HC Deb 29 July 1867 vol 189 cc342-82

SUPPLY considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) £74,621, to complete the sum for the British Museum.


said, he had to move, in the absence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), and by his request, the Vote for the British Museum. Upon a comparison of the Estimates it would be found that some items had increased and some decreased. The items of increase had chiefly reference to salaries and purchases. The Estimate for last year amounted to £102,744, while that for the present year was £99,621, or £3,123 less this year than last. He did not mean that this showed an actual decrease of expenditure, which was likely to be repeated year by year; for last year there was an exceptional expenditure of £8,000 on purchases—namely, £2,000 for the Castelani Collection, and £6,000 for Mr. Cuming's remarkable collection of shells. There was an increase in the present Estimate of £1,700 in the item of Mediæval Antiquities, and he hoped that the Committee would approve of what had been done, for the greater attention that was now paid to this subject made it really necessary that the increase should take place. The increase of £600 in Roman Antiquities would be easily understood. There was an increase under the head of Oriental MSS., which he hoped would meet the approval of the committee. The collection of Mediæval Antiquities was so great and so rapidly increasing that it required the independent attention of a gentleman who was placed at the head of the department. There was also an increase of £1,880 in the printing of catalogues. That was one of the most important items of expenditure. Unless the cataloguing was kept up and in good order the value of the collection would be proportionally diminished. £200 had been spent in the cataloguing of Hebrew books, which had been very defective down to a recent period. He was glad to find that the number of those who visited the collection and those who went there to study was still increasing; and the accommodation provided for them was, he believed, remarkably good. With reference to the Blacas Collection of Antiquities, which had been brought before the House last Session by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when a very general concurrence and approbation was expressed as to its purchase, he considered it one of the best acquisitions which had been made to the Museum of late years. It would be recollected that last year it was proposed to take a Vote of £50,000 for providing the first instalment towards a building to be erected at South Kensington for the Natural History Collection. During the present Session the attention of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been so much occupied with other important business, particularly the Reform Bill, that he had not been able to give sufficient consideration to the plans of the new buildings which had been submitted to the Trustees, but had not been finally approved. The whole subject, with the reasons that existed for separating the collections, the necessity of making adequate provision for them when separated, and the ultimate management of them, must be brought under the notice of the House and thoroughly investigated. He was authorized by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to state that he proposed at the commencement of next Session to state the views of the Government on the subject, and he hoped the settlement proposed would be satisfactory to the House. He begged, in conclusion, to move that the sum of £74,621 be granted to complete the sum required by the Trustees of the British Museum.


said, the only part of the statement of the right hon. Gentleman which he had heard with some regret was with reference to the separation of the collections, which had been again postponed for another year. But no doubt what he had stated was very true, that so many things had occupied the attention of the Government this Session that it was impossible to bring forward a subject which was important, but which, he believed, divided opinion in that House. He had always been of opinion that until that separation was made it would be impossible to put the British Museum in a condition worthy of the collection and the country. We had the most noble collection of antiquities in the world, as illustrating civilization and the arts. The reason why the British Museum was not properly appreciated and shown was the want of space. The separation of the scientific and art departments must take place. It ought to be determined in what museum the Mediæval Collection should be placed. They ought not to have collections at South Kensington and the British Museum of the same kind going on at once. He wished to know how the cataloguing was going on; he did not grudge the expense of having well-digested catalogues. Such collections as the Blacas Collection was an honour to the country. Curiosities of interest if not purchased here, would be purchased elsewhere. Only recently, when a coin, which was altogether a magnificent specimen—indeed, unique—was offered, the British Museum proposed to give a large sum for it, but it was taken to Paris and the Emperor gave a larger sum by one-third. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on the statement he had made, and trusted the Government, would early next Session, bring forward the subject to which he referred with the view of adopting some definite step in regard to it. He should himself, probably before the end of the Session, give notice of his intention to move next year for leave to bring in a Bill for the better management of national collections and museums. He would submit some scheme to the House, and have the Bill referred to a Select Committee. He believed the result would be a great increase in the efficiency and usefulness of these collections.


said, he was glad that the objection he had always urged to the Museum Vote being brought forward by Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House had at length prevailed, and that the present Estimate had been introduced by a right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench. He regretted that further arrangements had not been made for making the Museum accessible to the public. It was perfectly easy to light the Museum with gas, without any danger from fire, or injury to the collection by the gaslight. This had not yet been done; but it might be useful to bring the subject forward every time the Estimates were moved, in the hope that the Trustees might at last be rendered capable of understanding the subject. When the step of which he spoke had been taken by another institution at the West-end of the town—the South Kensington Museum — it was vain to pretend that it was impossible. The concession made of opening the Museum between four and six on Saturday afternoons had failed, because that was just the period when the working classes were taking their tea, and it would be much better to open the Museum for two or three hours in the evening. He observed that the number of visitors to the Museum had increased 10,000 as compared with the number in the previous year; still it showed a considerable decline as compared with many previous years. He was informed on one occasion that this was partly owing to the want of reasonable accommodation for the visitors, and he did not know whether any improvements had been made in this respect. But there could be no reason why the British Museum should not be open during the evenings, when thousands of visitors would find their way to it who were now virtually excluded. He was sorry to find the Chancellor of the Exchequer had lately been made a convert to a plan which would render the treasures of the Museum still less available—he alluded to the proposed removal of the most popular part of its contents, the Natural History Collection, to a distant part of the town, out of the reach of the great body of visitors. If the collection were to be broken up, the best plan would be to keep by themselves the Egyptian gods and goddesses and the heavy and bulky articles of antiquity now on the ground floor and in the vestibule. It was chiefly the inhabitants of the West-end who took an interest in this portion of the collection which took up much room. It might be right therefore to provide additional ground space in that locality for those heavy articles, which would afford additional room for the lighter objects, and the specimens of natural history which afforded much pleasure to the masses of the people, on the upper floors. This would have the great advantage of keeping the principal part of the collection together in a place the most convenient to the largest part of the inhabitants of the Metropolis, and would prove the most economical in the end. The convenience both of the visitors and the inhabitants of the Metropolis would be best consulted by retaining the collection in a central position. If we were going to dig up the remains of all the ancient cities of Greece, Italy, Asia Minor, Persia, and India, and to bring them to London, considerable space would be required for their proper exhibition. The ground floor of the present building might be easily enlarged for that purpose, and the upper stories of the new building might be appropriated to the exhibition of other collections which were more attractive to the generality of people.


said, he thought the result obtained was by no means commensurate with the immense expenditure of money on the British Museum. He found that in 1861 the number of visitors was 779,000; in 1863, 554,000; in 1865, 677,000; and in 1866, 516,000, showing a progressive decrease in that period. In the same way, the number of those who visited the Museum for purposes of study and research, declined from 136,000 in 1861 to 99,000 in 1866. He trusted those to whom the management of the Museum was now committed would exhibit a little more life and energy in the discharge of their duties. He thought such a result was a miserable failure, when it was contrasted with the thousands who daily attended the Crystal Palace.


said, that the question of separating the collections had been deliberated for the last fifteen years. A Committee had reported against a separation, but, on the other hand, distinguished Members of that House had expressed their belief that it would be impossible to keep all the collections together. It was clear to his mind that, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government on the one hand, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, on the other, had made up their minds that a separation should take place, there ought to be no further procrastination and delay in ascertaining whether their opinions were entertained by the majority of the House. He trusted that the Government would come forward with some definite plan at the commencement of next Session. The hon. Member who spoke last evidently thought that, if the British Museum could offer some of the attractions of Cremorne, it would be much improved. If the suggestions of the Member for the Tower Hamlets were adopted, and the Museum was lighted at night, no doubt some of the attractions of Cremorne would be secured. It was, no doubt, possible, as the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets had remarked, to light up the Museum at night but, independently of the risk, many of the objects preserved there could not be properly seen by gaslight. It included a vast variety of minute articles, as well as specimens of natural history, which could only be very inadequately seen by night. As to attracting a larger number of the working classes it was not likely that many of them would care to visit the Museum in the evening after working all day. If they really wished it to be accessible to the working classes they would get rid of some of their Pharisaical notions and open it on Sunday. He wished to make a suggestion that a small sum should be inserted in the annual Estimates for excavations. They had derived some of their most interesting objects from the excavations at Nineveh, Halicarnassus, Greece, and other places. As a mere matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, the specimens obtained by these researches would, if sold, over and over again cover the expenditure.


said, the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) had stated that he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was a convert to the new plan for separating the national collections. The hon. and learned Gentleman was in error; for he was, perhaps, the first person in that House who expressed an opinion that it would be impossible to place the great collections in a proper position unless the principle of separation were adopted. Observation and reflection on the subject had confirmed him in his original opinion that the country would never see its matchless collections in a position to do them justice until that principle was adopted. How it was to be applied was another matter, but that the separation should take place, and that they should take advantage of the land which the country had purchased, he had no doubt was the wisest course. The line of demarcation between the collections of literature and art and those of science was so easily distinguishable that he could not understand there would be any difficulty in making the necessary arrangements to bring about results which were so desirable. Last Session, and again in the present Session, it had been found impossible to bring forward the Vote on the original Estimates, which would have sanctioned that policy on the part of the House. So that delay was inevitable. But the course they had then taken had not occasioned any substantial delay. It was impossible on a subject of this magnitude that the House of Commons would be satisfied with passing a Vote on Account without a clear idea of its application. The subject must be thoroughly investigated and fully placed before the House, so that a correct opinion could be formed upon it. The time had come when such a course was one of the urgent duties of the Administration. If he had the opportunity, he would at an early period of next Session lay before the House the course which they thought ought to be adopted, and he should be perfectly ready to avail himself of the: excellent suggestions which might be offered by the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory), and other Gentlemen who took an interest in the matter. But what the House wished was not the proposal of a Vote, but a clear plan. A Bill would probably be necessary to insure the separation of the collections. They wanted the site of the new building to be indicated, and to have plans placed in rooms where they would be fully considered, so that they might clearly understand what was proposed, and how it was to be accomplished. It would be the duty of the Government to undertake that office; and he trusted that next year they would be able to bring the question, which had so long occupied the attention of so many able and accomplished men, and in which considerable national interests were involved, to a happy conclusion. It was to him a matter of conviction that the collections never would be appreciated until they were exhibited in a manner in which their matchless beauty and value could be known. He quite admitted the propriety of the suggestion made by hon. Members opposite relative to making these collections more generally available for inspection, and he trusted that, through the measure to be proposed by the Government, this as well as other objects would be accomplished. Some persons, represented by the worthy Alderman (Mr. Alderman Lusk), thought that the object of a national collection was to establish a popular and agreeable exhibition. No doubt, when a country possessed rare illustrations of art and antiquity, it was most expedient that the great body of the people should have an opportunity of studying them. It was very desirable that the great body of the people should have an opportunity of refining their taste, and he believed, if they had the opportunity of properly visiting the collections at the Museum, they would understand in time that there were objects quite as interesting as stuffed birds, which some hon. Gentlemen seemed to think were the only objects of attraction. The exhibition of works of refined art would have a beneficial effect on the public taste; but the object of these collections was not to make a popular exhibition. If no single individual visited these collections it would still be the duty of the nation to spare no cost in obtaining the finest libraries, the most valuable galleries and choicest subjects of art. To turn from the abstract question. The state of affairs in the British Museum was such that some change could no longer be delayed. Not only were our splendid collections unknown to the people, from being packed almost in warehouses, but there were no inducements to private individuals to add to the collections by contributing from their own stores. It was a most unfortunate circumstance, but one well known to those interested in these matters, that there were at this moment individuals in possession of matchless collections, especially as regarded libraries, who would be most happy to add their stores to the national collection; but who thought, in the present state of affairs, that such arrangements could not be made, as they had a right to expect. That was a great evil, and it was in his own experience that very rich collections which might become part of a national collection were not so, because there was not space or order to justify or encourage those gifts. He thought, therefore, the time had come when this great duty ought not to be neglected by Government or the Parliament. He did not wish to bind the House in detail to any arrangement, but he thought the principle of separation ought to be recognized with a view of its being acted upon. Knowing that the country possessed a considerable portion of land which was unappropriated—one of the rarest possessions in this metropolis—he trusted, at the commencement of the next Session, the Government would be able to place before the consideration of the House such a scheme as it could adopt, and bring about those results which were so desirable.


said, he believed the feeling of the House and the country was decidedly against separating the collections, which, like the British Constitution, although raised up without any definite plan, formed a magnificent whole. The difficulty which existed—preventing persons from leaving their valuable collections to the country — was to be attributed to the different Governments which had had to deal with the subject, which had prevented the purchase of sufficient space for the erection of proper buildings. The British Museum was located on part of a large square, which was offered on moderate terms by the Duke of Bedford. Everybody but the Government of the day had desired to accept the offer of the Duke of Bedford, which would have enabled a sufficient enlargement of the British Museum in a manner satisfactory to the country at large. But he supposed there was an end to such proposals now, as he observed that several hon. Gentlemen had suddenly been converted to the separation proposal. Every Government since 1850 had set their faces against all the collections being exhibited on that spot. He deeply regretted the course which had been taken, and supposed they had now heard from the Chancellor of the Exchequer the death-knell of the British Museum. It was a great mistake to suppose that the collections when divided would be anything like what they were when united. With regard to the natural history collection, the hon. Member for Galway was formerly eloquent on the site in Bloomsbury, and was one of the great champions for keeping the collections together. A change had now come over him, and he had turned his back on his former opinions, having apparently been initiated into some secret reason for separation. [Mr. GREGORY: Quite the contrary.] He was glad to hear that no Vote was to be asked for until the House knew what was to be done. He believed it would be possible to make the collections far more accessible to the public than they were at present. The danger of fire had been alluded to. Only two years since the place was on fire in the binding department. That was not from showing it to the public. Fires were kept up for the attendants and for certain purposes in the Museum, and they were far more dangerous than any lighting with gas for the purposes of exhibition. The Kensington Museum, the Jermyn Street Museum, and many other public institutions were illuminated with gas. The British Museum was the least inflammable of all these exhibitions, a great portion of the building consisting of stone. At Rome the Vatican was lighted up at night, and displayed the sculpture to the greatest advantage—artificial light being most favourable for such a purpose. He thought that some system of lighting the Museum might be adopted without any danger to the Museum itself. He believed there was a very strong feeling in the country against opening the Museum on Sundays. He was, therefore, decidedly opposed to any such proposal. Finding year after year that neither the Trustees nor the Government would deal with the subject, he should take an early opportunity of calling the attention of the House to it. He could not move an Amendment now, as he had no desire to move the reduction of the Vote.


said, that far from being a recent convert to the breaking up of the British Museum, he recollected that in 1859, when he accompanied the present Chancellor of the Exchequer on a visit to the different collections, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in his expression of astonishment at the state in which they were found, and in his view, that it would be impossible to properly exhibit them without further accommodation. He felt confident that if the right hon. Gentleman had remained in office he would have brought forward some plan to put it in a better state. It was impossible to go on placing the collections one on the top of the other; and that the different objects could be seen while they were stowed away in attics or cellars, or remained in the cases in which they had arrived. He entirely approved of what had been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that if not one single individual visited these collections it was still the duty of a great country like England to lose no opportunity of possessing herself of the most complete collections in every branch of science and art which she possibly could. For ten years he had considered that the best thing to do would be to divide the collections. He rejoiced to hear that the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to grapple with the subject.


said, he regretted to find that the Natural History Collection was to be removed, as it brought nine-tenths of the visitors to the Museum. If it were required there would be no difficulty in purchasing additional ground in the immediate neighbourhood. He strongly recommended the lighting of the Museum at night, to enable the working classes to visit it. All danger from fire might be avoided by the adoption of sun lights, and the keeping of the gas entirely in the exterior of the building. He wished to ask, whether the antiquities in the Museum were intended for the instruction of a particular class of the community or for the community at large? At present the operative classes had no opportunity of visiting the Museum. The same facilities which were given at Kensington ought to be given for viewing the British Museum. He believed more good was done to the working classes in the way of enlarging their minds and giving them new ideas by visiting the Museum at Kensington than was ever accomplished by any act of legislation which the House had passed.


said, he did not agree with those who held that the only way of making the Museum generally accessible was by opening it on the Sabbath. He was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Southwark object to its being lighted up. He expressed his belief that the remarks which had fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be read with great satisfaction. The right hon. Gentleman promised next Session to propound a scheme which he felt satisfied would be of a comprehensive character.


said, that as far as he was at present informed he hoped the Trustees would not be induced to light the building with gas until the subject had been more seriously considered. If he were a Trustee nothing would induce him to agree to such a course. He did not believe that the working classes visited either the Kensington Museum or the Royal Academy at night after a hard day's work. The classes who did go there were persons who could equally avail themselves of the morning. The introduction of gas into the British Museum would not only be attended by danger, but would injure the objects exhibited. The Trustees of the National Gallery had considerable doubts whether the pictures deposited by them at Kensington had or had not suffered from the lights. He thought himself that they had suffered, and the question was one of such importance that it was now under the consideration of the Trustees. Gas made the atmosphere so dry, that articles were injured in consequence. By the use of gas the binding of the books at the Athenæum Club had suffered considerably. [Colonel SYKES: Before the sunlights were introduced.] He believed that the books had suffered since the use of those lights. Nothing would induce him to run the risk of the Museum being destroyed, for it contained many objects which could never be replaced. They should remember that the Museum was a trust, not only for this country but for all civilized countries in the world, and for all time. Any unnecessary risk incurred through the indulgence of a merely sentimental feeling would be highly blameable.

Vote agreed to.


, in moving the Education Vote, said, he would briefly explain the expenditure which had taken place during the past year, and the Estimate with regard to it. The Estimates of this year showed an increase upon the expenditure of last year owing to the enlarged sphere of operations in the encouragement of education. Last year the expense of building, enlarging, and improving schools and teachers' residences, was £24,267. The Estimate for the present year was £30,000. The grants of the past year had called forth voluntary contributions to the extent of £91,555. The sum expended for the maintenance of elementary schools had been £416,582, and for the maintenance of night schools £13,302. In the present Estimate they asked for £427,345 for the former, and £16,000 for the latter. Altogether the expenditure in the maintenance of schools last year was £429,884, and the Estimate for the forthcoming year was £443,345. The voluntary contributions for the maintenance of schools had been £369,253, and the endowments £56,318. There were thirty-eight normal schools, on which the expenditure last year was £75,792. The Estimate for the forthcoming year he was sorry to say, was somewhat smaller, being only £74,500; that reduction was owing to the decreased number of male pupil-teachers educated there. The cost of administration, inspection, and offices was, last year, £78,895, and the Estimate for the forthcoming year was £81,790. The balance remaining in hand last year was £9,328. He had stated the cost of the means which had been used; he would now turn to the work which had been done. During the year 1865–6 eighty new schools or departments had been built, fifty ad been enlarged, and sixty-one teachers' residences had been raised. They had afforded during that year, new accommodation for 20,546 scholars. The schools under inspection numbered 13,586, showing an increase over the years 1864–5 of 636 schools. The children on the books of the inspected schools at the end of last year numbered 1,510,871, and of those 1,287,604 were present at inspection. The number of night scholars at the end of last year was 42,872, showing a large increase over the number in the previous year, which was 35,846. That increase, therefore, was 7,026 children of twelve years and upwards; the increase in the number of the night schools was 240. That, however, was not altogether a matter for congratulation, for, to a certain extent, night schools had taken the place of day schools. In Lancashire and certain other parts of the country it was, he feared, a rowing custom to farm out the schools to the schoolmaster, whose only object was to obtain the grant with the least possible trouble and with the greatest possible certainty. Although the schoolmaster did not obtain so large a grant for each scholar in a night school as for each child in a day school, yet there were fewer conditions imposed on the former, and therefore the grant was more easily and certainly obtained. For instance, in a day school, if a child was examined in one standard one year it had next year to be examined in a higher standard. But that was not the case in the night school, where the children might be examined, for the grant, year after year in the same subjects; the master was therefore more certain of obtaining his grant in a night school. The schoolmaster was therefore liable to take charge of the night school himself and to pay more attention to it, leaving the day school to an assistant. One of the inspectors (Mr. Stewart) mentioned the farming out of schools in rural districts also (Report p. 212), while Mr. Koe (p. 120) asserted that night schools were growing up in the rural districts, because that the farmers who employed labour would not engage the parents unless they took their children with them; the children therefore could not go to day schools, and had to go to night schools instead. He believed that in themselves night schools were excellent and likely to do much good; but if they at all supplanted the day schools, then the increase of them was not altogether a matter for congratulation. He would now explain the results which had been obtained by this expenditure and work. The children presented for examination in the year 1865–6 were 664,005, showing an increase over the preceding year of 6,247. The number of night scholars presented for examination was 32,399, showing an increase over the previous year of 24,591. The number of passes obtained for reading was 596,886; for writing, 573,224; and for arithmetic, 500,103. That showed a very good state of learning in the schools. The subject of Education had of late been exciting much attention throughout the country. In subsequent years, it would be likely, because of political objects, to do so still more. An argument had lately been used by the right hon. Member for Calne, and repeated by many others since, that as they had extended the franchise they were constrained to enlarge the sphere of the educational system also; they educated children; they gave the franchise to men. If this was to be regarded as the final cause of State education, they must bear in mind that the end would not be reached for fifteen years after the education had been begun. Yet he was glad to hear the argument; for it was the acknowledgment of a great truth—namely, that the end of all education was to make men good citizens—that the only ground on which State interference in the matter of education could be defended was, that it was a duty of the Government to make men good citizens. This object, then, was always to be kept in view to regulate the action of the Government in promoting education; it was necessary to adapt the means always to this one end. It was well, therefore, this year to take stock of what had been done. This was all the more necessary, for it appeared from a Return which had been included in the Report of the Committee of Council, that there were 7,780 parishes in the country, each with a population below 500, that had no schools receiving aid from the State. These were not ecclesiastical parishes, but Poor Law districts, and not conterminous with ecclesiastical districts; there were 12,000 of the latter and 15,000 of the former. One reason why there were no schools in some of these parishes was, that they were mountainous districts, or that the population was scattered; it must be borne in mind that the area of these parishes might be large although the population was small. Nevertheless, the system was permeating even into these parishes; for 216 more of them received aid from the State than received aid four years ago. It must be remembered, also, that these parishes were not all educationally destitute. The Privy Council took account only of those schools to which annual grants were given by the Committee of Council; and then persons exclaimed, contemptuously, that 7,780 parishes were without education. In some of these parishes there were schools of a very high class, which had no grants from various causes. In some, the managers did not apply for them. Some of the parishes found it cheaper to employ an un-certificated teacher and forfeit the grant, than to take the grant and have a high-priced certificated teacher. Frequently, landlords entirely supported the schools on their estates, and did not desire to receive aid from the State. Then there were certain clergymen who refused the grant because they desired to be independent, and keep their schools free from government inspection; these schools also did not appear in the list. The following was a copy of a letter which had been put into his hands only that day:— July 1, 1867. Rev. and dear Sir,—Do not pronounce me discourteous for declining to receive you on the 23rd instant in your capacity of Government school-inspector. I deprecate official visits, from any quarter, to clergymen's schools, deeming them inexpedient and intrusive; and, although pecuniary assistance would be most acceptable, I prefer the alternative of complete independence. But supposing he yielded all that was said on this head, the utmost it proved was that their work had not yet been completed. Yet it must be allowed that the system was gradually permeating the country: they were making advances sure and certain, and educational destitution was retiring before them. It is well then to take stock of their progress, and to examine minutely the amount of educational destitution which there really was at present. There were three kinds of educational destitution—the want of school building, the insufficiency of attendance, and the deficiency of teachers. Now, with regard to the want of school buildings, there the charge of destitution could not be sustained. It had been stated, in the Duke of Newcastle's Report in 1861, that "parishes are seldom unprovided with school buildings," although many of them were small and ill-ventilated. But what had been done since that time in the matter of school buildings? The year 1866 showed a great increase over the former year. In the year 1865 building grants of £18,882 for schools had been made, of which £15,458 had been made to Church schools. In 1866 the grants were £24,222, of which £20,445 were to Church schools. The local subscriptions called forth by these grants in the former year were £62,247, of which £52,620 was for Church schools. In 1866 the amount of local subscriptions was £91,555, of which the Church schools received 77,374. The new schools and teachers' residences built in 1865 were 111, of which 91 were Church schools and residences. In 1866 there were 141 new schools and residences built, of which 123 belonged to the Church. In 1865 new accommodation was provided for 15,302 pupils, of which accommodation for 12,518 was in Church schools. In 1866 new accommodation was provided for 20,456 children, of which the Church schools provided 17,311. The number of schools or departments under inspection in 1863 was 11,230; in 1864, 11,818, showing an increase of 588 schools and departments; in 1865, 12,950; showing an increase of 1,132; and in 1866, 13,586 schools and departments of schools; showing an increase of 636. The significance of this fact would appear stronger if they considered the number of preliminary statements made in each year. Preliminary statements were applications from schools to come under the Privy Council system. In 1863 the preliminary statements were 520; in 1864, 553; in 1865, 578; in 1866, 644; and in the first half of the present year, 364, which was at the rate of 728 in the year. Now let him turn to the second species of educational destitution, the attendance of the children; and let it be borne in mind at the same time what were the obstacles with which they had to contend. Those hindrances were the claims of labour, the indifference of parents, and sometimes the apathy of the rich. There were also natural causes, such as sickness or bad weather, which prevented the attendance of the children. The Report of the Committee of Council for that year stated at page xxi.— The progress of education is retarded by circumstances outside the school-room rather than by faults within it. The age at which school is left and the amount of actual attendance are influenced by causes beyond the control of managers or teachers. Yet it would be seen what advances had been made in this particular. In the year 1863, the number of children present at inspection was 1,092,741; in 1864 there were 1,133,291 present at inspection, showing an increase over the former year of 40,550; in 1865, 1,246,055 were present at inspection, showing an increase of 112,764; in 1866, 1,287,604, showing an increase of 41,549. Last year the rapidity of increase was not maintained; but the reason was that in 1865 (Feb. 8) a new Minute was issued, permitting children in night schools to be examined in the absence of the inspector. In 1863 the average attendance of children was 998,925; in 1864, it was 1,011,134, showing an increase in average attendance of 12,209; in 1865 the average attendance was 1,057,745, showing an increase of 46,611; and in 1866 the average attendance was 1,082,055, showing an increase of 24,310. From this it was apparent that the increase had all along been satisfactory, and that there was a steady augmentation of numbers. Now, with regard to the deficiency of masters he must acknowledge that, to a certain extent, this charge of deficiency was just. There were certificated masters enough to fill all the old vacancies, but scarcely sufficient to fill the new schools, which were every year springing up. If they considered the case of the pupil-teachers the deficiency would appear still worse. In 1863, there were 13,849 pupil-teachers; in 1864, they had fallen to 11,712, showing a decrease of 2,137; in 1865, the number was 11,383, showing a decrease of 329; and in 1866, they were 10,955, showing a decrease of 428. That was to say, in 1863 there was one pupil-teacher to 69 scholars; in 1864, 1 to 81; in 1865, 1 to 85; and in 1866, 1 to 96 scholars. This decrease was chiefly confined to male teachers, not to females. In 1862 there were 7,963 male pupil-teachers, and 1,016 were presented for admission into normal schools; in 1863 there were 7,043, and 726 were presented for admission; in 1864, 5,725, and only 506 were presented for admission; in 1865, 5,207, and 511 were presented for admission; and in 1866, there were 5,032 pupil-teachers, and 508 were presented for admission into normal schools. The force of pupil-teachers had therefore been undergoing constant diminution. One reason for this was that it was the interest of managers or of those who farmed the schools, to do with as few pupil-teachers as possible, consistently with obtaining the grant. Another cause was the competing claim of labour. The following statement would be found in the yearly Report, p. ix.:— The principal reduction continues to be in the number and quality, or both, of male pupil-teachers. This reduction is not due so much to deficiency in the number admitted, as to removals in the course of apprenticeship. The boys, as they grow up, are tempted with higher wages in other employments, and the managers are disposed to let them go, as they become more expensive. Thus a considerable part of the apprentices never get beyond the third year. What was to be done? The examinations had already been made as easy as was at all consistent with efficiency. Thus Mr. Cowie, in his Report (p. 395), said— The present certificate examination is as low as it can be with any claim to be sufficient, or to be a test of power and knowledge, and men who cannot satisfy this criterion must generally be unfit for the office. The extension of the system which is so loudly called for is impossible without a ready supply of teachers. That year a Minute had been passed by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Corry) which he hoped would have the effect of augmenting the number of the pupil-teachers, and increasing the efficiency of the schools. But they must wait another year to see its effect. In the meantime, he thought more might be done to increase the number of teachers and to extend the benefits of education. What if they were to make the claims of labour an additional motive and incentive to induce the children to attend school? What if the indifference of parents to the value of education were to be overcome by putting a money value on the goal to be reached? What he alluded to was a system of technical education, which might be gratuitously offered as a reward for those pupils that distinguished themselves in the elementary schools. He would presently explain what he meant. But first he would show the amount of technical education which the country already possessed. There was, first, the School of Naval Architecture and Naval Engineering; this had last year thirty-seven students, of whom twenty-four were from the Admiralty. Then there was the Royal School of Mines, which had altogether 108 students, thirteen of whom had entered with a view to becoming Associates. There was the Chemical Laboratory, with 116 students, and the Metallurgical Laboratory, with twenty-three students during the past year. There were also three courses of lectures on mines, &c., to working men; these were attended by about 600 students. There were the Science Schools with 601 certificated teachers. Last year there were 153 schools; in May, 1867, there were 212 Science Schools. Last year they contained 6,835 students; in May the number had risen to 10,108 students. There was the Art Training School, which contained 511 students. Of thirteen students who had been trained as designers last year, three were now in business. Then there were ninety-nine Schools of Art, giving instruction to 17,210 students; and there were 560 schools for the poor at which drawing was taught, and in which 80,084 children were under art-tuition in 1866. That was the amount of technical education which the country possessed. It might be greatly extended. There might be schools for civil engineering, for navigation, for mechanical engineering, for chemistry and chemical manufactures; there might be trade schools, or schools in which trades are taught, and mercantile schools. The latter he would explain by example. At Leipsic there was such a school where the pupil was taught to correspond in all the modern languages, the weights and measures and coinages all over Europe were expounded, and the students were trained in the theory of Exchanges, in Political Economy, and in all that was requisite for mercantile life. Let the Committee consider what was done in the matter of technical education abroad. In Switzerland, for instance, there was an elementary school, and a trade school in every village, he believed. In every town there was a Higher Technical school; and at Zurich there was a Technical College for the education of the heads of the various branches of business. A boy who showed capacity in the elementary school was sent, at the expense of the canton or parish, to the trade school; and if he distinguished himself there, he was sent to the Higher Technical school. Thence he could rise by study to a studentship in the Technical College. So that technical education was made the spur and incentive to bring children into the elementary school, and to force them on while they were at school. If they could do that in this country they would find the benefit not only in the extension of technical education, but in its reflex influence upon elementary schools. Let them consider the effect, for instance, upon a single village where there were 100 children, and where only one distinguished himself by his exertions, and was sent on to the higher technical schools, so that in after years, by his learning and studies, he raised himself into the upper ranks of society. What would be the effect of such an example upon the youthful population of his native village? If they multiplied that effect by all the villages in England, they might estimate in some degree the benefit this scheme would confer upon the country. He had shown that two of the three kinds of educational destitution could not be charged against the system, as it had already made great progress, and was year by year making rapid advances. With respect to the third kind, he thought that an extension of the technical education, which the country already possessed, would do much to remove it. He moved the Vote of £705,865 for the furtherance of education in England.

(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £531,865, 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 1868, for Public Education in Great Britain.


Before this Vote passes, I wish to put a question to the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council. In the Report of the Committee of Council for 1865–6, it is stated, and, I think, not only stated, but demonstrated, that, in the case of large schools, numerously attended, a very small amount of local and voluntary effort suffices to meet the moderate requirements of the Education Department, and to call down in favour of the managers of such schools the golden shower of the Government grant. Again, in the Report of the Committee of Council for 1866–7, it is not only stated, but demonstrated, that, even in the case of small schools, with an average attendance of sixty-five—nay, in the case of schools with an average attendance of only forty, a very moderate annual subscription in the locality, not exceeding, under any circumstances, £23, is quite sufficient to open the floodgates of Government liberality. Nevertheless, in spite of its being so easy to enlist the department over which the noble Lord presides in aid of local effort, I observe, on turning to a Table in the last Report, that, out of 14,877 parishes or districts maintaining their own poor as parishes in England and Wales, the Government grant only reaches between 3,000 or 4,000, while it leaves unaided between 10,000 and 11,000. Now, I want the noble Lord to tell me the explanation of this. It cannot be that the department is in any way to blame, because there is a general consensus that it discharges its difficult duties very ably. How, then, is it that the system is so utterly inadequate to the wants of the country? How is it that it fails to reach three-fourths of the parishes of the country? How is it that it leaves about 100 parishes in Berkshire, close to the very centre of intelligence—under the very eyes of the department—unhelped and uncared for? Is there some mysterious reason which is known to the noble Lord, and which he can tell us, or is the primâ facie explanation which suggests itself to the outer world the only one which the noble Lord can give? Is the system now administered by the Committee of the Privy Council a mere temporary expedient, good as far as it goes, but quite unable to do what is wanted—namely, to educate the whole people; and must we, despairing of success by its means, come to rating and a national system after all?


said, he wanted to see more results for the money spent on education, and then he should desire to see that amount largely increased. He trusted that the time would soon come when the House would see that it would be right to educate the people, whether they would or not. The objection to the present scheme was that it was too elaborate; some of its regulations would tend to retard rather than advance education.


said, he had always been a strong advocate of night schools. Considering the early age at which children went to work, it was impossible for them to acquire much knowledge, or to retain what they had learned, unless they could be induced to return to their teachers till they had quite grown up. Children were generally withdrawn from day schools at the early age of twelve years in order to earn for their parents a few shillings a week by their labour. He would be inclined to go the length of advocating a compulsory system of education, and of making the parents and guardians of children responsible for sending them to school. In Prussia, where compulsory education had been adopted, nearly one in six of the population was at school. We had nothing like that proportion in England. There was something very like it in Scotland, where there was a school in every parish, and where the masters, even of the smallest, were, in a great majority of instances, graduates of a University. The result was that Scotch peasants took such an interest in the knowledge they had gained, that they kept up their studies after they had the left school, and thus Scotland had taken the highest rank in science and art.


said, he was glad to learn that the present system was making tolerable progress. He had heard with great pleasure what had fallen from the noble Lord respecting technical schools. He believed that such schools would afford what was so much wanted, an incentive to children to pursue their studies to a more advanced age. Such an incentive had, to a great extent, been supplied by the pupil-teacher system, and the opening of several branches of the Civil Service to open competition. In the West of England a plan which had been adopted of assembling large numbers of children for examination, and giving prizes to the most deserving, had also had a most salutary effect. There was a positive want of educated workmen; and there were many branches of industry which were obliged to be handed over to foreigners simply because there were no Englishmen qualified to undertake them. The Arundel Society, for example, on the Council of which he had had the honour to serve for many years, were obliged to get their chromolithography done in Berlin, or Paris because the Prussian and French Governments had long ago instituted technological schools; whereas private enterprise had not yet supplied them in England. As to the schools which enjoyed no Government aid, it would be a mistake to suppose that they were all bad. He was intimately connected with four parishes in Somersetshire and Wiltshire, in only one of which there was State aid; but there were very good schools in the other three. But it was not only the schools of the poor that needed attention. There was a most pressing want for better middle-class education. Small shopkeepers and farmers really did not know where to find good schools for their children, even if they were willing to make the necessary sacrifices. He had for years thought that it was the duty of the State to do something for the middle classes in this matter. After the Report of the Commissioners of 1860, he thought that the subject had been very inadequately dealt with; and he was disappointed that the Government at that time had introduced no measure for utilizing the educational endowments of the country, which had been estimated by Mr. Senior at £500,000 a year. He hoped the time would come when all the children of a parish would be able to receive elementary instruction together in the same schools. As to compulsory education, he did not think it by any means so impracticable as was supposed. It had already been adopted in a modified form; and there was evidence on record that children who spent half their time at school and half at work, in many cases, beat those who remained all day at school without working. He hoped this hint would not be lost on the Government, and that they would extend the principle of the Factory Acts to the agricultural districts, in which were employed nearly half the population of the country. The fact was, that, without some such arrangement, the children of the peasantry would never be properly taught. Farmers would naturally employ those whose labour was cheapest, and parents would as naturally send their children to work as soon as they could, so that employer and parent entered, as it were, into collusion, to deprive the child of his schooling. Our parochial system needed re-adjustment. It was quite necessary that some steps should be taken to increase the pace at which education was being extended in the small parishes, and there were several minor steps which might, he thought, with advantage be taken with that object. Some parishes were much too small, and greater facilities should be given for their ecclesiastical and civil union. In the next place, the civil duties of a parish should be separated from the religious, so that all its business should not be left to the exclusive care of the rector and the churchwardens. The Church would not, in the least degree, suffer from such a change. He fully admitted that the clergy in the agricultural districts had been, hitherto, the great bulwarks of our present system of education; but the parishes and their secular affairs ought to be governed by something analogous to a maire and a commune. The Church would not suffer by the division of the civil from the ecclesiastical government, and education ought to be regarded as belonging to the former. At present, however, civil affairs were so entirely subordinated to ecclesiastical in small villages, that if the clergy did not take an active interest in the schools, they would, in many cases, be neglected altogether.


said, there was on ordinary occasions difficulty in interposing suggestions during the consideration of the Vote for National Education. But that difficulty was greatly enhanced on the present occasion from the circumstance of the discussion extending beyond the subject of the common schools of the country to that of schools of technical education and of schools for the middle classes. He wished to know whether the Committee was to understand, from what the noble Lord had said with regard to technical and other schools of that character, that the Government were prepared with, and intended to submit to Parliament any plan relating to their establishment. In every county middle-class schools were springing up, by the free action of the people, with a success that went beyond the wishes of their enlightened founders; and there was every expectation that the want in that respect which had been so long felt, would soon be supplied. His desire was that the voluntary action of the people should supply that want. It was impossible, he thought, to have in England a great system of middle-class education without its being under Parliamentary control; under a minister in London, or functionaries distributed over the country. To the reduction of the grants for schools of art was to be attributed the absence of technical education in this country. He hoped the Government would take advantage of the improved feeling of the House in this respect, and increase the grants for art education. They had now escaped from the jealousy, anxiety, and dread which had so long existed, that some of the money so granted would be expended for the benefit of those who were able to pay for that branch of education. He therefore hoped that in some future year many of those rigid laws which at present bound the grant might be relaxed, so that those above the labouring classes might be able to obtain benefit from the Government grants for art and science education. He hoped the day was far distant when an education rate should be proposed; it would be both rash and foolish to disturb a system which was producing great advantages. Although they might escape some evils by rating they would fall into others not less grave, and the example of America where the rating system existed, showed that it would not remove those evils which they all regretted should exist. Compulsory education was repugnant to Englishmen, and the best way to enforce education was to act on the conscience of the parent. The Government were, however, largely extending the factory system. They were not therefore open to the charge of languor or indifference on that head. He regretted to find that in Lancashire the system of farming out schools was so extensively adopted as to require official notice from the noble Lord. Such a course was a complete abdication of every duty imposed by Parliament on the executive government and managers of schools. He could hardly consider anything more detrimental to a system of public education than the farming out of schools. He hoped the noble Lord would take advantage of the new Minute of this year, and carry forward the education of young children into the higher branches. If taken advantage of by the classes to be benefited, he hoped the grant would be further increased. He objected to the system on which the examination of night schools was conducted, especially with respect to the manner in which the examination papers were returned to the Government, which prevented any accurate comparison being made between the state of education in such schools in different years. As to the schools in Manchester, there was a want, not of buildings, but of scholars. Efforts should be made to draw in the scholars to the existing schools; the obstacle to success being the unwillingness of the parents to send their children to those schools. A large number of the schools in Berkshire were in a healthy state, and by no means so deficient as they had been represented. The managers of many of them, from a false sense of delicacy, did not apply for Government assistance, but the schools were in a very efficient state. In Reading there were eight schools receiving the Government grant, and in Windsor seven or eight. There was no reason why many small parishes should not receive Government assistance. There were 7,295 parishes with a population below 500; 5,641 parishes with a population below 300; and 3,923 parishes with a population below 200, in which the schools received no Government assistance. To obviate that, it had been suggested that several parishes should be amalgamated for the purposes of education. He thought that objectionable, because it would be impossible for parents to take their young children two or three miles to the school. It was far more desirable to keep them in their respective parishes, and assist them with Government aid. It had been said that the money granted by the Government was most spent where it was least wanted; but it must be recollected that in large and populous places where there was an accumulation of wealth, there was a large fund from which to draw the means for building schools, and to assist in supporting them. It could not be too often repeated and recollected that if they had a large number of children attending the schools, there must be a considerable sum accumulated by the weekly pence. He was afraid, after all they could do, they would still find there were parts of the country—sparsely populated districts—into which it was scarcely possible to carry the education which they so ardently desired to diffuse.


said, the Committee would have heard with great satisfaction the statement of the noble Lord opposite that the number of children attending schools assisted by the State during the past year had hugely increased. He wished, however, he could share the noble Lord's belief that the prospects of continued increase were such as would warrant them in coming to the conclusion that, in a reasonable number of years, the assistance of the State would be extended to schools through out the whole country. The noble Lord had stated that the increase of the number of children present at inspection during the past year had been 41,549 only as against 112,764 the previous year. The past year, however, he (Mr. Bruce) candidly admitted was an exceptional one. These figures could not in any way be taken as representing the increase in the number of children receiving education in schools aided by the Government grant. The only way to arrive at a just estimate of the latter increase was by taking the annual amount of the building grant. In 1865 the building grant amounted to £18,882, and in 1866 to £24,222. This would give accommodation for an average annual increase of 17,000, instead of 33,000, which was the proper number that school accommodation should annually be provided for. So far from the present state of things being satisfactory, it would be found on examining the statistics furnished by the annual Reports that while 3,500,000 ought to be on the books of the schools of England and Wales there were, in fact, only 2,400,000 on those books, there thus being upwards of 1,000,000 children in England and Wales receiving no education; while, of these 2,400,000 children, only half were in schools assisted by the State, the other being educated at schools, public and private, far the greater part of which were stated by the Royal Commission presided over by the late Duke of Newcastle, to be of a very inferior description. So that of our labouring population it would be no exaggeration to say that one-third were receiving education for only too brief a period at good schools, one-third at indifferent schools, while one-third were at no school. His noble Friend had not stated the result of the examination of the children during the year. If he had done so he would have been obliged to state that only one-third of the children who left the best of the aided schools passed an examination up to the third standard—in other words, received a degree of education likely to be of service to them in after life. Still, his noble Friend drew a hopeful picture of results. He (Mr. Bruce) had listened with astonishment to the assertion that the rate of progress was satisfactory, for that whereas in 1862 there were 7,960 parishes with populations below 500 without unaided schools, within the last four years the number of those unaided parishes had been diminished by 216. At this rate, it would take nearly 150 years before the remaining parishes were brought within reach of the aid of the State. Under these circumstances, he thought the existing system had been proved to be utterly insufficient to supply the educational wants of the country. The failure of the system was even greater in the large towns than in the rural districts, seeing that, notwithstanding there might be ample school education in such places as Manchester and Birmingham, it was most unevenly distributed. While there might be a number of schools in the eastern portions of those towns, there would be none at all in their western parishes. The hon. and learned Member for Cambridge (Mr. Powell) had expressed a strong hope that we should not be driven to adopt the rating system. But why should not a system of local rating, which had been found to work well elsewhere, work well in this country? In Prussia, in Saxony, in France, in Belgium, in Holland, and other places on the Continent of Europe, as well as in the United States of America, there was no system of State assistance to schools at all approaching in liberality our own. The schools there were all supported by local taxation. All our other institutions excepting schools were already supported by local taxation; and that exception with regard to education must be removed, if we wished education to be entirely successful. The noble Lord drew attention to the want of technical education in England. Such education was certainly much wanted among our middle classes. Manufacturers were, in many instances, obliged to look to Germany in consequence of the inefficiency of English workmen. General elementary education must, however, in all cases precede technical education. Something had already been done, and a great deal more than was generally thought, by the Science and Art Department; but the operation had been very irregular. It flourished, for instance, in Lancashire, while it languished in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The falling off in the number of pupil-teachers was a circumstance that demanded serious attention, and threatened in an alarming manner the future supply of schoolmasters. It appeared that the female pupil-teachers were stationary in number, but those of the other sex were declining. In the case of the young men, there were no doubt many competing professions; but he could see no reason for the unsatisfactory prospects as regarded the female teachers, nor did he doubt but that, if proper measures were taken, the supply could be increased. A remedy for the falling off of male teachers might be found in the introduction of women to an increased extent. In this they would be following the example of America, where there was a great preponderance of female teachers in elementary schools with most satisfactory results. They would also be finding employment for women, and would thus be securing two much desired ends by one act. The successful effect of the Revised Code in reducing expenditure, might be gathered from a few figures. This year's expenditure amounted to £622,000. The expenditure in the year before the introduction of the Revised Code amounted to £813,000. It was a great thing that we should be educating 350,000 children more than in the year before the Revised Code passed, and yet that the cost of the education should have sunk from £813,000—at which it stood in the year before the Revised Code — to £622,000, and that it should be still in process of diminution. But this great economical result was not an unmixed good. It had developed tendencies against which precautions ought to be taken without loss of time. The tendency of the present order of things was to concentrate the attention of the schoolmasters upon reading, writing, and arithmetic, to the exclusion of the other and higher branches of education. Again, the value of the work done in the schools depended on a proper supply of educated masters. These could be got by a system of liberal payment only; and, if this system were not practised, the result would certainly be grievous harm to the schools sooner or later. If hon. Members had read the Reports of the Inspectors which had been on the table during the past three weeks, they would find the Inspectors unanimous in giving credit to the Revised Code, but qualifying their Report by the observation that there was a retrograde movement in respect of the higher branches of education. It was hardly necessary to say that some remedy should be found for this evil, which robbed education of the chief advantages it was intended to confer—namely, the strengthening of the faculties, and the enlargement of the range of knowledge.


said, he thought the discussion showed that much information was still wanted by the House on the question of education. The assumption that none but Government schools were good schools was one that required verification. He trusted that the Government would cause to be prepared, during the Recess, ample and reliable information on the nature and extent of elementary education in England. In many unaided schools admirable instruction was given, and if it were so unsatisfactory as was represented by some, he could not see why a Return, for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of the education in those schools, should not be procured. Until that was done, no one had a right to assume that the education was defective. The farming of schools he looked upon as a great evil, but it was the inevitable result of confining the Government aid to schools conducted by certificated teachers. But, admitting for the sake of argument that the present system was faulty, where was to be found the system by which it was to be superseded? Were we to go in search of that system across the Atlantic? To anybody who advocated that course he would recommend the perusal of the Report of Mr. Fraser, an intelligent Inspector, who had been sent out to report with respect to the schools both in Canada and the United States. Nothing could exceed the frankness and ability with which that gentleman discharged his duties. He found that the schools in the United States—which at their origin took the religious system as their basis—had been obliged to resort to the ratal and subsidizing system for the purpose of maintaining themselves. The consequence was that, having to consult the wishes of every ratepayer anything like religious teaching had been gradually eliminated from the American system—a similar result having been produced in the Canadian colonies. And what had been the result on the morals of the people? Mr. Fraser having compared the police returns of a large town in the United States with those of one of our own—he believed Wolverhampton—ascertained that, while both had nearly the same number of inhabitants, the American system, which was supported by a lavish supply of funds, failed to secure a more orderly, sober, and industrious population than our own. With regard to the social condition of the people, it was stated on unimpeachable authority that the moral sense of the scholar educated in the American schools was of a far lower description than could have been expected where a system of discipline and order was to be enforced. And how had family education been affected? It was admitted that parental authority was almost lost, and that filial reverence was hardly to be found in the rising generation. These facts ought to induce us to pause before introducing a system which must, sooner or later, lead to the extinction of the religious element and carry with it all the consequences he had described. With regard to the question of rates, Mr. Fraser stated that the establishment of a rate-supported system must lead to merely secular education; and unhappily there was no middle course between a purely secular system and a purely denominational one. He further stated that even where religious instruction was professed to be maintained, no provision was made for it in the American school system, and that anything like sectarian or dogmatic teaching was emphatically forbidden in the American schools. With respect to the schools in this country, he said there ought not to be so many of which those who had the control of them had reason to be ashamed. He entirely concurred with Mr. Fraser, that our system founded upon the religious convictions of the people, and continued for so many years, was one which ought not to be set aside. We ought to endeavour to improve that system, and to ascertain whether the failure of it might not be ascribed to a system which year by year diminished the building grants, and refused to pay for results. He trusted before the next meeting of Parliament that the Government would place before the House such information as would lead the House to consider the subject with a more perfect knowledge of it than it at this moment possessed.


said, that when the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) replied to the observations which had been made in the course of this debate he should be glad if he would give some information with regard to a point which he desired to bring under his notice. It appeared from these Estimates that a sum of £344,000 was to be granted for education in Ireland, while only £73,000 was to be granted for Scotland. Again, for science and art, while Ireland was to have £26,000, Scotland was only put down for £5,800. In going through these Estimates he found that the sums granted to Ireland for the various Colleges, hospitals, schools, and establishments of all kinds, were enormously greater than any similar payments made to Scotland. Now, from a Return recently laid before the House, he found that the revenue derived from Ireland was £6,015,000, while the revenue from Scotland was £7,740,000, so that while Scotland put one-fourth more into the national purse than Ireland did, Ireland took about four times more for educational purposes than Scotland did. But this difference was not observable only in matters relating to education; take, for instance, the police grants; while Ireland had £707,000 for this purpose, Scotland had only about £50,000. Taking education and the police together, he found that Ireland got about £1,000,000, or about one-sixth of all it put into the national purse; while Scotland, which contributed to the revenue one-fourth more than Ireland did, only got back about £130,000. There was hardly a charitable institution or hospital in Dublin which was not supported out of the public purse, while nothing was given to Scotland for any such purposes. He did not wish to assimilate Scotland to Ireland regarding this class of grants, but he did wish to assimilate Ireland to Scotland. He considered it was wrong in principle to give all this money to Ireland, at the expense of the sister country, and he very much wished to know how the noble Lord accounted for this great disparity between Ireland and Scotland; and, in particular, whether the department over which the noble Lord presided, would, in next year's Estimates, make an increased grant for science and art in Scotland, to complete the Industrial Museum in Edinburgh? Doubtless, he might account for the difference in one respect, and it was in that respect that he desired to see Ireland assimilated to Scotland. In Scotland there were about 1,000 parish schools maintained by a tax upon the land of the parishes. Now, why should not Ireland be taxed upon the land the same as Scotland—if not for the whole expense of schools, at least for one-half? Her Majesty's Government appointed a Commission to inquire into the state of education in Scotland, with a view of making important changes. That Commission had recommended a tax of 2½d. in the pound, to be levied upon all property in Scotland, to go towards the establishment of additional schools. He thought this proposal very unwise in present circumstances, because if adopted it would only increase the present disparity between the burdens of Scotland and Ireland. The fact was, that at present Scotland was paying for nearly the whole of its own education. It also paid a portion of England's, and contributed largely towards that of Ireland; and yet Scotland only sent half as many Members to this House ass Ireland did.


said, he agreed in what had been said with regard to adult and infant schools by the hon. and gallant Colonel opposite (Colonel Sykes). He concurred with the hon. Member for Buckingham, that religion was a necessity in the education of the people of this country. Religious responsibility ought to be impressed on the mind, for, where it was wanting, mere secular education was of little value.


said, he wished to express a hope that the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) might be able soon to lay before them the Minute of the Council of Education, laying down some definite rule for carrying into effect the very great—that inestimable improvement which he had announced in the educational arrangements. He meant not merely the introduction of technical education, which was in itself an important addition to our present arrangements, but above all the adoption of the plan which had been found so useful in many foreign countries—that of making the advantages of technical education a reward for the good use of the advantages of elementary education—holding out an inducement to the pupils of elementary education to distinguish themselves so as to obtain the benefits of technical education. He could not conceive anything more calculated to alleviate a great deficiency in our present system—namely, the strong inducement to take children away from the schools before there had been imparted to the pupils all that those schools were intended to teach. It was true that it was not only the clever and apt pupils who had to be thought of; but that it ought also to be a great object to retain those who did not attain such proficiency as would entitle them to the reward he had referred to. Consequently, the proposal could not be regarded as one that would remove the whole difficulty. But it was judicious and well judged, and, he believed, was likely to be an effectual measure for removing the difficulty in part. He congratulated the noble Lord on what would be so important an improvement.


said, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bruce) had drawn a very gloomy picture, which seemed to be the result of some pre-conceived feeling in his mind. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 children ought to be at school in England, but he had not told them, as was the fact, that that number had been arrived at by taking the ages from three to thirteen, which was hardly the proper mode of calculation. The right hon. Gentleman had told them the number of children at the assisted schools, and the increase in these, but he did not tell them what had been the relative increase in the numbers of the children at the unassisted schools. That was not a fair mode of arriving at results. The right hon. Gentlemen had pointed out that, from the increase of the population, they ought to allow an increase in school room for 30,000 odd in the year, whereas the Privy Council only allowed for an increase of about 17,000. The right hon. Gentleman, however, took no heed of the increase in the unassisted schools. It was not unnatural to presume that the unassisted schools advanced in the same ratio as the assisted schools. With regard to quality, no doubt the Commissioners reported that the unassisted schools were inferior to the assisted. But they also reported that, in a good many of the assisted schools, the children could not read or write. The Privy Council acted upon that, and determined to pay only upon results. But when the unassisted schools applied to be paid by results the Privy Council said, "No, you do not use our means,—which have failed,—in arriving at your results, and we say that you are good-for-nothing, and will not pay you a farthing." They had heard a great deal about the desirability of technical education. He hoped it would be successful. But when he heard so much about the deficiency in the education of our middle class he could not help remembering that there were two kinds of knowledge—the knowledge of things, and the knowledge of how that knowledge could be turned to advantage. He was not quite sure that they were not running away with the notion that, because a man obtained his knowledge in a different manner from another, he was therefore necessarily ignorant, although, in fact, he might know a great deal more than the other, who perhaps did not know how to apply the knowledge he had obtained. Men who could not read and write might know a great deal more than those who had learned to do both and had never turned either to account. What nation on earth had advanced more rapidly than we had; or in what nation had so many men raised themselves from the ranks? As to skilled labour, where did nations on the Continent who wanted skilled engineers go for them but to England? It seemed hardly creditable for us to call "stinking fish" of our people in this manner. Certainly no nation had ever shown greater capacity for adapting to its use the wonderful inventions and discoveries of modern times. The right hon. Gentleman had a great crotchet in favour of State education, which he (Mr. Henley) believed must do away with religious education. There was a considerable party in the country who wished to do away with it altogether, but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman was not going to put himself at the head of that party. If he did he would have a hard battle to fight. The great body of the people would rather have their knowledge based on religion. They would be content with a little less secular knowledge if they could have it with sound morality based upon religion.


said, the right hon. Gentleman had objected to the figures used by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Bruce). His right hon. Friend had said that there ought to be 3,500,000 of children in England and Wales on the books of the elementary schools, whereas there was only 2,400,000. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Henley) said this calculation had been made by taking the ages of children between three and thirteen years, and urged that that was unfair. The calculation, however, was not made in that way. As head of the Education Department, his right hon. Friend found there were certain districts well educated, where the proportion of children attending school to the population was one-sixth. That was the proportion the Educational Department fixed as the proper standard. Applying that standard to the population of England and Wales—namely, 21,000,000—one-sixth would give the number stated by his right hon. Friend as that which should be on the school books. But only half of the 2,400,000 were at assisted schools, and his right hon. Friend had assumed that another half would be at the unassisted schools. But the increase in the unassisted schools was not in proportion to the increase in the assisted ones. A great deal of the increase in the assisted schools was obtained from the unassisted ones, owing to the fact that year after year fresh unassisted schools were submitting themselves to the requirements of the Privy Council and obtaining assistance. He (Mr. Forster) did not think any Member of the House would like to leave the education of the country to be conducted by the unassisted schools, and even in the assisted schools in five years hence we should require a much higher standard. The Committee would agree with his right hon. Friend that we had no occasion to flatter ourselves that we had yet arrived at anything like the proper standard. The observations which were thrown out by the hon. Member for Buckingham with regard to education in the United States were not borne out by the very admirable Report on the education of that country that had lately been published. He (Mr. Forster) could only hope that if, after hearing the hon. Gentleman's speech, any one thought we were in a better position than the United States, he would himself read Mr. Fraser's Report. He was sorry to hear the very strong remarks which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hubbard) had made respecting the results of the American system with, regard to religious teaching. He could hardly suppose that the hon. Gentleman meant what his words implied—namely, that there was not only no religious teaching in American schools, but that the moral sense of the children brought up in them was extinct. Comparisons were odious, and we ought to do the best we could for our country. But if the hon. Member would compare the moral sense and religious practice of the population of New England, where the American school system was chiefly enforced, with the moral sense and religions practice of his own county of Buckingham, he did not think he would be induced again to give the strong opinion which he had just pronounced against the American system. The hon. Gentleman had quoted some extracts from the Report of Mr. Fraser. But that gentleman had distinctly stated that the main difficulty he found in influencing the people of his parish in a religious sense, by reading and preaching to them, was their slowness of apprehension, their scanty vocabulary, and their inability to appreciate, or even understand his arguments, in consequence of their want of general mental culture. That reminded him (Mr. Forster) of an anecdote told by a hardworking clergyman in the north of England. He had devoted all his life to the religious teaching of his parishioners. In order to maintain his influence among them as a minister he felt himself obliged to attend to the secular education of the children as well. He was visited by an American episcopal minister, who on seeing him engaged in secular teaching expressed his wonder at his being so engaged. On being informed that it was absolutely necessary to do so, he told him that if the American system of secular teaching were introduced he would find a perfectly different state of things to that which existed, and that the minds of his parishioners would be found perfectly fitted thereby to receive religious instruction. The impression left on the mind of his friend the clergyman was, that if he could change the English for the American system, so that the children should be well instructed in secular knowledge on the same principles as the children of New England or New York, there would be a much better chance of their being able to receive and appreciate religious teaching. It was most unfair to charge him, and those who thought with him, with being desirous to substitute a system of secular education for a system of religious education merely because he was anxious that a large portion of the country should not remain untaught. A few years hence it would be regarded as a most extraordinary thing that that House should have gone upon the principle of leaving utterly neglected the districts which did not contain any persons wealthy enough to be able to afford money to give voluntary educational assistance to their poorer neighbours. He knew very well that mere reading, writing, and arithmetic were not sufficient to form the mind; and that they could not instil into the minds of the people a desire to do their duty in this world without having recourse to the highest motives, and bringing them to bear on the ignorant. But what he objected to was, that a large portion of the population should remain untaught because in many districts the aid of the Government was unsought, although the inhabitants of the districts themselves were willing to subscribe for the promotion of the education of their poorer neighbours. At the present moment they witnessed the monstrous anomaly, that while the Government grant was given in those parishes in which wealthy people subscribed, the education of those who lived in parishes which contained no wealthy people, or where people subscribed and did not ask the aid of the Government, was utterly neglected. He begged to congratulate the noble Lord upon his willingness to take steps towards introducing a system of technical education into this country. At the same time, he must remind him that the mere expression of good-will would not be sufficient, and that he must take practical steps to bring about the desired result. What was required was that we should have good technical schools in order to enable this country to preserve its position in the markets of the world in its competition with other countries. It was an undoubted fact that we did not possess in this country the good technical schools that were established over the Continent. The subject was too new to the Committee for him to make any definite proposals to the noble Lord; but he trusted that, before the debate concluded, the noble Lord would state more exactly what it was that the Government intended to do with regard to extending technical education in this country. The time was coming when the middle classes of this country would not, like the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire, be content with saying that, stating that we had not a sufficiently good education was crying "stinking fish." They would have done so up to a short time ago, but they were now becoming aware that this country was suffering in its trade and in its competition with other countries because our people were not so well taught as their continental competitors. Not only were the middle classes of Switzerland better educated in technical knowledge; but they were consequently enabled to compete successfully with England in the markets of the world. Our middle classes were looking forward most anxiously for the introduction of a better system of technical education. They knew that they were paying much for the education of their poorer fellow-countrymen; but they were willing to pay even more, to tax themselves for the education of the middle classes. This feeling was growing stronger throughout the country, and he hoped the noble Lord would respond to it.


In answer to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, who had asked him why the Scotch received a smaller grant for education than the Irish, must remind the hon. Member, in the first place, that the population of Ireland was greater than that of Scotland. Moreover, the Scotch had passed various Bills which governed their education grants. They were also blessed with a quasi-rating system; so that large sums were locally raised and locally spent on education in Scotland; these sums never appeared upon the Votes of the House; while, on the other hand, all that was spent in furtherance of education in Ireland was voted by the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr (Mr. Bruce) had laid great stress on the Returns which appeared at p. cviii of that year's Report of the Committee of Council, and then supposed that he had legitimately arrived at the conclusion that the present system was not sufficient for the wants of the country, but should be exchanged for a more national system. All he could say was that Rome was not built in a day. They had commenced this system in 1846, and within the twenty rears that had since elapsed they had undeniably made considerable progress. Was it nothing, he asked, to have 700 preliminary statements of new schools which came under the Privy Council system every year? Was it nothing to take in, year by year, fifty-four of those very unaided parishes, with a population less than 500, on which the right hon. Gentleman himself had laid so much stress? The right hon. Gentleman said that it would take about 150 years at that rate to bring them all under the Privy Council system. But was it to be supposed that those parishes were utterly destitute of education? Had not many of them schools to the full as good as the Privy Council schools? The hon. Member for Poole had alluded to four parishes in the district with which he said he was connected, in only one of which there was a school aided by the Privy Council; while the three others had schools which were indeed unaided, but still most excellent. The other day he was speaking of the subject in society, when one landowner who was present stated that he entirely supported, in the highest state of efficiency, two schools adjoining his own place; that he never had asked for Government aid, but bore the expenses himself, and made the schools his hobby. Another gentleman did the same. These were gentlemen who had met by chance? Was it to be supposed that there were not many others like them throughout the country? If so, this would account for many of the parishes being unaided. It should be recollected that there were many gentlemen in the country who established schools in their own parishes, and felt a pleasure in supporting them independently out of their own resources. Such schools, he thought, might often be considered as good as aided schools. But the right hon. Gentleman refused to re-cognize such schools; he would not take them into account; he said contemptuously that there were 7,700 parishes of less than 500 inhabitants which were utterly destitute of education; he regarded the unaided schools as utterly worthless. But if so, what became of another position of the right hon. Gentleman. When he (Lord Robert Montagu) had said that the Privy Council had brought 112,000 more children under their system in 1864–5, and 50,000 new children in the year 1865–6, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bruce) exclaimed that this was no gain, it was no acquisition, it was nothing upon which they could congratulate themselves, because that those children had been merely abstracted from the unaided schools and transferred to the aided schools. No gain? No gain, of course, if the unaided schools were fully equal to the aided; but otherwise a matter for great congratulation. The Government system was a voluntary system, and must be allowed to permeate of its own accord all over the country. It had already began to percolate through the richer parishes, and was beginning to pervade the poorer. Yet he would confess that in some parishes they could never expect to see good schools established no more than they could expect to see a good tailor or a good shoemaker in those same parishes, for it was contrary to the nature of things. But if the system was essentially voluntary, any remedy which was to be applied to it must be a remedy applied to the wills and desires of the people. That was what he meant by the suggestion which he had made regarding technical education. Their great enemies were the claims of labour and the indifference of the people. If they could overcome those two obstacles to the progress of their scheme, the success of the system would be complete. Nay, let them make those very enemies fight on the side of education. The claims of labour abstracted children from the elementary schools. Then let them offer to the children a higher and more remunerative labour which they might attain by remaining at school. The parents were apathetic and indifferent to the value of education. Then let education be the means of their reaching the higher walks of life. Let them take the case of Switzerland. There were elementary schools and trade schools in every village. There were the Higher Technical schools in the larger towns, and there was a Technical College in Zurich. When a boy had completed a course of study at the elementary school he might rise to the trade school. If he there distinguished himself he was sent, at the expense of the Commune, to a Higher Technical school. Thence, by successful study, he might reach the Technical College, and be started in life at the head of some business. Let them conceive what an allurement was there to enter the elementary schools! What an incentive to study! Let them imagine the effect on a quiet village if they learnt that one of the boys of the village, by a few years of industrious study and application, had been launched into the world full of honour, with a competence to support it, and his path in life smoothed before him. That was the use which he thought might be made of the desire for technical education and the complaint that elementary education was neglected and undervalued.


said, he believed that the statistics from which the hon. Member for Edinburgh had drawn a comparison between Ireland and Scotland were erroneous.


I hold in my hand the Return. It is dated March, 1867.


said, he must complain of the elaborate and artificial machinery adopted to the teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic to children under ten years of age. They had an army of inspectors of the highest classical rank, at a cost of £57,000 per annum, to go into village schools and examine these children. There could not be a greater perversion of the talent of these gentlemen than the task so imposed upon them. The Training Colleges, which were kept up at a cost of £75,000 per annum, had failed because they had produced a class of men who were above their work. Much public money was thus thrown away. The system was most unfair and partial. The encouragement given to male teaching over female teachers in these elementary schools was a great mistake.

Vote agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock; Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.