a religious and Scriptural system. It was under the immediate superintendence and direction of the Church, and formed part of the ecclesiastical polity of the country. Well, then, let them now come to consider how the plan proposed to be carried into effect by this vote would interfere with the system established in Scotland. He supposed that the people of Scotland would be excluded altogether from any participation in this grant, unless they submitted to the supervision of the inspectors to be appointed by the Committee of the Privy Council, and which he supposed would go to supplant that supervision which was now vested in the Presbytery. He did not mean to say that the system of education which prevailed in Scotland was altogether perfect, or as good a system as it could be made. But whatever defects belonged to that system did not arise in any respect from the principles on which it was founded, but from the circumstance that the money which the State had provided for the purposes of education in Scotland was insufficient for the purposes to which it was applied. The defects arose from these two causes—first, on account of the scantiness of the provision, which enabled them to give only very small salaries to the schoolmasters and teachers employed; and secondly, on account of the great population of the country, and who had not the means of providing for the erection of additional schools. They, therefore, were prepared to receive thankfully the grants made in 1833 and 1834 for the erection of additional schools in Scotland, because these schools were on the system that had hitherto prevailed, and were under the superintendence and direction of their own clergy. There was no inconvenience felt with respect to the attendance in these schools. Many persons were separated from the Church, not because they dissented from its doctrines, but because they disliked its discipline. But this made no difference whatever with respect to the attendance of the children at these schools. Well, then, he supposed, as he had before stated, that if they got any part of this money it would be only on the terms of their consenting to place the schools under the superintendence appointed by the Privy Council, and who would supersede the inspection of the Presbytery. They knew that so unrestricted was this vote that the Privy Council would have the power to withhold a grant to any school who should refuse to adopt all the new lights which the Committee of the Privy Council might from time to time receive from the Central Society of Education. Another objection arose from a consideration of the effect that would be produced by the determination of the Privy Council, as expressed in the Minute of the 3rd of June. It was expressly understood that there was to be a departure from the former system, and that this grant was not as heretofore, to be confined to the National and the British and Foreign School Societies. The Chancellor of the Exchequer smiled, as if to say, "What had Scotland to do with these schools?" But the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to take care how he distributed money to any schools which were not based upon the principle of the National and British and Foreign Society, namely, the principle of making a knowledge of the Scriptures an essential part of the system of education. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in supporting this plan, had departed from the principle on which he himself had acted not very long ago. Little more than a year ago an application was made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer by a Roman Catholic clergyman in Edinburgh, for a grant of money for the erection of a Roman Catholic school. What was the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Did he accede to this request? No such thing. He refused, and very properly refused, to grant any money for any school unless he had a security that that school would be conducted on the principle of the British and Foreign School Society. In effect, this was saying that he would grant no money for any school from which the Scriptures were to be excluded. He thought that the Government ought at once to declare to the people of Scotland, that their real object was to pave the way for the establishment of Roman Catholic schools in Scotland. He had no doubt that these were the views of the Government in proposing this plan. Such, he was sure, was the consistent and conscientious wish of many hon. Members of the other side of the House, who would be found amongst the supporters of this resolution. He well recollected, that in the discussion which took place on the measure for providing for the Highland schools, many of the general supporters of the Government objected to the bill, because it did not provide for the means of educating Roman Catholic children. He was sure that no Cabinet Minister would get up and declare that such were his intentions. He might safely say, that there was not an individual in Scotland who had the least suspicion that this new scheme was intended to extend to that country. He was sure, that when this fact was known there would be a general burst of indignation from all classes of the Scottish people against the extension of this plan to Scotland. He was sure that he spoke the sentiments of ninety-nine out of every hundred inhabitants of Scotland, when he said that they would much rather not receive a single shilling of this money than to receive it on the terms and under the conditions with which alone it would be granted. He must say that this part of the subject had not yet been touched on. He was sure that this plan would be met in Scotland with the strongest feelings of disgust and indignation. If the country had been warned that this plan was to extend to Scotland, meetings would have been held in every town, and the Table of the House would be covered with petitions from every part of Scotland against it; and if the noble Lord would only give sufficient time for ascertaining the opinion of Scotland, he pledged himself that there would be an unanimous expression of the feeling of that country against this plan. He had no hesitation in giving his decided negative to this vote. In doing so he was perfectly aware of the importance of the subject, and of the value of extending the advancement of education. He would be willing to agree to even a larger vote if the principle on which former votes had been granted was still to be adhered to; but feeling a strong conviction of the evils which this plan would produce, he felt it his most imperative duty to oppose it. He trusted the committee would not agree to this resolution; and he certainly should give it his most earnest opposition, and record his decided vote against it.

Mr. Sheil

said, that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has stated a fact by which his imputation against the Government is refuted. He mentioned, that a Catholic priest had applied to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a grant of money for a school in Scotland, and that the money had been refused. Why? Because it would have been applied to the purposes of exclusive instruction in the tenets of the Catholic Church. Does not this prove, that the Government does not mean that any part of the fund should be applied to a school attached exclusively to one Church, and does it not thus repel the charge of the hon. Gentleman, grounded on his own misconception of the intentions of the Ministers? The hon. Gentleman spoke of the intentions of Government. I will not presume to conjecture the objects of the hon. Gentleman. I shall venture, however, to intimate a hope, that the hon. Gentleman was not resorting to any illegitimate expedient to raise a no-Popery cry. I pass, however, from the speech of the hon. Gentleman to that of the learned Member for Liverpool. That learned Gentleman has made certain statements regarding the corporation schools utterly at variance with the information which I have received upon the subject. I wrote to Mr. Rathbone, a gentleman of the highest respectability, in order that he might ascertain the exact state of facts. Previous to the passing of the Corporation Reform Bill no more than two or three Catholics had attended the corporation schools. When the Corporation Reform Bill had passed, the council had to determine what course they would take in regard to the schools. Mr. Blackburn, the chairman of the education committee, gives in a pamphlet, which I hold in my hand, the following account of the plan which was adopted:— The property committed to the management of the council does not belong to one party or sect, but to the whole community. The obvious duty of the council, therefore, is so to employ their funds as to render them subservient to the benefit of all. In considering the plan upon which the schools should be conducted, the first question that presented itself was—is there any system we can adopt which will render them accessible to the children of all denominations, and make them the means of imparting a valuable elementary education, in which, without compromise of principle, all may participate? Unless a satisfactory answer could be given to this inquiry, the continuation of schools, under the management of the council, and supported by the public property, of which they are the trustees, was obviously impossible. To have continued them on the exclusive and sectarian basis on which they have hitherto rested, would have been an act of gross and palpable injustice, and a flagrant violation of their duty, as representatives of all classes of the people and guardians of their rights. In looking at our state of society in Liverpool, it is impossible to forget, that a very large, and not the least destitute, part of the population consists of Irish Roman Catholics, settled permanently amongst us; and on the ground of justice, humanity, and sound policy, entitled to our sympathy and kindness. They are by birth our fellow-subjects, and have now become our fellow citizens. Driven from their native land by a long course of tyranny and misrule, in the review of which every Englishman may well blush for his country, they present a claim to our most strenuous exertions for their moral and social improvement, and ought to be welcomed to the enjoyment of every advantage we can afford them. Can any benefit be offered to them more truly valuable than a sound and useful education for their children? and is it not in the highest degree desirable, that it should be imparted to them in such a way as may tend to remove the asperities arising from national distinctions and religious differences, and amalgamate them, as far as possible, in habit and friendly feeling with the native population? Regarding the Irish national system of education, as peculiarly fitted for the attainment of both these objects, and convinced that it is founded on enlightened and truly scriptural principles, the education committee determined to recommend its adoption, and the council, by a large majority, confirmed their recommendation. Such is the system of instruction adopted in one of the greatest cities in the British empire. What have been its results? I have inquired of Mr. Rathbone, formerly mayor of Liverpool, and I have received from him a letter, which I will read to the House— Liverpool, May 25, 1839. Sir—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 24th instant, and beg leave to assure you, that I shall have the highest gratification in giving you any information in my power respecting our corporation schools. I have been on our education committee from the time the schools came under the management of the reformed town council; I speak, therefore, from my own knowledge, and pledge myself to the accuracy of my statements. We have the gratification of believing, that the system works admirably, and that, too, though opposed with reckless misrepresentation, and with unscrupulous hostility. The Catholic clergy have acted with great liberality, and with a most gratifying confidence in us, allowing and encouraging the children to come to schools under the direction of a committee at one time wholly Protestant, and the teachers also, and ready to concede and conciliate wherever it could be done without the violation of a principle. We are bold enough to think, that we hare demonstrated the fact, that a system of national education is practicable; to give to all the best possible secular education, a morality which may guard against the dram shop, and keep out of gaol, without interfering with each being well instructed in their own peculiar religious dogmas, and all proving, that they are Christians by their love to one another. The examinations have proved how well the religious instruction has in the mean time been completed, I believe there is not a school in Liverpool where there is the same quantity of sound religious instruction and knowledge. Although yon do not mention it in your letter, I may as well, even at the risk of being tedious, refer to the cry especially raised against us, viz., that the Bible was excluded the schools. It is true, that the Catholics are not compelled to read or hear read the authorised version of the scriptures, but are furnished with the Douay version; but to the Protestants, the authorised version is read; they are taught to read it, and have been from the first day the schools came into our hands. I may repeat, that they are not merely taught to read, but to understand what they read, and to apply its glorious precepts and principles to the daily duties of life. If at any time you should be going through Liverpool, and bad an hour to give to the object, on knowing, that you were here, I should hare great pleasure in waiting upon and showing you our schools; every one is admitted to see them even without introduction, on writing their names in a visitor's book, and at all hours. We have nothing to conceal, and have, therefore, no mysteries. As I find my friend, Mr. Thornely, is returning to town I send this by him. I send you a formidable list of documents; the first, the correspondence between Mr. Symonds and myself, will, in fact, answer your letter, and is confirmed by his observations. The letters in testimony of the scriptural education are by very orthodox dissecting ministers, who are quite as far removed from Catholicism as the clergy of the Church of England, and I apprehend much more so, on (to them) religious grounds. The defence of the schools is also by a very orthodox dissenter, Mr. Blackborne, the chairman at present of our education committee, and very much in earnest on the subject of his Protestant faith. To R. L. Sheil, Esq. Such are the results, according to a very high authority, of the system of instruction adopted at Liverpool. If a different system had been followed, how large a portion of the population would have been deprived of the elements of literary, moral, and religious knowledge? In Liverpool there is a very large Catholic population. In Manchester and Salford it is nearly as great. It is indeed, notorious, that the county represented by two noble Lords on the other side of the House, who are opposed to any system by which Catholics can, consistently with their conscientious feelings, receive instruction, contains a vast Catholic population. I do not know the amount of the Catholic population of Great Britain, but I hold in my hand a work written in a spirit most adverse to the Roman Catholic Church, by one of its most uncompromising antagonists, in which it is stated, that it amounts to two millions. If you are to establish a system of national education, will you institute it upon such principles as to deprive so large a portion of the nation of its blessings; and that portion of the nation who of its blessings stand in a peculiar need. The children of the Irish emigrants in this country are in a state of the utmost moral destitution; their parents can scarcely procure them food—much less, by their parents, is there a chance, that with intellectual aliment, they should be supplied. Surely, this House, surely every man of common humanity, should pause before he pronounces against them an interdict so severe. You have admitted the Catholic gentleman to the highest places at the bar—you have raised him to the highest offices on the bench—you have received him in the Senate house and in the Privy Council—you have placed him in stations of the highest dignity and honour in the Palace—and will you, with an almost cruel anomaly, visit the offspring of the unfortunate Catholic emigrant with the last manifestations of legislative intolerance, and slap the door of the village school, in the face of the poor Catholic child. Sir, this measure is resisted upon grounds in which I did not think that all the hon. Gentlemen opposite concurred. In the first sentence pronounced a few nights ago by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, he took care to intimate, that he was not responsible for all that was uttered on his side. To whom and what did he allude? He left us to conjecture how far he adopted or repudiated his auxiliaries. The right hon. Gentleman did not very distinctly announce the principle on which his plan of education should be founded; he principally objected to the structure of the board. If the right hon. Baronet had told us—"Put me a Bishop or two on the board, and then I will agree to a plan in which all Dissenters shall be included," the right hon. Baronet's suggestion would have been reasonable enough; but when he contents himself with saying, that the Government ought to intrust the education of the people to an ecclesiastical board, he by necessary implication excludes from all share in the advantages of education, a large portion of his fellow creatures. Suppose, for example, the Bishop of London was a member of the board, how could he agree to instruction in tenets which he professionally condemns? He may think, as he is a scholar, that the Douay version is fully as accurate as the authorized one; but, as a theologian, he must pronounce the Church of England to be incapable of a mistake in Hebrew, and to be infallible in her interpretation of the Hellenistan dialect, in which the New Testament is composed. You would, therefore, by putting him on the board, place him in a most embarrassing condition. But the Church, it is said, has a right to superintend the education of the people. The Church has until very recently exhibited a profound apathy on the subject. Would there be so much ignorance in this country, as upon all hands is admitted to prevail, if the Church had performed its duty? The Church has been aroused from its torpor, not by its sense of the necessity of education, but by its jealousy of dissent; and when it reserves its interposition until the eleventh hour, we should be slow indeed in giving heed to claims to which the interests of so large a portion of the people must be sacrificed. But independently of these considerations, the position laid down by the right hon. Baronet is at variance with the course which he acknowledges himself to be willing to pursue. He is ready to accede to a grant to the Foreign and British Society. But that society is not under the superintendence of the Church. That position cannot be reconciled with the abstract doctrine of the right hon. Baronet, so far as any doctrine has been laid down by him. But this inconsistency is not confined to the right hon. Baronet. His auxiliaries, if such they may be called, do not only differ from each other but from themselves. Look at the two noble Lords, the Members for North and South Lancashire. The latter, in 1825, moved, that the Catholic Church should be paid and maintained by the State. He proposed a grant of 250,000l. a-year for this purpose, and now he denounces a small grant to be applied to the common education of all classes—Catholics included. But he is not so inconsistent as the noble Lord who was selected by the Tory party to lead them on this conspicuous question. It was to the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, that the assault on education was confided. Yet he was the Member of the Whig Government who in 1831 established the Irish Education Board—established it on the ground that a mixed education was superior to every other, and by doing so, incurred denunciations from his new Friends, the Wesleyan Methodists, as vehement as those of which he makes his old friends, the Whigs, the objects. He may tell us, indeed, that England and Ireland are differently circumstanced. Does he say so when the sinecure Irish Church is concerned? No; he tells us this, when the children of poor Irish manufacturers in Manchester, or in Preston, are to be deprived of the benefit of every grant to be made by the State. But when we are told, that Ireland and England are differently situated, is it not obvious, that it is upon grounds of expediency and not of principle, that the distinction is founded? I am very far from saying, that the Irish system of education should be adopted generally through this country. But in particular localities, circumstanced exactly as districts in Ireland are confessed to be, such a plan ought to be adopted as shall admit those children to the benefit of a Parliamentary grant, who might otherwise be excluded from its advantages. I pass from the Member for North Lancashire to the Member for Pembroke: that right hon. Gentleman was a Cabinet Minister when the Irish Education Board was established, and he acknowledged, that it was a departure from the principle on which he insisted. But what is the value of a principle if it is violated in a hundred instances, and that by the very men who so dogmatically, and so peremptorily and infallibly, lay it down? That right hon. Baronet spoke after the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and rose to institute such defence as circumstances would admit of the Member for Newark. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had ridiculed the state conscience of the Member for Newark, and accumulated example upon example of grants made to Catholic priests, and for the maintenance of the Catholic religion in British possessions, to which the Member for Newark was a party. He was Undersecretary to the Colonies under the Peel Administration, and represented that department in the House of Commons, and what did the Member for Pembroke say in reply? Why, that all these instances were a departure from principle, forsooth. Well, if you have treated principle, as you call it, with such utter recklessness in instances too tedious for enumeration, can you not now, where the education of so large a body of your fellow citizens is at stake, put a little of your excessive sensitiveness aside? For does the inconsistency stop there? The Irish Education Commission was adopted by the Tories; nay, the grant was increased: every man in office was, in point of conscience, responsible for a participation in that proceeding, and the Member for Newark was then in one of the most important and responsible offices with which the Member for Tamworth could have confided to him. I protest, Sir, I think that the Member for Newark, with all his fine subtlety, will find it more difficult to reconcile his principles as a Churchman with his conduct as a Statesman, than he has found it to reconcile in his celebrated work, the right of private judgment with passive obedience to the Church. Sir, I entertain for the hon. Gentleman that respect which is due to his indisputable talent and to his unquestionable worth; but I own, that after having perused a work, of which I in great part approve as redolent of Catholicism; a work dedicated to the University of Oxford, as tried and proved for a thousand years (what an inference from that vast cycle of time must be derived?); after having read a work in which the Church of England is represented as a continuity, through the medium of apostolical succession, of the great primitive establishment; after having perused a book, in which even to the Scotch synod very few, if any, of the incidents to a Church are conceded; after, I say, having read all this, I was not a little surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman pronounce a panegyric on the proselytes of John Wesley, who have separated themselves by boundaries the most marked from the Church, who have disclaimed the authority of your bishops, instituted an ordination of their own, established not only an alien, but a hostile organization of their priesthood. You have more reason to dread them than us. Why are you for ever, in reference to Popery, crying out, that your Church is in danger, and giving way to the most fantastic fears? What in the world makes you so much afraid? Why do you not, as you resemble us in so many other regards, in our fearlessness and security, follow our example? It was in reference to our Church that your famous Dryden exclaimed— Without unspotted, innocent within, She feared no danger, for she knew no sin. Surely your consciousness is not the source of your dismay. You have nothing to fear, armed as you are, I presume, in innocence, from any cause, much less from the education of the unhappy Popish poor. Your Church, your Angelican Church (for I can scarce call it Protestant), is incorporated with the State, is is supported by the interests of the higher orders and the faith of the humbler classes; "in the midst of courts and Parliaments it lifts its mitred head;" it possesses vast revenues; it rules over the two most famous universities in the world; it presides over the great patrician seminaries of the land; it has retained all the pomp, pride, and glorious circumstance of the establishment of which it is a perpetuation, archbishops, bishops, deans, cathedrals, chapters, golden stalls; it is distinguished by a prelacy eminent for learning, and what is more important, by the activity, the energy, and spirit, of organized confederacy amongst the parochial clergy. Such is your establishment, and can you bring yourselves to believe, that such a fabric, based on the national belief, and towering amidst aristocratic sustainment, can be subverted—not by foreign invasion, not by intestine commotion, not by a great moral concussion—but can be prostrated on the rock of truth, on which you believe it to be raised, by a discharge of Douay testaments and Popish missals, by a set of shoeless, shirtless Popish paupers, gathered under the command of the Privy Council, from the lanes of Liverpool, the alleys of Manchester, and of Salford, or the receptacles of St. Giles's? These fears, this ague of apprehension for your Church is idle, and would be ridiculous, but for the fatal results which it produces and the constant injustice which it works. It stops the progress of national improvement, and even amongst men of kind and humane feelings, wherever the interests of the establishment are involved, produces to all considerations, except those interests, an utter insensibility. Take as an example, the Member for Dorset, who is so remarkable for the benevolent concern he feels for the poor factory children. It does great credit to his heart, that he should feel so deep a sympathy for those unfortunate beings who in the spring of life—in the season when, if ever, joy should bud out of the heart, are immured in those dismal fabrics dedicated to the genius of insatiable gain. How often and how eloquently, has the noble Lord expatiated upon the moral destitution to which those poor children are reduced! It is in vain, that his appeals are met by remonstrances from those who have embarked their whole property in these speculations, and who tell him, that their ruin may be the result of his rash and precipitate humanity. Of everything but its suggestions he is regardless, and in his honourable enterprise, undeterred by every obstacle, with the chivalry of benevolence, pertinaciously perseveres. But, alas! what a contrast he presents, the instant the prerogatives of the Church are touched! His sensibility at once evaporates—to the imaginary hazards of the establishment, he immolates the interests of thousands and thousands of helpless beings, and refuses to stretch forth his hand to raise them from the depth of ignorance and of depravity in which they are immersed. Has the noble Lord ever been in that part of this vast metropolis in which Irish emigration is chiefly deposited? Has he ever traversed that melancholy district, in which, at every step, the eye, the ear, the heart—every physical and moral sense is shocked? Has he ever looked down into those recesses, in which hordes of miserable children are accumulated in heaps of wretchedness—or has he ever looked up to the dwelling, which swarm with diseased vitality, and through sashless windows seen the face of squalid, emaciated, vacant childhood, staring with the glare of ignorance and misery upon him? If he were to observe and become familiar with such spectacles, his over-righteous habits would give way, his natural emotions would get the better of his prejudices, and he would feel, that true religion, which is identified with charity and with mercy, required, that for the instruction of those unfortunate creatures something on the part of the Legislature was imperatively required. I have heard much in the course of this discussion of the dogmas of theology. I do not profess to be conversant with them; but I sometimes read the Bible, in every page of which the lessons of mercy are so admirably inculcated, and it strikes me, that if there be a passage in which the character of our Saviour is described in a peculiarly amiable light, it is that in which he is represented as desiring his disciples not to forbid little children to come unto him. I think—I cannot help thinking—that if among the little group, on whose heads he was invoked to lay his hands, there had been the child of a Sadducee or of a Samaritan, the God of mercy and of love would not have put the little schismatic aside. Do not imitate the example of those by whom the children were rebuked; suffer them to approach him; let them have access to the sources of pure morality, and of that truth which is common to all Christians; do not close the avenues to that knowledge which leads to happiness "when time shall be no more", and, instead of engaging in acrimonious contentions about ecclesiastical prerogatives and pretensions, let us act on the precept contained in the Divine injunction—"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Mr. Goulburn

felt deeply the importance of the sentiments with which the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary had concluded. He had listened, also to the whole of the arguments used in the debate from beginning to end, and confessed, even at that late hour, he was unable to understand the plan of the Government. He had heard different explanations, but he wished to know distinctly the fact, whether the original plan was actually abandoned or not? Did they mean to adopt the course explained in the first minute of the Privy Council? What was the meaning of the vote on which they were called upon to come to a conclusion? In former years, when the House had been called upon to pass a vote under similar circumstances, the Government had laid before the House the principles on which the money was to be distributed, and the manner in which it was to be applied. Let them consider the terms of the grant of last year. Then it was expressly declared that the money was to be granted to enable her Majesty to issue money to build schools in aid of the poorer classes—but in the present case it was simply stated to be for public education. They had been taunted by hon. Members opposite, that they showed a suspicion of the intentions of the Government. He confessed he did entertain such suspicions. He considered himself bound to take every security against the possible abuse of the powers sought to be conferred upon them. And, although it had been said that the money would be expended on principles analogous to those that had been the rule in former years, he confessed he did not place reliance on that statement. On the contrary, he believed, as had been stated by hon. Friends behind him, that the intention of the present vote was to pave the way for introducing the system of instruction originally proposed in the minutes of the Privy Council, and which the Government would be anxious to introduce at the first opportunity. They had been taxed with a desire to reject all votes for the extension of education, and with having abandoned the principles on which they had agreed to former votes. But let the Government come down to the House tomorrow, and let them present to them the vote of last session, with the object to which it was to be applied stated on the face of it, and he would not find him opposed to the vote, but ready to give his support to it. But under the existing circumstances, what course was open to them but to oppose the vote? Hon. Gentlemen might be aware that in Committee of Supply they could not oppose the appropriation, or propose any condition upon which grants were to be made, that it was for the Crown, or the Ministers of the Crown, to propose the grant, and that it was for them to say whether the amount was such as they did not object to. In this case, they must be aware the amount was nothing, the principle was all; and as they had no power to oppose the principle of the vote, they must oppose the vote itself. He hoped, then, that hon. Gentlemen would not again urge the argument, that in resisting this vote they were acting against the course which they had before pursued. His hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Liverpool, had alluded to another object of this vote, which was entitled to the serious consideration of the House. If they were not now in a position to enter into the details, or to express their opinions on the question, that circumstance was alone attributable to the mode in which the Government had brought forward the subject. If they had adopted the more open course by the introduction of a bill before the House upon the subject of education, then might every hon. Member have expressed his opinion and his dissent from any particular portion of the plan in such a way as would be calculated to obtain that attention which his suggestions had a right to receive. But, by the course which had been adopted, they were unable thus openly and minutely to object to the details of the principle; and they were reduced to the necessity of meeting the Government upon the simple issue which they had taken. He said that circumstances like these might seriously affect the conduct of the business of this House. He knew that the right of granting money to the Crown belonged exclusively to the House of Commons, and it was a right with which they could not allow the other House of Parliament to interfere; but they knew that that House could give a negative or an affirmative decision upon any grant which should come before them upon the face of any bill. The House of Peers, however, had, in cases of this description, excluded themselves from possessing any voice upon the subject. The difficulties and inconveniences which had resulted from the course then pursued had been felt to be so great that another plan had been adopted; but it was now the custom for them to insert every year in the Ways and Means Bill a clause, by which they granted permission to have the money appropriated without wailing for the usual necessary measure to enable them to do so. But when this House had to deal with a question of this magnitude, was it a judicious course to adopt to deprive the House of Peers of all power over the question at issue? and he begged to tell hon. Gentlemen that they must not be surprised if, in vindication of their own character and their own rights, the House of Peers were to refuse upon some future occasion to concede that point which they had hitherto granted for the convenience of the Government in carrying on the public business of the country. No man who had at all considered this question could for one moment doubt that education was the main object in view, and that the money which was proposed to be granted was only accessary to that question; but although the clergy of this country were not represented in this House of Parliament, and although this subject was one peculiarly for their consideration, so deeply interesting as it was to the moral and religious feelings of the persons under their charge; yet those very means had been adopted by which they were prevented from being able to express any opinion upon the subject. An hon. and learned Member who advocated the cause of Ireland had looked upon the idea of the Government endowing Roman Catholic schools in that country as absurd; but when he turned to England, he called upon the House to take pity upon the condition of the children of the poor of the Roman Catholics. But if the system which he suggested were good in one country, it was good also in another; and if the grant were intended to be general, the Government must act upon the same principle in all places. It was said also by an hon. Member, that there should be such an united system of education in both countries that the children of Roman Catholics should associate with those of persons of other persuasions, and that there might be a general system of religious instruction, avoiding all particularity of doctrine. If that, then, were his opinion, his belief must extend to this—that the minute of April contained in it the basis of education which the Government should adopt; but he begged to tell the House, that he for one, on the part of the members of the Church of England, must express his great unwillingness to enter into this scheme if it should be adopted. Were they then prepared to establish such a thing,—was that their view of the toleration of general education? He told the House, that what he said would be the general effect of the adoption of this scheme, and that members of the Established Church would never consent to their children being sent to schools merely for their secular instruction, and merely for general religious instruction. Much had been said in favour of secular instruction, and he was un- doubtedly prepared to admit, that it might soften the manners of the student; but unless they founded the education that was given upon the principle of the established religion, he would not believe, that it could have any effect in reforming the character of the man, for experience had proved to him, that reform in the mind could only be effected by religious instruction. The hon. and learned Gentleman who had last spoken had asked them, why they so anxiously wished, that the list of the board should contain the name of a bishop of the Church. He said "Why will you have a bishop—is he not bound to enforce religious doctrines—is he not bound under the obligation of his office to take care that those doctrines which are opposed shall not be abandoned or denied? And why, therefore, do you wish to have him in the board to join in the plan of general education?" He asked him what difference he could draw between the doctrines supported by the bishops and those which were advocated by members of the Established Church of England? If the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman amounted to anything, it was to this; "You have selected four Members of the Privy Council to form a Board of Education, who are careless of religious doctrines, who, so far from wishing to guard against danger by opposing contending doctrines, are so lax in their views of religion, that they will not object to entertain some general system, omitting all reference to peculiar doctrines." He was himself at least determined to take care, that the people of this country who were attached to the Established Church should not in their youth be carried away from the opinions which their parents were disposed to instil into their minds, by doctrines foreign to those which they were themselves desirous of following. The hon. and learned Member had thought it proper to advert to what fell from the noble Lord, the Member for Dorsetshire. He entirely concurred in the observations made by the hon. and learned Member, and he wished he could express as eloquently as he had done his admiration of his noble Friend. He was delighted with the conduct of the noble Lord in the course which he had adopted in reference to another subject; but so far from considering the conduct of his noble Friend in respect to this question as at all at variance with that which he had before pursued upon that suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, he begged to take a most decided issue. He could assure the House, that he had no disposition to interfere with the termination of this debate. He had been, however, anxious on his own part to state in a very few words the grounds on which he objected to this vote.

Lord John Russell

had no wish to enter into the general question which had been discussed, but as there had been one or two questions asked him by the hon. and learned Member for Liverpool, and by the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, which had caused some surprise in his mind at their being put, he thought that he was bound to give some explanation. The hon. and learned Member for Liverpool had stated his wonder at the course which he had taken, and doubted extremely whether he had given up the minute of April, or had adhered to it. He must say, that if the hon. Gentleman had wished to know his intentions he would have done better if he had consulted the Report of the Privy Council of the 3rd of June, instead of the extract which he read from some essay on education among the proceedings of the Central Society of Education, which the hon. and learned Member seemed to think was a great authority upon the subject. Now the fact was, that in that minute it was stated expressly for what purpose the vote was to be applied; and he would take the report of the Committee, and would read a part of it, which stated exactly what the application of the money would be. The report said:— The Lords of the committee recommend that the sum of 10,000l. granted by Parliament in 1835 towards the erection of normal or model schools, be given in equal proportions to the National Society and the British and Foreign School Society. That the remainder of the subsequent grants of the years 1837 and 1838 yet unappropriated, and any grant that may be voted in the present year, be chiefly applied in aid of subscriptions for building, and, in particular cases, for the support of schools connected with those societies; but that the rule hitherto adopted of making a grant to those places where the largest proportion is subscribed be not invariably adhered to, should application be made from very poor and populous districts, where subscriptions to a sufficient amount cannot be obtained. [Cries of "Read on!"] Well, he would read on. The committee do not feel themselves precluded from making grants in particular cases, which shall appear to them to call for the aid of Government, although the applications may not come from either of the two mentioned societies. He thought that that statement was sufficiently clear; that the general application of the money would be in aid of schools supported by the National Society, and by the British and Foreign Society, and that the great bulk of the money would be given in aid of these societies; but there might be some small part of it which might be otherwise applied. He thought they would not be doing justice to the whole community did they exclude other schools. There might, for instance, be a school connected with a factory. A manufacturer might be anxious to establish a school on an extensive scale, and might ask for aid from the committee of the Privy Council. But, then, he was asked whether the committee would not think themselves justified in proceeding on the plan indicated in the minute of April, supposing that in September there should be a more general concurrence than at present in the principle of that minute. He should say, that it was quite obvious that the money being granted for a particular purpose, it might be within the power of the committee, but certainly not within the scope of the vote, to make such application. The right hon. Gentleman opposite, said, that the money granted by the Treasury was limited by minutes, but did he not recollect that in 1833 money was granted without minute? [Mr. Goulburn: It was by vote of the House.] The right hon. Gentleman said it was by vote of the House. He would come to that: and what, then, was the vote of last year? It was proposed that a sum not exceeding 20,000l. should be granted to her Majesty to provide for the erection of school houses, in aid of private subscriptions, and for the inspection of those already erected. That was the vote for 1838, and he begged to say, that he would adopt those words, if they would answer the object of that which they were about to call for now. With regard to the former of these votes, it did not contain the whole of what was in this Report of the Privy Council, but if their taking the vote in the words in which it was taken last year, would satisfy hon. Gentlemen opposite, and would answer their objections, he should have no objection to adopt those words, instead of those in which the grant was now moved. So little did he think that the application of the money would be fettered by the vote that he was willing to give it in these words. Then with respect to the plan of April 10, as to the normal schools, be had been asked whether the committee expressed their adherence to the plan. The report was this, The committee are of opinion that the most useful application of any sums voted by Parliament would consist in the employment of those monies in the establishment of normal schools, under the direction of the State, and not placed under the management of a voluntary society. There was only one other question which had been asked him, and which he believed he had answered the other night. It was with regard to the nature of the inspection, it being supposed that it would interfere with the religious instruction in schools. He did not suppose that it would at all interfere, or at all oppose the instruction under the National and the British and Foreign School Societies, for their plans and their regulations would remain precisely us at present, so far as the vote was concerned. He certainly conceived that with respect to the National Society, if this vote did pass, he should be bound to conform to the rules laid down with respect to any sum granted to the society. He had been obliged to refer again to this report, because although there had been many representations and arguments as to what should be done, he had observed that hon. Gentlemen had been cautious in avoiding entering upon any minute discussion of the plan before the House.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 275; Noes 273: Majority 2.

List of the AYES.
Abercromby, hon. G. Beamish, F. B.
Adam, Admiral Bellew, R. M.
Aglionby, H. A. Berkeley, hon. C.
Ainsworth, P. Berkeley, hon. H.
Alcock, T. Bewes, T.
Alston, R. Blackett, C.
Andover, Lord Blake, M. J.
Anson, hon. Col. Blake, W. J.
Archbold, R. Blunt, Sir C.
Attwood, T. Bodkin, J. J.
Bainbridge, E. T. Bowes, J.
Baines, E. Brabazon, Lord
Bannerman, A. Brabazon, Sir W.
Baring, F. T. Bridgman, H.
Barnard, E. G. Briscoe, J. I.
Barron, H. W. Brocklehurst, J.
Barry, G. S. Brotherton, J.
Browne, R. D. Gillon, W. D.
Bryan, G. Gordon, R.
Buller, C. Grattan, J.
Bulwer, Sir L. Grattan, H.
Busfield, W. Greenaway, C.
Butler, hon. Col. Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.
Byng, G. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Grosvenor, Lord
Callaghan, D. Grote, G.
Campbell, Sir J. Guest, Sir J.
Cavendish, hon. C. Hall, Sir B.
Cavendish, hon. G. Harland, W. C.
Cayley, E. S. Harvey, D. W.
Chapman, Sir M. Hastie, A.
Chester, H. Hawes, B.
Chetwynd, Major Hawkins, J. H.
Chichester, J. P. B. Hayter, W. G.
Childers, J. W. Heathcoat, J.
Clay, W. Hector, C. J.
Clayton, Sir W. Heneage, E.
Clements, Lord Heron, Sir R.
Clive, E. B. Hill, Lord A. M.
Codrington, Admiral Hindley, C.
Collier, J. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Collins, W. Hobhouse, T. B.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hodges, T. L.
Craig, W. G. Hollond, R.
Crawford, W. Horsman, E.
Crawley, S. Hoskins, K.
Crompton, Sir S. Howard, F. J.
Currie, R. Howard, P. H.
Curry, Sergeant Howick, Lord
Dalmeny, Lord Hume, J.
Dashwood, G. H. Humphery, J.
Davies, Colonel Hurst, R. H.
Denison, W. Hutt, W.
Dennistoun, J. Hutton, R.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. James, W.
Divett, E. Jervis, J.
Donkin, Sir R. S. Johnson, General
Duff, J. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Duke, Sir J. Lambton, H.
Duncombe, T. Langdale, hon. C.
Dundas, C. W. D. Leader, J. T.
Dundas, F. Lemon, Sir C.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Leveson, Lord
Easthope, J. Lister, E. C.
Elliott, hon. J. E. Loch, J.
Ellice, right hon. E. Lushington, C.
Ellice, E. Lushington, rt. hn. S.
Ellice, W. Macaulay, T. B.
Erle, W. Macleod, R.
Etwall, R. M'Taggart, J.
Evans, G. Marshall, W.
Evans, W. Marsland, H.
Ewart, W. Martin, J.
Fazakerly, J. N. Martin, T. B.
Fenton, J. Maule, hon. F.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Melgund, Lord
Ferguson, R. Mildmay, P. St. John
Finch, F. Milton, Lord
Filzgibbon, hon. Col. Morpeth, Lord
Fitzpatrick, J. W. Morris, D.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Murray, A.
Fleetwood, Sir P. Muskett, G. A.
French, F. Nagle, Sir R.
Gibson, T. M. Norreys, Sir D. J.
O'Brien, W. S. Somers, J. P.
O'Callaghan, C. Somerville, Sir W. M.
O'Connell, D. Spencer, hon. F.
O'Connell, J. Standish, C.
O'Connell, M. J. Stanley, M.
O'Connell, Morgan Stanley, W. O.
O'Connor, Don Stansfield, W. R.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Staunton, Sir G.
Old, W. Stuart, Lord J.
Paget, F. Stuart, W. V.
Palmer, C. F. Stock, Dr.
Palmerston, Lord Strangways, hon. J.
Parker, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H. Strutt, E.
Parrott, J. Style, Sir C.
Pattison, J. Talbot, C. R. M.
Pechell, Captain Talfourd, Sergeant
Pendarves, E. W. Tancred, H. W.
Phillipps, Sir R. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Philips, M. Thornely, T.
Philips, G. R. Townley, R. G.
Phillpotts, J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Pigot, D. R. Turner, E.
Pinney, W. Verney, Sir H.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Vigors, N. A.
Power, J. Villiers, hon. C.
Price, Sir R. Vivian, Major C.
Pryme, G. Vivian, J. H.
Ramsbottom, J. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir R. H.
Redington, T. N. Wakley, T.
Rice, E. R. Walker, R.
Rice, right hon. T. S. Wallace, R.
Rich, H. Warburton, H.
Roche, E. B. Ward, H. G.
Roche, W. Westenra, hon. H.
Roche, Sir D. Westenra, hon. J. C.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. White, A.
Rumbold, C. E. White, H.
Rundle, J. White, S.
Russell, Lord J. Wilbraham, G.
Russell, Lord Williams, W.
Russell, Lord C. Williams, W. A.
Rutherford, rt. hn. A. Wilshere, W.
Salwey, Colonel Winnington, T.
Sanford, E. A. Winnington, H.
Scholefield, J. Wood, C.
Scrope, G. P. Wood, Sir M.
Seale, Sir J. H. Wood, G. W.
Seymour, Lord Worsley, Lord
Sheil, R. L. Wyse, T.
Shelborne, Lord Yates, J. A.
Slaney, R. A.
Smith, B. TELLERS.
Smith, G. R. Stanley, E. J.
Smith, R. V. Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Attwood, M.
Acland, T. D. Bagge, W.
A'Court, Captain Bailey, J.
Adare, Lord Baillie, Colonel
Alford, Lord Baker, E.
Alsager, Captain Baring, hon. F.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Baring, hon. W. B.
Archdall, M. Barrington, Lord
Ashley, Lord Bateson, Sir R.
Bell, M. Feilden, W.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fielden, J.
Bethell, R. Fector, J. N.
Blackstone, W. S. Fellowes, E.
Blair, J. Filmer, Sir E.
Blennerhassett, A. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Boldero, H. G. Fleming, J.
Bradshaw, J. Foley, E. T.
Bramston, T. W. Forester, hon. G.
Broadley, H. Fox, G. L.
Broadwood, H. Freshfield, J. W.
Brownrigg, S. Gaskell, J. M.
Bruce, Lord E. Gladstone, W. E.
Bruges, W. H. L. Glynn, Sir S. R.
Buck, L. W. Godson, R.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Gordon, hon. Captain
Burr, H. Gore, O. J. R.
Burrell, Sir C. Gore, O. W.
Burroughes, H. Goulburn, rt. hn. H.
Calcraft, J. H. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Canning, rt. hn. Sir S. Grant, F. W.
Cantilupe, Lord Greene, T.
Castlereagh, Viscount Grimsditch, T.
Chapman, A. Grimston, Lord
Christopher, R. Grimston, hon. E.
Chute, W. L. W. Hale, R. B.
Clerk, Sir G. Halford, H.
Clive, hon. R. H. Harcourt, G. G.
Codrington, C. W. Harcourt, G. S.
Cole, hon. A. H. Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.
Cole, Lord Hawkes, T.
Colquhoun, J. C. Hayes, Sir E.
Compton, H. C. Heathcote, Sir W.
Conolly, E. Heneage, G. W.
Cooper, E. J. Henniker, Lord
Coote, Sir C. H. Hepburn, Sir T.
Copeland, Alderman Herbert, hon. S.
Corry, hon. H. Herries, rt. hn. J. C.
Courtenay, P. Hill, Sir R.
Cresswell, C. Hillsborough, Lord
Cripps, J. Hinde, J. H.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Hodgson, F.
Damer, hon. D. Hodgson, R.
Darby, G. Hogg, J. W.
Darlington, Earl Holmes, hn. W. A'C.
De Horsey, S. H. Holmes, W.
D'Israeli, B. Hope, hon. C.
Dottin, A. R. Hope, H. T.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Hope, G. W.
Dowdeswell, W. Hotham, Lord
Duffield, T. Houldsworth, T.
Dugdale, W. S. Houstoun, G.
Dunbar, G. Howard, hon. W.
Duncombe, hon. A. Hughes, W. B.
Dungannon, Lord Hurt, F.
Du Pre, G. Ingestrie, Lord
East, J. B. Ingham, R.
Eastnor, Viscount Inglis, Sir R. H.
Eaton, R. J. Irton, S.
Egerton, W. T. Irving, J.
Egerton, Sir P. Jackson, Sergeant
Eliot, Lord James, Sir W. C.
Ellis, J. Jenkins, Sir R.
Estcourt, T. Jermyn, Earl
Estcourt, T. Jervis, S.
Farnham, E. B. Jones, J.
Farrand, R. Jones, Captain
Kelly, F. Powerscourt, Lord
Kemble, H. Praed, W. T.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Price, R.
Knatchbull, Sir E. Pringle, A.
Knight, H. G. Pusey, P.
Knightly, Sir C. Rae, right hon. Sir W.
Knox, hon. T. Reid, Sir J. R.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Richards, R.
Law, hon. C. E. Rickford, W.
Lefroy, right hon. T. Rolleston, L.
Lennox, Lord A. Rose, right hn. Sir G.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Round, C. G.
Lincoln, Earl of Round, J.
Litton, E. Rushbrooke, Col.
Lockhart, A. M. Rushout, G.
Long, W. Sanderson, R.
Lowther, hn. Colonel Sandon, Lord
Lowther, Lord Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Lowther, J. H. Shaw, right hon. F.
Lucas, E. Sheppard, T.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Shirley, E. J.
Mackenzie, T. Sibthorp, Col.
Mackenzie, W. Sinclair, Sir G.
Mackinnon, W. Smith, A.
Maclean, D. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Mahon, Lord Somerset, Lord
Maidstone, Lord Spry, Sir S. T.
Manners, Lord C. Stanley, E.
Marton, G. Stanley, Lord
Mathew, G. B. Stewart, J.
Maunsell, T. P. Stormont, Lord
Meynell, Captain Sturt, H. C.
Miles, W. Sugden, Sir E.
Miles, P. W. S. Teignmouth, Lord
Miller, W. H. Thomas, Colonel H.
Milnes, R. M. Thompson, Alderman
Monypenny, T. Thornhill, G.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Trench, Sir F.
Morgan, C. M. R. Vere, Sir C. B.
Neeld, J. Verner, Colonel
Neeld, John Vernon, G. H.
Nicholl, J. Villiers, Lord
Noel, hon. W. M. Vivian, J. E.
Norreys, Lord Waddington, H.
Ossulston, Lord Walsh, Sir. J.
Owen, Sir J. Welby, G. E.
Packe, C. W. Witmore, T. C.
Pakington, J. S. Wilbraham, hon. B.
Palmer, R. Williams, R.
Parker, M. Williams, T. P.
Parker, R. T. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Parker, T. A. W. Wodehouse, E.
Patten, J. W. Wood, Colonel T.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Wood, T.
Peel, J. Wyndham, W.
Pemberton, T. Wynn, C. W.
Perceval, hon. G. J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Pigot, R. Young, J.
Planta, right hon. J. Young, Sir W.
Plumptre, J. P. TELLERS.
Polhill, F. Freemantle, Sir T.
Pollock, Sir F. Baring, H.
Paired off.
Ashley, hon. H. Buller, E.
Bagot, hon. W. Paget, Lord A.
Bailey, J. jun. Ellice, Captain A.
Barneby, J. Molesworth, Sir W.
Blakemore, R. Conyngham, Lord
Blandford, Marq. of Macnamara, Major
Boiling, W. Turner, W.
Burdett, Sir F. Cave, R. O.
Campbell, Sir H. Campbell, W. F.
Cartwright, W. Anson, Sir G.
Crewe, Sir G. Walker, C. A.
Davenport, J. Fort, J.
Douro, Marquess Duncan, Lord
Dick, Q. Smith, J. A.
Egerton, Lord F. Chalmers, P.
Follett, Sir W. Ponsonby, hon. C.
Grant, hon. Colonel Wemyss, Captain
Goring, H. D. Lynch, A. H.
Granby, Lord Maher, J.
Johnstone, H. Aglionby, Major
Jones, W. White, L.
Kelburne, Viscount Sharpe, Gen.
Kerison, Sir E. O'Brien, C.
Kirk, P. Power, J.
Marsland, Major Blewitt, R. J.
Master, T. W. C. Wrightson, W. B.
Maxwell, hon. S. R. Talbot, J. H.
O'Neil, hon. General Fitzsimon, N.
Palmer, G. Acheson, Lord
Perceval, A. Rippon, C.
Pollen, Sir J. W. Handley, H.
Powell, Colonel O'Connell, Maurice
Praed, W. M. Speirs, A.
St. Paul, H. Fitzalan Lord
Tennent, J. E. Evans, Sir De L.
Tollemache, hon. F. Dundas, Sir R.
Trevor, hon. G. R. Colquhoun, Sir J.
Tyrrell, Sir J. T. Brodie, W. B.
Wynn, Sir W. W. Hallyburton, Lord
Benet, J. Moreton, hon. A. H.
Berkeley, hon. G. Pease, J.
Edwards, Sir J. Protheroe, E.
Euston, Earl of Pryse, E.
Ferguson, Sir R. Stewart, J.
Heathcote, Sir G. Surrey, Earl
Heathcote, G. Wilde, Sergeant
Howard, Sir R. Wilkins, W.
Lennox, Lord G.
Attwood, W. (abroad) Hamilton, Lord C. (abroad)
Blackburne, J. I. (ill)
Duncombe, hon. W. Ker, D. (ill)
Goddard, A. Wall, C. B.
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