§ House in Committee of Supply.
§ (1.) £586,920, Public Education.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that the total amount of the Estimate for educational purposes in Great Britain amounted to £836,920. The total amount for the Science and Art Department was £93,394, making together a gross sum of more than £930,000. He would first address himself to the sum required for England. It was instructive and interesting to watch the increase of this Vote. The first expenditure for education, under the minutes of the Privy Council, in 1840, was £10,642 8d., and it had gradually advanced, year by year, until in 1849 the Parliamentary grant was £109,948. In 1852 it amounted to £188,000. In 1853 it rose to £250,000. In 1854 it rose to £326,000. In 1855 it rose to £369,000. In 1856 it rose to £423,000. In 1857 it rose to £559,000. In 1858 it rose to £668,000. It seemed therefore that a steady progress had been established up to the Estimate of last year at something like the rate of £100,000 increase per annum. The Estimate this year appeared larger, but from the£836,000 there should in fairness be deducted £75,765, made up of deficiencies of former years. In 314 the year terminating the 31st of March, 1857, there was a difference between the Estimate and the actual expenditure of £18,503; in 1858, of £12,409; in 1859, of £44,652—which three sums made up the £75,765. The Committee might consider that it reflected some discredit on the Department; but these Estimates differed materially from those in any other department of Government. They were not so properly estimates as conjectures. The Department offered the public money to the whole kingdom for the purposes of education on specified conditions, and any person who complied with the conditions was entitled to receive a certain sum. It was necessarily not in the power of the Department to calculate the amount with minuteness, because the sum did not depend on the Department, but on the will of the public to avail themselves of the Vote. Deducting the £75,000 from the Estimate, the result was an excess this year over last of £97,909, which seemed somewhere about the general rate at which the grant had been increasing. The cause of the increase of the grant required no minute analysis. It arose mainly from the fact that the system spread wider and wider, that a great demand for education was created, and the public were availing themselves of the facilities placed at their disposal by the Government. The items seemed to increase in steady proportions, except the grant for buildings, which, perhaps, owing to the amount of buildings already executed, was only as much as last year. Having made this little financial statement, if he had followed the bent of his own inclination he should have sat down; but he was informed that it was expected of the Gentleman who occupied the place which he had the honour to fill to say something on education, and however unwilling he might be to trouble the Committee, as it was expected of him, he thought it only respectful to say a few words upon the subject. The Committee was aware that a Commission under the presidency of the Duke of Newcastle was sitting to investigate the question of public education in this country. While that Commission was sitting it would be improper of him to trouble the Committee with any general speculations as to what the best form of public education might be. He thought it much wiser and better to wait until they saw what the Commission recommended; but he might be of some little service to the Committee, to the pub- 315 lic, and to the Commission, if, availing himself of communications which he had received from the very intelligent gentleman who directed this office, he placed he-fore the Committee the best appreciation he could form of the good and had points, and of the prospects of the system, so as to enable them to form a judgment how far it was suited to the wants of the country. Every candid and impartial person would find that that system could be shown to possess many and great advantages. In the first place, it was evident that it had arisen entirely from the existing state of things, without disturbing existing feelings, that it had sprung up by availing itself of the machinery already in existence of the great voluntary institutions which occupied the spiritual domain of this kingdom; and that it involved as little centralization as possible, because the plan had uniformly been to assist voluntary efforts, and not to put the Government forward to direct or originate any movement of the kind. It offended no honest prejudices, but left every sect free to teach its religion as it understood it, and merely gave the assistance of the Government in that good work. It had, therefore, done as much good with as little ill feeling as the state of English society could enable any system to do. It had given no ordinary proof of strength by showing that it had been capable of increase. There was no better test of a sound constitution, whether in a man, a tree, or a system, than a capability of growing to a maturity without altering their nature—remaining as in the beginning, and expanding gradually and symmetrically. It was impossible to deny that it had also the merit of a tangible result in the number of schools which it had raised. He thought he might fairly say raised, because, although private contributions to the public grants were in the ratio of three to two, there could be no doubt that the existence of a fund at the disposal of the Government for the assistance of private charity, benevolence, and piety, had called forth an amount of liberality which without that stimulus would not have been evoked. The system, therefore, could not be looked upon merely as an expenditure of Government money, but as a stimulus to liberality which had produced great results. There was another merit which he placed still higher. At the time it was established, popular education was in a most imperfect state; but if the present system were put an end to to-morrow, it would be found 316 that whatever system superseded, it must at least come up to the high standard of popular education it had created to satisfy the notions which had in consequence taken hold of the public mind. It bad another merit. It had not only established popular education in this country, but it had created for itself an agency by which that popular education could be carried out. By the machinery of pupil teachers—pupils retained in schools for teaching whom the schoolmasters were remunerated—it had raised a large and intelligent body of instructors, the possession of whom was a valuable benefit to any country wishing to disseminate widely the blessings of civilization. It had stimulated, too, the energies of the private teachers, because it had given to them an augmentation of their minimum allowance of £30 a year proportionate to their merits as tested by an examination. An inducement was thus held out to those teachers, without interfering unduly with them, not to remain satisfied with the knowledge which they had acquired, but to devote themselves to the acquisition of still further accomplishments in the line of their profession. It had also by the instruction of pupil teachers, who were not merely adapted to the purposes of teaching, but who went forth into the world, the sons of poor parents, with a great deal of useful information, contributed something to the cause as well of secondary as of primary education. The centralisation of the system had, moreover, conferred great benefits in matters of small consequence, but which were productive of great results. It was the practice of the Privy Council to receive orders from the various schools throughout the country for all the books which they required, and those books were, by an arrangement entered into with the booksellers, obtained at a discount of 40 per cent below the publishing price, and a facility of procuring good books was thus secured. The present system had also, by stimulating the demand for education, and by causing the expenditure of the public money, very much raised the remuneration of teachers, and by that means had accomplished that which all friends of education deemed desirable—namely, the giving them a hotter status in society, and thus making their profession one in which young men might feel a pride in being engaged. The system had, besides, owing to the process of constant inspection, kept up the standard which had once been established 317 in the schools, and had afforded the central office in London the means of seeing through the eyes of its agents that which was taking place in reference to education all over the country, so that the teachers in the different schools became possessed of the feeling that they must not rest on their oars, and that they were responsible to a Power which extended over them a vigilant and watchful care. Those which he had enumerated seemed to him to be the chief advantages which the system had conferred; and no candid mind, whatever might be its opinion of the soundness of the principle on which the system was based, could, he thought, deny that those advantages were of no ordinary character, and that whether the system became permanent, or an experiment which having been tried, had done some good in its day, but which was destined to give place to a more perfect system; there was no reason to repent that such a course had been entered upon as that the results of which he had just described. The total cost of the system had been about £3,700,000, and the Committee would, he thought, taking all things into consideration, be of opinion that that amount had not been ill spent. He should next advert to those defects which he felt bound to state, appeared to him to constitute the drawbacks of the system. Those drawbacks, he thought it but simple justice to his predecessors in office to say, were, in his opinion, to be attributed rather to the defective nature of the principle on which the system was founded than to any mal-administration of its details. The first objection to the system, and it was an obvious one, was that, being founded on the voluntary principle, it must be presupposed, before it could be brought into universal action, that persons in a position to contribute to the formation of schools and willing to undertake their management, would present themselves in every part of the land. The consequence of acting upon such a principle was, that it was found such persons were not forthcoming in those districts which stood most in need of schools, and vice versa. The objection to which he alluded was, however, one which, in his opinion, could not be remedied except by effecting in the system a fundamental alteration, inasmuch as it was the result of that voluntary principle upon which the schools in question were founded. Another evil was the necessity of laying down a number of strict rules and rigidly adhering to them to prevent the 318 Council from being devoured. No doubt several hard cases presented themselves in which no aid could be afforded, but if in reference to them the Council were to adopt an equitable construction of their rules, everything would become an exception, and bulwark after bulwark would be swept away until every demand made by respectable persons must be as a matter of necessity conceded. The next evil of the system to which he should advert was that which might be described by the phrase, which had become in some degree stereotyped, of "denominational" differences. When the system had been founded the trust deeds of the schools had been framed in a loose and imperfect way, but when the Government of the country had announced it to be their intention to assist the voluntary efforts of certain denominations the result had been that those documents had been drawn up with greater care, and that a perfect manual had been produced in which the different sects of Christians had been marked out in a distinct manner. Now, in his opinion, it was much to be regretted that the money of the public should be spent on schools founded on that exclusive principle. The remarks which had a few days before been made by the hon. and learned Member for Belfast with respect to another subject might well be applied to that, and were, he thought, deserving of the consideration of the Committee. They raised the question whether the public was not justified in saying that before a grant was made to the schools of any denomination they should require the introduction of some sort of "conscience clause" into the trust deed, so that children might not be compelled to learn the formularies of the sect to which the school belonged if its parents objected. That was in effect already done in many instances. There were clergymen of the Church of England who were better than their bond, and were willing to open their schools; but others, he was bound to say, seemed to use the formularies of their Church in such a manner as to drive away from the schools those who did not consent to receive such religious instruction as they deemed it right to give. There was also another evil connected with the system, which he wished to point out to the Committee. He alluded to the terms which had from time to time been made by different denominational sects with the Privy Council, and which were to the effect that the Inspectors 319 should belong to the same denomination as the schools which they were appointed to inspect. Now, when it was borne in mind that there were some seven or eight different denominations whoso schools were placed under the operation of the system, and that each claimed to have its schools inspected by an inspector holding its own particular tenets, it was obvious that great complexities must arise, as well as a considerably increased amount of labour and expense. Indeed, he believed he was justified in saying that out of the fifty-nine Inspectors who now acted under the Committee of the Privy Council for Education, the services of one-third at least might be dispensed with, were it not for the rule to which he had just adverted. Another evil of the system was that it occasioned great complexity in connection with the accounts, which it was necessary to keep at the central office. There were, for instance, at the present moment 15,000 pupil teachers in the receipt of a different rate of salary in different schools, whose positions and characters it was requisite should be known at the office. Charges which might be made against any of them must be inquired into, and an amount of correspondence was thus occasioned which reached a very considerable extent. There were besides nearly 6,000 schoolmasters and schoolmistresses in the receipt of augmented grants on different scales, which had to be renewed at different periods, and in their case also a large amount of correspondence took place. There were in addition fifty-nine inspectors of different religions, who had to be despatched upon their peregrinations in such order as that each might inspect the schools which belonged to his own denomination without interfering with the duties of his colleagues. There were, moreover, building grants, in reference to which the question whether the money for the purpose could he raised or not, often remained in suspense for a period of eighteen or nineteen months. Then came training schools, into which a certain number of the pupil teachers were admitted as Queen's scholars by competition, where the}' were maintained, and where exhibitions were conferred upon them. There were also payments made to those schools, which were regulated by the number of scholars who happened to pass an examination at the end of the first year, the result being that at Christmas in each year the Committee of the Privy Council had to conduct the correspondence relating to the examination of not less than 6,000 320 persons. Another difficulty connected with the system arose out of the practice of granting public money to the managers of schools, who, not being a corporation, were an uncertain and fluctuating body, so that when they disappeared the Committee of Council for Education did not know with whom to deal, or who were the persons who represented particular schools. The defects which he had mentioned struck him as being serious drawbacks upon the present system, and he trusted he had referred to them as well as to the advantages which had resulted from it in a spirit of fairness and with no view to prejudice the minds of hon. Members upon the subject. His object in entering into the details which he had laid before the Committee was that they might be the better enabled to form a judgment as to whether the system possessed in itself the elements of perpetuity, or whether having performed its allotted task it should pave the way for something more perfect. Perhaps he might be allowed to add a few words on the probable ultimate cost of public education. We had at the present moment under instruction in England about 821,000 children, and for their education there was an estimate of £761,000, deducting the amount which represented the deficiency of former years; thus furnishing something like £1 per head for the education of each child, or, to speak more accurately, providing education for thirteen children for a sum of £12. Now there were about 3,000,000 of children who, if the system were fully developed, ought to be brought under the action of public education. It was not, however, likely that that object could be exactly attained, while it was obvious that before it could be secured the number of children requiring instruction would have increased in proportion to the increase in our population. He wished, at all events, to call the attention of the House to the fact that, in order to provide for the education of 3,000,000 children, an army of 200 inspectors, 18,000 schoolmasters and schoolmistresses, and 45,000 pupil teachers would be required, while it would be necessary that there should be a proportionate expense incurred for other purposes. Now, it was an important question whether any Department of the Government should be placed at the head of an organization such as that he had described. It was, no doubt, a difficult matter to calculate with accuracy what the expense of making it would be, inasmuch as 321 that expense would not be increased exactly in proportion to the increase in the number of pupils. There was, for instance, no less a sum than £150,000, which was the present estimate for building fresh schools, and which was an item which would not go on increasing year after year. Still, supposing things to proceed at the present rate, the total expenditure for educational purposes would, in a few years, amount to £2,500,000 per annum. Now that was a very grave consideration which he had not sought at all to conceal from the Committee. While, on the one hand, all must rejoice that so much money was being spent for so good a purpose, yet, on the other hand, they must recollect that the expenditure was increasing, and consequently additional demands were being made upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would only add a few words as to schools of science, in respect to which the result of past years was most gratifying. He found from a return from the institutions of science, including schools of navigation, that the attendance upon scientific lectures was 68,212; and in the art schools, where drawing was taught, the total attendance was 79,473, being an increase of 83 per cent over 1857. Another gratifying feature connected with these drawing schools was, that they were gradually emancipating themselves from Government aid, and one by one were becoming self-supporting. Of course, in schools of that description a higher stratum of society was reached, and therefore more assistance was obtainable in carrying out the objects of education. In primary education the cost was, as he had shown, not quite £1 per head, whereas the pupils in art schools only cost 10s. 1¼. per head, including all the expenses of the Department. He thought, therefore, that Department was in a very gratifying position. He thanked the Committee for the attention which it had given to his statement, and in conclusion he could only express a hope that they might be enabled by union, precaution, judgment, liberality, and mutual concession, to arrive eventually at some solution of the question which, while it left inviolate the feelings of professors of different creeds, would really give to the people of England a thoroughly good education in the branches of knowledge befitting their stations in life, and that the giving of that knowledge should not be attended by unreasonable expenditure or 322 the, imposition of additional burdens upon the revenue of the country.
Motion made, and Question proposed,—
That a sum, not exceeding £580,920, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge for Public Education in Great Britain, to the 31st day of March, 1860.
§ MR. BAINES
said, he rose to make a few remarks upon the important and interesting statement that had just been made. In following the right hon. Gentleman who had so ably addressed the Committee, he (Mr. Baines) claimed their indulgence as one who had during the whole of his life entertained a conscientious sense of the importance of the question of education. He had the deepest sense of the value of education, he had advanced it by all the means in his power, and he rejoiced to find the feelings of the House and of society in general very different on this subject to what they were in the days of his youth when discussions used to take place whether it was desirable that education should be universal. He must, however, take leave to express his alarm at the rapid progress which these educational Votes were making. In order to justify his apprehension upon that head, he would remind the Committee of the words used by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer a year or two ago, when the right hon. Gentleman said he viewed with great jealousy the continual increase in the Educational Votes, as the officers of that Department seemed to think that the expenditure of public money was a necessary duty on their part. The Rev. Frederick Temple, the head master of Rugby School, and late Chief Inspector of Schools, also said that probably two-thirds of the money expended in the capitation grants had been applied in aid of schools which would have done quite as well without such assistance, that in short they had not been spent in promoting education, but in relieving others from the burden of so doing. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) had candidly admitted the amazing rapidity with which these grants were increasing, and that in a very few years they might amount to £2,500,000, if not £3,000,000. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer last year led the House to believe that these grants would amount in the course of a few years to £3,000,000. He had, therefore, the highest authority for saying that these grants deserved the most serious consideration of the House. The grants began in 1832 with a sum of £20,000. That 323 amount crept up to £100,000 in 1847. In 1853 the amount reached £260,000; in 1856–7 it was £451,000; while in 1859– 60 the amount sought for was no less than £836,000, being an increase of no less than 26 per cent upon the previous year. In dealing with this question, however, he could not avoid calling special attention to the capitation grants. Those grants began in 1854 by a stroke of the pen in Downing-street, and were made applicable to all the small towns and rural districts, without the House being afforded the least explanation or justification. Two years afterwards, by another stroke of the pen, and the introduction of a single line into an estimate, but also without discussion, those grants were extended from the poorer and rural districts of England to the whole country. The consequence was that the largest amount of capitation grants was paid to schools in large towns where the least assistance was required. In the town which he represented—Leeds—there was a factory school belonging to one of the wealthiest and most liberal manufacturing firms in this country (Messrs. Marshall and Co.) which received a large amount of Government aid, which, although not sought for by the generous founders of the school, was still an application of public money for the economy of private funds. Take another case, the school attached to St. George's church in the same town. The congregation of that church was large, wealthy, and pious, able to support the school with profusion, and yet, because the public money was offered to them they took it, and thus, without any ground or necessity, the public funds were devoted to the maintenance of that school. This was a most wanton and unwarrantable waste of the public money. It was expending the money of the country on those who needed it not, while the expenditure was mounting up to a sum that frightened Chancellors of the Exchequer on both sides of the House. A third step was about to be taken this year, to extend the system from England and Wales to Scotland, notwithstanding that the schools in that country were supported by wealthy communities, who had shown a power of raising money for religious purposes that might make us proud of the country in which we lived. The fourth step which the right hon. Gentleman was about to take was to make a capitation grant in behalf of night schools. Pupils who attended fifty times in the whole year, or one night in a week, were to receive a 324 capitation grant, and they were thus about to expend the public money upon young persons, all of whom were in the receipt of wages, who were able to pay for their education in these evening schools, and who would be positively benefited by being called upon to devote a part of their earnings to this purpose. Another evil was that they were causing the public purse to enter into competition with private efforts, and with the exertions of men who depended upon their skill and knowledge for their support. Such a grant would also injure the Mechanics' Institutes, the main object of which, in the view of Dr. Birkbeck, Lord Brougham, and their other founders, was to convey instruction in evening classes. Such a capitation grant would take away the pupils from the Mechanics' Institutes, and would injure the popular character of those institutions. He had the pleasure of meeting the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington), at an assembly of the Yorkshire Union of Mechanics' Institutes. Their Union comprised 138 Mechanics' Institutes, having in the aggregate 25,000 members, and containing 8,000 or 9,000 members in attendance upon evening classes. The Government were about to set up a competition with those popular and voluntary institutions, and to damage associations that were doing the utmost possible good to the country. He wished also to draw attention to the amazing increase in the cost of the schools for the training of teachers. The vote under that head amounted last year to £67,700, and this year it had been increased to £122,000. They were, consequently, now spending the public money at the rate of £26 for every pupil teacher who came to the training colleges for instruction. He should not begrudge that outlay if it were really necessary, but in truth there was no necessity in the matter. These young men, or their friends, used to pay for this instruction, and very properly so, before the system of grants commenced. The British and Foreign School Society had recently in one year received £4,700 for the instruction of teachers from the Government, and only an aggregate of £26 from the teachers themselves. For twenty, thirty, nay forty years before this system of profuse grants began, that school in the Borough-road was devoted to the instruction of teachers. The Sovereign, the Duke of Bedford, Lord Brougham, and many other distinguished personages, used to subscribe to the school, 325 which now dispensed with voluntary contributions for the instruction of teachers, the whole amount being defrayed from the public purse. This was a most unnecessary, and to his mind a profligate waste of the public money. Why was the state to defray the expense of educating the schoolmaster? Let the Committee consider the principle involved. It did not undertake the education of any other class—of lawyers, medical men, authors, editors, or farmers. They singled out the schoolmaster, and although he knew that a distinction might be made in favour of this exception, yet he ventured to express his opinion that there was no safe, solid, and right ground of distinction between the schoolmaster and other classes, and that there was no call upon the country to educate the schoolmaster. The right hon. Gentleman said that the proof of a system being good was in the growth that attended it. Well, were the results as evinced in the growth of the present as compared with the former system such as justified the expenditure? The number of children now attending the schools receiving aid from the State was 821,000. There was no proof that a single one was a new scholar. What then was the probability? What had been the advance before the present system began, and what had it been since? He found in the Census Report of Mr. Horace Mann that from the year 1818 to 1833 the number of day scholars in England and Wales had increased from 674,000 to 1,276,000. Thus, in fifteen years the increase had been eighty-nine per cent. During the whole of this time not one sixpence of the public money had been granted either in aid of building or instruction in England and Wales. The increase from 1833 to 1851 was from 1,276,000 to 2,144,000—an increase of sixty-eight per cent. During nearly the whole of the latter period also, there had been no grants of public money, except in aid of building schools, as the contributions of the State for the annual expenses did not begin until 1847. He would now ask whether there was any evidence to make it probable that the increase was so great since these grants as before? He would state the only facts and figures of which he was aware bearing on the subject. The National School Society, published a report of the number of children under instruction in 1847, and another in 1857. In the former of these volumes they compared the number in 1837 with 326 that in 1847, so that here were two periods of ten years which might be compared. The National Society was well known, and he, a dissenter, admitted most cheerfully the good it had done. He did not approach this subject with the slightest sectarian spirit. [A laugh.] He was sure that the hon. Gentleman who laughed did not understand him. He was certain that the insinuation thus conveyed was not true. He was ready to approve all systems of education which did not infringe on the rights of conscience. He had never, in all his life, expressed any jealousy of the growth of Church schools, but when, as a Dissenter, he saw himself excluded from benefits which the Church reaped so largely, he felt justified in complaining of hardship and grievance, but he did not do so because he grudged the benefits which the Church realized. He would state a few facts founded on the reports of the National Society in 1837, 1847, and 1857. The number of their day scholars in 1837 was 558,000, in 1847 the number increased to 955,000, being an increase of sixty-two per cent., and by the report published a week or two ago, the number appeared to be 1,187,000, being an increase of no more than twenty-four per cent. In the former period of ten years the increase was sixty-two per cent.; and during that time they had not received one shilling of the public money for the annual expenses of the schools, but only for school buildings; and in the last period of ten years, during which they had received millions of the public money, the increase was only twenty-four per cent. He would ask hon. Gentlemen to consider whether these facts were not important, and whether the end which they had sincerely and honestly in view was realized by this system. He believed that the increase in the number of day-scholars was actually less since the system of grants began than it was before. In a report of the Inspector of Schools in his own district in the county of York, an excellent man, the Rev. Frederick Watkins, it was stated that nearly nine4enths of the children of the working classes only attended school for about three years; and doubts were expressed whether the educational system had hitherto been suited to the wants and circumstances of the people, whether it had not attempted to reach too high an intellectual point, and whether it was suited for persons who had to obtain their livelihood by daily work. He thought, however, that there was a fallacy in the 327 statement that the children only attended school for three years. They might not remain at the same school for a longer period, but those who knew the habits of the poor were aware that they were continually moving about, and consequently the children went from one school to another. In 1851 Mr. Horace Mann distinctly stated that the number of children then at school gave an average of five years' education to every child in England and Wales. Now, as every child was not in the course of receiving education, the average attendance of those children who went to school must have been higher than five years. He trusted that the Committee would think him justified in complaining that public money should be expended on schools, while a considerable portion of the community were excluded from participating in the grants, on account of the conscientious views they entertained. No doubt some Dissenting sects had no objection to receive the grants. The Wesleyan Methodists, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the Roman Catholics were in this category; but on the other hand, the Independents, the Baptists, who possessed from 5,000 to 6,000 places of worship between them, nearly the whole of the minor sects of Dissenters, and the United Presbyterians of Scotland, refused to do so. There was another important body, who did not conscientiously approve the principle on which the Committee of Council acted, but who took the money, because they thought it was better than nothing; he alluded to those who were in favonr of secular education. He did not belong to that class, for his belief was that religion was a most important element in education, and he was, therefore, decidedly in favour of religious education. But he said that the system now prevailing was one which, in the homely language of a friend of the secular system of education, made everybody pay to teach everybody else's religion. Was it not a very serious hardship to compel people who could not conscientiously receive public money in aid of their religious teaching, and also others who were in favour of secular education alone, to pay for a distinct teaching of religion in which they did not agree? He was friendly to every measure for conferring all civil rights on the Roman Catholics, and on every class of the community, but he could not, with his views, make himself willingly instrumental in teaching that which he solemnly believed to be error. Any other principle must proceed to the length of 328 the universal endowment of all religions, and to that they would come if they followed out the principle on which these schools were endowed. He apologized for occupying the attention of the Committee so long, but he hoped the Committee would believe that the views he had expressed he entertained sincerely, and that he was anxious for the spread of education. He verily believed, however, that they would find it best to leave education, like industry, to a system of perfect freedom. Let the hands of Government be taken off, and religion, literature, education, and everything else, would prosper more surely when left to the self-relying energies of the people, and to a more healthy and honest system. In conclusion he would entreat the right hon. Gentleman to direct his attention to the subject of the capitation grants, and would express a hope that he would next year be prepared to inform the House whether he was disposed to support that system.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, that every attempt at national education in this country had invariably turned out to be denominational, and indeed that system was the only one which, according to experience, could be effectually carried out in Great Britain and Ireland. The hon. Gentleman who had last spoken, and to whose opinion on this subject the highest respect was due, seemed inclined to trust entirely to the voluntary system with respect to education. The hon. Gentleman complained of the great expense which was incurred in grants for educational purposes, and to that extent he could not but sympathize with him for he (Mr. Adderley) thought that the gradual increase in the amount of this Vote deserved serious and careful consideration; but when the hon. Gentleman contended that the voluntary principle might be relied upon for the education of the country, he must surely be oblivious of the state of education before the present system was commenced. If in this country there were more men like the hon. Gentleman, who, possessing wealth, were disposed to apply it to the promotion of the important object of educating the poorer classes, there would be the less necessity for appeals to the Treasury in aid of what might be much more satisfactorily accomplished by voluntary action. The hon. Gentleman would see, however, if he looked back for twenty or twenty-five years, that much had been done under the present system, and that the state of things was very different from what it was before the present system 329 commenced. This improvement could only be attributed to the mode in which it had tended to stimulate voluntary exertions, which before, had proved insufficient alone. It appeared that the increase in this Vote amounted to nearly £100,000 a year. A good part of the present increase of estimate had been fairly stated to be a balance of arrears. He thought, with reference to the able argument of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), that it depended almost entirely on the policy upon which the present system was administered whether that particular system could be regarded as permanent or temporary. If the policy of administration was sound, and the increase of expenditure was properly controlled, the system might be permanent, but if the administration was carelessly conducted upon unsound principles, it must soon come to a conclusion. Now what was the sound principle? It was that which had been laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, and was very much the principle which actuated the mind of the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines); namely, that this system of Government interference in education was an anomaly throughout from beginning to end, and could not be based upon any regular commercial principle, or upon any principle that dictated the expenditure of the nation upon any other subject whatever. The business of the Government was to do as little as it could with reference to what was really the duty of the people themselves. The education of children was naturally a parental function, and was not the proper duty of the Government, which only interfered where its interposition was absolutely necessary, and after voluntary action was stimulated and in constant proportion as it became self-acting, the Government's aid should be at the earliest possible period withdrawn. The duty of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) was therefore to watch carefully the public expenditure for education, and to reduce every unnecessary grant of public money the instant it was found that the object could be attained in some other way. It might be very well for autocratic Governments to put themselves in the place of parents with reference to education, but that was not consistent with the spirit which animated the Government or the people of this country. The true spirit of this country was represented by the principle which had been advocated by the hon. Member for Leeds. The voluntary action of the people themselves was that which must 330 be looked to in the question of education. In America, that voluntary action took the form of general taxation for the education of the whole nation which voted it. In England, the nation educates itself by private means, and resorts to taxation only in aid of the poor. There was certainly a very poor class of parents who could not wholly or sufficiently fulfil their natural duty in this respect, and in such cases it was the duty of the Government to supply the absence either of will or power to discharge the obligation. He thought, however, that in the first instance they should look to the rich inhabitants of each locality and the employers of labour for this bonus to the poor. They were the natural patrons and guardians of the poor, and it was not until the parents had failed in will or ability, and their rich neighbours and employers had failed in will or ability, that it became absolutely necessary for the Government to step in rather than let any children remain without education altogether; but even then, when public aid was obliged to supplement the incapacity of the parents and the negligence of patrons, the true principle was not to go to the Treasury but to local funds of public money—that is to rates. Then what did they come to? They had then to encounter the religious difficulty which had proved insurmountable in this country with regard to local rates for the purposes of education. The only mode of avoiding this difficulty was by coming to the Government far away from and above all local jealousies to arrange impartially among all religious bodies the distribution of aid necessary to supplement the want of means in various districts. The advantages and disadvantages of this system had been most ably stated by the right hon. Gentleman, who, he thought, however, had somewhat exaggerated its difficulties. The right hon. Gentleman stated that they were now dealing under this system with some 800,000 children, while there were in the country about 3,000,000 of children of an age for education. It must be remembered, however, that many of this number were the children of persons who were in such a position in society that no recourse to public aid was necessary for their education. Till you come down to quite the lower classes of society you do not begin to count in England the subjects for public aid in education. By stimulating voluntary action the public expenditure for educating those dependant on it might still further be economized, because the object 331 was to induce local bodies more and more to come forward and bear the chief portion of the increased outlay on education. But while the right hon. Gentleman had exaggerated the prospect of increased expenditure, no doubt the present Vote was very large, and the House must look to him to carry out the principles he had laid clown that night. The Government must not listen to the demands of everybody, but should yield only where necessity compelled them to aid a deficiency of means on a given spot. He hoped he had done so, and had economized the rate of expenditure on several heads. The capitation grant was one of the most anomalous parts of an anomalous system. An opinion of Dr. Temple had been quoted as if it applied to the whole system of expenditure on national education. Dr. Temple, however, was in favour of giving subsidies to educational expenditure generally equal to the sums voluntarily raised, and his objections in the passage in question were confined to the capitation grants, because those grants were, in fact, the first departure that was made from the principle of a subsidy. They were mere doles from the public purse, given on no principle except that of a certain rate of attendance at the schools. They were wholly unappropriated and merely replaced in subscribers' pockets that amount which had already been forthcoming. Those grants were, indeed, originally limited to small and remote country districts the poverty of which was supposed to prevent them from helping themselves; but that restriction was subsequently broken down, and the grants extended indiscriminately to all places, rich and populous towns, as well as remote country villages. The consequence was that in many cases they now went to places where they were not wanted, and where the manager of the schools hardly knew how to get rid of them. If, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would have the courage to bring the capitation grant back to its original purpose he would do a great service to the public. At the same time, there being now no prospect of separate legislation for Scotland, which prospect was the sole cause of any distinction being made, the capitation grant could not fairly be denied to that country while it was conceded to England. As to the evening schools, to which the hon. Gentleman had taken some exception, there was no more useful part of the system. The important period in a boy or girl's life between childhood and adolescence was 332 that in which there was the greatest danger that all the knowledge acquired at the day schools would be entirely lost; and if their system could not bridge over that interval by affording the means of instruction to those whose inevitable lot was early labour, it would be marked by one cardinal defect fatal to the success of the whole. It might be said that this gap would be filled up by the Mechanics' Institute, but it was precisely because the Mechanics' Institute had hitherto failed to achieve this end that the State had been called upon to intervene. This, therefore, was the last part of the Vote that it would be wise to retrench. The House would doubtless be always ready to advance the cause of education; but the Estimates required to be carefully watched; and if the report of the Commission which was now examining into the general subject of national education did not furnish satisfactory information to guide them, or even if the publication of that report was much longer delayed, it would be advisable for the House itself to institute an inquiry whether that growing expenditure might not be reduced to the proper and legitimate function of merely supplementing voluntary exertion as far as necessity compelled, and by no means superseding it.
said, the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last was rather sanguine in thinking that the way in which those Estimates were to be reduced was by the administration of his successor. Under the right hon. Gentleman's own administration that expenditure, instead of being diminished, had increased. It was altogether a mistake to suppose that the matter could be regulated by mere administration. The amount of those Estimates no doubt depended on the minutes of Council, which it was open to any Government to alter; but while those minutes remained the same they must make up their minds to encounter an increasing charge. The province of the State was not merely to supply the deficiencies of voluntary educators, but rather to improve the quality of the instruction. No attempt had been made by the Government to educate the people, and therefore the system was not open to the charge of undue centralisation. The object of the Government had rather been to direct and aid the education which was already given without them. He thought a careful inspection of the schools under the direction of the Privy Council would show that the education in those schools 333 had been so greatly improved as fully to justify the expenditure. Before the minutes of Privy Council there was no system of inspection, no effective training colleges, no pupil teachers. The advantages brought to bear on the schools by that expenditure —in addition to the aid given to buildings—in the steadiness and perpetuity afforded to them by a large and regular stipend, and which the changing zeal of voluntary effort could never fairly hope to secure, would prove that the money had not been altogether spent in vain. They had a system in operation equal to any in Europe, and in his opinion the country had unequivocally declared itself in favour of its continuance. The mainspring of the education of the poor in this country had been religious zeal, and all that the Government had sought to do was, not to interfere with or to restrain that zeal, but to give it a wise direction. The Privy Council system, properly speaking, did not teach religion at all. It provided for the religious teaching in the Church schools being reported upon, but it had no voice in the teaching itself, and no control over it. It interfered with nobody's conscience; what it did was to afford free scope to the zeal of the Church in educating the people. It ought to be remembered, when so much fault was found with the system of capitation grants, that it tended to produce greater regularity of attendance in the schools. For every grant of money that was made the Privy Council expected to see a corresponding advantage, either in the improvement of the building or in that of the teacher or the attendance. No doubt many wealthy schools might do without the capitation grant, but to the great bulk of the schools which participated in it, it formed the most essential part of their income, and the withdrawal of that grant would lead in many instances to the declension of the school. The question of attendance was all-important, and yet he thought it would not be wise for the Government to have recourse to any compulsion with the view of inducing the children of the poor to remain longer at school than they usually did. The children of the working classes generally were found not to attend school much beyond the age of ten. They were then put to some employment, which, it must not be forgotten, was of itself a sort of education in the business of their future lives; and after leaving school their shortcomings in education might to some extent be supplied by attendance on night schools. There was, 334 however, a deplorable deficiency of night schools, which might be remedied by a system of aid from the Government, judiciously rendered. He agreed with the hon. Member for Leeds, that the Government might very well aid the Mechanics' Institutes, as well as other schools; and he should have been glad to see the Privy Council minute extended to night schools connected with Mechanics' Institutes. Those Mechanics' Institutes were rapidly becoming more and more places where much good solid teaching was imparted in the evenings. They did not confine themselves merely to elementary instruction, but opened up a much wider sphere of information in literature and science to those who frequented them, and he looked forward to the time when the larger of those institutions, by assistance from the Government, might become so many colleges for working men. In conclusion he would say that until the House was prepared to make a great organic change in the system, they must make up their minds to advance this large sum yearly for the moral improvement of the people, satisfied that it was, on the whole, well employed.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he was not at present prepared to modify any of his opinions on this subject, as formerly expressed; but he could not refrain from indicating his sense of the excellent spirit and tone which distinguished the speech of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baines) the Member for Leeds. He felt the greatest pleasure in seeing the hon. Gentleman hold a seat in that House, affording him as it did the fittest opportunities for stating those views which he was so well known to entertain on subjects connected with education. He was afraid the hon. Gentleman and he regarded this great question from different points of view; but he felt certain that no one who had paid considerable attention to the subject of popular education could have failed to be deeply impressed with the signal ability and zeal which the hon. Member had displayed in its treatment and advocacy during many years. He agreed with the hon. Member for Leeds in viewing this Vote with distrust, but the reasons of his distrust were very different from those which actuated the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Leeds regarded the Vote with distrust, because he altogether disapproved of State assistance. Now he (Sir John Pakington) regarded it with distrust not on that ground, but because he strongly doubted whether the 335 State assistance which they gave was given in the wisest and most economical mode. He had heard with satisfaction what had fallen from both sides of the House as to the vast magnitude of this Vote, and he believed that they had not arrived at anything like the maximum amount which this Vote would reach if they persevered in the present system. He had no doubt that in course of time it would reach £2,500,000 or £3,000,000. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last said it was not a centralized system. Certainly the bad effects of a centralized system were as much as possible obviated in practice, but there was no doubt that by the mode in which the grant was being administered, it was acquiring some of the evils alluded to. In his opinion the hon. Member for Leeds gave expression to a great truth in what fell from him on the subject of the capitation grant. He (Sir John Pakington) distrusted the growth of this grant, and the mode in which it was administered. He did not object to a large expenditure for the education of the people, but he wished to see it administered in a mode in which the public would have greater confidence than they had in the present system. He did not believe in the possibility of a central board administering such an amount with due economy and with proper advantage to the public. Nevertheless, he was not disposed to vote against a single shilling of the amount till he saw some better system proposed. What he mainly rose to do, however, was to ask the Vice President of the Council a question relative to the Commission which he (Sir John Pakington) was successful in getting appointed in the spring of 1858. It gave him great satisfaction to find that the services of the Duke of Newcastle had been obtained as President of that Commission. A better selection could not have been made as the noble Duke had devoted great attention to the subject; but he had now undertaken arduous duties of a different kind; and he wished to inquire whether the noble Duke still continued to act as President of the Commission, or whether his present duties had rendered it necessary that the presidency should he deputed to other hands. If so, he should like to know who was now at the head of the Commission. But a more important question was, what prospect was there of the House receiving the Report of that Commission? He was satisfied that the House would not be prepared to effect any change 336 in the existing system till the Report of the Commission was received: and he should therefore be happy to have an answer to his question from the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. LIDDELL
observed that they had heard a great deal about the enormous increase in this Vote, and that it was likely to increase rather than diminish, but they ought not wholly to regard this Vote as it appeared upon the Estimates. They ought rather to compare it with the reports of the Inspectors of Schools, and although those reports, in their candid feeling and details, might not contain so satisfactory an account of the education of the country as they could wish, still they developed a steady and fair ratio of facts and progress, and if there were one feature more agreeable than another in these reports, it was the improvement in the pauper schools of the country, and which dealt with a class of children whose parents could not afford to educate them otherwise. He would draw the attention of the President of the Poor Law Board to the melancholy fact that, in spite of the large expenditure staring them in the face, there were yet 300,000 poor children not receiving any education in this country, and who belonged to a large proportion of that class of paupers who received out-door relief. Machinery had already been provided for their education, but the Act being permissive remained inoperative. From a return that had been furnished on the subject out of 612 unions only 199 availed themselves of the Act; 418 had neglected to avail themselves of it altogether, and of the 199 who had availed themselves, the total number of the children amounted to 5,650. The Act in question was the 18 Vict., c. 94, and it was passed mainly through the influence and authority of Mr. Speaker. He believed the best plan that could he adopted for rendering the Act more operative was for hon. Members and poor-law guardians to exercise their influence in their own districts in bringing it into public notice. He believed that the great mass of the poor-law guardians of the country were not aware of its existence, otherwise they would have availed themselves to a greater extent of its advantages. If that were done, a great amount of ignorance, and possibly of the material for youthful crime, might be brought under wholesome influences. Although the grant was unquestionably a large one, he considered that it had been far from profitless in its results. The great difficulty which 337 was to be encountered lay in the unwillingness of parents in humble life to allow their children to avail themselves of the advantages of education; but from the pains and expenditure which had been bestowed on the rising generation, he believed that similar difficulties would not be experienced with the future race of parents in those classes.
§ MR. WALTER
said, there was one point connected with the subject before the Committee to which he wished to call the attention of his right hon. Friend who presided over this department. It had always appeared to him that if the object of Government was to afford a stimulus to the system of education, an active inspection was the form in which, in many cases, it was likely to give most efficient aid. But one striking omission in the working of the system was that it withheld its aid from those who were most willing to help themselves. If a squire, for example, resolved to erect a school in his parish he might go to the Government and solicit from them a grant in aid of the undertaking, and his wishes would be complied with. On the other hand, a person might feel it to be his duty as a landlord to provide a school for the instruction of the children of his labourers, and might decline to receive any pecuniary assistance from the Government; but, at the same time, such a person had a right to expect that the Government would extend to him that cheap and gratutitous assistance which consisted in Government inspection. That assistance could be given through the medium of the Government Inspectors. He claimed it as a right, which the Privy Council ought willingly to acknowledge, that those who did most to assist themselves by maintaining schools at their own expense should not meet with the difficulties which they at present encountered in obtaining the services of the Government Inspectors. The reports of these gentlemen afforded only an imperfect idea of the amount of education going on throughout the country. They ignored altogether hundreds of well-conducted schools, supported entirely upon the voluntary principle; and having on his own estates several schools established and maintained upon that principle, but never having enjoyed the benefit of the Government inspection, he hoped that if ever he should apply to his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council to have his schools visited and examined by the Government Inspectors, no hesitation would be felt in 338 cheerfully granting so reasonable a request.
said, he did not wish to prolong the debate, but he could not permit some of the observations which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council to pass without remark. He agreed with what had been said by almost every hon. Gentleman who had spoken, that although there might be many defects in the existing system of education, yet, until a better one had been brought forward—and he was not aware that anything like so good a plan had been proposed—we ought to go on as we had done for some time past. The Vice President had stated that in his opinion one main defect of the present system was that the trust deeds of the several schools were made too exclusive with respect to the particular religious bodies to which the institutions belonged. He begged to tell the right hon. Gentleman that if any evil existed of that kind—though for his own part he did not admit it to be an evil—it had been brought about by the action of the Privy Council itself, causing it to be suspected—he did not say whether with or without reason—that the Council wanted to introduce the very system which the right hon. Gentleman now talked of establishing—the system, namely, of conscience clauses. Those who recollected the disputes that took place not many years ago would remember that not a few of the parties who were willing upon other grounds to accept aid from the Privy Council would not accept it, because they were afraid of having some such measure thrust upon them as that which seemed to have passed through the mind of the right hon. Gentleman. It ought not to be forgotten that a vast number of the schools which now existed throughout the country were founded by the religious feeling of the public. There could be no doubt of that fact, and the right hon. Gentleman might rest assured that people of strong religious feeling would not permit themselves to be interfered with in the management of their schools. If he attempted to do so, instead of effecting the object which he had in view, he would only render the schools more exclusive, and aggravate the evil, if there was one, which he said now existed. During the last four or five years much of the jealousy which formerly prevailed seemed to have passed away, and he earnestly trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would not take any step which might have 339 the effect of blowing again into a flame that fire which, he might depend upon it, was not extinguished, but only slumbering. Many influential clergymen looked upon the children in the schools connected with the Established Church as being under their spiritual charge, and it would be impossible to induce them by Act of Parliament to countenance any system of instruction which their consciences did not tell them was right. The hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter) had made some observations which appeared to have a great deal of force and truth in them as to the extent of the education under the cognizance of the Government inspectors. He did not think the Privy Council had to do with more than one-third of the present number of children at school. If there had been that increase of population since the census of 1851 which it was reasonable to expect, there would be 2,400,000 children in school, but in the schools under Government inspection there were not more than 800,000. There were a vast number of persons who did not want pecuniary aid; all they wished was that no strain should be put upon their consciences, and that they should be permitted, upon that understanding, to apply for Government assistance in the event of their requiring it. Hitherto the present system had worked well in that respect. None of the great schemes which had been broached within the last few years had steered so clear of the same difficulty; therefore he had opposed them all, and he should continue to set his face against every plan which did not allow the people to go to Heaven in their own way, and to teach their children what religion they pleased. There was one branch of the expenditure for education which ought to be carefully watched. He referred to that portion of the grant which was expended in the production of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses. The education of pupil teachers at the expense of the State was at one time necessary, but the Government ought to consider whether the ordinary law of supply and demand would not now produce an adequate number of sufficiently educated persons to conduct the education of the country. Did any very large proportion of our pupil teachers become schoolmasters, after all? If not, we were unquestionably spending a great deal of money without obtaining the result which we intended to accomplish. He concurred in the remarks of the right hon. Baronet 340 the Member for Droitwich upon the subject of education generally, and was quite ready to vote every shilling which the Government might ask. At the same time, however, he thought the Privy Council might do more than it had hitherto done in the poorer districts of the country, and he was persuaded that Parliament would not grudge any sum which might be required for extending the benfits of education to those who, though they stood most in need of it, were not able from poverty to provide it for themselves.
§ MR. PULLER
said, that with regard to the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman it was clear that the whole of the pupil teachers, after being maintained and educated by the State for five years, could not become schoolmasters, nor did he think it desirable that they should, inasmuch as lads of thirteen were not old enough to choose an occupation for life, and, even if they were, some of them might turn out unfit to be intrusted with the education of children. It appeared, however, from the Parliamentary returns that more than two-fifths of them actually became teachers, while, with respect to the remainder, it might be said that the money of the State was not wasted upon them, seeing that it was expended in imparting to them a sound education, fitting them to render good service to the country in the various occupations of life. The Vice President of the Council, after stating in his very able speech the numerous merits of the existing system, had frankly laid before the Committee what he considered its defects —namely, its increasing expense, its want of universality, and its denominational character. But with respect to the first of these objections he would observe that for every pound of the public money expended upon this object they obtained £2 from private contributions; a fact which proved that this expenditure was both economical and popular. It should be also recollected that all their neighbours spent much on this object, and the United States spent without stint to give a good education to the children of that country. In his opinion the only substantial objection that could be brought against the system at the present time was its want of universality. Certainly those who paid their share of the money, but received no benefit from it, had a perfect right to complain. But there was a very simple way of curing that evil —namely, instead of diminishing, by increasing the grant, so as to comprehend 341 the whole country in its scope. This would be a work of time, but it would be a certain remedy.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, the Committee ignored the fact that 2,500,000 children were taught in Sunday schools, by 313,000 teachers, who received no pecuniary reward whatever. The Church of England schools received two-thirds of the whole amount, though their numbers were not equal to those who received no grant whatever. They were not justified in increasing the grant before they had received the Report of the Commission then sitting on the subject. The increase this year was £173,485 of which £75,000 was for the arrears of last year. He believed there was not a man in the kingdom who was more desirous of promoting education than the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines), and his opinions were deserving of the utmost respect. That hon. Member was opposed altogether to these grants, and coinciding with him, as he did, he moved that the grant be reduced by £100,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,—
That a sum, not exceeding £480,920, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge for Public Education in Great Britain, to the 31st day of March, 1860.
§ MR. ROBERTSON
was of opinion that the less this House and the Government interfered in the matter of education the better. Besides, it was becoming every day more and more a very serious drain on the public purse. As the noble Lord the Member for London had once well remarked, instruction was only received in the schools—education could alone be implanted at home. Scotland and her sons owed much to the system of education which prevailed there, and he would express a hope that the Government would leave the people of Scotland, as well as of England, to educate themselves, and that those national grants would be diminished with a view to their entire discontinuance, more especially as their inevitable accompaniments were the religious question, and its consequent fearful discussions and dissensions. The good feeling of men of property would always induce them to contribute to the aid of their poorer fellow-countrymen by subscriptions during life, and bequests after death, and the giving of public money would greatly tend to dry up these sources of private contribution.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
observed it was truly stated that the reduction 342 of this Vote was to be effected not so much by keeping down the Estimates as by attending to the minutes on which those Estimates were founded. Formerly the Treasury was represented in the Committee of Privy Council by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but since the appointment of the Vice President of Education the Treasury had ceased to exercise any real control over these minutes, which, in point of fact, regulated the expenditure. If it were wished to keep down the expenditure, some rule should be adopted by which the minutes of the Committee of Council should be submitted for the revision of the Treasury before they were finally adopted, because at present they were passed by the President and Vice President alone. They might then be modified when they seemed to entail too large an expenditure.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he did not rise to enter into the general discussion, but to echo what had just fallen from his hon. Friend. As long as the Education Votes were administered under the real control of a Committee of Council, formed of six or seven Members of the Cabinet, the Treasury was usually represented there by the First Lord and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and whatever minutes were framed passed under the view of those who were responsible for the financial departments. The change since made was an important one, because now these minutes did not go near the Treasury at all. That change had crept in unawares, for he did not think the House was apprised that such would be the effect when the appointment of a Vice-President was decided on. He agreed, therefore, with his hon. Friend in thinking that it well deserved the attention of the Government, because it was not regular; it was not conformable either to precedent or to our principles of administration that important documents, forming, as one might say, standing contracts with parties all over the country, should take effect and should raise expectations which could not be disappointed, when they had never in any way been submitted to the consideration or approval of the Minister of Finance.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that the information which he was able to lay before the House on the subject of pupil teachers was not very accurate. About 12 per cent., he believed, never came to the end of their apprenticeship, through illness and other causes. This reduced them to about 87 343 per cent., of whom 76 obtained Queen's scholarships, and it might be considered that these became schoolmasters. As to the remainder there was no accurate information. With reference to the question put by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington), he had no official information as to the proceedings of the Commission, though they had sent him a long paper of questions which he was quite unable to answer. He knew, however, that the Duke of Newcastle still remained at the head of the Commission, and that they had sent out a large number of searching questions, to which answers had been received. He did not believe that the members of the Commission themselves would be able to tell the right hon. Baronet when they would report, but he hoped that report would be forthcoming in time to allow some action to be taken upon it next Session. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Had-field) proposed to reduce the Estimates by £100,000, but, as he had told the Committee, the expenditure did not depend upon the Estimates but upon the minutes, which, as his right hon. Friend had truly observed, were standing contracts, which had to be fulfilled; and therefore the only effect of the hon. Gentlemen's Motion, if successful, would be that there would ensue a deficit of £100,000, for which it would be necessary to apply to the House next year.
said, he thought this rather an awkward state of things, for whereas the Chancellor of the Exchequer had just told them that he had no control over the expenditure, the Vice-President now said that the House of Commons had no control. If, however, the Committee were to refuse the money, he did not know where it would come from.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed; Resolution to be reported on Monday.