HC Deb 03 May 1867 vol 186 cc1995-2012

said, he rose to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government that the Grants voted to promote Elementary Education be administered in strict conformity with the principles and regulations of the Revised Code, as approved by Parliament; with reference to Section 22 of the Revised Code, whether the number of scholars now considered adequate to maintain a school is greater or less than the number, thirty, for whom School Plans have been provided by the Committee of Council on Education; whether families interested in a proposed school will be allowed to decide for themselves the suitability of the religious denomination under which it is founded; and whether, in the event of a denominational school not being acceptable to all the families locally interested, its suitability will be determined by reference to the majority who can, or to the minority who cannot maintain it? He said, that in 1803 the number of scholars was not much more than 500,000, or about 57 in the 1,000 of the whole population. At present the number was supposed to be 2,500,000, or about 130 in the 1,000. The progress that had been made was therefore highly gratifying. Thy National Society, which had been in existence for half a century had done a great deal; the number of children in its school at present amounting to about 1,160,000 The British and Foreign School Society had also taken a very active and successful part. The Wesleyan Methodists and the Roman Catholics had also exerted themselves with great effect in promoting education. Much, likewise, had been done by the Education Department of the Privy Council which, constituted thirty years since, had been intrusted by the State with the distribution of funds for the object. The Education Department, indeed, had no only distributed the funds, but had or plied themselves to the improvement of education. The result of their labours was that at the present moment the Government Inspectors examined about 12,000 schools containing about 1,262,000 scholars. After all that had been done, however, there was said to be about 500,000 children still in want of education. If we looked at the state of our prisons and reformatories, and judged by the evidence of our criminal statistics, we must admit that even though the deficiency be not so great as it had been represented, much still remained to be done. If education had not been carried as far as it ought, then we must look with regret upon any proceedings which might have the effect of staying its course, It would be found from he Returns issued by the Education Department that, having acted with great success up to 1859, the extreme point of the contributions made by the Committee if Council to the building of schools was then reached. Having given as much as £154,000 in building grants, they had year by year diminished those grants, until in 1865 they reached the comparatively low sum of £19,000, though the demand or education had not relaxed. We were bound to look for the cause of this remarkable falling off that we might see whether it could not be remedied. In order to judge fairly of the matter it was necessary to consider what had been done in both Houses of Parliament upon the subject. When the Educational Board was first constituted many very eminent friends of education were anxious to take the whole work out of the hands of denominational agents, and to make the system entirely secular. But the opinion of he House and the country was against such a proceeding, and the result was that year by year grants were made by Parliament for the purposes of education on what was designated the denominational system. This system was based upon the fundamental principle that education must comprise as one of its essential elements a certain amount of religious instruction. While, however, the State undertook to distribute amongst the various educational agencies the amount of money annually voted by Parliament, it, left to the religious managers of schools the whole control of those schools and the responsibility of including in the education they gave that element of religions instruction stipulated for by the Legislature. If they looked through the papers presented to Parliament from time to time upon the subject of education, they would find an explanation of the falling off in the Government grants. In 1859 an attempt was made to economize the national expenditure. This was, of course, desirable; but he must express his regret that the subject of education had been selected for the purpose of exercising that economy. For, while we had been saving hundreds from school grants, we had, perhaps, been expending thousands in the repression of crime, and in the establishment of reformatories. The following was the mode in which the school grants were economized. Parishes comprising populations of something less than a thousand applied for a grant, usually through the clergy, and they were required to make a religious census of their people, or, in other words, to do what in that House had, on another occasion, been stigmatized as "ticketing." The taking of a religious census in any shape had been refused by Parliament. Therefore, when the Education Department imposed on the promoters of schools such an office, they took a course unwarranted by any authority from that House. But it was not merely the demand for a religious census, but the method of carrying out that demand which was reprehensible. In some cases it amounted to this—that where the school promoters were not able to distinguish between Churchmen and Dissenters they were told to draw the line of church attendance and to class all who did not go to Church as Dissenters. Therefore, the dissolute, the intemperate, and the idle, the very persons who most wanted education, were to be set down as Dissenters, and thus children were to be denied the education they required. If different denominations simultaneously applied for school grants the Department required them to reconcile their differences, and to unite in establishing one school before they would make a building grant; but everyone acquainted with the religious differences which existed in this country must be aware that they were not matters of caprice, but were generally the growth of habit or the result of honest conviction, and as such ought to be respected by Parliament and by the Committee of Council. Managers of the larger proportion of Church schools in the rural parishes were necessarily the clergy, whose liberality in the cause of education, far exceeding as it did that of the laity, was worthy of all praise. The education of the rural population rested mainly with them, and it was upon them that the Conscience Clause was sought to be enforced. The real effect of that clause was to give to any parent disapproving the doctrines f the Church a legal right to withdraw his child from all religious instruction and insist on his receiving a purely secular education. He believed that the practice of coupling grants with such a stipulation was contrary to the intention and feeling of the House. It was irreconcilable with the present denominational system. If it were enforced the consequence would be that the clergy would be disabled from extending as they desired the education of the labouring class. He could find nothing in the Revised Code to warrant any of these obstructions, and he wished to know whether the operations of the Department were to be guided by that Code or by some by-law which existed behind the scenes, and which was not subject to the control of Parliament. He desired such an extension of that Code as would adopt the principle of payment for results without insisting on the employment of certificated teachers. In touching on that point he could not help regretting that a gentleman conspicuous for his talents and for his zeal in the cause of education—he referred to Mr. Walter—was not now a Member of the House, since he would have taken a lively interest in a discussion on this subject. He had carefully considered the objections which were offered to the proposal of paying for results, and they had failed to convince him that it was not the natural expansion of the present system. He admitted that the object of the Department was not merely to extend, but im- prove education. Surely, however, payment for results was one of the most certain means of determining which system was the more successful. Was it fair or just to say to those whom they were reproaching for not educating the people, "Come and take one of our teachers, who will cost twice as much as the teachers you now employ?" The capitation grant should be given to any school in the country that deserved it, without reference to the teacher by whom the results had been obtained. If there was a great advantage to the country in having certificated teachers, let there be a contribution from the State quoad the employment of such teachers. The principle of our denominational system was that it was a religious system. He was convinced that in this country no other system could prevail. While as a free people we objected to despotic methods of education, we were anxious that children should early receive religious instruction, and should not be left to pick it up, or not, at a more advanced age. To supersede the denominational system for a system of rating would be a most disastrous step. It would entirely eliminate the religious element. It would deprive the country of the services of thousands of able and devoted men who now gave their valuable assistance, and it would involve the country in much greater expense. On all these accounts he deprecated any deviation from the present basis, He desired its extension and enlargement, being satisfied that had the Department acted more in accordance with the feeling of the English people so much educational destitution would not have now existed. He was anxious that the denominational system should be more faithfully adhered to by the Department. No misplaced economy should insist on the formation of a large school for a whole parish, when the feeling of the people was in favour of small denominational schools. It was much better frankly to acknowledge our religious differences, and to let all parties work as best they could in their own way than to try and force them to co-operate. The promoters of Church schools were resolute in their resistance to the obnoxious clause No persuasions, threats, or fines would ever induce them to accept it. Even it the annual grants were made contingent upon its adoption the only result would be that the education of the people would be taken out of their hands, and that the State would have to undertake the task at a much greater expense to the country.


said, that after the very able and moderate speech of his hon. Friend, he thought he should have no difficulty in giving a satisfactory answer to his Questions. The first Question was— Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government that the Grants voted to promote Elementary Education be administered in strict conformity with the principles and regulations of the Revised Code, as approved by Parliament? He unhesitatingly answered in the affirmative. There was, moreover, no code of rules in the back-ground; no regulations of which Parliament was not cognizant and had not sanctioned. With regard to his hon. Friend's second Question, it arose from a misapprehension, as the School Building Grant had never once been refused on account of the sparseness of the labouring population. A school had been built for as few as twenty; another for only thirty children. The misapprehension arose from the fact that, in an early volume of the Minutes, the smallest plan of a school happened to be one for thirty scholars; and in a late volume the smallest plan was for forty-eight. But there is not, and never has been, a minimum limit to the size of a school. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to Section 22. The object of that section was to enable the Committee of Council to refuse another school where schools already existed, which were sufficient for the population. The House might suppose a case where a landowner possessing a large park with a cottage for his gamekeeper, and another for his coachman, and another for his gardener, might apply for a grant for the children of those persons. Such an application would be refused under Section 22 of the Revised Code. The hon. Gentleman conceived that in certain cases of large parishes of above 1,000 inhabitants, some of whom were Churchmen and some Dissenters, the Committee of Council were in the habit of telling them that they must sink their differences, in order that the Government might have to build only one school. That was a misapprehension; such a course was never taken. Nor did the Government compel a clergyman to "ticket his parishioners" or make a return of all his parishioners as either Churchmen or Dissenters. What they said was, "Tell us the proportion of Dissenters and Churchmen." Sometimes the clergyman returned the number of Dissenters in his parish at one-ninth; while the Dissenters returned themselves as one-fourth. The Committee of Council did not consider these two statements as necessarily contradictory and untrue; because the clergyman regarded all who went to church as Churchmen, while the Dissenters regarded all who went to chapel as Dissenters. Throughout the country many persons went to Church in the morning, and went to hear some favourite preacher at the Dissenting chapel in the evening. Such persons would therefore be counted among each congregation; both ministers would claim them. It was fair to remark, however, that such persons, and very many Dissenters likewise, repaired to the church clergyman for marriage, baptism, and frequently also for burial. Such persons seemed, therefore, to be rather Churchmen than Dissenters. But the view taken by the Committee of Council was that "Nothingarians" or persons who went to no place of worship were always to be counted as Churchmen. The reason was that, as there was a National Church in this country, it was presumed that those who did not claim to belong to other religions and did not frequent other places of worship belonged to the National Church. He now proposed to take the third and fourth questions together, and he thought it would be in his power to remove a little misapprehension which existed in the mind of the hon. Member. If an application came to the Government for a building grant for a school, and if the parish happened to contain more than 900 inhabitants, the Committee of Council would grant it; although there might be another application for an undenominational school for the same place; because they thought that such a parish was large enough for two schools. If, however, the parish contained less than 900 inhabitants, the Committee of Council inquired in that case what proportion of Dissenters there was in the parish. Be might be asked why they fixed upon 900 as the limit. He answered that it was in order that they might not needlessly multiply the number of schools. But why should they guard against the unnecessary multiplication of schools? For three reasons. First, because of the injustice which would be involved in such an administration of the public funds. The Government had a limited sum to distribute throughout the country; and their object was to raise up schools as fast as they could, and advance a sound education speedily throughout the country. If, however, they set up two schools needlessly in one parish, they would not be able to build one school in some other parish. With a limited sum at command, they could not be profuse in one locality without defrauding and stinting another. Another reason was that they had to consult the convenience of the parishes themselves. One schoolmaster could only teach 150 children, and as that was the proportion of children of the school ages in a population of 900, the latter was the maximum number fixed upon for the population of a "single-school parish." Now, the principal expense of a school consisted in the payment of the schoolmaster, who received from £100 to £120 a year. If a parish of 900 inhabitants had two schools, there would be a double cost; and as the inhabitants would still give about the same sum in subscriptions for two schools as they would for one, and as the Government grant would be the same whether there were two schools or one school, the expense would be doubled while the income remained the same. The consequence would be that both schools would languish, become inefficient, degraded and moribund. Another reason was for the sake of discipline. A case had just come under his knowledge in North Wales, where there was a Church school and an undenominational school in one parish. If a boy were unruly, and were checked by his master, he felt his dignity offended, complained to his father, and left that school for the other. The state of the schools at last became so bad that the two masters came together, and each entered into a voluntary compact not to take any boys from the school of the other, without a bene decessit in writing. For this reason it was that in the country the Committee of Council endeavoured not to build two schools within three miles, at least, from each other. Therefore, on these three grounds—first, the economical administration of the public funds; secondly, the burden upon the parish itself, and the establishment of two bad schools, instead of one good one; and thirdly, on the ground of discipline—the Government had come to the decision to build only one school in parishes of less than 900 inhabitants, unless there were some special reason to the contrary. To return to the point from which he had digressed: if the parish contained fewer than 900 inhabitants, the Committee of Council wrote back to the promoters to ask how many Dissenters there were in the parish. If the promoters replied that there were fewer than one-sixth, the Committee of Council gave them the school they asked for, whether it were national, church, or undenominational. That rule had been laid down by the right hon. Member for Calne, on the principle de minimis non curat lex; which meant, in this case, that the Government would not take account of less than one-sixth of Dissenters. If there were more than one-sixth of Dissenters, then it became a question whether the ground was clear or not—that is, whether a school did or did not already exist in the parish. If the ground was not clear, and there was a church school or an undenominational school for instance, then the Committee of Council could grant one school of the denomination required by the promoters, whether it were a church school or a national or other kind of school. If, on the contrary, the ground were clear, three cases might arise. In the first case the Dissenters might be in one corner of the parish, and in the contiguous corner of the next parish there might also be Dissenters. The Committee of Council then gave a Church school to the part where there were Church inhabitants only, and one undenominational school for the Dissenting portions of both parishes; because the Dissenters did not care for the division of parishes. Another case that might arise was when the promoters said they did not choose to have a Conscience Clause, but would build a school for themselves without asking for a building grant. Then as soon as the school was built they came to the Committee of Council for annual grants. In the third case only it was that the promoters were required to accept a Conscience Clause. The Committee of Council said it would be unfair to the inhabitants of the parish, a large proportion of which were of a different religion, if the distinctive tenets of the majority were to be thrust upon the minority. A building grant would therefore be refused, unless they consented to receive the Conscience Clause. The Conscience Clause made no difference in regard to Church children. They still remained under the stringent Minute of August 10, 1840. The inspector would still be bound to examine them in the catechism, and to report on the religious character and discipline of the school. It was only in regard to Dissenters that the Conscience Clause took effect. The effect of the Conscience Clause was to with- draw the children of Dissenters from the class, during the period of religious teaching, if the parents especially objected to that teaching; and only if a specific objection was made. He thought the Committee of Council was bound to continue the practice which Parliament had sanctioned, and which had till now remained unchallenged by any direct vote in the House. He had procured a Return which he had that very day laid upon the table, and which would, he believed, be in the hands of Members in less than ten days. It was a Return from January 1, 1861, to March 31, 1867, of the awards of building grants. The awards of building grants for Church schools amounted to 867, the awards for all other schools, Wesleyan, Roman Catholic, Congregational, Baptist, Presbyterian, denominational of all kinds, and undenominational schools, were only eighty-seven; making together 954. The number of applications for building grants for National and Church of England schools in which no Conscience Clause had been asked for by the Committee of Council, was 829. The number in which the Conscience Clause had been accepted was sixty-eight, and the number in which it had been refused was thirty-seven, during all those years. But of those thirty-seven proposed schools, twelve schools had been built without the building grant, and they now received annual grants. The number in which the Conscience Clause had been insisted on, but in which no answer had been returned to the office, was only five; and of these, two were already in the receipt of annual grants. The hon. Member would therefore see that the Committee was not very severe in the administration of the rule of which he had spoken. He might be asked who had devised the Conscience Clause? It had not been devised. The Conscience Clause had been forced upon them by circumstances. Formerly their operations had been carried on in populous places; they bad been engaged in building schools in towns and in large parishes which could maintain many schools. Thus they had been constructing schools for the various denominations. It was after these places had been supplied, in 1861, that they began to work in small, poor, one-school parishes. They had then to consider how they could best act with regard to economy of their funds and justice to all persons. They endeavoured to make the public fund go as far as possible, in order to bring education into every parish, and to spread schools over the country. Wherever practicable, they wished rather to have one school than two, merely on economical reasons, so that the sum which would build two schools in One parish, might adequately supply two parishes with one school each. Another principle which had constrained them to take this course was the principle of parental authority. This principle had been acknowledged by the law of the land. The Court of Chancery directed that orphans should be brought up in the religion of the father, even although the father was no longer alive. The hon. Member himself, in a pamphlet he published in 1865, acknowledged the justice of that principle, for he said— The parent at his will exercises the right of determining where his children should attend public worship. The rules of the National Society do not forbid the exercise of this right. In the matter of education, all that Churchmen have a right to expect is fairplay and no favour, with equal liberty in the exercise of their means for educating the labouring classes. The Committee of Council itself had been instituted on that very principle. The Order of Council appointing the Committee of Council on Education stated that it was Her Majesty's wish that the children and teachers instructed should be duly trained in the principles of the Christian religion, while the rights of conscience should be respected. But in all these things much depended, not on the plan, but on the spirit in which the plan was administered. Under the same Code one Vice President of the Council might act so as to make the rules appear most vexatious and unjust; another, under the same rules, might gain the confidence of all parties, and, by fairness and moderation, call out that local effort which was the necessary initiative in the spread of education. The hon. Member had spoken very truly of the clergy. Who were the Committee's best allies? Why, the clergy. The existence of schools was mainly due to their exertions. In nine cases out of ten who was it that applied for a school? The clergy. It was the clergy who took the initiative; it was the clergy who obtained local subscriptions, without which no step could be taken by the Committee of Council; it was the clergyman who undertook the onerous duty of being manager and correspondent; and when the school was built, it was the clergyman who laboured to make it efficient and to keep the master to his duty. In the Report of the Duke of Newcastle's Commission, vol. ii., p. 74, Mr. Fraser said that in Dorset on the average a clergyman subscribed eleven times as much as an average farmer, six times as much as an average householder, and twice as much as the landowners. Was it not plain that the existence of schools over the country was mainly due to the exertions of clergy? And why should they quarrel with their best allies? He was net speaking in a partizan spirit; he did not take a view which was prejudiced, partial, or too favourable to the clergy. The Commissioners, in vol. i., pp. 76, 77, reported deliberately to the same effect— 169 clergymen contributed £1,782, or £10 10s. each; 399 landowners, £2,127, or £5 6s. each; 217 occupiers, £200, or 18s. 6d. each; 102 householders, £181, or £1 15s. 6d. each; 141 other persons, £228. The rental of the 399 landowners was estimated at £650,000 a year… The heaviness of the burden borne by the clergy was imperfectly indicated even by such figures as these. It frequently happened that the clergyman considered himself responsible for whatever was necessary to make the accounts of the school balance… He was the man who most felt the mischief arising from want of education… He begged from his neighbours, he begged from the landowners; if he failed to persuade them to take their fair share of the burden, he begged from his friends and even from strangers, and at last submitted, most meritoriously and most generously, to bear not only his own proportion of the expense, but also that which ought to be borne by others. If the end and object of the Committee of Council really was the spread of education, it was clear that they should take every advantage of the best means. They had not so much to press strangers into their service, as to gain the confidence and encourage the efforts of their friends and allies. What would be thought of a general if, at the commencement of a campaign, he were to bicker with his friends and quarrel with his allies; yet they were waging an internecine struggle, which promised to be a long one, against ignorance, depravity, degradation, darkness, and bad citizenship. He was not arguing for any change in the present system, but he desired rather to support it; and argued against any change that might rashly be made. Whenever they wished to inspire energy and secure really effective work they must lay hold on some popular impulse: and what impulse was so strong as religious feeling; or call it, if you like, sectarian zeal? It was for this reason that religious feeling had been made the flywheel of the educational machine. That was the reason why schools were denominational. That was the reason why our whole system had been made essentially denominational. That was why the Revised Code contained the rule that no schools (with one exception) were to be aided unless they were in connection with some religious body, Aye, and this in stead of increasing sectarian feeling, really diminished it; for education was the best corrective of polemic fury and antidote to sectarian animosity. Education afforded the proper cure for narrowness and bitterness, as light always expelled darkness. While, on the other hand, if you stop education you nourish bigotry; and if you forbid religious teaching you bottle up a bursting effervescence of acrimony. The opposite system had been vigorously attempted. In 1839 the opposite course had been tried by Lord John Russell; but his undenominational plan came to nothing. Why? because it was undenominational. Every point upon which religions differed was to have been banished from the system. Peace and unity were to have been procured by washing out all differences of hue. He made a silent solitude and called it a happy peace. There was but a poor residuum left—a caput mortuum of religion. Therefore the people of England, who pride themselves on being religious, would not for a moment stand it. They were up in arms and put it down. In 1842, another attempt had been made, but it also came to nought, and melted away like the army of Theudas in the wilderness. All this time education lagged fearfully. A poor paltry £20,000 was all that was voted for education when there were no schools in the country. Then we were the lowest of all nations in education; our standard of education was the worst. Now, on the contrary, we were the highest. In 1833 1 in every 11½ of the population were scholars on the books of day schools; in 1851, it was 1 in 8½ it 1858, it was 1 in 7.7. In France it was 1 in 9 of the population; in Holland it was about the same; while Prussia was in 1858 very slightly in advance of us. In 1848 the futile attempt to establish undenominational education was given up, after a long controversy about the management clauses; and Lord Lansdowne then allied the system with the religious bodies throughout the country. Instantly education began to spread; and now so much had it improved, that we could vie with any nation of Europe in our standard of education. Mr. Lingen was asked as follows by the Education Commissioners on the 30th of November, 1859:— The general offer (that is, offer of aid) does not apply to secular schools? He answered— No. The Bible must be taught. The school must either belong to one of those denominations which the Committee of Council has expressly recognised, or it must put itself under the Minute of the 3rd of December, 1839, which provides that religious instruction shall be given out of the Bible. A secular school professing that it did not give religious instruction would not be admitted to aid; that point has been ruled several times over. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the decrease in the amount of the building grants from £134,000, in the year 1859, to £24,000 in the present year; but the causes of that decrease were, first, that, after having made grants for so many years the demand for school buildings was of course not so great as it was formerly; the great bulk of the towns had been supplied, and the Committee of Council had gone far to fill the country; there was therefore not so great a demand; secondly, the amount of the grant had been reduced three-eighths, by the Minute of January 21, 1860—namely, from 4s. to 2s. 6d. per square foot, while the building grants for normal schools had been altogether stopped; and thirdly, the operation of the Revised Code had created a fear in the minds of the managers lest they should not be able to maintain their schools if they built them. That fear, however, had now a little passed away, and there had consequently been a considerable increase in the amount of the building grants during the present year. One difficulty to be contended with was that there were no less than 8,000 parishes, with populations under 500, which were as yet unsupplied; and the Committee of Council were obliged to wait until application was made to them before they could give grants for building schools in those localities. The Government, it must be remembered, had abandoned the initiative in education; their principle was to aid local and voluntary effort. The Committee of Council had done nothing to prevent the spread of schools in those places; but the larger and more populous places were naturally the first to call for schools. The Committee of Council anxiously waited for the clergy or others to move in the matter. He trusted that they would speedily do so. The hon. Gentleman was anxious that the necessity for certificated teachers should be got rid of, and that all payments should be made merely by results. But if that were done, they would be destroying their security for good education. Some learning can be measured as a result; but moral tone, discipline, religious feeling could not be measured and paid for. What was a certificated teacher? One who had conducted himself well for two years in his training under our eye, and who had every year been visited by the Inspector. Hence the moral and religious character of a certificated teacher was thoroughly well known whereas that of the uncertificated teacher had still to be ascertained. He had endeavoured to answer the Questions of the hon. Gentleman to the best of his ability, and he trusted that he had done so satisfactorily. There was one rule that the Committee of Council endeavoured to follow, and that was to discharge the duty which Parliament had imposed upon them of promoting to the very utmost the education of the country, of raising schools, and of seeing that they were efficiently maintained.


said, that while he could not admit the historical accuracy of the noble Lord's statement as to the negotiations between Church and State, he must express his satisfaction at the able speech he had just made. The noble Lord had appealed to him to say whether the standard of education in this country was not as high or higher than that of any other country in the world. In answer to that appeal, he must say that in the best schools assisted by Government the standard of education was equal, if not superior, to those of any other country. But he did not regard the average of our schools as equal to that of Prussia and some other countries. Without some such qualification of the denominational system as is given by the Conscience Clause, it would have been found unworkable, and the interference of Parliament would long since have been sought. It was only by the aid of such a clause that the system of Church schools in small parishes, erected partly out of public funds, could be defended. His complaint was that the position of those who administered the Parliamentary grant was not defined with sufficient accuracy. Too much was left to their arbitrary judgment as to whether they would impose or remit the Conscience Clause. The Committee of Council had, in the course they had taken with regard to this clause, acted, in his opinion, upon a just interpretation of the language of the Revised Code. He was sure that had anything like an exhaustive discussion taken place upon this subject, the principle of the Conscience Clause would have been applied to schools much more widely than at present. The noble Lord had insisted upon the liberality the Church had shown in a pecuniary sense. He (Mr. Bruce) was equally ready to admit that in a majority of instances there had been a corresponding liberality in a religions sense, with, however, some not infrequent exceptions. Some very curious facts had incidentally come to light before the Committee which had sat during the last two Sessions, under the presidency of the Secretary for War (Sir John Pakington). Mr. Collins, a diocesan inspector for Northamptonshire, who had fifteen schools under his inspection, and who was called to give evidence on the value of the teachers' certificate, was incidentally examined as to the Conscience Clause. He stated that the population of his parish was about 500, of whom 100 were Dissenters, Wesleyans, and Baptists. With the full concurrence of his rector, he had excluded absolutely from the school all the unbaptized children, who, so far as he knew, went to no day-school at all. He believed the rule in the village schools in his neighbourhood, in respect of the admission of Dissenters, was very much the same as in his own. Another gentleman, who attended from Mr. Walter's neighbourhood, stated that in his parish, with a population of 600, only forty-five attended the school. This was in consequence of a second school in connection with the British and Foreign Bible Society being erected on account of his refusal to allow the children of Dissenters to attend their own Sunday-school. He held in his hand the monthly paper of the National Society for March, 1867, which contained a letter signed "J. B. S.," on the failure of the present Sunday-school system, its cause, and its remedy. In adverting to the failure of the catechism as an instrument of religious instruction, the writer (the Rev. Mr. Sweet) said— You may now question nine scholars out of ten throughout the country as to their own new birth, their own adoption and sanctification, their own relation to Christ, their own Church membership, their own part in the communion of saints, and their own personal interest in other branches of the Church, and in each other, as members of one body, or their own share in the common obligation of the whole Church to evangelize the world, without discovering that the very moderate supply of dogma contained in our catechism is more than a dead letter as regards any practical influence on their affections, hopes, and habits. To supply this failure of the catechism to impart the requisite dogmatic instruction, the writer proposed to teach to children, of whom three-fourths leave school under ten years of age, as follows:— The nature, privileges, offices, and proper unity of the visible Church, or Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, must be carefully instilled; the proper conditions and objects of her connection with the State, in any given country must be explained and justified; the accident of such connection carefully distinguished from her essential attributes; the commission, character, and power of her threefold ministry, and the nature of her sacraments, conditions of membership, and various rites and holy seasons, taught and enforced; her use of fixed forms of devotion, her creeds and synodal powers vindicated; and the nature and guilt of heresy and schism plainly laid down, and all must be illustrated from Holy Scripture. That, however, was not enough. The child must not only be taught dogmatic truth, he must be guarded against the danger of imbibing dogmatic error. Very closely connected with the suggestion of a more defensive teaching in Church schools is another of a kind the more perplexing to the conductors of town schools in proportion to its importance. It is that no day scholar should ever be allowed to attend a Dissenting Sunday school. You may allow him with comparative impunity to attend a 'Protestant Dissenters' meeting' provided he accompanies his parents; though even this must subject the doctrinal influence of the week-day labours to a violent wrench and a most crucial trial, too probably resulting in a sceptical habit of mind. But to allow him to be subjected to the libellous, not to say blasphemous, misrepresentations of the Church's doctrine which most of the sects practise savours of treason to the child's soul and to the Faith. These being the dangers to be guarded against, the following rules were proposed for general adoption. First of all to— Allow no day scholar, on any plea, to attend other than your own Sunday school. He said— If any scholar be allowed to be absent from your Sunday school, and also from Divine service at Church, let two conditions at least be insisted on—namely, that his parents take him to their place of worship twice on the Lord's day, and that he attend no Sunday school whatever beyond his home. He then went on— Let the baptism of every scholar be clearly ascertained, proper prayers taught for his daily use, and all unreality in teaching avoided. Then teach dogmatically, illustrating rather than proving to the child by Scripture; basing all personal appeal, in the first instance, on the doctrine of grace received, and obligation incurred in baptism—like St. Paul in Romans vi. and 1st Corinthians vi.—and always pointing the scholar onwards to the laying on of hands and Holy Communion. In order to secure to the clergy the proper amount of authority his suggestion was— Let the parish priest be clearly supreme in the government, as having the prime control of Christ's lambs next after the parents, and as exercising, by their accord, parental authority in the school. With grateful acceptance of lay assistance in every department of the work, and glad use of lay counsel in all things, let there be no 'committee' paralyzing government, and no divided authority perplexing the scholars, but a real though limited monarchy both in week-day and Sunday schools. His summing up of the whole was as follows:— Let no scholar fourteen years of age leave your school in ignorance of the nature and attributes of the visible Church, the duty and blessedness of unity in the Body, in the Faith, and in the Spirit (Eph. iv.), nor of the evils and guilt of heresy and schism; and let the prominent errors of Romanists, Protestant Dissenters, and of Latitudinarians be explained to the more advanced scholars by the clergy themselves, or under their guidance. It might be said that these were only the words of a correspondent to the paper of the National Society; but the prominence given to a communication, which occupied ten out of the twenty pages of that periodical, showed that these views were not considered extravagant and unpractical by the literary organ of the great Church Education Society. Care ought therefore to be taken that the religious convictions of the parents should be properly respected, and that wherever the public money was granted, they should have the power of withdrawing the child from the religious teaching of the clergyman. He most cordially agreed, therefore, with the Report which had been presented by his right hon. Friend (Sir John Pakington), who had proposed that in all cases where grants were made from the public money the Conscience Clause should be thoroughly enforced. His own opinion was that no grant of public money ought to be made except upon that principle. He could not but express his disappointment that a principle of so much natural justice, and one about which, he might add, he had always met with but one opinion out of doors, should be opposed by a body so respectable, and possessing so many claims upon their gratitude and veneration, as the clergy of the Church of England.