HC Deb 24 March 1868 vol 191 cc160-86

, in rising to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the provisions for giving instruction in theoretical and applied Science to the Industrial Classes, said, that in the Notice which he had given he had been careful to avoid the use of the term technical education, and for this reason: technical education was of two kinds—that of the school and that of the factory. Now, it could not be denied that the instruction received by artizans in our factories was at least equal, if not superior, to the instruction received in the factories of any other nation in the world. Our manufactures had long carried off the palm among the industrial productions of nations; our manufactures had been renowned at a time when the Continent had even the rudiments of good workmanship to learn. But it should be remembered how very recent was our present great industrial system. It dated from the inventions of Watt, of Arkwright, and of Crompton; and to show how entirely it was of modern creation, he would simply mention that the manufacture of iron in this country had increased from 60,000 tons in 1788 to 5,000,000 tons in 1867, or very nearly a hundred-fold. Whilst this great industrial edifice was being created, European countries were suffering from exhausting wars. It should be remembered that until within a comparatively recent period the exportation of machinery from this country was prohibited; while, until the middle of the reign of George IV., it was an offence punishable, he believed, with death, to entice any artizan to go abroad for the purpose of teaching his trade to foreign workmen, Meanwhile, schools were established on the Continent for conveying, not only theoretical instruction, but also for the purpose of imparting instruction in practical manipulation. In France les Ecoles des arts et des metiers were established; the great Ecole centrale was created in Paris, and polytechnic schools throughout North and Western Germany. It was urged that the example of the United States showed that there was no necessity for the establishment of technical schools. He was not aware whether the United States as yet possessed any such schools; but that they regarded the subject as being one of great importance might be seen from the fact that, in the midst of their troubles, they voted towards technical schools land of no less a value than 8,000,000 of dollars. There were in this country no technical schools, and though our Universities end some of our public establishments of instruction contained the elements of such schools, yet they were from this point of view open to several objections. In Oxford, he was glad to say, scientific instruction was gaining ground; but he contended that it was not only of too theoretical a character, but that Colleges were conducted on principles which were too severely denominational. A son of a friend of his, in the sixth form at Rugby, offered himself as a candidate for a prize at Christ Church in natural science; but his father holding the views of the Society of Friends, and he being consequently unable to produce a certificate of baptism, he was not permitted to compete. The only two unsectarian institutions we had were those of the University College of London and of Owen's College in Manchester. He was aware that there were two great schools in London which partially fulfilled the purpose he had in view—the School of Mines together with the College of Chymistry in Jermyn Street, and the School of Naval Architecture in Kensington. The School of Mines was no doubt an institution of great use, but it was not a polytechnic school; and one inquiry of his Committee would be, whether this school could not be made the foundation of a great school of general technical instruction? The School of Naval Architecture was also of great use; and he had been told by Mr. Reed that till it was established he could not find anyone to draught his plans, and he was obliged to sit down to a drawing-board himself to work out his own designs in detail. But there was not a complete polytechnic school in England. The case was different in Ireland. There was a College of Science in Dublin whose curriculum was very complete; but it was too recent in its establishment to enable him to speak of its success. As regards secondary education, some attempt was made to instruct the middle classes in the applied sciences; but the general working of these schools might be summed up in a remark from the Report of the recent Schools Commission, that in general the masters were ill supplied with apparatus, and that they were very deficient in manipulative skill. As far back as 1859 attempts had been made to get up classes for the teaching of theoretical and applied science to the working classes; but the result was that they had been established in very few of the manufacturing districts, and that, with the exception of Lancashire and London and its neighbourhood, they had taken no hold on the industrial population. In Lancashire, an excellent school had been established at Oldam, mainly through the munificence of the hon. Member for that town (Mr. Platt); and in Halifax, in Yorkshire, there was another excellent school, sustained by the liberality of the hon. Member for that borough, (Mr. Akroyd). But there were no schools in Durham, none in Northumberland, few in Staffordshire, none in Derby. He had no doubt, however, he would be told by the noble Lord opposite that the number of persons receiving scientific instruction was increasing. [Lord ROBERT MONTAGU: Hear, hear!] He was aware that was so; but in the majority of instances it would be found that the increase was made up of children taught in the elementary schools, and taught in a very superficial way. For instance, it was stated that at Plymouth in 1865 there were two scientific schools, and in 1866 there was a third added for navigation. But in the first year that school had 458 pupils, and it had only one master. The consequence was, that not one of the pupils gained a certificate at the examination—as, indeed, how could they when the whole 458 were taught by a single master? And yet the Inspector reported everything coleur de rose, and the only remark he made was that it would be better if there were more masters. But only 123 of the 601 existing certificated teachers were being employed; and, taking this in conjunction with the cry for more teachers, it was evident something in the shape of a grievance existed, into which the House might do well to inquire. Of this he felt sure, that the Minute of Council which enabled holders of Queen's prizes to become teachers, without having undergone a special teacher's examination, was a great mistake, and ought to be repealed. Already the instruction was weak enough, as shown by the results. In the annual papers of examination throughout the country upon scientific subjects, he found in those of May, 1866, that in geometry, 51 per cent of those examined were failures; in mechanical drawing, 36 per cent; in applied mechanics, 46 per cent; in geology, 42 per cent; in mineralogy, 45 per cent; in steam, 57 per cent; and in physical geography, 61 per cent. This was excused on the ground that two sets of papers had been issued under a new system, and that the pupils, in error, had taken the more difficult. The statistics, however, showed that a majority of the failures took place in the easier papers. This, for instance, was so with regard to 40 out of the 61 per cent of failures in physical geography. One reason for the want of success in these schools he believed to be, was that their practical management was in the hands of a gentleman who was thoroughly familiar with art, but, he was afraid, was not equally acquainted with science — Mr. Cole—and who therefore could not do his duty in the Department of Science as, notwithstanding all the fault found with him, he believed he had done in regard to art. But there was one excellent thing done in this Department—the establishment of drawing classes in elementary schools. For his own part, he believed that nothing could so much tend to promote efficiency in the schools to which his Motion had more especial reference than the giving of preparatory instruction to young children in drawing; not, however, as was now the case, by art masters exclusively, since the Department by one of its rules acknowledged their incompetency to give instruction in geometrical or mechanical drawing, but rather by science masters; and a Minute had lately been issued granting scholarships to advanced scholars in elementary schools who should pass a satisfactory examination in science and art; but that had been issued so recently that he was unable as yet to give an opinion of its success. The answers forwarded by the different Chambers of Commerce to the circular issued by the Privy Council declared that British workmen were placed at great disadvantages by their want of systematic instruction; but he was sorry to find that those Chambers appeared to be quite unconscious of the defective education of the managers and proprietors of manufactories. One difficulty surrounding the subject at this moment was that we hesitated to grant efficient Government aid to any class except the working classes in this country; while they, on the other hand, were not prepared by their previous training to accept it, and so matters moved in a vicious circle. He believed that a solution, to a great extent, of the difficulty might be found in granting aid towards the establishment of professorships upon the understanding that, whatever other instruction the professors might give, they should also give instruction to working men in the night schools. If in some form or other the Government were prepared to promote more systematic plans for teaching science in our great manufacturing centres, local efforts in aid of them would not be wanting. As to the necessary funds, he would not, as was so often done, compare the grants for education with those for naval and military purposes; but when he stated that education in the British army cost four and a half or five times as much per head as it did in the French service, he thought he had pointed out a fund from which some portion of any additional grants in favour of science might be recovered. If ever cultivation was to be extended to our industrial classes, it must be in the first instance by educating them in science. He by no means undervalued other branches of education. The claims of classical literature, indeed, had latterly been under-rated, he thought, by men like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), who themselves were masters of the subject, and owed many of their greatest successes to the perfection of their classical training. If they wished to give the industrial classes of the country, from manufacturers and managers down to the artizans, a desire for instruction, it must be done by tempting those classes to instruct themselves, in the first place, in the principles underlying the arts they pursued in their daily avocations, and that having been accomplished, the question would arise whether a combination of such instruction with literary instruction could or could not, in the majority of instances, be effected. He believed that encouragement of technical instruction in this country would not merely promote arts and manufactures, but would tend to the advancement, of the general education of the people. The hon. Member concluded by moving for a Select Committee to inquire into the provisions for giving instruction in theoretical and applied Science to the Industrial Classes.


said, he sincerely hoped that the graining of the Committee would not be a bar to giving the assistance immediately and urgently required by some of the provincial towns, and which would be asked for by others. He hoped that the result of the inquiry would be practical legislation, and a disposition on the part of the Government to grant the supplies necessary to carry out the recommendations of the Committee. They could not hide from themselves the fact that this was a question of no small importance; because it was beginning to be fully recognized that, upon the right method of dealing with this question depended, to a considerable extent, the continuance of the manufacturing prosperity they had hitherto so largely enjoyed. We did not now occupy the same position in regard to manufactures as we had occupied ten or twenty years ago. He referred to our position as compared with that of other countries. The letters written by jurors at the Paris Exhibition showed that we had not kept pace with Continental nations. This was the opinion of Chambers of Commerce, which ought to be able to; arrive at a correct conclusion on the matter; and Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth held that in our middle-class education there had been scarcely any advance during the last thirty years. He hoped that the Committee, if appointed, would inquire, not only into the provisions now existing respecting technical education; but would also inquire into the provisions that ought to exist, and which it should be the duty of the House to bring into existence. The Science and Art Department, in its last Report, informed them that in all the schools connected with the Department, there were not more than 7,000 pupils under certificated teachers—or not more than one pupil, in a scientific school, out of every 4,300 inhabitants. To the science and art school in one small town the Government of Saxony allowed £3,000 per annum; while £7,000 a year was the aggregate allowed by our Government to the provincial schools of science and art in this country. Government should do a great deal more than they had hitherto been able to do. Much had been done by private enterprize at Birmingham to promote technical education; but there was still work before them which they could not perform for want of means, for which they were now applying to the Government, and he trusted they would give it to them. He trusted also that, when the Report of the Committees was before the House, the Government, backed by the opinion of the House and the feeling of the country, would do a great deal more for technical instruction than they had ever yet dreamt of doing.


said, he considered it was very desirable that the Government should grant the Committee asked for. If a Committee were appointed, it should be composed of men of science, practical manufacturers, and men connected with public and political life; and the inquiry might be more efficient if it were carried on by a Royal Commission, because the services of men of science would be more at the command of a Commission than of a Select Committee; but if the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council thought that the inquiry ought to be referred to a Committee, he should make no objection. He must do the Government the justice to say that the Department of Science and Art had been by no means idle in the matter of technical education; nor had their efforts been unattended with good. It was only eight years since the Government Grant was first given, and the number of scholars had increased from 500 in 1860 to 10,000 in the course of the present year. He believed, however, comparatively little had been done out-of-doors to provide the education which was suited to persons intended as managers for large manufacturies. Still, he might say, if science had been neglected by the humbler classes of the community, it had been neglected in a still greater degree by the upper and middle classes. In the middle-class schools the great defect was found to be the want of scientific education; and he believed the fact was in a great degree attributable to the Universities, where, until recently, science was not made an especial study. The University of London, and other kindred institutions, had given a great stimulus to the study of science; and, although they might be disposed to look with favour upon what had been accomplished, they were forced to admit that as compared with other countries there was a great inferiority in this with respect to scientific education. He hoped to see artistic and scientific education in this country raised to a point commensurate with our manufacturing ascendancy. He trusted the Committee asked for by the Motion of the hon. Member would be granted, and that it would enter on its duties with a resolution to bring the matter to some practical result.


said, he did not despair of the capabilities of his countrymen, who, he believed, would still be found unrivalled in the race of the world's competition; and with regard to education he bought that the first duty which that House had to perform was to provide primary instruction for the great masses of the people. His hon. Friend had omitted to mention the great advantage which a man's genius gave to his labour. There were many persons in this country who were continually undergoing a system of self-education, not being much indebted to school education, and to that class the manufacturers of this country owed more than to those who were deeply skilled in science and art. He took a more cheerful view of the result of the Paris Exhibition than was entertained by his hon. Friend. According to the Report of an engineer artizan (Mr. Evans), published under the sanction of the Society, it appeared that in the engineering department of the Paris Exhibition there was nothing to surpass British workmanship for finish and soundness; and that for exactness and perfection of design nothing could exceed the tools of Messrs. Whitworth and Co. In like manner, it was stated in the work published by that society upon the Paris Exhibition that in the watch trade the English, taking quality into consideration, had really nothing to fear. From Coventry two individuals were sent to the Paris Exhibition, and the report drawn up by one of them stated that for the mauufacture of good, plain ribands Coventry had no reason to be apprehensive of rivalry. Speaking generally, he thought that, instead of asking the Government to patronize the British workman, he should himself forego his invocations to Jupiter and put his shoulder to the wheel. The cotton trade was originated by self-teaching and self-help. Within his own recollection Mr. Heathcoat, formerly Member for Tiverton, commenced the lace trade in this country: he had no scientific teaching, but the manufacture succeeded so well that £1,000,000 a year, at least, is contributed to the public Revenue by those engaged in it. He should not despair of the working class, with only that education which he hoped the Government might give, keeping pace with the times; and he hoped manufacturers would keep pace with their workpeople. He would rather see efforts made out-of-doors to educate for particular trades than that the Government should provide that education. To prove that, after all, we were not so far behind our neighbours as some represented, he would mention this fact:—The French were reported to be, from their superior knowledge of chymistry, more skilled than ourselves in the art of dyeing, and yet, within the last fortnight, the manufacturers of Rouen had applied to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce for what information they could give with respect to the common art of dyeing. He did not think that our own workmen were sufficiently appreciated; yet it was well known that they were always applied to where great skill was required for the development of any new branch of trade. In the manufacture of steel it was said we were inferior to Prussia; but he had been assured by one of the most competent judges that we were not behind Prussia in that manufacture. We had formerly produced steel which others had converted into watch-springs; but now that branch of trade had sprung up among ourselves, and watch springs were largely produced in this country. This was a convincing proof that we were not retrograding in the race and struggle of inventions. With only a broad system of education he believed our course was perfectly clear. He had every confidence in the resources of the country, and he hoped they would be left unshackled by the Government, for any kind of patronage would rather retard than develope their resources. He hoped his hon. Friends would not press the Motion for a Committee.


mentioned, as an instance of the want of education among skilled workmen, the fact that, some years ago, he required a manager for a very large and important iron works, and was obliged to give the appointment to a man who could neither read nor write. That occurred some eleven years ago, and he believed the difficulty in procuring educated workmen had scarcely lessened tip to the present day. He hoped the noble Lord would not object to the appointment of a Select Committee upon this question; and he trusted the result of that appointment would be, that some provision would be made to provide a technical, scientific, and artistic education, not, first of all, for the working classes, but for those among whom one would look for managers of manufactories.


, as one well acquainted with calico printing, admitted, that in the higher class of goods the French excelled us in design and colour; but said that, although we imposed no duty, the importation of French prints had increased very slowly, and only amounted to £500,000 a year. Under our system of Free Trade it was impossible we could compete with them in the supply of their description of goods, as the manual labour required in their preparation cost 40 per cent less in France than in this country. He should be the last to oppose inquiry; but they should very carefully guard against any attempt to make grants for education to those who were very well able to pay for it themselves. Though schools of art had been in existence in this country for many years, the subscriptions for their support from manufacturers in all the great manufacturing towns did not exceed a total of £2,000 or £3,000 a year. If our employers of labour did not come forward as they ought to do to provide this education, it was not the duty of the Government to supply their deficiencies. The total number of artizans taught in the schools did net exceed 7,000 or 8,000. A great deal had been said about the Continental system of education; but what were its results? In France the cost per head was nearly double that in this country, and there was very irregular attendance, after all, in the schools, while the technical education which the students received had not enabled them to strike out any new path of practical industry. He hoped if the Committee were appointed its Members would be carefully selected, and that its investigations would be strictly confined to certain definite subjects connected with the progress of our own manufactures. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) stated that our manufactures were losing ground; but how did he reconcile that allegation with the fact that our exports and imports had doubled during the last twelve years, and that, notwithstanding the unfavourable circumstance that our manufactures were liable to a heavy duty at nearly every Continental seaport? All that we required and all that our manufacturers had a right to ask for was that our working classes should receive a sound and solid primary education.


was not at all disposed to dispute the position of the hon. Member for Banbury, with whose arguments he agreed in the main, and with whose general conclusions he concurred; and yet he ventured to differ from him upon a very few points. On the other hand, there was a great deal of truth in what had fallen from the hon. Members for Manchester and for Carlisle. He believed that competition was in a great measure the cause of the present cry for technical education. The hon. Member for Banbury said that during the French war our industries had been firmly established in this country; but that since 1815 foreign countries had been able to make great progress in their manufactures, and in a large degree to supplant those of this country; and that the cause had been their technical schools. There were, however, other reasons which could be assigned for the fact that foreign nations were catching us up in the race. Not thirty years ago there were but few manufactures on the Continent, and but few railways throughout Europe to distribute the produce; whereas at the present time the Continental nations had as many manufactures as we had, and their countries were intersected with railways, by means of which their productions were taken to foreign markets easily and cheaply, to compete with our own. To these circumstances it was due that we were beginning to feel the pinch of competition; our difficulties were not solely to be attributed to our want of technical education. He could, however, not agree with the hon. Members for Manchester and Carlisle in altogether making light of the case of the hon. Member for Banbury. Several deputations had had interviews with him lately on the subject of our manufactures, and had mentioned facts which had startled him much. He had learnt from them that a very few years ago no person abroad could compete with us in the manufacture of woollen goods, whereas at the present time upwards of £5,000,000 worth of wool was annually sent abroad to be dyed and worked up, instead of being manufactured in this country. He had been informed by Mr. Behren the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce at Bradford, that in the year 1864 upwards of £33,500,000 worth of woollen goods were manufactured in that town, yet that even that long-established trade, with all the exceptional facilities which Bradford possessed, could scarcely hold its own against foreign competition; and that at Rheims in France large quantities of our Australian wool were worked up, and the articles manufactured from it competed successfully in the market with those produced by this country. Why was this? Because that abroad they excelled both in their patterns and their dyes, in their art and science. The hon. Member for Manchester said that the dyers in this country were superior to the dyers on the Continent; but was the hon. Member aware that many thousands of pieces of Orleans—a fabric composed of wool and cotton—were annually sent abroad to France to be dyed? Again, with regard to silks, ribands, and velvets: fifteen years ago we imported only one-tenth, whereas we now imported nine-tenths of our annual consumption of those articles. This result was doubtless owing to some extent to Free Trade, but it was also greatly due to the superiority of the dye and finish of the articles made abroad. The hon. Member for Carlisle asked how could we complain of the want of technical education when we had doubled our exports and imports within the last few years. True, our imports of raw silk from China may have doubled, and our exports have increased; but we export the raw silk to be worked up abroad, and we import the manufactured article after it has been worked up. Why was this? Because the manufacturers abroad were superior in their style and finish — that is in their art and science. Mr. Mundella, a well-known manufacturer in Nottingham, had informed him that the lace trade of that town was beginning to fall away in consequence of the design and the workmanship being far inferior to that of Continental manufacture. Doubtless, many hon. Members had seen the Lyons lace which had been exhibited at the Paris Exhibition, the design of which was not a mere pattern, but was shaded like a picture. The lace manufacturers of this country never produced anything to compare with those fabrics. Unfortunately our inferiority was not confined to the lace trade. Messrs. Creed and Williams, in their letters which appeared in The Times last year, stated that France and Belgium supplied the greater part of Europe with iron. French and Belgian productions were fast supplanting those of this country both in Russia and Spain. Yet, Russia and Spain were in the first stage of railway development. This was a most significant fact. To show to what extent foreigners were succeeding in their competition with our workmen he might remind the House that a contract had recently been entered into for the erection of some new buildings at South Kensington; an immense number of iron girders which were required were brought from Belgium, although the contract for the buildings had been taken by an English contractor. Germany had been greatly retarded by the recent war. Yet what we had to fear from that country was sufficiently depicted by the list at the end of the answers from the Kendal Chamber of Commerce, which was among the Papers moved for by the hon. Member for Bradford. The hon. Member for Whitby had stated that in consequence of not being able to find a competent man to fill the post, he had been compelled to appoint as overseer a man who could neither read nor write. Complaints of a similar character were frequent; and he had been informed that in the large machine-making firms of Yorkshire and Lancashire the practical managers were generally selected from Germans who had been educated in the German Polytechnic Institutions. What was the cause of all this? England could boast of workmen inferior to none in energy and talent; she possessed more coal and iron, a cheaper transit, a seaboard, everything, in short, tending to superiority except technical education. Where the effect was different it was due to the only difference in cause. In England, trade was a tradition; it was a rule of thumb handed down from father to son. Abroad it varied with varying circumstances, and adopted new improvements. He could not help remarking that in the course of the discussions last winter upon this subject, no one had ventured clearly to define what it was that he meant by "technical education;" the speeches and articles were all like clouds, up in the air, and therefore led to no conclusion. The hon. Member for Westminster had defined education in his speech at St. Andrew's as "the effect produced on the mind and character by things which, perhaps, might have another purpose." That might be accepted as the definition of the genus, of which technical education was the species. If that were so, technical education must also be a means of forming the mind. The end was not to increase practical skill, but to enable a man to pursue his calling with intelligence. The object of technical education would be not so much to instruct the pupil in the mechanical branches of any particular trade as to make him acquainted with the general laws by which certain results might be obtained; for though the State might have a duty to perform towards the brains of its subjects, it was the workshop alone that could employ hands. He would say that technical education consisted in giving a workman such a knowledge of the natural laws involved in his pursuit that he could apply them intelligently to any case. If the end of technical education were to enable a person to procure, in greater abundance, the necessaries of life, then technical education would have a very low rank. The knowledge of medicine and dietetics are sciences which have for their end the preservation of human life. This is a much higher end. Moreover health has far more to say to happiness than money or an excess of the necessaries of life. Again, if the end of technical education were to increase the wealth of the country, it would rank very low. For to increase the intelligence and raise the character of the nation is a far higher end. If therefore technical education has the importance which is attached to it, it must have for its aim the improvement of the mind, and not the increase of trade. Let them now consider the species of technical education. There was a technical education for the artisans or those who produce for wages, and a technical education for the middle class, or the heads of firms, and those, who manage factories. That for the artizans might be divided into two kinds, one of which—that for the girls—was, he believed, very much neglected, and yet he held it to be the most important of all. In elementary schools girls had to be taught sewing, as an absolute requisite before any grant could be made to the schools. Why was this? Because that sewing would be useful to them in after-life. Yet sewing could have no beneficial effect on their minds. How much more then should we require such branches of learning as would not only be useful in after-life, but will also tend to raise the character and mind. He would teach them how to make homes comfortable, how to bring up and teach infants—in fact, the whole art of household economy. He would give them habits of cleanliness and of thrift. In the Reports of the School Inspectors for this year he observed recommendations that cooking should be taught in elementary schools. It was mentioned that in one parish the church alms were not given to the poor in money; but were used for the purchase of provisions, which were cooked day by day in the schools, and then served out to the poor. The same alms thus served two charitable purposes. The importance of such technical teaching was very great. First, with regard to the nation—it was the wife which gave the character to the family, and the family was the cell of the nation. Secondly, with regard to the working man, the importance of it was shown by a comparison of the homes of the artizans at Manchester. Those of our English artizans were too often comfortless and uninviting, while those of the German artizans, receiving no higher wages, presented a great contrast. The difference arose from the fact that the females in the one case lacked that instruction which in the other had been carefully imparted when young. Thirdly, it would have an effect on our elementary schools. One cause of non-attendance was said to be poverty; it was shown in evidence before the Committee on Manchester and Salford Education, that this arose from the great quantity of money spent at public-houses. Why did the man frequent the public-house? Because his home was uncomfortable and cheerless. Alter this, and his children would attend the school. And, fourthly, this technical education would have a great effect on the girls themselves; it would train them for servants, and enable them to gain an honest, rather than cater for a base livelihood. He turned now to the effects of the technical education of lads. And first, as to the produce. A skilled workman was more productive, and caused less waste and spoiling of materials; so that the production by skilled workmen was greater. By skill he did not mean a knack, but a knowledge of physical laws, and a readiness in applying science. Again, it is frequently the dye of tissues—for instance, the colour of silks or curtains—which determines their sale; and the success of the dye depends on a knowledge of science. The sale of various articles—as shawls, ribbons, carpets—also depended on the design; while the shape of china goods, furniture, or ornaments, often determined the purchaser. This was the result of art. Secondly, as to the man himself. The great enemy to elementary education was what was termed the labour claims. Let them consider that point for a moment. No one rejects that which conduces to his ends in life. If, therefore, you desire that persons should seek elementary education, make it conduce to their aims. What was the end of the working man? To better himself in life. If your education will assist him in this, he will not despise the education which you give him. If you give a man a key to a treasure house, and he knows it, you will need no compulsory law to make him lift the latch. The education imparted in early youth had generally too little in view the advancement in after-life. Boys as a rule received the education which would be proper for a clerk, but other matters which might enable a lad to rise in life as he increased in age were generally neglected. Hitherto the means sought by working men to rise in life were unions to obtain less work and more pay. He believed that they now saw a better way; they were aware that by knowledge they would command a superior position. Their desire for knowledge was proved by the growth of science schools. While in 1860 there were only nine science schools in the country, with 500 scholars, there were in May, 1867, 212 schools, with 10,230 scholars, and in January, 1868, 282 schools, with 12,800 scholars. The existence of working men's Colleges all over the country, for higher scientific education, was an additional proof of the same proposition. They might, he believed, receive encouragement not only from the increasing desire for education which was exhibited by the working men, but also from the great advance which had been perceptible of late years. That advance dated from what was termed the Albertine movement — a movement which had its origin in the Exhibition of 1851, when the newspapers were teeming with articles lamenting the increasing superiority of foreign productions over those of English artizans. The Exhibitions in Paris in 1855, and in London in 1862, were attended with similar effects, but with this difference—that while in 1851 the excellence of French productions excited in the minds of the English a fear lest our nation should be distanced, the two subsequent Exhibitions caused an alarm in the minds of the French which was equally strong. The French were terrified as to their future place in the scale of nations; and the cause of all this alarm was due to the art schools which had been established since 1852. That this was so might be seen from the Reports of the French jurors appointed to attend the Exhibition of 1862. One of these Reports said— The upward movement is visible, above all, among the English. The whole world has been struck with the progress which they have made, since the last Exhibition, in design. … It is impossible to ignore the fact that a serious struggle awaits France from this quarter. The sculptors' Report said— The progress made in sculpture by England has been immense since the Exhibition of 1851. She has made a gigantic advance. The shawl designers—"Envy England her schools of design." The porcelain painters reported that—"The vast progress within the last ten years is due to the immense extension given to the study of drawing." Was not that a great encouragement to us, and a proof that we had taken the right road, and that all we had to do was to continue to travel on that road with patience? The French, in consequence of their alarm, appointed an Imperial Commission to consider the whole subject, and to look for remedies. That Commission recommended, firstly, the introduction of physical science into primary schools. We had done that by the Minute of December 22, 1867. Secondly, the French Commission recommended an increase in the number of evening schools—a matter dealt with by the Bill introduced that evening in "another place." Thirdly, they suggested the establishment of large central schools for giving technical education — a point to which he would presently refer. He would venture to throw out two more suggestions for consideration. Anyone who had been to the institution at Limehouse, or Hanwell Central District School would know the enormous value of places where pauper boys were taught a trade as well as general knowledge. Again, the statistics, contained in the evidence before the Manchester and Salford Education Committee, and relating to the industrial schools at Aberdeen were perfectly astonishing as to the rapid decrease of crime and poverty which they produced. By a Bill passed last year it was made compulsory on every union in the metropolis to have an industrial school, and he did not see why a similar provision should not be applied to every district throughout England. The reformatory schools had been found equally beneficial; and if all beggar and vagrant children were placed in them by a simple order of justices at petty sessions, it might be still more advantageous. What was so powerful to cure would do much to prevent. He now came to the education of the middle classes, in which, he believed, lay the whole gravamen of the charge. The hon. Member for Leeds had admitted as much. The whole tenor of the letter of the hon. Member for Banbury revealed that this was the fons et origo mali. It was said there was a great want of technical education for those classes in England; and it was asked why that want should not be supplied by the State? Now he asked, in turn, why should the State supply it? Eton, Cambridge, Oxford, and all middle-class schools were originated by local endowments; they were not paid by the State. It did not provide general education for the middle classes, and why, then, should it pay for their technical education? What had been the course pursued in regard to the farmer when he felt the effects of foreign competition? The technical education for a farmer is Scientific Agriculture. The State had not aided him by giving him such a technical education; but left him to adopt those mechanical appliances which saved labour, and to find out for himself those scientific processes which yielded the results he wished to attain. Since free competition had been brought about in 1846 the farmer knew that his livelihood depended on his possessing superior knowledge. In the same way, when the English manufacturer felt the pinch of competition, owing to there now being more manufactories abroad and more railways to distribute their produce than was formerly the case, he said it was not the business of the State to give him technical education in order to save him from that competition. Besides, the danger, after all, did not arise so much from want of technical education as from defective morals. An illustration of this was afforded by the practices resorted to by the throwsters and others employed in the silk trade. He took his statements from a letter by Mr. Bennoch, which had been moved for by the hon. Member for Bradford. The goodness of silk depended on its fineness and on its evenness. From China and Japan we procured silk of very different qualities. The Englishman reeled the coarse and uneven silk first, and then covered the reel with the finer and more even silk. The foreigner had been frequently deceived by this means; so that while English reeled silk had been depreciated 25 per cent within the last year, French and Italian silks had risen in price. The same practice prevailed in the throwing of silk. The throwster received, say, 100lbs. of silk at 30s. per pound. When thrown it should yield not more than 95lbs. of silk at 33s. 6d. per pound, and 5lbs. of waste or rough thread. The throwster did not remove the rough thread, however. Again, all silk contained 25 per cent in weight of natural gum; this must be boiled out before the silk could be properly dyed. Yet the throwster left this in, and also soaped the silk to make it smooth. Hence, our silk lost 35 per cent on boiling before it was dyed, and the foreign manufacturer would not look at it. If there was a little more honesty in trade, they would hear less of the cry about competition and technical education. And, moreover, if a trade languished from such a cause, should the State give money to revive it? Technical education, as he had said, was a means of cultivating the mental faculties. He was for giving a man all the knowledge and all the science he could, but he would certainly avoid equipping him for a trade. He would abjure schools for special training. They had already been tried in England. When the "Department of Practical Art" was first started, the object was to educate the artizan for special pursuits. And consequently every effort had been made to carry this out. Special masters were engaged; special classes were established for painting porcelain, metal working, and many other trades. Exhibitions of £40 were given, and every effort was made. But it did not succeed, because there was no demand on the part of the manufacturer for this superior artizan. Or if the superior artizan became a teacher there were no scholars willing to be taught by him; and so, when they had trained him they had made him a useless being. All these things depended on a demand on the part of the public. Hence, what they had to do was to educate the taste of the nation and create a demand, and all the rest would follow; but, of course, that could only be done slowly and by degrees. In 1853, special training was abandoned in England. The French Commission reported to the like effect. They said— It is better to annex the school to the workshop, than the workshop to a school." "The Real Schulen of Germany are found dwarfing to the mind, lessen the culture of the intellect, and lead to materialism. We should therefore teach the sciences which are applied to trades, but not the trades to which sciences are applied. We should aim, not at work, but at intelligence in work. The Dutch taught science in the evening after the day's work. With the French the scientific studies were carried on in the morning, while in the afternoon the practical part of the work was learnt in the different workshops in Paris. With regard to Germany the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson) in his letter said— The apprenticeship schools themselves which I visited, with the exception of the one at Crefeld, drag on a languid existence, and the opinion is almost universal in Germany that for all trades, except those whose conditions approach to that of an art, as the designing and weaving of complicated patterns, and others of a similar kind, the true apprenticeship is in the workshop or factory. The first thing to be avoided by the Government was the giving of special instruction, and the second was the establishment of State manufactories in order to encourage trade. State manufactories would actually stamp out and crush the trade itself. That stood to reason, because a private individual with his limited capital could not compete with the State, whose capital was practically infinite. The private individual had to pay for failures and mistakes, but the State did not smart under its failures. That was seen in the case of the manufactory set up by Louis Quatorze at Sévres. Sevres now stood alone in France. The example of Meissen in Saxony taught the same lesson. Meissen and Sévres were now beaten by Minton. The speech made by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) among his constituents had been referred to. It was a very sensible speech. He said, they ought not to establish central technical schools in England. They were all very well abroad, being all of a piece with the policy pursued, where nothing was done by private enterprize, and everything was done by the State. Here, on the contrary, we left as much as possible to local action, and were jealous of central authority. If in England the Government was to begin to do everything, what would become of their Anglo-Saxon independence? It would soon dwindle away and disappear. But it was said that the foreigner had technical education forced upon him, while the Englishman groped his way, and struggled through failure to success. True; but you might buy central assistance at too high a price. History showed that the highest excellence in art might exist with the lowest moral degradation. Mere beauty of design could not save a State in which public spirit had evaporated. The decadence of a nation would not be stopped by grace in a cup and saucer. If the want really existed, those middle classes who were not ignorant of their interests, nor too poor to attain them, would surely supply it. The hon. Member for Banbury had asked him a question with respect to the new Minute of the 21st of December. Two classes of scholarships had been established by it. The first enabled parents to keep their children at the elementary schools longer than they otherwise would; that had already been applied for by about twenty schools; next came the science and art scholarship, which enabled the pupil to go away from his own neighbourhood to a College where he would study in the highest walks of science. The first of these scholarships was procured by competition among the children at any elementary school; one scholarship being given for every 100 children. The second was reached by competition among the science and art pupils. And thirdly, exhibitions were established which enabled students to proceed for three years to College. Thus the Minute provided a ladder by which the humblest pupil might reach the highest possible position to which education could help a man. The Minute had been in operation only three months, yet its introduction had already been followed by results which promised exceedingly well for the future.


wished to state, with reference to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson) on the subject of London-made watches, that the watch he held in his hand had kept time with a variation of only two minutes during the last ten months.


thought the House should feel much obliged to the noble Lord for his careful statement; he had touched upon many topics worthy of consideration, but his own opinion regarding the defects and shortcomings of our educational system was that the remedy would be found in measures of extreme simplicity. The simple fact was that our elementary schools were insufficient in number and quality, and that the want of good elementary schools, especially those of a supplementary kind, formed the real obstacle to the success of science schools. The remedy would be found in the improvement of our elementary schools, and the establishment of what the Commissioners had recommended—namely, schools which should take up the education of pupils after they had done with the elementary schools. But he was convinced we should be unable favourably to compare this country in point of education with Switzerland and Prussia until we had adopted such measures as were in force in those countries. Mr. Matthew Arnold had made a special Report on the canton of Zurich, which he described as about equal in population to the county of Leicester, and, presumably, not superior in wealth. The people of the canton were notoriously frugal, looking to the material prosperity of their country as much as any people in Europe, and not likely to be carried away by enthusiasm. What they did, it might be presumed, was done because they were satisfied it would pay. The canton had a University, a veterinary school, a school of agriculture, two great classical schools, and, besides other special schools, it had fifty-seven secondary and 365 primary schools. Many of these schools Mr. Arnold declared were among the best in Europe; then, how were these results obtained? Zurich devoted nearly one-third of its public income to education, although the canton possessed considerable endowments, and the parents paid more or less for the education of their children. These facts might serve to show that in any attempt to give efficiency to any new educational system, we must incur a considerable outlay. For his part, he believed that they had better make up their minds to establish a system by which the local expenditure should be locally raised and locally supervised.


said, he understood the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House to have drawn an unfavourable contrast between the state of education in the county of Leicester and in the canton of Zurich. But he (Lord John Manners) did not think it was fair to pick out the county of Leicester for the purpose of that comparison.


explained, that he had merely quoted Mr. Arnold's comparison of Zurich with Leicester in the matter of wealth and population.


observed, that the right hon. Member had given statistics to show Zurich's efficiency in educational establishments; he had said nothing regarding Leicestershire's, and his remarks, unless contradicted, would lead the public to imagine some frightful contrast existed between the state of education in Leicestershire and Zurich. ["No!"] Now, he should state that, as far as he was aware, there was nothing to justify such an imputation. There was one manufacturing town—namely, Loughborough—in that portion of Leicestershire which he had the honour to represent, and he ventured to say that there was no other town in England, or even in the canton of Zurich, which was better supplied with schools for the purpose of both primary and the higher branches of education.


remarked that of all the strange things which had happened during the last two or three years nothing was more strange than the sudden discovery which some persons appeared to have made of what they called the extreme ignorance of our working classes, and more especially of our artizan class. The strange statements he had come across during the last few months had caused him the greatest surprise. Not three years ago a sort of general triumph was going on in the country over the singular progress of our people, and we were called on to rejoice in the marvellous growth of intelligence observable in the working man. This progress was so great that the wealth of the nation had been doubled in twenty years; and what had produced this; The skill of those very men whom it had been the pleasure of some persons during the last year or two to call all manner of names, in some cases hardly respectful. That increase of wealth which had been pointed to with so much pride had been created by those very men who, in his humble judgment, had not received their fair share of it. He might be right or wrong; but he thought it remarkable that they had heard nothing of this extraordinary ignorance both of masters and men, for the masters were not spared by many persons, until a kind of stoppage came in the great race of prosperity which we were running. As a looker-on he had read in the papers reports by those who had been about the Continent collecting information on the subject, and in every such report it came out, as if in a postscript, that those highly-educated and technically-educated workmen abroad always worked longer hours for less money than their ignorant English competitors. Whether it was desired to reduce English workmen to long hours and short pay he did not know; but that, as far as he had read, was the state of things on the Continent under the system so much commended. One gentleman of the name of Mundella, who gave an account of what he had seen at some place in Germany, after having alluded to the vast number of the workmen employed, added that to be sure many of them were without shoes or stockings. Now it might be that some of our fellow-countrymen expended a portion of their earnings in clothing themselves and their families instead of applying it to the purposes of technical education; and if they did so he thought the fact was very much to their credit. He was glad that the noble Lord had agreed to grant a Committee on this subject. His own opinion was that if they would give the people of this country a good elementary education those who had better heads than others would get the scientific education that would enable them to lift themselves out of the crowd. But they could not make seamen except upon the sea, and they could not make skilled workmen except in a workshop. They would only deceive themselves if they thought they could train English workmen in schools to be better workmen than they now were. He should wish to see them become better workmen if possible, because if they were better workmen they would be better citizens. But of all those who had talked about foreign competition abroad, not one had asserted that any particular process had been executed by a number of foreign workmen because they had been technically educated. It leaked out in all these cases that these men had worked longer hours for less money than our own workmen. That might be the secret of the competition for anything he knew. The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson) said something about these people abroad giving great attention to small economies. It appeared that he thought our English workmen quite above these small economies. They could not shut their eyes to the vast race which this country had been running for twenty years, in which men with money and men without money, but with credit, had run into all sorts of trades, their object being to find men who knew that which they themselves did not know. It was not possible that these men should find all that they wanted in that direction. It was, however, marvellous to see the extension of manufactures in this country during the last twenty years, to know how the workmen had been found, how they had adapted themselves to the new state of things, and to see the wealth that they had created. Notwithstanding the wealth these men had created and the sanitary improvements that had been made, it was lamentable to think of the frightful death-rate where large numbers of the people were gathered together. For the last twenty years there had hardly been in such cases any decrease of the death-rate. That was a most serious thing for their consideration. These men had been stimulated by considerable wages to create an amount of produce and wealth that was almost unparalleled, and it was astonishing how the demands of the world had been supplied. These men, too, who were so ignorant, were sent for all over the world to teach these "highly-educated people abroad." He was anxious that every means should be taken to improve the education and condition of every class; but there was something at the bottom of this cry about the ignorance of our workpeople which had been raised during the last two years which he could not exactly see or understand. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr (Mr. Bruce) talked about the agricultural schools of Zurich, but where, he (Mr. Henley) asked, was agriculture in a more advanced state than in England? Where was land to be found of the same fertility which produced a greater amount of produce? Calling men hard names was not a ready way to draw them, and without they had the people with them it was useless to attempt anything for their benefit; but he was sorry to say that during the last few years too many hard names had been applied to many of our fellow-countrymen. These artisans had certainly not had a fair share of that wealth which they had helped to create. It was only about a year and a half ago, in connection with the iron trade at the East End, they heard they must meet the "world's wages." Some gentlemen went over to Belgium, and they published a string of figures. They said that things were cheaper in Belgium but that the work was not so good. He had never seen that the foreign workman, man for man, could turn out more work by the same process than the English workman. But the masters got the work done for less money. He doubted whether, man for man, our men would not work the foreigners' heads off. He could only say that he never saw them put to anything that they did not do it.


merely rose to say that the right hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Bruce), in the remarks he made, did not convey to his mind the idea that he intended to cast any slur upon Leicestershire. That right hon. Gentleman merely drew a comparison between the position of the canton of Zurich and that of the county of Leicester, as affirmative of the advantages which might be derived in the case of that county from the adoption of a system of education which he was known so warmly to advocate, and of which he (Mr. Paget) was a warm supporter. He was not an advocate of all that which was called technical education, because he thought that it was in some measure a work of supererogation. Such was the opinion he entertained of the skill and knowledge possessed by the British workmen, that he had no fear that they would not be able to compete with the workmen of any country in Europe, if only they received the elementary education which would be afforded them by the scheme propounded by the right hon. Member for Merthyr. He did not believe that his native country was behind other counties in regard to education; but he believed that the present system of education might be greatly extended and ameliorated. Much knowledge on the subject, no doubt, might be obtained from our Continental neighbours, and with a compulsory rate, great advantages would result.


, after pointing out that farmers were the only class who had prosecuted technical education for the lust twenty years, remarked, that the farmer and the manufacturing implement maker, the engineers and the manufacturers very well understood their own business—namely, how to make money; but he was convinced that the time had arrived when merely the art of money making would not enable this country to hold its position. In addition to capital and skill it had become necessary to diffuse amongst their workmen a sound scientific knowledge. He was of opinion that next to a good general education a knowledge of mathematics lay at the foundation of the manufacturing prosperity of this country. In three Registrar General's divisions lying on the coal field from Bristol to the north of Yorkshire there were 7,000,000 inhabitants, and instead of there being, according to calculations which had been made, about 70,000 boys in the public schools of that district learning mathematics, there were only 2,098, while the entire number learning natural science, such as it was, was only 1,009, The hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines) had cast some blame on the Universities for not doing their part; but he had reason to know that immense efforts were making in the University of Oxford for the express purpose of enabling it to take its proper place in this country in teaching the general principles of science to all comers; and at the present time that University was spending £10,000 on a department of natural philosophy, limited strictly to the subject of physics. He believed Cambridge was equally alive to the importance of scientific teaching.


, in replying, said, he was glad the noble Lord had acceded to the inquiry he had proposed. With regard to the introduction of workshops into schools, which the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bazley) had supposed that he favoured, he had never contemplated any such plan, which was being gradually abandoned in the Continental schools. As to Grants for middle-class education, he had not proposed the introduction of the system, as the noble Lord appeared to think, for, in point of fact, such Grants were already made in several cases—as, for instance, to the School of; Chemistry and the School of Mines, and a contribution towards the endowment of a chair of engineering had been promised to Edinburgh; but he regarded it as a proper subject for inquiry whether grants of this kind should be continued or increased. As to extended hours of labour, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Henley) in deprecating that system, believing that such labour was in the end the most expensive.

Motion agreed to.

Select Committee appointed, "to inquire into the provisions forgiving instruction in theoretical and applied Science to the Industrial Classes."—(Mr. Samuelson.)

And, on March 27, Committee nominated as follows:—Mr. ACLAND, Mr. AKROYD, Mr. BAGNALL, Mr. BAZLEY, Mr. HENRY AUSTIN BRUCE, Mr. BEECROFT, Lord FREDERIC CAVENDISH, Mr. DIXON, Mr. GRAVES, Mr. GREGORY, Mr. THOMAS HUGHES, Sir CHARLES LANYON, Mr. M'LAGAN, Lord ROBERT MONTAGU, Mr. EDMUND POTTER, Mr. POWELL, Mr. READ, and Mr. SAMUELSON:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Five to be the quorum.