§ Order for Committee read.
MR. CAMPBELL, who had given notice to move—
That, in the opinion of this House, no system of education will be effectual or just which, while involving compulsory rating, does not include the power of enforcing the attendance of children at school,
said: Sir, I think it is very much to be regretted that this important Bill—the most important Bill that can be brought forward for Scotland—comes before us at so advanced a period of the Session that we can only be promised one day for its discussion, and on that account, having no desire by a side wind to defeat the main object of the measure, I do not intend to persevere with the Motion of which I have given Notice, and which stands in my name upon the Paper. But I think the question of such importance that I hope the House will excuse me if, in a very few words,
I state what I think to be the facts of the case with regard to Scotland, without going into the general question of compulsory education. I may say that there is the greatest mistake as to the state of feeling in Scotland on this subject. In general, we, who are in favour of compulsory education, are told that it is impracticable. Now, that may be true in two or three ways. It may be impracticable to pass a measure involving such clauses through the two Houses of Parliament. Of that I am no judge. But this I may say, that it would receive the support of a great number of representatives from Scotland. Then we may be told that it is impracticable, because it is opposed by the general feeling of Scotland. Now, I can assure the House that that is not the case. As far as my experience goes, I believe our countrymen in the North are far too shrewd to be misled by any fear of the horrors attendant on compulsory education, and the interference which it is supposed to create with the liberty of the subject. They have only to look to another part of Europe, where a people very similar to themselves in every respect—I mean the Swiss—have introduced this system some twenty or thirty years ago, and compulsory education has now become so incorporated with their national life that they accept it with the greatest pleasure; and so much is that the case, that I find, from the reports which have been received through the Foreign Office from Switzerland, that the penalties attached to the system are now never required to be enforced, so readily do the people embrace it. Then, on the other hand, we are constantly asked how are we to introduce the machinery to work the system? This point seems to have been the stumbling-block in the way of the Commissioners, for they say that it is difficult to devise the means. Now, I cannot conceive that it is very difficult, seeing that compulsory education exists in some of the United States, in Prussia, in Saxony, in Baden, in Austria—in fact, in all the States of Central Europe, and, as I have already stated, in Switzerland, which is, perhaps, the most apposite example of all, because they are a perfectly free people, and are in no way under a military despotism. I lay stress not upon any high-flown or fantastic theories of the duties of the State. I merely say,
in a Bill like this, in which power is taken to exact rates from all inhabitants in support of education, you are bound to furnish the rate-payers with a guarantee that the object for which the money is raised is attained. I consider it absolutely unjust to do otherwise. What is the case with regard to Scotland? We are told that it is most necessary and urgently important to pass this measure this year, because there are 90,000 children who are not receiving education. How many of these children are there in Glasgow? In the largest city of Scotland there are 60,000 of them, and I think it must be patent to everybody that the great bulk of these will belong to a class of children who will not be affected by any measure which does not include compulsory clauses. Build as many schools as you like, and provide as many schoolmasters as you choose; but if you have not the power to take those children to the schools it will be useless. I would express my regret, which I know is shared by several other hon. Members, and which I know is the general feeling in Scotland, that in this great and important Bill, which is intended to be a great step in advance in the educational history of Scotland, the most important part of the measure has been overlooked.
§ MR. STAPLETON
said, he wished before the Bill proceeded any farther to call the attention of the House to a matter in connection with it which he regarded as of a constitutional character. He alluded to the manner in which the Bill was brought before the House. It came down to them from the other House. He thought it should have been introduced in the House of Commons. Of course, he was aware that the House of Lords could in strictness of law initiate any Bill except a Money Bill; but he thought that for the Government to bring a Bill of this sort— a Bill concerning education — a Bill therefore affecting the social interests of the people—in the other House, was not in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution. It appeared to him that it was not fair to either House. The other House was not in that intimate relation with the people which they were. They had no means of ascertaining the feelings, the wishes, or the opinion of the people. However anxious they might be to do their duty they 803 could not feel the pulse of the people. When a Bill went up to the other House from this House the other House discharged its proper function — that of reviewing their decision, with the advantage of knowing what had been done in the House of Commons. By knowing what had been done by the representatives of the people in that House they knew, in a constitutional way the feelings and wishes of the people. Had this Bill been introduced into the House of Commons, as he contended that it should, and then gone before the House of Lords for the first time, they might have deferred to the opinion of the people expressed through the House of Commons in that, as they had done in other things. They could have done it more easily than they could do it now, for now they had expressed their opinion, and the matter was prejudged. Neither was it fair to this House. They had a right to expect that Government would bring before them such measures only as it approved and could recommend. It was of the very essence of the Constitution that the Government should be in harmony with the majority of that House; therefore that it should only bring forward such measures as it had reason to believe would be acceptable to the majority on which it rested in that House. But this Bill when it came down to this House was the Bill of the Government no more. It had become the Bill of the Opposition; because the Opposition had a majority in the House of Lords, and they had availed themselves of that majority to re-model this Bill during its passage through that House. The Lord Advocate felt the difficulty. He could not recommend the Bill as it came down from the other House as a Government measure. He got the House to allow the Bill to be committed pro formâ, in order that he might alter the Bill which had been sent down to them so as to bring it back somewhat nearer its original form, and then take the discussion, on the re-committal of the Bill, which, in the ordinary course of things, would have taken place on the second reading. But this mode of proceeding produced a fresh complication. The Bill which had come down to them was set aside and a fresh Bill substituted for it. The learned Lord became dependent on his opponents. For unless they 804 brought forward the principles of the Amendments made in the House of Lords, the Lords would say that their views had never been presented to the House of Commons; that Amendments which they had fully considered and carefully prepared, involving principles to which they attached great value had never been considered in the House of Commons, but had been set aside without discussion and without deliberation. Under those circumstances he did not think the Bill when it had passed their House would have much chance of being accepted by the other House of Parliament. Instead of gaining time by the course they had pursued he feared the result would be that all their labours over this Bill would be in vain. But he must say he did not attribute the blame of this wholly to the Government. He well remembered that, at an early period of the Session, there was a discussion on the advisability of dividing the business between the two Houses. Members on both sides took part in it, and he remembered an hon. Friend of his, an advanced Liberal, recommending that some of the important measures of the Session should be initiated in the House of Lords. He regretted that advice had been taken. He had mentioned this matter in the hope that, before another Session, the Government would consider of some means by which these complications might be avoided, and the services of the House of Lords rendered available in the early part of the Session. It was not for him to point out the means— certainly not then—it was enough to say that there were means.
§ MR. MILLER
said, he was glad the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Campbell) had brought the question of compulsory education before the House. Great as was the importance he attached to this Bill, it was nothing compared with that with which he would have regarded it if compulsory education had been included in it. At the last election he had the opportunity of bringing this question repeatedly before large bodies of the working classes among his constituents—those who would be most affected by a power of compulsory education— and they were unanimously in favour of compulsory education. He hoped, therefore, that the Government would take the question up, and that, if not in the 805 present Bill, then at the earliest opportunity afterwards, they would take steps towards effecting so desirable an object.
§ MR. HIBBERT, as an English Member, desired to say that, as this Bill was likely to be in some measure a precedent for the English Bill which was promised them next year, he trusted the Government would pluck up courage, and would not be afraid to introduce a clause into the English Bill compelling the attendance of children at school. The feeling of the working classes was decidedly in favour of compulsory attendance. It was only the ignorant and the drunken who would be brought under the penalties of such a system, and it was in their case that it was most desirable.
§ COLONEL SYKES, in confirmation of the statements which have been made, begged to state, that when addressing his constituents in November last, he found the working classes of Aberdeen unanimous in favour of compulsory education.
§ MR. GRAHAM
said, that not long ago he attended an Educational Conference in Manchester, at which resolutions were unanimously carried that compulsory education must form part of any satisfactory educational measure. From that Conference he proceeded to Glasgow, where a great public meeting was held, and from what he then learned, and had since learned, he might say that the desire in Scotland, and especially in Glasgow, that there should be a system of compulsory education, was as strong there as it was at Manchester. A few days since he received a letter from the Glasgow Working Men's Association, in which they said that no Bill would be satisfactory to them unless made compulsory, and they asked him rather to hinder the progress of the measure than otherwise, provided compulsory clauses were not inserted in it. His reply was that he could not do that because he thought that this Bill contained something which was valuable apart from the question of compulsory education. Although, therefore, he quite approved of the course taken by the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Campbell) in withdrawing his Motion, it ought to be perfectly understood by the House that the people of Scotland were exceedingly anxious to have compulsory clauses carried in the course of next year.
§ LORD GARLIES
said, he did not propose to discuss the question of compulsory education, inasmuch as the Question before them was that the House should go into Committee on this Bill. But he wished to call attention to the course which the Government had pursued with regard to the Bill. It was introduced in the Speech from the Throne in February last; and now, nearly six months afterwards, on the 27th of July, they were practically asked to read the Bill a second time. They were told that the Bill would be introduced into the other House, and, no doubt, some delay took place from their Lordships' desire to discover, from what took place from the May meetings in Scotland, what was the general wish of the people of that country on the subject. The Bill was carried through the Committee of the House of Lords on the 10th of June, and was sent down to this House on the 14th of June. When it was brought forward in this House, a fortnight ago, it was brought in at midnight, and then the Lord Advocate— who, he felt convinced, was only "riding to orders," because nobody was more anxious to pass the Bill than he was — told them that there was a compact entered into that there should be no discussion on the second reading—he did not tell us by whom that compact had been made— and, further, that it had been arranged that the discussion should be taken when the Bill was in Committee. He (Lord Garlies) had already absolved the Lord Advocate as regards the delay in bringing in this Bill into this House; but he could not absolve him for the course he had since pursued. He (Lord Garlies) understood on that night—and it was also understood by many other hon. Members —that the Bill was to be read a second time as it came from the other House; and that, when in Committee, it was the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to bring forward those matters to which the Government objected as regarded the action of the House of Lords. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman had not violated the strict letter of the law in having acted as he had done, in restoring at once the Bill to the shape it stood when originally introduced; but he thought the course which had been pursued might not improperly be described as "a right and left hander" in the face of both Houses. The right hon. 807 Gentleman did not propose to go into Committee on the Bill which came from the House of Lords, but he asked them to go into Committee on another Bill altogether. He had been assured by many hon. Gentlemen on both sides that the course which had been taken was quite unprecedented; and that, although not in the letter, yet in the spirit, it was neither formal nor constitutional.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, there was a time when he thought there was a chance of an Education Bill for Scotland being passed this Session. But all those hopes were dashed by the answer of the Home Secretary to the Question of the hon. Member for Invernessshire (Mr. Cameron) last night, that no second day could be given to this Bill till after Supply should have been disposed of. When they were asked to read this Bill a second time sub silentio, it was on the understanding that they were to have an opportunity of discussing it on going into Committee. Then he (Mr. Craufurd) hoped that they should have some statement from the Government of what they meant to do in Committee, what Amendments they proposed to adhere to, and what changes they yet proposed to make in the Bill. There had been three meetings of Scotch Members, each of which lasted for several hours, and yet they were not enabled to get through all the clauses of this Bill. They had now had three Bills—first, the Bill as it was introduced by the Government in the House of Lords—then the Bill as it was sent down from the House of Lords —and now a third Bill to go into Committee upon. How was it to be supposed, then, that they would get through it on that one day's sitting, with only five hours to discuss it in? He did not deny the competency of the Lord Advocate to take the course he had done in going into Committee pro formâ; but if the noble Lord, or any other hon. Member, objected, the objection should have been taken at that time. It did not lie with him to do so now.
§ LORD GARLIES
said he did not understand the Motion at the time, or else he should have objected.
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he had distinctly stated what his intention was in the speech which he made upon the second reading.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, he could support that statement of the Lord Advo- 808 cate. He did say in his speech on the second reading that he would present the Bill in the shape which the Government intended it to take. But he complained that that promise was not now to be adhered to, and they were in utter ignorance—he meant official ignorance —of what the Amendments of the Lord Advocate were to be. The Bill was first proposed as a national Bill; it came down from the House of Lords a denominational Bill; and now it was a mongrel mixture of national and denominational—and denominational chiefly in favour of one sect—which would leave in the future to Scotch Members and to Parliament a little Maynooth agitation to the end of their days. It might be said that the Irish Church Bill had stopped the progress of this Bill; but the fact was that this Bill came down to this House just as the Irish Church Bill left it; and here they were now, on the 27th July, with only one day, with a sitting of five hours—one of which is already gone—to discuss a Bill of sixty clauses, and about fifteen pages of Amendments. If the Government really desired to pass the Bill, and had put their heart into it, they would have dealt with it as they did with the Bankruptcy Bill, or the Contagious (Animals) Diseases Bill, or the Telegraphs Bill. He would remind the House that the Bill contained matters of vital importance to the people of Scotland, and that it was utterly impossible to proceed to the discussion of it without a clear indication of the course that the Government intended to pursue. There were two main points—the constitution of the Central Board, and the question of the 66th clause, upon which he hoped the Government would give them an intimation that they intended to revert to the original plan. It was of vital importance that they should know how the Central Board was to be constituted; and he thought it hardly right that all the powers now proposed should be given to a Board sitting at Edinburgh. His right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate entertained, he knew, a different opinion on the question of the constitution of the Board or Commission. He did not quarrel with him in that respect; but he regretted that he had misunderstood the object he had in view in calling attention to the constitution of the Board. The right hon. and learned Lord had said that he 809 wanted to establish the central management in London. That was utterly to mistake his object. He (Mr. Craufurd) stated, on the second reading, that the Board ought to be a Scotch Board; that it ought to have the control of education in Scotland, in accordance with the wishes of the Scotch people; and that it was not well that, as would be the case as the Bill now stood, the whole control, power, and management should be in the Privy Council. But the Government had rejected even the proposition of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. Orr Ewing)that the Central Board in Scotland should be allowed to act in conjunction with the Privy Council, in framing the Code — they were told that the Privy Council would not submit to even such a modification of the Bill. He would ask who was really in favour of centralization — the learned Lord or himself? He desired that the Central Board should be truly a Scotch Board, and that its members should be properly paid men, intended to devote their whole attention to it, and not with the niggardly payment of £500 or £600 a year. Why, he found that our Fiscals were paid more than that, though they were not required to devote the whole of their time to their public duties, and were allowed to continue their private professional practice. He did not wish to see a Board sitting at Edinburgh simply to administer the wishes and views of the Privy Council, and to have no independent control. His right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate admitted that we ought to have a Scotch Board. He suggested that there was an opportunity of placing the matter on a proper footing for constituting a really effective Board in Edinburgh. He repeated he had no wish to bring the Board to London; but he did desire that there should be some one here responsible to this House who should control the action of the Board—not the Chairman or any of the working members, but some one here with power to control the action of the Privy Council, and to see that in drawing up the Code one shall be constructed, not fitted to a country like England—which everyone now admitted to be far behind Scotland in education — but a Code that should suit the wants and necessities of the present state of education in Scotland. Upon this matter they had re- 810 ceived either refusals or utter disregard of their wishes, or the assertion that such a state of things only tended to the establishment of a centralization in London, and was not for the benefit of the Scotch people. He had hoped that now they had a Scotch Member as Secretary of State for the Home Department, he would have felt it to be necessary to give a really Scotch tendency to this Bill—to give them the real control over the education of the country, without which he was sure the Scotch people would rather see no Bill at all passed this Session. Now he was most anxious that they should not have to go back to their constituents and say they had done nothing in the matter of education for them; but he maintained that it was not right or even discreet to the House and to themselves that they should pass this measure in a hurry and without due consideration, merely that they might be able to say that they had passed it. But if it could be brought into conformity with the main principles on which this legislation ought to rest, if it would give them a thoroughly national system of education, and a thoroughly Scotch Board, he would be quite willing to waive all matters of minor detail.
rose to make an appeal to the House. He entreated hon. Gentlemen to go into Committee. He believed that the general feeling of the Scotch Members was that, on the whole, the Bill was deserving of their support, but if hon. Members who thought they had grounds of objection, took this opportunity of enlarging on the subject, the time which could be given to the discussion of the Bill would be entirely absorbed. It was undoubtedly a misfortune that the necessities of the Session obliged the Government to introduce the Bill in the House of Lords, and that the necessities of the Government compelled this House to occupy its chief time with Bills that had to be sent to the Lords, so as to postpone the consideration of this measure to so late a period. But there was a most earnest desire on the part of the Government to carry the Bill. He had not at all intended to imply a doubt that another day for the consideration of the Bill would be forthcoming, if necessary. What he said, was, that at this period of the Session it was absolutely necessary that they should get through Committee of Supply 811 and that, until Supply was finished, it was impossible to give a fixed day for the Bill. The hon. Member (Mr. Craufurd) had hinted that it was the object of the Government to give to the Scotch system of education an English character by keeping it under the control of the Privy Council. Now he was bound to say that the Members of the Government had—in his opinion, very wisely, but at some pains, and at some sacrifice of preconceived opinions — abandoned some of the leading principles of the Revised Code in this Bill, in order to meet the wishes of the Scotch Members. They had abandoned the limitation of payments to particular classes and the limits of age prescribed by the Revised Code, and, by so doing, had shown their determination to preserve that most important principle of Scotch education by which all classes were educated together, and under the influence of which every Scotch peasant and every individual of the nation endeavoured to keep his children at school as long as possible; and while, in certain respects, a limited control was reserved to the Privy Council, yet large powers were given to the Central Board, and the wishes of the Scotch people had been, and would be, consulted as to the principles on which Scotch education should be based. Under these circumstances he hoped that, without wasting further time in preliminary discussions, they would at once address themselves to the Bill, so that they might be able, during this Session, to confer upon the people of Scotland the lasting benefit of passing this Bill into law.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
said he had listened to the words of the right hon. Gentleman with great astonishment. Yesterday he made a statement which was considered fatal to the passing of the measure this Session; for when asked when he would give another day for the discussion, he said that that would depend upon the progress that was made with Supply. To-day the right hon. Gentleman got up to urge them not to discuss the principles of the Bill, but to get into Committee on it. What was the meaning of that, but that the Session could not be wound up until the money was voted, and that after it was obtained the Session would not be prolonged? It seemed to him that if the Government were sincerely anxious to pass the Bill, the proper course would be 812 to sacrifice a few more days of August. Was it to go forth to the constituencies that their representatives were so extremely impatient to leave town that the were unwilling, even on a measure of this great importance, to stay for a few days more? Besides the Bill itself there were fifteen pages of Amendments. Two days more, at least, would be required to discuss them. Would any Member of the Government say that those two days should be given? He asked that they should have from the Government a distinct intimation of their intention. If they were willing to make a sacrifice of a few days for the sake of passing the Bill, he ventured to say—though, of course, he was not authorized to speak for anybody but himself — that the Scotch Members would cheerfully defer their departure from town for the necessary time. It was monstrous to suppose that the Bill could pass without due discussion. There were two clauses on which he wished to offer a remark. There was the 2nd clause, appointing Commissioners to be paid by the Crown, and the 66th clause, which contained the proviso that when the Board, nominated by the Crown, should see fit to make a recommendation to the Privy Council that a denominational grant should be given, the Privy Council was to make such grant to denominational schools. Now, that completely destroyed the character of the measure as an undenominational Bill. It becomes a really denominational Bill, call it by what name you would; for it provided the machinery for making denominational grants upon the action of a Government Department. It would be far better that, if it is to be done at all, the thing should be done openly. The provision would keep up perpetual agitation on the subject. It was perfectly well known that the proviso was inserted in order to meet the wishes of the Roman Catholics; that it had been introduced not to satisfy the people of Scotland, but of a part of the people of Ireland. For his own part, he must express his extreme disapprobation of the proviso, and unless they were to have the means of freely discussing the Bill, he did not think it was to be desired that it should pass.
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
said, it was absolutely necessary that the Members for Scotland should know exactly what was settled, and how they 813 stood in this matter. The case at present was this—that upon the most important measure, as affecting Scotland, that had been introduced for 200 years, there had been absolutely no discussion of any shape or kind in regard to its principles. Now, the Lord Advocate undertook that there should be a general discussion upon the Motion for going into Committee. Now, however, the Home Secretary appeals to us in the most urgent language to get into Committee without delay, and without any discussion on the principles of the measure. If it appeared to him that the Amendments were such as promised to bring the Bill at all into the form in which the people of Scotland would wish it to be, he would readily stay in town as long as might be necessary; but he had no sort of hope that any such substantial or bond fide Amendments, of a kind to satisfy the constituencies of Scotland, would be introduced.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, that when the Bill was read the second time, not only was the appeal made by the Government that there should be very little discussion, but the distinct promise was given that on going into Committee the discussion on the general principles should take place; and now we have been entreated not to engage in a general discussion. But hon. Gentlemen knew very well that when they went into Committee on a Bill their observations were limited to the particular clause under discussion, and they were very properly called to Order if they wandered into wider questions. On the other hand, he did not think it was possible to discuss the details of this measure satisfactorily until they had arrived at some sort of understanding as to its leading principles. On the second reading, the Lord Advocate explained the character of a number of Amendments which he in- tended to propose; and the Bill passed through Committee pro formâ, in order that they might be embodied in it. Now, if the same course were to be adopted on the present occasion—if the Government were to tell them what further Amendments they intended to pro- pose—not, of course, as to all the de-} tails, but the principal ones—the House would be in a position to say at once whether they were prepared to pass the Bill with these Amendments, or to pass it as it stood. He must say that if the 814 question were to be put to him whether he would accept the Bill as it passed through Committee pro formâ, he should most distinctly say "No." He would not have the Bill in that state. If it was to be altered, why not tell them now, as they were told on the second reading, the character and principle of the alterations proposed to be made? He was most anxious that a Bill on this subject should pass; but he repeated that if the only question was to be whether to pass this Bill substantially unaltered, he said it would be better to have no Bill at all. Less than three and a-half hours remained of this Sitting, and there were on the Paper 139 Amendments and thirty-nine now clauses? How could these Amendments and clauses possibly be discussed each in a couple of minutes? He had himself given notice of two only out of the 139 Amendments, so that he did not contemplate taking up much of the time of the House; but one of them was of great importance— that regarding the question of denominational schools. He would stay in London as long as the Government desired; but he should like to know what their intentions were with regard to the amendment of this Bill.
§ MR. DALGLISH
quite agreed with the hon. Member for Edinburgh. He was prepared to stay in London as long as was necessary to pass this Bill, but he should like to have some assurance— if the Government were able to give them such assurance—that if the Scotch Members, at a great sacrifice of time and trouble, put this Bill into a shape that would meet the views of the people of! Scotland, such a Bill so amended, and sent to the other House would have the least chance of passing.
§ SIR GRAHAM MONTGOMERY
said, the Government seemed to him to have taken an extraordinary and erratic course with regard to this Bill. It was clear that there had been a misunderstanding, but how this misunderstanding arose he was at a loss to make out. Some hon. Gentlemen had objected to this Bill because it is a national denominational Bill. To him that appeared to be one of its main advantages. It would be impossible to have a purely national system for Scotland, unless they made it a secular system, which he did not believe the people of Scotland wished. He thought, too, that the question of the 2d. rate was 815 rather difficult to understand. He did not see how it was to work.
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he certainly would not deny that hon. Gentlemen had made some sacrifice to the cause of education by refraining from the general discussion on going into Committee. It was perfectly true that when the Bill was read a second time some of the Scotch Members agreed to allow it to pass without discussion, upon the understanding that there was to be a discussion upon the general principle when the House went into Committee. But, at the same time, hon. Gentlemen cannot fail to see the difficulties with which the Government had had to con-tend. There had been meetings of the Scotch Members—the general scope of the Bill, as well as the general views of Members, were generally understood— and there had been numerous Amendments placed on the Paper. If they were to pass the Bill at all it would not do to discuss its general principle on the Motion that the Speaker leave the Chair, and again in Committee upon the clauses. He would confine himself to one or two observations upon the present state of the Bill, and then he trusted that they would address themselves really to the work before them. Some criticisms had been made by the noble Lord (Lord Garlies), and he (the Lord Advocate) had been asked to give some explanation upon a matter so simple and clear that he did not understand how a question had come to be raised upon it in this House. When the House read this Bill the second time, he informed the House, at the conclusion of his observations, that the Bill had been considerably altered in "another place" from the shape in which it originally stood; and as the country was not aware of the propositions of the Government upon which this House was to decide, he should follow the course of committing the Bill pro formâ, and re-printing it with the Amendments embodied in it. He stated it quite distinctly, and it could not have been misunderstood. They were now told that there was something disrespectful to the other House in the course that they had taken, and that they were not dealing as they ought to do with their Amendments. Hon. Gentlemen who took that view could not be aware that it was the constant practice in "another place" so to deal with Bills 816 that come up from this House. Hon. Gentlemen were quite mistaken, both upon the constitutional theory and the practice of Parliament. The constitutional theory was that this House does not know whether a Bill has been in the House of Lords or not. Although it has passed the Lords, and although it was first introduced there, it appears before this House precisely as if it had been brought in here first. When we deal with it, we deal with it and consider it as if it had been introduced first into this House. Nothing could be further from his desire than to show the slightest discourtesy to the Amendments which had been made in "another place;" but it was indispensable that the country and the House should know clearly the propositions which the Government were prepared to make. They could not possibly accede to the Bill as it came down from the Lords, and therefore he believed he had consulted the convenience as well as the propriety in our proceedings in re-printing the Bill pro formâ. Now, in regard to the Amendments, it was stated that he had not informed the House what the views of the Government were upon the matters in question. He had only to say that the proposition of the Government was embodied in the Bill as it stood now with the few Amendments he had placed upon the Paper last night. The only material Amendment among them was as regards the constitution of the Board. The Lords had altered the original proposition to a Board of three paid members, and he (the Lord Advocate) made a different proposal on the second reading. He then brought the matter before the Scotch Members, and it appeared to be their opinion that a Board properly paid was the best Board. The Government were of of opinion that if that was the feeling of the Scotch Members, it ought to be given effect to; and, therefore, hon. Members will find from the Paper that that course had been adopted. He trusted the House would now go into Committee.
§ SIR JAMES ELPHINSTONE
said, that in the case of all the Bills cited by the right hon. Gentleman there was a perfect concurrence of opinion between the two Houses on the principles of the Bill. He thought that the Bill ought to have been re-printed in the shape in which it had come down from the House 817 of Lords. Under the course pursued this House had no means of knowing what were the Amendments made by the Lords in the Bill. He had no doubt that it was perfectly in Order to take the course followed by the learned Lord in cases where there was no difference of opinion; but he thought that the impression created by his learned Friend's conduct in this case would exercise a considerable influence upon the reception' of the Bill when it went back to the House of Lords.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1 (Interpretation clause).
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
moved, as an Amendment with reference to the qualification of heritors, to leave out the qualification given in the clause, and to substitute the words, "the said heritors shall mean all owners of lands and heritages of the yearly value of £20 and upwards." In proposing that alteration he had only adopted the qualification of the Poor Law Act of 1845. The qualification named in the Bill was as old as the year 1803. The Act 43 Geo. III., c. 64, provided that it should not be lawful for any heritor who had not a property of at least £100 Scots to attend or vote at any meeting held in pursuance of that Act. He could not conceive why this old qualification should be retained in the present Bill. They did not want that these £100 Scots heritors only should provide schools for the people of Scotland—they wanted the people of Scotland to feel and know that they paid for the schools, which they would do under the present Bill, but that they would have the advantage of managing the schools for themselves. But the Bill, as it came down from the Lords, while it retained the old management extended the area of rating. He thought the course of the Government rather strange. It was manifest that these two clauses, as they came down from the Lords, were absurd. They might have opened the management and widened the assessment, or they might have had the close management and at the same time kept the old assessment. Her Majesty's Government had adopted the latter of the two courses. They took out the clause stating that the assessment for the schools should be levied upon the valuation-roll 818 of Scotland, and they kept in the clause providing that the management of the schools should be left in the hands of the heritors. He earnestly trusted that the Government would give way upon this point, and would make the management of the parochial schools such as the great body of the people of Scotland desired it should be.
In page 2, line 40, to leave out from the words "The heritors," to the words "fifty-four," in line 42, inclusive, in order to insert the words "Heritors shall mean all owners of lands and heritages of the yearly value of twenty pounds and upwards,"—(Sir Robert Anstruther,)
§ MR. ORE EWING
said, he also had an Amendment on this clause, its object being to extend and liberalize the pre- sent system by making £20 of the old Scots valuation, instead of £100, the qualification for heritor. He agreed with the hon. Baronet that they could not retain the old system of managing the schools, and at the same time extend the area of taxation for the support of the schools. The hon. Baronet wished to keep the old system of supporting the parochial schools and at the same time to liberalize the heritors. He would take the entire control out of the old heritors. The heritors of Scotland were the landed proprietors, and they had, under the Act of 1803, been burdened with the maintenance of the parochial schools; and if the Committee agreed to the proposal of the hon. Baronet, it would leave the heritors under the obligation of maintaining the schools, but take the management out of their hands. That was not fair. It was admitted by all—even by the hon. Member for Edinburgh—that the parochial schools were better managed than any schools in Scotland. Why was that? It was because they were efficiently superintended by the parochial clergy and by the heritors. He proposed to Liberalize the management by describing the qualification of heritors as—Proprietors of lands within any parish to the extent of at least £20 Scots of valued rent appearing in the land tax hooks of the county within which such parish is situated.
§ MR. MILLER
said, he had also placed an Amendment on the Paper, the object of which was, so far, to obtain the result which his hon. Friend the Member for Fifeshire sought—namely, to open up 819 the management of the parochial schools. He desired to liberalize the heritors under the old Act, and so extend it that every man whose name was found on the land tax books should be an heritor in the sense of this Act, and should therefore have a voice in conducting the schools. He would, however, liberalize that management by bringing it back to the system in use previous to the Act of George III. He should therefore vote for the striking out of the words now in the clause, also against the words proposed by the hon. Member.
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, the reason why this provision still stood in the clause before the Committee was that the Committee in their Report, after stating the objections which had been made to the management of the parochial schools, and the suggestions made for the alteration of the qualification of heritors, said—There is much weight in these suggestions; but, notwithstanding some diversity of opinion, we are not prepared to recommend those alterations. Many of our number think that the parochial schools ought to possess more of national character, and that such changes should be adopted; but, after considerable inquiry, and after the investigation conducted by the Assistant Commissioners, we have resolved not to recommend that any alteration should be made on the existing management of the parochial schools.The Bill, as it was introduced into the House of Lords, was precisely in the terms of the recommendation of the Commissioners. He (the Lord Advocate) was not prepared to say that it would be wise to assent to the parochial schools existing in their present form as a permanent state; but the principle of the Bill was to adopt these schools on their present footing — to leave under their present management both denominational and parochial schools—at the same time providing machinery for adopting them gradually into the national system. This was the compromise which was entered into, and he should feel bound to adhere to that compromise. That compromise, however, was not adhered to in '' another place;" because, while the Lords adopted i that course with regard to the parish schools, they deliberalized the new schools—which was part of the compromise. At the same time they also did this—for which no principle can be imagined—after leaving the management under the restricted body of heri- 820 tors, under the Act of 1803, they actually widened the area of taxation, and attempted to lay the burden of supporting the parish schools on the proprietors on the new valuation-roll. After considering the matter, Her Majesty's Government came to the conclusion that, as they were anxious not to create agitation, but to pass the Bill; and as the Commissioners recommended what they had originally proposed — that they should go back to the compromise. He owned that he did so with regret. The compromise recommended by the Commissioners was, he thought, such as they would be able to pass; and therefore he must vote against the Motion of Ms hon. Friend.
§ MAJOR WALKER
said, that the Assistant Commissioners stated in their Report that the elective body, as at present constituted, was good, especially where the heritors were resident—but they desired that if the system of rating was adopted the rate-payers should have some voice in the management; and this seemed to him but just. At the same time, the Commissioners add an important qualification: they said that it was of vital importance to education that this representation should be continued, as far as possible, to be confined to the educated and influential among the body of the rate-payers. He thought the clauses as they stood provided a very ample representation of the body of the ratepayers— two-thirds being elected by them, and one-third being left in the hands of the heritors—which was by no means an excessive or unnecessary provision.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, the question was who the heritors should be to whom they were to intrust the management of the parish schools, so long as they were not converted into ordinary national schools. There were four Amendments on the Paper, and two of them were identical with the Amendment of his hon. Friend (Mr. Miller), which was that they should return to the old principle that taxation and representation go together. But in 1803 an Act was passed depriving all the heritors, except a few large ones, of the right to vote and speak in the management of the parish schools. The object of all the four Amendments was substantially to restore the ancient law of Scotland; but he preferred that proposed by his hon. Colleague, and he hoped that the 821 hon. Member for Fifeshire would withdraw his Amendment, and allow the sense of the House to be taken on that of his hon. Friend.
§ MR. LOCH
said, there was no question more important with respect to the management of the parish schools, now that the constitution of the heritors was to be changed from that which was established by the Act of 1803, than to carry it back to the old law of Scotland as it existed previous to that time—namely, that all who were liable to contribute to the payment of the schoolmasters and the maintenance of the schools should have a voice in choosing the masters. He thought that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Edinburgh arrived at that object better than the one of which he had himself given notice, and therefore he should withdraw his Amendment in favour of his.
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
said, he had not the least objection to the words proposed by the hon. Member for Edinburgh—in fact, it might very possibly be that they were better words than his own. Their first object was to throw out the Government words, and assist to liberalize the meaning of the word heritors. What words they would substitute he would not say; but he was willing to take the words of the hon. Member.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
desired to point out to the Lord Advocate that the Government proposal was refused by both sides of the House. The placing the management in the hands of the ratepayers was the only scrap of liberalism sent down in the measure from the House of Lords, and that it was now proposed to strike out by reverting to the system of 1803.
§ SIR GRAHAM MONTGOMERY
said, he was equally opposed to all three Amendments. He would remind the Committee that when some years since the right hon. Gentleman introduced his Education Bill a memorial was very largely signed stating that whatever else might be done with regard to education in that country, the signataries hoped that no change would be made in the management or in the definition of the word heritor. He was satisfied that if this alteration was made it would destroy the whole framework of the Bill.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
hoped that Her Majesty's Government would 822 take into serious consideration the strong appeal that had been made. The matter involved a question of great importance, not merely affecting the future management of these schools, but affecting the action of the Bill itself in the transfer of these parochial schools to the new management.
§ MR. ANDERSON
thought that as the Government would never consent to bribe the heritors by making them a present of their payments as heritors, the process of absorption would not likely be so rapid as some supposed. For that reason he thought it absolutely necessary that they should consider the question of liberalizing the heritors; and as he thought the Amendment of the hon. Member for Edinburgh the most liberal, he should vote for it.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, the hon. Member for Edinburgh had spoken slightly of the Report of the Assistant Commissioners; but the Committee must recollect that this Bill was founded on the Report of the Commission, and the opinions of the hon. Member for Edinburgh applied equally therefore to the legislation and to the Report on which it was based. The parochial schools of Scotland were a source of pride to them, and he hoped the Committee would not readily overturn a system which had worked well for many years. As a middle course between absorption and alteration, he should support the learned Lord Advocate.
§ COLONEL SYKES
hoped that, in the face of the general expression of opinion on the part of Scotch Members, the learned Lord Advocate would not think it necessary to proceed to a division.
§ MR. CRUM-EWING
said, it seemed to him that the only reason the Lord Advocate had had in making this alteration was that the Bill might be made agreeable, and might pass more readily in "another place." The Committee could not be actuated by any such a feeling. The people of Scotland would not be satisfied unless the schools were placed under a more liberal management than at present.
§ LORD HENRY SCOTT
said, he should support Her Majesty's Government. The proposal of the hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Anstruther) aimed at an entirely new principle, and if it were carried the Bill would no longer be the Bill recom- 823 mended by the Commissioners, or as brought, in by the Lord Advocate, but a Bill based upon the principle of national, undenominational, rate-paying, compulsory education, and that was a question which, however it might be proper to discuss it at another time, was not now before the House. The Lord Advocate, in proposing what he had done, had done the best he could under the circumstances. He was willing to maintain the heritors as denned in this clause, and to give them a representation of one-third in each parish, and that he thought a very fair proposal.
§ MR. GRAHAM
The Lord Advocate said he had assented to the course he now proposed merely as a matter of compromise, and against his own convictions; and the Commissioners said that they made the recommendation because the Sub-Commissioners reported, them; and the Sub-Commissioners said that the large heritors in the parish and minister were so superior in observation, in freedom from local prejudice, that they were better able to choose a schoolmaster than the other inhabitants of the parish. Now he thought that conveyed an undeserved censure upon a very large class, and he should therefore support the Amendment.
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he thought that if they could purchase the accession of both Houses of Parliament to the permanent management, they did not pay a very large price for it in adhering to the compromise that had been come to.
§ Question put, "That the words The heritors' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 110; Noes 65: Majority 45.
THE LORD ADVOCATE
moved to add at the end of the clause the words—Except in the Shetland Islands, where it shall mean proprietors of lands and heritages within the parish valued in the valuation-roll at £50 and upwards.The exception was due to the rather important circumstance that there were no heritors in Shetland of the value of £100 Scots.
§ MR. MILLER
I shall move, as an Amendment to this Amendment, that every owner upon the valuation-roll shall be entitled to vote, instead of drawing the line at £50.
§ After short debate, Amendment with- 824 drawn, on the understanding that it should be brought up again on the Report.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 2 (Board of Education in Scotland).
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he had already explained to the Scotch Members of this House the reasons which induced the Government to propose this constitution of the Board, instead of that contained in the previous Bill. No doubt, this was a difficult matter; and he thought it quite true that the views which had been expressed, that this was rather a matter of administration than of principle, were correct. But he thought on the whole, that the management now proposed would be reasonable and just. It was proposed to have paid members of the Board, one of whom was to be Chairman; and there would be also Law Officers for the purposes of the Act, and a Secretary. He proposed to insert in the clause words to the effect that these persons should hold office for three years, with power to the Queen in Council to extend the time to five years; the salaries to be £1,000 for the Chairman, and £750 each for the other two paid members of the Board.
In page 3, line 6, after "of," leave out to "expense" in line 16, and insert" The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland for the time being, and three other persons to be named by Her Majesty, one of whom shall be named as chairman; and it shall be enough for the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to pay to such chairman a salary not exceeding £1,000 per annum, and to each of the other two persons so to be named a salary not exceeding £750 per annum." —(The Lord Advocate.)
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
said, this was the most important part of the Bill, because most extraordinary powers were proposed to be given to the Central Board—powers which had never been enjoyed by any other body in Scotland before—and which were entirely novel. The Board, in the first place, was to have power to put down a school wherever it might consider a school to be wanted; and it was also to have the power to tax the people where a school was put down, and to say what amount of money should be paid by them for any specific school. That was a power never yet given to any body in Scotland up to the present day, and it behaved the Committee to watch very carefully that this Central Board was 825 such that the people of Scotland at large could repose confidence in it. He had been accused of objecting to the government of Scotland by Boards. He objected, no doubt, because they were constituted not by that House, because they were not represented in that House, and because the public of Scotland had no means of learning their proceedings. And now they were about to create another which was to be wholly irresponsible to that House. He knew that his learned Friend the Lord Advocate represented in the House not only the Boards but the whole administration of affairs in Scotland—and he knew that those affairs did not suffer in his hands. But he must take the liberty of objecting that the whole administration of affairs in Scotland should be left in the hands of the legal profession. That had been the case ever since 1742, when the last Secretary of State for Scotland (the Marquess of Tweeddale) resigned his office, which had never since been filled up. He thought the time had now come when the administration of Scotch affairs should be exercised by its laymen. What he complained of mainly in regard to this Board was that it was not represented in any degree by a lay officer in that House. They had heard a great deal of the Privy Council, and his learned Friend had told them more than once that he was in mortal terror of the Privy Council, and those who administered the grants. Now, the Vice President, who sat beside him, was the most amiable of men. He had conducted a long and important Bill through that House in such a manner as to win the respect and regard of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House. Why, therefore, the Lord Advocate should be afraid of the Vice President of the Committee of Education and the Chancellor of the Exchequer he could not conceive. The Committee of the Privy Council was a very formidable body; but there could be no doubt that the vis inertia of that body was very great. The complaint was that it did not apprehend the genius of Scotch education. That complaint was almost universal throughout Scotland; and when his learned Friend admitted that it would be an advantage to the Privy Council to have upon it a Scotch Member who could represent what were really their wishes upon all matters connected with education, he believed he 826 only re-echoed the prevailing opinion throughout the whole of Scotland.
§ MR. ORR EWING
said, he quite agreed with the hon. Baronet as to the great importance of the question now under consideration; but he did not exactly agree with him in the conclusions which he wished that the House should come to. The hon. Baronet seemed to consider it of great importance that this Central Board should have a representation in that House. His (Mr. Ewing's) opinion was that it was a matter of far greater consequence that the Board should represent the people of Scotland, and for that reason he had ventured to place on the Paper the Amendment which stood in his name. He had no confidence in a nominated Central Board. He had, on the contrary, every confidence in an elected Board. He had, too, the greatest confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers, on whatever side of the House they might sit, if left to their own free will, to elect men to fill the position of Commissioners; but they all knew the influence brought to bear upon them whenever a vacancy arose, so that they came to a decision, not in accordance with their own opinions, but rather under the political influence which was brought to boar upon them. He wished to have this Board elective, as the only means of procuring a Scotch Board. He wanted it to be not only thoroughly Scotch, but to have upon it a representative of those hardworking and most useful body of men, the schoolmasters, who had been too much ignored by this Bill. He did not know of any better means of giving them a proper position in the country than to give them a representative on the Board which would in future have the management of education in Scotland. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Amendment of which he had given notice.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, that as the hon. Baronet the Member for Fife-shire (Sir Robert Anstruther) had made some allusion to the Department with which he was connected, he wished to state what, as it seemed to him, was the relation of the Privy Council to the matters contemplated in this Bill. He did not understand that the Bill intended that the Board should in any way act under the Privy Council. The object of the Privy Council was that it should be responsible to the House 827 and the country for the administration of what might be considered State aid out of Imperial money for educational purposes both in England and Scotland. He took it that the most important object of this Board—an object the importance of which could not be overrated — was to ascertain where there should be rated schools. That was the business of the Board. The business of the Privy Council was simply to superintend the administration of State aid. The Board was in no way put under the Privy Council. It was said there is no power of appeal. That was not correct. An appeal was provided for by Clause 31 of the Bill; and he wished hon. Members to observe that it was an appeal not to the Privy Council, but to the Secretary of State. He thought, also, there might be a little misconception arising in the minds of hon. Members from the words—" Committee of Council of Education." Those were old-fashioned words, which had about the same meaning, or very little more, than the words Poor Law Board. Both in the Educational Department as well as in the Poor Law Board, the business was really worked as in the other Departments of the public service—namely, by officers, one in each House, who were responsible for their Department; but he rose to state that there was no intention on the part of the Government to give the Committee of Council on Education any power over that important part of the Bill which was to decide where in Scotland rate schools should be established, and how the inhabitants of Scotland should be taxed to pay that rate. He thought he ought not to sit down without stating—as there seemed to be a not unnatural jealousy of the Privy Council in the distribution of State aid in Scotland — that they were perfectly aware of the different circumstances of Scotland from England, and that they had no wish to thrust the Revised Code down the throats of Scotchmen. Taking, generally, England and Scotland, and comparing them together, Scotland was in advance of England. He should greatly regret to see anything done, either by the Privy Council or by any other action of the Government, which would injure the present system in Scotland. He rejoiced that in Scotland all classes were brought together in the schools, and that the 828 higher education was attained by all classes and denominations. He thought, therefore, that the Scotch Members might rely that it was not the intention of the Government to break down this system, or to extend payment by results —which had worked well in England, and which, it was considered, would also work well in Scotland—in such a way as to injure the present system in Scotland.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, he was convinced that the only way in which they could secure that responsibility to Parliament which all desired was that the inquiries and the decision as to what new schools were required for Scotland should rest with a Department of the Government; and for his part he did not know any body upon whom it would be better to confer this duty than the Committee of the Privy Council, if connected with it there should be some department more especially having control in respect of the places in which new schools should be planted. He thought, too, that in the administration of this part of the Bill a Committee like that of the Privy Council would enjoy great advantages. He did not wish to underrate the importance of local responsibility; but he thought a body independent of local prejudices would act with greater responsibility, and a more just effect with regard to the wants of Scotland, than even a Board sitting in Edinburgh. In carrying out this measure far more depended, in his opinion, upon who were to be the Inspectors and who should furnish the reports than upon the Board. The Board would act judicially, and their duties could be equally as well exercised by a body connected with the Privy Council. He owned there was a strong feeling against the Privy Council in reference to Scotch grants. He did not share in that feeling, and thought it was founded, to a great extent, upon misconception, and would disappear when it was found that the inspection was efficient and undenominational. Further, he wished to say he did not share in the jealousy felt towards the Privy Council in regard to the Revised Code. He knew there was a strong feeling on the subject, especially amongst the schoolmasters; but he thought that feeling was unjustly entertained, and he could, if necessary, adduce proofs that the Revised Code was as much 829 wanted in Scotland as in England. He, for one, was inclined to place confidence in the administration of the Privy Council.
said, the question was not as to whether the Revised Code should be introduced into Scotland or not, but what should be the body to say what means of education were still wanting to Scotland? The Inspectors were not persons who were possessed of the requisite information. Their business was to examine schools—that they could do perfectly— but their business had never been to state what were the educational wants of a district. They had no means of instituting inquiries; and if the Privy Council had to conduct these inquiries, it would be necessary to appoint special officers for that purpose.
said, that, as this was the fourth form of the Board which had been submitted to the House, Her Majesty's Government could not complain that a short time was spent in inquiring whether it was the best possible Board which could be chosen. It was admitted that upon that Board would depend the working of the measure. In the case of the Board of Trade, the Poor Law Board, &c, these were constitutional Boards, although the subordinate members were not seen, or heard of. The President of each of these Boards did what he conceived to be his duty to the public, and when any complaint was made he was answerable for it in Parliament; and that was a system which has recommended itself to the good opinion of all enlightened men in this country. But the Board proposed to be constituted by this Bill was not to have these advantages, and yet was to have far greater power in some respects than any of the Boards to which he had referred. Why, the Board was substantially to enact that hundreds of schools were to be erected in Scotland by means of local taxation; for the Commissioners said that there were 90,000 children in Scotland who were i not at school. The money needed for existing schools other than parochial was also to be raised by local taxation, so that, substantially, this new Board was to be a Board for taxing the people of Scotland to a very large extent. What was required to be done could not certainly be done for less than £1,000,000, and this Board would have practically the power of laying on rates to that extent. Now it had never been known in the his- 830 tory of any portion of the United Kingdom—in England, in Ireland, or Scotland —that any Board was ever appointed for laying on taxes. There were Boards to point out what should be done; but their powers were never so large as those which were given by this Bill. If they could, by the Bill, get an executive Board that would be responsible in the House, through its President, like the Board of Trade, such an executive Board would be by far the best. Now, the Members and Secretary were to have salaries amounting to £2,500 a year; but if they were to save £500 of this and give £2,000 to a Gentleman who should be responsible in this House for the action of the Board, to hear complaints, and to give explanations, and acting along with an unpaid Board in Edinburgh or anywhere else, they would have an admirably working organization. It had been said that it had been agreed at a meeting of the Scotch Members, that the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General were to be members of the Board ex officio. He (Mr. M'Laren) then, and now, objected altogether to those high officials being placed on the Board. As a security, it was altogether illusory. In the case of the Lord Advocate, he was practically Home Secretary for Scotland, and he believed there was not one Scotch Member who did not believe that the duties he had already to perform were far more than any man living could get through satisfactorily. And, in point of fact, his original duties, as public prosecutor for Scotland, had, for a long series of years, been little more than nominal. The presence of the Lord Advocate on these occasions, on criminal trials, had been becoming more and more rare. The Solicitor General used to be always present in the absence of the Lord Advocate; but of late, he believed, the attendance of either was very rare, and was i only given on very important occasions. As Her Majesty's Government seemed not to have quite made up their minds on some of these points, he would suggest to them to consider whether their propositions, as embodied in this Bill, were not susceptible of great improvement.
§ DR. LYON PLAYFAIR
said, a Scotch Board had been introduced into the Bill in order to satisfy the public feeling in Scotland, and in no place had the idea Scotch or Scotch Board been objected to. 831 In fact, it was in consequence of public opinion that the Government were forced to bring forward a Scotch Board at all. Now, the discussion which had taken place had gone in a course rather foreign to the Bill, which provided that there should be, in consonance with public feeling in Scotland, a Scotch Board. But this last form of it was made in deference to the strongly-expressed opinion of the Scotch Members themselves, in the private meeting upstairs, and when the Lord Advocate suggested those modifications which they were now considering, there was no objection on the part of Scotch Members at all. The Board was not so expensive as it appeared to be. A representative Board implied a large number of special Commissioners to do the work all over the country. But this Board was a Board of Commissioners whose whole time would be given to the work, and who would be themselves the special Commissioners who would go to the different parts of the country and settle where the schools should be placed. He believed this Board would be a positive economy instead of an expense to the Government.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, he wished to make a suggestion for the amendment of this clause. As to the presence of the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General upon the Board, all he could say was that so far as the Solicitor General was concerned, he knew he was out of pocket by his office of Solicitor General, and it would be hard to entail upon him still further duties to which he could not attend; his time was too valuable. With regard to the Lord Advocate, his duties were so enormous that it was ridiculous to expect him to be able to attend. But he did think they ought to have a lay representative on the Board. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council had no intention to force on Scotland the English Privy Council. But the whole of the jurisdiction with reference to the issue of codes and regulations seemed to be confined to the Council, without any reference to the Scotch Boards. Now, the fact was, they ought to have a Scotch department in the Privy Council; and therefore he begged to move the insertion of the following words—"a Secretary of Council for Scotland."
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, it was easy to frame an abstract scheme of 832 education—the question was, can you enforce it? We have adopted the old Scottish system—a system of rates, and a system of rates which shall be compulsory; and, of course, the problem was how to make the system of rates compulsory without being arbitrary and oppressive. In the first instance he must own he was in favour of adopting the machinery of the Privy Council. But, in the first place, the Privy Council could by no possibility do the work which it was required to do; and, secondly, public feeling in Scotland was so strong on this point that it would be impossible to propose such a system. What kind of management then were they to have? He was not going to go into the question of a Secretary of State for Scotland. It had been before the House many times, and the result had hitherto been the same. As to the administration by a Board sitting in Scotland, much exaggerated language had been used with regard to existing Boards. Now he believed that the Scotch Boards were the cheapest administrative departments in the three kingdoms, and they were at the same time the most efficient. A Board of this kind must do its own work, and the work which the Board in this instance was to do was work which could not be done on this side of the Border—and the only result of attempting it would be that there would be two departments—a nominal department in London, and a real department in Scotland. They could not nave in London a Board for the control of schoolmasters in Scotland. But it was said there ought to be a person in this House responsible. He was not going to express any strong opinion on the matter. Upon the hon. Member for Edinburgh's (Mr. M'Laren's) showing, it was impossible for any person to be really responsible for such work. The hon. Member said the Lord Advocate ought not to be a member of the Board, because he cannot attend. But he wanted another a member of the Board who cannot attend either, because he must be in Parliament. To make the Lord Advocate responsible for the work of the Board is a great mockery; but he might be responsible for work which he could not do. Beyond this they could not unite the two things. They could not have a reasonable responsibility for the Board and attendance at Parliament at 833 the same time. He had a strong impression that, while the Board must be responsible to Parliament, it was not desirable that the administration of the Board should change with every new Administration. The discussion of the Education Votes by the Privy Council was essential. Perhaps in some future time something like a Scottish Financial Department might come to exist, together with a Scotch Member of the Privy Council having Scotch matters in hand; but at present they could not tell what was required. He trusted the House would accept the Board. It was not perfect, but he thought it was as near it as possible, and that it would prove to be so.
§ MR. CRUM-EWING
considered the constitution of the Board, as proposed by the Lord Advocate, exceedingly objectionable. If the Lord Advocate was a member of any Board, he was at the head of it, and he (Mr. Crum-Ewing) objected to this. For his part, he would like to see a person in the House who would answer all questions put to him.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, his hon. Friend did not apprehend what the Lord Advocate had said. There were to be three Commissioners. Then, the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General were the legal assessors; and it was much better to have officers of that ability and legal knowledge. They would be able to attend to their duties here.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he had always been against Boards. If they wanted executive efficiency, it must rest with one man. They would then have individual responsibility. With a Board, if anything went wrong, it would always be—"Oh! it's the Board." Besides, they were now engaged in a new source of expenditure to the country. Here were three gentlemen appointed at a cost of £2,500, with secretaries and clerks. Then came the rent of houses, as they would see in the Estimates next year. The Scotch Board would be responsible to the Privy Council, from which an appeal was given to the Secretary of State, which meant the man at the head of the Council of Education. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: No, no; the Home Secretary.] Well, then, an individual in London. He objected, therefore, to this Board—first, because of its expensive-ness; and secondly, because of its ineffi- 834 ciency, there being no individual responsibility.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, the suggestion was, that there should be a Board of three, to be appointed for three years, to which he (Mr. Craufurd) wished to add that the Lord Advocate should be put upon the Board, and then that there should be a layman on the Board, and securing a Scotch element in the Privy Council. That was what he proposed, which would carry out what was done in Ireland. The Chief Secretary for Ireland was an ex-officio member of the Board, and had a seat at the Privy Council. They ought to have some Scotch element on the Privy Council.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, that the proposition which was now brought forward was substantially one which met with considerable approval from a large number of Scotch Members. ["No, no!"] His hon. Friend (Mr. Craufurd) seemed to wish that there should be a representative of the Board in the Privy Council. Now, he would show him what that meant. It meant confusion between two matters which it was very desirable to keep separate—that was the administration of State grants of Imperial funds and the administration of Scotch funds out of the rates, and he could not help thinking that it would be to the advantage of Scotland that these two matters should be kept distinct. The object of the Board was to see where schools should be built, and where the inhabitants should be compelled to pay rates for their maintenance. That seemed a matter which ought to be managed by Scotchmen in Scotland. He did not think the State money ought to be managed by Englishmen or Scotchmen. There was nothing to prevent anybody —Scotchman or Englishman—from filling the Office he (Mr. Forster) had the honour to hold. The money controlled by the holder of that Office for the time being should be administered without regard to any particular country, and nothing would tend more to confusion and to bad administration than to make two persons responsible to this House for the administration of State money. Whoever had to move the Estimates, and to ask for State money, ought to be the one man responsible to the House, and, therefore, he could not conceive there would be any advantage in putting a fresh Member of the Privy Council into 835 this House and on the Board to attend to part of this very thing.
§ MR. ORR EWING
said, as his Amendment had not met with support from either side of the House, he begged to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment to insert after "the Lord Advocate" the words "a Secretary of Council for Scotland," put, and negatived.
§ MR. MILLER
then proposed to leave out the words "the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland."
said, his learned Friend the Lord Advocate had undertaken to consider the suggestion whether power should not be taken at some future time to appoint one or more other persons in addition to the three paid Commissioners. Until that question had been fully considered, he thought it would be inexpedient to withdraw the names of the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland.
§ After short conversation, Amendment (Mr. Miller), by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment (The Lord Advocate) agreed to.
§ On Question "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill,"
§ LORD ELCHO
said, it was admitted that this clause was the most important one of the Bill. Now, it was very important they should know at what hour of the night the Report would be brought up; because it was manifest that if it was brought up at two or three o'clock in the morning, the Government could do anything they liked in regard to it. If this clause was now passed on the understanding that matters of importance in it were to be considered on the Report, then there ought to be the further understanding that the Report would be taken at an early hour in the evening when the Government might not be able to do exactly what they pleased.
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he did not think it was too much to announce that before the Bill left the Committee the Government would be able to say what course they would pursue on the subject.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
asked if they could not have a decisive declaration as to when the further progress of the Bill would be taken?
said, the utmost it was possible to do, under present circumstances, was to put it down for Thursday, and on that day to announce the earliest possible sitting on which it could be taken.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he thought the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman yesterday, as to Supply, was not quite understood. Eight days, after Supply was closed, must elapse before the prorogation could possibly take place. Now, this was a Lords' Bill; and supposing that it was the most important measure left for our consideration, and supposing also that Supply was to be finished before they again went into Committee on it, there would afterwards still remain five or six days in which it should be discussed. It being the end of the Session, the Lords would probably not take long to consider our Amendments, but would dispose of them quickly. It did not therefore seem to be unreasonable that the further proceeding with the Bill should be postponed until Supply was closed; and he presumed that Scotch Members were anxious to get to the North as soon as they could.
§ MR. ELLICE
protested entirely against the doctrine of the right hon. Gentleman. He did not think that Government was entitled to any consideration at their hands. This was the single Scotch Bill of the Session—and they had been put off to the very end of the Session. Other hon. Gentlemen, who lived within easy reach of London, could get away in the course of the Session and come back again. They could get away now. They (the Scotch Members) could not do so. They were entirely cut off from those interests that naturally drew them in Scotland, in order to wait on this Bill, and he said that they (the Scotch Members) —and also the hon. Gentlemen from Ireland—were entitled to the first consideration. They had the right to expect that the Government should now tell them when they meant to go on with the Bill. Why not give them a Morning Sitting on Friday? He thought the Government might have treated them more liberally at an earlier period; but, now, after they had been sitting there quietly supporting the Government through thick and thin the whole of the Session, they were to be put off to the very end of the Session.
§ SIR JAMES ELPHINSTONE
said, he wholly agreed in what had been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite. He did not understand how things were arranged; but he believed that the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Ayrton) had something to do with the arrangement of the Public Business—and of course metropolitan matters seemed to him more important than those connected with Scotland. He thought it was the duty of the Government to let them know when the next stage of the Bill was to be taken.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 3 (Secretary).
§ MR. C. DALRYMPLE
wished to ask the Question in regard to the Secretary to the Board, upon which he had already endeavoured to obtain some information. He had spoken to at least half the Scotch Members upon it, and he had found extraordinary agreement among them upon it. Every Member to whom he had spoken was clearly of the opinion that the Secretary of the new Board ought to be a layman. He ought to say that one or two Members, whose position entitled them to great respect, hesitated to say that a minister of religion should never be Secretary; but that at the outset the Secretary ought certainly to be a layman. He did not now ask Her Majesty's Government to pledge themselves to name the Secretary in the Bill; he did not ask them to say that a minister of religion should never be Secretary; but he thought that they might fairly ask them to state that at the outset, at all events, he should be a layman. He had heard it said out-of-doors that the exclusion of ministers of religion from the secretaryship implied a slur on them, whereas their exclusion ought only to be insisted on —at least at the outset of new legislation — in the interests of fairness, and in order to prevent the infusion of any sectarian element.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, it seemed to him that the clause ought not to have been passed without an answer being given to the question of his hon. Friend.
said, he had no idea that it had passed, for, there being other business of great importance, he fully 838 intended that Progress should be reported after the second clause. He begged to renew the assurance that had been already given, that the Government would take into its most careful consideration any expression of opinion, either on that side of the House or on this, as to the Secretary; but he did not consider that, before they had made up their minds whom they should appoint, it was right to decide this point one way or the other. It was his most earnest desire that the Bill should be passed at the earliest possible moment; but nothing could be gained by fixing its next stage until Thursday. But he repeated that the earliest day that could be would be given.
§ LORD ELCHO
Will the right hon. Gentleman be able to give no information as to the Secretary on the Report?
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,
§ House adjourned at ten minutes after Nine o'clock.