§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. WALPOLE
, in moving the second reading of this Bill, thought it as well to enter into some of the details of the proposition sent down to them by the House of Lords, inasmuch as it had never yet been fully considered by the House. The measure was substantially the same as the one which came to them from the House of Lords last year, with a few alterations and exceptions. It was founded on the Report of the Royal Commission, and its object was to carry into effect the recommendations of that Report in the manner and after the example adopted in the case of the Universities when a similar Report preceded the measure brought into Parliament with respect to those learned bodies. The House would bear in mind that the Report on which the present Bill was based referred to nine public schools, whereas the Bill itself referred only to seven. The reason why the whole of the nine public schools were not included in the measure was that two of them— 743 namely, the Merchant Taylors' and St. Paul's Schools—had been deemed more or less schools of a private and not of a public character; that they were under the management and control of two of the great City companies, who had the power of applying the property now devoted to those schools, or a great proportion of it, in such a manner as they might think fit, instead of continuing to apply it to educational purposes; and that, therefore, there was no public trust attached to those two schools, making them subject to the same obligations, or to the same Parliamentary control as that to which the other schools reported upon were liable. The first of those schools was omitted from the Bill by the Chairman of the Commission, Lord Clarendon, who introduced the Bill into the House of Lords, on the ground he had mentioned; and the second had been omitted from the Bill since it was first introduced, because the House of Lords, after hearing counsel in Committee upon it, appeared to have arrived at the same conclusion as that which Lord Clarendon had arrived at in proposing the Bill with reference to the Merchant Taylor's School. The seven public schools to which that Bill related were, according to the order of the date of their foundation—Winchester, founded in 1387; Eton, founded in 1441; Shrewsbury, founded by Edward VI.; Westminster, founded by Queen Elizabeth; and the two schools of Rugby and Harrow, founded during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by Lawrence Sheriff and John Lyon. The last school was that of Charterhouse, founded by Thomas Sutton in the reign of James I., and in the year 1609. As this was the first time Parliament had been called upon to legislate for these schools, it was only fair to state that the proposal to legislate for them was not based upon any condemnation or censure of the way in which these schools had been managed. But it was thought, and rightly, that great improvements might be made in them if they were authorized and empowered to make such improvements. They all knew with what interest and affection these schools were regarded by those gentlemen who had been educated in them. They looked back to them and to their education with pride and gratification. He thought that the nation itself would look to these schools with equal pride and pleasure, for they were a part of our national life. They were the fruits 744 of the wise and liberal benevolence of private individuals or Royal founders. They were, like our other institutions, the free growth of a free people, and they had left their mark on the social, moral, and intellectual character of the nation. That was not a reason why we should not deal effectually with them now. While, recognizing their great claims upon the gratitude of the nation, as well as to those educated at them, it was rather a reason why we ought not to rest satisfied with things as they are, but retaining the good which we know to be in them, it was rather a reason why we should endeavour to extend that good still further, to enlarge the sphere of their usefulness, and bearing in mind how they adapted themselves in past times to the intellectual and social requirements of the period in which they were founded, and of the times through which they have passed, it was rather a reason why we should enable them to adapt themselves still more readily, completely, and effectually to the modern requirements of the age in which we live. That being the object of the present Bill, there were only three modes in which that object would be best accomplished. First, they might adopt the recommendations of the Commissioners and incorporate them bodily into an Act of Parliament; or, secondly, they might take advantage of the information furnished by the Commissioners' Report, and embody in an Act of Parliament those particular rules which the Legislature wished to prescribe for the management of the schools or the course of the education to be given in them. The third course would be to follow the example set with regard to the Universities, and give power to the authorities of the schools in the first instance to suggest the mode in which the alterations and amendments should be made, with an Executive Commission at their back to direct and control the school authorities, and to carry into effect their views; or if the latter failed in their duty, then the Commissioners would have to do what the Legislature intended, by carrying into effect those views themselves. The first of those modes would be not only unadvisable but impracticable. The recommendations of the Commissioners were so numerous and minute that to embody them in an Act of Parliament would be almost an impossibility. They were further of such a character that as the Commissioners themselves pointed out in their Report, al- 745 though the action of the Legislature might be required for many purposes, there were other purposes for which direct legislation would not be advantageous. The Commissioners divided their recommendations into five distinct heads, the fourth and fifth of which related to the management of the schools and the system of study pursued in them. With regard to the first three—the functions and constitution of the governing body, the rights of foundations, and the endowments and properties—they thought that legislation would be desirable; but that with regard to the fourth and fifth heads, as those were both matters of great public policy, they considered that they had better be entrusted to the authorities of the school to work out for themselves. With regard to the second mode of dealing with this subject—namely, to stereotype in an Act of Parliament the course of study and the system of management which would be pursued in the schools, it was clear, not only from the authority of the Commissioners themselves, but from the interesting discussions which had taken place in authorized publications of various kinds, that the difference and divergence of opinion was so great that no legislation of an extraneous character would be satisfactory until the authorities of the schools themselves had had the opportunity of considering for themselves in the first instance what was the best course and system of study for each of those particular schools. They all agreed that the two-fold purpose of education was either to discipline and train the mind as an intellectual exercise, or to furnish information and knowledge that might be useful for all the after-purposes of life. But in what way those objects were to be accomplished—which was to have precedence, if either—which was to have the predominance over the other, or whether both could not be reconciled together—these were matters on which the greatest difference of opinion had been expressed. The Commissioners were of opinion that in our public schools the classics should be the staple of the education given. They would also introduce or continue mathematics, one modern language at least, one physical or natural science at least, drawing or music, ancient and modern geography and history, and the training of the pupils in pure grammatical English. How all this could be accomplished could hardly be prescribed by any Act of Parliament, but 746 must be left to the authorities of the schools to regulate from time to time. On the question of classical education moreover, there were some who argued in such a manner as to lead to the inference that classical education, in many instances, had better be altogether superseded. That, however, was wholly opposed to the Report of the Commissioners, who thought that classics should form the basis of education for our public schools. Then there was the greatest divergence of opinion, if classics were to be continued, whether they should not in many cases—he believed his hon. Friend the Member for Oxford would say in all cases—confine the pupils to Latin and exclude Greek. But, then, as regards poetry, history, sculpture, architecture, mental and moral philosophy, and even in science, his hon. Friend would probably be the first to admit that Greece was almost in every respect superior to Rome. Then, again, there was a great divergence of opinion as to the extent to which Latin composition should be prosecuted in those schools; one great authority says that compulsory versification in Latin was fruitless labour; while another, of equal authority, says that composition in Latin prose was not only a waste of time, but one of those things which might be classed among the curiosities of literature. Then, with regard to the sciences, one gentleman thought botany was one of the best studies for forming the mind in a scientific mould, while another maintained that it was one of the least available studies for the purposes of after-life. A gentleman of great repute also held that chymistry was one of those subjects which would most interest the minds of youth at the same time that it conveys instruction, whereas the advocate of botany objected to it on the ground that chymistry was of all others the science in which a boy might be most easily "crammed," that when crammed it was most unprofitable, but it would tone the manners and do little more. Looking at those different opinions so forcibly urged by various writers, the Government had come to the conclusion that whatever study was to be introduced, its introduction would be wisely effected only on the responsibility of those who were the governors and managers of those schools. If that position were sound, then he would contend that, coming to the third mode in which the object in view was to be accomplished, the best way to improve the management of the schools, 747 or the terms on which their foundations were to be held, or the course of study which was to be pursued in them, was to follow the example which had been set by Parliament itself in the case of the Universities, and to regard the school authorities or their governing bodies as having imposed upon them the primary duty of prescribing how those various matters should be dealt with, and in the event of their neglecting that duty, and in that event only, throwing its discharge upon the shoulders of the Executive. That course had, in his opinion, the great recommendation that it would make the proposed reform a self-working reform, and it would, he believed, be invariably found that whatever is done willingly of our own accord, is sure to be done more wisely, and is likely to prove more lasting, than that which is done under compulsion and constraint. By this mode of proceeding very great advantage would be secured. Before, however, he endeavoured to show how far the objects which he had just sketched were provided for in the clauses of the Bill, he might observe that the Bill itself was divisible into two distinct parts—the one containing the general provisions which were applicable to all the requirements of all the schools, the other those special provisions which some schools specially required for their effective management. The House would perceive that in Clause 3 certain bodies were mentioned as the governing bodies of schools for the purposes of the Bill and for the purposes of the Bill only. He apprehended that they would not continue to be the permanent governing bodies, and that very considerable changes would have to be made in their constitution, and the power of making those changes is one of the alterations introduced into the Bill. The seven governing bodies of the seven different schools being thus introduced into the 3rd section of the Bill, they were to have the power in the first instance of making statutes and regulations for those different schools, each governing body being empowered, of course, to make them for its own. The powers to which he referred would be found in the clauses from 5 to 11. The difference between the statutes and the regulations which those powers would enable them to frame was, that while the statutes related to matters of more permanent character, the regulations related to matters of internal arrange- 748 ment. The statutes were matters which would continue with probably little or no alteration; but the regulations might have to be varied from time to time and made applicable to the internal arrangements of the school, and the course of study to be pursued in them. The statutes, he might add, would have relation to the foundations, the exhibitions, the scholarships connected with the school, and to the endowments on which the students might enter any of the Universities, also to the property belonging to the school, and the disposition of any surplus property for its benefit. The clause in the Bill which related to the making of regulations was Clause 12, and the sub-section which most severely bore upon the course of studies to be pursued in the schools was numbered 7a in that clause. That sub-section conferred upon the governing bodies in the first instance the power to make the regulations—With respect to the introduction of new branches of study, and of the suppression of old ones, and the relative importance to be assigned to each branch of study and with respect to the system of promotion in the school.Everything, therefore, the House would see, was left to the governing body in the first instance, and after, as he should presently show, to the Commissioners, should the governing bodies in any way neglect their duty in the framing of statutes and regulations. But with regard to the introduction of new statutes, or the suppression or alteration of old ones, or the variation of the different studies now pursued, or deciding upon the relative importance to be attached to one branch of study or another, the governing bodies would have the fullest power to make suggestions to the Executive Commission, and might, in conjunction with them, adopt or modify the propositions originally made, or the Commission, if not satisfied with those propositions, would have a subsequent opportunity of introducing something which they might deem still better for the schools, and in that case the matter would be submitted both to the Queen in Council and to Parliament. So that, in point of fact, the authority of the Queen in Council and that of Parliament might be brought into operation to secure that the alterations made were those which were really most conducive to accomplish the important objects which the framers of the Bill had in view. Such, then, were the general provisions of the Bill, and such the mode in which it was sought to 749 carry them into effect. He came in the next place to those particular provisions which were applicable to particular schools. To Eton and Winchester certain provisions especially applied. In the case of Shrewsbury those special provisions were two. For Westminster, also, there were such provisions, as well as for Harrow and Rugby. There was, besides, a special provision for the Charterhouse, which bore on the Amendment of which the hon. and learned. Member for the Tower Hamlets had given notice. One of the special provision with regard to Winchester and Eton specified that the appointment of the headmaster of the lower school should be vested in the governing body of each school instead of being left in the hands of the head master of the upper school, the reason for that provision being that in those two schools the head master of the lower school had as much control over that school as the head master of the upper had over his own. Another special provision relating to Eton and Winchester was the giving of a power to deal with their property which was held on renewable leases, so as to enable those leases to be brought to a speedier termination, and to have larger funds to meet the wants of the schools provided. To such provisions no objection could, he apprehended, be raised. The special provisions having reference to Shrewsbury were of two kinds; the first gave power to sell certain curacies and livings in order that the proceeds might be applied to the purposes of the school; the second, constituting an alteration in the Bill as it came down from the House of Lords, gave power to continue the appointment of the head master of Shrewsbury in the Masters and Fellows of St. John's College, by whom it had been heretofore exercised. The reason for inserting that provision was that the trustees and governors of the school desired to keep up the connection between the school and the college, the mayor and corporation believing that that connection had been very advantageous for the school, and the burgesses also being impressed with the desirability of continuing that connection. The appointment of the last two masters, Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Butler, who had brought up so many good scholars, and had given such great satisfaction, constituted a strong reason for leaving the appointment in the hands of the Masters and Fellows of St. John's College. One special provision with regard to Westminster School was the appropriation to the governing 750 body of a certain portion of the Chapter property, which was now with the permission of the Chapter enjoyed by the school, and was essentially wrapped up with its well-being. Another special provision with regard to Westminster School, and also with regard to Shrewsbury School, was the power given to remove the schools to other sites, but this point would be more properly adverted to when the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets should be proposed. The special provisions for Harrow and Rugby Schools had reference to a peculiarity in their foundations, which were especially intended for persons residing in the localities of Harrow and Rugby. Of late years, however, persons had gone to sojourn for a time in those localities, for the purpose of getting the advantage for their children of the education given at the schools, though the children who were intended to be benefited by the founders were the sons of farmers and tradesmen of small property living in the localities, and not of persons going there merely for the purpose of obtaining the benefit of the education for their children. Still it was the intention of the founders to give a distinct benefit to those localities; and as it was believed that it would be better for the schools that that peculiarity in the foundations, though qualified or altered to a considerable extent, should be preserved, a clause was inserted in the Bill enabling another school to be founded within each of the localities, where children of the small traders and farmers might be received, with the opportunity of promotion to the upper school in the event of any of them desiring instruction in the higher branches of education. The rights of the inhabitants of Harrow and Rugby had been fully discussed before a Committee of the House of Lords, and, as ample evidence had been produced upon the subject, he thought that they were now in a position to deal with it in Committee of the Whole House, and that it was not desirable they should refer the Bill to a Select Committee for that purpose. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) had given notice of a Motion specially relating to that clause in the Bill which would save rights of the Charterhouse as established by a private Act of Parliament passed last Session. The words of the hon. and learned Member's Amendment were—That a Select Committee be appointed to 751 inquire into the condition of the Charterhouse and other endowed schools in the metropolis, and the best means of adapting them to the educational requirements of the metropolis.The hon. and learned Member wishes to refer the whole question of the metropolitan schools to a Select Committee. The object of his Motion was very clearly and ably set forth in a letter which he addressed to Lord Granville in the year 1865, and which had already been laid before the House. The hon. and learned Member was anxious to obtain a different appropriation or distribution in many respects of all the metropolitan schools. He would retain some of those establishments as classical schools, while he would employ a portion of the funds in the erection or maintenance of what are sometimes called commercial schools in the East End and in other metropolitan districts. Now that proposal raised a very important question, and a question which a Select Committee was not, in his opinion, the proper tribunal to determine. It was a question of such magnitude, that if it had to be discussed at all, it ought, he thought, to be discussed by the whole House. With respect to the two metropolitan schools mentioned in the Bill—Westminster and Charterhouse Schools—the hon. and learned Member would find less reason for dealing with them in the manner he proposed than with either of the other two schools which are omitted from the Bill. According to the original foundation of the first, it was intended for instruction in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and therefore it was a school not for commercial education, but for classical education. With regard to the Charterhouse, the hon. and learned Member, in order to carry out his views would have to set aside the Act of Parliament passed last Session which provides that that school shall be sold to the trustees of the Merchant Taylors' School. The Act in question was calculated to produce a double advantage; it would enable the Charterhouse scholars to obtain an exchange from the town to the country, where they would enjoy purer air and a less confined space, and it would secure a playground for the scholars of the Merchant Taylors' School, which is a day school, and in which such an addition is much needed. It appears, too, that the Charterhouse was originally founded for a double object: for educating boys either for the Universities, the army and the navy, or for trade and 752 business. The founders thus contemplated a two-fold system—a classical and a commercial education. He would further remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that it could not be said the Charterhouse was intended to be a metropolitan school on the ground that its property was derived from the metropolis; because, in point of fact, its property was drawn principally from other quarters. The Merchant Taylors' School and St. Paul's School, which were day schools and intended for the benefit of the metropolis, were not included in the present Bill. For the reasons he had stated he thought the question which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets wished to raise ought to be considered and determined by the House itself; and he ventured to think that it was not one which could be properly dealt with in reference to the schools included in this Bill. He therefore hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would not think it necessary to make his Motion on the present stage of the Bill, but would reserve himself for another opportunity when he could bring the question substantively under the consideration of the House. He did not know that it was necessary to add anything to the brief statement he had made with reference to this Bill; but there were many matters of detail that would require very grave and earnest discussion when they came to consider the Bill in Committee. He repeated that he thought the question raised by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets ought to be decided by the House rather than be referred to a Select Committee, and with that observation he should conclude by moving that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Walpole.)
§ MR. AYRTON
, who had placed the following Amendment upon the Notice Paper:—That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the condition of the Charter House and other Endowed Schools in the Metropolis, and the best means of adapting them to the educational requirements of the Metropolis"—said, he felt very great difficulty in following the right hon. Gentleman who had made an appeal to the House in favour of this Bill because it had been introduced 753 and backed, in his opinion, by a considerable weight of sentiment and authority. Now, there was nothing which had so much misled the public as appeals to sentiment and authority. In dealing with public schools they were asked to be guided by the sentimental feelings of gentlemen who happened to be educated in them. He could not see what they had to do with such sentimental feelings; they should deal with them having reference to those who were now in the schools, and more especially to those who should come into them in future times. Another statement offered in favour of these schools was that classical education had peculiarly contributed to the morality of the country. He, on the other hand, had always thought that during the particular period of our history, when a certain class of public men were most under the influence of classical education, society was sunk in the lowest moral pollution, and just as it had elevated itself above the influence of grammar and classical schools society had advanced in morality. When the literary world was under the severest control of classical and grammar schools education was narrow and cramped, and just as they had emancipated themselves from that state of things had literature improved. They must either go back to pre-classical times and delight in Shakespeare, or come down to the literature of the present day. The intermediate period was not one either of public or private morality to which they could look with any feeling of satisfaction whatever. They were also told that this measure was introduced with all the authority of a Royal Commission; but his complaint was that the Commission was not constituted for the very purpose of examining the question which he desired to submit to the House. It was very fairly constituted for the purpose of examining into the condition of Eton and Winchester, and other provincial public schools, but not for the purpose of considering the condition of the metropolitan public schools and their relation to the education of the inhabitants of the metropolis. Therefore, the authority of the Commission could not be quoted with reference to the consideration of the question he was desirous of examining. Then, again, it was said that, in dealing with this subject, they should have great regard to the views of the founders of these institutions. Now, he thought they had come to that time of day when they ought to take their stand in relation 754 to this question on the firmly and distinctly expressed opinion of all the jurists who were respected throughout Europe, that no man could have a right to regulate to all eternity the enjoyment of property he happened to be possessed of in his lifetime. That was a principle recognized in our jurisprudence, and uniformly acted upon in the law of all civilized communities. The man who gave property to any purpose of charity bequeathed it absolutely to the nation, and it was for the nation, in the exercise of its own pleasure, to consider how far it was convenient for the public good to respect any views he might have entertained. Of course, Courts of Justice, in the administration of the law, acted within a more limited sphere, and looked at the intentions of the founder simply because they had nothing else to look to; but when they came to that House he utterly denied that they were at all bound to consider that any founder—a man living any given number of centuries ago—entertained some particular opinion. Whenever the interests of the public, from any change which had taken place in society, rendered a new appropriation of property necessary, Parliament had the moral and legal right to take that property into its own hands and dispose of it as it thought proper. Even with regard to the Charterhouse, it had been in the main established by Act of Parliament, and if it was competent for Parliament to act, then had they no right to consider what was best to be done now? After all, what was the value of what Mr. Sutton thought? The right hon. Gentleman had passed very lightly over the other public schools, which he said were not in the Bill, and it was not fitting that they should be considered on the present occasion. But his objection was that they were not in the Bill. If the right hon. Gentleman was dealing with the public schools, they ought all to be in his Bill. The real point of contention was whether they should deal with all the public schools in the metropolis as if they were entirely separate institutions like Winchester and Rugby, or as a group of schools, to be considered in relation to each other and the general wants of the whole city. Without extensive alterations of its provisions this Bill could not be adapted to meet the circumstances of the metropolis. Indeed, as it stood, it would not work at all. He put it to the Government whether it was right to pass by, in the manner the Bill did, a question which 755 affected the education of the 20,000,30,00 0, or perhaps 50,000 families occupying houses of £20 per annum and upwards in the metropolis. If an endeavour were made to estimate the number of persons interested in the provisions of this Bill it would be found that their claims to the consideration he was demanding were overwhelming. Perhaps it was not very easy to estimate the exact number in the metropolis who would be affected by the provisions of the measure now introduced; but very little calculation was requisite to show that about one-third of the total number who were interested in and would take advantage of the higher schools were resident in the metropolis—a circumstance that strongly went to show the necessity of some such action as he was advocating being adopted. Moreover, not only the number to be educated, but the importance of means being adopted for giving a right tone and direction to a system of education which was in reality the centre of our social and political system, demanded that some such course as he was pressing upon the attention of the Government should be adopted. It was quite evident that whatever was well done in the metropolis must have an influence either directly or indirectly upon all the other towns in the kingdom. For these reasons he thought all must admit that the question was one worthy of the gravest consideration, and that it ought not to be slurred over, as there was a danger of its being, by the scheme of the Ministry. He would show in a few words how important the practical bearing of this question was upon the interests of the community. There were very large educational endowments in the metropolis, which, if properly regulated, might be of great service, although, relatively to the number of its population, perhaps no place had a less amount of endowments devoted to educational purposes. These large endowments were in the hands of two or three schools. When the right hon. Gentleman, in moving the second reading of this Bill, asked them to take into consideration the authority and the character of the governors of these bodies, the House of Commons was entitled to inquire what had these governors been doing all this time with these great endowments? The answer to that inquiry was a simple one. The House had found it necessary to appoint a Commission to find out the misdoings of these governors, and then the right hon. Gentleman was obliged to in- 756 troduce a Bill to compel them to do what was right, and yet the right hon. Gentleman believed himself to be in a position to say that these people were so intelligent and so active in the discharge of their duty that the best thing Parliament could do was to leave in their hands the sole power of dealing with these institutions. The governors had really not done what they might and ought to have done in the administration of the funds committed to their care. It was lamentable to reflect how large were the sums at their disposal, and how infinitesimal were the results achieved. Taking the Governors of the Charterhouse, for instance, what had that body done to improve either scientific, classical, or any other description of education? Why, absolutely nothing! They possessed an enormous revenue, amounting to upwards of £11,000 per annum, with which they profess to teach Latin and Greek to some forty boys free, to some forty odd who pay a large sum for their education, and to a still smaller number of day scholars. Was that an adequate result for an annual expenditure of £11,000? The pupils in the institution were selected, not in consequence of their showing any peculiar aptitude for learning, or on the ground of their poverty, but at the caprice of the governors, who bestowed their patronage at their mere will and pleasure. The pupils were not selected by competition, because that would interfere with the patronage of the governors. It was true that there were competitions among the scholars for the scholarships at the University, but what was the use of competition where there were no persons to compete. The competition was confined to a few of the first-class boys, and the result was, that scholars of very moderate attainments were sent to the University at the expense of a public endowment, a practice which was contrary to the whole policy of the Universities, which required that all scholarships, instead of depending upon mere accident, should be thrown open to competition. He did not see how it could be maintained for a moment that such a course was likely to lead to a high scale of education or to any useful public object. He would then refer to Westminster School, and what was the case there? No doubt the system adopted at this school was superior to that in force at the Charterhouse, and the results attained were most creditable to the Dean 757 and Chapter; but still the area of selection was exceedingly small, and the benefits of the school were not sufficiently diffused. It was said that there was a sentiment in retaining the school at Westminster, so that the boys might be educated near the dormitories of the old monks of Westminster; but, for his part, he could not see much sentiment in the matter, nor how boys were likely to be made more moral by being educated near the dormitories of a number of lazy monks of a character so bad that they were universally condemned and driven out of their place, which was stated to be rendered almost uninhabitable by their course of life. He was anxious that the usefulness of Westminster School should be extended, that it should be made to answer fully the great purpose for which it was founded, and that, instead of being turned into a mere menagerie of boys, it should be rendered available for the education of a considerable number of day scholars to be selected from among many thousand boys who resided in its neighbourhood. It would be a melancholy thing if the House were to pass a Bill which would stereotype permanently education at Westminster in its present form. It would be far better for them to give the inhabitants of Westminster the benefit of the resources of the school, and afford education for some 4,000 or 5,000 children, instead of keeping up, as was now practically the case, a mere boarding school for the advantage of a few. Instead of adhering to a state of things that was suitable enough 300 years ago, they should rather strive to adapt such institutions as those he was referring to to the requirements of the present day, and the present necessities of society. The next metropolitan school to which he had to refer was St. Paul's School—the governors of which possessed a revenue of about £11,000. That school was originally founded for the education of 150 boys, at a time when its endowments were comparatively small. The boys were to receive a free education as day scholars, and were to enter it by competition. Competition, however, had been altogether thrown aside, and the boys were nominated at the discretion of the governing body, and the result was that boys who were not properly qualified got into the school. That was a large foundation of £11,000 a year, and it was quite clear that if the money were properly applied to education in the metropolis, 1,000 boys instead of 758 150, might be educated through its instrumentality. The right hon. Gentleman had said that Parliament would have to leave St. Paul's untouched because it belonged to an influential City company, who might set up claims of its own. Now, he never knew any City company that was not willing to set up claims of its own, and the City Companies were always fond of perverting the charities which came under their control until they were afflicted with a scourge in the shape of the late Mr. Daniel Whittle Harvey, who, by filing bills against them, brought them, in many instances, to a sense of their misconduct. If they might believe the evidence of the Report, the claims made by these bodies afforded no grounds for withdrawing these great foundations from the control of Parliament. St. Paul's School ought, therefore, to be included in the Bill. The Merchant Taylors' School, he admitted, contrasted very favourably with the other foundations to which he had referred. The Merchant Taylors' School was, to a certain extent, a day school, and therefore did not present—what to his mind was extremely painful—the spectacle of masters, whose thoughts should properly be concentrated upon study and learning, developing into a kind of licensed victuallers, deriving their emoluments from feeding instead of teaching the children. It was perfectly natural for a master whose income was derived more from feeding than from instructing the children to follow the example of the licensed victualler, and to bestow his chief attention upon the former branch of his duties. It would be infinitely better that these gentlemen should be the masters of day schools, having nothing whatever to do with eating and drinking, than that they should be continually engaged in this kind of mixed professional business. The Merchant Taylors' School was an illustration of the soundness of the principle for which he contended, because it educated 250 boys, while the public endowments by which it attained this result did not exceed £2,000. He had called them public endowments, though the Merchant Taylors' Company contended that the school was their property, and that it was not supported by public endowments. He objected, however, to any such claim being admitted without challenge or examination. Looking at all the facts, he thought it could not be doubted that the Merchant Taylors' School was the property of the public, 759 and the Merchant Taylors' Company could not establish any claim in opposition to this title. Parliament surely had a perfect right to control the action of the governing body of a municipal company if that governing body endeavoured to defeat the legitimate demands of the public. If the school were the private property of an individual who had expended upon it his own money, the case would of course be very different; but no such argument could be employed by the Merchant Taylors' Company. That company was simply a public body, established for municipal purposes; and Parliament had a perfect right to put its legislative power into force for the purpose of securing to the public the benefits to which they were entitled—a result which, in this instance, might be attained with very little alteration. It was the duty of the House, now that they were dealing with a portion of this subject, to grapple with the whole question, and not to say that this was not the right time for bringing it forward. He could not help thinking that no time was so appropriate for making this examination as a time when it was proposed to legislate even in one direction. He was not going to ask the House to adopt either his own theories or those of any one else. He simply desired that the House should not shut its eyes to what was growing up in this country, and say that because a certain system had been in vogue for 300 years, therefore it should remain unaltered. Whatever might be the opinion of hon. Gentlemen whose minds were filled with an infinite reverence for the ancient Universities, there could be no doubt that there was gradually spreading throughout the country an opinion that there was another kind of education which, if not better, was at least as good as that which was taught in the grammar schools. It was, he maintained, the duty of Parliament to give to that opinion the weight to which, upon consideration, it might be found to be fairly entitled. He was not there for the purpose of attacking the ancient system, but when they were told that they could not have any new system adopted because there was a diversity of opinion about it, he thought he was fairly entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman what was the concurrence of opinion about the ancient system. Were there no differences of theory about the teaching of Latin and Greek? Why, instruction in Latin grammar had been carried on for more than 300 760 years, and yet it was only the other day that half-a-dozen schoolmasters throughout the country could be found to agree upon the adoption of any particular grammar. The differences in the mode of teaching the Latin language were just as great, and while by some one particular method was rejected as being too difficult, by others it was contended that the method advocated by their opponents was far too easy, and did not in its study afford that training to the mind which it was absolutely necessary for the pupil to acquire. Where, then, was the force of contending that a scientific education could not properly be established, owing to the diversity of opinion regarding science? The argument had just as little force in the one case as in the other. The right hon. Gentleman who moved the second reading of the Bill spoke, according to his understanding, disparagingly of a scientific education, as if it were a purely commercial and not a learned education, meaning evidently to degrade it by the comparison. [Mr. WALPOLE: No, no! I had no intention of doing so.] He was glad to learn that he had misinterpreted the right hon. Gentleman. At all events, no valid reason could be urged against a scientific education on the score of diversity of opinion with respect to what should be taught. There was equal diversity as to the teaching of languages, and the various systems had not only warm advocates, but were carried out so as to produce different results upon the mind. He hoped that the House would show a disposition to accept that which was not only the opinion of the many, but which was the increasing opinion of the community, and which, in the end, he was convinced that the House would be forced to accept. There was no better way of approaching the task than by appropriating endowments to such an extent as they had increased in value, merely by reason of the growth of wealth and the increase of population in the metropolis. The endowment of St. Paul's School had materially increased from these accidental causes. Its property was situated in the East End of London, where population had greatly increased since the school was endowed. The £6,000 or £8,000 a year which the Charterhouse possessed, had accumulated from the same causes, and it was the same with regard to the revenues of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. To these and other similar endowments he looked as the legi- 761 timate fund from which to minister to the increasing wants of society, because they had been created by the growth of society. He therefore asked the Government to meet the question in a fair and liberal spirit by taking the metropolitan schools out of the Bill, and leaving them to be dealt with as a whole. If the Government would not do this, he asked them to put all the metropolitan schools into the Bill, and refer it to a Select Committee. His only objection to this legislation was that it did not go far enough. He would not press the Motion he had put on the Paper, because the effect would be to isolate the metropolis from the operation of the Bill he had merely placed it there as an appeal to the Government, and he hoped the result would prove he had not appealed in vain. Some seemed to be under the impression that the Bill had been left a legacy to the present Government by their predecessors; but, as a matter of fact, the Bill had been brought in by the Chairman of the Commission on Public Schools as such. It was carrying the notion of solidarity too far to say that because the Chairman of that Commission happened to join the late Government before he brought in his Bill, the whole of his then Colleagues were to be held responsible for it. He hoped the Government would send the Bill to a Select Committee upstairs, where it might be examined in detail, and justice might be done to the children of the inhabitants of the metropolis who stood in greatest need.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
stated that the people of Harrow and Rugby believed that great injustice would be done to their poorer townsmen if the Bill passed as it was framed. At Harrow the first, second, and third forms had been done away with during the past fifty years by raising the standard of examination of those who entered the schools so high that none but those who could afford an expensive preliminary education could get their sons admitted, and in that way great injustice was done to the sons of tradesmen and other inhabitants of Harrow. A similar complaint was made with respect to Rugby, and he did not think the remedy in those cases should be left to a Commission. Then there were not nearly masters enough, and the paucity in number enabled those who at present held the position to divide large profits among themselves. Some feared ill effects would result from the commingling of classes in a 762 public school. He had no such fears; the better classes would certainly not be lowered, and the result might prove highly beneficial to the poorer boys. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would introduce some clauses to secure an education for the poorer inhabitants of Harrow, whom John Lyon, the founder of the school, had originally intended to educate, and not leave so vital a matter in the hands of the Commissioners.
I think it but just, Sir, to make a remark upon one observation which fell from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets, towards the close of his speech, where, doubtless out of a sentiment of kindness towards Members of the late Government, he expressed an opinion that they were not bound by the Act of Lord Clarendon in the introduction of his Bill. It is only just to Lord Clarendon and others that I should state frankly that Lord Clarendon did not introduce that Bill simply in his individual capacity, but did introduce it with the distinct approval of the Cabinets of Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell; and, therefore, undoubtedly we must be considered as responsible for the introduction in the main outline and purport of the recommendations of the Committee, to whom we are deeply indebted for its labours and for the general character of this Bill. I do not feel that in saying that I necessarily place myself in opposition to my hon. and learned Friend; because I confess I am not sorry that my hon. and learned Friend has applied himself with great interest, vigour, and ability to the consideration of the important question of the claim which the metropolis, considered as a local though vast community, has to the disposal of these school funds. It is not necessary to follow my hon. and learned Friend through the course of his observations, because, as far as his general doctrines are concerned with regard to the right and duty of the State to examine into and revise and extend and enlarge those foundations, and as far as regards his strong opinion that we are not to look upon the intentions of founders, formed under the circumstances of the time, as laws which are to remain free from any interference on the part of the authorities, I find myself in great concurrence with him, and I would sympathize with him in his desire to give effect to the principle he laid down—namely, that some attempt should be made to obtain a com- 763 prehensive view of the schools of the metropolis as a whole, and to apply the resources of those schools, with a fair and just reference to the wants and necessities of the metropolis. But then comes the question, what are the schools to which the principles he laid down will properly apply? And it appears to me that doubt and difficulty arise when we come to consider that part of my hon. and learned Friend's proceedings which relates to his interposing his Motion as an obstacle to the progress of this Bill. This is a Bill of very great value. It brings into existence new powers, which will be in a condition to act with great effect, both upon the constitution of these schools and upon their studies. The general effect of the Bill is very much like that of the Oxford Act, and undoubtedly the Commission, though it may not have been able to undertake all that was desirable, has proved an instrument of very great power for the purpose of introducing practical improvement. If Parliament approves of the general scope of the provisions of this Bill, it would be a very great mistake, after the laborious investigation which this subject has undergone, extending over several years, if we should send the Bill to be re-investigated in its general bearings before a Select Committee, simply on account of the question, important though it be, which my hon. and learned Friend has raised with respect to the metropolis. I am not quite certain what are the schools that would be embraced within the scope of my hon. and learned Friend's Motion. I heard him speak of several. [Mr. AYRTON: Four.] Exactly so; but it appears to me that on the one hand it includes too much, and on the other too little. I hope my hon. and learned Friend will not shrink from recognizing the breadth of his own proposition, but will take into his view the whole of the endowed schools of the metropolis downwards as well as upwards. The hon. and learned Member spoke of the Charterhouse, the Merchant Taylors', St. Paul's, and Westminster; but I apprehend that the whole of the revenues of those schools, which were considered as so vast, perhaps do not exceed—and I am not sure that they even equal—the revenues of one endowed school which he did not mention at all—namely, Christ's Hospital. It appears to me that there is nothing which requires more to be considered in the whole of this question, so far as the metropolis is concerned, than the condition of Christ's 764 Hospital. I have, sitting near, Members of a Commission which has inquired into this very subject, the Report of which is likely to be in the hands of Members very shortly. If we are to have a consideration of this great question, if the special interest of the metropolis in the schools that are all certainly situated within its limits is to be considered, I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will not exclude Christ's Hospital, the largest of all the endowed schools, and others of considerable revenue and importance. But it appears to me on the whole proposition, that the legitimate method in which the hon. and learned Gentleman should proceed would be, not to interpose any obstacle to the progress of this Bill, but to allow us to read it a second time, and carry it into Committee, and then, when we come to the discussion of that part which includes within the operation of the Bill any schools that he thinks ought to be dealt with upon a different principle, then I think would be the time for him to raise the question whether that school should be excluded from the operation of the Bill, in order that it may be dealt with, not as a public school, in the strict and understood sense which is one applicable to the whole of them, but rather in the sense of a local school connected with the metropolis. The only two schools in the Bill to which the Motion would directly apply are the Charterhouse and Westminster. With regard to Westminster, I will not anticipate a discussion which I think will come with more propriety at a later period; but with respect to the Charterhouse, I by no means express the opinion that the constitution and the views of the governing body do not require to be examined, and what is called overhauled; but as regards the question whether it is a local school of the metropolis or a public school, that was considered and decided by Parliament last year. The Governors of the Charterhouse had come to the conclusion that the site on which the school was placed was one exceedingly unfavourable to the development of the purposes of the school, and they determined to sell it to another body, and to purchase a site removed from the metropolis to which they could transfer the school, if they could obtain the sanction of Parliament for the purpose. The question was brought before Parliament, and they obtained the powers they wanted. But if Parliament in 1867 had given to the Charterhouse the distinct recognition 765 of its character as a public school, which was implied in permitting and empowering it to remove itself bodily from the metropolis altogether, I do not quite see how it would be possible for my hon. and learned Friend to bring the Charterhouse within the view of his Motion as a local school. I hope my hon. and learned Friend will accede to the suggestion I have made, because it would be a great misfortune if he were to introduce the application of his principle in such a form that it should prove an obstacle to going forward now that at last we have an opportunity of going forward with a Bill which, I believe, has been conceived and framed in a very enlightened spirit, and which promises great advantages to establishments of immense importance.
§ MR. NEATE
said, he regretted that his hon. and learned Friend had not put his Motion in a more definite shape, for he believed this to be one of the most delusive and reactionary measures ever put before the country. It was an anti-popular inheritance bequeathed by the late Government, and he recommended the present Ministers to take the earliest opportunity of disclaiming the legacy. Through the fault not of the schools themselves, but chiefly owing to the change of manners which had taken place in modern times, causing Latin to be regarded as a luxury, and not as an essential part of commercial education, these great schools of the country had passed into the hands of a class totally different from the classes for whom they were originally founded. At Eton, for instance, the qualifications for admission were poverty, in the first instance, then aptitude for study, good character, and competence in reading and grammar. At Winchester, which was a still older foundation, even the sons of serfs were admitted. Those who had looked into the subject knew that 300 or 400 years ago the son of the great nobleman of the district sat on the same bench with the son of the farmer or grocer of the neighbourhood, and continued there till he was fifteen or sixteen years of age. After that the son of the nobleman either went back to his father's house, where the continuance of his education was intrusted to a private tutor, or else he was taken into the house of some great man, like Cardinal Wolsey, where provision was made for the education of the sons of the nobles. What was the case in the present day? Advertisements constantly appeared—not 766 from the public schools, it was true, but from private foundations little less opulent—winding up with this announcement—"None but the sons of gentlemen admitted." A respectable wine merchant told him that he had applied to have his son admitted into one of these modern colleges and was told, "We don't take the sons of wine merchants." It was too late to bring the sons of the wealthy and great again under the same roof for the purpose of education with the sons of farmers and tradesmen; but it was not too late to take back from those funds which were originally intended chiefly for the benefit of the sons of the farmer and tradesman some part of that which was now exclusively appropriated to the benefit of the rich. Provision had been made for the education of the upper class, but the middle class had been cruelly wronged, and this was the time to consider whether obligations could not be imposed upon the public schools to repay to the middle class something of what had been improperly withheld from them in the past. In Committee he would urge that care should be taken, more especially in connection with the opulent schools of Eton and Winchester, to found middle-class schools subject to the same government. The income of Eton, which was returned in 1860—and such returns were never above the amount—as between £20,000 and £21,000, would ere long, when the leases were run out, amount to between £35,000 and £40,000, besides forty livings whose joint income was returned at £10,000. The income of the provost—and he did not say it was too dear—was £876 a year, and of course there was a house and other advantages; and each of the seven fellows had £850 a year, and they held, together with their fellowships, some of the best livings. The income of Winchester School, when the leases ran out, would be £32,000 or £33,000 a year, and it had a warden and fellows who did very little work; and the income was chiefly of use as affording retiring pensions to those who had done the real work of the college and schools. He wished to insist upon having in connection with both a school for the class for whose benefit mainly the incomes were originally designed; and the Bill made no provision for securing that object. Indeed, the tendency was in another direction, for it gave power to make regulations which would still further prejudice the foundation boys. We were waiting for the 767 Report of a Commission which would raise questions as to our means and obligations in the matter of middle-class education. This in itself would be a sufficient reason for deferring the progress of the Bill until they had an opportunity of considering the Report. Again, the use of classics was still an unsettled question, especially at Oxford, and the recently published work, Essays on a Liberal Education, showed that great progress had been made on the part of those who were concerned in the business of education, a fact of which the framers of the Bill seemed to be wholly unconscious. Recently he (Mr. Neate) attended a meeting at Oxford of some eighty or ninety of those actively engaged in education, and certainly not revolutionists, and he was in a minority of two or three in opposing the idea that it was time to open the University to persons who knew neither Latin nor Greek. He himself thought that a revolutionary proposal, and denounced it as such, but certainly it was adopted by those who were not revolutionary men. He had long come to the conclusion that the gentlemen of England should be absolved from the necessity of learning Greek, for the result of the present system, in the majority of cases, was that gentlemen spent ten or twelve years in learning Latin and Greek, and nothing else, and knew less of those languages than their sisters acquired of French and Italian in two years. It was beginning to be generally thought at Oxford that the studies at our schools and Universities required re-consideration. The Commission had not embraced any advocate of these new ideas, and he suggested that a vacancy, caused by a death which all would regret, should be filled up by some one of advanced views, say the right hon. Member for Calne. If the Bill was to go on, it was desirable to have that sort of Commission which would have the knowledge and the disposition to avail itself of new lights; and clauses ought to be introduced into the Bill giving the Commissioners powers in that direction.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, that the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets had insisted upon some common points, and some of which had reference to Westminster School. But first, as regarded the site of the school, he must inform the hon. and learned Member that a meeting was held some time ago in Westminster School to consider whether the site should be removed, and the majority of the 768 meeting came to the conclusion that it had better be removed, and no doubt it would have been removed into the country if sufficient funds could have been obtained for the purpose. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that the foundation boys slept in a dormitory formerly occupied by a set of drunken and rebellious monks, but the fact was that the dormitory of the monks had long ago disappeared, and the present dormitory was built by Lord Burlington. He thought, however, that the hon. and learned Member had done good service by bringing the subject under the consideration of the House, because the discussion had served to show that the provisions of the Bill ought not to be hastily acted upon. Now, as regarded the case of Westminster School, he believed that the majority of the parents who had boys there would rather that their children should remain under the instruction of their master than reside in their own houses. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the system of competition was adopted by the Dean and Chapter; but it was nothing of the kind, for competition was established by the original statutes of Queen Elizabeth. His right hon. Friend who moved the second reading of the Bill referred in detail to the schools therein named, and among others he described the provisions under which Westminster School would be ranged. He was bound to say he thought those provisions very insufficient, because there was no guarantee that the income which the school ought to acquire under the statutes of the Church would be obtained from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The school was in this unfortunate position, that like other grammar schools attached to cathedrals of the new foundation, the educational trust funds were gradually absorbed by the Dean and Chapter, who preferred to fill their own pockets rather than to promote the interest of the schools. When the Bill of 1840 passed the Ecclesiastical Commissioners stepped in, and all the profits of the suspended stalls, instead of being applied to educational trusts, were put into the hands of the Commissioners, and made part of the common fund. Now one of their first duties was to bring back such portions of the fund, and apply them strictly to educational purposes according to the statutes. It was perfectly clear that the boys on the foundation 769 ought not to be taxed to pay for masters for whom the statutes provided out of the educational fund. He hoped the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets would take the advice tendered to him by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire and not press his Motion; though, if he did press it, he (Mr. Bentinck) would be obliged to vote with him. When the clauses were considered one by one there would be ample opportunity to bring forward this matter; and he himself should be prepared with Amendments to raise the points on which he had made these few remarks.
§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
said, he would take that opportunity of stating that in Committee he would ask the House to agree to certain Amendments with respect to Harrow, which would preserve to the people the rights they had enjoyed for nearly 300 years under the provisions of the will of John Lyons. The tendency of public schools was to increase the expense of education, and to draw a line which would limit their advantages to the sons of the rich; and he, as a public schools-man, saw that tendency with regret. Feeling strongly on the point, he would at the proper time move an Amendment which would secure the rights of the people of Harrow. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) had alluded to the lamented death of Sir Edmund Head, one of the Commissioners. He ventured to endorse what had been said on that subject, and he would express a hope that the right hon. Gentleman would put in Sir Edmund Head's place a distinguished man of science, who might secure the respect and confidence of the public.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
said, he regretted that no discussion had taken place as to what was really the merits of the question, the curriculum of education that should be adopted in the higher class of public schools. He wished to know—and it would be interesting to the public also—what were the ultimate intentions of the House with regard to these great establishments? Were they to disregard the manifestations of public opinion, and to allow the present opportunity to pass without taking some decisive steps? By the present Bill it was proposed simply to change the government of the schools, by placing it in the hands of Commissioners but such Commissioners as the Archbishop of Canterbury would not be likely to concern themselves much as to the regulations 770 of the schools. He (Mr. Darby Griffith) thought that the great body of those interested in the schools, that is to say, the parents and guardians of the boys should have some means afforded to express their opinion upon the matter. The Commission to be appointed would be very much above its work, and there were no means of knowing what precise changes it would effect. Public opinion had been strongly expressed as to the modification of certain branches of education; but no response was made to that in this Bill. John Milton, and many others of the most enlightened men, had condemned the system under which boys scraped together some Latin and Greek during a period of seven or eight years, which, if properly instructed, they might be taught in one, and were called upon to string some stupid Latin verses together which to be done really well required a more advanced stage of the powers of the intellect. This system was rather an impediment than otherwise to the practical education of our youth, when no necessity existed for composition in any of the dead languages. The only use to which a dead language could be put was to [...]d the author's book in such language. They could not, as in the time of Milton, write despatches to foreign Courts in that language. He was, however, the last person to deprecate the knowledge of the dead languages, believing that it was the foundation of all superior education and was essential to a thorough understanding of our own language. But if we had to make a choice between the study of them and that of the modern sources of information, he should be unwilling to determine which ought to be given up. If their youth were, however, to learn Latin and Greek, they should be taught the knowledge of them in the easiest and simplest way possible. Before the House gave large powers to the governing bodies of those schools they ought to know how they proposed to exercise them, under what influences they would act, and whether in harmony with public opinion.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
rejoiced to find that the House had arrived at the conclusion of making progress with the Bill, and of reading it a second time, instead of referring it to a Select Committee. He felt grateful to his hon. and learned Friend opposite for the course he had taken in deferring to the wish of those who were anxious to make progress 771 on the question, and agreeing to bring forward the views which he had advocated with such ability in a discussion upon the Bill, when the House might be able to entertain them in a manner much more useful and practicable than on the present occasion. What the Government were afraid of, in regard to this Bill, was, that if it were to be much examined upon one particular point of view or another the measure would never make any progress. It was now six or seven years since the Commission was appointed to examine into the system of public schools, to which reference had been made, and it was just four years since they presented their Report. Since that Report was presented a Bill founded upon it had been introduced every year into either one or the other House of Parliament. Upon one occasion a Select Committee had been appointed by the House of Lords, before which a great deal of evidence was taken and counsel heard, and the subject had been fully considered from that point of view especially which had been touched upon by the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Viscount Enfield) and other hon. Gentlemen. They had now come to that point at which it was desirable, if anything could be done in the matter, to make a move onwards. He was afraid that if they referred the Bill to a Select Committee they would simply be losing another year. And, after all, what was a Select Committee to do with the subject? If it were to hear evidence on the subject and go into the whole question, of course the inquiry would go through the whole Session. He very much doubted whether the deliberations of any Select Committee would prevail over all that had been done by preceding inquiries. On the other hand, if the Select Committee were not to take evidence, but only to confine themselves to the evidence already taken, that would be tantamount to the discussion of the question of principle, upon which the House was as capable of forming an opinion as any Committee, and as to which they could not bind the House. Referring to the discussion which had just taken place, he was really very much surprised at the tone taken in regard to the meaning and tenor of this Bill. A stranger coming into the House, and not knowing the nature of the Report made by the Public Schools Commission, would think that the proposal was one of a reactionary and narrow-minded character. On the contrary, though some of their recommen- 772 dations might not go so far as some thought they should go, he put it to anyone who had read that Report whether the whole tenor and spirit of it were not in a progressive direction, and especially in reference to what had been said that night? He was glad that the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had challenged the expression of his (Sir Stafford Northcote's) right hon. Friend as to commercial education. He agreed with him in the propriety of attaching the greatest importance to scientific education—not for its commercial value, but for its own sake. The whole spirit of the Report was to give due prominence to scientific education from that point of view. He especially called attention to that most able portion of the Report—although it appeared in the form of a dissent from it—of their Colleague, Mr. Vaughan, in which he put forward the claims of science as the basis of education in a manner which excited their admiration, and only led them to regret that his views were not incorporated with the Report. The Commissioners were anxious to improve as far as possible the higher education of the country. The point he thought they had to consider was not so much how the education of the inhabitants of a particular locality or of a particular class could be best provided for, but, assuming it was desirable that the highest education of the country should be to a great extent of a classical character, but at the same time that it should also embrace other fields of learning, they considered how far and in what way those schools charged with imparting that education could be best organized and be brought into harmony one with another. The Commissioners said that if they improved the higher education, and did it in schools which were well organized, and opened those schools at proper times for those who might wish to avail themselves of them, they would indirectly—though it was not their main object—supply the wants of a particular locality and of a particular class. They did not deal with endowments as if they had been given for the benefit of particular inhabitants, such as those of London, Harrow, or Rugby, because they saw that the state of things and circumstances had very much changed since those endowments were first given. They believed that the main object of those who made those endowments was to improve the education of the people of the country, though 773 no doubt the special desire of some persons was to improve the education of their particular neighbourhood or the education of the poor or of some particular class. But they must remember that the state of the country and the means of communication between one place and another were very different now to what they were when those endowments were made. The number of schools was also much, smaller than it was present. The Commissioners thought that the founders, if they were living now, would act very differently in effecting their object than they had done when they made those endowments. And when they made the proposal with regard to Harrow School they had to take into account the fact that the inhabitants of Harrow had now the benefit not only of their own school, but of the schools established in the different parts of England, to which it was comparatively easy for them to send their boys. That argument applied with still greater force to the schools of the metropolis. It was open to the inhabitants of the metropolis, not only to educate their boys at Westminster, the Charterhouse, or the other schools established here, but to send them to Harrow, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Winchester, or any of the other schools scattered throughout the kingdom. And that was a compensation to them for any exclusive advantage they might lose by the transfer of any of their own schools to a greater distance. They also came to the conclusion, from the examination of the schools in which this education was given, that the boys could be best educated, on the whole, at boarding schools. They therefore thought it desirable that there should be an adequate number of boarding schools, which would be just of as much importance to the people of London as to the inhabitants of any particular town. But they also came to the conclusion that if they were to have those boarding schools, it was desirable that they should be, as far as possible, in the country—not at any great distance from the metropolis—but in situations where the boys would have the advantage of good playgrounds and country air. They considered that if a certain number of schools were removed out of the metropolis to the country, those schools would be more useful even to the people of the metropolis themselves than they would be if they were allowed to remain. Looking, then, to the four schools under their immediate view— 774 namely, Westminster, the Charterhouse, Merchant Taylors', and St. Paul's, they thought it was desirable they should have both boarding schools and day schools available to the inhabitants of the metropolis. By removing Westminster and the Charterhouse Schools to a reasonable distance from the metropolis, and by greatly improving the position of the day schools in the metropolis, they felt that they would be doing the best for the metropolis itself. He had merely referred to these points, rather than have entered into any discussion of them, in order that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets might know that they had not been overlooked in the consideration of this subject. The conclusions arrived at might, or might not, be right; but he should be able to defend the views put forward when the proper time arrived. With regard to the point raised by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, they had not overlooked the claims of persons of moderate means; but, looking to the circumstances of the country at the present time, and considering the advantages of these schools if thrown open to competition, the great object they had had in view was to throw them open to competition among those who would endeavour to qualify for them. With regard to the Charterhouse, it was desired that it should as far as possible be thrown open to competition. He certainly felt the force of the interesting speech that had been delivered upon the subject by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, and he agreed with much he had said; and he thought the Government were much indebted to him for his having confined himself to stating his views upon the subject, and in not delaying the progress of the Bill. He might say that the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, that this question should be discussed in Committee, would be accepted, and he had no doubt that when the Bill was committed notice would be given of some practical Amendments which might be discussed with great advantage.
§ MR. AYRTON
wished to know whether the Government would undertake to defer the further progress of the Bill until the Report on grammar and endowed schools, to which so much care had been devoted, had been presented?
§ MR. WALPOLE
was unable to say when the Report would be in the hands of 775 Members, but he would undertake that it should be very shortly laid upon the table. He would fix the Committee for Thursday, the 27th February, and between this and then he would inform the hon. and learned Member whether he would proceed with the Committee before that Report was presented. It was very desirable they should have the Report, if possible, before going into Committee on the Bill.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday, 27th February.