Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [3rd March], "That the Bill be now read a second time;" and which Amendment was,
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House, while ready to assist Her Majesty's Government in passing a measure for the advancement of learning in Ireland,' regrets that Her Majesty's Government, previously to inviting the House to read this Bill a second time, have not felt it to be their duty to state to the House the names of the twenty-eight persons who it is proposed shall at first constitute the ordinary members of the Council,"—(Mr. Bourke,)
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. HORSMAN
Sir, The interval which has elapsed since this Bill was introduced has not been morn than sufficient to enable us thoroughly to understand it and to realize the difficulties and perplexities of our position and the course which our duty enjoins us to take upon it. No one could listen to the speech in which it was introduced without feeling that in its design it was a large and bold and generous measure, conceived. in a spirit of sincerity and disinterestedness, and brought forward with an unmistakable and an enthusiastic desire to remedy what the Minister really believed to be a grievance. But these considerations, although they must insure a favourable reception to the speech, would not have insured a favourable reception to such a measure. The measure owed its favourable reception to the assurance of the Minister—his strong and repeated assurance—that it would be a settlement of the question; that it would terminate a painful controversy, and give educational peace to Ireland. Sir, that was a result which would justify much sacrifice of individual feeling and objection. It was not pleasant to some of us, and to myself especially—and if I refer to myself I only presume to do so because I have taken 1399 a longer and more active interest in the question of mixed education in Ireland than any other Member of the House—it was not a pleasant prospect to me to have to support a measure which aimed a deadly blow at that system and substituted the denominational system in its place. On more than one occasion, both in an official and private character, I have had to defend the mixed system of education when endangered by attack in Parliament. I believe it to be the greatest blessing that the British Legislature ever conferred on Ireland. But then the Minister at the outset candidly explained that the clauses which disturbed that system were not essential to the Bill. I appreciated the conciliatory spirit of that announcement, and I acquiesced in the belief, I may say in the assured certainty, that we should efface those clauses in Committee. And we could not disregard the fact that three Cabinets in succession have admitted the Roman Catholic grievance on education, and have attempted to legislate on it in the direction of this Bill. I have resisted all these attempts, coming from either side of the House. I do not admit for one moment that the Roman Catholics of Ireland have any educational grievance which will not be removed by the abolition of tests. By the Roman Catholics of Ireland I mean the laity of Ireland as distinguished from the priests; because, before I sit down, I think I shall be able to show that this is a priest's question, and not a layman's question, and that the contest in Ireland is really between the layman and the priest. But whatever might be my individual opinion, I could not deny that Parliament was committed by the pledges of its distinguished Leaders; and, unfortunate as those pledges in my opinion were, still they ought, if possible, to be redeemed. And I know from my long experience of Irish legislation that when the two front benches once embark in a race of concessions to so-called "popular demands," they are apt to be carried very far out to sea, and no one can tell into what haven they may be driven at last. We on this side of the House have been lately taunted with the failure of our Church and Land Acts to give the contentment that was promised. I admit the failure to some extent, and I attri- 1400 bute it entirely to the unsettlement of the educational question. I believe that it is the new hopes that have been raised and the new demands encouraged by the unsettlement of education which have retarded the tranquillizing effects of previous legislation. For these reasons I was ready by a timely compromise to save the mixed system of education, that it might go on, preserved from the inevitable dangers which seemed to threaten it from the rivalry of Leaders in what they themselves delicately describe as "measures of conciliation," but which vulgarly construed are taken to mean piscatorial efforts to catch the Irish vote. I was, therefore, ready to accept the Bill, but only because I believed what the Minister told me, that it would be a settlement of the question. By the term "settlement" I did not believe the First Minister intended to convey that it would be accepted by the Roman Catholics in full settlement of all demands; but I did believe that they would accept it as a benefit so far as it goes—that they would recognize its friendly spirit, would avail themselves of the advantages it offers, would affiliate their Colleges, assist the formation of the Governing Body, and do their best to make the new University popular and serviceable to the students. Did the Government expect all that, or did they not? If not, I can only say the speech of the First Minister was one of the most unjustifiable speeches ever made by a man in his position. But he did expect it. Any other supposition would be at variance with our high estimate of his honour. He must have expected it, and we know he did expect it. Sir, he has been deceived. At the end of a fortnight that promised settlement has been blown to the winds, blasted by the resolutions of the Roman Catholic Prelates in Dublin last Friday. In terms by no means gracious, and which seem to me to savour somewhat of ingratitude towards the Minister who has done his very best to serve them, they cast his own words in his teeth, and they forthwith publish their resolutions conveying to the House of Commons as distinctly as language can convey that the Minister has been deluding himself, and has been deluding us, and that the Cabinet, if I may use a homely expression, has been living, upon this question of "settlement," in a fool's paradise. "Settle- 1401 ment?" they say. "There is no settlement. There will be no settlement. There can be, there shall be no settlement, no cessation of agitation, and no peace"—and my hon. Friend the Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue) in his own vigorous language echoes their declaration—"no cessation of agitation and no peace until every jot and tittle of our demands has been conceded." Now, that entirely changes the situation. It entirely changes the position of the Government towards the House of Commons. And they cannot ride off on having told us they had no official communications with the Roman Catholic Prelates. I think it is a pity they did not follow in the footsteps of Sir George Grey and Lord Mayo, whose communications with the Roman Catholic Prelates were open and above board, and who treated this House with a frankness which the present Ministry seem to feel they can dispense with. Sir, I am sorry there were not these open communications with the Roman Catholic Prelates. But no one can read this Bill without seeing in every clause evidence of confidential communications and understandings. Those restricting and "gagging clauses," as they have been termed, were not the handiwork of any Protestant draftsman. The Bill bears internal evidence throughout of joint workmanship; and it was this joint workmanship which justified the First Minister in believing and saying that the Bill would be a settlement of the question in so far as it would take the sting out of any future agitation and make it harmless. But at the end of a fortnight we find there is no settlement; but, on the contrary, a greater unsettlement than ever. Then, why do not the Government withdraw their Bill? It has hitherto been a rule in legislation that there shall be no great disturbance of the existing state of things, unless the change is asked for by some class of the community and benefits some class. Now, who asks for this Bill? Who accepts it? Who is benefited by it? It pleases nobody. It settles nothing. It unsettles everything and everybody, except, indeed, the solitary champion of the Government on Monday night—the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan), who had the ingenuity to discover that the Bill was a compromise. Now, I have heard various imaginary 1402 virtues ascribed to the Bill by those who are about and near the Government; but the very last terms which at this moment I should have expected to hear applied to it, and by an acute lawyer, was that of "compromise." Why, nobody knows better than my hon. and learned Friend that to a compromise there must be two parties, as there must be two parties to a bargain. Who are the two parties in this case? The Protestants are not a party. They have no grievance. They want nothing; they ask for nothing, except to be left alone. Their only grievance has been created by this Bill. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Wesleyans, all tell you they are satisfied with the present state of things. It is working well and doing good, and there is nothing they complain of except your own foolish and mischievous disturbance. Then, if nobody in Ireland wants the Bill, does anybody want it on this side of the Channel? Is it wanted by the Liberal party? Why, I believe the whole Liberal party, with one consent, have been shaking in their shoes ever since the Bill has been brought in. Then cross over to the other side of the House. Have you the consolation—and it was a very poor consolation—which you had in the case of your English Education Bill, when, throwing over your friends, you were rewarded by the blandishments of your opponents? You have bribed Trinity College very high, and if any occupant of the Treasury Bench at the dissolution with which we are to-day threatened were to attempt bribery on so bold and extravagant a scale to win a seat as you have offered to Trinity College to buy off opposition to this Bill, he would hardly escape being handed over to the tender mercies of the Attorney General. But the Members for the University are men of Spartan virtue, and when they help to enliven this debate, I think you will find their voices will swell that chorus of condemnation which is unparalleled in the history of the legislation of this country. The Bill was brought in for one purpose, and one only—to settle a Roman Catholic grievance; but you cannot force a compromise on the Roman Catholics against their consent, and they, withholding their consent, tell you that upon this question compromise is absolutely impossible. Then the situation, 1403 since the Bill was introduced with those assurances of a settlement which captivated us all, is completely changed; so much so that it was with feelings of great relief and satisfaction that on Monday last I saw the Prime Minister rise in his place to make a speech in moving the second reading. I did not anticipate that his object was to answer a speech from the other side of the House which had not been made, and to demolish an Amendment which had not been moved. I thought he was going to explain the new aspect of affairs, and that he was about to say—"I have an explanation to make to the House. When I introduced this Bill I led the House to believe that it was to be a settlement. That was my sincere belief, and the belief of my Colleagues, until Friday last; but on Friday last, at the meeting of the Roman Catholic Prelates, the Government met with a mishap. We expected that the Prelates would bless our Bill, instead of which they cursed it unanimously and altogether." I thought he would have continued—"I and my Colleagues have taken that untoward event into our most serious consideration, and I have not lost a moment in coming down to express to the House our regret at having unintentionally misled it, and in throwing ourselves on its indulgence, and asking permission to withdraw the Bill." That is a speech which would have been received with cheers by many hon. Members on this side of the House, to whom it would have been a relief from something—I hope to be excused for saying it—very like a rope they have felt about their necks. A meeting of the party would probably have been held next day, and a Vote of Confidence, not of continued, but of increased confidence, would have been carried by acclamation, and it would have been forwarded to the Government with a request that, whatever might happen, Ministers would stick to their posts. That would have been an agreeable termination to what had the appearance of an ugly business. But the Government have not taken that judicious course. They have determined to proceed with the Bill, and we have now to ask ourselves on this side of the House, as men of common sense—What is the justification for proceeding with it? Is there any Parliamentary precedent for proceeding with a measure so universally 1404 condemned? I do not think it quite respectful to the House; I am sure it is not fair to the party. What, are we to be told that sic vole sic jubeo is the motto of the Minister, and that the Liberal party, if it presumes not to like it, is to have this Bill thrust down its throat with the alternative of a Vote of Confidence or an appeal to the country? It is evident that if we are to go on we proceed, not on the merits of the Bill, but on a Vote of Confidence in the Government. But is that a fair—is it a prudent course? A Vote of Confidence in the present Government on the question of Irish Education! Does the Government really believe that there is an English or a Scotch Member in the House capable of the hypocrisy of saying that he has ever felt that confidence? Is it possible that the Cabinet is composed of the only men in this House who do not know that on the question of Irish Education they stand in a very different relation to their party and to the country from what they did on the questions of the Irish Church and Irish Land? On those questions they were doing the work of the Liberal party, and not undoing it. On those questions they were going forward with their party, and not asking their party to walk backwards with them. Those two questions had been agitated, debated, legislated on for half a century. The party thoroughly understood them, its mind was made up about them, and it followed the Ministry as one man, with the constituencies at its back. But on the question of Irish education the case is very different. It is no secret—we do not mind the other side of the House knowing it—that on the question of Irish education there has not been that complete sympathy and accord between the party and its Leaders that there has been on other questions. On the contrary, ever since the Government was formed, and the tendencies of the Ministerial mind on Irish education were known, there has been a feeling of uneasiness and increasing misgiving. I believe the party universally condemned that speech in Lancashire in which the Prime Minister classed Irish education with the Church and the Land questions as grievances to be redressed. I believe the party does not endorse that exaggerated description of the Roman Catholic grievances which 1405 we heard from the Prime Minister on introducing the Bill. And yet we are told that a Vote of Confidence in the present Government on Irish Education is the alternative of an appeal to the country. Why, Sir, the cool effrontery of such a proposal is worthy of a cartoon in Punch. Let me tell my Friends on this side of the House what such a Vote of Confidence will mean. If this Bill should pass into Committee, and have its clauses discussed night after night, the country will come to understand it; and the more the country understands it the more it will feel that it deserves the description given of it by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), when he said that the effect of the Bill, as framed by the Government, would be to place all higher education in Ireland in the hands of the priests. When the country once understands that, a Vote of Confidence in the Government will be construed into a Vote of Confidence in Cardinal Cullen and his priests, and the supporters of the Government well know that when they are sent to their constituents upon it they will be sent to certain execution. All the speeches which were made on Monday night, no matter from what side of the House they came, combined to show that the whole question before us resolves itself into one point. Is this a really liberal measure of University reform, in accordance with the liberal traditions of this side of the House, and the national policy of freedom and progress? Is it in its spirit, its aim, its tendency, a Bill to promote the well-being of Ireland, by raising the moral and intellectual culture of the people to the highest standard? Or is it, as was contended by the hon. Member for Brighton, only a complicated and covert mode of handing over higher education to the priesthood, and insuring them in the next generation, by means of affiliated Colleges, complete command of the University? And does it bear upon its front that fatal blot that it has been framed rather with a view of conciliating the Romish Bishops than of advancing the true interests of education? I will not anticipate the answers to these questions. They will develop themselves as the discussion proceeds. The Government had two endowed systems of Irish education to deal with; they had the national system of the Queen's Col- 1406 leges, and they had the denominational system of Trinity College and the Dublin University, which were part and parcel of the Established Church. As the Queen's Colleges were modern institutions, as they were the first affirmation of the principle of religious equality, as they had maintained that principle by a severe struggle against ecclesiastical hatred and hostility, and as Ministers of all parties had been faithful to them as a valuable part of the system of mixed education, I should have thought that it would have been natural for a Liberal Government either to have left them alone, or to have touched them only to give them fresh strength. But we are told that they have failed, and so are to be swept away. I use the plural because, when we come to deal with the Bill in Committee, it will be easy to show that if Galway has been a failure, Cork has been a still greater failure; and, if one must go, all should go. These Colleges were established in 1845 by Sir Robert Peel, to supplement the national system of primary education introduced by Lord Stanley in 1831, and they became an essential part of that system, and inseparably connected with it. At the beginning of the century the great legislative problem was how to deal with the misery and disaffection of Ireland. Parliamentary Committees, Royal Commissions, and leading public men both in England and Ireland concurred in saying that the only chance of redeeming Ireland from poverty, ignorance, disaffection, and crime was in a national system of education; and as every previous system had broken down, a new and mixed system, in which religious differences should be ignored and the children of Roman Catholic and Protestant parents taught in the same schools, was unanimously recommended. And that system was introduced in 1831, and became a rapid and unexampled success. In 1833, when it came into operation, the number of schools was 789; they had increased in 1845, when Sir Robert Peel established those Colleges, to 3,426; and now they are 6,914. The scholars in the year 1833 were 107,042; in 1845 they were 432,844; they are now 1,021,700. During that period there were disturbing causes by which every other source of industry and prosperity in Ireland was injured or impeded; there was 1407 famine; there was emigration; there was a falling off of the population from 8,000,000, when the system was established, to 4,500,000 at the last Census, and there was the implacable hostility of the priesthood; and yet, in spite of all, a generation and a-half have been educated in those schools, and 1,000,000 of scholars are frequenting them at this moment, while the improvement in the moral and intellectual condition of the people cannot be exaggerated. Well, Sir, in 1845, Sir Robert Peel, recognizing that success, made the mixed system the basis of his new policy—he founded the Queen's Colleges to complete and crown the system that had been so successful. We are now told the Colleges have failed. [Mr. SYNAN: Hear!] We are not told that they have failed in consequence of their unpopularity with the laity. My right hon. Friend at the head of the Government was too well informed to say that; but he implied it throughout the whole of his speech. Now, it is most essential that both the character and the cause of the alleged failure should be known. I intend before I sit down to make it known, and. by such evidence that the word "failure" will never be associated with these Colleges again. [Mr. SYNAN: "Hear!"] But there are some indications behind me which suggest to me to say a few words of a personal character before I proceed. I wish the hon. Member to understand that, when I speak of these Colleges and the influences brought to bear on them, I draw a distinction between Roman Catholicism as a religion and Roman Catholicism as a policy. I have been long enough in this House and have borne part in its debates, too much to render it necessary for me to say that I never had any sympathy with the "No Popery" cry. On the question of the grant to Maynooth, of extending the Papal Aggression Bill to Ireland, and, above all, on the payment of the Irish priests, I expressed opinions and gave votes by which I provoked opposition and endangered my seat when a seat in this House was more an object of ambition than it is now; and this I did because I would not allow that any political distinction should be made between my Roman Catholic and Protestant fellow-subjects. But this distinction I draw between Roman Ca- 1408 tholicism as a religion and Roman Catholicism as a policy—when it ceases to be a creed and becomes a statecraft, then I am justified in dealing with the aggressions of the Roman Catholic priesthood, and their denial of the supremacy of the State precisely as I would deal with those matters in the case of my own or any other priesthood. In speaking, therefore, as I shall be obliged to do of the action of the Roman Catholic Church, I hope my hon. Friends behind me will believe that I have no desire to say one word which may appear in any way hostile to their religion, or of wounding their feelings or offending them. To return to the point from which I digressed, I am now about to show the causes of the alleged failure of the Colleges, and here I may say that I was surprised the other night at the noble Marquess the Chief Secretary for Ireland finding fault with the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) for discussing the question of Galway College, which, he said, was only one of the details of the Bill, and ought to be reserved for Committee. But did the noble Lord not know that this one clause about Galway College involves in reality the whole principle of the Bill so far as regards mixed education? It raises the question of mixed education, and it raises it in two ways—first, whether or not that system is to be destroyed; and, in the next place, whether or not it is to be destroyed by the action of the Roman Catholic Prelates, which they justify by disputing and disavowing the supremacy of the Crown. These Colleges, associated with the National Schools, were launched by Sir Robert Peel in 1845, apparently with the good-will of all classes and creeds in Ireland; they had been asked for by the Roman Catholic laity, they were gratefully accepted, and they promised to be a great national success and blessing. But there came a sudden change. There came a voice from Rome—a voice which cursed what native Irishmen, both lay and ecclesiastical, had combined to bless; Papal Rescripts in 1847 and 1848 were followed by the Synod of Thurles in 1850; The Colleges were excommunicated, the National Schools were placed under the ban, ecclesiastics were forbidden to take office either on the National Board 1409 or in the Colleges, and the worst terrors of the Church were suspended over the heads of those who dared to send their sons to those Colleges in spite of the interdiction of the priests. On the last occasion when the question was before the House, during the administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), I stated in debate that the alleged failure of the Colleges had been caused by the extreme measures taken against them by the Roman Catholic Bishops, who even refused the sacraments of the Church to the laity who frequented them. A few days afterwards an hon. Friend of mine, then Member for Galway, but no longer a Member of this House—Mr. Gregory, now Governor of Ceylon—came down to the House and, from secret information furnished to him about the proceedings of the Synod of Thurles, contradicted one by one all the statements I had made, and he denied on authority that the sacraments of the Church had ever been withheld from those who frequented the Colleges. That speech had not been read in Ireland 24 hours before I had sent to me the Pastoral of a much respected Roman Catholic Bishop, which had been issued two years before, and I was told I could have Pastorals of other Bishops if I wished for them. Now, upon this occasion, when, we must come to a right conclusion as to the causes of the failure of these Colleges, and as to the peculiar relations of the Irish priesthood to them, and when the matter must once for all be placed beyond all dispute or cavil, we must avail ourselves of all evidence which can bear materially on the question, and as the Pastoral which was sent to me had been published in the Irish papers, I need have no delicacy in reading it to the House. It is a Pastoral of Bishop Derry, and is dated Ash Wednesday, 1865. I will read that part of it which relates to education—Our Most Holy Father has caused to be sent to all Bishops a list of the more remarkable errors condemned by him in the course of his glorious Pontificate. To one or two only of these errors do we mean to call attention. They relate to education; and it may be observed that no one thing appears to alarm the Holy Father more than the false principles on which it is sought to found educational systems. He sees the conspiracy that has been organized to with- 1410 draw the education of youth from the influence of the Catholic Church. He invites us all, clergy and laity, to join with him in deploring that Satanic scheme for the ruin of faith in the rising generation. Priests and. Bishops, it is our duty to announce 'the grievous and intrinsic dangers' of the educational system which, upheld in defiance of the decisions of the Holy See, embodies in our own Catholic country the principles so emphatically condemned by the Pope. It is expressly enjoined on us to use our best efforts to keep youth away from Colleges of that description. Parents and guardians of young men are to understand that by accepting education in them for those under their charge they despise the warnings, entreaties, and decisions of the Head of the Church. Adhering to the discipline in force in this diocese, we once for all declare that they who are guilty of it shall not be admitted to receive the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, or of Penance, while they continue in their disobedience.That was a denunciation of the Colleges. But it may be supposed that there can be a contradiction to the statement that the schools which have had such unprecedented success have also been denounced. They have not been denounced merely by what I may call individual Bishops. It is quite evident from what I am going to show that these Pastorals have very much failed in their effect. And so the denunciations of the minor Bishops having been insufficient, a Pastoral directed against the schools was issued from the highest authority, signed "Paul Cullen." A copy of which was published in The Times of the 3rd of September, 1869. The Pastoral says—In writing to you or addressing you heretofore I have never had occasion to speak of ecclesiastical penalties; but I am now so convinced of the evils of the Model School system that I give notice to any Catholic parents who will obstinately persevere in keeping their children in the lion's den, in the midst of danger, that I feel bound to deprive them of the advantages of the sacraments of the Church until they make up their minds to act as parents anxious for the eternal salvation of their children ought to act.Sir, I make no comment on these documents beyond asking this question—What was the necessity for all this denunciation if these Colleges were unpopular? Does it prove that these Colleges were unpopular with the Roman Catholic laity, and that they failed because the laity would not leave them? If unpopular with the laity why resort to the terrors of the Church to keep them off? We do not commonly use force to deter men from doing what they are very averse to doing. Sir, if you appointed 100 Parliamentary Commit- 1411 tees, and examined 1,000 witnesses, you could not prove so conclusively as those anathemas prove the popularity of the Colleges. Priests and Bishops could not keep the students away. They tried advice, admonition, remonstrance, rebuke, threats, penalties, denunciations—all would not do—and then, at last, they bring in the terrors of the Church, and with what result? Look at that last report just presented of the President of Galway. See how the numbers in spite of such obstacles and hindrances disprove the allegation of failure. No, Sir, the system has not failed, failure is not the word, it has been thwarted, impeded, and partially defeated, and by the hostile action of the Roman Catholic Church. The Legislature said—"We will have a State system of national education to make our population intelligent, peaceable, and loyal;" but a foreign ecclesiastical authority steps in and says—"I forbid your policy, I condemn your subjects to ignorance and disaffection;" and now we are told the Pope has beaten us and the national policy must be reversed. Why? because a foreign ecclesiastical authority arrogates to itself a right of interference with the civil Government of England which as I will show you is not known or tolerated by any other Government in Europe. The Roman Catholics of Ireland have a grievance in relation to education—a very substantial grievance—and I will tell you what it is. Their grievance is that when the State has removed all disabilities on account of religion, fresh disabilities have been imposed by their own Church. Talk of the rights of conscience! Sir, I wonder how Ministers, with their knowledge of facts, could put that phrase into the Queen's Speech. Conscience throughout all history has been the plea of persecution. What respect for the rights of conscience is shown by these priests and Prelates who refuse the sacraments of the Church to the parents of a poor student who avails himself of the education offered by the State, and which has a money value in enabling him to advance his fortunes in the world? Now, Sir, I will go to the other part of the Bill, which deals with the new University, and on which we had the advantage on Monday night of hearing the very powerful speech of the hon. Member for Brighton, and the official reply of the noble Lord the Chief 1412 Secretary for Ireland. I should have been sorry to lose those speeches. It has been said that "a good man struggling with adversity is a sight for the gods;" but, Sir, on Monday night it appeared to me that the Chief Secretary for Ireland, struggling with the speech of the hon. Member for Brighton, was not so much a spectacle for the gods as an object for the attention of the Humane Society. Not that I would by any means disparage the almost superhuman efforts of the noble Marquess to rise to the occasion. He went at it like a man, and all but crushed at the outset the hon. Member for Brighton by the stinging declaration that his beau idéal of a Professor for the new University would be a type of man as dissimilar as possible from the Professor of Political Economy at Cambridge. That was a tremendous blow; I wonder that the Professor of Political Economy survived it. I thought the next morning of sending over to inquire after his health. At any rate, that magnanimous and liberal declaration gave us a peep into the interior of the new University—it gave us some idea of its enlightened and liberal programme, and made us still more anxious to see the names of those choice specimens of Professorship who are to fill its enviable chairs. Then the noble Marquess, having demolished the hon. Member for Brighton, proceeded to terrify the unfortunate Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball), who sat opposite to him at the moment. After expatiating upon the advantages offered to Trinity College by this Bill, the noble Marquess turned to the other side of the picture, and said—"See what you will lose by its rejection;" and, as there were some Fellows of that College probably listening to the debate, he thought they would do well to warn their constituents when they returned to Dublin that, if this Bill were rejected, the next attempt to remove the grievance would be by the disendowment of Trinity College. Sir, I must say I was sorry to hear that remark as coming from one in the high position and speaking with the authority of the noble Marquess. It may be remembered, and used long after this debate is forgotten. I do not know what was the spirit that prompted the remark. If it were intended as a threat, it was almost childish; if as a prediction, 1413 it was not wise; and if as a hint for a new agitation, it was purely mischievous. I was sorry to hear the remark for another reason—because it clearly showed what a superficial study the noble Marquess had given to the subject. He spoke of disendowment as if the disendowment of the Irish Church had been the work of only one Session, and as if the disendowment of any other institution on which a resolute Minister, with a strong majority at his back, chose to pass sentence, would be just as easy. It appeared to me that the noble Marquess had not taken the trouble to under stand the arguments or know anything of the true history or character of the disendowment of the Irish Church. He forgot that the disendowment of the Irish Church was not the result of any sudden cry or any recent agitation. Sir, that disendowment was the result of 40 years of active efforts by consistent Members of the Liberal party. [Mr. GLADSTOHE dissented.] Who created and matured a public opinion, on the highest wave of which the Prime Minister himself was borne into office, as the reward of a conversion equally sudden and auspicious. [Mr. GLADSTONE dissented.] I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon, he will have the power of reply, and I shall take the consequence of any rejoinder he may make. Why did we on this side of the House disendow the Irish Church? Was it to please the Roman Catholic priests of Ireland? No. But because, as Englishmen and as Protestants, we were ashamed to perpetuate what we believed to be an abuse, a scandal, and a reproach. It was not the organ of destructiveness that actuated us, but the very highest principles of justice. Can anyone say that Trinity College, Dublin, is an analogous case? Trinity College is an institution full of life and usefulness. It has done good work. It is doing that good work still. The Irish nation were ashamed of their Protestant Church—they are proud of their Protestant University. In liberality it has always been in advance of the English Universities. It is progressive and ready to adapt itself to the times, and if Roman Catholics have not before this been admitted to a larger share of its advantages it is not the fault of the authorities in Dublin, but for a reason well stated in the able speech of the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord 1414 Edmond Fitzmaurice), and which not to the credit of the Liberal party, whose best traditions are associated with the abolition of religious tests. Sir, I expected when the noble Marquess rose the other night to answer the speech of the hon. Member for Brighton he would, at least, have devoted some portion of his remarks to those clauses of the Bill which related to the teaching of the new University. He did not do so. I should infer that he really agreed with the opinion of the majority of the House on both sides that these limitations, these exclusions of modern history and of moral and mental philosophy were not only indefensible, but absolutely ridiculous. We heard that one object of the Bill was to emancipate the University from the Colleges; we thought it was to keep up the standard of teaching by raising the Colleges to the University, and not bringing down the University to the College. But can any one read this Bill without seeing that these restrictions must lower the character of the University and lessen the value of its degrees? I really should have liked to hear from the noble Marquess how he proposed to draw a chronological distinction between ancient and modern history—such a distinction as would satisfy the consciences of Roman Catholic ecclesiastics. I wish he had told us how he proposed to advance learning by loading it with disabilities. I should have wished also to be informed how we on this side of the House were to show our liberality by deliberatizing the University. Above all, I should like to know is it a satire or a stigma on the national character to record in an Act of Parliament that the Irish are so dangerous a people that they cannot be trusted with a volume of modern history? These are academical objections to the Bill. But I have a much higher objection, an objection of principle, and it is this:—I object to make the slightest concession, direct or indirect, to the claims of the Roman Catholic hierarchy to control the education of the State. I need not remind the House of the contest that has gone on for so many ages in different countries. I need not remind them of that contest for supremacy between the Crown and the Pope which has had such an effect on the politics of Europe. I need not refer to history—look only to the Continent of Europe, 1415 and see what is even now going on there. Look at the contest between the progressive Governments and priests. On which side are the sympathies of the Liberal party? On which side ought they to be in Ireland? I asked a question the other day about a Memorial which had been presented to the Prime Minister from the Catholic Union. By the permission of the Government I moved for it as an unopposed Return, and it was distributed this morning. Lord Granard, as President of the Catholic Union, transmited to the Government the resolutions that were passed at a meeting of the Roman Catholic Prelates held at Maynooth on the 18th of August, 1869, which have never been modified or departed from in any manner. In transmitting them he says—"The principles embodied in them are unchanged and unchangeable." What are these principles? The first resolution is as follows:—They reiterate their condemnation of the mixed system of education, whether primary, intermediate, or University, as grievously and and intrinsically dangerous to the faith and morals of Catholic youth; and they declare that to Catholics only, and under the supreme control of the Church in all things appertaining to faith and morals, can the teaching of Catholics be safely intrusted. … The Bishops call upon the clergy and laity of their respective flocks to oppose, by every constitutional means, the extension or perpetuation of the mixed system, whether by the creation of new institutions, by the maintenance of old ones, or by changing Trinity College, Dublin, into a mixed College.It will be observed that this language is very strong, and that the power claimed by the Bishops is very large—supreme control over everything appertaining to faith and morals overriding, ignoring, and excluding the supremacy of the State. The question arises, what are "faith and morals" over which the Roman Catholic Bishops claim this exclusive jurisdiction? That question was answered by two Roman Catholic Bishops who were examined before the Royal Commission which reported last Session upon primary education. The following is part of the examination of Dr. Keane, Roman Catholic Bishop of Cloyne:—You have told me what they (the Bishops) do claim; I want to know what they do not claim?—Everything outside. What is outside secular and religious education?—Very little. But what at all, physical or metaphysical?— 1416 Scarcely anything beyond the multiplication table.That you will think is as much as a Roman Catholic Bishop can claim. It is not so. You will find by comparison that this is a very liberal Bishop. The next Bishop examined does not allow the State to teach even the multiplication table. Dr. Dorrian, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, was asked the same question about faith and morals, and he answered—There are some even of the ordinary branches of education which ought not to be imparted without religious education. I can say, that even in arithmetic there might arise points of a metaphysical kind which a teacher could explain injuriously.In these answers we see what really is the issue between the Legislature and the Roman Catholic Prelates upon the question of education—the most liberal of the two is handsome and generous enough to leave the multiplication table to the State, the other objects even to that, and claims a monopoly even of arithmetic. Dr. Keane was asked another question to which I wish to call attention; it is a rowing question, which year after year will meet us in a form which we have not as yet anticipated. The following are the queries and the replies:—Is there, to your knowledge, any country at this moment in the world in which the Catholic Bishops have the exclusive control of education in its entirety?—They have it in England. Is there any other?—I am not aware that there is any other.This is the ecclesiastical side of the question. In Ireland, as I have already told you, there is a layman's side, and it was stated by a Roman Catholic gentleman, Mr. J. L. Whittle, a barrister in Dublin, who was examined before the Commission on Primary Education, and who has given much attention to the subject. The question that was asked of Dr. Keane was put to Mr. Whittle, and, then his examination proceeded—Are you aware that the Roman Catholic Church possesses this authority which they claim here in any part of the world?—No; I do not know the existence of such a power in any country that I am at all acquainted with. Is it your opinion that there is a large and steadily increasing number of the intelligent and leading Roman Catholics whose views are not in accord with the Bishops?—Yes; the number is increasing. Would it be just or right, in your opinion, for the Government of the country to aid the Bishops in their efforts to dictate and control the education of the people?—No; certainly.1417 And Mr. Whittle added—One of the main sources of the present agitation about education has been this, that the predominant party in the Church feel themselves losing ground all over the world, in Italy, Austria, France, and everywhere else.Yes, Sir, while the Catholic Governments of Europe are proclaiming everywhere that the life of a nation depends on education, and are expelling the priests from that domain, what will they say in Italy and in Germany when they hear that there is a large and increasing body of the laity in Ireland struggling to emancipate themselves from the fetters of the priests, and that the English Legislature, under a Liberal Minister, throws its weight into the scale to crush the layman and exalt the priest? "Where," they would ask, "is the Liberal party in England—that renowned bulwark of freedom and example to the world? Of political tyranny we knew that they were sworn foes, but we believed that it was ecclesiastical tyranny that was the special object of their virtuous abomination. They have resisted it in the Church; they have banished it from the conventicle; they condemn it and ridicule it in the mass. How are the mighty fallen Here we have the most advanced Government England has ever seen, the most popularly-elected party that ever sat on these benches—and how do they fulfil their mission? By banishing modern history from the schools, in deference to the requirements of Rome." I will trouble the House with one other answer given by Mr. Whittle. He concludes one part of his evidence by saying—What I am anxious, and those who think with me are anxious that they (English politicians) should see is, that it would be merely giving the Irish people a thing that they do not ask for, though it is asked in their name, and which is sure to be most mischievous to them in the long run. The Parliamentary power of the Bishops at present is in certain places very marked; hut it is not sufficient to control the Legislature, if the Legislature understands that it is the power of the Bishops and the clergy, and not the actual choice of the people themselves.Now, I want the House to observe that statement of Mr. Whittle's, that the Irish people do not ask for it, but it is asked for in their name, and it is not the actual choice of the people themselves. And does not our own experience and observation bear out that statement? 1418 If this is a national movement, where is the nation? If the laity are anxious about it, where are the laity? In England or Scotland, if there were a strong national feeling, it would find expression in public meetings. Where are the public meetings in Ireland? We hear of meetings of Bishops at which the laity are conspicuous by their absence. Look at the resolutions of the Bishops. Are they affectionate exhortations to sympathizing flocks? They are denunciations, threatenings, excommunications. Is it not evident that the evil must be great and growing to require such Pastorals as those which I have read? The fact is—there is no question about it—there is war in Ireland between two classes of Roman Catholics—between the priests and a portion of the laity; and the policy of the stronger power is maintained by a war of excommunication. Keeping within the law, but going as near as possible without violating the law. The whole history of modern Irish education shows a system of persecution, as cruel and unrelenting as the worst spirit of the worst times of the persecutions of the Church. I think I have now shown three things—that the alleged failure of the Colleges has been caused solely by the hostility of the Bishops; that in that hostility they do not carry with them the sympathies of the laity; and I have further shown that the claim of the Church to control the education of the people is, by their own confession, not permitted in any other country. And now I may ask the Government what is the value of the phrase which has of late become such a favourite On the Treasury Bench—of governing Ireland according to Irish ideas. What are Irish ideas? Are they the ideas of the people, or are they the ideas of the priests persecuting and suppressing the ideas of the people? Before I pass from that part of the subject I hope the House will kindly grant me its indulgence while I refer to another point which I think is of the greatest importance. I wish the House to know what is the character of the contest which is likely to come upon us? The Roman Catholics of Ireland are divided into three parties. There are the Ultramontanes, who are the Bishops, and under a strict system of Church discipline the priests and a portion of the laity. Then there are the dissentients 1419 from Ultramontanism, the Roman Catholic gentry, the literary and professional classes, and the leading merchants and commercial men. And there are, in the third place, the great mass of the Irish population, who are divided between their old allegiance to the priests and their new sympathies with the intelligence and independence of the second class which I have named. Now, with the failure of this Bill a new state of things will arise. After it has failed the question will be so well understood by the country that I venture to predict that no future legislative effort will be made to disturb the mixed system of education in Ireland. We shall then fall back to that sound position which we ought never to have abandoned. We shall say to the Irish nation—"There are your schools and Colleges and Universities. They are national institutions, provided for all, without distinction of creed, or sect. Those who do not choose to use them must provide for themselves what they require." When this determination is made known the issue will be changed. When the Roman Catholic Prelates see that determination of the Legislature to be unalterable, and that they can no longer depend on the sympathies of their flocks, then it is not improbable that, as a last desperate effort to keep their hold on the people, they may follow the example of Archbishop M'Hale and go in for Home Rule. But it will be too late. The Irish population is no longer steeped in that degradation of ignorance and want which made it so easily deluded 30 years ago. Education has done much to raise them; material prosperity has done more, and if you will but give them fair play on education—and fair play they have never yet had—that aptitude for culture which was so well described by the Prime Minister will beat the priests in the Colleges, as it has already beaten them in the schools, and Ireland will add another instance to that of nations that have acquired fresh life by freeing themselves from the fetters of the priests. And now I must before I conclude refer to the Governing Body and the Amendment of the hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke). When, about a fortnight ago, the hon. Member for South-west Lancashire (Mr. A. Cross) asked the Government to lay the names of the pro- 1420 posed Council on the Table, I was not surprised that they were not prepared to do so, and I am not surprised now. There were great difficulties in the way, and these difficulties were greatly increased by the proceeding of the Prelates on Friday last, although I do not think that has been perceived by the Government. On Monday last the Prime Minister, in his anticipatory reply to the speech of the hon. Member for King's Lynn, told us that the Government were about to offer those appointments to the most eminent men they could find. The right hon. Gentleman gave us no less than four forms of imaginary answers which might be received from those to whom the Government might apply, all tending to show that they would naturally decline to commit themselves until they knew in what form the Bill would come out of Committee. Such were the answers which might have been given before last Friday. But I venture to say the answers now would be very different. Those eminent men will not now say, "we want to see the form in which the Bill emerges from Committee;" but they will say we want to know "what will be the relation of the Roman Catholic Bishops to the new University. Are they to declare war against it? Because as the Queen's Colleges have been excommunicated; as Trinity College, has received notice of excommunication; and even that now famous institution, Magee College, has rendered itself too notorious to escape, we want to know if your new University, to which the Roman Catholic Bishops refuse affiliation, is to be excommunicated also. And if so, where will your Professors be? It is quite evident that the new system will be a failure, and our feelings of self-respect, will not permit us to be associated with it." The question, therefore, is not who the new Council are to be, but whether the Government can get anything at all worthy of the name of Council. Or they may have another plan. They may do what they did with the National Board in Dublin. When it was first established, Roman Catholic dignitaries had a seat at the Board, and avowedly as friends of the system; but since the death of Dean Meyler, in 1864, no Roman Catholic dignitary has been allowed to take a seat upon it, and then that unfortunate charge was made, and, I regret 1421 to say, by a Liberal Administration, which has destroyed the Board. Instead of having Commissioners who were friends of the system it became a rule that the Board should consist of an equal number of Protestants and Roman Catholics, thus introducing those religious differences which it was the principle of the system to ignore, and Commissioners are now selected not for their educational, but for their religious recommendations, and gentlemen of high standing now feel it consistent with their sense of honour and duty to sit on that Board, to administer a system which they disapprove of and would destroy. Are you going to repeat that in the constitution of your new Governing Body? As you cannot get men of eminence who would raise the University, shall you take inferior men who will degrade it? And I beg to ask another question. Are ecclesiastics to be members of the Board? because, if theology is to be excluded from the teaching, I do not see why ecclesiastics should be admitted. And yet we hear that Roman Catholic Prelates are to be appointed. For all these reasons, it is desirable that we should see these names. And now, Sir, as to that most important question of the vote we shall all to give when this debate comes to an end. The mode of proceeding I apprehend will be this—that the Amendment will be first put from the Chair; and if that be negatived, the Vote will then be taken on the Main Question "That the Bill be now read a second time;" and if the "noes" are the majority the Bill is lost. Now, I cannot vote, for the Amendment of the hon. Member for King's Lynn. I think it has raised a most useful question, and shown the insuperable difficulties in the way of a good Governing Body. It has, so far done good service. But it was plainly impossible that the Government should have the 28 names ready to place on the Table to-day, and I cannot censure them for not performing an impossibility. If, however, the Amendment is withdrawn, then the way is made clear. For those whe feel such insuperable objections to the Bill that they are determined to reject it at all hazards, the direct and manly course—the strictly Parliamentary course—is to divide on the second reading. I think the Bill ought to have been withdrawn last Monday. I think such a proceeding on the part of the 1422 Prime Minister would have been respectful to the House; would have shown consideration for his party; and would have been honourable and loyal to his Colleagues. But the right hon. Gentleman has not thought fit to withdraw the Bill—he is determined to press it; and I must say that, in my opinion, his determination to do so, in defiance of the universal feeling of the House, is little short of an affront. Sir, I shall vote against the second reading of the Bill, and I hope that its rejection by a majority will make it known that there yet exists a spirit in the House of Commons which will not permit any Minister to degrade the Legislation or destroy the independence of Parliament.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
I can scarcely believe that I rise on the same side of the House as the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, because I cannot conceive a speech more hostile to the Bill of the Government than that which he has delivered, and which appropriately concluded by announcing his intention to vote against the second reading—although he is not, as I understand him, in favour of the Amendment at this moment before the House. As to the position of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the measure, I confess I am not able to obtain a very clear idea of it beyond the fact that he is hostile to it upon every single ground. It is, however, impossible to reconcile his preamble with the great body of his speech. The right hon. Gentleman condemns the Bill upon very many grounds, but especially upon the ground that it will be an injury to and a condemnation of the system of united and mixed education in Ireland; but in the beginning of his speech I understood him to maintain that this Bill ought to be abandoned by the Government and rejected by the House because the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland had expressed their objection to it on the ground that, in their opinion, it would continue and exalt the system of united and mixed education in Ireland. I leave that question to be settled between the right hon. Gentleman and the Irish Bishops. But had I felt myself in any way bound by the lengthened preamble of the right hon. Gentleman I should not have dared to say a single word on the question of this Bill, because he said that the whole thing was over, and that it was a positive 1423 affront to the House to ask it to go on with the measure under present circumstances. But let me ask the House how much discussion has this Bill received at its hands? Would it have been respectful to the House for the Government to come down and say that the Irish Bishops and several other highly respectable people having condemned the Bill, they felt themselves bound to withdraw the measure on the second night of the discussion upon it, without giving the House an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon it? I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. He did not say that the Bill should have been withdrawn on the second night of the debate—he said it should have been withdrawn on the first night. [Mr. HORSMAN: Hear, hear!] I gave the right hon. Gentleman credit for more common sense than I should have done. I do not believe that any other Member in this House is of opinion that the Bill ought to have been withdrawn on the first night of the debate upon it; I do not believe that besides the right hon. Gentleman the strongest partisan in this House believes that the Government would have done their duty, or have shown due respect for this House, had they not determined, as they have done, to carry this measure forward and to test the opinion of the House of Commons with regard to it, instead of relying upon the declaration, condemnation, or criticism of any party, however respectable or however influential. Her Majesty's Government having, therefore, determined not to give the "go by" to the House of Commons in the manner suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, I will now proceed to address to the House some observations upon the general merits of the Bill. I may preface those observations by saying that I do not intend to go into its details, which may be more conveniently discussed in Committee, and among those details I class that important part of the Bill, upon which the right hon. Gentleman dwelt very forcibly, which relates to the abolition of Galway College. In dealing with the broad features of the Bill I wish, with the indulgence of the House, to refer to the two sides of this great question—as it is viewed by the Protestants and by the Roman Catholics of Ireland, a country with which I have the honour to be so intimately connected. And first, with 1424 regard to the Protestant side of the question. I will begin with the views which appear to be entertained by the Queen's University upon the subject. We have lately been addressed by a body which claims to represent that University in an elaborate blue book, which looks as though it had emanated from this House; and which has, I believe, been sent to every Member of this House. The body which has issued that book is the Convocation of the Queen's University in Ireland; and I shall have something to say about the tone in which that book is written. The Queen's University in Ireland is far more talkative and dictatorial on this great subject of Irish Education than its great and elder sister in Dublin has ever ventured to be. I wish to remind the House that it is not the Senate of the Queen's University that speaks to us in this production. The Senate of the Queen's University is a very eminent body, but it is generally silent. The Queen's University, however, possesses an institution unknown, I believe, in the history of any other University—that is to say, a Convocation which consists, not, as is the case here, of those who have obtained their Master of Arts degree, but of every youth who has just taken his Bachelor of Arts degree in that University. It is this Convocation of the Queen's University, thus constituted, that makes itself prominent on every occasion of this kind when subjects relating to Irish education are under discussion. I do not know how other hon. Members may regard the proceedings of this body; but I confess that, for my own part, I am growing rather tired of the lectures which are being so constantly administered to us by the Convocation of the Queen's University upon the great and glorious subject of united and mixed education in Ireland. I wish to speak with no disrespect of the body to which I refer; but it is never tired of enunciating general principles by which we are to be guided in determining this question. Thus we are told that "education must be harmonious throughout the land;" "that mixed education must reign in all places of instruction, from the highest to the lowest;" "that this must be the guiding principle of every University, every College, and every village school." In the meantime, while this glorification of mixed education is 1425 going on from year to year, what are the real facts of the case? Why, that the vast majority of Roman Catholics in Ireland are now receiving their education in not only strictly denominational, but actually in ecclesiastical establishments—the education of the students being almost without exception in the hands of ecclesiastics. This is the result of the policy we have hitherto pursued upon this question, and such is likely to be the case when our policy ignores the facts and feelings with which we have to deal. But let us go a little further. It is insisted by the Convocation of the Queen's University that harmony shall be maintained between the present national system of education and University education in Ireland. But does the Convocation of the Queen's University fancy, or do hon. Members fancy—I know the right hon. Gentleman fancies, but I do not know that anybody else does—that the mass of the primary schools in Ireland are established and conducted upon the mixed system? I should have imagined that at this time of day such a delusion as that no longer existed. Now, the right hon. Gentleman has been repeating to-night precisely the language of the Convocation of the Queen's University. No doubt, he took it out of their book. The fact is that the primary schools in Ireland have adapted themselves on all sides to the circumstances and feelings with which they were surrounded, and are denominational in their establishment and in their government; and this is shown by the strict provisions which are in force for the protection of the conscience of the minority. To say, therefore, that these schools are established upon the united or the secular system, and that therefore we ought carefully to make our higher education conform to that model system, is to totally misapprehend the real facts of the case. Then the Convocation of the Queen's University goes on to declare that University education must be collegiate and nothing else; that no one must be permitted to obtain an University degree except through a College; while it insists that that College must be undenominational, and must be included within an Irish University. I should like to ask English Members, and especially the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. G. Hardy), whether they would endorse 1426 the view that in future no College should be affiliated to Oxford or Cambridge University unless it was founded upon undenominational principles. Personally I have no peculiar liking for denominational Colleges, and I should not wish to send a son of mine to one; but certainly if it were the law of this country at this moment that in the future it should be impossible to found or to maintain within the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, Colleges for the special benefit of certain religious communities, a greater piece of tyranny I cannot imagine. Therefore, when the Convocation of the Queen's University says that University education in Ireland must be collegiate, and that it must be undenominational at the same time, I am satisfied that that is a proposition which English politicians cannot adopt. To say that in Ireland it is to be impossible for any young man to attain any University honours or degrees unless he consents to pass through a more or less expensive College whose teaching is contrary to his religious feelings, is opposed to common sense and to the circumstances of the country. What does the Convocation of the Queen's University say to the practice which has prevailed for generations in the University of Dublin? Has not the University, which includes only one great College—Trinity College—found it impossible to impose such restrictions? What, then, becomes of the cry that you must have no University education in Ireland unless it be collegiate? To tell Irishmen, of all people in the world, that unless they choose to accept the most elaborate and most expensive education which can be devised they shall have none at all, is a view which will bear no examination. I recommend the House not to take the advice of the Committee of Convocation of Queen's University, and I do not know that we should always be prepared to accept the advice of a similar body at our English Universities. Before saying something on the great University of Trinity College, I must protest against a version put by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Horsman) on something said by my noble Friend the Chief Secretary on Monday night. My right hon. Friend has got it into his head that my noble Friend directed some threat against Trinity College for opposing this scheme. [Mr. HORSMAN: I said it was one of 1427 three things—a threat, a prediction, or a warning.] I can assure him that my noble Friend intended no threat whatever. He merely wished to point out what might in his view be the historical consequences of the rejection of this proposal, and nothing was further from his mind than any threat. Now, as to Trinity College, my affections are due to another University; but I can assure members of Trinity College that I regard it with unfeigned respect. I demur, however, to my right hon. Friend's statement that all its wants and all we have to do is to let it alone. [Mr. HORSMAN: I said let the present system of education alone.] I think my right hon. Friend applied it to Trinity College. [Mr. HORSMAN: Certainly not.] Well, the view of a great many of its friends is that we are to let it alone, and that beyond the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), which they have, I think, reluctantly and at the last moment brought themselves to endorse, all we have to do is to let it alone. No one, however, will deny that it is a creation of the State, and that it has no claim to be let alone. It is a question of policy and wisdom for Parliament to determine. We all know that the University of Dublin was not founded as an Irish University, in the true sense of the word. It was the University of the Pale. That was no fault of its own, but the necessity of the time. It was the University of the colony, and although the intention doubtless was that it should grow into a National University, because it was hoped that all the people of Ireland would conform to the established religion, that intention has never been realized. In spite of a great deal of liberality and of distinguished services, it remains still to a great extent what may be called a colonial, and not a national University. I do not deny that it has struck many roots into the national soil, and that it has sheltered and nurtured many distinguished men; but from its historic position and unavoidable circumstances it has never yet reached the position of a truly national University. Now, whether we are wrong in the means or not, our sincere object is to make it national. Without in the slightest degree desiring to abate its power or prestige, our object is to convert it into a truly national University for Ireland. The hon. Member for Brighton 1428 (Mr. Fawcett) thinks the mere opening of Trinity College to all denominations will convert it into a national University; but I have always been obliged to differ from that view. The hon. Member has applied to Ireland in a way most misleading to himself and others the experience gained from the Universities of England, whereas the problem in the two cases is totally different. It was one thing to bring to a happy issue the struggle between the Protestants within the Established Church and the Protestants without it; but it was a very different thing to solve the questions which existed between the Irish Protestants and the Irish Catholics. It was one thing to open the door to those determined to enter, and who had, in fact, forced it; it is another thing to open the door to Roman Catholics who do not ask for it, but ask for something else. Owing to that fallacious analogy numbers of people in this country have entirely mistaken the difficulties and conditions of the Irish problem. It cannot, in our opinion, be solved by merely enabling Roman Catholics to enter what has long been, and will long continue to be, a Protestant stronghold. It can only be solved, in our opinion, by the method so admirably explained by my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government—namely, by separating the great College of Trinity from the University, and by constituting a new form of government for the University as such. A new form of government is absolutely essential to the end we have in view; and if so, what other form could we have proposed? What plan could we have proposed but the nomination of the Council in the first instance by the Crown, with the assent of Parliament, with a view of tiding over the great change, and of falling back within a few years into the academical groove, and making the Council a truly academical body? We believed no other plan would meet the circumstances, and we are still convinced that the dangers which some hon. Members see in it are either imaginary or so slight as to form no objection to a scheme dictated by the necessity of the case. There is an idea that a mixed academical or educational body in Ireland must fall into party grooves, and finding it impossible to maintain harmony must regulate their conduct by interests other than those of education. 1429 Now, I do not know what reason they find for that opinion. My right hon. Friend says the National Board of Education has been destroyed by the constitution it received some years ago, the equal division of its members between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Now, that Board is far more likely than the Council of a great University to be mixed up with politics. It has to deal with a purely Parliamentary system, based on an annual Vote of this House, and is far more disposed to political and party influences than a University Council; but with all these disadvantages, the Board under its present constitution has been a highly successful body—certainly one of the most successful institutions in Ireland. The partisan differences which have been spoken of have been of the rarest occurrence, while its ordinary and almost constant working has been of the most harmonious kind, directed to the true objects of a great system of education. Then, take the Senate of the Queen's University. Can anyone say that the Senate of the Queen's University has shown any signs of partisanship? I am far from thinking so. There was, no doubt, a moment a few years since when the question of the Supplemental Charter caused a very considerable difference of opinion within the ranks of the Senate; but I have the best means of knowing that the very gentlemen who fought, and hotly enough, over that question, united together with the greatest harmony and diligence in drawing up a most admirable set of rules and ordinances for the working of the new system. I know, too, that, with those rules and ordinances before them, a great number of young Irishmen who had not joined the Queen's University were prepared to avail themselves of the advantages so given to them, and that in some cases the Roman Catholic Bishops announced their intention to require the candidates for Holy Orders to obtain in the first instance a degree in Arts in the Queen's University. Well, that body, therefore, in spite of the difficulties which were occasioned by the discussion of the Supplemental Charter, worked harmoniously together for the attainment of the common object they all had in view. There is another body well known to Irishmen, though not, perhaps, to all hon. Members of the House, of which the same thing may with equal truth be 1430 said. I allude to the Royal Irish Academy, which was founded in Dublin in the reign of George for the advancement of learning in Ireland. The first Council of that body was appointed by the Crown, just as it was proposed in this Bill that the Council of the University should be named by Parliament, and vacancies have since been filled up by a system of nomination and election within the Academy itself. And what is the present position of that body? It contains a number of the very best names in Ireland in the walks of science and learning—a mixture of eminent Protestants and equally eminent Roman Catholics. Among its members are Mr. Sullivan, Professor Hennessy, Professor Houghton, Professor Ingham, and Mr. Fergusson. My right hon. and learned Friend opposite (Dr. Ball) is also a member of it, and neither politics nor sectarianism ever enter into its deliberations. But then, Sir, we are told that the Council of this proposed University is to be swamped by representatives of what are called the "bogus" Colleges. How that idea has got into men's minds I do not know, except in this way—that some ingenious opponent of the Bill has produced a list in the Irish newspapers of all the Roman Catholic Colleges which he could find in Thom's Directory and stated that these have all been scheduled in the Bill. That is the best explanation I can find of the idea which prevails; but anything more entirely a matter of imagination cannot be conceived. The Government never meant to extend the Schedule beyond a very small number of Colleges indeed, and my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government showed by his Amendment the other night that he had no intention from the first of encouraging the multiplication of inferior Colleges to be attached to the University, and to carry with them representation in the Council. For myself, I have no hesitation in saying I should deprecate any such proposal. I am sure the Governing Body of the University would not allow such a state of things to exist; but if further precautions were required the Prime Minister has provided them. Then, again, we are told that in a few years the Roman Catholics will be able so to use and manipulate the provisions of the Bill, more especially those which have reference to the constitution of the 1431 Council—that they will be able to obtain a predominance in that body. Well, there is no doubt that those who are extravagantly jealous of the Roman Catholic element see plainly enough that under the provisions of this Bill the Roman Catholics, if they choose to make a vigorous use of opportunities afforded to them, may attain an advantageous and important position. If any hon. Member thinks that that is an undesirable object, then I say I am not prepared to argue the point with him. Why, Sir, that is the object of the Bill. The object of the Bill is that the Irish Roman Catholics may be able to make use of it for the purpose of obtaining educational privileges of which they are now deprived, and an important position, having reference to their numbers, in the national University. And why should they not? Have the Protestants of Ireland so little confidence in themselves, and in the enormous advantages with which they start, and which are still assured to them, that they are afraid of not being able to hold their own in an open and widened University, representing every denomination in Ireland? I, for one, will not throw a slur upon the Protestants of Ireland by supposing that they will not be able to maintain their position in that body, where they are as much entitled as any of their fellow-countrymen to exercise that influence which is their due, and which doubtless they will always exercise in a manner commensurate with their energies, their vigour, and their numbers. But then we are told that the whole plan is spoilt by what are called the "gagging clauses." My right hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman) lays stress upon that point. Well, Sir, those clauses, although we consider them very important, are not of the essence of the Bill. Let me ask my right hon. Friend and the House what it all amounts to. I deny, in the first place, that the subjects of Ethics and Modern History are excluded from the University course; and anyone who has studied the history of foreign Universities will know that it has happened over and over again that the Faculty of Arts is not set up with absolute fulness. Why, there is a case of the kind not very far from these walls. I allude to University College, London, in which there has never been a Chair of Moral 1432 Philosophy. At all events, the want of completeness in the Faculty of Arts under this Bill—which, we regret to think, is dictated by the circumstances of Ireland—is far from a condemnation of the proposed national University. My right hon. Friend talks as if the "gagging clauses" were imposed upon Trinity College. Why, Sir, no Protestant in Ireland, and no Irish Roman Catholic who does not object to Trinity College or the Queen's University, will be deprived of anything whatever. So far from that being the case, Trinity College may, if it pleases, make more than ever of those subjects which are excluded from the Professoriate of the University, enjoying all the benefits of that Professoriate for other branches of learning. If I were a member of Trinity College, Dublin, or of the University of Dublin, I should rejoice to think that it was about to be placed upon a far wider and more national footing than either has ever occupied. I should rejoice to think that I was a member not only of a great College, but also of a great and national University. But, Sir, whether that University shall be national will depend upon the Roman Catholics themselves, and, with the permission of the House, I shall now turn for a few moments to that branch of the subject. I know that there are some who deny that there is any Roman Catholic question at all in this matter. That was the line formerly taken by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Dr. Lyon Playfair), and also, the other night, by the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice); but with all respect to them, I decline to discuss that part of the subject with them. When Ireland shows this House, by every voice she can command, that that is her feeling, it is, I think, right that this House should pay respect to the notification. I pass, however, from that question with one remark only, which I think worth putting to the House. The strong point of the argument of the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh is that in his calculation of the respective numbers of Protestants and Roman Catholics in Ireland receiving the higher education he throws into the scale the whole number of the young men in Ireland receiving education for the priesthood. As a matter of fact, however, the class from which young 1433 Roman Catholic ecclesiastics are largely drawn in Ireland is the small farmers class, one which, except for the purposes of the priesthood, is not available for the higher University education at all. It does not, therefore, admit of comparison with the class that furnished candidates for the late Established Church. That circumstance alone would be found by anyone looking into the matter very greatly to disturb the calculations of the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh. Now, I should not be dealing candidly with the House if I did not say that I have always been and am still an advocate for collegiate endowment in this particular ease. I believe it would have been right to treat the case of Roman Catholics in Ireland as an exceptional case; but I feel bound to acknowledge that not only is that not the view taken by the country at large, but that the view taken by the country is a perfectly impartial one. I believe if the state of things in Ireland were reversed, or if the state of things which exists in Ireland prevailed in England, the feeling would still be the same. To put a hypothetical case, supposing the teaching at the University of Oxford were of such a character as to inspire English parents with suspicion, and supposing they set up a separate College with separate teachers, as the Roman Catholics in Ireland have done, does anyone imagine that an application to this House for assistance would be attended with success? Why, Parliament would not give a farthing to any such purpose. Therefore, at all events, the view taken by the country is a perfectly impartial one, and is not intended as a slur or special disadvantage to any body of the people. Again, has nothing of the kind happened in any other country? Take the case of Belgium and Holland. At one time the people of Holland were possessed of the same spirit which animates the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) in respect to this subject. They thought they knew better than the people of Belgium what was good for them, and they endeavoured to impose upon the Belgians a measure which may be described as a sort of "Fawcett's" Bill for Belgium. The result of that measure is very well known. But if that result is worth the remembrance of the hon. Member for Brighton, what followed equally deserves recollection by Roman 1434 Catholics. The Belgian Government was established, and they introduced an educational system. What did they do? They founded two State Colleges. They left the philosophers to set up a College for themselves, and they permitted the Catholics to adopt a similar course, and gave them nothing. The result is that the College at Louvain is one of the most flourishing in Belgium. What we are endeavouring to do is to offer the best teaching on certain subjects to all who choose to avail themselves of it. Has it come to this—that no Catholic young man is to be allowed to receive any education from Protestant teachers? I trust not. The same objection would, in my opinion, extend to his deriving any instruction from books written by Protestants. I am still unable to bring myself to think that a great measure of this kind is to be condemned because among its provisions it contains a proposal that Professors on certain subjects are to be appointed by the Governing Body, without any compulsion on anybody to attend their lectures; and because it is thought that this duty cannot be safely intrusted to a Governing Body composed, as we hope, in such a manner as to command the confidence of men of all creeds in Ireland. But the great question is, whether after all the Government do not offer to the Roman Catholics in Ireland a great opportunity which it will not be for their advantage to neglect? It is charged against our Bill that it does not redress the historical grievance of Ireland in this matter of educational endowment. That I of course admit. It does not directly reverse the effects of Irish history; but what I would venture to point out to the Roman Catholics of Ireland is this—that it gives them an opportunity which if vigorously made use of will in a few years' time permit them to do almost all that they want to do. We offer them the means of vastly increasing and elevating the education of the people. We desire to give them the opportunity of constituting a College, which shall afford a place of shelter to their young men, within a great University so constituted as to be entitled to the confidence of Catholic students, and able to give sound teaching to any students who may feel disposed to avail themselves of it. Such a College, though not directly aided by the State, under the wing of the University would enable a 1435 vast number of Roman Catholic young men with perfect safety to their religious convictions, and with the sanction of the most scrupulous Roman Catholic Prelates, to avail themselves of the great educational advantages of the University, and to carry off their due share of its honours and prizes. It appears to me most desirable that the Roman Catholic people of Ireland should not let slip the present opportunity. To do so would probably postpone the settlement of the question for another generation. There never was a time in the educational history of Ireland, and especially of the Roman Catholics, in which the words of Shakespeare were of truer application—There is a tide in the affairs of menWhich, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,Omitted, all the voyage of their lifeIs bound in shallows and in miseries.That is my belief. I assure the House and my Roman Catholic friends that if I did not sincerely believe that the measure, however imperfect they may think it, might be made the means of the highest advancement in the education of the Catholics of Ireland I should not be standing here to speak in its favour. But it is my honest conviction that if they will only make a vigorous and liberal effort to avail themselves of the measure now within their power, they may within a few years, raise the great body to which they belong to that high and equal level of a liberal education which every hon. Member of this House must wish them to attain and enjoy.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
said, that the Prime Minister had met the Amendment by giving various reasons why it was impossible to give the names of the Council; but the fact was that the House had only half the measure before it. That half was contained in the printed Bill; but the other half, relating to the constitution of the body which would determine the character of the University for the first 10 years, was altogether hidden from the House, and the amendment was brought forward to remove this veil of darkness. He was aware that it was impossible for the Prime Minister to give the House the names of the Council at the present time, and he agreed that until the Bill had made some progress it would be impossible to know whether certain gentlemen would consent to serve on the Coun- 1436 cil. Yet that did not prove that the request was wrong, but only that the right hon. Gentleman had approached the whole subject in an erroneous manner. It was the almost unanimous opinion of those best qualified to speak on this subject, that the Governing Body which directed the studies of a University ought to be the natural growth and outcome of that University, and should not be the nomination of any external body. Clause 20 of the Bill abolished the existing Universities of Ireland, and proposed to put something else in their place. He wanted to know what was coming in their place? And when he looked back upon the whole history of Ireland and remembered the influences that surrounded the Castle—the coaxing and the intrigues that were going on there—he could not avoid the conclusion that the real vitality of the new University must suffer from the political influences which would be brought to bear upon it under the Bill. To remove all doubt on the subject, Clause 6 declared that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for the time being was to be the future Chancellor of the University. He would in this capacity exercise powers of a very different character from those of the Chancellor of an English University. The duties of the Chancellor of the University of Dublin would not be merely ornamental. The rules and regulations of the College would, to some extent, come before him for his sanction, and he would stand towards the University, in some respects, in the position in which that House stood towards the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It was the custom in England to elect distinguished men as Chancellors, and the late Duke of Wellington reflected the honour of his great name upon the University of Oxford. But would it not have been something strange and grotesque if the Great Duke had announced his intention to interfere with the rules and regulations of the University? Still greater, then, would be the anomaly if the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was to be invested with the power of controlling an Irish University. Yet any alterations made by the Duke of Wellington would have been more likely to be dictated by a single eye to the advantage of the University of Oxford than might be expected from any Lord Lieutenant. It would be a desecration of University Education so 1437 to mix it up with politics, as would be inevitable under this Bill. The "gagging clauses" were so wrong upon the face of them, and so opposed to the spirit of the time, that it was unnecessary to ask what anyone thought of the rest of the Bill. They were so radically bad, that they of themselves supplied the condemnation of the Bill. What would be the opinion of anyone who had been absent from this country for many months if he were told of these new regulations for educational instruction, without being informed where or when they had been promulgated? If he were told that they had been published at the latter end of the 19th century, and were the offspring of that party that claimed to be in a peculiar degree the party of liberty and progress, these clauses would be sufficient of themselves to condemn the Bill. Remembering that political intrigues had been the curse of Ireland, was it not almost certain that at any General Election more and more would be given away for the half-promised support and well-merited contempt of a few Irish Members? Trinity College had always held strong political opinions, and had never flinched from avowing them; but it had never allowed political intrigue to weave itself into its distribution of honours, or to affect the maintenance of a high standard of education. He should on this and on every future occasion offer his warmest opposition to the Bill. The Prime Minister might be able to carry this Bill by the voting power of those who sat behind him; but it was not like the Ballot, which had been for 50 years before the House, and the Government would pass the present measure against the express opinion of every section of the Irish Members, and of many independent Members not connected with that country.
§ MR. PIM
said, he fully agreed with the hon. Member who had last spoken, that the Lord Lieutenant ought not to be the ex-officio Chancellor of the University of Dublin. He trusted that that clause of the Bill would be altered, and that the Senate of the University would be left to elect the Chancellor, as in Oxford and Cambridge. He had listened with great attention to the debate of the previous day, and especially to the speech of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). That hon. 1438 Member had made the best case he could for retaining the Queen's University as a separate University, as well as for his own plan for the abolition of tests in Trinity College, and opening it to all on the same terms as the Queen's Colleges. But would these two Universities, both secular, satisfy the conditions of the problem? Would such an arrangement remedy the admitted grievance of the Roman Catholics? No one in Ire-and, whether Protestant or Catholic, would say that the establishment of four secular Colleges—and this must be the practical effect of carrying the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton—would settle the question. The two Universities which that hon. Member proposed to maintain, would be in a state of very unstable equilibrium, and a Catholic University would be required to give stability to the arrangement. It would, in fact, be like trying to support a stool on two logs—a third leg must be given to it, or it would not stand. The recognition of their own University was what the Roman Catholics had originally asked for; and it was what would certainly be done, if the decision were left to the Protestants of Ireland. He was convinced that, if Ireland had a Parliament of her own, even although its Members were exclusively Protestant, it would long ago have established a Roman Catholic University with an ample endowment; as, before the Union, it established and endowed the College of Maynooth. Much might be said in favour of the plan of three Universities. It was simple; it caused the smallest disturbance in the arrangements of the existing institutions; and consequently it involved the smallest risk of injuring them, and interfering with the good which they are now doing. The great mass of the Irish people were not averse from endowing a Catholic University; but they thought the money required for the purpose should be derived, not from Imperial funds, but from the Church surplus, which could not be devoted to a more useful purpose than the encouragement of education. It appeared to be assumed, however, by the framers of the Bill that, in the face of the strong anti-Catholic prejudices of England and Scotland, it would be impossible to carry a proposition for the endowment of a Catholic University. Some other method must, therefore, be devised as a solution 1439 of the difficulty. He had always objected decidedly to the plan of the hon. Member for Brighton. His plan was based on what he (Mr. Pim) considered the pernicious principle of divorcing religion from learning, and it treated with contempt the just claims of the Roman Catholics. While professing liberality and freedom, it was in reality a measure of coercion. It said to those, whether Protestants or Catholics, who conscientiously believed that religious training ought to be a constituent part of a College education, "You shall not take a degree; you shall not share the honours or the rewards of learning, unless you give up your religious convictions—your foolish scruples, perhaps they would call them—and come to our secular College." For himself, he preferred the mixed system of education, provided it was free. But to be useful, it must be free; it must be voluntary. The attempt to force it on an unwilling people would do great harm, and it was impossible to work it as the only system in Ireland. Unless, then, the House was prepared to force the secular system on the Roman Catholics of Ireland, or to establish three Universities, nothing remained but some such plan as that of the present Bill. It was similar in principle to the plan suggested some years since by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell); and which had also been proposed by the Provost of Trinity College. He (Mr. Pim) had always advocated it himself, and he was well pleased that the Government had determined to propose it for the consideration of Parliament.
It had been remarked by previous speakers that no one ought to vote for the second reading of a Bill unless he approved of its principle. He (Mr. Pim) fully agreed with this. But what was the principle of this Bill? He would say that its principle was a single unsectarian University, affiliating different Colleges, whether secular or denominational. Of this principle he approved, and he would, therefore, support the second reading. The details might well be altered in Committee, and many of them must be altered, if the Bill was to become law. Referring to the objections which had been made, he would say—first, as respects Galway College, that the consideration whether it was to be maintained or not was wholly a question 1440 for the Committee. This was not a point on which the Government laid much stress. The absorption of the Queen's University into the University of Dublin was a matter of much greater importance. The authorities of Trinity College raised strong objections to this connection, and it was to be expected that they would do so, because they wished still to keep their College separate from the other Irish Colleges. But what do the Queen's Colleges themselves say as respects the proposal to affiliate them to the University of Dublin? He thought their opinion ought to have some weight in the consideration of this question. On looking to the resolutions which had been sent to the Chief Secretary for Ireland by the President and Professors of the Queen's College at Belfast, he found a very mild expression of "regret that the new arrangements should be found incompatible with the continuance of the Queen's University;" but one of the Professors in a letter to him (Mr. Pim) says—"I trust you will oppose the exclusion of the Queen's University from the new University of Dublin;" and he proceeds to give his reasons for wishing for this connection. The Council of the Queen's College in Cork had submitted to the Government a very carefully drawn up statement, in which they object to many of the provisions of the Bill; but they make no objection to the proposed affiliation of their College to the University of Dublin. Lastly, the Committee of Convocation of the Queen's University itself, while objecting to the absorption, if the University was to be an Examining Board for non-collegiate students, expressed their desire, in the event of other arrangements being made for non-collegiate students, and for the students of denominational Colleges, that the Queen's University should "be incorporated into the Dublin University, as the great national University of Ireland." Unless he (Mr. Pim) had been misinformed—and he believed he had it on good authority—it was the original intention of Sir Robert Peel that the Queen's Colleges should be affiliated to the University of Dublin; and when the Liberal party came into power, on Sir Robert Peel's retirement, the same policy was continued, and he had been informed that Lord Clarendon, when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, endeavoured for more than two years to obtain the assent of 1441 the University of Dublin—that is, of the authorities of Trinity College—to this affiliation, but it was then contemptuously refused. Now, again, Trinity College repudiates the connection, stating that the Queen's Colleges are doing a most useful work, and that their competition has a most important effect in raising the character of University education. Whether they despise or praise, they desire to keep these Colleges at a distance from their own University. It was natural that the students and Professors of the Queen's Colleges should approve of that part of the Bill, for the degrees which they would be able to obtain, when affiliated to the University of Dublin, would have a much higher value than those which they could now acquire from the Queen's University. The Council of the Queen's College in Cork had referred to the unfavourable position of the provincial Colleges, stating that they "would have to compete on most unequal terms with those in the capital." This complaint is well founded, but the inequality cannot be avoided if increased academical advantages be given to Dublin, and perhaps the only compensation that can be offered to them is the advantage which they would obtain by this close connection with an old-established University of high reputation.
An objection has been made to the Council of the University as "the creature of political nomination, with a political officer presiding over it;" and the Senate of the University of Trinity College, in their Petition, say, that—The withdrawal of the government of the University from men who have gained their position by giving proof of their attainments, and whose lives have been spent in the work of teaching, for the purpose of transferring it to a Council, who will most probably be nominated to represent particular views in politics or religion, would be injurious to the interests of education, and productive of internal strife.He (Mr. Pim) thought the Senate were somewhat hasty in anticipating that the composition of the Council would be of this description, and he was glad to be able to refer to the speech of the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who on the first night of this debate had said, that—If anything was explicit in the statement [of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury], it was that the members of the Council would be chosen, not as representatives of religious opinions as such, but as representa- 1442 tives of academic, literary and scientific eminence.He (Mr. Pim) thought this a most important statement, that the members of the Council should be representatives of academic eminence, and he would venture to add his own hopes that they would be men of good common sense and discretion. He thought that it was necessary to have the first Council appointed by the Act itself, and he had no doubt that the Prime Minister would make a fair and a suitable nomination; but when the ship had been once fairly launched with the crew provided for her by Parliament, he hoped the future management and the filling up of all vacancies would be left to those who were interested in the success of the University. He was convinced that any interference on the part of the Government would do harm. Trinity College had always been free from Government control. With the single exception of the Provost, it had always elected its own Fellows and all its officers, and this independence had largely contributed to its success. He believed that, if its Council and officers had been nominated by the Castle, it would have failed like other Irish institutions; and he trusted that at least the independence of the Republic of Letters would be preserved, and that the University of Dublin would not be made a creature of the State.
The Petition from Trinity College objected to "the affiliation of small provincial schools or Colleges," as tending to "lower the standard of attainment necessary for an academical degree." Well, so does everybody—the Government included. The students and the late students of the Catholic University of Dublin had addressed a petition to the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland stating that the Bill, if carried without alteration, would be fatal to education in that University, and praying their LordshipsTo use their influence to procure the insertion of clauses requiring attendance at some affiliated College, and also to prevent any Catholic College, except the Catholic University, from seeking affiliation with the proposed University.He had himself given Notice of an Amendment which he should move in Committee, if the Bill reached Committee, providing that no Colleges should be affiliated to the University except those contained in the Act or in any future Act which 1443 Parliament might pass. This action of the students and ex-students of the Catholic University shows that, although themselves debarred from the recognition of their academical attainments by a degree in Arts, they are yet anxious that nothing should be done to degrade the University education of Ireland. He (Mr. Pim) would venture, on the present occasion, to state his own conviction that, if a Roman Catholic College was established in Dublin, whether endowed by Parliament or by the Catholics themselves, it would not be a College in subservience to any external authority, but would be an independent centre of Roman Catholic thought in Ireland.
The Bill prohibited the appointment of University Professors of modern history, and of moral and mental philosophy. This prohibition, as well as what were commonly known as the "gagging clauses," was universally condemned. He had, during the 10 days he was in Dublin, made it his business to consult his constituents of all classes—Protestants and Roman Catholics—as respects the provisions of this Bill, and he found no difference of opinion on this subject. The feeling was, indeed, strong that it was most improper, and contrary to the very idea of a University, to close the sources of any knowledge whatever, and that the exclusion of these subjects was insulting to the people of Ireland. "Such a restriction," said an ex-student of the Catholic University to him recently, "would make our University the laughing stock of Europe." He had given Notice of Amendments to be proposed in Committee which would remove the restrictions on the appointment of these Professors, and leave it to the discretion of the Council, and which would provide that the attendance of the students on their lectures should be voluntary. He had asked the opinion of Dr. Sullivan, Professor of Chemistry in the Catholic University, as respects several of the objectionable provisions of the Bill, and he had that day received a letter which authorized him to state the opinion of that gentleman—an opinion in which he believed the other Professors of the Catholic University concurred. The House would, he believed, like to have that letter read. It said that Professor Sullivan disapproved of 1444Leaving to the Council the power of affiliating any number of Colleges; or of giving to the Crown the right of appointing one-fourth of the Council after 1885; that the number of the Council was too large; that the Lord Lieutenant ought not to be the Chancellor, ex officio, but that the Chancellor ought to be elected by the Senate of the University.It also stated that he (Dr. Sullivan) disapproved ofDegrees, honours, or prizes being obtainable without academic training;" and "of the examinations in moral and mental philosophy being voluntary;and that he also objected to the11th clause (the gagging clause), and the section which referred to a student broaching any theory he pleased, instead of the sound theory.These clauses, to which Professor Sullivan objected, had, in fact, excited a storm of indignation throughout Ireland, and this indignation was not diminished by the articles which appeared in the Press of this country. He would, with the permission of the House, read a short paragraph from an article which appeared lately in The Daily TelegraphWe frankly confess that we do not admire the system, and that we should be glad to make a clean sweep of all the sectarian lecture-rooms in Ireland, for they must all be the haunts of bigotry and ignorance; but we fall back on the fact that they are better than nothing, and such is the principle of the Bill. It is not ideally good, nor would it be tolerable either in England or in Scotland; but so high does religious passion run in Ireland, so immeasurably above scientific truth does one party place dogma, and so furious are the zealots of the several sects that—we confess it with a sense of shame—a mutilated University system is the only system which is possible. Nor does the Bill pretend to give more than that—nor, again, has Mr. Gladstone ever claimed more for its pretensions.Now, this was from a paper which, in Ireland, was supposed to be inspired. ["Oh" and laughter.] He was only stating the current opinion; he had nothing to do with newspapers himself, and he would not believe that any man on the Treasury bench could have recommended the publishing of such a paragraph. Such articles did a great deal of mischief. There were contemptuous expressions in it which were felt as insults, and did more mischief and created more irritation in Ireland than even a serious injury. Nothing would give the Home Rule agitation greater support than articles of this kind. No man was more thoroughly convinced than he was of the danger that would result to Ireland 1445 herself from the establishment of a separate, though even a subordinate, Legislature there; but he would much rather risk this danger than consent to degrade the intellect of his country in the way in which it would be degraded by some of the provisions of this Bill.
The Trinity College Petition raised an objection on the score of want of competition, alleging that "a single University, having a monopoly of granting degrees…. would lower the standard of academic attainment." But, he would ask, what was the competition between Universities? Was it not a competition for students? and was it not the natural tendency of such competition to lower the standard, at all events, of the matriculation examination? But the competition between Colleges affiliated to the same University was a competition for honours, for scholarships, for fellowships. The tendency of such a competition was to increase the efficiency of the teaching in those Colleges, because if their students were not successful in obtaining prizes, the Colleges would lose their students. He did not wonder that some anxiety was felt as to the effect of the Bill upon the future of Trinity College. That institution had been as a light in a dark place; it had been the centre from which the light of learning and the teachings of religion had for nearly 300 years spread throughout Ireland; and as such it had obtained an European reputation. It had been the one successful institution in Ireland—an oasis in the dreary desert of Irish political life, and should be touched, therefore, with a very careful hand. It had been governed by Irishmen independently of all patronage or State control, and it showed what Irishmen, trusting in themselves and acting independently, had been able to do. He had already spoken of the non-endowment of the Roman Catholic College, which he considered to be a failure of justice, and as unwise and impolitic as it was unjust. But there was an aspect of this non-endowment which had not been touched on, and which he wished to refer to. It was this: The weakness of the Roman Catholic College, if it had not sufficient means to procure an efficient staff of Professors, would re-act upon its sister Colleges. They would be 1446 obliged to lower themselves to her level. It was like running a well-fed horse in harness with one that had got no oats. It would be necessary to restrain the energy of the one to suit the weakness of the other. But everyone in England said it was impossible to endow a denominational College; that it was "vain to imagine that the English Parliament could be induced to found a second Maynooth." Well, the English Parliament and the English people had refused many things, and had afterwards consented to do them. For 30 years it had refused Catholic Emancipation, and now a Roman Catholic Lord Chancellor of Ireland sits as a Peer in the House of Lords. They all remembered when an English Parliament forbad the Roman Catholic Bishops to assume territorial titles, yet since that time he had seen a Prince of the Roman Church, in his Cardinal's robes, sitting alongside of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the table of the Lord Mayor. It is scarcely three years since the English people declared, almost universally, that they would never pay a penny for the depredations of the Alabama, now they have engaged to pay £3,000,000 sterling, and have even been at the trouble of inventing a new maxim of international law, in order, by its retrospective effect, to warrant this payment.
He had dwelt largely on the defects of the Bill—defects which could all be remedied in Committee. Comparatively little consideration had been given to its good points. It proposed to establish a teaching University, not a mere Examining Board; it would open Trinity College to all by the abolition of tests; it would raise the status of the Queen's Colleges and of the Catholic College by their affiliation to the University of Dublin, and by opening to their students all the honours and emoluments of that University; it interfered as little as possible with the internal concerns of the affiliated Colleges, and left their autonomy untouched. Trinity College would naturally, from its importance and reputation, give the tone to the University, and its influence would be felt by all its sister Colleges. These are great advantages which are offered in the Bill, and he would therefore express his earnest hope that the House would consent to the second reading, and pass it into Committee, where its defects might 1447 be remedied; and thus the foundation might be laid for a good and a complete system of University education in Ireland.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON,
as representing to some extent a certain phase of public opinion, and also as representing in that House the great commercial capital of Ireland, desired to express his entire and strong objection to the Bill in its principles and in its details. He listened to the ornate eloquence of the First Minister in introducing it, and hearing the statement so ably put forward, he ventured, for that one night, to hope that at last a solution of the University difficulty had been found—that a scheme had been prepared which would satisfy and please all parties in Ireland. But going through the Bill, clause by clause, he became convinced that such a measure would never satisfy the wants of the people of Ireland in the direction of higher education, and that instead of being, as the Preamble declared, "a Bill for the Extension of University Education and the future advancement of learning in Ireland," it ought to be described as "a Bill for the limitation of University Education, and for the advancement of ignorance in Ireland." It had been argued that there was a necessity for the introduction of some measure on the subject of University education in Ireland—and, no doubt, there had been demands on the part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and a promise on the part of the Prime Minister—but if University education had been left to develop itself, in a very few years different parties would have been found working harmoniously together; and if Parliament threw no obstacles in the way, Irishmen would solve the difficulty by accepting the education offered by the Queen's and Dublin University. The Prime Minister, at Wigan, in October, 1868, had said—There is the Church of Ireland, the Land of Ireland, there is the Education of Ireland: there are many subjects, all of which depend upon one greater than them all; they are all so many branches from one Trunk, and that trunk is the tree of what is called Protestant ascendancy.… It is upon that system we are banded together to make war.He was not one of those who believed that the Land Bill—for which they were indebted to the genius of the right hon. Gentleman—was a bad Bill for Ireland. On the contrary, he thanked him on 1448 behalf of the people of Ireland for passing that Bill through the House; but he denied that the Land question had any connection with the question of Protestant ascendancy. He would always have been glad to extend to his Roman Catholic fellow-citizens the rights and privileges he claimed for himself; and, if this were a question of giving them equal rights, he should not be found in opposition to the Bill of the Government. It was assumed that the Roman Catholic laity did not take advantage of the means provided for their education; but it appeared from the Census Report of 1861 that the number of pupils in schools under societies and boards was 4,298, and in private schools 6,048, making a total of 10,346, of whom 5,228 were Protestants and 5,118 were Roman Catholics. The preparatory schools, according to the Report, were those which fed the Dublin University, the Queen's Colleges, and the several Roman Catholic seminaries, like Maynooth, in which candidates for the Roman Catholic priesthood were educated. It had been attempted to be shown that we ought not to take into account the number of Roman Catholic students educated for the Roman Catholic priesthood in calculating the number who had received higher education in Ireland; but it must be remembered that the vast proportion of those who received higher education were destined for the priesthood. However, it was assumed there was a Protestant ascendancy in Ireland; but he denied that there was any particular class of men who were anxious to establish Protestant ascendancy in the sense of depriving Roman Catholics of their rights and privileges. What was meant was the ascendancy of enlightenment over ignorance, of intelligence over credulity, and of the progress of the 19th century over the state of the dark ages. He confessed there was a desire for such an ascendancy. This Bill, however, instead of advancing education and learning, would substitute the condition of the dark ages—credulity and ignorance—for intelligence, enlightenment, and progress. Magee College, which must feel indebted to the Prime Minister for dragging it from its obscurity to be honoured with the attention of the House of Commons, and which was assumed to be entitled to recognition in the proposed University, was a small College, endowed 1449 through the munificence of a lady in Londonderry for the Irish Presbyterian. Church. The course of the College extended over six years, instead of three or four as in others, so that the 44 students educated there gave about seven for each year. It had been asserted that it was only when Trinity College felt itself in danger that it proposed to throw open its honours and emoluments. But, in 1866, before the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, a very important declaration in favour of United Secular Education, commonly known as the "Provost's House Declaration," issued from Trinity College. This Declaration was in the following words:—We, the undersigned members of the United Church of England and Ireland desire to express our earnest hope that the principle of United Secular Education, as opposed to the Denominational System, may be maintained in Ireland.Without pledging ourselves to an approval of the National System in all respects, we entirely admit the justice and policy of the rule which protects scholars from interference with their religious principles, and thus enables the members of different denominations to receive together, in harmony and peace, the benefits of a good education.The Declaration was signed by 2,754 members of the Church of Ireland. The following is an analysis of the signatures:—The Lord Primate of Ireland, 1; The Lord Justice of Appeal, 1; Noblemen, 45; Bishops, 5; Deputy Lieutenants, 146; Justices of the Peace (not D. Ls.), 636; Clergymen, 733; Barristers, Physicians, and other Professional men; Country Gentlemen, not being J. Ps., and Merchants (about) 800; Miscellaneous Signatures (about). 387. Total, 2,754. Only a few days ago a resolution was proposed by Dr. Traill and passed by the Senate of the University—That, in the opinion of this Senate, it is desirable that the House of Commons should adopt the principles of 'the Dublin University Bill,' introduced by Mr. Fawcett, which would prevent this ancient University being deprived of its privileges and powers, while abolishing all religious tests in Trinity College.He had pleasant recollections of Trinity College, where he lived happily and harmoniously with students of all religious creeds. It was said that this was a good Bill because Roman Catholics, Protestants, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Wesleyans were all alike dissatisfied with it; at all events, it could not be said to be legislation for Ireland 1450 according to Irish ideas. The Roman Catholic hierarchy had denounced it on two grounds—that it was a continuation of the mixed system of education, and that it did not give endowments to Roman Catholic Colleges. It was said by the hon. and learned Member for Denbigh (Mr. Osborne Morgan) the other night, that they must not lower the standard of education in Ireland to that of Stonyhurst and Maynooth. What they wanted was not to lower the standard, but to raise it; and any attempt in the direction of this Bill was a movement for the advancement of ignorance and the extinction of education. The hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue) declared that education, in all its branches, must be under the superintendence and supervision of the clergy. He did not know whether the State was about to abdicate its functions—whether the Legislature was prepared to see the Church placed above the State, and to see a Church ruled over from Rome superseding and trampling down the Government of the Queen. The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. C. Fortescue) had told Roman Catholics that this Bill would do for them in a few brief years all they would require. They did not give them much at present; but, if it passed, their demands would be irresistible till the whole cause of education was in their own hands. As to the details of the measure, the "gagging clause," as it had been called, might be termed the inquisition clause; but the 25th clause, with reference to the non-compulsory tuition of Modern History and Moral Philosophy, was the sting in the serpent's tail. He valued highly the honour of a seat in that House; but if he heard the question put—that this Bill do pass—ho should feel that the honour had been obtained at too great a price when he listened from those benches to the pronouncement of a sentence of capital punishment upon liberal education in Ireland.
SIR ROWLAND BLENNERHASSETT
* Sir, the measure which we are now discussing is one which has been looked forward to with anxiety by a large section of the people of Ireland, and also by many others who take an interest in the advancement of learning and in the progress of mankind. If ever there was a subject which ought to be approached in a fair, an impartial, and 1451 a scientific spirit, it is the question of Irish University education. Upon its proper solution depends whether the Irish people are to be really elevated in the scale of nations, or whether the special qualities of the Irish race are to be lost for an indefinite period to the sum of human development. From an educational point of view the population of Ireland may be divided into three sections—first, Presbyterians and Nonconformists; secondly, Episcopalians; and thirdly, Roman Catholics. The Presbyterians and Nonconformists are altogether a little more than 10 per cent, the members of the Disestablished Church are something like 11 per cent, and the Roman Catholics are over 77 per cent of the total population of the Island On the part of that 77 per cent it has been complained, that a considerable number of them have been shut out from University education because their religious convictions would not allow them to take advantage of the University system already in existence. An interesting discussion has been raised, principally by the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Dr. Playfair), as to the number of those who have actually suffered by this exclusion. I need not enter into this question, as successive Ministries have admitted that a grievance exists, and that a remedy is required. Many attempts have been made to remove this grievance, but all the proposals hitherto have been unsuccessful. When the present Government was formed, pledges were given that the question should be seriously dealt with, and it was also fully understood at the General Election that no scheme would be proposed by my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government which would involve denominational endowment. Bound as he is by the pledges which he then gave, bound as is the whole Liberal party, by the pledges it gave against concurrent endowment in every shape and form, I think the Bill is an honest and substantially a successful attempt to meet the difficulties of the case. It may contain some objectionable and some doubtful provisions; but, nevertheless, I think that with that amount of amendment in detail which a Bill of so complicated a nature must necessarily be expected to receive in Committee, it could be made as good a measure as, in the present temper of the public mind, any Minister could hope to carry. I am at a loss 1452 to understand how anyone can fail to perceive the considerable merits of this Bill. In the first place, it does not propose to constitute a mere Examining Board; and in this it will have the approval of the majority of those who take an interest in University education. In the second place, it recognizes the Collegiate system; and here again it will meet in Ireland with the general approval of all who really understand the subject. But no doubt many persons think that on this point the provisions of the Bill are defective. With regard to Trinity College, it appears to me that its attractions, traditions, and wealth, will enable it to hold its own against all rivals. It remains under this Bill the richest College in Christendom. Its income will be some £50,000 a-year, or more than double that of the great University of Munich, which gives a considerable quantity of gratuitous instruction, maintains 75 Professors, many of them men of European reputation, and supports its position as one of the most famous Universities in the world, on a gross income of £24,080 a-year. I have heard lately a great deal about the development which will be given by this measure to the "grinding system." It is said that these terrible grinders will destroy the University, by withdrawing students from the Colleges and from the University lectures, and that the whole result will simply be to create an Examining Board. Our greatest English authority on University education—Dr. Newman—has stated, that one of the most valuable parts of University education is the student life. That is true, and, as far as grinders tend to destroy the student life, they are simply mischievous. But where are these grinders most likely to be found? Surely, where they will find the greatest throng of students. And where is that most likely to be? Surely in Dublin. Besides, Sir, although all this talk about "grinders" and "crammers" may impose to some extent upon the public, there is probably no single one of us University men in the House, from you Sir to myself, who have not had recourse to them at some period or other of our University career. They exist in every University in the world, and a very necessary part of University life they are. The truth of the matter is, that if you have examinations at all, you are sure to have a certain 1453 class of persons who have a particular talent for preparing candidates for those examinations; and although I am quite prepared to admit that the worth of examinations is by some persons exaggerated, still I suppose none would venture to propose to get rid of them altogether. I really cannot see how Trinity is seriously injured by this measure. If, with all its advantages of wealth and organization, it cannot hold its own under this Bill, its advocates will find it hard to show what interest science has that it should exist at all. On the other hand, the institution, which I will call the Catholic University College, will have to compete with endowed Trinity, with the endowed Queen's Colleges, and with the various middle schools throughout the country; and any modifications made in the Bill should not be detrimental to that College. Hon. Members unacquainted with the subject, and with the history of Irish education, may think that if the Catholic University College were destroyed, Trinity and the new University would be the gainers. It is impossible to entertain a more erroneous opinion. The result would simply be that fewer students would come to Dublin. The Catholic youth of Ireland would be kept in the country schools, and would never come to the University of Dublin except to pass an examination. As the Bill now stands, they would be able to enjoy all the prizes in the country schools. There are in Ireland some 67 intermediate schools, conducted by priests. Of these, 24 are diocesan seminaries, in 23 of which, I am told, lay as well as ecclesiastical students are admitted; 15 are classical schools, under the direction of secular priests; 28 are classical schools belonging to different religious orders In these schools the youth of Ireland are at present educated. I am not now concerned with the question whether it is desirable or not that the whole education of laymen should pass exclusively into the hands of ecclesiastics. But if the Catholic University College were extinguished, the only result would be that the Catholic young men now taught there would be inmates of the country clerical schools. Unless the Government and the House desire that result, they wilt provide larger inducements than the Bill now offers for the Catholic youth of Ireland to reside in the Catholic University College, and to attend the Professorial 1454 lectures in the University of Dublin. If the Bill goes into Committee, I shall be prepared to make some suggestions in this sense. Something, for instance, might be done by making a distinction between the bursaries and the Fellowships and exhibitions. Leaving' the bursaries as they now stand, to be gained by all within the first year after their matriculation examination, I would suggest that the Fellowships and exhibitions should be the reward of none but those who have followed the curriculum of the University, either in its own lecture halls or in a College recognized by it. This distinction between the prizes may be fairly made. In the Bill as it now stands, no one can compete for a bursary who has passed the first year after his matriculation. There are to be 100 bursaries of £25 each, tenable for four years. These are practically prizes for the middle schools, and will no doubt do much to promote study in those institutions. And although my right hon. Friend was probably right when he said it would not be advantageous for us to mix up the question of intermediate with the question of higher education, still, unless the preparatory schools are in a flourishing condition, it is quite idle to dream of a flourishing University. I am glad, therefore, that something is done indirectly to stimulate energy in those middle schools, by putting within their reach the bursaries through the exclusion of all but first year's men. But it would be most desirable to make the Fellowships and exhibitions the reward of collegiate training. This can only be done by excluding all candidates who fail to produce a certificate of having followed a course, either in the University edifice, or in a College recognised by the University. I urge this point earnestly upon the consideration of the Government. I am aware that there are some objections to it, but I think it would be, on the whole, a great improvement in their Bill, and would do much to strengthen the Colleges, and to extend the educational influence of the University. A third great merit of the Bill is that it provides liberally for University teaching; but on the mode in which that teaching power is made available will greatly depend the success of the University. As regards this portion of the Bill, I shall be prepared, if we get into Committee, to submit for 1455 the consideration of the House and the Government, Amendments which might be accepted without any derogation from the principle of the measure. For instance, I shall ask the House to consider whether it would not be desirable to attach certain Chairs to certain Colleges. In Germany we all know that the same University sometimes contains duplicate Faculties, and perhaps it might be possible to found in the University of Dublin duplicate Professorships of Modern History and Moral Philosophy. The more I think of it, the more I regret that it should appear necessary to exclude Modern History and Moral Philosophy from the necessary studies of the University. These two subjects are, no doubt, excluded because of their indirect connection with theology. But if Modern History is to be left out because its study might be inconvenient to this or that religious opinion, why is not Modern Literature excluded also. As deep offence can be given in a lecture on literature as in a lecture on history. No doubt a great deal may be said upon this point. It has been much insisted upon in the course of this debate, and we shall, no doubt, still hear more about it; but, after all, there is no reason why we should get into a white heat upon this subject. Great Universities have existed before now with practically only one Faculty, and many have been founded to teach but one particular science. The oldest University, in our sense, was the University of Salerno. It is mentioned by writers of the 11th century as a flourishing community, and in that University practically only medical science was taught. In the 12th century, one of the most famous Universities that has ever existed—the University of Bologna—was founded to teach Civil Law; and later in the same century the University of Padua was founded for the same purpose. In the 13th century the University of Paris, the glory of the Middle Ages, began to flourish, and there for a time Jurisprudence—a necessary study in those days for anyone who was not going to be a priest or a soldier—was absolutely prohibited. I will not weary the House by many instances; but I assert that from the University of Salerno to the one we are now reforming, there never has existed a University which contained in its curriculum all the subjects necessary 1456 for its theoretic completeness. Why, let us look at the University of which the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) is so distinguished a Professor. It is true that it has of late years established a Moral Science tripos. But that which the world, and that which Cambridge itself understands by the highest Cambridge education is that which makes a man a Senior Wrangler or a Senior Classic; and any man might take the former of these high honours without ever having opened a book on Modern History or Moral Philosophy. There is no reason why we should underrate the importance of these two subjects; but do not let us disgrace ourselves before the world, and show our total ignorance of the history of Universities, by raving about the exclusion of these two Chairs, as if the omission of important subjects from a University curriculum was anything so very novel. The truth of the matter is, the value of a degree is measured by a University's reputation for the excellence of its mental training, and not by the number of subjects contained in its curriculum. The hon. Member for Brighton the other evening was very eloquent upon what he was pleased to call "the gagging clauses." With regard to the 11th clause, which empowers the Council to punish Professors who give wilful offence to the religious convictions of the students, what this means should be more clearly defined. I would suggest that the offence should be limited to the use of insulting language directed against any religious belief. Perhaps the House will understand what I mean when I tell them that a distinguished Oxford tutor not long ago began a Lecture on Moral Philosophy with these words" That damned fool Bishop Butler says." [Mr. BOUVERIE: That would not hurt anyone's religious convictions.] The right hon. Gentleman says that such language would hurt no one's religious convictions; but I think no one will deny that expressions of that kind made use of in Ireland would very soon set the whole University in a blaze. Then the hon. Member for Brighton said that he could not teach Political Economy in the new University, because he could not do so without constant reference to Modern History. Where in the Bill does he find any clause forbidding a Professor to make reference to Modern 1457 History. He alluded also to the sixth sub-section of the 25th clause, and assumed that a candidate would not be disqualified by ignorance of any received theory. There is nothing of the sort in the Bill. The 6th sub-section of the 25th clause says that he is not to be disqualified by reason of his adopting any particular theory in preference to any received theory. What is the meaning of the word "preference?" How, in the name of wonder, is a candidate to adopt one theory in "preference" to another, unless he has mastered both? A man might just as well say that he had married one sister in "preference" to another, when he had only seen the one he married. If it could be shown that this Bill would be detrimental to high culture, that would be a fatal objection to it; but that is an assertion which has to be proved. It is said that the new University, in so far as it is an Examining Board, will have to reduce its standard of examinations down to the level of the weakest College affiliated to it. What reason there is for this statement I entirely fail to comprehend. The University of London has many Colleges and schools affiliated to it. Has it lowered its standard to suit the educational exigencies of the weakest of its affiliated schools? Why, anyone who knows anything at all about education in this country knows that it has raised the level of every institution connected with it. A friend of mine, a distinguished Roman Catholic priest, who for some time directed the studies at Stonyburst, told me that the action of the London University upon that school had been quite incredible. When it was affiliated to the London University some 25 years ago, it was miserably below other institutions of its own character and size. And now the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or anyone else who knows the London University, will tell you that Stonyhurst has been raised up to the level of the very best of its affiliated schools. For my part, I believe that though the Bill does not give Irish Catholics an ideally perfect system of education, it does give a system far superior to any of which they can at present conscientiously avail themselves; and those Catholics who take upon themselves to reject this Bill will only perpetuate, by their own act, the disabilities of which they now com- 1458 plain. In order to comprehend the question of Irish education in all its bearings, it is necessary to remember two things—first, that from the earliest times the Irish have always possessed an intense love of learning; and, secondly, that religion in that country has always proved itself the strongest of all the forces operating upon society. If you desire to elevate the mind of any nation, you must give up the notion of attempting to do so by influences external to itself exercised against its will. In order that a measure for Irish Education should succeed, it is requisite that it should be framed not in the interest of this or that monopoly, or of this or that religious sect, but in a spirit of fair consideration for the conscientious opinions of all classes, and of every section of the people. In this spirit the Bill has been framed. Under it every Irish Catholic who chooses can obtain a University degree, with all the acquirements and advantages of which that degree is the symbol, without the slightest derogation from his ideas of moral duty. I, for my part, am not prepared to take upon myself any portion of the responsibility of refusing such an offer as this. However hard it may seem that Trinity College will begin its career in the new University system organized and endowed, while the Catholic University College will start under very unfavourable circumstances, the whole history of human progress, and especially the history of the Irish Education Question, goes to show that this is in itself no reason to despair. In dark and evil days the Irish Catholics were able to maintain not one but many Colleges in famous Universities. But those Universities were abroad, and now they will have to maintain a College in a National University in their own land. Her Majesty's Ministers have approached this subject under very special circumstances, and have been necessarily limited in their choice of remedies. None of us can have forgotten the cold—and, indeed, hostile—reception given by the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland to Lord Mayo's offer of a charter and a pecuniary provision for a Catholic University, as portion of his general policy of levelling up, and concurrent endowment. I cannot forget that when the present Administration was formed, and received the support of the Catholics of Ireland, 1459 the Government made it as clear as possible that they would never suggest any plan of Irish University Education of which denominational endowment formed a part. They have done nothing in this respect but what we all knew from the commencement was inevitable. We all know the pledges on this subject by which the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends bound themselves before the country, and it would be neither reasonable nor creditable to complain that those pledges have not been violated. Looking at the question in all its bearings, believing that this measure has been conceived in a sincere, intelligent, and effective desire to do justice to the people of Ireland, I shall vote that the Bill be read a second time.
§ DR. LYON PLAYFAIR
* Sir, I am sure the House must have been pleased by the able speech they have just heard in favour of the Bill, for it is most refreshing to find that there are some persons in the House who do not give it to a hostile criticism. In one respect I agree entirely with the hon. Baronet (Sir Rowland Blennerhassett) who has just spoken—namely, that the measure has been framed in singleness of purpose, and with a full desire to do justice to the Irish people. In the remarks I am about to make, the House will excuse me if, in the double capacity of a Professor and a Member for a University, I view the Bill in its effect upon what Her Majesty, in her gracious Speech, recommended to our attention—the advancement of learnng—rather than in connection with the political bearings of the question. I shall do so as reasonably as I can, in spite of the warning which the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland (the Marquess of Hartington) has given the House, that I am the head of a set of fanatics, whose views are unworthy of attention. In considering the Bill, I have endeavoured to look upon Ireland as a part of this kingdom, not split into sections by religious differences, but inhabited by our fellow-countrymen, who have a right to all the advantages which the State can give them in respect to higher education. I have remembered the circumstances of the country, which render it more important that Ireland should enjoy these advantages without stint or hindrance than either England or Scotland. Ireland has had many obstacles to progress, some political, others material. 1460 She possesses scarcely any of those great raw materials of industry which give such advantages to other divisions of our country. She has to import the chief part of her coal from England and Scotland, and that is the mainspring of all industries. With small natural resources, except those for agriculture, it is above all things essential that the intellectual resources of Ireland should supplement her deficiency in natural resources. As civilization progresses, science and knowledge, applied to production, become more important factors than the mere possession of raw materials. Not only then as regards industrial development, but also to increase the fund of intelligence among the youth of Ireland, so as to give them outlets for employment, which the restricted industry of their country does not afford, I gladly accept the conclusion of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, that a case is made out for a further development of the University system. I am not about to split up the case into the discussion whether there is or is not a religious grievance in Ireland. Such a discussion is apt to produce false issues. But I must at once decline to follow the Prime Minister into his mode of presenting the intellectual deficiencies of Ireland to the House, because if we accepted his views of what University education is, and what it is not, I think no more serious blow could be struck at the prosperity of two poor countries like Scotland and Ireland. If the Universities in these countries are to be upheld merely or chiefly on account of their Faculties of Arts, and if academic productiveness be measured by their Arts degrees, and not at all by their success in training men for professional and industrial life, you may as well give them up altogether as institutions for national amelioration. In such a case your Universities would slip away from the bulk of the people, and would become the monopoly of the rich. For not only in Scotland, but also in Ireland, the people even now are more largely represented in Universities than in England. In England there is one University student to 3,700 of the population; in Ireland there is one to 2,800; in Scotland there is one to 860. If you desire Ireland to make her Universities send their roots deep down among the people as Scotland has done, you can only do so by making them bear 1461 directly upon the occupations of the people, whether these be professional or industrial. In doing so, you do not desert, but you revert to University tradition, for most of the ancient Universities were founded with the specific object of liberalizing the professions. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) was surprised that there was a tendency in Ireland for Arts students to decrease. There is no peculiarity in that, for the same thing is to be found in all countries, and more especially when they are poor. Why, even Oxford and Cambridge can only keep up their Arts students by an incessant increase of scholarships. The great difficulty of Universities is to induce students to remain in the preparatory Faculty, in consequence of the increasing struggle for professional and industrial existence. The right hon. Gentleman did not sufficiently distinguish between students on the rolls and those in true academic attendance, for in Ireland these mean very different things. I shall not go further back than the foundation of the Queen's University in 1850, to illustrate my meaning, because I have not before me the means to do so. I must, however, explain that the nominal students of Trinity consist of two distinct classes. One class is in actual academic attendance at the College, and enjoys the advantages of a regular University curriculum. The other class of students is merely registered for examination; they do not attend a single lecture, and reside either in the provinces or in England. By referring to page 68 of the Dublin University Report, it will be seen that in 1851, the year after the foundation of the Queen's University, out of 1,217 undergraduates on the roll of Trinity, only 361 attended lectures during Hilary, which is the average term. Of these I am informed by the authorities at Trinity that not more than 150 were students who did not intend to prepare for holy orders. Last year there were only 958 undergraduates on the roll, but those attending lectures had increased to 460, and of these 420 were laymen. In addition to those actual academic students in Trinity, you have those studying at the Queen's Colleges. Their number last year, after deducting the students preparing for the Presbyterian ministry, was 682. Add both the numbers together, and we find that in 1871 there were 1462 1,102 lay students, in the sense in which we understand students in the English and Scotch Universities, as against 150 in 1850. Surely this is an accession of academic activity in 20 years that ought to satisfy a nation. Desultory cram has declined, but has been replaced by a regular curriculum of University study. If we take students of all classes on the roll without distinction, as the Prime Minister did, even then the result is not unsatisfactory, for while there were 1,217 students on the rolls in 1851, there are 1,703 now. Now, let us test the fruition of the system by Arts degrees, although I deny that is a fair test. So far from having failed in these, Ireland stands higher than England and Scotland. England produces 750 Arts graduates annually, or 1 to 30,000 of her population; Scotland produces 130, or 1 to 26,000; while Ireland produces 338, or 1 to 16,000 of her people. I cannot, therefore, either on the ground of any failure of true academic students, or of their want of fruition in academical culture, even according to the limited definition of that adopted by the Prime Minister, see any ground for discouragement as to the existing University system in Ireland. When I grant the case for a further development of the University system in that country, it is not because the present one has failed, but on the broad ground that it is most important for Ireland to increase her intellectual fund, as a compensation for her poverty in the natural resources of industry. It is surely a significant fact that, since the establishment of the Queen's University, the lay academic students in Ireland have increased seven fold, and that the proportion of her Arts degrees to the population is so much higher than that of England. If the Prime Minister failed to observe these facts, it is because he has not noted the difference between students on the roll and those in true academic attendance, or how importantly the Queen's Colleges have acted by their competition in stimulating academic study, and in diminishing the vicious custom among the Irish youth of being satisfied with the results of cram as a preparation for examination. Yet, now that Ireland has nearly cured itself of that evil, this Bill proposes to plunge into it once more by establishing a single University to which the students may come up for examination without any 1463 academic curriculum at all. This practice was only tolerable in Trinity College as a means of enabling Catholics to obtain degrees without going through a College which was essentially Protestant; but it is intolerable in a single National University, whose very object it is to be open to students of all creeds. It may be argued that the London University requires no curriculum. That is true, but it only furnishes one-tenth of the graduates in Arts that the other English Universities do. Hence it is a mere supplement to academic teaching. But in Ireland the system will not only supplement but is likely to supplant actual academic teaching, as it in fact once did, until the Queen's University stimulated the Dublin University by its competition. And this Bill destroys competition and establishes a University monopoly. If we confine our vision to a single function of Universities, a case may be made out against the Queen's Colleges. But if you admit that they fulfil their true functions when they lay the scientific basis for professional and industrial occupations, then it cannot be questioned that they have understood their mission in a poor country, and have fulfilled it well, for, go where you will, in the scientific services of the Army, in the Civil Service of India, in the professions, in manufacturing industry, where knowledge and science are required, you will now find many alumni both of the Dublin and of the Queen's University.
Sir, I have had the honour to lay on the Table a Petition signed by 131 out of the 141 students of Galway College, praying your honourable House that this College may not be suppressed. As they have chosen me as their advocate, allow me to say a few words on their behalf. The case must be a strong one to justify the extinction of a College which is the only one in the West of Ireland. At present you have Dublin College for the East, Cork for the South, and Belfast for the North of Ireland, but if you suppress Galway College, the whole of the West of Ireland is left destitute of means of higher culture for its population. There is no part of Ireland where such a college is more important. In Munster and Ulster the populations are much larger and wealthier than in Connaught, and the towns of Belfast and Cork are flourishing from their commercial enter- 1464 prize. In Connaught, on the other hand, you have the little town of Galway, with 13,000 inhabitants, maintaining with singular vigour its College. Galway has decreased in population in twenty years by 10,000 persons, and yet its College has not decreased, for in 1861 it had 144 students, and in 1871 it had still 141. Small as this number may appear, it is larger than any of the 17 Colleges in Cambridge, with two exceptions, Trinity and St. John's. I will not follow the right hon. gentleman into the money appraisement of each student, for I am sure that he does not attach much importance to that line of argument. He would far more willingly rest the question upon the quality of the work done than upon its quantity or its cost. As to the quality of work done, there is no question that Galway at present stands at the head of the three Colleges. I call in witness the estimate of a severe critic in the last number of The Dublin Review. That writer says, "Galway is an extremely favourable specimen of the Queen's University." This statement is fully justified; for, at the last University examination, out of fifteen first-class honours awarded to the three Colleges, Galway, the smallest numerically, won no less than seven. In competitions for the public service, Galway College has always held a conspicuous place. I have therefore shown that while, educationally, Galway College is a decided success, numerically it can scarcely be considered a failure. But it is chiefly because it has thoroughly fulfilled the intention of Parliament that I plead for Galway. Our intention was to found Colleges in which the inhabitants of Ireland might study irrespective of their religious creeds. Belfast has scarcely succeeded in this point of view, for out of 368 students, on an average of 10 years, only 19 have been Roman Catholics. But with Cork and Galway the principle of united education has flourished. Out of 1,536 Roman Catholics who have entered since the foundation of the Queen's Colleges, nearly 1,400 were in the Colleges of Galway and Cork. It is true that Galway and Cork are much disliked by the clerical party in Ireland, yet that is not because Roman Catholics do not frequent them, but because they do. No doubt if Galway College be suppressed it may not wholly be lost to education, for Clause 21 provides for its 1465 sale, and the College, with museum and library, may fall on easy terms into the hands of the Roman Catholics alone, and be converted into a diocesan seminary. But such a result could scarcely be agreeable to the advocates of united education, or to Parliament who founded the system.
I now pass to the fundamental proposal of the Bill before us, that is, the concentration of a double into a single University system. For my own part, I am bound to state that decentralisation, instead of centralisation, would have much more commended itself to me. I think Ireland should have been treated like Scotland, and that two good provincial centres of academic life should have been established, one at Belfast, and one at Cork, just as we have four independent Universities in Scotland. But putting aside my own proclivities altogether, I desire to consider whether it is for public advantage to take away that healthy competition between two Universities which has produced such a large increase of true academic lay students in 20 years. Some real and substantial advantage must be aimed at. What is it? Conciliation to the Catholics of Ireland, which can only be obtained by material compromises. I am, Sir, advanced in years; but I am a young politician, and perhaps I am not sufficiently developed in the system of making compromises. If, however, we succeed in conciliating the Catholics, we gain a great end. But suppose that we fail in this conciliation, what do we lose? You are shaking to the centre a system that I have shown is doing its work admirably, and we are creating a monopoly of University work without competition, which we must at least take care is constructed to do as well as monopolies ever do. One cannot prophecy what the future of University education in Ireland will be; but at present there are four Protestant students to every Catholic. The scheme of the Government can only commend itself to us if, while it does justice to Catholics, it does no injustice to Protestants. One thing is certain, that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government has bestowed infinite care and anxiety to balance two opposite systems—the system of united education and of denominational education. He has skilfully introduced into one system those 1466 Colleges which, like Belfast, Cork, and Trinity, work mainly on the united system, and those which, like Maynooth and Magee Colleges, work on the denominational system. Supposing we admit the policy of centralisation, then it was wise to take the University of Dublin as the basis of that system. Much criticism has been bestowed on the manner in which the relations of the University and Trinity have been adjusted. If I understand these relations, it appears to me that in no part of the Bill has such skill and sagacity been displayed as in their adjustment. But unless both the University and Trinity grasp these relations aright, and work in harmony, the most injurious consequences will follow. It is clear that Dublin, with 700 or 800 students, cannot support two competing teaching institutions. Like the Kilkenny cats, they may so devour each other that nothing but their tails will remain—the tail of the University being an Examining Board, and that of Trinity mere tutorial teaching—both resulting in unmitigated cram. But I fancy it is in the mind of the framers of the Bill that the teachers of the University and the teachers of Trinity should not compete, but mutually supplement and support each other. In that case Trinity would actually benefit, because its students could attend the lectures of Professors, and thus be compensated for the excess of the tutorial system which now prevails at that College. And its funds being relieved by this Professorial staff, it could use its endowments for practical teaching and research in a way highly advantageous to Ireland. It might then build large laboratories for physical, chemical, and biological teaching and research. I should hope to see it the home of mental science and history, which this Bill discourages, and a place for philological studies in the manner in which they are now pursued in Germany. If Trinity College understand, and is willing to fulfil, this new mission of acting, not in a sulky independence, but in a hearty co-operation, with the new University, and if the latter value Trinity as she deserves, higher education, at least in Dublin, will benefit by the changes contemplated. What Dublin gains, the Provinces are likely to lose, unless the relations between the University and the provincial Colleges are most skil- 1467 fully arranged. As the whole merit of the Bill depends upon this feature, let us examine it carefully. What are the securities for the high condition of the affiliated Colleges, and for their being always contributors to higher education in Ireland? The 2nd clause gives to the University Council unlimited powers to affiliate any institutions, and to declare them to be Colleges of the University. We are to start the Act by filling the blank Schedule No. 1. What Colleges the Government propose to place in that Schedule I do not know; but the Prime Minister mentioned four by name, and we may assume that these four at least will be included. They are the Catholic University, Maynooth, Magee College, and Trinity. To none of these, on the general principles of the Bill, can just exception be taken. The Catholic University is a well organised institution, with a cultivated Rector, eminent Professors, and good means of instruction, and though, in all its Faculties except medicine, it does not contain 50 students, there is no reason for supposing that under a good University system it will not increase sufficiently to be an active working College. To Maynooth College there is less exception still. It is a large Ecclesiastical College, with 500 students, and excellently conducted as a seat of clerical training. Its Principal, Dr. Russel, is a man who well deserves the high encomium which he received from the Prime Minister, and its Professors are men of learning and culture. It will be a powerful accession of strength to the new University if Maynooth really send its pupils for Arts degrees. The Bill, however, does not provide security for graduation, but simply contents itself with giving privileges to the Colleges that send students to pass the matriculation examination, which is a mere test of school teaching. For a long time the chief chance of an accession of Catholics to the University can only be through those preparing for the priesthood, for that profession absorbs the surplus of those found in the secondary schools, but not represented in the University. I should hail such an accession as the greatest proof of success of the new University, for it is most important that priests should have liberal culture. But are you sure that the policy of the Church of Rome will make Maynooth or other clerical Colleges 1468 in Ireland contributories to your roll of graduates? The recent manifesto of this Catholic hierarchy is not encouraging. If Maynooth contribute graduates, then it ought to be represented on the University; but if it stop at matriculation, it has no right to a share of Government in higher education. The right hon. Gentleman makes one little step forward in the modifications which he announced on Monday evening, that the Colleges sending matriculated students would have to promise to send them for further examination. What is such a promise worth? The idea of representing Colleges on the ground of schoolboy proficiency is radically bad, and no share of Government should be granted to any College, lay or ecclesiastical, until it has won that right by adding graduates in sufficient number to the University, as a pledge of its contribution to and interest in the promotion of higher education. The proposal to affiliate Magee College is only a compliment to the supposed denominational demand, and as a balance to limited education. So many stones have been thrown at it that I will not add to the heap. Yet, surely it is strange that higher denominational education languishes so much in Ireland, if there be such a demand as its promoters allege. The right hon. Gentleman must have satisfied himself of the reality of this demand, otherwise he would not make such gigantic changes in the University system of Ireland. But I have never been able to convince myself of its reality. If 40,000 Catholics are pining for Catholic University education, as my friend Dr. Lyons states in the pamphlet quoted by the Prime Minister, how is it that only 47 are to be found in the well-appointed University in St. Stephen's Green? If the Presbyterians desire a College of their own, can rich Presbyterian Ulster not send more than eight students to the Faculty of Arts at Magee College? These are not practical evidences of a deep desire for denominational education in Ireland. The united Colleges have increased lay education seven-fold in 20 years, and the denominational Colleges, for whose sake we are to uproot an old University system; and plant a now one, drag on a miserable and languid existence. But the Prime Minister may justly say that there are Catholic Colleges in abundance in Ire- 1469 land, and that those wait for affiliation. It is true that among the 47 intermediate schools of Ireland, all managed by Bishops or clerical orders, such as the Jesuits and Carmelites, and Fathers of the Holy Ghost, there are 19 Colleges which have cost from £5,000 to £30,000 to build. Most, if not all of them, are of the rank of Colleges which the University of London has affiliated, and we must recollect that University has gradually raised its list of affiliated Colleges from two to forty. Well, even with the new restricted powers to be introduced into this Bill of the approval of the Crown before affiliation is accomplished, I have little doubt that these 19 Colleges will soon be on the list of the Dublin University. The Crown in this case means the Government; and existing Governments, whether Liberal or Conservative, are easily subjected to pressure by Irish politicians, and would yield readily on such a question, especially when it would be urged that it would be unjust to refuse 19 Colleges to the Dublin University, when the London University has already affiliated 40. The Roman Catholics naturally expect this, as I will show by quoting from a work recently issued by a Committee of Roman Catholics on Irish Education, a work which originally appeared in the columns of The Freeman's Journal. I quote from page 273—Intermediate schools naturally culminate in a University. Without a kindred University our Catholic intermediate system, complete as it otherwise is, would be a mere headless trunk.To this, I cordially assent; but I by no means assent to the proposition of the Bill that because a school or a College can send 50 boys to pass a matriculation examination that therefore it should share in the government of a University. And especially objectionable is this when all the managers of such Colleges are clerical. I care not whether they are Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, or Episcopalians, such a preponderance of clerical management in a secular University would produce bad results. But I mainly object to the scheme because its certain result would be, as all past experience proves, merely to give an impulse to diocesan education, not to promote higher University education. Bishops are apt to look upon education from a diocesan point of view. If Carlow and Clongowes flourish, that will 1470 be a compensation for the failure of the Roman Catholic University in St. Stephen's Green. But that would not satisfy Roman Catholic laymen, who know, though it is not successful as to numbers, that institution gives a much higher education than a diocesan seminary. Let me quote the apprehensions of a distinguished alumnus of that University (Mr. Fottrell), who says—I shall be very much surprised if in this poor and intensely religious country, where the training of University education is scarcely yet understood, the majority of Catholic parents do not try to obtain for their sons, at £60 a-year, in Clongowes, Tullabeg, and Carlow clerical Colleges, what will be called, and will be generally thought, to be a 'University Education,' instead of sending them to Trinity or the Catholic University, where it would cost more than double the amount to obtain that which could just as easily be obtained by studying at Clongowes.….. I think the self-styled Liberals in education would, on religious, as strongly as I would on academical grounds, deplore the passing of any measure which would substitute Clongowes and Carlow for Trinity and the Catholic University.The Bill would, I contend, do exactly what Mr. Fottrell points out. And it has no limit to its action. Acting on the precedent of the London University, which affiliates Colleges of St. Patrick at Carlow and Thurles and St. Kryan's, so might the Dublin University cross the Channel, and affiliate the Catholic Colleges of Stonyhurst, Ushaw, Oscott, Hackney, and others, on the excuse put forward in the little book from which I quoted, that Irish go to them to be educated. Do not let the House believe it is an unsupported notion, if these Colleges become affiliated and govern the University by their representatives, that the only result likely to follow is mere school and not University education. It has been an unfortunate principle of action among those excellent educators, the Jesuits, not in one country but in every country, that it is better to finish the education of young men in schools rather than risk their faith and morals in Universities, which, by treating youth as men, sometimes disturb the simple faith of children. This system has entirely ruined higher education in France. The University of France is nothing but a collection of Lycées. It is true that it has Professors of higher subjects; but they only have as pupils those who intend to be teachers in the Lycées. French thinkers attri- 1471 bute much of her recent misfortunes to the failure of her University system. Still you need not cross the Channel for a proof that affiliated Colleges do not necessarily increase academic education. The London University, starting with two affiliated Colleges, gradually increased them, as I have said, to 40; but though her matriculations have about doubled in 10 years, the numbers of graduates remain nearly the same as they were at the beginning of that period. The increased action of the London University on school life, as displayed by augmenting matriculation, is effected without injury to University training. Who would dream of giving a seat in the Senate to each affiliated school of the London University because it sent 50 matriculated students? The Senate is composed of men of high learning and position, who, if they have a fault in administration, err on the side of severity, not laxity, in their academical arrangements. But what would happen if the numerous affiliated schools and Colleges of the London University sent representatives to its governing Senate, as this Bill proposes to do in the case of the Irish University? Of course the standard of degrees would soon be reduced to the level of the schools, because it would be against their interest to keep degrees to a level which they could not attain. This must be the inevitable result of a school-governed University as that in Dublin must soon be. A University which is intended to raise the education of affiliated Colleges will inevitably be lowered to their standard by this system of schoolboy representation. This result has followed in France, where the graduates in letters and science are looked on as lads with good school certificates, but not of academic rank.
The House has been very patient with me, and I shall try not to trespass on its time much longer, but there are two subjects which I cannot pass over. The first of these is the practical exclusion of Mental Philosophy and Modern History from the University of Dublin. I say practical exclusion, because, though they are left as barren branches, the fruitful branches of the tree of knowledge are the only ones likely to be plucked in a poor country like Ireland. When a student can win a Fellowship worth £1,000 by classics, or mathema- 1472 tics, or natural science, he is not likely to study the subjects for which mere honour is reserved. And as a consequence of their discouragement in the central University of Dublin, Mental Philosophy will languish and soon die in the provinces. For though it is taught in the Queen's Colleges, students are not likely to attend lectures on subjects not required for the degree, and excluded from the emoluments of the University. And before many years are over, a future Prime Minister will point to the Philosophical Chairs as failures, will indicate the cost to the State of the few students who attend them, and will suggest their abolition altogether. And the discouragement and extinction of logic, metaphysics, and moral philosophy, are to be the result of our legislation regarding a country which has produced Berkeley, and Hutcheson, and Burke I But need we give these discouragements? I quite see, and to some extent sympathise, with the difficulties of the Government. Philosophia theologie ancilla is certainly no longer true, and I am not surprised that the Catholic Bishops advise students to avoid flirtations with the old handmaid of the Church. They once tried to induce the University of London to help them in this discouragement, and the minute relating to this question was written by the great historian Grote, formerly a Member of this House. He pointed out that there was a great difference between knowledge and acceptance of doctrines. It is a tyranny to conscience to force a man to believe anything; but it is no tyranny to ask pupils to know what is believed by others. A University that discourages knowledge has no title to academic distinction among the Universities of the world. The solution of the difficulty is easy. Make Mental Philosophy and Modern History alternative subjects of equal value with others as regards emoluments, and allow the student to select them or not as he pleases. The field of knowledge is too wide to be traversed by all, and a degree in which they are not included may still be a good and worthy degree. No one would suffer by this, and free criticism would enable the students to judge truth far better than exclusion. I presume that Mill, and Bain, and Herbert Spencer, are philosophical authors who are not loved by Catholic Bishops; but have not the 1473 ablest critics of the Experience school of philosophy been Mahaffy, Monck, and Abbot in Trinity College itself? Leave to Ireland intellectual independence, and Ireland will know how to take care of herself. But do not, by the practical exclusion of subjects, as this Bill suggests, give to her a University which would be pointed to with scorn by all Europe as an example of obscurantism. I cannot pass by the anti-theory section of' Clause 25 without remark. To my mind it is simply an amazing proposition; for to refuse discussion of theory is to suppress the study of science. It is urged that theories are variable and not fixed. No doubt. Theories are the leaves of the tree of science, which, while they last, draw nutriment to the parent stem, and when they fall, still provide by their decay materials for the new leaves or theories which are to succeed them. Theories are merely finite perceptions of infinite truth; and to encourage the student to decline their discussion with his teacher or examiner is to ask him to look only at the bare and leafless tree of knowledge, in the expectation that he may be repelled from it by its very unattractiveness. Now we come to a further point—the censure and deprivation of Professors under Clause 11. The exclusion of certain subjects of knowledge, coupled with this censure, doubtless arose from the desire of the Government to push the spirit of conciliation to its furthest limits. But when this spirit of conciliation is forgotten, the spirit of submission to ecclesiastical power will remain, and will guide the University in its dealings with subjects and with men disagreeable to the Roman Catholic Church. We cannot avoid seeing in such provisions a practical yielding to the arrogant pretensions put forward by the cardinal Archbishop and Bishops in 1866, when they demanded authority over Professors, books, and students. This 11th clause, the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland tells us, draws its precedent from the legislation regarding the Queen's Colleges, in which, if the Professors purposely introduce religious or political controversies, the Lord Lieutenant, as a high officer of the State, could deal with the offender. These statutes are essentially different, for Clause 11 puts this power in the hands of a Council of a composite character, largely recruited from clerical 1474 bodies, and certain to have diverse opinions. And the offence is not restricted to the audience of the Professor, but is extended to "any member of the University." Nor is it his prelections alone which are to come before this inquisition, for his writings and works, if used for academic purposes, are to be examined by the inquisitors. In the present state of science, no Professor, with dignity of himself or to his subject, could work in such a University. It is incompatible even with the fundamental idea of University existence. Let me quote two authorities. Bluntschli, in his well-known work on Universal Constitutional Law, thus writes—The University requires scientific self-dependence; for the higher science unlocks itself only to complete mental freedom. For this its corporate self-dependence is an excellent foundation.And Breal, writing in Catholic France, says—The true liberty for higher education is the liberty for the Professor to teach what he believes to be true.Now I proceed to condemn this interference with teaching, not by my own arguments, but by the infallible authority of the Popes themselves. Pope Clement V. issued a Bull for the foundation of a University in Ireland. This Bull is dated 13th July, 1311, and in it this Pope, with all the wisdom and force of the head of his Church, declares that he founds—A general school in every science and lawful faculty to flourish there—that is, in Dublin—for ever, in which masters may freely teach, and scholars be auditors of the said faculties.This wise Pope knew that Professors ought to have freedom of teaching, and that scholars should be auditors, not trying to trap them. The statutes of that intended Dublin University still exist, and seem to have been framed partly by Archbishop Lech, and partly by Archbishop de Bicknor. At all events, they were issued with full authority, and contain a remarkable passage in regard to the Chair of Divinity—We will also that we and our successors may appoint a secular regent in divinity, or one of what order of religion we please, who for ever in time to come may actually read lectures on the Holy Scriptures in our church of St. Patrick, without challenge or contradiction from any person whatsoever.These liberal Bulls and statutes were only consonant with the general liberty 1475 accorded to all University teaching. Two centuries later Bishop Hall contended for this perfect liberty in a letter to Pope Urban VIII. He says—If that great Chancellor of Paris were now alive, he would freely teach in the Sorbonne, as he once did, that it is not in the Pope's power to hereticate any proposition.I am sorry that in discussing new statutes for a Dublin University in 1873, in the reign of our enlightened Queen Victoria, I am obliged to refer to more liberal statutes in the old Dublin University in the reign of Edward II. No doubt it maybe contended that times are changed, and that men of science have become too bold to go down on their knees before the Church, like Galileo, or humbly to offer to burn their books, like Descartes. It cannot be denied that science is apt to look at things in too materialistic an aspect, but the remedy for that is to give the freest scope to the mental sciences. Yet this Bill limits, if it does not exclude, metaphysical and ethical subjects, and thus forces the student to be one of two things—either a bigot or an infidel. I have said that I object to this exclusion of subjects, to the tongue-tying of Professors, and to the encouragement of academic dissent on the part of the students; and I do so because science, whether mental or natural, can only breathe and flourish in an atmosphere of liberty. There is no use denying it—science and ecclesiastical authority over private judgment cannot respire in the same air. Science must grow in the light which comes direct from the Creator; it is dwarfed and dies if the light be intercepted by a Church, and then be feebly reflected upon it. The whole history of science tells you this. It is not the dogmas of the Roman Church which prevent science from flourishing in Catholic countries. It is the ecclesiastical authority exercised over private judgment. Protestant ecclesiastical authority is just as injurious as Catholic authority. The rigid Calvinistic authority which controlled education at Geneva from 1535 to 1725 strangled science, and not a single discoverer of note came from thence. Since 1735, when education was emancipated, Geneva has been illustrious for the number of its scientific discoverers. Spain, on the other hand, which still encourages ecclesiastical authority, is an utterly barren land for science; but Italy, since she began to 1476 assert the spirit of free inquiry, is adding to its discoveries. The fact is, free inquiry is the mother of science; but when she allies herself to timidity that fears the clashing of intellectual results with spiritual authority, nothing but a stillborn progeny can come from such an ill-assorted union. These timid compromises between free inquiry and spiritual authority do not please the cultivated Catholics of Ireland. I have had a remarkable communication made to me by the present and past students of the Roman Catholic University in Dublin, who state, while they widely differ from me on religious grounds, they approach me on academic grounds. In this document occurs the following passage:—These things show the absurd lengths the principle of compromise is carried in Ireland, and now they want to carry it further by enacting one clause which will gag Professors, and another which will drive Modern History and Philosophy out of the University. If these subjects are driven out, the students will also be driven out, for surely a University in which neither Philosophy nor Modern History is taught would be an absurdity, and people would not care much for its degrees. The difficulty as to Philosophy and Modern History could easily be met by founding dual chairs as in Germany.This outspoken passage is, I think you will admit, independent and manly.
I have not said all that I wished to say about the probable operations of this Bill, but I cannot trespass longer on the attention of the House. I have been free in my criticisms, because the subject is vastly too important in its consequences to Ireland, and to this kingdom to be made the field of temporary compromises and facile concessions. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government knew this when he devoted his high talents and energy to the solution of the question. Whatever may be said in the heat of debate or in party spirit, I am sure that the House at large admits the singleness of his purpose, and the strong desire manifested in every page of the Bill to preserve united education, and yet to give free development to denominational education. But it is a most difficult operation to make oil and water co-mingle without future separation. If the Bill do not settle the question firmly, Ireland forms a fine field for faction fights. This House has over and over again affirmed the policy of united education for Ire- 1477 land, and I hope will not abandon it or undermine it by injudicious legislation. We are told that a whole nation demands the separation of Catholics and Protestants in teaching. I deny it, and will give the proof. I admit that the present Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland claim spiritual direction of education in a fashion which no great Power in Europe would tolerate, and which never was tolerated in Universities even before the Reformation. But what I aver is that the Roman Catholic laity have not always been submissive to these spiritual claims, and have urged Parliament to refuse them. The principle of united education was once as dear to the laity of Ireland as it still is to the Liberal party in this House. Grattan himself presented a Petition in its favour from the Roman Catholic laity, and in this remarkable Petition it is said—That the greatest misfortune which could overtake a nation would be the separation of the youth of the country into two classes, one confined to one religious College, and the other to a different one.And in 1845 that illustrious Irish Member Sheil, whose memory is still venerated by Irishmen of all classes, spoke on the subject in words of force and eloquence. He said—I coincide in thinking that education in Ireland should be mixed—I mean secular education. We must in manhood associate in every walk of life.… and if thus, in our maturer years, we are to live and die together, shall we be kept apart in the morning of life, in its freshest and brightest hours, when all the affections are in blossom, when our friendships are pure and disinterested, when those attachments are formed which last through every vicissitude of fortune, and of which the memory survives the grave:"—[3 Hansard, lxxxii. 358.]These are eloquent and wise words. It is because I feel that this Bill is thoroughly honest in its wish to preserve united education, though in competition with denominational education, that, much as I dislike many of its provisions, I do not intend to record my vote against it. United education is dear to the Liberal party, and should be its guiding star when we are in Committee. We ought to do nothing injurious to the development of denominational education for those who prefer it; but we must not give to those outworks the means of conquering the citadel that has been built. Religions which were intended to unite men in eternity ought not to separate men in time. The experience 1478 of Ireland, in its mixed Colleges, and that acquired in most other Universities in Europe, has taught that union in secular education softens religious asperities, teaching men to love each other and co-operate for the common weal. Let us not, then, loosen a principle which has been the hope, the belief, and the bond of union of the Liberal party. The Bill, as it is framed, does not strengthen that principle, but as it leaves the House it may do so. I have shown, by the testimony of the past, and by the opinions of the Catholic students of the present day, that there is a deep current of liberal feeling among the Roman Catholic laity. Ultramontanism and the great Catholic religion are not convertible terms. The Bill has been framed with a desire, not to yield to, but still to conciliate, the Ultramontane party. It has failed to do this, and it has not satisfied the Liberal Catholics of Ireland. Ultramontanism always appears to me to be ecclesiastical communism. Communism is the reduction of property to a common level, and Ultramontanism is the reduction of religious spirit and intellectual thought to a common level. But the cultivated Catholic laity in Ireland are not ecclesiastical Communists. If Parliament removes all the educational disabilities under which they labour it fulfils their chief desires. I cannot tell what will be the fate of this Bill, or the form which it will assume when it emerges from Committee. For though it is framed in a spirit of great conciliation and attempts justice, it fails to receive acceptance in Ireland, and it is most difficult to legislate for a people who declare, with singular unanimity, that the legislation does not meet their wants. The reason of this difficulty is, that the two principles of union and separation adopted in this Bill are incompatible as the basis of a single measure. Parliament may go on one basis or on the other, but they cannot build a single building on two separate foundations. The principle of union on which Parliament has hitherto proceeded has not a fair trial, because the religious disabilities which Catholics experience at Trinity College has not yet been removed. Whatever may be the fate of this Bill, I hope that the House will not allow another Session to pass without wholly sweeping away these Catholic disabilities. For three years my hon. 1479 Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) and myself have co-operated for this purpose, but the exigencies of party politics have defeated us. There is one broad fact in Irish history which should encourage our efforts at educational legislation. Ireland has had many sorrows and many vicissitudes of fortune, but for 1,000 years she has preserved a love of learning. Open up her great academic institutions freely, on terms equal and honourable to Roman Catholics and Protestants alike, without treating them as diverse and irreconcilable species, when both are loyal subjects of a common kingdom. If this were done their love of learning would surmount the temporary ecclesiastical obstacles to its attainment; for Truth is Catholic, and Nature is one. It may be that for a time the priests would frown; but the great Irish people would ultimately appreciate the sense of justice of the Imperial Parliament, and joyfully accept higher education when it is relieved from all religious disabilities.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Before I enter upon the arguments which it is my duty to address to the House, I cannot avoid congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities (Dr. Lyon Playfair) upon the very able and temperate speech which he has just delivered; and I will show my appreciation of that speech by turning aside for the moment from what I was first going to say, to examine some of the points which he has put to us in the concluding portion of his remarks. In the first place my hon. Friend has solved the oil-and-water difficulty which puzzled him a few minutes ago, because as he warmed in his speech he found the means of mixing those incompatible ingredients. I wish to say a few words upon the question he has raised as to what have been called—perhaps not very appropriately—the "gagging clauses. I may say that these clauses are not of the essence of this Bill. I maintain that these clauses are matters of very high importance, and they are perfectly susceptible of a complete defence; but I need not spend any time in dealing with them, except with the view of answering the arguments of the hon. Gentleman. There is, however, some confusion in the view which the hon. Gentleman took of one of these ques- 1480 tions. He says that one particular clause states that there shall be no disqualification for adopting any particular theory to the exclusion of any other particular theory. My hon. Friend in commenting upon that seemed to consider that it was a clause which was intended to prevent mankind from forming theories on the subjects on which they write; and he entered into an eloquent defence of theory and its usefulness. Now, as I read the clause, it has a precisely contrary effect. The object of the clause is that degrees and honours should be conferred for the possession of knowledge, and that if we are satisfied a man possesses the knowledge required he shall not lose the benefit, as far as the examination goes, of such knowledge, merely because he may couple it with a special adhesion to some theory which the Examiners do not approve. In point of fact, the clause seems to me to be founded in the simplest and most absolute justice. A young man may take the trouble to master a subject in all its details, and perhaps from prejudice, or the fault of his instructors, he may, although he has acquired all the knowledge, have been led to form an incorrect opinion, and to take a false view of the value of that knowledge. Now, can anything be more unjust than to say to him that because the Examiners differ from his theory he shall lose all the labour he has bestowed on the subject. This is really the whole matter which has given rise to such an enormous amount of declamation. The clause was introduced into the Bill as a matter of justice, and I hope that the House when it goes into Committee will agree to retain it—for it is quite ridiculous to attach to it all the consequences which have been predicted by some hon. Members. How it can follow that a young man must become either a bigot or an atheist from so simple a matter I cannot conceive. I must also add an expression of my surprise that this should have been designated a "gagging" clause, for it appears to me to be precisely the contrary. We might have confined a Professor to actual knowledge he had acquired; whereas, this clause allows him to open his mouth a little wider, and to give his opinion on the theory connected with that knowledge. Indeed, if there were in the English language a word which is the antithesis of "gagging," it ought to be applied 1481 to this clause. Then, there is another clause at which my hon. Friend (Dr. Lyon Playfair) is highly indignant, though his indignation is nothing compared to that of the learned Professor the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), who says that if such a clause were introduced into the University of Cambridge he would not degrade himself by retaining his Professorship another hour. This is the "gagging" clause:—The Council shall have power to question, reprimand or punish by suspension deprivation or otherwise, any professor, teacher, examiner, or other person having authority in the University, who when in discharge of his functions as a University officer may, by word of mouth, writing, or otherwise, be held by them to have wilfully given offence to the religious convictions of any member of the University.What is the meaning of the word "wilfully?" It means designedly and purposely—not inadvertently. A Professor, whose business it is to teach a particular science, is bound to respect the religious convictions of his pupils, and not to take advantage of his position in order to introduce into their minds subjects which do not come within his province, nor to deliberately make use of his position in order to wound their susceptibilities. It would be a very serious offence, amounting to a breach of the trust imposed upon the teacher, and it is right that in any well-disciplined University or society, power should be vested in the Governing Body or in the Crown to check such a practice. Now, if this is necessary in all well-governed societies, how much more necessary is it in a University, where, it is hoped, Catholics and Protestants will meet without having any subject of dispute raised between them? This, then, is the second clause, which appears to be of so dreadful a nature and which has been so much attacked by the hon. Member for Brighton and others. It seems impossible for any hon. Gentleman to state correctly the rules with regard to the teaching of the Mental Sciences and Modern History. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken is no exception to the general rule. Indeed, I do not know of anyone who has stated the case correctly. The explanation of the rule is simply this. The Mental Sciences and Modern History are subjects which can be taken up for a degree, and which will count for a degree. These subjects will also count towards giving a student 1482 honours, and yet it has been stated over and over again—by the hon. Member for Brighton for one—that they are struck out of the curriculum of the University. I hope that hon. Gentlemen will not take this assertion on trust from me, but that they will turn to the Bill themselves, and I think they will find that I state the matter correctly. There is, undoubtedly, a prohibition against these subjects being used in examinations for emoluments—that is, for Fellowships. The reason is that in an examination for honours or degrees persons may take up different subjects, and having acquitted themselves well, get the same honours and degrees. But in an examination for a Fellowship many contend, but only one competitor succeeds, and it was apprehended that doubts and jealousies might asise if in the case of persons entertaining different views—on the Mental Sciences for instance—the examiners were supposed to favour one candidate more than another. The two parties would be brought into collision, and if one competitor regarded the Mental Sciences in a view more favourable to Catholic theology than that entertained by the other, the unsuccessful candidate might attribute his rival's success, not to his superior ability, but to the circumstance that his theory was more popular with the Examiners. I will next advert to the omission from the list of Professorships, of Moral and Mental Philosophy and Modern History, and in the first place I will remark that we do not diminish the amount of teaching power on these subjects which exists at present. Every one now teaching these subjects will continue to teach them. But we do not propose to add them to the Professorships in the University. The reason of this is very simple. I do not apprehend that any serious evil will arise from these Chairs when they are filled, because attendance on the lectures will be optional, and if the lectures are disapproved by either party no doubt the students will be kept away from them. It is, however, thought that in the earlier stage of the existence of this body it would be very undesirable to throw down before the members such a subject of contention as, for example, the appointment of a Professor of Moral and Mental Science, or of Modern History. It might tend to make a' division between Catholics and Protestants, to create ill-blood, and throw 1483 an obstacle in the way of the early development of the institution. The reason we inserted all the clauses which have been so severely commented upon is precisely the same. We wished to avoid causes of offence at the commencement. We have not been truckling to Catholic dictation, but, having put our hands to the plough, we desired to form an institution where both Catholics and Protestants may be instructed. Yet never has a proposal which has for its object the peace and good-will of mankind been received with less approach to those qualities than in the case of the present measure. Now having noticed some of the remarks of my hon. Friend, I would ask the attention of the House for a moment to a matter which I think worthy of such attention, though my referring to it may appear a little pragmatical and priggish. In no previous debates has so much confusion been introduced by the use of ambiguous and ill-defined terms. The whole of the present discussion turns upon two words—College and University. In ordinary English a University is a corporate body; associated for the purpose of promoting the highest branches of knowledge, and possessing the power of giving degrees. A College means a society of adults associated for the purpose of teaching and being taught. From these definitions it follows that a University has one quality peculiar to itself—namely, that of granting degrees, and another quality, that of teaching, which it possesses in common with a College. ["No, no;" "Hear, hear!"] Well, I believe the definition is correct. That is why a University can only be founded by the Crown, because the Crown is the fountain of honour, and no one can give degrees without its authority. If that is so, this also seems to me to follow that the great and main excellence of a University must consist in giving its degrees properly. I think we may go a step further, and say the giving of degrees is a judicial matter, requiring just as much care and impartiality and as much disinterestedness as the distribution of punishments. It is a purely judicial matter, and ought to be treated in the same way. It is, therefore, of the highest importance for the interests of education that Universities should be withdrawn as far as may be from any disturbing influence which would lead them to be partial or 1484 otherwise than strictly just and fair in conferring degrees. Teaching, on the other hand, is an occupation of a very high and noble character, but is subject to the same rules as other occupations, and if I have made myself intelligible to the House it will result from this little essay that in teaching you cannot have too much competition—competition producing excellence in this as in other businesses—while you can hardly have too little competition in conferring degrees. These are the principles which I believe lie at the root of this matter, and having endeavoured to state them as clearly as I can, I will now proceed to inquire how they may apply to the state of education in Ireland. But I will first apply them to show that this is no mere verbal distinction—not a mere criticizing vein—but that confusion arises from not attending to it. I take as a document on which to experiment the Petition to this House of the University of Dublin. The first paragraph of that Petition states that—The proposal to replace the two existing Universities by a single central University, with a monopoly of granting degrees, is opposed to the principle of competition, and if carried into effect would lower the standard of academic excellence.Now, I apprehend that if there be any justice in what I have urged exactly the contrary is the fact. Whatever advantages Trinity College or any other place of teaching may derive from competition with another, the advantage from competition in degrees with any other institution can lead to nothing but evil. It necessarily results in a Dutch auction—in trying to under-sell each other, learning being sacrificed in the process. I now come to the second objection. The petitioners say—We are confirmed in this view by the results of such a system—that is the monopoly of granting degrees—in France, where the effects of its operation are deplored by all learned and thoughtful men, while the beneficial effects of an honourable rivalry are acknowledged by all candid minds.Here there is the same fallacy—honourable rivalry in conferring degrees. But let us look at the case of France—we have heard a good deal of the University of France in this matter and of its practice as being condemnatory of one principle of the Bill—namely, the principle of a single University with different Colleges under it. But it is most extra- 1485 ordinary how extremely little seems to be known of the University of France. Allow me to state one or two facts respecting it. It was founded by Napoleon in 1808, and was intrusted with absolute jurisdiction over all education—primary, secondary, and high-class education. Nobody was allowed to have a school of any kind except under its licence and sanction. It existed until the year 1824–16 years—and was then turned into a Government department. Since that time, as far as I can learn, there has never been a University of France. What happens, then, in France? There is a Minister of Instruction, with a Council to assist him, and the country is divided into 17 lyceums, which give degrees under the direction of the Minister. If the matter stopped there, there might be some analogy between that and a single University, but it does not stop there, for what happens in France is this—that besides having a monopoly of conferring degrees, the Minister absolutely appoints every single teacher throughout the country, directs what the pupils are to be taught, when they are to be taught, and how they are to be examined. Every single thing is fixed by an iron centralization, and, of course, the consequence is that the whole intellect of the country is kept in fetters, and that anything like progress or originality, as far as law and usage are concerned, is a matter of impossibility. What resemblance is there in this to gathering several Colleges under a single University? Remember, moreover, that Ireland has only a seventh or eighth of the population of France. Having dealt with this point, I would now invite the attention of the House to the grievances as they exist, which render this Bill necessary. They are of two classes—one class consists of the grievances which arise from the defective state of education in Ireland; the other from peculiar hardships imposed on Roman Catholics. My right hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman) thinks the mere removal of tests would do away with all the grievances that exist in the Education of Ireland. Let us see how far his opinion is borne out by the conditions of the problem, as I understand them. We have first, in Ireland, the extraordinary anomaly of Dublin College and University—a thing I suppose the like of which has never 1486 been seen before. It is unnecessary to describe it, for it was graphically described by my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government in his opening speech. He said the College was enslaved by the University. I should rather say that the seven Senior Fellows enslave both College and University. They establish a complete oligarchy under which both equally groan, a sort of constitution which, whatever be the merits of its administration, and whatever be its historical traditions, I hold to be a discredit to the country; and one is surprised at the public spirit of men who could submit so long to such a yoke. All emoluments and power are gathered into these few hands. That is one grievance of the most striking and startling nature, and the House will no doubt think it calls for immediate redress. Then, of course, there is the denominational question—the question of the tests which excludes other than members of the Episcopalian Church from the receipt of emoluments in the University. I do not insist upon that, because it is admitted on all hands that it must be abolished, only it being so admitted, I regret that the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) in consideration of the surrender of that which it is quite clear the College could no longer maintain, should be anxious to give them in exchange en permanence a constitution which would certainly maintain Protestant ascendancy and probably ecclesiastical ascendancy in Dublin College University at least for 50 years to come, and probably much longer. I have no trustworthy information on which to criticize the teaching of the University, and it is not necessary that I should enter upon any such criticism, for there is no attempt to affect any serious change in it. The case is very different when I come to the Queen's Colleges. Like my right hon. Friend (Mr. Horsman), I have always been anxious, if possible, to have a system of combined education; but the circumstances under which it appears to have been carried on in the Queen's Colleges are not of a favourable description. I do not intend to cast any serious blame upon the Colleges; no doubt they have had a most difficult position to maintain, They have been under the ban of the Catholic Church, and have naturally been anxious to do all in their power to 1487 keep themselves in existence and before the public. It would be very harsh and unfair to be too strict in inquiring into the methods they have adopted to secure that end. I must, however, call attention to some little revelations we have with regard to the state of education in those Colleges—a state which my right hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard and the hon. Member for Brighton are content, as I understand, to leave alone, and which has received so much eulogium in this House. In the first place, there is no matriculation examination by the Queen's University, and I believe the matriculation examination for the Colleges themselves is exceedingly slight. I will give reasons for that belief. In 1857 there was a Commission to inquire into the Queen's Colleges and University, and the Vice Principal of Cork College was examined on oath. He was asked whether, according to the system on which the matriculation examination was conducted there, it was perfectly possible for an examiner in any distinct branch to report a man as a total failure and yet for the Council to admit him upon their own judgment, however arrived at. He replied—" Perfectly possible, and it is a constant practice." [Mr. BOUVERIE: What is the date?] The date is 1857. I might mention one or two earlier instances; but I do not rely on them, because it is quite obvious, as it strikes my right hon. Friend, that though it may have been the case at first, it may have been corrected since. I will show him how that is presently. In 1858 Professor Melville, of Queen's College, Galway, confessed to the Queen's College Commissioners that he must honestly state that if there were no scholarships and no exhibitions they might as well shut the doors. But I will not dwell on that—that is, no doubt, a long while ago, and things may have been set right since. I go on to different evidence with reference to Galway College; and I do not cite it with reference to the continuance of Galway College, nor with the view of unduly depreciating the Queen's Colleges. My whole object is to show the unsatisfactory state of the present system, and the necessity for some interference with them. I do not wish to be misunderstood upon this point. Although there are many circumstances connected with them, I am aware that much allowance 1488 should be made for them, seeing the enormous difficulties which they have to encounter. A Professor of Galway College went to America and delivered some lectures there which he published in the form of a book on his return, and from that work I will read a few extracts. The first is—I have, furthermore, had the good fortune to be called to a chair in a University where the Professoriate is in full, vital, and vivifying action. Have my duties been essentially altered?"—the gentleman was before a schoolmaster—"Not in the very slightest degree. I have been for the last three years fulfilling the identical duties performed by me for 12 previous years with my senior classes in Dunedin.Again he says—I had expected to have very different work when I came to Galway. I was reassured to find that the chair I was called upon to fill was just such a chair as I had filled to my own comfort for 12 long years. In fact I was still—what I am to this day—a schoolmaster.Here is another extract—Many of my first year's students come to me almost utterly innocent of Greek. For a few weeks they are engaged in mastering declensions and conjugations. As soon as the accidence is tolerably well mastered, I begin to read with them some such easy works with viva voce translation as the 'Apology' of Plato. By and by they will hear me read a book of Homer.I will not trouble the House with more extracts. What I would remark is that these are examples since 1868, and therefore have a very strong bearing upon the present time. I appeal to the House whether such a state of things as is described by that gentleman is satisfactory, and whether it is satisfactory that we should have a University to which young men come scarcely knowing their letters in Greek, and having everything to learn. I should like also to know what the Governing Bodies of these Colleges are about that such a state of things should be allowed to exist. I go no further than this—that they show that the state of these Colleges is not satisfactory, nor one which we ought to acquiesce in as a permanent state of things. If we really have at heart the good of Ireland, our duty is, if possible to raise the standard of learning, and at any rate to make it worthy of a University, and it were better that these Colleges should not be quite so fully attended as is boasted by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh University (Dr. Lyon Playfair) than that they should be attended by 1489 youths who ought to be at school for some years longer. That is one grievance which has been complained of. Then there comes the case of the other grievance which has been the grievance of the Catholics, which I do not wish to enter into at large. There is no doubt that, gloze it over as we will, these Colleges have not had the success which it was so fondly hoped they would have. It is melancholy to read the prognostications of success which were made by men of the greatest eminence and sagacity when the Bill establishing them passed this House and to compare them with what has been realized. I will mention a single passage from a person extremely well acquainted with Ireland, and whose opinions will receive weight in this House. It has also a curious bearing on the question before us. Lord Palmerston said, with reference to the Bill establishing Queen's Colleges—I agree entirely with those who consider this Bill as only a foundation which requires a superstructure in order to make the plan complete. It will be found absolutely necessary to establish some central point, probably in connection with Trinity College, Dublin, which will combine these different Colleges into one University, and will, if possible, connect Trinity College with it as a component part.—[3 Hansard, lxxx. 408.]That was the view of Lord Palmerston in the debate of 1845 on the establishment of these Colleges. No one who has studied the matter can speak otherwise than with the highest respect and admiration of the plan which was then carried through Parliament and which had apparently every chance of success, which was well devised and executed with great spirit and courage, and no doubt if the valuable life of Archbishop Murray had been prolonged, greater success might have resulted. Now they had to struggle not only with the difficulties of establishing a new system but with the difficulties that are thrown in the way by the opposition of the Irish Bishops who have succeeded in greatly circumscribing the good effects which might have been expected from these Colleges. I cannot pretend to deny that the good effects hoped for from the Colleges have not been realized. I am now upon the question of what is our duty in the existing state of things. The question is, are we to sit down content with the repulse we have received, and are we to acquiesce in the present state of things, or are we, 1490 having set up these Colleges to strive still further to carry out the object for which they were instituted? This is really the question now before the House. It is a momentous question, and upon the answer to it depends the Bill, and very likely for many years to come the future of Irish education. I am not going to say one word disrespectful to the Roman Catholic clergy with regard to their action in the matter. They have their views on this subject, and we have ours; and, unfortunately, the longer we live the further our views diverge. The more our views tend towards undenominational education, the more theirs tend towards the extreme of denominational and ecclesiastical education. No one can regard this fact otherwise than with the greatest regret, especially when it is remembered that while we are quarrelling the unfortunate youth of Ireland are paying the penalty. I did look somewhat anxiously to the right hon. Member for Liskeard for counsel on this question, but I confess I have had considerable difficulty in interpreting the oracle with which he favoured us. He gave us two or three different responses. In the first place, he said that this Bill was introduced upon the assumption that the Roman Catholic Bishops would assent to it, and that if they had done so he would have accepted it also. That was the right hon. Gentleman's first declaration. The next statement of the right hon. Gentleman was that the Bishops having intimated their dissent from the Bill, he was furious with us that we had not withdrawn it. I ask whether it is possible for any Gentleman to be a more devoted servant of Mother Church? Why, she must have the complete control and mastery over his conscience; he only asks what the Bishops say, and as they say he does. This is certainly rather surprising on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, but we do see strange things in the course of our lives. But the third statement of the right hon. Gentleman was more extraordinary still—and it is rather surprising after that abject profession of obedience to the dictates of the Church—his third statement was that no power should induce him to have anything to do with denominational education. Although desiring to frame my course in the light of my right hon. Friend's knowledge and ex- 1491 perience, I extremely regret that from these oracular deliverances, I am not able to suggest to the House any course which we can follow. The question really comes to this—I think the House will agree with me that we can scarcely say with truth that the system of mixed education has succeeded; but are we, therefore, to give the matter up in despair, or are we to try and do the best we can under existing circumstances? There are many in this House I know who hold the opinion that in endeavouring to do the best we can to educate the middle and higher class of Catholics we are merely making a base concession to Rome. I submit, however, that they are wrong, and that it is our duty to try our best as far as means will allow. In my opinion we should regard the disposition of the Roman Catholic Bishops as we regard the convulsions of nature, such as an earthquake, a storm, or a famine, or anything else—as something which cannot be helped, and must be made the best of—we cannot avoid it, must adapt ourselves to it, and deal with it as best we can. We had, however, better not take the the third course which the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, and, because we are displeased, annoyed, and vexed, give up the matter in despair—at all events, not while the slightest hope remains. I do not say this with any wish to conciliate the Irish Bishops, but in order that we may take such steps as will enable us to offer University education of the highest class to the youth of Ireland who are now without it. The practical question before us is, how can we best accomplish this object. What is their complaint which we are disposed to recognize, and which we believe to be well-founded? Their just complaint is this—that the Roman Catholics are prohibited from obtaining degrees if they are educated in a Catholic University or in any of their own institutions. This complaint arises from the conditions which are imposed upon those seeking degrees. The condition we impose at present is that the person receiving a degree must have studied either in Trinity College or in one of the Queen's Colleges. That condition was imposed with the best intentions, but it is evident that we cannot educate the youth of Ireland if that condition be preserved. We cannot prevent the Irish Bishops from issuing such 1492 orders as they think proper, neither can we eradicate from the hearts of the students the feelings of veneration for the Bishops and the fears of a future life which act upon the people and make them obedient to their spiritual rulers. Under these circumstances it is our duty to look to Ireland and see what she requires, and to waive the deterring condition which we now require—namely, residence in either Dublin University or the Queen's University and to substitute for it the condition that candidates for degrees shall simply pass the examination of the Universities. That we can do without any sacrifice of principle and without any dishonour. We have no reason, I think, to despair that this change will have the effect of accomplishing what we have in view. The great end we have in view is to break down the barrier that now separates the Catholic upper and middle classes from University education. I now come to the next part of what I have to say, and to point out the remedies for existing evils which I think the Government can advise. I have pointed out that state of things is mainly owing to two matters—namely, the imperfect state of the Queen's Colleges and Trinity College, and the difficulties that are still thrown by the agency of the Roman Catholic pishops in the way of the Catholic youth attaining degrees at the national University. The remedies are contained in this Bill, and I think they are perfect for the purposes for which they are devised. Trinity College, we propose, as the House knows, to divide into two parts—into a University and a College; and by doing this we are not guilty of any spoliation, and the only question is as to a fair division. We propose to give power to Trinity College to reform itself. As to the Queen's Colleges, the course we recommend is to place them under the University, which, having Trinity College under it, will be strong enough to keep up the Colleges, and place them on the same footing. It may be a hard lesson, but it is necessary that it should be done. The next business is to give to non-residents the power of passing to the Universities. This will really offer a very fair chance of getting over a difficulty in which we are involved. There is, of course, the case of the affiliated Colleges, but they have very little to do with this part of 1493 the question. They are not properly called affiliated Colleges, but Colleges included in the University. The only effect of including. Colleges is not to give any sort of preference above those persons who are not in such Colleges, but simply to give such Colleges the power of sending a member to the University, and to enable them to give such information as the Governing Body may require for its own purpose. It is not the desire or the intention of the Government that these Colleges should have any important power on the constitution of the University, and if it shall be found that they acquire, any that will be a cause for future action. It is clearly possible that in passing through Committee some steps may be devised to effect the necessary action. We could hardly have expected the kind of criticism to which we have been subjected. We make a fair offer to the youth of Ireland, and to those who are interested in their welfare. We offer to young men a chance of obtaining instruction, of passing a matriculation examination, and obtaining a bursary of £25 a-year, and other emoluments as they proceed in their education. We offer to them the choice of coming up to Dublin to be taught the very best that can be taught, and we provide for them a home at a very small expense. We offer to them the use of a splendid library and a museum. We hold out to Catholic youth a place in Dublin where they may receive the best instruction without any danger to their morals or religion. We offer to the poorer class of students, like that which has been found so valuable in Scotland, the means of taking some sort of employment in Dublin to eke out their scanty means. Of course it may be said you only offer these things to be refused again; but let us hope that better counsel will prevail. At any rate, after having exhausted all the means in our power, we can only fold our arms and hope for happier and better times. I have little more to say. As to the objections that have been urged against the Bill, it seems to me that many of them have been destroyed in the course of the discussion which has taken place. Some hon. Members have said that it has too much centralization, others that it has too much localization. Some have said that it is all in favour of Protestants, others that it is all in favour of Catholics. 1494 Some objections are of more weight, but are really matters for Committee. I must take notice of a very remarkable speech that was made the other night by the hon. Member for Brighton, and which I have no doubt produced an effect upon the House. A few things which he said I think require an answer. He said that this was the first time an admission was made that University education in Ireland was not in a satisfactory position, and that a certain class were suffering under a grievance. Well, if you do not take our plan, what is the alternative? It is the plan of the hon. Member for Brighton. But his plan would simply remove tests from the University of Dublin; it would do nothing in the shape of getting rid of the grievance of Catholics. It would place the government of Trinity College in the hands in which it is now placed, and would perpetuate that government for an indefinite period of time. The reason why the Government has again and again refused to entertain the Bill of the hon. Gentleman is that it would do nothing to remedy the grievance. [Mr. FAWCETT: My Bill would not only abolish tests, but it would also reform the Colleges.] The hon. Gentleman wishes to reform the Colleges, but the reform of the College has nothing whatever to do with the present University. The Bill of the hon. Gentleman does nothing whatever for the Queen's Colleges; it does nothing whatever to remedy the grievance of not being able to obtain degrees, under which Catholics labour; but he contents himself with plagiarizing the Oxford and Cambridge Bills. Then the hon. Gentleman is also a sinner in the same way as the representative of the University of Dublin. He says that three or four Colleges get on together better than one, and are mutually beneficial. I will put to the hen. Gentleman two cases to test that theory. Everybody knows that, owing to Archbishop Laud, each of the Colleges of Oxford became a separate University and had the power of conferring a University degree. The effect of that was that there was no examination for degrees; the Colleges gave degrees away without examination; and that continued till the beginning of the century, when the University element revived, and the Colleges were put under the strictest rule, and from that 1495 moment Oxford has risen gradually to her present great eminence and glory, and this solely because the University has been made one, instead of being divided into several. The other instance is one with which we are all familiar. In the time of Queen Elizabeth a system of legal education was carried on in the Inns of Court; moots and disputes were conducted with great vigour. The Judges in an evil hour delegated the whole power of carrying on the system of legal education to the Inns of Court, and what was the result? Examination as a preliminary to the granting of the degree of barrister ceased altogether, and a man was left to eat his way to the Bar like a rat through a cheese. We have been very severely criticized on this question. We have had, I confess, more hostile criticism than we expected; but we have no right to complain of that. There is always the consolation in such matters that when men prove false there are faithful spirits whose sympathy and kindness relieve from every pain. There are Abdiels who will not leave their friends in the darkest hour of adversity. There is one hon. Member of the House, whose sympathy with us I feel unequal to express, and would, therefore, for that purpose, take the liberty of resorting to words of a bard of Erin—Come rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer,Though the herd have all fled thy home is still here;Here still is a smile that no cloud can o'ercastAnd a heart and a hand all thine own to the last.The House will see that I am not too high flown in the panegyric I give when I read a brief extract from this letter—Mr. Gladstone has introduced a measure of University education that does him great honour, and when perfected by amendment in Committee and it takes its place in the statute book it will be a noble crowning to the work of the present Parliament. We must all resume its consideration with an earnest desire to acknowledge the large and generous spirit with which the Government has addressed itself to the subject, and co-operate with the high purposes it has in view, and as the erroneous impression conveyed by Mr. Gladstone's allusion to Sir Robert Inglis and the Pope could not pass without notice, I have written this letter with a view of getting it out of the way before we come to the real business.',
§ [Mr. HORSMAN
What is the date of the letter?] The date is 7, Richmond Terrace, Feb. 15, and it is signed Edward Horsman. I have read the House the letter, and in the early part of the even- 1496 The Chancellor of the Exchequering they have been furnished with the comment. And now I will only say this—Whatever faults you may find with this Bill, I believe it will be recognized by the country as an attempt to deal thoroughly with what appears to me to be a great and a crying evil, and one which ought no longer to be allowed to exist. We have encountered a great deal of opposition, and shall, no doubt, have to encounter still more; but I am very much mistaken if behind this storm we do not receive an acknowledgment from the people of these Islands of the honesty and fairness of the intention of this Bill—an acknowledgment which will brush aside all captious criticism, and help to make it, in the language of my right hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard, the crowning work of the present Parliament.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
Sir, I regret very much that at so late a period of the evening I should have to trespass on the attention of the House; but I trust that hon. Members will extend me some forbearance while I endeavour to deal with this Bill and the great questions it raises. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has just sat down, has left us very much where we were as regards the essential principle of this measure. He has told us several things which are not of its essence, but he has studiously avoided—as the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade did earlier in the evening—any attempt to direct our attention to those points which, in the opening speech of the Prime Minister, were spoken of as vital to the honour and existence of the Government. As to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we all knew his view before. In that portion of his speech in which he appeared to throw some energy of purpose, in which he dealt with the question of an examining Board as against a teaching University, and contended for one against many Universities, he was on a subject with which we are all familiar; but his contention in favour of one over a plurality of Universities was disposed of by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Edinburgh University, and to that speech the right hon. Gentleman attempted no answer. With regard to that point, is it the right hon. Gentleman's opinion that we should be better off if Oxford and Cambridge Universi- 1497 ties were done away with and absorbed in the London University? Is his opinion in accord with that of the noble Marquess beside him (the Marquess of Hartington), who says that on this great question it is absurd to look to Ireland alone, and that we are to include the English and Scotch Universities in the means open to Ireland for the higher education. Is it the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman that the London University should absorb the four Scottish Universities? For if this principle of one examining Board be so good, let him carry it out in principle, so that the London University may send its travelling board to show its wares in every part of the United Kingdom, to bring about those results which the right hon. Gentleman fondly anticipates from an examining as compared with teaching Universities. But we hear from the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh that, so far from the establishment of the Queen's Colleges and University in Ireland having had a detrimental effect upon Trinity College, it has stimulated the Dublin University to fresh exertions, led to the establishment of new lectureships, and in every way conduced to the advancement of the interests of higher education. It is, therefore, of no use to resort to the theory of an Examining Board, for if you wish it to be transferred to Ireland it is there already. We have heard that certain Irish Colleges are already affiliated to the London University, and that its Examiners have come to Dublin to examine students of the Roman Catholic University, so that if an Examining Board be such an excellent institution, and if it be better in its unity than in its plurality, I cannot see why that University cannot do the same work for Ireland that it does for England, India, and the Colonies. I am not going to enter into a discussion with the right hon. Gentle man as to the qualifications of the different Colleges; but when the right hon. Gentleman tells us that in the examination for matriculation there is no Greek. I may remind him that within the last six weeks the University of which he is so distinguished a member has done away with the examination. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: They have made it optional.] The right hon. Gentleman says that they have made it 1498 optional; and when it is optional with gentlemen who come up, and do not know Greek, we may be pretty sure of the result. The right hon. Gentleman says that the two things which he has more particularly taken under his charge are defective education in Ireland, and the grievance. With respect to defective education, however, he said not a single word. He spoke of denominational education, and said that it would be done away with, and that we were to take it for granted that the Dublin University would be an open University. He then said that he could not attack the education at the Dublin University; and if that be so, why does he seek to alter it? Now, it is with respect to the mode in which the Dublin University is treated that I base my main objections to this Bill. With regard to the quotations made by the right hon. Gentleman, and relating to the years 1857, 1858, and some, I believe, since 1868, they are, as I understand, all collected in The Dublin Review in an article written with considerable animus against the Queen's Colleges. When he condemned the Queen's Colleges, he said that the College of Cork was worse than that of Galway; but we have heard from the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh to-night that the College of Galway has been doing a good work, and has contributed a number of first-class men, and men who have taken honours. Now, it may be supposed—and it is a natural supposition—that, as I have never concealed my opinions with regard to denominational education, that I should favour this measure because it to a certain extent favours that system. I supported the proposal made by my noble Friend the late Lord Mayo with respect to Irish education, but that was at a time when endowment was the rule. Since that time, however, the Irish Church, the grant to Maynooth, and the Presbyterian Regium Donum have all gone, and, as I understand it, the meaning of the House in doing what it has done in these directions was to sever itself for ever as a State from showing any partiality to denominations; from offering a hand to one denomination in preference to another, or from recognizing religious differences at all in Ireland. That I understood to be the meaning, and I think I could quote many passages from the speeches of the Prime Minister in 1499 confirmation of that view. Am I, then, reduced to this—that as a Member of the Legislature of the country, finding myself on ground bared of everything—I am to take no part in what is be done? I repudiate that position, and come to look upon Ireland in the condition to which you have reduced her, and in a condition in which, so far at least as this Parliament is concerned, she is intended to remain. The question of University education arises immediately in connection with what has been done in regard to those three institutions, and it is impossible that Trinity College and the Dublin University can remain in the same condition in which they were before the Church fell; and it has been so understood by the University itself, for after the Church was abolished, after the change which took place with regard to Maynooth, and after the Regium Donum was done away with in 1869, my hon. Friend the senior Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball) stated that, on behalf of the University, he was prepared to assent to the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, though in somewhat obscure language but with a very decided intention, in his speeches in Lancashire prior to the Election of 1868, expressed himself in the strongest language with respect to some enormous grievance which Ireland laboured under in regard to education and Protestant ascendancy, and promised redress. Those passages the right hon. Gentleman never explained in a manner which the House could understand till 1871, when, upon the introduction of the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton, he said that something further required to be done with respect to University education in Ireland, and described more particularly what he regarded as the Roman Catholic grievance. And it is rather a curious thing, in looking back to those speeches, to find that this vast, complicated, and difficult subject was looked upon by the right hon. Gentleman as one so easy of solution that he could dispose of it, when the time arrived for him to do so, in a manner which would at once be accepted by all candid and reasonable men. He said it seemed to him to be a question on which twelve intelligent, reasonable and unprejudiced men put together in a room ought speedily to arrive at the 1500 principles of a just and satisfactory settlement. He added that he alluded not to the academical question alone, but to the controverted part of the subject. Yet fifteen Gentlemen of the highest talent in the country have been sitting in a room in Downing Street I do not know how many times, nor for how many hours, and the result is that they have produced a measure which has met with objections from every quarter. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman—if I may say so—stands like St. Sebastian, pierced on every side by his friends and by his foes, every shaft having been drawn from the quiver of his own Bill. The fifteen Members of the Cabinet have brought in this Bill, and notwithstanding they have had the advantage of the council of three more than the dozen, their Bill has lost favour as it has become known. Surely the letter of the 15th of February, to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has referred, was written before the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Horsman) had read the Bill?
§ MR. HORSMAN
I asked my right hon. Friend when he was reading from that letter to give the date. It was Saturday, the 15th of February. The Bill was delivered on that morning. By the courtesy of the Prime Minister I had a copy on Friday afternoon. Between that afternoon and Saturday, the 15th, when I wrote the letter, it was impossible to read the Bill.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
On Tuesday evening the Prime Minister described a speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. James) as "bewildering." What a bewildering speech must that have been which so beclouded the acute intelligence of the right hon. Gentleman opposite as to induce him to write the letter he has penned, when on looking into the Bill itself he found it altogether different from his expectations! I now come to what is said to be the great grievance in this matter, and what I have to submit to the House on this point is this—that the grievance is one, if you take it in its full extent as stated by the Roman Catholic Prelates, which this House cannot meet, and which I believe no House in this country ever will be able to meet. But, if it be taken in the sense of a grievance for lay Roman Catholics, I believe it can be met quite as effectually without the destruction which is involved in the Bill, and 1501 by means which are consonant to the feelings of those who, like myself, are not at all prepared to destroy an existing institution which has worked well, for the sake of creating a new one for the working of which we have no security at all. Now, with respect to the proportion of those who require University education in Ireland, I will not enter minutely into the controversy; at present it is clear that the Protestants who avail themselves of University education are in the proportion of four, or four and a-half to one. I do not at all assume that this is a proper proportion; but I see statements in works of authority, from which it appears that whereas in the case of the population of Ireland the entire Roman Catholics are in the relation to Protestants of three and a-half to one, in University education the Protestants are in relation to Roman Catholics of three and a-half to one. I do not know whether that is so or not, but I see it stated in the works of authority which I have consulted. But, be that as it may, you have to deal with a population on both sides in this question of higher education, and you must endeavour to deal fairly between them; and in the present circumstances of Ireland you are obliged to deal with the question on what I call the bare, and mean, and disagreeable principles of secularism. It seems to me that you have nothing left but that. And in dealing with it, what do you propose to do? You propose to destroy two Universities. ["No, no!"] I hear some one say "No." It seems to me the clearest thing in the world; the Queen's University is to be absorbed into something which is not created; something is to be created which is to absorb that University, and something is to be created which is also to absorb the Dublin University. This Bill—I will not use a strong expression—is a delusion when it says it is a Bill for the extension of the Dublin University. For the extension of the Dublin University! For the extinction, ought to have been the term. And how did the right hon. Gentleman endeavonr to get out of that difficulty? He carried us back to the 14th century, and to attempts to establish a University in Dublin, which had failed, and told us he could see a graceful vision of a University appearing to- 1502 day, disappearing to-morrow, re-appearing on an after day—visible to no eyes but his own—flitting across the sanguinary scene, of war and turbulence, and bloodshed. But it is not that phantom conjured up by the right hon. Gentleman to which we look; we look to the solid and firm foundation of Elizabeth which has endured to this day, and to those who have handed on the torch of learning in Ireland during all these centuries, and to an institution which has opened its doors and its teaching, if not its emoluments, and honours, to all. And who are some of the men who have been brought up in this great Dublin University? She was the alma mater of Burke, greatest of philosophic statesmen; of men of letters like Goldsmith and Swift; of orators like Grattan and Sheil; of divines like Archer Butler, and O'Brien; of mathematicians like MacCullagh and Hamilton; of physicists like Robinson, and Rosse; of Chancellors like Plunket or Cairns. She has acquired an indefeasible title to the veneration and love of Irish citizens. Modern English Judges might have been added to the list, and on the Irish Bench sit men of different creeds who have been trained under her care and competed for her honours. It is this institution which you are called on to destroy. ["No, no!"] It does not suit the interests of hon. Gentlemen opposite to call it destruction. I know they call it extension; but they have to extinguish before they can commence extension. The very principle of this Bill is to extinguish Dublin University in order to create a new one, which is to be composed of different materials, and to be governed by a Council, whose composition and character we cannot even divine. Can you say you do not destroy Dublin University when you combine it with another body which may have greater force than itself? It is absurd to say you are moving in the ancient lines of Dublin University when you are taking such a step as this. Is this a vital part of the Bill? I pause for a reply—as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) said so many times the other night. We have had from the President of the Board of Trade allusions to certain Councils which are eminently amicable in their deliberations, and from their proceedings he argues that the unknown Council of the projected Uni- 1503 versity will be equally well regulated. But to what Councils does he refer? Have the nominated Councils of Ireland been so satisfactory? The Irish Academy was one instance mentioned, and does he intend to compare a Council of Protestants and Roman Catholics deliberating over an exhumed backbone or a stag's head with a University Council? What argument can he find in the fact that they do not quarrel over a question of archaeology? The history of the Supplemental Charter will illustrate this point, and let me remind the House that there are several on the Treasury Bench who had to do with the Supplemental Charter. That Charter was regarded as an invasion of the Queen's University. It was felt by them to be almost destruction, for, by adding a few names, it was proposed to change the whole force and career of the University, and it was proposed instead of enforcing collegiate instruction to allow degrees to be conferred without demanding any such condition. And those who, by virtue of that Supplemental Charter secured illegal seats on the Council, ceased not for a moment, after they got possession of their seats, to vote for themselves and for the changes which they were imported into the Council to effect. Their objects from the first were altogether inconsistent with the first Charter. And if we are not to know the names of the proposed Council, how are we to be sure they will not adopt the same course? Where are we to look for the shadows of these men, which they are to cast before them e'er they come? In the bias of the Bill! What is that bias? Does it lean to the Presbyterians, to the Churchmen, or to the Wesleyans? It leans towards none of these. Are we to see fair play in the Bill? Is it free from one-sidedness? Are the "gagging clauses" meant for the Presbyterians or the Wesleyans? We know they are not. Why do you exclude certain studies? [Mr. GLADSTONE: We do not exclude them.] You do not exclude them; but you cannot deny you discourage them when they are not placed in the curriculum of your University. The right hon. Gentleman says they may be taught; but it is at the choice of students to learn, and the University will have no Professorships for teaching these things, and the reason given is because the Council could not 1504 appoint Professors without quarrelling. This is a specimen of what the effect is to be. What sort of a Council, then, is this to be? Men signalized by impartiality and filled with the academical spirit? Where are these 28 men to be found who will have this enormous power and yet cannot be trusted to elect a Professor for fear they would fall to loggerheads over him? It may be all very well to look at the fair vision of the right hon. Gentleman, which he saw in the 14th century. It may be before his eyes, but it is not before ours; it is something that we cannot see; it is something to be called up by this Council and by that only, and two or three of them may change the balance and make the whole difference in the election to Professorships and to other positions. For my own part, I am prepared to deal as I think is the best way to do with this question of higher education in Ireland, and I will explain how I think the matter might fairly be dealt with. First of all with respect to that grievance which has been spoken of as the grievance of the Prelates, I am obliged to say that, in its full extent, I cannot imagine any House that could ever fairly deal with it. Dr. Woodlock, a man of great eminence and ability, and who so worthily presides over the Roman Catholic University of Dublin, speaking of affiliation, said—Where is the line to be drawn in the system of affiliation?"—and as a Roman Catholic he shows where the line is to be drawn.—"I answer it is to be drawn so as to secure to the Catholic University the position she is entitled to take at the head of Catholic education in Ireland. Less than this the Sovereign Pontiff will not sanction; less than this the Bishops will not accept; with less than this our Catholic people will not be satisfied.Is that true? I believe these gentlemen mean what they say; but we are not bound by it, and when they introduce the name of the Sovereign Pontiff, let me point out for a moment what they want. The Roman Catholic University in Ireland was chartered by the present Pope, and he gave his sanction to it. I do not know the contents of the Charter; but I presume it was like the Charter given to what is called the "Bishop's University" at Louvain in Belgium, by which the power is given to confer degrees in Theology, and I believe, in Arts, though in fact for the latter, the students must go to other Uni- 1505 versities. But you must remember that when he charters a University, he takes a position from which he cannot well recede, and when he has instructed his followers to resist joint education, on the ground that they belong to a Roman Catholic University set up by him, which is entitled to be at the head of Catholic education, he takes up a position which is such that we must, until he withdraws from it, which he can hardly do, treat this question as subject to the effects of that powerful decree. It seems to me that whether we are in favour of endowment or not, whether we are in favour of recognition or not, such a claim as that is incompatible not only with the principles of the Reformation, but with the liberties of this people as asserted from time immemorial. Now, with respect to the demands the Bishops made for a Charter subsequently to 1866. They demanded that the four Roman Catholic Archbishops should be visitors, and that their position should be supreme in questions relating to religion and morals—that is, that as Bishops they should have a right to pronounce authoritatively upon all these matters, absolutely to put their negative upon any books which might be used, and to place a veto upon any first appointment of a Professor, and so take upon themselves the supreme authority over any University with which they were connected, and they required, though, perhaps they might yield that, that the Chancellor should be a Bishop. 'If such claims be binding, what would be the duty of any Bishop who might be placed upon the Council under the Bill? It would be perpetually to interfere with what was being done in all things which affected religion and morals. Now, I say it is impossible for us to reach to the extent of this Roman Catholic grievance. But can we not reach as far as this Bill goes without anything like the destruction it involves? In the first place, I take it there is to be no affiliation whatever of the Roman Catholic Colleges under this Bill. And why? Because affiliation is refused upon the very principles I have just now stated. Affiliation is not refused upon the question of endowment only, but it is refused upon the principles laid down by Dr. Woodlock and practically by the Pope himself. Well, if there be no affiliation, you meet no grievance by this Bill which is not 1506 equally met—I will not say by the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton as it stands, but which may not be met by it with some modifications. Then, with respect to the constitution of the Governing Body, I give my voice without hesitation in favour of an Academic Board. I give my preference to an Academic Board, having the interests of the University at heart—bad as the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) says it is—over a Council of which I know nothing, whose names have not as yet been disclosed, and in which, from my experience of Councils in Ireland, I have no confidence. Then as to unattached students, I do not agree with the view of the right hon. Gentleman respecting them. The right hon. Gentleman in opening this case to us the other night compared these students to the unattached students of Oxford and Cambridge, as if they would be on the same footing. But the unattached students of Oxford and Cambridge are within the University. There are special guardians appointed to watch over them, and they are, in fact, as much parts of those Universities as members of the various Colleges themselves. I should be glad to see that part of the system of the University of Dublin changed so that it might have unattached students resident in Dublin, but not scattered throughout the country. But suppose you had them resident in Dublin, then the students of the Roman Catholic University College might, if they chose, matriculate in the University of Dublin, and, though unattached, they would have all the advantages of the University, and there would be no difference made between them and the other students of the University. Again, I need not say that the University of Dublin has a great prestige. But what prestige has this new University? The right hon. Gentleman says that the Queen's Colleges set up in 1845 have failed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke more strongly, and said that their education was most defective. [An Hon. MEMBER: Scandalously bad.] No, the phrase" scandalously bad" referred not to the University but to another institution. The interruption has come from an hon. Gentleman behind me, and I wish to say that I do not adopt it. Well, but to proceed with my argument. The Dublin University gives a complete 1507 course of instruction. The new University would give an incomplete course of instruction. The Dublin University has attained a high character. The new one has a character yet to achieve. We have the greatest confidence in the Dublin University, because it is notorious that its fairness has been acknowledged over and over again by the Roman Catholic alumni who have found within its precincts all the advantages which they desire to attain. I am not going to enter into the subjects which are to be excluded, degraded, or left out by the new scheme—namely, Modern History and Moral Philosophy. But it is curious, if it be true thatThe proper study of mankind is man,that you should put aside those studies which make man acquainted alike with his outward actions and his internal constitution. I ask, therefore, whether the University of Dublin would not offer all the advantages which a new University offers? Besides, there would be the prestige of its character, its historical career, and its associations with the glories of Ireland. I want now for a moment to follow what the right hon. Gentleman said towards the close of his speech, when he spoke of "founding yourselves on principles upon which you have already acted in the case of the Universities of England." But how have you acted in that case? Have you incorporated Oxford and Cambridge? You have not. Have you changed the Governing Bodies in Oxford and Cambridge? You have, but how? Not by introducing foreign elements and setting them over the Universities, but by improving the election of the Council and then leaving it as academic as it was before. In what, then, have you followed the precedents of the English Universities? You have absolutely rejected it. There are two Universities in England teaching and examining. There is in England also an Examining Board, the London University, which, though it has its residence in London, is cosmopolitan in its character. The right hon. Gentleman cannot deny that it has affiliated Colleges in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and from whatever places students come, it is content to admit them to its degrees. Nay, if they will not come to it, it will go in search of them, for all persons who are ready for admission may be examined on the spot 1508 where they happen to reside. Why is not Ireland to be left with its two Universities? What is to justify you in destroying them? I know, when I am saying that, I am speaking against the whole principle of the Bill, if it has a principle. For its principle seems to me to be to separate Trinity College from the Dublin University, because there is in them something of that communion of light which somehow is most distasteful and disagreeable to the Government. I cannot see any reason for this proposed change. It seems to me that the government of the College and the University united is something like one of those new and brilliant lamps where there are two wicks burning with equal light, but the two when joined together make a flame far brighter than double the lustre of each separately. The union of government has, I submit, given the most unalloyed satisfaction, not only to the people of Ireland, but to all who, coming from other parts, have reaped the immense advantages which it has ever afforded. It may be necessary to alter its conditions under existing circumstances and to throw it absolutely open. It is with no aid of mine that we have descended this dreary steep of secularism down which the right hon. Gentleman himself has dragged us. I objected many years ago when the right hon. Gentleman entered upon the slope, at first with faltering steps in the rear of the crowd that lured him on, but soon afterwards he pushed his way to the front, and when he arrived on Irish ground we all remember with what fatal facility he glided at once to the bottom. The Church was destroyed. He shook the dust off his feet from Maynooth, and the Regium Donum to the Presbyterians, which was only remarkable for its meanness, was taken away. Everything was laid bare. We are therefore in a position in which we find it most difficult to deal with the existing state of things in a fair and liberal manner. The right hon. Gentleman asks us to establish a new University. We decline, because we say there is no proved incompetency in the Universities that exist. They are ready themselves to extend their doors, to improve their means of education, and carry into effect all the changes which are necessary. The right hon. Gentleman says he does not give any endowment to the 1509 Roman Catholics. That is quite true; but he must remember that certain modes of recognition of denominational establishments may, in the end, give privilege to one over another; and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade to night said to the Roman Catholics, that if they would only assent to this Bill in a few brief years it would do for them all they required.—[Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE: All the education they wanted.]—The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister spoke of this Bill as likely negatively to do away with the religious grievance, and positively to bring about academical reform. Now, so far as the religious grievance is concerned, it must be admitted, I think, to have failed as a remedy; and as a scheme for bringing about academical reform, why, the friends of academical reform almost Unanimously have pronounced against it. We are asked to take the vaguest statements of the Government with reference to its intentions and objects. We know not the extent of its dimensions—whether it is to be a giant or a dwarf. We only know that this new creation is to be what Sir Joseph Napier called it, a monstrum cuilumen ademptum, deprived of the light of religion, ethics, and historic knowledge. That is the ideal of the new University which the right hon. Gentleman wishes us to give to Ireland, which he says Ireland has long desired, which has been often attempted, but which has never yet been attained. The right hon. Gentleman does not tell us what are the lineaments of the image to which he wishes us to bow down. Its form is so indistinct and unsubstantial that you cannot trace it, you cannot scan its pro-portions—Its shape—If shape it can be called which shape had noneDistinguishable in feature, joint, or limb.May I not with justice add—What seems its headThe likeness of a kingly crown has on.For it is actually proposed to cap this monster with the tinsel coronet of a shifting Lord Lieutenant. Such is the ideal which the right hon. Gentleman would have us fall down and worship. I am not prepared to do so. With regard to the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke), I think it has been extremely useful in itself, because it has 1510 called attention to the composition of the Council, which is the key to the whole Bill. If that Council is inefficiently constituted—balancing here and conceding there—you will destroy at once the creation you have made. If the Council be in accordance with the powers of the Bill, it will bring the University to a standstill. What, then, are we to do? For my own part, I am prepared, on the ground of its unnecessary and wanton destruction of Dublin University and the Queen's University, to give an unhesitating vote against the second reading of the Bill. I am not to be led astray from that decision by the proposition made by the right hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Dodson). I do not suppose that the fifteen men who concocted the measure would consent to send it to fifteen more unprejudiced Gentlemen to consider it upstairs. [Mr. GLADSTONE assented.] I never supposed they would accept that proposition, which indeed has become almost ludicrous from the Notices that have been made of additions to it. I think we may, therefore, stand aside from the question of that Select Committee. Then threats of a certain kind were held out to the authorities of Trinity College by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Harlington), who, with one foot on Ebal and the other on Gerizim, after the fashion of a well-balanced homily, dealt out his blessing and cursing according as the Bill was to be accepted or rejected. Perhaps, those threats were only intended as a prediction; but such predictions made by those in authority have sometimes the effect of accomplishing themselves. But I have no doubt the authorities of Trinity College have well weighed the consequences and are prepared to risk the calamities of which the noble Marquess, in the most solemn manner, warned them. But if the opponents of the Bill were not threatened, is the House to be threatened? The right hon. Gentleman long before opposition commenced—before anyone said a word against his Bill, spoke of the proposals he had made as vital to the existence and honour of the Government. I think that it is a little hard that one may not vote on what is vital to Ireland without being in danger of voting that which would be fatal to the honour and existence of the Government. I do not know, I have not yet ascertained from any of the speeches 1511 made from the Treasury Bench, what particular parts of the Bill are vital to the existence and honour of the Government. Far be it from me to say that any of the points which were notified by the right hon. Gentleman as open to reconsideration and change, were vital parts of the measure. But it is a little hard on us that when we are called on to vote on so serious a question we should not know what are the particular points in which he considers his honour is involved and his existence threatened. For my part, I do not admit that this House is bound to judge of the requirements of his honour, nor is it called on, or in a position to terminate his existence. The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues for the last two years have been leaving Ireland alone, and I hope, in that interval of peace, she has gained something. During the last two years they have been engaged in providing for themselves a grand tribunal to judge of the merits or demerits of their measures and themselves. They have turned their attention from the House to their constituents, and told them in no ambiguous terms by urging the absolute necessity of the Ballot, that this House of Parliament, though not of course altogether, yet, in a great degree having been elected by corruption, intimidation, and bribery, did not fairly represent the true sentiments of the kingdom. But now they have carried that great measure by which they tell us every man can give his vote independently you can, I suppose, recognize at once what is the decision of the people. The right hon. Gentleman, in a speech which I read to-day made at Croydon, in honour of a distinguished Member of this House (Mr. Locke King) made certain admissions which made me somewhat doubtful how far the principles of this Bill extended either to affect the honour or existence of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman found time to attend that banquet amid his multifarious avocations, although not many days ago he informed his own constituents at Greenwich that it was absolutely impossible for him to attend a meeting at their invitation. ["Oh, oh!"] I think if I never say anything worse of the right hon. Gentleman, his ardent Friends behind him need not be so much alarmed. The right hon. Gentleman 1512 spoke at that banquet of his University Bill as a barque which was now in the trough of the sea and might soon be on the crest of the wave; but does he think this measure is likely to be carried to the crest of the wave by this or the other House of Parliament? He told those present at the dinner, as his adherents have boasted elsewhere, that he had had four years of glorious office, and which had been marked by measures of great benefit to the country and for which the country cannot be too thankful. He has in store for the future no doubt, measures of equal advantage to it, and which he probably believes will carry it to a higher degree of prosperity. With respect to the present, if for the present this little barque is in the trough of the wave, if it should be kept there by not receiving a favourable wind from this or the other House of Parliament, the right hon. Gentleman's political existence need not be terminated, for he may have the advantage of visiting his constituency and of enabling the hon. Members of this House to visit theirs. There he may seek the gale to carry his Bill to the crest of the wave. It is not in this House such an issue as this is to be tried. We know perfectly well that since the last election we on this side have been overborne by a large majority on almost all questions brought before us; but the time has now surely come when the right hon. Gentleman, having condemned former elections and having constituted an independent, unbiassed, and incorrupt tribunal may appeal to it, on his past conduct, his present measure, and his promises for the future. I ask him, not here but there, to obtain the decision whether his existence ought to be prolonged or terminated. In the mean time if it should so happen that this measure is to be consigned to an untimely bier, and to have but a short distance from its cradle to its grave, I think I may say that over that grave, Ireland will shed no tear, the friends of academic honour and of high culture will not weep, and it will go down to its unhonoured rest with the natural and perhaps truthful reflection which, without condemnation, and in a very charitable spirit, we may permit the right hon. Gentleman to engrave upon its tomb—"Misunderstood."
said, that for the convenience of Public Business, it was necessary that the debate should stand adjourned till Monday; and he hoped there would be a disposition to go to a Division in the course of the same evening.
§ MR. T. COLLINS
protested against any curtailment which would prevent hon. Members from giving expression to their opinions on the subject.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Debate further adjourned till Monday next.