§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he must protest against proceeding with the Bill at that late hour. He could not understand the pressure in bringing forward the Bill. 1586 Last Session it had been read a third time in that House owing to a mistake, and in the other House only one had voted for it. There was great opposition to the principle of the Bill in Scotland, and on the 30th of that month there would be meetings throughout Scotland, when the Bill would be considered, and it was not delicate or just to the people of Scotland to put the Bill forward till they had given their opinion. He would not move the rejection of the Bill, but its adjournment for a fortnight.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he did not intend to discuss the merits of the Bill, but it was one of the utmost importance to the people of Scotland, and the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate must be aware that it could not be read the second time without some discussion. At that hour it would be impossible to do justice to the question, and he thought the second reading should not be taken until after the forthcoming county meetings in Scotland. He, therefore, cordially seconded the Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon Friday the 9th day of May next."
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSON
said, the people of Scotland would consider, not the principle, but the details of the Bill in the meetings referred to. He, therefore, hoped the measure would set the question of education at rest, and would not oppose its postponement.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that as there would be no strenuous opposition to the principle of the Bill, he hoped that this stage of the Bill might be passed, reserving the discussion to another opportunity.
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, that the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate should not think that there was no opposition to his Bill on that (the Opposition) side of the House. He should support the Motion for adjournment. Many Scotch Members had gone down, or were going down, to attend their county meetings. He hoped this important stage of the Bill would not then be pressed.
§ MR. W. LOCKHART
said, that the Bill of last Session had been repudiated by its very supporters. He considered that the people of Scotland ought to be allowed to express their opinion before the second reading of the Bill was passed.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 90; Noes 47: Majority 43.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Debate arising; Debate adjourned till Monday 5th May.
§ The House adjourned, at half after One o'clock, till Monday next.