§ Sir J. Graham
then proceeded to say: As I am about to trespass upon the indulgence of the House in a manner which is not strictly regular, I desire to state that if it be the feeling of the House that before the adjournment petitions should be presented, I will gladly give way. ["No;" "Go on."] Then, Sir, collecting that it is the wish of the House that I should now proceed, I shall, in obedience to their pleasure, address you on the Motion, notice of which stands in my name upon the Books; and I shall not trespass upon your indulgence by any 346 elaborate preface. I shall not dilate upon the importance of the subject, nor upon the difficulty of the measure which I am about to bring under your notice. I am painfully conscious both of the importance and of the difficulty; and neither the House nor myself can overlook the magnitude of the subject, when I state that the design of my Motion is to improve the social condition of Ireland; and you will be well aware of the difficulty when I state that the means sought by Her Majesty's Government for improving that social condition, are the diffusion of the benefits of education among the middle and higher classes of society in Ireland. Now, Sir, in dealing with the subject of education, it cannot be dissembled—for experience has fully demonstrated it — that religious differences constitute the great difficulty in the way of a satisfactory adjustment of a general system of education. It is true, that in Ireland the difficulty that presents itself is not of the same character as that with which we have had to contend in England. There is not in that country the same variety of religious sects or of opinions. But still, in that country, there is one great and striking anomaly which constitutes of itself an immense difficulty. The religion of the great majority of the people of that country has long and continuously been treated by the State as a hostile religion. I am happy to say that that system has been gradually mitigated, if not entirely removed. Civil equality has been granted to the Roman Catholics in Ireland, and to the Roman Catholics in Great Britain. The penal laws have been removed, or they are in progress of removal from the Statute Book; but still there are traces remaining of that hostile disposition on the part of the State, and these traces are no where more perceptible,' and in no degree more noxious, than where they are still found interfering in matters of education in that part of the United Kingdom. I have stated the difficulty. It is well known—it has been clearly ascertained, and is fully admitted. The subject is one that has undergone repeated inquiry, both by Commissions and by Committees of this House, from a very early period since the passing of the Onion; and, in latter times, we have not only this advantage, that the difficulty has been ascertained, but the far greater advantage of considerable practical experience of the mode in which this difficulty may be suc- 347 cessfully encountered and certainly overcome. I shall shortly refer to some of the inquiries which have been instituted into this subject. In the first place, I shall refer you to Reports of Commissioners; but before I do so I will simply make this observation: Various plans for educating the people of Ireland, with the aid of Government grants, have been proposed—various attempts have been made—but those attempts have generally failed; and they have failed whenever there was an interference with conscience in matters of religion. I state this broadly, and without reserve or hesitation. I will now direct your attention to a very remarkable inquiry which was instituted by Commission in the year 1806, and I will advert to the Report made in 1812 by the Commissioners. It is very important in reference to this subject; and I hope you will pardon me if I read two extracts from it, because it is a Report that appears to me to contain the germ of a sound principle, by which may be met the difficulties of establishing a system for education in Ireland: and because also it contains the principle of the measure I mean to propose to you, and I may say the basis on which it is founded. The Commission was appointed in 1806, and its Report was presented in 1812. I will now beg your attention to these remarkable words:—We have applied our efforts to the forming of a system which will afford education to the lower classes of the people;"—and, in passing, I may remark that if this principle be sound, it ought not to be limited to the lower classes; but is capable of extension to all classes of society in Ireland—which may, at the same time, by keeping clear of all interference with the particular religious feelings of any, induce the whole to receive its benefits as one undivided body, under one and the same system, and in the same establishment.But the expressions which I am now about to quote are more pointed and still more remarkable:—We conceive it to be of essential importance to any new establishment for the education of the lower classes in Ireland, and we venture to express our unanimous opinion, that no such plan, however wisely and unexceptionably contrived in other respects, can be carried into effectual execution in this 348 country unless it be explicitly avowed, and clearly understood as its leading principle, that no attempt shall be made to influence or disturb the peculiar religious tenets of any sect or description of Christians.Sir, I believe this to be the sound principle on which education in Ireland must be dealt with; and I again repeat that it is the germ of the principle which has latterly been carried into full effect under the Board of National Education; and it is the principle upon which the measure I am about to propose is founded. Now this was a unanimous Report; and allow me to call the attention of the House to the signatures that are attached to it. It is signed by the Protestant Primate of Ireland of that day, by the Protestant Archbishop of Cashel of that day, by the Protestant Bishop of Killaloe, by Dr. Elrington, and by the late Mr. Leslie Foster; a more unexceptionable Commission could not have been constituted. Sir, I will next call your attention to another Report, as remarkable, as full, and as decisive, which was made in the year 1826 by the Commission appointed in the year 1824. The leading members of that Commission were Mr. Frank-land Lewis, the late Mr. Baron Foster, Mr. Blake, Mr. Glasford, and Mr. Grant. They recommended in their Report—That schools should be established for the purpose of giving to children of all religious persuasions such useful instruction as they might severally be capable and desirous of receiving, without having any grounds to apprehend any interference with their respective religious principles.And they go on to recommend that religious instruction should be given to Protestants and Roman Catholics, not jointly, but separately. I will now shortly call your attention to the Report of the Committee of this House in the year 1828, to which Committee were referred the Reports of the two Commissions from which I have read these extracts—the Commission which reported in 1812, and the Commission which reported in 1826. I have the Report of that Committee here. There are several Resolutions contained in it, to which, if I were not afraid of detaining the House too long, I would especially call your attention; but it is my purpose to give to you a summary of their Report in the words of the letter which was addressed by my noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies (Lord Stanley), in the year 1831, to the Duke of Leinster, at the 349 time when it was proposed that the National Board of Education in Ireland should be formed. My noble Friend correctly gives the summary of their Report in these terms:—In 1828 a Committee of the House of Commons, to which were referred the various Reports of the Commissioners of Education, recommended a system to be adopted which should afford, if possible, a combined literary and a separate religious education, and should be capable of being so far adapted to the views of the religious persuasions which prevail in Ireland, as to render it in truth a system of national education for the poorer classes of the community.And then my noble Friend goes on to say—For the success of the undertaking, much must depend upon the character of the individuals who compose the Board; and upon the security thereby afforded to the country that, while the interests of religion are not overlooked, the most scrupulous care should be taken not to interfere with the peculiar tenets of any description of Christian pupils.Again, the subject was referred to a Committee of this House in the year 1830, and that Committee reported as follows:—The House will find that your Committee have received much evidence of importance on the subject of the education of the poor. They cannot but hope that no further time will be lost in giving the public the benefit of the expensive and long-protracted inquiries before the Royal Commissioners of 1806 and 1825, and the practical recommendations of the Select Committee of 1828, the Report of which Committee is ordered to be reprinted.In the following year—in the year 1831—the present system and the present Board of National Education were established for the purpose of providing education for the poorer classes in Ireland; and the principle on which that Board was founded, and on which that scheme of national education rests, is summed up in the Report of the Board for the present year, which I have just received, and am about to lay on the Table of the House—a principle which is stated with brevity, but with perfect accuracy and remarkable clearness. The principle is this:—The principle of this Board is, and has been from the beginning, that the national schools shall be open alike to Christians of all denominations, and that accordingly no child shall be required to be present at any reli- 350 gious instruction or exercise of which his parents or guardians may disapprove; and that opportunities shall be afforded to all children to receive separately, at particular periods, such religious instruction as their parents or guardians may provide for them.Now I have stated to the House the theory of this scheme of education, and I may also remark to you that practical experience is not wanting upon this subject. The difficulty has been ascertained, and clearly ascertained, and the mode in which it may be met is distinctly enunciated by the high authorities whom I have quoted to you; and we have now to deal practically with the subject, possessing the advantage of having had some experience in the practical application of the theory. Whilst it was attempted by the State, setting aside this principle, to give education to the poorer classes in Ireland, in conjunction with attempts to proselytize, large sums were annually voted for that purpose; but they were voted in vain. The great body of the people of Ireland derived no advantage from the scheme, and rejected the education offered to them. I might adduce the instance of every grant made prior to the foundation of the National System, in attestation of this fact. "The Incorporated Society for promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland" was the first. In 1825, the last year of the grant to that society, no less a sum than 21,000l. was voted by Parliament; and what was the number of its schools? There were thirty-two schools, and the number of children educated in those schools was under 2,300. There was another institution—the schools of the "Association for Discountenancing Vice in Ireland." Up to the year 1825 there was an annual grant of this House in their favour. The sum voted in that year was about 7,106l.; the number of schools was, in 1824, 226; and the number of children educated there was 12,769, of whom it was stated that 7,803 were Protestants, and 4,804 Roman Catholics. These two societies, founded on the exclusive system, were admitted to be so entirely failures, that the Legislature deliberately abandoned them. The first and only great experiment upon the opposite principle, laid down in the Report of the Primate of Ireland, the Archbishop of Cashel, and Mr. Leslie Foster, in 1812, is the National Board of Education in Ireland. Allow me just to call the attention of the House to the remarkable success of that system, as contrasted with the failure which I have 351 now pointed out. I will not go back beyond the year 1839. In that year there were 1,581 schools connected with the National Board, and the number of children educated amounted to 205,000. While the attempt was made to educate the poor of Ireland on an exclusive principle, the sum voted by Parliament, in 1824, was 21,615l.; the "charter schools" were thirty-two; and the number of children educated only 2,255. In 1839, the schools in connexion with the National Board had increased to 1,581, and the number of scholars to 205,000. But this is an incomplete view of the contrast: I go on to state, that at the close of 1844 there were no less than 3,153 schools, and the number of children at that time educated in those schools amounted to 395,000; at the present moment there are above 400,000 receiving education in Ireland under the National Board. Now, Sir, it will be said that this education is confined only to the humblest class of society, and that the proposition I am about to make to you will affect only the class of a much higher grade, and removed to a level of society far above those in the national schools. Owing to the liberality of the grant recently made by Parliament, I have great satisfaction in stating to the House that the National Board have divided their school districts into thirty - two, covering the whole surface of Ireland, and have resolved, in each of these thirty-two districts, to establish a model school for the purpose of extending the benefit on the same principle of this great boon of national education to the shopkeeping class, and those above the lowest; thus extending further the benefits derived from the great principle of national education. Sir, I state this in passing, because it removes an objection which may be urged, that education has only been provided for the lowest classes—that the proposition I am about to make provides for the upper classes, and that the connecting link between them is wanting. I have pointed out to you that by the liberality of Parliament, and under the direction of the National Board, that connecting link has been already supplied. Sir, I have hitherto spoken only of Ireland; but I should represent very imperfectly the experience we have to guide us in dealing with this subject, if I confined my view exclusively to Ireland. We have had some experience also in this country, when dealing with University education, as to the mode in which the religious diffi- 352 culty respecting Dissenters is to be met. For a long time there was a struggle that the two ancient Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, immediately connected with the Established Church of this country, should be opened, without any restraint or restriction, to the free access of all classes of Dissenters. That point was much and angrily contested, and no immediate or probable solution of it presented itself either to the Legislature or the Government. But in these circumstances of difficulty it was thought expedient to establish—and Governments differing in principle and opposed to each other in the contest of opening the two Universities to Dissenters, did concur in establishing in this metropolis a third University—the University of London; and in that University there is no test required either of teachers or of students: although professing every possible variety of religious creed, they receive in harmony the advantages and honours, literary and scientific, of the University in this metropolis. This is the very basis of that University. There are two Colleges founded on opposite principles. In University College the system is in strict unity with the University itself—there is no religious test—there are no divinity lectures—there is perfect freedom upon the matter of religious opinion and the rights of conscience. King's College, on the other hand, is founded on the model of a College of one of the older Universities—there are divinity lectures; it is, in fact, exclusively a College connected with the Established Church; but the two Colleges are combined in perfect harmony in the London University. Nor is this all; the University has within itself an expansive power—it has the power, with the consent of the Executive Government, of appending to it any seminary or college in any part of the United Kingdom; and it has been my duty to give my consent to the Roman Catholic College in Carlow being placed in connexion with the University of London, clearly demonstrating the wide-spread advantage of that institution. But I pass from England to Scotland; we have had there the experience of centuries. In that country there has been, as hon. Gentlemen are aware, much of religious conflict—not so much certainly on matters of doctrine, as on matters of discipline—and although the ground of controversy has been often small, the anger and virulence with which the conflict has been carried on was by no means proportionate to the 353 importance of the subject of dispute; yet, notwithstanding all the religious differences that have existed at various times in that country, in the five Universities of Scotland—and there are no less than five—in them all, without exception, students from the different parts of the United Kingdom, and of every religious creed, meet in perfect harmony in the lecture rooms. There are lectures in Divinity provided for those who choose to attend them, but there is no compulsion in that attendance; and although Divine worship is provided within the walls of the Colleges, it is not a necessary part of the College discipline that the student should attend it. And although we have heard much of late of the tests which by law may be required to be taken by the lay professors of the Scotch Universities, still we have heard, also, that no such tests are now exacted from students at those Universities, and have not been exacted even from professors at the University of Edinburgh for more than half a century. Therefore, whether we look at the University of the metropolis of England, or that of the metropolis of Scotland, we find that no religious test was required either from professors or students in either. Sir, I have now stated to the House what appears to me to be the sound principles upon which we should proceed in this matter; and when I say sound principles, I mean sound principles with reference to the peculiar circumstances of the country with which we are about to deal; and I have demonstrated to you also what was the failure of all your attempts to extend to the Irish people the benefits of education until those principles were adopted, and what has been your success since you began to carry them into execution; and relying alike upon the weight of experience and upon the theoretical soundness of principles such as these, as applied to the state of society, and of the different religious persuasions in Ireland, I am prepared to say that Her Majesty's Government have no hesitation in recommending to the House the establishment of three provincial Colleges in Ireland, all founded upon the principles I have described. Now, Sir, I will proceed shortly to sketch the character of the institutions we propose to create. First of all, let me mention the localities in which we propose, should the House agree to the Bill I shall ask leave to introduce, to establish these Colleges, and then what will be the general outline of 354 their management, and the character of the education to be pursued in them. It would, Sir, naturally occur to any hon. Gentleman who considers the present position of Ireland, that if three be the number of Colleges to be established, the south of Ireland would be the natural site of at least one of these Colleges. I wish not to be understood as pledging myself to the exact locality, but I should say that Cork, seeing that it has an immense population, and that there is an important medical school established there at this moment, seeing that it is easy of access—also that it has a very large population surrounding it—for these, and many other reasons, and especially on the ground of the strong feeling which I find to exist in that locality in favour of some such institution, I should say Cork would naturally be the site of one of the Colleges for the south of Ireland. Her Majesty's Government have considered also that it was expedient not to overlook the claims of the west of Ireland. The exact site of the College for that district of the country, as in the case of the south, I do not pledge myself to, but leave open for future consideration; but speaking under this reserve, I should say that either the city of Limerick or the city of Galway would be the best spot for establishing the College for the west of Ireland. Then, again, as to the north of Ireland, it will be a question open for consideration whether any better site may be suggested; but as at present advised, and for reasons which I shall presently point out, I think it will be possible, and I hope probable, that arrangements may be made for establishing this third College at Belfast. Then, Sir, as to the expense: of course I cannot now pledge myself to the precise amount of expense that will attend the adoption by Parliament of the proposal now submitted by the Government; but I should say, for the purpose of building or of taking possession of buildings and fitting them up for the uses and to the extent we contemplate, and upon the principles I have stated, that somewhere about 30,000l. for each of the three Colleges will be sufficient; but I take the outside, and say the expense will be 100,000l. for the three—that is, for the purposes of building and founding. Then as to the annual expense for principal, vice principal, professors, prizes, and exhibitions for merit, the sum the Government would recommend to the House as the amount of the annual endowment for each College is 6,000l. Thus, the total expense 355 for the three Colleges will be 100,000l., as the capital to be sunk in the first instance for building and establishing, and an annual sum of 18,000l. for salaries and other expenses. I will now proceed shortly to state what is the view the Government entertain with respect to details. Of course I am now merely giving a general sketch, the items of which it may be necessary to vary in the progress of the measure. But I will proceed to give an outline of the scale of allowance to the professors and teachers, and the scale of education which it is proposed should be pursued. In each College we propose that there shall be a Principal, to whom the sum of 1,000l. a year shall be assigned as a salary, and ten or twelve professors, each of whom shall have an allowance of 300l. a year. There will be more, especially at Belfast and Cork, where there are medical schools, to which we attach considerable importance, as connected with those localities, professors of the medical sciences; and when I say there will be twelve professors in each of those Colleges, I include, of course, the professors of anatomy, surgery, and chemistry. Considering all the circumstances with which we have to deal, it is our intention to propose that the professors in all the three Colleges shall be nominated by the Crown, and that the Crown shall not only have the power of nomination, but also the power of removal for cause shown. And I propose that the Crown should have this power of removal for this reason—that while we seek, in the establishment of these institutions, to exclude any undue interference with religious opinions, security must be taken that in the lectures—not theological—opportunities are not seized of making these lectures the vehicle of any peculiar religious tenets; therefore it is that we propose to vest the power of removal in the Crown after appointment, for cause which must be shown. With regard to the Principal, I should say, it would be advisable that he should reside within the walls of the College; but I do not intend that provision shall be made within the College for the residence of either the professors or students; and in this respect we shall follow in general the example of Scotland. But although we do not provide for residence, there will be that degree of external supervision exercised over the students living without the walls—not direct, certainly, but indirect—which is likely to be perfectly satisfactory to parents and guardians. We make, however, 356 no provision for the residence, within the walls, of either professors or students. The scheme of instruction will be by means of lectures, and daily examination in connexion with those lectures. To the latter point—the daily examination—I attach the greatest importance; for, as a system of education, I believe that lectures, without a stringent, frequent, and searching examination, are perfectly fruitless, and the education so communicated extremely superficial. I have already stated that, consistently with the principles on which the measure is based, there will be in none of the Colleges a faculty of theology; it is, consequently, not proposed to endow any lecturer in divinity. It must not, however, be supposed that religion will be altogether disregarded in this institution. On the contrary, we propose that, under this Bill, every facility shall be given for the endowment, by means of private benefactions, of professorships of theology, subject to the visitorial power of the Crown; and, under regulations as to the lectures to be given in the Colleges, we propose that instruction in theology may be given in the lecture room within the walls of the College. It would be monstrous if any other course were taken; for although, in localities like Cork and Galway, the Colleges must necessarily be in the main Roman Catholic Colleges, I yet hope that the Protestant youth of that neighbourhood will attend, and share the advantages of the education in arts and sciences there provided. And supposing that Protestant parents in the neighbourhood of the College—wealthy Protestant parents—should be anxious that, while their sons attended for those purposes, they should be sure of receiving instruction in the religious doctrines of their forefathers, and, by their own private munificence and private benefactions, were willing to endow institutions for lectures in the Protestant religion, in the Colleges of Cork and Galway—I say, it would be hard beyond measure if full opportunity were not given for carrying out those beneficent intentions, and if full facilities were not afforded by such means for such instruction and such religious education. The Bill, therefore, I am about to bring in, will provide that such facilities shall be given, and in a manner which, I think, will be found unexceptionable. Of course, there will be no compulsory attendance on any of these theological lectures; and it will only be when the numbers of students are sufficient to demand it, and when private 357 benefactions and private munificence have provided for it by endowment, that such religious instruction will be afforded. The same principle will apply to the Roman Catholics also. Suppose Roman Catholic students attend, as I hope they will, the College we propose to establish at Belfast, it is evident that that College will be in the main a Presbyterian College; but, as in the case of the Protestants at Cork and Galway, so in the case of the Roman Catholics at Belfast, it would be hard beyond measure if Roman Catholic parents there had not facilities afforded them of giving effect to their own beneficent intentions, and of providing, by endowment, religious instruction to their children in that College. The principle—the fundamental principle—on which we ask the House to carry this proposal of the Government is, the absence of all interference, positive or negative, with the conscientious scruples of the students in matters of religion. That is the principle which I contend for, and that is the principle on which alone I can anticipate success for the measure in Ireland. I said, Sir, that as connected with Belfast, there were certain particular circumstances to which I would presently allude more fully. The House will bear in mind, that for many years there has existed an academical institution in Belfast, which has received the aid of Parliament in the shape of an annual vote, to the extent of 2,100l. a year. That institution may be said to have been founded originally much on the same principles for which I contend, as necessary to be followed in the establishment of academical institutions for Ireland generally. That institution has been mainly attended by Presbyterians of the north of Ireland, and by the Presbyterian youth training for the ministry of that part of the country; and, moreover, of the professors connected with that institution four of them are professors of divinity, and these are nominated, not by the general governing body of the academical institution, but by the General Assembly of Ulster, and are in immediate connexion with that body. It would be hard, under these circumstances, to deprive that body of a benefit which they have received for almost twenty years; and it is, therefore, not the intention of the Government to deprive the General Assembly of Ulster of the advantage in this respect which it has hitherto enjoyed. It will, as I have before intimated, form no part of the Bill; in fact, it would be inconsistent with its principle to include 358 anything in it partaking of the character of theological endowment; but it is the intention of the Government, in the annual vote, to propose the continuance of the endowment of these four theological professors connected with the Presbyterian Church of the north of Ireland, and to continue in the vote, not only of the present, but in the estimates of future years, the amount now-granted for that purpose. I cannot speak confidently; but, Sir, I firmly believe, that if the measure should, as I hope it will, be sanctioned by Parliament, facilities will be given by the managers of the Academical Institution at Belfast, to transfer that building, the premises, library and all other appurtenances, on easy terms, to the Government, for the purpose of founding the College we contemplate to establish at that place. Of course, if such an arrangement should be made, it will diminish, in this case, the expense of 30,000l., which I propose should be the sum granted for the establishment of each College—an expense which I believe the House will think reasonable for the objects of the Bill, and will cheerfully sanction. I should state also that the professors now serving in that institution have an arrangement with the managing body that they shall receive the salaries voted by Parliament during their lives. Unless they should be removed on account of misconduct, the bargain is that they hold their offices for life. Now, Sir, it would be obviously inconvenient, supposing this institution should be transferred to the Government for the purposes of this measure, to fetter them with this arrangement, and thus to limit the Crown in its choice in the case of these particular professors. But in case any of those gentlemen who now fill those offices for life should not be chosen by the Crown, I am quite sure the House will agree with me in affirming the propriety of making provision for affording to them a fair compensation. As relates to the question of the establishment of these Colleges, and of the system of education to be pursued in them, I am not aware that I have failed to state anything that can tend to make the plan of the Government intelligible; but I should still leave the statement most imperfect, if I did not glance at some other important and peculiar circumstances connected with it. The Bill I propose to bring in does no more than propose to build and establish those Colleges in Ireland; but the great question that presents itself is, shall these three Colleges 359 be associated together in one University? Or, following the example of Scotland, shall the Crown, in the exercise of its prerogative, endow each of these Colleges with the power of granting degrees in arts, sciences, and in medicine? Now, Sir, it is not necessary—and as I think it would not be expedient—in the present Bill, and at the present time, to fix and carry out any definite arrangement on that point. It is not necessary, on the one hand while, on the other, I hold it to be important that we should ascertain what amount of success attends this first step—and it is a large step—in advance, before that question is finally decided. At the same time, I will not be so deficient in candour as not to state what is my own opinion of the matter. I think that the advantages in favour of a central University decidedly preponderate. I think a central University affords a common arena in which, from all these Colleges, the youth of Ireland may assemble, and contend, in honourable and honest rivalry, for those exhibitions and prizes, and those honours which are consequent upon, and result from, superior intellect and superior attainment. I think the national character of such an institution can only be exalted by such fair and honourable rivalry and competition; and it is not in the power of Universities, whatever their number or excellence, if scattered through the provinces, to confer equal advantages upon the country with those which would result from such a central institution; nor could you hope to obtain from them that great moral effect and that beneficial influence in after life, which would be produced by the youth of one academical establishment meeting at a central point the youth of another and rival establishment, and thus contending (without reference to creed or party distinction) for those honours and those distinctions which great intellect, combined with great merit and great attainments, are sure to bring. I am quite sure it is impossible for any Gentleman who has taken part in those honourable contests in our own Universities not to remember, with sentiments of esteem and respect, those with whom he may have contended in his academical career, and especially those whose superiority he has tested by experience, and being vanquished is compelled to acknowledge. The impressions and effects which this sort of honourable rivalry produces—impressions and effects most valuable in after life, and exercising the most beneficial in- 360 fluence on the community generally, can, I am persuaded, only be secured by associating the several Colleges we here propose to establish in one central University. There are disadvantages in such a course, I know. I am aware that there are difficulties in obtaining efficient examiners, when the students are brought only occasionally to these examinations—this difficulty is felt in the University of London, and is, perhaps, inherent in the system—there is great difficulty in finding persons who are not versed in the constant habit of teaching and lecturing, and who are separated from the collegiate method of instruction, and who at the same time shall be found in all respects efficient examiners. This brings me to the question, if we are to have a central University for Ireland, with which these Colleges shall be in connexion, where shall it be? Now upon this point I am bound to say, that, considering all the circumstances of the case, and having come to the conclusion that there should be a central University, in which all these provincial Colleges should be associated, I think that central University should be in the metropolis of Ireland. I am aware that this determination presents a question of great difficulty, which, in dealing with this part of the question, I will not attempt to blink. I am of opinion that neither policy, nor equity, nor justice, will admit of any interference with Trinity College, Dublin, as it is now founded, and as it now exists. That College is entirely a Protestant foundation. It was founded originally by Queen Elizabeth, and was founded avowedly for Protestant purposes, which purposes have from that time to the present been steadily maintained; and it is from that source chiefly that the Established Church of Ireland draws its priesthood. The Government have had, in respect to this proposal of Irish education, to encounter amongst some obloquy many painful sacrifices of friendship; perhaps I ought not to say of friendship, but of confidence on the part of their friends; but we have at the same time remarked with pleasure a desire on the part of Parliament that ample provision should be made for education of the Roman Catholic priesthood by the additional grant for Maynooth; and in respect to the measure I am submitting to-night, I propose in like manner that annual aid should continue to be afforded by Parliament to the Presbyterian clergy in the North of Ireland. Now, I find that Trinity College is 361 an institution that was endowed by a Protestant Sovereign, avowedly for the purpose of providing for the education of the ministers of the Established religion in Ireland, and I cannot, therefore, consent that its property should be invaded, or the uses to which it is appropriated be disturbed. It is proper that I should remind the House that Trinity College is so interwoven and blended by use and long possession with the University of Dublin, that, even if it were found to be expedient to dissever them, it would be difficult, if not dangerous. I find, too, that neither that College nor Dublin University are exclusive establishments. In 1793, that memorable year when the elective franchise was given to the Roman Catholics of Ireland — when the Relief Act, as it was termed, was passed by the Irish Parliament, an important and considerable relaxation as to the exclusive character of Dublin University took place. I will read, if the House will allow me, the Clause from the Act for the Relief of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in Ireland, by which this change was effected:—And, whereas, it may be expedient, in case His Majesty, his heirs and successors, shall be pleased so to alter the statutes of the College of the Holy and undivided Trinity, near Dublin, and of the University of Dublin, as to enable persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, to enter into or to take degrees in the said University, to remove any obstacle which now exists by Statute Law; be it enacted, that from and after the 1st day of June, 1793, it shall not be necessary for any person upon taking any of the degrees usually conferred by the said University, to make or subscribe any declaration, or to take any oath, save the oaths of allegiance and abjuration, any law or statute to the contrary notwithstanding.That law now regulates the University of Dublin; and the Sovereign, by the advice of the Government, almost immediately after the passing of the Relief Act, by letters patent, enlarged the rights and privileges of the Roman Catholics in respect to Trinity College and the Dublin University. The Roman Catholic students, therefore, are now admitted to Trinity College and Dublin University without any test except those oaths which they have no difficulty in taking. They are all admitted to degrees; and to all the other advantages of the University. When I say all the advantages, I except, of course, which is certainly very important—the emoluments arising from the original endowment, 362 which it expressly limited to Protestant uses. The right hon. Gentleman [Mr. Wyse who had interjaculated a remark,] says, that these emoluments constitute the real essence of college advantages, and the right hon. Gentleman talks of the "golden fruits" of collegiate establishments, referring, so far as I understand, to the scholarships. But, Sir, the fellowships, with, the exception of two, are held, I think, under the terms of the charter, by clergymen of the Church of England; but as to the scholarships, a greater doubt exists. Allow me to call your attention to some evidence upon the subject, which I think of great importance. I am about to read the evidence given by Mr. O'Connell before a Committee of the House of Lords in the year 1825 upon this point—on the point whether it was desirable that the scholarships of Trinity College should cease to be held as they at present are by Protestants only, and should be open to Roman Catholics? On the 11th of March, 1825, before the Committee in question, Mr. O'Connell was asked—Do you not know that at this moment there are a great number of Roman Catholics educated in the University of Dublin?The answer is—A great number; but at present, unfortunately, under unpleasant cirsumstances. There is, unfortunately, now a considerable spirit of religious acrimony, which, one way or the other, has got into Trinity College in Dublin, and makes it unpleasant to the Roman Catholic young gentlemen to be there: but very little attention would soon put a period to that, more especially as most of the fellows, I am sure, would most heartily concur in discountenancing it.Let me pray the House to attend to the following question and reply:—Would not one measure very much tend to conciliate the Roman Catholics, and to do away the unpleasantness to which you have referred, namely, that of leaving the election of scholarships open to both religions, which they are not now? I doubt that. I will state why. As Trinity College, Dublin, is constituted, it is intended for the education of the Protestant clergy. I do not think it would be a wise thing to give the scholarship to Catholic young men. I think that young men of talent who are intended for the Protestant Church, ought to have those scholarships. It is intended for the education of Protestants; but then the scholarships are helps to poor young men. The Protestant gentry can support themselves exclusively, and thus they seldom look for them, except 363 from political motives and the natural desire of young gentlemen to distinguish themselves; but no fellow-commoner can get a scholarship; the scholarship is, therefore, excluded from the Protestant gentry. My notion is, that the intention was to leave those scholarships for young men intended for the Protestant Church, who would exhibit their talents, and would have the means, by those scholarships, of supporting themselves till the time of their ordination in the Church. Considering that to be the case, I conceive that no other person ought to interfere with their possession of them.To this I have not a word to add. I rest upon this evidence—the evidence of Mr. O'Connell before a Committee of the House of Lords, and it appears to me with respect to the scholarships to be perfectly conclusive. Now, I must say, that apart from these considerations, I do think that any attempt to force on the Protestants of Ireland the admission of Roman Catholics or Dissenters to the emoluments of Trinity College, would involve the necessity of such a revision of the charter—such a disturbance of the rights of property—such a violation of Protestant feeling—such an alarm through the Protestant body, and I must say, such just cause for alarm, as would render any measure of Government for such a purpose, even if just, which I deny that it would be, utterly impracticable. Therefore, I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that such a course is one which the Government cannot and will not take. Nor, Sir, is it necessary that the existing University should be the University of the Colleges which we propose to establish. In 1787, Mr. Ord, the then Secretary for Ireland, did bring the question of collegiate education before the Irish Parliament. Several resolutions were proposed by him; they were fully debated for several days, and all but unanimously adopted. Among them was a resolution upon the question of founding a second University in Ireland, which I will read to the House. It was resolved—That the foundation and gradual endowment of a second University within this kingdom, by the aid and authority of Parliament, in addition to the present excellent establishment of Trinity College in this capital, might conduce to the greater perfection of a general system for the improvement of education, and to the wider diffusion of learning and science throughout the nation.The question was thus considered in an Irish Parliament — this Resolution was adopted; a determination was then taken 364 not to violate the existing institution of Trinity College, and the foundation of a second University in Ireland was held to be conducive to the public good. But I still think—although I have thought it right in candour, to enter fairly upon this subject, and to state my own views upon it—the question does not necessarily arise from the Bill we are now discussing. This Bill does not propose to establish Universities; it is limited to the foundation of three Colleges; and it will be open to the wisdom of Parliament—when it shall have seen the result of this experiment — to afford means to Her Majesty, in the exercise of Her prerogative, to establish all or any of them as Universities, with the faculty of granting degrees—to establish a new University in Dublin—or even, should Parliament see fit, to incorporate them with the existing Dublin University. Looking, then, practically at the question—viewing the difficulties which attend it on every side—I am disposed to recommend this measure as open, on the whole, to the fewest objections, and as practically most easy of execution. Now, Sir, I certainly should very imperfectly perform the task which I have undertaken, if I fail, before I sit down, to pay a tribute of well-merited applause to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Waterford (Mr. Wyse), whose exertions on this subject entitle him to great praise. Under the most adverse circumstances—through good report and evil report — he has struggled for this object—he has forced it upon the attention of reluctant Governments and adverse Parliaments—he has, greatly to his honour, done his utmost to give effect to his own views—and then, without a particle of jealousy or of ill-feeling even towards an Administration not generally possessing his confidence, but one which, he believed, was willing and had the power to give effect to his opinions, he has renounced for himself the glory, and relinquished it in favour of his adversaries. Conduct more honourable could not be exhibited by any gentleman; and whatever the success of this measure may be, and whose so ever the hands in which it may succeed, I shall never cease to think that a large portion of the merit of that success will belong to him. Now, I have stated what I feel with reference to the praise due to the hon. Gentleman, and I may ask the House to pay some attention to his opinions. He has considered the subject carefully and attentively, and he has 365 confined his exertions to the establishment of provincial Colleges. Let me read to the House what the hon. Member has put upon record as to this subject. In writing to Lord Morpeth, he thus expresses himself:—I trust, my Lord, I have placed before you (and in doing so before the Cabinet), with sufficient clearness, the chief bearings of this important subject, and that I have at last succeeded, after the many communications I have had with you already on every one of the points to which I have just endeavoured to call your attention, in impressing your Lordship with the necessity, the object, the nature, the advantages, but more especially with the practicability (which seemed to be so much doubted) of establishing and maintaining, not one, but, in time, a series of provincial Colleges in Ireland.I beg the House to observe what the hon. Gentleman says as to the success of a measure so limited:—For my own part, sensible as I am how little weight attaches to my opinion, I still venture to state, that every day that passes, and every person with whom I converse, adds only to my conviction, so often expressed before, that a greater boon could not be conferred on the country, blessing him that takes, and him that gives. A nobler monument could not be left behind them by the Government, more tending to the virtue and happiness of the people, to the quiet and prosperity of the country—more likely to be valued, and more valuable—but, above all, more cheap and more practicable than the execution of the project which not I, but a Committee of the House of Commons, here submits to your consideration.Such is the opinion of the hon. Gentleman as to the proposition which I have now brought under your notice. I agree with the hon. Gentleman. I am strongly and decidedly of opinion, that should the House sanction this proposition — limited as it is—that yet it involves a measure which will have a most favourable effect on the moral and social condition of the Irish people. My belief is, that it will conduce to the concord, the order, the peace, and the virtue of that country. To maintain and to preserve these is the grand object of successful civil government. I believe that if you will consent to this measure, these great and noble objects will be essentially promoted. I have been taunted with former failures, in reference to this subject. Sir, I am aware of my inability as an advocate to plead the cause of national education; but I am deeply impressed with its im- 366 portance, with the soundness of the principle which I have proposed; and I am confident, very confident, indeed, of the good which will result from it. I implore, then, your co-operation and general support. I ask for it without reference to religious differences which may prevail in Ireland, without regard to political disputes which may exist here. I have tried to state the case fully and fairly. I have not kept back any one point. I have enumerated all the difficulties which attend this measure—I have mentioned my own views as to those difficulties—I have announced the plan which Government proposes to carry into effect—I have not shrunk from mentioning that which, consistently with their sense of justice and honour, they cannot undertake to propose. I have done all this, and I have now only to thank the House for the patient attention which it has paid to me, and to move for leave to bring in a Bill to enable Her Majesty to endow new Colleges for the advancement of learning in Ireland.
§ Mr. Wyse
said, that connected as he had been for some time with promoting, at least, the discussion of this question, and hoping, through a long period, that there would at length arrive a time when the consideration of Parliament would be given to it without distinction of political or religious differences, he trusted that he might be permitted to detain their attention for a short period in making a few observations upon various parts of the project submitted to the House by the right hon. Gentleman. During the last Session of Parliament he had submitted to the Government a proposition which he thought it his duty to lay before the House and the country, and received upon that occasion from the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government a pledge, that during the recess, he would give every attention to inquire and consider what his Motion had in view; and that if it were not in the power of the Government to propose a measure likely to meet with the concurrence of the country, he would return it into his hands, and give him what support was within his reach. He must say, after having heard the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, that as far as one part of his plan went, he had redeemed that pledge to the full. The question resolved itself into two distinct branches. One referred to the establishment of institutions between elementary education and uni- 367 versity education. The second referred to university education immediately following that department to which he had before alluded. In the Report of 1838, a Committee of the House declared their opinion that it was unwise, dangerous, and pernicious to the social condition of the country and to its future tranquillity, that so much encouragement should be given to the education of the lowest classes, without, at the same time due provision being made for the education of the middle and upper classes: and in proportion as that education proceeded, it must have occurred to the observation of very many, that every day there was a greater chance of a contrast existing between the education of the lower and of the middle and upper classes. Great encouragement was afforded by the Government to the former, and even at that moment, by the existing system of elementary education, there were strong indications of a contrast between the old and the new system, which, if carried to a greater extent, might, perhaps, produce still more distinct opposition than now existed. The system of elementary education had been carried to a much greater extent than any former system; and not only was there a larger number of children educated, but, what was of greater importance, the education in those schools was superior to any that the country had hitherto had. He might also observe that the religious differences, from which so much was apprehended in this country, were gradually melting away. There was sufficient then, to justify the Government in laying down the same principle as the foundation of all other systems. He trusted, however, that the Government having given their consent to the establishment of thirty-two model schools, greater efficiency would be given to them than now existed. The colleges established in Ireland ought to be so constituted as to admit a large number of pupils, who should receive as effective a course of intellectual education as the improvements of the present day allowed. Far from undervaluing the importance of religious instruction or discipline, he had always expressed his strong opinion that it was most desirable such instruction should be rigidly enforced; and he would even go further than the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), and say that he considered the moral and religious conduct of the pupils should, in some degree, be taken as a test of their fitness for degrees. He considered 368 it desirable that theological chairs (as we understood the right hon. Gentleman), in connexion with the different religious communities, should be established in the new Colleges; and he could not think that the professors of any religion would grudge the pittance necessary for the endowment of a single chair at each College. He would combine with the chair of religion those of metaphysics, moral philosophy, and the philosophy of history. From the constant communion which would exist among the pupils, an opportunity would be afforded them of comparing their several opinions, and of removing any undue exaggeration or prejudice which might exist on the subject. He thought, also, that the persons appointed to the religious chairs should be approved by the bishop of the diocese, and that such steps should be taken as would afford the fullest guarantee that the distinctive opinions of every religious persuasion would be maintained, and protection afforded against any attempts at proselytism. He wished to call the attention of the Government to the control which it would be necessary to exercise with reference to those pupils who frequented the Colleges, but who did not reside with their own families. The pupils residing with their parents would, of course, be beyond the jurisdiction of the Colleges; but he considered it important that conservatoria, or boarding houses, should be established for the reception of pupils who came from distant parts of the country, and that they should be subjected to the strictest surveillance on the part of the College authorities. He also considered that the heads of the conservatoria should receive the approval of the religious superiors of the differrent classes. Some arrangement of that nature was necessary; and if carried out in such a manner as to meet the wishes of the ecclesiastical superiors of the different religious persuasions, it would go far to meet the objections to which collegiate institutions were open, on the grounds of morality and religion. The right hon. Baronet had not stated the nature of the instruction to be given in these Colleges, with the exception of a reference to the medical schools at Cork and Belfast. In his (Mr. Wyse's) opinion, a more industrial character ought to be imprinted upon the education given at the new Colleges, than existed generally with reference to the education imparted in Colleges and Universities in this country. 369 Mining operations were now extensively carried on in Ireland. They had but recently begun to explore the mines of that country, and it was most important that such a course of education should be adopted, as would qualify persons to conduct such operations. The establishment of an industrial museum in Dublin, which they owed to the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel), and the institution of a geological survey, which had developed the mining resources of Ireland, were most opportune in connexion with the establishment of the new Colleges. He considered that arrangements should be made for affording efficient instruction in civil engineering, and in those sciences which required practical exertion and knowledge. Such a course of instruction would induce habits of attention, thought, and tranquillity, which would eventually lead to the formation of a sound middle class in Ireland, and tend to promote peace and order in that country. He hoped attention would also he paid to the establishment of large museums and collections, which should not be confined to the use of the Colleges, but should be open to the public. In Cork, there was already the foundation of what might be rendered a valuable museum; and he believed, in many cases, if such institutions were established, private liberality would speedily aid in the formation of libraries. The question as to the payment of the professors, and their lodging in the Colleges, was very important. He considered (as we understood the right hon. Gentleman) that neither professors nor pupils should lodge in the Colleges except unmarried professors, for whom apartments could be provided at comparatively trifling expense. Then, as to the nomination of the professors, he admitted the propriety of their appointment, in the first instance, by the Crown; but he thought it might be advisable to pursue a medium course hereafter — to adopt a general concursus of examination — as in the University of Dublin; the person who obtained the prize, and who was so far entitled to the appointment, being subject to the approval of the Government. If the appointment rested altogether with the Government at all times, suspicion would at once be excited that the Colleges were only Government establishments, and that the official appointments were not open to that fair competition between man and man, which, in his opinion, gave the greatest vitality 370 to such institutions. Then it would be necessary that some regulation should be adopted as to the power of removal in the case of professors of religion and philosophy who might be guilty of misconduct. The question would be whether a permission or approbation should be required from their ecclesiastical superiors before proceedings were adopted? or whether the Government would debar itself altogether from any interference with the original appointment or with subsequent removal? He had been highly gratified by the statements of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) as to the absolute necessity of strict class examination. Without such contact between the tutors and the students as would enable the former to ascertain the mental powers which pupils possessed or could exert — without inquiring into their modes of study and of thought, he was satisfied these Colleges would degenerate into little more than lecture rooms of a popular description; and after much labour, and large expenditure, the Government would be compelled, as in the case of the Cork Institution, to suppress them altogether, or to effect an entire change in the system on which they were conducted. The right hon. Baronet had said nothing as to the attention of the students to religious duties. He presumed the right hon. Baronet did not intend the students to perform such duties in the Colleges; but that they should attend places of worship near the Colleges, but altogether unconnected with them. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Graham), who had mentioned only three Colleges—at Belfast, Cork, and Galway—did not intend to preclude the establishment of other similar institutions, if circumstances should render them necessary. However they might wish to multiply elementary schools, he concurred in the opinion expressed by those who had given great attention to the subject of education—that it was most unwise to scatter the energies necessary for imparting the higher grades of education over too many institutions. He therefore considered that, at present, the number of new Colleges proposed by Government would be sufficient; and he believed a judicious selection had been made of the places at which those Colleges were to be established. But he must say that he should like, in addition, to see another College instituted either at or near Dublin; not because he wished to establish a sort of ostentatious antagonism to the Univer- 371 sity of Dublin, but because he thought that, if industrial education was of importance, Dublin should not be excluded from the advantages of an establishment which afforded facilities for such education. The next point to which he would call the attention of the House was the question, whether or not these Colleges should remain detached, separate institutions, or whether they should form, on the plan of the University of London, an aggregation of Colleges under the name of a University. He was decidedly of opinion that, sooner or later, such an arrangement must be adopted; because if they gave all these Colleges the name of Universities, and the power of conferring degrees, they would have the same results as had been produced in Scotland and in various parts of Germany, where the minor colleges had sunk into little more than grammar schools. It would also be impossible to obtain anything like unity or harmony of instruction without some superior head, which might concentrate the scattered rays of light from different parts of the country, and return them back to the country after they had been purified at that centre. But the next and the most difficult question was, whether such central University should be a new University, as had been proposed, under the name of "The University of Ireland," or whether they should not rather make use of existing institutions, and, by a little alteration of those institutions, render them subservient to the purposes they had in view. The University of Ireland—if such an institution were established—might, perhaps, after a time, fairly compete with the University of Dublin; but a considerable time must elapse ere that could be the case. Such an institution would, in the first instance, be regarded contemptuously, not from any deficiency of character, but merely because it was a new establishment. No one could forget the difficulties with which the University of London, during the earlier years of its existence, had to contend; and it was difficult to overrate the prestige of an old University as contrasted with a new one. The University of London had undoubtedly extended its influence; and now, instead of only four Colleges, he believed there were no less than twenty-four in connexion with it. The instruments by which the University of Dublin was founded styled that institution "Mater Universitatis;" and this fact, he thought, clearly showed that an intention existed at 372 that time that other Colleges, in connexion with that University, should be established. The Act of Settlement formerly enacted that a second College should be established, to be called "King's College," and to be endowed at the rate of 2,000l. a year; but various circumstances had rendered it unnecessary to establish a second College. In the Act of 1793, to which the right hon. Home Secretary had referred, it was distinctly stated, that any future College to be founded and annexed to the University of Dublin, should be open alike to Catholics and Protestants; not only to its studies, its instructions, but also its emoluments, its fellowships, and its scholarships. In calling upon the Government, then, to open the University of Dublin, he merely called upon them to enforce the Act of Settlement, by the establishment of other Colleges; and to carry out the Act of 1793, by opening those Colleges to persons of all religious persuasions. But he was met with the objection, "How are we to establish a governing body?" The senior Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin, constituted, at present, the governing body of the College and of the University; but if other Colleges founded at Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Belfast, were aggregated to the University, he did not see why they should not possess representation in the governing body, which should still comprise a number of senior Fellows of Trinity College. He could not see anything in such a measure calculated to afford just cause of alarm to Protestants or Presbyterians, more than to the Catholic population of Ireland. The question of throwing open Trinity College, Dublin, was entirely distinct, and was undoubtedly embarrassed with very serious difficulties. The College of Dublin was founded by Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant Sovereign; but previously to its foundation, other religious institutions had existed in Ireland—many of them connected with the Dominicans—all of which were suppressed at the Reformation; and this foundation of Elizabeth, a Protestant Sovereign, was consequent on the suppression of those Catholic institutions. This fact ought to be borne in mind, when they were about establishing other institutions for the education of Protestants as well as Catholics in Ireland. All the endowments of Trinity College, private as well as public, were Protestant; and among them were those of Erasmus Smith and Provost Baldwin, 373 which were of great value. He hoped no hon. Member would suppose that he intended to demand that a single shilling of the money thus given by Protestants should be appropriated to other than Protestant purposes. He did by no means admit that Trinity College, Dublin, was wholly an ecclesiastical institution; and he never at any time said that it was so. It was quite true all the fellowships at Trinity College, excepting three, were ecclesiastical. There were, as he said, only three lay fellowships; and even those who obtained scholarships were expected to declare that they intended to become ecclesiastics. Now, with respect to Trinity College, which was the only College at present in the University of Dublin, he should propose to leave its funds and its fellowships precisely as they at present stood; but he should greatly desire to see some lay fellowships added, for which Bo-man Catholics and Protestant Dissenters might be eligible. He was aware it might be said that the College of Maynooth did not admit Protestants, and that by the same rule the University of Dublin ought not to be expected to admit Roman Catholics. To that he replied, that the University of Dublin was not an exclusively ecclesiastical institution, and that the College of Maynooth was; and was intended so to continue. If fellowships and scholarships were created in the University of Dublin to which Roman Catholics would be eligible, the governing body might remain on the same principle as at present, their numbers being in proportion to the number of Protestant and Roman Catholic fellows, scholars, and students. The principle had already been recognised; it was the same as that adopted in the Bequests Act. Thus he would have all that was ecclesiastical in the College of Dublin to the Established Church, claiming for the Roman Catholics and the Protestant Dissenters eligibility to lay offices. So long as Trinity College was solely Protestant he did not think it desirable that there should exist in the same city another University; for there was great danger that that would become exclusively Roman Catholic; and if two such establishments were to be placed face to face, there was a risk that such an arrangement, instead of promoting harmony, would be productive of division. He was happy to observe, by the observations made to-night, that the Government did not preclude itself from making any addition to the University of 374 Dublin which circumstance might render necessary; and he hoped in any new establishment which might be formed, means would be taken to give it an expansive power, and to impart to it that weight in the literary world, without which it could not be expected to possess permanent or extensive utility. Oxford and Cambridge contained many offices to which great rewards belonged, and the holders of these situations had no very heavy duties to perform, at least in the middle and advanced periods of life. That was precisely as it should be; for these offices proved rewards to men who had devoted their early years to the pursuits of literature and science, while the leisure which they enabled their holders to enjoy, gave them opportunities to produce works which might be expected to live beyond the present time. It was well known that the people of Ireland were not deficient in activity of mind, or in natural talents; but it was equally well known that the middle classes in that country were not as anxious for literary and scientific attainments, as it was desirable they should be: he hailed, therefore, with infinite satisfaction the propositions that night made by Her Majesty's Government; he regarded it as a great boon that establishments were now to be created for the purpose of communicating that knowledge which would teach men to forget their prejudices — which would remove the scales of ignorance from their eyes—which would make them remember not the differences between them and their fellow men, but the points in which they resembled each other; which would induce them to contend for the wealth that knowledge gave, as well as that which flowed from the Treasury. To do that was to obtain for every investment the largest amount of return—it was to place it out at the best usury. The course which Her Majesty's Government were now pursuing, was one which the country would view with satisfaction, and which they themselves would hereafter recollect with that pleasure, to which so judicious a proceeding would entitle them. He begged to thank the right hon. Boronet for the terms in which he had mentioned his name; and he heartily rejoiced at the near approach of that time when Ireland might hope to be regenerated by improved intelligence, morality, and education, rather than by force or violence.
§ Mr. Ross
, on his own part and that of his constituents, expressed his thanks for 375 the measure, and for the manner in which the right hon. Baronet brought the subject before the House. He (Mr. Ross) felt persuaded that the proposed plan would give satisfaction not only to the managers of the Belfast Institution, but to the General Assembly, who were apprehensive lest their rights should be invaded. It was well known that the Remonstrant Synod was not on good terms with the General Assembly; but the project of making this institution of a non-sectarian character, and at the same time of reserving the rights of the Presbyterians, would have the effect of reconciling all differences. He had had an assurance from both parties that something of this kind was expected by them, and that it would give them much satisfaction. The proposal, he was sure, would also afford general satisfaction in the north of Ireland.
§ Mr. M. Bellew
concurred with the view taken by his hon. Friend (Mr. Wyse) of this measure. He feared that if the new Colleges were not connected with the present University they would want that prestige which an old institution necessarily had. He bailed this measure as an illustration of the admission that ascendancy could be no longer acted upon in Ireland. To show to what an extent the spirit was now carried, he might mention that four professorships were now open to Roman Catholics, but not one had ever been appointed. It was said that the Catholics of Ireland were admitted to the benefits of the education at Trinity College, just as the Dissenters were admitted to our Universities. But there was no analogy between the case of Dissenters, forming one-fifth of the population, and that of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, being the vast majority of the people. He thought the reasons which the right hon. Gentleman had stated for placing the nomination to the professorships in the hands of Government satisfactory. The hon. Gentleman then quoted some passages from the pamphlet referred to in the morning Chronicle, by a Catholic priest, and said he did not think any education would be satisfactory to the Catholics which did not place the religious supervision of the pupils in the hands of the priesthood.
§ Mr. E. B. Roche
received this measure with great thankfulness, because it tended to enlighten the middle class. The great 376 safeguard of the State was the possessing a middle class, educated and enlightened. It was the great want in Ireland. The national system gave the lower classes a far better education than that which the middle ranks had a right from their position to claim for themselves. This measure would restore the middle classes to their proper position in point of education. A Repealer, as he was, he hailed it on this account; for he was as adverse to the undue power of a democracy, as to the domination of an aristocracy. The speech of the right hon. Baronet was valuable for the principles which it laid down. He (Mr. Roche) was bound to say that this 18,000l. a-year, and 100,000l. for the establishment of certain Colleges in Ireland, did not strike his mind as sufficiently comprehensive. The plan did not go far enough; it was not a perfect system of education, because there was no connecting link between elementary education, as provided by the national system, and this collegiate education. The right hon. Baronet said something mysterious about model schools; but it appeared that the funds for their support were to be taken from the national system of education; so that the means of education among the lower classes were to be diminished for the benefit of the middle classes. He would suggest that country academies should be established. He would give no opinion as to the opening of Trinity College; but if they refused to open it, they ought to establish in Dublin a University with power to give degrees; and it would be well to give the same privileges to the College at Cork. He congratulated his right hon. Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. Wyse) on his victory, and on his having obtained from an adverse Government what he had failed to obtain from the one to which he belonged. He was ready to accept the measure as one of peace and hope to Ireland. All the people of that country asked for was, that you should give them the opportunity of enlightening their minds. The ignorance in which they had been kept had enabled the oppressive conduct of England towards Ireland to be continued much longer than would otherwise have been possible; and the present measure, by removing that ignorance, would be the best guarantee against its revival. It was his fervent hope that his countrymen might make progress in the 377 knowledge of their rights—might rise in the scale of civilization—and, asserting a noble destiny, be in a position to assist England in all her endeavours, and to vindicate the beneficent intentions of Providence.
§ Sir R. Inglis
thought that a principle of great importance was involved in the measure of which notice had been given; and, considering that the ground, on which this experiment was to be made, was Ireland, he had waited until Gentlemen—more immediately connected with that division of the Empire (still united)—had enjoyed the opportunity of delivering their opinions, before he trespassed on the attention of the House. He had heard the hon. Member for Waterford, who was so long connected with this subject, and who was now so justly triumphant in having his views, which were not countenanced by the late Government, adopted by the present. He had also heard the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ross), who is connected with what was called the Presbyterian part of Ireland, but what he would more willingly call the great Protestant part of Ireland; and then followed the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Bellew), and the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Roche). The testimony of the latter hon. Gentleman in favour of the measure had peculiar force, inasmuch as one of the new Colleges was to be founded in that county which he represents. But the principle involved in the Bill was one of imperial and national importance. Did he understand his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) to say that not only was there to be no exclusive religious instruction in those institutions which, in the name of Her Majesty, he now proposed to endow, but that there was to be no religious instruction whatsoever given in those institutions? [Sir J. Graham: Hear.] That cheer, he feared, acknowledged the accuracy of his memory. The researches of the hon. Member for Waterford were, perhaps, the most laboriously prosecuted by any hon. Member of the House on the subject of education; yet he would fail to show a single instance in history, of a national institution for education connected with the State, and endowed by the State, except on the principles of the Established Church, whether that Church were the Church of Rome, or the Church of Scotland, or the Protestant Episcopal Church which is now the Established Church of Great Britain and Ireland. He could not have believed a few years ago that the present measure 378 would be proposed by the present Ministers. When the London University was proposed to be established, its endowment was objected to by them on the ground of the exclusion of religious instruction. He had believed that those who objected to that would never be the persons to introduce a measure of this kind, in which all religious instruction was to be excluded. He knew indeed, that, collaterally with the Government Colleges, opportunities would be open to rich and benevolent persons to make endowments for religious education; but he did not wish that subjects of such an important kind as this should be left to the uncertainties of voluntary contributions. He thought that all men ought to carry into public life the principles of Christian action which they held in private life. When he spoke of religious instruction, he did not suppose that his right hon. Friend would exclude from the education of his own private family religious instruction. He knew that he would not, and that he did not. However, he could not see the difference between the course which ought to be pursued between one who had the government of a family in respect to religious instruction, and one who had a greater and a larger responsibility-He thought that there was no time at which, for all purposes, it was more necessary to enforce public as well as private morality. He was sure that his right hon. Friend must desire to hold in public every course of action which he maintained in his private character. Now his right hon. Friend proposed to establish three Colleges in Ireland. The whole proposal seemed to be that all their instruction should be based upon this world, and without any instructions which could make the students better prepared for the world hereafter. All which the State provided for them — all which the State thought necessary for them—all which the State thought it to be its duty to secure for them — had reference to this world only. The State regarded them not as immortal beings, but as creatures of a day. The State regarded them not as accountable to their Maker. It was a gigantic scheme of Godless education. Nothing, he thought, was more calculated to promote such a Godless scheme of education, than the measure now before the House. The effect of the statement of his right hon. Friend was that religious instruction was to be altogether excluded. There was some talk about the establishment of a professorship of moral philosophy; but what was the advan- 379 tage of that unless the teaching were to be founded on the great basis of religious truth? What was the strength and efficacy of any moral lesson, except traced up to the word and will of God? He would consent to no education founded on any other principle. As to the places where the converse was to prevail, if it were to prevail, he was indifferent; and, therefore, as to the particular application of this Bill to different localities, this did not appear to him to be a matter of the least importance. It was for others to consider that. For himself, it appeared a matter quite unimportant in what locality those Colleges should be placed. But he was sure that his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin must have listened with great suspicion to the plaudits with which parts of the scheme of the Government had been received by hon. Members opposite. He was sure that he must have listened with alarm to the exposition of a measure which tended to shake the Protestant influence in that University. He contended that that University had always been declared to be a Protestant institution—that it was founded by Protestant money—and that it had been instituted for the education of persons connected with the Protestant Church. The opinion of Mr. O'Connell had been quoted in defence of the integrity of that Protestant University of Dublin; but when it was so quoted, he had heard the right hon. Member for Dungarvon express, in a very loud whisper, that "that evidence had been given many years ago." Now, the meaning of this was, that because the opinions alluded to had been expressed many years ago, they were not to be binding now. He admitted that opinions might and ought to change. But he thought that the opinion quoted of Mr. O'Connell, was not merely an opinion, but a principle, and a profession of faith. He thought that the opinion amounted to just as much as if he were to say, "You shall have a certain thing—you shall have a certain right, or, possessing that right, I shall not attempt to deprive you of it." Recollecting, then, not merely some passages in the present debate, but also the statement of the right hon. Member for Dungarvon at the beginning of the Session, that the Roman Catholics considered it to be a point of honour to gain admission to the foundation of Trinity College, Dublin, he felt the danger, which, as a consequence of the present measure, might affect that institution: but 380 his objection to this measure was still more strongly direct. He objected to the plan proposed by his right hon. Friend, principally on the ground that it excluded religious instruction from the Colleges. The proposed institution would bring together five or six thousand young men; and he would ask was it right that, being so brought together by the State, they should be left by the State without the means of religious instruction? He believed that this measure was supported by many who had heretofore reprobated the principle of supporting institutions for education apart from religious instruction. He recollected a time when those who had introduced this measure would have been the last persons expected to bring it forward. Now, what had been said of the objections applicable to the University of London was still stronger when applied to bodies in the condition of those which it was proposed to establish. Entertaining the opinions which he did, he never could give his consent to a measure like the present—involving such principles, and leading to such results. He believed that the measure now proposed was inconsistent with the practice of all Christian nations; and inconsistent, at all events, with what had hitherto been the practice of this Christian nation. Until this time, they in this House never had been called upon to support any institution in which not only was religious instruction not supported, but from which religious instruction was to be excluded. All this he collected too surely from the speech of his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) and the debate which had followed. Still, as the mere words of the Motion did not express the principle of excluding religious instruction, he did not feel bound to divide the House against the Motion of his right hon. Friend. However, if any hon. Members concurred with him in opposing the proposition, he would join with them in voting against it. He had felt anxious to express his strongest opposition to the proposed measure; and if no other voice said no, he would enter his protest against the measure.
§ Mr. Sheil
The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford had characterized the measure of the Government as "a gigantic scheme of Godless education;" but the hon. Baronet seemed to condemn the scheme, not so much because no religion was to be taught, as because the creed of the Church of England was not the object of exclusive inculcation. The state- 381 ments of the Secretary for the Home Department, in which he had referred to the disastrous failure of every attempt made in Ireland to propagate education upon the exclusive principles of the Church of England, should have convinced the hon. Baronet, that in those experiments it I was perfectly useless to persist. The hon. Member's chief objection to the plan was, that it was not connected with the religion of the State. He went so far as to say, that it was the first example of a plan of education being supported by the State, without the inculcation of the religion in the State. Was not the existence of the present national system of education in Ireland an instance to the contrary?—the system proposed by his right hon. Friend the Member for Waterford, to whom the whole of the original design belonged—though he must say that he never heard a Minister of the Crown make that admission except on this occasion. The whole of the plan introduced by Lord Stanley, when the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet were associated in office, was borrowed from the valuable suggestions of his right hon. Friend, whose reward was confined to his own consciousness—a reward of the highest order of remuneration. With what justice could the hon. Baronet represent education unconnected with religion, and supported by the State, as unexampled? [Sir R. Inglis; Endowed.] Were they to dispute about terms in this manner? The hon. Gentleman, the Member for a great scholastic institution, was more disposed to indulge in subtleties than became a Gentleman who professed such unbending adherence to principle. The hon. Member had argued at length to show that a mere difference in amount was equivalent to one in principle. There was no real and substantial difference between a grant for one year, and a permanent endowment — of which one great advantage was, that it would put an end to the unfortunate controversies they all so much lamented. In one point of view he coincided with the hon. Baronet; he thought it was unfortunate that some means had not been devised, and he trusted that the ingenuity of the right hon. Baronet opposite would be exercised for the purpose of discovering means by which the reproach would be removed, that no religious instruction of any kind whatever was to be given. Their object, of course, was to make the measure acceptable to the great body of the people, and above 382 all, to those who had so great influence with them—the Catholic priesthood of Ireland—to conciliate whose feelings they had lately proved themselves most anxious. He believed that the great body of the Roman Catholic priesthood would murmur if no means were adopted for the purpose of conveying any religious instruction whatsoever. His hon. Friend adverted to a suggestion of the right hon. Baronet, that hereafter individuals would be permitted to grant money for the purpose of instituting a chair of divinity, if they thought proper—that was leaving it to contingency. They would object to the plan of Ministers on that ground. He held a pamphlet, written by a gentleman of very high character, with whom he had the pleasure of being acquainted—a professor in the Roman Catholic College of Thurles, who enjoyed universal consideration, and, he believed, spoke the sentiments of the Roman Catholics. This writer said, they certainly would prefer a separate system of education, although there were great difficulties in the way. But then, he added, with a mixed system of education, religious instruction was perfectly compatible. He hoped they would excuse him for offering these suggestions. He was pointing out one imperfection which might be fatal. Religious instruction was given to the lower orders under the present system of national education in Ireland. They could surely afford facilities of a similar nature for the conveyance of religious education to the Roman Catholics and Protestants who might attend the proposed institutions. He thought they ought to make it imperative on every student who should belong to those establishments to attend some place of religious worship. They said they would not give money to support the separate system of religious education, and so much obloquy had been directed against Maynooth, that a similar storm might be expected, if they were to make the Roman Catholic religion taught in any one of them. But a middle course might be adopted. The Roman Catholic bishop would find means to give religious instruction to the students; it would be his duty to do so; and he (Mr. Sheil) only desired that the bishop should be enabled to do that. He was anxious that the plan should succeed; but there was much in it that was imperfect. They had done great mischief with respect to the Bequests Bill, by not consulting the Catholic bishops; they had consulted them 383 on the Maynooth plan, at his recommendation, and they had succeeded, he believed, with the entire of the Catholic hierarchy. He warned them that they must obtain the support of the bishops, for the purpose of effecting the objects they had in view. He could not help adverting to the intimations given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin. The right hon. Gentleman had not told them whether those gratuities of which he had spoken were to be appropriated by the University of Dublin. He referred to an Act of 1793, by which the fellowships were reserved exclusively for Protestants; but there was a very important section of that Act to which he did not direct the attention of the House. That section provided that there might be another college connected with the University of Dublin. The University of Dublin and Trinity College were quite distinct. There was only one college at present; but the Act of 1793 contemplated another college to be connected with Trinity College. In 1793 the Roman Catholics enjoyed less authority than now, and yet even then it was felt that they should have access to academical honours, and by having a college of their own be placed in conjunction with Trinity College. He thought it would be well to look into that clause, and carry out the policy which the Government contemplated in 1793. For his own part, he always thought, and still continued to think, that the opening of Trinity College, Dublin, was of great national importance in a political point of view, in order to conciliate the great masses of the people, and also with a view to carry out that system of conciliation which had been commenced. Reference had been made to the evidence given by his hon. and learned Friend Mr. O'Connell before a Committee of the House of Commons many years ago. The circumstances under which that evidence was given were these. At that time there was a proposal made to the Roman Catholics, that upon certain conditions Catholic Emancipation should be granted. It was proposed, among other things, that the Catholic clergy should be endowed. The proposition was of most signal importance in reference to this great question. If the Catholic clergy had been endowed, a provision of 400,000l. or 500,000l. would have been granted. Such was the proposal made by Lord F. Egerton. If that scheme had been carried into effect, Trinity College would have been allowed 384 to remain undisturbed. "But," said the right hon. Gentleman, "the proposal was rejected by you. When you rejected the terms of the Treaty then tendered to you, it was not reasonable that, after a lapse of twenty years, you should refer to what was only conditionally offered on our part. You never entered into any terms with us till 1829, and then the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) said that the measure of that year was proposed without any conditions on his part, and certainly without any condition on ours. It was, therefore, not legitimate to go back to propositions made before that measure was proposed, and especially when those propositions were made under certain stipulations." They thought it not consistent with justice or policy to open Trinity College. He (Mr. Sheil) thought it was not consistent with justice or policy to close it. They would leave it in the enjoyment of a permanent revenue. Trinity College possessed vast territories. It had 300,000 Irish acres. There were many valuable fellowships, each worth 2,000l. a year, besides the great social position which a fellowship conferred. From the talent required to attain a fellowship, and from their possessing the power of returning two Members to Parliament, Trinity College must always enjoy a paramount superiority over every other institution. As long as that predominance lasted, so long they could not expect the Catholic people would be reconciled to that establishment. He knew that they would tell him that the interest of the Protestant Establishment required the exclusion of the Roman Catholics from the honours of that College. Thus they were ever met with the Establishment. It was not the Government who opposed them, but it was the Establishment. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) had said that Ireland was his difficulty. It was not Ireland; it was the Establishment. It was that which encountered him at every step, because he could not propose any measure without diminishing the wealth of that Establishment. Could he not then take a middle course? The fellowships might be called sacerdotal, and, therefore, could not be dealt with; but there was another class, namely, scholarships, which were open to a new arrangement. There were seventy scholarships in Trinity College. To obtain such a step as a scholarship would be of great importance to a Roman Catholic who entered Trinity College with a 385 view to make his way in life. "What connexion," said the right hon. Gentleman, "had these lay fellowships, or scholars, with ecclesiastical matters? You admit the Roman Catholic to the University. You say he has all the advantages of Trinity College. He would reply, he has not; he has not the golden fruits that grow upon the tree of knowledge. He has not the full enjoyment of the College; he ought not to have been admitted there, or when let in, he ought to have had the full enjoyment of all its benefits. It was a system of the worst and the oldest times. At present the only advantage a Roman Catholic had was to be admitted a sizer. After the lapse of two years he might become a candidate for a scholarship, but to do so he must relinquish his religion. What a temptation! How shameful it was that in your University you should have this wretched decoy to apostacy! If they left Trinity College as it now stood, they would leave a memorial of ascendancy. What he wanted was perfect equality between Roman Catholic and Protestant; but that perfect equality could not be obtained without making the change in the establishment of Trinity College which had been suggested.
§ Sir R. Peel
Mr. Speaker—Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has not, either by his speech or by the course he seems prepared to take on this occasion, removed the impression under which I spoke in 1835, when I said that the chief difficulty of my Government would be found in Ireland. The right hon. Member has certainly not done anything to remove the impression, when he tells us he is prepared to combine with the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University in opposition, on principle, to a measure which I believe calculated to advance the moral, social, and physical welfare of the people of Ireland. Now, addressing myself, in the first place, to the observations made by my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, I put the simple but solemn question, What is the condition of Ireland with regard to educational institutions? You have provided ample means for the education of the very poorest classes in Ireland, and, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has told you, you have contrived to give a moral and religious education to above 400,000 of the children of the poorer classes, uniting, in many schools, Roman 386 Catholics and Protestants. But we find that in Ireland there is a great want of the means of academical instruction. In Scotland, with a population of scarcely more than one-third that of Ireland, there are five collegiate institutions, dispensing all the advantages of a perfect education to the children of the higher classes. But in Ireland, there are no such means of education for the middle classes in existence. There are two institutions affording secular and religious education—Trinity College, in Dublin, immediately connected with the Protestant Established Church, and providing religious instruction according to the forms of the Established Church; and the College of Maynooth, whose operations are practically confined to the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood. But in no other instances do the means exist, in Ireland, of providing academical instruction in institutions patronized and encouraged by the State. We propose to supply those means. We have to deal with a country the great majority of whose inhabitants are Roman Catholics—persons not in communion with the Established Church; and we propose to give the youth of all persuasions the means of meeting together and joining in honourable rivalry in academical education. How can we do this? We propose to establish three Colleges in different parts of the country. In the north, no College can possibly be established, the benefits of which will not mainly flow to the youth of the Presbyterian persuasion; and in the south and west, any such institutions must be practically for the benefit of the Roman Catholics. My hon. Friend says, he objects to this measure, because I do not propose to make religious education a necessary part of the course of instruction to be given in these new Colleges. Why, if you make it so in the sense which my hon. Friend means, you will make it utterly impossible to give academical instruction in Ireland. Now, I agree with my hon. Friend upon the necessity and justice of maintaining the Established Church, and of maintaining Trinity College as a Protestant University. But I cannot concur with him as to the policy or justice of laying down the rule, that no opportunity should be given by the State for the education of the Roman Catholic youth of Ireland. If you will attach to any system of academical education in that country the necessity of 387 theological education in the doctrines of the Protestant Church, the attempt to found these new institutions will be vain and fallacious. The new Colleges in the west and south will, I repeat, conduce chiefly to the benefit of Roman Catholics; but I do earnestly hope that Protestants will resort there, and will be united in education with their Roman Catholic fellow countrymen. But our intention being to afford them these advantages and opportunities, my hon. Friend asks me why we do not supply theological education also? Now, here I may say my hon. Friend scarcely acts with consistency. When we propose a grant to Maynooth, for the purpose of supplying such education, my hon. Friend opposes it, and says that we are acting contrary to the principles of our faith, and the will of our Maker. But now, when we propose founding institutions on a different system, to supply laymen with the means of liberal education without enforcing religious instruction, my hon. Friend, and those who were most eager in opposing the increased grant for the instruction of the Roman Catholic priests, turn round and charge us with infidelity and atheism, because we abstain from introducing a system of theological instruction. Now, we do not wish to banish religious instruction from these Colleges: we attach, on the contrary, the utmost importance to it. But we earnestly hope that the natural protectors of youth, their parents and guardians, will take care that they are imbued in the doctrines of Christianity according to the faiths in which they have been severally brought up. I regretted to hear the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) say, that we ought to have consulted the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland before we proposed to found these institutions. Why, Sir, we did so when we were making a proposition for a grant to a Roman Catholic institution. The right hon. Gentleman said, that we had consulted these personages with respect to the Maynooth grant, and had gained their assent to our plan; but that we had not consulted them now, and that, therefore, our measure was certain to fail of its object. Now, I do think, that if we had consulted the Roman Catholic prelates, it would have been incumbent on us also to consult the prelates of the Established Church; and I venture to say, that if we had done this, it would 388 have been utterly impossible to establish any scheme of academical education. We find in the south and west, in the neighbourhoods of Cork, Galway, and Limerick, no means of academical education existing. We say that we will provide the means—that we will found professorships in various walks of science, in literature, chemistry, &c., and we will provide the means of attendance at an excellent medical school. Now, if we endow a theological professor, my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford will tell us that we must endow one exclusively to teach the doctrines of the Protestant Church. But I apprehend, Sir, that the Roman Catholics of Ireland, perceiving the endowment of a Protestant professor in a Roman Catholic part of that country, would require, as a condition of the attendance of their youth at the institutions, at least the additional endowment of a Roman Catholic professor of theology. Sir, I doubt much that such arrangement would be for the advantage of either religion. But, at the same time, we profess our willingness to consult in every particular the wishes of parents and guardians—of the natural protectors of the young people. We will provide apartments in which youth may receive instruction from professors of divinity — from clergymen connected with the religion of each pupil—imposing on no one any compulsion of attending at these lectures, but giving every facility for attending religious lectures according to the wishes of parents and natural protectors of the youth. We attach the utmost importance to regular attendance at places of worship; but we will attach no place of worship to the institutions themselves. But this must be observed, that we do not intend to receive the pupils within the walls of the new Colleges. No domestic and complete charge is to be taken of them, such as is taken in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The pupils will lodge in the town, at their parents' or guardians' houses; or, if these be at a distance, with persons to whose care their natural protectors shall commit them. We trust that the greatest care will be taken of them; but, circumstanced as the people of Ireland are, with the great body of the people dissenting from the doctrines of the established religion, it would be in vain to establish these academical institutions, if we attempted to impose obligations to 389 attend places of religious worship. So far, however, as professors, or teachers voluntarily endowed, may be concerned, we are determined to afford them every facility. We will require no religious test from the professor—we will impose none on the pupil; but I cannot believe that we can enforce religious teaching or attendance without violating principles which I believe to be beneficial. Do not consider that parents will be indifferent to the great objects of religion. Consider that in these new Colleges we will not exercise the same discipline over the youth that is exercised in the great Universities, where the students are received within the walls of the institution. Now, Sir, I do feel it hard, that when bringing forward this Motion, we should be met by my hon. Friend (Sir R. H. Inglis) with the assertion that we are proposing a gigantic scheme of Godless education. I will prove to my hon. Friend that for the last twenty years—indeed, ever since he has been in Parliament—he has been a party to the public pecuniary support of a system founded precisely on the principles of that which he is now denouncing. An institution on the voluntary principle was founded some years ago in Belfast. It originated in a feeling on the part of the inhabitants that the Dublin University was too remote from them; and at a public meeting of the merchants and principal inhabitants, the foundation of the institution was determined on. The religious difficulty, and the question whether the education was to be exclusively secular or not, were taken fully into consideration. It was found that the attempt to enforce attendance at divinity lectures would be fatal to the whole project. It was therefore determined to found lectureships on subjects connected with science, on agriculture, manufactures, and arts; at which persons wishing to acquire information on these subjects might receive instruction, without having received the rudiments of a liberal education. Were the men who took part in this arrangement irreligious men? No. So deeply were the Protestants of Ireland convinced of the benefits that would accrue from such an institution—so convinced were they that the arrangement was required by the constitution of society in that country, that his Grace the Primate of Ireland, the Marquesses of Donegal and Downshire, the Bishop of Down and 390 Connor, and the Bishop of Dromore consented to become subscribers and visitors to the institution. This occurred about thirty years ago. Now, seeing what was then done by men who were ornaments of the Protestant Church, shall we now, after the removal of religious disabilities, and the establishment of perfect equality, object to a system similar to that which then received the sanction of the bishops of the Church? Shall we be told that in establishing institutions with exactly the same purpose, we are encouraging infidelity, and patronizing godless education? [Sir R. Inglis: The Belfast institution is altogether a voluntary one.] My hon. Friend means to imply that no Act of Parliament has passed for the regular establishment of the institution. But I tell my hon. Friend that the reverse is the fact. In 1810 an Act passed, distinctly incorporating the institution, and appointing the very parties I have named to be visitors and to take active part in its superintendence. My hon. Friend will be called on this year to vote 2,500l. towards this institution. [Sir R. Inglis: Does my right hon. Friend know that I shall support the vote?] Whatever my hon. Friend may do this year, he last year, and for twenty years before, gave his vote and his support to a pecuniary grant to the institution in question. It is true that the Presbyterian body appoint four divinity professors, each of whom receives an allowance from the Parliamentary grant. But in places where the majority of the inhabitants are not in communion with the Established Church, we have been compelled to adapt our arrangements to varying circumstances, and to relax from the rule we adopt in England, where most persons are members of the Established religion. This step was, therefore, taken with respect to the Belfast institution; and we ask you to give the inhabitants of the south and west of Ireland, something similar to that which you have given to the Presbyterians of the north, and what we ourselves already enjoy. We intend to improve the means of academical instruction for the youth of Ireland; but this intention you would nullify by making the reception of religious instruction according to the Established Church a necessary condition of education at the institutions we propose to erect. Contemplating the advantages that will probably arise from these institutions, if they are cordially 391 supported by men of all parties, I am tempted to ask how can it interfere with religion to promote science and scholarship—to make men good mathematicians, good chemists, good astronomers—to instruct them to admire the power and beneficence of the great Creator, by expanding their minds with the knowledge of his wonderful works? My firm belief is, that you have a better security for religious instruction in the sense of duty and obligation on the part of the parents of youth, than in any system of compulsion that you can devise. If you found these Colleges on the plan we propose, I trust that we shall have established, as far as circumstances will permit, a perfect system of secular education. We shall reap the benefit of this. We shall promote social concord between the youth of different religious persuasions, who, meeting to receive the advantages of joint education, will unite in honourable rivalry, and who, hitherto too much estranged by religious differences, will acquire new means of creating and interchanging mutual esteem. I sincerely believe that, as well as receiving temporal advantage, so far from preventing any advantages with respect to Christianity, the more successfully will you labour to make men good Christians the more they are imbued with that great principle of our faith—a principle which, I am grieved to say, many individuals are too apt to forget—the principle, I mean of reciprocal charity. By cultivating that principle you will better serve the cause of true religion, and of peace, morality, and social comfort and concord in Ireland, than by leaving her inhabitants in division and ignorance, in the vain hope that by so doing you are promoting your own religious principles.
§ Mr. Sheil
said, in explanation, that the purport of his observation respecting consulting the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland was, that all means ought to be taken to secure their support and co-operation. He was gratified to hear that apartments were to be allocated for lectures in divinity; and the fact that the students were not to be domiciled within the walls of the institution made an essential difference in the weight of the objections which, under a different impression, he had taken to some of the provisions of the new measures.
§ Mr. Shaw
said, that on so important a question relating to Ireland, and as such frequent reference had been made to the University which he had the honour to re- 392 present, he must beg to say a few words before the discussion ended. He could not say that he approved of a measure which, establishing three colleges for the education of the youth of Ireland, made no provision for their religious instruction; but, seeing all the difficulties of that part of the question, and that any interference with Trinity College, Dublin, was to be studiously avoided, he should make no objection to the introduction of the Bill. He concurred in the opinion given by some hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, that, practically, these seminaries would afford facilities to the middling classes for an improved education; but he doubted much whether that would be what could be properly called an academical education. At Belfast the pupils would probably be principally Presbyterian; and at Cork and Galway principally Roman Catholic; but he (Mr. Shaw) believed that the Protestant gentry, and indeed he would add, the gentry of all creeds in Ireland, would still continue to send their sons to graduate in the University of Dublin—probably, also, some of the most distinguished scholars from the new institutions would find their way there; but he agreed with the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. Ross), that to oblige the pupils to repair to a distant University for degrees, would be rather an oppressive inconvenience than an advantage to them; and for the higher branches of learning and degrees, he apprehended that the present University of Dublin would be found sufficient for the real demands of the country. In fact, as it was, the different professions could scarcely find room for the great number of young men who already graduated there. As regarded the most important instruction of all, that in religion, while he was not blind to the difficulties of that part of the subject, he could not be satisfied with the plan proposed by the Government; and when his right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel), in answer to the objections of his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis), urged upon the House the humanizing and softening influences of the arts, and sciences, and literature upon the mind of man independently of religion — that argument surely would go further than his right hon. Friend would for one moment be inclined to press it—for it might be applied to every educational institution in the 393 United Kingdom, should it be proposed to deprive them of the blessing of religious care and superintendence. Even in the University of Dublin, so far as related to Roman Catholics, and Dissenters from the Established Church, he viewed the arrangement, while admitting it to be one of necessity, still as by no means satisfactory in respect of their religious instruction. But then, that was the exception in the case of the University of Dublin; and the rule was that instruction in the tenets of the Established Church was provided for all the pupils, but insisted upon only where they were members of that Church. That religion and that only, however, was taught in the University of Dublin; and, therefore, their system could neither be charged with omitting to teach what they believed to be the true religion, nor with teaching what they believed to be erroneous. He protested in the strongest manner against the claims put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon (Mr. Sheil) to open, as the right hon. Gentleman called it—but to subvert, as he insisted it would be, the foundation of Dublin College; and he would earnestly call the attention of those who were then granting such large concessions, to the unreasonable and encroaching spirit in which they were received. The University of Dublin was founded by a Protestant Sovereign, and endowed by Protestants, for the express purpose of educating a priesthood for the service of the Protestant Established Church in Ireland; and yet, while that institution was now as free for all the purposes of education, to Roman Catholics as to Protestants, the right hon. Gentleman ventured to declare in that House, that it was an insult to the Roman Catholics of Ireland not to be admitted to the governing body—who must not only be members, but (with exceptions scarcely worth mentioning) clergymen of the Established Church, and one of whose principal duties was a proper distribution of the benefices of the Established Church belonging to the College. Even Mr. O'Connell, in his evidence quoted by the right hon. Baronet who introduced the measure, repudiated the notion of Roman Catholics desiring to have the lower department of the foundation — the scholarships — open to them; but the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) now said that was a long time ago, and that an endowment for the Roman Catholic priests was then contemplated— 394 not, surely, by Mr. O'Connell, whose opinion was the point in question; and the reasons that Gentleman assigned were equally cogent at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) had confounded professorships with fellowships; for there were eight professorships to which Roman Catholics were eligible. [Mr. Sheil; No.] Yes, but there were, and he would name them. They were of Civil Law, Feudal and English Law, Physic, Astronomy, French and German, Italian and Spanish, and Political Economy; and one of them was at the present time held by a Roman Catholic. Then, all the degrees, honours, and emoluments of the under-graduate course were open to the Roman Catholics. [Mr. M. J. O'Connell: What emoluments?] Why, sizerships, prizes, and the exhibitions of the various Royal and other public schools, many of which were held by Roman Catholics. Had that been the fitting opportunity, he would have been glad to have referred to some of the statements in the earlier part of the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham), relating to the system of national education in Ireland. Suffice it for the present to say, that the opinions of the prelates, quoted by the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) would be found consistent with their opposition to that system; that when the right hon. Baronet spoke of the exclusive systems of education that had prevailed in Ireland, he had altogether passed by the Kildare-place Society, which was not founded upon any exclusive system, but upon the broad, sound basis of the Scriptures alone—a system that he verily believed was successful, and would have succeeded further, had the Government permitted it—a system which had made a nearer approximation to a general united education than had been made before or since; for, though there were both Protestants and Roman Catholic pupils now in the schools of the National Board, he denied that they were receiving what could be truly called united education, for they were not in the same schools. On the contrary, he believed that in a large proportion of the schools, the printed rules of the Board were virtually violated, and that the Presbyterian schools of the north, in connexion with the Board, were conducted generally on as exclusively Presbyterian principles as they had been before they joined it. For the reasons he had stated, 395 he would offer no opposition to the present stage of the measure proposed by the Government; and although he did not expect it would ever meet his entire approval, he was not then prepared to pledge himself to any future opposition to it.
§ Mr. Warburton
was a member of the Senate of London University, and as much had been said, through ignorance in respect to that institution, he should call their attention to some circumstances relating to it. There were various schools and colleges spread over the Empire which were in connexion with it. There were no less than five Roman Catholic Colleges connected with it—one in Carlow, one in Stonyhurst, one in Oscott, and two in other parts of the country. They oversee the education of the pupils, who afterwards offered themselves as candidates for degrees. There were Baptist Colleges, and Unitarian Colleges — they had King's College, and University College. The heads of these superintended the religious instruction of the pupils who were entrusted to their care. These were the materials out of which the pupils were formed, who subsequently offered themselves as candidates for degrees in the University. There was a provision in their charter which stated, that the object of creating the University was to provide for the opening of academical honours to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects without any exception whatever. The governing body were the individuals who carried out the intentions of his late Majesty. He had sitting with him in the senate the Bishop of Durham and the Bishop of Chester. The late Bishop of Chichester was also a member of that body, who had formerly been a tutor in one of the Colleges of Cambridge. Provision was made for the examination of the students in the Gospels and Scripture history. He hoped that they would hear no more of allegations that this was a godless institution, in which religion was altogether neglected. In the University College they had Coward College, which was founded by Baptists, to superintend the religious instruction of the youth of that religious persuasion. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Dublin University stated, that in Trinity College they did not require any of the students but those of the Protestant religion to attend their place of worship—that they did not undertake to superintend the re- 396 ligious instruction of the pupils. Why, then, were the new institutions that were proposed to be established condemned for not including religion in their instruction, when the identical regulations which they proposed were the same as those in Trinity College, Dublin? He did not know whether it was contemplated to place these Colleges ultimately in connexion with the Dublin University; but he hoped that in this respect they would follow the example of the London University. If, however, this union could not be accomplished, he hoped that the Government would not delay the period for the erection of another University in Dublin, which, like that of London, would admit all persons, without distinction of sect, to honorary degrees. Was it to be supposed that these institutions could thrive unless the patronage of the country was thrown open to them? They must break down the system if they wished the new Universities to flourish, by opening secular rewards to all who might earn distinction in them. He approved of the Government proposal as far as it went.
§ Mr. Plumptre
objected to the proposed institution, not because parties would not be incidentally directed to religious instruction, but that there would be no religious instruction under their roof. He confessed that was to him the great fault of the proposed plan. He knew there were difficulties in the way, but he felt that no institution should be founded by a Christian Government which did not recognise Christianity. Allusion had been made to the London University; but he would beg to remind the House that that great and good man, the late Dr. Arnold, who was at one time in connexion with the London University, found it necessary, from conscientious principle, to withdraw from that University because it did not recognise Christianity. It was not his intention to occupy the time of the House; but he could not allow the first step in this measure to be taken without stating the grounds on which he should think it his duty to give it his opposition.
Mr. M. J. O'Connell
, as one who had pursued his studies in the Dublin University, begged leave to set the right hon. Member for that University right as to some matters of fact. The right hon. Member's misapprehension was to be ac- 397 counted for by the fact that he had not had the advantage of studying in the University which he represented. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department had admitted that Ireland was still in an anomalous state, and in an anomalous state it must remain as long as the Roman Catholic portion of it was excluded from the advantages of the University as at present. He knew perfectly well that as regarded the scholarships and fellowships, even those not connected with the Established Church, he and his fellows felt that, although they were in the University, they were not of the University. He knew also that however they might have been intended for the Church, not one half of the scholars of his time entered it, most of them having gone to the bar. He besought the Government in making this, which he freely acknowledged to be a gracious concession, to leave nothing behind to be removed when some other little black cloud should appear. There was much in the plan deserving approbation; the minor points they would have an opportunity of considering when the Bill should be printed. He hailed with satisfaction a system which would secure instruction for the youth of Ireland, whatever their persuasion; and his hope was, that the institution to be founded would neither be exclusively Roman Catholic in Cork and Galway, nor in the north of Ireland altogether Presbyterian. By keeping these Colleges separate from those already established, a prejudice would be raised there against them, and they would be looked upon as provincial establishments, as institutions of modern date and wanting in gentility, and the result would be, that the pupils would be sent to finish their education elsewhere. It was of the utmost importance to encourage emulation with the view of elevating the general character of education in Ireland, which was inferior to that of Cambridge—with Oxford he was unacquainted.
§ Mr. Lefroy
had not intended to express any opinion upon the Bill introduced that night by Her Majesty's Government at its present Stage; and he was only induced to do so in consequence of the line of argument and the religious view of the question which had been taken by his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford. In consequence of the observations made by his hon. Friend, as well as some other 398 Gentlemen on the other side of the House, with respect to the value of the connexion of religious with general instruction, he felt he could not remain silent, lest he should appear to undervalue these sentiments, in case he did not oppose this Bill in its future stages. The votes which he had uniformly given in the House during the many years he had been in Parliament, sufficiently proved his value for the Church Establishment, and the importance of maintaining its connexion with education in Ireland; and he had no less distinctly recorded his opinion that no general system of education could be profitable for the people of that country which was not founded upon religious truth; but the present question appeared to him in rather a different point of view, inasmuch as these academical institutions were intended for a different class, both as to position and age, from children partaking of the national system of education. He thought that the parents and guardians of those who would be fitted to attend the academical institutions were responsible for religious truth being properly imparted to those who belonged to such institutions; whilst, from their age and position, much responsibility would also rest upon the scholars themselves. It was evident that the only choice for these institutions was between a system involving different religious opinions and creeds, or one such as the present, where perfect facility was given for religious instruction, without enforcing doctrines which might be objectionable upon any. He and many other Members founded his chief objection to the Maynooth grant upon the doctrines taught in that institution being contrary to the truth. He also admitted that much of the objection to the national system of education in Ireland was, that much error was mixed up with something that was good. On this view of the subject, he felt inclined not to oppose the present Bill, whilst he would reserve to himself the full right of acting as he might think best in its future stages. With respect to the observations made by the right hon. Member for Dungarvon, as to the opening of the University of Dublin, he heard with peculiar satisfaction the determination expressed by Her Majesty's Government to support that University in all her rights, privileges, and property. He thought the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department supported that Univer- 399 sity on the true grounds, viz., that it was founded by a Protestant Queen for the education of a Protestant clergy. He would vote not only for the education of the clergy, but for the advancement and maintenance of the Protestant religion in Ireland. It, therefore, surprised him that, this being admitted—and it was not denied by the hon. Member for Dungarvon—that he should allude to the incomes of the fellows or of the scholars, as derived from that University; for, be they more or less, it made no difference—they belonged to them as members of a University founded for the specific purpose of maintaining the Protestant faith in that country. Whilst, then, he rejoiced to see Trinity College maintained in all her integrity, he should be glad, as far as was consistent, to supply to those who differed from him in religious views, the means of such general instruction as those academical institutions would afford.
Mr. A. B. Hope
was anxious to address to the House a few words; the rather as he had not expressed, and did not intend to express his sentiments on what he might call the main question, of which this was only a branch, the Maynooth Bill. Without going into the arguments on that subject, he might say that he did not think any principle was involved in the difference between the present or the former grants. But the present course taken by Her Majesty's Government was to introduce a perfectly new system. The House of Commons was called upon to adopt a new system for the first time. The Universities of London and of Durham had been founded by royal charter; but now the Members of Her Majesty's Government—the Conservative Government—who he did not think had, in 1835, either individually or as a body, showed any favourable feeling towards the London University—now they were coming before Parliament and asking them to sanction two Universities in Ireland upon the same lax system as the University of London. This was the first time that Parliament had been called upon to sanction this system either in England or in Ireland. He wished to see Trinity College, Dublin, extended by the addition of three Colleges; but they should be homogeneous and Protestant in their character, or they would be dangerous to the stability of that ancient establishment. Without entering into the subject of the opposition 400 to the Maynooth grant, he did not see that there was that inconsistency which the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government complained of in those who were opposed to the present measure. They opposed the former, because it was for the purpose of propagating a religion repugnant to their feelings; while they opposed the latter because it taught no religion at all. On the latter ground he also entertained the greatest repugnance to it. However, if Her Majesty's Government had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to make the munificent grant proposed to Ireland, he would implore them to look also to other portions of Her Majesty's dominions who were equally in want of religious and secular instruction for the people. Let them grant 45,000.l. a year to Ireland, therefore, if they would; but let them also grant 4,500l. to the churchmen of Wales, for the retention of their ancient bishopric.
§ Mr. Roebuck
understood the proposal of the right hon. Baronet to be part of a large system for the conciliation of Ireland, of which a portion had been brought before the House and discussed in reference to the Maynooth grant, and another portion had been brought forward that night. He had hoped that it would have been larger in its scope, and more conclusive as regarded the future. A Protestant University existed in Trinity College, Dublin; the State had endowed a Roman Catholic College by the grant to Maynooth; then, for the further education of the laity of Ireland, without reference to religious differences, they were to have these three new Colleges. Trinity College, Dublin, was instituted by a Protestant, for Protestant purposes, with Protestant money. That being the case, he did not think that, in justice or in accordance with their own principles, the Irish Members should be anxious to make any inroad on that establishment. That should be left in its integrity just as Roman Catholics had preserved to them the integrity of Maynooth. Then an endeavour was to be made, by three other Colleges, to embrace all other sects; so far the scheme seemed to be comprehensive; but it wanted this one conclusive provision—unless they made some definite provision for them as a University, they would leave open the sore they were endeavouring to heal. But there seemed a fatality in all matters connected with Ire- 401 land: when any plan of education for that country was proposed, they found the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis), and the hon. Member for Kent (Mr. Plumptre), coming; forward one after the other, and in a very subdued voice making use of expressions of the most bitter hostility and of the most severe condemnation. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford had called the proposal "a gigantic scheme of godless education." He supposed the hon. Baronet meant something opprobrious by that term; he did not quite understand the words, but he gathered the meaning from the hon. Baronet's purpose. What did it mean? The plan must be looked at as a whole, embracing Trinity College and Maynooth, and, in connexion with Maynooth, all the other Colleges for the advancement of education in Ireland. It would appear from the term applied to the plan by the hon. Baronet, that something was to be taught under it that militated against all religion; if he did not mean that, he meant nothing. Trinity College was appropriated to the education of the priesthood of the Protestant Church; Maynooth to the education of Roman Catholic priests; the other three Colleges were for secular education. They had found that the latter could not be introduced in conjunction with any one system of religious teaching. If they did attempt it, up jumped the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, and said, "You must teach my religion alone—I have infallibility—in my breast is the absorption of all the truth in the world; all who are not of my religion are in error, and you will commit a damnable sin if you teach any other religion but mine!" Then, again, the hon. Member for Dungarvon (Mr. Sheil) might get up and insist on having his religion taught—that he could have no mixing up or paltering with the truth. Now, what could the man do who had to deal with persons in this condition? Were the people to be left without any education at all. He would ask them soberly what was meant by teaching the physical sciences, or geometry, on religious principles? The professor of anatomy traced with the knife the fifth pair of nerves; he showed them to the students round the dissecting table; did they mean to say, because in the same room there was not given a lecture on the Thirty-nine Articles, because the professor 402 did not subscribe those Articles, that he pursued the course of the fifth pair of nerves in a "godless" manner, that he was giving a "godless" education in anatomy? The professors of the Colleges would be paid by the State to teach certain things; if they attempted this teaching on any exclusive principle, they would fail. If the right hon. Baronet consulted the prelates of both sects on this question, the people would have no teaching at all. If any secular education was to be given, nothing could be done but on the principle adopted by the right hon. Baronet; and he hoped, that now the right hon. Baronet had for the first time been exposed to odium for adopting it, he would understand what had been sustained by those who had been impugned for advocating it for many years past, when they were assailed by all the power and authority of those who now sat on the other side of the House. He could tell them there was a strong necessity pressing on the present Ministry; a necessity that would press on every succeeding Ministry, and make them at last do justice to Ireland. That justice they could only do in one way—by making the whole population, in religious rights and privileges, perfectly equal. They must have no religious domination; and the time was not far distant when the Established Church, which stood in the way of every beneficial operation in Ireland, would be cut down to proper, moderate, and modest dimensions, and would effect far more good among the Protestant population than it did at present, and when its superfluous wealth would be used and appropriated to the purposes of general education. A large sum of money was about to be taken from the Consolidated Fund of England—and Ireland! Did Ireland pay the Income Tax? Did Ireland pay assessed taxes? Let them compare the returns of the two countries, and let Ireland receive any amount whatever, yet in the proportion it bore to the sum contributed to the Treasury that country might see the value of its connexion with England. Therefore he had a right, as an Englishman, to express his opinions and feelings on the subject; and he thought the right hon. Baronet had set a worthy example in the face of unfortunately strong prejudices in this country. He had been supported in his attempt by Gentlemen on this (the Opposition) side of the House, and he had ac- 403 knowledged he had been so supported. He (Mr. Roebuck) was not endeavouring to make their support in any way an obligation on the right hon. Baronet. He gave him his humble meed of unbounded admiration; for he saw in what the right hon. Baronet had encountered, in the bitter odium that had been cast upon him, what they on this side of the House had long suffered; and he would find that bigotry following him as long as he continued this course. But let him not be discouraged; if the right hon. Baronet maintained an upright and steadfast bearing, he might treat with scorn, and rate at their proper worth, all those unworthy imputations thrown on him by men who claimed infallibility, who could not suppose themselves to be in error, who believed they had the monopoly of truth, but who certainly did not possess a superabundance of charity. If not the outpourings of narrow bigotry, they were neither more nor less than the exhibitions of a sort of personal vanity, bound up with considerations of a time long past, when they possessed a power now about to fall from their hands, but to which they clung with all the tenacity that distinguished men who had domineered over others, and so long enjoyed that predominance as to fancy the great body of the people beneath them in every respect. That had been the principle in Ireland; the governing body there had so long enjoyed a supremacy, that, now they were struck down, they felt surprised at the strangeness of the circumstances about to befall them—still more surprised to find that the finishing blow came from the very party they themselves placed in power. He was glad to see it; he hoped the prosperity of all would now be the leading principle of the government of that country, and that it would add to the strength of the Empire, by making Ireland what it ought to be—a united portion of it.
§ Sir H. W. Barron
combated the proposition that all the money for these grants came from the pockets of the people of England. Did not the Irish contribute about 5,000,000l. annually to the taxes? He hoped in future hon. Gentlemen would abstain from these taunts and allusions. He denied that the measure was unchristian in principle. It had been put into practice in Holland for the last fifty years; and where was there a more quiet, moral, 404 and religious population than the population of that country? In the University of Haarlem there were one Jew, two Roman Catholics, and seven Protestant professors, and never did the slightest difference in religious points arise among them. At Vienna, within the last few years, the Emperor of Austria had endowed a theological Protestant chair. In fact, the weight of experience was against those who were opposed to this measure. He complained of hon. Gentlemen coming down to that House and assuming to be the sole arbiters of truth. The question, "What is truth?" had puzzled the wisest men from the days of Aristotle down to the hon. Member for Oxford. He trusted that the House would not be influenced by those hon. Members who declared that every man who did not happen to agree with them on certain points were in error, and who demanded that every College and institution should be founded and conducted on their exclusive principles. That plan had been long tried in Ireland, and had signally failed. He, therefore, rejoiced to find that Her Majesty's Ministers had at length found out the only way to govern the Irish people, so as to have their feelings in unison with the Government. He thought Her Majesty's Ministers had acted wisely in proposing this measure. He was satisfied that it would be received with gratitude in Ireland, and that it would ultimately work great benefit to the Irish poor as well as to the rich. No one thing was more necessary for the middle classes than academical instruction, of which no country in Europe was so destitute as Ireland: comparing her population with that of other nations of Europe, and the number of Universities they possessed, according to the proportion Ireland ought to have six Universities, or at least five. He promised the right hon. Baronet that he would support the measure, and give his hearty vote in his favour.
thought the hon. and learned Member for Bath had very unjustly attacked the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford. Nothing could be more misplaced and undeserved than his accusation that the hon. Baronet was influenced by a spirit of unkindness and personal vanity; it was most unfounded, not to say ludicrous. He did not regret the responsibility of having cheered that expression of the hon. Baronet, in which he described 405 this measure as a gigantic scheme of godless education; for though he did not adopt the entire expression, it represented a feeling which lay deep in his breast. He believed that the measure was honestly proposed; but he regretted to see that those who stood forth as the representatives in this country of its religious institutions, did not, in other public measures, recognise distinct religious principles. He wished that in the mode of bringing forward a measure which he believed to be just and expedient in the circumstances of Ireland, something less of bidding for the cheers of the opposite side, and of an assumption of liberalism, had been observable. He was ready to admit, however, that men ought to bend to meet the circumstances of the times in which they were placed. Previous to more consideration of the measure, he must say he had heard with satisfaction the sound views of education which had been laid down by various Roman Catholic Members who had spoken on the other side of the House. He was not prepared to say that this, or something very like it, might not be the only practical plan for meeting the difficulties of education in Ireland. He must, at the same, time express his concern that no provision was made for maintaining discipline over the students, without which these would be merely gigantic "lecture bazaars," to use a phrase of the great philosopher, Coleridge. He would rather see a great Roman Catholic College in the south of Ireland incorporated as an University than these institutions. He advocated the English system of Colleges, as standing in the place of parental control, and attributed to it the superiority of the English educational system over the Continental. He was not without hopes that in the details of the measure improvements might be made; and though he had been unwilling to let the occasion pass without expressing the feelings raised by some parts of the proposal, yet he would give it his most serious consideration, in the sincere hope that it might be made the means of effecting good to Ireland.
§ Viscount Palmerston
Sir, I cannot let the debate close without expressing the pleasure with which I have heard the scheme of the Government; and I feel bound to acknowledge, that the tone in which the measure has been proposed is 406 entirely satisfactory. With respect to the arguments of the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, they seem to be somewhat at variance with one another. He says, he is ready to admit that every man ought to meet and bend to the circumstances of the times in which he finds himself placed; and yet he blames the Government for the tone of liberalism in which they have brought forward this measure, and says that they have adopted that tone for the mere purpose of obtaining cheers from this side of the House. Now, Sir, I have observed nothing in the manner in which this measure has been brought forward, that did not justly deserve the encouragement which the Government met with from this side of the House. Without entering, at present, into any discussion of the minute details of the measure, I will say, that it appears to me to be framed in a good spirit and with good sense, and to be adapted to improve the social condition of Ireland. It may be said, we ought not to do things for the purpose of conciliating those who differ from us in opinion; but, put that out of the question, and this measure must be considered a great boon, and as laying the foundation for social improvement in that country. The plan has been called "a gigantic scheme of godless education;" but I should like to know how any man who meant to educate the Irish people would have set about it with rational prospects of success in any other way? I assume that we mean to give education to a people who are split into sections of different religious opinions, and that we mean to educate youths of different opinions in the same College. The objection is, that there are no professors to teach theological opinions. Would you establish professors of one system of theology only? If so, there would be an end of mixed education. If you would establish a purely Protestant College, would you get Roman Catholics to go to it? Do you say the majority of those who repair to these Colleges will probably be Roman Catholics, and therefore Roman Catholic professors of theology shall be appointed? That would not conciliate the support of several hon. Gentlemen opposite, nor would it accomplish the object of having a mixed education, for the Protestants would not go. Would you have professors of both religions? That would not carry out the object of the endowment, which is, to cement the harmony between both sections. It would only lead to a civil war of theological doctrine in these Col- 407 leges, where you mean to lay the foundations of religious peace. Therefore, there is no alternative but the plan of Her Majesty's Government, that no professor should be established by the Government as teachers of one creed or the other; but that each party shall be at liberty to establish professors of their own, and that facilities shall be given them by granting the use of apartments for teaching persons of their respective tenets. I think that the plan now proposed by the Government affords all the advantages of education which can be obtained in Colleges not formed on the model of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and consisting of buildings in which the student should be lodged and housed and the expense of the other kind of foundation would have been such as Parliament assuredly would not have agreed to. Each system has its respective advantages, and I have had experience of both. I was three years at the University of Edinburgh, where the system of these Colleges is adopted, and I afterwards went to Cambridge, where the collegiate system prevails. There can be no doubt that the collegiate system admits of the greatest degree of discipline, but the other system is equally good for purposes of instruction; and almost all the Universities on the Continent are conducted upon that plan. But really, when we talk of these Colleges as places in which no religious instruction is to be given, and draw unfavourable contrasts between them and our English Universities in this respect, I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was at Cambridge with me, to have the goodness to explain in detail to the House what was that particular kind of theological instruction which in our time was given to those undergraduates of the University of Cambridge who were privileged by the particular circumstances of their accidental birth, to take the degree of Master of Arts at the end of two years. I cannot speak with certainty as to what was the course of examination in the Senate House; but I believe that those who were not intended for holy orders were under no obligation to undergo theological examination for their degree; but I should wish the House to know what was that deep extent of theological instruction which was at that time given in the ordinary course of College lectures. It was next to none. Well, then, if that was so, at least in my 408 time, at Cambridge, I do think it is taking too great a liberty with expressions to represent these Colleges, which in that respect would stand very much on the same footing as Cambridge—when I had the good fortune to be there, as institutions which ought to be censured on account of the students not being compelled to receive any particular theological instruction. I think, that in that respect the Government have adopted the only plan which is applicable to the peculiar circumstances of Ireland; and I hail that plan, first, as adapted to produce a great moral improvement amongst the middle classes of the Irish people; and, secondly, as laying the foundation for concord between persons of different religious opinions, and as being calculated thus to confer the greatest possible benefit on the Irish people. Sir, I agree entirely with those who consider this Bill as only a foundation which requires a superstructure in order to make the plan complete. It will be found absolutely necessary to establish some central point, probably in connexion with Trinity College, Dublin, which will combine these different Colleges into one University, and will, if possible, connect Trinity College with it as a component part. When I consider all the difficulties with which the arrangement of the details must be attended, I am far from blaming Her Majesty's Government for not having made that aggregate University a part of their present proposal; but, at the same time, I must say their measure will be incomplete if, sooner or later, they do not combine with it a larger arrangement of that nature. Sir, I have not only derived great pleasure from the tone and manner in which this plan has been proposed, but, in spite of the doctrines and opinions broached by some of those who have opposed it, I cannot fail to see in the genera] aspect of the House, and even in the general tone adopted by the opponents of this measure, an indication that the Bill will not meet with any very great resistance in its progress through the House. I think that a fortunate circumstance; because, after the resistance which the Maynooth Bill has met with—a resistance which, by the manner in which it has been made, is calculated undoubtedly to produce unpleasant feelings in the minds of Irish Catholics, it would be a matter of great regret if this measure, to which the same objections cannot in the same degree be felt even by those who are most sincere 409 in their dislike to the other Bill, should encounter any very considerable opposition. It may be pardonable for persons who are very sincere in what I must be allowed to consider their prejudices, to oppose the endowment of a College which is peculiarly destined to the education of Catholic priests; but, if the British House of Commons, or if the British people, were to express any strong and decided opposition to a measure which has for its object the education and instruction of the Catholic laity in Ireland, the effect upon the minds of the Irish people must be of a kind which it would be very inconvenient, and highly undesirable, that anything that passes in this House should produce. I can only repeat that whatever may have been said by hon. Members who sit on the other side of the House, there will be every disposition on the part of those who sit here to give the Government the most fair and earnest support during the progress of this measure; and I trust that no taunts which they may meet with from those of their own supporters who differ from them on this question, will deter them from receiving from us that support which will be given from a sincere desire to co-operate in any measure which may be calculated to improve the political and social condition of the Irish people.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
could not refrain from correcting the statement of the noble Lord with respect to the religious instruction given in the University of Cambridge at the period to which he had referred. Whatever might be the case in the noble Lord's College, in the College with which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was connected at the same time as the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Warburton)—instead of there being no theological instruction, the fact was, that one of the Gospels was the subject of instruction, study, and examination.
§ Mr. Warburton
said, the graduates were examined in Palsy's Evidences of Christianity, and one of the Gospels in Greek. He could not say that the subject of religion formed a prominent part of the examination.
§ Mr. T. Duncombe
said, this proposition was not liable to any of those objections which were urged against the grant to Maynooth. That grant was for the benefit of persons professing a particular creed; whereas these Colleges were to be open to all, and were intended for the be- 410 nefit of all. On this ground he should support the Bill.
§ Leave given.