§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
MR. NEATE moved that the Bill be referred back to the Select Committee, in order that clauses may be inserted in it giving power to the new governing bodies and the Commissioners to be appointed by the Bill to deal with the constitution and revenues of Eton and Winchester Colleges, He said he would be unwilling to do anything to impede the
progress of a measure which contained in it some useful provisions were he not convinced that no harm would be done by delay, and that no great good could be obtained by legislation at the present time. The public schools of this country were not in a bad state as regarded moral discipline and the formation of character; they might no doubt be improved, but there was no necessity for any hurry in doing so. If hon. Gentleman had gone to Eton the other day as he had done and seen the state of the school they might have asked themselves, just as he had, why need they hurry to reform it? It must be admitted that Eton produced gentlemen; but the masters had little to do with that. The reason why gentlemen were produced at Eton was be cause the boys belonged to families in which they saw and heard nothing at home but what was good. But the boys at Eton, Harrow, and Winchester were after all only specimens of English boys, and one of the objections which he made to this Bill was that it was special legislation for the sons of the upper classes. He would ask whether the idea of having to provide for a mother and sisters, as the sons of those in an humbler sphere so often had to do, was not as ennobling as anything that might be set before the children of the upper classes? He admitted that the public schools were defective as places of instruction; but he would point out to those who were eager to carry the Bill that no effective change in the teaching of the schools could take place until the Universities had set the example and proposed a rule which the schools must follow. As long as the Universities required both Latin and Greek—and he was sorry to say very little else—as the condition of a degree, what was the use of imposing upon the schools the obligation of teaching the boys what would be of no advantage whatever to them in their future career? His Motion referred to Eton and Winchester because they were two special bodies. He believed it was the intention of the Committee to frame a Bill which would enable the new governing bodies with the assistance of the Commissioners, or the Commissioners themselves without the concurrence of the new governing bodies, to deal with the revenues of the two Colleges. He would, venture to say, however, that such an intention would be but very inadequately fulfilled by the Bill. He made bold to maintain that it was wholly inadequate to give any power whatever to the bodies that might be created
under it to deal in any way with either the revenues or constitution of Eton or Winchester Colleges. Eton School existed only as an offshoot and dependency of Eton College, which might at any time suppress, suspend, or reduce the School to the condition of a proprietary establishment. The legislation that was proposed three years ago aimed at subjecting Eton College to certain legal obligations to provide for the School, but the Bill before the House was wholly silent in that particular. There was nothing whatever in it to vary the original legal obligations of Eton College to provide merely in a very limited way for a certain number of scholars, and make a payment of a few pounds to a master who might be charged with their education. If Eton College was to say "We have nothing to do with this new-fangled scheme; we are content as a College to enjoy what we now have, our £20,000 a year, which will soon become £30,000, and even £40,000, and we do not care about the school. If the Eton masters can take advantage of the goodwill that belongs to the place and establish a great school we are very willing they should do so, and if they wish to buy the buildings we have erected we do not object to sell them,"—he did not say that such a thing was likely, or that it would be allowed by the Legislature, but the state of affairs that now existed ought not to be allowed to continue. It was intended by the original Bill in the House of Lords to give to the new governing body and the Commissioners appointed to control them the power of dealing with the revenues and constitution of Eton and Winchester Colleges, because a clause of the Bill contained words to this effect, they—
Shall have the same real and personal property rights, powers, and privileges, and be subject to the same obligations, as the existing governing body of those schools.
He saw nothing in the present Bill which at all corresponded with such a provision, and he challenged anyone to show him anything in the measure which would enable the new governing body or the Commissioners to touch the revenues or constitution of the Colleges. He did not go so far as some in his reverence for ancient corporations; but he would not treat the present governing bodies with so little ceremony as that which had been shown them by the framers of the Bill, and they might justly complain that they had been taken by surprise by the proposal to transfer their powers to new bodies. He
doubted, however, whether the terms of the measure would have sufficient legal force to transfer to the newly-created bodies the whole management of the revenues of these foundations. He thought that before proceeding to legislate the House ought to be in possession of fuller information as to those revenues. The evidence given on this head before the Royal Commissioners was offered in a very hesitating spirit; but even according to that evidence the income of Eton College was about £20,000, with a probable increase of £10,000, and that of Winchester about £17,000. Knowing the reticence with which public bodies were likely to state their income, he believed the probable future income of Eton might be taken at not less than £50,000, He once suggested £32,000 as the prospective income of Winchester College, and an old friend of his there jocularly expressed a hope that he would not live to see that amount reached, for that his life would be a burden to him; but even this gentleman did not go beyond arguing that a considerable time would elapse before his estimate was realized. He had had some experience of the way in which Returns were made, and hon. Members must be aware that the income assigned to livings in the Clergy List was considerably below the actual value. Assuming that the probable future income of the two foundations was £80,000 a year, it had to be considered how they should be dealt with. Now, this Bill had apparently been framed with the special object of excepting Eton and Winchester from the recommendations of the Commissioners. Dealing with the present income of £20,000 at Eton, they proposed to lessen the number and emoluments of the Follows. The income of the Provost was stated at over £1,800, and of the Fellows at £814; but the latter sum did not include the occupation of a house, and certain perquisites in the shape of coals and candles, which practically raised it to £1,200. The Fellows enjoyed this income without any duty being attached to it, and they might also enjoy livings of the value £700 or £800 per annum, being specially exempted from the condition of residence. The patronage of Eton comprised eight livings worth between £100 and £200; nine between £200 and £300; nine between £300 and £400; four between £400 and £500; two between £500 and £600; one between £600 and £700; one between £700 and £800; one be-
tween £800 and £900; and one between £1,000 and £1,200. Any one of these was a very pretty addition to an income of £1,200. These livings might be given to the school chaplains, but they were not, and the Bill proposed to leave the Fellows in uncontrolled exercise of this patronage. There appeared to him two ways in which the surplus revenues might be dealt with. One, which he submitted to the House on a former occasion, was to apply them to the creation of a middle-class school, for which class the endowments were in the first instance chiefly, if not exclusively, designed. The other, which had since suggested itself to him, was to make this £40,000 a year the nucleus of a University in the North of England, founded upon principles similar to those of Oxford and Cambridge, with the difference that its curriculum should be so arranged as to encourage the industries of the district in the midst of which it should be placed. He would not enter into such a scheme now; but he insisted on the right of Parliament to deal with these surplus incomes. He might, indeed, be met with an assertion of the prescriptive rights of corporate property; but he regarded this argument as threadbare, it being repudiated by all who had given attention to the subject. The House was deeply concerned to repudiate the notion that corporations possessed property in the same sense as individuals. They could only hold property so long as they were corporations, and it was absurd to maintain that the State was bound to continue them as corporations after they had ceased to perform the duties which called them into existence. He was far from asking the House to divert any portion of the revenues of Eton College from the purposes of education. All that Eton College gave to Eton School was £400 a year; while the College derived much more than that from the School in the increased value of the College lands. So far from diverting from the School any of the benefits it derived from the College, he would rather make the College subsidiary to the interests and benefit of the School, so that the College should foster the growth of the School more than it did. It was in evidence that the Provost of Eton received £2,000 a year, and the Fellows £1,200 a year each; yet a few years ago they had allowed the School to degenerate, and the number of the King's scholars to be diminished from seventy to forty. Their conduct had, in-
deed, been such as to deserve language stronger than it was usual to apply to those who had gone to their account. Let it be hoped that their present successors would enter upon their career in a spirit of sincere and reflective repentance. It was well that those successors should know that the House knew as well as themselves for how many generations of men the Provost and Fellows of Eton had been so indifferent to the pleasures of a good conscience that, in the words of one of their favourite poets, they "seemed to enjoy the anger of the gods." One especial abuse had been the diminution in the allowance to the choristers, who, to eke out a living, had been obliged to run in the most indecorous manner from the services at Eton to take part in those of Windsor Chapel. At the present moment, however, whether he looked at the Eton masters or the boys, it was with kind, respectful, and hopeful feelings. He trusted that, as to Eton at least, the House would make the revenues of the College far more subservient, subsiding, and useful to the government of the School. With regard to the constitution of the College, the Provost was, he thought, of no use whatever. It was said that he was the means of obtaining for the boys an intercourse with the outer world, and that he gave dinners which formed an introduction to society. He did not think that these services were sufficient to justify the continuance of this useless honorary office. The dignity and duty of the Provost ought to be given to the Head master, so that instead of receiving £370 from the College as at present he should receive the £2,000 a year now given to the Provost. The Provost and Head master ought in that case to have a Vice Provost to assist in the management. It was necessary to deal in some way both with the revenue and constitution of Eton and Winchester.
§ Amendment proposed,
§ To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the Bill be referred back to the Select Committee, in order that Clauses may be inserted in it giving power to the new governing bodies and the Commissioners to be appointed by the Bill to deal with the constitution and revenues of Eton and Winchester Colleges,"—(Mr. Neate,)
§ —instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."1637
§ MR. MOWBRAY
said, he would not follow the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford in his very discursive speech; but would ask the House to consider the position in which, at the present period of the Session, that question stood. The animus of the hon. Gentleman's proposition was disclosed at the commencement of his remarks, in which he said there was no necessity for legislation, and that the question might wait. Now, it was more than four years since the Royal Commissioners presented their Report to Her Majesty. That Report was in the hands of Members of Parliament before Easter, 1864; a measure was introduced on the subject in 1865; the question was referred to a Select Committee of the House of Lords; the Bill that was then framed came down to the House of Commons too late in the Session to be passed; again, in 1866 and 1867, Bills were introduced; and now the existing Government had brought in a measure sanctioned by their predecessors, and on which a Select Committee of that House had bestowed much valuable time and the greatest pains in order to render it as perfect as possible. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford was himself a very active Member of that Select Committee, before which he had an opportunity of urging all the arguments which he had just addressed to the House. The speech which the hon. Gentleman had made that day ought to have been delivered in 1865, 1866, 1867, and 1868 against the second reading of the Bill. The line, Gentleman wanted to refer the measure back to the Committee that they might provide for the cases of Eton and Winchester Colleges; but by the interpretation clause of the Bill the word "school" included, in the cases of Eton and Winchester, the Colleges at those places. If the hon. Gentleman had Amendments to propose, let him propose them in Committee of the Whole House. But what was the hon. Gentleman's object? Why, that those bodies might come before the Committee and be heard by counsel after the 16th of June. If that were done, the Bill was not likely to pass this Session. He believed it was the opinion of the House that legislation on that subject was now required, and he hoped the dilatory plea of the hon. Gentleman would not be listened to. The schools were anxious for the completion of that legislation, and the action of Eton and Winchester themselves, as Well as of the others, would be para- 1638 lyzed by a prolongation of the present state of suspense. For these reasons he trusted that the House would now go into Committee on the Bill and discuss its provisions.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
, as one of the trustees for Rugby, did not see why Harrow and Rugby should be summarily dealt with, while Eton and Winchester should have legislation in regard to them virtually postponed, or, at all events, be legislated for on a different footing. Harrow and Rugby bad one peculiarity—namely, that their governing bodies consisted of laymen of the Church of England; but he did not see why, on that account, they should be treated, as was proposed by the Bill, in a more summary manner than institutions whose governing bodies were clerical. There was no pretence for saying that the governing body of Rugby bad thwarted the success and prosperity of the School, for their only difficulty was to find accommodation for the number of pupils who were anxious to enter. He attributed the success of the School in great part to the Head master, but the governing body had not impeded—on the contrary, he trusted they had aided—the efforts of the Head master. The Bill proposed that before the 1st of January, 1869, the governing bodies of Rugby and Harrow should be compelled, in Japanese fashion, to effect their own extinction. In Japan, as the House was aware, executions were conducted in this way. The culprit was expected to acknowledge the justice of his sentence, and then to rip up his own belly while the executioner stood by to cut off his head. That was exactly the treatment to which the governing bodies of Rugby and Harrow would be subject by that Bill. He was far from saying that those bodies might not be improved; but he wanted to know the mischief they had done, or the neglect of which they had been guilty. That anomaly appeared to have been introduced by the Select Committee, and not to have been contained in the original Bill, and he had placed on the Paper an Amendment providing that before the governing body of Harrow or Rugby should be compelled to immolate themselves or undergo execution by Special Commission, they should at least have eighteen months to consider what they ought to propose. That, he thought, was only reasonable, as the last six months of the present year would be a period of crisis arising out of the General Election, which would be very 1639 unfavourable to calm deliberation. Throughout the whole Bill the powers which the original Bill proposed to confer on existing governing bodies, or on their successors, were limited to their successors. Therefore, the whole purport of the Bill was that those two governing bodies, consisting of lay members of the Church of England, who had not interfered injudiciously with the Head master, or neglected their duties, were to be got out of the way before any reform of the statutes was to be proposed. Nothing could be more extravagant than the powers which it was proposed by the Bill to invest in the new governing bodies, and more particularly in the special Commissioners, who would be enabled under its provisions to deal with the whole of the property of the schools in the most summary manner, with the single check that any scheme for changing the application of their funds should be submitted to Parliament for forty days. As to the principle which had been laid down by the hon. Member for Oxford, that no corporate body had a title to any property and that all such property belonged to the State, he could only say that it had its origin in the Convention of the first French Revolution; that so strongly had the force of the analogy been felt that the principle was afterwards transferred to the case of private property, and that there had been a perpetual struggle during the whole of the present century to get out of the difficulties which resulted from its application. But, be that as it might, he should like to know why it was that Eton and Winchester were to be dealt with by the Bill in a manner different from Harrow and Rugby with respect to their properties? He objected to any such difference between them being made; and he was also opposed to the Bill because it contained an element of secresy, inasmuch as the new governing bodies would be empowered to make proposals to the Commissioners for an alteration of the statutes of a school without publishing their intentions to those whose interests were immediately involved. It was, moreover, he maintained, contrary to the Common Law of England to have all the property of those foundations dealt with by means of Orders in Council, as was proposed, and he, therefore, should support the hon. Member for Oxford in his endeavour to prevent the Bill from being proceeded with.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
remarked, that the hon. Gentleman who spoke last was perfectly 1640 correct in saying that, by the Bill as it was referred to a Select Committee, the existing governing bodies were to be intrusted with the reforms which were to be made in the schools. It appeared, however, to the Committee a somewhat illogical proceeding to begin by conferring such powers on bodies which were about to expire, and which might make regulations which would not be in the spirit of the new governing bodies by whom they would be succeeded, and which would, consequently, only tend to the creation of much confusion. That being so, the Committee had deemed it advisable to change the order of the reforms to be made, and to recommend that the existing governing bodies should reform themselves before proceeding to reform the schools intrusted to their care, the time being shortened by the Committee from the 1st of January, 1870, to the 1st of January, 1869, in order that no additional delay might be incurred. He was not sure whether the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Newdegate) was aware that this change was made by his hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate), whom he was now supporting in referring the Bill to a Select Committee. [Mr. NEWDEGATE said, he objected to the principle of the Bill.] The hon. Member objected to the principle of the Bill. The hon. Member asked why were Rugby and Harrow selected to be dealt with in a different way from the other public schools? It was the first time that he (Mr. Goschen) learned that such was the case, and he had sat on the Committee a long time, and it would be quite as new to the other Members of the Committee. The governing bodies of all the schools were to be called on to reform themselves; but as some governing bodies might not stand so much in need of reform as others, it was provided that "the new governing body" should be held to mean both a governing body, the constitution of which might have been altered under the Act, or a body established under it, or the new governing body, which might, however, be identical with the existing body.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that in the Select Committee the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) brought forward an excellent clause, carrying out the principle of religious toleration. It was a species of "Conscience Clause;" but it was rejected by a strict party vote. He trusted that the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets would propose the clause 1641 again in the Committee of the Whole House.
§ MR. POWELL
said, that though the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets did not succeed in earning what had been called a "Conscience Clause," he did induce the Select Committee to introduce another clause enabling the governing bodies to give facilities for the education of boys whose parents or guardians wished to withdraw them from the religious instruction given in the school.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that he should support the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate), to refer the Bill back again to the Select Committee; for, though the Bill was much improved in details, its main defects remained much as they were before. It seemed a measure designed to carry out the most pernicious principle of selecting a few schools in order to apply to them very large endowments; not because they were necessary for the education of those who resorted to the schools, but merely because they tended to keep up the expensive character of the schools, and to maintain a kind of fashionable system of education for the fashionable classes. The discussion got up in the other House last night showed that the crude ideas of 300 years ago were not applicable to the exigencies of the present time. It was proposed to consecrate to this scheme of education endowments amounting to £70,000 a year, and with the addition of the value of the annual rental of property rent free worth £80,000 a year. The prospective increase in the value of the property might be estimated as likely to raise the amount of the endowments to £100,000 a year. With these great endowments they were now going to do for the education of the poor and the great body of the people of the country absolutely nothing. One might have hoped that the House of Commons would have conducted itself as individuals did at the near approach of dissolution, and would have abandoned evil ways. He thought that it would be much better to give up such a Bill as the present, and to leave the reform of these schools, together with other reforms, to the new Parliament. There was nothing to distinguish the schools comprised in the Bill from many schools left out of it, such as Uppingham and Tunbridge Schools, except that the latter were not so fashionable as Rugby, Harrow, and Eton Schools, and the idea was to apply these great endowments for the be- 1642 nefit of the wealthy classes and those connected with them. It appeared in evidence that parents were beguiled by vanity and weakness to spend £200 a year, in order to get their children educated at Eton, though they might have obtained for them a better education in a self-sustaining school for £50 or £60 a year. It was an established fact that no real benefit was to be derived from these enormous endowments. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford broached the extraordinary doctrine that the children of founders had a vested right to the endowments. No such right of property could exist, and the power of the founders to put a limitation on the enjoyment of their property was restricted to lives in being and twenty-one years after.
§ MR. LOWE
said, he could not remember whether this Bill had ever been discussed in the House before. If it had been it had left very little impression on anybody's mind, for he had asked the question of several who seemed to be in the same condition as himself regarding it. He only regretted it had not been discussed, for he thought they might be better employed in settling principles than arranging details. It seemed to him that the Bill proceeded on a false analogy and was founded on an unsound principle. The analogy was that of the governing bodies in the Universities and Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. This unhappy analogy was applied to public schools. But the same public body which existed in the one case did not exist in the other. The body was to be created for the schools. What, then, were they going to do? They were going to create a governing body for those schools that never existed before. They were going to intrust to this now and untried body the powers of a constituent assembly—to make a new governing body; and so jealous were they of them as to their powers that they were to be extinguished at the end of this year. They made them on purpose to destroy them; they lighted the candle for the purpose of snuffing it out. They gave them certain functions to be performed, but under the Commission which had power to undo them. Would it not be better if this was to be done to give it to the Commission at once? It seemed to him there never was a Bill framed on so strange a basis as this. The analogy of the Universities and Colleges, it was found, did not apply; so successive Committees had cut it down to the shape in which they now 1643 found it; but the result was most unsatisfactory. There was a greater fault in the Bill, and he hoped he might be allowed to state the objection he felt to its principle, lest it should afterwards be referred to. His objection to the principle was this—when dealing and legislating for anything they ought to look at its substance, and not at the form. Now, the form of these public schools was undoubtedly an endowment. That was the nucleus. But the substance of the public schools was not the endowment, but the great private adventure school which had grown out of the endowment, the good-will being given to the man who held the office of Head master. There were two kinds of property invoiced in the Bill—one was the endowment, the other the good-will which had grown out of it, and which was the property of the Head master for the time being, which was the substance. Thus, with regard to Eton—the Eton they were all so much concerned about—which was educating the young gentlemen of the higher classes of the country was the College or the Oppidan Eton. It was almost ridiculous to ask the question, it was so perfectly manifest that the real strength of Eton consisted in the private adventure school kept by the Head master, and the good-will of which belonged to him. That was the main thing, and the College or endowment might fairly be left to be dealt with like any other endowment. On what principle should they deal with private adventure schools? There was but one course for their improvement, and that lay with the parents of the children who went there. It was to the parents of the pupils, and not to any governing body they might appoint, that they must look for modernizing and making the schools better adapted to the present day. What, then, was their duty in this matter? It was to leave the greatest possible scope to those who managed the school—to the Head master, in fact, to manage it as he pleased, and all they should do was to give parents the best means of knowing the manner in which their children were educated, leaving them to find out whether it was satisfactory or not. He should say form a governing body if they pleased—that was, a body to appoint a master and remove him in case of misconduct or for the interest of the school; but when they had appointed him give him full power and control over it. Let him be the dictator not merely as to discipline, but education and direction. Trust him fully. He would 1644 go further. He would say provide some machinery by which the school should be examined by some perfectly independent authority every year; let the result go to the family, be tabulated, and laid on the table of the House, so that they might know exactly the instruction that was given. That was his notion. They had to deal with these schools secundum subjectam naturam, not as an endowment, but as what they really were, private adventure schools in the hands of the Head master. This Bill had been misconceived. Instead of giving the Head master full power, giving the adventure principle fair play, it gave the regulation of the school, and the objects of study, almost everything except the appointment of Under master to a body they were going to appoint for the purpose who had no interest in its prosperity. The endowed element was only a trifle if they gave it to such a body, and withdrew it from the Head master, placing it in the hands of a body not now in existence, but which they were going to create for the express purpose of marring the free trade adventure principle in schools. That was his objection to this Bill, and, as it never seemed to have occurred to any of the Commission or Committee, or any other Gentleman, and therefore he was bound to suppose, being his own, must be wrong, he had felt bound to state it to the House. It was a mere chimera to educate by endowment; they must rely on the free trade principle. So far from an endowment being an assistance to education, it often put the schoolmaster asleep. By keeping him from relying on his own exertions, an endowment was often the means of doing positive mischief. He therefore protested against the notion that they could carry on the education of this country energetically or successfully by means of endowment. All they could do was to take advantage of existing endowments, to cluster round them a system of demand and supply pure and unrestrained.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), seemed to have forgotten that this subject had been made matter of consideration by a Royal Commission some years ago, which sat for two years or more, and very fully considered the whole of these questions—among others, the relation in which the Head master should stand to the school; and if the right hon. Gentleman would take the trouble to examine the Report of the Commission he would see ample reason 1645 for not giving the whole matter into the hands of the Head master, and throwing on him a weight he would be unable to bear. With regard to the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman had not stated correctly the history of the clause with regard to the governing bodies. It was not the case that these schools had not governing bodies now. They had; and if the right hon. Gentleman would look into the Report he would find a very good account of the actual state and powers of the governing bodies that existed. The right hon. Gentleman referred to Eton, but it was well known the College was, in fact, the cream of the School, and it was owing to the very great energy with which the College worked that Eton held so high a position, It was very unfair to speak of that School as if it were not doing that which had placed it so high among our public schools. The case for the whole inquiry and Bill rested on this—that Parliament was not satisfied that those schools did as much as with their means and endowments they ought to do. The intention originally had been to lay down in the Bill what the functions of the new governing bodies should be, upon whom would devolve those duties which could not be discharged by the Head master without interfering with his special province. It was obvious that there was an immense amount of work to be done with respect to those schools which could not be thrown on the Head master if he was to be charged with the teaching of the school. But when the matter came to be argued in the House of Lords it was thought better, instead of attempting to deal with those matters of detail by an Act of Parliament, to do so by the appointment of a Commission, with statutory powers to make such alterations as might be deemed necessary. Then arose the question whether or not that statutory Commission should reform the schools at their own instance; but it was stated that the existing bodies ought to have that power given to them; that their hands were now tied, and they were prevented from introducing improvements; and that therefore the fair thing would be to give them the chance of doing that which they believed to be the best, and if they failed to act in a satisfactory manner that then the statutory Commission should take the matter up. That was the shape into which the Bill was put, and as Parliament had for two or three years kept the Bill in that form, he was anxious, without saying that 1646 form was the best, that they should go into Committee, and try whether they could work upon it. He believed the general feeling of persons acquainted with the subject was that they should try to improve without altogether revolutionizing our higher class schools; for they held that those schools had a mission of their own, though they were not doing all that they were capable of. He believed, if they honestly set to work and endeavoured to work out the details of the Bill they would make the schools much more efficient and satisfactory. Their policy ought to be to improve and not to revolutionize. He hoped the House would consider that this matter had been very carefully sifted in the other House of Parliament and also before the Select Committee upstairs, and that it was ripe for discussion in a practical sense. He trusted therefore they might be allowed to make use of the remainder of the present Sitting for the purpose of dealing with the Bill in Committee.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
, though agreeing with much that had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) and the right hon. Gentleman beside him (Mr. Lowe), still thought that the House ought to go into Committee on the Bill. At present the education of a boy cost a large sum. He did not exaggerate when he said that a father who sent his boy to one of those public schools without getting any assistance from an endowment, and afterwards sent him to a University, could not do so for less than £2,000. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets had said that there was no sufficient reason why those seven schools, or the nine schools that were originally contemplated, should be made the subjects of a special Act of Parliament. But they must take facts as they found them; and he supposed the reason why they were called upon to legislate specially with regard to those schools was because there had been a Report on their condition which showed a state of things that required alteration, notwithstanding the opinion of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford that no reform was needed. It was true that if the House was prepared to deal with the general subject of endowments, as he hoped would be done in the new Parliament, there was not any reason upon the merits of the question for excluding the schools with which the Bill proposed to deal. Nevertheless, as the question with 1647 regard to those schools had been debated for three or four years, he was of opinion that the House ought to consider it, because while there was a doubt whether there would be any legislation or not, or what the nature of that legislation might be, the managers of the schools who wished to initiate reforms would find their hands tied. And besides he was afraid—such was the feeling of Members of that House who had personal associations with those schools—that any general scheme of dealing with endowed schools would have a better chance if the question of those public schools was excluded from it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) seemed to think that the general use of endowments was a question that they need not pay much attention to, and he talked of endowments as trifles; but he (Mr. Forster) could by no means look upon endowments of £70,000 for the purposes of education in such a light. On the contrary, the management of sums like that was a very grave matter; and it behoved them to see that those endowments were applied to the best possible use. For his own part, he thought the endowments were of little use compared with what they might be in promoting the cause of education generally throughout the country. The Bill was so framed that he was sanguine in hoping that the endowments would be much better used if it became law. He believed that the Commission would see that reforms actually took place. Winchester and Eton, with endowments amounting to £32,000, would, no doubt, under an improved system, still remain the two principal high class schools for boys whose parents wished to bring them up for professions and for the Universities; but they might be made of greater use to those persons who, at great personal sacrifice, desired to educate their sons in that way, and who, if giants were made for elementary education and for lower middle class education, were also entitled to public assistance in carrying out an object from which the country derived benefit after wards. He looked to an advantage in an other way from the reform of the public schools; for he expected the endowments to be so arranged that clever boys of a low sphere of life might be able to obtain a high class education by rising from the National Schools, with the assistance of exhibitions, to the secondary and primary schools. It would be the fault of the Com- 1648 mission which was to be appointed by the Bill if those two results were not attained fully from the Bill.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, he could not go the length of speaking of endowments as useless, though it was perfectly true that some of our best public schools did not depend on them. Harrow, for all practical purposes, was an unendowed school, though Eton had very large endowments. But what he wished to know was whether they had power in Committee to provide that the best use should be made of the endowments of Eton and Winchester; for the hon. and learned Member for Oxford seemed to think that in Committee their hands would be tied with respect to the revenues of those schools.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, the hon. Member (Mr. Acland) had put a very important question, and the whole discussion which had arisen upon the proposal of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Neate) really turned upon the answer to be given to that question. Having consulted legal authorities, he believed that the Bill as now drawn gave the fullest powers to the governing bodies of the schools and Colleges, whether old or new, in conjunction with the Commissioners, or to the Commissioners alone, of so arranging the funds and property of the schools and Colleges that they might be turned to the best possible use. Such was his belief, and otherwise there would, he admitted, be great force in the argument of his hon. Friend. If the terms of the Bill left any doubt on this head, it might be remedied in Committee, and he hoped that on this understanding the House would proceed to consider the clauses.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
remarked that the governing body of Eton were very anxious that the Bill should pass, and that it would be very injurious to these bodies to subject them to any further delay.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
contended that the parents of the boys should have some voice in the management of those institutions, and that their supervision would be more effective than that of any Commissioners. He feared that the old and new governing bodies and the Commissioners would come into conflict, and he doubted whether the Bill would operate beneficially on Eton, where reforms were already being introduced by the Provost and Head master.
§ MR. MARSH
agreed with his right hon. Friend (Mr. Lowe) and the hon. and 1649 learned Member behind him (Mr. Ayrton) with regard to endowments. He thought, indeed, that no man should have the power of tying up his property for more than thirty years. As to public school education, he could not concur in the depreciatory view which had been taken of it by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, for he himself had enjoyed such an education, and there was not a day passed in which he did not feel the advantages he had derived from it. A great man once said that the chase was the image of war, and a public school might perhaps be described as an image of the battle of life. It was not merely literary knowledge which was acquired there, and he could point to many men in eminent positions whose success might be largely attributed to their public school education. He was sure that in Committee all would be desirous to make these institutions as useful as possible.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1 (Short Title of Act).
§ MR. ACLAND
objected to the Bill being entitled the Public Schools Act 1868, on the ground that other schools not included within its operations were equally entitled to the appellation of public schools. He moved that the clause be postponed for the purpose of an arrangement being made to get some other expression to indicate the title of the Bill.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he could see no reason for postponing the clause, since any alteration which the hon. Gentleman might offer could be now considered. The title of the Bill, however, did not imply that these were the only public schools; it simply indicated what public schools were dealt with in 1868.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, Hint gentlemen connected with other public schools objected to the assumption that those affected by this Bill were the only public institutions of that character. The title might be altered to the "Colleges and Schools Act, 1868."
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 2 (Definition of "existing" and "School").
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, the object of the word was to maintain the distinction between the old and new governing bodies, which ran all through the Bill. For the purposes of this Act, the existing governing bodies of Eton and Winchester were not the governing bodies which existed now.
§ MR. J. STUART MILL
said, he understood that the Fellows of Eton College had very little to do with the school, except to usurp to themselves the greater portion of the endowments. He thought that the Head master rather than the Provost should be the head of the governing body.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, at Eton the governing body was the Provost and Fellows, but they were not the governing body of the School. The person who had the real governing authority was the Provost, who, no doubt, acted in conjunction with the Head master. It was in the Provost that the property of the College was vested.
§ MR. NEATE
said, he had an Amendment to the latter part of the clause, which went to the whole principle of the Bill. In order to ensure that full power should be given to deal with the revenues of the Colleges, he proposed to insert the words—Including in the case of Eton College the Provost and Fellows, and in the case of Winchester College the Warden and Fellows.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, there was no doubt that the Bill as it stood dealt with the revenues of the Colleges of Eton and Winchester. It might be proper to add these words to a later clause.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 3 (Definition of existing "Governing Body").
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that as this clause raised the question how far the Bill should extend, it was the proper time to ask why two of the schools included in the Royal Commission were omitted from this Bill— 1651 whether from their extreme virtues or their extreme vices? St. Paul's School had flourished for a very long time in the City of London. It was founded by Dean Colet, who declared by his statutes that a boy who was shown to be inapt to learn was to be removed from the school. The management of the school was intrusted to the Mercers' Company, a body of trustees who, after a time, perverted that splendid charity entirely to their own purposes, and declined to admit any boy freely. The nomination of the scholars had become a simple affair of patronage in the hands of the members of the Court of the Company, and it was not required that a boy should be qualified to be educated in the School. There was no greater mystery in the world than the Mercers' Company—a body which had repeatedly set Royal Commissions of Inquiry at defiance, and re fused to give any information as to its proceedings and the purposes of its existence. He was not aware that this association did any good to anybody whatever; all that was known of them was that they met periodically in the City of London, and ended their proceedings with inordinate festivities. The company had an estate yielding them £9,500 a year, situated in the borough which he represented, and yet when a poor school in the district from which they derived that large revenue was greatly in want of assistance, none could be obtained for it from that wealthy Company. On applying at their Hall in the matter, he received this answer—"We never tell anybody who are the governing body of the Mercers' Company." The general impression was that the whole thing was in the hands of certain families, who kept it entirely to themselves. The result was that a splendid endowment of £9,500 for educational purposes assisted in the education of only 153 boys. It was said that the Company, finding their administration of the school in danger of being reformed, asserted that all the property belonged to them, and then set up a Chancery suit in order to raise that very interesting question. The omission of St. Paul's School from the Bill was a great defect in the measure, as there were many abuses in that institution; and therefore he should move that the words "St. Paul's School" and "the governing body of the Mercers' Company" be added at the end of the clause.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, he had an Amendment to move prior to the Amend- 1652 ment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets—namely, in line 9 to leave out "and Chapter," and insert "of Westminster, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge." The Royal Commissioners, in their Report, had recommended extensive alterations in the buildings of the school; but these were entirely set aside. He was very anxious not in any way to delay the passing of that Bill, but an imperative sense of duty compelled him to interpose at that stage; for that was a question of vital importance to Westminster School. It was proposed by the Bill as it stood to constitute, under the title of the governing body, a body which never had been the governing body of Westminster School, and one which was singularly un-suited, from their conflicting interest, to discharge such duties—namely, the Dean and Chapter. But not only would the Bill create such a governing body, but it would summarily abolish a governing body which had existed for many years, and, as he maintained, with good results to the school. The Dean of Westminster, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, appointed the Head and Under masters, summarily dismissed them if they thought it necessary, and they had practically the regulation of the education, annually examining the scholars. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster never had been, and he hoped never would be, the governing body of Westminster School, and with that object he should move the omission of the words "and Chapter," and the insertion of the words after "Westminster" of "Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge."
§ MR. LOWE
said, he had an Amendment on the Paper which should have preceded the Amendments of both the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) and the hon. Member for York (Mr. J. Lowther). The question he wished to raise was whether those governing bodies should be created at all, seeing that the sole duty which they would have to discharge would be to appoint other governing bodies; for they would be intrusted with no legislative functions, and would only have, if created, an existence altogether of six months and a fortnight. Believing that it would be ridiculous to create such bodies merely to do a thing for which they had no peculiar aptitude and some inaptitude, he should move to leave out the words 1653 from "Existing Governing Bodies," in line 5, to "Trustees" in line 13, inclusive.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out from the beginning of the Clause to the word "Trustees," in line 13.—(Mr. Lowe.)
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, he hoped that he would not be prevented by the right hon. Gentleman's Motion from putting his Amendment.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
objected to the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), on the ground that it struck at the root of the Bill, which he thought it was not desirable should be shelved altogether.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the right hon. Member for Calne proposed to improve on that Japanese system to which he had alluded in the early part of the day, and to become at once a Nero. He, for one, objected to have the governing bodies disposed of in so summary a manner.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that the hon. Member was under a misapprehension in supposing that the tendency of his Amendment would be to withdraw all control over the Head master. All that he proposed to strike out was the proposition to give to the existing governing bodies the only function the Bill assigned to them—that of appointing their successors.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that the new governing bodies would have important functions to discharge, some relating to education and others to revenues and emoluments; and as the existing governing bodies were trustees, it became a question how far it was right to take out of their hands the nomination of the new governing bodies.
§ MR. ACLAND
thought that, as a matter of common sense, full power should be given to the Commission to act in the matter.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
denied that the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) would strike at the root 1654 of the Bill. The Commissioners, under the Bill as now framed, would have full discretion left them.
said, he thought the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne would practically destroy the Bill. It would be better to accept the Bill as they found it.
§ MR. WALPOLE
appealed to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) not to press his Amendment. He thought in all reforms they should attend to this rule, to go as far as they could in perfect harmony with those to whom they had to look for carrying their reforms into effect. He would therefore consult the existing governors of schools as to who should be the proper governing body. Why should they not pay them the compliment of allowing them to consider the matter?
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
said, he would prefer the present system to that which would result from the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Question put, "That the words 'Existing Governing Body of a School shall for the purposes of this Act mean ' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 152; Noes 69; Majority 83.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
rose to move to insert in line 5, after the word "Fellows," the word "Head master," with the view of giving him a locus standi among those who were to decide who the governing body were to be. Eton, though the most fashionable, was one of the worst schools in the world. ["No, no!"] He had been there three years himself, and had learnt absolutely nothing. He had to learn seventy lines of Homer every day, but he forgot them the next day; and they did him no sort of good whatever. The present Head master had not been brought up at Eton. [Dissent.] Well, at all events, he had been brought there as Head master from another school, and was in favour of introducing such improvements as were in accordance with the spirit of the 19th century. he thought it right the Head master should have a locus standi on the Committee, so that, if out-voted, he might be able to present a Report of his own.
§ MR. LIDDELL
thought it was only common justice to point out that the Provost and Fellows of his own School, against whom some harsh expressions had been used by an hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Stuart Mill), had by their choice of the 1655 present Head master given the best possible proof of their earnest desire to improve, extend, and, as it was called, liberalize the education of that great School. With regard to the Amendment, he thought there was no necessity for placing the Head master on the governing body.
§ MR. J. STUART MILL
hoped the right hon. Gentleman who had charge of the Bill would take into serious consideration the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex (Mr. Labouchere). The object which they all had in view was to improve the schools. The Provost and Head master had the most to do in the management of the schools, and as the good government of those institutions was what should be steadily aimed at, that object could not be better promoted than by including the Provost and Head master in the governing body.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
remarked that the discussion was turning upon the composition of the governing body. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. Labouchere) would be worthy of the consideration of the Special Commission; but it would be extremely difficult to deal with it at present. It was obvious that the relations of the Head master with the governing body would be materially altered by placing him upon it, and he was inclined to doubt whether his power of doing his proper work would be thereby increased. He hoped the Committee would adopt the proposal of the Select Committee, and allow existing governing bodies, of which the Head master had never been a member, to prepare a scheme of future government and submit it to the Commissioners.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, the Fellows were acquainted with the working of the School, As to the merits of that School, a gentleman who had recently taken high honours at Cambridge informed him yesterday that he attributed his success to his progress at Eton, where he had acquired the best education that could be found in the country.
§ MR. FAWCETT
thought the Head master was one of the most appropriate names that could be placed upon the list of the governing body, and that the most advantageous results would follow such an appointment.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the question before the House was simply, whether between August and the 1st of January the Head master should be associated with the Fellows and Provost in making sugges- 1656 tions as to the constitution of the new governing body. That was not a matter of very great consequence. The real point of importance was what were the powers of the Head master to be in future and after this Bill was passed. That, however, must be afterwards determined.
§ MR. ACLAND
advised the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. Labouchere) to withdraw the Amendment, and rely on the Commissioners giving an opportunity to the Head master of expressing his opinion.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that having regard to the tone of the discussion which had taken place, he should withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER moved an Amendment, providing that the governing body of Westminster School should consist of the Dean of Westminster, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, in lieu of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he had no objection to include the Dean of Christchurch, Oxford, and the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, in the governing body of Westminster School, provided the hon. Member for York (Mr. J. Lowther) would consent to retain the Dean and Chapter in the governing body.
§ MR. ARYTON moved the Amendment to which he had formerly referred relating to St. Paul's School—namely, the addition of the words "of St. Paul's, the governing body of the Mercers' Company."
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, his hon. and learned Friend a little while ago professed his inability to find who the governing body of the Mercers' Company were, yet he now proposed to put them in the Bill. He was so anxious not to impede the progress of the Bill that he would not detain the Committee by defending the Mercers' Company, and would only remind them that the circumstances of St. Paul's School were 1657 entirely different from those of other public schools. In the other schools the boarders were the chief element; but in St, Paul's they did not exist at all, for the boys were all day scholars. Whether the Mercers' Company had private rights or not it would not be wise to put St. Paul's in the present Bill, although it might be advisable to deal with it in a future Bill, together with Christ's Hospital and one or two others similarly situated. St. Paul's was maintained not only out of those funds of which the Mercers' Company were trustees, but they also contributed out of their own private property. St. Paul's School was taken out of the Bill in the Lords, and his hon. and learned Friend was beaten in an attempt in the Select Committee to include this School. It was therefore not advisable to include the school now.
said, that a petition had been presented to the House by the Mercers' Company, in which they stated that at that moment an information was pending in Equity as to whether they had a right to claim the surplus revenues of the School. It was clear that while the matter was thus sub judice nothing could be done as to the insertion of the School in this Bill. He spoke with some knowledge of the School and of the Head master when he said that St. Paul's School not only furnished a good middle-class education, but that the boys obtained a high state of proficiency in Latin and Greek—far in excess of their numbers.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 4 agreed to.
§ Clause 5 (Power of Governing Bodies to alter their Constitutions).
§ MR. WALPOLE
This clause is an important one. It was with reference to it that the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) made his remarks at the commencement of the debate. Wishing to have time for consideration with regard to it, I now move, Sir, that you report Progress. We propose to proceed with this Bill at a Morning Sitting on this day week.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I believe we can fix it for this day week; but, formally, we may now fix it for Thursday.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday.