§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [2nd May], "That the Bill be now read a second time;" and which Amendment was to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, that, after an 1785 interval of six weeks, he felt considerable difficulty and distrust in resuming a debate which was suspended under the influence of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), which for long-sustained argument, fair statement, manly sentiment, and deep religious feeling deserved the high praise it had obtained. But it would be a grave calamity if the House, under the influence of arguments and sentiments, the application of which were wholly unjustifiable, were to decide against the principle of the Bills now before them, because there could hardly be a Member of that House so possessed of patience, courage, and perseverance as again to urge upon it propositions which had received such repeated disappointment. The question had been brought before the House in every possible form. It had been the subject of a private measure and a public measure. It bad been treated as a local question and as a general question. It had been carried in the shape of Resolutions in both Houses, such as those moved by Lord Brougham in the other House. It had been recommended to Parliament in the Reports of Select Committees. It had also been met by the most contradictory arguments. When a private Bill was brought in, it was said that the subject was too large for private legislation, and that it must be dealt with by a general measure. When a general measure was brought in, it was said that educational provision must be made for distinct localities, and that the state of education varied so much in different places that no general measure would apply. Seven years ago a majority of all the ratepayers of Manchester petitioned Parliament for liberty to tax themselves for the purposes of education. This permission was then, and had ever since been refused to them. They might rate themselves in every way—for the punishment of ignorance, and for almost every other object—but not for the diffusion of knowledge and religious education. He objected to the dangerous and unparliamentary course of reading all these Education Bills a second time pro formâ, and then shaping them in Committee. He maintained that the principle of a Bill could not be adopted pro formâ; but should be decided by the second reading. At length the question of National Education was placed before the House in the classical form of three courses, and was, therefore, ripe for solution. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) was content with the principle of 1786 the present system, which, he thought might be developed to a satisfactory extent so as to suit all the requirements of the country. The second proposition, embodied in the Bills of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) and the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Pakington), was that, where private resources failed, public rates for education might be allowed to come in, these rates being distributed under the control of religious bodies which had been recognised in this country for a number of years. The third proposition was that of the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson), who, agreeing in the necessity of public rates, was for sweeping away all the existing schools, mapping out the kingdom anew for the purpose, but wholly ignoring religious instruction. Such a system, to say the least of it, was distasteful to the country, and had no chance of adoption. With regard to the Bill of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Pakington), although his (Mr. Adderley's) name was on the back of it, he thought it complete without the clauses which provided for new schools, and that those clauses were incongruous in principle with the rest of the measure. This supplement was unnecessary, because the zeal of religious bodies will never leave unsupplied the supposed deficiency. Religious jealousy was the obstacle which they had to meet on the very threshold of this question; but, he believed, the Bill once passed, that jealousy, in the form of rivalry, would itself be the mainstay of the system which would be established, and as the new school clauses were also open to objection in principle, he hoped they would be expunged. The Bill would then be identical with the Manchester Bill which he introduced last Session. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich, by endeavouring to introduce theoretic completeness, had arrived at practical contradiction. He needlessly exposed the whole proposition to cavils, nine-tenths of which were inapplicable to its main principle. It was an utter misrepresentation of both the measures of the right hon. Baronet and the noble Lord the Member for London to say they were either intended or calculated to supersede the existing system—they merely supplemented it. Where the existing system was in full work, where 'squires and gentlemen were willing to maintain schools in their own villages, and the clergy were wasting precious time in begging sums and losing half their influence by incurring 1787 obligations, in those places the Bill—either of the noble Lord or the right hon. Baronet—would never be adopted. There would be no rush of ratepayers to relieve such paymasters. But in some places there was no such support, and yet a cry for means. It was only in places like Manchester, where the deficiency was felt, that the rate would come into operation, and, instead of superseding, would stimulate private charity. In comparing the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) supported with the system embodied in these two Bills, it would be observed that the principle of the right hon. Gentleman was one of private patronage, aided perhaps by Government patronage, but essentially a system of patronage as opposed to self-support. The principle of the two measures was, on the contrary, to take advantage of private patronage as far as it went, and to provide for any deficiency out of the public funds and by local taxation. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) called his a voluntary self-supporting system; but, if it were self-supporting, what need was there of the 300,OO0l. which Parliament voted annually, and about another 300,000l. of forced loans, upon condition of which the grants were made? The advance in national education dated exactly from the period when these subsidies commenced, and therefore, the right hon. Gentleman, in referring to the improved state of public education to support his views, was really using an argument which belonged to his antagonists. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to say, "Let well alone—let there be no alteration;" and his opponents replied, "if there had been no alteration, these grants would not have been made, and education would not have improved as it has." He was told that if he introduced this principle of popular rating he should be sapping all those sources of benevolence which now existed in the country. What was this but saying that the spirit of charity on which the present system rested wholly was so languid that the instant it received assistance from any other source it would shirk its task and wither away. The existing system was voluntary, not as depending on the will of the people, but on that of the patron—the 'squire, the clergy, or of some wealthy manufacturer. If the good-will of the 'squire or the clergyman, failed, the result of this voluntary system became nil, and the system itself died. The next objection 1788 which the right hon. Gentleman had taken to the support of education by a system of public rating was that it would be pauperising the whole system. But why should this be? Is it not really the reverse? Local rates were raised for the formation of public parks, for public libraries and museums, for lighting the streets and highways with gas, and none of these public enterprises were considered to bear the character of pauperism; why, then, should the collection of local rates for the purposes of education be regarded as pauperising? He should have thought that money collected from the bounty of the rich or by the clergy going about from house to house with begging-boxes, would rather have been regarded as eleemosynary and degrading than a contribution from the whole body of the people, necessarily including the parents and friends of the children who were to receive the benefit of the funds so contributed and imposed by the people voluntarily upon themselves. There was no one feature in the present state of Canada more indicative of progress and its future success than the development of the education of the people based upon the principle of contributory rates. Their educational institutions were supported by local rates as well as by voluntary subscriptions, and in the opinion of the people there was nothing more pauperising in the one than in the other. Let hon. Members read Lord Elgin's Report upon Canada, and they would find that that upon which the noble Lord had prided himself most in that country was the development of education upon a self-reliant system based upon municipal institutions. Were schools of design pauper schools he would ask? Yet they were supported out of national funds. Were the very Privy Council grants, on which the present system so much relied, less eleemosynary than grants locally voted? The right hon. Gentleman had said that such a system as this now proposed must be irreligious, as though the wealthy patrons of existing schools monopolised all the religion of the country. In such an objection as this made by men of such different opinions as Mr. Colquhoun and Archdeacon Denison, he saw only the desire of each to obtain for his own form of religion the monopoly of all the schools. But if it were granted that all that the right hon. Gentleman had said in favour of the existing system were true, that it was self-supporting, voluntary, independent, sufficient, 1789 and exclusively religious—in short, everything which he (Mr. Adderley) said it was not, still he would ask, how did it perform its work? Did it do it satisfactorily or not? No doubt there had been great results from the present system; but who were the primary objects of that system? The children of the poorer classes? No. But they ought to be the first chief, if not the only, object of any system of national education in England. It was not intended to provide for the education of all classes of the community as in America, but for those who were not able to provide it for themselves. The statistical question, whether one-eighth or one-ninth ought to be at school, was not so important as of what class the deficient fraction consisted. It would be found that they consisted wholly of the class which ought to have been primarily provided for by the present system, but who, instead of being educated by the national schools, were only treated exceptionally in ragged schools, pauper schools, reformatories, or, after neglect had worked out its result, in prison schools. You may read in the brutalised features of the children wandering about the streets a record of the defects of this boasted system. Another defect in the present system was its reducing the adult population—the parents of the children whom it should educate themselves—to a state of pupillage. It did not enlist the sympathies of the parents in the children's education, but took from them all responsibility and share in their children's schooling, and substituted private patronage. The present system was also imperfect in its adaptation to its objects, industrial instruction being the last thing thought of, but instead, instruction in branches of knowledge, which, even if practicable, could never be useful to the labourer's son. But, while in some places the character of the instruction given was much too high, in others it was as much below, or aside of what should be the true standard. If children do not come to this kind of instruction we are told education is not wanted; schools are already empty, the parents are abused for ignorance and cupidity, while the patrons ought to blush for their pedantry. If industrial education fitted for the future life of the children of the labouring classes, there would be no difficulty in procuring the willing attendance of pupils, as was evidenced by the fact that in Cornwall, where the pursuits of the mining population required some amount 1790 of scientific instruction, which being provided in the schools of that county, the children attended them from three, four, or five miles round, and their parents left them in the schools a sufficient time to acquire the knowledge necessary for their future career. The right hon. Gentleman admires dames' schools as a proof that the Church has followed the population to their own doors. He forgets that they are suitable not to small localities, but to small boys. The comparative states of education and morality in England and in Austria were therefore adduced against the proposition, but the failure of education n the latter country to render her people more moral arose from the character of her institutions. But the House was told that to supplement the present system by rates they must fall into the Austrian system. There was no reason why the zeal of Austria for education should not be engrafted upon the freer institutions of our own country. The proposed municipal rates bore no resemblance to Austrian Government patronage, the principle of which the existing national schools of England rather embodied. But there were countries which based on institutions as free as our own a system of education as complete as the Austrian. But if he alluded to America, he was told that the system, which he advocated was the same as the system which existed in America. That was not the case. Misrepresentation never went further than in the attempt to identify the proposed system with the American secular schools, which agreed only in the feature of the rate, or to argue that the one grew out of the other. There never was a denominational system of education in America, or the means of establishing one; and when the right hon. Gentleman said the secular system there was the development of the religious system which went before it, he must be either ignorant or oblivious of the history of the country in that respect. The truth was, that the religious system of education which prevailed in America previous to its emancipation, especially that established in the New England States by the old Puritans, might be said to have been swept away with the religious foundation which accompanied it. The present secular system there was saved from its irreligious tendency by the religiousness of the people, produced by the former state of things, which amply secures Sunday schools and parental teaching. The same feeling, had 1791 there been denominational schools at the time of Independence, would have led America to make them the basis of their educational system; and if England now ignores the denominational foundation already laid, the people will not go without education, and their only alternative will be a secular system like the American. He had endeavoured to draw a comparison between the Bill of the noble Lord and that of the right hon. Gentleman, and he believed that between them they contained elements from which a Select Committee would be able to strike out something satisfactory. He had been surprised to hear remarks made which indicated a preference for the Bill of the noble Lord, and more particularly a statement in a pamphlet laudatory of the religious clauses, for those clauses appeared to him to have been rather hastily drawn up, a circumstance which might be accounted for by the short time which the noble Lord had to prepare the Bill.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Those clauses were drawn up last summer, and were taken principally from Lord Brougham's Bill.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he thought the wording had been inadvertently transposed, the stipulation being, not that no child should have a creed forced on him against his parent's wish, but that no child should be taught a creed without a written parental consent, which, in most cases, would be wanting altogether. Of the two, he preferred the Bill of his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington) to that of the noble Lord, not only on this point, but inasmuch, among other reasons, as he could not agree to the kind of blank check which the measure of the noble Lord left to the Committee of the Privy Council to fill up. He was not prepared to give that body such an extraordinary power. They carried on too much by legislation on this most important subject already. What the country wants is something between these two Bills. As to those who sigh after some ideal perfection, who wish to see the Church the sole national educator, or hope to stimulate the voluntary efforts of various religious bodies to be independent of legislative aid, he sympathised with their wishes, but could not spend the rest of his life in concert with their unavailing regrets, and in detecting flaws in every proposed scheme. There are two classes of good men—one, who have high aspirations, but so fastidious a sense of the imperfection of all human processes as to preclude the possibility of 1792 their putting any of them into practice; the other, who, with the same high ideal before them, are content to forego half its pretensions in order to realise the other half. They are equally good, but not equally useful. The first are all, in their graves, forgotten by posterity; the second has supplied all the benefactors to whom mankind is grateful, and are the instruments of all progress. The two classes are engaged in this discussion, and seeing the grievous defects of the present national provision for the education of the poor, he could not wait, in hopes of some perfect system, without an attempt at an immediate practicable proposition for supplementing and invigorating what we had.
§ MR. EVELYN DENISON
said, he was surprised that the hon. Gentleman should recommend that the three Bills should be sent to a Select Committee. Whether such should be the decision of the House he was unable to say, but he considered that it certainly was not a wise Parliamentary course. Should the Bills go to a Select Committee, he would invite the attention of the Committee to the question of the attendance of children at school. How was it that 1,000,000 of children were not receiving instruction? Mr. Horace Mann said it was not the want of schools, or the poverty of parents, so much as their indifference and apathy. The real difficulty was to induce attendance in schools. The last Report of the Committee of Council on Education was most valuable. That Report pressed on the public a most weighty consideration—that while they were increasing the number of trained masters, and local teachers, and all the machinery, of an advanced and improving system of education, the children attending schools were daily becoming younger and less suited to that system. Mr. Moseley, in his Report, stated that a hope had been entertained that as the children of the poor derived from the schools greater benefit than they had hitherto done, their parents would desire to send them for a longer period, but he could not conceal that they were disappointed in this hope, because in many cases the parents reasoned that the schools were so good that the children obtained all the learning necessary for them earlier than hitherto, and, therefore, they could take them away sooner. Mr. Moseley also stated that the only remedy for this would be to make, up to a certain age, attendance at school obligatory. In confirmation of this opinion, Mr. Horner, 1793 an Inspector of Factories, stated that the Factory Act, by which attendance at school was rendered obligatory on the part of the children, was most successful. Opinions similar to these ran through all the Reports presented by the Committee of Education. Mr. Norris, in his Report, gave an interesting account of a prize scheme which was tried in the mining districts of Staffordshire, by which as much as 400l. or 500l. were given in the schools as premiums for long attendance at schools—thus showing the disposition on the part of the master manufacturers to counteract the evils of the present system. But Mr. Norris said that this scheme did not remedy the present evils, and that nothing would do so but the interference of the Legislature to make attendance at school obligatory. How stood the question of compulsory obligation? Every child of a pauper in the workhouse receives compulsory education in the workhouse school. Under the Factory Act, every child working in the factories was also obliged to receive instruction for a certain portion of the week. Was it to be permitted, then, to take a little child and put him in a field to watch crows without any care or consideration for his instruction? Legislative intervention was more required in this direction than in that taken by the Bills before the House, it would be less distasteful to the people to apply some portion of the wages earned by children to the purposes of education, than to raise a general rate which would be the subject of constant controversy. If any one doubted how labour and education might be made to go hand-in-hand, let him visit Mr. Price's factory, a few hundred yards from their door. There labour prepared for study, and study sweetened labour. This question of the attendance at schools was becoming more important day by day, and without venturing to express any positive opinion as to the course which ought to be pursued, he considered it would be well worthy the attention of the Select Committee.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, in rising to oppose a Bill which had for its object the promotion of education, he experienced peculiar pain; but, being conscientiously convinced that the measure of his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington) would tend most materially to interfere with the existing system without improving it in the least, he could not have any hesitation in opposing it, both by his vote and his speech. The hon. Member for North 1794 Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) in supporting the Bill, oddly enough said that the half of it, which related to new schools, had not his concurrence; and he had given a convincing argument against the other half of the measure, which related to existing schools, when he said, with respect to the existing schools, he had no wish to apply to them the machinery of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman, however, had told the House with great truth that on this all-important subject of education statistics were not to be relied upon. If they wanted any confirmation of that, it would be found in the magnificent array of statistics with which his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington) had illustrated and supported his views in introducing the Bill; and the equally formidable number with which his right hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), in his great oration on this subject, had driven his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington) from the field. Let them first of all consider how the Bill before the House would supply, as it professed to do, the poor populous places which they alleged the existing Minute of the Privy Council deprived of public educational support. If his right hon. Friend was convinced that these poor and populous places were not properly supplied with education, why did he not propose to the House to relax the restrictive Minute of the Privy Council in every case in which that was proved to be its effect? By that means he would have had a certain and efficacious cure for the evil complained of. Again, did his right hon. Friend propose to make the educational rate in those places compulsory? He believed his right hon. Friend would not be offended with him if he said that he dared not make it so. The truth was, that he proposed to leave it to the option of the people of those places whether they would tax themselves or not. Now, he (Lord J. Manners) would ask whether rates of this kind were so popular with the poorer classes, who had mainly to pay them, that the poor would voluntarily submit themselves to those compulsory payments? Were schools the only requisites of civilisation which were deficient in those places? Were churches and chapels in abundance there? Take the case of Bethnal Green. Would the poor people residing there be ready to tax themselves for the promotion of education, or the endowment of churches or chapels? Hon. Members would find, on the contrary, that the very districts which stood 1795 most in need of education and instruction were precisely those which had the least means, and consequently the greatest objection to tax themselves for providing those means of civilisation. But what was the second object which his right hon. Friend proposed to gain by his Bill? He assumed that there were above 900,000 children who were prevented from attending the existing schools by the deficiency of the present system of education. There were, however, children who were prevented from attending any school on account of their being engaged at work in gaining a livelihood, and so in fact there would be only between 400,000 and 500,000 children with whom this Bill had particularly to deal. Now, he would ask, how would they be induced to go to school by the Bill proposed by his right hon. Friend? His right hon. Friend assumed that these children were prevented, by the poverty and the apathy of their parents, and by the deficiency and the badness of the education provided, from attending the existing schools. It was, however, extraordinary that since the adjournment of this debate a great authority had given his opinion in print, and so far from agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman as to the character of the education now provided, he came to a very opposite estimate of the present quality of education. Mr. Moseley, in his last report to Parliament, stated that it was the very excellence of the existing schools which diminished the number of scholars, by inducing parents to withdraw their children from school at an earlier age than they formerly did. But no doubt the poverty of parents was a great cause for the non-attendance of children at school, and the Bill of my right hon. Friend would have little or no effect upon that class of non-attendants. But there was another class—those who were engaged in earning a livelihood by dishonest and criminal means. Did his right hon. Friend think he could induce this class of children by his Bill to go to school? There was a third class—all those who were prevented going to school by the culpable indifference and apathy of their parents. There was a fourth class—and that he admitted that the Bill of his right hon. Friend would benefit in a little degree—those who were willing and able to provide their children with clothes, and were willing to send them to school, but who were unable to pay for their schooling, or to obtain cha- 1796 ritable assistance in doing so. This, however, he did not think was a large class. The largest class was undoubtedly the third, and the parents of the children belonging to this class would not be more willing to send their children to the new schools than to those at present in existence. It was particularly important to consider whether the institution of free schools would not greatly endanger the attendance of children of the labouring class. Since the Whitsun recess he had conversed with a clergyman who was conversant with questions of education, and who had a free school in his own parish, and he had stated that, so far from finding this free school an advantage, he was endeavouring to change the system established there, and to have a school with payment substituted for the free school. This clergyman said that the children did not regard the free school, and that the parents did not scruple calling their children away from it every hour in the day, and that out of twenty-eight scholars the average attendance was only 15½. He (Lord J. Manners) was on the Committee on the state of the stockingers of the Midland Counties the other day, and it was there stated that the attendance of the children of stockingers at a free school in one of the manufacturing villages was smaller than at schools in the same locality where small fees were demanded. He offered these observations as elements of the question which the House had to consider—namely, whether the Bill proposed by his right hon. Friend would induce those 400,000 children who do not now go to school to go to the new schools. Supposing the Bill would have the effect of inducing these children to go, then the House would have to inquire whether the measure was not based on the contravention of the principle of independence and spirit which happily existed throughout our population; whether it would not go to break down their spirit, and destroy their independence of mind. They all knew that the poor did not set much store now on what they did not earn or purchase by their own free will, and the House should not lightly tamper with or do anything to impair that feeling. But were the provisions of the Bill likely to be practically carried out? It was all to be effected by the majority of the taxpayers. Farmers, small traders, and artisans, were, it seemed, so enamoured of paying rates that they were to propose to impose 1797 on themselves a new rate. Hon. Members at his side of the House had for years been contending that local taxation pressed too heavily on the people. What at that moment was the great question which was convulsing England from one end to the other? It was the question of church-rates. Now, was there any great difference between a church-rate and a rate for education? There was certainly a difference which he willingly admitted. Church-rates have a prescription of a thousand years. He knew of no authority which was in favour of this rate imposed on a nation divided in religious feeling. Would not this education-rate soon be regarded as a religious grievance? The Bill was assuredly calculated to excite religious differences and party contention; and, as if to prevent the return of peace to the harassed communities, it was provided that the rate should be proposed every year. If he had to choose between these Bills which had been proposed to the House, he should say give us the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson), for he knew what that Bill meant. That right hon. Gentleman, above all, gave the unfortunate parishioners a little respite from contention, for, by his Bill, a whole year must elapse before the proposal to bring them under its operation, if rejected, could be renewed. The Bill offered by his right hon. Friend introduced confusion, conflict, religious bickering, every element which should be kept out of play in a question of education, and therefore he (Lord J. Manners) called on the House to deal with it in a manly straightforward way, and to reject it and the other two Bills at once, and not to tamper with the feelings of the people on this important subject. He came next to the third point of his right hon. Friend's Bill. They were told that the existing education was meagre and deficient, and they were referred to the systems existing in Austria, Prussia, France, and even the slave states of America, as worthier of imitation. They had had a vast amount of foreign statistics brought forward; but who could unravel foreign statistics? They might be told that in the slave states of America, in Austria, in Prussia, in France, a great number of children were brought under the State schools, and were receiving instruction; but he denied that with respect to education we could come to any conclusions from such statements. It was 1798 in the battle-field, and in missionary enterprise, and in all the various engagements of an industrious people, that they should seek for the results of education. Subjected to this test, it could not be said that the education established in England had failed. Looking at the whole subject, could it be affirmed that the system had failed, and would the House hazard and endanger a great system, which had the general concurrence of all religious denominations in the country—a system which at this moment was educating 2,000,000 of children, in 20,000 schools, out of a population of 18,000,000, and through the means of which 1,000,000 a year was obtained in private charity? Every form of Protestant dissent, and even Jews, received education under the existing system, and was this to be hazarded for the sake of some visionary object that would never be carried out with the consent of the great body of the people of this land? Should the measure be carried, in less than ten years, Gentlemen would rise in that House and deplore the folly and the failure of this attempt to impose what was called the "voluntary will" principle of education. It was better for the House to open their eyes, and not in a blind and hasty way give a second reading to this Bill. For the reasons he had stated he should give his cordial and determined opposition to the Bill of his right hon. Friend, and he entreated the House to reject it. Either the Bill of his right hon. Friend would be inoperative, and then it would be useless to pass it, or it would be operative, and then it would affect the system of education established in this country in a most mischievous—perchance in a most fatal, manner.
§ MR. W. J. FOX
said, he could not avoid expressing his disappointment at the speech of the noble Lord who had last spoken. He had expected to hear from the noble Lord, after objecting to the proposed measure, some broader principle propounded to encounter and remove the causes of that ignorance and crime which unhappily prevailed in the country. But, instead of that, the noble Lord had confined himself to objecting to various points of detail; and even then had not suggested any more efficacious modes by which to accomplish the objects which all must equally desire to see effected. The noble Lord had stated that the municipalities and parishes would not rate themselves, and yet he at the same time had said that these same muni- 1799 cipalities and parishes were overflowing with benevolence, the voluntary exercise of which would amply supply all the deficiencies of education in this country. In opposition to the statement of the noble Lord he begged to say that it was well known there were some localities which were most desirous of rating themselves for the same benevolent purpose of educating the people. The people of Manchester had actually petitioned Parliament to be allowed to do so, and surely those who were desirous of taking such measures ought to be indulged, and every legal sanction given to their praiseworthy efforts. It was argued by the noble Lord that the Bill would have no effect in removing the objections of parents to send their children to existing schools. It was said that some were too poor, and that some were indifferent; but this important element was overlooked by the noble Lord, that supposing every locality to rate itself, and supposing education to be extended by this or any other measure, the popular estimate of education would rise. Those who rated themselves and thus became voluntary payers for the instruction of the children of their neighbours, would be solicitous that their money should produce the desired benefit; they would give a tone to the paying class in the neighbourhood, which would extend itself to the non-paying class, and would raise their appreciation of the education thus brought within their reach. But it was not a fact that education was despised on account of the smallness of the payment. As in Prussia, if education were provided by the Legislature, it would cease to be regarded as a charity; patrons of schools would no longer go begging poor people to send their children to the schools they patronised; education would become a public right, and, as such, would be claimed. For the poor people of this country were quite as forward to demand a right as they were to reject a boon of charity, which they deemed degrading. The noble Lord had referred to the question of church-rates; but one of the three Bills before the House was free from that objection; and if the Bills were sent to a Committee he hoped that one, at all events, would have the noble Lord's support. But Dissenters had again and again declared, in their remonstrances against church-rates, that they would be perfectly ready to pay them if they were an education rate; and that change had been many times proposed in the discussions on that question. There 1800 was another consideration—the Dissenters were, to a large extent, true, earnest, zealous friends of education—and he believed the time was come when all who belonged to that description felt that some compromise was necessary in the conflict of opinions that prevailed, and that concession must be made on one side as well as on the other; and that there was an earnest and general desire to have some great measure adopted which should redeem the country from its present condition. He trusted he rightly understood the noble Lord to have renounced the opinions he formerly professed, which were against education altogether; his Utopia was—Knowledge on them no lurid light hath shed;But faith stands there in education's stead.If the noble Lord still maintained that opinion, was there no difference between faith associated with knowledge and faith associated with ignorance? He regretted to hear the objections of the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) to sending the three Bills to a Select Committee. All the Bills were founded on the same principle so far as to warrant their being subjected to a common treatment, and, if practicable, to an amalgamation. They all went on the principle of localities rating themselves—they all provided for local authority in the management of the schools—they all endeavoured to furnish a check and a guidance for that local authority by the intervention of a central authority in some form or other—they all either included the direct inculcation of religion, or provided, as in the case of the third Bill, facilities for its being given, so as to extend the advantages of the instruction to that form of religion which the friends and parents of the children thought most desirable. And they all admitted, either to a greater or less extent, the principle of free schools—a principle which was most important. With such an amount of agreement, the difference was necessarily one comparatively of detail, a difference which might be adjusted, he considered, by a Committee; and those portions of the measures which should be deemed the least obnoxious might be severed from the rest, and put forth in the form of a national measure, which might be expected to realise the most important results. Indeed, the very circumstance of there being these three Bills before the House indicated that we had arrived at a species of crisis in this education question. Each class of 1801 thinkers on the subject had given its lucubrations a definite and tangible form; each told the way in which it would legislate for the entire country. There was only one other mode—adhesion to the present mixed system of public grants and voluntary exertion; and we had arrived at a moment when the contest might be fairly tried between the present mongrel system, the present combination in which one part seemed incongruous with another part, and the adoption of some general and comprehensive scheme. He knew that some objected altogether to the interference of the State in this matter. But he would ask them—Where is the duty of education? Where has Providence devolved that duty? On the parent; and devolving that duty on the parent, it gave a correlative right to the child to be educated. If a parent neglected that duty, he committed a wrong—a wrong upon his own offspring, which the State had a full and competent right to interpose and correct. Interference by the State to prevent the abuse of parental authority had been one of those great progressive measures which had marked the advance of civilisation. And if we kept the child secure from physical ill-treatment, as we did, at the hands of his parent, we surely had the right to protect him from that moral ill-treatment—that defrauding him of one of the best and most valuable rights, which the parent committed who left him altogether uninstructed. Then, society had a right of its own. Its own self-preservation was among the first laws that ought to guide its movements; and the very existence of society—assuredly, its well-being at all times—was endangered, if ignorant and vicious parents might at their pleasure turn forth one generation after another of semi-savages, to disturb the order of society, to imperil the safety and comfort of the honest and well disposed, and to bring confusion into that national existence which ought to be the bond of harmony, of peace and progress. It had been asserted that the present system had been very successful. Now, he looked in vain for evidences of that success. He did not accept for success the number of schools and scholars upon paper. He asked for other evidence; and he found other evidence, both as to the extent and the quality of the education given. An hon. Member said go to the gaols. He did so, and found that the great bulk of those committed were those who had been at school, in such schools as now existed. The utterly 1802 untaught, who had had no vestige of training at any school whatever, were a comparatively small number. The well-taught were a number so small that it was difficult to find a fraction or decimal low enough to express its proportion to the remainder. They had all been at such schools as now existed, and they had been there to no such purpose as served to make them honest and useful members of society. Take another class of evidences—the mechanics' and literary institutes, which were springing up latterly in abundance all over the country. What was the universal complaint as to those institutes—a complaint made by the Bishop of Manchester in Lancashire, by Professor Maurice in London, and everywhere where good institutions existed? That their benefits were limited, their advantages crippled, by the want of a rudimentary training. That was the complaint in every case. Young men were not sufficiently qualified beforehand; even those who were so desirous of intellectual improvement that they willingly joined these institutes and enrolled themselves in the classes, were continually turned back for want of that key of knowledge which enabled them to unlock even its outer courts. In the People's College in London—that noble institution—Professor Maurice was obliged to establish a rudimentary school, to prepare the young men for its advantages. What was that but a strong condemnation of the existing system of education? They might look abroad, if they would, at our army—those brave and gallant fellows, who had plenty of the constitutional English courage. Might not a moiety, if not more, of the misery which they suffered last winter have been averted, had their intelligence been a little more cultivated, had they been but able to do those common matters the teaching of which was now to be introduced into our schools, and which would not have left them the helpless beings they were, the victims of their own ignorance, in not knowing how to make the most of the scanty materials which were within their reach? Look again at our churches. Look at that census which told the extraordinary and humbling fact that one-third of the population of this country were never to be found within the walls of either church or chapel. If rudimentary education were but better, that number must inevitably be decreased. On this point he would appeal to the United States of America, so much condemned for its merely 1803 secular education. The statistics of the American churches showed that almost the entire population was imbued with one form of belief or another. That was the effect of knowledge, imparted on merely secular principles. Their gaols told the same tale against us as the churches. The great bulk of the prisoners were not natives who had had this training, hut emigrants from Europe, and unhappily too many of them from this and the sister country. He would try the question of success on the lowest ground—that of numbers. We were told, in the language of boasting, that since 1818, we had advanced from one in seventeen to one in eleven in 1835, and that now one in eight and a fraction were at school. There was a gross fallacy in this way of stating the progress. It showed an increase in the number at school compared with the gross population; but what did it show as to the number of children who required education? He had gone through the calculation of the number of children who ought to be at school, and who were not at school, and found that it was a regularly increasing number; it mounted up by tens, and scores, and even hundreds of thousands. There were now in Great Britain more children who should be at school, and who were not at school—more by many, many scores of thousands—than there ever were before. This was an odd kind of progress; he called it retrogradation. The real test was, how many children are uninstructed that should be instructed? and their number far exceded the 900,000 of Mr. Horace Mann's calculation; it was much nearer 2,000,000, if it did not surpass that number, taking into account the proper age at which children ought to be under instruction. How different was that from the state of things in Prussia. In Mr. Joseph Kaye's admirable book on the state of education in Europe and in England, he gave this account of Prussia—As I before stated, every child in Germany, Holland, and Switzerland, for the last twenty or thirty years, has been receiving a good education. Of the men and women under the age of thirty-five, nine-tenths are well educated. They can all read, write, cypher, sing, and chaunt. They all know the Scripture history, and nearly all know the outlines of the history of their own country. Throughout all parts of these countries there are many of the poorest people who have learnt more than this, and know something of the general principles of science, or the principles of some particular science. Four years ago the Prussian Government made a general inquiry throughout the kingdom to discover how far the school edu- 1804 cation of the people had been extended, and it was then ascertained that out of all the young men in the kingdom who had attained the age of twenty-one only two in every 100 were unable to read. This fact was communicated to me by the inspector general.What a contrast with this country! where we found that, even of our common soldiers, who had enjoyed the advantage of regimental schools, only one in five were able to read; and throughout the country, in every two marriages one person signed with a mark, instead of writing his or her name. This was a subject, he maintained, which pressed most urgently upon the attention of the Legislature. It was eminently pressing at the present moment. The state of our troops was one form of that pressure; and we should do immeasurable good to future armies that might be sent forth if they were better qualified to take care of themselves than those who were last sent out—to say nothing of the other advantages of the development of their intellect. The question pressed also on account of the public feeling in the country. Who could doubt that the time was coming when the great mass of the population must and would have a more direct influence on the choice of Members of that House? Who could doubt that the time was coming when there must and would be a large extension of the suffrage? Now, was not that an inducement, and a most powerful one, to raise the standard of that education by which they were to be prepared for the wise, and safe, and useful exercise of their privileges? He thought it would be no undesirable thing if the enlargement of the suffrage were made conditional on the attainment of a certain quantum of education, which might be raised as high as any one thought necessary for the purpose, and would still operate with the best effect, would still be a stimulus acting with peculiar force and power upon the great body of the working population. The suffrage was an object of their ambition, their constant aspiration; it was what they often endeavoured to obtain by unwise means; and, without doubt, the hope and prospect of gaining it would induce them to practise mental culture. This would be especially the case at that period of life in which our modern education entirely failed; he meant that important period when the boy left school, and the young man was not able to avail himself of the advantages of the institute. It was in that time that whatever had been 1805 learnt was forgotten. They continually found those who had been two or three, or even four or five years at school, from whose minds every trace of what they had gained there was obliterated, worn out for want of exercise and intellectual operation. But let them have some such prospect as the franchise in view, and they would apply themselves to keep up their attainments; the infallible result of application would be to extend their knowledge; and thus they would become better members of the institute and of society, and better qualified for the exercise of the political franchise. In every point of view the good that would thus be realised for the country was of the most inestimable character; and its extension had a most urgent claim upon the consideration of Parliament. When they spoke of the present plan as a system, they gave it a name to which it was not entitled. They should not talk of its permanence; for it was a thing not of a nature to be permanent. We were in a transition state as to education, a state which limited its own duration by the very conditions of its existence. How had this great movement of popular education begun? With private benevolence; in the form of Sunday schools—first by that excellent man, Raikes, of Gloucester. From the individual it extended to the religious body with which he was connected. That was the first step, the approach towards organisation; there was association, combination, union. From single or isolated congregations, or churches, it extended itself to sects, and to those large associations which had been from their prominence, taken to represent the education of this country. It was only another step in the same progress that was now sought to be made. The principle of organisation and combination which led to the action of the Church and of the association were still at work; and if progress was to exist at all in education, it would be found in that direction. These combinations must go on till it became strictly and properly a national concern, and till, in the view of all ranks of society in all their grades, we had arrived at the conclusion that universal education was a national institution.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he had never risen under feelings of deeper anxiety than he did on the present occasion, being aware, as he was, of the vast importance of the issue which had to be decided that night. He felt also that he was about 1806 to address the House under a disadvantage to which he thought no member of that House ought ever to be exposed. He did not intend to impute any blame to the Government; on the contrary, he admitted he had received from them on this subject every possible courtesy, fairness, and kindness. But he thought that there must be something wrong in their forms of proceeding when it was possible in an Assembly like that to hang up the discussion of so vital a question as this for six weeks, and to adjourn for that period any reply which could be given to the arguments used in the first part of the discussion. It was under such a disadvantage that he proceeded to make some reply to the able and remarkable speech delivered by his right hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) six weeks ago. He admitted that that speech was marked by great ability, and that it had deservedly created a very great impression both in that House and in the country. He would tell the House and his right hon. Friend frankly at the outset the substance of his reply. His right hon. Friend had spoken with a published copy in his hand of the speech which he (Sir J. Pakington) had delivered on introducing his Bill, and he avowed that he was replying to that speech. His answer to the right hon. Gentleman was, that he had either omitted or had evaded all the strongest points on which he (Sir J. Pakington) had justified the introduction of his Bill. With the permission of the House he should supply the omission. His desire to do so was greatly increased by the line which the right hon. Gentleman had adopted, and which had also been followed by the noble Lord the Member for Colchester (Lord J. Manners). His right hon. Friend and the noble Lord had abstained from criticising his measure, or instituting a comparison between his proposals and those of any other Bill, but they boldly and broadly asserted that no change was required; that, as respected education, the country was doing well at present; and the House was told to beware how they disturbed a system which had been productive of such beneficial results. They were told to-night, too, that that system had not failed, was not failing, and would not fail. Undoubtedly, if such observations were just, it would be a mere waste of time, both by himself and the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell) to ask the House to consider 1807 the provisions of a Bill of this nature; but he utterly denied the accuracy of such assertions, and if Parliament consented to leave the matter where it was, it would be abandoning one of the first duties of a Legislative Assembly. His right hon. Friend must not suppose that such a question as this could be decided against him on the paltry ground as to whether he had been correct or not in quoting from Mr. Kay's book as to Austrian crime. The question must be decided by a consideration of the facts as they existed in this country, and by the truth. If it could be shown that he was wrong he would be thankful to the right hon. Gentleman if he could do so, for it was not without some reluctance that he had arrived at the conclusions to which he had come upon this subject. He had in his speech drawn a comparison between the state of crime in Austria and England, as compared with the population, and had stated that he gave it only for what it was worth. The right hon. Gentleman had applied his microscopic eye to the table, and had discovered that it should not include what were termed the summary convictions. He would admit he had fallen into an error upon that point, but the right hon. Gentleman had forgotten to mention another which told in favour of his (Sir J. Pakington's) Bill. He stated on that occasion that the summary convictions in England in the year to which he referred were, leaving out the fractions, 35,000; but, on further investigation of the Report of the Inspector of Prisons, he found that they were in realty 60,000; so that he had, in point of fact, understated his own case by nearly a third—the whole number of convictions in England in that year being nearly 90,000, instead of 60,000. He would not, however, dwell any further on this point; he attached no weight to it at the time, and had said that the statement was merely to be taken for what it was worth. Indeed, no comparison could be properly drawn, for he was sorry to say that the amount of undetected crime in England was so serious that any calculations founded upon the number of convictions must prove fallacious. He had, by the kindness of the Ministers of Denmark and Holland, two of the best educated countries in Europe, been enabled to refer to the statistics of crime in those kingdoms, as compared with the population, and he found that 1808 the convictions in Denmark were much less in number that in England; and those in Holland also less, though in a smaller degree. But the right hon. Gentleman also accused him of an error as to the proportion of the population of Austria that were educated. The right hon. Gentleman, quoting from an unofficial book in the library, said that the number of persons receiving education in Austria was below what it was in this country. Since then he had had access to official papers, and he found that in 1847 the proportion of educated persons was one in eight in the whole of the Austrian Empire, excepting Hungary, Vienna, Lombardy, Italy, and the military frontier, but including Galicia, where the education was very low. The right hon. Gentleman bad made the comparison in a most inaccurate manner, for he had taken the year 1846–7 for his Austrian statistics, and had compared it with those of England for 1851. If the right hon. Gentleman had taken 1847 for this country he would have found a much, worse per centage than that of Austria. Take the following statement as indicating the condition of education in Austria:—
In 1847, the population of the provinces of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Carinthia, Carniola, the Tyrol, Bohemia, and Silesia, was 12,435,731 The number of children, in the above provinces, between the ages of six and twelve years, was 1,498,243 The number of children, in the above provinces, actually attending primary schools, was 1,332,367 Therefore the number of children, in the above provinces, between the ages of six and twelve, not attending school, was 165,876 In 1847, in the whole of the Austrian Empire, excepting Hungary. Venice, Lombardy, Siebenburgen, and the military frontiers:—the population was 18,043,241 The number of young persons attending schools and colleges, was 2,130,853 The total number of young and adult persons attending educational institutions, was or about one in eight of the population. 2,140,117 In1847,the population of the Austrian Empire, excepting Lombardy, Hungary, Venice, Siebenburgen, and the military frontiers, was 18,043,241 In 1847, the number of children in the above-mentioned part of the empire, between the ages of six and twelve, was 2,118,334 In 1847, the number of children between the ages of six and twelve, actually attending the primary schools in the above-mentioned part of the empire, was 1,434,258
Whereas he showed that the number of children not attending schools in England was nearly 1,000,000, or about one third more than in Austria. The number in Lower Austria and in the Tyrol was one in six higher than in any part of England. He would remind the House of what it was he really said on this part of the subject. He had not drawn an elaborate parallel between Austria and England at all. What he said was that in this great matter of education, England was, with perhaps the exception of some small states, lagging behind the civilised world. He did not allude to Austria, in particular—he alluded to the large nations of Europe and America. He repeated the statement, that what he said then was correct. This statement was borne out by documents. Why did not his right hon. Friend touch on those subjects. The right hon. Gentleman thought he had made an error with respect to Austria, and that was why his right hon. Friend had only referred to Austria. The fact was too humiliating for him not to wish that it was not true or could be corrected, but he feared it could not. But, after all, the great question was, not as to the state of education at home. He had been accused of exaggeration in his former statements. He did not acknowledge the justice of the charge. He knew his statements would be unsatisfactory to many, and he was careful, therefore, to make no statements except on the best official authority he could obtain. If there was any exaggeration, it was in the official statements. In the first statement he made, he had referred to the condition of eight metropolitan parishes, four situated on the north, and four on the south of the Thames. In four parishes there were 110,449 children, of whom 35,306 were at some sort of school; he allowed and believed his allowance to be too large that 27,611 were at private schools, and there then remained 47,532 who were not at school at all. To this statement his right hon. Friend never alluded, and he did right in so doing, for this was one of those statements which made it very difficult to contend that they were going on well, or that they ought to rest contented with the present system. The next statement which he made had reference to five 1810 counties in the West of England with which his right hon. Friend did attempt to deal, and said that he (Sir J. Pakington) had, in support of his statement, unfairly quoted Mr. Ruddock's Report. His right hon. Friend, in his speech, had almost entirely limited himself to stating his own opinions, and did not attempt to support them by official authority, except in two instances, in which he referred to Mr. Ruddock and to Sir James Kay Shuttleworth. It was unfortunate for his right hon. Friend that both those gentlemen had written to him (Sir J. Pakington), protesting against the construction put upon their opinions by his right hon. Friend. He would read Mr. Ruddock's letter to him in reference to his right hon. Friend's (Mr. Henley's) remarks, which was to the effect that his (Mr. Ruddock's) statement had not been based on workhouse experience of children, but on the experience of all children in the five counties quoted.
In 1847 therefore, the number of children between the ages of six and twelve, not attending school, out of a population of 18,043,241,was 684,076Education Department, Council Office,Downing Street, London, May 3, 1855.SIR,—I have read in The Times of to-day, Mr. Henley's reply to your speech on moving the second reading of the Education Bill introduced by yourself, Sir E. L. Bulwer, and Mr. Adderley.I trust you will pardon me for troubling you with a few remarks on the right hon. Gentleman's speech, in so far as any statement of mine has been commented on—assuming the report of The Times to be correct.I have not by me a copy of the report whence your quotation was taken, but I know that I expressly limited my description of the ignorance of pauper children to such as had not been in the workhouse school before. My statement was, I believe, that nineteen out of twenty of the children admitted to the workhouse for the first time were totally and heathenishly ignorant. From this fact I drew the inference, that notwithstanding the zealous efforts of the Committee of Council on Education, and of the friends of voluntary education, the grossest ignorance was still extant in a Christian country.Mr. Henley's remark, that 6,000 children only were visited by me, is beside the purpose of his argument. The nature of my acquaintance with the educational dearth of this country is to be measured, not by the number of children contained in the workhouse of my district at one time, but by the area whence these children have been drawn, in constant succession, for a period of eight years.The counties of which I have now had considerable experience are—Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wilts, Dorset, Hants, Berks, Oxford, and part of Bucks and Gloucester; and I speak of all in the same terms as of the five quoted by you.I have the honour to be, Sir,Your obedient servant,JOSHUA RUDDOCK,One of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools. "The Right Hon. Sir J. Pakington.1811 He (Sir J. Pakington), in this letter, was shown not to have exaggerated, but to have understated, the facts with respect to the condition of education of children in those five counties, He would beg to remind the House of a most important consideration which was not sufficiently borne in mind by those who talked of the percentage of those who were at school, and that was the quality of the schools and of the education of this country. In proof of this he had quoted Mr. Horace Mann's Report, in which it was stated that above 700 school-masters and mistresses could not sign their own names. His right hon. Friend had tried to dispose of this by saying it was not important, as these were masters and mistresses of infant schools; but he could not say what proof there was as to this, and though he (Sir J. Pakington) was ready to admit that a portion of them were so, still he asserted there was no proof as to the number of them who were so engaged. He maintained his opinion that no person in such a state of ignorance was fit to have the charge of children, and the fact itself was a proof of the unsatisfactory state of education in this country. His right hon. Friend went on to say that—The only other evidence he had adduced with regard to the quality of the education afforded was a quotation from some work which mentioned the number of men in a militia regiment who were unable to write their names, and were obliged to make their marks.Now, this short statement contained two decided mistakes. He had adduced other evidence, for he had referred to the important tables in Mr. Horace Man's Report upon, the Census, which showed what proportion of children in each of our schools was taught certain specified branches of education, and he had contrasted with those tables the education required by law to be supplied to children in Prussia, Switzerland, and France. And, instead of referring to a "militia regiment," he had quoted from the Report of the Rev. Mr. Mitchell, one of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools, a statement respecting all the militia regiment of five counties in the East of England, from which it appeared that out of a total of nearly 6,000 militiamen, almost two-thirds were unable to sign their own names. He adhered to his opinion that this fact was a proof of the unsatisfactory state of education in those counties. His right hon. Friend said that these militiamen were 1812 twenty years of age, and the statement only showed, therefore, what was the state of education six or eight years ago. But he had procured a letter from Mr. Mitchell on the subject of the progress made in education during the last six or eight years. The following is the letter:—Education Department, Council Office,Downing Street, London, June 7, 1855.SIR,—In reply to your communication of the 5th, I have to state that a slight and very gradual progress seems to be making in the improvement of the schools for the working classes generally. In those in towns that are under inspection, great progress has been made, and I consider it will not be possible materially to add to the efficiency of many of them, considering all the circumstances attending them.My colleague and myself have been able in the last year to inspect nearly all the schools (in our five counties) that are under Government inspection, and I lament to say that his opinion agrees with my own—that the instruction and education of the greater number of agricultural schools is such as to give us slight hope that the condition of that part of the population of the country will be much advanced in the next eight or ten years. In truth, the support of these schools is mostly thrown upon the clergy, and the incomes of many of these is little more than adequate to their own needs. The consequence is, that the buildings are unwholesome, the apparatus and books deficient, and the teacher illiterate and of uncouth manners, and too frequently with little moral tone.In Essex, lately, I have had instances of schools given up for want of funds, and many clergymen have written to state their schools were in such a condition they thought it would be only waste of time to inspect them.I have made some calculations from the census return of 1851, of which the following is the result. The number of parishes and hamlets in the five counties is 2,068.
|"Those with a population under||450||1,146|
|"With a population of||450||591|
|"With a population of||1,000||306|
|"With a population of||5,000||20|
|"With a population of||10,000||4|
|"With a population of above||10,000||1|
§ "The number of places with schools under Government Church inspection is 424,
|"In places with a population under||450||94|
|"In places with a population of||450||153|
|"In places with a population of||1,000||152|
|"In places with a population of||5,000||20|
|"In places with a population of||10,000||4|
|"In places with a population of above||10,000||1|
§ "But though some parishes with a population less than 450 may possess schools that would require inspection, it seems to me that the mass of these could conveniently be united to other neighbouring parishes, and thus the number of parishes that would require schools in the whole of the five counties would be only 922, and of these by far the greater part are already supplied either from 1813 endowment, or from voluntary agency, which does not require Government help.
§ "You will observe that nearly one-half of the schools that (supposing my calculations exact) would be required for the population, are already under inspection by Church inspectors, for my calculations only include those inspected by myself and assistant colleague, and that, therefore, it may be safely concluded that people's minds should now be directed to improving the efficiency, rather than increasing the number of schools.
§ "Pray excuse a hurried statement, as I am aware you require an early reply. I am also very much fatigued.
§ "Will you allow me to correct a misapprehension of my meaning, when you did me the honour of referring to my Report. You stated that I thought the training schools educated the students too highly. It was not my intention to convey such an impression. I do not think a schoolmaster can be trained too highly; but I think his training should be directed entirely to fit him to be a schoolmaster of a national school, and that some of the subjects of instruction in some training schools might have been better exchanged for more practical instruction in the best methods of conveying instruction, and in school-keeping. I meant that their studies were not sufficiently professional, i.e., directed to education, or scholastic.
§ "If there should be any other information I could give you, I should have the greatest pleasure.
§ "It seems to me that if the funds (derived from endowment, charities, voluntary contributions, and the Government) were all to be systematically employed in the best and most systematic manner, that very little additional income would be required. I fear much, at present, it will be hopeless to expect any such arrangement.
§ "I have the honour to be,
§ "Your obedient servant,
§ "M. MITCHELL.
§ "The Right Hon. Sir John Pakington."
That was the answer, and he thought his right hon. Friend would allow it met his reply to the argument he had endeavoured to found on the state of education among the militiamen. His right hon. Friend, in reference to his quotation of a statement of the Rev. Mr. Clay, the chaplain of the Preston House of Correction, said—
The only other evidence adduced to show the bad results of our present system, was some well-known extracts, almost stereotyped, from the Report of the Preston House of Correction and the gaol of the county of Worcester.
What did his right hon. Friend mean by "stereotyped?" Did he mean a sneer at Mr. Clay? [Mr. HENLEY: No, no.] He was glad to hear it. For the last twenty or thirty years Mr. Clay had been annually making reports as to the state of the inmates of the gaol, holding out warnings as to the condition of the population in and near the town. Mr. Clay stated that, in
1849, nearly 2,000 prisoners were committed to the gaol, of whom forty-eight per cent. were unable to read, forty-one per cent. did not know the name of the Saviour, sixty-seven per cent. did not know the month of the year, sixty-one per cent. were ignorant of the name of the Queen, and sixty-two per cent. were ignorant of the meaning of the words "virtue" and "vice." If this were the case with regard to Preston, did the same state of things exist in any other part of the country? He thought it would be found to exist in a very considerable portion of the kingdom. Mr. Clay had lately sent him an extract from his Report for 1854, which presented the same general results. He had received statements to a similar effect from Liverpool, Manchester, Durham, and from a different district altogether—Sussex. What was the statement from Sussex?—
The chaplain of the Sussex county prison at Lewes, whom I have had the happiness of knowing for seventeen years as a most careful, able, and conscientious clergyman, writes in his last report (1854)—'Gross ignorance still characterises the great body of our prisoners, and how much more has still to be done for the education of the poor may be judged from the single fact that out of 177 lads brought before me during the year not less than eighty were quite unable to read, and a great many more were nearly as unable to understand any useful book that might be lent them.' In his table, Mr. Burnets shows that of 699 prisoners, 267 could neither read nor write (38 per cent.), 304 could do so imperfectly (43 per cent.) Of 568 prisoners, 'examined more particularly,' seventy-nine were ignorant of the Saviour's name, and 320 were noted as 'scarcely knowing more.'
It was frequently said that the condition of what might be called the gaol class could form no guide for judging of the general state of the people of this country. But he could not admit the force of that argument. He believed that the very fact of the existence of a gaol class afforded a proof of the unsatisfactory mode in which our poorer classes were educated; and he would further observe that that class of offenders, whose cases were disposed of by summary conviction, were drawn from the working classes generally of the surrounding districts, and furnished, on the whole, a fair sample of the state of the popular education in those districts. He could not agree with his right hon. Friend, that Parliament ought not to disturb a system which produced such results, for, in his opinion, these results went far to prove that Parliament must, and ought to interfere with
the system now existing. His right hon. Friend had strongly objected to the proposal made by him (Sir J. Pakington), that the money required for educational purposes should be raised by means of a rate. His right hon. Friend had complained upon that head of the injustice of levying any rate upon real property exclusively. But he (Sir J. Pakington) did not mean to impose that burden on real property only. His proposal was, that a local rate should be levied not exceeding in any case 6d. in the pound, and that for every 6d. so raised there should be a contribution of the same amount voted by Parliament for the promotion of education. His right hon. Friend surely could not call that a tax upon real property exclusively. When he recollected how that House had voted millions for carrying on that unhappy war in which we were at present engaged, he could not believe that it would object to any fair and necessary burden for meeting the charge of educating the people. Any man who should oppose the imposition of a tax for such a purpose would, in his opinion, resemble a landowner who should object to the outlay of a sum of money for the drainage of his property. He could not help thinking that it would be better to spend money in educating the people, than to spend it in gaols and workhouses, and punishing the crimes produced by ignorance. It certainly appeared to him that his right hon. Friend formed a most exaggerated estimate of the amount of money that would be required to carry out that proposal. But he would pass on to the important question, whether rates should be levied for the support of education in this country, or whether the House of Commons should trust to the voluntary system as at present in force. He found that his right hon. Friend had drawn a very erroneous inference upon the point from a passage in a letter of Sir James Kay Shuttleworth, and he (Sir J. Pakington) had received a letter from that gentleman, in which he corrected the statement of his right hon. Friend, and expressed himself decidedly in favour of an educational system supported by public rates, and administered by local authorities. The letter was as follows—
Mr. Henley, in his speech on the second reading of your Education Bill, quoted the following passage from my volume on 'Public Education:'—'It would be difficult to conceive that any man of Parliamentary experience could gravely propose that local municipal boards should be in-
vested with power to establish rate-supported schools in every parish, with whatever constitution, to the inevitable destruction of the schools of the religious communions.' The passage thus quoted, without the context, leaves the impression that I am of opinion that a school-rate must destroy the schools of the religious communions; whereas the main object of the volume on 'Public Education' is to prove that the schools of the religious communions cannot be generally raised to the state of efficiency already attained by those schools which have pupil teachers without the aid of a school-rate; and to describe the mode in which such aid from a school-rate can be introduced, so as to avoid all disturbance of the existing system of public education, as created by the religious communions. I hope that the discussions on the Education Bills now before Parliament, will establish the expediency of raising the schools of the religious communions to a state of complete efficiency by the aid of a public rate, applied by local authority, not only so as to interpose no obstacle to religious charity, but rather to stimulate it to greater activity, by giving it a surer prospect of permanent success.
It appeared from the lately published volume of the Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education, that Mr. Kennedy, one of the inspectors of schools, was of the same opinion; that he believed the condition of many of our national schools was at present absolutely discreditable. Mr. Kennedy said—
I venture to think, however, that no plan will ever succeed in getting our schools duly and permanently provided with sufficient incomes, save one involving some organic change, such as an educational rate. I fear that no mere development of the present system in any direction can ever meet the wants I refer to. But if want of adequate funds be a general characteristic, even of those schools which have been able to avail themselves of the minutes of Council and to obtain annual grants, what is the case of those schools which have not been able to avail themselves of any of the annual grants, and which in the rural districts are still a majority of our schools for the poor? I see, officially, comparatively few of such schools, but I receive numerous communications respecting them; and they may be described in a word—simply as defective in every particular. While even the majority of our best schools are not institutions to be proud of, and such as would lead us to display them to foreigners as doing honour or credit to the country, the schools I now refer to—namely, those which cannot avail themselves of the annual grants, are almost wholly ineffective and a positive disgrace. And yet how painful it is to reflect that a majority of our national schools are inefficient and discreditable, yet such I believe to be the simple unvarnished truth.
His right hon. Friend professed to speak upon that subject in the views of the Church of England; but a considerable number of the clergymen of the Church of England had stated their belief that it would be impossible to maintain the schools
in an efficient condition unless some fund were set apart for the purpose. That was the opinion expressed by Archdeacon Ormerod, of Suffolk; Dr. Hook, of Leeds, another distinguished Church authority, said—
To dwell on the difficulties of maintaining a school would be mere waste of time; here it would be doubly so, the auditory being mainly composed of the witnesses to the fact. But long and careful consideration of the case would seem to lead to the conclusion that the urgent necessity of making such provision can only be met by rate or assessment. From solitary efforts no great additional resources can be expected. So far as the clerical support of parochial schools is concerned, in the great majority of cases the means of particular pastors may be considered as permanently taxed to the utmost by conscientious and benevolent obligations in support of particular schools. May all good results attend on what has been already done; their promoters desire no better reward. But it can hardly be expected that in so vital a question as is that of education, the welfare of so many should be left in dependence on the means, inclination, or ability of individuals or localities. The most effective, perhaps the only, means for meeting the difficulty would appear to be in a rate or assessment.
In consequence of the speech of his right hon. Friend he had lately received a letter from Mr. Ellis, a clergyman residing in the extensive parish of Burslem on the borders of the county of Stafford, stating that the population of that parish exceeded 7000 souls, and that it contained three good school-rooms, but that these school-rooms had been closed during the last five years from a want of the funds necessary to keep them up. Mr. Ellis said—
Will you permit me, as a clergyman in charge of a large, populous, and poor district, to address to you a few words on the subject of your Education Bill? The population of my district exceeds 7,000, being about two-thirds of the parish. I have three good schoolrooms (i.e., two houses), and for the last five years they have been all closed for want of funds, after every possible effort had been made to keep them open, and heavy responsibilities incurred by myself, which I found extreme difficulty in discharging. There are at this moment in the parish but three schools worth noticing—namely, the parish church national school, the Wesleyan, and one recently established by Lord Granville for his workmen, on the Irish National Board system, or something like it; whilst there are thousands of children growing up in total neglect of education. This case, I think, illustrates the inefficiency of voluntary efforts, and the absolute necessity of some such measure as you propose. I am very anxious to have schools for my people, and would grudge no trouble to make them efficient; but with nine children, and about 150l. of annual income, I dare not incur any pecuniary risk or obligation for them. Two things are requisite to secure the general education of such a locality.—1. Funds
for the payment of teachers and expenses. 2. A prohibition of the employment of children until they have learned to read and write. The latter, if duly enforced, would provide the former; for there would be so many children to be educated that they would fill all our schools, and require more, and their payments at a fair and moderate charge would supply ample funds; but there would still be a large number whose parents, being poor or vicious, would be either unable or unwilling to pay for them. If the poor law guardians had the power of providing for such extreme cases, our whole requirement would be met, and the difficulty and evil of a special rate (voluntary) would be avoided, and there might be no interference with the constitution or principle or management of any school. The certificates of masters, approved by the Privy Council, or of inspectors, either paid or unpaid, would be a sufficient guarantee of the child's fitness for employment. If some such measure as this was proposed, I do believe that it would meet with the approval of all parties, except the depraved and unfeeling parents (of whom there are too many) who sacrifice their children for the sake of the wages, however small, they can earn for them. May I submit the ideas here expressed to your consideration. As respects your own measure, I most heartily welcome it as a great improvement on our present position; but I confess I apprehend difficulties which I greatly fear would be found insuperable.—1. Such localities as this are already overburdened with rates, especially where there are boards of health, and a new rate for any object will meet with formidable opposition, especially if it is to be paid by unions instead of parishes—the rural parts of such unions being sure to oppose what principally benefits the towns.—2. The distribution of such rates would probably cause a great deal of contention and ill-will, and the Dissenters would make most unscrupulous efforts to drive our children to their schools, and make equally unscrupulous complaints against our teaching.—3. The religious instruction might become very meagre, and perhaps be more than omitted, from a desire to please all parties, for the sake of getting a greater number of pupils, and therefore a greater share of the rates. The exclusion of catechisms and such like I do not object to, but rather desire; but I fear for the teaching of the Word of God being neglected, as in the case in the Irish national schools. I have apprehensions I cannot put out of my mind, but still any measure providing funds is a great desideratum; and any Act having such an effect, however otherwise objectionable, must be accepted and adopted by the clergy who are situated similarly to myself. I beg to apologise for trespassing upon you with these observations, but I have long and earnestly studied this subject; and having read Mr. Henley's speech, which greatly surprised me, I wished to show you the practical inefficiency of voluntary efforts as illustrated in my own case; whilst I also see the difficulties of carrying out any measure involving a rate dependent on the will of a union, or parish, or borough, and to be distributed by a mixed and naturally discordant local body.
By the courtesy of Lord Granville, the President of the Council, he had received a return of the Committee of Privy Council as to the nature of the applications from
the clergy. He found that during the last few months of last year 135 applications had been received by the Committee of Council from clergymen, and that in thirty-two out of those 135 cases the imcumbents had been obliged to pay sums varying from 4l. to 74l. a year, or an average of 26l. a year, for the purposes of keeping their schools open; while, in the first few months of the present year, there had been 118 of those applications, and in thirty-four out of those 118 cases the deficiencies of the school incomes had to be made up by the clergyman in addition to his own pecuniary subscription. He need not point out that the clergy could not bear this strain upon them. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) said they might as well go on as they were, but if patrons failed and clergymen were unable to bear the expenses, how could the schools be supported? A great number of letters had been sent to the Church of England Society, a new society for education, urging the inability of the clergy to support the schools. In some cases they said they had incurred liabilities on account of the schools which they were unable to discharge, and in some that, unless aid were given, the schools must be abandoned. No one who was made acquainted with these applications could escape the conviction that some extraneous assistance was necessary; and, if so, how could it be obtained except by a rate such as this measure contemplated? The right hon. Gentleman said this plan, by making the schools free, would pauperise the country. He did not understand how that effect could be produced. During the last few weeks they had had two distinguished citizens of the United States who had filled the office of President listening to their debates, and he imagined they would be surprised to be told that the system of free schools in Philadelphia, New York, and Massachusetts had pauperised those States. Holland had free schools, but was not pauperised; and, to come nearer home, he would ask the Members for Scotland if that country had been pauperised because there existed there a system under which schools were supported by sums taken from the heritors very much in the shape of rates? It was not a little remarkable that he was contending at that moment for the adoption in England of a system similar to that which had prevailed in Scotland for a period of 200 years. But it was urged against his Bill
that it did not contain any provision for obviating the great deficiency of the present system—the want of a better attendance at the schools. Since the measure had been introduced, he had received innumerable letters, in most of which he had been recommended to enforce the attendance of children; and it had been further stated that the operation of the Bill itself ought to be compulsory and not permissive. Now, he would not attempt to decide what a Government ought to attempt to do upon the latter point; but he considered that an independent Member, sitting on the opposite side of the House, would, for the present at all events, undertake too much if he were to introduce a measure of a compulsory character upon that subject. With regard, on the other hand, to the introduction of an enactment which would make the attendance of children at schools compulsory, he should say that it would be manifestly premature to attempt anything of the sort until there were more schools to go to, and until the schools were better worth attending. He believed it would be impossible for the present to pass any measure for a compulsory attendance of children; but he denied that his Bill contained no provision calculated to insure a better attendance at the schools, because it would contribute to improve their character; and whenever that improvement took place, they had every reason to hope that greater numbers would seek in them the advantages of education. He could state a few remarkable cases to justify that expectation. A gentleman had established at Fochabars, in Scotland, a free school, open to children of every religious denomination, and it was found that in the winter season one-fourth of the whole population of the district attended that school; and that in the summer season it was attended by one-fifth of the whole population of the district. In the Minutes of Council of Education there was a statement made by Mr. Kennedy, with respect to the Church school at Rochdale, which would further establish the position for which he was contending. That statement was as follows—
This school is certainly a remarkable and interesting instance of the way in which a population learns to appreciate a good school. So great was the eagerness among the Rochdale people to get admittance into this school for their children, that during the past year the managers found it expedient to double the size of the room, so as to enable it to hold, with tolerable convenience, more than 500 children at
once, and that number is, I believe, now in attendance. This is interesting, because it shows that, to a very great extent at least, parents do appreciate a good school; and we may fairly infer that if all schools were raised to the level of the Rochdale parish school, our schools would be very much better attended. I admit that there will always be many parents who, under the present optional system, from indifference or poverty, will not send their children to a school however good. But still we have here great encouragement to improve our schools, with a view to larger attendance.
That was his (Sir J. Pakington's) belief. He believed that the prevalent indifference on the part of the peasantry to send their children to school arose from the general badness of the schools rather than from any other motive. It would be unjust to them indeed to suppose that in this respect they were not actuated by the same sentiments as other classes of the community; and he believed that the existing indifference on the point among them arose, as he said, from the badness of the schools. Of this he had a striking proof in the case of King's Somborne school. King's Somborne was an entirely agricultural parish, consisting of 1000 people. This was the account given of it:—
No 'squire, or any one above a farmer, except rector; not upon any high road, or near any great town. Of children in national school, fifty-three belong to other parishes, leaving 215 of the parish, or more than one-sixth of the population, under education. It appears that there are 152 children of labourers, and seventy of farmers and tradesmen. I am unable to distinguish in the school between the children of these classes. The popularity of this school is altogether unprecedented. Everywhere else the inspector is told of the indifference of the poor to the education of their children. Here he finds them manifesting an earnest desire to obtain for them the benefits of it. Agricultural labourers send their children from other parishes from three to four miles daily to school.
He had reason to hope, therefore, that if the schools of the country at large could be improved in the same degree as this school, that no unwillingness, but the contrary, would be exhibited on the part of the labouring population to send their children to them. At the same time he did not deny that hereafter it might be necessary to pass an Act somewhat like the Factory Act, to the effect that no child should be allowed to get employment without a certificate of a certain amount of education having been received. There was another statement also respecting the King's Somborne School, which bore upon the question of rating, and the objections raised to it by his right hon. Friend:—
Mr. Dawes conceived the idea of working out within the walls of his school a moral reformation in his parish. He found it thoroughly demoralised by the operation of the old poor law.… The average annual amount of rates for seven years, ending 1835, was 1,600l.; population, 1,025. Rates are now 1,000l.; population, 1,125. From a state which gave it unenviable notoriety as the opprobrium of the country round, it has emerged into a village remarkable for the orderly deportment of the inhabitants, regular attendance at church, neatness of their abodes, the cleanliness of their children, the punctuality with which they send them to school, and the sacrifices they make that they may do so.
He (Sir J. Pakington) admitted, however, that part of this reduction might be attributable to the operation of the new poor I law, but he believed also that Mr. Moseley was right in the main, and that so large a reduction was not from that cause alone, and that a great amount of it arose from the operations of the schools. There was another fact also which he (Sir J. Pakinton) considered of great importance, and which was illustrated in this school—namely, the mixing of the children of the farmers and of the labourers for the purpose of receiving an elementary education. There were at this school 152 children of labourers and seventy children of farmers and tradesmen. This was a subject on which he felt deeply, and which he thought the House ought not to lose sight of in dealing with the subject. One of the greatest wants of the country, in his opinion, was the want of instruction of the middle classes. The efforts of Parliament were altogether directed to the education of the children of the poor, but nevertheless no class stood more in need of education than the children of farmers and tradesmen. They had to pay a high price for an inferior education, and when free schools were established on the rates, when there would be no sense of receiving charity, he was quite sure that tradesmen and farmers would avail themselves of them. He saw no reason why the children of farmers and tradesmen, and those of labourers, should not be educated together, for elementary education. After that it would be the affair of the farmer and the tradesman to give their children what education they might see fit. An hon. Friend of his on the other side of the House had informed him that he had succeeded in establishing a school in his own neighbourhood on that basis; and it was in itself a subject which should not be lost sight of, as it was eminently calculated to be a benefit to both parties. Such schools,
however, could not be established generally, except by a rate, which would efface the idea of charity. His (Sir J. Pakington's) right hon. Friend (Mr. Henley) had done him great injustice—unintentionally he was satisfied—when he said the effect of the Bill would be to exclude altogether the clergy from interference in their schools; that its provisions wholly negatived, entirely ignored, the existence of the clergy and their action upon the education of the children. He (Sir J. Pakington) denied that statement. The right hon. Gentleman objected to the arrangements that existed in the Bill as regarded parishes, and said that as the Bill ignored parochial boundaries the ministers of religion would not know where to attend. He said, "By taking a district they sever the connection of the child with the minister of the parish; and no one particular minister of religion would have a superintendence or control in respect of the schools." He (Sir J. Pakinton) denied the justice of this statement. When he first brought in the Bill he was told that he had ignored the Holy Scriptures in the schools; that as he had made no provision for their being read, he had excluded them. When, however, the Bill arrived at a second reading, he gave an explanation which, he believed, was satisfactory to the House; and he thought he could now show that the allegation of excluding the clergy was equally unfounded as that statement. He had, in fact, no such intention. He would be, indeed, the last man in that House who would exclude the clergy from their rightful influence over youthful education, still less ignore the Scriptures. But, on the other hand, the clergy of the Established Church should not, in his opinion, assume the right to teach their religious doctrines to the children of Dissenters. Their action on the children of their own Church, he admitted, was indisputable; but he could not admit the same proposition as regarded other children. His right hon. Friend, therefore, had been led away by the same argument in this instance which had been urged against the Bill, on the wrongful ground that it excluded the Holy Scriptures. He (Sir J. Pakington) did not propose to deal with the existing schools in connection with the Church, unless they came in and claimed to take the benefit of the rate; nor did he propose to interfere in any sense with the just and legitimate influence which the clergy exercised over the Church schools of the country. With
regard, however, to the criticisms of his right hon. Friend upon the arrangements proposed in the Bill in respect to parishes, he (Sir J. Pakington) was bound to say that his right hon. Friend seemed to him to have been more anxious to criticise the measure than to make himself master of all the particulars of these arrangements. He (Sir J. Pakington) believed that any attempt to carry out a system of schools by means of parishes would be perfectly impracticable; and that in any measure whatever a system would have to be resorted to analogous to the provisions of his Bill. Archdeacon Williams, of Llandaff, pointed out, in his visitation charge, delivered in May last, how the parochial system would act in Wales. He said:—
Our Church schools are generally of a parochial character, and they are a part of our parochial economy. But in very many of our smaller, parishes there are really no elements out of which to form an efficient school—no adequate array of children to furnish either employment or remuneration for a well-trained teacher: and thus it is that, in a record of parishes without a school, the list is swelled with the names of those which, like Lanmihangel, or Eglwys Brewis, have but thirty-seven or seventeen inhabitants in the whole, and which can never therefore, either require or support separate schools for themselves. In cases like these, combinations, such as already in many instances exist, are all that can be looked for, and are certainly the provision at which we ought to aim.
§ His hon. Friend opposite, who took a great interest in the matter, had told him (Sir J. Pakington) that he had been obliged on his own estate, where the parishes were small, to put five parishes together for one school; and in his (Sir J. Pakington's) own county there were similar cases. In fact, in some parishes there would not be children enough to occupy a school, and it would require six or seven parishes to fill one; while, as the House had seen, at Burslem and other populous places, six schools were required for one parish. Consequently the parish plan would not be practicable. It was, however, not intended to interfere with voluntary schools. He believed, therefore, that he had answered his right hon. Friend's objections on that point. His right hon. Friend had said that the plan would tend to the secularisation of religion—"that if it were adopted there would be great risk of its slipping down into a purely secular system." Now, he denied the justice of that opinion. Upon what authority, however, did his right hon. Friend found it? By a reference to the United States of America. That he (Sir 1825 J. Pakington thought was not altogether fair. Any one who heard the argument of his right hon. Friend would suppose this plan to be the same as that pursued in the United States, whereas, on the contrary, it was the very opposite. In the United States system there was no distinctive teaching of religion, for there was no teaching of religion at all; while in his (Sir J. Pakington's) school-system there would he distinctive teaching in every school. He was afraid there was too much ground for the statement of his right hon. Friend as regarded America, that religious teaching and religious duty were neglected in that system to a dangerous extent; but in his (Sir J. Pakington's) system every school was required to have a distinct religious character, though no child should be forced to learn any particular religious doctrine against the will of its parents. The parallel with the American system, therefore, was not applicable. That was the only instance adduced by his right hon. Friend on that point; but he (Sir J. Pakington) could meet that with several instances on the other side. He could point to the Catholic and Protestant cantons of Switzerland, where an analogous system existed; he could point also to other foreign countries; and, above all, he could point to Scotland in proof of its efficacy. Would his right hon. Friend contend that the system of education pursued in Scotland led to secularisation, and that religious instruction was neglected in that country? On the contrary, though he believed there was no country in Europe more averse to Catholic doctrines than Scotland, yet Roman Catholic children were admitted to the schools, and no attempt was made to instruct them in other doctrines. If no such danger as his right hon. Friend apprehended had accrued in Scotland, why should it accrue in England? He (Sir J. Pakington) was fortified in his opinion by the case of the Birmingham school—that noble institution—and by that of the school at Wallingford. Therefore it appeared to him that in this respect his right hon. Friend had no ground whatever for his alarm on the subject. The only real danger of secularisation likely to arise was that which the extreme views of the Church of England on this subject might induce. If an intermediate system should be rejected by the Church party the danger was that the public, who were sensible of the inefficient state of public education in this country would, whether 1826 they liked or it not, be driven to adopt the secular system. He had been asked how they were to teach religion to the children of Roman Catholics and Jews in these schools? His answer was, that where the parents objected to the religious teaching of their children in the schools the parents would become responsible. His plan was founded upon the principle recognising the paramount right of the parent to teach religion to his child; and where the parent evinced sufficient anxiety on that subject as to make objections to his child being taught the religion of the Church of England, he considered that that would in itself be a sufficient guarantee on the part of the parent that the child would receive religious teaching according to his own principles. It had been asked, why interfere with the present state of things? The children of Dissenters at present attended the schools. He would, on this point, refer to a pamphlet which had been recently published by the Dean of Salisbury. He stated a remarkable fact founded on the report of the inspector of schools in Wales. He stated that there were many Dissenters in Wales, but that the church schools insisted upon teaching the Church doctrine to the children who attended the schools. The result was, the Dissenters would send their children to the schools and allow them to learn the Church doctrine and the Church catechism, but at the same time they themselves taught their children not to believe those doctrines. He would appeal to his right hon. Friend whether that was so good and honest a course to pursue as the one adopted by him. The system described by the Dean of Salisbury reminded him of an expression of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli) who had once spoken of an "organised hypocrisy." Against that he warned the House, and trusted they would not hold out encouragement to any such hypocrisy as that. On the other hand it was hard to oblige the poor to send their children to schools where doctrines were taught which they disapproved, or else to leave them uneducated. This was the cruel alternative proposed by the opponents of the Bill. He thought that if the House would consent to adopt a liberal system, which had been adopted in Scotland and in many parts of England, and which, wherever it had been adopted had proved advantageous, a practical solution would be found of the difficulty which had been proved to exist. There was only one point remaining on 1827 which he wished to touch, and that was the question of the appointment of local boards. To that part of the subject, he attached great importance, and he thought that having in every parish a respectable man to attend to the subject of education would tend to remove the indifference which at present existed among parents, and to secure a better attendance of children in the schools. If the House was going to establish an extended national system of education, and, consequently, to give rise to a large local expenditure, that expenditure could not be satisfactorily arranged by a central body, and, therefore, it would be necessary to have local boards, and, in his opinion, the principle of local boards as laid down by his Bill was preferable to that of vestries as laid down in the Bill of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell). He hoped, also, that the present constitution of the Committee of Council on Education would be changed, and that it would be converted into a recognised department of the State, represented in that House by a Minister who would be able to give authoritative answers to questions that might be put to him upon the subject of education. He was afraid that he had wearied the House by entering so much into detail, but he had found it necessary to do so in order to reply to the statement of his right hon. Friend; but the practical question was, whether the state of ignorance which now existed was to be permitted to continue, and he implored the House not to be led away by the arguments of his right hon. Friend or of those persons who entertained extreme views upon the subject of religious instruction in these schools, or of those who thought that, because in the immediate neighbourhood in which they lived the present system worked well, such was the case in all other parts of the country. The question was one which involved not mere considerations of a social or religious character, but it involved a great political question, for, at a time when it was to be expected that at no distant period there would be an extension of the franchise, it was of the utmost importance to fit those persons who would be called on to exercise the suffrage to perform the duties they would be called upon to discharge. There was nothing more dangerous than democratic institutions among an ignorant people, and the United States had, from the establishment of their independence, recognised the ne- 1828 cessity of spreading education as widely as possible. He had brought forward this Bill in no spirit of rivalry towards the noble Lord the Member for London, who had added lustre to a noble name by his exertions in the cause, but he had brought it forward because he believed that the noble Lord had been deterred from bringing in a measure upon the subject, either by the difficulties attendant upon the question or by some other cause. So far from acting in rivalry towards the noble Lord, he would be most willing to act with him as a humble fellow-labourer, or with any man who was willing to make an effort to free Christian England from the curse of a debasing ignorance. Let the Bill go to a Committee and be fairly considered; mindful of the words of the Scripture lesson for that very day, "A wise ruler will instruct his people."
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he should move as an Amendment that the debate be adjourned for four weeks. He thought that it was hopeless to expect the Bill to pass that Session, and to debate it was useless.
§ Amendment proposed, "To leave out the words 'Monday next,' and insert the words 'this day month,'" instead thereof.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, he thought that a month's adjournment was too long, and as the Limited Liabilities Bill was to come on upon Monday, he would propose Friday week, instead of that day week.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, he thought Monday next more convenient. It was of great importance to determine on the principle of the Bills.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, that his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington) had accused him of making use of figures which he was not authorised to make use of, but he could inform the House that he had used those figures on the authority of a book to which his right hon. Friend himself had referred in the course of the debate.
§ Question, "That the words 'Monday next' stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Debate further adjourned till Monday next.