HC Deb 14 June 1852 vol 122 cc611-2

rose, according to notice, to put a question to the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, and said: I will state as briefly as I can the circumstances which have suggested the question of which I have given notice. The National Society, which is one of the great establishments for the promotion of education, and which is more particularly connected with, and maintained by, the Established Church, is managed by a Committee, of which every one of the bench of Bishops is a member, and of which also there are many other members, lay and clerical. During the last few years there has been an almost perpetual discussion and controversy going on between the Committee of the National Society and the Committee of Privy Council of Education, in reference to the management clauses under which schools receive assistance from the Committee. Up to a very recent period the Government refused all attempts to change those management clauses in pursuance with the request of the Committee of the National Society. But it is understood that recently the Government have decided on making changes in those Minutes such as meet the views and requirements of a section of the members of the National Society. It is unquestionably believed that the Government have consented to make certain changes in the Minutes of the Committee of the Privy Council which meet the views of certain members of the National Society. The Archdeacon of Taunton has publicly stated that he has seen a rough draft of those Minutes so altered; and, further, that those altera- tions have mot with his approval. Upon that statement a deputation of gentlemen, comprising almost every class and shade of opinion, went (on Friday last) to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and laid before his Grace the grounds on which they conceived a change in the charter of the National Society had become absolutely indispensable; and they gave his Grace formal notice that unless a change in the charter was assented to, the gentlemen comprising that deputation would separate themselves from the National Society, and would establish another society carrying out the views they believe to be most advisable. Now, as the National Society is partly supported by public subscriptions, and partly supported by the Queen's Letter, under which large sums are triennially collected, and transmitted to the treasurer of the National Society, forming the principal funds of that society, the deputation felt that while this strong dissension existed as to the management of the National Society, it was no longer proper that that Queen's Letter should be issued, or that large funds, under that letter, should be placed at the disposal of a Committee from whom the deputation so greatly differed. My question, therefore is, whether, under these circumstances, the right hon. Gentleman proposes to issue the Queen's Letter this year; and if so at what period of the year it will be issued?


I beg to state that the issuing of the Letter depends on application being made to me by the Archbishop of Canterbury for that purpose in the usual course of business. No such application has been made to me as yet; and, strictly speaking, I don't think I can or ought to give an answer to the question, until I know more of the facts of the case. But, perhaps, I may take this opportunity of stating—as the hon. Gentleman has referred to alterations, or more correctly speaking relaxations, in the management clauses—that I hold the Minute in my hand, and that I intend to lay it on the table of the House this evening, in order to disabuse the minds of hon. Members, and of persons out of doors, of some errors on this subject, and in order that a just interpretation may be put upon the intentions of the Government.

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