HC Deb 19 April 1847 vol 91 cc952-1032

then continued: The House, I am sure, will not be surprised that I should ask for their indulgence, while I endeavour, without any undue trespass on their attention, to clear this subject of some part of the exaggeration and misrepresentation with which it has been clogged; and, Sir, I have that confidence in the judgment and fairness of this House, that I feel sure they will not be the less disposed to give me an impartial hearing on the subject on account of the attempts that have been made to overawe the deliberations and votes of this House by resolutions come to elsewhere—by summoning Members of this House to attend meetings to answer for their conduct—and requiring them to vote against this proposition, whatever might be the merits of the case which was brought forward. That, Sir, has been done by those who say that they come to protest against an irresponsible power. That has been done by those who endeavour to show that the body which is to have the management of this grant is unconstitutional, and that a grant made from year to year—made by the House of Commons—placed in the hands of Ministers of the Crown removable at the pleasure of the Sovereign, and who cannot hold office any longer than they have the support of this House—as a means of devoting money to the education of the people—is an unconstitutional mode of proceeding. Talk of responsibility, indeed! How much more must we be responsible, holding this power on such a tenure, than those who have collected together from various parts of the country, who are not responsible to any one, and who have told Members of this House that they will raise such opposition at future elections that they shall no longer have the honour of seats in this House if they decide according to their fair and impartial judgment upon the question that is now to be brought before them? I say, Sir, I trust entirely to the judgment and the impartiality of this House, and that they will not allow these attempts at exaggeration and misrepresentation to hide from them the real facts of the case. Sir, it is well known that the education of the people, the education of the working classes, especially, forms no part of the duty either of the Government, or, nationally speaking, of the Church of this country. The whole task of education has been left, till of late years, to voluntary efforts. In 1784 an individual, Mr. Raikes, first raised subscriptions for the purpose of establishing Sunday schools, and was thus the means of diffusing a great amount of knowledge among the younger portion of the community. In the beginning of this century, when Mr. Lancaster came to this country, it was entirely by the efforts of individuals that the British and Foreign School Society was established, with the support and countenance of the King then upon the Throne, but without any grant or aid on the part of the Government. So, likewise, when those schools were succeeded by the National schools on the plan of Dr. Bell, although the clergy took a great part in the establishment of those schools, it was done entirely with the money of individuals, of the clergy and the laity, and was in no way countenanced or assisted by the State. In the year 1832 or 1833 a vote was proposed in this House for a very limited amount, not exceeding 10,000l. or 20,000l., for the purpose of aiding the education of the working classes. That sum was given by the direction of the Treasury—as it had been stated that it was intended it should be given—to the National Society, which was composed of members of the Church of England, and to the British and Foreign School Society, which had no other rule but that of reading the Scriptures daily in its schools, and which consisted, not of Churchmen only, but of Churchmen and Protestant Dissenters of all denominations. In this shape, Sir, the matter continued till 1839, when it was proposed to form a Committee of Council; and that the sums which had hitherto been granted by the Treasury to the different societies should thereafter pass through that Committee of Council—that, instead of these matters being in the hands of the whole Council, or solely of the Treasury, both of whom were likely to be occupied with other concerns, there should be formed a Committee of Council by order of Her Majesty, whose attention should be expressly devoted to this particular subject. The Lord President of the Council for the time being was placed at the head of that Committee; and he has taken charge, at all times, whether under the late Government or the present, of this particular matter of distributing the grants for education; and has brought before the Committee of Council, from time to time, such rules as he thought useful provisions for that purpose. The appointment of the Committee of Council, in the first instance, gave rise to great difference of opinion in the country, and to very protracted and vehement discussions in this House. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the other House of Parliament, protested against the formation of the Committee, and against any scheme of education that was not made the subject of a Bill brought before Parliament. It was evident for some time that the efforts of the Committee of Council, on the one hand, and those of the Church on the other, would be very much weakened by those differences of opinion, and that the endeavours of neither would be so successful as otherwise they might be. The question was in this shape when it was proposed that the inspectors of the National schools should be inspectors appointed with the concurrence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the province of Canterbury, and of the Archbishop of York in the province of York; and that these inspectors, while they reported to the Committee of Council generally, as to the secular education in the schools, should also report as to the nature of the religious education given in the schools according to the liturgy of the Church of England; and that duplicates of those reports as to the religious instruction should at all times be sent to the Archbishops. It was further proposed, that if they withheld in the first instance their concurrence as to any person appointed to be inspector, or if they should afterwards signify that they would no longer concur in his performance of his functions, in that case his appointment should cease, and the Committee should proceed to name some person to whom the Archbishops had no objection. Sir, such was the state of the question when the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Tamworth, came into office. No change was then made as to the appointment of the Committee of Council. The persons, of course, were changed; those who had been Ministers of the Crown immediately ceased to be members of the Committee of Council; and the right hon. Gentleman opposite, Lord Stanley, and Sir J. Graham, were appointed members of that Committee; Lord Wharncliffe, as the new President of the Council, being at the head of that Committee. I have had more than once conversation with the late Lord Wharncliffe on this subject. Being connected, as I always have been, with the British and Foreign School Society, he consulted me from time to time as to what should be the relation between the Committee of Council and that society. A proposition of the former Government which was left to him to be carried out was, that 5,000l. should be granted for the purposes of the normal schools of the British and Foreign School Society; and I, in communication with them, advised them to accept that grant. Subsequently Lord Wharncliffe informed the secretary of that society that he should adopt, so far as the appointment of inspectors was concerned, the same rule that had been adopted with the National Society, and that he should not appoint any inspector for their schools without their concurrence. The inspectors of the schools connected with the British and Foreign Society did not, however, according to their constitution, conduct any examination as to the religious instruction given in those schools. They only took the declaration of the local managers of the schools that the Scriptures were daily read there, and that they were satisfied with the religious instruction given. Sir, the grants continued to be made in this form, and various grants for normal schools; and the sum each year was from time to time increased, till, in the last year it reached the amount of 100,000l. That sum was, I believe, agreed to without any discussion of importance taking place. When, however, we came, being newly appointed members of the Committee, to consider the state of education, it appeared to us that a very great number of schools had been built, and that there was no longer such a demand as there had been for money to build schools; and that as various deficiencies in the management and conduct of the schools had been observed, it would be advisable to make minutes, proposing a different distribution of the sum which might be voted by Parliament; and laying down in those minutes what the application of that sum should be. Accordingly, this was proposed; and the estimate for the present year contains what I believe was never presented to Parliament before, namely, a detailed estimate of the probable proportions of the various sums for different purposes for which the money granted by the House is to be advanced. One object was to improve the inspection of schools. The inspection of schools, although the number of inspectors had been increased, was not extensive enough to allow of an inspection of each school once every year; it was therefore proposed that the number of inspectors should be increased, in order to make the inspection more complete. Another object it was proposed to consider was the payment of some of the boys in the better-managed schools, so as to enable them to remain at those schools a longer time than had hitherto been customary. It had been a complaint very general on the part of all those who had taken an interest in education, whether they belonged to the Church or to the British and Foreign Society or any body of Dissenters, that that system of monitors established by Lancaster and Bell did not answer satisfactorily, on account of the early age at which children left school; so that a boy who had only had a year's education himself was a very unfit person to teach well, and give a thorough comprehension of what he had learned to other boys in the school. It was therefore proposed that a certain sum should be allotted to schools which were reported by the inspectors to be well managed, for the purpose of inducing boys to remain some years in the school, in order to become assistant-teachers in those schools. It was also proposed that where masters gave their time to training these future teachers, and rendering them efficient, a certain money allowance should be made to those masters for so doing. It was proposed as to some of the schools in which there were monitors, and in which pupil-teachers were not likely to be established at once, that those monitors should receive a sum of money each year, and thus become stipendiary monitors of schools; and, further, that there should be an allowance to masters to teach and train such stipendiary monitors. It was also proposed that, for the improvement of normal schools, and for the better instruction of those who resorted to them, that a sum of money should be granted to pay for those pupils who were most promising and were recommended by the inspectors of schools, as well as the local conductors, for the purpose of being trained in those normal schools. Further, that there should be an augmentation in the salaries of masters of schools who had been trained and had certificates of efficiency; also that there should be a sum of money allowed for the establishment of workshops in connexion with the schools in towns, and for the purpose of purchasing a piece of land in agricultural districts, where the scholars might learn some actual means of subsequently gaining a livelihood—a part of the general plan of education which had been much recommended by those who had studied the subject. Sir, it has always been my view that you never could effectually raise education in this country till you raised the condition and prospects of the schoolmaster; that view I have often expressed in this House. Whether I have been in or out of office, I have always thought that the drudgery of teaching without a sufficient reward, and with no prospect of future advantage, was such that men of talents and abilities, even although trained to it, could not but leave such a pursuit in great numbers for other and more profitable occupations; and this is not only my view, but one which I have found confirmed by all who are practically connected with the working of education. I have heard complaints without number that, after the training had been carried to a certain extent, and the schoolmasters established, the best of them, seeing what were the rewards offered in this country to persons of intelligence and well instructed, soon found other occupations far more valuable than that of teaching. This, Sir, I consider to be a great misfortune. No profession, in my opinion, is more important than that of training the youth of the working classes of this country; nor is it possible to conceive any greater difference between two classes of persons than that which exists between the schoolmaster who is either incompetent or unwilling to perform his duties, and he who displays both zeal and abilities in his calling. In the former instance, you will find that the schoolmaster teaches the children by rote—that they learn perhaps to read fluently, but that they have no apprehension of what they read—that they are utterly at a loss to explain what a moment before they had read. You observe, also, that they have a great dislike to attendance at school; and while some of them, owing perhaps to their own quickness, distinguish themselves, a great number, perhaps the great majority, go out of school nearly as uninstructed as when they went in. With a good schoolmaster the state of things is different. Not only do the boys read well, but they look also to the sense of what they read; whether it be history, or grammar, or the Scriptures, they are equally quick; if an explanation is required, they follow with interest and eagerness the instruction of the master, and what they have learned makes an impression on them. They not only read well mechanically, but also their minds, and hearts, and affections, are touched through their understandings. You find, likewise, in such schools the master watches closely the moral disposition of the children. He sees those who are sluggish, and endeavours to awake their interest; of the petulant and the forward he cheeks the presumption; and he takes care that those of slower intellect shall be brought up in a competent knowledge of that which is the business of the school; so that, at all events, none shall leave without a considerable degree of instruction. Now, if I have rightly represented the difference between the good schoolmaster and the bad one, I ask the House with confidence, whether it be not most important that the schoolmasters, to whom we intrust a task which it is so necessary they should discharge efficiently, should be able to look forward to some reward and emolument, not perhaps commensurate—for nothing can be commensurate in such cases—but more so than their reward is now, to the great and responsible duties they have to perform, and the importance of the situation they hold in life? With a view then to these considerations, there is a proposition—on account of which no money will be required in the present year; but on account of which, in future years, if the grant should be continued, some may be called for—to provide retiring pensions for schoolmasters who may work themselves out in the service, and who, after performing the important duties I have referred to, might find themselves at an advanced age with no provision for the future, and with scarcely bread to eat. And, Sir, I must say, I do not feel that for having proposed this improved quality of teaching, and this attempt to improve the condition and character of the schoolmaster, we are deserving of those denunciations and threats which have been poured so plentifully on our heads. I feel, on the contrary, that the most natural observation would have been—as, indeed, it was, at the moment when the Minutes were first known—"Is this all? Are you doing nothing more? It is all very well. So far as it goes, your object is good; but your plan is not equal to the immensity of the evil, and a larger and greater plan ought to be proposed." But, Sir, whatever may be the answer to that observation, I do feel that this plan which we have proposed has raised a question of the greatest importance among the public; and that the objections which have been stated do affect so widely the whole question of education that I cannot omit this opportunity of taking some notice of the more prominent of those objections. I have said, that, with respect to many parts of this subject, we have not made any alteration from that which has been settled in former years, and which has been often agreed to by Parliament. For instance, as to what has been called the unconstitutional nature of the body to whom the grant has been in-trusted. I should have thought it was clear that nothing could be more constitutional than for the Minister of the Crown to ask money for certain purposes, to explain the manner in which it would be spent, and to depend on the vote of the House of Commons whether or no it should be granted. And I should have thought that there would have been still less question as to the character of the Committee of the Privy Council, when it is remembered that since 1839, when there was a very great and protracted dissussion on the subject, up to the present day, that question has hardly been mooted; and that, whether under one Government or another, from 1840 up to the present time, the votes by which the money for these purposes has been granted have passed with very little disscussion, and that, with hardly any objection on the part of this House, that money has been intrusted to the Committee of the Privy Council. And if there was no reason to expect that such an objection would be raised at all, least of all could it have been expected from those who have raised it; because it does so happen—and the journals of this House bear evidence of the fact—that the Dissenters of the various denominations, the Dissenting ministers of London and of various bodies of Dissenters through the country, applauded the Government in 1839 for allowing the subject of education to be entrusted to the Committee of Council, and supported the Government of that day in that proposition. I trust, therefore, Sir, that the objection to the Committee of Council which was raised in 1839, and given up in 1840, will not now be again considered formidable, and will not be brought to bear against any vote for the assistance of education. Sir, another objection has been stated, which no doubt goes to the whole foundation of this grant, and, indeed, a great deal further; it is one that would go to the foundation of many other grants. It is said to be altogether a mistake for the State to give any assistance whatever in support of education. It is said, that, while no doubt it is the business of the Government to repress crime, to imprison, transport, to execute capitally, if necessary, those who commit crimes, yet, that the State has no business whatever with the education of the people; that the State has nothing to do with endeavouring, so far as may be thought proper, to strive at deterring the young by education from the commission, in their after life, of those crimes which would bring on them the penalty of the law. Sir, this argument, if carried to its full extent—as far as I can see, it is intended to carry it to its full extent—would go very far indeed, not only to overthrow this grant, and that which is next to it in the estimates, namely, the grant for education in Ireland, but also various grants to Ministers of various denominations—the Regium Donum in Ireland, the assistance given to ministers of the Church of Scotland, and any monies granted for the purpose of teaching or of assisting schools in connexion with churches and chapels. It appears to me that it is intended to found on this argument, if conceded, that all support of education or religion by Parliament is altogether erroneous, and that the voluntary system ought to be the only one pursued with either religion or education. I am not going to discuss that larger question now; and it is unnecessary that I should at this time and on this occasion do other than point out to the House the deduction intended to be drawn from these premises. I believe it is intended that those who use it might afterwards say, if this grant should be refused upon that ground, "why that at least was not an unfair plan—that was a plan which gave assistance to Church schools, but likewise to Dissenting schools; it gave assistance to education carried on both by the National Society, and by the British and Foreign School Society; but if that plan, fair and equitable as it was, was rejected on the ground of being an interference with teaching, how can we support a monopoly of teaching in the bands of one body which is called the Established Church of this country?" It is impossible not to foresee that this argument would have been used; but I am sure, with this important question before me, it is not necessary for me to do more than to point out that such deductions are intended to be drawn if this argument be admitted. But, Sir, it is also said that there is sufficient already done for education in this country; that there is no need of further assistance in this respect; and that the people of England are already so educated—or, if not so completely educated, are on the way to be so educated—that it will be a superfluous care on the part of the Legislature to lend assistance to a cause already so prosperous. Sir, I wish I could believe that representation. I wish I could believe that voluntary efforts in this country have done so much—that the education of the people is so complete that we need not trouble ourselves here with a matter so doubtful and so difficult, and which cannot be touched without of fending persons of opposite religious persuasions. But, Sir, I lament to say that the case is far otherwise. I shall not attempt to go into the minute statistics that many writers have gone into on this subject; but I am sure that those Members of this House who have paid attention to this question, who have read the pamphlets on this subject, or, what is still better, have attended to the evidence which is supplied by their own neighbourhoods—I am sure they must see that the education of the people of this country is still lamentably deficient. On this subject I will take the statement of one of the opponents of the Government scheme. I regret that he should be one of its opponents, because I am aware of his zeal, his learning, and his piety. Dr. Vaughan, in an article on this subject in the British Quarterly Review, which has since been republished with his name, says— That of the population between the ages of five and fifteen, in the larger and lesser towns of England, taken together, the proportion, from the whole population, found in day-schools, at any one time, would be somewhat less than one-third; that about an equal number would be found receiving Sunday-school instruction only; and that the remaining number, consisting of greatly more than a third of the whole, must be reckoned as not found in any school whatever, day-school, evening-school, or Sunday-school. So that reckoning the total population of the two countries at 14,400,000, and the one-fourth between four and fourteen as 3,600,000, of this latter number something less than a third were found in day-schools, considerably less than a third in Sunday-schools only, and nearly 1,500,000 in no school whatever. It may be said to be unreasonable to expect that the education of the people of this country should extend over a period of ten years. Be it so. Let the space be reduced over one-half. This would give twice 1,200,000 instead of once that number; but even this would leave you nearly 1,250,000 souls to be thrown upon society every ten years, who have never had a place in any day-school. Sir, the statements made by members of the Church of England, by Dr. Hook, by the Rev. Mr. Burgess, and various clergymen who have written on this subject, and who, without naming them, I may say have shown a great understanding of this subject, are all to the same effect. They give various examples of the number of children attending schools; and all their wish children attending schools; and all their statements are in opposition to the statements made by Mr. Baines, and prove that the education of this country is extremely deficient. But the proof of this does not rest solely on the calculations of these writers, although made by statistical societies with very great minuteness. It is found, also, in the persons who come before the registrars of marriage, and with respect to others who come under the operation of the Registration Acts. The returns furnished by the Registrar General show, that with regard to men, forty out of every 100 who are married cannot write their names, and thirty out of every 100 cannot read. This, Sir, is, I think, an immense proportion, when it is considered that the schools of the National and Lancastrian societies have been established, the Lancastrian upwards of forty years, and the National schools not very much less, and that voluntary education has been during the whole of that time doing its utmost to overturn and subdue the ignorance that has prevailed. But, Sir, every one must have seen in many other documents of various kinds, statements with respect to the gross ignorance in which a great portion of the youth of this country are with respect to the duties of religion, and with respect also to every kind of secular learning. We have the reports of assistant commissioners—of voluntary missionaries, who have gone forth to examine the state of persons living in particular districts, and who state that there are great numbers who have no knowledge of a religious kind; who are not in the habit of attending any place of worship; and to whom the names of God and of Christ are either unknown or unconnected with any sentiment of religious devotion. Many years ago I referred upon this subject to statements made by a rev gentleman, the chaplain of the Preston House of Correction (the Rev. Mr. Clay), who has taken great pains to inquire into the condition of the prisoners who have been brought into that place of confinement. The statements made by this gentleman must convince every one who doubts whether the people of this country are sufficiently educated. He says— Let me present a short summary of three years' observation—hard, naked statistics, which I will clothe in but little commentary. During the period I name, the performance of my duty has brought me into contact with 1,733 men and boys, and 387 women and girls, altogether unable to read; with 1,301 men and boys, and 287 women and girls, who knew not the name of the reigning Sovereign; with 1,290 men and boys, and 293 women and girls, so incapable of receiving moral or religious instruction, that to speak to them of 'virtue,' 'vice,' 'iniquity,' or 'holiness,' was to speak to them in an unknown tongue; and with 1,120 men and boys, and 257 women and girls, so destitute of the merest rudiments of Christian knowledge, so untaught in religious forms and practice, that they knew not the name of Him who died for their sins, nor could they utter a prayer to their Father in heaven. He goes on to say that, with respect to many of those who had received school instruction, no ideas were attached by them to what they had learned. For instance, having read about the marriage at Cana in Galilee, it appeared that the word "marriage" was totally unintelligible to them. With respect to the education of the male prisoners, Mr. Clay gives the following table:— Unable to read, 104; read only, 41; read and write ill, 79; read and write well, 2; superior education, none. Then, with respect to religious knowledge, we find— Ignorant of the Saviour's name, and unable to repeat the Lord's Prayer, 58; knowing the Saviour's name, and able to repeat the Lord's Prayer more or less imperfectly, 136; acquainted with the elementary truths of religion, 31; possessing that general knowledge level to the capacities of the uneducated, 1; familiar with the Scriptures, and well instructed, none. In another table, he gives the secular knowledge possessed by the male prisoners:— Unable to name the months of the year, 90; ignorant of the name of the reigning Sovereign, 104; ignorant of the words 'virtue,' 'vice,' &c, 88; unable to count a hundred, 7. There are statements of the same kind, all leading to the same melancholy conclusion, that those who are brought to this prison, in a county remarkable for its wealth, and fully equal to other counties in the number of its schools and its means of education—that in this county the persons brought before the criminal tribunals and sentenced to punishment, are in a lamentable and degraded state of ignorance. Sir, I confess that it appears to me to be a very shocking thing that where you give instruction, you never give that instruction until criminals have arrived at this point—until criminals are sent to gaol, after they have committed a crime. There are many letters in this report, such as we have seen in other reports, written by persons who had been in prison, and who afterwards conducted themselves respectably, and earned their livelihood honestly; and those persons blessed the day when they entered a prison, where they first obtained religious and secular knowledge, and learned to conduct themselves as Christian men, and as worthy of the people of a free country. Is it not, then, desirable that before such persons reach the state which consigns them to a prison — while they are yet young, and at a period when impressions are most effectually to be made upon their minds—before they become familiar with the haunts of vice—that the State should afford them that religious instruction which is necessary for them, and that secular knowledge which is indispensable to them in their pursuits in life? One of the ablest opponents of this proposition was recently speaking against it at a public meeting in this metropolis, and on that occasion some one in the body of the meeting put into his hand the following question, which he gave in writing: "Is it not better to put a signpost at the beginning of a man's life, than a gibbet at the end of it?" I will not, however, omit the remark made on that occasion by the speaker, the Rev. Mr. Burnet, who asked, with a readiness which he so well can command, "What if the sign-post should lead to the gibbet?" I admit that it was a clever answer, and one well calculated to catch the meeting; but I must remark that there is nothing in the plan which I propose, and which is laid before the House in full—a plan calling upon the House to agree to the laying-out of money for the purpose of aiding the schools of the Established Church, of the schools of the Dissenting congregations, of the British and Foreign Schools, and of the Wesleyans — which could justify any man in saying that the education which is to be aided and encouraged by the proposal, is such as could lead to the gibbet. Another remark has been made with respect to the proposed plan, and it is such a remark as I was sorry to observe was made by a gentleman who has taken a great part in the discussions on this subject, feeling as I do, and as I am sure the House will feel, that it is incumbent on us, while we punish by our laws those who are engaged in the commission of crime, we should also take measures to deter the young from following a similar course. The statement to which I allude is to this effect:— In all communities, and especially in large cities and towns, there are sinks of iniquity, into which all the sores and all the filth of society naturally run and empty themselves—where squalid poverty, heathenish ignorance, and brutal sensuality are found in dreadful combination. Here vice runs for indulgence, crime for shelter, vagrancy for a halting-place, and shame, ruin, and misfortune, to hide their heads. Sometimes these places are found in contiguity with wealth, rapid improvement, and even with the highest religious advantages. On such places as these I have two remarks to make: first, that they must be almost left out of the account in any estimate of the sufficiency of the means of education, because the classes herding there would not, and in their present state could not, make any use of such provision, be it as abundant as it might. But my present object in mentioning the subject has been to show the deduction that must be made from the whole population in our estimate of the want of schools, and of the power of the people themselves to overtake that want. The force of that passage is, that there is a certain class of the people who are found in connexion with vice and crime—who are found in connexion with great ignorance and brutal sensuality—and that in that condition they must be left. For them the means of education are not to be provided; in our calculation of the education which our population require, their names are to be omitted; for them there is to be imprisonment, transportation, and the gallows; but those milder and softer means which are afforded by religion showing her sacred front to them in the days of their youth; by schoolmasters imparting to them the knowledge by which their industry may be made available, and their future lives may be made advantageous to the country—that this knowledge is to be concealed or withheld from them, and that they are to be left in hopeless and helpless misery. Sir, to such a proposition I can never assent. At such a proposition, coming from a gentleman of great intelligence, and belonging to a denomination who have been as liberal of their money, their time, and their toil on behalf of education as any other in this country, I am indeed astonished. It shows me to what arguments men are obliged to have recourse when they oppose a scheme which holds out the hope of education for those unfortunate classes. Sir, I am not supposing that temptations may not sometimes succeed in overcoming the virtue of the lower classes of society; that sensual indulgence and riotous excesses may not lead them into the paths of crime. But still the number may be diminished; it may be restricted by showing them the paths of duty, and withholding from them none of the advantages which point to education. Many may be rescued from the haunts of crime; and if our attempts do not meet with that success which we hope will attend them, still, if only one-fourth of these unhappy beings are rescued, we shall feel, at all events, that we have performed the duty which was incumbent upon us. We shall, with a better conscience, and more satisfaction, observe the working of our criminal law, and the punishments which it inflicts; and we shall be able to say—"We have afforded you the knowledge that would have conducted you to respectability, and it is not our fault that you find yourselves at the bar as criminals." Such, Sir, are the more general objections which are made to our attempt to extend the education of the people. There are, however, other objections—other and more specific objections—with respect to the particular plan now before the House; and with regard to some of these objections, I am obliged to say that I believe there is great force in those objections. But we have proposed that which on the whole we believe to be the most practical plan, that which we think will be the most generally accepted by the schools; and, if we have not done more and better, it is in consideration that the ground is, to a great degree, preoccupied by the various religious societies which have devoted themselves to education, and have established a system of their own. This consideration is one of the utmost importance. Sir, I cannot but think it desirable that at the commencement of the present century, instead of the various religious parties taking up separate schemes, they had made serious attempts to unite, in the same schools, the various classes of Churchmen and Dissenters. I do not say how that could have been done. For my own part, being a member of the British and Foreign School Society. I should have been glad if the proposal made by the late Duke of Kent in his letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury had been adopted—that, all should meet on the ground of the daily reading of the Bible, and that religious instruction should be given at different hours to the children of different persuasions. That proposal, I think, would have led to a united education. Others have been of opinion that the Dissenters have been too scrupulous in their objections to the teaching of the liturgy and the catechism. But, Sir, whatever opinions may be entertained on this subject, what we have to deal with is that a great amount of schools exists, and that a great amount of money likewise is given from year to year in support of schools already established. The first of these societies, in point of numbers and amount, is the National Society, in connexion with the Church of England. They profess that, in their schools, there are more than 900,000 children; their funds are of a very large amount; and their rule is, that in all their schools the liturgy and catechism of the Church of England shall be taught. Their did likewise insist that all children educated in their schools should attend the Established Church on the Sunday; but they have now relaxed that rule, and they leave it to the managers of the schools to form their own determination on the subject. But, with regard to their other rule, we had to consider whether, in 1839, or at the present time, we should attempt to spread over the country some general system which did not agree either with that of the National Society, or of the British and Foreign School Society, or with the systems adopted by the different Dissenting sects, but which, in our opinion, was preferable to any of them. I say that it would have been very unwise to make such an attempt, either in 1839 or at the present time. I believe that such an attempt, practically, would have had the effect of causing great divisions; that it would have ended in a failure; and that by such a step we should not have advanced, but rather have retarded education. We said, then, in 1839, with regard to the Church schools, that they should be conducted according to the views of their managers, and that we would not interfere with the religious instruction of those schools further than by consenting to the proposition made by the heads of the Church, that the inspectors appointed by the Committee of Privy Council, in concurrence with the Archbishops, should visit such schools, and report as to the degree of religious instruction afforded in them. With regard to other schools, we stated that we should not make any inquiry at all as to the religious instruction given in them; that we should not interfere with reference to that religious instruction; but, with regard to the secular part of their instruction, we required the inspectors to report upon the efficiency of the schools. Now, the rule which was adopted in 1839 with respect to the building of schools, we adopt now with respect to the education of these pupil-teachers and stipendiary monitors. In the Church schools we require them to be examined by the inspectors in the Bible, in the Church catechism, and in the liturgy. In those schools not connected with the Church of England, we have no examination of the kind, but we confine the examination to secular branches of learning, only requiring that the child shall be kept in a respectable household, and that the managers of the schools shall be satisfied with his religious attainments. It seems to me exceedingly strange that there are some persons who, agreeing with me in what I have hitherto stated—agreeing with me that education ought to receive some assistance by grants of public money—agreeing with me that it is not enough to say that voluntary exertion shall be made—agreeing with me that the state of crime calls for some effort on the part of Parliament—yet say that these rules contain such a violation of the liberty of conscience, that they cannot partake of any grants under such a system. Yet, these are the same parties—as far as I understand it—who, since 1839, have consented that schools should be built in connexion with the Church, of England, which have received a large proportion of the public money voted for this purpose, they knowing that the liturgy and catechism would be taught in those schools, and that the inspectors would inquire into the religious attainments of the children in the Church of England liturgy and formularies. I own I cannot myself understand that very nice distinction which seems to be drawn between consenting to the building of Church of England schools—taught and inspected as I have described—and consenting to payments made to masters, to stipendiary monitors, and to pupil-teachers, who teach and learn the formularies of the Established Church. It is a nicety of scruple, a refinement of distinction, which I confess I cannot understand; for, be it observed, there is no question now of the Church undertaking the education of the whole people. There is no question now, as there was some years ago, of the Church arrogating to itself the right of educating the people according to the established religion of the State. All that the Church now asks—or rather the scheme to which the Church now consents — is, that in Church of England schools, which are built and established by the subscriptions of members of that Church, the liturgy and catechism of the Church of England shall be taught; while in all other schools, belonging to Dissenters, there shall be no imposition of any catechism or formulary whatsoever. It does seem to me that this is a scheme, not of compulsion, but of religious liberty. It seems to me that it is a scheme by which the conscience of the Dissenter from the Church of England ought to be fully satisfied. It is for him to say whether or not he will make exertions commensurate with the grant now proposed; but, if he does make such exertions, it is evident that he may have as large a portion of this grant as can be awarded to the Church. If, indeed, the Church subscriptions very much exceed in amount the subscriptions of Dissenters, then a larger portion of the grant will be appropriated to the Church schools; but that is not a difference of principle, it is a difference of amount, and an equality of principle. I do not understand, then, why any Dissenter should refuse to partake of this grant on the ground that part of this money is given to Church of England schools, these Church schools being supported by the subscriptions of individuals who are members of that Church. Let the House observe, that this is not—as it has been carefully represented in some quarters—a system of State education imposed by the State. It is a system which only comes in aid of voluntary subscriptions. We take those kinds of education which the people themselves furnish; we find the schools existing; we come in aid of those schools begun and continued by the people themselves; we impose no terms upon any school which are not in perfect conformity with those rules and regulations which the founders, the subscribers, and the managers of such schools have already established. When it is said, therefore, as it has been said, that the State cannot to any advantage undertake the education of the whole people—that it cannot drill the whole population according to one uniform system, that is perhaps an objection, good or bad, against some other scheme, but it is no objection to the plan now proposed: and if the grant were more than is proposed, it would be no objection, provided the subscriptions made by voluntary effort, were larger than they are at present, and the management of the schools was left in the hands of the persons by whom they had been established. It is said, Sir, that some other scheme of education would have been much better than that which has been approved by the Government; that it would have been better for the State to have confined itself solely to secular instruction; and that the State ought to take no cognizance whatever of religious education. Now, those who urge this proposition, mean, I think, two very different things. As far as I can understand Dr. Vaughan, and those who think with him, they have no objection to education by the State; they have no objection to the State assisting the Church societies, or any of the Dissenting societies, in supporting the schools which those societies have founded; but they would have the inspectors of the State take no notice whatever of the religious instruction given in those schools. I own it appears to me that this would be doing very nearly the same as we now propose to do; because there can be no doubt that the National Society, the Wesleyan Society, and the other societies, would continue to teach their catechisms and formularies as they now do; and if the Government inspectors—appointed with the consent and concurrence of these societies—made no inquiry as to the religious instruction afforded in these schools, it is obvious that the different societies would appoint inspectors of their own, and that a portion of their funds would be devoted to the payment of these inspectors; but their teaching would be exactly what it is now; the schools would remain Church or Dissenting schools, as they may now happen to be. This objection seems to be taken for the sake of some apparent principle; but the distinction it would make is one in which, for my own part, I can see no advantage; because, if these inspectors are appointed with the concurrence of the National and other societies, they will possess the confidence of those societies, and will be able to give them accounts, either minutely or generally, of the state of religious education in their several schools. But there are others, who, in speaking of secular education, have a very different meaning. They contend that schools should be established by the State, in which secular education only should be given, and in which the schoolmaster should be—what we do not propose to make him—a State officer. They hold that, with regard to all secular instruction, the State should, in fact, be the great teacher, and that religious instruction should be a matter with which the schoolmaster should have no concern; but that it should be given by the ministers of religion of different persuasions, according to their own religious views. This is the proposal, I think, which was brought forward by the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Roebuck) some years ago. To such a scheme I have the most decided objection. Under such a system the State would take cognizance, in schools set up by itself, of one half only, and that not the most important half, of the instruction to be given to the children therein educated. I think myself, that to omit any inculcation of the duties of religion—to omit instructing the children in the principles of love to God and love to their neighbour—would be a grave, a serious, and an irreparable fault. I think myself that no advantage that could be gained from uniting different sects could compensate for such an apparent declaration by the State, that it thought secular knowledge and secular learning alone was that with which it had any concern, or in which it took any interest. I think, besides, that practically—supposing the objections which stand in the front of such a scheme to be overruled—considering how the time of the working classes of this country and of their children must be occupied; and considering also how the time of the teachers of religion is and must be occupied, you could not obtain, in this way, a sufficient amount of religious instruction. I think, therefore, that both in principle and in practice such a scheme would be objectionable. But I believe, moreover, even if such a scheme had in my eyes greater advantages, that it is one which would not be acceptable to Parliament, and far less acceptable to the people of this country, for they would confound the omission of religious instruction, and the declaration that such instruction was to be left to the ministers of different persuasions, with irreligion. They certainly would be wrong in their interpretation of the intention; but still I think that feeling would be entertained, and I believe it would be so strong as to overbear, and at once put an end to, any scheme proposed on such a basis. If, then, the proposal we make is founded on the system already established—if it is impossible for us to propose any other plan which would enable us to carry practically into effect a great scheme of education—if it would be useless to propose such a plan as I have just alluded to, because it would be sure to fail—the question I have to ask such men as Dr. Vaughan, and hon. Gentlemen in this House who entertain similar views, is, whether, considering the facts I have mentioned, they are prepared to go with us and allow us a grant for a sum of money, to be disposed of according to the Minutes of Council, or whether they are disposed to refuse that grant, and to join the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) in passing a vote of censure upon us for proposing such a scheme. That is, in fact, the effect of the hon. Gentleman's Motion. But, before I ask the House to accede to this grant, I must notice one or two other points which, have been raised both in this House and out of doors with respect to omissions in this scheme. It has been asked, whether we propose that any part of this grant shall go to the Roman Catholics. Now, I say, with respect to that subject, that in the Minutes of August and December, 1846, the question never came under discussion. That question, according to our view, did not arise upon those Minutes. Certain rules were laid down, in conformity with the original intention, that the application of this grant should be, generally speaking, limited to schools which followed the rules and maxims of the National Society and of the British and Foreign School Society; and therefore the question I have alluded to never arose. Inquiries have, however, since been made as to the intentions of the Government, and we have referred to the Minute of 1839, in order to see what is there stated on the subject. That Minute confined the grant then to be made to those schools in which the Scriptures were read daily. I have stated already that I think the term "Scriptures," in the general understanding of the word, is intended to mean the version usually used in this country—the authorized version of the Scriptures; and we find that where any other version is referred to, it is specifically named—as the Douay version. The question raised is whether, if there appears to be a desire on the part of the Roman Catholics to have Catholic schools, and Catholic schools only, in certain districts, the Committee of Council would entertain favourably applications for grants to establish such schools. I consider that if the Committee did entertain such applications, the greatest care should be taken with regard to the framing of the Minutes by which grants would be authorized in such cases, because I think it would not do for us to support the monastic schools which may be established in connexion with monasteries in this country. I think, likewise, that Roman Catholic schools which Protestant children might attend, and in which they would have no opportunity of reading the Bible daily, would be in themselves very objectionable. I own I consider that there was no need to add this difficulty—which I say arises from the Minute of 1839, and not from the Minutes of 1846—to the consideration of this question; for as far as I know, the present plan has not caused any practical inconvenience, and I see no necessity for discussing the subject at the present moment. I think, having been asked, as we have been, by clergymen of the Church of England and others, whether the Minutes refer to the authorized version of the Scriptures; and having replied that they do refer to that version, and having received applications for the whole sum of 100,000l., it would not be desirable for us to expend any part of that 100,000l. upon Roman Catholic schools. I believe that about half a million of money has already been spent for educational purposes, under the direction of the Lords of the Treasury and the Committee of Council on Education; and of that sum I do not think a single shilling has been given for the establishment or assistance of purely Roman Catholic schools; and I do not see the advantage of coming to an immediate decision on this subject, which seems to have been brought forward merely for the sake of placing a stumbling-block in our way. I have now to ask the House—such being the proposal of the Government, and the difficulties with regard to any other scheme being so great—whether they think there is any sufficient reason for instituting an inquiry whether the regulations attached to the scheme of the Government will not —"unduly increase the influence of the Crown, invade the constitutional functions of Parliament, and interfere with the religious convictions and the civil rights of Her Majesty's subjects? I have touched upon the constitutional functions of Parliament, and I have said—and I hope I have shown—that by this scheme we do not interfere with the religious convictions or the civil rights of Her Majesty's subjects. I certainly supposed, until I saw an objection made, that this plan would increase the influence of the Crown; that if one part of the Minutes of Council were carried into effect, the influence of the Crown, instead of being increased, would be diminished. I must observe, with regard to that part of the seheme which relates to the granting of rewards to stipendiary monitors, pupil-teachers, and masters of schools, that those grants will be made on the report of inspectors appointed by different Administrations, and honestly performing their duties; and I do not think that any pupil-teacher or stipendiary monitor, after the lapse of seven or eight years, when he arrives at his majority, and is able to give a vote, will feel himself in the least obliged to the Minister of the day—whoever he may happen to be—because he received a grant from the Committee of Privy Council in consequence of the report of the inspector. There is, however, a suggestion in the Minutes—for it is not in fact a regular part of the scheme—that, as a great many of these young will not be employed as schoolmasters, some of them may receive employment in the different branches of the revenue. That suggestion was originally made in this House, I believe, by the present Secretary of State for the Colonies (Earl Grey), when the right hon. Baronet opposite was in office, and when Lord Grey was in opposition to the Government, not because my noble Friend thought that such a proposition would at all increase the influence of the Crown, but because he considered that it would hold out a reward to the students, and would afford an additional inducement to parents to send their children to the schools. It seems to have been supposed that we were about to create a great number of new offices in the revenue for these teachers. The fact is, that there is just the same number of offices to be given away; but, instead of being bestowed on the application of parties, recommending a person as a very staunch political adherent, and as in all other respects, namely, in the power of reading, writing, and keeping accounts well, properly qualified to be an exciseman, the offices would be, under such an arrangement as I have alluded to, given to persons who could read and write well, who possess a knowledge of geography and history, and their political opinions would then form no part of their recommendation. This, then, would be anything but a great scheme for the increase of Government patronage; and to regard it as such, is really the most idle of all apprehensions. I am aware of what I think is a very great hardship in many of the Church schools in this country—the existence of a rule disallowing children to come to them unless they learn the Church catechism, and attend the church on the Sabbath. With respect to this rule, we neither promote nor encourage it by this scheme. If we had made it a condition of these grants, that the fundamental rules of these schools should be departed from, we should thereby have lost, the advantage of any of these schools which are properly conducted. For my own part, I cannot but think that the Church itself would gain greatly by allowing parents to send their children to these schools without insisting on their learning the Church catechism, or attending the church on the Sabbath. I believe that the rule of the Wesleyan body, which allows parents to act on their own religious convictions in this respect, is much wiser, and more charitable, and has not, I believe, any tendency to effect a diminution in the Wesleyan community. I should see with great pleasure any improvement in the rules of Church schools on this point. I cannot, however, force any change on them. I cannot believe that this grant of 100,000l., part of which is to go to them, would entitle the Ministers of the Crown to impose terms on these voluntary schools, which, of themselves, they are not willing to adopt. But I say again, that I shall be glad to see a change in this respect; and I say further, that if in any place there should be some small body of Dissenters willing to send their children to the Church school, but shut out from doing so by the rule I have mentioned, that would form an additional reason for granting aid to the locality, so that a school might be opened where all the children of the place might be taught. But our scheme being, as I admit, imperfect in many respects, the question is whether you will not in any way try to combat the evil which Dr. Vaughan describes in the terms which I shall now read:— These children—the children of ignorance and poverty—are almost everywhere growing up as such, and as such will be bequeathed to the State, to deal with as it best may. Upon this class our educational means are producing small impression. The great mass of them being themselves uninstructed, have no adequate feeling of the value of instruction, and their great aim seems to be to convert their children into a source of profit as soon and as largely as possible. The school is evaded, that the merest pittance may be gained from the field or the factory. Let these grossly untaught multitudes come to be only in a slight degree more formidable than at present, and let any strong blight come upon our means of subsistence, or upon our means of employment, and to the hunger-bitten millions of Ireland, we may have to add an equal number in the same state of maddened wretchedness in England; and before such an insurgency the power of the strongest Government may be as nothing; and, in an hour when we think not, a wound may be inflicted on our national greatness from which recovery will be impossible. To pursue our present course is to end thus—to perish, as all great empires before us have perished, our ignorance and our vices having become stronger than our knowledge and our virtues. Reading this passage, and being impressed with its truth, I cannot but wonder that its author should be an opponent of the proposed scheme of education. For my part, seeing that the evil is so great, I am not disposed to wait until I can carry a more general and a perfect scheme. I am disposed rather to feel my way—to proceed as we have, until at length we may find that there is some general scheme in favour of which the great mass of the intelligent opinion in this country will unite; and then I should be most happy to see embodied in an Act of Parliament the provisions which met with such concurrence. In the meantime, we ask you for these means, inadequate as they are, with the view of dispelling that ignorance which Dr. Vaughan has adverted to, and of promoting religion and virtue among the great mass of our population. We ask you to do so, well aware of the opposition which this scheme has met with; well aware that it would have been far easier for us to have shrunk from this task, and not to have asked the House to grant anything more than the millions on millions expended in the maintenance of the military means of this country. It would have been easier for the Ministers to have agreed, and said, "Let us have additional millions for our Army, our Navy, and our Ordnance, but let us not ask for a single farthing for the purposes of education." This would have members of the Established Church and been easier for us to have done; but this would not be consistent with the duty which we feel presses on us to improve, as far as in us lies, the school teaching in this country, and to assist, as far as in us lies, in giving a knowledge of religion and virtue to many of the uuinstructed multitudes in the country; and, be the opposition which we meet with, what it may, however formidable it may be at this moment (and I lament to see it in such a cause, withdrawing from us the aid and support of many, who through good report and through evil report have supported our political course), yet, be this disadvantage what it may, it will, nevertheless, be a consolation to me that I have made an attempt to diminish the empire of ignorance, and to raise the people of this country in the scale of religion and virtue among the nations of the globe. The noble Lord concluded by moving the Order of the Day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of Supply.


said, that he never recollected a Prime Minister of this country to take notice of an individual Member, particularly one so humble as himself, by condescending to argue upon, and endeavouring to prejudice in the mind of the House, a Motion given notice of, but not yet brought on. The noble Lord might characterize his apprehensions as idle: but he believed his apprehensions were participated in by thousands and millions of his fellow-countrymen. The noble Lord might if he chose call his Motion a censure on the Government, or a vote of want of confidence in the Committee of the Privy Council; and he admitted that he had no confidence in that Committee with respect to the scheme of education. Whatever might be the fate of the Motion which he was about to submit to the House—however the great question involved might suffer in his hands—he was confident that if that Motion, failed, it would not fail because there was anything unreasonable in it, or inconsistent with Parliamentary usage and the practice of the House. If it failed, it would be in consequence of the inability of any individual or independent Member of the House to cope with that Ministerial influence which be knew had been, and was to be, brought against his humble Motion. It would fail also in consequence of the difficulties he should have to contend with arising from those understandings, if not actual and absolute compacts, made with members of the Established Church and some portions of the Dissenting community—compacts and understandings which he would say were most disgraceful to those who made them—those, for instance, who called themselves Her Majesty's liberal Ministers, in the face of their former opinions and avowed principles. If he failed, however, in his Motion, his consolation would, at all events, be, that he had the support and good wishes of a great portion of his fellow-countrymen. This he believed, because since he had given notice of his Motion, he had received communications from all parts of the country in reference to it, asking him to persevere with his Motion, and stating, also, that that House would neglect its duty and betray its trust if it did not grant some inquiry, or at all events, some information, beyond what had been given by the noble Lord, before voting away any portion of the public money. These communications also expressed regret that he had not given notice of his Motion earlier. His excuse for not doing so was that he had waited until the last moment, in order to see whether any other Member of greater influence would not give notice of probably a better Motion, with the view of meeting the proposal of Her Majesty's Ministers. He had been told both by Churchmen and Dissenters that, if longer notice had been given of his Motion, they would have afforded it every support by the means of petitions. If he had entirely abstained from giving notice of his Motion, probably only one discussion would have taken place before that House was called on to give validity, through the medium of the people's taxes, to an educational scheme which, notwithstanding all that had fallen from the noble Lord, he was prepared to maintain was dangerous to civil and religious liberty, and calculated to increase the power of the Crown—which invaded and superseded the functions of Parliament, and was unjust to that portion of the community which would be compelled to contribute towards its maintenance, but would derive no benefit from its establishment. Moreover, it was a scheme which would not attain the objects sought to be accomplished, while it would carry discord and dissension into every locality where it was intruded. The noble Lord intimated that intimidation had been used to overawe Members, and prevent them from doing their duty on this question. He should like to know what course had been taken on the other side to get up a demonstration in favour of this scheme? The noble Lord had spoken of the Minute of 1839; but a previous scheme was issued in April of the same year; and when the subsequent scheme was adopted, abandoning the scheme of April, 1839, it was stated in the Minute that the Ministers postponed going any further with the new scheme, in consequence of not being able to reconcile the differences of opinion in the country in respect to it; and they deferred, therefore, any further scheme until there should be a great concurrence of opinion on the subject. Now, considering the petitions presented on that day and on previous days, he would ask whether there was anything like concurrence or approbation among the public in favour of this scheme? The noble Lord might think himself strong from having bought of the opposition off the Wesleyans; and he might feel himself strong in the support of the bishops; but, though a portion of the Established Church had given their adhesion to this newfangled scheme of education, a great portion were, on the other hand, opposed to it. He would quote from one petition, which he had presented that evening, proceeding from thirteen clergymen of the diocese of York, by which it appeared that the clergy were only now beginning to understand this Government plan. Those petitioners stated, that it appeared from the Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education laid before the House, that the propositions therein contained were in some measure founded on the representations of some of the clergy of the Established Church; and they wanted to know from what portion of the Church those representations had been received; warning the House against assuming them to be in harmony with the sentiments of the clergy generally. They added, that several public meetings had been held to consider the merits of the plan in question, and that at all such public meetings some grave objections had been made thereto, while deputations had been appointed by many to lay these objections before the Committee of Council on Education—that, in reply to such objections, explanations had indeed been given, but that, in the opinion of the petitioners, those replies were unsatisfactory—that the explanations had no authority—and that they afforded no security against the evils apprehended. The petitioners thought that the plan for public education ought to have been embodied in the constitutional form of a Bill, so that both Houses of Parliament might have an opportunity of deliberating thereon; and they prayed the House not to sanction any plan so indefinite and insecure, and to ascertain its real character and tendencies by instituting an inquiry respecting it. Such were the sentiments of some of the clergy of the Established Church. This petition had been forwarded to him, accompanied by a letter written by a clergyman, from which the following was an extract:— I send you by this post a petition. The more converse with the clergy the more evident it is, that whilst a few are submissive acquiescents in the Government plan, the majority feel and own they are quite in the dark. The objectors, too, are numerous, in consequence of its conferring no benefit on our poor rural districts; but God speed your efforts to obtain inquiry, for certain I am it would confer a vast benefit upon society. The House had witnessed the petitions presented against the scheme, and had also witnessed others presented in its favour, principally by the noble Lord. These latter petitions chiefly proceeded from ministers and members of the Established Church. When it suited the noble Lord, he had no objection to get public opinion in his favour; but, notwithstanding all his exertions, and the exertions of the other noble Lord (Lord Ashley), who brought about the arrangement between the Government and the Wesleyans, at the expense of the Roman Catholics, he had not I yet been able to effect this in reference to his new educational scheme. To show how petitions were obtained in favour of the scheme, he would read to the House a letter written by the Secretary to the Central Committee for promoting the Government Scheme of Education, of which the right hon. Lord Ashley was Chairman. The letter was as follows:—

"12, Gordon Street, Gordon Square, April 6.

"Rev. Sir—It having been clearly ascertained that it is of great importance to the success of the Government Scheme of Education that there should be an expression of opinion throughout the country on the part of those who are favourable to a measure of such vital consequence to the welfare of the poorer classes of the community, I beg leave to suggest to you the expediency of your obtaining, with the least possible delay, the signatures of your parishioners to a petition in its behalf.

"In order to save time and trouble, I enclose the form of a petition"—[all cut and dry, according, he supposed, to Dr. Kaye Suttleworth's pattern]—"which has been already adopted by some friends of the measure. It may be copied either on parchment or paper, only taking care that some of the signatures are affixed on the same sheet as that on which the petition itself is written.

"Permit me to add, that all petitions must be in the hands of the Members who are to present them before April 19, so that there is no time to be lost. They may be intrusted to your borough or county Members, or sent (pre-paid) to 'The Right hon. Lord John Russell, M.P., 32, Chesham Place, London,' who has kindly promised to take charge of them; or, if preferred, they may be sent (pre-paid) to me, to be placed in his Lordship's (Lord Ashley's) hands.


"incumbent of All Saints, Gordon Square,

Honorary Secretary."

The postscript, like a lady's, contained important matter. It was as follows:— I have authority to state, that, under the existing Minutes, the authorized version of the Scriptures must be read daily in all schools aided by the Government. So that the Roman Catholics were to be excluded from all participation in this grant. The noble Lord had talked about the destitute condition of different classes in regard to education; why had he taken no notice of the Roman Catholics? In the Catholic Directory for 1846 it was stated, that in the London district, the Central, the Eastern, the Western, the Lancashire, the Northern, and the Welsh, there were 65,307 poor Roman Catholic children requiring gratuitous education, of whom 30,207 were receiving education, but some 35,100 never went to school: why had not these unfortunate persons attracted the noble Lord's attention? But was there no other compromise than this with the Church through the medium of Mr. Hughes, the incumbent of All Saints? What would the House think of the other compromise between the Wesleyans and the Government, and also at the expense of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects? Hon. Members had probably seen the correspondence with Sir Culling Eardley Smith, and Mr. Langdale's application, to know the intention of Ministers with regard to the exclusion of Roman Catholics—a subject upon which no positive or direct answer was received until the last moment; and now let the House hear what had passed between Her Majesty's Ministers and the Wesleyan body. The statement had been sent by a gentleman connected therewith to him; and he believed it to be perfectly correct. The gentleman referred to forwarded it with a note, in which he remarked— I need hardly say that I have no sympathy with Sir Culling Eardley Smith's views, and that, Protestant as I am, I feel the conduct of the Government towards the Roman Catholics to be peculiarly base; the Dissenters, as well as Churchmen, owe you a debt of gratitude for the notice you have given. Now, this was the history of the transaction:— About a fortnight since, at the Centenary Hall of the Wesleyans, Bishopsgate-street, a meeting was held of the Education Committee and the Committee of Privileges connected with that body; it was convened for the purpose of framing resolutions expressive of the opposition which at a previous meeting they had determined on offering to the Government plan of education. The meeting was unexpectedly requested to receive a communication from Lord Ashley, who was waiting. His Lordship was admitted, and stated himself to be commissioned by the Government to negotiate with them, in the hope that he might induce their acquiescence in the proposed measures, on the basis of the Committee of Council requiring that the entire Scriptures, in the authorized version, should be used in all schools receiving Government aid; by which means (it was stated by his Lordship) Roman Catholic schools would be excluded from a participation in the grant. This object, it was understood, would be very agreeable to the Wesleyan body. It will thus be observed, that the negotiation did not originate with the Wesleyans, but with the Government through Lord Ashley. This communication having had the desired effect on the minds of these Committees, it was resolved that their deliberations should be adjourned to Manchester, that they might there hold a meeting with some of the leading friends of the body connected with the manufacturing districts. Such meeting was held at Manchester on Thursday and Friday, the 8th and 9th of April, when it was determined to open a direct communication with the Committee of Council on Education. A meeting accordingly took place at Lansdowne-house on Wednesday last the 14th inst., where a deputation representing the Wesleyan body, headed by Dr. Bunting, met the Marquess of Lansdowne and Lord J. Russell. The basis of the agreement there entered into was that already proposed by Lord Ashley, that the existing Minutes of Council should be construed to require the use of the entire Scriptures, in the authorized version, in all schools receiving Government aid, with an express view to the exclusion of Catholic schools. It was further agreed that, on the one hand, the Government would not feel itself precluded from issuing fresh Minutes, or otherwise providing for the aid of Catholic schools; nor, on the other hand, the Wesleyans, in that case, from opposing the same by any means in their power. The following concessions were further made by their Lordships to the deputation: — that all Church schools taking Government aid should be required to receive the children of Wesleyan parents, without such children having to learn the Church catechism or attend on Sunday the Church service; and that no person in holy orders should have the office of master in any school aided by the Government, the latter rule being intended to defeat a proposal of the Bishop of Exeter, to invest masters of such schools with deacon's orders. These points having been conceded to the deputation, they met on Friday last, and the decision they came to was in favour of the Government scheme. Such was this history. [Mr. MACAULAY: It is mere romance.] More romance! Then, perhaps, the Roman Catholics were not to be excluded. Was that "mere romance?" The sooner the right hon. Gentleman could make out that they were not excluded the better; for he had another document to read, which he had that morning received from Leeds, containing a resolution passed at a committee meeting of Roman Catholics, and it was a resolution which would be cordially responded to by every liberal-minded man in the House. Resolved—That this Committee have read with the greatest astonishment the reply of Lord J. Russell on the 15th inst., respecting the distribution of the educational grant; for while They were led to believe, from the Minutes of Council, the speech by which they were introduced, and from the hitherto expressed opinions of all the Members of Her Majesty's Government who have spoken on the subject, that the distribution of the grant would be impartially administered to all, they now find that, to appease the sectarian and unjust demands of intolerant clamour, they are to be deprived of all participation in the intended grant, to which they contribute equally with the rest of Her Majesty's subjects; and that this Committee cannot withhold the expression of their regret that a Ministry professing a desire to render equal justice to all denominations should have adopted the truckling policy of sacrificing the interests of one portion of the people to the advantage of another; nor can they refrain from expressing their contempt and abhorrence of a Ministry desirous of treating a new disability upon Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects. There was no "romance" in that; that was a reality, and a resolution that was well warranted. The right hon. Gentleman might call all this "romance;" but did he, when he was opposing Lord Stanley's attempt to procure the revocation of the Minute of 1839, understand that the Roman Catholics were to be excluded, or think it right and proper that they should? Let the noble Lord, the Member for the West Riding (Lord Morpeth), answer that question also. That Minute stated, that— A portion of every day should be devoted to the reading of the Scriptures in the school, under the general direction of the committee, and superintendence of the rector. And Lord Stanley, in the debate on June 14, 1839, urged that "this passage required explanation:"—"Under the direction of the same individual would be read the Roman Catholic version, the authorized version, and, us a matter of course, the Socinian version of the sacred Scriptures." And what said the noble Lord (Lord Morpeth)?— It had been objected to the former scheme of the Government (the Minute of April the 13th, subsequently abandoned), that it was impracticable, that it was a wretched compromise, because it attempted to unite the education of children whose parents had different religious opinions.… But no such union was proposed now. The noble lord appeared to have shifted his ground, and to oppose the present scheme with equal vehemence, although the ground of objection was removed. What was the principle on which this noble Lord was prepared to go? Was he prepared to say that it would be right and proper to exclude certain proscribed classes in this country from the benefit of the public grant? He had no high opinion of many of the doctrines of the Roman Catholics; he had his own notion respecting Unitarian tenets: and he thought that the state of opinion prevailing in this country being Protestant and Trinitarian, those who held such opinions were entitled to have the greatest proportion of all public grants applied for their benefit: but, nevertheless, us long as the State thought, proper to employ Roman Catholic sinews and to tinger Unitarian gold, it could not refuse to extend to those by whom it so profited the blessings of education. It was clear that at that time the intention was, that the Roman Catholics should have a share, and that there had been a base truckling to buy off at their expense some opposition which threatened the present scheme. That opinion of Lord Morpeth's was warmly defended by Lord J. Russell, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Hawes, and others, and they ridiculed the attempt to get up a "No Popery" cry. Who would have expected that the same Ministers returning to power, would be the first to exclude the Roman Catholics from participating in the grant? They stood up for perfect equality then—why not now? But the case could be carried still further; such an exclusion was not intended by Lord Wharncliffe in 1842 and 1843, when he was President of the Council. The question arose on his laying on the Table the Minutes of the Committee of Council, and he said— The Government wished to act with the most perfect fairness in this matter (the appropriation of the Parliamentary grant). It would be seen that there were demands upon the Committee, which, if acceded to, must exceed their ability to meet, but which the people of this country would be perfectly ready to admit if they were satisfied that the money was fairly and impartially distributed; and that must depend upon the persons appointed for that purpose. He, for one, should be ashamed to hold the situation he filled if he did not think that every man in this country, whether Churchman or Dissenter, was equally entitled to the support of the Government and to share in the distribution of a grant for the purposes of education. He found the Church making the first claim upon the property of the country; but he must say that, attached as he was to the Church, he thought that the Church itself was greatly obliged to the Dissenters for the example they had set her. So said Lord Wharncliffe in 1842. To come to a more recent date, showing still that the exclusion of the Roman Catholics was a new thought of Her Majesty's Ministers, what said Lord Morpeth at the meeting of the York Yeoman School on the 9th of the present month?— If I had myself the power, which some seem almost disposed to attribute to the Privy Council, of issuing an arbitrary edict, without reference either to Parliament or people, I believe I should prefer a scheme which both did more and did less—which, on the one hand, would have carried education more extensively into our towns and villages; and, on the other hand, would have abstained more completely from any religious interference…… We have then a scheme proposed which, if it is distinguished by anything, it is by an anxious, scrupulous, I think almost an exaggerated deference for the religious convictions and susceptibilities of all the parties with whom it can be brought into contact; it respects the liberty of religious conscience with a strictness which is not even to be found in the educational systems of the United States. It takes what it finds—it invents no regulation—it imposes no check of its own, though I may myself regret that it does not prevent others from doing so. But then we hear that though there is no professed, and even no intended favouritism, yet virtually and practically there wall be a good deal. Where in this scheme was this extreme deference for the feelings and consciences of the Roman Catholics to be found? But the noble Lord went on, and, talking of the Church of England, said— At times I have thought it too exclusive, at times too timorous. I rejoice to witness the attitude she has assumed during the recent discussions. I presume not to sound all the motives in which it may originate, nor to divine all the results it may aim at; but I see that she is putting forward no exclusive pretensions—that she is not seeking to keep back from others what she is willing to compete for with them; and let the best friends and most faithful children of the Church feel well assured that she will not derive half the credit from her long proscription, her wide possessions, her august architecture—no, not even from those solemn and beautiful towers that rise immediately above us, as she will do from her willingness to descend into the equal arena of a generous competition; to discard all mean jealousies and absolute monopolies; to reserve her antagonism not mainly for dissent, but for infidelity; to wage her warfare not so much against errors of opinion as against viciousness of life; and to accept the part which falls to her in enlightening, elevating", evangelizing mankind. Now he would not blame the hon. Baronet near him (Sir R. H. Inglis) for opposing the participation of Roman Catholics in State grants. In him such a course would be at least consistent; but they had a right to blame those who now supported the Government scheme, after having always professed so much regard for Roman Catholics, and such anxiety for an equal distribution of civil and religious privileges. He should like to ask whether the Ministry would dare to maintain this exclusion of Roman Catholics if Mr. O'Connell had been in his place in the House? He believed that they would not have dared to do so. But, until he saw it, he would not believe that to Protestant Members of that House would be left the task of fighting the battle of Catholic equality. He would not believe that the right hon. Member for Dungarvon, and others whom he could name, would go out into the same lobby with Ministers in creating this new disability, and in affixing this new stain, this new reproach, on those believing the same creed as themselves. Surely they would stand up for equal justice, and not allow their co-religionists to be taxed for the support of establishments in which they did not participate. If, however, it was not so—if they adopted the cowardly course of running away from the battle—there still would be found men who would not consent to vote away one shilling of the public money from the taxes, until all who contributed should share equally in its distribution. Now, the noble Lord had stated that he was aware of many objections to the plan which had great force; but perhaps he was not aware of what these objections really were. The noble Lord had not said anything of the probable cost of this scheme. He asked any man in that House if he could say within half a million of money what would be the annual cost of this scheme some ten years hence? [An Hon. MEMBER: 1d. a head.] That was the hon. Gentleman's estimate, just I as this year the estimate of Government was 100,000l.; but they were laying the foundation of a scheme which, according to the calculations made by others, and which had not been proved to be wrong, would cost some two years hence two millions annually. Now this system was to be worked, and such a result arrived at, under the Minutes of the Privy Council laid before both Houses. He must say that he objected to the unconstitutional character of the Committee of the Privy Council; and he did not think there was anything in the manner in which these Minutes were laid before the House of Lords that was calculated to give the country confidence in that Committee of the Privy Council. When these Minutes were laid on the Table of the House of Lords by the Lord President, that noble Lord said—[Mr. SPEAKER: Order, order!] Well—it was stated in "another place." It was agreed in the Privy Council, if that was liked better, and no doubt thought a very clever view of the case, "that, with regard to the House of Lords, the Minutes of the Council might be laid before them with a few prefatory remarks, seeing that he was not about to lay on the Table of the House any measure for their sanction." So that the view which the Privy Council took of all interference by Parliament with their scheme was, "Read these Minutes: digest them if you can: it is great condescension on our parts to say any thing about them: pay your money and be grateful." That was the language of the President of the Committee of Council—a self-elected secret tribunal. He next meant to come to the Minutes themselves. The scheme was objectionable not only on account of the annual cost and its inefficiency for its object, but because it would increase the power of the Crown and the patronage of the Government. On the 25th of August the general Minutes were agreed upon; and the President of the Council required four months to produce another set of Minutes, regulating the education of pupil-teachers and stipendiary monitors. Apart from this unconstitutional character, he believed there never had been such a piece of quackery as those Minutes. People might talk of Dr. Eady or of Morison's pills; but Dr. Kayo Shuttleworth's Minutes heat every other quackery hollow. In all that related to workshops in schools, for instance, they were the laughing-stock of the country. At the end of the first year pupil-teachers were to be examined —"in writing from memory the substance of a more difficult narrative; in arithmetic, the rules of 'practice' and 'simple proportion,' and in the first rules of mental arithmetic; in grammar, in the construction of sentences, and in syntax; in the geography of Great Britain and Palestine; in the Holy Scriptures, and in the Catechism, with illustrations by passages from Holy Writ, in Church of England schools, the parochial clergyman assisting in the examination. Objection was taken to that; it was a novelty. Next year there was not much difference in the examination, except that the geography of Europe and of the British empire was added to that of Great Britain and Palestine. It also embraced decimal arithmetic and the higher rules of mental arithmetic, but with this provision—"girls will not be required to proceed beyond the rule of compound proportion in this year." Really the idea that a parcel of these girls, kitchenmaids and chambermaids to he, should be crammed with this compound proportion, under the superintendance of the parochial clergyman, did appear supremely ridiculous. The general rules appended to the course of examination prescribed during instruction stated that —"a knowledge of vocal music and of drawing (especially from models) though not absolutely required, because the means of teaching it may not exist in every school, will be much encouraged. Drawing, especially from models, would be much encouraged, though not absolutely required, because the means of teaching it might not exist in every school! Why, the right hon. Gentleman would see that it was very easy to have models in any school after the fashion of the posés plastiques now in vogue. Great admiration had been expressed of the system of education followed in Switzerland. But one essential article of Swiss education was omitted in the Minutes, namely, that which required the pupils to be instructed in the rights and duties of citizens. Why should these "pupil-teachers" and "stipendiary monitors" not be taught their duties and rights as citizens? Why was the constitutional history of England not to be put into their hands? The next part of the Minutes to which he would advert, was that relating to a petition he had presented that evening. Portions of the country would not receive benefit from the grant. Rural districts, and the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Lord Morpeth) had alluded to the subject—would be injuriously affected; corresponding to the amount granted, there must be a certain local provision. The least grant for a schoolmaster was 15l. or 20l. Voluntaryism must furnish a further salary equal at least to twice the amount of the grant, with a house rent free, so that his emoluments might be equal, say altogether to 60l. But there were rural parishes, particularly in the North of England, where not 20l. or 15l. could be raised for the education of children, which nevertheless at present provided an education for their people, they would have no part of the Government allowance, though they would have to bear their share of the taxation. No one could object to "school field-gardens," but to "workshops for trades" there were great objections. The working men from whom he had presented the petition to which he had already alluded, after adverting to the unconstitutional character of the measure, stated these objections in the following terms:— Your petitioners desire especially to direct the attention of your honourable House to a portion of that scheme which, if put in operation, will be productive of serious injury to the trades and labouring classes of this country. Under the head 'Workshops for trades,' it is provided by the Minutes that grants may be made for the erection of workshops, or the hiring of suitable buildings, towards the purchase of tools, and for the encouragement of the master workmen, by granting gratuities for every boy who, in consequence of skill acquired in the workshops, shall have become a workman or assistant in any trade or craft whereby he is earning a livelihood. This portion of the scheme will, in the opinion of your petitioners, inflict a serious injury on the honest and hardworking artisan of this country. The great body of the trades are already brought down to the mere subsistence level by the keen competition caused by redundant labour. But the proposed addition to these competitors will render their condition much worse, because it will be impossible for the produce of their labour to be sold in the open market at the same price as that of these favoured and privileged workshops. Your petitioners would remind your honourable House of the wretched condition of the shirtmakers and needlewomen of the metropolis and other large towns. To a great extent this wretchedness is, in the opinion of your petitioners, attributable to the fact that they are compelled to compete with persons employed in workhouses, schools of industry, and similar institutions. It was impossible for the working people to enter into competition with those who had all the advantages of assistance from the State. The petitioners prayed for inquiry before the Legislature sanctioned the scheme. In a pamphlet, which was supposed to proceed from the Secretary of the Education Committee of Privy Council, this subject was much dwelt upon. A direct bribe was offered to the working classes to accept the scheme. Speaking of the benefits promised to children in great towns, the author said— The most obvious advantage to be offered to such children is the means of earning a livelihood by training them in some handicraft requiring skill. If every such child had the opportunity of etering a workshop in which he could acquire the art of a smith, or a carpenter, or a cooper, or other similar trade, and after some hours of application was provided with a coarse but wholesome meal, it is not to be doubted that many, attracted not less by the sympathy which such arrangements would prove to exist for their forlorn condition, than by the opportunity of escaping from the misery of a life of crime and privation, would become assiduous scholars in such schools of industry. The plan appeared to look remarkably well on paper; but any practical mechanic could show, that as for teaching children, with the view of gaining a livelihood, any of the skilled trades of this country in such schools, it was absolutely impossible to do so. The experiment had been made in industrial schools; but it had been found that the work of a shoemaker, for instance, who had been so taught his trade, could not bear to come into competition with that of regularly-bred workmen. There was this dilemma—either young persons would be taught trades imperfectly, or, if they were taught perfectly, great injury would be inflicted on the regular trade of the country. Men could not learn in a year and a day any of these trades; they must serve an apprenticeship. By the Minutes of Council it appeared that the boys were to have a share of the produce of their labour. Where was the produce of their labour to be sold? It must be brought into the ordinary markets; but it was totally impossible for an honest independent shoemaker who paid his taxes, maintained his family, and provided his own tools, to cope with those whose labour was carried on under so great advantages. If carried out to any extent—and if it was to be of use for the purposes of the scheme, it must be carried out to a great extent—it would seriously interfere with the wages of working men, who asked only "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work," which, indeed, the scheme now propounded was calculated rather to take away than to secure. The other day he received a communication as to what had taken place in Burnley, where a very active canvass, it appeared, took place on behalf of the Government schools. But the people were not to be deluded. The factory agitation was first tried, and the operatives called upon to go to the court-house, a meeting having been announced on the subject. Then another appeal was made:— Men of Burnley! do not be blinded by any sectarian jealousy. The Government scheme offers aid to Churchmen and Dissenters alike. No favouritism! Pork for all! "No favouritism!" But what would the Roman Catholic say? There was a saying, "Fewer parsons and more pig;" and the question, "Who was to pay for the pork?" had been pertinently put in another placard:— And men of Burnley look here! 'Knowledge is power' for either good or evil. The promoters of the Government Scheme of Education have ever been the promulgators of the pernicious doctrine of passive obedience, and non-resistance. Put a pin in that fact, working men. 'Knowledge is power;' but it may be so engrafted into the minds of your children, that they will always be passive slaves, and submissively obedient to the powers that be. Put a pin in that fact also. They cry out, 'Pork for all.' Working men, inquire who has to buy the pig and pay for its keep? A public meeting took place; and, notwithstanding an active canvass on the part of the Government, their scheme was rejected by a majority of 150 to 1. The resolutions described in emphatic terms the tendency of the scheme to corrupt the working classes. A clever, intelligent working man, writing on the subject said— I have carefully read over the Minutes of Council, and I cannot help thinking that the 'scheme' is deeply laid, that the 'thin end of the wedge' is intended to be introduced; and if the Government once introduce it, there will not be wanting those who will drive it forward. The hopes of salary, emolument, and pension, I fear, will cause a whole host of expectants to be a sort of tools that will train the youthful mind to believe in that doctrine so useful to those who fatten on the industry of others—the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance. And the 'scheme' of granting 'certificates' is such that, not only the whole of the 'pupil-teachers,' &c., will be put completely in the power of Government, but also their families; the fact is, they will all be bound to their good behaviour towards all Her Majesty's subjects, but more especially to the 'parochial clergymen' and 'managers of schools.' The same correspondent proceeded to remark— I am a working man that does not care a fig for either Churchman or Dissenter, as regards the education scheme. I believe that, as far as they are concerned, it is perfectly impartial, except as regards our Catholic brethren; and if the statement be true that has been published in this town by the supporters of the scheme, that the Roman Catholics are shut out, I am sure that on principle I should oppose it, if I had no other objection, because I hold that all who are called on to pay should participate in the benefits. So far as working men were concerned, the scheme had very little chance of gaining their approbation. They were too good judges in the matter to be deceived. They felt that the measure was calculated to enslave and to injure them, rather than to promote their interests. The Committee of Privy Council, by their conduct in reference to Burnley, had not done anything which entitled them to the confidence either of the House or of the country. This subject had been adverted to by one of the speakers at a meeting held in Manchester:— He thought that it was in 1844 that some friends of religion and education in the town purchased a school belonging to the Society of Friends; and he was delighted to bear his testimony to the efforts that body had made. Well, they established their school, and carried it on with considerable effect, and determined to build another for 250 girls. They got their estimate, and proposed to apply to Government for a grant. With that view, at the desire of his colleagues, he entered into a correspondence with Dr. Shuttle-worth. These grants, he had then reason to feel, were not so easily obtained for Dissenters. The first thing they had to do was to send their trust-deeds to the Privy Council; and, in answer, they were informed that these were void for want of enrolment. This was attended with no little expense; but having remedied the difficulty, he went to London, where he was received with considerable affability by Dr. Shuttleworth, who said, 'You may commence your building as soon as you like; the Council will grant 100l.' A serious illness laid him (Mr. Dawson) aside for some time; and soon after that, application was made to the Council for the money, when, to their mortification, they received for answer, that 'the Lords in Council have granted 50l.' He would not describe the disappointment and annoyance occasioned by this; he would only say it rejoiced him to inform the meeting that under the circumstances the committee made up their minds, and refused the grant. But now he would contrast this treatment with that experienced by another body in the same town. A gentleman there laid out 800l. to build a school in connexion with the Church; and having applied to the Council, how much did the meeting suppose it granted: Why, any child would say, that if for an outlay of 350l., they (the Dissenters) obtained 50l. the amount to be given to the Church school should have been 150l. On the contrary, the Council wrote at once to say that they granted him 800l. He mentioned this as an illustration of the kind of fairness they might expect to meet, with if they consented to this system of grants. Was not that a case of undue preference? Would any one say that that was an impartial apportionment of the grant? That fact alone, he maintained, was sufficient to show that that self-appointed body was not entitled to the confidence either of that House or the country. He observed that, by way of illustrating the ignorance of the working classes, and of showing the necessity of concurring in this scheme, Dr. Shuttleworth, in this pamphlet of the Government, alluded to what he called combinations and unions of the working classes, and strikes. He called it the Government's, because he saw the personal pronoun "we" always introduced; and unless he should be told that it was not sanctioned by the Privy Council, he should assume that it was an official document, published at the public expense. Well, in that pamphlet, allusion was made to the strike of the operative cotton-spinners of Preston from October, 1836, to February, 1837; and it was shown that 107,000l. was lost to the town and trade of Preston by that strike. In that same document, however, it would be found what was the reason of that strike. It was simply this, that the operative spinners of Preston, seeing the factory operatives in other parts of Lancashire receiving better prices than themselves, conceived that there was no reason why they should not receive the same prices. They found the wages at Bolton about 10 per cent higher than their own wages, and they struck. Well, what was the result? After the men had remained on strike for some time, the masters of Preston offered the same prices as at Bolton. This showed that the men were right in the demand they had made. But the masters thought proper to connect a condition with those prices, namely, that if the men returned to their work, none of them should belong to a trades' union or confederacy of working men. The men, in a manner he thought honourable to themselves, would not succumb to the masters on this point. There was no law against combinations, either of masters or men. The masters often combined to reduce wages; and the men saw no reason why they should not combine to raise them when they saw cause. And yet this was quoted as an instance of the ignorance of the working classes! But he begged to tell the Privy Council, that, in quoting this instance, they were talking on a subject of which they were totally ignorant. The working classes were not now so ignorant as to have recourse to the idle and ruinous strikes they had formerly adopted. They knew perfectly well that in those strikes they were not able to contend against the long purses of the masters, and they had consequently formed themselves into a national and general combination of united trades; and were creating a fund by which they would be enabled to produce for themselves the raw materials of trade, and by employing themselves in reproductive labour in cases when, by undue oppression, they were forced to strike, it would become a matter of indifference to them whether the masters yielded or not. As a proof of the effect of this union, he mentioned that within the last fortnight the members in Nottingham had succeeded in preventing no fewer than eighteen cases of abatement in Leicestershire in consequence of their association. When the pamphlet, therefore, talked of the ignorance of the working classes, the authors of it evidently did not know what was going on in the country at this moment in respect of labour; and it would be well that, before adopting this scheme, they should make some inquiry into that point. He found, also, in this pamphlet, which was sanctioned by the Committee of Privy Council, a gross libel upon the Dissenting interest of the country. He found that, at page 20, Dr. Shuttleworth attributed motives to the working classes, and especially to the Dissenting interest, which he was not entitled, either by their present or their past conduct, to attribute to them. For, talking of the scheme, he said— When, therefore, freedom of education from the interference of Government becomes the war-cry of any party, will it not be suspected that they seek the interest of a class rather than the welfare of the nation; that they prefer popular ignorance to party insignificance; the liberty to neglect the condition of the people, rather than the liberty of progressive civilization? He held that that ought not to be published in a pamphlet emanating from Her Majesty's Ministers in reference to the Dissenters of this country, who had a right to expect better treatment at the hands of Her Majesty's Ministers than this pamphlet contained. He found also among the petitions presented by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) in favour of the scheme, one from Mr. Hughes, the incumbent of All Saints, Gordon-square, wherein he also ventured to libel the Dissenting interest of this country. He was only surprised that the noble Lord should have presented a petition attributing such bad motives to the Dissenters. What did this minister of the gospel—this charitable man say? He said that— Your petitioners have observed, with the utmost surprise and regret, that notwithstanding the strict impartiality of the plan, an outcry has been raised against the scheme in question by certain sections of the Dissenting body, whose leaders, driven from absolute want of a fair objection to any one of the regulations, have invented and imposed on their ill-informed followers the grossest misrepresentations, by which, and by mere declamation on irrelevant abstract theories, they seek to defeat a measure of incalculable value to the whole nation. What right had this Mr. Hughes to say that the Dissenters had invented falsehoods for the purpose of deceiving the people of this country? He denied that they had done so. The charge was as foul a libel as that of Dr. Shuttleworth's, when he said that the Dissenters were not the friends of education. The House would, perhaps, be glad to hear that he had now nearly concluded his observations. He wanted to know what objections were to be raised against the Motion which he had the honour to propose? The noble Lord called that Motion a vote of censure on the Government. He certainly never intended it as a vote of censure on them; but, if they chose to regard it as a vote of want of confidence in the self-constituted tribunal called the Committee of Council on Education, they were at liberty to take it so. What he wanted was, that this unconstitutional body should not have the power of granting gratuities and pensions to the extent of some 2,000,000l. of the public taxes. He maintained that this scheme of theirs would enormously increase the influence of the Crown and the patronage of Government. He begged the House for a moment to pause and consider the amount of patronage that had already been created, and that amount, in perspective, which they were about to create, and they would see, that between the two, the influence of the Crown was likely to be largely extended. Last year they gave a seat in that House to a Commissioner of Railways—a gentleman who would always go out with the Government, and be dependent on the Government of the day. Then let them look at the patronage which they had recently had with respect to the Local Courts Bill—the number of judges they had already created, and the number of appointments they would have as vacancies occurred. Then there was the Board of Health, and the number of inspectors that would be appointed, all under Government—more patronage again! Then there were the four new bishops that were to be created; Mr. Hughes, of Gordon-square, perhaps, being one of the candidates. Then look at the pensions and gratuities that would be at the disposal of Government and the Privy Council among the schoolmasters and schoolmistresses under this scheme. He wanted to know what necessity there was for schoolmasters at the end of fifteen years' service having any pensions at all? There were many poor curates who had worked from twenty to thirty years, who had no pensions; and yet a schoolmaster, who should enter as a teacher, at the age of twenty or twenty-five, was not only to get gratuities dining his service, but a retiring allowance at the end of fifteen years. This would put an enormous amount of patronage in the power of the Crown; and he believed that it would create a great deal of corruption, throughout the country. He wanted to know, then, what objection there was to appointing a Committee to inquire into this Hellenic? The noble Lord had stated that there were some objections to the scheme of great force, but that there were others very unreasonable. If so, why not attempt to have these objections removed before a Committee of that House? He could only say, that if they did not give a fair hearing to parties who wished to come before them to state their honest objections to the scheme, a very bad impression would be produced of the conduct of that House. He wanted to know why the noble Lord should shrink from a fair, enlightened, and impartial Committee? If the noble Lord did shrink from the probe which he wished to apply to the scheme, the public would come to the conclusion that there was something in it which would not bear the light of day; and that the real object of Government was to increase the power and influence of the Crown much more than the instruction of the people; and that the result of it all would be, that, instead of our being a free and well-educated people, we would become an enslaved and corrupted nation. The hon. Member concluded by moving— That previous to any grant of public money being assented to by this House, for the purpose of carrying out the scheme of national education, as developed in the Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education in August and December last (which Minutes have been presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her Majesty), a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the justice and expediency of such a scheme, and its probable annual cost; also to inquire whether the regulations attached thereto do not unduly increase the influence of the Crown, invade the constitutional functions of Parliament, and interfere with the religious convictions and the civil rights of Her Majesty's subjects.


seconded the Amendment. He was well aware that on all occasions it became him to ask the indulgence of the House, and more especially on the present occasion, when for the first time since he had a seat in that House he felt himself compelled to oppose those old friends with whom for the last ten years it had been uniformly his pride to act; but at the same time he conceived that the Motion before the House was of such vital importance that it behoved every man to make his personal feelings bend to his public duty. He had listened with great attention to the speech which had fallen from the First Minister of the Crown, and he must own that he had been disappointed. He had expected that the First Minister of the Crown would have explained to the House wherein the necessity lay of keeping up the Committee of Privy Council, which had occasioned such heart burnings in the country. But instead of that, he had heard very different language from the First Minister of the Crown. The noble Lord had thought it worth his while to warn those who, like himself, sat on the Ministerial side of the House, against allowing themselves to be overawed by what he called the clamour got up by their constituents. Since he had had a seat in that House, he had frequently had the misfortune to differ from his constituents, and sometimes from a majority of them; but he had never flinched from giving a vote according to his conscience; and he begged to tell the noble Lord that he never would flinch from doing so. He would neither allow himself to be overawed by his constituents, nor by any First Minister of the Crown, whoever he might be, or whatever language he might think it worth while to hold towards his old supporters from the Treasury bench. The noble Lord had expressed his astonishment at the opposition excited by his measure, and had made a kind of accusation against the Dissenting bodies, that, in 1839, they had agreed to the constitution of the Board of the Council of Education, but that they now objected to it. The explanation he believed to be, that in 1839 the Dissenters agreed to the scheme then propounded merely as an experiment. That experiment had now been tried for eight years, and upon the whole they had found that as an experiment it had completely failed. In connexion with the new scheme, if any one thing astonished him more than another, it was when he heard that the Roman Catholics were to be excluded from any benefit in a public grant to which they were by law forced to contribute. Allusion had been made to the ignorance which prevailed at Preston, and throughout Lancashire. He spoke under correction; but he believed that the majority of the uneducated persons in those districts were Roman Catholics. He should have expected, therefore, that in a general system of education, supported from the general funds of the country, that the Government would have felt inclined to extend the benefits of their scheme to Catholics as well as to Christians of other denominations. It was in 1834, as the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had observed, that Lord Althorp first brought forward a Motion for granting the sum of 20,000l. for the purposes of education; and it was agreed on all hands that the grant should be given to the British and Foreign Schools, and to the National School Society, to build school-houses. It was determined that the condition of the grant should be, that an equal amount to the sum contributed by the public should be raised by voluntary subscription. In 1839 the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) brought forward a scheme of a very different kind; and if that noble Lord would allow him, he would call his attention to the fact, that there was reason to believe that the education of the country was never in a more flourishing state than between 1834 and 1839. He believed that he could bring his Lordship's own authority in support of that statement, for in that far-famed letter, in which he alluded to the formation of the Educational Committee of the Privy Council, he remarked that he was happy to say, that of late years the zeal for popular education had increased. This was the letter which was first issued on the subject of the appointment of the Educational Committee. It was addressed to the Marquess of Lansdowne, and stated, that as there were very great defects in the existing plan, it was necessary that an immediate remedy should be applied. His Lordship farther stated, that he was directed by Her Majesty to request the noble Marquess to form a board to superintend all matters touching education; and he mentioned the parties of whom it was to be composed, one of them being the Master of the Mint. The letter which contained the directions was dated the 24th of February, 1839; but he found from an Order in Council, dated the 10th of April, 1839, that the noble Lord had even then adopted a different course, for although the names of many of those mentioned in the communication of February appeared as members of the Committee, he found the name of Mr. Labouchere, the then Master of the Mint, had been omitted. He wished to call attention to these facts, because they referred to the origin and constitution of a board on which the House were called upon to bestow an unlimited amount of patronage. It was not for him to guess the reason why Mr. Labouchere was excluded; but he would ask the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis) whether he thought there was any constitutional objection to the present Catholic Master of the; Mint (Mr. Sheil) being appointed one of the Committee to superintend the exclusively Protestant education of the country? He had made it his business, as far as he could accomplish it, for he would own that he had found the task, not an easy one, to discover who the members of the board were. He had found the number vary in different years. In 1839 the number of members was five; in 1841, eight; in 1843, eight; and now there were six, and all of them were Cabinet Ministers. What he wished the Government, however, to explain, was the qualification required in those who became members of the Educational Board. The noble Lord said they were all responsible parties. If so, to whom were they responsible? He should like the noble Lord to explain why, in 1841, Lord Monteagle, who was not a member of the Government, was nevertheless a member of the Educational Board? Perhaps the noble Lord might say, that the mere fact of the person being a Privy Councillor was a sufficient qualification; but if so, then he should like to ask whether it were possible, by a mere Minute, to appoint the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Duke of Norfolk, Mr. Fox Maule, or any other person of that kind—he did not mean anything offensive—he merely wished to ask whether it were possible for any Minister by a mere Minute of Council to appoint; any Members of the Privy Council to seats at the Board of Education, who were to be thus magically invested with the sole power of conducting the education of the country? If it were, there was an end of all responsibility? The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had asked where was the difference between the grant now asked for, and the grant for Maynooth? The difference was, that in the one case the proceeding was by Bill which went regularly through Parliament; and in every stage ample discussion was allowed both within and without the walls of Parliament. Instead, however, of that constitutional course being adopted in the present case, Parliament was asked to make an annual grant in compliance with a Minute of Council, a course which under ordinary circumstances would lead to no discussion either in the House of Commons or elsewhere. He begged also to call particular attention to the fact that the number of inspectors was to be increased. He should be the last man who should wish to object to a reasonable number being appointed; but really it did seem to him that it was rather too much to pay 13,600l. a year for sixteen inspectors, being 13½ per cent on 100,000l., the whole sum asked for. He thought there was a very great vagueness as to the appointment of these inspectors; for he saw in the first part of the Minute that three additional officers were spoken of, while in the latter part he found mention made of four. He thought there was great confusion on that head, and he should like to have some explanation on the subject. He had been instructed that with respect to these sixteen inspectors, only two of them were apportioned for the inspection of the schools of Dissenters; the others being all immediately connected with the inspection of the schools belonging to the Established Churches of England and Scotland. There was one thing which seemed to him particularly dangerous. In the Minute of August, 1840, it was stated that before any inspector should be recommended to Her Majesty, the recommendation of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York should be required for those who were to officiate in their respective districts; and that inspectoral appointments should also be revoked at pleasure should the Archbishops feel dissatisfied at the conduct of any of the inspectors. He did hope that he was as zealous a partisan of the Church of England as any one in that House; and he was sure that, during the life of the present Archbishop of Canterbury, not one word of reflection should be heard from him against that venerable Prelate; but he could not forget that a great schism existed in the Church. And let him put this case to the House: suppose there should be a Puseyite archbishop, and that he should recommend Puseyite inspectors; and suppose that these men had to do with Puseyite schoolmasters —could anything be devised more dangerous in the way of poisoning the minds of the young? He entertained the greatest respect for those members of the Church of Scotland, who, feeling that they could no longer remain in connexion with the Establishment, quitted their livings and emoluments for conscience sake; but he entertained a very different opinion of those whom he saw daily enjoying the livings of the Church of England, but who, nevertheless, were almost avowedly leaning to the Church of Rome. He thought it necessary to call attention to this fact, as it was causing great uneasiness throughout the country. When the Committee was first appointed in 1839, it was said that the children of Roman Catholics should read their own version of the Scriptures; but from a Minute subsequently drawn up, it appeared that they were to be excluded from all participation in the benefit of the public grant. The Council of Education had changed their minds on that subject; and not on it alone, but on many other matters. The House had been told that the Minutes of 1846 were drawn up on the same principles as those of 1839; but on looking at the documents from one end to the other, he found no such agreement. In the Minutes of 1846, there was scarcely any allusion made to local contributions. In consequence of the Minute of 1839, the House had been told that both the Wesleyans and the Roman Catholics had been excluded from any participation in the Education grant. By the Minute of 1846, the Wesleyans were included with the other participators in the public grant; but the Roman Catholics were still specially excluded. This presented a very different feature in the two cases. He wished that the country should know what Minister was to be at the head of the education of its poor. For his own part, he should like to see a Bill brought in, the principle of which might undergo full discussion in Parliament; and that some system of education should be thereby established which would give satisfaction to the country, the great majority of which, he was persuaded, was anxious that public education should be promoted. When, however, he looked at the petitions on the Table of the House, he felt it to be his duty to give his opposition to the new plan now proposed by the noble Lord, which he could only look on as a one-sided system. He trusted that the noble Lord would, in spite of what had fallen from him that night, yet be induced, to reconsider this question; but, be that as it might, he should, as the representative of a large constituency who were much interested in the subject, and as one who was desirous of doing his duty to them and to the country by inquiring into every vote of public money—more especially into such a vote as the present by which all were to be taxed, and from participating in the benefit of which some of his fellow-countrymen were to be excluded for conscience sake—second the Amendment which had been moved on this occasion by his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury.


said, that he should feel more regret in taking precedence of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets [who had risen with the hon. Baronet], if he could suppose that the hon. Member had risen for the purpose of defending the Government; but, looking to the Amendment of which the hon. Member had given notice, it was evident that the measure which had been brought under the consideration of the House was as little acceptable to him as it appeared to be to the hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord who had moved and seconded the Amendment upon which the House was now called to decide. For his part, he retained the objection which he originally expressed to the principle of the scheme of education sanctioned by the Committee of the Privy Council; but, at the same time, he felt that that it was perfectly vain to hope, at the present moment, to create a different organization for the diffusion of education; and, therefore, although he held as strongly as ever the conviction that it was to the Church and the Church alone that the State should delegate any portion of the national power and resources for the purposes of education, he thought he should best discharge his duty now by refraining from pressing that, and stating that he was content to take the plan of the Government — he would not say cheerfully, but thankfully. He thought that the plan proposed by the Government—passing by the fundamental defect to which he had already adverted—was greatly superior to anything which could be expected from any other combination of parties in that House. That was his deliberate opinion; and he had stated it certainly with no intention to injure the Government. In the plan now proposed, the Government was carrying out the principle established eight years ago, for the principle involved in the present measure was not a new principle. The principle in question had been supported for eight years by the hon. Members who were now coming forward to oppose it; and their Dissenting brethren out of doors had done the same. In carrying out that principle by the present plan, the Government had introduced a series of very considerable improvements. He agreed with so much contained in the speech of his noble Friend the First Minister of the Crown, that he was almost unwilling to notice the points on which he differed from him; yet he felt that he should hardly discharge his duty if he did not make one remark, at least, on his noble Friend's address, which had been noticed with special approbation by the hon. Member for Finsbury; it was this—that the Church had never claimed the right, and never exercised the privilege, of educating the people of this country. Without entering into the constitutional question of the right of the Church, he would deal with the historical fact; and he maintained that long before any Dissenter existed—he meant any form of dissent—the Church was the great educator, or, if they pleased, educatrix, of the people of this country. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had referred to the close of the last century as the period when a great effort was made to educate the people, and adverted to Mr. Lancaster as the great mover in the work; but he begged leave to ask whether, at that very time, the Church did not, almost instantly, introduce a better system by means of Dr. Bell's machinery? But go farther back—go to a hundred years antecedent to the period to which the noble Lord had referred—at which time it would be found that there were a large number of schools under the organization of the Church. It was not correct, historically, to state that to the Dissenters, as such, the people of England were indebted for any considerable portion of education at an earlier period than towards the close of last century; on the contrary, almost all the grammar schools in England were founded by members of the Church of England; and up to a comparatively recent period, hardly any portion of the education of the people was imparted by Dissenters. The House had been told by the hon. Member for Finsbury that the plan of education now proposed was defective, because it did not provide for the education of children in the constitutional history of the country. "Why not," asked the hon. Member, "teach the children of England after the fashion of the children of Switzerland, and make them acquainted with the rights and duties of citizens?" Whilst he was listening to the hon. Member, he could not help thinking that there were persons in that House who might derive benefit from attending a constitutional school. As far as he understood the constitution, there was nothing to violate it in the Prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer moving, in a Committee of Supply, a vote of credit, of 100,000l., for the purpose of education. There was nothing unconstitutional in the Crown exercising its privilege in favour of educated, instead of uneducated men. At present, all the tidewaiters and excisemen were nominated by the Treasury without regard to their competence; the only difference under the proposed system was, these situations would be the prizes of competence, awarded on an examination. With reference to the amount of money to be given, it did not matter, in point of principle; that, was a mere question of expediency and practice; nor was it more a breach of the constitution to ask for millions of money than to ask for thousands. However, it was likely that Government, after mature consideration, might have thought that it was difficult to provide more schoolmasters at first than the grant, of 100,000l. would supply, and they had therefore exercised a safe discretion in limiting their provision to that sum. But who were they who raised the cry against what they termed an inordinate grant of public money? Why, they were the same men who all their life had been calling out for additional means of education. He confessed he had hardly expected such an outcry from that quarter, against the State coming forward and granting aid to assist in the diffusion of education. He had higher notions of education than its pounds, shillings, and pence character. Any scheme of popular education with him would be unsatisfactory, if it were not founded on the Scriptures. A secular system of education might teach man his duty to his fellow-creatures; but it was defective, inasmuch as it left the higher knowledge of man's duty towards God untouched. He would not go so far as that gentleman who had been referred to in the debate, but whose name he did not catch, who said that education might be the guide-post to the gibbet; still he could not regard the education which some individuals thought alone entitled to consideration as worthy of the name; and he was sure that there were no fallacies so difficult to deal with as those fallacies sustained by figures. Give him but the correct amount of crime and of education, and he would prove that the wider the diffusion of education, the larger the amount of crime. ["No!"] He was met by "No" from some hon. Member. To that he answered, there was a prison not far from that House, in which the proportion of educated over uneducated criminals was 845 to 155. This would serve to prove that ordinary education might facilitate the commission of some kind of crimes. This was so self-evident, that the examples would suggest themselves. He, therefore, contended, that, unless education was imparted in such a way as would teach man his duty towards God, and was not confined merely to reading and writing, no permanent benefit would be conferred on the people. He contended that nothing was worthy of the name of education that did not teach man his whole duty; and unless with his duty towards his fellow-man he was at the same time taught his higher duties, they were only promoting a plan that would meet imperfectly the requirements of the country and their public duty. The Government plan had his approbation so far, as it contained one provision to teach, children their Christian duties, and another for due inspection at regular periods. This regulation would serve to show if children and masters did their duty; and seeing this, he would give his support to the measure. He would add one word as to the statistics which had been brought forward in reference to education. From those statistics it was inferred that only a certain proportion of the population could read and write. The figures were taken from the returns obtained from the National Society and the British and Foreign School Society. Now, he knew, and the fact was also known to others whom he saw, that there were many schools which refused to have any connexion with either of these institutions, and were self-governed because self-supported; therefore it was quite a mistake to suppose that the returns in question represented the true state of education in England. A remark had been made as to some possible objection that might be raised to the names of the Council, to whom the duty of carrying out the Bill would be delegated. There was nothing more clearly established than that when the Crown had once named the Privy Council, the House had nothing to do with its selection, except, indeed, as far as the Minister of the Crown in that House was concerned. By whatever agency that Minister might be guided out of the House, in that House he was the person responsible for the advice he might think fit to give to his Sovereign. It was for the House, then, only to exercise its discretion with respect to the vote that would be applied for. Under these circumstances he did not think the hon. Gentleman who wished the measure to be deferred, in order to give an opportunity for discussing the matter, had made out a case for delay. He begged to give his thankful support to the measure of Her Majesty's Ministers.


said: I venture, Sir, to offer myself to your notice for this reason—as a Member of that Council whose conduct is called in question, the first duty I performed was to give my hearty assent to the Minutes of the plan of education; I am, therefore, one of those who have been accused throughout the country—who are accused in this House—of aiming, under an artful pretence of educating the people, a blow at the civil and religious liberties of the country. It is natural, therefore, that I should take the earliest opportunity of vindicating myself from these charges. The hon. Member for Finsbury must excuse me if, in the remarks I shall offer to the House, I do not attempt to follow very closely the course of his speech. The hon. Member must excuse me if I say I should very imperfectly vindicate the conduct of the Committee of the Privy Council by doing so. For, considering the degree of acuteness and ability possessed by the hon. Gentleman, and the excitement produced throughout the country by the conflict of the principles by which society is divided with respect to this question, I must express my astonishment that to these great principles scarcely one allusion was made in the whole course of the speech of my hon. Friend. He brought in local anecdotes—personal anecdotes — he raised questions upon collateral points; but, after listening attentively from the beginning of his speech to the end, I am utterly unable to discover what his opinion is, even on the great fundamental principle that at this moment divides the country—whether the education of the common people be or be not something to which it is the duty of the State to attend. The hon. Member sat down leaving us utterly ignorant of the opinion he entertains on that important subject. Yet I have no hesitation in saying, that, on the opinion we entertain on that question—on the sense we may have of the duty of the State to educate the people—must altogether depend the view we take of every plan submitted to us for that purpose. When I consider how much excitement has been raised throughout the country on this point, and how large a proportion of the petitions laid on the Table express an opinion I must consider most groundless, I feel it my duty to commence the observations I have to offer to the House by stating in the clearest manner my opinion on that great part of the subject. I hold that it is the right and duty of the State to provide for the education of the common people. I conceive the arguments by which this position may be proved are perfectly simple, perfectly obvious, and the most cogent possible. For what ends was government instituted, is a question on which the most ingenious men have differed; some hold that it is the duty of a government to meddle with the whole system of human life—that it should regulate the operations of trade by prohibitions, expense by sumptuary laws, literature by a censorship, and religion by penal statutes. Others have gone to the opposite extreme, and have cut down the province of a government to what I think is too narrow a limit. But it is quite unnecessary on the present occasion to go into any of these controversial points; for on one point we are all agreed: I say that all are agreed that it is the sacred duty of every government to take effectual measures for securing the persons and property of the community; and that the government which neglects that duty is unfit for its situation. This being once admitted, I ask, can it be denied that the education of the common people is the most effectual means of protecting persons and property? On that subject I cannot refer to higher authority, or use more strong terms, than have been employed by Adam Smith; and I take his authority the more readily, because he is not very friendly to State interference: and almost on the same page as that I refer to, he declares that the State ought not to meddle with the education of the higher orders; but he distinctly says that there is a difference, particularly in a highly civilized and commercial community, between the education of the higher classes and the education of the poor. The education of the poor he pronounces to be a matter in which Government is most deeply concerned; and he compares ignorance, spread through the lower classes, neglected by the State, to a leprosy, or some other fearful disease, and says that where this duty is neglected, the State is in danger of frilling into the most terrible disorder. He had scarcely written this than the axiom was fearfully illustrated in the riots of 1780. I do not know if from all history I could select a, stronger instance of my position, when I say that ignorance makes the persons and property of the community unsafe, and that the Government is bound to take measures to prevent that ignorance. On that occasion, what was the state of things? Without any shadow of a grievance, at the summons of a madman, 100,000 men rising in insurrection—a week of anarchy—Parliament besieged—your predecessor, Sir, trembling in the. Chair—the Lords pulled out of their coaches—the Bishops flying over the tiles—not a sight, I trust, that would be pleasurable even to those who are now so unfavourable to the Church of England—thirty-six fires blazing at once in London—the house of the Chief Justice sacked—the children of the Prime Minister taken out of their beds in their night clothes, and laid on the table of the Horse Guards—and all this the effect of nothing but the gross, brutish ignorance of the population, who had been left brutes in the midst of Christianity, savages in the midst of civilization. Nor is this the only occasion when similar results have followed from the same cause. To this cause are attributable all the outrages of the Bristol and Nottingham riots, and all the misdeeds of General Rock and Captain Swing; incendiary fires in some districts, and in others riots against machinery, tending more than anything else to degrade men to the level of the inferior animals. Could it have been supposed that all this could have taken place in a community were even the common labourer to have his mind opened by education, and be taught to find his pleasure in the exercise of his intellect, taught to revere his Maker, taught to regard his fellow-creatures with kindness, and taught likewise to feel respect for legitimate authority, taught how to pursue redress of real wrongs by constitutional methods? This seems to me an irresistible argument on this subject—that it is the clear duty of a Government to protect the lives and property of the community, and that the gross ignorance of the multitude produces danger to the lives and property of the community; and, therefore, I am at a loss to conceive how, on the very lowest view of the duties of Government, it can be contended that education is not the province of Government. What is the alternative? It is granted that Government must protect life and property from spoliation. By some means it must do this. If you take away education as a means, what do you leave? Why, means which inflict an immense amount of misery, and appeal only to the lowest parts of human nature. Take away education, and what are your means? Military force, prisons, solitary cells, penal colonies, gibbets—all the other apparatus of penal laws. If, then, there be an end which Government is bound to attain—if there are two ways only of attaining it—if one of those ways is by elevating the moral and intellectual character of the people, and if the other way is by inflicting pain, who can doubt which way every Government ought to take? It seems to me that no proposition can be more strange than this—that the State ought to have power to punish and is bound to punish its subjects for not knowing their duty, but at the same time is to take no step to let them know what their duty is. In my opinion, it would seem less paradoxical to say that no Power can be justified in punishing those whom it neglects to teach. Can we see without shame, and something like remorse, that many of those who, in our own time, have been executed in this country for capital crimes, might now have been in life, and perhaps useful members of society; that more than half of those who are now in our gaols might have been free and at liberty; that more than half of those who are now in our penal colonies might have been honourably and usefully employed on their native soil, if the State had expended in forming them into honest men but a small part of what had been expended in inflicting misery on rogues? Sir, looking over the very first report which was presented to the Committee of the Privy Council for Education, and which came from the district of Newport, being framed just after that frantic insurrection of which I do not need to remind the House, I found that, according to that report, it appeared there were about 11,000 children in that district at an age when they ought to have been receiving education, but that of those about 8,000 attended no school, and that a great many of those who did might as well have stayed away for anything useful that they were taught; that the apparatus of instruction was most faulty—that the masters were some of them ruined tradesmen, some of them discarded miners, &c.—men whose sole qualification for tuition was that they were utterly disqualified for any other pursuit. Then, can it be doubted that a population which is reared in such a state, listens readily to the bad man who excites it to rise against constituted authority? They become his ready prey, his unresisting victims. Then follow anarchy, confusion, and an armed insurrection. You, in self-defence, and in defence of the constitution committed to your charge, resort to arms to quell their violence. You have nothing else for it. No choice is left to you. Having neglected the best way to make them obedient citizens, you are forced to take the only mode still left to you, and to fire upon these wretched men. It is under the compulsion, the inexorable compulsion of necessity, that you do so. But what necessity can be more cruel than that of shedding the blood of people who, in all probability, would never have listened to the incentives to crime, if the State had but disciplined their passions and purified their minds by educating them properly? I say, therefore, that the education of the people ought to be the first concern of a State, not only because it is an efficient means for promoting and obtaining that which all allow to be the main end of Government, but because it is the most efficient, the most humane, the most civilized, and in all respects the best means of attaining that end. This is my deliberate conviction; and in this opinion I am fortified by thinking that it is also the opinion of all the great legislators, of all the great statesmen, of all the great political philosophers of all ages and of all nations, even including those whose general disposition is, and has ever been, to restrict the functions of Government. Sir, it is the opinion of all the greatest champions of civil and religious liberty in the old world and in the new; and of none—I hesitate not to say it—more emphatically than of those whose names are held in the highest estimation by the Protestant Nonconformists of England. Assuredly if there be any class of men whom the Protestant Nonconformists of England respect more highly than another—if any whose memory they hold in deeper veneration—it is that class of men, of high spirit and unconquerable principles, who in the days of Archbishop Laud preferred leaving their native country, and living in the savage solitudes of a wilderness, rather than to live in a land of prosperity and plenty, where they could not enjoy the privilege of worshipping their Maker freely according to the dictates of their conscience. Those men, illustrious for ever in history, were the founders of the commonwealth of Massachusetts; but though their love of freedom of conscience was illimitable and indestructible, they could see nothing servile or degrading in the principle that the State should take upon itself the charge of the education of the people. In the year 1642 they passed their first legislative enactment on this subject, in the preamble of which they distinctly pledged themselves to this principle, that education was a matter of the deepest possible importance and the greatest possible interest to all nations and to all communities, and that as such it was, in an eminent degree, deserving of the peculiar attention of the State. I have peculiar satisfaction in referring to the case of America, because those who are the most enthusiastic advocates of the voluntary principle in matters of religion, turn fondly to that land as affording the best illustration that can be anywhere found of the successful operation of that principle. And yet what do we find to be the principle of America and of all the greatest men that she has produced upon the question "Educate the people," was the first admonition addressed by Penn to the commonwealth he founded—"educate the people" was the last legacy of Washington to the republic of the United States—"educate the people" was the unceasing exhortation of Jefferson. Yes, of Jefferson himself; and I quote his authority with peculiar favour; for of all the eminent public men that the world ever saw, he was the one whose greatest delight it was to pare down the functions of Governments to the lowest possible point, and to leave the freest possible scope for the exercise of individual exertion. Such was the disposition—such, indeed, might be said to be the mission of Jefferson; and yet the latter portion of his life was devoted with ceaseless energy to the effort to procure the blessing of a State education for Virginia. And against the concurrent testimony of all these great authorities, what have you, who take the opposite side, to show? Against this splendid array of authority you can oppose but one great philosopher, but one great teacher of wisdom, but one man distinguished for his services in the cause of letters and of humanity. Have you, I ask, any thing else to oppose to the concurrent testimony of the wise, and the good, and the great of every age and of every clime? Nothing, except a clamour got up so recently as in 1846; a clamour in which those who engage condemn not only the wisest and the best of those who have gone before them, but even their former selves. This new theory of government may at least claim the merit of originality. It signifies this, as I read it, if it signifies any thing—all men have hitherto misconceived the proper functions of Government, which are simply those of the great hangman of the age; the business of Government is to do nothing for the repression of crime except by harsh and degradingmeans. From all other means, which operate by exalting the intellectual character—by disciplining the passions—by purifying man's moral nature—Government is to be peremptorily excluded. The only means it may employ are those of physical force—of the lash, the gibbet, and the musket, and of the terror which they evoke. The statesman who wields the destiny of an empire is to look calmly on while the population of cities and towns is hourly increasing. He knows that on the moral and intellectual culture of the bulk of that population the prosperity of the country, nay more, perhaps the very foundations of the State may depend; no matter, he is not to dream of operating on their moral and intellectual nature. He is not to advance their knowledge. He may build barracks as many as he pleases—he may parade bayonets and ordnance to overawe them if he dreads their appeal to violence; if they break out into insurrection, he may send troops and artillery to mow them down for violating duties he never taught them; but of educating them he must not dream. The same holds good of the rural districts. He may see, and shudder as he sees, the rural population growing up with as little Christianity, as little civilization, as little enlightenment as the inhabitants of New Guinea, so that there is at every period a risk of a jacquerie—no matter, he is not to interfere. He must wait till the incendiary fires are blazing—till repeated attempts are made on the machinery of the district—till riots occur such as disgraced this country in 1830 and 1831; and then begins his business, which is simply to hang, imprison, or transport the offenders. He sees seminaries for crime arising on all hands around him—seminaries which are eagerly attended by the youth of the population; but he must not endeavour to allure them from those haunts. He may have a thorough conviction on his own mind that if he were to offer the means of wholesome instruction to those youth, a very great number of them would be drawn away from vice, and induced to dedicate their lives to an honourable purpose; but he dare not make the experiment. He must look calmly on with folded arms, and suffer those to become the cancers of the State who might have been made its power and its strength. He must remain inactive till the harvest of crime is ripe, and then he must set about discharging the duties of his mission, which is, to imprison one man, to hang another, and to send a third to the antipodes. If he venture to raise his voice against this system — if he venture to say that it is the duty of a Government to try and make a people wiser and better, he is an enemy of human liberty, an oppressor of conscience, and ought not to be tolerated. That is the aspect in which the new theory presents itself to my mind. It is difficult to conceive how any man of clear intellect and of honourable intentions—as some, I willingly admit, there are, amongst the opponents of this measure — could have brought themselves to view such a theory with favour. The explanation which, from all I can hear and see and read upon the question, occurs to me, is this—I believe this singular opposition is a curious instance of the operation of a law, the operation of which may be traced in many other questions as well—the law of reaction. We have but just concluded a fierce and prolonged contest, the object of which was to extirpate the principle of Government interference in matters of trade. Men's passions have been excited by that contest just over. Much has been said and much written on the advantages of free competition; but now that that principle has been accepted as applied to commerce, it is to be regretted that the same intelligent men who have succeeded in driving the Government out of a province which did not properly belong to it, should conspire to drive it out of a province which is clearly its legitimate domain. Their argument, or rather their fallacy, would appear to be, that, if free competition is good in trade, it must be good in the education of the people as well. "If it be good in regulating the supply of corn and sugar," they say, "it must be equally good in regulating the supply of schools to satisfy the educational requirements of the people." But no argument from analogy can be falser or more absurd than that. In fact, there is no rule of analogy whatever in the two cases. There can be no doubt but that free competition with grocers gives us more sugar, and at a cheaper price, than we could hope to obtain if Government were to turn grocer, and take the whole trade into its own hands. The reason is manifest. The grocers have manifestly a stronger interest in doing what is fair towards the public, than the Government, if it were to monopolise the trade, could possibly have. If one grocer's sugar is found to be worse in quality and higher in price than that of another, he is inevitably ruined. He will have to give up business, he will become a bankrupt, and for his wife and children there will be no refuge but the workhouse; but if his sugar is good and cheap, he grows rapidly rich, sets up his carriage, and aspires to a villa at a watering place. That is the reason why competition in the supply of food is a principle of irresistible potency, and will not brook the interference of the Government. But what class of men, I should like to know, have the same strong and personal—strong because personal—interest in supplying the poor with schools, that the grocers have in supplying them with sugar? None whatever. I do not question but that there may be individuals here and there throughout the kingdom anxious to devote their time and their money to the education of the people, and there may be amongst such persons a benevolent competition to do good; but do not be imposed on; let no fallacy, however ingeniously contrived, so deceive your understandings as to induce you to believe that there can be anything like the zealous and animating contention which is prompted in men's breasts by the desire of wealth or the fear of ruin. Competition to do good to others never sways men's minds so potently as the competition to enrich themselves. Would it not be a strange proceeding to argue for the abolition of the poor laws, because, forsooth, there might be here and there found some benevolent person who felt a Christian pleasure in administering to the necessities of the poor. And yet, if the principle hold good in one case, why should it not be applied to the other? Institutions for the education of the people are on every ground the very description of institutions which the Government, as the guardians of the people's best interests, are bound to interfere with. This point has been powerfully put by Mr. Hume. I speak of Mr. David Hume. The sentiment I am about to allude to did not originate with the hon. Member for Montrose; but it is so profound that I am sure he will have no hesitation in adopting it. After laying down very emphatically the general principle of non-interference and free competition, Mr. Hume goes on to make the admission that there undoubtedly may be and are some very useful and necessary matters which do not give that degree of advantage to any man that they can be safely left to individuals. Such matters, he says, must be effected by money, or by distinctions, or by both. Now, Sir, if there ever was a case to which that description faithfully and accurately applies, I maintain that it is to the calling of the schoolmaster in England. That his calling is a necessary and an useful one, is clear; and yet it is equally clear that he does not obtain, and cannot obtain, adequate remuneration without an interference on the part of Government. Here, then, we have the precise case, if we are to adopt the illustration of Hume, in which the Government ought to interfere, Reasoning à priori, the principle of free competition is not sufficient of itself, and cannot supply a good education. Let us look at the facts. What is the existing state in England? There has, for years, been nothing except the principle of noninterference. If, therefore, the principle of free competition were in reality a principle of the same potency in education as we all admit it to be in matters of trade, we ought to see education as prosperous under this system of free competition as trade itself is. If we could by possibility have had the principle of free competition fairly tried in any country, it would be in our own. It has been tried for a long time with perfect liberty in the richest country under the heavens, and where the people are not unfriendly to it. If the principle of free competition could show itself sufficient, it ought to be here; our schools ought to be the models of common schools; the people who have been educated in them ought to show the most perfect intelligence; every school ought to have its excellent little library, and its mechanical apparatus; and, instead of there being such a thing as a grown person being unable to read or to write, such an individual ought to be one at whom the people would stare, and who should be noted in the newspapers; while the schoolmaster ought to be as well acquainted with his important duties as the cutler with knives, or the engineer with machinery; moreover, he ought to be amply remunerated, and the highest respect of the public ought to be extended to him. Now, is this the truth? Look at the charges of the Judges, at the resolutions of the grand juries, and at the reports made to every public department that has anything to do with education. Some facts have been adduced by my noble Friend; many more might be referred to. Take the reports of the inspectors of prisons. In Hertford House of Correction, out of 700 prisoners, about half were unable to read, and only eight could read and write well. In Maidstone gaol, out of 8,000 prisoners, 1,300 were unable to read, and only fifty were able to read and write well. In Coldbath-fields, out of 8,000, it is not said that one could read and write well. If we turn from the reports of the inspectors of prisons to the registers of marriages, we find there were nearly 130,000 couples married in the year 1844, and of those more than 40,000 of the bridegrooms and more than 60,000 of the brides could not sign their names, but made their marks. Therefore one-third of the men and one-half of the women, who are supposed to be in the prime of life, and who are destined to be the parents of the next generation, cannot sign their names. What does this imply? The most grievous want of education, for many of the remainder, who have been able to sign their names, may have received an education which has had little operation on the mind; such an education as a large part of those receive who are now at our day and Sunday schools. How many of the day-schools are nothing more than a dirty room, with a heap of fuel on one side, and a brood of chickens on the other; where the only instruments for instruction are a dog's-eared spelling-book and a broken slate? And as for the masters—men who ought to deserve and to receive all honour, and deference, and encouragement, as well upon principle us from their high station, being men who have first educated themselves, and are then to educate those who are to come afterwards; how many of these men are now the refuse of other callings—discarded servants, or ruined tradesmen; who cannot do a sum of three; who would not be able to write a common letter; who do not know whether the earth is a cube or a sphere, and cannot tell whether Jerusalem is in Asia or America: whom no gentleman would trust with the key of his cellar, and no tradesman would send of a message? Yet such are the men to whom you trust the mind of the rising generation, on whom the prosperity and the future eminence of this great country will depend. Let me take some evidence on this point which no one will dispute. Probably all the Members of this House will know the important position which the Congregational Union holds among the Nonconformists. On May 16, 1846, there is a report of the committee of the Congregational Union on the subject of general education, which was made to the union, and the mover of that report adopted its principle. That motion was made by Mr. Edward Baines, jun., and what I am about to read, therefore, cannot he considered as representing any mean opinion. I find it said— If it were necessary to disclose facts to such an assembly as this, as to the ignorance and debasement of the neglected portions of our population in towns and rural districts, both adult and juvenile, it could easily he done. Private information communicated to the board, personal observation and investigation of various localities, with the published documents of the Registrar General, and the reports of the state of prisons in England and Wales, published by order of the House of Commons, would furnish enough to make us modest in speaking of what has been done for the humbler classes, and make us ashamed that England—the sons of the soil of England—should have been so long neglected, and should present to the enlightened traveller from other shores such a sad spectacle of neglected cultivation, lost mental power, and spiritual degradation. That statement perfectly agrees with all the information I have been able to obtain. I do believe that the state of education among the common people of this country ought to make us ashamed, and that we should present a melancholy spectacle to any very enlightened foreigner visiting our shores. Under these circumstances, what is said? We are told that the principle of non-interference and of free competition will be as powerful a stimulus to education as it is to trade. Why, this morning I received a paper containing reasons for opposing the present grant; and it is said, that if we only wait with patience, the principle of free competition will do all that is necessary for education. We have been waiting with patience since the Heptarchy. How much longer are we to wait? Are we to wait till 2,847, or till 3,847? Will you wait till patience is exhausted? Can you say that the experiment which has been tried with so little effect has been tried under unfavourable circumstances? has it been tried on a small scale, or for a short period? You can say none of these things; and I defy you to show that you ought to apply to education the principle of free competition. That principle is not applicable. As the south of this island has furnished me with one argument, so the north will furnish me with another. We see there a people of ancient lineage, sprung from the same blood, and speaking with some slight diversities the same language; who separated themselves from the See of Rome at the same great emancipation of the human mind; united under one Sovereign; joining in a series of revolts; and then united in one Legislature and nation striving for the good and the welfare of both. Yet there is one great difference. England for many ages has been the richest and the most prosperous among the civilized countries of the world; whilst all men know that Scotland was almost at the bottom, if not quite at the bottom, of nations that have known civilization. It is known that 150 or 200 years ago the names of Scotland and Scotchmen were words uttered with contempt, and that great statesmen and patriots looked with despair on the state of the lower orders. We have already heard this Session of Fletcher of Saltoun. It was at the end of the 17th century that Fletcher, of Saltoun, a brave and able man, who fought and suffered for liberty, was so overwhelmed with the spectacle of misery his country presented, that he actually published a pamphlet, in which he proposed the institution of personal slavery in Scotland as the only way to compel the common people to work. Within two months after the appearance of the pamphlet of Fletcher, the Parliament of Scotland passed in 1696, an Act for the settlement of schools. Has the whole world given us such an instance of improvement as that which took place at the beginning of the 18th century? In a short time, in spite of the inclemency of the air and the sterility of the soil, Scotland became a country which had no reason to envy any part of the world, however richly gifted by nature; and remember that Scotchmen did this, and that wherever a Scotchman went—and there were few places he did not go to—he carried with him signs of the moral and intellectual cultivation he had received. If he had a shop, he had the best trade in the street; if he enlisted in the Army, he soon became a non-commissioned officer. Not that the Scotchman changed; there was no change in the man, for a hundred years before Scotchmen of the lower classes were spoken of in London as you speak of the Esquimaux; but such was the difference when this system of State education had been in force for only one generation: the language of contempt was at an end, and that of envy succeeded. Then the complaint was, that wherever the Scotchman came he got more than his share; that when he mixed with Englishmen and Irishmen, he rose as regularly to the top as oil rises on water. Now was this a perfect system of State education? Very far from it. It was open to very grave objections as to its impartiality between different religious persuasions. The system was open also to many other objections which it is not necessary to particularize; but under this system of State education, whatever were its defects, Scotland rose and prospered to such a degree that I do not believe a single person, even of those who now most loudly proclaim their abhorrence of State education, would venture to say that Scotland would have become the free civilized country it is if the education of her people had been left to free competition without any interference on the part of the State. Then how does this argument stand? I doubt whether it be possible to find, if there be any meaning in the science of induction as applied to politics, any instance of an experiment tried so fully and so fairly, tried with all the conditions which Lord Bacon has laid down in his Novum Organon, and of which the result was so evident. Observe, you take these two countries so closely resembling each other in many particulars—in one of these two countries, by far the richer of the two, and better able to get on with free competition, you have free competition; and what is the result? The Congregational Union tell you that it is a result, indeed, to make us ashamed, and every enlightened foreigner who comes amongst us sad. In the other country, little favoured by nature, you find a system of State education—not a perfect one, but still an efficient one—and the result is an evident and rapid improvement in the moral and intellectual character of the people, and a consequent improvement in security and in prosperity such as was hardly ever seen before in the world. If this had been the case in surgery or in chymistry, and such experiments and results had been laid before you, would it be possible for you not to see which was the wrong course and which the right? These arguments have most fully convinced me of a truth which I shall not shrink from proclaiming in the face of any clamour that may be raised against it—that it is the duty of the State to educate the common people. And now I will refer to this Amendment; and first, as to the money part of it. Undoubtedly, if the education of the people is a thing with which the State has nothing to do, the more money we spend the more does it become this House to consider the question and expediency of such expenditure; but if my argument is correct, that it is the duty of the State to educate the people, then I ask, are you prepared, on account of a vote of a few thousands, to withhold the performance of that duty? I believe that, in a strictly financial point of view, the very utmost expense would be infinitely more than compensated by the difference there would be between an educated and an uneducated people. I believe also that what you would be called upon to lay out would be more than compensated by the reduced expenses of your State prosecutions, prisons, and penal settlements; and I cannot believe—having never grudged anything that was asked to preserve the peace and protect property by means of inflicting pain—that you will now refuse to preserve order by this more beneficent means. As to the objection which has been made with respect to the patronage which it is said the Government will possess through means of the appointments, I ask, has my hon. Friend considered that of all the patronage—I will not call it patronage—of all the expenditure of the Government, there is no part of it under a check like that which this expenditure is to be placed under? There is not only a general check upon it, but there is also a particular check applicable to itself alone. Not only must the Government come before us every year for the grant, in the same manner as with the votes for the Navy and the Ordnance, but when we have voted the gross sum, the application of the details is taken under the control, in every locality, of the friends of education—men who will be altogether independent of the Government. Before they can act, they must have actually contributed towards the expense, for otherwise the Government will contribute nothing; and when hon. Gentlemen talk of the Government corrupting the schoolmasters, and of this measure supplying them with the means of jobbing and influencing elections, recollect, first, that the Government does not appoint the schoolmasters; in the next place, the Government cannot dismiss them; in the third place, they can be dismissed by managers altogether independent of the Government; in the fourth place, the schoolmaster will receive nothing whatever, unless those managers, who are altogether independent of the Government, report well of him, and reply that he shall receive it; and that can be no mere formal report, for the condition of it is that, having received 15l. of the public money, the managers shall themselves, out of their own funds, pay him 30l. a year, and find him a house. Now, where is there a chance of jobbing? Suppose a schoolmaster who belongs to the Dissenting school of Liberal politicians—at Leeds I will say—had been offered (a Conservative Ministry being in power), if he voted for a Conservative candidate, the 15l.: if there was any suspicion of that, his Dissenting managers would have nothing to do but withhold the report, and he could not get one farthing of it. Nay, more, if one or two large subscribers, thinking anything of the sort, should withhold their subscriptions, down goes the salary below 30l., and he could not get anything from the State. So that the whole details and application of this money are under the very strictest check that it is possible to devise—stronger than this House has ever imposed for any part of the estimates. I should like to know how a job can be done, if when a man comes and asks to make his son an exciseman, you say you will make him an exciseman if he lays down twice the exciseman's salary. Sir, this principle, though in a different form, runs through the whole of this measure. It is perfectly true that no part of the salaries of the public teachers and stipendiary monitors will be paid by the school—at least, what Government grants them is not contingent on what will be paid by the school; but no person can be a pupil-teacher or stipendiary monitor unless the school is kept up in conformity with the preliminary regulations requiring the preliminary outlay, and unless the managers of the school make themselves responsible that during the whole time those pupil-teachers and stipendiary monitors shall go on, the master of the school shall receive the salary. Thus you will have the friends of education spread over the country, of all sorts, of all parties, and acting upon the strongest security ever devised, the payment of their own money. It is impossible not to see the absurdity of the arguments that are brought against this plan of the Government. We are told in the same breath that it will destroy all voluntary exertions, and cost 2,000,000l. a year; and in the paper to which I before referred I find that the gentleman who moved that the report be received, put those two things side by side. If that gentleman had taken the trouble to read the Minutes, he would have seen what was the proposition of the Government; and that, whilst on the one hand they leave voluntary exertions untouched, on the other hand, if those exertions are cheeked, this House will not be called upon to pay one single penny. If ever we shall be called upon to pay 2,000,000l., the reason will be that the voluntary principle will have been stimulated to the most surprising degree; for, before any such an amount can be called for, the friends of the voluntary system throughout the country must be so seriously animated as to be prepared to pay no less a sum than 4,000,000l. I think I have now answered the objection with regard to the expenditure, and also the objection which has been urged on the subject of patronage. But there is another objection which has been urged by my hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury. He says that this is a most unconstitutional proceeding on the part of the Government. My hon. Friend did not, however, tell us what principle of the constitution it was that the Government had violated. He spoke, indeed, of the proposed Committee of Council as being a self-elected body, a self-appointed body, an unconstitutional body. But this Committee of the Council is just as much a constitutional body as any other body of functionaries in the State. It is a body appointed by Her Majesty's authority, by and under the advice of her responsible and constitutional advisers. In no case can they be considered as self-elected. No one can understand how the Members of the Council can be self-elected any more than a Secretary of State can be self-elected. But what is the constitutional proceeding which my hon. Friend requires? He says that we ought to have an Act of Parliament; but I must say that this is one of the very acts which do not call for any power to be conferred by Parliament. For why is an Act of Parliament, at any time in such a case, required? It is in order to give to the Crown a power of acting which it did not already possess; but in this case the Crown is perfectly qualified to act without any Parliamentary sanction. It is quite competent for the Crown as for anybody else to do all that has been proposed to be done by the Committee of Privy Council; and all that this House is required to do is to give the money to enable the Crown to carry out the plan of the Committee of the Council. Surely, this is acting upon a most constitutional principle. Anybody may do all that the Council have proposed to do, provided they have the money wherewith to do it. Are the acts, as proposed by the Minutes of Council, illegal? Is there the slightest doubt that anybody might do them if they possessed the money? May I not educate children—appoint stipendiary scholars—maintain pupil-teachers—provide monitors—make provision for schoolmasters, and give to them, after years of service, pensions for the remainder of their days? All these acts are perfectly legal, and require no Act of Parliament to sanction them. To pass an Act of Parliament for such a case would be absurd. What the Crown wants is money. Whose province is it to give it? It is the business of this House. To it belongs the peculiar privilege, as in all analogous cases; and can there be anything; more analogous than in the provisions which are made every year for the military schools? It did not require an Act of Parliament to establish the Military Asylum at Chelsea. When I was Secretary of War I proposed the establishment of a girls' school in every regiment; but no Act of Parliament was required; and why should there be, when it was in anybody's power to have done the same tiling? Therefore is it, in the present case, in the power of Her Majesty to make these regulations for educating the people; and all that she requires of Parliament is the money to enable Her to carry out Her plans. If the Crown were to ask for money for a purpose which was illegal, then there must be an Act of Parliament to sanction its appropriation. I believe this is the sound constitutional definition of the power both of the Crown and of Parliament. The next point which I am led to consider is, the religious objection which has been made. Now, upon that point I do not conceive that my hon. Friend has dealt with the argument fairly, or has put it upon that footing which seems to me to be just. It appears to me utterly impossible not to admit, that, as far as the different religious sects are concerned, the Minutes of 1839 proposed a scheme of perfect fairness. I have read the Minutes of 1845 and 1846; but I speak chiefly with reference to the Minutes of 1839; and after giving them the maturest consideration, I think every care has been taken to obviate the slightest interference on the part of the Government with the various religious sects; and that, as between the Church of England and the Protestant Dissenting bodies, it is impossible for me to conceive a system of stricter impartiality. Will any Gentleman say, that in that system or plan there is an advantage given to the members of the Church, which is not given to those connected with the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Wesleyans, and with the Church of Scotland? I can find no trace of the kind. The advantage of the scheme is intended for all in common. The Dissenting ministers and managers of schools will have equal authority with the parochial minister of the Church. The boys of the Dissenting schools will be just as eligible to be pupil-teachers and monitors as those of the Church. As to the schoolmasters, there are exactly the same conditions imposed on the schoolmasters of the Church of England as upon the Dissenting schoolmasters. They will enjoy the same emoluments, and, after a series of years of service, will have the same retiring pensions. I wish, instead of using phrases of disparagement against the scheme proposed, hon. Gentlemen would answer this plain question—supposing in any one city there should be a school connected with the Church, another connected with the Wesleyans, and another with the Presbyterians—will any Gentleman distinctly point out to me what share of the public money or what patronage is that which the school connected with the Church will get, and which the other schools will not get? If the school connected with the Church of England, from remissness and mismanagement, fall below the mark, it will not, under these Minutes, get even those advantages which other schools will. A system of more impartiality in principle I am utterly unable to conceive; and I am quite convinced that it will be a system of perfect impartiality in practice, as respects, at least, our great cities and town districts. With respect to another objection which has been made with regard to the establishment of schools in the poorer districts, I admit there may be some difficulty for some time in supplying education to suck districts; and the subject has engaged the most anxious thoughts of the Committee of Education. Doubtless, there will be an advantage for the Church in those places where the Dissenters are few, and the members of the Church many; but in some instances the case will be reversed; and when, for instance, the Presbyterians preponderate, then they will gain the advantage, and the Church will go without. But, whichever way it may be, you cannot tell me that the principle is unsound. If there should be 900 members of the Church in a given district, and only 100 Dissenters, then, indeed, the advantage would be in favour of the Church; but, even in that case, the Dissenters would not be worse off than they are now. By the supposition, the district would support only one school, and that would be of the Church; but that can be no injury to the Dissenters; and I do hope that the Nonconformists will remember that they are not so much Nonconformists as not also to be Englishmen and Christians. I do trust, whatever differences of opinion may exist as to the merits of the Minutes of the Committee of Education, that Baptists, Congregational Unions, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, Churchmen, and men of all creeds, will feel that they have a deep interest in the good education of all men. They live on the same soil, and have one and the same interest that the great body of the people should be educated. Take the case, as I said before, of Lord George Gordon's rabble. Was not, I ask, the Churchman as liable to have his property destroyed as a person who belonged to the Dissenting body? Does not our common interest in the security of order, give us a common interest in the education of the people? And I deny what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Finsbury says, that you call on men to pay for an education from which they get no advantage. Sir, there is no man contributing to the education of the people who gets no advantage from it. I utterly deny it. If a Dissenter be surrounded by men belonging to the Church, I deny that that Dissenter gains nothing by having those men made good Christians. I say it is just as much a matter of common interest as the defence of our coast; and no particular person is entitled to say, because he belongs to particular sect, that he has no interest whatever in, and is not bound to contribute to, the common security and defence of the whole nation. Now, Sir, I think I have gone over all the points. No; there is one other point to which the hon. Member alluded. The hon. Gentleman wishes to have a Select Committee to inquire into the effect of this education—though he did not tell us what he meant by the phrase—on the Queen's subjects. In what way education was to affect their civil rights, my hon. Friend did not think it right to inform us. I think it can be hardly necessary for me to say, that to a population—such as a large portion of the population of England is—if the description given by the Congregational Union be correct, civil liberty can scarcely be more than a name; and it can hardly require a Committee of this House to satisfy us that an improved and extended system of education is a likely or a good way to carry on the war against liberty. And this I must say, that he is a very shortsighted friend of the common people who is eager to bestow upon them vast franchises, and yet who makes no effort to give them that education without which such franchises cannot be beneficial either to themselves or to the State. I have done, Sir; and from the clamour which has been aroused around us, I appeal with confidence to the country to which, in no long time, we must render an account of our stewardship. And I appeal with still more confidence to a future age, which, while enjoying all the blessings of a just and efficient system of State education, will look back with astonishment to the opposition which the introduction of that system encountered, and which will be still more astonished that such resistance was offered in the name of civil and religious freedom.


said, he should do little more than show why he disapproved of the plan which the Government sought to introduce. The right hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House, in showing that it was the duty of the Government to educate the people, said nothing except that in which he entirely agreed. He was also perfectly ready to acknowledge that the observations which the right hon. Gentleman made, fully answered the clamours that had been directed against the friends of education out of doors. He agreed that it was the duty of the Government to educate the people; but he felt disposed to carry that proposition somewhat further—he took upon himself to say, that when the Government undertook the education of the people, they ought not, in the first instance, to throw any obstacles in the way of carrying out their own plan. He charged them with throwing aside and forgetting the duties which they owned themselves bound to perform, and with allowing obstacles to interpose in the progress of their operations, which would have the effect of paralysing all useful exertions. The House and the public expected that they would go through with the work which they had commenced. It would not do to cram the House with undisputed and indisputable premises. It would never produce a useful, practical result to make a brilliant display in stating that which no one disputed, for the purpose of sliding in a conclusion so fallacious that no one could yield to it a momentary assent. No one ever heard him say that it was not the duty of the Government to educate the people. No class of persons whose sentiments deserved attention entertained any such opinions. [Sir G. GREY: The petitions say so.] The right hon. Gentleman had that night favoured them with the statement of many propositions from which no one was disposed to dissent. He did not quarrel with him for these—he quarrelled with him for sliding in a fallacious conclusion which his premises did not support. They all knew it was the duty of the Government to educate the people, but they differed as to the manner in which that duty was to be performed; most especially did he differ as to that mode from the hon. Gentleman who sat near him, but who differed widely from him in all matters of polities and religion. That hon. Gentleman stated, he did not say so; but, in effect, he stated, that the people ought to be kept in ignorance. The hon. Gentleman said that all the gaols were filled with educated people; and the inference from that was, don't educate the people. What was the principle that interfered with the progress of education? It was religious animosity: that, unfortunately, governed most of the sects in this country. Fanaticism was found among all of them. Religious hatred and animosity was the general appanage of every class of the religious community. He knew the danger he ran in making this declaration; but what he charged the Government with was, that it sided with one sect in their animosity and hatred to the others. [Mr. MACAULAY: No, no!] The right hon. Gentleman cries "No, no!" but how was the fact? The exceeding ingenious argument of the right hon. Gentleman was this—the duty of the Government was to educate the people; and in educating the majority the minority have no right to complain, provided the majority are educated. [Mr. MACAULAY: I did not say that.] Oh, yes, though, that was the effect of the argument. The right hon. Gentleman supposed that a large majority of the people were members of the Church of England; and he therefore required of every human being that came to his school to learn the catechism, and be subjected to the teaching of the Church of England. Was that a thing of which the minority had no right to complain? He said the minority had a right to complain of it, and to say that they were injured by his proposition. First of all, the minority was to be taxed for the education of the majority. The Dissenter and the Presbyterian were taxed, not only for secular education, but for religious education. But, said the right hon. Gentleman, education was of so mighty a benefit that nobody had a right to complain of it; and therefore he jumped to the conclusion that the minority were not injured, because a great advantage was done to the majority. He agreed in the great advantage of education, but did not acknowledge that the people of this country had not a right to demand at the hands of the Government another and a better system of education than that which was offered to them. This was the real difference between them. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford objected to any interference whatever with the teaching of the Church of England. There was another gentleman, out of that House, whose name had been mentioned (Mr. Baines), who, on the other hand, objected to any education that was not according to his views, and who therefore said, that the State should not interfere at all. The Established Church cried out that none but the authorized version of the Scriptures was to be used. The Roman Catholics, on the other hand, would not take the authorized version, but insisted on being allowed to use their own version; and all being disagreed, the right hon. Gentleman therefore came in and said, "I side with the Church of England;" and every other sect—he begged pardon of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, who said that his Church was not a sect—every other persuasion must submit to this arrangement. That, he maintained, was a distinct and broad departure from the rule which the right hon. Gentleman prescribed. But the right hon. Gentleman said, they were not friends of the people who were willing to give them great franchises, and who were unwilling to educate them. He, ever since he possessed a seat, had been pressing the subject of education upon the notice of Parliament. The noble Lord, in 1843, objected to the propositions which he (Mr. Roebuck) then made; but that did not prevent his continuing to press those views earnestly and repeatedly. But, now, what was the state of the case? The country was on the eve of a general election. The Government brought forward a plan of education, and they met the objections to their plan by siding with one sect. They told the Roman Catholic, "Never mind, let us get the money—let the general election go on, and then see what we will do for you." This was, after all, only a poor and feeble attempt to conciliate interests which were totally irreconcilable; and so long as the Government of the country mixed up religious education with national education, so long would those evils exist which had been so emphatically and so eloquently described by the right hon. Gentleman. "We will teach religion," said the noble Lord. What religion? His own religion; that was the only one to be taught. The right hon. Gentleman said, "You may have separate schools of Roman Catholics, and Independents, and Baptists; but suppose the case of a small community in a village in the country—there could not be separate schools there; only one school could be established there; and what would be done then?" "Why," said the noble Lord, "I am about to establish schools to teach after the fashion of the Church of England;" and Roman Catholics, and Baptists, and Independents, and Jews, and every other sect, would be excluded. Now, he had been told by the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) and the noble Lord, that education was not complete, and could not be complete, unless religious as well as secular instruction was given. Suppose, for a moment, and for the sake of argument, he allowed this, he wanted to know what was the business of the Church of England—what it was for; what its hierarchy, what its ministers, what its enormous wealth — what all this was for, but to teach the religion of the Church of England? If the people liked the teaching of the Church of England, they would come to the schools, and they would find there the proper teachers, namely, the beneficed clergy of the Church of England, and by this means would be fulfilled the condition of the hon. Baronet and of the noble Lord; there would be provided for the people of the Church of England a teaching in the schools, and also instruction in religion. But a Dissenter came, and what was to be given to him? An education at the expense of the State, with what he had, and what he was determined to have, a voluntary church; and that the Government could not prevent. This could be done by a system of secular education for every school, by excluding therefrom every peculiar dogmatic teaching. And here lay the fallacy of the noble Lord, who said, "If I do not teach religion, I only perform half my duty of teaching. But had it not entered into the head of the noble Lord, that he only performed half his duty when he so fashioned his schools that they could educate only half the population? He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay), that the argument as to the increased patronage which the schools would give to the Government, was idle and futile, and without one iota of reason. He conceded this point. He did not complain of the Government upon this head at all; but he did complain that, whereas other votes proposed to the House were specific—that when a vote was granted for the Army, for example, it was voted by items—here was to be a large sum of money voted, and given to an irresponsible Administration. He thought the Administration should come down with a specific plan, and say, "We are going to give so much to one sect, and so much to another sect." But what were they about to do?—why, to come down to the House and say, "Give us so many thousand pounds," which they would give away to-morrow, and distribute as they pleased. That was not the way other monies were voted; other monies were more specifically applied, and he wanted some specific plan proposed to the House, so that the Government might not play fast and loose. He was prepared to acknowledge that if no other plan of national education could be devised, he would accede to the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord; that, if it were impossible to frame any scheme of education from which all sects of the people could derive equal benefit, he would, really adopt theirs. But they must make out their case; they must show that they were unable to obtain a secular education for all sects. The right hon. Gentleman had talked of the rabble of Lord George Gordon, of the Bristol riots, and of King Ludd. He acknowledged the truth of his observations upon this head; but how would the Government plan have put down the fanaticism of Lord George Gordon and King Ludd? What was their plan? Their Minutes would tend to inflame religious disputes; they were endeavouring to give over the body of Dissenters to visionary terrors. He believed that a large minority of the people was against the Government upon this question; and that it was placed in a position in which he sincerely believed no Government had been placed before. He knew the number of petitions that were upon the Table in favour of their scheme; but that was no sign of strength. If the Government had stepped boldly forward, as they ought to have done, and, standing upon the broad principle of religious liberty, had said, "We cannot countenance any narrow views; we believe all sects to be entitled to aid; we think that it is not man's duty or province to judge his neighbour, and we will so endeavour to fashion our schools as that each sect shall be led to love his neighbour, without any dogmatic teaching in any religion;" if the Government had said that, the people of this country would have been of one united feeling in respect to the measure, and the Government would have had a united population; whereas, at the present moment, the people were split into as many mutually hating sects as there were denominations of religion in the country. And all this lay at the door of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He was sorry to speak with disapprobation of that noble Lord; but he of all men at this time ought to have been the last to be an unpopular teacher of the country. He might have occupied a position high above all; he might have shown how enlarged his liberality was, and, by stepping before, might have led the people on, so as to reconcile one sect with another, instead of involving the whole population in inextricable confusion. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay) had appealed to posterity; his appeal would go down to posterity: all the appeals of the right hon. Gentleman were stamped with immortality, and posterity would admire the eloquence of his appeals. But the right hon. Gentleman belonged to an Administration which had had for many years upon this subject the language of liberality upon their lips; and now, when the time had arrived in which they might without fear enforce their opinions, that very body, so liberal before, shrank from the encounter, trembled when they ought to be firm, and, at the moment when courage was most required, turned tail and fled. Now, if any word of his (Mr. Roebuck's) went down to posterity in the pages of Hansard—as they might expect that at all events the appeal of the noble Lord would do—his words, though he pretended not to be a prophet, might yet be found uttering the language of prophecy; and he would now venture to say, that some one would yet step before this so called Liberal Administration on this question; that some one coming after them, and seeing the great fault they had committed, would do that deed in the execution of which they had faltered, and sweep away all the feeling of the people towards the Liberal Administration which had promised so much in regard to education, but fulfilled so little. He fancied that the time was not far distant when that prophecy would be fulfilled; and, as the past was a sort of directing index to the future, perhaps the same hand that struck down the corn law, might possibly erect a real liberal system of education in this country. And then the present Ministry would have to say, as they had been compelled to say before, that they mistook the temper of the times; that they mistook the clamours of the discontented and the interested for the feeling of the national will; and that they were afraid to do what they knew and felt to be their duty, till some more sagacious and courageous men occupied the position they now filled, and discharged the duty they would have attempted, had they not felt they were unable to perform it. He regretted that he should be compelled, in the vote he should give, to say that the principle of the Government plan of education was not the one which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay) had laid down. He agreed with him that it was the duty of the Government to educate; but he asserted that this plan of education was not based upon the principle which he started with asserting, but was a sectarian, unworthy mode of attempting to gain a great end, when, if they had had the courage to take the right means, they had the clear path before them, and when they might have assumed not only that it was the duty of the Government to teach, but might have actually fulfilled that duty.

Debate adjourned.

House adjourned at a quarter past Twelve.