§ SUPPLY considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
(4.) Question again proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £28,914, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1864, for erecting and maintaining certain Light-houses Abroad.
§ Whereupon Question again proposed, "That the Item of £8,000, for the Little Basses Rocks Light-ship (re-Vote), be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Childers.)
§ MR. CHILDERS
asked for some explanation of this Vote. If satisfactory details were not given in relation to the item of £8,000 for the Little Basses Rocks Lightship, he should be compelled to take the course he had been about to press on a former occasion when the House was counted out—namely, of moving that the Vote be reduced by that amount.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, that this sum was a re-Vote of the same amount voted last year, and which had been repaid to the Exchequer. The light-ship had arrived at Ceylon, but he did not know whether it had been actually moored or not. He knew that the ship was there, and that it must be paid for. The cause of the apparent delay in exhibiting the light from the ship was in consequence of a difficulty in securing a crew.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, the Government were urged from the year 1826 to erect light-houses on the Great and Little Basses Rocks, which lay on the highway of the trade between India and this country. They took twenty-two years to consider the matter, and then from 1848 to 1854 inquiries were going on as to the best plan of lighting this part of the track. A proposal was made to place light-ships there; but on inquiry this was rejected. From 1854 to 1860 the Government came forward yearly asking Votes to place light-houses on each of the rocks, and thus £54,000 was obtained, and, he believed, spent. It was now said that the attempts to place the light-houses had been made, but had failed; however, he (Mr. Childers) had received different information, and believed that no efficient steps had been taken to put up the lighthouses. He thought that under the circumstances the Vote should he deferred for a year, to allow inquiries to be made. 735 No inconvenience would result, as the lightship had been paid for by the Bombay Government. He begged to move that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £8,000.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
supported the Amendment. There was no reason why the payment of this £8,000 should be thrown upon the taxpayers of England. Madras was the port which would benefit most by the proposed expenditure, and only 314 English ships annually left that port, as compared with 3,915 belonging to the island of Ceylon. There might have been some reason for showing consideration to the island of Ceylon at a time when its funds were not in a very flourishing state, but for the last five or six years it had enjoyed a considerable surplus revenue. He thought, therefore, there would be no hardship in making this charge fall upon Ceylon, which had by far the greatest interest in maintaining the lights.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
hoped the Government would agree to the proposition of the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers).
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
thought that the Government were bound to answer the statements which had been made with respect to this light-ship. Last year, the House had voted a sum for the crew of the light-ship, yet no crew had been appointed—and he believed, that would be repeated this year. If they did not, he should feel bound to vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Pontefract.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, that two years ago the House sanctioned the lighting of the Little Basses Rocks by a lightship. A proposal was made for that purpose, and a sum of £8,000 was voted to carry it out. In accordance with the authority thus given to them, the executive Government had ordered the light-ship, which had been built at Bombay, on a plan approved by the Trinity House Board. The ship was now in Ceylon, and though the Government had no information on this point, it was very probable that she had been moored in her position. The money now asked for was necessary to pay for the ship. Whether it was right to attempt to light these rocks by a light-ship, he was not competent to say; but nautical men had given their opinion that, on the whole, a light-ship was the best plan of lighting for the place. Only one light would be placed there—on the Little Basses Rock—till it was proved whether a light-ship could remain there.
§ MR. ALDERMAN SALOMONS
suggested that the Government should endeavour to make Ceylon contribute to the cost of this light-ship.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
replied, that the advice was founded on the recommendation of a Commission of several officers, well acquainted with the coast of Ceylon, which was approved by naval officers in this country.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, that the papers containing the recommendation were in the Colonial Office, and he did not suppose there would be any objection to their production.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question again proposed.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
called attention to the item for the erection of a light-house at the Bahamas. He wished to know what was the nature of this lighthouse, whether it was to be built of stone or iron? He had been informed, that if built of stone, it would cost £35,000. There were already six light-houses in the Bahamas built for this country. As the ships which would be benefited by this light were chiefly colonial and American, he thought, that if more light-houses were required, the expense should be borne by the Colony. He would therefore propose that the Vote be reduced by this item—£9,000.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, there was a charge for a light-house in the Ionian Islands. Now, as these islands were to be surrendered to Greece, he thought that no further liability ought to be incurred by this country for them. The item in the Vote to which he referred was £300.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, that hitherto we had paid for the erection of these light-houses, and as yet no alteration had been sanctioned. With regard to the Bahamas, if England did not put lighthouses on the dangerous keys and rocks which surrounded those islands, nobody else could do it, as nobody else had jurisdiction in the matter. To call upon the Bahamas themselves to pay for light-houses, was out of the question, because the inhabitants were not only very poor, but had no special interest in the lights, which were for the general trade. The American Go- 737 vernment had lighted the opposite side of the straits. This Vote had been always sanctioned, because it was felt that it was for this country to provide protection for its commerce.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
did not see why the Colonial Government at the Bahamas should not be obliged to maintain these light-houses. The population only amounted to 27,000; but there was an increasing revenue of £36,000. If the Government of the Bahamas could afford to lay out £18,000 on a new hotel, they could afford to spend £9,000 on these light-houses.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Item of £9,000, for the Bahamas (Elbow and Great Stirrup Cay), re-Vote, be omitted from the proposed Vote,"—(Mr. Augustus Smith,)—put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (5.) £6,000, Sheriff Court Houses (Scotland), agreed to.
§ (6.) £19,000, to complete the sum for Rates for Government property.
§ MR. ALDERMAN SALOMONS
rose to call attention to the Petitions presented from Deptford and Woolwich, complaining of the mode hitherto adopted in the distribution of the sum voted in aid of rates for Government property, and praying for an amended system of distribution. In 1858 a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into this subject. Sir George Lewis was chairman, and they unanimously recommended that all Government property should be liable to rates. A Bill was then introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire (Mr. Sotheron Estcourt), who was then President of the Poor Law Board, which was read a second time, but did not proceed further. When the new Parliament met, Sir George Lewis, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was asked what were the intentions of Government in regard to the rating of Government establishments. Sir George stated that it was not intended to bring in a Bill, but that some arrangement satisfactory to the interests concerned would be proposed. With regard to the borough which he had the honour to represent (Greenwich), a valuation of the Government property in Woolwich and Deptford was made, and the Government, after some delay, paid the poor rates on that valuation. After paying the poor rates for two years, the Government, from some motive of economy, contended 738 that they ought only to pay that share which actually went to the relief of the poor. They consequently cut off about one-third of the poor rate, which went towards the county rate, the police, lunatic asylums, &c. The inhabitants of Woolwich thought this a great hardship, but they had no choice save to submit. The case of the parish of St. Nicholas, Deptford, was however peculiar. It was a very small parish, consisting of only seventy-five acres, of which the Government occupied about forty. The poor rates used to be 10s. and 12s. in the pound; and when the Government consented to pay the local assessments on Government property, it was felt to be a great relief in the parish. For many years, while the Government did not pay any rates, the persons who had yards in Deptford and carried on business there were burdened in their trade by the heavy rates that fell upon them. And more than that, the rates of 10s. and 12s. in the pound had the effect of making £10 houses amount to £16; and the consequence was that artisans and workmen were driven out of the parish, and they bought their meat and drink out of the parish also. In that parish the poor rates, which in 1861 were reduced by liberal payments on the part of the Government, were now about to be increased by the paltry economy which it was sought to carry out. Her Majesty's building yard was in the parish of St. Paul, which happened to be opulent; the Government property was valued at £6,000; they paid the rates for two years, and then they found that unless the ratable property of the Government amounted to one-sixth of that of the parish they were not bound to pay. In these days, especially when property on the Thames was so valuable, it was only fair that the same rules which applied to private property should also be applied to the property of the Government. It might be said that the parish of Deptford derived great advantage from having Her Majesty's Dockyard there; but it was no advantage at all, and a greater benefit could not be done to Deptford than to remove the dockyard altogether, for then they would have wealthy shipbuilders coming there, and Deptford would become an opulent parish, instead of being almost eleemosynary as it was now, asking Her Majesty's Government to pay that portion of the rates which they ought. He would not dare to risk dividing the Committee; but he would appeal to Her Majesty's Government and to every hon. Member in the 739 House to take this question into consideration, for there was no reason whatever why in these days Her Majesty's Government should take possession of this property and pay no rates at all.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, as the Committee had heard the representative of those who lived near the dockyard, it was only fair to hear what the representative of persons who were remote from the dockyard had to say. Now, the county he represented (Wexford) had no Government establishment; but his constituents would be glad to have one, and were willing that the Government should pay no rates in respect of it. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Alderman Salomons) would wish to see the property of his borough made valuable by being in the possession of the Government, but that the community at large should be called upon to pay the rates. That was not very reasonable. The fact was, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary to the Treasury were worried by deputations from Woolwich and Deptford, and good-naturedly yielded to their representations. In order to test the feeling of the Committee, and to obtain an expression of opinion on their part, he should move to strike out the Vote altogether.
§ MR. WYKEHAM MARTIN
could not agree with the view taken by the hon. and learned Member for Wexford. It was a mistake to suppose that a Government establishment was necessarily any benefit to a parish. In the parish of St. Margaret's, Rochester, the land which the Government held was for the defence of the country at large. Men who were there in the public service might die and leave wives and children chargeable on the rates, and the Government contributed nothing whatever. Soldiers were taken down there for the benefit of the whole country, and not of the parish, and why should not the Government contribute to the rates?
MR. J. J. POWELL (Gloucester)
said, he was surprised to hear his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. M'Mahon) argue as if the dockyards were placed in Woolwich, Deptford, and elsewhere for the benefit of those parishes, and not of the whole community. It was as much for the benefit of Wexford as for Deptford that there should be a dockyard there. It appeared to him that a strong case had been made out in favour of those places. In one parish no less than one-half of the land and one-third of the ratable value of the parish was occupied by Government offices, the whole of 740 which was exempted from the rates. That was surely a great hardship. A Committee of the House of Commons which sat on this subject in 1858, the late Sir George Lewis being one of its Members, bad reported that the non-assessment of Government property was an essential detriment to the other ratepayers, because it increased the common burden. It was very desirable, he thought, that their recommendation should be acted upon.
§ MR. DOULTON
said, he was sorry to say that the Government were introducing their establishments into Lambeth, removing property which had hitherto paid rates, and so very considerably prejudicing the interests of the ratepayers. The Government seemed to have adopted a very singular principle with regard to the assessment of Government property, and he hoped that they would take the matter into consideration, and would revise their present arbitrary rule.
said, the principles on which the Government acted in this matter were two. First, they maintained the principle of the exemption of Government property from local rates; but they consented to make a voluntary contribution in certain places, having reference to the proportion of Government property in the parish, and to the amount expended by the parish for the support of the poor. The parishes were divided into two classes, assisted parishes and the parishes which were not assisted, the latter being cases where the Government property was not so considerable as to establish a case of grievance which would justify the Government in coming to the relief of the local rates. The proposition of the hon. Member was that in those parishes where the Government did not grant assistance they should pay the same as they did in the other cases. It was quite true that the Committee of 1858, presided over by the late Sir George Lewis, recommended that all exemption from rating in the case of Government property should cease; but he certainly thought that the authority which would otherwise be due to the recommendation of that Committee was wanting to it—first, because the late Govern- 741 ment brought in a Bill for the purpose of giving effect to that recommendation, but encountered so much opposition that they were compelled to withdraw the measure; and secondly, because when Sir George Lewis, the Chairman of that Committee, was afterwards at the Home Office, he suggested the very plan which they were now pursuing. In a letter to the Treasury, he recommended that the exemption of Government property from local rating should be maintained in principle, but that that exemption should not be claimed in places where the ratable value of that property exceeded a certain proportion of the whole ratable value of the parish. Afterwards, a limit was fixed of one-sixth. The proposal of Sir George Lewis was, that when this fixed proportion was exceeded, the Government should only pay upon the excess. Thus the assisted parishes now received more than was originally contemplated, because where the Government property exceeded one-sixth of the ratable value of the property of the parish, they paid not upon the excess, but upon the whole amount of Government property in such a case. He did not think that the tendency of Government establishments was to produce pauperism. Take Somerset House, for example, which occupied a large portion of St. Mary-le-Strand. It could not be said that that establishment had increased the pauperism of the parish; and even at the dockyards and arsenals, the practice of granting pensions to Government employés when superannuated must have the effect of preventing persons from becoming chargeable to the poor rates. It was a very exceptional thing for Government to purchase property already rated for the relief of the poor, and there erect establishments exempt from rating. In the majority of cases, the exemptions had continued for very many years, and the private property had been acquired subject to the rates being levied off part of the parish only. The hon. Gentleman said, that Government establishments were of no advantage to the parishes in which they were situated. In this statement he could by no means concur. He was convinced that the fact of the employment of a large number of persons in a Government establishment must have the effect of keeping a very considerable number of persons off the poor rates, and place at the disposal of the operatives lage sums of money, the expenditure of which was of advantage to the trade and commerce of the places where 742 Government establishments existed. He did not think that a parish ought to derive any profit, in reference to the rates, from the existence of a Government establishment within its limits, because the Government did not go to the parish like a private person to make profit, but for the sake of the public good, in which the particular parish was as much interested as any other part of the kingdom. All that the parish was entitled to demand was that it should not be injured. The reason why no rate was paid by the Government in St. Paul's, Deptford, was because the ratable value of the Government property was not one-twentieth of the value of the other property. The ratable value of the property in that parish was £130,000, whereas the value of the Government property was under £5,000. It was said, that though the Government subscribed in some instances to the poor rate, they did not subscribe to other rates; but the fact was, that the Government took the poor rate as the measure of their contribution to the local funds. With respect to the statement that the Government had contributed at one time to the police and county rate, he must observe that the Government were not aware, in the first instance, that they were subscribing to those rates as included in the poor rate; and he certainly did not think they were called on to contribute to such rates. It must be remembered that the Government granted great assistance to the parishes in respect to the cost of the police, one fourth of the charge for which was defrayed out of Votes of Parliament; and though the hon. Member was inclined chiefly to protect the interests of his constituents, the Government looked to the interests of the taxpayers at large.
§ SIR FRANCIS BARING
thought the case of Deptford a hard one, and deserving of a fair consideration. The Committee needed not to be alarmed by imagining that anything new was now demanded; because the Government paid certain other rates. It was not true that the exempted property had been exempt from time immemorial. There were large properties which had formerly paid rates, and which had only recently been taken by the Government. He confessed that the distinction which was drawn between one species of tax and another was to him perfectly unintelligible.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that this exemption from rating on the part of the Government was unjust and indefensible, us bearing 743 upon the question of the fair adjustment of taxation, and the Government of Lord Derby introduced a Bill to abolish it; the friends of certain charities, however, made so strong an opposition to the proposal, that the Bill was withdrawn, and the Government proposed, in certain cases, to grant a contribution in aid. The principle of recognising the liability of Government property had therefore been admitted, but such rigid and arbitrary rules were laid down as, to a great extent, to nullify that recognition. In the case of Deptford there could be no doubt that the sudden reduction of the Government establishments caused great demands upon the parish rates. In 1860 the rates in the parish were 8s. 3d. in the pound and this year already they amounted to 2s. 11d. It had been thought fit tol egislate exceptionally for Lancashire, where the rates did not exceed 3s. in the pound. The payments which were made in respect of Government property were of a very limited amount, and none at all was granted Where the Government property did not amount to one-sixth of the whole property in the parish. In a parish situate in his own borough there was a considerable property which paid a large sum for poor rates. The Government became the lessee of the property, and, objecting to be assessed, made a contract with the landlord that he should pay the rates. The consequence Was, the landlord refused to pay the rates, and put the money into his pocket, to the detriment of the ratepayers. He thought the Government should not lend itself to such transactions, but should take care when leasing property to secure that that property should continue to bear the local burdens in the same manner as it had done before.
§ MR. ANGERSTEIN
said, that the Bill of Lord Derby had not been withdrawn on account of the opposition which it had excited; but on account of the opposition excited by one clause, and Lord Derby's Government promised to reintroduce it minus that clause. He did not think that any large amount of money was involved in this question, but besides the Consideration of cost there was the Consideration of justice. The right hon. Gentleman had said that almost all the Government property had been so long recognised in that Character that there was no need to alarm the public by inducing them to think that the area of taxation was being diminished. But In St. Nicholas, Deptford, where the whole parish comprised sixty-six acres, two acres had 744 recently been added to the Government property, and additions had been made in Woolwich and Plumstead. The area of taxation had also been reduced by a decision of the magistrates in sessions that officers' quarters were not subject to rating as they hitherto had been. That decision had been given after the Government assessor had been over the Government property to ascertain the quota which it ought to contribute. The payment made by the Government was now but a small contribution, and the present proposition was to still more reduce it.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, he did not think, in the then state of the House, and especially of the benches of that side, that there would be any advantage in dividing, and therefore he should not press his objection. But he would remark that the case had been almost entirely argued by Members representing districts where Government establishments were located, and he regretted that more County Members were not present to express their views upon this matter. Did any one doubt, that if the Government establishments of Woolwich or Pembroke were moved to Cork, the people of that city would be quite ready to hold the Government harmless from any demand from local rates, in consideration of the advantages which would accrue to the district from these establishments? It might be that in and near London, where land was valuable, the Government establishments did not so much increase the value of surrounding property; but at Pembroke, for instance, the value of land had been enormously increased by the dockyard being made there. In the case of the parish near Rochester, which had been alluded to, he had no doubt that the value of land had risen since the Government appeared there, and consequently a corresponding benefit had attended an apparent injury. The wealth of the whole country was being poured into the metropolis, and he thought that some resistance should be offered to its demands.
§ MR. PULLER
thought the question should be treated on a spirit of equity and justice, and should not be left in the hands of the metropolitan Members. If a railway company raised the value of property, was that a reason why that property should escape rating? Where an exemption bad existed a long time, giving it up might be making a donation to the parish, and be a throwing away of money; but not so where Government property was being daily en- 745 larged. It was admitted that they should pay for the new property, and he would treat all alike.
§ MR. ALDERMAN SALOMONS
remarked, that at Woolwich a considerable amount of ratable property had been brought under the exemption through being taken by Government. He trusted that the Government would reconsider the question, and remove the dissatisfaction which prevailed throughout the whole country on this subject.
§ MR. WYKEHAM MARTIN
stated that the land in the parish near Rochester, to which reference had been made, was adapted for building purposes, and would, it was believed be doubled in value if the Government buildings were removed. No pensions were paid to dockyard labourers, and there was a current saying, "Out of the dockyard into the workhouse." The parish, therefore, received no relief in those respects.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) Public Education in Great Britain.
§ MR. LOWE
Mr. Massey, after the very full debate which took place some weeks back on the subject of Education, it is not my intention to trouble the Committee with any lengthened address. This is a transition year, and cannot, therefore, be expected to possess as much interest as either the past year, which was one of considerable change, or the coining year, which will show how the change has worked. The Estimate for the present year amounts to £604,002, being £38,117 less than the Estimate of last year. The Estimate is not founded on very accurate data, but I believe it will not be exceeded. It is based on a calculation that half of the year will be under the old and half under the new Code, which comes into effect on the 30th of this month. Under the Revised Code the number of children is taken at half of the average attendance—that is, 457,000—and we anticipate that each will receive 10s., which is the amount the Commissioners recommended. The expenditure for the grants of 1862 was £774,743. The number of children found present in the elementary day-schools by Her Majesty's Inspectors was 1,057,426, while there was accommodation actually provided for 1,378,000. These are, on the whole, very satisfactory results. During the year we have had some experience of 746 the Revised Code, for it applies to the new schools which come into existence. We have examined fourteen such schools, containing eighteen departments, under the Revised Code, The average aggregate attendance of children was 729, out of whom 512 were presented for examination. The House will observe that the practice here is different from that at the Universities, as the children have three chances of being "plucked,"—in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The number who passed in reading was 375, in writing 308, and in arithmetic 243; so that, dividing the children as it were by thirds, the total number who passed was 926. The proportion of those rejected to those who passed was as about two to three. The result was, that these schools earned by the examination, on the average, the sum of 8s. 3d. per child. That is, I think, a very gratifying act for the managers of schools, who feared they would be able to gain very little under the Revised Code. It must be borne in mind that these were all new schools, which had not had the advantage of being brought up to the standard of older establishments, and hence there is good reason to suppose that the children in the Council's schools would earn at least 10s. per head. The question of the training colleges is one which has given us much trouble. We offered some recommendations in regard to them last year, but in consequence of the urgent representations made to us we agreed to reconsider them. I hope we have now hit on a system which is, in the main, satisfactory to the colleges, and which will also, in a great measure, protect the interests of the public. It does not certainly err on the side of being too severe. It is so exceedingly lenient to the colleges that it could hardly, perhaps, be defended on abstract principles. We must, however, remember that we brought these institutions into existence by our own act, and that if we were suddenly to alter our relations towards them, we should be doing a grave injustice. There were three great evils pointed out in the system of training colleges. In the first place, they had almost entirely ceased to be voluntary institutions. On the average they received 80 per cent from Government, and some even as much as 99 or 100. Another evil was, that though these colleges provided an excellent education for teachers, they did not give any security that the persons who received that education would devote the knowledge so acquired at the public ex- 747 pense to the business of teaching. It was possible that young men, educated in the training colleges, might apply their knowledge in other quarters. It might even happen that a school might go on under the name of a training college, receiving large assistance from the Government, and yet that not one of its students might follow the profession of a teacher. The third evil was one of principle. It is not the function of a Government to supply the demands of any trade. It was thought that in the business of teaching, as in the other departments of human industry, the ordinary law of supply and demand should be allowed to operate freely, and that the Government should not attempt to interfere with it. If the Government were to open its training colleges widely, and were to provide a large supply of teachers, it would always be liable to complaints of injustice on behalf of existing teachers, with whose labours these new teachers would compete. If, on the other hand, the Government were to act in a contrary spirit, and were to close the training colleges altogether, it was equally liable to just reclamation on behalf of the managers of schools, who would say that we were raising the market upon them. It was necessary to remedy these three defects—to reduce the contribution which the Government was to make within certain limits, which should not be exceeded; to apply the training colleges not only to the education of young men, but to the education of teachers; and to get rid of the responsibility of adapting the supply of teachers to the demand. This we have done by a Minute which has been laid on the table. The principle of that Minute is to consolidate the different payments made to the training colleges into one payment, that one payment to be made on the obtaining of the certificate, which is in about two years after a student has passed his examination, and only on condition that during those two years he has been teaching in a school, and has had the honour of receiving two favourable Reports of an Inspector. The difference, therefore, is, that instead of making the payment partly for the education of the student while in the training college, and partly on his examination when leaving it, we defer it till the student not only has passed his examination, but has committed himself by entering upon the profession of teaching, and been two years employed in it. It may be that even so some may escape us; but, on the 748 whole, we take every security on behalf of the public, that a student trained at their expense shall really devote himself to the profession of teaching. The change has this further advantage, that it throws upon the training colleges, instead of upon the Government, the responsibility of adapting the supply to the demand. It will be for the college which takes a student in, to consider whether he is likely to become a teacher; for it knows that if he does not become a teacher, it will not receive on his account any payment from the Government. There are some other provisions in the Minute with which I need not trouble the Committee. For example, we limit the amount which the Government will contribute to the ample sum of 75 per cent. so that no training college can hereafter receive more. I trust this will be the means of some reduction; at any rate, it will prevent the increase of the Vote, will relieve the Government from the duty it has heretofore undertaken, of supplying the profession with teachers, and will, I believe, secure that those who receive public money for their education, shall devote the knowledge so obtained to the purpose for which the grant was made. We have also made a Minute with regard to our Inspectors. It has given me great pleasure to be able to propose a small increase to the salaries of our Inspectors. We have thrown heavier duties on them by the Revised Code, and we were anxious that they should receive some small equivalent for that increase of labour. For the purpose of assisting the Inspectors and lightening their duties, we have made provision for giving them schoolmasters as their assistants. It has been represented as if this were done with the idea of lowering the class of Inspectors. Quite the contrary was our object. These schoolmasters—not assistant Inspectors, as they have been called, but Inspectors' assistants—are only to act under the direction of the Inspector. Their functions are limited merely to the examination of children; they have no power to report on the schools, nor have they anything to do with the management of the schools, or with the working of the grant. We thought it necessary to provide some machinery of this kind, because some of the schools are enormously large. There is a Jewish school in the Commercial Road, for instance, which has 1,800 children. I think it would be great extravagance if we took an Inspector with £800 a year, and buried him, so to speak, in the examination 749 of these children, which could be done almost as well by a person of the calibre of an ordinary schoolmaster, at a much lower alary. But we do not put this class in competition with the Inspectors. They are to relieve the Inspectors where the burden is too heavy for them. We do not contemplate introducing them largely at first, but there are a few populous districts where it is necessary to give the Inspectors assistance at once. Each case will be judged, of course, upon its own merits. I trust, therefore, the Committee will not share in the misconstruction which has been put upon this Minute. There are two objects in view—one is to assist the Inspector, and the other to save expense. All the duties of inspection, properly so called, as opposed to examination, will as heretofore be discharged by the Inspectors; and besides, each Inspector will himself examine, during the course of a year, at least 1,000 children. These are the principal Minutes made during the course of the year. It would be presumptuous to attempt to predict what will be the effect of these changes; but at present we see no reason to augur otherwise than favourably of them. The matter, however, is purely tentative, and we shall be ready to make any practical improvements that may suggest themselves to us. Before I sit down, I may point the little moral of my statement. The Committee will see how many favours the Inspectors have to ask and receive from the Committee of Council. If an Inspector is in indifferent health, it lies with the heads of the Department to give him leave of absence. So with promotion from one district to another. If, too, an Inspector has a heavy district, and finds his work too much for him, it depends upon the discretion of the heads of the Office whether they shall give him the assistance of a schoolmaster or not. I ask how the system would work if gentlemen, who have so many favours to receive from the heads of the Department, should, at the same time, be placed in a position of almost absolute independence as far as their Reports go. Would the tendency not be to make it be thought that something might be got by going, as it were, into opposition? Would the Department not be suspected of buying off a troublesome Inspector at the expense of his colleagues? I have only to add, in conclusion, that when I maintained, in an earlier part of the evening, that it is in the power of the Office to withhold Reports, I did not mean that observation to apply to facts 750 or information of any kind. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving—That a sum, not exceeding £604,002, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1864, for Public Education in Great Britain.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed.
§ MR. BLACK
rose to propose a reduction in the Vote—the extraordinary item for pupil teachers. We had now 15,000 pupil teachers, and we paid for them £300,000 per annum. It would be an interesting sight to see this large army turned out in Hyde Park, and reviewed by the Prince and Princess. He understood they were intended to supply vacancies among the teachers in schools; but those teachers did not amount in number to more than 10,055. Every year we took in 3,000 apprentices. At the end of twenty-two years, which was the time a teacher was supposed to remain in his school, we should have at this rate 66,000 pupil-teachers to meet the demand in schools. He would suggest that they should take on no new apprentices for the next year; they would then still have a sufficient number of pupil teachers for any purpose for which they required them. It was impossible to employ the large number now annually turned out of the training colleges; and why, then, should so enormous a sum be expended on their education? It might be said, that if they did not all become teachers, still they were qualified to take situations for which, but for their previous training, they would not have been fit. That, however, he held was a pernicious system, and quite contrary to the natural law of supply and demand. Why should a certain class of young persons be educated at the public expense in order to be able to compete for clerkships and other employments which would otherwise fall to the lot of youths educated at the cost of their parents? He did not see why the State should undertake the training of teachers any more than that of surgeons or members of other professions. In the course of the five years' training given to these pupil teachers the State spent no less a sum than £180 upon each of them; and that not only without any advantage to the public, but counteracting the natural order of things, by which the work would be done better, and without any expense to the country. School managers should be left to employ 751 the best teachers they could find, whether they were pupil teachers or not. All these trammels should be done away, leaving those who had charge of the schools to do the best they could. If that course were adopted, there would he no necessity for squandering the public money as was now done. He did not wish to repudiate any existing obligations; he only desired that they should enter into no new obligations with respect to the 3,000 apprentices who, under ordinary circumstances, would be taken on during the next year. By preventing the introduction of these 3,000 young persons they would not only do no harm to their system, but would positively relieve it from the superabundance which they were at present creating. He begged therefore to propose that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £30,000, thus striking off £10 per head for those 3,000 apprentices.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £574,002, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1861, for Public Education in Great Britain."—(Mr. Black.)
§ MR. LOWE
said, he agreed with a great deal that had fallen from the hon. Member for Edinburgh. The hon. Gentleman, however, did not seem quite to understand how things at present stood. The money taken in the Vote was for pupil teachers who were now apprenticed. The Department came under a pledge to the House last year in the discussions on the Revised Code, that they would pay the full salary of all the pupil teachers now apprenticed until they had served their full term of five years. The hon. Member did not wish them to go back in any way from that, but only that no new pupil teachers should be engaged. Well, he had great satisfaction in telling the hon. Gentleman that no new pupil teachers would be engaged; because on the 30th of this month the Revised Code would come into effect in England, and, as far as that matter was concerned, in Scotland also. Although it would be competent for school managers to engage pupil teachers if they pleased, they would receive no Government money payment for doing so:—they would merely obtain the capitation grant on examination, which they could apply in retaining a pupil teacher, or in any other way they thought proper. Therefore, no Government stimulus whatever would henceforth be applied to the engagement of pupil teachers. With that 752 explanation he hoped the hon. Gentleman would be satisfied, and not think it necessary to press his Amendment to a division.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Cambridge)
thought that more time should have been given for the consideration of the annual Report of the Committee of Council on Education before the Estimates were proposed. There was great anxiety among the friends of education as to whether the Reports of the Inspectors were to contain a full and comprehensive statement of the educational facts of the country, or whether they were to be purged of all things which were not agreeable to the Minister. If the House could not have complete Reports, they might at least have specimen Reports, by which to judge of the state of education in the manufacturing, mining, and agricultural districts, and he would like to see all the Reports brought up to some fixed and uniform date, to enable a comparison to be made between them and the Reports of future years. He trusted that the Vice President would, either by enlarging the present machinery, or by devising special and exceptional means, obtain information as to the effect of the extraordinary increase of school children in the cotton, districts, consequent upon the failure of employment, with a view to show what improvement took place in the educational condition of those districts. He believed that the pupil teachers were the backbone of the system, and he hoped that nothing which had been said to-night would produce an indisposition among parents to allow their children to occupy that position. When it was said that many who were trained in the training colleges at the public expense afterwards turned to other occupations, it should not be forgotten that while learning their duties they performed the duties of teachers, and gave their services in that capacity. He hoped the House would not be led by any wild statement as to the probable increase of the Vote to adopt a system of false economy, as he was convinced that both the House and the country were willing to give liberally towards the education of the people, provided that the education was sound, and was conducted on just principles.
§ MR. ADDINGTON
asked, whether the attention of the Vice President had been directed to the unprotected position of young unmarried female teachers in parish schools, and whether some regulation as to 753 age could not be introduced? At present they were removed from their friends, and were open to great temptations, and to the arts of designing persons.
§ MR. LOWE
said, it was a matter in which plainly the Government could not interfere. A case had occurred recently in which one of the female pupil teachers had sustained a very horrible outrage. The Committee of Privy Council were applied to; but although they deemed it a very proper duty for some one, they did not think it a duty which devolved upon them to prosecute the offender. There was less reason than ever for the Committee of Council to interfere, because these young persons were now entirely the servants of the managers.
§ MR. PULLER
said, that although the managers of the training colleges consented to carry them on for the present, they could not do so as a permanent system. It was difficult to get voluntary contributions to an object which did not appeal to local interest, and, without some change in that respect, this mainstay of the system of education would fail. There was no doubt that occasionally the students in the colleges turned to other occupations, but the instances were by no means numerous. He had requested the Principal of the Training College at Battersea to inform him of the number of Queen's scholars who had abandoned the profession of teachers. In the ten years, from 1851 to 1861, there were 342 Queen's scholars, of which number 16 had died, leaving 328 to be accounted for. Of the 328, 300 were actually engaged as teachers, while of the remaining 28, 18 were employed in colonial or private schools, leaving only ten not accounted for in a satisfactory way. Having said thus much, he wished briefly to state in reference to the Reports of the Inspectors, which have formed a topic for discussion in the early part of the evening, that he could not approve of the course in that respect which the right hon. Gentleman adopted. The right hon. Gentleman, it seemed, justified the withholding of those Reports from the House, not because of their perplexity or their tendency to philosophical disquisitions, but simply and solely on the ground that the arguments which they contained, founded on facts, sometimes advocated views which were opposed to the opinions held in the Education Department. Now, looking at the tentative position of the education question, and to the uncertainty of the results which the changes in 754 connection with it made from time to time might produce, it would, he thought, be most unfair to the House to call upon it to vote £700,000 or £800,000 a year of the public money without the assistance which might be derived from some sixty gentlemen who were most competent to give information, and who were chosen for their attainments and talents from among the most rising men in our Universities, and spread over the country to collect facts and furnish Parliament with the impression which those facts made upon their minds. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), who in 1859 filled the position of Vice President of the Committee of Council, in the course of a discussion which took place in that year stated that it might be frequently the duty of the Inspectors to report that certain regulations had failed to meet the wants of persons engaged in education in their particular districts; while they, upon the contrary, might have to report that the measures of the Committee of Council were approved, and that such observations, coming from independent and impartial witnesses, would possess the advantage of giving the authentic impression produced by the working of the system on different minds in different parts of the country. For his own part, he thought the greatest possible injury would be inflicted on the cause of educational progress if the House were deprived of that help which it had hitherto derived from the Reports of those Inspectors, which, so far as he could form an opinion, went to make up the most interesting of the blue-books which were published by the Government.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, that though the House did not want a debate upon the National Education system, which was just now in a transitional or at least revisional state, yet now was the time to make a few remarks upon the process of change going on. The right hon. Vice President had given the Committee an interesting piece of information this evening with reference to the experiment that had already been made of examination under the Revised Code. The result was this, that the schools so examined obtained a grant upon an average of 8s. 3d. per child. He wished the Committee to bear in mind the proposition of the Royal Commissioners that 10s. per head should be the lowest rate in aid which a good school might expect from the public grants; and when they considered that the average 755 cost of educating labourers' children was 30s. per head, unless they made the least grant in aid 10s. per head, he despaired of the remaining two thirds being raised by voluntary effort. He would like the right hon. Gentleman to tell them one fact, whether the children who were found unable to stand the test were not of the age from six to eight years? He had seen the new system of examination under the Revised Code tried in schools with which he was connected, and he found that children of seven and eight years were incapable of passing an individual examination by the Government Inspector. The very appearance of a stranger and the manner of a highly-educated man were calculated to frighten a poor child of such an age. He confessed, indeed, his belief that his own children about that age would be unable to stand the test, if suddenly brought into contact with a Senior Wrangler, and examined even in the moderate subjects which children of that age could be at all examined in. He had come to the conclusion that the requirement of examination must be relaxed, and the age must be raised below which individual examination should not be required. Another point which had been alluded to was the new Minute respecting training colleges. It had been stated that they had almost ceased to be voluntary institutions. The fact was, that training colleges of all institutions were those least likely ever to be supported by voluntary contributions, and he doubted whether even 25 per cent of the amount necessary would be raised in that manner, as was proposed to be required by the new Minute. He concurred in opinion with those who considered these institutions most important, and believed that if training colleges were to cease as a part of the system, the best plan would be to drop the whole system at once. It was not at all likely that voluntary contributions would ever be adequate to the support of such institutions. England was the only country in which voluntary contributions had come even in aid of training institutions. In America, where all schools were supported by a popularly-voted rate, training colleges were not so supported, but were kept up by permanent endowments, and were taken out of the category of national educational institutions supported by taxation. If there was anything unsatisfactory in the Estimate, it was that Scotland did not appear under the same conditions with England, while uniformity became more 756 and more essential to the success of the whole. With respect, also, to the item for industrial schools, it created great confusion to find it divided between educational grants and expenditure for the "Maintenance of Prisoners." It had been a grievous mistake removing any of the industrial schools because they educated vagrants, or the reformatories because they educated culprits, from the National Educational Department, which ought to embrace all aided schools. It was gratifying to find, that although the number of schools and teachers had increased, and the number of children had been brought to within 200,000 of the maximum number that it was supposed by the Commissioners could ever be brought within the system, the Estimate was £38,000 less than it was last year. On the whole, he considered the Estimate satisfactory, and trusted that he should live to see the day when England, Scotland, and Ireland, would all be placed under one system.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, that the object of those who desired the production of all the Inspectors' Reports was not to encourage those officers in philosophical disquisitions, but to carry out the circular of the 4th of November 1858, which directed that the Reports should include all information, recommendations, and suggestions which were immediately based upon and could be illustrated by the Inspector's own knowledge and his experience in the course of his inspection. They complained that certain Reports were suppressed, and believed them to be suppressed, not because they were full of philosophical disquisitions, but because they were full of practical suggestions. If they were wrong, the right hon. Gentleman could demonstrate their error by the production of the Reports. This was a matter of great importance at present, and would continue to be so for a few years to come, because a great change was being carried out under the superintendence of the Inspectors, and it was impossible for them to show what was the effect of that change without giving their experience and their opinions. If the House only obtained such experience as was in accordance with the opinion of the Office, they would remain in the dark as to the effect of the changes.
SIR MINTO FARQUHAR
considered the attendance at the schools very satisfactory. When hon. Gentlemen found fault with the amount of the Vote, he would ask them to consider the great advantages which the country had derived from the 757 carrying-out or the system. No Petitions had been presented against it, and he believed that no hon. Member had been asked by his constituents to assist in putting an end to the Vote. In his opinion, no fairer system could be devised. If the system could be worked for less money than was at present voted, so much the better; but he believed it answered extremely well. The success of the system mainly depended on the employment of pupil teachers and certificated and assistant masters. He entirely agreed with the hon. Member for Hertfordshire and the hon. Member for Bradford, that the Reports of the Inspectors should be presented unabridged to the House. He asked any hon. Member of that House whether on taking up the Report they could place any value upon it, when they were told that portions of it had been cut out, and therefore must know that it was but a garbled Report. He considered it of the utmost importance that everything that the Inspectors put forward in their Reports should be laid before the House Otherwise the materials necessary for forming a correct judgment as to the working of the present system of education would be withheld. He regretted the right hon. Gentleman below concurred generally in opinion with the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Council of Education. He (Sir M. Farquhar) would, however, maintain his own independent opinions, which were adverse to the views of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that the Vote for education in this country was increasing from year to year. Some explanation was due to the House why Scotland was allowed so liberal a contribution four or five years ago, and was placed in a superior position to the other parts of the Empire. Education was properly supported by the State, but it should be carried out with economy.
§ MR. LIDDELL
thought that an admission made by the right hon. Member for North Staffordshire—that the fact of 8s. 3d. being the average obtained by each child examined in eighteen schools argued that there was great difficulty in bringing young children of six, seven, and eight years of age up to the standard—was one of great importance. It was precisely the argument on which the opponents of the Revised Code relied last year. If that was the maximum, one of two things must happen—either they must be contented with inferior teachers, or the schools would go 758 down. The success of the school depended on the qualifications of the teacher, and that was the reason why he had always supported the system, expensive though it was.
§ MR. BLACK
said, that the system of education prevailing in Scotland was superior to that which had been adopted for this country, and the people of Scotland, while they were not opposed to an enlargement and improvement of the system, would strongly object to the introduction of the English system.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
thanked Her Majesty's Government for what they had already done, and expressed a hope that they would take into consideration the state of many of the Scotch schools, and render their educational system more applicable to the parochial system of Scotland than it was at present.
§ MR. PULLER
observed, that the new Minute altered the order of inspection. Under the Revised Code the Inspectors were not to proceed to an examination in reading, writing, and arithmetic, till they ascertained that the general state of the school did not require the grant to be withheld. The new Minute divided the general inspection of schools into two parts—one of which, religious knowledge, was kept in the first place; but, in all other matters, the general inspection was postponed till after the examination in reading, writing, and arithmetic. To Church of England schools this arrangement would make practically little difference; but it was just possible that, in some cases, where the children were examined by assistants under a written order, the grant might be paid without that general inspection, which, in many points, was of substantial importance.
§ MR. FINLAY
complained, that the Western Islands of Scotland derived scarcely any advantage from this Vote.
§ MR. WALTER
said, that before the discussion closed, he wished to recall attention to what he considered the real point of controversy—namely, whether Parliament was to continue for any lengthened period to find money to provide the machinery by which these schools were to be conducted. Personally, he believed that principle to be entirely wrong, and he would put the point before the House in a very simple manner. The Government did not, and could not, undertake—and, even if it were willing, the country could not permit it to undertake—the education of the people. But the Government con- 759 tracted with—or, perhaps, he ought rather to say, offered bounties to certain private individuals for undertaking that duty, and stipulated to pay a particular sum, called a capitation grant, for the production of certain manufactured articles in the shape of educated children; and the Government said this to the managers of schools, "We have on our hands a quantity of plant—namely, a number of pupil teachers and certificated masters, which we will compel you to use, on pain of forfeiting our assistance." Managers of schools made their bow to the Government, and proceeded to educate the children as best they could. In process of time Government sent round their Inspectors. In one school they found the children very Well taught, the proper instruments were employed, the Inspectors passed the school, and the Government was satisfied that its own machinery was in operation. The Inspector then went to another school, where he found results equally satisfactory, the children equally well taught, and the school—not, as an hon. Gentleman had said, "a Bedlam,"—but perfectly well conducted, clean, and orderly. But in this case, after the Inspector had expressed himself satisfied, the Government demanded to see the schoolmaster, with a view to discover whether he was of the Government stamp. The manager said, "No, he had tried the Government machine and it had broken down in his hands; he then tried a machine of his own, which answered the purpose much better, and with it results had been produced which could not fail to commend themselves to the approval of the Inspectors." The Government, however, replied, "You do not choose to use our machine, we shall not recognise the manufactured article you have produced." He put it to the House whether that was a state of things which could be fairly maintained. At the time he brought forward this question his right hon. Friend, among other arguments used in reply—and he believed it was the best of the arguments which he then put forward—suggested that the system had not had a fair trial. But his right hon. Friend now admitted that an Inspector would not be allowed to make a fair Report; and that if one of them ventured to state anything contrary to the policy of the Government, his Report would not gain publicity. Under those circumstances, how was the House ever to know when the system had received a fair trial? 760 He wished his right hon. Friend would answer that Question, and state how, next year or in any future year, it could be shown that the system he maintained had received a fair trial?
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(8.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £82,883, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1864, for the General Management of the Department of Science and Art, of the Schools throughout the Kingdom in connection with the Department, and of the Geological Surveys of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, this was a Vote which increased regularly year after year, and, after all, it by no means included the whole of the expense incurred. There were a variety of items of various amounts, and in reality there was about £20,000 more expended under this head than appeared in their Vote. With regard to the buildings at Kensington, he should like to know whether certain apartments called "rooms for officers" were not in reality residences for officers. He moved the reduction of the Vote by £10,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £72,883, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1864, for the General Management of the Department of Science and Art, of the Schools throughout the Kingdom in connection with the Department, and of the Geological Surveys of Great Britain and Ireland, &c."—(Mr. Augustus Smith.)
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
also expressed his opinion that some explanation on the subject of the buildings "for officers" ought to be given by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Council.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
hoped that in answering the question just put to him the right hon. Gentlemen would state whether those buildings had not been sanctioned by a Committee of which his hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. C. Bentinck) was a Member.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that the buildings in question had been erected in pursuance of a recommendation of the Committee which sat in 1861. The buildings were for four officers—the Secretary of the institution, the resident engineer, the superintendent 761 under the secretary, and another officer. The Museum was open to the public till ten o'clock at night, and the officers were there till that hour. With the exception of the House of Commons, it was, he believed, the only public institution in which business was conducted so late at night. The Committee thought it necessary there should be a residence for officers whose attendance might he required in case of fire or other accident to the Museum. The arrangement would, in the end, be an economical one for the public, because there would be a deduction from the officers' salaries, to go towards meeting the interest on the outlay for those buildings.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
, in reference to what had been said by his noble Friend (Lord H. Lennox), said, that the recommendation of the Committee proceeded on the assumption that the buildings at Kensington were to be of a plain character. He now found that they were assuming an ornamental character, under the direction of a gentleman who was an officer of engineers, who was styled "the inspector of buildings." He thought they ought to be under the direction of some one who had undergone the professional education of an architect. He wished to know whether it was the intention of the Department to allow them to continue under the direction of a gentleman who had not received such an education.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that the gentleman just referred to by his hon. Friend as the "inspector of buildings" was Captain Fowke. For the information of his hon. Friend and the House he might state that the gallant gentleman, who was a captain in the Engineers, had been first employed by the Government in connection with the construction of a barrack, which cost £100,000. He then became Secretary of the English Science and Art Department of the Paris Exhibition of 1855. He gave such satisfaction in that capacity that he was appointed one of the inspectors under that Department in England. He was not the designer of the iron portion of the structure. [Mr. CAVENDISH BENTINCK: Of the boilers.] He was not the designer 762 of what had been called "the boilers," which were erected by Sir William Cubitt; but he was the designer of the Vernon and Sheepshanks Galleries, for which works he deserved the highest credit. He not only distinguished himself as an architect, but as an inventor. He first investigated and showed the true theory of lighting a picture gallery. He laid down a formula that could be applied to any gallery; and he applied it himself at Kensington. He also made the gas in those galleries—what it was much to be desired it should become in that House—not only a means of lighting, but also of ventilating the building. Captain Fowke had made the plan of the Irish National Gallery, which he believed gave great satisfaction; and his design for the Industrial Museum of Scotland had also received the preference. He had built the lower arcade in the Horticultural Gardens from his own plan, and that structure was considered to be an excellent one. He had laid before the Select Committee a plan for buildings for the Department of Science and Art. To him belonged the credit of building at the small expense of £17,000 those new quadrangular courts in the Kensington Museum, which presented such an exceedingly handsome appearance. From the works Captain Fowke had executed for his Department, he must say he had the highest opinion of him. He was a most excellent officer; there had never been any complaint of him; and he was superior to most professional architects in this respect—that he never exceeded his estimate. Under these circumstances, there was no intention to displace Captain Fowke.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered his question. Captain Fowke might be a very excellent engineer but he denied that he knew anything about architecture. As long as he was employed in constructing sheds and devising plans for ventilation, he was a very proper person to be selected; but the moment the Government went out of this into art it was only right that the country should have the best advice. When he (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) was placed on the South Kensington Committee, he found that the only case put forward for Captain Fowke was the building of sheds; but the moment the Department of Science and Art rushed into what might be termed the height of art the buildings were the contempt of every one who knew anything about art. Some persons admired 763 the Gothic, and others the modern style of architecture; because each of these represented what was beautiful in itself; but Captain Fowke's style was the barbarous, as was seen in his great masterpiece, the Exhibition, which the Government now wanted Parliament to buy—those melon glasses which were the scorn of Europe—and yet the designer of these was the man whom the right hon. Gentleman called the architect of the Government. [Mr. LOWE: The architect of my Department.] He (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) would congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the success of his Department in that it had such an architect.
§ MR. LOCKE
desired, as a Member of the South Kensington Committee, to say, that the hon. Gentleman's estimate of Captain Fowke was not that taken by the rest of the Committee. The frightful building at South Kensington was not an original design of Captain Fowke. The Commissioners required a building to be put up here for one purpose, and another there for another purpose; and Captain Fowke was then called upon to prepare a plan for moulding them all into one. Hon. Members were told to look to the Society of Architects, or some other society, which enjoyed a pre-eminence of taste in this country. He (Mr. Locke) would be glad to know where any society which had this pre-eminence was to be found. He would ask the hon. Member (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) to point to any man who could put up a better building than Captain Fowke had put up? The fact was, there was nobody in this country who knew anything about taste in architecture, and no one who had any taste to guide them. If there was a man worthy of their confidence, that man was Captain Fowke; but he (Mr. Locke) had not entire confidence in him. That noble building of brick, the International Exhibition, was not built for the purpose of ornamentation. It was built so that it should have the most frightful exterior; and this in itself showed the ingenuity of Captain Fowke, for now he could say, "Is not this building which I have raised hideous? but now let me have the ornamentation of it." And why was he not to have it? He (Mr. Locke) did not see why Captain Fowke was not to be trusted as well as any other man; and no doubt hon. Members would all get accustomed to the building. Captain Fowke ought then to be allowed to go on in his course, and not be interfered with in his plan for the South 764 Kensington Exhibition. He (Mr. Locke) hoped the hon. Member (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) would think over the matter before the Vote to the Exhibition Building came on, which the Government proposed to buy, but not, he trusted, at the expense of £484,000; and if the Government proposed to take the building down and put up another, Captain Fowke would do it as well as any other.
§ SIR MATTHEW RIDLEY
wished to draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the manner in which the picture gallery at South Kensington was warmed. Such a stream of hot air entered the gallery just beneath the pictures that the varnish was contracted, and after a certain time became desiccated and fell off. He was told that some of the pictures had already been injured from this circumstance since their removal from Marlborough House.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, he had heard nothing to diminish his objections to the Vote. He desired to know whether the "rooms for officers" were all in one house, or were in separate buildings.
§ MR. COGAN
rose to protest against the amalgamation of the Royal Dublin Society and the Museum of Irish Industry, both institutions of the city of Dublin. The Commission appointed to investigate the question of amalgamation was unfairly constituted, two of the gentlemen composing it representing the Treasury, and the other two being connected with the Royal Dublin Society. He also complained of the delay which had taken place in laying the Report of the Commissioners on the table—a thing which was most unusual in similar cases.
§ MR. LOWE
said, the Commission appeared to him to have been very fairly constituted, the gentlemen composing it being men of the highest character. They had made their Report, which was now before the Treasury; it had been moved for, and would be produced. It could not, in any way, affect the Estimate now before the House. As to a question put by the hon. Member for Truro, he begged to state that the residences were all in one house.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, a very strong feeling existed in Ireland and especially in Dublin on the subject of the proposed amalgamation of the Museum of Irish industry with the Royal Dublin Society, and he trusted before the House came to a decision upon it they would allow 765 the opinion of the country more immediately interested in the matter to be expressed.
§ MR. WYLD
wished to call attention to the item for the geological survey. It seemed to be a rule, that when an item once got into the Estimates, it was to be continued indefinitely. Only 8,000 square miles of the geological survey of Great Britain was completed, and would cost £7,861, when for half the money double the amount of work might be done by any private parties. There was great reason to complain of the slow progress of the work.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
, reverting to the subject of the Exhibition building at Kensington said, it was all very well to turn professional architects into ridicule; but when they were about to erect a great building which, he ventured to say, was extremely ngly, it would have been well to have taken their opinion. When he looked at the building yesterday from the Horticultural Gardens, it struck him that a fine opportunity had been lost; and he believed, if a skilful architect had been consulted, very little difficulty would have been experienced by the Government in the purchase they intended to make. But when they saw a building such as that now at Kensington, everybody wished to have it removed.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 129: Majority 98.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.