§ House in Committee of Supply.
§ On the question that a sum not exceeding 40,000l., be granted to Her Majesty for the defraying the charge of Public Education in Great Britain,
§ Mr. Wyse
would avail himself of that opportunity of calling the attention of the House, in conformity with the notice he had given at the commencement of the Session, to the importance of—Due provision being made for the University Education of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in Ireland, especially of such as are intended for the priesthood, and the inadequacy of the means and system now existing for the attainment of such object, and that steps should be taken by an enlargement and improvements of existing arrangements, either by opening the emoluments and honours as studies of the University of Dublin to Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, and raising the College of Maynooth to the dignity of 1122 a theological faculty of the said University or by founding or maintaining a Roman Catholic University, with equal rank, endowments, and privileges with those of the University of Dublin, or by some other means, adequately to supply the deficiencies now complained of, and, as far as may be, effectually provide for the future moral and intellectual wants of the Roman Catholic inhabitants; thus promoting the advancement and happiness, not of Roman Catholics only, but of all classes and persuasions of the Irish people.On a former occasion, when he took the liberty of moving for Returns relative to this subject, an impression went abroad that it was his intention to alter the character of the University of Dublin, not with the view of extending its benefits to the public at large, but to interfere with its rights and privileges. Now, he had been educated at that university, and no one could appreciate more highly than he did the benefits which he had derived from it; and no one was more anxious to promote its advantages, and to extend its usefulness more than he was. He was one of the first Roman Catholics who had entered that University on its being re-opened to that body, and he could declare, that during the time in which he received his education there, he had no reason to complain of any interference with him as regarded his religious opinions; on the contrary, he could say, that he believed that it would be difficult as regarded the common course of education, to find greater fairness manifested. But in admitting this, he felt bound to say that the system of dial University was not so beneficial or useful as it might be made, to a large portion of the inhabitants of Ireland; and he believed, that the means of rendering it so were not so great or difficult as they were supposed to be. They had arrived at that period, as regarded the elementary education of the people, that it was no longer necessary to argue the question as to whether the Government should or should not take part in the education of the people. The elementary education of the people had within the last few years greatly occupied the attention of the Government, and there seemed to be a general concurrence of opinion, that as regards Ireland it should be carried on. The advantages which Ireland had already derived from the new system of elementary education in that country were very great and manifest, and 1123 he only regretted that the plan had not been extended much farther, and that an enlarged system of education had not been formed throughout the country, so as to combine every branch of education. In 1830 he urged the adoption, not merely of elementary education for the people of Ireland, but a general system, of which the elementary part should form only a branch. He shortly afterwards took the liberty of placing before the Government a plan by which he proposed that this should be carried out—he recommended that the elementary education should be carried on by the joint aid and assistance of the Government and local persons—by the Government through a central board, and by local boards, acting as trustees or committees, to carry out the orders or recommendations of the central board. He then proposed that the system should be extended to the establishment of local colleges or universities, and to the formation of literary and scientific institutions, and galleries of arts, and local schools of art. Here then was the Government on the one side, and the people on the other, acting conjointly in promoting the great and important object of national education—the Government directing and controlling on the one hand and the people offering their assistance and co-operation on the other. On that occasion he had suggested the absolute necessity of revising a part of that important institution, the only university in Ireland. The memorial which he drew up upon this subject he placed in the hands of the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, who then held the office of Secretary for Ireland; and he in it took the liberty of pointing out several anomalies which existed as regarded the state of the University of Dublin and also the College of Maynooth. He had there shown that the College of Maynooth was excluded from conferring the academic distinctions or rewards which properly appertained to a University, and he then called upon the Government either to open the University of Dublin to those educated at Maynooth or other collegiate establishments, or to establish a new University. He continued also to urge this during the time that he was a Member of the Government of Lord Grey, and he repeatedly solicited the Government which succeeded it still more urgently to do so, as the circumstance which called for interference had become still 1124 more pressing. Now, that the system of elementary education in Ireland was found to work so well and was so good, while the collegiate education for the clergy of the great body of the people was so inadequate to the wants of the case, and while the university education was capable of so much improvement, he hoped that the Government would take up the subject with the view to providing a remedy. It was notorious that Maynooth could not lay claim to the character of a university, and still less the Belfast Academical Institution. He would ask the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government whether any other country was in the same situation as Ireland as regarded the institutions of the higher branches of education? Was there any country, either Catholic or Protestant, either with a monarchical or republican government, where there was a population of upwards of 8,000,000, which had only one university to supply the higher branches of education. In Germany he found on the aggregate that there were not less than forty universities, and in some of the smaller states in that country there were large and flourishing establishments of this kind. Prussia with a population of scarcely 12,000,000 of inhabitants had not less than six universities. Bavaria with a population of 4,000,000, had three universities. Look to Belgium and Holland, and there appeared to be a greater number of universities in proportion to the population of the country than there was in Germany. In Holland, with a population of 2,302,000, there were four universities; and in Belgium, also with a population of 3,816,000 there were also four universities. The number of students in the universities of Holland, was about 1,316, while in Belgium also the number exceeded 1,458. So far, also, from these establishments being considered too large for the circumstances of these countries, and although large public funds were annually expended in their maintenance, the people of both these countries were constantly demanding that they should be enlarged and improved at the public expense. In France, again, they saw a similar state of things, for the University of France extended its ramifications through several of the towns of France, and had a great number of branches scattered throughout the country. In Russia there were fourteen, and in Sweden two. Again, in the Papal 1125 territories—the state of education in which had been so much vilified—there were five secondary colleges and two principal universities. Even in the small state of Tuscany there were two universities. Let the Committee then look to America, and they would find universities established in most of the northern and southern states, and the number of them had greatly increased in the older states. In addition, the Committee might look to the state of things in England, where there were the two magnificent institutions at Oxford and Cambridge, and in addition to the University of London, and that of Durham. In Scotland there were four universities, while there were little more than two millions of people. With such a state of things, was it to be borne that there should be only one university in Ireland, with a population of eight millions? About the period of the Restoration it was intended to establish a second university at Athlone, but this was abandoned. But would the House stop and say that there should be only one university in Ireland, and that the higher branches of academic education, with the accompanying honours, should alone be imparted in that country by the University of Dublin? But it might be said that the University of Dublin was Protestant; that it had been established for Protestant objects, and ought not to be made available for Catholic purposes, with any justice. Much misconception prevailed as to the establishment and the original state of the University of Dublin, and as to the opening the fellowships and other offices of the University to Catholics as well as Protestants being equivalent to converting it to Catholics purposes. The University of Dublin was generally supposed to be founded by Queen Elizabeth. No doubt this was the case, to a certain extent; but then, funds for that purpose were derived from former endowments belonging to it, and to certain monasteries, from which it derived the chief portion of its revenues. The first attempt to erect an university in Ireland was made by John Lech, Archbishop of Dublin, in 1312, who obtained from Pope Clement V. a bull for its foundation and endowment. This prelate having died without proceeding in this enlightened national undertaking, left the honour of following up the project to his successor, Alexander de Bickner, described in the letter of the 1126 King, recommending him to the Holy See, as "a man of profound judgment, high morality, deep learning, and, withal, the greatest circumspection in spiritual and temporal affairs." He succeeded in establishing a university, attached to St. Patrick's Church, Dublin, and composed rules for its government. The first professor in the Irish university was William de Hardite, a dominican friar. The degree of D. D. was conferred on the above-mentioned De Hardite and Edmund de Kamardin, who was afterwards nominated to the bishopric of Ardfert. If soon declined for want of endowments, but the education of the country was sustained by colleges, of which one of the most, celebrated was that on Usher's Island, distinguished for the learning of its teachers, especially its courses of philosophy and theology. A new attempt was made for the revival of the university. In 1475 a strong memorial was addressed to the Holy See on the subject, and Pope Sextus IV. issued a bull, commanding and authorising the foundation. The reasons given for the re-establishment of this university show the advantages of local bodies. This body continued in existence until the destruction of monasteries. In 1501, Government took up the labour of individuals. Allhallows became the properly of the corporation by grant of Henry VIII., and was given for the university. Elizabeth, at the suggestion of Sir Henry Sidney, enlarged it, or rather founded it anew, and gave it statutes. Amongst, other matters therein mentioned, it was directed that the fellowships should be held but for seven years. It was also much more liberal in religion. During the period of James II. the Rev. Mr. Moore, a Roman Catholic, was nominated fellow and provost, and he, with Mr. Macarthy, another fellow, "being a lover of literature, with a liberal mind," who, he rejoiced to say, saved the library of the college, being converted into a barrack from a savage soldiery. It was also exempted from the effects of the Bill of Attainder. Soon after this period the Catholics were excluded from the University of Dublin. By the Act of 1793 they were admitted for the purposes of education; but they were excluded from the fellowships, and thus, therefore, they were prevented attaining the highest honours in the University. The University of Dublin was governed by a certain number 1127 of junior and senior fellows. The junior fellows, by a rule, must take orders in the Church of England, within a certain period. The consequence was that Catholics, by such a rule, were excluded, and by another statute it was declared that before they could be admitted to their fellowships they must take the sacrament in conformity with the Church of England. It was said that this statute could not be changed; then how was it that the statute had been repealed which permitted the senior fellows marrying? He thought that they could easily create an additional number of fellowships in connection with the University of Dublin, which should be opened to both Catholics and Protestants. There were at present four lay fellowships in the university; why might not the number of them be increased, and the election to them be open to both Catholics and Protestants? He might be told that several of the scholarships were open, but this was really not the case, for in practice it was found that no Catholic could be placed in the rank of scholar in the University, unless he abandoned his religion. A case illustrative of this was recently brought before the Courts, in which it appeared that a Gentleman who had obtained a great number of certificates for a scholarship was about to present himself for it, when he was told that he could not do so without he in the first place took the sacrament, and thus showed that he belonged to the Church of England. What were the funds of the Colleges, what its means of extending its usefulness? The landed property of the University extended over 231,000 acres, the value of which, however, he had no means of estimating. Then there were the fees, the amount of which, in 1841, was as follows:—
Upon the whole, he thought that with very little assistance from the Government 1128 the college might do much towards extending the sphere of its usefulness. That it might be able to do so, if enabled, was clear from the terms of the Act of Parliament, 14 and 15 Car. 2., which ran thus:
Doctors in divinity (3), fees £66 0 law (12) 264 0 medicine (7) 154 0 Bachelors in divinity (3) 41 5 Master of arts (66) 648 0 Bachelors in Laws (21) 246 15 medicine (12) 141 0 arts (24 fellow commoners) 414 0 162 pensioners 486 0 Matriculation (26 fellow-commoners) 390 0 (241 pensioners) 1,807 10 Total £4,658 10Provided also, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the Lord-Lieutenant or other chief governor or governors of this kingdom for the time being, by and with the consent of the Privy Council, shall have full power and authority to erect another college, to be of the University, to be called by the name of the King's College; and out of all and every the lands, tenements, and hereditaments vested by this act in His Majesty, and which shall be settled or restored by virtue thereof, to raise a yearly allowance for ever not exceeding 2,000l. per annum, by an equal charge upon every one thousand acres, or lesser quantities proportionably, and therewith to endow the said college, which said college, so as aforesaid to be erected, shall be regulated, and governed by such laws, statutes, ordinances, and constitutions, as his Majesty, his heirs, or successors shall, under his or their Great Seal of England or Ireland declare or appoint.Thus it was clear that the power existed for establishing a new college in connection with the University adapted to the wishes of the Irish people, and there could be as little doubt of the propriety of acting upon the power so given. Ireland had a large Catholic population, and Parliament had repeatedly admitted the principle that this Catholic population ought to he instructed, and given grants, however inadequate for that purpose. Having declared the propriety of educating the people, it followed that Parliament should be most careful to educate the educators, most careful, above all, of the religious education of the educators. Hitherto, how had the education of the Roman Catholic priests been cared for? For a very long period, they had been more indebted to the liberality of foreign countries than to the justice of their own; and when at last Maynooth was established, the building assigned to the purpose was little better than a miserable hovel, and the sum allotted perfectly insignificant, the professors having a salary below that which an ordinary cook would receive for his services. A simple means of remedying much of the present evil would be to 1129 annex the College of Maynooth, and that of Belfast, to the University of Dublin; the one the University for Roman Catholics, the other that for Presbyterians; and the third, that for Protestants; all of which classes would be thus united in the bonds of Christian brotherhood, as was the case with different classes of religionists in England and abroad. To each of the former college, he would give the power of conferring degrees in divinity and arts. If this could not be effected, the only remedy would be, to establish at once a Catholic University in Ireland. There were various places in Ireland, where such a University could be established with the greatest advantage. The hon. Gentleman concluded with stating that after having thus brought forward the subject, he would not, at this period of the Session, take a vote upon it, desiring to leave the matter in the hands of the Government, hoping that next Session it would be taken up with energy.
§ Sir R. Peel
I am sure I shall state what is in conformity with the general feelings of the House, when I say that no Member of this House is better entitled to take up this subject than the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I know no Member of this House who has devoted more time and attention to the consideration of the subject and to devising means by which the advantages of education can be distributed throughout the country. I must also say, that the hon. Gentleman has another qualification besides that of experience on this subject—he has the high qualification of discussing with temper and with moderation, which ensures, amidst all the animosities which may divide us, an impartial and favourable consideration of anything he proposes. I rejoice that the hon. Gentleman has made his observations in a manner which precludes him from taking the sense of the House upon them. He has made those observations not even in reference to a vote for Irish education; for the vote, which we are discussing is one for English education. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman made those observations on this vote, that he might avoid the possibility of our coming to any hostile vote on the subject. I rejoice that the hon. Gentleman does not call for any expression of opinion on this subject. The hon. Gentleman adverted to the state of elementary education in Ireland. I think that he, and those who 1130 generally concur with him, will admit that the state of elementary education in Ireland is satisfactory. Her Majesty's Government, I think it will also be admitted, have done something towards that portion of public education. In the course of the present Session we purpose to increase by one-half the amount of the vote applied to the purpose of national education in Ireland. In the course of last year the vote for education in Ireland was 50,000l.; in the present we propose to increase that vote by 25,000l., making the vote of the present year 75,000l. Within a very short period a Report has been laid upon the Table of the House with reference to this subject, the 10th Report of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, with the following names attached to it:—The Archbishop of Dublin, the most Rev. Dr. Murray, Mr. Sadlier, Mr. Blake, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Macdonnell, and Lord Kildare. That Report gives this account of the progress which has been made in public education as it has come under their superintendence. It is stated, in the first part of the Report, that there were many demands for schools with which they had not the power of complying, and that there were also demands for the inspection of schools, which, on account of the limitation of the vote, they could not grant. They stated, however, that at the close of the year 1842 they had 2,271 schools in operation, which were attended by 319,719 children. At the close of 1843 they had 2,912 schools in operation, which were attended by 355,322 children, the increase in the number of schools amounting in one year to 191, and the increase in the attendance of children in the course of a single year amounting to 35,603. They also add, what I believe to be perfectly consistent with the fact, that "they have the gratification of observing that those unfounded impressions on the subject of education which we have on former occasions had to notice are rapidly taking flight." The Report shows that there is not merely an increase in the number of schools, or in the number of scholars, but the great source of satisfaction is the announcement of this fact—that the hostility and prejudice which were directed against this system of united education are passed away. So far as elementary national education is concerned, then, I think we may congratulate ourselves on the progress 1131 that we have made. With respect to that other and equally important subject to which the hon. Gentleman has called our attention, I have the satisfaction of assuring him that it is a subject which has occupied the serious consideration of Her Majesty's Government. The hon. Gentleman must excuse me if, on this occasion, I purposely forbear from entering into details. It is not because I am not prepared to express an opinion upon the subject, or to enter into detail; but, it being impossible in the course of the present Session to submit any practical measure on the subject, I am sure it is infinitely better that I should avoid altogether entering into details which must be stated, if stated now, many months before any practical measure can be introduced. I think I shall best consult the future importance of this question, by avoiding detailed observations at the present time; but I have no hesitation in stating that the result of the consideration which we have given to this subject is a conviction that the means of academical education in Ireland are defective. There are only three institutions which partake of the character of universities, viz., Trinity College, Dublin, Belfast Academical Institution, and the College of Maynooth. So far as the education of the laity of Ireland is concerned—I am speaking now of academical education—looking at the population of Ireland—at the increase of people—comparing the means of academical education in that country with the Continent, or with those two portions of the United Kingdom with which we are more intimately acquainted, England and Scotland—I must say that I think the means of a similar education in Ireland are comparatively and relatively inferior. The academical institution in Belfast does afford an opportunity of academical education to the north of Ireland, but in the south there is no such institution. The University of Dublin, also, was founded at a remote period, and, though that is an important institution, and is, I think, conducted upon equitable and liberal principles, yet the population of Ireland has certainly outstripped the growth of that institution. I don't at all undervalue that education which is given to the upper classes of Ireland in the universities of this country. I must say, indeed, that I think there are great advantages to be gained from the occasional resort of the 1132 youth of Ireland both to the academies and to the universities of this country; and I do hope that we never shall see any system devised in Ireland which will prevent the occasional and frequent resort of Irishmen to the universities of this country. It is a bond of connexion which unites the upper class of society rather than any other bond; for neither the schools nor universities of this country do afford the means of an academical education to those who do not belong to the upper classes. The hon. Gentleman felt all the difficulties of this subject without proposing any decided plan for adding to the means of academical education. He suggested various plans; with respect to none, however, did he express any very decided preference; and, if he, with his knowledge of Ireland and with his experience feels the difficulty of expressing any positive opinion, that is an additional reason why I, without the means of personal communication with those acquainted with Ireland, should abstain from expressing an opinion on any of the points to which he has adverted. I repeat that it is a subject which has occupied the consideration of Her Majesty's servants—that it is a subject to which the attention of my noble Friend, who is about to assume the chief office in the administration of Irish affairs, will be directed immediately on his arrival in Ireland, and I trust that we, shall, at an early period of next Session, propose means for increasing academical education, or we shall have to notify to the hon. Gentleman that our efforts have been unsuccessful, and that we must leave to him to bring on his plan. If we fail in our endeavours, it will not be from want of a desire to do justice. The consideration of the Government will also be directed to the position of the College at Maynooth, for we feel that it is not now in a satisfactory state. The amount of the grant is of no consequence so far as principle is concerned; for, if there be any violation of principle in making a grant for the support of Maynooth, that principle is violated by the sum at present granted. I know all the difficulties of the subject; but I will say no more, other than that Her Majesty's Government are impressed with the conviction that it is not in a satisfactory state at present, and that the position of that College will be one of the subjects to which the attention of the Government will be directed. When I say, that I 1133 think I may add that the attention of the Government will be directed to it in such a mode as that the position of that College shall not be less satisfactory to those immediately connected with it than it is at present, I hope I shall not be called upon to say more. I think I shall best consult the importance of the subject by avoiding further details, which, if proceeded with might tend to prejudice the measure, and to raise up objections to the proposition hereafter to be brought forward; and if Her Majesty's Government can propose any measure which shall have the effect of allaying all those feelings of jealousy and animosity which have hitherto existed, we shall consider that we have effected a double advantage—first, by promoting the cause of education; and, secondly, by cementing the bonds of a friendly alliance between the two countries.
§ Mr. Sheil
said, that the House was deeply indebted to his right hon. Friend the Member for Waterford, not only for the able and excellent speech which he had just made—a speech which was characterised by great temper and moderation—but also for his being the means of drawing from the right hon. Baronet opposite intimations of the most signal importance; intimations which he most unaffectedly assured the right hon. Baronet he most highly appreciated. Among the other incidents of the right hon. Baronet's speech, he had paid a tribute to the labours of his right hon. Friend the Member for Waterford, which his hon. Friend most richly deserved. His right hon. Friend had been labouring in this cause for years, always useful but sometimes unavailing. He knew that the plan of national education adopted by the Whigs in Ireland was sketched out by his hon. Friend, and that when it was carried into execution, due praise was not awarded to his efforts. His right hon. Friend had referred to the Act of Charles II. in explanation of his views; but there was another Act—the first Act of Catholic Emancipation, passed in 1793—to which he had not referred, and which, in his opinion, was still more important. There was a very important Clause in that Act relating to the University of Dublin. In that Clause it was enacted that nothing contained in the Act should enable any Roman Catholic to hold any office of profit or emolument in Trinity College, Dublin; but there was 1134 a provision in another Clause that in a College to be established Roman Catholics should be admissible to every office in it. The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity was only one College in the great University of Dublin; and to that University other Colleges might be and were intended to be added. By one Clause, it was provided that—Papists might take degrees in, or be masters, or fellows, or scholars of any College in this kingdom, provided that it be a member of the University of Dublin, and that it be not instituted exclusively for the education of Papists.That Clause would evidently exclude Maynooth. The object then in view was to make Maynooth an ecclesiastical institution of the country for the education of the Roman Catholic Clergy. At the same time, it was evident that the Irish Parliament intended to provide that there should be a College in Ireland unconnected with the University of Dublin, If the Imperial Parliament should determine to carry into effect the spirit of this Act in the temper announced that evening by the right hon. Baronet, it would establish a College in Ireland in which young men of every religious sect would be admissible to scholarships and fellowships. And if any one, acting in a spirit contrary to that displayed by the right hon. Baronet, should say to him, "You are sapping the foundations of the Protestant Church," the right hon. Baronet had only to refer to the Clause which he had just read, for a complete refutation of such an assertion.
§ Mr. Bellew
said, that no man was more impressed than he was with the importance of this subject. It was unworthy of the country that the education of the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, if undertaken by the State, should be anything but national. He pointed out the insufficiency of Maynooth to supply the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland with the means of education; and said that either the whole number of them or none should be educated under the auspices of Government. He looked upon the intimation which the right hon. Baronet had made that evening to be important, not only in its immediate, but also in its future results. It would be found useful in enabling the Government to carry on the Administration of the country without offending the feelings of the Roman Catholic clergy, or 1135 exposing them to the imputation of sordid motives.
§ Lord J. Manners
returned his most cordial thanks to the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government for the announcement which he had just made of his intentions upon the subject of academical education in Ireland. He hailed it as the earnest of a better, a more consistent, and a more conciliatory line of policy towards that unfortunate country. He hoped that it was a proof that the Government of England was at last awake to the necessity of governing Ireland on the only system on which a country so closely allied to us ought to be governed. He hoped that the system which the right hon. Baronet had just indicated would be speedily carried into full effect, and that it would be as prosperous and successful as the most sanguine supporters of it could wish. He thanked the right hon. Member for Waterford for the very conciliatory tone in which he had brought the question forward, and shared in the gratification which the right hon. Member must have felt on hearing of the line of policy which the right hon. Baronet had just indicated.
§ Mr. Grogan
trusted that Her Majesty's Government would exercise due caution in commencing a work of this importance, on which the peace of Ireland would henceforward materially depend. Hopes had been entertained that the Government system of education would have been the harbinger of peace to Ireland; but that system had not been attended with that success which, after the lapse of eleven years, the country had a right to expect. In recent years it had been deemed expedient even in this country that greater facilities should be provided for academical education; two colleges had been founded in this metropolis—University College and King's College—which together formed the University of London. He did not wish to say anything invidious, but he thought that, even in the years which had elapsed since their institution, enough had transpired to show the comparative utility of those two colleges. Their bases differed widely, and the consequence, that one of them was thriving, and the other the reverse. Whenever this great experiment should be tried in Ireland, he hoped that the result to which he had just alluded would be borne in mind. Whatever principles this new 1136 college might be founded on, he hoped that the principles of the Protestant Church would be adhered to.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ On the question that a sum not exceeding 72,000l. be granted, to enable the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to advance Education in Ireland,
§ Colonel Verner
had reason to complain that certain Returns connected with the system of National Education in Ireland, for which he had moved last Session, had not been accurately furnished to the House; for these Returns did not give the whole of the schools which he wished to have mentioned. The hon. and gallant Member then proceeded to complain of the number of the so-called national schools which were connected with monastic institutions in Ireland; and which schools could not, under such circumstances, be regarded as national. On one occasion an inquest was holden in a school-room, under the direction of the National Board of Education, but when it became necessary to swear the witnesses, not a Bible or Testament was to be found in the building. It was perfectly well known that the system of education in Ireland was established for the purpose of inducing parents of all religious persuasions to allow their children to attend these schools. The letter of the noble Lord, which might be considered almost as the charter of the system, recommended that all idea of proselytism should be abandoned, and that religious instruction and the reading of the Testament should not be introduced during school hours. Now had these regulations been strictly acted upon, he had no doubt that good would have resulted; but, unfortunately, the Board did not obey the instructions, and, in consequence, at this moment the patrons of schools had the power of introducing the doctrines of the Established Church, or the Scotch Church, or even the Church of Rome; the only impediment to their doing so being the objections which might be made by the parents. If the Board really wished to do good, let them fall back upon the original instructions contained in the noble Lord's letter. Let them exclude from the schools, during school hours, every description of religious instruction, and also take care that the Scriptures were not read in those hours. He did not see that the Protestants would object to that; but he feared that, constituted as the Board was at present, there was no 1137 prospect of this desirable object being carried into effect. It was true the Protestant Clergy of Ireland were told that they might join the National Board; so they might if they pleased join the "Loyal National Repeal Association;" but what would be thought of them if they did so? In his opinion the increase of the grant to the Board of National Education in Ireland was proposed at a time and under circumstances that rendered it very improper. The Clergy of the Established Church felt that they could not reconcile it to themselves to join in the National Board as it was now constituted, and under the existing system; and he maintained that if any addition were made to the grant it ought to be for the purpose of enabling the Church Educational Society, or some other society of that description, to give a proper education to the Protestants of Ireland. He was certain that it could not be the intention or even the wish of the Government that the education of the children of Protestant parents should be placed in the hands of Roman Catholics. Could they expect that Protestants would send their children to be educated at schools under the direction of Roman Catholics? He wanted the same justice for the Protestants that they proposed to give the Roman Catholics. The latter were undoubtedly a majority in Ireland, but the Protestant Church was the Established Church of that country, and its Members were as deserving the consideration of Her Majesty's Government as any other class of people in the Empire.
§ Mr. M. Milnes
could not help thinking that, if the Protestant Clergy of Ireland had considered it their duty to co-operate with the Government in the plan of national education, and if the Protestant Church of Ireland had fortunately received that plan in a good, kind, and cordial spirit, the evils to which the gallant Colonel had alluded, which have been very much abated, and the abuses which, no doubt, did exist, would have been prevented by the careful supervision and co-operation of the Protestant Clergy. If education in Ireland was practically left in the bands of the Romish Clergy, and if the Protestant Clergy thought it to be consistent with their duties as the pastors of the people to retire from that great charge, it could not but be expected that advantage would be taken of their retirement, 1138 and that abuses would take place, which otherwise might be avoided. Having always felt the deepest interest in the question of education in Ireland, he had very great pleasure in expressing his entire concurrence in everything that had fallen from the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government. He did so the more because it was evident that the right hon. Baronet felt the immense difficulty of the task he had undertaken. It was indeed a question which required all his mind, all his knowledge, and all his sense of justice to settle.
§ Mr. Plumptre
said, that it appeared that the present vote was to be increased from 50,000l. to 72,000l. The right hon. Gentleman below said, that he understood from the opinions of the Commissioners that the hostility which had prevailed to this grant had very much diminished. Of course the right hon. Gentleman had ample opportunities of learning the state of feeling on this subject; but he must say, that as far as he had had opportunities of learning the opinions of the Clergy of the Church of England in Ireland, he believed the dislike to this vote continued as strong as ever. He had had repeated opportunities of knowing this from men in whom he placed the highest confidence—from men who moved throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, and who were, therefore, in a situation to know the feelings of the Protestants of Ireland on the subject. If it was thought right by the Government to increase this grant for what was called a national purpose, but which he could not consider as a national purpose, but rather for the benefit of a particular class, he could only express his regret that they had not, in justice to the Protestants of Ireland, made some special grant to them, as suggested by his hon. and gallant Friend near him, for the purpose of education. This additional grant, made on the old principle and to be expended in the old manner, would, he believed, deeply wound the Protestants of Ireland, who could not but feel that they had been neglected. The right hon. Baronet had received the congratulations of Gentlemen on the other side of the House, in regard to an intimation which he had made—not very clearly it was true—of the intention of Government to consider this subject. He could not concur in those congratulations to the right hon. Gentleman, and he was afraid that the intimation 1139 which had been given, indistinct as it was, would not be received by the Protestants of Ireland in the same spirit in which it was received by hon. Gentlemen opposite, who congratulated him. He should always speak of the right hon. Baronet with courtesy, but his own principles were still the same, and if he professed to be a Protestant he also professed to consider Protestantism to be something more than a name, and that he ought not to be called on to favour and encourage principles which he detested and abjured. He did not know whether it was intended to take the vote for Maynooth to-night. He had always conscientiously opposed that vote, and would, as usual, divide the Committee whenever it was brought forward.
§ Viscount Palmerston
had great pleasure in supporting the present vote, and the greater because it was not accompanied by the exclusive grant which the hon. Member for Kent wished to be given as a counterpoise to it. He rose, however, chiefly to express the satisfaction he felt at what had passed on a former vote, although not immediately connected with it. Those who heard the speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Waterford must have felt that the subject to which he so ably drew their attention was one of the greatest importance in every point of view. Nothing could evidently be more essential than that those whose duty it was to instruct so large a portion of the inhabitants of Ireland as the Catholic population should themselves receive an education such as would fit them for the performance of so very important a task; and it afforded him the greatest satisfaction to hear what fell from the right hon. Baronet opposite in reply to his hon. Friend. It was perfectly natural and proper that in treating a subject of this kind the right hon. Baronet should confine himself to a general indication of future intentions. It would have been impossible to expect that he should on the present occasion have gone more into detail. He was perfectly ready to wait till the right hon. Baronet and his Colleagues should have matured their views on this subject, and he trusted, from the very liberal tone in which the right hon. Baronet had spoken, that he would be able by next Session to settle and arrange some plan calculated to attain those very great objects pointed out by his hon. Friend. Of course, from what they had seen to-night 1140 they must expect that the right hon. Baronet would have some difficulties to contend with, but he trusted he would be sufficiently conscious of his own strength to feel that if he arrived at a just conclusion and a good measure he would be enabled to carry it into execution. The right hon. Baronet might calculate on every fair support from both sides of the House; and he was sure the Government could not turn their attention during the recess to any subject of more pressing and practical importance than this subject.
§ Mr. Lefroy
had heard with great satisfaction the tone and spirit with which the right hon. Member for Waterford introduced the subject; but at the same time he must express great regret at what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet—not that the right hon. Gentleman had expressed to-night opinions inconsistent with those he had formerly avowed, but that he had given expression to opinions certainly altogether inconsistent with the expectations many of his hon. Friends had been led to entertain. He would not, by remaining silent on the present occasion, appear to acquiesce in a Motion which he thought would be repugnant to the feeling of the great Protestant community. It became a man who had formed an opinion not to forget his principles for the sake of party; and, as he had to express an honest opposition to the Government on this subject, he felt the more called on by a sense of duty to do so. He did not deny that the national system of education in Ireland had been making great progress. How was it possible that the result should be otherwise, when that system had been supported by a grant of 50,000l.? But might not the Government have anticipated greater results with regard to education, if, while continuing this grant, they had also given a grant to the other Society—the Church Education Society in Ireland, which received support from the exertions of the clergy. He knew of a clergyman giving even as much as 1,000l. for the support of the Church Education Society. The right hon. Baronet had acted, he would not say inconsistently with himself, but still not consistently with the expectations of the heads of the Church.
§ Mr. Ross
heartily rejoiced in seeing the progress of education in Ireland, through the means of which a vast amount of young persons in Ireland were brought up in habits 1141 of decency and self-respect, and were taught this great principle—to respect the opinions of their neighbours, and not to dislike any member of the community on account of religious differences. He too must express his satisfaction at the statement of the right hon. Baronet.
§ Vote agreed to.
On the question,
That a sum, not exceeding 8,928l. be granted to Her Majesty, towards defraying the Charge of the Roman Catholic College in Ireland, to the 31st day of March, 1845.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, that as he had always opposed this grant, he should not hesitate to divide the House on it, without further discussion.
before they went to a division, must take the liberty of saying a few words regarding Education in Ireland. He hoped those measures to which the right hon. Baronet alluded would be as successful as he could wish, but there was a point in connection with them to which the right hon. Baronet had not adverted, and which really required some consideration; namely, whether some support should not be given to the Church Education Society in Ireland? Surely similar sympathy ought to be shown to that society, which was shown to other societies. It was supported by persons high in the State, several dignitaries had joined it; and, if no assistance was to be afforded to it, whilst other societies were to be aided with grants, it must of necessity be extinguished because of its inability to contend with the money granted elsewhere. If the Church in Ireland was fit to be the established church of that country, she was fit to be intrusted with the education of her own children; and therefore when the right hon. Baronet brought forward his scheme for the extension of education in Ireland—a scheme the success of which was much to be desired—he hoped that he would give some attention to the claims of the Established Church.
Mr. D. Browne
observed, that the education grant was intended equally to apply to Protestants and Roman Catholics. It should be recollected, too, that the Protestant Church in Ireland possessed a revenue of 800,000l. a-year, some parts of which might surely be applied to the education of the children born in her faith.
Lord C. Hamilton
thought it would be 1142 well if each of the societies were to have a grant. It would then be seen which was the most compatible with the tastes of the people of Ireland. For his own part, he did not believe that the sympathy of the people of that country was universally in favour of the education of the National Board — on the contrary, he knew of many Roman Catholic children who absolutely passed the National School to go to the Church School; and considering the opportunities it had had, and contrasting the effect of its operations with that of the other society, he must say, that he thought it had in effect proved decidedly a failure.
§ Sir R. Peel
was afraid that the vote to which the observations of the noble Lords referred had been passed. The proposal now before them was for the usual annual vote for the College of Maynooth; but as the opinions of no Members of the House were entitled to greater weight than the opinions of the noble Lords who had lately spoken, and as the vote had, perhaps, been passed somewhat too hastily, he would take the opportunity of making one or two observations upon the subject. Her Majesty's Government had not been inclined to propose a vote of money to the Established Church system in Ireland, because they found that by so doing they would be practically creating three different systems of education in one country—a Roman Catholic system, a system in connexion with the Established Church, and, no doubt, a Presbyterian system, which would also be demanded. The effect of this would be that the youth of Ireland would be brought up under different systems, and that that union which it was so desirable to promote among the subjects of Her Majesty in that country would not be promoted. It must be remembered, too, that the number of Protestants for whom a gratuitous education was required in Ireland was comparatively small. Generally speaking, the Protestant class in that country could afford to pay for the education of their children. The present system, moreover, was designed for the establishment of joint education, and it was sincerely hoped by the founders, that the children both of Protestants and Roman Catholics might receive the inestimable benefit of a common education. He did hope the hostility which was shown to the system at its earlier stages had much abated. Several 1143 clergymen who had formerly opposed it were now ranked amongst its supporters, and he believed that very erroneous impressions respecting it had been happily removed. They were not, denying any fair claim of the establishment to consideration in this matter, but really only acting from a desire not to sow the seed of further discord. He must express a hope that hon. Members would not draw too sanguine conclusions from what had fallen from him in the earlier part of the evening. What he had said was simply this—that Her Majesty's Government were of opinion that the means of academical education in Ireland were defective, and that they intended to apply themselves to the consideration of that subject in a friendly and kindly spirit, and in the hope of being able to hold out—not to Roman Catholics only, but to the people of Ireland generally, a system of academical education in which all classes might alike participate. He had said also that the Government did not think that the situation of the College of Maynooth was satisfactory, and that that part of the subject would not be excluded from their consideration.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 87; Noes 30; Majority 57.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Eliot Lord|
|Acland, T. D.||Esmonde, Sir T.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Forster, M.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T.|
|Archbold, R.||Gardner, J. D.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Gaskell, J. Milnes|
|Bellew, R. M.||Gibson, T. M.|
|Bodkin, W. H.||Gill, T.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Borthwick, P.||Gladstone, Capt.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Gordon, hon. Capt.|
|Brotherton, J.||Goulburn, rt. hn. H.|
|Browne, R. D.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Browne, hon. W.||Henley, J. W.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Busfeild, W.||Hope, G. W.|
|Chapman, B.||Howard, hn. C. W. G.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Howard, P. H.|
|Clive, Visct.||Howard, Sir R.|
|Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G.||Hussey, A.|
|Compton, H. C.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Corry, rt. hn. H.||Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.|
|Craig, W. G.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|Cripps, W.||McGeachy, F. A.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Martin, J.|
|Denison, E. B.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Mitcalfe, H.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Murphy, F. S.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Nicholl, rt. hn. J.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Peel, J.||Tufnell, H.|
|Power, J.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Praed, W. T.||Wilde, Sir T.|
|Pulsford, R.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Rawdon, Col.||Worsley, Lord|
|Ross, D. R.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Scott, R.||Wyse, T.|
|Sheil, rt. hn. R. L.||TELLERS.|
|Smith, rt. hn. R. V.||Young, J.|
|Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.||Baring, H.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Allix, J. P.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Antrobus, E.||Lefroy, A.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Masterman, J.|
|Bateson, T.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Bradshaw, J.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Chetwode, Sir J.||Newry, Visct.|
|Cole, hon. H. A.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Round, J.|
|Dick, Q.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Smyth, Sir H.|
|Forbes, W.||Spooner, R.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Taylor, E.|
|Goring, C.||Verner, Col.|
|Gregory, W. H.|
|Hamilton, J. H.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Sibthorp, Col.|
§ The House resumed.
§ Adjourned at a quarter to two o'clock.