HC Deb 12 April 1864 vol 174 cc897-914

, in bringing forward the Resolution of which he had given notice— That, in the opinion of this House, the mutilation of the Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, and the exclusion from them of statements and opinions adverse to the educational views entertained by the Committee of Council, while matter favourable to them is admitted, are violations of the understanding under which the appointment of the Inspectors was originally sanctioned by Parliament, and tend entirely to destroy the value of their Reports, said, at this interesting time of the evening, I beg to promise the House that I will be exceedingly brief in dealing with the matter which I desire to bring before its attention. It may seem to some hon. Members to be a matter of small importance; but I do not think they will be of that opinion when they reflect that it involves the truth and purity of the information on which the House sanctions the payment of large sums of money taken out of the taxes paid by the people. What I wish to bring under the notice of the House is this:—The Inspectors of Schools make, as the House is aware, Reports annually to Parliament, containing, or professing to contain, the facts which those Inspectors have had under their cognizance, and the information which they have gathered with respect to the progress of education in those districts of the country which fall under their observation. Upon that information the House legislates, or rather it passes the Estimates for Education which are submitted to it. The Estimate for Education is, as the House wells knows, an Estimate of enormous amount; it has increased for many years, until it has now reached, I think, something like £800,000. The only information which the House possesses to enable it to judge whether the grant is rightly or wrongly dispensed is derived from the Reports of those Inspectors who are appointed for that purpose, and who make their Reports to the Committee of Privy Council, and through that Com- mittee to Parliament. Now, what the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education claims to do, and what I traverse his right to do, is this:—He claims to expunge from those Reports all opinions which differ from his own, and at the same time to retain in them those opinions which agree with his own. It will be at once plain to hon. Members that such a practice entirely destroys the value of the Reports as any guide to the House in the course it should take on educational matters. Nor is this all. What I want to point out to the House is that this is not only an injurious plan, but is a breach of the original understanding upon which those Inspectors were appointed. They were appointed in the year 1840, after, as some hon. Members may remember, very fierce contests, in which all parts of the Government scheme were sharply called in question. They were appointed under a Minute that was afterwards laid before Parliament; and when that Minute had been laid before Parliament the general feeling was that so satisfactory had the arrangement which the Government had made turned out, that all the antagonism which had been raised disappeared at once, and the scheme of the Government was allowed to go on without further resistance. Since that time the Inspectors have held their office without any opposition on the part of Parliament, they have increased largely in number, and have been relied on by this House as its source of information. Now, that Minute, I maintain, is the contract between the Government and the House, and I want to call the attention of hon. Gentlemen to its terms. It was passed in January, 1840, and says— The Reports of the Inspectors are intended to convey such further information respecting the state of elementary education in Great Britain as to enable Parliament to determine in what mode the sums voted for the education of the poorer classes can be most usefully applied. Your Reports will be made to the Committee, but it is intended that they shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament. The Committee doubt not that you are duly impressed with the weight of the responsibility resting upon you, and they repose full confidence in the judgment and discretion with which your duty will be performed. Now, the House of Commons, knowing that that was the understanding on which the Inspectors were appointed, and receiving their Reports from year to year, have become accustomed to look to those Reports for a true account of the state of Education as it actually existed, and on the faith of them have made the enormous grants for which the Minister applied on behalf of the Educational Department. What I wish the House particularly to notice is this: — The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Council claims—I believe in a Minute which he passed—to exclude from the Reports all "matters of opinion." But that is not what he really does. What he really does is to exclude all matters of opinion hostile to himself. Of course, for reasons which the House will well understand, the right hon. Gentleman is rather a formidable man for his subordinates to deal with, and I cannot afford to quote any information which I may have received from them for fear of the vengeance which might descend on the head of the unfortunate wight who supplied it. But I ask the House to believe me without asking me for proof—and I can give proof if I am challenged—I ask the House to believe that the sort of things cut out of the Reports are of this character. Supposing, for instance, that there is something in the construction of a school which is, in. the opinion of the Inspector, injurious to the condition of the children, and that it is desirable that, in regard to it, the Privy Council should relax its rule —that is an opinion to which the right hon. Gentleman does not accede, and it is ruthlessly cut out. Supposing that the right hon. Gentleman has to meet opponents in Parliament; supposing, for example, he has to meet an opponent so formidable to him as the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter), and that that hon. Gentleman gathers together some very cogent arguments against the views of the Vice President of the Education Department, and supposing that some unfortunate Inspector should in his Report state facts or opinions which would seem in any way to support the proposition which such an opponent as I have indicated would bring-forward, then that passage is ruthlessly cut out by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President. But suppose some Inspector of more docile and loyal mind, knowing the duty he owes to his Department, knowing the allegiance he bears to the right hon. Gentleman, makes it his business so to construct his Report that the Vice President of the Council shall have available materials for the next speech which he may have occasion to deliver, and shall be able to cite the opinion of that In- spector of Schools against such a Motion as that of the hon. Member for Berkshire, then the Report is received with open arms and appears with all the honours. The right hon. Gentleman tells us he excludes matters of opinion. Let us test that assertion. I will quote from Mr. Stewart's General Report for 1862. Mr. Stewart is a keen opponent of the views of the hon. Member for Berkshire, and the consequence is that his Report is unmutilated, and finds its way into the blue-book. He says— It is not unusual to represent the schools of the class just mentioned as institutions in which an unnecessarily high quality of instruction is given to the scholars, and at the same time to make out as a grievance that your Lordships' system ignores the very existence of 15,000 schools which stand in great need of assistance, but get nothing, although, without the services of educated teachers, they really contrive to teach children the simple elements of education. MR. Stewart then goes on at length to refute that opinion— There are, of course, examples in which the general regulations of all public departments press with severity and apparent inequality; but, on the whole, it is not correct to say that schools are unaided because your Lordships require an impossible standard of school management and instruction. Now, that is a direct opinion on the objections raised by Gentlemen in this House and elsewhere, and it states that those objections are futile; but, of course, it is put in by the Vice President of the Council, because it states an opinion which he himself entertains. I will now just merely read the sentence with which this Report concludes, to show how boldly Mr. Stewart advances his opinions regarding certificated teachers, and how far the right hon. Gentleman gives expression to opinions with which he concurs. He says— This state of things is neither due to the enticements of public grants nor wholly to individual exertion; highly-trained teachers have obtained a fair trial, and experience has shown that they are not only the best, but the only persons qualified, as a class, to conduct schools in which the poor are to be thoroughly, although plainly, educated. That, of course, is a direct negative to the Motion of the hon. Member for Berkshire; it is a direct opinion on the subject of a legislative change yet under the consideration of the House of Commons; it is an opinion in sympathy with the views of the Vice President of the Privy Council; and you have the remarkable fact that it appears, while the opinions of Inspectors who adopt the other view of the question are excluded. Of course, if I had the opinions of the mutilated Inspectors, I have no doubt I should be able to make my case a great deal stronger. The House will see that, and appreciate my difficulty. I know the ferocity, almost, with which the right hon. Gentleman exercises his powers; and I am not disposed to subject any one with whom I am acquainted to the exercise of those powers, I submit to the consideration of the House this question: —Will you trust to Reports that have been subjected to this expurgating process, by which the Minister, who represents the Department in this House, excludes all that is hostile and retains all that is favourable to himself? I ask hon. Gentlemen to apply to the case the test of their own experience. What would the owner of a distant estate think if he ordered his bailiffs to report to the land steward, and if when the bailiffs had sent in their reports he found some day that some of them containing some strong opinions on the management of land were absent, while some maintaining the particular views of the steward himself were carefully preserved? The steward might be a man entertaining opinions in which many other persons did not concur. He might entertain strange, quaint, and crotchety opinions on agricultural questions. He might be of opinion that you ought to put all your manure on rich land, and none of it on poor land. Well, supposing him to entertain those opinions, and to argue them out on letters from bailiffs which supported them, while he suppressed those letters from bailiffs which opposed them, I ask, does any Gentleman who is the owner of land think the steward would retain his situation? Sir, the remedy is in the hands of the House. They are intrusted with the expenditure of vast sums of money; and usually when they grant large sums they guard by Acts of Parliament the expenditure of that money; bat in the ease of Education they hand over enormous sums to a Minister who conducts his department, not on regulations which the House itself can control, but on Minutes which the Government are always introducing, and which, if defeated, they can reintroduce with illusory modifications by which the opinion of the House is defied or eluded. The House of Commons, in dealing with a Department so constituted, is bound to its constituents to use a double amount of caution. It is bound to insist that the channels of information on which it depends shall be pure, and that it shall not be called upon to legislate for such vast interests as are now at stake on un-faithworthy and garbled statements. The noble Lord concluded by moving his Resolution.


Sir, as I may be unable to address the House at a later period of the evening. I beg to say a few words in seconding the Motion of the noble Lord. If the question which my noble Friend has raised was simply one affecting the order and discipline of the Department, I should be the last to join in supporting it; but the case is of a serious character; and the noble Lord has stated very fairly that by adopting the course it has been pursuing in garbling the Reports of the Inspectors, the Education Department deprives this House of the information which it ought to possess when dealing with this question. If the Inspectors were merely correspondents of the Department; if those who have charge of the Department receive the Reports of the Inspectors merely to grind up in order to make a report of their own, that would be quite a different question, and I should not object to their garbling those Reports. But I think the Inspectors stand in a very different position. They are gentlemen of very superior education; they get high salaries; and I think I may say it is believed by this House, that of all others they are eminently competent to guide the House on this subject. Well, what is the position of any Member who entertains views of his own—-it may be crotchety, but at all events deliberate views—on this question? My noble Friend has truly reminded the House that it has been my lot to address the House on the question of certificated masters. That question has undergone discussion here in two successive Sessions, I find in the Reports of two Inspectors — Mr. Norris and Mr. Stewart — opinions to the effect that I have entirely failed by my arguments to show that the system of certificated masters is not the best one. And I find in the same Reports statements that in the uncertificated schools are good-for-nothing-masters—old crippled persons, eighty years of age, paupers, and all the rest of it; and, in short, that I have not a leg to stand on if I bring the matter forward. I do not complain of that. On the contrary, I say the Inspectors have a right to make those statements; but when I have reason to know that in a Report of a different character, by a gentleman holding different opinions—a Report which speaks of a particular school as being the very beau- ideal of what an infant school ought to be, of its being the best school in the Inspector's district—when I find the whole passage containing that statement struck out because the Inspector thought it right to state that the school was conducted by an uucertificated mistress, I say it is not fair, because it deprives me, and any gentleman holding the same views, of the opportunity of bringing our case before the House in a proper manner. When we read the Inspectors' Reports as they appeared in the Report of the Commissioners, we felt that they were not writing under the fear of the Department. Now, I have looked through all the evidence I could find in all the volumes of that Report, and I find that those gentlemen hold very different views; and there is enough to satisfy me that I have a strong primâ facie case; but if I am told that in any opinions which may be expressed by the Inspectors in future those parts that support the views I put forward are to be struck out, then I say I have no chance of bringing my case properly before the House. Mentioning this particular case, I call on the House, if they wish to have accurate information on the subject, to encourage the Inspectors by all means to state their opinions fully.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, in the opinion of this House, the mutilation of the Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, and the exclusion from them of statements and opinions adverse to the educational views entertained by the Committee of Council, while matter favourable to them is admitted, are violations of the understanding under which the appointment of the Inspectors was originally sanctioned by Parliament, and tend entirely to destroy the value of their Reports."—(Lord R. Cecil.)


Sir, I assure the House that the case mentioned by the hon. Member for Berkshire is entirely new to me; I have not the least idea to what the hon. Member alludes. The noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord Robert Cecil) has spoken of the "ferocity" which we displayed in a recent instance. I quite understand what he means. On Thursday last the noble Lord asked mo to state the grounds on which Mr. Morrell had been dismissed from the office of Inspector. I said I did not think it would be right to make an ex parte statement on the subject; but if the noble Lord chose to move for the Correspondence it would be at his service as an unopposed Return. The noble Lord has not thought right to move for it [Lord ROBERT CECIL: I am going to do so], but, without having the documents in his hands, the noble Lord attributes to the Lord President the course of conduct which he has just mentioned to the House. The House must judge of the justice of that course. The noble Lord asks us to assert two opinions. The House is asked to assert two facts; first, that the Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools are mutilated; and secondly, that statements and opinions adverse to the educational views entertained by the Committee of Council are excluded from the Reports, while matter favourable to them is admitted. The noble Lord then calls upon the House to declare, as matters of opinion, that that is a violation of the understanding under which the appointment of the Inspectors was originally sanctioned by Parliament, and that it tends entirely to destroy the value of their Reports. Now, I maintain that those two facts are untrue, and that those two opinions are absurd. Let me state again to the House, as I stated last year, the practice of the Office on the subject, and then the House will be able to judge whether what is done amounts to mutilation or not. The matter which first drew attention to this subject was a Report of a Roman Catholic Inspector, which we inadvertently allowed to be laid on the table of the House, and a considerable portion of which was devoted to a statistical inquiry into the comparative state of Roman Catholic and Protestant countries, in order to demonstrate that illegitimate births, capital crimes, and other offences were more frequent in Protestant than in Roman Catholic countries. That Report was too offensive a document to be laid on the table of the House and to be printed at the public expense, and I felt ashamed at having been a party to its production, for it is not the business of our Department to interfere in those religious controversies. It therefore appeared to us necessary to take some steps to prevent a recurrence of such a proceeding. What were we to do? No doubt the obvious expedient would have been what the noble Lord calls mutilation —namely, to read over the Reports of the Inspectors, and to strike out the passages considered improper to be laid before Parliament. These Inspectors are appointed under the Privy Council, and the directions given to them are that they should report on the state of the schools which they inspect, and offer practical suggestions for their improvement. There is not any exclusion of opinion. On the contrary, opinion is perfectly admissible, if directed to the practical object of the improvement of the schools inspected. Such are the instructions under which the Inspectors act. Well, then, if the Inspectors, having received these instructions, do not write their Reports in conformity with them, they obviously commit a breach of duty; and the simple question we had to consider was, what would be in such a case the proper remedy to be applied. As I said, I could have garbled and mutilated these Reports; but I did not think it right or fair to do so—because if a sentence was struck out it might very well be argued that not only was that particular sentence expunged, but its removal might materially alter the contents of the Report. Therefore, it appeared to be the safest course to make the Inspectors their own censors, to send back, in case of need, the Reports to them, with a copy of the instructions as to the manner in which the Reports were to be drawn up, and to leave it to them to bring their Reports into conformity therewith, and informing them if that was not done the Reports would be put aside as documents not proper to be printed at the public expense, That is the course which the Office has uniformly observed. It does not point out in any case passages to which objections are made, but merely lays down the rule and principle on which the Inspectors are to proceed, and leaves them to apply that rule and principle to their own Reports. The Inspectors are, as has been most truly observed, gentlemen of great intelligence, and, if they will, they can perform the office of removing what seems to be improper in their Reports. We do not proceed in any narrow spirit, but allow a considerable latitude, and it is only in extreme cases that we have thought it necessary to act on the determination I have just mentioned. I would ask the House, then, after it has now heard the statement I have made, what does it think of the assertions of the noble Lord that the Vice President of the Committee of Council cuts out this, revises that, and excludes the other? What does it think of the allegation of the hon. Member for Berkshire, that a particular statement with respect to a particular school was omitted at my instance? The House is informed of the invariable principle on which the Department proceeds, and I ask hon. Gentlemen how can they, with any degree of fairness or consistency, vote, in the face of my statement, that I am a person who mutilates these Reports, when the aim and object of the Committee of Council are, that mutilation should not be the work of the Department, but that the Inspector himself, who may have inadvertently made his Report not in accordance with his instructions, should have the power of setting it right? Therefore, I cannot conceive with what face the noble Lord can ask the House to agree to his Motion, which he supports with statements at variance with the facts of the case, to the effect that the heads of the Office cut out passages from the Reports. It is next said that we exclude from the Reports what is unfavourable to our views, and leave in what is favourable. That assertion is liable to the same answer. We neither strike out nor retain anything. The noble Lord says that he has information to that effect; but, judging from what has fallen from that noble Lord, I should say that the information is of very little value. It is not our wish that the Inspectors should write in favour of the Department or against it; and we do not strike out passages either because they are favourable or unfavourable, if they only come within the Minute of instructions, and offer practical suggestions for the improvement of schools. What is objected to is general controversial matter, not matter of opinion within the Minute, but matter of opinion which docs not bear on the subject the Inspector has to report upon; but I do not feel it my duty to erase from a Report any argument in favour of retaining certificated teachers, because that is a matter which has to do with the improvement of the schools under inspection. It is as germane to the argument as an argument in favour of doing away with certificated teachers. I never have had occasion to notice any such argument since the Inspectors are unanimous the other way. I think I have shown the House pretty good reason why it should not vote that these Reports are mutilated or are not fair, and it now remains for me to deal with the noble Lord's two matters of opinion. First of all, it is said that the course pursued is contrary to the understanding on which the Inspectors were directed to report, and the noble Lord quotes a letter of 1840. [Lord ROBERT CECIL: A Minute.] No, it is not a Minute. All who are familiar with these matters at the beginning, know that in 1840 the only assistance which the Privy Council gave to schools consisted of grants for building, there being then no annual grants; and the Inspector's duty was not to interfere with the instruction and management or discipline of schools, or press on the managers any suggestions which they should not he inclined to receive. The office of Inspector at that time was quite different from what it now is. The noble Lord quoted a passage as to the Reports of the Inspectors, and he said they were to report on the state of particular districts, and how far it would be expedient for Government or Parliament to provide additional means of education in those districts. But the Reports which were then contemplated are not the least like what our Inspectors make now. These former Reports were to be made on the general state of education, in order that the Government, which had not then made up its mind as to the manner in which assistance ought to be given to schools, should have their attention directed to the state of education. Our present Reports, on the other hand, are Reports on schools, and on matters which occurred to the Inspectors in connection with those schools. The one class of Reports has become obsolete in course of time, and the other class is substituted for it. I admit to the noble Lord that it is the understanding, and always has been, that the Reports of the Inspectors should be laid before Parliament. That is the object with which they report, and when we call on them to report, we do so with the intention of laying their Reports before Parliament. The Reports, however, are not made directly to Parliament, but to the Privy Council under instructions, and are then laid before Parliament if they fairly and reasonably agree with those instructions. That is the practice of my Office, and it is not peculiar to the Committee of Privy Council, but prevails in other public offices having Inspectors, such as the Home Office. It is not everything that a gentleman chooses to write which is to be laid on the table of the House of Commons, or we might have an account of every quarrel and controversy in which he had embarked, and a record of every indiscreet expression which he may have penned. It is quite open to the House to express an opinion that the Inspectors should report directly to Parliament, and not to the Privy Council, and thus exonerate us from all responsibility in the matter. I have not the slightest objection to any amount of report which the House may then choose to require; but only while we have the responsibility we are bound to exercise a control. The matter which first drew attention to the subject was the Report of Mr. Fletcher in 1849. That gentleman drew up a Report of more than 200 pages, which referred not only to education, but went into the statistics of crime, and into the amount of committals for offences; and all this was printed at the public expense. That was considered an abuse, and a circular was issued to prevent the recurrence of such cases. But, if the House thinks it advisable that a number of very clever men should exercise their faculties in giving greater latitude to these Reports, and that they should be printed at the public expense, nothing can be easier. Let the House give its orders, and they shall be obeyed. No delusion can be greater than that the Privy Council Office is in any way afraid of any criticism of their proceedings. We have undergone every criticism that the whole of a highly educated class could bring upon us. Every one of these Inspectors can write what he likes, not in a Parliamentary blue-book, which nobody reads, but in the Reviews, which everybody reads. There is no soreness at anything that can be said. You have heard the worst of us, and we are not the least afraid of any facts that can be brought against us. But what we are anxious for, what we do wish, is to keep the Office in discipline; if we do issue instructions, to see that they are not disobeyed, and to keep the officers within the limits of those instructions. The House may itself undertake the duty of those by whom the Revised Code is to be administered; but, in that event, relieve us from the responsibility. I shall then be happy to congratulate the noble Lord on the triumph he has obtained, and I hope the House will not grow tired of the task. There is one more matter of opinion expressed by the noble Lord—that the effect of the exercise of our jurisdiction over these Reports is entirely to destroy their value. The noble Lord appears to consider the whole and sole value of the Inspectors' Reports to consist in their being damaging and derogatory to their superiors, and furnishing arguments to those who always talk of the largeness of the Education Estimates, but have done everything to make them larger and less efficient. The sort of thing the noble Lord contemplates maybe very delightful, but it is scarcely practicable. He seems to contemplate a department, nominally responsible to Parliament for large sums of money, living under an Aulic Council of Inspectors, criticising its action, condemning its conduct, and furnishing arms to any one who may attack it. That, according to the noble Lord, may be the beau ideal of a public department; but such a department must necessarily end in perfect anarchy. Responsibility would be utterly frittered away and destroyed, and your Inspectors, having their own way, you would have a bad system of inspection. I think, therefore, I have shown that it is not true that these Reports are mutilated as the noble Lord says; nor is it true—at any rate the noble Lord is quite unable to adduce any evidence on which the House can act— that there is any capricious or unfair dealing with the Reports in order to make them pleasing to the Department. Nor can it be said with any justice that the withholding, in some cases, of these Reports is a violation of any understanding; for whoever said it was the intention of the I Department that they should all be laid before Parliament? To make that out it should be shown that the Privy Council bound themselves to lay these Reports in every case on the table of the House, which no one has ever asserted. And as to the opinion that these Reports are only valuable so far as they are condemnatory of the Office under which the Inspectors act, I think that is an assertion which it will not do the House much credit to take from the lips of the noble Lord. One thing-more I have got to say, and I hope it will give satisfaction to the noble Lord; it is this, that this policy of vivisection, or mutilation, or whatever he may call it, has been entirely successful. I have the greatest pleasure in telling the House that, in the present year, we have now got in all the Reports of the Inspectors, and I am proud to say it has not been necessary to send a single Report back to the Inspectors. The noble Lord will, of course, say that the reign of terror had prevailed; but I can assure him that is not the case. The noble Lord appears to think that it should be a source of the greatest satisfaction to the House and the country to find the Department in a state of civil war, and the public service in jeopardy; but there is nothing of the kind. I can assure him that the Inspectors—a very valuable body of men, who have undertaken, no doubt, duties which press very heavily on some of them —are doing good service, and the system is worked with a smoothness and success which surprise us. We really see no rock ahead, except such Motions and speeches as are made by the noble Lord, which would lead the House to suppose that the system was really founded on the principle of having antagonistic influences at work—those representing the Department in Parliament and the Inspectors—and that the best thing they can do for the public service is that it shall be be torn in pieces between them. I sincerely hope that the House will not listen to the Motion of the noble Lord, because it will be fatal to the present organization of the Office, and because the two statements which it expresses are utterly untrue, and his two opinions absurd.


Having brought forward this question last year, I wish to say a very few words to show the position in which the great educational question, which we have all at heart, now stands. The right hon. Gentleman has made great changes—I am not going to say whether they are advantages or disadvantages— but no doubt great changes have been made. A crisis has arisen in the question; and just at this moment, when we are most anxious to get all the information possible as to facts, the right hon. Gentleman comes forward and pleads for the discipline of his Office—what none of his predecessors found it necessary to do—by saying that it was not the original understanding that all the Inspectors' Reports should be produced. Those who knew the history of the Education movement understood that when the Government gave State aid they were to receive information from impartial and educated gentlemen as to how that State aid was applied. It was never more important that we should know the facts; but no facts are given which run, counter to the view of the right hon. Gentleman. He says it is very easy to print these facts elsewhere; but I say the place where they ought to appear is that in which by the arrangement of the Office they ought to appear—I mean in the Reports of the School Inspectors. There is another point. Perhaps the House is not aware that this year the right hon. Gentleman only gives Reports for half the kingdom—the Reports are only from half the Inspectors in the course of the year. I do not suppose that he has taken care to pick the half most favourable to himself, but at the present time, when information from all parts of the country is so much required, he steps forward and says, "I will save the country a few pounds in the printing of these Reports." Never was there a more penny wise and pound foolish policy. If, as he says, the Inspectors send foolish Reports, let us see them; it may be a reason for getting rid of them. Then the right hon. Gentleman said the Reports did not contain practical suggestions:—let him be good enough to produce those Reports which he says were not mutilated, but sent back to the Inspectors;—let us see them, whether with or without the marginal marks upon them, and then the House will form its own opinion on the subject. There is another reason why the Office which is concerned in the distribution of the Educational Grant does, to use plain language, want watching and control. The right hon. Gentleman has issued a new Code himself in the shape of supplementary rules. I say that is a reason why we ought to know as well as we possibly can from those gentlemen who go through the country, and whose business it is to report the local circumstances of the schools, what it is that the great central bureaucratic establishment is doing in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman, in the conclusion of his speech, gave the strongest possible argument in favour of the Motion. He said, that while the last thing the Office was afraid of was opinions, yet that he could not work the Office if these gentlemen were allowed to give us their opinions and practical suggestions.


explained that he did not mean to say that if the present system were abolished the Office would not work, but he intended to imply that the Government of the Office would be taken out of their hands. With respect to the reduction in the number of Reports—under the original system they had head Inspectors and assistant Inspectors, and the head Inspectors only made reports; but the system had been changed, and now all were Inspectors and made Reports. According to the present plan of one-half of the Inspectors reporting this year, the same number of Reports would be presented as in former times.


said, there was an old saying that hard words did not always constitute sound argument; and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) showed the truth of the saying. He had said that the noble Lord's (Lord R. Cecil) assertions were untrue, and his opinions absurd; but how had he proved what he had said? To prove the first part of his assertion he had said that the Reports were not mutilated by the Department, but by the Inspectors themselves. Now, the Government of Japan, when it was wished to punish an officer did not punish him themselves, but called upon him to commit suicide; and this was precisely the course which the right hon. Gentleman had taken. The right hon. Gentleman had also said that the Reports contained opinions which ought not to be printed; but surely the best way would be to give the House an opportunity of judging of that, and then, probably, an expression of opinion would correct the evil.


said, that as the practice of other Departments had been adverted to, he felt bound to state, as the result of considerable experience, that he thought it was absolutely necessary for the interests of the public that the heads of Departments should exercise some degree of control over the Reports of Inspectors. He had had occasion at the Home Office, as had been the case with his predecessor (Sir James Graham), to call the attention of Inspectors to the nature of their Reports, in which, after stating facts, they proceeded to enter upon controversies upon disputed points. In those cases the Reports were not mutilated, but sent back to the Inspectors, exactly in the same way as he understood from his right hon. Friend the Vice President the Reports of the Inspectors of Schools had been dealt with. He considered that it was absolutely necessary that the head of a Department should exercise a power of that kind.

Question put—

The House divided: — Ayes 101; Noes 93: Majority 8.

Annesley, hon. Col. II. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Astell, J. II. Gard, R. S.
Barrow, W. H. George, J.
Beecroft, G. S. Getty, S. G.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Gilpin, Colonel
Brooks, R Gore, J. R. O.
Cargill, W. W. Greenall, G.
Cartwright, Colonel Greene, J.
Cochrane, A. D. R.W. B. Gregory, W. H.
Collins, T. Grey de Wilton, Visct.
Cubitt, G. Griffith, C. D.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Grogan, Sir E.
Du Cane, C. Haliburton, T. C.
Dunne, Colonel Hamilton, Major
Fane, Colonel J. W. Hardy, G.
Farquhar, Sir M. Hardy, J.
Fergusson, Sir. T. Hay, Sir J. C. D.
FitzGerald, W. R. S. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Forster, W. E. Horsfall, T. B.
Fraser, Sir W. A. Hotham, Lord
Hubbard, J. G. Peel, J.
Hunt, G. W. Powell, F. S.
Kekewich, S. T. Quinn, P.
Kennard, R. W. Repton, G. W. J.
Knatchbull, W. F. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Knightley, R. Rose, W. A,
Lacon, Sir E. Scott, Lord H.
Leader, N. P. Selwyn, C. J.
Leeke, Sir H. Seymour, H. D.
Lefroy, A. Shirley, E. P.
Legh, W. J. Smith, Sir F.
Leslie, W. Somes, J.
Liddell, hon. H. G. Stanhope, J. B.
Lovaine, Lord Stanley, Lord
Lowther, hon. Colonel Stracey, Sir H.
M'Cann, J. Sullivan, M.
M'Cormick, W. Surtees, H. E.
MacEvoy, E. Taylor, Colonel
Maguire, J. F. Tomline, G.
Malins, R. Torrens, R.
Manners, right hon. Lord J. Turner, C.
Vance, J.
Mills, A. Vansittart, W.
Mowbray, rt. Hon. J. R. Vyse, Colonel H.
Nicol, W. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Noel, hon. G. J. Waterhouse, S.
North, Colonel Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Northeote, Sir S. H. Williams, W.
O'Couor Don, The Packe, C. W. Woodd, B. T.
Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J. TELLERS.
Peacocke, G. M. W. Cecil, Lord R.
pease, H. Walter, J.
Acton, Sir J. D. French, Colonel
Ayrton, A, S. Gibson, rt, hon. T. M.
Bagwell, J. Gilpin, C.
Baring, T. G. Gladstone, rt. hon. W,
Bass, M. T. Gower, G. W. G. L.
Bazley, T. Grenfell, H. R.
Black, A. Grey rt. hon. Sir G.
Blencowe, J. G. Hadfield, G.
Bouverie, hon. P. P. Henderson J.
Bramston, T. W. Hodgkinson, G.
Briscoe, J. I. Hutt, rt. hon. W.
Bruce, Lord E. Ingham, R.
Bruce, H. A. Knatchbull-Hugesson, E.
Buller, Sir A. W.
Buxton, C. Layard, A, H.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E, Lefevre, G. J. S.
Clay, J. Lindsay, W. S.
Clifford, C. C. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Cobbett, J. M. Mackie, J.
Cobden, R. Martin, P. W.
Collier, Sir R. P. Martin, J.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Mills, J. R.
Cox, W. Moor, H.
Crossley, Sir F. Morris, D
Dalglish, R. Neate, C.
Davey, R. Norris, J. T.
Denman, hon. G. O'Brien, Sir P.
Dillwyn, L. L. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Dodson, J. G. O'Hagan, rt. hon. T
Duke, Sir J. O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Osborne, R. B.
Evans, Sir De L. Padmore, R.
Ewart, W. Paget, Lord A.
Ewart, J. C. Palmer, Sir R.
Finlay, A, S. Palmerston, Viscount
Forster, C. Peel, rt. hon. F.
Fortescue, C. S. Pender, J.
Pinney, Colonel Verney, Sir H.
Pollard-Urquhart, W. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Price, R. G. Warner, E.
Ramsden, Sir J. W. Weguelin, T. M.
Salomons, Mr. Ald. Whitbread, S.
Scholefield, W. White, L.
Sidney, T, Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Smith, J. B. Woods, H.
Smith, A.
Sykes, Colonel W. H. TELLERS.
Trelawny, Sir J, S. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Turner, J. A., Dunbar, Sir W.