§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £560,711, to complete the sum for Public Education (Great Britain).
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he was sorry to have to ask the attention of the Committee for some time to a statement of dry details; but he would endeavour to strike the balance between two feelings —the desire to have full information, and the feeling that we have arrived at a period of the Session when long speeches ought to be avoided. He was about to ask the Committee for a large sum of money. The whole amount of the Educa- 163 tion Vote for this year was £840,711, which, was an increase of £60,657 beyond that of last year. The Committee would expect him to explain these items, and the reasons for this increase. It was an increase almost entirely for England and Wales, and mainly arose from annual grants for the day and evening schools. There had been a slight decrease of £852 in the charge for the London office, there having been a saving in the employment of copying clerks. There had been an increase, under the head of inspection, of £1,692, two additional inspectors having been required in consequence of the increase in the number of schools and scholars. The item for the normal schools and training colleges was the same as last year—namely, £73,000. The building grants for Great Britain showed an increase of £8,000, being this year £38,000. The annual grants in aid of schools showed an increase in Scotland of £1,200. In England and Wales the increase was large—£49,367. With respect to the building grants for Great Britain, the Committee would see that the actual expenditure for last year was £33,655, as against £29,975 in the previous year of 1868, being an increase last year in these grants of £3,680. He might, therefore, be asked why he now took a Vote for an increase of £8,000. The reason was that the information received by the Department showed—he was glad to say—that there was a greater feeling in the country in favour of education. The demand for education had increased of late, and the increase was mainly for the last half-year. That left £49,367 increase in annual grants, or, in round numbers, £50,000, of which about £44,000 was due to day schools, and a little over £5,000 to night schools. These sums he had analyzed in order to ascertain the cause of this increase, and he found that of the £44,000 increase for day schools, £36,000 was due to the increase in the number of scholars, and £8,000 was due to an increase in the amount of the Capitation Grant. The increase in the number of scholars in assisted schools in the year ending the 31st of August, 1868, was 7⅓ per cent, and a proportionate increase had been estimated for the present financial year, involving an increased expenditure under this head of £36,000. The increase in the amount of the Capitation 164 Grant from 9s. 9¼d. for last year to 9s. 11d. for the present year—an increase which must be regarded with satisfaction, inasmuch as it was an evidence that the children had learnt more—was mainly owing to the Minute of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tyrone (Mr. Corry) having now come into more full operation. The principle of that Minute was that besides the Capitation Grant for reading, writing, and arithmetic a further sum should be given for higher education. The proportionate increase in the number of the children taught in evening schools was 20⅓ per cent. The next point upon which the Committee would naturally require information was what kind of education had been secured for the children by means of this expenditure. For the sake of convenience he should exclude the figures relating to Scotland, remarking, however, that the average attendance of scholars in that country was much larger proportionately than that in this country— one-third of the number of scholars in English schools having to be deducted for non-attendance, from the total number on the books, whereas only one-sixth have to be deducted for that reason from the number on the books in Scotch schools. Notwithstanding this comparison to the advantage of Scotland, he must, however, state that the present system in force in Scotland, in his opinion, was not calculated to meet the requirements of the increased population of that country. Seeing that a special Bill had been introduced with the view of dealing with education in Scotland, he would say no more upon that subject. Now, with respect to England and Wales, up to the year ending August 31, 1868, the number of separate schools assisted by Government grants, which had been inspected, was 7,406. In these institutions there were often separate departments, in which the head masters were independent of each other. The total number of day departments inspected, therefore, was 10,857, and of evening schools, 1,941. These schools provided an aggregate accommodation for 1,663,043 scholars, there being actually on the registers 1,453,761; while the average attendance was 978,521 in day schools, and 55,154 in evening schools. The number of certificated teachers engaged in these schools was 11,102, assisted by 10,677 pupil teach- 165 ers, and 1,253 assistant teachers. The cost of the schools was provided for as follows: — By Government grants, £414,926; by school fees, £420,742; and by endowments and subscriptions, £472,738. Thus, in a population of 21,649,377, we were getting taught in Government schools at a direct cost of, in round numbers, £415,000—at an expense to the parents of £420,000, aided by subscriptions past and present amounting to £470,000, to some extent, about 1,450,000, and substantially rather more than 1,000,000 children in 10,800 day schools and 2,000 evening schools, by rather more than 11,000 head teachers, assisted by 1,250 assistant teachers and 10,500 pupil teachers. So much for the numbers, and now for the results. Out of the total number of children on the registers about 400,000 were under six years of age. He considered good infant schools a good preparation for after education; but it could not be regarded in the light of substantial education. A great deal of delusion had resulted from the comparison made with regard to Prussia on that point, for infant schools were not there regarded as educational establishments. Deducting the number of infants from the roll, there were 1,060,000 on the books of the schools. But of that number there were presented for examination only 640,000 in the day schools and 53,000 in the night schools. The number of children in the day schools who had passed without failure in reading, writing, and arithmetic was 428,850, and 35,572 in the night schools. The percentage, therefore, of the scholars who had passed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, was 67 per cent, and the percentage in the day and night schools was almost exactly the same. In estimating the relative progress that had been made, the increase in the population must be taken into account. Now, the increase in the population of England and Wales, in the course of last year, was about 1 per cent. Bearing this fact in mind we should find a much greater progress in education, and in almost every respect a greater proportionate progress than last year. Thus in the number of children on the registers, the improvement was 7 per cent, as against 5 ¼ per cent last year. The attendance this year showed a similar percentage of improvement—7⅓, against 5½. Of those who presented themselves 166 for examination, the proportion also was increased by 8, against 4½ per cent. Better still, the proportion of those who had passed without failure showed an improved percentage of 10⅓ per cent, against 6⅔ in the previous year. The improved attendance at the evening schools was still more encouraging— 20⅓ per cent, as against 14 per cent; and in building schools there had been, as he stated, greatly increased activity, 41 more having been built in 1868 than in 1867, although in that year, as compared with 1866, there had been a slight falling off. Then, again, there had been a considerable increase in the number of pupil teachers. With all the advantages of the Revised Code, it was no doubt productive, at the time, of considerable discouragement to pupil teachers; but the current appeared to have set in once more in the opposite direction, mainly, he had no doubt, from 'the fact that education was more thought of in the country, and, therefore, boys and their parents believed that the profession of the schoolmaster would be one worth following. The increase of pupil teachers had been 14 per cent, as compared with 4⅓ in the previous year, and though he had not got the precise figures, there had also been an increase in the number of admissions to the training colleges, which was all the more remarkable, remembering the difficulties under which those colleges were labouring. Of the 640,000 children above six years of age who were presented for examination, 67 per cent passed without failure, and even of those who did not succeed it must not be assumed that they failed in all the branches of learning. Ninety per cent passed in reading alone, 88 per cent in writing, and 76½ per cent in arithmetic simply, figures which were all decidedly better than those attained in previous years. The Committee would see from these figures that a great work was carried on by the money voted. He should, however, be misleading the Committee if he were not to state the nature of the examination to which these children had been subjected. From the standards of examination he would take Standard 3 and Standard 6, as those might be considered the great landmarks of the examinations. Standard 3 meant "a short paragraph from an elementary reading-book used in the school." Most hon. Members took sufficient interest in 167 schools near them to know what kind of thing the elementary reading-book in use generally was, and it was only natural that, as the Privy Council examined in these books, pupils should be trained to read with greater facility in them than they could do out of other books. Writing, according to Standard 3, meant "a sentence from the same book slowly read once and then dictated in single words." Arithmetic was defined to mean "a sum worked according to any simple rule as far as short division, inclusive." By Standard 6 was meant, as to reading, "an ordinary paragraph in a newspaper or other modern work;" as to writing, "a passage from the newspaper read over once, and then slowly dictated; and by arithmetic, a sum in Practice or Bills and Parcels." Hon. Members would doubtless agree with him that a child who had only passed Standard 3, and received no more education at school, but went home to an uneducated home, could hardly be said to have got fast hold of a knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic; while a child, on the contrary, who had passed Standard 6 might be supposed fairly to have mastered these difficulties. Now, he found that of the 640,000 children who had been examined, 480,000 were examined under Standards 1 to 3; only 160,000, or a fourth of the whole number, having been examined under Standards 4 to 6. It might be urged that those who had passed Standard 3 would naturally work on to Standard 6; but they could hardly flatter themselves that such would be the case, for neither the teachers nor the Privy Council could compel the children to remain at school. Of 1,450,000 children upon the registers, but 390,000 were over ten years of age, and the proportion of those who actually attended was, probably, still more disproportionate. He had been surprised to find that the half-timers, who were obliged by law to remain at school till thirteen years of age, made so little difference; and he believed that in debates upon the subject there must have been a tendency to exaggerate the effects of legislation, for not more than 55,000 half-timers altogether were to be found in the Government schools. He had done his best to discover how far the educational machinery provided met the actual wants of the country, and what proportion of the children of the labouring classes 168 were brought within the scope of the aid afforded by the State. There appeared to be, according to the Registrar General's letters, about 2,000,000 children in England and Wales between six and ten years of age; and, having gone into the subject with very great care, it would be found, he thought, that in putting one-sixth of these as belonging to the children of the upper and middle classes, he was, if anything, overstating the proportion. Deducting, then, one-sixth from the total number of children in England and Wales, there would be, if the Government schools were universally used, 1,650,000 children of working people between six and ten years of age upon the books of these schools. In point of fact, however, there were only 670,000 children of that age attending the Government schools. According to the same Returns, the total number of children between ten and twelve years of age would be 930,000, which, deducting the one-sixth as before, would leave 775,000 children of the working classes between ten and twelve years of age who might be upon the books of the Government schools, there being, in point of fact, only 250,000. From the children actually upon the register, however, it was necessary to deduct one-third to get at the average attendances. The general result of this calculation would be that upon the books of the Government schools there were only two-fifths of the children of the working classes from, six to ten years, and one-third of the children of the same classes from ten to twelve years of age. But of those actually receiving education there were only one-fourth from six to ten years of age, and nearer to one-fifth than one-fourth of those from ten to twelve years of age. The Registrar General had made a Return as to the number of persons who had been able to sign their marriage lines, and the progress of education had also been gauged by taking the number of boys between the ages of twelve and twenty-one who had been attending night schools, and who were able to pass examinations of the standard from No. 1 to No. 3. It was found that only one-half the boys who had so attended were able to pass in that standard. He had asked his noble Friend the Under Secretary for War to have statistics taken as to the num- 169 ber of recruits in Militia regiments who could read and write. Those statistics were taken in thirteen English and eight Scotch regiments. In the English regiments, of 7,506 men examined in reading, 2,360 could read well, 2,503 could read imperfectly, and 2,643 could not read at all. In writing, 8,563 were examined, of whom 1,657 could write well, 3,302 could write imperfectly, and 3,604 could not write at all. It appeared, therefore, that less than one-third could read well, and less than one-fifth could write well. The Scotch regiments were rather better. Of them, a total of 4,970 men were examined, of whom 1,839 could read well, 2,170 could read imperfectly, and 961 could not read at all; and of whom 1,128 could write well, 2,395 could write imperfectly, and 1,447 could not write at all. Scotland was not, therefore, so advanced that there was not much need of improvement. He found that in one German State—perhaps it was Saxony, the favourite State of his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), and in which it almost appeared that they educated more children than they had—the fact that four recruits out of 800 could not read was regarded as being so extraordinary that a special inquiry into the circumstance was demanded. But he did not think we were much behind the French, for he found in the Report of the French Commission on Technical Instruction, that of 323,000 conscripts 27 per cent were unable to read or write. It must be borne in mind, too, that the French conscripts, coming, as they did, from the midst of the general population, were of a better class than the English Militiamen. But as our population was a small one as compared with that of some Continental nations, we ought not to be content till we were above Continental nations in point of education. This was essential if we would maintain our position. All the children who did come to our National schools did not remain long enough in them, and there was a large number of children who did not come at all within the scope of our system. Only one-fourth of our children were helped by the Education Grant. A good deal of education was given in schools which did not receive grants; but he did not think we could rely on that. He had no wish to underrate what was done in 170 schools outside the system; but the inspectors had been instructed to visit schools which had received aid for buildings, and which do not receive annual aid. There were Reports from most of the inspectors with reference to these schools, and certainly those Reports were not very favourable. There were three great obstacles to the complete success of our educational system. In the first place, the small rural parishes could not qualify for the receipt of aid. Next, there was a large pauper class in the large towns who did not send their children to school at all; and, lastly, there was a class who could not very well do without the labour of their children; and who, therefore, did not keep them at school for a sufficient time. He had already stated that, if the public business allowed, he hoped next Session to bring in a Bill dealing with this question. He hoped that all who could do so would assist the Government with suggestions and co-operation. A great deal was to be done; but it was also true that a great work was being done. A million of children were now obtaining substantial education, and there were 1,500,000 receiving some education. He thought, therefore, it would be most unwise to disregard what was being done under the existing system. Again, a good deal of public money was now asked for National education; but much more must be asked for if the system were to be improved. He must say that the more he looked into the matter the more he felt that it would be unkind to the hardworking, independent parent of the labouring class to relieve him altogether from the payment of fees. He did not believe the difficulty lay in the payment of foes; it lay much more in the endeavour to do without the work of the child. Having thrown out these remarks for the consideration of the Committee, he would conclude with the expression of a hope that in the prosecution of the hard task with which they had to deal the Government would continue to experience that same willing- ness to co-operate on the part of all classes and all sects which had led to the present results and which would eventually have the effect of rendering the system complete.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that thirty years ago he sat upon a Commission which investigated the effects of legacies 171 left for educational purposes; and they discovered that though they were successful in their immediate result they drove away independent efforts and beneficial competition. He believed that these large public grants worked to the same purpose; and they were an imputation upon the parents, with whom the education of the children naturally ought to rest.
SIR STAFFORD NOETHCOTE
said, he wished to say a few words with reference to what was very much a matter of detail. His right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) had very fairly stated that one of the practical difficulties which was found to exist in administering the grant was that of extending the provisions of the Educational Code to the small rural schools. He desired to invite the particular attention of his right hon. Friend when he re-handled or revised the Code to one system, which had been, to a certain extent, tried as an experiment for the advantage of some of the smaller rural schools. He alluded to that particular system which had, on the suggestion of Miss Burdett Coutts, been introduced some years ago, which had been tried at Torquay and other places throughout England, and which consisted in the grouping of small schools and the placing them under the care of an ambulatory master. Under its operation small parishes which could not afford the expense of having perfectly developed schools and trained masters were, nevertheless, able to secure the advantage of having a trained master, who visited their schools from time to time, and assisted the regular masters in managing the schools in a satisfactory manner. Now that system he regarded as a stepping-stone to bringing the small rural schools within the circle of Government aid, for there was a provision which met the case to which he was referring, and enabled the small schools, within certain limitations, to group themselves together in order to get the grant. There were, however, certain limitations as to distance and the size of parishes which prevented the experiment from being fairly tried in many instances. It was provided, for example, that a group should be within a certain distance of a national school capable of accommodating the children. The distance was measured by miles, whereas it ought not to be measured by miles but by facilities of 172 access. He hoped that this point would not be forgotten when the Code was revised, and that the Government would endeavour so to adjust the conditions as to allow this experiment to be fairly tried.
§ MR. MELLY
said, he hoped that this was the last occasion, or the last but one, in which the existing system of education and the present rate of expenditure would form part of the discussion in the Committee, for, as had been shadowed forth in the coming Session, a large and comprehensive scheme, bearing upon the whole country, and especially upon the neglected classes in large towns, to which he had lately drawn attention, would be introduced. He, for one, would be glad to see this Estimate very largely increased, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer need not fear any undue criticism from this side of the House when he asked for ways and means to pay for the education of their children. The education of the now neglected children at any rate will form part of the programme of Her Majesty's Government, and the appeal that has been made by the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Stafford Northcote) carries with it great weight, as showing that the case of the rural districts is nearly as lamentable as that of the great cities. In the counties of Hants, Oxford, Surrey, and Wilts there were 187 parishes, containing no less than 95,000 inhabitants, which had no certificated school at all. He found also that in East and North Devon, which the right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) so worthily represented, there were 195 parishes, some of which have a population of from 3,000 to 5,000 persons, and rentals of from £10,000 to £20,000 a year, in no one of which is there a certificated school. When rural districts present such complete educational destitution, when large cities admittedly swarmed with countless hundreds of young Arabs, the time had surely come when strong measures would have to be applied to settle this pressing part of the question. If they went further, they found that not only was there an absence of Privy Council schools, but practically an absence of all education whatever. The uncertificated schools were universally condemned: the attendance as irregular, the teaching as weak and inferior. Thirty-six thousand children in these schools had been exa- 173 mined, and the verdict was strongly against the teaching they were receiving. The Reports of the Privy Council teemed with such evidence as this—Of the 399 children with regard to whom the inquiry was made at Woodside, while 16 per cent were at work, 43½ per cent were neither at school nor at work. Again, at the Lye, out of thirty-two girls employed as nurses while the mothers make work in nail or chain shops, whom the clergyman examined, only four could read even words of one syllable. They were told that in Cambridge, Bedford, and Huntington shires, good reading was becoming very rare, and uninteresting routine was taking the place of good teaching. Again, all the inspectors but one seemed much dissatisfied with the religious teaching. In Lancashire it was described as in too many cases irreverent and wanting in decorum; in the West Riding as bare and lifeless. In Dorset and Somersetshire, however, the clergy were very active and painstaking, and they were told that the religious education was greatly improved. Such was a not unfair, though very brief, summary of the Reports of the inspectors of England and Wales. Despondency marked their tone. How could it be otherwise? There were three faults in this system, which he hoped was now passing away, to be re-placed by a more courageous, efficient, and comprehensive one. First, not only had it failed in encouraging the erection of schools in those districts which wore totally destitute of education, but it positively assisted in glutting other districts of the country with new schools, which present an array of empty benches. In Worcester and Stafford shires there were 23,000 children at school, and 15,160 empty seats. In South Staffordshire 3.9 per cent of the population attended school last year, while in Germany 16 per cent attended the usual examinations. This was a fair picture of the Privy Council system—in the rural districts no schools and complete educational destitution, hundreds of children little better than savages. In almost every part of the country where there are large industrial populations—plenty of schools, and yet thousands of uneducated children. Some would have them trust to what was called Factory Act legislation; but they were told that the Factory Act actually militated against education. 174"It is a very common practice," said one of the inspectors, "for parents in manufacturing districts altogether to neglect the education of their children until they commence work—that is, until they are eight years old at least. The idea ia, that then, when they are compelled to go to school, they will get schooling enough.Thus, at a time when they were condemning their system of education, because schools were wanting in rural districts, there were actually not less than 700,000 vacant seats in the National and British and Foreign schools of England and Wales. These schools contained 2,000,000 of seats, while the average attendance was only 1,200,000 to 1,300,000 children. In the words of the Privy Council Report—So far, therefore, as any common provision for the kingdom at large, or for any part of it, is accomplished by such a system, the result is accidental, and proceeds, with all the irregularity of accident, from a number of partial and isolated efforts.Hence there was accommodation for no less than 741,032 children, and yet the existing schools were so unevenly distributed over the country that they were only two-thirds full, while some million of children in town and country attended no school at all. The second point to which, in dealing with this question, attention had not been sufficiently directed by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, was this — He had shown that one-third of the expenditure connected with these 1,200,000 children who do attend school was borne by the State, that one-third was borne by the parents of the children, and one-third by voluntary subscriptions. The Report which he had laid on the table showed that the subscribed cost of educating these children was £470,000 a year, and that this sum was subscribed by no more than 194,745 people: thus the education of the children of this country to the extent of one-third is carried on by a voluntary rate levied upon a very small fraction of the population, who subscribed on an average 50s. a head to the cause of education, and who partly educated on an average ten children a piece, in our National schools. Who were these persons? They were told in that Report that they were not the landed gentry, still less were they the farmers, who, in many instances, consideredThat they did a favour to the rector or squire when they sent their children to the village school"—175 they were not by any means the richer portion of the community in the large manufacturing towns; they were the clergy of the Established Church and the ministers of all denominations, who have taken upon themselves the education of the people of this country; and, as was well said in the Report,—The uncertainty of this voluntary action is its weak side… On no part of the public did this uncertainty weigh more fully and onerously than on the clergy. They were the zealous representatives of the common duty,and thus upon them fell the cost and labour of the education of the people. They thus allowed the education of the children of England and Wales, without scheme or system, to rest upon 194,745 persons, and the large proportion of them were ministers of religious denominations, and thus they arrived, of necessity, at the position in which they found themselves. Education was made subservient to religious purposes. Fifteen schools out of sixteen are, as Mr. Lurgan said, the proprietory schools of religious denominations, while only one school out of sixteen is practically open to the child whose parents belong to no congregation or sect. Again, the new schools were erected in one place, where they were not wanted, from feelings of caprice or rivalry by some zealous person who wished to compete with or to excel some other landowner or sect; unbuilt in another place where none existed, by reason of the parsimony or lethargy of the residents, or the absence of any wealthy and public-spirited proprietor. Thus, where the demand was the greatest the supply of schools was actually the least, and where the supply was greatest there was the least demand. Again, it was an obvious fact that under such a system, in which the builder or patron of the schools was its chief, if not its whole support, the death or the removal of any of the principal supporters may be tantamount to the collapse or inefficiency of a. school, and the withdrawal of the means of education from the whole district. The right hon. Gentleman said that the parents were careless of sending their children to school, or anxious to keep them at remunerative work. Why? Because they have had no education themselves, and, consequently, do not know the value of it. What is the remedy for this state of things? The remedy was to be found in the words 176 "compulsory rating" and "compulsory attendance." Not less than eleven inspectors in the Report of 1867, and not less than seven in the Report of this year were in favour, more or less, of some compulsion.What we want," writes one, "is an Act to secure to every child regular schooling for two or three hours a day, or at any rate to punish parents who are found habitually to neglect their children's education.Again, they must give power to parishes, townships, or municipalities, to take sites for the erection of schools, just as power was now given in the case of the erection of town improvements or public buildings, or where there was an unwilling landlord to deal with in making a railway when public policy demanded it. There had been several cases where sites had been refused for schools. If it were right and legitimate to force unwilling landlords to sell land for the construction of railways, still more right and still more legitimate would it be to give such power for the purchase of sites for the erection of schools. Finally, in the language of the Privy Council's Report, so far as any education was accomplished by the present system, the result was purely accidental. But when the night was the darkest, they were nearest to the dawn: a system so freely condemned, must be near to the hour of its reform. He had very great faith in the manner in which this question would be dealt with next Session by his right hon. Friend, and he would make to him but one appeal. Let him bring in a strong and drastic measure, for the stronger the measure the more enthusiasm would it create, and the more support would be accorded to it by both sides of the House. Her Majesty's Government must have learnt this Session that the stronger the Bill they proposed, the more easy would it be to carry it.Let them grasp the thistle firmly, and it would not sting:The hostility of opponents would not be allayed by a weak and halting scheme, while the enthusiasm of adherents would only be aroused by a really strong Bill. The whole country expected, and would insist upon, thorough and complete action upon this question. It was no doubt a difficult subject; but the more courageously its difficulties were dealt with, the sooner and the easier would they be surmounted.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he had heard with satisfaction the statement of the Vice President of the Council (Mr. W. E. Forster), as it showed, like all the right hon. Gentleman's speeches, the great ability and industry with which he applied himself to any subject he took in hand. The right hon. Gentleman had, however, hardly succeeded—as, indeed, it was scarcely possible for him to do—in telling the House anything new on the question of education. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to the chief obstacle to the general spread of education —namely, the value of children's labour. In the absence of any legislation on the subject, there were extraneous causes at work calculated to remove that evil. One of these causes was the fact, which was daily brought home to the minds of the labouring classes both in towns and agricultural districts, that the value of the labour of an educated child was far greater than that of an uneducated child. Again, the immense application of machinery in all industrial pursuits demanded the aid of an educated, rather than of an uneducated person. He concurred in the remark made by the hon. Member who last spoke, that it was upon the clergy, especially in the rural districts, that the great pressure fell in the support of education; and that was a circumstance which might reconcile to the existence of an endowed clergy some lion. Members who were not generally disposed to view the institution of an endowed clergy with favour. He was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council seemed to speak with some hesitation of the prospect of an Education Bill next Session. For his part, he believed that the English constituencies would be very loth to admit any excuse for not introducing an educational measure for England in the next year. With regard to an education rate, his opinion had undergone considerable change. For a long time he felt that there were great and obvious objections to such a rate—and, indeed, he still thought so; but he felt that the mass of uneducated and neglected children in the great towns had got beyond the reach of voluntary effort. He thought that no community, willing to rate themselves for educational purposes, ought to have any obstacles preventing their carrying out their wish in that respect thrown in their way; and he trusted to 178 see a matured scheme of national education presented to Parliament early next Session, having as its basis that denominational zeal which had done so much for the cause.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he could not congratulate the House on the statement of his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Mr. W. E. Forster). He had himself investigated with care the Reports of the Inspectors of Schools, and he must say that anything more gloomy or disheartening it was impossible to imagine. He believed that our expenditure for National education out of the public Exchequer was greater than that of any other country in Europe; we had, in fact, the maximum of expenditure and the minimum of results. The educational grants in the United Kingdom exceeded 1s. per head per annum of the entire population. That was solely for primary education. But in Saxony, where all persons were instructed, and where a good, scientific, and artistic education was at the command of the poorest classes, the grant from the Exchequer, including that for the Universities and the normal schools, was under 7d. per head; while in Prussia, the grant was under 5d. per head. Our present system was exceedingly wasteful and inefficient. There was a waste of energy and power, as well as of money, and the results were most unsatisfactory. There was an average attendance of 1,000,000 in the schools in this country; but there was room for 700,000 more. All the inspectors complained of irregular attendance at the schools, which meant that the child got comparatively no education, and that those who did not attend regularly interfered with the progress of those who did. Of the children attending the inspected schools, only 8 per cent were between the ages of twelve and fourteen, which would give only about 120,000; while in Saxony, with a population of 2,300,000, 101,000 children, between the ages of twelve and fourteen, were in regular daily attendance, and had been in attendance from six years of age. With a population nine or ten times as numerous, we had only 19,000 more children in school between the ages of twelve and fourteen. Only one-fifth of the children of the working classes attended school between the ages often and twelve. During the Whitsuntide vacation he had visited Huddersfield, which was one of 179 the best educated districts in England, and he found that out of 1,094 pupils, all above the age of fifteen, who had been examined and admitted into the Huddersfield Mechanics' Institute, fifty-one had never been to a day school, 357 had been to a day school for three years and under, and 686 had been to one for more than three years, while the following was the result of their attainments: —Writing — moderately, 406; badly, 486; very badly, 141; not at all, 61. Reading—well, 135; moderately, 547; badly, 237; very badly, 129; could not read, 46. A similar investigation had taken place with regard to female education, and he was sorry to say that the result was still more unsatisfactory. Throughout the country the state of female education was most defective; and how was it to be expected that women would make good wives or mothers while such a state of things continued? His right hon. Friend had referred to France, but he hoped England was not going to content herself with merely attaining the position of France with regard to education; for, with the exception of Russia, Spain, and Italy, France was behind every other nation in Europe. His right hon. Friend had alluded to two difficulties that stood in the way of the education of children. Those were, first, the necessities of the parents, and second, the neglect of the parents. It was quite true that parents could not afford to lose altogether the labour of their children; but the difficulty might be met as in Saxony, Prussia, and Switzerland, where the children were sent very early to school, and kept there regularly, before they were fit for labour, so that when the period for labour arrived they had received a pretty fair education. Afterwards, attendance was required at only one lesson a day. His right hon. Friend had invited suggestions; now, he should like his right hon. Friend, during the vacation, to send a Commission to Saxony, Switzerland, or Prussia, and ascertain how much the children earned, and how they obtained such a good education. It would not be believed till they had a blue book on the subject. He was sure that a good education might be given to children without loss to the parents, and that the result would be less crime, less pauperism, and less misery. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able 180 to bring forward a measure of education next year, and that one part of it would be to provide for a responsible Minister of Education, with a seat in that House, whose duty it would be to attend exclusively to that subject, without meddling with cattle plagues, markets, and such things.
§ MR. BUXTON
said, he could not agree with some of the statements of the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Melly) with reference to the alleged destitution of education, particularly in rural parishes. It did not follow, because they had not a certificated master, that there were not many excellent schools. It was a delusion to talk of an utter destitution of schools because it was not considered worth while to have a certificated master. There were excellent school-houses in his neighbourhood in Surrey, and all the necessary appliances of education, provided by the kindness of the richer inhabitants, but yet the teachers were not certificated. The statement of his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Mr. W. E. Forster) appeared to him to prove that in every respect the present system was advancing, and advancing rapidly. It was a great mistake to suppose, because the Government system had not reached more than a certain proportion of the children, that, therefore, our educational machinery was in the like degree deficient. Still, there were shortcomings in many parts of the country, and something ought to be done to carry the system further. If possible they should move tentatively, and if the Government would only try the experiment of compulsory education in two or three large towns—Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham, for instance, where the inhabitants were prepared for it—they would obtain experience which would enable them to apply it more successfully to the country generally. He hoped the Government would take this matter into their consideration.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
wished to make a few remarks on the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, who, he thought, had been, perhaps unconsciously, prepossessed with the inclination to make out a bad case for the present system of education in order to pave the way for a Bill next year. Some of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, moreover, did not, in his opinion, prove 181 quite so much as he appeared to suppose. There was, for instance, his comparison of the number of soldiers who could read and write in our own army and in foreign armies. That was no test of the education which was being given at the present day, but rather of that which had been given a number of years ago. It must be remembered that our system began in 1846, and made progress by very small degrees. The systems of foreign nations were established at a much earlier date. At the time our soldiers were at school, our system of education was only a germ cropping out above the ground. The right hon. Gentleman intimated that education in this country was very bad because the children passed in very low standards, and because a great number left before reaching Standard 3. That was not a test of the education of the children, but of the system of education which the State had selected. It was in consequence of a rule in the Revised Code that no child could be examined two successive years in the same standard. He would explain how this worked. It was the interest of the schoolmaster to make as much money as he could out of the children. This had been the interest of the managers also, ever since the year 1862. But now it was avowedly the object of the masters; for a practice of farming out the schools to the masters had sprung up, and was rapidly increasing. This evil practice had been noticed for some years in the Council Reports. How, then, did the master endeavour to make money out of each child? For that purpose he placed him at first as low as possible—thus, if he was as much as seven years of age he entered him on the books as six, and thus he got the first years' grant, of course, without examination, and without reference to results. The next year he would take care that the child was examined in the lowest standard; for if he were examined in a higher standard he might fail to pass the next standard in the succeeding year. Thus the child was always kept as low as possible in order that he might, without difficulty, secure the grant every year. At last he attained the age of nine years, when he must go to labour, without having passed the 3rd standard. The right hon. Gentleman himself adduced a proof in support of this argument when he 182 admitted that the Scotch in their astuteness evaded the very thing which made our education appear worse than it really was. He was aware that the Scotch every year repudiated payment by results according to examination in the standards; so that it was not the interest of a Scotch schoolmaster to keep the scholars back. The right hon. Gentleman, in estimating the number who were receiving education, took off one-third of the children, whose names were on the registers, for non-attendance; but the proportion of those who attended he had always understood to be 76 per cent of those whose names were on the books. That was the proportion which had been given by the Royal Commissioners. According to the Estimates there were 1,060,654 children between six and ten years of age on the registers, and 978,521 in average attendance. The number of children in average attendance likewise increased enormously each year. During the past year the increase was 84,000. Again, the mode in which the average attendance was arrived at, according to the rule given in the Revised Code, was deceptive. The number of attendances was added together, and their total was divided by the number of times the school had met. No reliance could be placed upon such a mode of calculation. Suppose that four children each attended school 200 times in the year, that was equal to 800 attendances; but if the school had met 400 times, the average attendance would be counted as that of two children only. Of the poor children so attending 200 times, those who had fair abilities would pick up a decent amount of learning in the year, yet, according to the rule of computation, two of their number would be wholly ignored in the Returns. The poor, again, were necessarily a migratory population, and the children attended whatever schools happened to be nearest their temporary dwelling. According to another rule a child was not examined, and therefore would not be counted at inspection, unless his attendances, during the year, amounted to 400; yet it might have attended 200 times in each of two different parishes. It appeared that 42.3 per cent of the children were at the same school for less than a year. The great increase in the number of schools built during the past year, to which 183 the right hon. Gentleman had referred, showed one of two things, either that a great and increasing desire for education existed throughout the year, the amount contributed by Parliament being quadrupled by local subscriptions; or else that a slight relaxation, during the year 1867–8, of the stringent provisions of the Revised Code had given a beneficial stimulus to the building of schools. This increase had taken place during the last year that he (Lord Robert Montagu) had been in Office. The excess of increase over the preceding year was, perhaps, due to the fact that the rules were interpreted with the utmost latitude that the letter of the Revised Code would allow. He would suggest that, in the building grants at least, the Department might, with advantage, allow a little relaxation. Till May 4, 1859, building grants were given at the rate of 6s. a square foot, counted over the area of the residence as well as of the school-room. In 1859 the allowance was reduced to 4s. a square foot over the area of the school-room merely; £100 being allowed for the teacher's residence. And on the 21st of January, 1860, this niggardly amount was still further cut down, the grant being reduced to 2s. 6d. a square foot for the school-room, with an allowance of £65 merely towards the residence. The cost of building a school was, as nearly as possible, £5 for every child that it was meant to contain; and as the State required an area of ten square foot per child in the school-room, the State allowance was at the rate of £1 5s. per child, three-fourths of the whole amount having thus to be raised locally. The same sized play-ground was required for a large and for a small school, so that the building of a small school was a much heavier charge comparatively upon the district than the building of a large one. What was the result? All large parishes and rich parishes were already well supplied with schools. Those parishes which were deficient were those, the sparseness of whose population was such that only a small school was required. It was these poor and thinly-inhabited parishes which could not come up to the Privy Council requirements. In the interests of these poor parishes, he suggested that the onerous condition as to the quantity of land might be relaxed, and the rate of 184 allowance for the building increased. It was hard to follow all the figures which had been poured out so rapidly by the right hon. Gentleman; but he seemed to contend that there were 2,000,000 children between six and ten years of age, in England and Wales, of which one-sixth belonged to the upper and middle classes of society, and that only one-fourth of the children of the working classes between six and ten years of age, who ought to be at school, ever went there. As the hon. Member for Surrey had already pointed out, the right hon. Gentleman was speaking only of the Privy Council schools, and took no account of the numerous private schools belonging to the National Board, to large firms and factories, to rich landowners, and to private persons, all of which were not aided by the Government. There were many schools quite as good as those under the Privy Council, who either did not employ trained masters, or who, on other grounds, did not wish to submit themselves to the Privy Council rules; to most of them children of the classes mentioned had access. There were other schools so rich that they needed no Parliamentary aid, and cared not for Privy Council interference. The total number of children between three and fifteen years of age was ascertained to be 6,849,128; and without disputing the figures of the right hon. Gentleman, it certainly seemed as if 2,000,000 was a large number for those between six and ten years only. And if the numbers at reformatories, Birkbeck and factory schools, the schools belonging to religious denominations, collegiate and middle-class schools, were taken into account, there would not be left so large a margin of destitution. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of a measure which he hoped to bring forward next year to extend Government education over the whole country. He sincerely hoped that the right hon. Gentleman might be successful in bringing forward a measure that would be satisfactory to all parties, but the difficulties in the way were very great indeed. From the wording of the Report, he could perceive that the tendency of the scheme in contemplation was towards a scheme of secular education, of rating—
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
begged the noble Lord's pardon. He had never used the word "rating" from beginning to end of his speech.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
said, the word "rating" had certainly not been used in the observations of the right hon. Gentleman; but the wording of the Privy Council Report, which he had laid upon the table, made it quite plain that the scheme was to be a scheme of rating. Those who endeavoured to introduce a rating system would find themselves obstructed by considerable difficulties. And why should it be resorted to? Because the present system had failed? It has not failed; for the intention with which it was established was not to overrun the country, but to encourage and help local voluntary effort; and in doing so it had to encounter prejudice, indifference, and labour claims. But you say, "Education does not spread fast enough by the voluntary system," and so you fly to rates to force the reluctant. What is the obstacle which you propose thereby to overcome? As had been already remarked, the chief cause of the non-advance of education was the apathy and negligence of the parents, who kept their children from school for the purpose of obtaining the money that their labour would produce. There was already more accommodation for them than they needed; but they did not go to a school, because their parents could not afford to dispense with their labour. It was hoped to meet that obstacle by rating; he contended that that would not remove the apathy or indifference of the parents in preferring the produce of the child's work to its education. The real object of those who supported the introduction of a rating system appeared to be to relieve the Consolidated Fund from the charge now incurred for the purposes of education, and to shift the burden on to the shoulders of the landowners. In his opinion, such a scheme was calculated to retard rather than advance the cause of education. If such a system were to be adopted, the clergymen who now took a great interest in the schools, and who largely subscribed towards their support with the view of increasing their flocks, would regard them with indifference when the secular system, which was inseparable from the rating system., was introduced into them. A clergyman at present did all he could to advance the school in his parish, because of the religious influence which it gave him. He looked upon the school as the nursery of his congrega- 186 tion,, and upon all the children in it as members of his flock. But a rating system must be a secular system, just as a voluntary system must be a denominational system; for it is the governing body which determines the character of the school. The first effect of a rating system of secular education would therefore be, that the clergyman would say— "I will have nothing more to say to the school, as it will give me no more religious influence." In that way all the voluntary supervision of the clergyman, and all his efforts to get the children to the school, would be lost. The rich landowners, again, who now built and aided the schools with money, labour, counsel, and supervision, would not continue their subscriptions when they had to pay a heavy rate towards their support; and if they ceased to subscribe for a school, they would cease to patronize it, and take it under their care. Lastly, the poor man would undervalue that which was offered to him gratuitously. For a rate-supported school would be a free school; and the artizan would prefer to indulge his feeling of independence, and select and pay for the schooling of his child. The hon. Member for Sheffield had spoken of the evils of the denominational system, which rendered it necessary to send three inspectors down to a district where one would be sufficient. But though it was easy in theory to have undenominational inspection, in practice it was the most difficult thing in the world. Moreover, by doing away with the present system they would break faith with every religious body, and make all those bodies turn against them. He had reason to believe that the Vice President had not studied that long controversy on the Management Clauses. Bach of the religious bodies had its special conflict with the Privy Council, and fought over every word of the Model Trust Deed under which its schools were to be settled by an irrevocable compact with the State. The duration of these conflicts was twelve years. In each case a settlement satisfactory to both parties was arrived at, and a treaty of peace was signed. The result was that deeds were framed under which each of those bodies was allowed to retain a veto upon the appointment of inspectors. Now, if only one inspector was to be sent for the inspection of a certain area, either the Government 187 would have to select a person to fill that office who would run the gauntlet of all these vetoes, and meet with the approbation of all these various bodies—a possibility not likely to be realized in practice—or else the Government would have to break faith with the religious bodies, and set the Management Clauses on one side, and take away the power of veto on the appointment of inspectors. Nay, more; the 13,000 deeds under which the existing schools had been settled would have to be regarded as nought, and the sanctity of compacts would have to be done away with, and the faith and pledges of a Government would have to be regarded as of no value. If such a breach of faith were committed, it would be most detrimental to education by the State; for all the religious bodies would become its enemies. In conclusion, he would ask hon. Members what was the object the State should have in view in regulating the education of the country? It should be borne in mind that the State may not educate the people for the advantage of the individuals, but only for the good of the whole community. It was not the object of State education to offer commercial advantages to individuals, nor to aid them to get on in life; nor was their end merely to give men more learning; because many of our worst criminals had been persons of eminent attainments, showing that learning alone did not satisfy the needs of the State; but its object was to do that which would tend to the advantage of the community generally. The object of any education provided by the State should be to make a united and virtuous nation. But a system of secular education was not likely to bring that about. Mere secular education could not make anyone virtuous. The proper means to that end were good discipline, forming habits of self-control, sound moral education, and the restraining influences of religion. No amount of mere knowledge ever made a vicious man virtuous. Whenever an Education Bill was brought in, whoever had the charge of it, should state frankly what was the object which he had in view, and how he proposed to adapt his means to the desired end.
§ MR. DIXON
said, the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) had criticized not only what the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had 188 said, but also what he did not say. He (Mr. Dixon) regretted that the noble Lord should have ascribed the exertions of the clergy of the Church of England, with reference to the schools in their parishes, to such low and paltry motives as that of merely seeking to make converts. The noble Lord had asserted that the right hon. Gentleman had intentionally made out a very bad case, as regarded the present system, with the view of preparing the way for the Bill he intended to introduce upon the subject of education in the course of next Session. It appeared to him, however, that, on the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman had made out too favourable a case on behalf of the present system, when he stated that the progress made during the present year was greatly in advance of the progress made last year. He (Mr. Dixon) did not regard the advance in the number of pupils in the schools as being proportionate to the increase in the population. The right hon. Gentleman had founded his statement upon the number of children in the inspected schools without remembering that the increase in the number of those children did not establish that a proportionate increase had been made in the number of scholars throughout the country, inasmuch as many of these children were, in the previous year, in uninspected schools. He agreed with the noble Lord that notwithstanding the considerable increase in the Parliamentary grant of the present year towards school buildings it was still insufficient. The noble Lord appeared to him to attach too great importance to what was being done in the unaided schools. The right hon. Gentleman, towards the close of his speech, made use of a few words, at hearing which, he must confess, he was greatly disappointed, because they led him to infer that the right hon. Gentleman stood somewhat in awe of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the Secretary to the Treasury, who occupied something like the position of dragons in reference to the national expenditure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, great a man as he was, was not the only person to be considered in dealing with the question of education. The opinion of the country at large was of still more importance; and representing, as he did, a constituency of working men, he felt bound to tell the 189 right hon. Gentleman that he need not have so much regard, as he seemed disposed to have, to the convenience of the taxpayers. There was a feeling growing up among the working classes in this country, which would shortly find expression on the hustings, and that was, that education was a matter of absolute and prime necessity. It was, in fact, the first point in the political creed of the new constituencies that education of the best possible character must be given, and be given quickly, to the people. All other considerations were of secondary importance; and while he by no means desired to advocate a lavish expenditure of the public money, he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that the working classes, who looked to the right hon. Gentleman with so much confidence, would be greatly disappointed if he were deterred from carrying out an object which they had so greatly at heart simply by considerations of finance.
§ MR. READ, while fully concurring in the congratulations which had been applied by the speaker who had preceded him to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, and expressing it to be his conviction that no money could be better laid out than that which was spent on the education of the people, said, he believed that the return from the expenditure of the present grant was proportionably more satisfactory than that which had been obtained from the outlay of a smaller sum a few years ago. As to the alleged backwardness of education in agricultural villages, owing to the fact that they possessed so few schools under Government inspection, he might mention that, in his own parish, there was a good school attended by about ninety children, and that the master having been there for nearly twenty years, there was an an indisposition to turn him adrift and obtain Government assistance by procuring the services of a certificated master in his stead. Another parish close by happened to be so divided into different hamlets that it was found better to have four separate schools than one large one. There were, in the rural districts, a considerable number of little parishes which had not the means to obtain a certificated master or mistress; but the education in many of those small schools was, he believed, satisfactory. With respect to 190 the taunts which were thrown out as to the ignorance of the agricultural classes, he would merely observe that, so far as he could see, their children were now quite as well educated as the children of people residing in towns. He found, from what was not, perhaps, a very satisfactory test, that the number of males who were able to write their names at their marriage was greater in the agricultural districts than in towns; while, in the case of females, the comparison was still more favourable to the latter. Education, he might add, was, no doubt, a great and good thing; but he was afraid, nevertheless, that too much was, in these days, made of book-learning. It was considered, a few years ago, impossible to have an educated pauper; but we had now an educated pauper class, which was, he feared, as bad and as vicious as any class in the country. As to the number of schools, there was the great drawback, not so much that they were not numerous enough as that the attendance at them of the children was not sufficiently early and continuous. If children were sent to school young, and remained regularly until the boys were ten and the girls twelve, in the rural districts much benefit would, he thought, be the result. He had always been in favour of compulsory education to the extent that if a child could not read he should not work. He believed that, although the education given might not be entirely satisfactory, education was progressing favourably on the whole; and he hoped that if a Bill dealing with the subject were introduced next year, it would proceed not in the direction of revolution, but of substantial reform.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, he could not help being reminded by the present state of the House of a somewhat remarkable sentiment which he heard uttered the other night in "another place," when the question raised was as to the granting of loans for education—that education was a good thing, but eating was better. In the contest which he stood at the last General Election there was no subject brought more prominently under his notice than the question of education, and he then found that there was an intense feeling on the part of his constituents against compulsory education and a compulsory rate. Now, though he was not in favour of either proposal, yet he could not consent to 191 things being left as they were, and he was anxiously looking forward to means which might enable them to remove from this country the stigma which rested upon it, in spite of all the attempts to make matters look better by statistics of various kinds. No doubt much that had been said about the condition of education in the agricultural districts had been overstated; and he quite agreed with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Read) that if a fair comparison were instituted between education in towns and education in the agricultural districts, it would be found to be rather in favour of the agricultural districts. At the same time, there were extensive districts in which neither the employers nor the owners of the soil were doing anything towards education, or in which the clergy were subscribing more than then-fair share. The apathy, especially among the landowners, was most disheartening. He believed much of this state of things was owing to the defective state of local government; and as long as the occupiers of the soil were called upon to pay rates which they had no voice in administering, there would be an opposition to any additional rate for education. If he might, therefore, venture to touch upon another subject, he would say that he hoped the Government would withdraw their measure upon County Financial Boards for the present year, and would introduce one next year that would go much more to the root of the matter. For he was satisfied that in this great work of education the House must look not only to the clergy and the landowners—and he must admit they had not got much from the latter—but also to the employers of labour and the parents of the children. Children were not to be educated by a sort of prescription, issued by the State physician, with directions to apply to the nearest shop for education. Unless the parents were educated we should never have an educated people, at least in the agricultural districts. He would be glad to learn that the Government intended to employ the inspectors, during the course of the Recess, in a district inspection. At present they spent a good deal of money in sending perhaps three inspectors to one district to visit the National, the Roman Catholic, and the British schools; he trusted inspectors would be sent to the surrounding districts, where there were 192 no aided schools; and it would be found, perhaps, that some of these were better than they thought, while others, he feared, were worse than it was possible to imagine. He would also suggest it as a subject for consideration whether they were not proceeding upon too rigid and uniform a system, applying the same system of education to thinly-peopled districts as to large towns. In the former there should be small schools; at least he knew that in West Somerset and North Devon there were districts where they must have small schools if they were to have any education at all. He hoped the House would excuse him for going into these details; but he felt that they were not so much discussing the Estimates provided for this year, as they were feeling their way to a large and comprehensive measure for next year. For himself, he fully appreciated the great efforts that had been made by the friends of the denominational system; and he hoped this House would not fall into the mistake committed by the Education Minister of the last Government (Lord Robert Montagu), who attributed those efforts to a narrow sectarianism. He had no fear that the present Government would fall into the mistake of the noble Lord. In their Cattle Bill, as well as in other measures, they had exhibited a spirit that was truly liberal—that was to say, they had shown a disposition to govern, not for the people, but through the people; and they appreciated the necessity of carrying the people with them in all their measures. He thought he might also congratulate the House on the fact that it was now admitted that a sound religious education might be given while the religious rights of others were respected, and that the resistance to the Conscience Clause would no longer form a barrier in the way of national education.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, the Returns showed that in the country there were 2,700,000 children under ten years of age, and 2,400,000 between ten and fourteen. Now, the difficulty in securing for the poor a substantial and lasting education was in the irregular attendance of children after they were ten years old—up to which time what was learnt was learnt mechanically, and was not remembered—or in their removal from school altogether, in order that by their work they might 193 contribute to the support of the family. The result at present was that one-third of those under ten were on the school books, but only one-sixth of children over ten. He did not believe that any education would be effectual until the older children were, to a certain extent, subsidized by the State—say that, in. addition to the allowance to the schools, 1s. 6d. a week was given to each child. It was a lamentable fact that of the 2,400,000 children between ten and fourteen, there were only 388,000 who presented themselves for examination, and that of the children that were brought under examination the half did not remain at (school more than one year. It appeared that while £560,000 was spent on education proper, £90,000 was spent on the machinery, and he would suggest that a considerable saving for the purposes of a State subsidy might be effected by localizing the inspectors, whose salaries were £36,000, and personal expenses over £32,000 a year. In Ireland a large number of the inspectors were localized, and the result was that their personal expenses were small. In the county in which be lived they had no lack of schools, and the landlords, the clergy, and the tenants were all willing and anxious to encourage education as far as they could, but the difficulty was to get the children to come to the schools. A species of bribe, in the shape of school treats and excursions, was there held out to induce the children to attend for the number of days that was necessary to admit them to the examinations. He believed that local inspectors, who knew something of the character of particular districts, and could discriminate between the agricultural and the town populations, would do better than inspectors sent from head quarters; and the saving that might be effected in the salaries of the latter class of officers would enable them to offer a small grant of 1s. 6d. per head or so for every child over ten or eleven years of age who had attended school for a certain number of days in the year. Some slight incentive of that kind would, he believed, tend to counteract the temptation which poor parents were under to accept any amount of employment for their children instead of keeping them at school. Its working would, he thought, be satisfactory, and it would give a permanence to education which was now greatly wanting.
§ MR. BAINES
said, he could assure the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) that the majority of children attended school for much more than a year. They might not attend the same school all the time, but their gross average of attendance was greatly above a year; he believed it was more than five years. He wished to offer his tribute of thanks to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster) for his able speech and for the judicious views he had expressed on the subject of education. In the very populous districts with which both he and the right hon. Gentleman were connected the sentiment on behalf of popular education was universal. The extreme apathy and great prejudice which formerly existed in reference to that question had entirely vanished; and but one feeling now prevailed,—namely, that every child in the country ought to receive education; although how that end was to be attained was, no doubt, a matter of considerable difficulty. The recent extension of the suffrage supplied a strong argument for a wider diffusion of the benefits of education. He believed that the limits of the elective franchise far exceeded the limits of education, and the safety and honour of the country demanded that such a state of things should be corrected. Still, great progress had been made within the present century in the spread of popular education. At the commencement of this century the education of the people in England was most deplorably neglected. In 1818, the number of scholars in daily attendance was only 674,000, and, in 1858, it had risen to upwards of 2,500,000. A pamphlet issued by the National Society, the other day, proved a most triumphant case for that society; and, as one who did not belong to that institution, he was happy to render the tribute of his admiration to the immense efforts in the cause of education made not only by the clergymen connected with it, but also by their congregations; and he should conceive the abstraction of their energies from the work of education to be one of the greatest calamities which could possibly happen. In 1831, the number of scholars in daily attendance in Church schools under the cognizance of the National Society was only 380,248; in 1837, it was 470,188; in 1847, it was 955,865; in 1857, it was 1,187,086; and, in 1867, the number had increased to up- 195 wards of 1,505,856; and including night schools, but excluding dames' schools, the number was 1,654,437. Since 1830 there had been a sixteen-fold increase in the circulation of periodicals, newspapers, and other works of popular literature. He trusted, therefore, that his right hon. Friend would have great encouragement and good materials to work upon when he should produce his plan next year. He had a strong conviction that by the extension and improvement of the half-time system of labour and schooling a great deal might be done in the agricultural districts. His hon. Friend the Member for Devon (Mr. Acland) and the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Read) had said what was quite true, that many of the agricultural districts were ahead of the manufacturing in regard to the numbers who were being educated. Mr. Paget, the late Member for Nottingham, had originated a system for the children on his estate which had worked most admirably, and he had told him (Mr. Baines) that the labourers were much more valued now that they were educated than they were before. Mr. Paget's was a half-time system, not precisely a half-day, or half-week, or half-month system, but a system which enabled children to continue their profitable labour, and to remain under education to a much more advanced age than they would otherwise be able to do. There was a large number of children in this country who went to school for four or five years, but who afterwards forgot not only writing but reading too. And here he would wish to pay his tribute of respect and acknowledgment to the zeal with which the late Government attended to the representations which he, for one, had made for the extension of the grants to schools, which by the original conditions of the Privy Council were excluded. There was a class of schools, especially those of the Nonconformists, who were most anxious to have religious education given along with secular; but, owing to their principles, they would not take Government money which seemed to be given for the teaching of religion. They therefore abstained for a long time from receiving any Government grant for the schools. At length—and he must confess himself to have been one of those who had undergone conversion—they had come to the belief that they might, 196 in consistency with their principles, take the money for secular education, while they supplemented it by giving religious education themselves. The noble Duke (the Duke of Marlborough) and the noble Lord opposite (Lord Robert Montagu) met him in the most frank spirit, and the noble Duke introduced a Bill in the other House to enable the Privy Council to make grants to all schools that gave secular education, provided they made it plain to the inspectors that the secular education was good. And here he would say that he attached the greatest possible value to the system of inspection. He believed the two main conditions of success were—first, the excellence of our inspection—the ablest men being sent to do the work; and, secondly, the perfect liberality with which all religious denominations were treated. He was glad to see the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) and the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) present, both of whom, he was happy to acknowledge, had displayed the same enlarged spirit of liberality. He thought that if they extended their grants to the smaller schools in the country which found a difficulty in meeting the present requirements of the Government, the results would be most beneficial. He trusted also that permissive powers would be given to communities like Birmingham, which were desirous to have the power of rating themselves in order to supplement that education which was at present neglected. He was not opposed to secular education where no other system was practicable; but he hoped we should never see a system established in this country from which religion should be compulsorily excluded. How was it possible that where, under the National Society alone, 1,500,000 children were taught, we could think of introducing a system of that sort? He was sure that other denominations in this country would be found as zealous in promoting religious instruction, and it was that which formed the character and the man. By all means, then, let us have fair play for the religious element, and then he trusted that, by the combination of secular with religious instruction, all the children in this country might receive a full education.
§ MR. WHEELHOUSE
said, he was most anxious to see every child in the country, no matter what his condition 197 in life, educated—at all, events, to a certain extent. He believed the country to be extremely deficient in the matter of education. But he thought there were one or two points deserving of consideration before the introduction of any measure on the subject. He agreed with the suggestion which had been thrown out relative to the appointment of a Commission to ascertain the several systems in operation in different countries, so as to form a basis for future legislation in this country, and thought it might be desirable to try some experiments in our larger towns, for the purpose of ascertaining whether it might not be possible to reach one class which had scarcely been touched by any class of educationalists. Large numbers of children were known to the State only through the policeman and the magistrate, and if left uncared for they would develop into habitual thieves, harmful to themselves and to all with whom they had to do. It was better to spend money in educating such children than in maintaining gaols for their reception. He could not help thinking that' much more might be done by the extension of the half-time measure, and an alteration in the mode of carrying it out, and would suggest that half the week should be spent at work and the other half at school, instead of spending one-half of each day at work and the other half at school.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he was sorry to cut short a debate which had proved so fruitful of suggestion; but it rather bore upon a question not before the House. It indicated pretty clearly, however, the kind of measure both sides of the House wished to see introduced as early as possible. He entirely agreed with the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines) in his remark with regard to the extension of the Government grant to secular schools; but, while admitting the liberality of the late Government on the subject, observed that the whole matter had been postponed in the belief that a general measure would be introduced next year. The hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) had proposed a Commission to the Continent. If in existence, the Report of such a Commission would be no doubt useful. But as it was the duty of the Government to be ready with a Bill next Session, they must set to work upon it immediately, and there was really no time to wait for 198 more information, which, in truth, was not needed. The difficulty was, not to obtain knowledge of the existing state of things, but how to meet the difficulties which beset the question on every side. Referring to what he had said respecting militiamen and young men who had left school eight or ten years, his noble Friend (Lord Robert Montagu) seemed to infer that he was attributing the facts to the operation of the Revised Code; but it was the old system and not the new one which was responsible for them, as they were the result of a state of things which existed before the Revised Code came into operation. It was his own opinion that there had been a decided improvement within the past few years, and he doubted whether five or six years hence a similar Return respecting boys who had left school would be so unsatisfactory. He was sorry to say that one-third must be deducted from the register to get at the average attendance. He wished success to the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) in his efforts to induce the tax-payer to care little what sum was paid for taxation, but the Government must consider not merely the feelings of those who would willingly tax themselves, but the feelings of the whole population, including those who were not earnest in the cause of education. He had reason to hope that throughout the country less and less importance was being attached to the mere question of money, but they must still expect difficulties to arise from that source. Under any system he believed it would be unwise to relieve parents of the one-third which they now paid, because they could not be safely relieved of their responsibility for their children. It was not to the interest of the cause of education to relieve parents of their liability, because success must depend largely upon their co-operation. Nor did he wish to get rid entirely of the large sums contributed for educational purposes by benevolent persons. It was true the acceptance of their aid involved some disadvantages, such as too many schools in some places and too few in others; yet they brought to bear an amount of zeal and interest which no one who had the cause of education at heart would utterly refuse, but would rather seek to make the best of, and, if necessary, to supplement. The Government had the subject of educa- 199 tion under consideration; but at present they had come to no definite plan or scheme upon the subject, and it was unadvisable then to say anything in reference to it other than that the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) in what he had stated had merely given the Committee his inferences from the Report, and he ventured to add, with very little ground for making these inferences. He wished, however, to remind the Committee that an educational rate did not necessarily imply free schools. As the half-time question had been frequently alluded to, and could not escape the attention of any Government, he would say that the result of his experience was that in the textile fabric manufactures there was great advantage in having children at school half the day, and at work the other half; but how to apply half-time to other employments, and particularly to agriculture, was one of the most difficult of questions. Undoubtedly the rule which answered in the case of the textile fabrics might utterly fail in that of agricultural labour. No one was more sensible than he was of the difficulties which surrounded the question of education, but he felt, as he believed Government would feel, encouraged by the tenor of the discussion that evening.
§ MR. E. POTTER
said, he thought justice had hardly been done to one part of the question, and that was this— there was a large part of the population who could not afford to pay for the education of their children, and who must, therefore, be dependent upon the State. He did not believe that any measure would do the good required unless it involved the State in considerable outlay for the classes too ignorant to appreciate education, and too poor to pay for it. He would not on any account meddle with the present system; the object was to reach a class whom the present system did not touch; and that could not be done without resorting to compulsion, which was eminently unpopular with the working classes. It was not merely the school pence, but the loss of the earnings of their children, which would weigh with persons whose wages averaged 15s. or 16s. a week; and, having regard to these things, he feared that any measure which did not embrace free schools would be an abortive one.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the 200 Council (Mr. W. E. Forster) at the commencement of his remarks had spoken rather depreciatingly of the Scotch system of education, but he (Colonel Sykes) begged to state that there was no country in the world, not even excepting Prussia, where compulsory education had been adopted, where so large a proportion of the people could read and write. Lord Advocate Gordon stated in the House of Commons that 1 in 20.5 of the population in Scotland attended schools; 1 in 24.9 in Prussia; and only 1 in 50.7 in France. What was taught in the parochial schools of Scotland was not merely the "three R's." He held in. his hand the reports made by the inspectors of forty-five parochial schools in Aberdeenshire, which he had shown to his right hon. Friend; and from these it appeared that the education given there included English, English grammar, English composition, writing, arithmetic, geography, mathematics, Latin, and Greek, and in one school at Elgin thirteen boys were learning French. Teaching the "three R's" was not imparting education. They were only a means to an end. They were only what knives and forks were to a dinner. In the parochial schools in Scotland the enlarged teaching was owing to 76 per cent of the teachers having received a University education, the numerous small bursaries and moderate fees enabling persons of humble origin to qualify themselves as superior schoolmasters. Here, in London, the Lord Chief Baron, in charging the grand jury the other day, stated that twenty-two out of the twenty-four prisoners could neither read nor write. He agreed with the hon. Member who had last spoken that there were families who could not afford to educate their children, and who, therefore, regarded State assistance as a necessity. He looked upon night schools as being of the greatest advantage to the labouring classes, by keeping up and increasing the little knowledge acquired in early youth.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £158,253, to complete the sum for Science and Art Department.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he would make a short statement in reference to this Vote. It was to complete the sum of £232,223, which seemed an apparent increase on the previous year's Estimate 201 of £13,423; but of that amount £12,991 was merely the re-vote in consequence of the winding up of the Paris Exhibition, and the real increase on the Vote was only £432. The sums applicable to institutions other than those in London were—for the Edinburgh Museum, £7,347; for the Dublin institutions, £14,979; and for the Geological Survey, £20,500; making a total of £42,826. Of the £189,427 remaining, £9,103 was required for the central office, £26,100 for aid to science schools, £32,150 for aid to art schools, £3,000 for preparing papers, £6,660 for inspection and examination, £3,000 for travelling, £600 for sundries, and £2,000 for the reproduction of objects of art for the use of the provinces, £2,515 for the School of Naval Architecture, £10,463 for the School of Mines and Geological Museum, and £750 for the College of Chemistry. Of the remaining £93,086, £24,000 was for the new building for the Museum and School of Science at South Kensington, and £3,000 for that at Bethnal Green, being a decrease of £8,500 under the first head, and of £4,000 under the second. Of the remaining £66,086, £41,439 was for the expenses of the South Kensington Museum, and £24,647 was for purchases. Those sums included £8,647 for purchases from the Paris Exhibition, as well as £4,344 for furniture, being both of them mere transfers from previous Votes. Thus the total sum expended upon the management of the South Kensington Museum was £37,095, and upon purchases £16,000, making together a total of £53,095. He had stated the Estimate in this way because he wished to dispel the impression that the South Kensington Museum monopolized the great part of the Vote, and he had shown that only a small part of the expense was incurred for that institution. As it was said that this was a case of London against the provinces, he would observe that a considerable number of pictures in the South Kensington Museum were circulated in the provinces, and the museum itself was visited by persons who came from the country nearly as much as by residents in the metropolis. The museum was becoming more and more appreciated every year. In 1868, 103 Art schools were aided, as against ninety-eight in 1867, and the scholars in them in 1868 numbered 18,475, as against 17,341 in 202 1867. The night schools had increased in much greater proportion. In 1868, they amounted to 130, as against seventy-two in 1867; and in these night schools the number of scholars was 4,571 in 1868, as against 2,553 in 1867. There was also an increase in the numbers of the schools for the poor in which drawing was taught. They amounted in 1868 to 778, as against 588 in 1867; 'and the scholars learning drawing were 93,713 in 1868, as against 79,411 in 1867. He had therefore to ask for a considerable increase on the Art Estimate—namely, £5,000, from £27,150 in 1868, to £32,150 in 1869; and he was happy to say that he had to ask for a much larger proportionate increase in science—namely, from £18,900 last year, to £26,000 this year. He would compare the state of things in May, 1869, with their condition in 1868, because so much attention was now paid throughout the country to the subject of science, that science schools and scholars were increasing every day in number. In May, 1869, there were aided 509 science schools—separate institutions— as against 300 in May, 1868. The separate classes in different sciences in May, 1869, were 1,500, as against 789 in 1868. The students under instruction in May, 1869, were 25,000, as against 15,000 in May, 1868. In the last May examination the papers worked were 24,085, as against 13,112 in May, 1868; and the number of students who went up for examination in May, 1869, was 13,000, as against 6,800 in May, 1868. Those figures showed that a very great increase had occurred under all those heads, and if the increase went on in the same proportion, it would, while being very much felt in the Estimates, show that a great desire for scientific education was taking hold of the population, for the money voted was so much assistance given exclusively to the artizan class. This had been referred to by Professor Huxley, in an article in Mac-millan's Magazine, who said that the effects of these schools would be very great. He had acted as examiner under the system, and he expected not to have less than 2,000 sets of answers mainly from the artizan class, while other examiners were likely to have three or four times the number of papers. While quoting Professor Huxley, he must, however, add that he stated, in his evidence 203 before the Committee last year, that the time was come when it would be of advantage to have some kind of training for the teachers in science. He must call the attention of the Committee to the position of our higher schools in London. We had four schools, one for art and three for science. He dared say that hon. Members would be surprised to hear how very little the Art School at South Kensington cost the country. The grant for that school was £3,900, as against £4,600 last year, and of that amount the sum of £2,000 was for the maintenance of students from local schools. The remainder was a payment to the masters. Of the three science schools, one was the School of Naval Architecture, for which he asked this year, £2,515. It was established by the Duke of Somerset for the education of young men from the Royal Dockyards, and also for private dockyards, and to a great extent it was self-supporting. Another was the School of Chemistry, which was an excellent school and very well taught, but which was very much hampered from the want of room. The grant required for that school was £750. The third was the School of Mines and Geological Museum in Jermyn Street, for which he asked this year £10,063, as against £12,003. That sum of last year was necessary in consequence of the special expenses required in the shape of buying leases. This school had been alluded to as merely an institution for teaching mining; but that was not the case, as it was, in fact, a most excellent school of science, and had connected with it some of the best Professors in the country, such as Professor Tyndall, Professor Huxley, and Dr. Percy. These three schools were scattered over different parts of London, and undoubtedly there would be a great advantage in bringing them together, and forming them into one school of science, which might be used as a training school for masters. Of the £25,000 now asked for completing the buildings at South Kensington, not more than one-half would go to the museum, and at least another half ought to go to the school of science.
§ DR. LYON PLAYFAIR
Sir, I am glad that the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson) has directed our attention to the important question of Science instruction in this country. I need not remind the House in detail of the various 204 public recognitions which it has already received. After the French Exhibition of 1867, the Schools Inquiry Commission issued circulars to the leading English jurors who had served on that Exhibition; and their united testimony was that England is not holding her own in the industrial progress of nations, but that other nations, by increased attention to science, are making rapid advances which must soon enable them to run equal with, if not to pass, this country in the race of industry. The nation was, undoubtedly, much moved by this report, and public national conferences were held in London, Edinburgh, and in the leading provincial towns, to consider a question so grave to our interests as an industrial country. At all of those resolutions were passed calling upon the Government to promote education in science throughout the country, and to give inducements for the foundation of special technical institutions in the chief centres of industry. The Government at that time quickly responded to this public feeling, and issued instructions to our Ambassadors and consuls abroad to report on the state of scientific instruction among the people of foreign States. They also accepted the offer of my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury, to visit the leading technical institutions on the Continent, and to report his impressions, valuable from his large manufacturing experience. The House also appointed a Select Committee to examine the whole subject, and their Report has been for some time before it. The Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire took a large and statesmanlike view of this important question. We are told in the evidence of the then Vice President of the Council (Lord Robert Montagu), and of the officers of the Department of Science and Art, what were the views entertained by that Government. They saw that in this country there were few opportunities of learning science of the highest class in its bearings on productive industry, and they wisely considered that it would be better to develop existing institutions—such as University and King's Colleges in London, the Owen's College in Manchester, the Universities in Scotland, and the Queen's Colleges in Ireland—rather than to create a large number of new institutions. In all of these there are 205 courses of science fitted for general education, and which could be developed at small cost. But while proposing to use these materials, the then Government saw that a few institutions of a more technical kind might be required, and they admitted the urgent need of training teachers in science, so as to supply secondary schools throughout the country. A draft Minute to this effect was under consideration by the late Government when they went out of Office, and the power was transferred to this side of the House. The Liberal Government, which now succeeded, was naturally looked to as certain to see the gravity of this question, and to sympathize with the wants and wishes of the industrial classes. But the difficulties in its way were great, for there was an urgent necessity for contracting the expenditure of the nation; and the efforts necessary for accomplishing large retrenchments are not favourable for projects involving increased expenditure, even when they relate to a productive purpose. While these fully justify any delay in meeting the public demands, they do not justify a reversal in the policy of the previous Government, if that policy were founded on justice and wisdom. That Government had indicated their intention to aid local efforts, when these were fully and clearly made. They were no doubt largely influenced in this policy by finding that the cry for science instruction was not made by mere theorists, but that men of high manufacturing eminence, like Whitworth, Sir David Baxter, and James Young, were willing to contribute munificently to its advancement. In consequence of this policy, local efforts were made. The men of Glasgow subscribed more than £100,000, and met a response from the Government. The men of Manchester followed their example, and subscribed £13,000 'for a Chair of Engineering in the Owen's College, and £54,000 for building a new one, fitted to be a great technical institution. They naturally believed that Government would meet them half-way, as they had done in the case of Glasgow. They were justified in their hopes, for they had proved the existence of a real want in the fact that the Owen's College had 350 students at science classes during the day, and 200 in the evening. With aid from the State, a high technical College might 206 have been erected in one of the most important of our industrial centres. But the manufacturers of Manchester were discouraged by the Government, which held out no hopes of present or of future aid. I refer to this case, because I believe that the policy of the late Government was a wise, one when they proposed to supplement existing action and to develop existing institutions, rather than to create new ones solely dependent on the State. The reply that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will probably give is, that if Manchester desires technical instruction, she ought to provide it solely at her own expense, and without coming to the State for aid. If the State have no duties in promoting manufactures and commerce, and in removing the obstacles which impede their development, this answer would be satisfactory; but no one can surely contend that the State can neglect such duties with safety to the country. No one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe), how backward our secondary education is in all matters relating to Science and Art. In his celebrated speeches at Edinburgh and Liverpool, he pointed out how profoundly the secondary education of the country requires alteration. No doubt, a large and important step has been made in England by passing the Endowed Schools Bill through both Houses. If this Bill be well worked, and if the Commission to which it is intrusted fully understand the importance and the responsibilities of their duties, an immense impulse may be given to the study of Science and Art in this country. But this is not enough. It has been well said that "every true science bears necessarily within itself the germ of a cognate profession." But then these germs require development in the soil of Technical Colleges or of Universities with Technical Chairs, and every country except our own has already founded, or is actively engaged in founding, schools for such development. The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson) has alluded to the importance of our creating a College of Science for the training of teachers, and I quite agree with him. But while we are only talking, France has done it. I hold in my hand a letter which the Minister of Public Instruction has done me the honour to address to me, explaining the 207 nature of the new Normal School at the Hotel Cluny, and proposing a system of international change between the science teachers of England and France, so that they might learn the language and the technical wants of both countries. I am ashamed to reply that England has no science teachers in training, and that we cannot profit by his wise proposal. Perhaps the Government may consider itself justified in resting on the action of the Department of Science and Art for diffusing a knowledge of science among the working classes. I do not under-rate their action, and see with pleasure the rapid growth of scientific studies among the working classes of this country. Last year 25,000 persons hare been encouraged to some knowledge of elementary science, through this Department. The Government have intrusted to it a sort of scarifier to scratch the surface of the soil, but no plough to go deeply into it, so as to ensure the growth of any crops. We have two educational departments of the Privy Council, running side by side on parallel rails, but never touching each other for fear of a violent collision. This is not for the benefit of the public. If the Department of Science and Art is to fulfil its mission, it ought to extend its benefits to the elementary schools of this country. A few evenings since, I had occasion to tell you that three centuries of experience in Scotland had convinced us that higher subject, introduced into primary schools, gave to them a life and ambition which re-acted powerfully on the higher education of the people. I also pointed to the fact that England was the only civilized State in Europe which limited instruction in the primary schools to "the three R's." Until you make a coherent organization of the Educational Departments, so that they act in harmony and co-operation, the diffusion of science will only be slight and partial. When the taste for science has permeated the elementary schools, mechanics' institutions and the like will rise into efficient secondary schools for the industrial classes, though higher schools than these are required to train foremen and managers who will enable this country to hold its own against foreign competition. The Department of Science and Art is showing a disposition to aid provincial schools, and an extension of its benefits necessarily leads to increased 208 Estimates. I shall read to you the views of a great statesman on this point, in a speech delivered in 1862, in reference to the Estimates of that year—It was complained that this Vote was increasing. That was the very merit of it. If the principle was a wrong one, let it be altered. But as long as they adhered to the rule laid down, there was a necessary increase, especially in the provisions for the circulation among the country schools of examples of Art.The statesman who then wisely and sagaciously, as I think, saw merit in increasing Votes when the expenditure is productive, is now Chancellor of the Exchequer. But under his rule I regret to find this very Vote, which he so strongly commended, altogether vanished from the Estimates. Last year, a Minute of the Committee of Council was issued to provincial schools, promising them a participation in the art-treasures of London. This was, no doubt, in deference to the Report of a Select Committee of this House in 1864, which recommended—That the collection of works of decorative Art at South Kensington be made more generally useful than at present throughout the country, especially in connection with local museums.Accordingly, a sum of £14,000 appears in last year's Estimates for this purpose, though the full amount does not appear to have been asked for; but this year the Vote for this important object has vanished altogether. I need not remind the House that expenditure is of two kinds—unproductive and productive. While we should be jealous as to the increase of the one, we should encourage the increase of the other. If you do not sow, neither will you reap. One of the most economical nations of Europe —Switzerland—understands this fully, and in some of the leading cantons spends one-third of the whole taxation on education. She was forced to this large expenditure because she was cut off from the raw material of industry. Switzerland has to send to Belgium for coal, or to Saarbruck in Germany, or to St. Etienne in France, and yet she thrives as an active manufacturing nation. She does so because she has recognized the fact that, in the progress of the world, the value of the raw material in manufactures, as an element of production, is constantly decreasing, while the value of science, skill, and knowledge, is as constantly increasing. Let us contrast the position of Switzer- 209 land with Ireland. The latter is much nearer the sources of all raw material, and is locally more fitted to be an industrial nation than Switzerland, yet her only manufacturing industry is that of flax. It is true that the selfish protective 'policy of England has crushed her attempts at industrial development. We stamped out her woollen and leather manufacture, then crushed, as they arose, hopeful industries, in silk, cotton, sugar, soap, and candles. Well, we have long since repented of these national crimes; but, if we would atone for them, let us give to Ireland those means of acquiring knowledge which will far more than compensate for her lack of the raw materials of industry. The people of Ireland are showing more disposition than the people either of England or Scotland to study science, for they see that without it there is little hope for their future. Let us encourage this growing taste wisely and liberally. We have done this year a great act of justice to Ireland, and next year you will doubtless improve the laws in regard to the tenure of land. But unless you open up channels of industry to conduct off the increasing population, that will flow back upon the land as it has done in times past, and again drown the prosperity of Ireland. England and Scotland, blessed with the raw material of important industries, may, without advanced technical education, continue for some time to compete with the more highly educated countries of the Continent, but Ireland cannot. Her only hope is that the skill, science, and intelligence of her people, as in Switzerland, may compensate for her local disadvantages. A great statesman, Sir Robert Peel, long since warned us of the danger then looming in the distance, but now much nearer, when he said—If we are inferior in skill, knowledge, and intelligence to the manufacturers of other countries, increased facilities of intercourse will result in transferring the demand from us to others.This is the kernel of the whole matter. Our peculiar system of education, limited chiefly to the ancient tongues, has now put our middle and higher classes in this position. If you think we can wait till this rights itself, without any stimulating action on the part of the Government, then inaction will be justified in your eyes. Yet even then it must remain remarkable that all the great in- 210 dustrial States of Europe and America are giving their energies and their treasures to the advancement of technical education, while we are practically doing nothing. I freely admit that our difficulties are greater than theirs. We already spend much more on educational objects from Imperial taxation than any other Continental State. This is owing to the fact that primary education in foreign countries is supported by local taxation. Their general taxation is applied to secondary and higher education, while with us it is mainly applied to primary schools. Our efforts consequently appear large, while the results attending them are uncommonly small; their efforts, as measured by taxation, appear small, but the results are large and important. Hence, as regards our Chancellor of the Exchequer, the difficulty of a large and vigorous action is great, for the burden of Imperial taxation for educational objects is already heavy in appearance as compared with other countries, though not so in reality, for local taxation does not appear in the Budget of a nation. The only remedy is to economize the unproductive expenditure, and thus obtain funds for that which is productive. We have a strong Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a strong Government from whom large economies have already resulted. Let us hope that these will soon enable them to consider this question in that spirit of wise liberality which I think it deserves. Much wiser men than myself see the danger of delay. A few weeks since, Dumas, formerly Minister of Commerce in Franco, said in the theatre of our Royal Institution—Science is no longer an unrecognized power. To-day, every Government which does nothing for it must expect to be vanquished by rivals, and to receive the censure of posterity for its want of forethought.
§ MR. JACOB BRIGHT
said, that he considered it his duty to challenge the impartiality of these Estimates. A sum of £130,000 was granted for Universities, Colleges, learned societies, museums, and for kindred purposes. Of this sum England received £36,000, Scotland, £46,000, and Ireland, £48,000, including in this latter sum grants to the Queen's Colleges. In the great manufacturing districts of the North of England, whose population was counted by millions, and of which Manchester might 211 be regarded as the centre, not one shilling of the public money was spent in the support of any institution whatever. If that exclusion was to be kept up, he thought there ought to be a satisfactory defence for it. It could not be pretended that none of the public money was given to these manufacturing districts on the ground that they were better educated than the rest of the United Kingdom. The population of Lancashire and the adjoining counties had been too much absorbed in business pursuits to allow their education to keep pace with other matters. Whatever they might boast of, they did not boast that they were better educated than their neighbours. The Government could not refuse them assistance on the ground that there was no special channel through which that assistance might be conveyed. Owen's College in Manchester, was founded twenty years ago by a merchant who left £100,000 for that purpose. It started with sixty-two students; it had now 210. At the commencement twenty-eight persons attended the night lectures in the institution; the number of persons who now attended them was 473, The College had a staff of Professors inferior to that of no other institution. The building was inadequate to accommodate more students, and there was a scheme on foot to extend it. It was proposed to raise £150,000, of which nearly £90,000 was absolutely collected. It was only fair and reasonable that the Government should do something, because the late Government had given £120,000 to Glasgow. Manchester would think itself fortunate if it got half this sum, the payment of which might be spread over four or six years. But when they asked for help, they were told that London, Edinburgh, and Dublin were capitals—a comfortable doctrine for the inhabitants of those cities. It should, however, be remembered that a provincial town received more benefit from £20,000 spent within it than it received indirectly from an outlay of £100,000 in the capital. Glasgow was not a capital, but they were told it had a University, and that Manchester had only a College. But a College was sometimes better than a University; and, besides, Owen's College would one day become a University, and all the sooner if it received a fair measure of assistance from the Govern- 212 ment. There were a good many Universities and Colleges that received aid in the United Kingdom besides those of the capitals. The people of Manchester made no complaint of the assistance given to the Scotch Universities; but they felt that the extension of the system to their own district would be highly beneficial, for at present the Scotch, with their admirably managed parochial education, supplemented by instruction at the Universities, carried nearly everything before them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had behaved somewhat harshly towards the people of Lancashire in this matter, and implied that there was a want of self-respect on their part, in coming to London to seek for pecuniary aid to local effort. He wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the fact that Owen's College was not intended for the sons of the wealthy, but for those of small tradesmen, and of professional men of small means, and that even working men from Oldham were known to attend the evening classes. One-fifteenth part of the £130,000 to which reference had been made was paid by Lancashire, and he wished to know what loss of self-respect on their part was involved in asking for a portion of the general fund to which they so handsomely contributed. He was not certain that the reputation for wealth which Lancashire enjoyed had not stood in the way of their obtaining what they needed. Lancashire, undoubtedly, had been a wealthy county, and, he believed, would be so again; but the present was a time of failing fortunes and great commercial difficulty, and Lancashire, accordingly, was much poorer now than she was ten years ago. The First Minister of the Crown, of course, knew that in his native county the evening Science classes had been more successful than in any county in England; but what became of all the young men who studied in those classes? In the earlier part of the evening, the Vice President of the Council had spoken of children receiving elementary instruction who, after passing the third standard, went away and forgot everything which they had learnt, not having gone far enough. And so it was with the young men attending these science classes; they wanted to be gathered into Owen's College and carried further in the path of instruction, and with some moderate 213 assistance from the State this could be accomplished. No doubt, there was a difficulty in knowing where the Government was to draw the line. But he would say let them require conditions, such as existed at Owen's College, before giving State assistance; let there be an adequate population, an institution already past the experimental stage, and a largo amount of local gifts, and the Government then need never fear that the public purse would be unduly invaded. The population of Manchester was precisely of that class in the midst of which it was desirable that a learned community should grow up, and he trusted that another year would see them better treated in this respect. He was expressing, he knew, the feelings of many hon. Members when he declared that it ought to form a part of the national policy to encourage real and earnest efforts at improvement such as Manchester had made in this case.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
said, he thought that the constituencies of England—recalling the speeches made by those who sat in that House, and who tried to get into that House, last November, as to the vital importance of the question of education—would have been surprised could they have looked into the House half-an-hour ago, when barely a quorum of Members were present.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
said, that he had no wish to institute invidious comparisons, but he was bound to remind the right hon. Gentleman that there was an official duty to be present which was more binding upon the Treasury than the Opposition Benches. With regard to the merits of the question, he had nothing but a meed of praise to give to South Kensington Museum. As to the Society of Arts, of the Council of which he was Chairman, he had heard it said that they poked their nose into everybody's affairs; but they really only did so when they could promote the moral and material interests of the country at large. With regard to technical education he thought there was nothing which tended so much to its development as national museums; and upon their good government, and their being rendered accessible, depended in a great measure their success. Some weeks ago 214 he wished to put a Question to the Government, having reference to the propriety of circulating works of art; he did not know to which Minister to address himself, as there were four or five collections belonging to the Crown under as many different authorities, and accordingly he was obliged to put his Question to the First Lord of the Treasury, fixing upon him the collective responsibility of the Government. In putting that Question he had been careful to intimate that he wished those objects of art to be circulated not only in Edinburgh and Dublin, but in Manchester and the other great hives of industry, and the right hon. Gentleman, in answer, said that the Government were anxious to do everything they could, that two collections of Turner drawings had been chosen and would be established in Dublin and in Edinburgh. Establishment, however, was different from circulation; and, in his opinion, the great want of the present day was that the superfluities of the London collections should be circulated among the populous towns in the provinces. It was therefore with great regret that he perceived a reduction in one item connected with the very principle of circulation which he desired to see carried out. A Vote, which last year stood at £4,000, was this year reduced by £500. It was certain that the Trustees of the British Museum were buying water colours of Turner's and storing them away in portfolios, while the Trustees of the National Gallery were making up parcels to be sent to Dublin and Edinburgh, and what he wanted the Vice President of the Council for Education to explain was why there had been a decrease instead of an increase, in the manner contemplated by the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Jacob Bright). He trusted that some explanation would be given of the reason for the reduction of this Vote, and that every facility would be afforded for the circulation throughout the provinces of specimen and duplicate works of art.
said, he did not object to the fact that this Vote exceeded by £7,000 the sum which was originally asked for; but the detail showed that whilst there was an increase of £20,000 on certain items, there was a decrease on other items of £13,000. He found that the figures of the Estimate, as they now appeared, were quite different from those 215 originally presented. In the orignal Vote there was not a single farthing for circulating objects of Art. He noticed with regret that the sum of £500 had been struck off the Vote for scientific scholarships. With regard to the expenditure on account of the Paris Exhibition of 1867, an engagement had been taken that the whole amount should not exceed £116,650. Yet there were fresh demands coming in, and the Vote was still entirely open.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
hoped that as allusion had been made to his Draft Minute and to the evidence which he had given before the Committee of last year, upon Scientific Instruction, he might be permitted to make a few explanatory remarks upon the subject now under discussion. The learned Professor (Dr. Lyon Playfair) had alluded to a Draft Minute which had been, prepared by the late Government. This was intended partly to carry out a Minute of the 21st of December, 1867. By that Minute poor children, in the common parochial schools, were enabled to obtain scholarships that would partly support them if they went to a higher school. Under the same Minute scholars from the various parochial schools might compete for scholarships of £25 per annum on the condition that an equal sum was contributed towards their support at a higher school by the locality. A third portion of the Minute established exhibitions which would enable these poor scholars to proceed to College for three years. It was thus put in the power of poor boys in the parochial schools, who evinced peculiar talent, to rise and obtain the highest education that the country could supply. In order to carry out this system with the greatest efficiency, it was proposed to establish eight Colleges, which it was hoped would be representative Colleges, throughout the country, one at some seaport in the South of England, another in some agricultural district in the West, others in the eastern and northern counties, and some in Scotland. Thus high scientific education would be brought home to the pupils, and be given to them within easy reach of their families. He styled these Colleges representative Colleges, because the studies of each would be peculiar to itself, and bear the character of the industry in the midst of which it stood. Thus it was proposed 216 that the scientific education to be given at the College of the seaport in the South of England should be of a maritime character, and that in the West should be of an agricultural character, and so on. The late Government having that object in view had entered into communication with the local authorities at Manchester, who had already a large sum in hand, owing to the bequest of Dr. Owen and other sources—and hopes were held out to them that the scheme he had thus indicated would be carried into effect. Unfortunately, just about that period it was surmised that the result of the elections was likely to be adverse to the then Government, and the matter was not carried further, as it was thought, by those in authority over him that it would be unfair to take the management of the plan out of the hands of their successors. He was sorry to learn from the hon. and learned Professor below the Gangway and from the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Jacob Bright) that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not seen his way to carry into effect a proposal which would have been beneficial to the country and would eventually have secured an actual saving in future times. He would also allude to another plan which he trusted some day to see put into operation. In the district schools at Limehouse and at Hanwell pauper children were taught as they were taught in parochial schools, with this exception—that they received two hours' instruction in the morning only, the afternoon being devoted to. other pursuits, some learning drill and naval exercises, as at Limehouse, or music, drawing, shoemaking, carpentering, or other trades. He had spoken to the masters of both those schools, and they had assured him that under this system the boys learnt much faster and more thoroughly than they did when kept the whole day at their "studies." Three advantages thus accrued; the studies were fixed more firmly in the memory; the principles of a trade or profession were at the same time acquired; and the bodily exercise increased the physical health and strength. Why should not this system be extended to all parochial schools? The girls it is true spent their afternoons in learning to sew, because of the moral benefit which would accrue when they had homes of their own. Why should they not also learn 217 cooking, and the rearing of children, and acquire habits of thrift and the principles of hygienics? And why should not the boys learn gardening or the principles of some trade? This would, to some extent, overcome the obstruction of the labour claims. Children would then remain at school to learn that which would advance them in after life. The Duke of Newcastle's Commission printed a Report, by Mr. Senior and Mr. Chadwick, strongly in favour of this method, and, therefore, he wished to direct the attention of the Government to the advantages of introducing this system into the parochial schools.
§ MR. POLLARD-URQUHART
said, he wished to know, if the accounts for the Paris Exhibition would be soon closed, and whether the Vote of this year was in addition to that of last year?
§ MR. B. SAMUELSON
said, he wished to know whether the Normal School at South Kensington was to be governed by a special Committee; and also whether it was to be understood that £12.000 was to be given for its support?
§ MR. RICHARDS
said, he wished to bear testimony to the value of the Geological Museum, and of the information furnished by Dr. Percy upon minerals submitted to his examination. As a proof of the value of education in practical science, in which the Germans and other foreigners were superior to us, he might state that an hon. Member of that House had introduced a new process of smelting silver ore, and had placed at the head of his manufactory a German; also a manufacture of spelter, which was superintended by a foreigner. The same hon. Member had also a Gorman to superintend the converting of sulphurous acid gas into sulphuric acid. The superiority of the Germans arose from the attention to such studies in their own country. He should never grudge a fair expenditure for technical education in this country.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he was very glad to find that the House of Commons took so great an interest in his Department. In reply to his hon. Friend the Member for Westmeath (Mr. Pollard-Urquhart) he had to say that the £8,647 expended by South Kensington was a re-vote of a portion of £15,000 voted for purchases of articles exhibited at the Paris Exhibition. South Kensington, had taken furniture to the amount of 218 £4,300; but this latter sum was not a new demand, but was a portion of £14,000 spent at Paris. In reply to his hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bowring) he must observe that in his explanation of the Estimates he had taken them as they stood. With the noble Lord opposite (Lord Henry Lennox) he regretted that only £3,500 wore to be spent in circulating articles from South Kensington. His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had felt obliged to request him to go carefully through all the Votes of Jus Department with the view of making them as economical as possible; but he believed that more would be done with the £3,500 than hon. Gentlemen might suppose. To the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson) he might say that the question whether the Government would put the organization of the new school of science under a special Commissioner was one which required more consideration. All he could state was that Government was desirous of getting this school into operation as quickly as possible. It was well known that the Government had the whole system of education under consideration, and in considering it, they must, of course, direct their attention to the question of scientific and technical education. During the discussion that evening on elementary education every hon. Member must have felt that oven with the utmost economy it was likely that large additional demands would have to be made on the country. That fact must make the Government very careful with regard to any pledges on the subject of scientific and technical education. There seemed to be a general feeling that if parents and neighbours did not do their duty in respect of the elementary education of children the State must step in. But when they came to scientific education it was not a question of doing a duty which ought to be discharged by others, but rather one of guiding and stimulating those who were engaged in that branch of instruction. He was in hopes that the alteration in the endowed school system would enable portions of their endowments to be applied in the cause of scientific education.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman had rather misunderstood the scope of his question. He had asked whether the 219 Government could not do something to force the trustees of other collections, who had a plethora of articles, to circulate them through the country, as the collections at South Kensington were circulated.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £75,203, to complete the sum for the British Museum.
§ MR. WALPOLE, in moving the Vote for the British Museum, said, the Estimate for 1868–9 was £99,385, whereas the Estimate for the ensuing financial year was £113,203. The increase was caused by £12,789 being required for new buildings and the repairs of the existing buildings, and by an extra sum of £1,140 being required for cataloguing. The grant of these additional sums would, he believed, be entirely approved by the House and the country. The first of these items depended upon the increased accommodation which was about to be given for the exhibition of the objects of antiquity preserved in the Museum. The Committee must be well aware that for a long time some antiquarian objects had been kept under sheds, and it had now been deemed desirable that they should be exhibited to the public. The plan which the trustees had resolved to adopt was that which was recommended in 1861, and which had received the sanction of the Government—namely, the extension of the room where the Elgin marbles were now exhibited, so as to enable the trustees to exhibit, in a consecutive series of chambers, the various articles which were not at present exhibited at all. An expenditure of £12,000 odd had been sanctioned by the Treasury for this purpose. The buildings would be extended in a direction which would enable the trustees to exhibit the articles now out of sight of the public, and also to carry out ultimately the scheme which had been approved by the House of separating the Natural History Collection from the Collection of Antiquities with a view to give increased accommodation to the latter. The other item of increase was £1,140 in respect of additional catalogues. He need hardly expatiate on the enormous utility of accurate and exhaustive catalogues. Those relating to Hebrew literature were now, he was glad to say, completed. The catalogue of Spanish literature was in progress. 220 But it was of still greater importance that a classified catalogue of all the MSS. in the Museum should be taken in hand without delay, and rendered as complete as possible. For this reason he had great confidence that the Committee would sanction the proposed increase of expenditure. Following the course he had adopted in previous years, he would now refer to some matters which had occurred during the last twelve months, and which, in his opinion, were deserving of attention. It would be satisfactory to the Committee to know that there had been a progressive increase since 1864 in the number of persons who had visited the Museum to inspect the general collection or gone there for purposes of study. In 1865 the number of persons admitted to see the general collections was 365,900; and, in 1868, it had increased to 461,000. In 1865 there were 477,000 persons who visited the Museum for purposes of study as compared with 575,000 in 1868. Representations had been made to the trustees by Members of that House and others respecting the difficulty experienced by readers in obtaining books, more especially on Saturdays. There was, in fact, enormous difficulty sometimes felt in attending to the requirements of the enormous number of persons who frequented the reading-room. On ordinary occasions the attendants were able to give out the books as they were demanded, and, as a rule, within the space of ten minutes; but on some occasions, especially on Saturdays, between twelve and two o'clock, so many persons applied for books that great delay occurred in supplying them. On such occasions twenty minutes or half-an-hour elapsed before books were delivered. The trustees had carefully considered the whole subject, and on their behalf he wished to remark that the frequenters of the reading-room ought to attend more strictly to the printed rules in order to prevent delay. Some of the written applications for books were so defective or illegible that it was impossible for the attendants to find the volumes required. In order to meet the pressure on extraordinary occasions the trustees had increased the number of attendants, and he trusted that, in future, the books would be delivered to students within ten minutes or a quarter-of-an-hour of their being applied for. The average 221 number of readers daily last year was 350, and the average number of books consulted by each was twelve a day. The Japanese Collection had been brought to a state of great perfection during the past year; indeed, the collection of books printed and manuscript relating to the literature, history, politics, poetry, law, and philosophy of Japan could hardly be equalled in any other European country. Then, 350 volumes representing Abyssinian literature from the loth century to the present time had, thanks to the India Office, acceding to a request made by the trustees, been added to the treasures of the Museum. He would only add that the accounts of the British Museum, of which the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish) had complained that the audit was not so complete as it ought to be, were now periodically submitted to the Audit Office, and were specifically audited from month to month, and the House had full opportunities of considering the manner in which that audit was carried out.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £10,978, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of i payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1870, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Gallery, including the purchase of Pictures.
said, that the system of purchasing pictures for this institution had not been carried on in accordance with the true principles of economy. There were very few people in this country who objected to paying a good price for a good article; but he had constantly noticed, year after year, that works of art had been offered to the National Gallery for sale, or that the National Gallery had had opportunities of buying them at public sales, and that they were refused, either by the Director or the responsible body, when so privately or publicly offered to them—but that afterwards the very same pictures were bought for the nation at greatly enhanced prices. A wasteful expenditure of public money was the consequence of that irresolution and vacillation. In 1867, two pictures, attributed i to an artist of the 15th century, were brought to England and offered to the Director of the National Gallery, who 222 would then have nothing to do with them. Afterwards, another Director of that Institution went to Florence, where he saw those two pictures, and paid the large price of £600 for them. Again, in [June, 1867, a picture by a Dutch artist —Van Huysum—was sold at Christie's auction-room, and fetched 380 guineas. In April of last year another picture by Cuyp was also put up to auction at the same place, and knocked down to the same dealer for 384 guineas. Now those two pictures had lately been acquired for the National Gallery for the sum of £1,800. Why did not the authorities of the National Gallery, if they wanted those pictures, go to the auction-room and buy them? Many instances of the same kind had happened at South Kensington. He was not entering into the question of taste, but into that of economy. He was ready to admit that the last-named pictures were valuable, and such as ought to be seen where they now were; but he could not understand why those who bought for the nation could not buy upon the same rules, and as advantageously, as private purchasers. Moreover, there was a conflict between four or five different departments, all of which had the power of buying pictures. Among them were the South Kensington Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. Last Saturday week, some very remarkable works, by Hogarth, were sold at a public auction-room in London, and he was rather surprised that none of them found their way to the national collection. he was told that the National Gallery desired to buy certain of the pictures offered at that sale, but the Portrait Gallery said they were in their department, and they should buy them. Then, when a picture of great interest was bid for, the price became high, and ultimately the Portrait Gallery did not buy—the reason given being, that they had not enough money. Surely there ought to be a proper understanding between the different departments by which, instead of competing with each other valuable pictures might be secured for the nation on reasonable and advantageous terms. He had seen the spectacle of the different departments that had the charge of art, bidding against each other. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: We have put an end to that.] Then let them put an end to it in the case of pictures also. Every year 223 the Director of the National Gallery went abroad to buy pictures, and there adopted the same fatal principle as was adopted in England. The late Director used to make a sort of progress through Italy—he presumed the present Director did the same — and he dealt with the Italians as the agent of the English Government. However clever an Englishman who had pictures to sell was, an Italian dealer was three times cleverer, and should be met with his own weapons. He knew several pictures bought in the North of Italy, which, if negotiated for by private persons, might have been purchased considerably cheaper. Foreign vendors think that England is a nation of gold—that the English Treasury is inexhaustible—and they would never come down in their terms when they knew they were dealing with the Director of the National Gallery. There was another point to which he wished to call attention; and that was, as to the lamentable effects, of late years, of scraping or "restoring," as it is called, the pictures of the National Gallery. On the 9th of August, 1867, his noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) called attention to this subject, and his hon. and learned Friend the present Solicitor General was brought specially from circuit, and had a brief handed to him by the representatives of the National Gallery. His hon. and learned Friend, in a speech of course able, and, to himself, no doubt convincing, said he was quite sure that no artist or person conversant with art could deny that the restoration of the pictures referred to was satisfactory. But his hon. and learned Friend would probably now be convinced that part of his statement was made under a delusion, for he would hardly find any gentleman really conversant with art, and who preferred that pictures should not be "made beautiful for ever," who would agree with the opinion which his hon. and learned Friend then expressed. As to one of those pictures, the celebrated landscape of Rubens, which had been presented by Sir George Beaumont, it was really impossible for anyone who knew the top of a picture from the bottom not to be satisfied that it had been totally and completely destroyed. The there were the two beautiful Caraccis and the beautiful Tintoretto, all of which exhibited the same signs of ill-usage. Now, some 224 fifteen years ago exception was taken to the manner in which the pictures were being cleaned, and a Committee was appointed which did not arrive at any positive result, for all manner of clever people were employed to show how mistaken those were who supposed the pictures were destroyed, and. they said that just a few years of London smoke and dirt would restore them to the state they were in before. But there the pictures were, and nobody could doubt that the Claude and other pictures had been materially injured. And so it was with the Rubens. And what was the cause? It was that the Trustees of the National Gallery had employed an Italian picture-cleaner. But all acquainted with Italian picture-cleaners must know what ravages they had committed in Italy, and it was no surprise, if they were introduced in England, that the same result should follow. He wanted to know why were not English picture-cleaners employed, for they were superior to any in the world. They had heard to-night a good deal about protection; but if in France or Italy an Englishman were put at the head for the purpose of restoring pictures the Government would be at once condemned. When they found that noblemen and gentlemen who possessed valuable pictures could get them cleaned without having them injured, why should not the Trustees of the National Gallery get the same thing done? He should also desire to know from Her Majesty's Government where the art library collected by Sir Charles Eastlake, for the purchase of which he found £2,008 charged, was to be located, whether in the National Gallery or where else? We had other art libraries. There was one in the British Museum and one at South Kensington; but he should like to know whether that of Sir Charles Eastlake was to be left at the National Gallery? That would not be a following out of the principles of economy.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he could not help saying one word about the Rubens. His hon. Friend (Mr. Bentinck) had remarked that no one who knew the top of a picture from the bottom could fail to admit that this picture had been entirely destroyed. Now he, on the contrary, must say that it had been greatly improved, and that all his hon. Friend had proved was that he did not know the top from the bottom. He 225 had looked at the picture very carefully, and he believed there was not an artist in England but would say that it had been greatly improved. But there was a certain school, of which Sir George Beaumont had been the head, and of which he supposed his hon. Friend was an apostle, who could admire no pictures that were out of a certain brown colour. Now, if Sir George Beaumont was the head of that brown and liquorice water school he ventured to say that it had also got a tail. But there were many colours besides brown, and Rubens was well acquainted with them, and in painting his pictures he exhausted all the resources of the palette. That picture of Rubens was so covered over that one could not see the Antwerp Cathedral; but now that this conventional brown was removed there was to be seen a landscape of every variety of hue, and equal in brilliancy to one of Turner's. The same observations would apply to almost all the other pictures which the hon. Members had mentioned.
§ MR. LAYARD
said, he wished to say a word in reply to the attack that had been made upon Mr. Boxall. [Mr. BENTINCK: I made no attack on him.] The hon. and learned Gentleman had done so by implication. The manner in which the landscape by Rubens had been cleaned had been vindicated by his hon. and learned Friend (Sir Robert Collier), himself an accomplished artist. The pictures to which the hon. Member (Mr. Bentinck) referred were never, he believed, in England before they were bought. With regard to the employment of picture-cleaners, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the Director of the National Gallery did employ English picture-cleaners frequently. He wished his hon. Friend would not make such statements without previous inquiry, as they were painful to gentlemen of the highest character. The best proof of the way in which Mr. Boxall had managed the National Gallery was the high estimation in which it was held throughout the world. He had no hesitation in saying that for its size it was one of the finest galleries in Europe; there was not a picture in it which he could wish to see removed.
§ MR. FLOYER
said, he was somewhat alarmed at the enthusiastic manner in which the Attorney General had spoken of the cleaning of the pictures in the 226 National Gallery. Any one fond of pictures who had travelled abroad, and had seen the galleries, especially that in Madrid, would allow how dangerous it was to carry cleaning too far. Though loth to give a very decided opinion on the cleaning of the Rubens, he submitted with confidence that the cleaning had been carried to the utmost limit consistent with prudence. Admitting the advantage of getting rid of the liquorice colour, he thought the picture at present looked rather raw, and was afraid it had been cut down from the surface colours to something like the foundation of the painting. The Chief Commissioner should remember in giving the praise due to Mr. Boxall that the present position of the National Gallery was to a large extent owing to the discriminating genius of the late Sir Charles Eastlake.
said, he had not wished to detract from Mr. Boxall's ability; his criticism was all directed against purchasing pictures for the national collection at a high price. The Attorney General had placed himself in competition with Sir George Beaumont as a judge of Art; and of the two he preferred Sir George Beaumont very much indeed.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee also report Progress; to sit again upon Wednesday.