§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £525,404, to complete the sum for Public Education, Great Britain.
MR. H. A. BRUCE,
in rising to move the Vote for the furtherance of Public Education, said, that the exceptional circumstances under which the Vote had been administered last year—two different systems, the Code of 1860 and the Revised Code having both been in operation—rendered it impossible to form a perfectly accurate estimate as to the expenditure for the coming year. The estimate, however, was fixed at £705,404. His right hon. Friend the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) who moved the estimate of last year, was under circumstances of similar difficulty to those in which he was now placed, and calculated the amount required at £804,002. In this estimate he had taken an ample margin, for the expenditure of last year was £721,391 against £774,743 in 1862, and there was, therefore, a diminution of £53,351. The reduction in the expendi- 517 ture arose chiefly on two items—building grants, £24,831, and annual grants for the maintenance of schools, £37,143, Against those reductions, however, had to be placed increased payments of £9,516 for normal schools, which occurred mainly in Scotland, where far more persons were educated as teachers than were required for the purpose, and of £2,160 for the cost of inspection and administration. The cause which interfered with the accuracy of the estimate was, first of all, the fact that the Revised Code did not come into such general operation as was expected, 457,000 children being the number estimated as likely to be in average attendance and entitled to payment, while the actual attendance was only 180,005, Another reason was that all new schools which received grants during the past year were examined for the first time, and the scholars in these schools being necessarily less advanced than those under inspection the amount of grant paid in these cases was not so high. The result was that the payment per head, instead of being, as his right hon. Friend anticipated, 10s., was only 8s. 1d. There seemed to be good reason to believe that the payment would be greater in the coming year, and they had therefore, taken it at 9s. 3d. The number of children present at inspection in 1863 was 1,092,741, as against 1,057,426 in 1862, the increase being 35,315. During the year the building grants to elementary schools paid out of the Vote amounted to £36,681; but besides that there was contributed for building purposes by voluntary contributions £128,129; so that, altogether, £164,811 was expended on that account 125 new schools were built, 50 schools were enlarged, and 82 teachers' residences were erected. The number of scholars for whom additional accommodation was provided was 27,098; thus bringing the total accommodation up to 1,512,000 children, which probably corresponded pretty closely with the number on the books. The number of schools visited by the Inspectors was 7,739, or taking departments of schools—dividing them into boys, girls, and infants—11,230. These schools were taught by 10,136 certificated teachers, and 14,180 pupil-teachers, making a total of 24,316. The Inspectors also visited 40 training colleges, in which were 3,109 students, 179 schools for pauper children, with 12,454 scholars, which had been transferred to the Poor Law Board, and 26 industrial schools, with 2,159 children 518 now transferred to the Home Department. These were the figures relative to the transactions of the past year. But it might interest the Committee to know the statistics with regard to two other years—1854, of which they had accurate Returns, and 1861, when the Vote was at the highest. The number of inspected schools was 3,825 in 1854, 7,705 in 1861, and 7,739 in 1863. The accommodation in the schools was in 1854 for 558,000 scholars, in 1861 for 1,396,000, in 1863 for 1,512,000. The number of scholars actually under inspection was 473,000 in 1854, 1,028,000 11,1861, and 1,092,000 in 1863. The cost in 1854 was £326,000; in 1861, £813,000; and in 1863, £721,000. It would be observed that of late years the ratio of increase was not so great as in the earlier years during which the Education Grant was made. No doubt, one reason why a lull had taken place was duo to the system on which the Vote rested—namely, that voluntary efforts were required to precede State grants, and certain securities were taken for the efficiency of the schools. Another reason was that in the first instance schools were established in the great centres of population, where they were most needed, and where the means existed in the greatest abundance for founding them. There were in England 14,877 parishes. More than half of the population of England and Wales—that was 10,000,000—were contained in 618 of these parishes. All but 53, or 8 per cent of the 618, were provided with schools more or less abundantly—all with one, and some with more. These 618 parishes had each 5,000 or upwards of population. There were, however, 8,761 parishes, having each a less population than 500; and only 765 of these, or 8.8 per cent, had schools receiving aid from the State. Of these 8,761 parishes, 4,149 had a population of less than 200. Consequently, it was in these cases almost impossible to provide schools according to the requirements of the Privy Council, unless means were taken to unite some of the parishes. The difficulty of doing so had been insisted on by the Royal Commission, and, although various attempts had been made, they had proved unsuccessful. It seemed extremely difficult to devise any plan, under the existing system, by which aid could be extended to small parishes. Another reason why educational progress had been less rapid of late years than formerly, arose from the 519 religious circumstances of the country. One of the Articles of the Revised Code was, that the religious denomination of a school should be suitable for the families relied upon for supplying the scholars. Now, in most of the smaller parishes the clergyman was the person who took the most active part in the promotion of education, and he was generally supported by the landed proprietors. After connecting himself with the National Society, which represented the Church, he usually applied for aid to the Committee of Privy Council. But the difficulty which arose was this—that there were few small parishes in which there were not some Dissenters, for whose children a school under the regulations of the National Society was not suited. In the larger parishes where there was room for more than one school, schools might be founded upon the Church principles, and placed in connection with the National Society without doing injustice to the Dissenting population; and in those parishes where no Dissenters existed the difficulty would not arise at all; but wherever a certain proportion of the inhabitants—say, for example, one-fourth—were Dissenters, the question presented itself whether a school in connection with the National Society could, under the Revised Code, be properly assisted. The practice of the Education Committee in such cases was not what it had been asserted to be—to insist upon the insertion of conscience clauses which should protect the religious opinions of Dissenting children. In such cases they simply refused to make a grant; and when asked their reasons they stated that they were founded upon the obvious injustice of giving public aid to a school where the children of Dissenting parents were compelled, under pain of exclusion, to learn the Church catechism and to attend the Church. Wherever the promoters or managers of a school consented to give security for the protection of Dissenting children a grant was made; wherever that security was not given a grant was refused. It had been represented that this was an interference with religious teaching on the part of the Committee. No charge could be more unjust. All the Committee asked was, that a Dissenting parent should have the right of withdrawing his child, if he so pleased, from the religious teaching of a school in connection with the National Society; and the Royal Commissioners had pointed out the manifest injustice of compelling Dissenting children to attend the Church and 520 learn the catechism. The French law, introduced into a Roman Catholic country by a Protestant Minister, was wise and liberal. It provided that the wishes of fathers of families should always be consulted and followed in that which related to the participation of their children in religious instruction. Surely in an eminently Protestant country it would be admitted that every man should be the director, not only of his own conscience, but of that of his children. Those who objected to the practice of the Privy Council said that no hardship really arose, because such was the liberality of feeling on the part of the clergy that rarely, if ever, did any clergyman or manager of a school insist upon the children of Dissenting parents learning the catechism or attending the Church. He admitted the zeal of the clergy in the cause of education, and the great liberality with which they had generally acted, even when in connection with the National Society, and seemingly under an obligation to insist upon attendance at church. Cases of violation of liberty of conscience were not frequent, but some had occurred, and within the last week he had heard of one where children of Dissenters were taken from school because the clergyman, acting under a conscientious sense of duty, insisted on their going to church. That intolerant feeling was not general; but religious sentiment on such points changed from time to time, and although at present the prevailing feeling among clergymen might be liberal, yet ten, twenty, or thirty years might produce a great alteration in their convictions and policy. It was, therefore, the duty of the Council, in every parish where only one school could be established, to see that perfect security was taken against the violation of the religious feelings of a Dissenting minority. In memorials and periodical publications, the course pursued by the Council had been untruly stigmatized as unjust and impolitic. Unjust he was sure it was not, while the impolicy rested with those who were guilty of intolerance. The past year was the first in which the examinations under the Revised Code had been brought into large operation. No fewer than 1,828 schools, at which the average attendance was 280,474, were examined. Out of these 280,474 children, 180,005, or about 64 per cent, were presented for examination; and it would be recollected that the children qualified for examination must have attended 200 times. There 521 were examined under the first standard 70,407; under the second, 45,180; under the third, 35,991; under the fourth, 22,137; under the fifth, 4,671; under the sixth, 1,619. The total number of failures, excluding distinction of standards, was in day schools 17 per cent. There were failures in reading to the extent of 13 per cent; in writing, to the extent of 15 per cent and in arithmetic, to the extent of 23 per cent. The number of children under six years of age to whom grants were made without examination was 43,798, or about 15 per cent of the average number attending the same schools. The examinations were conducted in accordance with the supplementary rules issued as an authoritative answer to a vast number of questions addressed to the Council, both by managers and by the Inspectors themselves. Those rules were in strict conformity with the spirit of the Revised Code, and they were necessary in order to prevent confusion. The Royal Commission of 1861 reported that the children remained at school under more favourable circumstances till they were about twelve years of age, and under less favourable circumstances till they were ten years old; and the highest standard under the Revised Code did not go beyond what, in the opinion of the Commissioners, a child of ten years and upwards ought to be able to do on leaving school. The sixth or highest standard for the most advanced class, required that the scholars should be able to read a short paragraph in a newspaper, to write to dictation, and work a sum in bills of parcels; and if the children arrived at that point which, in the opinion of the Commissioners they were capable of reaching under a good system of examination, the number who presented themselves would not have been 1,589, or only about 2¼ per cent of the whole, but 70,000. The opinion of the Commissioners was supported by several of the Inspectors, and by one of those gentlemen whose opinions were much quoted in that House during the discussion of the Revised Code—he meant Mr. Fraser. Mr. Fraser's view of what a child of ten years old might fairly be called upon to do, and what it ought to be able to do, if the education he received was to be of permanent profit to him, was expressed in these terms—I venture to maintain that it is quite possible to teach a child soundly and thoroughly, in a way that he shall not forget it, all that is necessary for him to possess in the shape of intellectual at- 522 tainment by the time he is ten years old. If he has been properly looked after in the lower classes he shall be able to spell correctly the words that he will ordinarily have to use; he shall read a common narrative—the paragraph in the newspaper he cares to read—with sufficient case to be a pleasure to himself and to convey information to listeners; if gone to live a distance from home, he shall write Ins mother a letter that shall be both legible and intelligible; he knows enough of ciphering to make out or test the correctness of a common shop bill; if he hears talk of foreign countries he has some notion as to the part of the habitable globe in which they lie; and underlying all, and not without its influence, I trust, upon his life and conversation, he has acquaintance enough with the Holy Scriptures to follow the allusions and arguments of a plain Saxon sermon, and a sufficient recollection of the truths taught him in his catechism to know what are the duties required of him towards his Maker and his fellow man.That that standard was not reached under the present system was obvious, from the figures which he had adduced; and he knew not what stronger argument could be presented for the introduction of the Revised Code and a system of individual examination, than the fact that out of 70,000 children over ten years of age less than 1,600 of them on leaving school were able to pass the standard which, in the opinion of the Royal Commissioners, all such children ought to have reached. The question had been raised whether these supplementary rules under which the examination was conducted ought or ought not to be laid on the table. It was provided by the Revised Code that any new rule involving a material alteration of or departure from the Code should be laid on the table; and it was for the Department in the exercise of good faith and good sense to determine whether a rule was such a material alteration as that it should be submitted to the immediate consideration of the House. Sooner or later it was laid on the table, for the supplementary rules found their way into the annual Reports, and were submitted to the criticism of the House and the country. But he maintained that in that case there was no material departure from either the language or the spirit of the Code; that these rules were merely declaratory, that they were laid down for the public convenience, and that without them or some similar rules the system of examination that would have been enforced, had the narrowest interpretation been put upon the Revised Code, would have been a mere mockery. The examination had been determined, not by the choice of the Inspec- 523 tors, but by the mere fact that the inspection fell due at a later time of the year; and, therefore, they might accept the results as a fair specimen of the state of education throughout the country. The Privy Council had not overlooked one danger which might arise from a too strict adherence to the letter of the Revised Code, and they had given instructions to their Inspectors not simply to examine into proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but to pay the greatest attention to the other requirements of a good school. That, he believed, was a regulation which would not be found fault with from any quarter. The instruction ran as follows:—The grant to be made to each school depends, as it has ever done, upon the school's whole character and work. The grant is offered for attendance in a school with which the Inspector is satisfied. If he is wholly dissatisfied (Article 50), and if the reasons of such dissatisfaction are confirmed (Article 51 E), no grant is made. You will judge every school by the same standard that you have hitherto used, as regards its religious, moral, and intellectual merits. The examination under Article 48 does not supersede this judgment, but presupposes it. That article docs not prescribe that if thus much is done a grant shall be paid, but unless thus much is done, no grant shall be paid. It does not exclude the inspection of each school by a highly educated public officer, but it fortifies this general test by individual examination. If you keep these distinctions steadily in view you will see how little the scope of your duties is changed.The House would agree that if these principles were acted upon, not only would the schools throughout the country be firmly grounded in that which was admitted to be the basis of all learning, but the higher essentials of religious and moral training, order, and attention to those studies which opened and enlarged the mind, as, for example, geography, and such history as could be taught in a few years, or in the form of reading lessons, would be as well secured under the Revised Code as under the former system.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the causes which, in his opinion, had contributed to the lull which had taken place in the ardour of the promoters of education. Without disputing the existence of some of those causes, he could suggest one cause which was more powerful than them all—he meant the unwillingness evinced in many places to go on with the great educational work of 1839, from the distrust created in the minds of managers by the treatment they had received at the hands 524 of the Department. From all he could learn of the state of opinion throughout the country, he thought there was growing up in the minds of those who took an interest in education a feeling that there was no sympathy for them in the Department at Whitehall; that they were there looked upon as plunderers of the public purse, as greedy harpies who desired to get as much as they could out of the Exchequer; and that the Department which they formerly regarded as their auxiliary and protector only viewed them as its enemy, and was contriving by every means in its power to diminish the grants by which their efforts were to be assisted. That was a most unfortunate impression to get abroad, yet it was one not without justification from the acts of the Department. To some of those acts the right hon. Gentleman had himself alluded at considerable length. First, as to the supplementary rules. There were two reasons why the supplementary rules needed a more ample defence than the right hon. Gentleman had offered for them. One of those reasons was the time at which the rules were issued. It was a characteristic of all the great changes in the educational system of late years, that they had always been reserved till the moment when Parliament disappeared. Those great changes were not brought forward in the spring, when the feeling of managers could be ascertained and expressed in Parliament. The Revised Code had been brought forward in July or August, and now those supplementary rules which had so modified that Code had also been left for July or August. Now, what was the effect of this? The Blouse would remember the severe contests which had taken place in respect to the Revised Code, and which terminated in a compromise. One of the most material points in that contest was that the test of age was no longer to be applied, but that the children were to be taken as presented by the managers of the schools. Trusting to the good faith of the Department, which the right hon. Gentleman told them—almost he thought with some irony—was its characteristic, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) withdrew his proposition: and though the right hon. Gentleman had, he believed, a large majority at his back, he consented to let the experiment, so modified, come into practice, and the Code became practically a law. Was he wrong in saying that the arrangement of which 525 the children were to be taken as they came was one by the material points of the compromise? He held in his hands the words of Earl Granville, and he supposed it was not possible to bind the Department by a stronger pledge than the words of its head. Earl Granville said—With regard to the mode of examination, the grouping by age was given up; and what was now proposed was, that instead of four standard examinations two should be added, making six standard examinations altogether, and the children were to be examined according to those standards in the manner in which the managers or masters should present them.That was the distinct statement of Earl Granville, and that pledge had been directly broken by the supplementary rules. Instead of being taken as the manage is presented them, the managers were obliged to present them in certain standards fixed by the office, and a heavy pecuniary fine was levied on them if they did not so present the children. As he understood the figures, in nearly 97 per cent of the schools the managers had been unable to comply with those supplementary rules. Were those supplementary rules necessary? The House would see that according to the rules of the Revised Code—no child in a successive year being allowed to be examined in the standard which he had been placed in the year before—if the Committee of Council had waited for six years, as the children came up from standard to standard they would have had what they wished, and there was no occasion for that arbitrary and harsh rule. The course which the Department had adopted was one of inducing the managers of schools to invest their money in additional undertakings, then suddenly corning down upon them without notice with a rule for which they were unprepared, and thus depriving them of that in the hope of which they had pledged themselves for payments which often they were very badly able to meet. There were other cases also which had weakened the faith of managers in the Department. He did not know whether managers of schools would continue to entertain the hopes with which they flattered themselves when coming under the sceptre of the right hon. Gentleman; but he would venture to express a hope that if the right hon. Gentleman meant to issue any new rules or minutes by which he intended to mulct those managers of what they received, he would at once make a clean breast of it, and inform the House what he proposed to 526 do in August. Let not hon. Gentlemen be sent back to the country under the impression that a certain code of regulations was to be adhered to, and then when it was too late for remonstrance find out that there was an entire change of regulations. There were many other points with respect to which the right hon. Gentleman must be well aware there was great discontent. There was the question of evening schools. Would the House believe that in many cases the Department required as a condition of aid to evening schools that the scholars should appear in the daytime to be examined? Why the very object of an evening school was to enable those who were not able to attend in the day to receive an education in the evening. He had heard of places in which the Committee of Council had directed the examination of evening schools to take place in the month of May. Evening schools were essentially a winter institution, in summer there was but little chance of getting those who attended them together, so that the Department fixed a time of day and a season of the year when it was impossible that the children should come together. There was one part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech which he had heard with regret. He wished the right hon. Gentleman had let the National Society alone. It was very well known that unhappy differences had existed between the National Society and the Privy Council Office; but he thought the right hon. Gentleman had narrowed the issue very much and very unfairly in the way he stated them. It was not merely a question of a few children being allowed to go to church or not being allowed to go to church. What the difference was he believed to be this. There had for many years been a persistent effort on the part of the officials of the Education Office to get rid of the necessity of teaching a direct, clear, sharply defined form of religion. He believed those who worked the system at Whitehall would be glad if some system of amalgamated religion could be devised, by which the denominational principle would be done away with and the difficulties of the Department shelved for ever. Against this the National Society had protested. They believed there could be no earnest religious zeal unless it was based upon a particular religion, and that in an earnest and religious zeal were the whole bone and marrow of the educational movement of this country. If 527 the Government once discouraged men of earnest religious principles from taking part in education, the whole spring of education would go. He therefore thought it would be wiser of the officials of the Education Office to refrain from trying to make religious men abandon the dogmas and the tenets which they held, and to oblige them to teach a mere diluted and general religion. By some of the regulations, there was a direct premium to managers of schools to teach religion in some form to which parents who were Dissenters would not object. There was a direct premium to amalgamate Dissent with the Church of England. He ventured to think that if the right hon. Gentleman held by the principles acted upon by his predecessor in this matter, he would foster an opposition to the Department which even his ability and kindliness of heart would not enable him to overcome.
§ MR. WALTER
said, it was not his intention to move any Resolution on that occasion in the direction of those which he had moved in the last year and the year before; nor should he trouble the Committee with many remarks. But he wished to take that opportunity of saying that, even on the showing of the Privy Council, the great inequality which still existed in the distribution of the Parliamentary grant was most unsatisfactory, and deserved the serious consideration of the House. He also wished to give notice, that should his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Department and himself be in their respective places in the following Session, he would move for a Select Committee to inquire into the circumstances of the unassisted schools and the best mode of bringing them within reach of the Government grant. He thought it could not be considered satisfactory that there should still be 10,961 parishes without annual grant schools. The Privy Council in their Report had tabulated the parishes throughout the country, and had divided them into four classes—namely, the parishes with upwards of 5,000 inhabitants; the parishes with less than 5,000 and more than 1,000 inhabitants; the parishes with less than 1,000 and more than 500 inhabitants; and the parishes with less than 500 inhabitants. Of the parishes with more than 5,000 inhabitants 91½ per cent, according to the Report, contained one or more annual grant schools. Then, by tacking on the next class of parishes—those with less than 5,000 but 528 more than 1,000 inhabitants—the Council made out that nearly four-fifths of the parishes of 1,000 inhabitants and upwards contained one or more annual grant schools. But if the House would allow him to make a different division, and separate parishes with more than 5,000 inhabitants from those with less than 5,000, they would find that out of 14,249 parishes containing less than 5,000 inhabitants each, with an aggregate population of 9,291,170, there were no less than 10,961 parishes, or upwards of 66 per cent of the whole, without annual grant schools. No one could contend that that was satisfactory. There was no other instance in which so large a sum of money was voted out of the annual taxation of the country for local purposes in such a way that only about one-half or two-thirds of the population received any benefit from the expenditure. If the parishes which were thus assisted paid for their schools out of their own rates he should not have a word to say; but they took money out of the pockets of the smaller parishes, which got no grant at all; and yet a great number of these smaller parishes were substantially fulfilling all the requisites of education, though, because they were either unable or unwilling to comply with certain arbitrary rules laid down by the Privy Council, they were deprived of any share in the expenditure. It had been thrown in his teeth by the Inspectors—at the instigation, he presumed, of the Privy Council—that he was anxious to apply some portion of the grant in aid of schools wholly undeserving of assistance, and he must say that the Inspectors had shown great fidelity to their employers in raking together a number of utterly worthless schools, kept by drunkards, by persons with one leg or one arm, and so on, and assuming that that was the class of school which he was anxious to assist. Now, he had never said one word to countenance any such doctrine. The doctrine which he had ventured to lay down had always been that which was understood to be the very foundation of the Revised Code—namely, payment by results; and he contended that the inspection, if it were good for anything at all, ought to be able to prove these results. Any Inspector who knew his business could tell in the course of an afternoon what the discipline and moral condition of a school were. He had had an opportunity of seeing a school examined—an Inspector having been sent down to 529 visit his own school, which had no certificated master—and he could, therefore, speak with more authority than he formerly possessed as to the nature of the examination. He said distinctly that any Inspector accustomed to his business could tell in an afternoon what the condition of a school was, and whether it was entitled to a grant; and he maintained that the proof of a schoolmaster's claim to assistance was the condition of his school, and not any examination which he might undergo at Christmas or any other time under the direction of the Privy Council. One point of very great importance was brought out forcibly in the Report, and to this he wished to call attention—he meant the condition of the pupil-teacher system. He had always complained of the rule of the Revised Code, which either rendered the employment of pupil-teachers compulsory, or subjected the managers to loss of the grant if they did not employ pupil-teachers. Now, it was right that the Committee should know what was the state of the case as regarded the pupil-teachers. In the first place, as to their intellectual status, Mr. Brodie, one of the Inspectors, had on several occasions dwelt very much upon the knowledge of grammar possessed by the pupil-teachers, and last year he stated his opinion in the following words:—I noticed in several of the Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors for last year complaints as to pupil-teachers' grammar, and in a former Report I also called attention to this point. I regret to add that I do not think them improved in this respect. As a body they have no notion, I will not say of composing (the term is too exalted), but of making any simple statement, describing any intellectual process, as of the operations in arithmetic, answering any question, either orally or on paper, in a short, clear, grammatical way. Their papers generally, indeed, disclose far worse grammatical faults, from which they do not get free even in their fifth year—at least, very often—while they retain also strange idioms of their own.Such was the knowledge of grammar possessed by the boys and girls who were considered indispensable to any good system of education in this country, and of whom he believed there were still 24,000 on the staff. It seemed, however, from the account given by Mr. Brodie, that the system was breaking down. That Inspector gave a frightful list of the number of pupil-teachers disabled by sickness during a very short period. Out of 542 to whom he referred, 214 had been disabled by sickness, and many of them had 530 died. Mr. Brodie said, indeed, that, though it was not his own opinion that pupil-teachers as a rule, and if properly selected and watched over, were overworked, many other persons most competent to judge, such as physicians, surgeons, and the most thoughtful among the managers and teachers in his district, held a different view. That statement was not to be wondered at, and in the appendix to the Report of Mr. Brodie, who was, on the whole, an advocate of the system, some striking letters were to be found on the subject. One of his correspondents, a Mr. Steele, said:—I think my girls have all been most tried in the institution. I have had nine there, and all have come away with their constitutions greatly shattered with the exception of two. I do think the study there is quite too much for any young person to bear. Some of them left me quite strong, and came back completely worn out in mind and body.Mr. Rowntree wrote—My observation at Hope Street has convinced me that the work which our pupil-teachers have to perform is excessive, and that the majority of young men cannot stand such work without injury to health, while not a few are deterred from becoming pupil-teachers by a knowledge of what they would have to perform. If by the present system you secure a higher standard of literary acquirement, it is, I believe, often at the cost of that freshness and elasticity of spirit without which there can be little sympathy with children, and no great success in the imparting of knowledge.Such being the case, he was not surprised at the statement made by Mr. Moncrieff, who, in his Report for 1863, said —On the whole, it seems that pupil-teachers are likely to disappear, or be reduced to a very small number, confined, probably, to a few town schools. There is no evidence as yet that they will be replaced to anything like the full extent by second or assistant masters. The causes are chiefly two—the increased scarcity of candidates and the still greater scarcity of funds. It is in vain to tell managers that the pupil-teachers will pay for their stipend by the increase of the grant; the answer is conclusive; on the one hand it is more than doubtful whether the services even of a good pupil-teacher will increase the grant by £10, which is equivalent to twenty-five children passing in all subjects; on the other hand, this is at least uncertain, and school committees are seldom in a position to incur certain liabilities on the strength of contingent, not to say improbable, income.That being the case, as reported even by the Inspectors themselves, he thought it would be wise if his right hon. Friend could dispense with that regulation at least which rendered the employment of pupil-teachers all but compulsory on 531 school managers. He wished, in the next place, to say a word or two respecting the mode of examination—a subject which was referred to by Mr. Matthew Arnold in his Report. This gentleman observed that the new method of examination did not afford Inspectors the same means of drawing out the children and of ascertaining really what they could do that was afforded under the old system; and when he (Mr. Walter) lately had an opportunity of seeing a school inspection, it struck him forcibly that that was the case. If it were not a breach of confidence, he might add that the Inspector was very much of the same opinion, and observed to him that under the new system of examination it was impossible to get at the intelligence of the children, to ask them questions which would draw out their minds and prove what they really understood, so well as under the old system of inspection. The children were required to read a certain number of lines, to do a sum, and write a copy, but as to putting any question which would test their general knowledge and understanding, nothing of the kind was attempted, and when he (Mr. Walter) suggested that such a course of examination might as well be attempted, the answer was that there was no time for it, and that it would be impossible to get through the work if that system were pursued. He should postpone what he might have to say on that and other points connected with the subject, but on a future occasion he hoped to enter more fully into the question, and should certainly move for a Committee to inquire into the best mode of bringing all the unassisted schools within the reach of the Government grant.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, that following the example set by others, he would confine his remarks to a few objections which he entertained to various parts of the educational system, and especially to the proceedings of the past year as reported in the papers just laid before the House. On two occasions he had brought under notice the course pursued with regard to the endowed schools. On one occasion he was so strongly supported by the opinion of the House, that the Government were obliged to modify their proceedings. On the second occasion, when he protested even against the modification, he believed with the right hon. Member for Droitwich, that he was only defeated by an accident. Be- 532 lieving that if the House attended for a moment to the subject they would alter the minutes passed by the Committee of Council respecting endowed schools, he wished to announce his firm intention not to rest until he had convinced the House that the minutes must be withdrawn. He could not believe that the House would for an instant countenance the rule that schools being supported by private contributions and by Government aid, where private persons had secured their own private contribution, the Treasury should step in and reckon any such secured private contribution in relief of the public charge. That was a proposition which he believed could not be maintained. He hoped on the earliest occasion at the meeting of Parliament in the following year, that the question would be brought again before the attention of hon. Members, the forms of the House precluding the possibility of their raising it a second time during the present Session. If it should not, however, be brought again before the House, and if the principle were really to be established, that the moment a man's subscription was secured that subscription was to be regarded as belonging to the public treasury, they ought, in common justice, to pass a law enabling those liberal individuals by whom contributions had been secured to schools, to cancel the deeds which they had drawn, and place their subscriptions upon the same footing which they occupied before they had met with such rough treatment. He had several exceptions to take to the practice of the Department, and the first matter to which he would advert was the issuing of supplementary rules. He would give one or two illustrations, though it was chiefly to the principle that he objected. The principle had been laid down that "supplementary rules stand to the code in much the same relation as cases decided under a statute to the statute itself." The Report from which he quoted those words was signed by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President; but he presumed the Report was rather that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne. [Mr. Lowe: No!] Decisions of the Judges, however, were simply interpretations of the law, and not, as in the case of the supplementary rules, additions and alterations. Unless the House abrogated the functions which it possessed, the decisions of the Judges could be nothing more than the determination of doubtful intention, 533 and when once decided the decision was recorded and considered so fixed amongst Judges, that no other Judge ventured to alter it except upon very strong grounds. In no case in England did a Judge pretend to vary a law, or make a new law. That power existed in America to a certain extent, but that was only the result of the imperfections of democratic legislation. Supplemental rules were not justifiable then if they ever departed from or added to the minutes they intended to supplement. It was hard enough to understand the minutes, confused, complicated, and obscure as they were, and their concoction was quite sufficiently removed from the control and cognizance of the House; but it was still worse to have supplementary rules besides, which in every respect were open to greater complaint. Take, for instance, the supplementary rule about an imperative standard under which children were to be examined. All that the Revised Code said upon the subject was that every scholar was to be examined according to one of the standards, and that no pupil was to be examined a second time on the same standard. The Report which came out the same year, and which was meant to be explanatory of the law, went further, and said that children were to be presented for examination according to standards selected by those interested in their success. The supplementary rules stated still further that no grant would be paid to a school, not being one for evening scholars or infants only, unless one class was presented as high as standard 3, and that a deduction of at least one-tenth would be made from the grant to a school unless one class was presented above standard 3. He maintained that the supplementary rules were not capable of defence if they went further than the terms of the minute, which they pretended to supplement. He would mention one or two other cases, though in the state of the Committee (about sixteen Members were present) he should not go into the subject as fully as he might otherwise have done. He might, however, say, that complaints were made by the managers of schools in all parts of England of what they considered to be a departure from the understanding conveyed by the Revised Code. But besides these supplementary rules, there was another way of altering the code, and that was by means of instructions. One of these papers, issued in 1862, contained 534 forty-one instructions. One of them, No. 7, directed that, an infant school, forming part of a larger school under a certificated teacher, must have a certificated teacher itself. At the close of the letter the intention appeared; it was to bring the infant school as well as the larger school under certificated teaching. But if this object were good it ought to have been carried out, not by instructions, but by a new minute. There was a condition introduced without the knowledge of any one, which condition in many cases had a penal operation. He recollected reading one letter from a clergyman, the tone of naive remonstrance in which greatly amused him. The writer complained that the nature of the grant had totally changed from what it was under the Revised Code, and he was told in reply that he did not appear to be acquainted with a certain letter of 1863. The clergyman frankly confessed that he had not seen the letter, and had never even heard of it. Laws issued in the course of twelve months did not even come under the notice of the House until the following year, much less could a country clergyman be expected to be thoroughly acquainted with them. There was a stipulation in the Revised Code as to the number of pupils for whom one pupil-teacher was required, and it was expressly stated that the number was to be reckoned according to the average attendance at the school. But the 37th instruction stated that the attendance was to be decided by "the largest number of scholars present at one time together." That alteration would press most severely upon the rural schools, which, in reality, ought to be dealt with the most leniently. The attendance at one season of the year would naturally be much larger than at another. He had now only one other objectionable mode of proceeding to mention, and that was the circulars, which he regarded as being quite as objectionable as either the supplementary rules or instructions. In the Revised Code of 1862, Articles 123 and 124 provided that the allowances to normal schools in respect to each student examined should be so much for the first year and so much for the second, without any reference to the fact of their being Queen's scholars or not. In the edition of 1864 those two articles were omitted, and this omission was explained in a circular which was issued several months before in 1863 from the secretary's office, in which it was said that it was thought necessary to explain those two 535 articles, and that they really meant that no candidate who failed to pass the examination for admission should gain the grant to the college on his account as a certificated teacher. That made a most material difference, whether it were right or wrong. There was this fact also to be observed in connection with the circular which explained the article in question, that it anticipated the decision of 1864 by six months, the secretary who issued it taking upon himself to pass a Minute in anticipation six months before it came out. He also observed that in the Report it was stated that the grants for evening schools were still under consideration. He had received many letters of complaint that in other respects there had been a material departure from the conditions laid down in the Revised Code; for instance, that the number of days during which evening schools must be open had been considerably increased, and the conditions rendered much more severe. Now his proposition had always been that supplementary rules and alterations, whether issued in circular letters or by instructions, if they amounted to an alteration in the minutes which had been sanctioned by the House, should be put forward in the shape of new minutes, and submitted to the House. He went still further, and contended that it was most essential that some steps should be taken to make the House more acquainted with the introduction of new minutes. He would wish that the Minister, having laid upon the table a new minute, should give notice that he had done so; but he had been told upon the highest authority that it was not usual to pass a rule to compel a Minister to make a speech. It might be difficult to prescribe the exact form, but he thought there should be some way of making the House aware that a minute had been laid upon the table, which, if not objected to for a month, should become law. Then, as to a passage in the Report referring to the National Society, he, being a Vice President of that Society, wished to say a few words. The Report seemed to say that the terms of the National Society in some places excluded public grants, and that the grants would have been larger this year had it not been for those terms of the National Society. He presumed that it was meant that the Education Department felt that it could not properly vote public money to exclusive schools—to schools that were so exclusive in their terms as to shut out the children of 536 Dissenters in places where the population was not sufficient for two schools. Supposing that to be the principle intended, he would observe that that principle had never been distinctly laid down, and it would be much better, in his opinion, to lay down definite and intelligible principles than to enter upon long and inconclusive correspondence with the National Society. That, however, would be assuming that the terms of the society were exclusive, which he denied. In cases such as were referred to he knew that in practice the children of Dissenters did make use of those schools. It might be said that if such were the case why did not the society take credit for their liberality and say so; but there was an obvious reason. The society was willing to admit Dissenters' children, but if they were to advertise that every Dissenter might make an objection to his child following the ordinary religious teaching in the school, it would be inviting objections which would impair the efficiency of these schools. The society was willing to meet objections when they were made, but they did not want to bind themselves and invite interference. At the same time he was willing to agree that the Department should lay down a rule that places, where there was not population sufficient for two schools, and where there were Dissenters who wished to send their children to school, should not receive a grant of public money without the conscience clause being introduced in the deed. He wished to call attention to another point—one to which he had referred upon former occasions—the removal of some public schools from the Educational Department to another. That evil was, he was sorry to find, still on the increase. In the Report he found it stated that pauper schools and industrial schools were now placed under the Home Office and the Poor Law Board, on the pretext that the reasons which dictated the association of the Education Department with those schools no longer existed. He should think rather all schools supported by public money should be placed under the control of the National Educaational Department, which would produce a complete Report and lead to a simpler system of inspection. It was difficult to understand why there should be separate Inspectors for the Home Office, the Poor Law Board, and the Education Department, to visit different schools in the same town. Such a separation of account 537 also placed it almost beyond the power of the House to know how much money was expended altogether on schools. In conclusion he wished to congratulate the Vice President, or rather the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor—the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe)—upon the satisfactory remarks of the Inspectors upon the working of the Revised Code. He had himself supported the changes made in the Education Code, and had never foreseen the disadvantage which some had anticipated would flow from its adoption; but he had not expected that so early as 1863 all the Inspectors—as far as he had seen—in their Reports should express such strong approval of that measure of which many of them had felt great misgivings. With the cordial cooperation of the Inspectors additional vigour would be imparted to local management, and the result would be a useful check on the expenditure of public money. He hoped the Department would take into consideration the recommendations made that evening for a more uniform system of working, and for making more prominent all intended changes of rules, and he had no doubt their efforts would be rewarded by a great advance in the cause of education.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he was almost at a loss to conceive what was the cause of the apathy observable on a question of such great importance. During the last hour the Benches opposite had been occupied by only three hon. Members, although the Vote under consideration involved an expenditure of £1,300,000, while the Ministerial side of the House could only show a number which he would not specify lest it might be a provocation to the arrest of public business. He believed the apathy was caused partly by the deadening effect which money granted by the State invariably produced, and he was of opinion that it would be much more satisfactory if the State would leave education alone.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
observed, that the theory of the hon. Gentleman that diminished interest was owing to the largeness of the sums voted did not hold good in all points, for they were discussing Estimates which were considerably less than those of former years. The sum they were then called on to vote was £705,000 as against £804,000 last year, and £840,000 two years ago. The decrease was no less than 16 per cent on the whole sum granted for the promotion of 538 education. But while there was that reduction on the Vote for education as it stood two years ago, the expense of the administration of the system had increased 17 per cent during the same period. The year before last they had voted £66,299 for the expense of the office; last year the expense was £72,000; and that year it amounted to £77,800. That increase was a little remarkable, and might give some clue to the solution of the difficulty proposed by the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman said the interest had diminished, and that was explained by the fact that the House found itself unable to deal with the matter, and more and more at the mercy of the Department which administered the grants. The House had, as well as it could, expressed its views and enforced them on the Government, but only to see them quietly set aside, having no power to resist what was going on. Hon. Members, therefore, gave it up very much as a bad job. There were one or two points in the dealings of the Committee of Privy Council during the last two years which were unsatisfactory. Against some of those dealings he considered it necessary to enter a protest. He did not wish to find fault with the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President, or with the right hon. Gentleman the late Vice President (Mr. Lowe), who, he thought, had very hard measure dealt to him by the House. He was not disposed to use severe language either with respect to him or to the administration of the office; but they were dealing with a system which was excessively complicated and difficult to understand. The House had not been able to apply its mind to all the details of the system. It was absolutely necessary, therefore, that a great deal of trust should be reposed in the administrative body; and so long as there was a want of harmony between the House and that body there would be continual complaints. There were two points to which he would direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, which very much affected managers of schools. It should be remembered that managers of schools were not mere bloodsuckers endeavouring to get all the public money they could for purposes of their own. They were men labouring, giving their time, money, and abilities to carry on a system which they deemed for the public good. The particular system they were administering was not invented by them. It was created and forced on them 539 by the Government. It was the agitation in that House, aided by the Committee of Council, which led to the establishment of schools on principles which two years ago were universal as regarded all the schools connected with the Government. The Report of the Committee of Council admitted the propositions which he had laid down. The Department thought it desirable to inoculate the whole country with its system of training masters and pupil-teachers and other modes of promoting education, and these were engrafted on the old system of education in the country. What was the consequence? The managers incurred responsibilities both moral and pecuniary. Then in 1862 the Department of the Government which had fostered that feeling swept away the old system, and adopted an entirely new one. In these circumstances the Government should have been as tender as possible in their dealings with those who had been placed in this position in order to carry out the views of the Department. An effort should have been made to make their position as little painful as possible. He was sorry to say very much the reverse of this had been the case. The managers had contracted obligations with the masters, and also with the pupil-teachers. When the Department came to alter the system, how did they deal with each of these cases? The managers found themselves bound at the time to secure certain payments to the master, which payments had been fixed with reference to the mode which the Department had adopted with regard to the augmentation of salaries. They had agreed to give a salary of £40, because they knew there was an augmentation of £20 from the State. There were also pupil-teachers who received payment from the State. The right hon. Member for Calne said he would endeavour to meet the case of the masters by making it a condition of the grant, that the managers of schools should give to the masters a certain amount of payment, which amount should be adjusted to the amount of their former payment from the Department—that was to say, that the managers should pay to the masters three times the sum that the augmentation grant represented, so that if the augmentation grant was £20 they were bound to pay him £60. Then came the question with regard to pupil-teachers, and after some consideration and discussion the Government pro- 540 posed to continue them to the end of their apprenticeship, and pay them the same as they otherwise would have been paid, and that their salaries should be paid as a second charge out of the earnings of the school. And further, that if the earnings of the school, according to payment by results, were not sufficient to meet the charges for the pupil-teachers, the Government promised to make good the deficiency. The interpretation, and the natural interpretation, that was put upon the two offers of the Government by nineteen-twentieths of the Members of that House and the managers of schools was, that if the school had earned a certain amount from results, the portion which the Government had proposed to secure to the masters should be first paid to them, and afterwards the amount due to the pupil-teachers, the Government making up any deficiency that might arise. To the astonishment of the managers, however, the Government said otherwise. They said the first charge was—and he could not really use any other word—mere moonshine, and that the only charge they considered themselves bound to pay was to make up any deficiencies that might arise with regard to pupil-teachers, which thus became practically the first and only charge. An illustration of the consequences following from the course the Government had taken was afforded by the case of the school of St. Ive, at Liskeard. The Rev. Mr. Hob-house, writing to the Committee of Council on Education, said—Our school and its master satisfy every condition of Article 51 B, and he has, therefore, under that article, a claim upon the grant now received, amounting to £21 10s., the value of his certificate under the Code of 1860. When he shall have received this, there will remain in our hands out of the grant now announced by you the sum of £9 18s. But the pupil-teacher has a claim (as second charge under Article 54) for his stipend of £17 10s., and the master for his gratuity of £5 for instructing the pupil-teacher. There thus appears a deficiency of £12 12s.Mr. Hobhouse wrote to ask that these twelve guineas might be paid over, but the Privy Council refused to do so. That, he feared, was one case out of a large number of a similar character, and on a former occasion he gave notice for a Return of all the refusals that had been made under the Revised Code of the same kind; but he was told by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne, as no doubt would have been the case, that it would entail a search through a large amount of 541 correspondence, and it would put the Department to a deal of trouble—which he had no wish to do—that there was no distinction in the principle in all the cases, and that there were several of them; and he (Sir Stafford Northcote) fancied there were a great many of them. [Mr. Lows: No.] At all events there were several, and they all turned upon the same point—namely, that the master was ignored, and the pupil-teacher alone recognized. He had given the subject his serious attention, and he had examined carefully all that passed in Parliament on the subject. Some discussion took place upon it last Session, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne gave him an answer on the subject; and he (Sir Stafford Northcote) was bound to say that, after carefully looking into all that had passed, he could not say that the Department had been guilty of anything in the nature of a breach of faith in the case, but at the same time he thought there had been harsh and severe treatment adopted towards the managers. In point of fact, by the requirements of the Privy Council the managers were placed in a difficult position, for they were bound to continue payment to pupil-teachers whom they had not themselves engaged; and there was a case illustrative of the difficulties sometimes arising within his own knowledge. It had not been brought under the notice of the Privy Council, and never would, because the person primarily interested was well able to bear any claims that might be made. The school was supported by a country gentleman in a small parish; it had worked extremely well, and attracted a number of children from other parishes. After a time the manager asked and obtained leave to take first one pupil-teacher, and then a second; and, after some time, the school grew to a considerable size, and the master received payment for both those pupil-teachers. When the Revised Code was issued the master became alarmed, but the manager promised that he should be no loser, and that they would tide over the difficulty. But when they came to settle accounts, having only seven months to deal with as the inspection on account of the change had taken place unusually early, the manager found that he had lost his capitation grant of £14 or £15 a year, and though 95 per cent of the children attended and passed their examination he had to pay nearly £20 to the master to put him in the same position as 542 before. That was the case of a school wealthily supported, and no complaint had been made, but suppose the case had been one of a parish school in a remote district, where the loss must fall cither on the master or the clergyman who could not hope to raise additional subscriptions. In the case he had mentioned the two pupil-teachers were just under their time, and by restricting the operations of the school a little, the manager would eventually get back pretty much to his old position. But cases constantly arose where for three or four years the pupil-teacher's apprenticeship had still to run, and it was during those periods that consideration was most needed. He did not ask any favour for managers, or that they should be bloated with money; but when by a course of legislation they had been brought into a certain position and saddled with obligations from which it was impossible to withdraw with honour, it was but charitable and just that Government should make such arrangements as would enable them to tide over the difficulty. Had the propositions of the Government been carried out in the way they were understood by the House and the country, he believed the dissatisfaction and complaints which had arisen would have been entirely obviated. He rejoiced that the attendance in the Committee was limited that evening, for last year, when he brought forward the question in a full House, it was impossible to gain the attention of hon. Members. How was it possible to expect that 500 or 600 Gentlemen would enter into all the minutiæ of that widely ramified system? Many considerations led him to believe that they were erroneously endeavouring to achieve a complicated work by a centralized administration, and that the difficulties could not be met unless they were prepared to enter upon a different system. [Mr. ADDERLEY: Hear, hear!] He knew what was meant by the cheer of his right hon. Friend; but that field of discussion was too wide to be entered upon just then. He would pass to another point—that of the standards; and he must say that there he did charge upon the Department something as near to a breach of faith as was consistent with the habits of the Board. How they could reconcile to their consciences having put out these supplementary Estimates he was at a loss to understand. An opinion expressed by Earl Granville in the House of Lords had been quoted. In the debates in the House last 543 year, the subject of grouping by age was a good deal discussed. Much might be said both for and against grouping by age. The House was, however, opposed to grouping by age, and the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lowe) gave way, and stated that a system of payment according to standard would be adopted. [Mr. LOWE: Examination according to standards, not payment.] On that occasion Mr. Puller, whose death was a great loss to the House, put certain questions to the right hon. Gentleman on the subject. Mr. Puller was alive to all the difficulties and intricacies of the subject, and he asked the Vice President of the Council whether it was right that John Thomas, a boy of the first-class, but very young, should be presented for a standard below that of the first-class. It was obviously for the credit of the school that as many boys as possible should present themselves for the first-class, but it was for the pecuniary interest of the school that he should be at first in as low a standard as possible, and present himself for a higher standard afterwards. The right hon. Gentleman, in answer to the question whether it would be in the power of the master to place him in any standard, said that it would be so, but that when he had been once placed the minute would take hold of the child and fix his position. From that question and answer and the debate altogether the Committee had a right to assume, that it would be in the power of the managers of schools to present a child upon any standard they pleased on the first occasion, and that they would not be bound by rules contrary to the statements made in that House. And yet the supplementary rules, that professed to be an exposition and explanation of the Revised Code, went into minute details that rendered it utterly impossible for any child to be presented for a different standard from the class in which he was examined. He would not go into the policy of such a regulation; he only contended that it was a violation of the understanding arrived at by the House. When hon. Members found, after so many nights' attendance and discussion, that it was impossible to bind the Government to an understanding so distinctly come to, it was sufficient to account for Houses as thin as that of that evening. He wished to press upon the Vice President of the Committee of Council that he must consider the feelings and infirmities of those with whom he had to deal. The present was an artificial system. He should 544 have preferred a somewhat different system, but that which existed was a centralized system administered by a body sitting at Whitehall, and knowing very little of the feelings of the managers of country schools. He trusted that the present Vice President would lay aside that primness and stiffness that almost of necessity belonged to an official system. He did not sympathize with all the indignation felt against the Education Department by the country managers. But the Privy Council had no doubt sinned on the side of unnecessary harshness, sharpness, and severity towards the managers, who were giving a great deal of their time and money to the work of education. He would entreat the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. A. Bruce) in his official administration to endeavour to smooth over the suspicions and feelings that had been excited, and to give peace again to a body of men who were labouring in a good work and assisting in the education of the poor.
§ MR. BLACK
said, he might as soon find his way through Bradshaw's Guide as attempt to master a Revised Code which hardly a dozen men in the House understood. The hon. Baronet who had just sat down truly called it an artificial system, and said they all knew from the complaints that were made how difficult it was to work out the rules and regulations of the Board. Perhaps some explanation of these complaints would be found in the distribution of the grants. The sum devoted for education in England and Scotland was £721,391. Of that large sum the Church of England schools received £416,392, while all the other school's in England only got £137,670. Now, would any one tell him that the members of the Church of England were as 416,000 to 137,000 of the population? The difficulty arose from the whole system being denominational. In Scotland the sums distributed were—to the Established Church, £52,477; the Free Church, £39,897; Episcopalians, £4,476; and the Roman Catholics, £2,230. The total exceeded £99,000, of which the Established Church got more than half. To say that the Established Church had one-third of the number of children was giving it a large allowance. The Free Church and the United Presbyterians were each of them near it in numbers, and nothing could be more unfair than that it should have more than half the grants. The Episcopal Church got £4,476, and the Roman Catho- 545 lie only £2,230. Now, the wealthiest persons in Scotland were Episcopalians, while their number was very much smaller than that of the Roman Catholics. It appeared from the Census that there were eight marriages among the Roman Catholics to one among the Episcopalians; which shows that the Roman Catholics were greatly more numerous than the Episcopalians, and they needed aid most; but, for all that, the wealthy body with the smaller number of children got twice as much money from the State as the poorest and the more numerous class. Now, as the whole system seemed to him one of inequality, and therefore of injustice, it was high time to look into it. If a plan could be devised by which they could have one school in every parish or educational district, it was not necessary that it should be called Church of England, Presbyterian, or denominational of any kind: were this disregarded, it would be so much the better. If he were a manager he would take the best master he could find, no matter to what denomination he belonged, whether Quaker or High Church There would be some difficulty with the Roman Catholics, but there would be none in getting Protestants of all denominations to read the New Testament in the school, and then, if a man of sound religious principles, no matter what sect he belonged to, were put at the head of it, religion would be better taught than when the master was obliged to teach the children some sectarian creed. The denominational system was not successful in teaching religion, and therefore he would have no creed at all taught in the school; that might be done by the clergyman or parents at other times. But according to the present system they gave grants to those who did not want them, and withheld them from those who did. He had taken great interest in a ragged school where Roman Catholics and Protestants were taught together; but they could not get a small sum from the Board to enable the school to be maintained. The Board said, "If the children are paupers, let them go to the poorhouse; if they are criminals let them be put into gaol." At the last examination of the school he made some inquiry into their funds, and found that more money was got for the school through the Industrial School Act than they had actually asked for before; but he found that it was got in this way—some of the children were brought up before the 546 magistrates for petty offences, and then, when they were branded as criminals, a grant was given for them. But would it not have been better to save the children from the brand which, through the fault of some, to a certain extent, was attached to the whole school?
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
Sir, I have listened with much attention to the interesting discussion which has taken place upon this subject, and I confess that I am glad to see so thin a House upon the occasion; because I do not think it possible to have a good practical discussion in a crowded House upon a question in the abstract so dry. I have no desire to enter at any length into the subject after the able speeches that have been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and the hon. Member for Edinburgh. But there are nevertheless one or two points upon which I am desirous of saying a few words. Now it appears to me that, from some cause or another, the present system of National Education is regarded throughout the country with dissatisfaction and distrust. I am not disposed to attribute this dissatisfaction and distrust to individual feeling, but rather to the system itself. But while I am conscious of the defects of the system I am willing to admit that it is very difficult, after a certain system has so long existed and grown up to such an extent as the present one, to tear it up by the roots, and substitute for it another system of a wholly different character. If the evils complained of could be corrected without resorting to so strong a remedy, no doubt such a correction would be most desirable, and I cannot help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman opposite has a great opportunity before him. The whole of this interesting subject has been dealt with in a most able and argumentative manner in the Report of the Royal Commission. There is scarcely one of the defects of the system that is not boldly handled, and if the right hon. Gentleman would but direct his attention to that Report, with a determination to act as the really responsible head of the Department of Education, I believe that he would find that the recommendations of the Commissioners afforded elements for the engrafting upon the present system material improvements which would go far to correct the evils so generally complained of. I heard with much satisfaction the notice which was given this evening by the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter), an- 547 ticipating as I do the most beneficial results from the Committee of Inquiry which he proposed next Session to move for. The fact that the unassisted schools derive no benefit from the grant is one of the most serious character. It is a mystery to me how hon. Members representing in this, House the whole of the population, can consider it consistent with their duty to vote away nearly one million of money taken from taxes contributed by the whole population, and devote it to the interest of not more than one-half of them. I think it is inconsistent with our duty to give our consent to a distribution of the public money so partial and unequal. If there be one cause more than another which leads to the total neglect of a great portion of the population, it is, I believe, the excessive centralization of the system. I have again and again entreated the right hon. Gentleman opposite to reflect upon this fact, and have said that I do not believe that you will ever get the education system satisfactorily worked until you have largely called local assistance to your aid. We employ local assistance in almost every other branch of our administration; why, then, should we exclude it in regard to National Education? I believe that the elements of local assistance exist at present in a manner deserving of our consideration. I allude to the diocesan boards now established in almost every county, and which I think might be made available for the carrying out of the system. I have thought if a plan could be framed by which those diocesan boards could be brought into harmonious action with a central department, that you might rapidly organize a system which would go far to correct a grave defect—namely, the want of the assistance to those small schools which cannot at present come into your terms. If you will look to the Report of the Royal Commission you will find some such suggestion made. I think that this suggestion is well worthy the consideration of the Government before the arrival of the next Session, when a Committee of Inquiry will be moved for by the hon. Member for Berkshire. Such a question could not be placed in abler hands than that of the hon. Gentleman, who has so long distinguished himself by the manner in which he has promoted the cause of education. I am quite sure that if that Committee be moved for, neither the Government nor this House will refuse it. Before, however, the time arrives for that Motion, I hope 548 the right hon. Gentleman will consider whether he cannot obviate the necessity for such an inquiry by proposing some scheme which will correct the evils which have been so often adverted to, and which it is impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to deny. My hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) has alluded to another subject, which is well worthy the consideration of the Government. I mean the present system under which new minutes are from time to time laid upon the table. I think that we ought not to submit to the continuance of this system, believing it to be open to grave objections and serious inconvenience. Now the 150th and 151st sections of the Revised Code were passed in order to give security against the possibility of surprise; notwithstanding which, I think we have reason to complain of the many and sudden changes that are made from time to time in the system. It appears to me that whatever new minutes may be thought necessary during the year, they should not be made until the month of January, when they might be embodied in the new Code, and then laid before Parliament, so that Parliament should have a full opportunity of considering the changes. Unless such a construction is put upon those articles I confess I see much evil arising from them. It is impossible to expect that the attention of this House can be constantly directed to those frequent changes from day to day and from month to month, indicated by the new minutes laid before the House, while it would be a great advantage if it were understood that there was one particular period of the Session when the Minister of Education would draw the attention of the House to any proposed change. There is one other subject to which I wish to allude. I mean the question of the conscience clauses. An important correspondence has taken place, and been laid on the table, between the Government Department of Education and the National Society. Now, I feel I should be shrinking from my public duty if I did not say that I think the Committee of Council are essentially right in requiring the insertion of those clauses. I deeply regret the part which the National Society has taken in this matter. It is very painful for me to be compelled to declare my disapprobation of any part of the conduct of a society to which the country is so much indebted for the admirable spirit and zeal in which for many years it has promoted education. Never- 549 theless I feel compelled to say I think that the position which the National Society has taken up in respect to these clauses is wholly indefensible, because they require all schools to conform to their terms of union. Now those terms preclude a minority of Dissenters from benefiting by those schools. The answer of the National Society is, no doubt, "We have given you a discretion." But I consider that it is impossible to accept this answer, because I look upon it as really no answer at all. How unfair it is to those who act under the terms of the union to say you have a discretion! One clergyman finds it perhaps consistent with his conscience to avail himself of that discretion. But another says "I feel myself bound by the terms of union, and must act upon them." I will go so far as to say that this defence resorted to by the National Society really, I think, aggravates the case, because it makes the case of the Dissenter of one parish different from that of another. I trust that the day-may come when the National Society will see fit to put an end to this state of things by altering their charter and the terms of union. At all events, it appears to me that the Committee of Council are only doing their duty in pursuing the course which they have taken.
§ LORD HARRY VANE
said, he fully concurred in the expression of regret uttered by the right hon. Baronet, that the National Society were not inclined to relax its rules, which were inconsistent with the existing circumstances of the country; but he could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that a general system, which he believed the people would not assent to, should be attempted to be introduced throughout the country. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman who had charge of the Department would attend to some of the remarks which were made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, and, if possible, introduce some improvements into the system. He had no objection to the appointment of a Select Committee early next Session, nor did he think that the Motion for such a Committee could be in better hands than those of the hon. Member for Berkshire, and, therefore, he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would have no difficulty in assenting to its appointment. He must, however, object to the notion that it was possible to abolish the present system, and substitute for it one of general rating, to the entire exclusion of the voluntary principle. He did 550 not deny that the present system was capable of any improvements, but he believed that his right hon. Friend near him had introduced many valuable changes which, if they were followed up, would bear good fruit.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, that, the idea of the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Black), that there might be a religious education without creeds or anything denominational in its character was impossible of realization. The hon. Gentleman suggested that the children should read the New Testament; but there were many texts of the New Testament as to the meaning of which the children might inquire, and of which it would be impossible for a teacher to give any explanation without touching upon controversial ground. Religion entirely freed from denominationalism would sink into mere indifferentism, and indifferentism was mere Deism or no religion at all. It could not be Christianity, because that must be definite. The secular system was open to equal or still graver objections. It would be impossible to give more than the mere rudiments of instruction without raising some questions of religion. Take, for instance, the study of modern history and the great question of the Reformation. The only way to carry out such a system would be to sink religion altogether, and teach history and other things to which religious considerations were essential without those essentials, the result of which would be to lead the children to regard religion as a matter of no importance whatever. He believed that the system which existed in England, the denominational system, was the best that could be adopted; and one proof that it was so was to be found in the fact, that the National system of Ireland, which was based upon a diametrically opposite principle, had by the force of circumstances been compelled to adopt to a great extent the denominational form. Any attempt to restore to it its original character would make it to a great extent inoperative. They ought to be thankful for the denominational system in England, and the more the Irish system was assimilated to it in that respect the more satisfactory it would be.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that situated as he still was in regard to this matter, he would very 551 much rather have taken no part in the debate: he felt, however, that it might be deemed unfair if he left his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of Council to answer for his misdeeds, and he therefore rose to offer a few explanations on points in which the administration of the Committee during the last year had been impugned. As to the controversy which had broken out between the hon. Members for Edinburgh (Mr. Black) and Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer) he might observe that the justification of the present system, if it had any, lay not in any abstract principle but in the necessity of the case. It was the will of the country to have a denominational system. It was not worth arguing the question, for it was, as it seemed to him, a political necessity. That being the case it followed that as the denominational element was not strong enough to support itself, and as the House would recoil from the expense of maintaining out of the public purse three or four schools in the same place to suit different denominations, some compromise must be effected, and the result was the present system by which the schools were supported partly from one source and partly from another. The necessary consequence of that state of things was a central administration, with, on the one hand, all the complexity and difficulties which had been pointed out; and on the other a very partial expenditure of the public money. Until wealth, generosity, and public spirit could be made equal all over the country, and as long as the grants were dependent on voluntary contributions, there must necessarily be inequality. There might be Committees without end; but if they started from the position of the denominational plan they would never get rid of that fundamental and insuperable difficulty. To complain of inequality was to cast blame, not on the administration, but on the system itself. As to the question of the supplemental rules raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) in his very temperate and candid speech, he contended that the Committee of Council did not exceed their authority in issuing these rules. The original proposal of the Committee of Council was grouping by age—that the examination of children should be conducted not according to classification in school, but according to age. That proposition was violently opposed in the House, and the Government saw fit to 552 give way on it. In the end it was arranged that the children should be examined in six standards, and that the managers should put them in these standards. The terms of the proposal were exceedingly vague, and could hardly of themselves embrace the whole working of the system. Experience proved that such was the case. The first thing pointed out to the Committee of Council was that a boy might be in age below the highest class, and yet by his diligence and ability might have reached the highest class. By the rule, however, he could not be examined in a standard twice, and the school would lose his grant for the next year. The Committee of Council therefore relaxed the rule to meet that case, and announced that they would allow the boy in question to be put below the place he would otherwise occupy, to be put down a class or two, so that the school should not lose anything by his precocity. Another point was that an Inspector who found a school deficient in instruction had the power of reducing the giant by not more than a half or less than a tenth. As the rule stood, it was possible that it might be eluded altogether, for a schoolmaster might place all the children in the lowest standard, where they would only have to road words of one syllable, to enumerate figures, and to write single letters, and then claim the grant for his school. It was certainly not the intention either of the Government or of Parliament that such an abuse should be permitted. The Committee of Council issued no new rule on the subject, but merely exercised their power under the Revised Code to make a deduction from the grant if a schoolmaster placed all his children so low that there was none above the second standard, taking that as evidence that the instruction was not what it ought to be. It was quite clear that the practice of placing children so low was an infraction of the rules agreed to by Parliament, and it was right that the Committee of Council should have power to check the unfair acquisition of public money which might be attempted by construing the regulation loosely or in bad faith. Many admonitions had been addressed to his right hon. Friend the Vice President. He would not, however, presume to admonish him from his side, because he was sure it was not necessary to tell him that though it was his duty to conciliate the managers in all fitting ways, he had also a duty to discharge towards the taxpayers; and unless a man in 553 his position kept a strong firm hand on the expenditure, and unless he was prepared to brave some degree of public obloquy and expose himself to much trouble and vexation, he could not fill the office with honour to himself or benefit to his country. His hon. Friend (Sir Stafford Northcote) had also raised a question as to the rules concerning the payment of masters. He could not expect that the House would allow him to go into the details of the matter, but he would try briefly to explain it. The rule referred to was made for the protection of the masters, and for that object alone. Before it was adopted, a master was entitled to be paid an augmented grant by the State, and ran no risk of having any of it misappropriated. That advantage was lost when the master was left to make his own terms with the managers. There was supposed to be a danger—an imaginary danger, no doubt—that the money might not reach the teacher through the managers; and it was agreed that he should have a charge on the money to the amount of the augmentation, and that if he were not duly paid by the managers the Government should stop the grant or pay so much of it over to him. That provision was given exclusively for the benefit of the masters. Subsequently, however, the arrangement was made that the pupil-teachers should be paid by the Government if the grant was not sufficient. That rule, which was not contemplated when the other was made, gave quite a new complexion to the system. The managers became anxious not to pay the masters in order that by an appearance of exhausted means they might get payment for pupil-teachers. The rule, therefore, had been construed, not as it was intended, for the benefit of the masters, but for the benefit of the managers, who were thus enabled to obtain from the Privy Council an allowance to which they were not entitled. With regard to evening schools, in order to obtain a grant, it was required that a pupil should attend so many times, but nothing was said as to average attendance. The Code being silent on the subject, the Committee of Council determined that forty sittings of the school should be deemed an average attendance. That was, it appeared to him, a fair and reasonable proposal. Other smaller points had been started into which he would not pretend to go. Allowing for the immense difficulty of managing these things, and the absolute necessity of protecting the public revenue against any blot 554 in the regulations, a free, liberal, and not a jealous construction should be placed on the rules of a Department which had to deal with persons so anxious to get the largest possible share of the public money, and so acute in studying the system in order to attain that object. With regard to the complaint as to the minutes, as far as he was concerned, he would be satisfied that no minute should be altered except by Act of Parliament. He was tempted to sympathize with Lycurgus, who made his laws and then told the Spartans to obey them till he came back, which he took care not to do. Without saying that all the measures of his time were good, or all the legislation perfect, he believed it was not likely to be improved by anything that could be forced on the gentlemen at the head of the office by the House without a single exception. Every interference of the House with the Department had been with the object either of reducing its efficiency or increasing the expenditure. It was said the Department was unpopular, and probably the reason was because it administered with so much strictness the funds committed to its control. The Education Vote amounted in 1861 to £840,000. It was going on at the rate of nearly £100,000 a year, and but for the most obnoxious regulations which were introduced by the enemies of the human race who presided over the Department, it might at the present moment have reached, £1,200,000 or £1,300,000 instead of £700,000, and have swallowed up that penny in the Income Tax which everybody was so glad to see taken off. When, he might add, the administrators of the Department were charged with being prim, and precise, and harsh, and with having very little feeling for the unfortunate persons whose receipts might be cut down, it ought to be borne in mind that they were exercising a great public trust, and that while, on the one hand, the education given did not suffer in point of efficiency since the changes which were so much complained of had been introduced, on the other hand, a stand had been made on behalf of the taxpayer, and those demands resisted which would infallibly have broken down the whole system, which had, he contended, got a new change of life by the alterations in question.
§ MR. LYGON
admitted that the system, as administered by the Council of Education, was unpopular, but that was because it had lately put itself out of harmony with 555 the spirit of the taxpayers of the country; and the real secret of the distaste with which it was regarded was, that while it professed to accept the denominational system as a political necessity, the whole efforts of the Committee and of its subordinates had been mainly directed towards breaking down the denominational system. He thought it would be far more satisfactory to the taxpayers at large if the regulations respecting these grants were embodied in a definite legal form, and not based on such a nebulous system of minutes. The denominational system would be far preferable to that now sought to be introduced. What was the principle of that system? Why, that the State undertook to aid the efforts of the various schools throughout the country, in union with the two or three great religious societies of the country. Much obloquy had been cast during these discussions on the National Society, but its object had been forgotten. The object of this Society was not merely to teach the multiplication table, but to educate the poor in the principles of the Established Church. That was the great trust confided to the Society, and he thought that great credit was due to those who had laboured to check the unpopular proceedings of the Privy Council on Education. He thought that education, to be worth anything, should be founded on religion, and that principle had been distinctly approved by the House of Commons. The teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic did not constitute education. Education, to be good for anything, should teach a man his duties to God and to his neighbour; and it was impossible for any body of professing Christians to touch this subject without the inculcation of definite principles as to religious teaching. Religious education was a fundamental principle with the people of England. No doubt some confusion had arisen from mixing up the denominational system with the voluntary system. He regretted very much that the Committee of Privy Council made their various aggressions in the way they had. The National Society was subject to aggressions and humiliations which no other body in the country having charge of education were subject to. It was extremely desirable that the Educational grant should be administered with strict impartiality; and an impression largely prevailed throughout the country that the members of the Established Church were not treated with strict impartiality. In their efforts to 556 establish schools they were subjected to pressure, to terms, and to suggestions; and hindrances were thrown in their way which were not extended to members of any other religious community. So long as that was the case, so long would dissatisfaction exist, and so long would the Committee of Council be unpopular. He did not for a moment believe that the members of the Church of England, whose zeal and liberality in the cause of education were well known, and who made large exertions and sacrifices for that cause, were animated by such sordid notions as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) attributed to them.
§ MR. PUGH
said, he wished to make some remarks with reference to that part of the country with which he was connected. He had observed with great pleasure that it was stated in the report of the Inspector in South Wales, which had lately appeared, that that country had made great progress in education, even since the Revised Code was established. It was right that this should be made known, because great doubts existed at the time whether that would be so, and whether some of the schools would not be injured. In that respect the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne had proved a true prophet; for he very kindly said, when these difficulties were pointed out, that the Welsh children were remarkable for their intelligence, and would overcome all obstacles. If there was one part of the speech which he had just made which he (Mr. Pugh) had listened to with less pleasure than another, or from which he might venture to differ, it was that part of it in which he gave it as his opinion that nothing could be done to remedy those evils of the present system which had been so forcibly depicted, whereby large tracts of country were left untouched by the Education grant. If those evils were felt in a rich country like England, much more must they be so in the remote and rural districts of Wales. They were forcibly exhibited in a Return moved for by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire, showing that large cities and towns absorbed vast sums, while rural districts were comparatively unprovided for. He, therefore, hoped that something would be done to take their case into consideration, and if it was found to be irremediable, the managers would then have the satisfaction of thinking that their grievance had been fairly inquired into. They had no wish to get any of the public money for nothing— 557Pater ipse colendi Haud facilem case viam voluit;they knew this; they duly appreciated the difficulties by which they were surrounded, and were prepared to struggle with them.
§ Vote agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £97,582, 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, 1865, 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. GREGORY
said, he did not intend to go on with his Notice for calling attention to the management of the institution at Kensington. If he were to call attention to the improper manner in which the purchases were conducted, according to the latter paragraph of his Notice, he must ask for a Committee of Inquiry, and at that late period of the Session he should not be willing to serve upon a Committee of Inquiry himself, nor should he find it easy to induce any other hon. Gentleman to do so. He hoped, however, that the Vice President of the Education Committee would look into the matter during the recess, and that it might be unnecessary for him to demand such an investigation next Session. Meanwhile, he could not refrain from calling attention to some portions of the Vote now before the Committee. In one item, the amount of which was no less than £16,000, a whole host of subjects—examples, diagrams, objects of art, catalogues, &c.—were huddled together in a manner which gave facilities for manipulating the public money in a way I that should not be tolerated for a single day. The whole item might as well have been put at once under the head of "etceteras." He wanted to have each item set clearly and distinctly before the Commit-tee, so that every one could ascertain at a glance what sum had been spent on each object of art, and what was the exact amount of expenditure under each head. He was asking for nothing out of the way, or what was not required from any other Department. Nothing could be clearer, or more correct, than the manner in which the Votes were taken for the British Museum, and he saw no reason why the same plan should not be followed in the case of the Kensington institution. 558 He was also of opinion that some explanation should be given of certain recent purchases for Kensington—he thought they trenched rather on what belonged to other departments. Some time ago a fresco was bought for £480; but it was perfectly obvious that a purchase of that kind, if made at all, ought to have been made for the National Gallery. The excuse for it was that the fresco represented certain costumes, and that it was consequently suited to the meridian of Kensington. But if that were an excuse, pictures of the old German and Spanish schools might be purchased; in fact, a complete picture gallery might be established at Kensington. Recently, too, large sums had been given for the drawings of Mulready for the School of Design. He did not say it was improper that the drawings of Mulready should be purchased for the nation, nor did he assert that they were not fitted for a School of Design; but if they were to purchase drawings of that high class and at that high price, the Kensington people might just as well buy drawings of Raphael and the other great masters—they were just as appropriate to a School of Design. Kensington had likewise made a purchase of antiquities which ought to have been secured for the department of the British Museum, and in this instance a formal and serious remonstrance had been presented to "My Lords" of the Treasury by the trustees of the latter institution. Surely nothing could be more absurd or irregular than for two public establishments to compete with each other for specimens of the same description. He did not deny that it might be necessary to have some objects of classical art in the School of Design, but then he would suggest that such objects should not be purchased for the Kensington establishment except after communication with the British Museum, and even then, if possible, by an officer of the latter institution. Only two persons, in fact, should be allowed to have anything to do with purchases. Their respective provinces should be distinctly marked out, the one having to certify for all objects intended for modern art, and the other to certify for all objects intended for mediæval art. If that were insisted upon, and if those officers were brought before the Board when there was business to transact, instead of leaving matters to be dealt with by long reports, they would get rid of many of those irregularities which were being freely commented on by the public, 559 which were adding to the weight of odium now daily increasing against the department at Kensington, and which, sooner or later, he believed, would arouse such a feeling of indignation in that House that the whole concern would be swept away—a result which he should most sincerely regret. He should reserve the statement which he had intended to make till the next Session, when if matters did not mend in some respect he would certainly ask for a Committee of Inquiry into the whole of these proceedings.
MR. H. A. BRUCE
admitted that it would be more convenient and more conformable to the usual practice if the item of £16,000 in this Vote were divided under different heads. The charges of his hon. Friend on other points were not sufficiently distinct for him to grapple with them. With respect to the purchase of the fresco, he understood that the National Gallery did not purchase frescoes, and he thought the department would have been wrong in neglecting an opportunity of purchasing a beautiful specimen of this class of art when they had the opportunity of getting them at a cheap rate. So in regard to Mr. Mulready's drawings, they were copies well fitted for study in the schools, and the money paid for them had been extremely well laid out. A thorough understanding existed between the British Museum and the department at Kensington in respect to purchases. Whenever doubts arose, as must occasionally happen, whether articles ought properly to be purchased by the one or the other, in all those cases a conference took place between the two bodies. The department did not profess to purchase classical antiquities as such; but many of those antiquities bore closely on the progress of art, which progress it was their object to illustrate. It would be impossible to conduct those purchases so as never in any individual instance to leave room for hostile criticism; but the collection, as a whole, was of immense value, and if brought to the hammer to-morrow would fetch far more than it had cost.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, that at the Kensington Museum there were a number of beautiful specimens of Italian art, and he should like to know how they were come by. That Museum always reminded him of the shop of a receiver of stolen goods. He was afraid that many of the beautiful works there were the fruits of what was called the "moral sup- 560 port," but what he ventured to call the "immoral support" which the noble Lord at the head of the Government gave to the revolutionary party in Italy who plundered churches and religious houses. He was afraid that our Government had somehow got hold of some of the property so acquired. ["Oh!"] The Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs cried "Oh!" but that was no answer. Chief Justice Hale said that the receiver was worse than the thief; and he should be sorry if this country was placed in that category. In the Kensington Museum there was a sedan chair, a beautiful work of art, which belonged to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, with whose name it was ticketed. What business had they with that? They had purchased it with notice; they knew to whom it belonged. Did they buy it of Garibaldi? He should confine himself to that sedan chair, and must ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell them something about it: how they got it, whether they intended to send it back to the rightful owner, and, if not, why not?
§ COLONEL W. STUART
wished to know if the hon. and learned Baronet had ever seen the beautiful collection of pictures in the Vatican at Rome? Because a great many of these pictures had been taken from their owners by the French and afterwards given up to the Papal Government. That Government had not restored them to the original owners. In keeping them was it, according to the hon. Baronet, a receiver of stolen goods?
§ MR. BAZLEY
said, that great dissatisfaction was spreading in the country at the rigid economy practised towards the provincial schools of art, while extravagant sums were given to the school at Kensington, Such an inequitable mode of distributing that Vote would not, he believed, be tolerated much longer.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
called attention to the great increase which took place annually in this Vote. In ten years it had more than doubled. In order to test the opinion of the Committee on the subject, he should move that the Vote be reduced by £15,000, the inrease this year.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £82,582, 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, 1865, for the General Management of the Department of Science and Art, of the Schools throughout the Kingdom in connec-
tion with the Department, and of the Geological Surveys of Great Britain and Ireland, &c."—(Mr. Augustus Smith.)
§ MR. MAGUIRE
thought the Vote required the grave consideration of the Committee. He denied, in the most emphatic manner, that the collection at the Kensington Museum was an advantage to the country generally, and he appealed to the Members of the Select Committee whether what he had stated was not correct? It was professed that the travelling museum, consisting of a very few objects of very little value, was sent to England and Scotland to promote a taste for art; but it was a very ingenious but not ingenuous proceeding of the authorities, to send the exhibition to Dublin at the time of the Agricultural Show, and, although it did not attract in the face of the superior attractions of the cattle show, to take credit for bringing the people to the Irish capital. The provinces had been starved in order to make a raree show of the Kensington Museum. He hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Galway would next Session probe this evil to the bottom.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he did not consider it was the business of the Government to teach science and art, and they certainly had proved that they were not competent to do it. He did not think our collections of pictures and of articles of art should be frittered away between the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the establishment at South Kensington, He would have a National Gallery worthy of the nation, and then would send all the pictures to the National Gallery and all the works of art to the British Museum.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that up to this time he had been under the impression that the Department of Science and Art confined itself to the collection of the odds and ends which make up the exhibition at South Kensington. But it would seem that the Department was now applying itself to literary pursuits, in order to combine science, art, and literature. It had just taken a literary turn, and had published a book entitled, Mumbo Jumbo; or, the Mountains of the Moon in the Gaboon. He had had the misfortune to read that production, and certainly it was the most remarkable compound of nonsense he had ever perused in his life. At first one might suppose that there was some concealed wit in it—some lurking fun or humour in it; but there was none. It was a concatenation of nonsense such as might be expected to come from a 562 combination of children of twelve years of age writing a dramatic sketch under the superintendence of some grown person devoid of sense. The thing would not deserve any consideration but for one circumstance. A well-conducted and respectable person connected with the Museum had been asked, whether it was true that he was to take a part in the representation of the drama of Mumbo Jumbo; or, the Mountains of the Moon in the Gaboon; and whether, in order to make himself more interesting in the eyes of the enlightened audience, he was to make his face as black as a coal? He replied that this performance was under the patronage of the Coles, and that it would be necessary for him to blacken his face to that extent, even though he might look foolish. He said he had a wife and children and had no chance—he was compelled to make a fool of himself on the occasion. Under these circumstances, he had to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether public servants at South Kensington, who might be respectable considering the salaries they received, had been obliged to blacken their faces and take a part in the coarse, monstrous, and senseless performance that he was told had taken place in the Botanical Gardens? He did not know whether hon. Gentlemen had been present at the performance, if so, the House might have the advantage of hearing a better account than he had been able to give of the affair. He had only read the production. That was quite enough to make him avoid the Botanical Gardens on the occasion. It was really a serious thing if respectable public servants had to make fools of themselves. Such a proceeding would be in the last degree degrading to our sense of public decency, and to the refinement and feeling which was supposed to exist in this country. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give the House an assurance that the Science and Art Department would not embark in literary pursuits or dramatic performances.
MR. H. A. BRUCE
said, that the questions which he had to reply to were almost as various as the objects in the South Kensington Museum. First of all he must assure his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets, that the performance to which he referred had no connection with the South Kensington Museum; certainly the sums included in the Vote had not been applied to any such purpose. Then the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bazley) had objected 563 to this collection that it was confined to the metropolis. Now that was an objection that would apply to every metropolitan collection. As to the proposal of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) to remove all the pictures to the National Gallery, a great number of the pictures at South Kensington were by contemporary artists, which class of works were not admitted into the National Gallery, and there were bequests, such as the Sheepshanks Collection, to which was attached a condition that would prevent them from being exhibited in the National Gallery. As to the reduction proposed in the Vote, he would remind the House that the buildings which it was necessary to finish in order to accommodate a valuable collection had already been approved of. It would be premature to discuss a question that was at present being considered by a Select Committee; but having read the evidence already taken by that Committee, he might remark that there was a great deal of testimony strongly favourable to the maintenance of the schools at South Kensington and to the Museum itself. He hoped the Committee would not consent to adopt the Amendment.
§ COLONEL SYKES
directed the attention of the Committee to the fact, that there were large items to be voted which it was not fair to charge to the Science and Art Department at South Kensington. There was £47,000 for Schools of Art in the United Kingdom. The item for buildings had increased from £11,000 to £24,000, and the grant for the Royal Dublin Society had increased by a sum of £700.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, the question was, whether the country schools got their fair share of the purchases? But the discussion was premature because the subject was now before a Committee upstairs, and ought to be left open until they had reported.
§ MR. HENNESSY,
referring to the statement that Ireland was not fairly treated in respect of this expenditure, said, that among the successful candidates for the Queen's medals in the Science Examination of 1863 were, in physics, Joshua Doherty, a student of the North of Ireland, who carried off the gold medal, and Cornelius O'Sullivan, a student from the South of Ireland, who carried off a silver medal. In chemistry the gold medal was won by Richard Geogan, and a silver medal by John Conolly, both students of the South of Ireland. In geology the silver medal was 564 obtained by Robert Smith, and the second medal by George Donaldson, both students of the North of Ireland. In botany a silver medal was obtained by Elizabeth Maffet, a student of Belfast, the second by Lizzie Carson, also of Belfast, the third by Marianne Johns, of Carrickfergus, and the fourth by Samuel Stewart, who was also an Irish student. This showed not only the ability and industry of the Irish students, but also that they got fair play from the Department.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
said, that anything more discreditable to art than the decoration of the building did not, in his opinion, exist in this country. Great dissatisfaction also existed with the purchases made On account of the Museum; but it seemed impossible to find anybody who was responsible for them. Last year a sum was voted for the residences of officials connected with the Museum. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) then said, that when the officials were lodged in those houses there would be a deduction from their salaries corresponding with the annual value of their houses. Had this arrangement been carried into effect?
§ MR. BUXTON
said, that less importance was to be attached to the statement of the hon. Member (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) that the decorations were execrable, because it was pretty well known that the hon. Member was rarely satisfied with anything. Persons who were competent to give an opinion, thought the decorations were exceedingly beautiful, and that great credit was due to Captain Fowke, or to those who were responsible for them.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, that the Department took to itself more credit than belonged to it, because in the majority of cases the people were not attracted by the travelling museum, but attended for the purpose of seeing the fat pigs, fine horses, and beautiful short horns.
§ MR. HASSARD
differed from the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire), and contended that the travelling museum in Ireland had been the source of much gratification to the people of that country, and had more than paid its cost.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that some injustice had been done to the officials of the South Kensington Museum, because perfect responsibility existed there. For the purchases the President and Vice President 565 for the time being were responsible. They were advised by two gentlemen called referees — one (Mr. Redgrave, R.A.) for modern art from 1750 down to the present time, and the other (Mr. Robinson) for ancient art up to 1750. The referees sent in their recommendations; Mr. Redgrave, who was also Inspector General of Art, advised upon them, and the President and Vice President decided. He was sorry that the sense of duty which induced the hon. Member (Mr. Gregory) to propose to call attention to the improper purchases, did not lead him to carry on his investigation before making a statement on the subject. He regretted that the term "improper" should have been employed, because it appeared to imply that there was some disgrace or discredit attached to some one, and the hon. Member should not have used that word unless he intended to substantiate it. The fresco of Perugino was a fresco painting, which, as a specimen of ornament for the interior of houses, was deemed by many a desirable addition to the Museum. The Museum was not, as a general rule, regarded as a receptacle for pictures at all. They were only placed there when there was no room for them elsewhere, or when, as was the case with the Sheepshanks Collection, the donor requested that such a course might be pursued.
MR. H. A. BRUCE
said, that the library in one particular year had shown a balance in the receipts over the expenditure, and that that balance, by the authority of the Treasury, had been applied to the repair of the roads. Residences were found for four officers, and, as the Museum was open until ten o'clock at night, it was necessary to have officers upon the spot. Previous to the building of those residences, two officers were accommodated elsewhere, and that accommodation was regarded as part of their salary. The question with respect to the other two was now under consideration.
§ Question put,
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 73; Noes 131: Majority 58.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.