HC Deb 26 April 1847 vol 91 cc1366-419

In moving the Order of the Day for bringing up the Report of the Committee of Supply, I wish, in the first place, to explain a matter personal to myself, upon which a statement has been made by an hon. Friend of mine in this House on a former night. The hon. Member for Carlisle said, that on the 14th or 15th of this month an application was made to me on the part of the Catholic bishops, who were anxious to see me before the 19th instant, in order to make some statement, but that I declined to grant an interview before the 19th. As I should be very sorry to be supposed to be guilty of any want of courtesy towards the Roman Catholic bishops, I will state exactly what occurred as to this matter. On Saturday, the 17th, after the meeting of the Cabinet Council, and when I was about to pass the Sunday a few miles out of town, and carry with me a large bundle of pamphlets on education, I received this letter:— Bishop Griffiths presents his respectful compliments to Lord John Russell, and requests the honour of an interview of three Catholic bishops as a deputation of the Catholic bishops residing in England now assembled in London, on the subject of the education of the children of poor Catholics. Bishop Griffiths requests this interview before the introduction of any measure on the subject. Golden Square, April 17th, 1847. I certainly understood the letter to allude to the subject of the education of the children of poor Catholics, and having to meet my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer early on Monday with respect to a subject connected with the finances of the country, and having to state on Monday afternoon the measure of education proposed, I did not think it absolutely necessary that I should see the Roman Catholic bishops upon the subject, either on the Sunday or on Monday morning; and, indeed, it is quite obvious that if I had done so I could not have assembled the Committee of Privy Council to make different arrangements as to the measure to be brought forward; therefore, I wrote, as the hon. Member for Carlisle says— Lord John Russell presents his compliments to Bishop Griffiths, and will name a day, to receive the deputation of the Catholic bishops, before the introduction of any measure. I conceived that I was giving an answer to this letter of Bishop Griffiths, which I received on the evening of the 17th; that if it was intended that any measure with regard to the education of the poor Catholics should be considered, that they should state their views upon the subject before any such measure should be introduced. I intended, and do still intend, to see either Bishop Griffiths or any other Catholic bishop who may wish to see me on the subject. Having stated thus much with regard to a matter entirely personal, I beg leave only to say, in moving the Order of the Day, that I hope I have made it fully understood that there is no intention whatever of excluding the Catholics from the benefit of the grant for the purposes of education; but, at the same time, we think it necessary to have fresh Minutes upon the sub- ject, and to consider the subject very carefully; and I will mention one reason among many other reasons. We have declared that we do not think it right that any clergyman of the Church of England, either in priest's orders or deacon's orders, should, in the capacity of a schoolmaster, receive any part of this grant; that it would be maintaining a part of the Ecclesiastical Establishment under the name of a grant for education. If we do so, it is obvious we must take care that in any grant with regard, to Catholics, no person in holy orders, either as secular or regular clergy of the Church of Rome, should be paid as schoolmasters under that grant. It would obviously not be right to do for the Roman Catholics that which you refuse to do for the Church of England; but I understand there are cases of Roman Catholics—Christian Brethren—who are not in holy orders, and who very much undertake the business of education, and are extremely useful in the schools of poor Catholics. That is a matter which will require a good deal of consideration, and any Minutes on this subject must be framed with care. Whether we shall be able to frame the Minutes in a very short time, or whether it may not be necessary to have some inspection and some report as to the Catholic schools before we do so, I cannot at the present time state. I only beg to assure the House, that, as far as we are concerned, we have no intention whatever of excluding Roman Catholics; and I think the grants for education ought to be made as useful as possible for all classes.


observed, that some misapprehension had arisen in some parts of Scotland, as to how far the parochial schools there would derive any benefit from this system. He wished to know, therefore, first, whether parochial schoolmasters, properly qualified, would be entitled to receive pupil-teachers, and whether the parochial schoolmasters would derive any gratuity from the instruction; secondly, whether, as the salary provided by law for parochial schoolmasters in Scotland was extremely small, those persons being also duly qualified, would be entitled to receive an addition to the salary they at present received; and, thirdly, whether parochial schoolmasters, after length of service, would be entitled to retiring pensions?


This is a ques-which has not been submitted to the Committee of Privy Council; and, therefore, any answer I make will only convey my own impression. It is the intention of the grant that aid should be given in support of voluntary societies and contributions; therefore I conceive that schoolmasters who have stipends by law will not be entitled to derive aid from this grant. If it is proper to increase the stipends of Scotch schoolmasters, and give retiring allowances, it ought to be done by another grant.

Report brought up.

On the Question, that the Resolution of the Committee be read a Second Time,


said: The noble Lord forgot to read the concluding passage of his letter to Bishop Griffiths:— Her Majesty's Ministers, however, have no intention of promulgating new Minutes of Council upon the subject at present. Before I introduce the Amendment of which I have given notice, I may state that I have received a petition from Manchester emanating from a public meeting of Catholics held in that town. The petitioners state that they have heard with the strongest feelings of regret, that, in order to exclude the Roman Catholics of this kingdom from a participation in the Government grant, a religious test has been introduced which they cannot accede to; and the petitioners, therefore, humbly pray that they may be admitted without such test to a just share in the grant. With the permission of the House I will now read the resolution of which I have given notice, and will state my reasons for so doing. I trust no objection will be taken to the occasion which I have selected for this resolution. It must be borne in mind that the measure of the Government has not been introduced in the shape of a Bill; therefore, I have no other means of attempting to amend what appears to me to be a defect in the measure. I expect, therefore, that the Government will consent fairly to meet my resolution as if it were an amendment to a clause in a Bill for aiding education. In moving such an Amendment I am actuated by no feeling of hostility or dislike to the Government measure; for, from the commencement of the agitation upon this question, I have felt it my duty to take a decided part in favour of that measure; and it is well known that for persons who represent large and popular town constituencies, the real battle has been without, and not within, the walls of this House. It has happened to me, as to other hon. Members, to have been called upon by some of my influential constituents to oppose any interference of the State in the education of the people, and especially to oppose the Government measure for that purpose. My answer always has been a direct and unqualified negative. I said that I had been and always should be favourable to a system of national education; that I should support the measure of the Government, not as a comprehensive measure of national education, but as another step in a right direction. The first step had been to assist in building schools; the second, to acquire some inspection over those schools; the present step was to raise the qualifications and position of schoolmasters—and good schools, good schoolmasters, and good inspectors, were among the elements of a good system of education. I did not deny that objections might be raised to some of the details of the measure; but I considered that on the whole the measure was a fair one; that it showed no preference for any sect; that if the Church of England, or any other sect, should obtain a larger proportionate share of public money, it would be in consequence of their voluntary exertions, and their greater zeal in the cause of the education of the people. I said this in the full belief that all sects of Christians would be equally entitled to participate in the proposed grant of public money. It was with great grief, therefore, that I found that I had both deceived myself and deceived others. Now, the object of my resolution is to make the Government measure what most persons believed it to be, and to enable Roman Catholics to participate in any Parliamentary grant for the purposes of education. This proposition seems to me so evidently a fair one, that I am almost at a loss to conceive what objections can be raised to it. It may, however, be said that Roman Catholics do not require grants for purposes of education; and it has been said that they have made no applications for such grants. A very few persons in this House—more in proportion out of the House—will declare that Roman Catholics, as such, should be excluded from all Parliamentary grants for education. But the objections which I expect will be chiefly urged will be, that this is not the proper time nor the proper form for such a Motion as that I am now submitting to the House. I will consider each of the objections separately. First, it maybe said that Roman Catholics do not require assistance. On the contrary, I am inclined to think that no portion of our labouring population so much requires assistance. Let the House only consider the condition of the Roman Catholic population in our large commercial and manufacturing towns, and how destitute they must be of the means of educating their children. Take, for instance, Manchester. I will quote the highest authority, in the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth:— I take the population of Manchester (said the right hon. Baronet.) I believe there is a district in Manchester called 'the Irish town,' so great is the number of the Irish population there. I am told that it contains no less than 60,000 or 70,000 Irish inhabitants. What passes in Manchester with respect to them? They go there distinguished generally by their industry. They afford to the wealthy manufacturers of Manchester the advantages of their labour and their numbers; yet they have no natural protectors. There are no wealthy Roman Catholics immediately connected with Manchester who have a regard for their spiritual welfare, and there is no one with means ample enough to superintend their education. How, then, is the education of these 60,000 or 70,000 of the poorest classes to be provided for? They have their priests, no doubt, to attend to them; but I apprehend the means of the priests to provide a perfect system of education are extremely limited. Is it for the advantage of the State that these 60,000 or 70,000 persons should be brought up in ignorance or vice? I confess I cannot conceive a more urgent case, not so far merely as the intellectual advantage of the Roman Catholic is concerned; but if there be any truth in our principles, that the true remedy against barbarism, against crime, and against degradation of character is instruction—and upon that principle we appear to be all agreed, and all disposed to support this vote—if, I say, there be any truth in this principle, is it not for the advantage of the Protestant community that these Roman Catholic children should not be immersed in ignorance? So far as their position is concerned, I can conceive no stronger claim upon a provident and parental Government than to pay some attention to their situation. It has been asserted, and some stress has been laid upon the assertion, that no distinct application has been made to the Committee of Council on Education on behalf of the Catholics. If no application has been made, it would have been no matter for wonder; because up to the period of the Minutes of last year the rule was, that grants should only be made to schools connected with the National and British and Foreign School Societies, except under very special circumstances. But it so happened that applications were made, under circumstances which were considered to be very special; namely, the extreme poverty of the applicants, combined with their willingness to contribute their pence and halfpence for purposes of education. These applications were first made on the 15th of June, 1846, by Mr. Langdale, acting under the sanction of the Catholic vicars-apostolic of England and Wales, to the right hon. Baronet opposite. The right hon. Baronet left office so soon after this application, that he had not time to take it into his consideration. Mr. Langdale renewed his application to the noble Lord the Member for London. The noble Lord replied on the 20th of August last, that he would refer the subject to the Committee of Council. Mr. Langdale then wrote to the Lord President of the Council, and the Lord President promised to give the subject his mature consideration. On the 23rd of January, Mr. Langdale applied again to the Lord President for the result of his consideration. He stated, schools were in course of erection; the districts in which they were being erected were excessively poor, and therefore had every claim for assistance. On the 8th of February, Mr. Shuttleworth answered— That he was directed by his Lordship to say, that he will bring under the consideration of the Committee of Council on Education any application (accompanied with all requisite particulars) which may be made for assistance towards the erection of Roman Catholic as well as other schools. Their Lordships may thus be enabled, upon a careful examination of the constitution of the school, to determine whether under their present Minutes they can grant assistance. Mr. Langdale immediately applied for a Parliamentary grant towards the erection of Roman Catholic schools in the town of Blackburn. The noble Lord the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire has therefore been misinformed, when he said that Catholic applications had never assumed a distinct form. The answer of Mr. Shuttleworth, dated February 18, requires further information with regard to the proposed schools, the system of religious instruction to be pursued, and the admission of children of Protestant parents. This letter was considered of so much importance, that it was referred to the assembly of Catholic bishops which took place in the beginning of this month. Their answer to it expressed their readiness to admit Protestant children on the fairest terms; and the whole tenor of their letter shows their willingness to accept the assistance of the Government, and their belief that they were going to receive that assistance. This answer was transmitted by Mr. Langdale to Mr. Shuttleworth on the 14th instant; but on the 16th, Mr. Shuttleworth brings the negotiation suddenly to a close, by referring to that portion of the Minutes of the Committee of Council of December 3, 1839, which requires in all schools receiving assistance that "a portion of Scriptures should be daily read;" and this, according to Mr. Shuttleworth's version, means "the entire Bible in the authorized version," and therefore excludes all Roman Catholics from a participation in any Parliamentary grant. The next day the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, in replying to an application for an interview on the part of some of the Roman Catholic bishops, stated that Her Majesty's Ministers had no immediate intention of promulgating Minutes of the Privy Council on the subject of the education of the children of poor Catholics. This unexpected result has certainly produced considerable, and I must say not unjust, discontent in the minds of many of the Roman Catholics. At a meeting a few days ago, at which eight Catholic bishops and some of the most influential Catholics in England were present, with Lord Shrewsbury in the chair, a resolution most condemnatory of the conduct of the Government was passed. I have once read that resolution to the House. It speaks in such harsh terms of the Government, that I had rather not read it again. I will only say that the belief prevails among many persons that the interests of the Catholics have been sacrificed to please the Wesleyans. After the declarations of the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport—after the assurances of the noble Lord the Member for London, I will consider that belief to be without foundation; but I must say that great errors of judgment have been committed—that a grievous injustice is being done to the Roman Catholics—and that they are grossly insulted by this exclusion. I have now shown that the Roman Catholics of this country stand in the greatest need of assistance from the State for the education of their children—that they have earnestly solicited it, and are willing to receive it on any fair terms. But, Sir, in my opinion, it matters not whether they do or no not require it, whether they have or have not applied for it. The real question is one of principle. The question is, are there any grounds which would justify the State in drawing a distinction between Catholics and other sects of Christians? Every hon. Gentleman who has spoken in the course of these debates, with one solitary exception, has held that such grounds do not exist. I am afraid, however, there are others besides him in this House, and more out of doors, who would refuse Parliamentary aid for the education of Catholics. I cannot understand the feelings of these Gentlemen. I can understand the feelings of the slaveowner of the southern States of America, who denies education to his slave, and subjects to frightful punishments those who attempt to instruct them; for his life and his property are at stake, and depend upon the ignorance of the human brutes that surround him. I can understand the feelings of the earnest bigot, who believes that all who depart from his religious faith are certain of eternal damnation, and thence logically infers that there is no amount of human suffering and misery which may not be justly inflicted on the mere chance of saving one soul from an eternity of hell. I can enter into the feelings of our great forefathers, who beheld in the contest between Protestants and Papists a mighty effort to shake off the trammels of authority, to establish the right of free inquiry, and to lay the foundations of civil and religious liberty. They hated Papists as the enemies of the human race, and slew them as such. I can understand a wise ruler and statesman like Cromwell deliberately entertaining the project of destroying the Catholic population of Ireland. And if I had lived in those times, without doubt I should have been as bigoted as my forefathers, as imbued with the same fierce hatred and cruel intolerance of Papitss. But I cannot understand those feelings at the present day, when Catholicism and Protestantism have ceased to be the respective symbols of despotism and liberty—when one of the most enlightened potentates on the face of the earth sits in the chair of St. Peter—I cannot understand, when the State has bestowed the elective franchise upon Catholics—when it has permitted them to sit as legislators in both Houses of Parliament—allowed them to fill some of the most important offices of Government—in short, admitted them to all the highest rights and privileges of citizenship—I cannot understand upon what grounds it can deny them minor rights and privileges, and exclude them from a share of the funds devoted to national education. It is acknowledged on all hands that ignorance is the prolific parent of vice and crime—education the only remedy. But does vice, does crime, cease to be noxious to the State when it is the vice and the crime of Catholics? Do you fear the influence of the Catholic priest? Education is the best antidote to priestcraft of every kind. What then do we dread? I know not. I repeat, therefore, that the Roman Catholics of this country do require the assistance of the State—that they have earnestly sought for it, would thankfully accept it, and ought to have it. I doubt whether any hon. Gentleman will controvert this position. What objections, then, will be raised to my resolution? I suppose the usual ones, that this is not the proper form for such a Motion; that this is not the proper occasion for bringing it under the consideration of the House. It is my opinion the fittest opportunity—for we are about to commence a new system. That system is described by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh in the following terms—"There cannot be a system of more impartiality in principle, and it is also one of perfect impartiality in practice." In his peroration he appeals to future ages, "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 will be still more astonished that such resistance was offered in the name of civil and religious freedom." I think future ages would be most of all astonished, if after reading the unrivalled speech of that right hon. Gentleman, they could be persuaded that under this perfectly impartial system 800,000 individuals of the most ancient, renowned, and numerous sect of Christians were excluded; but nothing will persuade them of the fact, for the rest of the debate will perish, and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman contains no allusion to the Roman Catholics. Can there be a stronger argument against their exclusion? The ablest rhetorician in the House dare not allude to it. My resolution, if carried, will make his measure an impartial one, which it is not. The noble Lord the Member for the city of London was of a very different opinion from that of his right hon. Colleague. With him it is not the introduction of a system which will deserve the gratitude of ages; it is merely the repetition of a grant, the principle of which has been annually conceded without opposition since 1839. Now, I am quite of a contrary opinion. I agree entirely with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, that there is a great alteration in the principle of the grant. The first Parliamentary grant for education was in 1833. It was not a general grant for the building of schools, but a special grant to the National, and British and Foreign School Societies, to assist them in building schools. It was like many grants in the miscellaneous estimates, in which money is given to institutions of a useful public character, the benefits of which are confined to a limited portion of the community. In 1339 the rule of confining the grant to schools connected with the National, and British and Foreign School Societies, was not changed; but it was provided that in special cases it might be departed from. Now, however, the rule is entirely changed—the grant is to all sects of Christians, with the single exception of the Catholics. The Catholics had no especial right to complain, so long as other sects besides themselves—the Wesleyans for example—were excluded, and as long as they were not absolutely and directly excluded on account of their faith, but only indirectly by not being connected with the two societies. They might say, and justly say, that it was bad policy on the part of the State to confine its assistance to the two societies; but they could not complain of special injury, special injustice, and, I will add, special insult to themselves. Now, the object of my Motion is to atone for that insult, and to do justice to them. With regard to the terms of my Motion, I have endeavoured to shape it so as to interfere in the least possible degree with the functions of the Committee of Council. What is it that excludes Roman Catholics from participating in the Parliamentary grants for education? They are not excluded by the Minutes of last year. I still contend they are not necessarily excluded by the words of the Minutes of December 3, 1839, that "the daily reading of a portion of the Scriptures" should form part of the instruction in all schools receiving grants of public money. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport acknowledged that there were doubts upon the subject. But Roman Catholics are now excluded by the special interpretation that has been put upon these words by Mr. Kay Suttleworth, in his communications with the Secretaries of the Wesleyan Conference on the 7th inst. In that communication Mr. Shuttle worth states that the words a "portion of the Scriptures," means "the entire Bible in the authorized version," in all cases except of schools connected with the British and Foreign School Society, where they mean "extracts" from the Bible. I do think this scholastic subtlety is unworthy of us. If we will not contribute to the education of the Roman Catholics, let us say so at once like men, and not narrow it to a question of the comparative accuracy of two translations of the Scriptures. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester has justly observed that "this was the most unfortunate ground on which the exclusion of Roman Catholics could be voted." Now, the object of my resolution is simply to cancel the doubtful interpretation which has been put upon the Minutes of the Committee of December 3, 1839, and to restore the Catholics to the position which their bishops and the majority of persons supposed they held on the 14th inst., with regard to Parliamentary grants. It may be said that the Committee of Council can frame a Minute for this purpose without the assistance of Parliament, and therefore there is no use for my resolution. Put I beg the House to remember that the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport, both expressly demanded that the sanction of the House should be given to them to enable them, as Members of the Privy Council, to alter the rule which excluded Roman Catholics. The noble Lord offered an explanation of the position in which he stood with respect to the Roman Catholics; he stated that when he became a Member of the Committee of Council, he found certain rules established; that those rules with regard to Catholics were of such importance, that the Committee would not be warranted in changing them without giving notice to Parliament; and he concluded by saying that— He must, in justice to himself, and in candour to others, declare that of no Committee which refused on principle to admit Roman Catholic applications, because they were Roman Catholics., could he continue to be a Member. I know that the noble Lord is a straightforward and honourable gentleman, and that his words are not empty vaunts. I believe that he is sincerely anxious to do justice to the Catholics. I have given the notice he required; my resolution carried, he will be able to accomplish his wishes. I therefore count upon his vote. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport admitted that the Roman Catholics had just ground of complaint—that an injustice had been done to them—that it ought to be removed, but that it would be objectionable to remove it without the sanction of Parliament; and he said— If the House should affirm the proposition that Roman Catholics ought to participate in those grants, no one would rejoice more sincerely than he should to see the difficulty removed—no one would more cordially co-operate in the endeavour to frame a Minute that should bring Roman Catholics within the rule. I call upon the House, therefore, to affirm my resolution, that Roman Catholics ought to participate in those grants, in order that the right hon. Baronet may rejoice—in order that his difficulty may be removed—and that he may frame a Minute which shall bring Roman Catholics within the rule. It may be urged as an objection to my resolution, that after the declaration of Her Majesty's Ministers in this House, I ought to have been satisfied, and left the question to them. If the noble Lord had distinctly declared that he would, as soon as possible, and in this Session of Parliament, bring this subject before the House, though I cannot conceive a more suitable opportunity than the present one, yet I would at once have withdrawn my Motion. But what was the declaration of the noble Lord? That we must wait till next year. The noble Lord said, that it was very possible that they might be able to frame Minutes by which, when the House was next asked to grant aid to those schools, the Roman Catholics might be included with others. Why this delay? If this exclusion be an act of injustice and hardship to Catholics, as the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport terms it, why any further delay in rescinding it? But the noble Lord says, much care and consideration are required to frame the Minutes. Be it so. My resolution docs not prevent him exercising every care and consideration in his power. It binds him to nothing specifically; it only gives him the Parliamentary sanction which his Colleagues declared to be absolutely requisite before they could undertake to frame the Minutes required. There is some discrepancy between the views of the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport, on the one hand, and the noble Lord the Member for the city of London on the other hand. The two first declared that they could not frame the Minutes required without the previous sanction of Parliament; in consequence of those declarations I immediately gave notice of my Resolution; and the answer of the noble Lord was, that the Minutes should first be framed, and that the question would come before us with next year's Vote on Supply. The question would be, therefore, postponed to the next year. I agree entirely on this subject with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester. I understood the right hon. Baronet opposite, the Member for Tamworth, to say that there ought to be an early consideration of the claims of the Catholics, and that there ought to be no misunderstanding upon the subject, especially if a general election was at hand. To prevent any misunderstanding upon the subject, the right hon. Baronet will, without doubt, vote for my Resolution. I lay claim to the vote of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester. The right hon. Baronet has stated my opinions on the subject far more forcibly than I can. He asked the House on Thursday last whether —"it was just to the Roman Catholics to postpone to some further period the decision of this momentous question. He said— He could see some expediency in proposing to postpone it, but he could see no justice whatever;"— and the right hon. Baronet stated the position of the Roman Catholics to be this:— They were told, that at the present moment they were not to partake of the grant, but that at some future period, which was not defined, their sole isolated case—a case, he must say, invidiously isolated—was to be brought under consideration of this House. When was the right time? The time to do justice was now, and he never could think that it was wise to postpone any concession which justice, equity, and the spirit of toleration and freedom irresistibly demanded. It is said that it is inexpedient at present to raise this question. Why, I ask, inexpedient? Because, it is said, there is a feeling out of doors against Roman Catholics, and a general election is at hand. I think that feeling is overrated. But suppose that antipathy to Catholics does prevail out of doors. Do we share in that feeling? I believe not. Are we bound to yield to it? What are our duties as Members of this House? Are we representatives or delegates? Are we bound to exercise our own independent judgment on every subject, or simply to register the edicts of the electoral body? Are we bound to act for the benefit of all, or merely to consult the prejudices, each of his own constituents? What, I ask, are our duties? Sir, the 650 Gentlemen, who are Members of this House, constitute a body of men whose superior or equal, as a body, I believe, cannot be found in this country or in the world. As a body, I believe, we are in advance of public opinion. From us the people chiefly acquire their political knowledge. We are their chosen leaders, ought to be their instructors and teachers. Solemn and sacred duties, therefore, devolve upon us, and no duty more important than that of reproving the prejudices and correcting the errors of the people. I consider that a seat in this assembly is the highest dignity and honour that can be bestowed upon an English gentleman, when it is obtained by an honest expression of sincere convictions, and by a conscientious performance of duties. On the other hand, if it be obtained by paltry truckling to vile prejudices, it is a disgrace and a reproach to the man. It is true that we are on the eve of a general election. Let us not go before the people as craven cowards shrinking from a great question. Let us tell them our honest convictions; show them that we are in earnest by our votes, boldly meet them on the hustings; call upon them to ratify our conduct; and they will do so in the teeth of their prejudices. I thank the House for its indulgence. I will now conclude with the Resolution of which I have given notice. The hon. Baronet moved— That any Minutes of the Committee of Privy Council on Education, or other regulations which exclude Roman Catholics from participating in any grant of public money for purposes of Education, by requiring in all schools which receive such grants of public money the use of the authorized version of the Scriptures, are inexpedient, and ought to be rescinded.


Sir, I am not one of those who are at all disposed to blame the hon. Baronet for bringing this subject under the consideration of the House; and I do not rise now for the purpose of replying to the arguments by which he has enforced the justice of allowing the Roman Catholics to participate in the advantages of the Parliamentary grant. I will not repeat what I have already stated on this subject, because the hon. Gentleman has quoted some passages in my speech the other evening with approbation, for which I thank him. With this remark I beg to state, that I have not one syllable to retract from what I then said; and after the declaration made by my noble Friend to-night, I should have hoped the hon. Gentleman would have been content to leave this matter where it was. It has been already stated, that the Government stand pledged to take the subject into their early consideration, and that they will devote their attention to it, with the view of carrying out what appears to be the prevailing opinion of the House and of the country. I do not think the hon. Member has adopted the most satisfactory mode of carrying out his views; nor am I sure that, as he conceives, the only point to be considered by the Committee of Privy Council is whether, by the Minutes of 1839, the authorized version alone is to be used in the schools. If they should decide that the Holy Scriptures mean the Douay version, I do not think that would remove all the difficulties which will come under the consideration of the Privy Council when they frame the Minutes admitting the Roman Catholics. The House will see that we are not only desirous, but that we are pledged, to the early consideration of the question of the participation by the Roman Catholics in the assistance of the State; and when we propose the Minute, and the House is called upon to vote the money, that will be the time for the House to decide this question, and to determine what shall be the grant of money for this object. The hon. Baronet has said, that if we will pledge ourselves to submit the Minutes respecting the aid to be given to Catholic schools this Session, he will not press his Motion. Sir, I can give him no definite assurance on this subject. I do not wish the House to suppose it possible that no Minute will be prepared, and that no Vote will be proposed this Session. But, in abstaining from any promise on that subject, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we have no wish, as he supposes, to take advantage of the coming election. So far from this, I believe it would be better if we had a Minute ready now to lay it upon the Table, and to defend it on the hustings, rather than to go to an election in which we should be accused of not having had the courage to go on. As the Committee of the Privy Council have not met since the question has come before the House, I will not deceive the House by any implied pledge as to the decision they may come to. We wish to enter upon the consideration of the subject unfettered and unpledged, except by the pledge I have given to the House, that the subject shall have the best and the early attention of the Government.


agreed in thinking that the better course would have been for the Government, as regarded the question of elections, to have stated precisely what their intentions were with respect to the Roman Catholics; and he believed the ma- jority of the House were of that opinion. He regretted that, at the introduction of this system, the Government had not stated their intentions more distinctly, although, he admitted, they had many difficulties to contend with. He felt that, after the discussion which had taken place, and when so many Members on both sides of the House had declared themselves upon the subject, no time should be lost; but the Minute ought to be framed at an early period, with a view to carry the object of the Government into effect. The declarations of the Government were such, that he was sure there would be no great postponement of the plan; and he thought those declarations must have given satisfaction, to the Roman Catholic Members who heard them; for they must have felt satisfied that, although the Roman Catholics were now excluded, there was an intention of including them at a very early period. He would recommend the hon. Baronet to withdraw his Motion.


observed, that the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) had anticipated two classes of objections to his Motion: one having reference to its form, and the other to the time at which it was brought forward; but he seemed to think that there were no other grounds on which his proposition could be opposed. He, however, opposed the hon. Baronet's Motion on far higher and more sacred grounds than those to which the hon. Baronet had referred; and his objection applied to the proposition, whether introduced by the hon. Baronet, by the noble Lord the present Premier, or by the right hon. Baronet the late Prime Minister of this country. Under any circumstances, at any time, and introduced by any men, the proposal now brought forward by the hon. Baronet would meet his (Sir R. Inglis's) determined opposition. He knew it was said that the effect of that proposal would merely be to give a small salary to a few Roman Catholic schoolmasters; but he saw distinctly—and he believed the country saw too—that this was the first step towards the payment of the Roman Catholic priests in England for teaching in the pulpit those doctrines which children would be taught in Roman Catholic schools. He could see that the two great leaders in that House were united in this cause; and it became the House to bear fully in mind what was the deliberate and expressed intention of those to whom the confidence of the country was, and had been, so largely conceded. In the first instance, the education of the people of this country was confided to the Church; next, the State had extended its aid to those who used the authorized version of the Scriptures; and now—irrespectively even of that safeguard—the State was required to extend its support to all who called themselves Christians. But there the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) stopped short; and his (Sir R. Inglis's) hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract must not indulge the hope of securing the support of the late Prime Minister to any plan for educating Jews, Turks, infidels, or heretics. The right hon. Baronet stopped at the word Christians; but said, with reference to Roman Catholics, that he would not be a party to any course which might place the noble Lord, his successor in office, in any difficulty upon that question. He would venture to tell his right hon. Friend, that he believed, not even all the protection and support which he (Sir R. Peel) could give to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, would enable that noble Lord to carry into operation a system so repugnant to the genius of the constitution of England. The great mass of the people, were at this moment distinctly hostile to any further concession to the Roman Catholics; and they would not be misled by the kind of threat which had been repeatedly urged in that House, that the numbers of the Roman Catholics imposed upon the State an obligation to comply with their requests. The hon. Baronet who had just addressed the House, indulging in that species of exaggeration—though, doubtless, unintentionally—to which they had been accustomed to listen from the advocates of Roman Catholics, had talked of the 1,500,000 Roman Catholics who dwelt in this portion of Her Majesty's dominions. They had before heard of the 8,000,000 of Roman Catholics in Ireland; but gross as that exaggeration was, it was not quite so gross as the exaggeration of the hon. Member for Southwark. He would put the hon. Baronet's statement to a test which had frequently been used, in order to ascertain the numbers of any particular creed; he would test it by the number of marriages of Roman Catholics in proportion to the whole population. Now, according to that test, the number of Roman Catholics in this country was less than 300,000. Some allowance must, of course, be made, in applying this test to Roman Catholics, for those members of the body who entered into religious orders, and were thereby debarred from marriage. The ordinary proportion of marriages to the whole population in this age and country is now taken as one in 129; it had been one in 130. The Registrar-General's report gave no more than 2,280 marriages solemnized in places of Roman Catholic worship in 1844. But though there might be some ground for supposing that the number of marriages among Roman Catholics, from the cause which he had just mentioned, might be less in proportion to their numbers than those amongst Baptists and Independents, it must not be forgotten that marriage, being regarded as a sacrament by the Romish Church, there was a strong inducement for the solemnization of all marriages between members of that Church, or between a Roman Catholic and a Protestant, in Roman Catholic places of worship. If, then, they found that no more than 2,280 Roman Catholics married in a given year, taking the ascertained average in other portions of the population of one marriage to each 129 persons, the number of Roman Catholics in England and Wales would not exceed 300,000. It was quite clear, from the statements which had been made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and by the First Lord of the Treasury in the present Administration, and from the opinions which had been expressed by the right hon. Gentlemen who filled those offices in the late Administratration, that if their combined forces could carry such a proposition as that now made by the hon. Member for Southwark, it would be adopted; but, so far as the feelings of the people of England were concerned, he believed it would be found to be arrayed most strongly against legalizing, endowing, and supporting the education of Roman Catholics at the expense of the State: first, because they felt that the measure was wrong in itself; and, secondly, because they knew that the endowment of the priesthood would follow the adoption of such a measure. He (Sir R. Inglis) could conceive no argument in favour of the one, which did not equally apply in favour of the other. He had asked the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) when he was in office, whether he would pledge himself not to sanction any measure for the payment of the Roman Catholic priesthood at a future period? But his right hon. Friend refused to give such a pledge; and he, therefore, could not but conceive that, so far as that right hon. Baronet was concerned, the country would have no security, if he returned to power to-morrow, against the payment of the priesthood of the Church of Rome in Ireland. He (Sir R. Inglis) must say, that he had heard with surprise the declarations made by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) within the last few days, and which were especially unexpected by those who had been in frequent communication with the noble Lord on this subject for some time past. He was ready to concede, however, that the noble Lord had not broken any pledge, because the noble Lord did not even now propose to appropriate any portion of the present vote to the support of any system of education in which the authorized version of the Scriptures was not used. The noble Lord had, however, intimated too plainly his wish, his intention, and almost his expectation, of carrying a measure which would extend very materially the principle upon which the vote of last Friday was based. He felt it his duty to resist any concessions of this kind at the outset, because, when the first step had been taken towards such concessions, it was very difficult to recede, and almost impossible not to advance.


Whenever my hon. Friend who has just sat down expresses an opinion in this House, however emphatic may be the declaration of that opinion, I feel so much respect for his integrity and character that I always believe he is expressing the opinion which he sincerely and conscientiously entertains; and I cannot but think that my hon. Friend would show more of true toleration if he would extend to others that principle which others are willing to apply to him, and give them also credit for having no other object in view, in expressing opinions which may differ from his own, than to promote the public interest, and to do justice between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects. My hon. Friend imputes to me that it was my object, in delivering the opinions I expressed on Friday night, to outbid the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), and to attempt to conciliate the Roman Catholics in order to obtain their support. Sir, I assure my hon. Friend that he does me gross injustice—that I have no object whatever of a political kind in outbidding the noble Lord. If I had any political or personal object in view, I greatly doubt whether I should promote it by the expression of my opinion, that when you are revising and reconstituting a system of public education, you should not exclude the Roman Catholic subjects of Her Majesty from a participation in its advantages. My hon. Friend must remember the course I took with regard to the Maynooth grant, and the opinions I then expressed, at some risk of the loss of popular favour and of office; and he must have seen that there is between him and me a total difference of opinion as to the principle of giving aid to the Roman Catholics for purposes of instruction. I do not believe that we are compromising our own faith by giving that aid. If I wanted a proof that my hon. Friend ought to have done me the justice which I am willing to do him, I find that proof in his own speech; for, after limiting through the statistical returns of the Registrar General, he finds that the Roman Catholic population of this country has been grossly overrated, and that, inferring the number of Roman Catholics from the number of marriages, they ought not in England to exceed 300,000. Well: be it so. My hon. Friend's estimate shall be assumed to be correct. There are not more than 300,000 Roman Catholics in England. What political object could I have, then, in recommending that justice should be done to a small section of the population? I do not find that measures intended to improve the position of the Roman Catholics are exceedingly popular in this House; for I recollect that a measure in their favour which had been recently carried by a majority of three, on being exposed to a further ordeal, was lost by a majority of 39. So far, therefore, as this act of the House is an indication of the opinion of the country, my hon. Friend cannot justly charge me with having attempted to promote any political objects by the course I have taken with regard to the Roman Catholics. As to gaining the support of the Liberal body—so far as the Dissenting body is connected with the Liberal body—I doubt whether an expression of opinion in favour of the Roman Catholics is likely to conciliate the support of that portion of the community. But, in truth, I have no political object in view. I believe it to be just and politic to take the course I have recommended. I recollect well what fell from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kent (Mr. Plumptre), the other night. I and others who support the Government measure were charged by that hon. Gentleman—not with rashness, not with impolicy, but with absolute infidelity. This is not the place to make professions of faith; and nothing that can fall from that hon. Gentleman (such is the respect I entertain for him) shall induce me to say one harsh word in reply. But as to the accusation of infidelity, I say at once that I cannot believe—and I say it with all reverence—that that God who is the "Author of peace and the lover of concord"—who gave us his "commandment that we should believe in the name of Jesus Christ, and love one another"—I cannot think, that that Almighty Being will consider that we are fulfilling such a commandment when we hate one another, and allow thousands and tens of thousands of children to pass through life, and to be launched into eternity, without having ever heard of the name of Jesus Christ. It would be much better for us to make allowances for the imperfections of human nature, and to give to each other the benefit of a presumption that we are influenced by honest motives, rather than to combat a difference of opinion with a charge of infidelity.

Far from desiring to embarrass the noble Lord, or to take any course which would diminish the chances of success for that measure which he has proposed, I fully estimate all the difficulties by which he is surrounded in bringing forward a measure even of this limited extent. My experience of office is too recent not to make me perfectly aware that the position of a Minister and of a Government is widely different from that of private individuals. We, as individuals, can state what are the measures and what are the principles which we think ought to be adopted; but a Minister, anxious for the success of a particular measure, and fearing the obstacles which it may meet with—looking to the attainment of a practical result, and being responsible for that practical result—has sometimes to attend to other considerations than those by which private individuals or members of the Opposition may be guided. He may have to content himself with a measure falling more short of absolute good than his own feelings would dictate, or than he might himself, if he were in a different situation, and not charged with the success of a practical measure, have aimed to carry out. I am surprised that the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) should claim my vote on this occasion. I took the earliest opportunity of stating distinctly my sentiments on the general question; but I stated at the same time that I could not concur in any vote which would at all embarrass the further proceeding with this measure. I stated distinctly that I would not be a party to any compulsion on the Government, unless the Government should show an unwillingness to adopt such a course as would be in accordance with the views I expressed. I do hope that the hon. Baronet will not press his Amendment on the House. I do not say this for the purpose of relieving myself from any difficulty; for I feel no difficulty whatever on the point, because, after the avowal made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, not on the compulsion of this Motion, but voluntarily, two or three nights ago, and after the statement made to-night by the noble Lord, that the Government concedes the principle that the Roman Catholics ought not to be excluded, and that the Ministers pledge themselves to bring forward a Minute maturely considered for the purpose of including them in the scheme of education, they, the Ministers, have done nothing which should so disentitle them to the confidence of the House that they should not be allowed a full opportunity of considering this subject. The right hon. Gentleman opposite says, and I think very properly, that he cannot pledge himself to introduce this Minute at any particular time; but he has given the House a full assurance with respect to the principle contended for. I can easily believe that certain communications may be necessary for the purpose of making the measure complete; and that a measure would be much more likely to be satisfactory to that body for whose good it is intended, if there were an opportunity afforded for confidential communication with them, rather than that the Government should be compelled by a hostile vote of this House to introduce an immature and imperfect plan. I believe that it is the intention of the Government to do that which is just; and, having that conviction, I cannot concur in a vote which would imply distrust. I hope that I have convinced my hon. Friend that I have no desire to outbid the noble Lord opposite, or to try and gain popular favour at his expense. I disclaim any such motive. So far from wishing to embarrass the noble Lord on this question, I have seen too much of the difficulties with which he is surrounded, not to be content with the prospect of ultimate success, and to accept with satisfaction the measure before the House.


hoped that the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford had convinced Her Majesty's Ministers that their design of giving education to Roman Catholics, would be, by the body the hon. Baronet represented, fiercely opposed. He trusted, therefore, that the hon. Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) would, by persevering with his Amendment, impose on the Government the necessity of immediate action on this question. He did not see that the Government required much time to mature their views on the subject, for it was one which had been long under their consideration. They had the example of the education system in Ireland, which was not now objected to, he believed, by the Protestant clergy and others in Ireland, and this would make an excellent foundation for any system in this country. Let not the Government mistake him by imagining that be doubted one word of their professions; but no one would deny that if the Government did not give a pledge to introduce some measure before the miscellaneous estimates were out of the House, there would be no vote for the education of Roman Catholics this Session.


thought that the thanks of the Roman Catholics of this country were due to the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) for the able manner and generous spirit in which he had brought the question before the House. Whether or not the hon. Baronet would feel himself justified in going to a division, he had unquestionably done the cause much good. However, the assurance given by the right hon. the Home Secretary, in addition to what they had heard before connected with this question, was extremely valuable. He could not but express regret that the Government made the education of the Roman Catholics an exception to their general policy; and he said this not so much in the spirit of complaint as of compassion; for whatever injury the Government had thereby done to the Roman Catholics, they had done more to themselves, and had aggravated rather than diminished any difficulties connected with the question that might have existed in this country. He must say, that the Roman Catholic bishops in this country had not been fairly treated in having had put to them certain queries which appeared in one of Mr. K. Shuttle-worth's letters. It was not his intention to discuss some of the topics adverted to by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford. They were not fit for discussion in that House; and let the opinions of the Roman Catholics be right or wrong, the question was whether, finding a large body of them in this country, the Legislature were not bound to aid in giving them education, as far as possible, on the same principle as that on which they afforded aid in education to the various Protestant sects dissenting from the Established Church. He had heard from the other side of the water many expressions of gratitude towards the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) for his speech of the other night. It might be true that the right hon. Baronet, like another right hon. Baronet, entertained other views some years ago; but the country did not care much what a man thought some eight or ten years ago. The country thought more of what a man was inclined to do now, than what he thought eight or ten years back. The two right hon. Baronets to whom he alluded might have changed their opinions on this subject, as most men had on some subjects; but the observations they had recently made had given a great impetus to the cause of freedom of conscience. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) was free from the shackles of office; and, what was more fortunate for his reputation and for the country, he was also free from the shackles of party. When an individual obtained the applauses of good men, it was of little consequence to him to be accused of hunting after popularity. The right hon. Baronet had done much to enlighten public opinion on this subject; and when the objects he had in view should be carried out, he would have entitled himself to the gratitude of the Roman Catholic body. If the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) should divide the House, he should certainly vote with him.


said, that the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark negatived in terms the principle on which the measure of the Government had proceeded, and on which it had obtained, not only the concurrence of this House, but in a great measure the concurrence of the country—namely, that the education should be founded upon the authorized version of the Scriptures. To that proposition the Government had secured the ready assent of a vast majority of this House. He was satisfied that the very circumstance of the authorized version of the Scriptures being the foundation of the religious education of the people, was that which had conciliated not only the opinions of the Church of England, but of all the Protestants of the country, with some rare exceptions. And he had felt it to be his duty to give his humble support to the Government, because the noble Lord at its head had done his duty alike to all parties—to the country and to that House. With regard to ulterior measures, he conceived that the difficulties which Government had already experienced in bringing forward the present measure, would be greatly increased when they came to the consideration of any proposition which was intended to embrace the Roman Catholics. The difficulty consisted not merely in maturing such a scheme as would be the most calculated to disarm opposition, but in maturing such a scheme as Roman Catholic Gentlemen would accept. The question, whether or not it was intended to exclude or permit the use of the Douay version of the Bible, was but one difficulty out of many which the noble Lord would have to encounter. For himself he could not offer to the noble Lord the expectation that he was likely to frame a measure in which he should conscientiously concur; but this he was sure, that if any man was more capable than another of devising a measure which would be acceptable, it was the noble Lord. But in saying this, he must reserve to himself the right of fully considering such a measure upon its merits, in order to be satisfied that it could be safely adopted on constitutional grounds, and at the same time be acceptable to the Roman Catholics. As far as the noble Lord had proceeded, he begged to tender him his thanks for the manner in which he had conducted the present measure, and to congratulate him on its success. Beyond this point, however, he must pause. Every future step he should take with extreme caution. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by stating that he should give his entire opposition to the Motion of the hon. Member for Southwark.


held it as a broad and distinct fact that when once they had agreed to give State support to the education of all classes of the people, without reference to religious opinions, they could not, with any degree of justice—provided they made out a case of destitution or necessity, which he had little doubt, from the information he had derived, Her Majesty's Government were prepared to show—refuse to extend to the Roman Catholic subjects of Her Majesty the same aid that they gave to Protestants. On that broad principle he was content to take his stand with the Government in opposition to the feeling expressed by his hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University. But the present Motion called upon the House to rescind the resolution which had obtained the support of a large majority of its Members; and he could not concur in doing that. With regard to the general question of the extension of aid to Roman Catholics, he was perfectly satisfied with the assurances given by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) and the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey). The Ministers were no novices in the school of liberal opinions; and the whole public conduct of the noble Lord, from the time when he accomplished the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, gave a pledge for the sincerity of his desire to bring this question to a successful issue. The hon. Member (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) took a wrong view of the conduct of the Government towards the Roman Catholic bishops: the noble Lord was anxious to meet the difficulties of the subject; and how could he do so but by means of inquiries? For himself, he was content to wait till it might—he would not say, suit the convenience, but the information of the noble Lord, to frame a new Minute: judging from the past, he had no fear that that Minute would have his opposition; and in the mean time he hoped that no such Motion as the present would be pressed.


held that no portion of the community was so deeply interested in the education and enlightenment of the great body of the population as the Catholics; for none had more suffered from the evils of ignorance. To this might be traced the delay until 1829 of the question which was then settled; and every one who reflected upon the events which had since occurred, must deplore the consequences which had resulted from that delay. He regretted that he had not been able to be present to give his vote in favour of the general education of the people of this country, though he confessed he felt the apparent exclusion of the Catholic body. The hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) seemed to desire to exclude Catholics from the benefits of education; but surely, if the hon. Baronet were consistent with his own principles, he must believe that it was desirable that the Catholic should learn to read. If Catholics were educated in a Catholic school, they would learn to read, and to write, and to reason; and surely the hon. Baronet's view must be, that the more enlightened they were, the more certain they were to become Protestants. Could the hon. Baronet believe that driving boys, not into school, but into the streets, to learn (as at present) thieving and every vice, was the road to Protestantism? With regard to the immediate question, the speech of the hon. Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) had elicited from the Government a repetition and a more full explanation of their views—an explanation which to him (Mr. O'Ferrall) was perfectly satisfactory. He had had the honour of knowing all the Members of that Government for many years, and he could not possibly doubt the statements they had made. He was just as satisfied that a Minute of Council, in a shape to be satisfactory to the Catholic body would be laid on the Table, as if that Minute were there already. Concurring, then, in the proposition before the House, he felt that if he affirmed it by his vote, he should be in effect stating distinctly that he did not believe the professions the Government had made; and to that conclusion he could not say that he came, hon. Members had been called upon by a preceding speaker to act upon their conviction of what was best for the community they represented, and not heed misrepresentation out of doors; and he was prepared to adopt that advice. If he should have to divide along with the Ministers, he had very little doubt that his conduct would be grossly misrepresented; but he believed, if he were to take the contrary course, he should not serve the community to which he belonged, but should place them and the Government in perhaps greater difficulties than at present. It was to him a matter of indifference whether there was to be a division; if there were, he should vote against the Motion of the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth), and record his conviction of the integrity and sincerity of Her Majesty's Ministers.


said, that he did not know whether his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford would approve of the conduct of our Indian Government, in giving funds for the education of the Mahommedan population; but he should have thought that if there were any class whom he ought to wish to educate more than another, it would be the Roman Catholic body, who had fallen into what he believed to be such grievous error. For himself, he (Mr. Milnes) was willing to do all he could to raise-the minds of all Her Majesty's subjects; and as to the matter immediately before the House, he thought that Her Majesty's Government were placed in a disadvantageous position. He doubted not, that, at some time or other, the good sense of the people would prevail against religious bigotry. He thought it impossible long to have any system of national education excluding so large and respectable a portion of the people as the Roman Catholics; but it would have been, in his judgment, much better not to allow the Roman Catholics to be dissociated from the rest of the Dissenters. Hitherto, so far as he was aware, no Act taking notice of these religious dissensions, had ever drawn any other distinction than that of the Church on one side, and of the Christian body dissenting from the Church on the other. By making the Roman Catholic education the subject of a separate Minute, the Government had already increased the difficulty of the subject; because, to many persons, it would appear as if they were favouring and encouraging, to some extent, the Roman Catholic religion; and every day's delay would further increase that difficulty. He would strongly recommend the Government to adopt the advice of the hon. Member for Northamptonshire, and at once issue a Minute, distinctly placing before the people of England the principle, that by assisting in the education of the Roman Catholic poor, they in no manner recognised the peculiar doctrines of that Church. The question of the authorized version was quite a new difficulty; for he could not conceive that any of the Dissenters who complained that the Roman Catholics purposely kept the people in ignorance of the Holy Scriptures, would, object to the use of any version in preference to none. There was, however, a great mistake prevalent on that subject; he did not believe that the Roman Catholic religion at all necessarily prevented the circulation of the Scriptures. He had supported the present measure of the Government; but he could not help saying that all the difficulties came from touching the religious part of education. He trusted that they should advance much further yet; and although he knew that merely secular education was in great disrepute, he confessed that he had never been able to see why the contribution of the Government should not be given to the secular part of education, the Government inspectors seeing that the children were religiously educated in the doctrines of their own community. The inspection, as at present proposed, was certainly inconsistent with that religious independence which no man more highly prized than himself; and he hogged Her Majesty's Government to bear in mind that their difficulties would always increase just in proportion as they approached the religious part of the subject. He had given to Her Majesty's Government a hearty support, feeling the difficulties they had to encounter; and he could not consent to the Motion before the House, although he entertained objections to the present scheme. The Motion of his hon. Friend went so far as to render nugatory all their former votes, because the only Minute affecting the Roman Catholics was the one requiring the authorized version to be used; and for that a large majority had already voted. Let him, in conclusion, congratulate the House on that large majority, of all classes of political opinions, met together to protest against the strange misrepresentations which had gone abroad on the subject, and to do honour to the noble Lord, who had with so much temper and judgment conducted the measure, and had proved that he sincerely intended to confer upon England the greatest boon which a statesman could bestow — a really sound system of national education.


said, that his only reason for voting in support of the Government scheme was, that it required the use of the authorized version; and he knew that the great body of the people would view with great alarm the proceedings of that night. He had, therefore, felt it due to those who entertained such views, and with whom he should always be proud to act, to state, that any system of education which did not embrace the teaching of the authorized version of the Scriptures, would meet from him a most determined opposition.


hoped that the hon. Member for Southwark would withdraw his Amendment. It was one which in itself he did not approve of. He believed that its main object would be accomplished in the course of time; and as the Government had declared that the matter was under consideration, he thought that was no ground for supposing that State education would not be extended to the Catholics before long. The hon. Baronet, then, would gain nothing by pressing his Amendment. But if was an Amendment which, after all, did not go far enough. Was there no other class than Roman Catholics excluded? Were not the members of the Jewish persuasion excluded as positively and as rigorously as were the Roman Catholics? Why were they so excluded? He would have secular education for all who chose to avail themselves of it; and religious instruction afforded, either separately, in a different part of the school, or under the superintendence of the teachers appointed by each religious persuasion. He should strongly advise the hon. Baronet to leave the present question in the hands of the Government, in the hope that a practical and not an abstract system of secular education, would, at some future day, be brought forward, and obtain the sanction of Parliament. The hon. Member for Pontefract congratulated the Government on the large majorities with which they had carried this measure; and the hon. Gentleman had a right to do so, for he was himself in the majority. But though he had voted in the minority, still he could not withhold his congratulation from the Government for having taken a step in the right direction. He believed if they had proposed a much more general measure than they had done, that the country would have gone with them. But there was a subject even of greater congratulation than the large majorities by which, this measure was carried—the tone and temper even of those hon. Members who had spoken in opposition to the plan. There was a total absence amongst the Members of that House of that bigotry and intolerance that had been developed out of doors. They were likely very shortly to meet their constituents on the hustings; and he, for one, should tell the constituency which he represented, that he should vote in favour of any measure for the extension of secular education to all classes, leaving the religious teaching to be performed by the sect to which each child belonged. If the hon. Baronet should divide, he must vote with him; but he hoped the hon. Baronet would take the advice of more experienced Members, and withdraw his Amendment.


was determined, that, so far as he was concerned, there should be no misunderstanding as to the position he occupied in reference to the question of educating the people. He rejoiced at the support which the noble Lord had received; he honoured him for the manner in which he had brought forward his proposition; but still more did he honour him for having disdained to take any unfair advantage of those who were inclined to support him, by concealing his views on the subject of the claims of the Roman Catholics to participate in the advantages of the grant. Still, he (Mr. Newdegate) wished it to be distinctly understood, that he stood uncompromised as to anything but to the vote he had given on the Minutes of Council as proposed by the noble Lord. He claimed for himself the most perfect liberty of action on all other points. He abandoned not one whit of those opinions which he ever held; but he would give no man the opportunity of saying, that he was so bigoted, so intolerant, so incapable of comprehending the spirit and doctrines of that religion which he himself professed, as to preclude himself from the consideration of any measure that might be proposed for the instruction and advantage of the Roman Catholics. He believed that those persons belonged to a Church that claimed by far too much; and his objection lay to being a party to the granting of means by which the doctrines of that Church were to be extended. On this question, however, he would repeat, that whilst he held the same opinions, entertained the same fears, as to the consequences of encouraging the dominant spirit and extending the power of the Church of Rome, which he had expressed on a late occasion, he could state his perfect willingness to consider the subject of a grant for educating the children of the Roman Catholics, should it be proposed by the noble Lord. But he should consider any such proposal under the same feelings, and with the same opinions, and with the same fears, which he had ever entertained on the subject of the extension of that Church in this country; and he saw nothing in the circumstances of the present time which rendered it more easy than heretofore to accede to the wish of the Government, or consent to a measure the effect of which might be to extend the power and influence of the Church of Rome.


said, that, as a Roman Catholic Member of that House, he wished to say a few words. He admitted that in no country was there greater destitution than in this; and he was, therefore, in favour of rendering assistance to all the people; but, though he felt an obligation to the hon. Baronet for bringing forward the Amendment, he would not be justified, after the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, and the promise they had made, in voting against them.


regretted that the noble Lord, who had been so great an advocate of civil and religious liberty, should have been backward upon the present occasion; and he thought the Government wrong in accepting the support of the Opposition on the grounds on which it was offered, when they at the same time made a strong declaration of their intention to act contrary to those grounds, He wished, indeed, that the principles of the Government had been carried further; for nothing was more clear than the mischief of making the scholars theologians. He admitted, however, that the Government had difficulties to contend with in the peculiar tenets of the Roman Catholics and of the monastic orders; and it would, in his opinion, have been better if they had postponed the consideration of this part of the measure for another year; but, as he had given them his support, and as the present Motion would cast a stigma on them, he would not, after the promise they had made, vote with the hon. Baronet on the present Amendment.


said, in reference to the proposed Amendment, that he hoped they would have an opportunity during the present Session of discussing the question; and his only object in rising was, in case the Amendment should be pressed to a division, to prevent the vote he should be compelled to give from being misinterpreted, if he voted against the hon. Baronet that night, it was not because he supposed that the Roman Catholics ought not to be included with other Nonconformists in any plan of education; for he was distinctly of opinion, that if the system of education which had existed during the last few years was to be disturbed, as, owing to the growing wants of our population, it must be, and as the whole House concurred in the propriety of extending education beyond the wants met by the compromise of 1839, it would be right when that compromise was disturbed to extend to all classes of nonconforming Christians a participation in the grant; and he thought the noble Lord would find the difficulties of the case greatly aggravated by the delay. He did not indeed agree that it would have been possible to introduce a system of secular education, as had been proposed by Dr. Hook, than whom no one had a greater claim to approbation for his exertions, for the bold stand he had made for the Church, and for his successful preaching of the gospel of truth to hundreds and thousands; and he could not think that such a plan would succeed. Even the reference to Ireland supplied no proof of the efficacy of such a system in this country. In Ireland extracts from the Scriptures were read, even where clergy of the different denominations did not take part in the schools; and there was this peculiarity in Ireland, that it was not subdivided into the same number of denominations as in this country. Ireland, speaking numerically, was Roman Catholic; and, therefore, the attention of any statesman must be given to the Catholics as the majority; but the minority, differing as they did in general opinions, were all, whether of the Established Church or Presbyterians, recognised in some degree by the State. They might make the schools here the medium of polemical discussions; but he thought the noble Lord had taken the wise and proper course. The Church of England owed him thanks for the position in which she was placed, though she would not be bettered by it; but, in consequence of her own zeal during the last few years, she had greatly bettered her own position; and he thought that the noble Lord must be gratified with his own plan, and the reception it had met with. He only hoped, that when they came to deal with the question as it affected the Roman Catholics, hon. Members would not revert to party feelings, and that those who acted in a spirit of toleration towards the Roman Catholics would not be considered as unfaithful members of their own Church, but that they would agree to extend to all sects all the light which, if they believed in the truth of their own principles, would be the best means of propagating what they thought to be truth.


asked whether the interpretation of the right hon. Gentleman was correct, and that during the present Session they would have an opportunity of expressing their opinions as to the participation of the Roman Catholics; and that, after voting this 100,000l., there would be a special vote for the Roman Catholics, or that the 100,000l. would be considered a general fund, applicable to the Roman Catholics as well as to all other Dissenters? If that was the opinion of the noble Lord, he would save all further discussion; but if it were not, the whole difficulty would remain. The noble Lord "died and made no sign," so that he might assume this was not his intention. When the plan was first brought forward, it was supposed that the Roman Catholics were excluded; the noble Lord then declared that he had been misunderstood; and now all he asked the noble Lord to do was, to get up and save them the trouble of a division. Would the noble Lord come forward and declare that the Roman Catholics should be considered as included in the vote of 1,000,000l., or that he would bring forward another vote? If the noble Lord would do either of these things, he was sure that the hon. Baronet would not divide; and, at the same time, he assured the noble Lord, that, in such an event, the noble Lord should not hear his voice for the next week. There were also other members connected with the Administration, of whom he wished to ask another question. There was one right hon. Gentleman the Master of the Mint (Mr. Sheil) who had long been an ornament of that House, and who was a Roman Catholic—how was it that his voice was silent, and that from him had not been heard an eloquent defence of Roman Catholic rights? There was another hon. Gentleman, a Roman Catholic, and connected with the Government, who possessed great ability, and had acquired a great name for his exertions in education—how came it that that hon. Gentleman's voice was silent, whilst the discussion was left to those who were enjoying nothing, gaining nothing, and hoping for nothing, when they who, from their position, and from the favour they had received, ought to be foremost, were without voice? He could not suppose that the business of office or personal considerations could have tied that eloquent tongue; but there must be some great reason that bound down that mighty giant, and made him upon this occasion as silent and useless as a baby, leaving this vital question to be fought by those whom an hon. Gentleman, who had spoken that evening, had called the enemies of his faith. Enemy of his faith! He was not an enemy of any man's faith; but if his own faith were neglected by the Government, he would not be a silent spectator of their proceedings. He knew why the noble Lord had acted as he had done—he fancied that the people out of doors were against him. But the noble Lord did not promise them that he would bring forward any vote, as the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had supposed. All he stated was, that he and his hon. Friends hoped that the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark would withdraw his proposition, and leave it to the Government to decide upon it as they thought proper. He (Mr. Roebuck) was obliged to look back and ask how the money hitherto voted had been spent? Had it not been spent so as to excite jealousy amongst the Dissenting portion of the population? The National schools had been invariably paid. Two societies had been selected—the National, and the British and Foreign School Societies; and the Minutes of Council provided that no other schools should receive the money granted by the public. The consequence was, that where only one school of the British and Foreign Society had been paid, twenty calling themselves in connexion with the National School Society had received money. If he looked to the report of 1841 and 1842 of the Committee of Council on Education, he found that there was a constant teaching against the Roman Catholics, and against all doctrines of the Dissenters, and the consequence was that hitherto they had been only sectarian teachers. Mr. Allen, in his report of the training schools—and to this he (Mr. Roebuck) invited the attention of the Government—said that hitherto all the children had attended the parish church on Sundays; but that if a case should arise of one of them wishing to attend a different place of worship, and he made a special application for that purpose, permission would be given to him; but that it would be also intimated to him that he had better not join that institution, as the harmony of the household could not be preserved if a spirit of controversy were to arise. The great body of the people would believe that they were about to create sectarian education, and that the people, if they could not conform to their views, had better stay away from their schools. They would think that it was intended to exclude the great body of the Dissenting population. That was a proposition against which he would ever raise, his voice: it was one to which he could not calmly listen; but that was the proposition on the Table of the House. The noble Lord and his Friends had been extremely profuse in vague promises, but they brought forward nothing definite. Now, he would ask the noble Lord what was the position in which he stood as regarded Ireland? They had voted 8,000,000l. for the charitable relief of the Irish people, by which they hoped to conciliate a large proportion of the population, being Catholics; but now when they were called upon to aid their personal and temporal interests—when they were called upon to give them that education which was so essential to their happiness here and hereafter, this paltry sum of 100,000l. was made the battle-field of ignorance, prejudice, and bigotry, and an insult to the Irish people; and they refused to let the Catholics participate in the advantage of that grant, which they nevertheless admitted to be the right of every human being in this country who was a subject of the Government, no matter what his creed might be. But it so happened that of all people in this country who required education, the first were the Catholics in the commercial districts; and he asked that House, did they vote this money for the peace and security of the realm—for the purpose of elevating the character of the people? What in God's name were they to vote this money for, but for the purpose of winning the people from that dark ignorance which hitherto had unfortunately been their miserable and wretched lot? And who were they who were most ignorant, and who most required the fostering hand of education? The poor unfortunate Irish of the manufacturing districts. But he objected to the whole principle of the Government scheme. They said, "We will give you money if you will give us money." And they said that to just those parts of the country where the people were the most ignorant, and most unable to co-operate with them, and where they ought to distribute the money granted for education. [Cheers.] Now what were those idle cheers? [Laughter.] The noble Lord smiled triumphantly. He knew the majority the noble Lord had got; no matter how conclusive the arguments or statements against him might be, that majority was the noble Lord's answer to all. But the time might come when by chance that, cry of "No Popery" might be converted into another description of imputations. It might be said that there was in office a body of men who by extraordinary circumstances, from no peculiar virtues, considerations, or views of their own, but by a fantastic freak of fortune, had been placed on the Treasury bench, without anything to rest upon but the extravagant dissensions of their most unwise opponents; it might be said that such things were within the range of history; and that those men, playing the game of "in" against those who were "out," and wishing to retain their pleasant places and the soft pillows of office, had thought to show their active ingenuity and intellectual power by fashioning measures which should keep them in power without the slightest regard or consideration for the public weal. It might be that imputations of that kind might be brought against the Government, who were so willing to hazard the proposition now on the Table. He was entitled to suppose that there was something beyond what they could understand. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth said that this ought to be done; that he agreed with the hon. Baronet; that the proposition met with his ardent co-operation; but that he had faith in the noble Lord, and would not oppose him. Another hon. Gentleman said, "We are all of your opinion, but do not press it to a division; it would be very uncomfortable." What were they to understand by that? His answer was, that he wanted a statement from the noble Lord, to tell them what he had not yet told them, when he was going to bring forward that proposition of which he had so often shadowed forth the expectation. By his present proposition the noble Lord had again stirred up dissension, and blown afresh the flame of fanaticism, to which unfortunately the party politics of this country too often had a tendency, instead of bringing forward that general proposition which would have united all sects, based upon the principle of thorough and fair toleration to all, and by which he believed the noble Lord would not have lost one supporter. It was totally impossible to maintain the narrow bigotry originally laid down by that scheme of education which had been destroyed by the debates of the last few days; and the very fact of the right hon. Member for Tamworth being there that night, and his declaration of toleration and full freedom to all sects, must be a cheering consideration to all those who had fought the battle of complete national education, for that alone could ultimately be satisfactory; and he had no fear that that full declaration of liberal opinions would forfeit the support of the realty honest people of this country.


The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down says, that I have begun my explanation to this House, but that I have not concluded it. In that last sentence I think he will not prove a true prophet. The hon. Baronet the Member for Southwarh, brought forward, in a very fair and temperate speech, the Motion of which he had given notice, and adduced the reasons which appeared to him to support it. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home De- partment, stated over again what he had stated to this House on a former occasion, and laid the ground for the House not agreeing to the Motion of the hon. Baronet. That explanation was satisfactory to many hon. Members of this House. It induced many hon. Members to say, that they were willing to leave this matter in the hands of the Government; that, agreeing with the hon. Baronet, who brought forward the Amendment, in the general opinion he has expressed, giving him every credit for the motives which have induced him to bring this Motion forward, they were well satisfied with the explanation given by my right hon. Friend who sits near me; that they believed that the promise of the Government will be fulfilled—that the declaration of the Government will be followed up—and, that if the right hon. Baronet presses this question to a division, however much they agreed with the hon. Member in general opinion, they must vote against him. Of that opinion is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth; of that opinion is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire, who has spoken this evening: of that opinion is my hon. Friend the Member for Kildare, himself a Roman Catholic, and strongly attached—as the House well knows—and conscientiously attached, to those principles; of that opinion is the hon. Member for Lowth; and another hon. Gentleman, to whom I need not more particularly allude, has expressed the same confidence, and come to the same result. I am satisfied with the confidence expressed by those Gentlemen; I am satisfied with the distrust expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Bath; and I do not conceive that it is necessary to enter into any further explanation. I have done so on a former occasion. He has made statements which. I have shown by printed papers to be erroneous; and, so far from removing misconception, I only find that I brought on myself repetitions of the former statements. For those reasons, therefore, I shall not enter into any further explanation upon this question. I do trust that the House agree generally with those hon. Members to whom the Government must feel obliged, differing as many of them do, and have done, from the general politics of those with whom I am connected, for the confidence they have exhibited in the fulfilment of our declarations. The hon. and learned Gentleman, alluding to other subjects, with that incapacity to find a good motive for any action he so frequently betrays in this House, tells us that we gave 8,000,000l. to conciliate the Roman Catholics of Ireland. It never entered into my imagination before, or into the imagination of any of the Members of Her Majesty's Government, that in advancing the money of the Exchequer in order to save from starving an unfortunate people whom a great calamity had struck down, acting as the hon. and learned Gentleman thought against the true principles of political economy—we never thought that in so doing we were conciliating any particular class of the people. We asked this House to do what we thought Parliament ought to do to a distressed portion of the people, whether belonging to the Church of England, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, or to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. But the hon. and learned Gentleman says, our system is altogether wrong; that it is the poorer population—the exceedingly poor population, not having the means of voting subscriptions—that should be peculiarly assisted by grants; that it is a great omission on our part not to have made that proposal; and then he said, I looked with a triumphant smile because I knew I could meet such a proposition by a majority. Why, Sir, the reason of my smile was this—that some seven or eight years ago, the Committee of Privy Council took this particular subject into their deliberation; and as my right hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth will recollect, they then said, where there were poor and populous parishes it would be very hard to insist on a large amount of subscription; but the rule should be, that according to the poverty of the district grants should be made. The reason, therefore, of my smile was totally different from that which the hon. and learned Gentleman supposed. But he says there may, by some accident, be some Ministry in power, who having no merits of their own had arrived at power by the dissensions of their opponents, and that they may mismanage and misgovern the country. Sir, that may very well happen; other things may well happen. It may happen that a city in the west of England may choose for its representative in this House a Gentleman who, without ever producing any wise measure of his own, may think it enough to carp and cavil at every other measure that may be produced; a Gentleman who, although he would attract little attention if he merely gave out his own theories, which are generally totally inapplicable to the country to which he belongs, and altogether at variance with the opinions of those he addresses; yet does attract a considerable degree of attention, because it is known that one party and the other, and every party, by turns, in this House, will come in for a great deal of very sharp abuse expressed in very epigrammatic language; it may happen that a city in the west may have the caprice to send such a Member to this House; and such a Member, we may expect, if he is speaking of a right hon. Gentleman who has been at the head of the Government of this country, will imagine no better motive for him when he declares that he wishes poor Roman Catholics to be educated, than that he is endeavouring to outbid those who are at present the occupants of the Treasury bench; and if, speaking of those in power, and of the relief they have been enabled to afford to the people of Ireland, will imagine no better reason for this, than that they were endeavouring to conciliate a particular class of Her Majesty's subjects. In short, there will be one characteristic about all his conduct—that he never will be able to conceive that there is any wisdom in the plans, or any generosity in the motives, of other Members of this House, whether they happen to be in the Government or out of the Government—whether they belong to one party or another. I should say that such a Member would take a very false estimate both of parties and of individuals. I should say, reverting to the subject which is now before the House, that, although it is to be regretted that we, most unfortunately as I must say, have given rise to a clash of religious opinions; although there have been out of door, and in various publications, warm opinions expressed by Protestant Dissenters, which we had no reason to expect—for they were at variance with the opinions expressed by Mr. Baines and other Dissenters who had been Members of this House—I say, although we have had that misfortune, yet, during nearly a week of debate, there have been among nearly all the Members of this House a singular forgetfulness of all party ties, of all individual and party interests; a very general wish to benefit the people of this country; a wish common to all, to see the people of this country raised by education to a higher moral rank; a wish—greatly to the honour of many Members who had been for years opposed to the present Government—willingly to lend their co-operation and to do their utmost to carry into effect the plans which Ministers have brought forward; while Members who were supporters of the Government, on the other hand, anxious to support them, but thinking there were some great defects in their plans, preferred, as they were right in doing, what they conceived to be for the benefit of the country at large, to any party attachment. Sir, any person watching fairly, watching candidly, the course of debate in this House, could not but feel the highest respect for an assembly which had so debated a very great question so intimately connected with the welfare of the people. That, I must confess, is my predominant feeling. I thank the Members of this House—the great majority of this House, for the confidence they have shown in the declarations of the Government; but, above all, I exult in the proof which the speeches in this House have given, that the Members of it have really at heart the improvement of their fellow-citizens; and that without distinction where the assistance for education is most needed, they will give the most.


said, he was not surprised that the noble Lord wished to divert the attention of the House from the real question before them. The real question which they had to consider was, whether or not Minutes for including the Roman Catholics were to be adopted in the course of the present year—was anything to be done for them in the course of the present Session of Parliament? The Government were not prepared to deny that the education of the Roman Catholics ought to be promoted at the expense of the State: then why did they oppose the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark? He would repeat the question which he had previously put, were they prepared to introduce a plan for the education of the Roman Catholics? He wanted even to know why the noble Lord would not state when he intended to make such a proposition. They all must remember that the noble Lord declined to state when he should do it. Yet he did not altogether despair of learning when that intention was to be realized. It was curious to see, day by day, how much might be squeezed out of the noble Lord. Attempts had been made to invalidate the statements which he had submitted the other evening; but he could confidently appeal to the House that evening, if every one of his statements had not turned out to be substantially cor- rect. Very recently he had heard that the Government had opened a negotiation with the heads of the Church, and that the purpose, and, in fact, the result, of that negotiation was the exclusion of the Roman Catholics. Mr. Hughes had written a circular letter to the clergy of the different parishes throughout England, asking them to get up petitions in favour of the Ministerial plan, which had never yet been explained. He wished to know who had given authority to Mr. Hughes to make the statement contained in his letter, that the authorized version would be used in schools requiring Government aid? If Gentlemen on that side of the House were in favour of the principle laid down in the resolution of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark, where was the harm of saying they would adopt it, and give effect to it at once? If, indeed, they had a promise given that a supplementary vote for Roman Catholic education would be brought forward, he thought the hon. Baronet should at once withdraw his Motion. But this was not in conformity with what they had heard from the noble Lord, or from the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis), who had been leading the Government for some time on this subject. That hon. Baronet had told them distinctly that when it was proposed to extend the scheme to the Roman Catholics, he should firmly oppose it, because it would be for the propagation of error, as he had opposed the grant for the endowment of Maynooth upon the same ground. The right hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), in the course of the tirade he delivered on a matter which no man doubted—the advantages of education—had found fault with him because he had not expressed his opinions with respect to the duty of the State in educating the people. He had not thought it necessary, in the speech he delivered on a previous night, to do so; all he had to do was to lay some ground for inquiry, and that he had done. He thought it the duty of a Government to promote the education of the people; but, with due regard to the circumstances of a country, he did not believe this scheme would accomplish the objects they had in view. To any system of national education they must have the cordial co-operation of all classes and sects; and any assistance that was given, ought to be received in a grateful, as well as offered in a liberal spirit. That, he thought, would not be the case in this country as regarded the system now proposed, for the population was torn by dissensions and sectarian enmities upon the question. The Dissenters said they would not accept Government aid, and consequently the Church would have the whole of it. The rural districts, in which at this moment the greatest ignorance prevailed, would be deprived of all benefit from this grant, in consequence of the regulations by which it was to be accompanied. Those districts which required it the least, would have the most; and those which required it most, would have least. Some few years hence they would have sixty or seventy inspectors, with salaries of 850l. a year each, the greater portion of them to be clergymen of the Established Church. To please the Wesleyans they had said that the school-masters should not be clergymen, though he was at a loss to understand why, in Church of England schools, clergymen might not be schoolmasters; nor could he understand why, in Roman Catholic schools, priests of the Roman Catholic Church might not be schoolmasters. He maintained that the large majority which had given the Government a triumph on this question, had been obtained in the most ignoble manner; but now the whole subject had been exposed and blown upon. If the Roman Catholics did obtain a participation in this grant, they would be indebted for it to the expression of opinions entertained by the two right hon. Baronets opposite (Sir Robert Peel and Sir James Graham). Surely it would have been far better if Government had in the first instance consulted the feelings and wishes of the Roman Catholics themselves, instead of having come to a pettifogging compromise, by resorting to the Centenary Hall in Bishopsgate-street. If, without inquiring whether the recipients of their bounty were Dissenters or Voluntaries, they had conferred upon the adherents of all religious creeds assistance from the funds to which all contributed, he said Ministers would have carried such a proposition by a majority as large as that by which they had defeated his unfortunate Motion of the other day. As it was, they had carried their plan by pitiful compromises; they had gained a triumph by truckling to those who despised them; they had gained it over those whom, when out of power, they professed to sympathize with; but whom now, in the plenitude of their power, they had most cowardly abandoned.


hoped the hon. Baronet would not press his Motion, but leave the question with the Government.


said, he wished to obtain a practical result, not the mere enunciation of a principle. He had never feared to go into a minority when the assertion of a principle was necessary; but when a practical point was the object, it was his duty to see whether he should be supported or not by a majority of that House. Many Members had originally supported the measure of Government, believing that under it Catholics would be included in the benefit of the grant of public money for education. When they found that the contrary was to be the case, they were excessively grieved. He had then given notice of a resolution which he thought would accomplish the object of including the Catholics. The answer of the noble Lord to the question put to him with respect to the intentions of the Government towards the Catholics was not satisfactory, because the noble Lord stated that they would postpone all consideration of the subject till next year. In consequence, he determined to persevere in his Motion. To-night he understood the right hon. Member for Devonport to say that he would endeavour to frame a Minute for the purpose of permitting Catholics to share in the grant of money for education; and he believed he did not misrepresent the right hon. Baronet if he said he understood him to intimate his intention to frame it as soon as he possibly could. In consequence of that intimation, hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, agreeing that Catholics ought to participate in the grants for education, had called on him to withdraw his Motion—amongst others, the right hon. Member for Tamworth. There was no person in that House for whose practical judgment and authority on all questions he had greater respect than for that of the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Gentleman considered that the Government was pledged at the earliest period to frame a Minute for the purpose to which he had alluded; but the right hon. Gentleman stated that there were considerations and deliberations requisite for this purpose, and therefore advised him not to persevere in his present resolution. The question, therefore, was, was he to put faith in the declarations of Government or not? He had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Bath, in whose sentiments he very frequently agreed; but he owned he could not concur in his hon. Friend's opin- ion of humanity as exhibited in that assembly. He could not agree with his hon. Friend in treating the Gentlemen on the Ministerial bench as persons on whose words no reliance could be placed. He felt himself, on the contrary, justified in trusting to those declarations—in trusting that Ministers would, as soon as they could, considering the difficulties of the question, frame Minutes, so as to enable the Catholics to participate in the grants of public money for purposes of education. Understanding that he had received this assurance, he would, with the permission of the House, withdraw his resolution.


wished, before the Motion was withdrawn, to correct a mis-statement made, unintentionally he was quite sure, by the noble Lord the Member for the city of London on the last occasion when this question was debated. The noble Lord said, that "amongst those who had voted against the proposition for the endowment of Maynooth, he found the name of the hon. Member for Durham, who doubtless would have objected to give the money of the State for the propagation of religious error." From that it appeared to be understood that he had opposed the Maynooth grant because it was a grant to the Roman Catholics, and would oppose any similar grants on the ground that it was for the propagation of religious error. If the noble Lord had read his speech, he would have seen that he (Mr. Bright) stated on the Maynooth question, that "for himself he should oppose the measure in every stage, and simply on the ground that he believed the principle of all endowments to be unjust and injurious to the country." If there were any subject on which he had stated a clear and decided opinion in that House, it was that of the public endowment of religion; he should not oppose the endowment of a Roman Catholic chapel any more than that of a church belonging to the Establishment. He was exceedingly sorry that the noble Lord should have hesitated in including the Roman Catholics in the benefit of the grant, believing, as the noble Lord did, that a public endowment would be for the general good. He would say nothing to the hon. Baronet to induce him not to withdraw his Motion; he thought all the effect which would be produced by a division, would be come to without a division. He trusted that whatever Government might be in power, and however they might be badgered by one sect to show them exclusive favour, they would maintain the high ground that, in the outlay and dispensation of public money, all men should be equal so far as their religious opinions were concerned; for if they were deprived of that equality, he knew not why they should not go back to religious persecution inflicted by men of one religious creed on those of another.


, as representing a Roman Catholic constituency, objected to the withdrawal of the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark.


wished to understand in what position this question was now, and whether the Government would this Session propose a vote for the education of the Roman Catholics. If that should be the case, he was willing to consent that the Motion should be withdrawn; but, if not, he hoped the hon. Baronet would not conset to withdraw his Motion.


said, as the Government had given the pledge they had, it was unnecessary to divide.

The House, however, divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question:—Ayes 203: Noes 22: Majority 181.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Acland, T. D. Chandos, Marq. of
Adderley, C. B. Christie, W. D.
Ainsworth, P. Christopher, R. A.
Allix, J. P. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Antrobus, E. Clive, hon. R. H.
Arkwright, G. Codrington, Sir W.
Bailey, J., jun. Colville, C. R.
Baillie, Col. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Baine, W. Craig, W. G.
Bankes, G. Cripps, W.
Bannerman, A. Curteis, H. B.
Barkly, H. Dalrymple, Capt.
Baring, rt. hon F. T. Davies, D. A. S.
Barnard, E. G. Deedes, W.
Bell, M. Denison, J. E.
Bell, J. Denison, E. B.
Bellew, R. M. Dick, Q.
Benbow, J. Dickinson, F. H.
Bentinck, Lord G. Duncan, G.
Bentinck, Lord H. Duncombe, hon. O.
Beresford, Major Dundas, Sir D.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. East, Sir J. B.
Bernal, R. Ebrington, Visct.
Blackburne, J. I. Egerton, Sir P.
Blakemore, R. Ewart, W.
Borthwick, P. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bowring, Dr. Finch, G.
Broadley, H. Floyer, J.
Broadwood, H. Forbes, W.
Brotherton, J. Forster, M.
Buck, L. W. Fox, S. L.
Buckley, E. French, F.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Fuller, A. E.
Cardwell, E. Gardner, J. D.
Gladstone, Capt. Morgan, O.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Morpeth, Visct.
Gore, M. Morris, D.
Goring, C. Morison, Gen.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Newdegate, C. N.
Greene, T. Newport, Visct.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Newry, Visct.
Grimsditch, T. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Hale, R. B. O'Conor Don
Halsey, T. P. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Hanmer, Sir J. Pakington, Sir J.
Harcourt, G. G. Palmer, R.
Hardy, J. Parker, J.
Hastie, A. Patten, J. W.
Hatton, Capt. V. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hawes, B. Peel, J.
Hay, Sir A. L. Perfect, R.
Hayter, W. G. Pinney, W.
Heathcote, G. J. Protheroe, E. D.
Heathcote, Sir W. Pusey, P.
Heneage, G. H. W. Rashleigh, W.
Henley, J. W. Repton, G. W. J.
Heron, Sir R. Rice, E. R.
Hindley, C. Rich, H.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Romilly, J.
Hodgson, F. Round, C. G.
Hope, Sir J. Round, J.
Hope, A. Russell, Lord J.
Hope, G. W. Russell, Lord C. J. F.
Hornby, J. Rutherfurd, rt. hon. A.
Hoskins, K. Scott, hon. F.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Scrope, G. P.
Howard, P. H. Seymer, H. K.
Howard, hon. H. Sheridan, R. B.
Hudson, G. Shirley, E. J.
Hume, J. Smith, A.
Hussey, T. Smith, J. A.
Ingestre, Visct. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Irton, S. Spry, Sir S. T.
James, W. Stanley, hon. W. O.
James, Sir W. C. H. Stanton, W. H.
Jervis, Sir J. Stewart, J.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Stuart, Lord J.
Jones, Capt. Stuart, H.
Kemble, H. Stuart, J.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Lambton, H. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Law, hon. C. E. Tancred, H. W.
Lawson, A. Thesiger, Sir F.
Layard, Major Thompson, Ald.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Tollemache, J.
Lincoln, Earl of Trotter, J.
Lindsay, Col. Vane, Lord H.
Lockhart, A. E. Verner, Sir W.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Vivian, J. E.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Vyse, H.
Mackenzie, T. Walsh, Sir. J. B.
Mackenzie, W. F. Ward, H. G.
M'Neill, D. Watson, W. H.
Maitland, T. Wellesley, Lord C.
Mangles, R. D. Williams, W.
Manners, Lord C. S. Wodehouse, E.
Marjoribanks, S. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Martin, C. W. TELLERS.
Masterman, J. Tufnell, H.
Milnes, R. M. Hill, Lord Marcus
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Bright, J.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Callaghan, D.
Collett, J.
Crawford, W. S. Muntz, G. F.
Dennistoun, J. O'Brien, C.
Duncan, Visct. O'Brien, T.
Escott, B. O'Connell, M. J.
Evans, Sir De L. Philips, M.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Roebuck, J. A.
Macnamara, Maj. Thornely, T.
M'Carthy, A. TELLERS.
Marsland, H. Molesworth, Sir W.
Mitchell, T. A. Duncombe, T.

Resolution read a second time.

On the question that the House do agree with the Committee in the said resolution,


rose to move the Amendment of which he had given notice— That, in districts where there is only one school receiving State support, children whose parents object to the kind of religious instruction administered there, may be admitted to the school without being subject to such religious instruction. In various districts there would only be one school supported by the State. Would they exclude from that school the small minority of poor persons whose religious opinions differed from those of the majority? Would it be equitable to exclude that minority? He asked the House for a specific remedy for a specific evil, and he did not believe a great portion of the Church would resist his Motion. The hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington) in a liberal speech the other night, expressed his wish, that in his and other rural parishes the children of Dissenters would not be excluded from the National school. It would, indeed, be a pity if they were shut out from secular education in the State school, because of their religious opinions. He would not detain the House at any great length, being content to rest his case on its intrinsic justice. He would only remark, that if the Church saw her real interest, she would not oppose a Motion such as this, which was only a slight extension of the principle conceded by the Privy Council. The second part of the Motion, having reference to the Government appointments intended to be given to the unsuccessful school candidates, he opposed, because the effect of the Government plan would be to induce lads who could never make good schoolmasters to take up the profession. It would be better to throw open these appointments to public competition.


seconded the Motion, which was the smallest and the most practicable of any that had yet been made to the House. It did not apply to any particular sect, but might apply to the Catho- lics and the Dissenters as well as to the Church. If there were a few rich people in a parish who raised the funds necessary to entitle them to Government assistance, was it not reasonable that the State should impose some terms on them? He would rather not have divided against the Government on the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark, but he was compelled to give a candid opinion on the proposition before the House.


said, it appeared to him that the principle of the Amendment now before the House, was precisely the same as that proposed by the hon. Baronet the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Sir W. Clay), though he would admit that it was less objectionable in its application. The hon. Member for Dumfries had spoken of the schools participating in the grant as State schools. They were certainly schools receiving State support, but they were not State schools. If it were proposed to found State schools throughout the country, then he should think the principle a perfectly sound one to dictate terms such as the hon. Member intended. But it must be remembered that these schools were voluntary schools, supported by voluntary contributions, and depending upon the voluntary exertions of their friends. They were not under State management or control; and the aid was given on certain conditions which the managers of those schools could accept. Instead of attaining the object which the hon. Member desired, the success of the Amendment would, in all probability, involve the rejection of the Government grant altogether. The managers of the two societies would reject the terms proposed by the Government as wholly inconsistent with the objects of those societies. At the same time, it was his own wish that there should be a greater absence of the exclusive system of religious teaching, and an extension of the practice of admitting children of different religious denominations, without insisting on their receiving particular religious instruction. Being of opinion, however, that that object would be better attained by leaving the matter to the good feeling of the managers of the schools, he should feel compelled to oppose the Amendment.


considered the grievance proposed to be remedied by the Amendment a practical one, and the chief grievance he had discovered in the Government Minutes. That, too, was the opinion of Dr. Kay Shuttleworth in his pamphlet. The Dissenters would be worse off under the new Minutes than they were before in places where only one school existed.


hoped that, in parishes where there was only one school, and that belonging to the National Society, the children of Dissenters would not have the catechism forced upon them.


stated, that a petition had been forwarded to him in opposition to the Government scheme, alleging that full provision was already made for the education of the people; and he found that many of the petitioners were unable to write, and had affixed their marks to the petition. He thought, under the circumstances, the plan proposed by Her Majesty's Government was the best that could be adopted. He did not concur, however, in the position which had been strongly maintained by many hon. Members in the course of the debate, that it was incumbent on the State to undertake the education of the poor; for he considered that it was the duty of those by whom the poor were employed to provide for the education of those who were dependent upon them. He did not think that, in this country, a system of secular education, independent of religious instruction, could be successful. It might, indeed, be possible to divide the subjects of secular and religious instruction; and that principle, as they had to-night heard, had been most effectually carried out by Mr. Lee, master of King Edward's school at Birmingham. It was impossible, however, for any pupil to be under the care of such a man as Mr. Lee without being fully impressed with the importance of religious truth. He could not support the Amendment.


supported the Motion of the hon. Member for Dumfries. He thought that secular education might be given, preparatory to religious instruction, and that from such a system advantage would be derived by both Churchmen and Dissenters. Mr. Kay Shuttleworth had, he believed, strongly recommended that the conductors of Church schools should throw them open to all persons, irrespective of religious opinions, without requiring the children to learn the Church of England catechism. He (Mr. Hume) believed that such a measure would be attended with great benefit to all classes of the community; for, in his opinion, the duties of the schoolmaster and of the clergyman were entirely distinct. The Government was placed in a situation of most unprecedented difficulty. They had to deal with persons of extreme religious opinions on each side, neither of whom would yield a jot of their strong opinion to procure the blessings of education for the ignorant. In Norfolk, there was a parish with 1,200 people wholly uneducated; and it had been recently proposed to build a school there—but there, so violent was the dissension, that, unless the Church of England would give up the use of the Church catechism, there could be no school at all. It was in such a case the duty of the Church of England to yield in points of that kind, where the education of the people was in question. Why should the Church insist on teaching the catechism and reading the liturgy in these schools? He was sure the Church, if it saw its own interest, and if it wished to see crime and ignorance abolished, would yield in those matters. Regarding the Amendment as a step in the right direction, though a small one, he should give it his support.


viewed the proposition of the Government as an encouragement of the voluntary efforts and of the voluntary system, inasmuch as although the aid was offered by the State, it was offered through the societies who were to receive it. Representing almost a Dissenting constituency, it would have given him great pleasure to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Dumfries; but he feared that in doing so he might, in this instance, injure the cause of education instead of advancing it.


said, that the principle involved in the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member from Dumfries, was the same as that which was involved in the Motion that he brought forward the other night; and, after the division which had taken place upon his Motion, he thought it was scarcely necessary to divide the House again upon this Motion. He believed that his Motion and the Motion of his hon. Friend, would be productive of very considerable advantage; and, although neither of them were carried, would be of great value notwithstanding throughout the country. He hoped that the discussions which had taken place upon those Motions, would have the effect of showing the managers of schools generally, that there was a very general desire on the part of the House to see this assistance afforded to all children who had no other means of obtaining information.


concurred in the recommendation to his hon. Friend to withdraw his Motion. He certainly thought that if any such grievance could be proved to exist as that to which the Amendment pointed, it would be proper to provide a remedy; but he disapproved of this mode of interfering beforehand with the conductors of these schools. He had not voted for the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Southwark not from any disapprobation of it, but because he did not wish to be forced into a division against the Government, after the assurance which they had given.


did not think it was necessary to divide the House after the general expression of opinion which had been afforded. He was satisfied that the general expression of opinion would have an effect upon the schools throughout the country.


said, that as so many hon. Members who were in favour of the principle of the Motion, requested him to withdraw it, he would not press the question to a division. He would trust to the liberality, good feeling, and Christian spirit of all sects in carrying out the measure in such a manner as was calculated to agree with the liberal opinions so generally expressed by the House on this subject.

Motion withdrawn.


would avail himself of that opportunity to express his deep regret at having heard the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that the parochial schools of Scotland were to be the only schools in Great Britain which were to be excluded altogether. There was at present a very inadequate provision for those parochial schools; and he therefore the more regretted that they were to be excluded from this grant. What was the manner in which this sum of 100,000l. was to be expended? It, was to be applied to three different purposes—to give additional salaries to the schoolmasters; to provide retiring pensions for those schoolmasters rendered by sickness or old age incapable ol following their profession; and to the purpose of training up young persons to be teachers, who were, of course, to receive a superior education. Why, he would ask, were the parochial schools of Scotland excluded from the advantages which were to be thus conferred? By the Minutes of Council, he saw nothing required but an application on the part of the schools, and an agreement on their part to submit to inspection; and if the parochial schools of Scotland agreed to these terms, he did not see why they should not obtain the advantages of having superior teachers, such as those persons who were to be educated at the normal schools would undoubtedly be. They were, in fact, by this exclusion, stating to the people of Scotland that the only schools which were to be excluded from these advantages were the schools in connexion with the Established Church of that country. He, therefore, trusted the noble Lord would consider this subject.


was opposed to the proposal of the right hon. Baronet. The parochial schools of Scotland were established on a sound principle, namely, that of being supported by the property of the district; and he did not, therefore, approve of the application of this plan to them. He thought it more for the interest of Scotland that instead of taxing the country generally for schools, the country gentlemen of Scotland should be assessed for the support of the schools. He did not think the present system of taking money from Scotland to support schools in England was fair; and he would, therefore, say that it would be better to give to England the parochial system of schools which Scotland had.


said, the principle of the proposal before the House was, that Scotland should contribute to this system of encouraging education; and when she contributed her share, surely she was as well entitled to a portion of the sum for the encouragement of the schools as any other part of the country.


said, that when the right hon. Gentleman asked him a question at an earlier part of the evening, he had but a quarter of an hour to consider it. He was, however, ready to consider the subject before the Committee of Council. The House should remember that this plan applied, however, only to the schools on the voluntary principle; and the question would arise whether, if they gave this grant to the schools supported by assessment in Scotland, they ought not also to extend it to the schools supported by endowment in England, and in case of such an extension he feared the 100,000l. would go but a small way.

Resolution agreed to.

Report received.