§ Order for second reading read.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he did not rise to oppose the Motion, although he could see that several objections might be made to the Bill. Some persons complained of the permissive power of taxation with which it would invest the magistrates; other persons were apprehensive that in reformatories supported by rates it would be found no easy task to deal with the religious difficulty which would naturally arise, and which would not be experienced in establishments supported by voluntary contributions. He was not prepared, however, to resist the Motion for the second reading of the Bill; but he wished it to be understood that although he assented to the Motion, he should not 1029 thereby be precluded from opposing the measure in any of its future stages.
§ MR. ESTCOURT
said, he also wished to state that he was not disposed to oppose the Motion, although he could not help fearing that if those reformatory schools were supported by rates, they would in a great measure lose their present efficiency.
said, that considering the number of juvenile convictions, either at quarter sessions or before the magistrates, it was quite impossible that the voluntary system could prove efficacious, and he therefore objected to a permissive Bill of this character. He hoped that in future vagrant children would not be incarcerated in prison, but be sent to these institutions.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, that it was quite evident the voluntary system had failed. In the great and wealthy West Riding of Yorkshire they had not been able to raise more than one little reformatory for about a dozen boys. Believing, however, that they were still in the infancy of the matter, and that hereafter a gradual improvement would take place, he could not but consider the measure before the House a step in the right direction, and he was therefore glad that the Government had brought it in.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he thought it would be extremely unjust that the burden of supporting reformatory schools should be borne entirely by benevolent persons. He, however, strongly objected to giving magistrates the power to tax the people without their having a voice in the matter. If he assented to the second reading, he must, on the part of the rate-payers, beg that sufficient time be given for them to discuss the subject.
§ SIR JOHN DUCKWORTH
said, he dissented entirely from the view that small schools, containing twenty or thirty children, would be ineffective. He thought the only mode of attaining success in this matter would be by introducing the family system into the reformatories, which could not be done if they had large establishments. He anticipated that, as in the case of the Police Bills, permissive rating would only be a step to a compulsory rating.
§ MR. MICHELL
said, he thought the tendency of the measure was objectionable inasmuch as it took taxation out of the hands of the people. He objected to giving magistrates any more power to levy rates, there being at present no controlling power 1030 over them. He should oppose the rating powers in the Bill, but not the erection of the schools.
§ MR. GRANVILLE VERNON
said, he concurred in hoping that the Government would give ample time for persons in the country fully to know what they were about to do. He was not quite sure himself that the present system of reformatories established by voluntary contributions and aided by the Government was not preferable to the plan of permissive rating. Permissive rating would ultimately lapse into compulsory rating, and the difficulty of religious teaching would necessarily follow.
§ COLONEL BUCK
said, he should oppose the Bill, on the ground that one class of people would have the power to rate another class withoat their having any voice in it. He did not object to the introduction of the system in the case of boroughs, where town councils, who were elected by almost universal suffrage, were the persons to put the Act into operation; but the case of counties was quite different. The police and county rates were very heavy, and he was no friend to the giving a greater power of taxation to magistrates.
§ SIR EDWARD KERRISON
said, he thought that the Government ought not to have introduced the measure until the existing reformatory institutions had been further tested; but as it had been introduced he was not disposed to offer any opposition to it.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for Friday, 13th of March.
§ The House adjourned at Twelve o'clock, till Monday next.