HC Deb 20 July 1847 vol 94 cc592-3

said, he wished to ask his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War a question connected with the establishment of schools in the Army. A report had reached him to the effect that a project had been communicated to the right hon. Gentleman, which he had referred to the Board of Ordnance, for the opening of these schools as places of worship. There were three denominations of Christians recognised in the Army—the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and the Church of Rome; and he wished to know if the report were true, that the barrack school rooms should be allotted to the religious observances of these denominations; and, if so, whether he had any objection to lay the communication to which he alluded on the Table of the House?


said, the House was aware that his right hon. Friend who preceded him in office had turned his attention most laudably and properly to the improvement of education in the Army, not only with regard to the children of soldiers, but with regard to the education of the soldiers themselves. Carrying out these views, a school had been since established at the Military Asylum at Chelsea for the training of regimental schoolmasters; and in the course of a couple of years, he expected that they would be able to furnish all the regiments with proper schoolmas- ters. Although no communication had passed between himself and the Board of Ordnance on the subject, yet it was generally understood that there would be prepared at the barracks rooms for the use of the school to be established in each barrack. It would he so arranged, that on the Sabbath-day divine service might be performed in the room for the inmates of the barrack; but it was not contemplated that the room should be consecrated; and, therefore, he apprehended it would not be a place of worship to suit the views of Episcopalians, or the Members of the Church of England, or of the Church of Rome. He believed that divine service would only be allowed in the barracks in cases where troops could not have accommodation in the places of worship open to the community at large, so that he thought there was nothing in the arrangement that could hurt the most sensitive consciences.