§ Supply considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £236,770, to complete the sum for Public Education, Ireland.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
It may be desirable, Sir, that I should make a short statement with regard to some of the details of the Vote, in order that the Committee may have an opportunity of forming a correct judgment upon it. I will first 1341 advert to the great increase which has taken place both in the schools in operation in Ireland during the past year as compared with 1861 and 1862, and also the increased number of children upon the rolls, and the average daily attendance in these schools, as showing a most satisfactory state of things. In the year ending December 31, 1861, there were 5,830 schools in operation, the average daily attendance being 284,726 children. On the 31st of December, 1862, there were 6,010 schools in operation, with an average daily attendance of 284,912 children; whereas on the 31st; of December, 1863, the schools in operation numbered 6,163, with an average daily attendance of 296,986 children. Thus, comparing 1862 with 1861, there is an increase of 180 schools, and, comparing 1863 with 1862, an increase of 153 schools, the average daily attendance of children in 1862 above that of 1861 being 186 children, and that of 1863 above 1862 showing an increase of over 12,074 children. This is an immense development during the past year. It is satisfactory to find in the schools in operation that the religious denominations of the children are, on the whole, proportioned to those of the country. For instance, in 1862 there were 812,527 children on the rolls, of whom 51,021 belonged to the Established Church, 666,438 were Roman Catholics, 89,566 Presbyterians, and 5,502 belonged to other persuasions. In 1863, according to the Report just laid on the table, the total number of children upon the rolls for the entire year amounted to 840,569, who were divided as follows:—Established Church, 54,248; Roman Catholics, 687,076; Presbyterians, 93,431; other persuasions, 5,814. That is to say, in 1863 there were in these schools 18 per cent of Protestants of all denominations, whereas the Roman Catholics amounted to 81 per cent, so that the proportion of children due to the relative number of the Roman Catholic and the Protestant population is maintained in the schools. Now it is very remarkable and very gratifying that this enormous increase of education throughout the country has had a wonderful influence upon the criminal statistics of Ireland. In 1851 the number of convictions was 14,377; that is to say, there was one conviction in every 453 of the population. But in 1862 the total number of convictions amounted only to 3,796, or only one in 1,528 of the population, showing an enormous diminution of crime during this period. I will now take 1342 the juvenile offenders under 16. In 1855 there were convicted, of juvenile offenders under 16 years, 556 boys and 175 girls; whereas in 1862, which, owing to the prevalent want and privation, was marked by a general increase in crime, the convictions were only 159 boys and 36 girls, showing a most conspicuous diminution in crime during that period. The Inspector General of Prisons, in his Report for 1862, makes this important statement:—"Nearly one-half of the female juveniles committed to our gaols during 1861 were destitute of the first rudiments of education, "showing that if we could have got those children into our schools, and given them the education which is imparted there, in all probability they would not have become a burden to the country. In a letter he had received from the Chief of the Constabulary Office, Dublin, it was stated that "crime was never so low in Ireland within the memory of any one in this office." It is impossible to receive a more satisfactory statement than this, and I think there can be no doubt that, as regards juvenile offenders, this gratifying result is to be attributed in great part to the general spread of education in Ireland.
With these remarks I will pass now to the general summary given in these Votes. Out of the thirteen items there are, as compared with 1863, an increase in three and a decrease in eight of them, while in two the amount is the same. The normal establishment shows a net decrease of £90, the increase being £110, due principally to the increased salaries of the two professors, and the decrease £200, which arises from a reduced scale of travelling expenses of teachers to and from Dublin. The Metropolitan Model School shows a decrease of £239, owing to a smaller attendance at the West Dublin Model Infant Schools. In the District Model Schools there is a net increase of £1,744, which is owing to a rectification in the teaching staff. In 1862 there were 75 assistant teachers, who are now reduced to 72; in 1863 there were 150 pupil-teachers, and there are now only 126; and instead of 210 monitors, there are now only 155. A saving is also effected consequent on the abolition of one assistant lecturer of physical science. In the item of minor model schools, there is a net decrease of £267, due to greater economy in printing, stationery, and gratuities to pupil-teachers. I come now to the most important item—that of salaries of teachers, &c. It is im- 1343 portant that that body should be well provided for, because they are the heart and soul of the schools, and it is fair that they should enjoy the regular increment to which they are entitled by the regulations of the service. There is an increase under that head of £12,500, which is made up in the following manner:—For payment of salaries and natural increment we have allowed an increase of £8,500. In 1863 we had 5,638 teachers, whereas in 1864 we have 5,816, showing an increase of 178. In 1863 there were 1,236 assistant teachers; in 1864, 1,546, giving an increase of 310. In 1863 the number of capitation schools was 130; in 1864, there are 136; and perhaps there may be two or three more. A diminution of £400 is effected by greater economy in the salaries and travelling expenses of the auxiliary staff, and £1,000 in gratuities to incapacitated teachers. But, on the other hand, £1,000 additional will be required as the payment to teachers of additional schools, and increased pay to teachers on promotion. There is an increase of £4,000 for monitors, £2,000 for increase to staff, and £2,000 for new class of advanced monitors. There are two classes of monitors, the junior class from 11 to 14 years of age, who receive a salary of from £2 to £4; the senior class from 14 to 18 years of age, whose salary is from £5 to £10; and the new class of monitors, as to whom there has been some discussion in this House, whose age is from 18 to 20, and whose salaries, as proposed by the Commissioners, range from £15 to £17. £1,000 is to be given to lay schools under male teachers, £500 to lay schools under female teachers, and £500 to convent schools. I must say that, on the whole, I regard this as a very equitable arrangement. Then, there is an increase of £400 for premiums to teachers of singing, drawing, and navigation schools. The result of these arrangements is that there is an increase of £13,900, and a decrease of £1,400, giving a net increase of £12,500. The cost of the navigation schools has been decreased by £100. These schools are, in my opinion, of the greatest possible advantage to the country. I paid a visit to one of them some time since and saw men between 30 and 40 years of age benefiting by the instruction which is given in them. I now come to the Albert Agricultural Schools, and on this Vote there is a diminution of £135. I may here mention that two model schools, one at Enniskillen and the other at Cork, 1344 are in course of erection. In the year 1862–3 the sum voted for the Albert Agricultural Schools was £2,351; in the year 1863–4, £1,781; and in 1864–5 the sum proposed is £1,646. I think that the school is a great and valuable institution, and I am grieved to find that Dr. Kirkpatrick, under whose efficient management the school has been conducted, will not be likely to resume his duties, owing to the state of his health. It has been stated in this House that the young men who have been educated in this school are for the most part employed in Dublin as drapers' assistants. I have taken the trouble to extract from a Report made by Dr. Kirkpatrick the following particulars relating to the occupations pursued in after life by 175 pupils who left the Albert Agricultural Training Institution between the first of January, 1858, and the 31st of December, 1861. Of these 175, there were employed in farming at home, either for themselves or their relatives, 68; land stewards and assistant land agents, 41; agricultural teachers, 3; nurserymen, gardeners, and assistant gardeners, 9; National school teachers, 10; planters in the Islands of Jamaica and Antigua, 9; clerks in the offices of merchants, land agents, and in the Customs, &c, 14; entered the Queen's and Catholic Colleges, 6; emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope and Australia, 5; left in delicate health, and from other causes, 10. On the item for agricultural schools, I regret to say that I gave a pledge that there should be no increase; and I find that the estimate for the ensuing year is exactly the same as for the last twelve months—£3,750. I find, however, that since the year 1861–2 there has been a considerable reduction in this portion of the expenditure. On the book department there is a decrease of about £2,000, owing partly to the fact, that the money granted last year for the revision of the books will probably extend over several years, and partly to the circumstance that £1,000 has been saved by economy on books and requisites. In the school apparatus department there has been a decrease of £200 consequent upon the abolition of the office of the superintendent, whose duties are now added to those of the storekeeper. The increase on the official establishment is £278, and this increase is owing principally to the addition of eight temporary clerks to the permanent staff. These additional clerks have been chiefly employed in preparing 1345 the voluminous Returns which have been made to this House, and upon this point I wish to say a word or two as a caution. The hon. Member for the county of Longford (Mr. O'Reilly) moved for a Return some time since, and that Return, which it was deemed desirable to grant, cost the country over £400. The hon. Baronet the Member for Dublin proposed moving for a Return which, if granted, would have cost the country over £800. I think, therefore, that the cost of those Returns should somewhat cool the ardour of those hon. Members who are so eager for their production. At this moment there is a heavy Return in preparation in connection with the convent schools. As the Committee is aware, a Report of each of those schools was ordered to be drawn up at the instance of the hon. Member for Limerick. I did hope that that Report would be ready for the Committee to-night, but I find, consisting as it does of over 400 pages, that it will be impossible to lay it upon the table for another ten days, I am bound to say, however, that having looked through the book, the Reports, as regards the management of convent schools generally—I may almost say universally—are of a highly satisfactory character. It is fair to say that in King's County, the Inspector has reported unfavourably of one or two schools, but then he has reported most favourably of some others. The Report, I am convinced, will show the House that the children in these convent schools receive every attention, and that the institutions are conducted in a most able and efficient manner. I shall be willing to answer any questions as to details, but I trust that without further delay the Committee will proceed to pass the Vote.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, that the Vote with respect to Irish education differed in several particulars from that for education in Great Britain. In England and Scotland the money voted was distributed among the different denominations, and no school received a grant in which religious was not united with secular instruction. In Ireland exactly the reverse was the case. Again, while the population in England was increasing, the Estimates for education had been diminishing, but strange to say in Ireland it was just the opposite. [Sir ROBERT PEEL: The number of children is increasing.] Well, it was something of a mystery that while the people were diminishing, the children should be on the increase. The right 1346 hon. Baronet had slated that there were 840,000 children on the rolls. But what would the Committee think when they discovered that if they were to take any one clay in the year, the attendance in the National schools would not be found to be more than 296,000? It thus appeared that there were what might be described as something like 500,000 myths on the rolls. Nor was that all—the best education given in Ireland, was not given in the National schools. The right hon. Gentleman had taken credit for the decrease of crime in Ireland, and had attributed that result to the National system. Well, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, at a recent meeting, had said that the National system "had stirred the stagnant level of the peasant's mind, and had caused the people to emigrate." That night, however, they had heard that the decrease of crime was to be attributed to it; but he was of opinion that the decrease was to be attributed to other causes. It was interesting to notice as a great political question that they gave in Ireland a Government system of education, to which beyond dispute the vast majority of the Irish people objected. It was not merely the Presbyterians who objected, or the Protestant body whom his hon. Friend (Mr. Lefroy) so efficiently represented, but the objection was felt by every religious denomination in Ireland. He had no inclination to move to cut down the grant. The fact was that money in any shape in which it was given was wanted in Ireland, so little did the people of that country get out of the national exchequer. On the subject of convent schools he wished to say that he had lately received a letter from Dr. Murphy, Dean of Cork, in which he said that he had found it to be true, as stated by the Rev. Mr. Kirby, that there was a convent school in the county of Cork in which the children had made the sign of the cross, and continued to do so up to the present day; his former denial was with reference to the city of Cork. The practice of making the sign of the cross was against the rules of the National system; but he believed that it prevailed, for all that, in the vast majority of the convent and other schools. He had seen a letter from Professor Kavanagh, who had been a Government Inspector, and he said that in nine out of ten schools the practice prevailed. He would ask the Government whether it was not absurd in a country like Ireland, and in regard to convent schools, to have rules of that kind 1347 which were broken over and over again, and would continue to be broken. The right hon. Baronet had said that there had been a complaint against some school in the King's County. He (Mr. Hennessy) was in the habit of visiting the schools there, and he thought the right hon. Gentleman must have made a mistake. [SIR ROBERT PEEL: I said a report as regards one of the schools was not so favourable.] He thought that school must have been in the Queen's County. Was it not a shame for Government to send out Inspectors to hunt up every little violation of rule. The right hon. Gentleman had dwelt with satisfaction upon the results of the Albert Model School. Now, he found that the farm attached to it consisted of 179 statute acres. It had been established to teach the best modes of farming and rural economy, and yet the sum total of its expenditure was £3,296, while its receipts amounted to only £1,650, leaving a total loss upon that model farm of £1,646.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, that the last point referred to by the hon. Member was easily explained. The expenditure included the maintenance of fifty-eight agricultural pupils and teachers, which cost £1,250; salary for a lecturer on botany, £60, and for a practical instructor in agriculture, £200. Everybody knew that in the case of a model farm it was impossible to make the two ends meet. He believed there was a general adherence to the rules of the Board, and as regarded devotional services that they were performed after school hours. The system in Ireland brought together children of different denominations under the same school-roofs; and a proof that they were not compelled to go there was found in the fact that in the schools the children belonging to the different denominations bore a just relation to the relative numbers of the different denominations out of the schools. With respect to the number of the children attending the schools, it should be borne in mind that the number on the rolls always far exceeded the average daily attendance; and in Ireland the proportion was about the same as in this country.
§ MR. LEFROY
said, he would not oppose the grant as he agreed that the money given to Ireland, although it had not been laid out in the way he could wish, had done a certain degree of good. When the number of children in daily attend- 1348 ance was considered, he certainly thought the number on the rolls was very deceptive. He was not prepared to dispute that instruction might have diminished crime; but the statement in which the right hon. Baronet appeared to exult, that the Protestant children at the schools in one part of Ireland were exceedingly numerous, while the number of the Roman Catholic children at the schools in another part of Ireland was very great, only proved that the system was becoming an entirely denominational system, for which the circumstances of Ireland were never calculated. The increase of the grant in Ireland to a decreasing population had been adverted to, and the Presbyterians had presented a petition to that House expressing their opinion that this circumstance was likely to lead to an increase of the convent schools, which increase would in turn lead to a withdrawal of the pupil-teachers from the other training schools, and be utterly subversive of the principle of united education. The hon. Members for Cork, Roscommon, and King's County, and, likewise, the Bishop of Kerry, amongst others, had borne testimony to the failure of the National system. The grant was increasing and the money was devoted to denominational purposes from which the Established Church was excluded. It was a matter of astonishment to him, that whilst large and increasing giants were given to gratify all other classes of religions—while it was attempted to please the Roman Catholics—the feelings, and desires, and sentiments of the Protestant Church of Ireland were never for one moment taken into account. It was asked, "Why do not the ministers of the Established Church avail themselves of the grants?" The answer was, that their ordination vows bound them to teach religion on the basis of the Bible, and that the rules of the National system of education did not secure such teaching; but, on the contrary, rather tended to prevent it.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, his hon. Friend who had just sat down seemed to have entirely ignored the existence in Ireland of the non-vested schools. One-third of the schools in that country were non-vested schools, in which the patron had the right of giving what religious instruction he pleased, but where he was also compelled to give secular education to denominations differing from his own. Convent schools were conducted on the 1349 same principle as other schools, and he knew a convent school which was attended by Protestant children, and where there was a private room provided where these children could receive instruction from their own religious teachers, and he did not believe that any case of proselytism had been established. Notwithstanding the objections that had been raised respecting the enormous increase of the grant to convent schools, it only amounted to £500 for the present year. The Presbyterians had made a great outcry, but, in the case of the Queen's College, Belfast, they had displayed very little regard for the principles of religious liberty, with respect to one of the professorships there. As to the teaching in these schools, the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Robert Peel) had said quite enough. The hon. and learned Member for Belfast (Sir Hugh Cairns) had said that the children in the convent schools were only half educated, and that the ladies who taught them were not properly trained; but according to two of the Inspectors (Mr. Robinson and Mr. Shee) they underwent a thorough training, were carefully examined in their noviciate, and were set apart according to their ability and knowledge. There were many points with regard to the non-vested and model schools upon which he entertained objections, but he thought it was not desirable to raise a controversial discussion upon the subject.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, that he had declared his sentiments on the subject at much length last year, and he would not go over the ground that he had then traversed. He would remark, however, that the charge that, in attacking the model schools last year, he had aimed at the destruction of the whole system of education in Ireland was unfair and unfounded. A decisive check, however, had been given to the encroachments of the universal system of State education, and to that extent the discussion of last year had been productive of advantage. He had moved for a Return on the subject, which he was perfectly aware would be of a comprehensive character. Soon after he moved for it he received a letter from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to ask whether it could not be curtailed, as the labour and expense would be considerable; but he (Mr. O'Reilly) thought that, considering the interest and importance, he was warranted in requesting that it might be furnished notwithstanding the expense. 1350 Many might think the first-class agricultural schools did not yield a satisfactory Return, but nothing could be more useful than these schools were.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that as the Committee were asked to vote a sum of £315,000 for education in Ireland, and as a portion of that amount was diverted from the system of united education and applied to the convent schools, the nature of the teaching in those establishments, moral and political, should be laid before them. If it were not he would take an early opportunity next Session of bringing the whole subject before the House.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, that if the hon. Member would come to Cork he would be happy to show him the system of education adopted by the convent schools. The hon. Member would then, he was sure, demand next year an extension of the grant. He held that in an agricultural country it was the duty of the National Board to disseminate agricultural information in the most simple and popular way among the children in the schools.
§ MR. BRADY
said, he was also in favour of diffusing as widely as possible in Ireland, through the medium of the schools, a knowledge of the most improved methods of agriculture. He considered, however, that the expenses attending the Glasnevin Agricultural College were unnecessarily high. If the hon. Member for Peterborough was aware of the manner in which the convent schools were conducted, he certainly would hesitate before he found fault with them. The only complaint which he (Mr. Brady) had to make was of the restrictions imposed with respect to those schools by the Government under which the children were not permitted to make the sign of the cross, though the cross appeared over religious edifices in this country.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, a Return moved for by the hon. Member for Limerick would specify the regulations with respect to convent schools. There were 186,000 Protestants in attendance at the National schools in Ireland. In addition to the Glasnevin establishment there were in every county in Ireland school farms, but he admitted the force of what was said by the hon. Member for Dungarvan, and would endeavour to introduce in rural schools an educational primer.
§ COLONEL SYKES
remarked on the enormous increase in the Educational Estimates since the year 1835, and urged 1351 that the whole of that expenditure ought to undergo a minute and thorough investigation. He did not object to any amount of money being usefully applied to the purposes of education, but they ought to insist on having stricter proofs than any which they now possessed, that so vast an outlay yielded beneficial and practical results.
said, that if all the other agricultural schools of Ireland were conducted like the one in his own county there could not be a greater waste of public money than was involved in this expenditure. He never saw a worse farm than the one belonging to the school to which he referred, and certainly if his own steward were to manage any of his property in the same fashion he should dismiss hi in the next morning. The reason why it was in such a state was because it was conducted from Dublin, without the advice of people on the spot being taken. With regard to the sum of £2,000 paid in salaries to flax instructors, the whole of it was thrown away. The cultivation of flax was a new movement, and instead of spending the money upon a parcel of officials from Dublin it would be far better to let each district have its own share of the fund, and to employ its own people.
§ MR. HASSARD
asked for explanations with regard to the duties of the classical master in the normal establishment for special class teachers, pupil-teachers, and others. He wanted to know, whether the duty was confined to instruction in the dead languages, or whether modern languages were included?
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, he presumed that the object was to provide a superior class of teachers, and that the duty embraced classical instruction generally.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
said, he was only anxious that the country should get full value for the money. What he complained of was, that when farming was carried on in Ireland at the public expense the same care and watchfulness were not exercised as were generally applied to farming for the interest of a particular individual. He did not consider the agricultural schools in Ireland were attended with any useful practical results, and that the farmers in the neighbourhood showed no desire to obtain the services of the pupils who had been trained in them. He doubted very much the propriety of the manner in which the cultivation of flax was encouraged.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
explained, that the grant for instruction in the cultivation of flax was distributed by a joint committee of the Royal Dublin and Royal Irish Agricultural Societies, and the persons who were being sent into the districts where it was desired that the cultivation of flax should be introduced were not. Inspectors, but instructors, at £90 or £100 a year.
said, that it would be better to allow the grant to be distributed by the local agricultural societies, and urged that what were required were not instructors all the year round at salaries of £100 a year, but men at 25s. a week for a few weeks in the year.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £805, Commissioners of Education, Ireland (Office Expenses).
§ (3.) £3,206, to complete the sum for the University of London.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, he wished to call attention to the manner in which the University was treated by the Government. The University had no fitting "local habitation" for the discharge of its duties—a name it had provided for itself. At present it was located in Burlington House, and he wished to ask the noble Lord to state what the intention of the Government was with reference to providing the University of London with a fitting building?
§ MR. AYRTON
said, the London University had none of the usual incidents of a university, with the exception of that of granting degrees. It had been based upon a limited and narrow basis, and he hoped the Government would place it on a broader basis for the future. If the University was to be worthy of its name, it ought to be associated with the other scientific associations in the metropolis, and within a building that might bring them into connection with the University. An attempt was made to do so some years ago at South Kensington, but that was protested against as likely to impair their utility, and it had been abandoned, but he hoped the Government would turn their attention to a central building for them. No doubt Burlington House could be made available for the requirements of the University and the scientific institutions, so as to make them more useful than at present.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, the Society was 1353 not based upon such narrow principles as the hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to suppose.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he also wished to ask for an explanation of the increase of £200 to the Registrar's salary?
§ MR. PEEL
said, that when the University was first founded it was proposed that the salary of the Registrar should be £1,000 a year; but it was thought better in the first instance that a smaller salary should be given. The salary was accordingly fixed at £500, and was raised from time to time till it reached £800 last year. It had now been raised to the maximum, £1,000. Dr. Carpenter had held the office for a considerable time, and its duties having very greatly increased, it was thought he had a fair claim to the full salary originally intended to be given.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £13,704, to complete the sum for Universities, &c., in Scotland, and
§ (5.) £2,462, for Queen's University in Ireland.
§ (6.) £3,400, to complete the sum for the Queen's Colleges in Ireland.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he wished to know if the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland could throw any light on the fire at Queen's College, Cork?
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, he could throw no light upon it, but he was happy to state that the accusation and counter statement which had been made on the subject had been entirely cleared up. Dr. Bullen had written a most handsome apology. It was not necessary to go again into the matter, and he trusted it might be allowed to rest.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, it was no doubt a painful subject for the Government, but the facts were too remarkable to be altogether passed by. The fire occurred on the 13th of May, 1862, and the depositions before the House fully bore out Dr. Bullen's statement, that the College was set fire to by some one within its walls. He did not understand that Dr. Bullen had withdrawn that statement, though he had others with reference to the College. After the fire took place it was stated in the Government organs that the authors of it were that mysterious body, the Ultramontane party. But there did not appear to be the shadow of a foundation for such a statement. In all probability the College was 1354 set on fire by some one within the walls. On the 12th of May, two porters had been heard to remark on the possibility of a fire occurring in the College, and a third porter had said that a fire would occur. It was a remarkable fact that all the investigations into the matter had been conducted with closed doors. He had heard a rumour which might account for the whole occurrence. A man of the name of Burke was at that time in Clonmel Gaol, awaiting his trial on a charge of having poisoned his wife, A portion of the viscera of the wife had been sent to the College for analysis by the Professor of Chemistry; and it was supposed that the friends of Burke were under the impression that those remains were lying in that part of the building which had been burnt down. It was further stated that a young woman who was attached to Burke, and to whom he was to have been married after the death of his wife, had arrived in Cork shortly before the day when the fire broke out; and the conclusion drawn from all these facts was, that she or some other friend of Burke had probably bribed one of the officers of the College to destroy the building, and with it one of the evidences of his crime. In connection with that theory, he understood the Government had in their possession some papers, and he should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would unbosom himself, and tell the House whether it was not to the story which he mentioned that the burning of the College was to be traced?
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, that when he spoke of the subject as a painful one, he simply referred to certain charges which had been made and withdrawn, and which he did not think it was desirable to revive. A great number of rumours, he might add, were afloat with regard to the burning, and it was, he believed, true that the viscera of Mrs. Burke were in the laboratory of the College at the time the fire took place, but he did not know whether the burning was connected with her murder or not. That, he hoped, would be a sufficient explanation for the hon. Gentleman.
observed, that the mystery involved in the matter had not been made clearer by the papers relating to it for which he had moved, and which had been laid on the table. Having read the depositions taken in the case, he must confess that it did not appear to him that the Government had any ground for the course 1355 which they took in attempting to prove that the burning was malicious, and thus seeking to throw the loss upon the ratepayers of the city of Cork. When the presumption was so strong that the fire was the work of somebody connected with the establishment, that was, to say the least of it, an extraordinary mode of proceeding. Such premises ought to be insured to their full value in case a similar fire should occur.
said, he protested against the secresy with which the investigation of the charge was conducted. A grand jury could not make a presentment in case of a fire if there was no malice, and as the Government asked a grand jury to make a presentment, it was obvious that they thought it was a case of malicious burning. But they had failed in every quarter to prove a case of malice. Therefore their conduct was very culpable.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, there was no doubt the building was maliciously burnt, and that being so the Government thought it right to make a presentment. But it did not go before any grand jury, but before the town council of Cork, who, upon the advice of the Recorder, rejected it, and their decision was supported by the Court of Queen's Bench, and consequently the inquiry could not be gone into. The Irish law officers of the Crown were asked for their opinion, and they said that there was no case made out for going against any person, and consequently the matter fell to the ground. The Government were in no way to blame for the proceedings which they adopted.
§ SIR EDWARD GROGAN
said, that if it was a malicious burning the Government ought to prosecute the supposed authors of the crime.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, that no evidence could be obtained in the case to sustain a criminal prosecution.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he wished to know whether the Government were prepared to insure the building?
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £500, Royal Irish Academy.
§ (8.) £600, National Gallery of Ireland.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
asked whether the Government meant to grant 1356 any money for the purchase of pictures for that gallery?
§ MR. PEEL
said, when the original design of the National Gallery in Dublin was determined upon it was to be maintained out of private funds. The plans were altered, and the building cost £28,000, and applications were made to Parliament for grants to purchase pictures. An Act of Parliament was passed, vesting the gallery in trustees, and if it was to be maintained out of grants of public money steps must be taken to declare that it was public property.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (9.) £1,500, to complete the sum for the Belfast Theological Professors, &c.
§ (10.) £69,127, to complete the sum for the British Museum.
§ MR. WALPOLE
The Vote which I have to propose this year amounts to £92,127, against a Vote for last year of £90,641. This shows an increase of £1,486. At first sight a false conclusion I may be drawn from this increase, but if you go over the Vote you will find there is an increase on the whole for salaries, expenses of bookbinding, catalogues, &c. of £4,724, but at the same time there has been a reduction amounting to £2,328 on building expenses, furniture, and so on, such items leaving a net increase of £1,486. This increase may be accounted for chiefly by two special purchases which have been made—both of them great acquisitions to the Museum and, as I hope, the community at large. The first of these is the purchase of the collection recently found in a cave in the south of France, and brought here under the superintendence of Professor Owen. I look upon that as one of the most valuable acquisitions we could have gained for the benefit of the country at large. There is no question which excites greater interest in a scientific, archœological, and I may say, antiquarian point of view, than that raised by Professor Lyell in his book on the antiquity of man; and this collection, I am sure, will amply repay an inspection from any hon. Member who takes an interest in this subject. For that collection we have given the large sum of £1,000, and I am sure the money could not have been better spent. The other purchase is a bronze lamp, found on the site of the Sulian Palace. It is supposed, by those who are versed in such matters, to be of Greek workmanship, of a date prior to the 1357 Christian era. It is of most beautiful workmanship, and in perfect condition. A description of it will be found in the last number of the Journal of Science and Art. Another purchase we have made, with the sanction of the Treasury, but since the date of this Vote, and therefore not included in it—the contents of the Farnese Palace, sold by the King of Naples. In that collection is a beautiful equestrian statue of Mars—one of the three ancient equestrian statues which alone are known I to be in existence—and the only one brought to this country. That brings me to an important question, which has been often debated in this House; while you are purchasing these collections where are you to put them—because the collections we have in the Museum now are so great that we cannot possibly exhibit them all to the public, and for a long time the new purchases must be practically lost to the public. The Government have recently intimated to us that they have a plan for the accommodation of the natural history collections upon the site purchased at South Kensington. Whether you transfer your, natural history collections to another place, or whether you keep them altogether, I should wish to press on the Government the necessity of coming to a decision during this autumn. If you determine to remove your natural history collections to South Kensington you undoubtedly have a site there capable of accommodating your collection; but if you determine to keep them altogether, the only way will be to purchase from the ground landlord the houses round the Museum. The charge you will thus put on the public will be comparatively small, or at any rate not so startling as may appear at first sight, because it will only be a charge for so many of the houses as from time to time you are called on to add to; the Museum. With regard to the objection of competition between the two great establishments he must say one word. Credit was due to the President of the Council for the rules which he had drawn up and which prevent the possibility of competition. In the case of any classical works of antiquity which relate to or are connected with manufacturing subjects, if the British Museum should not want them, then, with the consent of the trustees, the South Kensington Museum could purchase them. The hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. H. Lewis) asked me the Other night about the change in hours of recreation or 1358 refreshment for the attendants. Since the question was put to me I have made it my business to ascertain how the change has worked. All the assistants have spoken in the highest terms of the new regulation. The only other subject to which I need refer is the appointment of new trustees since I last had the honour of moving these Estimates. In place of that most valuable public servant in every department—the late Sir George Lewis—the official and family trustees have made a selection which I think will be admitted to be the very best they could make in the election of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe). In point of literary attainments or of administrative powers I do not think a better selection could be made. Another vacancy was caused by the death of that great Oriental scholar Dr. Cureton. In his place the Crown have nominated the Dean of Windsor, an eminent scholar and an excellent man in every way. I have now only to move that the sum of £69,127 be granted to defray the expenses of the British Museum.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that if anything could reconcile the Committee to the anomalous practice of moving these Estimates by an hon. Member unconnected with the Government, it would be the extremely courteous and agreeable manner in which that task was performed by the right hon. Gentleman. At the same time he must again protest against the sum of £90,000 being submitted to the House under circumstances entirely different to those under which other Votes are proposed. In that as in other cases the Vote should be proposed by a responsible Minister. With respect to the institution itself, he thought that the more interesting the collection became the greater reason there was that the fullest opportunity should be granted to the public to visit it, and, therefore, he regretted that the trustees had not been able to provide for opening the Museum in I the evenings. Experience at South Kensington had shown that evening exhibitions were practicable, and if the British Museum were open from seven to ten at night, it would attract fully double the number of visitors. Having been a Member of the Committee on the British Museum which sat last year, he was inclined to agree with the right hon. Gentleman that steps should be taken to provide for the enlargement of that institution. The investigation into the property at South Kensington had 1359 shown that no obligation fell upon the Government to erect buildings upon that site. Every obligation connected with that property could be fulfilled by selling the land and applying the proceeds to the enlargement of the British Museum. The property was acquired under a trust to buy or sell property for the purposes of science and art. If it was lawful to place the British Museum at South Kensington, it was equally proper to sell property at South Kensington and to enlarge the British Museum. He hoped the Government would bear in mind the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion, and take proper stops to keep the British Museum where it was now placed. There was no place about the metropolis so much cut off from the bulk of the inhabitants as South Kensington, which was separated from the densely-inhabited parts of London by St. James's, the Green and Hyde Parks, and by Kensington Gardens. The place had been offered to nearly all the scientific societies of the metropolis, but they had one and all refused to go there, because they knew it would be their ruin. If it was a convenient site for public buildings, why were not theatres and other exhibitions for profit brought there? The managers knew better. As Parliament had spent millions on the British Museum, and voted about £90,000 a year to maintain it, it was their duty to have it in a place where it was accessible to the general public. He hoped, therefore, the Government would give up the idea of removing any portion to South Kensington.
§ MR. LOCKE
said, it was extraordinary that his hon. Friend should have made the very same speech as he made last year. One would have supposed that his hon. Friend was always in the Tower Hamlets, and never rode in Hyde Park or walked in Kensington Gardens. The fact was that there was no place in London which was more frequented, especially on Sundays, than Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, and that by all conditions of people; and if both the Kensington Museum and the British Museum were opened on Sundays they also would be filled. His hon. Friend said there was no reason why they should be compelled to keep an exhibition at Kensington; but he forgot that by the contract between the Commissioners of the Exhibition and the Government it was stipulated that the Government was to give a certain sum of money for the site, and that it should be appropriated to the purposes 1360 of science and art. That site was large enough for as many museums as they wished to have. He could not account for the prejudice which existed against having the collection there.
said, he agreed in the expediency of opening the British Museum in the evening, if it were practicable with, due regard to the safety of the collections, and he would entreat the Government to take some steps to utilize the valuable works which they had acquired. He believed that the gentlemen who presided over the different departments at the British Museum were in favour of popular lectures being given, illustrative of the treasures under their charge; and such a practice would certainly tend to stimulate popular education. He should like to know whether the whole collection of the Farnese Palace had been purchased from the ex-King of Naples, and, if so, what was the amount to be paid for it?
§ MR. HARVEY LEWIS
said, he had received several communications with regard to the assistants at the Museum, as to which the right hon. Gentleman had given him an answer on a former occasion. The complaint came from the attendants, who were the lowest grade of persons employed at the Museum. They came at nine in the morning, and remained till six or a quarter past six in the evening. Now these persons were not allowed to leave the museum in the day on any pretence whatever and they thought it very hard that they were compelled to take every particle of refreshment they required in the day in the new refreshment room. He had a letter in his hand from a person whom he obviously could not name, for the truth of which he could not vouch, but which stated that an address of thanks to the trustees had been recently drawn up in the printed books department, which had been signed by the assistants in many instances very reluctantly. The attendants, however, refused to sign it altogether, which caused great anger in a certain quarter, and an apology had been demanded to be signed. He thought it would be very easy to inquire whether the refreshment room was or was not fully attended, and whether or not a document requiring an apology had been tendered to the various employés. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would find an opportunity of making these inquiries.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he was doubtful whether the 1361 rule adopted at the British Museum was at variance with the rule adopted at other public establishments. He thought it was not. But he rose to protest against the practice of reading grievances from anonymous correspondents to the House before the proper intermediate step had been taken. The House of Commons were not the managers of the Museum; and whilst he agreed that the House had authority by way of appeal, yet he thought they ought not to listen to complaints of the kind before they had been laid before the trustees of the Museum, who were the proper persons to judge of them in the first instance.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, that the regulations introduced at the British Museum were the same as those in other public offices, and the inconvenience which the public sustained in consequence of the absence of the officials furnished the reason for resorting to them. He had already stated that he should support the determination of the trustees, to whose decision he thought all questions should be submitted. The price of the Farnesian Collection, £4,000, was certainly large, but he did not regard it as unreasonable. The only question was as to how that sum was to be provided, and he might state that the money would not be included in the Estimates, as it was intended, with the sanction of the Government, to defray the charge from the surplus remaining from the grants of former years. He did not believe that the proposal for keeping the Museum open from six to eight, or until ten, would be found to answer. The danger did not simply arise from fire, though that was an important consideration; but if the Museum were kept open it would have to be lighted by gas, and such a course would inevitably entail great damage upon the sculpture, books, and other things contained in the Museum?
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
said, he wished to know if it was the intention of the Government to propose at some future period the separation of the collections at the British Museum?
§ MR. AYRTON
protested against the doctrine which had been enunciated, that there was anything in the terms upon which the land at South Kensington had been purchased which should preclude the Government from disposing of it. Such a doctrine was illusory, because it was perfectly competent for the House to put an end to the supposed trust at any moment it pleased.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that due notice would be given to the House of any proposal that it might be thought desirable to make.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, he understood that some proposal had already been made to the trustees by the Government, and he thought the House was entitled to know what it was.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, the Government had been considering what they should do with the site at South Kensington, and they had communicated with the trustees to know what quantity of land they would require, and what extent of building would be sufficient to accommodate the natural history collection.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;
§ Committee to sit again on Wednesday.