HC Deb 21 July 1874 vol 221 cc398-486

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [20th July], "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair;" and which Amendment was, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, it is inexpedient to sanction a measure which will allow any one religious body to control schools that were thrown open to the whole nation by the policy of the last Parliament,"—(Mr. Fawcett,)

—instead thereof.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


said, the Bill might be considered first from an administrative, and secondly from an educational and a religious point of view. In his judgment, the administrative aspect of the question was most important, and he wished to offer some remarks upon it. According to the provisions of this Bill, the powers at present possessed by the Endowed Schools Commissioners were to be transferred to the Charity Commissioners. One of the first considerations which must suggest itself to the minds of many hon. Members was, if the powers of the Endowed Schools Commissioners were to be taken from them at all, why should they not be transferred to the Education Office? For his own part, he was in favour of the policy recently urged on the House by his right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities (Mr. Lyon Playfair), when he advocated the appointment of a Minister of Education. But it should be remembered that the Lord President of the Council stated in "another place" that he was the Minister of Education, and his noble Friend the Vice President dwelt in his speech the other clay on the invaluable powers of revision now enjoyed by the Education Office with reference to schemes sent up to them by the Commissioners. It was true his noble Friend also said that if the whole business of the Endowed Schools Commissioners were entrusted to the Education Office, the Department would be completely overwhelmed; but during the five years he ha occupied a seat in the House the work of education had been tripled, if not quadrupled, by the Act of 1870; and yet this circumstance had never been urged as a reason for dividing the powers of the Education Board. There was, however, another reason why the powers of the Endowed Schools Commissioners might well be transferred to the Education Office. It arose out of the very circumstance which enabled, and to a certain extent justified, hon. Members opposite in introducing and supporting the present Bill. The Education Office was governed by two Ministers who formed part of the responsible Government of the country. Now, he could not imagine any measure more likely to give a certain steadiness and sobriety to the Educational Government of the country than that the whole system of education, although not solely dependent arbitrio popularis auræ, should be worked according to the varying circumstances of the time and the changes of public opinion. Speaking on this part of the question, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had quoted the opinion of the Charity Commissioners in favour of the projected change; but assuredly it was a most extraordinary proceeding to produce their letter at the close of last night's debate, although it had not been mentioned at all on the second reading. There appeared to have been a sort of agreement—for he would not use the word conspiracy—between the Charity Commissioners and the Government to say that the Endowed Schools Commissioners were a nuisance, and the sooner they were got rid of the better. And what security had the House that at the present moment a correspondence was not being carried on between the Government and the Enclosure Commissioners as to whether the latter would not much like the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to be abolished? Of course, no set of Commissioners would object to see their own powers increased, and their importance augmented. No wonder, then, that the Charity Commissioners rose to the bait dangled before their noses by the right hon. Gentleman, and that they said—"By all means make the Endowed Schools Commission a subordinate part of the Charity Commission." He would now pass from this administrative aspect of the question to that which had caused far more interest in the country, and led to these prolonged debates. He could not help hoping after the debate which occurred on the Motion of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) that the House would have arrived at a determination to prevent the religious difficulty from interfering with the educational progress of the country. As hon. Members on that side of the House had made a sacrifice, he thought they had a right to expect that some slight sacrifice would be made by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Last night the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), acting the part he had so often played of chief mourner for the Church of England, mourned over the nation and the Church, and over himself, and lastly, he mourned over the Whigs, who, according to his view, were falling away from their principles. Now, having himself some connection with the Whigs, he felt sure he might say they would be very sorry to hurt the feelings of the hon. Gentleman: but he was much mistaken if the whole justification of the history of the Whigs was not the annoyance they habitually caused to persons like the hon. Gentleman. As for the hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. Forsyth), he trusted his lecture on the evidences of the intentions of the pious founders would not have an effect similar to the lecture which the hon. Member recently delivered at the Victoria Institute on "The Evidences of Christianity;" for a few days after that lecture was delivered, a clergyman wrote to one of the newspapers to express his regret at the rise and spread of infidel opinions in Marylebone and the neighbourhood. With respect to the Vice President of the Council, he must remark that he never believed his noble Friend intended to say anything offensive to the Endowed Schools Commissioners. It should never be forgotten that when the noble Lord was a member of the London School Board, he was one of the most conciliatory as well as able of its members, and it was through his action as much as that of any other member of the Board that all those questions which might have permanently affected its harmony had been happily settled. He could not, therefore, regard this Bill as the Bill of his noble Friend so much as the Bill of the noble Duke the President of the Council, who the other day, almost ostentatiously, told the House that he was the Minister of Education. He did not, indeed, suppose for a moment that his noble Friend would place his name on the back of a Bill to the principles of which he objected; but still he probably would not shed any bitter tears if in a day or two the Prime Minister were to get up and say that for various reasons of State he was going to withdraw the Bill. He now came to the Amendment to Clause 4, which had been placed on the Paper by his noble Friend. It was as follows— But nothing in this or in the principal Act contained shall require the Commissioners to provide that the governing body in any scheme (other than a scheme relating to a cathedral or a collegiate church school) shall he members of any particular church, sect, or denomination, and they may provide to the contrary unless there he in the original instrument of foundation any provision directing that the governing body, or any number of the members thereof, shall be members of a particular church, sect, or denomination. Now, he would consider this new proposal by reference to the existing Acts. The Act of 1869 said that as a rule, religious tests should not apply to endowed schools. It then proceeded to make certain classes of exceptions, in which accordingly tests might apply. The Act of 1873 extended the class of exceptions, and the dates within which the excepted cases might arise. The present Bill proposed to extend the class of exceptions still further, and the dates; but the exceptions were in every case permissive exceptions—that was to say, the Commissioners were permitted, not compelled, to apply a religious test. That being so, the effect of the Amendment of his noble Friend would clearly be to make the extension not less but more rigid, for on the principle Expressio unius exclusio alterius, it was clear that where in the original instrument of foundation, any provision directing that the Governing Body or any number of the members thereof should be members of a particular Church, sect, or denomination, there the Commissioners would be compelled, not permitted—as they were at present—to apply a test. Again, there was an important point to be observed with reference to the Conscience Clause in the Bill, as compared with the Conscience Clause of the Act of 1870. It was, in his opinion, more than doubtful if they covered the same ground, and equally protected the right of children to compete for emoluments, as well as protect them against religious proselytism. It was said that, in the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, the clause was sufficient. He refused to be dependent on the Law Officers, more especially after the extraordinary position assumed the other day by the Solicitor General, who used arguments which could not be called historical, but rather pre-historical and antediluvian; while as regarded his knowledge of the facts of the case, he had shown either that he was unaware of the date of the Toleration Act, or of there having been Nonconformists before that Act. For what did he say? It was this— Why should it he assumed that the man who before the Toleration Act made a foundation in favour of the Established Church, would, if he had lived 50 or 100 years later, have been a Dissenter? What was known was that he said he devoted his bounty to members of the Established Church, and it was embarking on a most dangerous field of speculation to assume that he would have done differently if he had known that in later days there would be Nonconformity and Nonconformists."—[3 Hansard, ccxx. 1676.] Now, it was clear from those remarks that the hon. and learned Gentleman was not aware that during the 100 years which preceded the Toleration Act—the date of which was 1689—there were Nonconformists in the land. He had himself always supposed that there was a famous chapter in Hallam called "Of the Laws of Elizabeth relating to Protestant Nonconformists." The historical aspects of this question were indeed of the utmost importance, as observed in the debate on the second reading by his right hon. Friend the late Prime Minister, and with the permission of the House he would say a few words on that subject. He first wanted to know how the Prime Minister was going to meet the case of the pre-Reformation Catholic endowments, which was raised the other day by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan). The Solicitor General said that all the House had to do was to find out the "real intention of the founder." Now, if the real intention of the pre-Reformation founder was looked into, could there be any doubt that he had in his mind a ritual and form of worship in which the Virgin and the Saints, and prayers for the dead, would all have a place; and that being the case, it was the duty of the Government under this Bill, if true to its own principles, to hand back these old endowments to the representatives of the faith of the Catholic founders. The Prime Minister said in the debate on the second reading, that this question had better be raised in Committee. In Committee he would probably say it had better be raised on the Report, and on the Report he would suggest its being discussed on the third reading, and on the third reading he would use his majority. Now, leaving the case of the Roman Catholic foundations, he was prepared to show that previous to the Act of Uniformity of 1660, it was quite impossible to argue from any allusion in a trust deed or will to the "Established Church," that religious principles were necessarily alluded to, such as justified the endowments which came within the scope of the exceptions of this Bill, being claimed as endowments of the Church of England such as they knew it. In the sixteenth century the Church of England was divided into two great sections—the Episcopal and the Puritan, and each claimed to be the true Church, remaining within its fold, and hoping, in course of time, to appropriate that fold to its own exclusive possession. The Bishops themselves were not at one on many important points, and also on many unimportant points, to which they had learnt to attach great weight in the heated polemical atmosphere of Germany, where they had taken refuge during the Marian persecutions. The principles of Parker were not those of Whitgift, nor of Grindal. On the question of the use of the surplice, Parker and Cox were on one side, and Jewell, Sandys, Grindal, and Nowell on the other. There was a similar variety of opinion on those strange spiritual exercises called "prophesyings," which were much in vogue with the Puritans. These instances might be increased to any number, and it was thus that Hallam summed up the controversy— The Puritan ministers, throughout the reign of Elizabeth, disclaimed the imputation of schism, and acknowledged the lawfulness of continuing in the Established Church, while they demanded a further reformation of her discipline. The Puritans did not object to the office of Bishop provided he was only the head of the Presbyters and acted in conjunction with them. And it was endowments given in this period that were claimed for the exclusive use of the Anglican Church if the words cum avisamento episcopi were found in the trust deed. Now, as to the reign of James I. The Hampton Court Conference was held in 1604, and the hopes of the Puritan party received a great blow. What happened? Writing of this time, Hallam said— Archbishop Bancroft deprived a considerable number of Puritan clergymen, while many more finding that the interference of the Commons in their behalf was not regarded, and that all schemes of evasion were come to an end were content to submit to the obnoxious discipline. But their affections being very little conciliated by this coercion there remained a large party within the bosom of the Established Church prone to watch for and magnify the errors of their spiritual rulers. They naturally fell in with the patriotic party in the House of Commons. In other words, the Puritan party largely remained in the Church, looking forward to the day when it would be strong enough to make the Established Church, Puritan in its character. This happened to a great extent under the Commonwealth, when a strange state of ecclesiastical affairs was in existence in this country. The triumph of Presbyterianism became complete in point of law by an ordinance of February, 1646, establishing the Scots model of classes, synods, and general assemblies throughout England. But owing to the Independents getting the upper hand soon after, and other causes of disagreement, the Presbyterian discipline was never carried into effect, except to a certain extent in London and Lancashire. But the beneficed clergy throughout England till the return of Charles II. were chiefly of that denomination. Both Baptists and Independents were in the practice of accepting the livings, that was the temporalities of the Church. And it was the endowments of that period, too, which were claimed for the Established Church of the present day. With the return of Charles II. came the Act of Uniformity, and previous to that Act, Lord Macaulay, summing up all this controversy in a single sentence, said, that— Episcopal ordination previous to the Act was never an indispensable qualification for Church preferment. Now, the condition of ecclesiastical affairs under Charles II. was this, that with certain intervals there was a bitter persecution of Nonconformity and Catholicism. It was the reign of Popish Plots, and Five Mile Acts, and Conventicle Acts, the reign in which the dissolute plays of the most corrupt of dramatists were acted in London, while Bunyan was rotting in Bedford gaol. It was the recollections of this time that the Government Bill evoked, and, indeed, the present position did to a certain extent recall that famous passage in The Pilgrims Progress, in which as he was going up the Valley, Christian observed at the mouth of a cave two old giants from whom he expected much harm; but the writer went on to say that their nails were so worn and their teeth so blunted with age that they had to content themselves with shaking their fists and cursing him, while he went on his way rejoicing. But, should the day ever come when the nails and the teeth of those giants should sprout again, then they might do much harm. And this was what had happened. The old giants of exclusion and bigotry had been galvanized into life by Her Majesty's Government, and were preparing an onslaught to recover their old possessions and rob the wayfarer. Under Charles II. such was the state of affairs that it was reasonable to suppose a testator would protect an educational endowment against the hostility of rapacious heirs-at-law or next of kin by sheltering it under the protection of some expressions giving it a connection with the Church, and the vagueness of those words was an argument not that the testator desired a close connection, but as loose a connection with the Church as the circumstances of the time permitted. Where express terms were really used, the old Acts gave abundant protection. It was to this state of things that a period was put by the Toleration Act, a wise and beneficent Act, and as liberal as the spirit of the age allowed. The Toleration Act was to be judged accordingly, and not to be criticized, as some had done, from a 19th century point of view. It was, as had been observed by an eminent American writer— narrow, indeed, in theory, and penuriously conceded a limited enfranchisement of mind as a privilege. But this was more than had been done by any of the other great Powers, and therefore as the same author had observed— because it opened a career for religious freedom, it forms an era in the history of the liberty of England and of mankind. Therefore, it was rightly chosen by the framers of the Act of 1873 as marking the period of the religious enfranchise- ment of the nation. It was a compromise it was true, and the same character could be claimed for the Act of 1869. Many hon. Members on this side of the House were much dissatisfied with the exceptions then made, and in 1871 his hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) introduced a Bill to abolish them, but he was resisted, and successfully resisted, by the then Vice President (Mr. W. E. Forster) who stood loyally by his own work, which was then accepted by hon. Members opposite, but now thrown over. There were other points on which much might be said—as, for example, the want of adequate protection to existing schemes on which no satisfactory explanation had been given; but what he wanted especially to insist on was the unwise course entered on by the Government in abruptly reversing the policy of their predecessors. His right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War had sought to justify it by alleging the precedents of 1558 and 1689, but this was not to the point, for the precedents of party government had in the first place grown up since the time of Sir Robert Walpole, and not before, while putting aside this demurrer to the argument of his right hon. Friend, he felt sure that no one was better aware than he was that to seek for precedents in such excited times as 1558 and 1689 was, to say the least, dangerous. Again, the exception proved the rule. No one could expect the definitions of politics to be of the exact character of those of mathematics or the physical sciences, and even if his right hon. Friend could produce more modern instances than those he had adduced, he would not discredit the position taken by the late Prime Minister on this part of the question. What, however, he especially wanted to know was, in what manner this Bill was a proof of that national and comprehensive policy which the Prime Minister had the other day told the astonished Merchant Taylors was again to be the policy of the Conservative party, as it had been in the early days of Pitt. Now, it would be a perfectly easy thing to show, were this the time or the place, that when Mr. Pitt in his early days pursued a national and comprehensive policy, he was not only a Member of the Whig party, but of the more liberal section of that party. But lot them call Mr. Pitt by what name they liked, and assuming his policy to have been what the right hon. Gentleman described it to have been, in what way could this Bill be called "national" which branded a large section of Her Majesty's subjects with a mark, or "comprehensive" which said they were not fit for a large number of important offices? This Bill was national only in the extent of its injustice, and comprehensive only in the area of its exclusiveness. It was introduced by the traditional enemies of civil and religious liberty, and would be opposed by those who were its traditional defenders; but those on this side of the House must recollect that in proportion as they defended the same principles which had animated the framers of the Toleration Act and the great measures of which it was the forerunner, so also they must emulate the determination, the tenacity of purpose, and fixedness of design which had enabled them, and would enable the Liberal party at this day to triumph over every obstacle till the day came when the Prime Minister would come down to the House, and with sorrow on his face, but, perhaps, with joy in his heart, would say, "I have abandoned the Bill."


denied in the most emphatic manner that the Bill had been introduced as a taunt to the Nonconformists, or with any desire to deprive them of their legitimate influence. There was an attempt to treat this Bill as re-actionary, and to prevent it getting into Committee. That, he thought, was a mistake. The Bill was not re-actionary, and if there were things in it which did not please the Opposition, they might easily be remedied in Committee. Speaking generally, the Bill was a very simple one. It was merely intended to put a better definition upon the terms of the 19th clause of the Endowed Schools Act of 1869. Two Members of the Select Committee of last year had stated that the construction put upon that clause was an unnatural one; that it did not carry out the legitimate intentions of the founders; and that therefore it was not one that should be perpetuated by the Endowed Schools Act. Now, that was precisely what was to be done by this Bill, and very little more. The hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) had maintained that the Bill would have the effect of excluding the children of Nonconformists from the benefit of the scholarships connected with many of the endowed schools. How could it be supposed that such a thing was intended, in the face of the fact that in all the public schools the scholarships were open to everyone, irrespective of religious creed. Why, the Conscience Clause was to be applied to those schools, and the Conscience Clause carried with it the right to compete for the scholarships. What more could be asked for than that? If it were thought that the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord was not sufficiently satisfactory, it could be amended in Committee so as to meet the wishes of its opponents. As to the appointment of Nonconformists in certain cases to be members of the Governing Bodies, he thought the provision which his noble Friend (Viscount Sandon) proposed to add to the Bill was sufficient to meet all reasonable demands. Again, there was nothing in the Bill requiring that the masters of the excepted schools should be in Holy Orders, and that the under-masters should be members of the Church of England. Knowing, as he did, what a scarcity there was of candidates for Holy Orders, and how difficult it was to get sufficient men to undertake the pastoral work of the country, he thought it would be exceedingly unwise to insist that all the Head Masters in these schools should be men in Holy Orders. He urged the House to go into Committee as early as possible in order to consider these points and find out whether there was really a grievance. It was very convenient for hon. Gentlemen opposite to declare that the Bill offered an insult to the Dissenters, if, by raising that cry, they might succeed in re-uniting their party; but he denied altogether that there was any foundation for the charge. He hoped hon. Members opposite, remembering the time of the year, and the fact that a good deal of business had yet to be done, would offer no further opposition to going into Committee on the present Bill. With regard to an Amendment of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), to the effect that schools in regard to which schemes had already been passed should not be interfered with, he would be very glad, for his part, if it were accepted.


said, he had listened with great satisfaction to the conciliatory speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, who had expressed himself anxious to go forward, and who had by anticipation discussed the clauses as if in Committee. The only Amendment to which he should make reference on the present occasion was the important Amendment of which Notice had been given by the noble Lord in charge of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman (Sir John Kennaway) had taunted the Opposition with speaking of the Bill as an insult to the Dissenters, and using it as a political cry for rallying the Liberal party. He had no doubt that before this discussion closed, they would have more than one hon. Member qualified to speak for the Nonconformist Body rising to give their views of the Bill, and to express the views of their co-religionists on the subject. He begged to inform the hon. Gentleman that had he attended a meeting of Dissenters at which he was present, and heard the expressions which were used with reference to this Bill, he would have been at no loss to account for the fact that the Dissenters regarded it as an offence.


said, those who supported the Bill were charged with the intention—and he repudiated the intention—to give offence.


said, he did not charge the hon. Gentleman or the Government with any intention; he simply stated the fact that such was the view taken by the Dissenting Body. The hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House spoke of the unnecessary delay in going into Committee on this Bill; but if any justification were required for those who last night urged the adjournment of the debate, it would be found in the terms of the Amendment of the noble Lord, which they saw to-day for the first time. The real fact was that the regulations of the Acts as regarded endowed schools were so very technical as not to be readily understood by those who had not had very considerable experience in the study of them. These regulations were further complicated by additional exceptions introduced by this Bill; and, he ventured to add, the complications were infinitely complicated by the terms of the noble Lord's Amendment. If anyone not very well versed in the regulations respecting endowed schools attempted to make out what would be the combined effect of the two Acts and of the Bill with the Amendment of the noble Lord, he would find it an extremely difficult puzzle. The Acts prescribed that the Commissioners should provide that the Governor might be a Dissenter, or the master a layman, except in three cases—first, a cathedral or collegiate school; secondly, a school which the will of the founder by express terms made denominational; and, thirdly, under the Act of 1873, and subject to the limitation that it was a foundation established since the Toleration Act, a school in which it was provided that the Governors, or the scholars, or the masters, or the majority thereof, should belong to a certain denomination. The Bill added two more exceptions; one, where the instrument of foundation enjoined the attendance of the scholars at the worship of any particular church or sect, and another, where the instrument of foundation required the regulations of the school to be made or approved by the officers of any particular Church. These were also to be held to be denominational schools. But the Bill not only laid down new regulations, but also repealed the limit of the Toleration Act. This was a very important matter. Reverting, however, to the Amendment, he found that its effect was that in the case of cathedral or collegiate schools the Commissioners would be obliged to provide that the Governor should belong to a specified denomination, and in three of the other exceptional cases they might provide that the Governors need not belong to a specified denomination. The remaining exception—that which was created by the express terms of the founder's will—was left untouched—that was, the Commissioners had no power to make provision as to the above point without the consent of the Governing Body. In short, while the Acts prescribed that in all but three cases the Commissioners must provide for liberty, the Bill would enact that in one case they must provide for restriction, and in three other cases they might do so. In regard to three of the exceptions, the Commissioners, under the Amendment, might provide liberty or not, as they pleased. He had construed the Amendment according to the sense the noble Lord no doubt intended; but he must point out that the words would admit of a different rendering, and might be taken to mean that in certain cases the Commissioners were empowered to provide, not that the Governors need not belong to a particular church, but that they must not be members of any sect or denomination whatever. That would be a restriction which members of the Church would dislike to see adopted. In the city which he had the honour to represent there was a cathedral school, for which some time ago a scheme was arranged, with the entire approval of the Dean and Chapter, providing for its amalgamation with some other charities, and he was informed, if the noble Lord's Amendment had then been the law of the land, that arrangement, by which Dissenters were placed on the Governing Body, could not have been carried out, even with the consent of the Dean and Chapter and the Governing Body of the school. It was therefore very undesirable to introduce too strict regulations in regard to that point. The noble Lord, in introducing the Bill, used words to this effect—that wherever the denominational character of the school could be ascertained in any way, they ought to follow out the intention of the founder. That was a very great change indeed, and one which the House should seriously consider before they sanctioned it. Then, as the vast majority of the schools of this country were founded and established between 1500 and 1675, the exceptions proposed by the noble Lord, coupled with the repeal of the limit as to the Toleration Act of 1688, would have the effect of entitling the Established Church to claim nearly all the endowed schools in the country. No explanation had been given by the noble Lord or by the Prime Minister as to what was proposed to be done with the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic schools—as to the principle to be applied to them in consequence either of the founder's will or inferences to be drawn from the founder's will. In dealing with the educational institutions of the country three principles might be applied. One of those principles was that you might adhere to the founder's will wherever his intention was expressed or could be inferred, irrespective of any limit as to time. Another principle was that the establishment was the heir of all institutions in the country within a certain time. The third principle was that educational institutions should become simply national institutions. The Acts of 1869 and 1873 effected a compromise, because they said that schools with regard to the management of which the founder had expressed his will should be regarded as denominational schools. But this Bill tore up that compromise and reopened the whole question. This entitled them to consider the question on open principles and upon broad grounds. If a founder gave his money to found a church or a purely religious institution, it might require a very great change of circumstances or a great lapse of time before they could divert the institutions which he founded from the religion to which he gave his money. What was to be done under circumstances which brought about a collision between the religious character and the purely educational objects of an institution? There was this difficulty with regard to many educational institutions founded in times when the whole nation, in fact or in theory, belonged to one Church—that they must now forego either their denominational character or their educational utility, because a large portion of the people could not accept their theological teaching. When that difficulty arose it appeared to him that the educational object of the school should preponderate, as in the Court of Chancery the doctrine of cy prés was acted upon—that was to say, if it was impossible to carry out strictly the object aimed at by the founder of a charity, then the charity was applied to a charity as near as possible the same as that to which he had directed his bounty to be applied the House had been told by the noble Lord and by other hon. Members who had spoken on the Ministerial side of the House, that a Conscience Clause had been introduced, and that under it all could come in and avail themselves of these educational institutions; but they would come in under a system of toleration, not upon a system of equality with the other students. They could not derive the full advantage of the institutions, because they could not profit by the religious instruction which might be given. He also believed they would not be able to share in the prizes, emoluments, and scholarships belonging to the different schools. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had said that people who came in under the Conscience Clause would be able to do so; but he (Mr. Dodson) should like to hear whether the Law Officers, on that subject, agreed in that interpretation. The point was altogether new to him and he thought, to the vast majority of the House. The Home Secretary said this Bill introduced no new principle; but the noble Lord who introduced the Bill said that it would introduce a new principle—namely that the will of the founder should be followed. But whether the Bill introduced a new principle or not, it contained new regulations and new exceptions, and transferred the management of endowed schools to a new body of men on the express ground that the Commissioners had hitherto acted on too broad a principle and in too broad a manner. He objected to this Bill not only on its merits, but because of the precedent which it would introduce, which precedent, as he had before stated, was in favour of retrogression. When the Conservative Government came into office the head of the Government was hailed as a Jupiter Stator, whose function it simply would be to arrest progress. They had heard, however, a great deal for some time past of a Conservative reaction. He supposed the present Bill had been introduced in order to show that the Conservative re-action really did re-act, and that this measure was the first sample thereof. He regretted the introduction of the Bill both on its own merits and because it was a specimen of the re-actionary disposition of the Government. It was a Bill which could add nothing to the power, dignity, or security of the Church of England, of which he was a member; and notwithstanding the disclaimer of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, he was of opinion that if, instead of being a Churchman, he were a Dissenter, he would regard the measure as one calculated to inflict injury upon, and offensive to, the class to which he belonged.

MR. HUBBARD (London)

said, he had not been able by an examination of the present Bill—and of those to which it was a successor—to find anything in the measure which would justify the vehement indignation expressed by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) in the speech with which he opened the present debate. He (Mr. Hubbard) asked the House to consider some points of general policy which ought to guide them in dealing with a question of this character, in order that they might mitigate that severity of criticism which one person was apt to pass upon the opinion of another who differed from him. When they had before them a question into which religion more or less entered, they must acknowledge frankly and unreservedly the principle of civil and religious liberty. If that were done, much of the hostility manifested towards this measure must vanish. In this country education was considered essentially a religious work, and no system from which religion was excluded could be considered worthy of the name of education. In this stage of elementary education the combination of religious and secular instruction must be maintained in its integrity and fulness. It would be unjust to the children of the poor who received that education to separate the one from the other. On the other hand, he admitted that in the Universities and Colleges the combination was not so essential. Religious instruction should, however, be given in elementary schools in such a manner as would afford education to the largest possible number. So far as religion was an element in education, that religion should be a reality. The unsectarian education of which they had heard so much was a myth; it never did and never could exist. The real unsectarian education was that of the Church of England. Why should religious teaching, when attached to an educational system, be thwarted by throwing into the Governing Bodies those who, being of a different religious persuasion, could have, so far as religious teaching was concerned, no other function than an obstructive one. He thought they had arrived at the conclusion that, so far as it was possible, religious instruction in this country should be considered a reality when it was connected with an educational system. A question had been raised as to the importance of following strictly the intentions of "pious founders" in regard to endowments; but it must not be lost sight of that the national will, as declared at the Reformation, precluded an unqualified compliance with some of the intentions of some founders. A church had recently been taken down in the City of London, the "pious founder" of which left a considerable sum of money for the purpose of providing materials wherewith to burn heretics; but he did not suppose anyone would seriously contend that the will of the founder ought to or could in these days receive the sanction of the law. A period had now arrived in which the principle of religious liberty had obtained its utmost extension, and founders could appropriate their means as they pleased with reference to educational or other establishments without danger of their intentions being interfered with by law. With respect to the measure before the House, he denied that in dealing with the question any reproach bad been thrown upon those able men who were Commissioners under the School Endowments Act. It was clear that with the term of the Act their office expired, and when the office expired it became a matter for consideration—not having regard to the Commissioners, but in respect of the interests of education—whether the system which they had administered should be revived. The Government were of opinion that it should not, and the letter they had produced had, he thought, proved the fact that the simplest and most judicious mode of proceeding in the interests of Education was not to re-constitute the Commission, but to hand over the duties to be hereafter performed, to the Charity Commissioners. Those who knew the eminent person who was Chairman of the Endowed Schools Commission—Lord Lyttelton—were aware that the last thing he would have done would be to detract from the efficiency and liberality of religious teaching. There never was any person who had more distinctly declared his adhesion to religious education than Lord Lyttelton had done. As regarded the Commissioners, therefore, no reproach could be inferred from the passing of the Bill. He had only, in conclusion, to ask the House not to adopt the highly-coloured views of the question which had been presented to them. It was said that the people were the arbiters of their own destinies. Well, that being so, it was open to any hon. Gentleman from the other side of the Channel to throw down a challenge at any time in reference to the restoration of the Roman Catholic faith, and to try the issue he would thus raise. It was open, too, to the Nonconformists to raise and try a similar issue from their point of view. For his part, he had no doubt, as the experience of ages was sufficient to show, that there never was any institution which upheld so well the profession of religious truth, and at the same time so amply recognized the principles of religious liberty and toleration to those who differed from her, as did the Church of England.


said, he felt it imperative on him to state the reasons which would guide him in giving his vote on this Bill. The real issue to be decided was not the mere transfer of certain powers from one set of Commissioners to another. The true issue lay between two great schools or classes—those who represented Denominationalism and those who represented Sectarianism. A side issue had been raised—and very properly raised—by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan), who asked Her Majesty's Government whether it was intended that the principle of the Bill should be so extended as that the wills of Roman Catholic founders would be respected. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, however, evaded the point of the question with a dexterity for which he was not unknown. On the subject of the wills of Roman Catholic founders he regretted to have heard the expressions which fell from the noble Lord the Member for Calne on the subject of the Roman Catholic Church teaching the worship of the Virgin and the Saints. The noble Lord should have paused, before he threw that insult in the face of the Catholics of Ireland.


observed that he had not used the words in question. He had simply quoted what the hon. Member for Louth had said as to certain pre-Reformation Endowments, and pointed out what the effect of the Bill would be in respect of them.


said, his memory differed from that of the noble Lord. He accepted his explanation, but had no hesitation in saying that, to his mind, the words were used by him.


reminded the hon. Gentleman that he had accepted the noble Lord's explanation, and could not, therefore, repeat the assertion.


said, that on the question as to the wills of Roman Catholic founders, very little was to be expected from either side of the House. It had been asked—What would a Roman Catholic founder, if he could now be questioned, say to the proposal of the Government? He believed the reply would be—"Give back the institutions to the Roman Catholics." He was quite convinced he would never say—"Give them into the hands of those who are of various religions and of no religion, and who are determined to keep all religious teaching out of the schools." The underlying principle of this Bill was Denominationalism as against Secularism, and he was on the side of the Government in this matter. He could not understand how the supporters of Denominationalism could support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), and then ask the Government the next day to establish Denominationalism in Ireland. The Catholics of Ireland had come there to advocate the connection between education and religious training, and they would stultify themselves if they voted for the Amendment.


Sir, the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hubbard), who has just spoken, cannot expect me to accept his very singular definition of un-sectarian religious education as consisting of education according to the principles and doctrines of the Church of England. Many of us inside of this House, and many more outside, would, on the contrary, regard that as being as intensely sectarian an education as could well be conceived. The hon. Baronet the Member for East Devon (Sir John Kennaway), has repudiated for himself, and for the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council, any intention by this Bill to attach a stigma to the great body of Nonconformists. I will say nothing about intention, because it is not for me to attempt to fathom men's motives; but whatever may have been the intention, such is unquestionably the effect, and the Nonconformists throughout the the whole country do look upon it as a stigma and an insult. I should have been content to have left the case against this Bill where it has been placed by the powerful speeches delivered on this and the former night's debate, especially those of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), and my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett.) But I am anxious to make a few remarks, because I happen to belong not only to the Nonconformist Body, but I suppose to that section of that Body out of which the noble Lord has constructed a sort of scarecrow which has "frighted him from his propriety." It was impossible not to be struck with the fact, that the noble Lord identified himself and his Government with the Church of England exclusively, and placed them in direct antagonism to the Nonconformists, and thus virtually proclaimed that they are the Ministers not of the people of England, but of that portion of them only who belong to the Established Church. I listened with inexpressible surprise and pain to the speech with which the noble Lord introduced this measure. But after what the noble Lord said yesterday, I will not dwell upon that point beyond saying this—that his speech was so unlike all the conceptions I had formed of his character, so unlike what I believed and still believe to be his kind, generous, and conciliatory disposition, that I must regard it as a melancholy illustration of how the evil spirit of ecclesiasticism has power to deteriorate and sour the sweetest natures over which it gains dominion. I will not attempt to discuss the supplementary clause which the noble Lord has placed on the Table of the House, and which he described as containing important concessions. I have given to it, during the short time it has been in my hands, the close and careful study which anything coming from him on this subject deserves. But I am obliged to say that it has left me in the condition in which he represented the Conservative body as having been left after the defeat of 1868—"dazed" and "stunned." And when we find the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chester (Mr. Dodson), who spoke a short time ago, and who has had such experience as few have had in handling and deciphering Bills before this House, declaring that the complications previously existing in this Bill were rendered infinitely more complicated by the terms of the noble Lord's Amendment, we may safely assume that it is hopelessly cloudy and ambiguous. I cannot say that I feel any great interest in the change which this Bill proposes to introduce into the administrative machinery of the Endowed Schools Act. Nonconformists have no particular reason to admire or defend the Commissioners. They are all members of the Church of England, as is almost invariably the case with men placed in any high administrative offices in this country. Some of us, when the Commission was first formed, and afterwards when some change took place in its composition, knowing that it was dealing with matters in which the interests of Nonconformists were deeply concerned, ventured to put in a plea that at least one of the Commissioners should be a Nonconformist. But, of course, a deaf ear was turned to our representations. Certainly, in our opinion, the Commissioners showed no indisposition, but very much the reverse, to favour to the utmost the Church of England. This was manifest enough from the appointments they made under their various schemes. In 36 out of 40 schemes down to the end of 1871, clergymen were made ex officio governors, though, as it was afterwards discovered, their appointment was contrary to the spirit and letter of the Act. Further, in 85 schemes out of 433 co-optative governors, 392 were Churchmen and only 41 were Dissenters. Surely, therefore, the Commission cannot be said to have erred on the side of disregard for the interests of the Church of England. But with all this, I must say that the reason now assigned for their summary dismissal appears to me a very shabby one. They are to be dismissed because they are unpopular with the trustees of endowed schools. No inquiry is made whether this unpopularity was merited or well-founded, or whether it necessarily arose from the difficult and invidious duties they were called to discharge. Men who have to deal with great abuses are likely to be unpopular with those who have a vested interest in perpetuating such abuses. Indeed, so far as I have observed, no charge has been laid against the Commissioners by hon. Gentlemen opposite. They merely say to them: "Some of our people don't like you, and you must go about your business." But I now pass to the far more important question of the new principles that are to be introduced into the administration of the Endowed Schools Act. What does the noble Lord propose to do? According to our contention—at least according to mine—he proposes to reverse, not merely the Act of 1869, but the whole spirit of our modern legislation. It is an attempt to put back the hand on the dial of time 50 years. It runs counter to the whole spirit of the age, for everybody must see, who keeps his eyes open to what is taking place on the Continent of Europe, and in all countries of the world, that the policy everywhere pursued is to restrict and control, and not to extend, the power of ecclesiastical corporations in dealing with the education of the people. I must say that there is something singularly ungenerous, as coming from the other side in the retort directed against my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, that they are only acting on the principles he adopted in 1869. I am not concerned to defend the Act of 1869. It was avowedly a compromise. No doubt it would have been better to have boldly adopted the principle—as you did in the University Tests Bill—not to recognize the founder's wishes at all. But I suppose the right hon. Gentleman thought that what he proposed was as much as he could hope to carry at that time. At any rate, the concessions made were concessions to the prejudices of the other side, and the conciliatory spirit of the right hon. Gentleman was the theme of endless laudations from them on that occasion. And I say it is unfair and ungenerous in them, at least, to employ those concessions which they were understood then to accept as final and satisfactory, as a justification for such exclusive and re-actionary legislation as this. "With regard to the will of the founder, on which hon. Gentlemen opposite laid such emphasis, I must say that I have some suspicion as to the sincerity of their professed reverence for it. They take it up and they lay it down just as it suits their purpose. When the will of the founder tells in their own favour they strain to the utmost any document that may come into their hands in order to sustain it. But when the will of the founder directs that the children should attend a Roman Catholic Church and be taught to pray for the dead, they drop it like a hot potato, and seek refuge in the mystical doctrine of "the continuity of the Church of England." They affirm that the Church of England is the heir of the Roman Catholic Church—not the heir of its doctrines, for that they violently repudiate—but the heir of its money and property. But if the Church of England is the heir of the Roman Catholic Church, which it denounces as apostate and idolatrous, and as teaching blasphemous and damnable doctrines, surely the Protestant Dissenters may claim to be joint-heirs of the Protestant Reformation. The noble Lord, the Vice President of the Council seems to me to stand in a very peculiar position in regard to this matter. Last "Wednesday he came down to this House, and made an able and earnest speech on the Public Worship Regulation Bill. The object of that speech was to show that the solemn compact entered into between Church and State—which compact he told us vested on the adherence of the Church to the doctrine of the Reformation—was in grave danger of being violated and overturned. In proof of this, he cited the memorable words of the two Archbishops, that there was a party in the Church desiring to subvert the doctrines of the Reformation, and who were bringing into peril the very existence of our national institutions for the maintenance of religion. He proved it further by various citations from the writings of the party in question. Among others by one from their principal organ, which declared that they are "contending for the extirpation of Protestant opininions and practices not only within the Church, but throughout England." The noble Lord was good enough to say that the Nonconformists were as deeply interested in this matter as members of the Church of England. I agree with the noble Lord. But I go further and say, that if things go on much longer as they are doing in that Church, the Protestantism of this country will be in a very poor plight indeed, but for the reserve force of the Nonconformists. There are members of the Church of England who think so too. There is a body in existence known as the Vigilance Committee, at the head of which is the Earl of Shaftesbury. Not long ago this body sent communications to other Protestant communities in this country, including various bodies of Nonconformists, invoking their aid to arrest the contagion of Ritualism, which is spreading like a plague through the Church of England. In an address issued by this committee they direct attention to the fact that the day-schools are among the most powerful instruments for the diffusion of Ritualistic views, and that large grants of public money for instruction were put into the hands of persons who employed it in undermining the Protestant faith of the nation. And yet the noble Lord brings in a Bill in which he endeavours to shut out the Nonconformists, who, he admits, are true Protestants, from all share in the management of those endowed schools, which are to direct the education and to influence the character of the middle classes of this country, and to deliver them over into the hands of a clergy, a formidable proportion of whom he tells us are trying to subvert the principles of the Reformation. In regard to these endowed schools, I thought there were certain principles which had been universally recognized and accepted. Such principles as these—that there is no good reason for assuming, where the contrary is not distinctly specified, that the instruction to be given in them must be in accordance with the doctrines of the Church of England; that with certain well-understood and admitted exceptions, the restriction of trustees of endowed schools to members of the Church of England is unjust, unwise, and injurious; that to confine the selection of masters to persons of Holy Orders, or to the members of one denomination, is contrary to reason and justice and sound policy. These were the principles recommended by the Commission of 1866, all of whom, I believe, with one solitary exception, that of my friend, Mr. Edward Baines of Leeds, were members of the Church of England, and three of whom were clergymen of that Church. These were the principles embodied in the Act of 1869, and as we have the authority of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford for saying, unanimously adopted by the Select Committee of this House, to which that Bill was referred. These were the principles that were carried through both Houses of Parliament without a division, and almost without discussion. It is true that the noble Lord has an explanation why they passed this House unchallenged. He says the Conservative party were so "dazed" and "stunned," and their nerves were in such a state of disorder by the defeat of 1868, that they were not capable of doing anything. This a is rather curious confession to come from what claims to be the oldest and haughtiest portion of "the old and haughty race" of which the noble Lord spoke. But surely the House of Lords, which had then, as it always has, an immense Conservative Majority, was not dazed and stunned. And how was the Endowed Schools Bill of 1869 received there? With a perfect chorous of congratulation and eulogy. I could quote passage after passage from speeches of noble Lords and right rev. Prelates to prove this. But I will restrict myself to two very brief citations. The Earl of Carnarvon said— When you come to deal with the clauses there are some few points which I think require attention, but generally and in substance I heartily approve this measure."—[3 Hansard, cxcvii. 619.] There is one other passage which I commend to the special attention of the noble Lord. It gives the opinion of one whom he, I am quite sure, holds in respect and honour, as I believe all do who know the estimable Nobleman whose words I am about to give. The Earl of Harrow by said— He must express his gratification at the manner in which the measure had been conducted through the House of Commons. He believed the Government had shown in the progress of the Bill through that House that they were actuated solely by a desire to promote a great national object, irrespectively of all party or sectarian feeling. He was happy to be able to add that Parliament and the country might, in his opinion, place the strongest reliance in the ability and character of the Commissioners to whom the supervision of the new system was to be intrusted."—[Ibid, 620.] Compare all this with the charge of "riding roughshod over the Church," which is now brought against the late Government and the Liberal party in the last Parliament. And yet all the principles I have described as having received universal acceptance are now reversed, and repealed by this measure. And why is this done? I really can hardly say. If we may interpret the feeling of the Government by the speech of the noble Lord, it would seem that he and they had got scared by a certain terrible body of persons whom he again and again branded as "political Nonconformists." Nothing appears to me stranger or more unreasonable than the violence with which hon. Gentlemen opposite resented and denounced political Nonconformists. So long as there is a political Church in this country, there must be political Nonconformists, unless Gentlemen opposite contend that all we, as Dissenters, have to do, is to attend to our religious duties, and leave our civil and political rights wholly uncared for. If such is the advice they give us, we say in reply—"We thank you for nothing." Political Nonconformists! Are there no political Churchmen? What are the hon. Gentlemen who line the opposite benches? Political Churchmen every one of them. When I hear hon. Gentlemen opposite lecturing us, as they are very fond of doing, for being political Nonconformists, I am a little reminded—I hope they will forgive me for saying so, for one cannot always control the laws of mental association—of the French proverb, "Voila le diable qui preche la morale." Why, their whole Church is political from the crown of its head to the sole of its foot. A Church whose Head is the temporal Sovereign of this Realm. Or I will humour the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. G. Hardy), by saying, if you please, the "Supreme Governor" of the Church. He tells us that that great theologian, Queen Elizabeth, objected to be called Head of the Church, because Christ is the Head of the Church. Well, according to my reading of the New Testament, Christ is the Supreme Governor of His Church too. But call it Head or Supreme Governor, the highest authority is the political magistrate. And not only so, but the appointments of the primary pastors of this Church, through whom flows the apostolic succession, and all those mystic influences which Churchmen prize so highly, are all political appointments. Surely, this House of Commons is a political Assembly. And how have we been engaged for the last fortnight? Why, in patching and tinkering two rickety Church Establishments. And how did hon. Gentlemen opposite come into this House? Did they not come riding on the cry, "our National Church and our national beverage?" Before hon. Gentlemen opposite, therefore, repeat with the scornful emphasis they are wont to use the cry about political Nonconformity, it will be well for them to give heed to the precept which speaks of beholding the mote in your brother's eye, and not considering the beam in your own eye. We are not the aggressors in this matter. I am sometimes told—"Why can't you leave the Church alone?" My answer is, the Church will not leave us alone. It meets us at every point; it crosses our path in every direction. We cannot engage in any work, religious, charitable, educational, social, or political, but we are thwarted, embarrassed, and worried by the exclusive pretensions of this dominant Church. If I wanted any vindication for being a political Dissenter, I should find it in the Bill now before the House. The speech of the noble Lord was a challenge and a defiance. I do not accept the challenge; I do not retort the defiance; for that, in my opinion, is not the spirit in which our legislation should be conducted. But I will tell the noble Lord, calmly and firmly, that I am not dismayed by the loud trumpet-blast he has sounded against the Nonconformists. The people of England do not like this re-actionary policy. It is not the Nonconformists only, but tens of thousands of liberal-minded Churchmen who will refuse to follow the Government in their attempt to transfer national property into the possession of a sect; and to consign the education of the people into the hands of a clergy whom they themselves declare are undermining the Protestant faith of the nation.


said, as one who had voted against the second reading of the Bill, he desired to say a few words in explanation; not only because of that vote, but because he felt bound, though reluctantly and unwillingly, to vote in favour of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett). It appeared to him that the Bill was one of re-actionary policy. The policy of the last Government he understood to have been the extension of the benefits of endowments and foundations for the education of the middle-classes to the great body of the Nonconformists of this country. He approved of that policy, and he thought it desirable that the endowments and foundations which they wished to preserve for educational purposes should be shared in by all the inhabitants of the country. He had hoped on the previous night that the Amendment promised by the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) would enable him to vote for the Bill, instead of following the hon. Member for Hackney into the Lobby; but he did not think the words proposed to be added to the 4th clause were sufficient to take away from it the objection which appeared on the face of it, and therefore he felt bound most re- luctantly to vote contrary to the views of that party with whom he desired to act, and in whose opinions he generally concurred.


said, he did not yield to his hon. Friend who had just spoken in the desire to approach this subject in an unsectarian spirit, but he had been unable to come to the same conclusion. For his own part, he could not conceive what foundation there could be for the excessive warmth of feeling manifested by hon. Gentlemen opposite against this Bill; because Section 19 of the Act of 1869, and one or two sections in the Act of 1873 went quite as far, and even farther, than this Bill. The hon. Member (Mr. Richard) had talked of the national Church and the national beverage. He was not ashamed of either; and as to the national beverage, it was quite as good as the gall and verjuice which the hon. Member sometimes infused into their discussions. He was surprised to hear his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) deny that the present Birmingham School Board had not permitted religious instruction in their schools. When they came into office the board, by a majority of one, abolished the former system of Scriptural instruction, and forbade religious instruction to be given by the masters. It was true, that the board let the schools at a rental to the Nonconformists, who taught on two days in the week their own religious views, for which the board was not responsible. That was not, however, teaching religion in the schools on the part of the school board. It was true, that the Governors of King Edward's School, Birmingham, had been for many years self-elected, and that the master of the school had been in Holy Orders. It should, however, be remembered that the provision for self-election had come down from ancient times, and had been the rule in many of our foundations. It was, probably, the only way in which the succession of duly qualified Governors could be kept up, and the school was not to blame for having continued the system of self-election. He believed that the present Governors were anxious to change the present system, and he would certainly never stand up to defend it. Several members of the Liberal party, long before there was any agitation on the subject, were elected upon the board. The contention in regard to King Edward's School was not mainly one between Churchmen and Nonconformists, but whether the Municipal Corporation of Birmingham ex officio, and as such, should control the destinies of the school. He submitted that it did not argue any great illiberality to hold that those who were elected for a totally different purpose ought not to have the control over this large educational foundation. The Corporation, no doubt, contained many men of culture; but it also contained others who were not, and who could not appreciate the educational gifts requisite in the masters of such a school. He never remembered any public act which had caused more unpopularity than the appointment of the Endowed Schools Commission. He believed the reason was that some of their schemes were needlessly arbitrary, and that in some instances they had given to the middle classes those benefits which were intended for the poor. They had, also, caused a very widespread apprehension by their utterances as to what more might be done by persons actuated by their principles, and by the arbitrary way in which they had carried out their peculiar views. The country having been appealed to by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), had pronounced against his policy. The country wanted a change; and it was not to be expected that the Conservative Government, which had come into power, would be content to cry "ditto" to all the schemes of the late Government. He would admit that if the Bill was not tolerant, it was not wise; but it appeared to him that, instead of having two conflicting bodies of Commissioners dealing with the same class of educational foundations, it was a much more simple and business-like arrangement to intrust the control over them all to the Charity Commissioners. The sympathy of the House had been claimed for the Endowed Schools Commissioners, but they had not been appointed in perpetuity. They had only taken office for a short term of years, which had now expired. These gentlemen had no vested interest in their office, and no hardship was inflicted on them if, in obedience to considerations of public policy, they were not now reappointed. Nor could he see that there was any greater exclusion of Nonconformists, or that their liberties were more narrowed under this Bill, than under the Act of 1869. All that could be said was, that it might secure some control for Churchmen which the action of the Commissioners might have denied them. The real source of the unpopularity of this Bill was, that hon. Gentlemen opposite saw in it the opportunity of a "good cry," and they very naturally availed themselves of it. In his opinion, the only real ground for discontent lay in a portion of the Schedule, and if that were removed, the Bill would be a very workable one. As, however, he believed the Bill in the main did no wrong, and made the old law clear, he should heartily support the Motion for going into Committee.


Mr. Speaker—It has been frequently remarked in the course of this debate that it would be well for some of those who represent Nonconformist opinion in this House to state authoritatively what attitude the different religious Bodies in the country will probably assume on this question. Sir, I belong to one of the largest and most energetic of those Bodies, but I do not think it is either my right or my duty to represent its opinions here in an authoritative way. There is a definite and recognized mode in which the decisions of the Wesleyan Body are made public, through its President, its Conference, and its Committees, and neither I nor anybody else in the House of Commons, at any school board, or anywhere else, has a particle of official or responsible right to speak in its name and on its behalf. I think it is inconvenient, though it has latterly become more usual than formerly, for hon. Members to assume representative rights which do not constitutionally belong to them. I claim to speak on behalf of the constituency who conferred upon me the honour of a seat in this House, and on behalf of nobody else. Still, as it has been my privilege during the whole of my life to be connected with the Wesleyan Methodist Society, I think I am able to judge what may be the effect of this Bill on our interests; what may be the feelings produced amongst us; and how, so far as I can see, it will probably influence our political action in the future. It is chiefly from this point of view that I propose to consider the question. Let me, however, say that I agree with that which was stated so broadly and definitely by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) last night—that it is clear that this is not a Bill to live and stand by itself, but that it must be taken as part of the policy which dictated the introduction of the Licensing Bill. This is only a complementary Bill, a sister bill, which would not have any life in itself unless taken in connection with the Licensing Bill. The two measures have one history and one vitality about them, and they form part of one policy. Hon. Members on the other side found themselves deeply indebted to two classes for value received in votes and interest at the last election. I need not define those two classes further than to say that the one was to be paid by the Licensing Bill and the other by the Bill now before the House; and both Bills are due to a gushing gratitude on the part of the Government which is engaging—and which must entitle them in return to the gratitude of the persons in whose interest the measures have been introduced. And as these Bills had a common origin, they have had a singularly parallel history. And I hold that the system which has been adopted is inconvenient and objectionable in the highest degree. They have been brought into this House very raw and crude, with the understanding that everything that was really earnest and vital about them was of no importance. In the Licensing Bill, that which everybody in the country understood to be the vital portion of the Bill was declared not to be vital at all, and the attention of the House was sought to be diverted from that which was important to that which was ancillary. The same thing has been attempted here also. We are told by some hon. Gentlemen that this is a small Bill, that we are making too much fuss about it, and that we are making mountains out of molehills. That is easy to say if you adopt the extraordinary policy of the other side—if you ignore that part of the Bill which has caused, as I believe, disgust throughout the country, and not only in the Liberal party. That which, after all, is really the important part of the Bill has been put on one side by hon. Members who have spoken in its favour, and they have endeavoured to twist the debate into a comparison of the desirability of working improvement of endowments by means of the Endowed Schools Com- mission on the one hand and the Charity Commissioners on the other. Now, if this stood alone, it would be a very important question, and I shall say a word or two about it directly; but, as compared with the rest of the Bill, this is the most important thing you can conceive. What we want to ensure is that you administer the right thing; and then, whether your plans are carried out by the Charity Commissioners or by the Endowed Schools Commissioners is a matter of comparatively small importance. In pursuance of this oblique policy of debate a good deal has been said which has reference solely to matters of detail. We have been invited to consider the Bill as if we had gone into Committee and were engaged on the clauses; and we have been told that our objections to it may fairly arise in that fashion. I protest against the theory that we should pass an objectionable Preamble for the sake of peace, because we may, perhaps, arrive afterwards at harmless compromises in detail. If we object to a thing in principle we are bound to fight that at once, and not to be twisted away from it by offers of amendment in Committee which—I do not mean to say it offensively, I am sure—but which yet may be delusive. Now, in looking at this Bill as involving and embodying real principles, it has only two things in it. The second is the more important of the two; but first with regard to the smaller question—that, namely, of jurisdiction. It has been said that the Endowed Schools Commissioners are very unpopular. Well, Sir, I have listened anxiously to the whole of this debate, and have tried to find out what fair ground of complaint exists against those Commissioners, and I declare I have not heard any suggested. If they have become unpopular, I fear it is because they have done their duty. And so will the Charity Commissioners become unpopular if they do their duty with regard to those schools. If old endowments are wickedly and abominably administered, and if you set anybody to reform this, to sweep away that which is wrong and mischievous, and to root out old sinecures, those upon whom such duties devolve will soon and inevitably become unpopular. But surely this argument of unpopularity should not in common decency be used here. If those men have become un- popular by having done their duty, the one place to which they should naturally look for sympathy is this House, which first gave them their powers. If it is to he understood that when men do their duty, and thus incur great unpopularity, they are to be abandoned and thrown over in this way by those who are honourably bound to support them, it will be a very bad lesson, indeed, for all public servants in time to come. And therefore, Sir, I do not stay to inquire whether it is true or not that these gentlemen have become unpopular. I am satisfied with the fact that no one ventures to suggest that they have been guilty of a single act of impropriety or injustice. I know that they have had to perform duties of immense difficulty and exquisite delicacy, and I dismiss this first principle of the Bill—the change of jurisdiction—with the belief that it is our duty on all grounds of justice and honour to support the men who, as I believe, have done their duty faithfully and well. I come, Sir, to discuss, secondly, that which I believe the country generally considers to be the main part of the Bill, and I confess that I am somewhat amused at the remarkable arguments adopted in support of it. We have virtually been told sometimes that it does not mean what it says, and sometimes that it is impossible to say what it really does mean. Now, I apprehend that in ascertaining its true meaning we have a right to take the Bill with all its surroundings, and especially in connection with the speech with which it was introduced by the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon). I do not at all forget the other speech which the noble Lord delivered in explanation, or, I might say, in mitigation. But, Sir, while I do not for one moment doubt the good faith of the noble Lord, I repose more confidence on his first speech than his second; and I will tell the House why. When a right hon. Member makes a speech in this House which sets forth what everybody believes to be the true principle of the Bill; when the whole of that speech is of the most defiant and bellicose kind; when it is cheered by his Friends behind him with a rapture and vigour precisely proportionate to its vigour and wrath; when he comes again, after some time for reflection, of a totally different spirit, and by no means in accordance with the spirit of the Bill, we cannot but suspect not only that the right hon. Member's eloquence has been chastened, but that in the interval he has been himself chastened for letting out too much. And in a case like this, I think that he, and those by whom he is supported, have no right to complain if we prefer to believe the first speech in its entirety, with all the anger and warmth by which it was characterized, rather than the second, which looks so very much as though it had been toned down to order. In such a case, it is quite in vain for hon. Members on the other side to say that we repudiate that which we say is the obvious intention of the framers of this measure. We must judge of people's intentions by what they do, and not by what they say, and certainly not by what they say on second thoughts; and thus we judge of the intentions in this case, not only by the words used in the second speech, but by the expressions used in the first speech, and, above all, by the Bill which is introduced. It is not enough to say that concessions and alterations will be made. Those concessions ought never to have been necessary to have been made. It is clear that the Ministry, with its great numerical power, can force the Bill through, and, if they choose to press it, they will succeed in carrying it; and, if they do, this Bill will show the true spirit of the party opposite, by which we have a right to suppose that they will be actuated during their whole lease of power. It is a spirit which, so far as Dissenters and all Liberal principles are concerned, is a spirit of complete exclusiveness. There is not an hon. Member who has said, or can say, that it will not, as a matter of fact, take away from Nonconformists, and from the nation as such, a very large amount of educational power, and hand it over to one denomination, and that denomination the Church of England. When once more Liberal principles assert their ascendancy, as they will do—does anybody suppose the Bill will remain a permanent measure—that it will be allowed to remain on the Statute Book for one hour? There can be no doubt that the Liberal party, when they have the power, will wipe it away as a serious disgrace to the law, and the nation will be rejoiced to find it done. The Bill is a hardship; but it is something more than that. There has been no generally expressed wish that the Endowed Schools Commissioners should be removed, nor has there been any attempt to show that in any place in the country there has been a wish expressed that any of these schools should be made exclusive. The action of the present Commissioners has been generally accepted by the country. It has not been the subject of any formal complaint to this House; and yet this is to be suddenly and harshly altered without any cause, wish, or reason being shown except that something must be done to satisfy one-half of those by whom the present Government obtained their power, an attempt having already been made to satisfy the other half. Why are we to take schools which were not originally, according to the wishes of the founders, Church of England schools, and give them to the Church of England? Why are those schools, if they are to be dealt with at all, not to be fairly divided among the different branches of the Church, or the different sects? The Church of England is the Church of a wealthy and aristocratic minority, for it is impossible to deny that since the religious Census was taken—the Census, the fair taking of which has been resisted by the Church of England ever since—the Church of England is the Church of the minority of the country, and it is also notorious that that minority is composed of the wealthier classes of the country. Is it to be suggested that for these reasons that Church is to be favoured, to have handed over to her sole care and for her sole advantage these "outworks" and "fortifications?" Of course it cannot be; and this brings us to what I think is the real danger of this Bill—a danger which has not hitherto been pointed out to the House as fully and fairly as seems to me to be desirable. The only other reason for this favouritism is that it is the Established Church. But if that is to be the ground of action, mark the tremendous danger with which we are brought face to face. You are, in fact, telling the whole of the country that you are going to take away from the nation money and power devoted to education, and give them to a single Church, for no other reason in the world than that it is the Established Church. But is it reasonable to suppose Nonconformists will submit to this? It is impossible. But I will tell you what will probably happen. The question of disestablishment is one which will press for a solution sooner or later. There are at this moment many members of my own Church and some of other Nonconforming Churches who are not prepared for the disestablishment of the Church of England—some oven who are so far misguided as to give a general and active support to the Conservative party, or who, at all events, are opposed to any attack on the Church, and who do not object to an Establishment as such. But what must happen now? You say, "We will do you a gross injustice; we will give the Church of England so tremendous an advantage over you, that it will compel all who, up to the present time, have been non-political Dissenters, to become political Dissenters, and if this Bill passes, they will be compelled from that moment to fight for disestablishment as a matter of straightforward logic. We will undo approved legislation to your detriment, and we justify this hardship and this injury solely on the ground that the Church to be favoured is Established." Sir, what must be our answer? What is the only answer that we can be reasonably expected to give? It is this. If Establishment is the synonym and excuse for outrage, the Establishment must die. And this Bill will thus compel those who up to this time have been "non-political" to become political Dissenters. It is said that Dissenters may send their children to those denominational schools. This is no relief at all. We know that this is what is meant and wished. But what does it involve? These schools are to be become the outworks of the Church by being transformed into engines of juvenile propagandism. Dissenters are to be tempted to send their children to these schools in order that they may be subjected to the influences which will rule there. I warn hon. Members opposite that Nonconformists will never submit to this crafty benevolence—that they will not bear that their children are to be subjected to great educational disadvantages, or else to go where Church clergymen will teach Church doctrines, infuse Church prejudices, and plant what some of us believe to be Church errors. I predict, therefore, while I deprecate, the politico-religious strife which this Bill will excite when it brings all moderate and all extreme Dissenters into one strong phalanx of Disestablishmentarians. It may be that Her Majesty's Government have proposed this change in the expectation of binding the Church to them, and by its aid maintaining themselves in power; but I will not say that is so. I cannot, and I will not believe, that the present Government is prepared to enter upon a course of reckless religious agitation up and down the country; but I venture to hope that, even from so young and humble a Member as myself, words may not pass unheeded which warn them against the dangerous course on which they are entering. But this, at all events, I will say—the principle embodied in this Bill, if sanctioned, cannot stop hero. If Her Majesty's Government begin by taking the endowed schools, they must go on in the re-actionary course; they must close again the Fellowships of Colleges which have so lately been thrown open; they must carry the principle further still, in more directions than one, and the result will be that they will find themselves launched upon such a sea of strife as I believe has never been seen within our times, the end of which cannot be foretold, but from which I earnestly hope and pray the country may yet be saved. And it is because I see this so clearly, and because I deprecate it so strongly, that I have ventured to make these remarks. I do earnestly hope that when we go down next time to the country to fight for our seats—and it may not be very long first—we may be able to fight on distinct and definite political grounds alone, and that we shall not drag the Church of Christ into the arena of party warfare, degrading her into a mere party cry, and trailing and staining religion in the dust.


said, that the Opposition had been taunted with making this a party question; but if ever there was an occasion when it was fair and legitimate to do so it was when a Bill of this character had been introduced and carried forward in that spirit by the Government. If ever this Bill became law it would be essentially a party and re-actionary measure, and thus far the Opposition was bound to do all it could to prevent its becoming the law of the land. The Bill was introduced in a spirit of a somewhat party character. It had been represented by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and notably by the Secretary of State for War, as a measure merely to carry out the action of the last Parliament with regard to Endowed Schools in the Acts of 1869 and 1873; but if its object was no more than that, he could not understand why so much importance was attached to it by the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon), and why so strong an appeal should be made for passing it. He had read the Bill with great attention, along with the Acts of 1869 and 1873, and he must say, instead of being a small, unimportant measure, it was one of a very great and serious character—a Bill which would have very grave results, and results too, of a character that was very little dreamed of by those who supported it. They had been told that the Endowed Schools Commissioners had made themselves singularly unpopular in the country; but he ventured to prophesy that if the Charity Commissioners had similar duties assigned to them they would soon become equally unpopular. It appeared, however, that their duties would be widely different from those the Endowed Schools Commissioners had to discharge. He had examined the Bill carefully, and he confessed that it was a measure which would introduce very momentous changes into the law at present existing with respect to the endowed schools; and he did not envy the Charity Commissioners the extremely troublesome task which was imposed on them of reading Section 19 of the Act of 1869 by the light of this Bill. What was more, it was reactionary in its character, and could not fail as such to be mischievous and evil in its consequences. Nonconformists, in spite of all that had been said to the contrary, would be prevented from having their fair share in the management of the schools. A Church domination would be set up; wrangling and ill-feeling would be the result; and pretensions would be preferred by Churchmen which Nonconformists would not acknowledge, but which, on the contrary, they would denounce and resist. He quite admitted that the children of Nonconformists could be sent to the schools; but the question was, would they be able to get the prizes and scholarships that were given in these schools? [An hon. MEMBER: Yes.] That might be so in the opinion of the hon. Member; but it was certainly not so in his. On the contrary, he believed that the children of Nonconformists would be debarred from the enjoyment of the privileges of those institutions. The noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) had given Notice of an Amendment providing that— Nothing in this or in the principal Act contained shall require the Commissioners to provide that the governing body in any scheme (other than a scheme relating to a Cathedral or a Collegiate Church school) shall he members of any particular Church, sect, or denomination, and they may provide to the contrary unless there be in the original instrument of foundation any provision directing that the governing body, or any number of the members thereof, shall be members of a particular Church, sect, or denomination. How would that Amendment apply to cases where the founders were Roman Catholics? He thought the Amendment would not remove the grievance. He believed it was quite in the power of the Government to press the Bill forward if they chose to do so; but he warned the Government that if it were carried out in the spirit in which it had been framed and brought in, it would prove injurious to the interests of education, and create much greater dissatisfaction in the country than any which had arisen from the operations of the existing Endowed Schools Commission.


said, he wished to confine himself to the administrative part of the Bill under discussion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had read a letter to them from the Charity Commissioners as to the expediency of not having a divided administration in those matters; and, only yesterday, he had himself heard of a case in a town in the West of England where schools were not built merely because the Charity Commissioners and the Education Commissioners could not agree. That showed that one Commission would be better than two. Sometimes no Commission at all was better than even one, although perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite believed, as Sydney Smith said, that the great secret of human happiness lay in handing over all sublunary affairs to the care of Commissions and Commissioners. Commissions might be valuable, but were they all to be abolished on Saturday night, the sun would rise as usual on Sunday morning. Mira cano, sol occubuit, nox nulla secuta est. He saw no reason why the Charity Commissioners should not be competent to perform the duties proposed to be intrusted to them, especially as their functions were of a judicial character, and they need not necessarily be connected with a particular party in the State. As that was a matter of mere administration he was decidedly in favour of that portion of the Bill. A Commission might become rather unpopular for doing its duty; but if its unpopularity reached a certain height it would become a dangerous institution. Moreover, in these days Governments must be careful how they brought on themselves great unpopularity; because through the ballot-box people had a ready means of revenging themselves for any annoyance they experienced. If, when they got into Committee on that Bill, reasonable objections were met, the greater part of the dissatisfaction it occasioned would probably disappear.


said, he thought that, in spite of the attempts of hon. Gentlemen opposite to treat as slight the changes proposed by that Bill, it was very evident, on the face of the whole subject, that those changes were, after all, very serious. The liberalizing effect of the Act of 1869 was about to be greatly narrowed, and its restrictive parts very widely extended. The schools to which the change would apply were to be numbered by hundreds. But what was even more important was the altered spirit which was to govern that legislation, as evidenced especially by the sweeping change about to be made in the personnel of the Commission. It was said by some of the advocates of the measure that it would be more liberal than the Act of 1869, and that it would impose the Conscience Clause contained in the Act of 1870, but as matter of fact a Conscience Clause had already been imposed in Endowed Schools under the schemes of the present Commissioners. A strong objection to the Bill was, that it would tend to exclude Nonconformists from sharing in the management of endowed schools. It was no answer to this objection to say that the schools would be open to children belonging to any religious denomination, for it was casting a stigma upon a large body of men to say that they should have no voice in the management of the schools in which their children were being educated. He would respectfully request the attention of the Prime Minister who now held the office of Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow to another objection to the Bill. It would prevent a large class of highly competent teachers from being engaged in the endowed schools from the Scotch Universities; for men trained in those Universities would be ineligible as teachers in the schools managed under the provisions of the present Bill, although their scientific acquirements might render them valuable teachers. He looked upon the Bill as a retrograde measure, and he certainly could not give his support to it.


said, that, having listened attentively to the lengthened debate upon the Motion before the House, and to the conflicting, and, at the same time, confident opinions which had been expressed by hon. Members as to the scope and object of the Bill, he had put the question fairly to himself—What was really the true meaning of the Bill? Was it the retrograde and re-actionary measure it had been described, reversing the received and settled policy of the past, or was such a description of it unfair and exaggerated? To listen to the speeches of some hon. Members opposite, particularly the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for East Devon (Sir John Kennaway), anyone would suppose that this was an innocent and harmless measure for merely improving and amending "The Endowed Schools Act, 1869," and giving a more complete and extended operation to the real principle of that Act. He disclaimed the charges that had been thrown out by hon. Members opposite, that there was an attempt on that side of the House to make political capital out of the Bill. Such attempts he condemned not only as wrong and unworthy of a great party, but as most unwise, and as certain to recoil upon the heads of those who made them. The country at large was sure to judge for itself, and form its own conclusion whether the charge was a just one, or whether the Bill was properly denounced as a retrograde measure, reversing great and settled principles of past legislation, or an amending and improving Bill intended to carry out and develop those principles. He wished to impress upon the House that it was by no means a simple matter to determine what the real meaning and effect of the Bill was. The question turned mainly upon the effect of Clause 4 of the Bill, which introduced a new and most extraordinary interpretation of words contained in Section 19 of the Act of 1869, and so giving a sweeping and almost indefinite extension to a highly objectionable, though hitherto limited, exception contained in that Act in favour of the Established Church. He might have contented himself by proving that that was so, from the very language used by the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) in introducing this Bill; but he would also prove it from the very words of the Bill itself, and also from the arguments of many hon. Members who had spoken in support of the measure. What did the noble Lord say? He said, in the first place, that the Bill had become necessary on account of the death of the Endowed Schools Commission, and because it was not desirable to renew the powers of that Commission. Now, he (Mr. W. Williams) would pause for a moment to ask, what had the Commissioners done to deserve such treatment? No tangible or specific charge had been made against them which could justify the tone adopted towards them. The Commissioners had discharged difficult, onerous, and, in many respects, invidious duties in a manly, courageous, and faithful manner, and had therefore not unnaturally incurred a considerable amount of unpopularity. Theirs was like the labour of Hercules in cleaning out the Augean stables, and they had stirred up the spite and animosity of the worms and the vermin which had fattened upon the accumulated corruption of ages. An hon. Member had justified their dismissal upon the ground that in these days of popular influence and vote by Ballot, it was not sufficient that public officers such as these should perform their duty faithfully, but that they ought to do it in such a way as not to excite public opposition. Was that House, then, asked to sacrifice faithful public servants to popular feeling and disfavour for honestly and fearlessly doing their duty? Was it not rather the duty of the House to stand by them, and protect them, unless it could be shown that they had been unfaithful to their trust? He thought that their unpopularity was the best proof that they had dealt with the corruption and abuses of the old endowments in the true spirit of the Act of Parliament. But that was not the true cause of their dismissal. They were to be sacrificed because they had too faithfully and too honestly carried out the policy of the Act under which they had been appointed. That was obvious from the speeches opposite, justifying the Bill upon the ground that at the late Election the country had declared itself in favour of reversing the policy of the past, and contending that the Government was bound to justify their present position in office by giving effect by means of this Bill to such reversal of policy. And what were the words of the noble Lord himself? He said, alluding to the attitude of the Nonconformists towards the Established Church, that, as the guns were pointed at the fortress, it was but just as well as necessary that they on their side should make a stand and defend their fortifications. He spoke of "belligerents" and of "enemies and allies," and in powerful and stirring language expressed the firm resolve of the Church to hold to the last these great educational endowments throughout the country, as the outworks and fortifications of the threatened Establishment. What did all that mean? Did it mean the superseding a Commission that had failed to do its duty, and the introduction of a mere amending Bill to extend the principle of the existing Act? Was it not, on the contrary, clear and plain that the object of that Bill was of a wholly opposite character? He would not dwell too much upon the speech of the noble Lord, but would turn at once to the Bill itself. In Wales a strong feeling had been aroused, and most justly aroused, against the Bill, from one end of the Principality to the other. The great body of the people were Nonconformists, and there were a large number of these ancient endowed schools spread all over the country; and the determination on the part of the Established Church to seize and retain those ancient national institutions, and to convert them into so many fortresses planted throughout the land for the defence of that Church, would cause a deep and bitter feeling of resentment not only on the part of Dissenters, but in the breast of every generous and liberal-minded man, whether Churchman or Dissenter, throughout the length and breadth of the land. Turning to the language of the Bill itself, it was by no means obvious, at first sight, what the true operation of it would be, and, indeed, except to persons of legal experience, it was difficult and puzzling in the extreme. He had no hesitation in stating that, having carefully studied the Bill, and compared its language with the Act of 1869, it was not an amending Bill at all, but a Bill which completely reversed that great leading principle of the Act of 1869, which was to throw open the great endowed schools of the Kingdom to all without distinction of creed or sect. Clause 4, in a manner wholly unprecedented in legislation, placed a forced and unnatural interpretation upon the words "express terms of the original instrument of foundation," wherever they occur in the Act of 1869. And what was the effect of this? In order correctly to appreciate the effect of this extraordinary Interpretation Clause, it would be necessary to apply its language to the provisions of Sections 17, 18, and 19, of the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, and if the House would allow him he would read the exact words to the House. Clause 4 of the Bill was this— In this Act and the Endowed Schools Acts the expression 'express terms of the original instrument of foundation,' shall be held to include any provision in the original instrument of foundation which enjoins the attendance of the scholars at the religious worship of any particular church, sect, or denomination, or that they should be members of a particular church, sect, or denomination, or directs that the masters or principal master of a school are to he persons or a person belonging to any particular church, sect, or denomination, or requires or subjects the regulations of a school to be made or approved by any person or authority holding office in any church, sect, or denomination, or directs the governing body of a school, or the majority of such body, or the electors of the governing body, or a majority of such electors, to be members of a particular church, sect, or denomination. He would now read the Act of 1869— Section 17.—In every scheme (except as in hereinafter-mentioned) relating to any educational endowment, the Commissioners shall provide that the religious opinions of any person, or his attendance or non-attendance at any particular form of religious worship, shall not in any way affect his qualification for being one of the governing body of such endowment. Section 18.—In every scheme (except as in hereinafter mentioned) relating to an endowed school, the Commissioners shall provide that a person shall not be disqualified for being a master in such school by reason only of his not being or not intending to be in holy orders. Section 19.—A scheme relating to.… (2.) any educational endowment the scholars educated by which are, in the opinion of the Commissioners … required by the express terms of the original instrument of foundation … to learn or to be instructed according to the doctrines or formularies of any particular church, sect, or denomination, is excepted from the foregoing provisions respecting religious instruction, and attendance at religious worship … and respecting the qualification of the governing body and masters. He begged the House to observe the language of these various sections. He had been exceedingly dissatisfied at the time with the narrowness of the exception from the great principle of the Act of 1869, contained in Section 19, and still more so with the extension of the exception by the Amendment Act of 1873. He regarded all these ancient educational endowments as belonging to the nation, and thought that they ought to be boldly thrown open to everybody, as if no distinction of religious creeds existed; but these exceptions were submitted to at the time, though not without a protest, as a compromise in which large numbers of the Liberal party had to give way. It was now proposed by the Bill practically to extend the exception contained in Section 19 to almost every endowed school in the Kingdom. That section excepted from the operation of Sections 17 and 18 of the Act, all schemes for endowed schools, the scholars educated by which were required by the express terms of the original instrument of foundation to be instructed according to the doctrines of any particular Church. Objectionable as that restriction was in principle, it was of less consequence practically, as it reached but a small number of endowed schools, because not many contained any express provision upon the subject. But what did the Bill now propose to do? It proposed to extend, by means of a forced, unnatural, and even contradictory interpretation, this exception to every endowed school, the instrument of foundation of which could be considered by any conceivable inference, however remote, to have provided for, or have even contemplated any religious instruction of its scholars. That would practically bring within the reach of the exception in Section 19 almost every endowed school in the Kingdom, and would in effect, though not formally or in words, repeal Sections 17 and 18 of the Act of 1869, and hand over all the endowed schools to the Church of England. Such a step was the most monstrous and most retrograde that had ever been attempted. Let not hon. Members deceive themselves, or the country, to the contrary, for that was the true legal operation of the Bill. He would candidly concede that there was a sense in which it might be said that the present Bill merely confirmed and extended a certain principle recognized by the Acts of 1869 and 1873. No doubt that was so, but what principle was that? It was the principle contained in the exception in Section 19, which he and so many Liberals objected to, and wished to see abrogated, and which it was now proposed to make universal, converting, in fact, the small exception into the general rule. There was one advantage of being in Opposition:—he could tell the Leaders of his own party that, if they wished ever again to be in power, they must be prepared not only to repeal the Bill, but to go a great deal further and sweep away the invidious exceptions in the Acts of 1869 and 1873, and place the great educational endowments of the country upon a broad, liberal, and truly national basis. For his own part, he was prepared to go much further than anybody had yet suggested in radically reforming and nationalizing those ancient endowments. The historical accounts which they had listened to as to the origin of some of those endowments, and as to the periods of their creation, and the special objects and opinions of the pious founders were, no doubt, very interesting; but he thought that a great deal too much importance had been attached to that branch of the subject, and to the special notions and ideas of ancient founders who had been dead for hundreds of years. He would ask, who was this pious founder for whose opinions they were asked to entertain such superstitious veneration, and whose intentions it was seriously contended in this year 1874 should be so strictly carried into effect? Some of them, no doubt, had been most worthy, benevolent, and enlightened men, whose chief object had been out of their superabundance to make provision for their less fortunate fellow-creatures, and by these munificent gifts for religious, charitable, and educational purposes, to confer a public benefit upon their country in generations to come. But it was undeniable that a large number were men of an opposite character; men who, having plundered and cheated their fellow-creatures through life, had been described by a well-known writer in language more irreverent than he could have ventured to use, as vainly endeavouring in the last act of their lives to cheat the Devil of his just inheritance, after they had left this world, by bequeathing their souls to God, and their ill-gotten wealth to religious and charitable uses. Other men, actuated by the vilest and meanest motives, had bequeathed large sums to such purposes with a view of perpetuating their miserable names. That was in most cases the pious founder. He fully admitted the importance of encouraging the wealthy and benevolent to devote property for the use of endowing public institutions, especially of an educational character; but he entirely disputed the policy and practical use of attempting to carry out too closely the ideas or wishes of pious founders who had lived hundreds of years ago. Some persons seemed to think that because during the few short years they lived upon the earth, they became possessed of property or accumulated a certain portion of the produce of the earth, and because the law conferred upon them a certain power of disposing of it at their death, they had some sort of natural right to dictate to future generations and even distant ages, how, and upon what terms, that property should be used and applied; he entirely denied the existence of any such right, and disputed the policy of conferring by law any such rights of property. The extraordinary power of bequeathing property in perpetuity was entirely unknown to the ancient law of England, and was invented by the lawyers and priests of the Middle Ages for the purpose of accumulating and monopolizing power in the hands of ecclesiastics, in direct opposition to the true spirit of the laws of England. Nothing could be more injurious to the moral and intellectual progress of a nation than the exercise of such extraordinary powers over property, for the purpose of perpetuating particular ideas, whether of religion or morals; because ignorant and weak people, under the influence of superstitions, were always anxious to stereotype and perpetuate for ever certain fixed ideas of morals or religion under the belief that they had discovered some fixed and immutable truths; and the consequence was that in every progressive country the endowed teachers of religion and morals were invariably behind, and generally in conflict with, the age in which they lived. Nor would his principle be found in practice to have any effect in preventing those persons who were desirous of endowing useful public institutions from doing so. It was a well-known fact that in no period of our history had there been so many or such magnificent endowments created or gifts made for public purposes as there had been in modern times, and since Parliament had asserted and exercised the right of dealing freely with the intentions of ancient founders. It might, he thought, be desirable to allow founders for a limited period after their death—say 50 or even 100 years—to insist upon their special views and wishes upon any subject being strictly carried out; but beyond such fixed period he thought that all special restrictions and limitations upon the future use of property ought to be reviewed, and, if necessary, over-ruled and made conformable to the public views of the day. Whether property had been left by Roman Catholics, or Anglicans, or Anabaptists, for the purpose of perpetuating their particular doctrines, he should treat as wholly immaterial after the lapse of the period of limitation. He would treat them all alike; and, looking at the matter practically, he was convinced that the abolition of this power to tie up property to religious uses in perpetuity would strengthen and not weaken the rights of private property. Returning to this Bill, he should not be afraid, for his part, to see the Bill pass into law, because it would let the country know what the intentions of the Government as to education and endowments were in the future. The noble Lord had let out the true character of their future policy when he had spoken in such impassioned language of "guns pointed," of "belligerents," of "enemies and allies," and of "fortresses to be retained and defended," all in relation to the great educational endowments of the country. What was that but the language of war? The noble Lord had thrown down the gauntlet and had hurled defiance at the Nonconformists and the whole Liberal party. [Mr. DISRAELI: Defence, not defiance.] "Defence and not defiance" did the right hon. Gentleman say? He thanked him for the interruption. He thought he had heard those words before. But why were they on the defensive, when they had not only a numerical but a solid and substantial majority? Was it that they felt conscious that they had placed themselves in the wrong? But if the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord were determined to pursue that unfortunate metaphor, he would remind them that in order to defend those fortresses they must first re-take them, for at present they were in the hands of the enemy, and they knew that; and it was by means of this Bill, which was in truth and in fact no less than a declaration of war, that it was hoped that they would be regained. The Tory Government had declared war against the Nonconformists and the Liberal party in relation to the endowed schools of the whole country, and he hoped that the country would fully understand the import of that declaration. He could only speak on behalf of his own constituency in Wales; but he hoped that if the Bill must pass, it should pass with all its present deformity. It was impossible that any such retrogade measure could now do any permanent harm to the country; whilst, on the other hand, it would serve to show the people that the Tory Government had thrown off the mask, and it would bring them back to their senses and prove to them what geese they had made of themselves at the last Election. It was a measure which the country would resent, and which would moreover enable those who wished to carry out true Liberal principles with respect to educational endowments, not only at a future time to repeal the Bill, but likewise to carry out a complete and radical reform by sweeping away all restrictions and exceptions from the legislation of 1869 and 1873, and giving the full benefit of all our ancient endowments to the entire community without distinction of religious creed or sect.


could not but feel that a challenge—an offensive challenge—had been given to Nonconformists, and also that the Endowed Schools Commissioners had been exposed to undue treatment. The noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) had an here- ditary right to deal with this question, for years ago his honoured father (the Earl of Harrowby) had made earnest endeavours to make the grammar schools and the endowed schools of the country more useful for the people. He gave every credit to the noble Lord for good intentions, and thought it was very hard to place him in a position so painful and disagreeable at so early a period of his official career. He did not believe he had been placed there by the Prime Minister. If the Government wished to improve the machinery of the existing Act, it was not necessary to treat with censure and utter contempt the labours of the Commissioners in the discharge of a very difficult and onerous task. Many years had been occupied in solving the problem of middle class, or, as it was called abroad, secondary education. He thought the Government had been pushed on by the county Members behind them. He believed that the wounding of the dignity of the Trustees of Schools, and the touching of the pockets of those who were responsible for the education of the people, had a great deal to do with the unpopularity of the Endowed Schools Commissioners. No one was more sincerely interested in public school education than Lord Lyttelton. He was sometimes called a bouncing Eton boy; his heart was wrapped up in public school education, and he was a warm and sincere Churchman. He it was, too, who solved the question of a Conscience Clause and prepared a bridge which the Church was enabled to step over for some purpose. He was a friend to instruction of a definite religious character, and he believed that that was not inconsistent with the principle of trusting the English people with the management of their own affairs. Canon Robinson was identified with middle-class education, was a clergyman of the Church of England, and had done his utmost to get over the difficulties which beset the path of the Commissioners. He believed the disestablishment of the Endowed Schools Commissioners was directed against one outspoken man who had had the courage to speak out against some of the most glaring abuses—a man who was an eminent member of one of our Universities, a man noted for extraordinary accuracy and conscientiousness. Having watched his career for some years, he never saw a man who so observed authority and never went beyond the law. That was the man whom this Bill was directed against. He was a man distinguished as a scholar and as a schoolmaster, and he was to be turned adrift after many years' service simply because he rendered himself objectionable to country gentlemen. ["Name, name!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite knew the name well enough. They wanted to get rid of him, but he believed it was not intended to turn off the rest of the staff. Those who knew best the gentleman to whom he referred would be the last to believe the charge of discourtesy to the Trustees of Oakham. The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke last night as he always did, kindly, sensibly, and with a thorough knowledge of his subject, for there was no more sincere reformer of endowed schools. He had worked with the right hon. Gentleman on the Endowed Schools Inquiry Commission, and if the Government had consulted him they would have paused in their career of turning the present Commissioners adrift. The right hon. Gentleman correctly said, that the Endowed Schools Inquiry Commission had recommended that the duty of dealing with these endowments should be given to the Charity Commissioners. It was not for them to dictate the creation of new machinery, and they took the more modest course of recommending that the work should be given to an existing Commission. They suggested, however, that with the Charity Commissioners should be coupled Public Boards of the neighbouring gentlemen. The Charity Commission itself was but a branch of the Court of Chancery. The person upon whom the unpopularity of the Endowed Schools Commission should be visited was Mr. Hobhouse, a late Commissioner, who was now serving his country in India. He had shaped the early course of the Commission on some of the most unpopular points, and he had two remarkable qualifications—he had the ready pen of an equity draftsman, and he had been a Charity Commissioner. Did the Government remember what it was to lose all this enormous mass of accumulated knowledge? He did think it monstrous that the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond), who called himself the Minister of Education, and the Vice President of the Council, should bring in this Bill without any personal or private communication with these Commissioners. The only possible explanation of that was that the Commissioners were from the first doomed to destruction, and therefore it was thought better to keep the knowledge from them. He deeply regretted the course which had been pursued. If it had been a case of cattle disease or South Down sheep, or any question affecting landlords and tenants, the noble Duke would have spared no pains to communicate with the parties, to get all the information in his power, and to produce an impression on the minds of those with whom he had to act that he had not been behind in courtesy. He, in the interest of the public, also deeply regretted the course which had been followed by the Government, and he hoped they would find some means of amending the Bill. It was incomprehensible to him (Sir Thomas Acland) that a responsible Government should come down to that House with nothing to say against a body of men who had been engaged in a great public work, but that they were unpopular. But did not the Conservative Party know what it was to be unpopular? However, there the Government were, and hon. Gentlemen opposite know how many votes this question had gained them at the last Election. But he would ask any public man who remembered what had occurred during the last 30 years, whether it had been the practice of a Government to desert a Commission because it became unpopular? Take the reform of the Poor Law. The whole power of the leading journal was turned against the Poor Law Commissioners; but did the Whig Government make Mr. Edwin Chadwick the scapegoat? No; they stood by the Commissioners. Sir Robert Peel did not throw off his responsibility when he constituted the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; yet the whole power of the Deans and Chapters was brought most earnestly to bear against them. There were things done here which rendered it easy to throw odium on that Commission; but the Government carried it through to the great benefit of the country. Neither had Mr. Lingen been thrown over by the Government of the day. Why did not the present Government, with the able staff they had in the Education Department, take up this work, and make themselves respon- sible for carrying it out, instead of throwing it upon the shoulders of a semi-judicial Commission? The Government might be assisted by the experience of eminent gentlemen in the counties and large towns in a work of this hind. He could truly say for the Endowed Schools Commissioners that their earnest endeavours had been to call into play local influences, and not merely to enforce their own views finally. There were certain legislative restrictions imposed upon the Commissioners by Parliament, and these they introduced into their schemes; but in all matters affecting their own discretion they had always deferred to that of the Governing Bodies concerned in working out the schemes. He was, he might add, very much pained at the exceedingly unfair manner in which his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford had been dealt with in the course of the discussion, for hon. Gentlemen opposite ought to know better than anyone what they owed to him. The right hon. Gentleman had made provision for special schools, yet throughout the debate he had been charged with all the exclusiveness which had been so often mentioned because he tried to meet hon. Gentlemen opposite half-way. He hoped, he might add, that the Government would say plainly whether they intended that Dissenters should be excluded from the Governing Bodies of any schools, and, if any, of what schools. Were the schools to be affected by the Bill to be as much entitled as hitherto to scholarships and endowments, and were the restrictions with respect to masters taking Holy Orders to be increased? He wished also to know what was the object of taking away from the Governing Bodies the power of assenting to new schemes? He did not think it was unreasonable, especially from the point of view of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that provision should be made for the continuance of religious education under circumstances where with any kind of fairness it could be said that the schools had a claim to be regarded as denominational; but if the exclusion of Dissenters was to be maintained to anything like the extent which was indicated, an unmerited insult would, in his opinion, be cast on Nonconformists, and a step taken which would be a very serious source of danger to the Established Church. There had been a great deal of misunderstanding with regard to the Bill; but there was no mistake, at all events, about the expression of the Prime Minister's determination to put down Ritualism. He had great confidence that the Prime Minister, as a man of genius, was anxious to give to the lower portion of the middle class and the upper portion of the artizan class the benefit of the ancient and noble educational endowments of the country. He hoped the Government would make arrangements by which they would be enabled to retain in some form or other the services of those who knew most about this subject. He trusted the Government would treat this question in such a manner that instead of arousing the indignation of that side of the House they would win its support.


said, he was not one of those who were particularly in love with this Bill; but if there was one thing in the world that would pass the Bill, it was the speeches they had heard in opposition to it from hon. Gentlemen opposite. His hon. Friend who had just sat clown always imported more party spirit into his speeches than almost any other man he knew. He began by attacking one of the former Commissioners who was now in India, and praising another who might be sitting under the Gallery. It was a most improper thing to praise a man who was present, and to blame most severely a man who was absent. ["Oh, oh!"] The hon. Member said Mr. Hobhouse was not a fit man to be on the Commission. ["Oh."] [Sir THOMAS ACLAND: I did not say so.] That, at all events, was the inference to be drawn from the hon. Baronet's words. Then, he said that the noble Duke the President of the Council had given no notice to the Commissioners why he was going to dismiss them; but if it had been a matter affecting pleuro-pneumonia, the relations of landlord and tenant, or game—[Sir THOMAS ACLAND: I never said a word about game.] Well, South Downs; game and South Downs were not far apart; whoever bred the one well would be able to breed the other well also. But his hon. Friend had said that no reason for the dismissal of the Commissioners had been given. Perhaps it might have been well if some reason had been given; and he was surprised that the noble Lord should have said that these men acted to the best of their ability when he had previously said that they had not discharged their duty. He (Colonel Barttelot) was bound to say that from one end of the country to the other he had heard great complaints of the way in which they had done their duty. He had never heard that any complaints had been made against the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. W. E. Forster) for the way in which he had carried the Act of 1869. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Eichard) had made a remarkable speech, in which he used these words—"The Conservative party who lie upon the benches opposite." What did the hon. Member mean by those words? The Conservative party were an orthodox and proper party, and he (Colonel Barttelot) never saw one of them lying on those benches. [Mr. EICHARD: I beg the hon. and gallant Gentleman's pardon. I said "line the benches opposite."] His (Colonel Barttelot's) ears must have deceived him, as he had certainly taken down the word as "lie." Well, the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) made two distinct statements the other night. The first was that under this Bill no child of a Dissenter could receive the endowments or scholarships of these schools. For his part, if he (Colonel Barttelot) thought the Bill was intended to prevent the children of Dissenters from entering into fair competition with those of the Churchmen, he would not support it. But it would, he believed, have no such effect. The hon. Member also said that out of 42 gentlemen who had got fellowships at Trinity College, Cambridge, no more than five went into the Church, and he argued that this Bill insisted that all the masters of these schools should be clergymen. If that was so, the Bill should not have his support; but as he read its provisions, no such result would follow. These were, however, matters which he believed would be made perfectly clear from the Treasury Bench. Whether it was wise or not to bring in this measure he would not argue; but he believed it had been blackened far more than it deserved. He was bound to say that one or two of the clauses were most obscure, but he did not understand them to bear the construction which had been put upon them by hon. Members opposite. For his own part, he should be glad when the Bill went into Committee, because some excellent Amendments were to be introduced by his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) and others, and as to the transfer of the duties of these Endowed School Commissioners to the Charity Commissioners, he heartily and entirely approved of it.


said, he did not know whether the loud cheers which greeted the close of the speech of the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council on introducing the Bill were due to the fact that the measure was merely meant to substitute one set of Commissioners for another, as the hon. and gallant Member who had just spoken said it was. If so, he was surprised that a change of that description should have called forth so much enthusiasm. When the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland) sat down he expected that some Member of the Government would rise to explain the position in which the House stood. The Government had certainly not assisted the House very much in the progress of the Bill. They had had two speeches from the noble Lord, one from the Secretary of State for War, one from the Home Secretary, and one from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But as one portion of each of those speeches was devoted to answering the other portion, much light had not been thrown by them on the subject under discussion. The noble Lord's second speech had explained away his first; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having only spoken once, had not had an opportunity of answering himself the right hon. Gentleman had, however, done away with much of the effect which might have been produced by the speech of the Secretary of State for War. He said that the reason why the Commissioners were removed was that there was to be a reversal of policy. A reversal of what policy; and, a substitution of what policy for it? These Commissioners were to be dismissed, not because they had done wrong, but because of the reversal of policy which was going to take place; but at the very moment when the House was asked to assent to the dismissal of these Commissioners and to transfer their duties to another body it did not know what was the policy which was going to be reversed—it did not know whether or not Dissenters were to be eligible as members of the Governing Body of schools. The speeches of the noble Lord the Vice President presented two different views of the subject. In the first he spoke of the Dissenters as belligerents but in the second he called them "his Nonconformist brethren." The Government did not cheer the noble Lord when he spoke of his Nonconformist brethren; but then his belligerent speech was received with cheers such as had seldom been equalled in the present Parliament. What was the real policy of Her Majesty's Government? What was the House asked to do? Was it to deal with the brethren or with the belligerents? That was the question before the House, and in order to answer it one must look at the Bill in connection with the cheers and speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite. The object of the Bill, he maintained, was clear enough. It had been argued that in the Bill of 1869, because there were exceptions made in favour of a certain class of schools, by a change of the exceptions the same policy would be pursued. The 17th clause was the principal one in the Act of his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), and the 19th contained the exception. Out of some 850 schools there might be 50 or 100 exceptions, and the remainder were to be treated under Clause 17; and now it was contended that because certain exceptions were accepted, the Government were pursuing the same policy because they made Clause 19 the rule, and Clause 17 the exception. That was scarcely a fair mode of dealing with the question. It was making it dangerous to be moderate. Nothing could be more dangerous than that hon. Members opposite should in their present strong forces set the example that any moderate proposal which might have been accepted by the other party should be turned against them for party purposes. He wished to know what would be the effect of this Bill. There were three classes of schools to which this Bill would apply—namely, schools the schemes relating to which had already been settled; schools the schemes relating to which were at present under consideration; and schools as to which, at present, nothing had been done. Let him consider the effect of this Bill upon these three classes of schools. They had at present 200 schemes under the consideration of the Endowed Schools Commissioners. The whole of that work this Bill proposed, in effect, should be pulled down. The House was asked to transfer the settlement of the schemes relating to those 200 schools to another body. There was a provision in the Bill that the Commissioners were for a time to act together—that the Endowed Schools Commissioners and the Charity Commissioners were to consider these points together. He did not think the Endowed Schools Commissioners would have much satisfaction in discussing these schemes after they had been so politically discredited. But how were these 200 schools to be dealt with? Were they to be dealt with on the principles of the past—on the old principles, or on the new? What would be the effect of the new scheme upon the old schools which had already passed through the ordeal of getting a new scheme? His hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) dealt very ably with that portion of the question. Were these schemes to be re-cast? Were the questions relating to them to be raised anew? The Commissioners had ample powers for doing so, and he would call the attention of hon. Members to the fact that the 28th clause of the Bill of 1869 gave the Commissioners power to make supplementary schemes. He was informed that as to all those schemes which had been contested but not settled, the question whether the contest as to them should be fought over again was left at the mercy of the new Commissioners; that the schools at Bradford, Manchester, and Birmingham would have still to be dealt with; and that as to the schools in other towns, they would have to be dealt with according to the new policy. Was that a tolerable state of things? It was an intolerable state of things. Let the House consider under what auspices this Bill had been produced. It must be in the recollection of hon. Members that in the House of Lords certain schemes had been thrown out under certain influences. As to the school at Birmingham, an influential Member of Her Majesty's Government—namely, the Marquess of Salisbury—whose influence with reference to the introduction of this Bill might be detected, had succeeded in throwing out the scheme of the Commissioners; and by the same easy process the schemes as to some other schools also had been rejected in the House of Lords. From the policy which had obtained the rejection of those schemes, the House might perceive the policy which underlay this most mistaken course which the Government had asked the House to assent to. With regard to future schools, he asked again what was the reversal of policy which was to he effected, and he trusted that Her Majesty's Government would give a clear and unambiguous answer to that question. Was that reversal to apply only to religious education and to the government of schools—because the Marquess of Salisbury who moved the rejection of schemes relating to some of these schools, confined himself to objections on those points? He (Mr. Goschen) wished to remind hon. Members of the five points of reform which the present Commissioners were to inquire into. The Conservative party had been dazed into acquiescence with regard to those points, but he trusted that was not the case with reference to the Liberal party. The five points which had actuated the Commissioners in drawing up their schemes were patronage, the Governing Body, the education of girls, the religious endowments, and the turning the old grammar schools into modern schools. In carrying out their policy they had submitted a number of schemes to Her Majesty's present Government, who had been good enough to pass all the schemes submitted to them. [Viscount SANDON observed that a great number bad not been passed.] Forty-two schemes had been passed, three were sent back for re-consideration, and the remainder were under discussion. But was a single Member of that House so simple as to believe that if the noble Lord was aware of schemes presented by the Commissioners, which offended against any of the great canons that were to be set up by the present Government, he would not have informed the House of the monstrous proposals which had been made by the Endowed Schools Commissioners? Why, in the course of a three nights' debate not a single instance had been brought forward by the Government of even an injudicious act on the part of that body. Were hon. Members aware of any previous case in which a Commission had been dismissed and discredited when not one of its acts had been questioned? The fact was, that it was not for what they had done, but for what they had said in reply to hostile questions put to them before a Committee that the Commissioners were to be dismissed. They were to be dismissed because they were opposed in theory to the wishes of the Government, and because the latter could not trust them to carry out a reversal of their policy. Under these circumstances, he asked what was the point on which Her Majesty's Government were going to reverse the policy of the present Commission, and in what they expected the Charity Commissioners would do better than their predecessors? He felt satisfied that the House would not consent to conclude this debate without an expression of opinion from Her Majesty's Government upon this all-important point. He wished to know further what was the real declaration of the views of Her Majesty's Government, the second declaration of the noble Lord, or the first one which appeared to command the full consent of the Conservative Party the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had suggested to the House that if they could not pass the Bill it might be advisable to drop it. ["No."] The right hon. Gentleman had threatened that as the Act would drop the Commission would drop with it, and that the country would be put to the enormous inconvenience of being for a certain number of months without a Commission at all. For his part, such a result would be endurable. [Ministerial cheers.] Hon. Members opposite who cheered the observation did not wish any further reform in this direction, so that they might go on enjoying their abuses. There would then, in their opinion, be no unpopular Commissioners going through the length and breadth of the land disturbing vested interests and raising a number of most inconvenient questions. But for his own part, he should prefer to have no reform for a short time, with the view of having at no distant date an effectual Commission appointed. That would be better than appointing an ineffectual Commission for five years, which would create great dissatisfaction throughout the country. The noble Lord opposite (Viscount Sandon) had spoken of forging links which would unite different parties together. At present the only forging process that he (Mr. Goschen) had seen consisted in the noble Lord's blowing the bellows so as to kindle a fierce flame all over the country. If this Bill passed no good results could flow from it. Would the Church derive any benefit from it? As a Churchman he ventured to say that it would not. The action that had been taken by the Conservative party, and the attitude assumed by them on this question, had been very disastrous to the Church of England, and it was a remarkable fact that during the last six months the Conservative party had been in power, the Church of England had incurred more serious perils than during the four years the Commission had been in existence. The Liberal party when in office identified itself with the nation, whilst it secured the rights and privileges of the Church, and the Church had suffered more during the short period of existence of the Conservative party than during the whole time the Liberal party were in power. The noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) had warned the Government against identifying itself so closely with the Church, because it was impossible for a Government to identify itself in such a manner with the Church without rendering it dangerous to the Church itself. The Prime Minister had made a little speech across the Table that evening, interrupting the hon. and learned Member for Denbigh (Mr. Watkin Williams) in a humorous manner. When it was remarked that that Bill was a defiance on the part of the Church, the right hon. Gentleman said "Defence, not defiance"—and he might have said in his epigrammatic manner, that his defence of that Bill was defence of the Church. This policy of making exceptions rules and rules exceptions was not a policy of defence, but one of aggression, and was sure to be followed by re-action. Whether they would pass this Bill or not he did not know, but hon. Members on that—the Opposition—side might have one consolation—that in the Bill were clauses which provided that every scheme would have to be submitted to the House before it passed into law. He understood that they were to have an Ecclesiastical Session next year, and if every scheme to be passed by the Charity Commissioners after our policy had been reversed was to be submitted to Parliament and to be challenged by hon. Members on that side, who would keep a most watchful eye upon those schemes, a very considerable portion of their time would be employed in considering the reversal of that policy. Let the Government now declare what that reversal of policy would be, and, unless their utterances were entirely unambiguous, he trusted the House would support the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett.)


said, the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had informed the House and the country that the existence of the Conservative Government was incompatible with the safety of the national Church. He thought that a startling statement, but the explanation was as follows:—that the Conservative Government was apt to identify itself with the interests of the national Church; whereas the Liberal Government took care to make it plain that it regarded the Church, not as the national Church, but as the Church of the nation. He hoped that distinction would be regarded as satisfactory by hon. Gentlemen, and that for the future among those leading questions which would be put to candidates on the hustings would be this one—"Are you in favour of the national Church or of the Church of the nation? "The right hon. Gentleman had made a very ingenious and luminous speech, in which he found fault with nearly everything his noble Friend (Viscount Sandon) had said in both the speeches he had delivered; he propounded a great number of questions better suited to the less heating atmosphere of Committee, and thought he had discovered what he called a "disingenuous argument," which founded itself upon the conduct and language of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), when he was in office. Now, having listened to the greater part of this debate, he had heard no speech during the course of it which more fully vindicated that argument which the right hon. Gentleman had termed "disingenuous" than the frank and outspoken speech of the hon. and learned Member for the Denbigh Boroughs (Mr. Watkin Williams). Turning to the right hon. Member for Bradford, who sat below him, the hon. and learned Gentleman said frankly and openly that he was as much opposed to the legislation of the Act of 1869 as regarded the 19th section, and to the Act of 1873, as he was to the Bill before the House. Well, if that were so, how could the hon. and learned Gentleman, with any show of consistency, support an abstract Resolution proposed by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), asking the House to refuse to proceed to the consideration of the Bill in Committee because it was hostile to the policy of the last Government? Why, the hon. and learned Gentleman was opposed to the policy of the Act of 1869, and if the Bill before the House was opposed to that Act, he ought really to vote for the Bill going into Committee. And now he challenged the principle of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hackney. How were they to find the policy of the last Parliament? Was it expressed in the speeches of right hon. Gentlemen, however distinguished or influential? Was it expressed in the votes of that House—votes, it might be, that were carried by very large majorities? He denied that the policy of the last Parliament had been expressed in any such way. In order to get at that policy, or understand what it really was, they would have to consider the Act itself which had been passed by that Parliament. He maintained that the Bill was not in contravention of that portion, at all events, of the policy of the last Parliament with which it professed to deal. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House that so hostile was he to this measure—so convinced was he that it would be detrimental to the interests of the Church and fatal to the interests of education, so much alive was he to its reactionary character that rather than see it passed he would be willing that the Endowed Schools Commission and the Acts of 1869 and of 1873 should be swept away at once in order that he might get the chance of something better in the future. If they were to talk of the policy of past Parliaments, he might be allowed to say that in the last Parliament he had heard something of this sort. This was not the first time that hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Liberal side of the House had said—"We would rather see all legislation abandoned, and the endowed schools left to shift for themselves, than that a reactionary and fatal policy should be inaugurated." An hon. Gentleman whom he saw rise to address the House a few minutes ago, in moving the rejection of the Bill of 1873, concluded his observations with the words which the House had heard repeated several times in the course of this debate. The hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) said— He altogether objected to the exclusion, by the 6th clause, of some of the schools from the operation and, consequently, from the benefits, of the Act, and could not see on what principles such a provision had been adopted. The recommendations of the Select Committee did not at all justify such an alteration in the law, and, for his part, he would rather see, the Bill lost than that such a provision should be sanctioned by the House. It would upset a principle which they had fought hard to establish, and he could not be a party to any retrograde movement on the subject, and for that reason he felt bound to move the rejection of the Bill."—[3 Hansard, ccxvii. 719–20.] In spite of that vigorous protest and the division which the hon. Member for Swansea then took, the "retrograde measure" of the right hon. Gentleman was passed into law. The measure was called "retrograde." Why? Because it extended in certain respects the provisions of the 19th section of the original Act of 1869. It therefore incurred the hostility and animadversion of the hon. Member for Swansea and his friends. Well, what did this Bill do? The Bill was founded mainly upon the proposals made in the Select Committee out of which the Act of 1873 arose. It was designed further to explain, and to a certain extent extend, the principle which was sanctioned by the Acts of 1869 and 1873. Well, but if that were so, how could hon. and right hon. Gentlemen raise the cry of "retrograde, reactionary policy?" How could they appeal to the country, which he was bound to say up to the present moment did not show the least inclination to respond to the appeal? This Bill was a fair and legitimate Bill, and a fair subject for discussion in Committee; and when the right hon. Gentleman asked to have the clauses of the Bill explained, his answer was, the place to explain them was in Committee of the House. Now, when the right hon. Gentleman told them further that he relied upon the five points made by the hon. Member for Hackney, and expected the Government to give a positive explanation of them, his answer was, that with three of them this Bill did not concern itself in the least—namely, female education, patronage, and the turning of old into modern schools. The other two points would form subjects of discussion when the House got into Committee, as he trusted it would to-night; and if the right hon. Gentleman was in any doubt as to the schools which had been already treated by the Endowed Schools Commissioners, he would tell him that the schemes which had received the assent of the Queen in Council were not touched by this Bill, and it was never the intention of those who were responsible for the measure to place those schemes at hazard. But if any doubt still existed on the subject, there would be no objection to consider the proposal made by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), and clear it up. With respect to the minor points in the Bill—namely, how far the principle of former Acts with regard to Section 19 of the original Act should be exemplified and extended, that was a fitting subject for discussion in Committee. He protested against the violent outcry that was raised against the whole principle of the measure, and he asked the right hon. Gentlemen who raised this clamour what they expected would be done by any Government coming into office and finding that the Act of 1873 would expire at the end of 1874? [An hon. MEMBER: Renew it.] Did they suppose that, with the distinct statement on the part of the Commissioners that the language of a portion of the 19th section of the Act of 1869 was so obscure as to lead to constant trouble and difficulty, the Government was not bound to legislate; and that after such a condemnation of the wording of the section, the future operations of the Commissioners could be left subject to the difficulty, trouble, and annoyance they had experienced in the past? If nothing had been done the Government would have been justly open to animadversion and to censure. A great deal had been said in condemnation of the Government as to the course which they had adopted in transferring the authority from the Endowed Schools Commissioners to the Charity Commissioners; but after the statement which was read to the House last night, could it be doubted that there were practical and sensible reasons why the change should be made? For himself, he had not denounced the language or conduct of the Endowed Schools Commission; but, terminating as it did this year, it was necessarily the duty of the Government to propose legislation, and it was natural, reasonable, and sensible that with the view of giving increased facilities for the re-organization of public schools, and the future management of them, the course proposed should have been recommended by the Government. He was not in the least ashamed of the course adopted, nor did he believe it would be misinterpreted by the country. He had the honour of enjoying the friendship of one of the Endowed Schools Commissioners, and nothing could be further from his thought or intention than to think or say anything derogatory of that gentleman's public conduct; but was he to be told that, because he entertained the highest opinion of gentlemen, when their office expired by Act of Parliament, the Government were precluded from considering what was the most beneficial method of considering the powers hitherto wielded by them? The Government were justified in the course they had pursued, and they submitted it with confidence to the arbitrament of the House.


Sir, the noble Lord who has just sat down appears to me to have founded his defence of the measure before the House mainly upon these propositions—that the Endowed Schools Commission is about to expire; that the outgoing Commissioners have complained of the ambiguity of the 19th clause of the existing Act; that if this Bill be unacceptable to the Liberal party, so was that of 1873, as the noble Lord proved by reference to the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn); and, finally, that this measure is not to be considered as a re-actionary measure, but rather as a measure of continuance, expansion, and modification of a process which was set in Motion by the last Parliament. As regards three of these allegations, they can be disposed of in fewer words than those in which they were made. If it be true that the Endowed Schools Commission is about to expire, it is about to expire in consequence of the enactment forced upon the acceptance of the majority of the late House of Commons by the friends of the noble Lord in another branch of the Legislature; and the noble Lord, in founding himself upon that state of the law as an apology for anything that cannot be justified upon any grounds, is pleading his own wrong in his own defence. The allegation that the Commission complained of the ambiguity of the law is, no doubt, in the letter, true; but that allegation was made by the Commission—as must be known to the noble Lord—before the Act of 1873 was passed, for the purpose of removing the ambiguity which the Government of the day and which the majority of the House recognized, and therefore it cannot be quoted by the noble Lord in justification of the present Bill. The noble Lord finds the hostility of the Liberal party to the Act of 1873 proved by the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea for the rejection of the Bill. The noble Lord cannot have examined into the circumstances of that Motion, or he could not have failed to be aware that it had no connection whatever with the matters which are now in dispute. The Motion, founded upon the feelings entertained by my hon. Friend with regard to the application of small endowments for the purposes of education, was perfectly distinct from the matters with which our present discussion has to do. Now I come to the general allegation of the noble Lord, having brushed aside these very trivial allegations. He says that this Bill is to be regarded rather as the continuance, expansion, and legitimate prosecution of the work of the last Parliament, than as a departure from the spirit of that work. What is the history of the case? It is exceedingly grave, because it is full of warning and danger with reference to future times and to circumstances which may be different from the present circumstances. In 1869, when an overwhelming Liberal majority had just been returned, when they were flushed with triumph, when they were under the excitement of great measures victoriously advancing, they undertook to deal with the subject of endowed schools; and under the guidance of my right hon. Friend near me (Mr. Forster), and of the noble Marquess with whom he was immediately connected in office (the Marquess of Ripon), they dealt with this subject in a spirit of such moderation, that the minority in this House found no occasion to complain, and the majority in the other House sympathizing with the minority of this House, the most marked eulogies were pronounced upon the spirit and temper in which the Bill had been framed by distinguished Members of that majority. The noble Lord proceeded to argue that the concession which the Liberal majority made for the sake of averting opposition, and the qualification of its own principles to which it was content to submit by a general regard for the feelings of others, are now to be turned against it, and to be used as a basis of apparently almost unlimited demands. That was the first step. Then comes the Bill of 1873. In 1873, with the sincere purpose of removing ambiguity undoubtedly yet further, schools were carried by the Act of the late Parliament and the late Government into the category of denominational schools, and that again is used precisely in the same manner. That liberality of construction and interpretation towards the minority is, the moment that minority is turned into a majority, used as a reason and justification for urging their own policy to a far greater extent, in utter disregard of the spirit and provisions of existing legislation. Last of all, the astonishing allegation of the noble Lord is that the Bill is founded upon proposals that were made in the Select Committee of last year. Made, Sir, undoubtedly; but by whom? Made by the minority of the last Parliament. He has, first of all, urged against you all the concessions your considerate feelings induced you to make—and I call them such upon the authority of Lord Carnarvon and Lord Harrowby—and then, having urged against you all these concessions, he resorts next to the further proposals of the minority, which even your patience could not then endure, and says—"After all, we are only now endeavouring to carry into effect that which as the minority of the last Parliament, we asked." That is exactly the charge against you, and that is exactly the question which opens up this general consideration of Constitutional proceedings in respect of which we complain, quite apart from the merits of the present Bill, important as those merits are. The present Government, in the name of Conservative principle, is giving the sanction of its authority to a kind of innovation most perilous and most dangerous to the course of legislation of this country, as it has been stamped and sanctioned by the practice and authority of every preceding Conservative Government, no less than by Liberal Administrations. The Prime Minister last night suggested the complaint that it was sought to defeat this Bill by time. I must say I never heard a suggestion less warranted by the facts. Here is a Bill most obscure in its character—to a certain extent, I grant, necessarily obscure, from the system of reference upon which its framework is founded—a Bill, obscure in its character—rendered far more obscure by the uncertain and fluctuating declarations of Members of the Government, no two of their speeches agreeing in their spirit, and the most important of their speeches contradicting in one portion what was stated in another portion; a Bill introduced into this House in the month of July, touching most nearly the feelings as well as the interests of an immense mass of the population; and, after two evenings of discussion, not in continuous debate, as the sum total of the discussion the Prime Minister of the country has the courage to insinuate that it is sought to defeat this Bill by time. It is the first time I ever heard such a charge made at such a stage of the discussion upon any Bill, and it is not favourable to the progress of Public Business that such a charge should come from such a quarter. Whether this Bill is in danger or not, I do not know. The right hon. Gentleman spoke last night as if he were not unwilling that it should be in danger. He appeared to think that it would not, after all, be a very bad thing if the Commissioners could be got rid of, and if the endowed schools, with all their imperfections on their heads, could be allowed to slumber for an indefinite time. The business of to-night is not, I think, to bandy charges from one side of the House to the other with respect to their responsibility for an event which has not arrived, and may not arrive; but the real business of the evening is to investigate this Bill, and if necessary, to advance charges without fear, provided they are legitimately founded on the contents and spirit of the Bill. Now, I say that if the Bill is in danger at all, it is in consequence, first, of its exceptional and extraordinary character; and, secondly, on account of the singular obscurity and the remarkable self-contradictions of those who have introduced and recommended it to the House. Let us see how that matter stands. The noble Lord who has just sat down, in his doctrine as to the expansive nature of this policy, and its legitimate relation to the Act of 1869, entirely overlooked the statement which was made in the most distinct manner by my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen) in his able speech, and by preceding speakers—that whereas in the former Acts of Parliament those schools which were received as denominational schools were strictly exceptions to the rule, the spirit and effect of this Bill as it stands, is to convert the rule into the exception, and the exception into the rule. That was an allegation which ought to have been met by the noble Lord. It embraces the whole pith and substance of the case; but I want to know why it was passed by the noble Lord. The silence of the noble Lord on that charge, I think, goes far to justify the charge against the Bill itself. I will not now discuss the two speeches of the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council, they have already been largely discussed; but I will refer to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because I shall then be certain that I am not misrepresenting the effect of what he said. It was stated by him that the Government had advisedly taken this course with regard to the Endowed Schools Commissioners—those Commissioners who, after so many years of service—we are now entitled to say at the expiration of throe nights of discussion, have not laid themselves open to one single charge with reference to one single act which they have done; and who are, as the reward of their services, to receive at the hands of the Government dismissal from office. Why are they to be dismissed from office? The Chancellor of the Exchequer undoubtedly gave a reason of sufficient breadth. He said, they are to be dismissed from office because "that was the most considerate and feeling course we could pursue towards gentlemen of so much character and high position. How could we go to them and say, 'We cannot ask you to become the instruments of another policy from that which you have carried out?' Therefore," said the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with very considerable plausibility, if not fairness, "the course we took, even if it appeared abrupt and harsh, was most respectful to the Commissioners from whom we could not expect to exact compliance with a fundamental change in the proceedings." So far so good, as regards the defence of the Government, for what we think this harsh dismissal of the Commissioners. But then, when my right hon. Friend came to perform the rest of his task I imagine it escaped him that he had given this description of the nature of the new duties to be undertaken. He had evidently undertaken a very difficult labour. He had to vindicate the conduct of the Government with respect to the dismissed Commissioners; but when he came to disarm the fears of Parliament and the country with reference to the character of the Bill, he said—"The Act will be carried out, upon the whole, on the same lines and in the same spirit as heretofore." Now, I submit to my right hon. Friend that these two portions of his speech are in flat and diametrical contradiction of each other. If this Act is to be carried out, on the whole, on the same lines and in the same spirit, I ask why were the Commissioners dismissed? If they are dismissed because it would be disrespectful to them to ask them to become the instruments of a policy generally different from that in which they had acted, then I want to know what right had the Chancellor of the Exchequer to conciliate the apprehensions of Parliament and the country by alleging that things are to be carried on, on the whole, on the same lines and in the same spirit?


I did not say that they were to be conducted in opposition to the conduct of the Commissioners generally, but on certain points, in particular Church Schools; and with reference to lines, I was speaking of the general reform of the endowed schools of the country.


If that be so, then there is going to be a fundamental change; the most difficult, the most delicate of all the changes involved in this question, which concern the relations between the Church and the Nonconformists and the endowed schools—upon that question there is going to be a fundamental change of policy. Is that course likely to be satisfactory? Is it likely to be satisfactory even to the Friends of the Government? Very remarkable Amendments have been announced from their own Benches. My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Spencer Walpole) proposes to make a deep gash in the Bill. A Gentleman, who appeared to speak not without some understanding with the Government, announced his readiness to move other Amendments in the same sense; and altogether I must say there is a degree of difficulty in ascertaining, not what are the mere professions of the Government—these, until they are closely examined, carry us a very little way towards a knowledge of the facts—but great difficulty in understanding what is the real nature of the Bill to which we are intended ultimately to give our sanction. We must take the Bill, then, as it stands; and I cannot attach too great an importance to the avowal which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has frankly made. I almost think that we understand at this moment somewhat better than we have understood before—certainly much better than we understood during the speech of the noble Lord who last spoke; better even than during the second speech of the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council, though, perhaps, not better than during his first speech—the actual position in which we stand. What is the principle then, on which the Government are to proceed? We are told it is a pious respect to the will of the founders; but then we ask; what do you say to the University legislation, where you have gone much further from the will of the founders than in the case of the endowed schools? Now, mark the nature of the answer. They say, "Oh, do not imagine that we have the smallest notion of altering the University legislation. That is to be regarded as sacred; but this is a measure in which we are perfectly at liberty to make changes." Why is that? In the case of the University legislation the result was arrived at after long contest, and with great difference of opinion subsisting to the end, and because it was manfully opposed it is not to be altered. In the case of the endowed schools legislation, there was harmony approaching to unanimity, while warm commendations of opponents were earned by a conciliatory course, and consequently we are told that there is no harm in re-opening legislation of that kind. Anyone who weighs the value of these arguments will see that if this Bill passes, and if the University legislation remains safe and intact, it is not because there is the absence of the will to disturb it, but simply because the power to use it is not sufficient. But let us examine a little into the intense reverence for the wills of founders which has moved the Government to make a proposal which, as I have said, has converted the exception into the rule, and the rule into the exception. That was all done to satisfy the wills of founders; but hearing so much of the wills of founders, an hon. Member from the sister country (Mr. Sullivan) who feels a great interest in the wills of certain founders who made their foundations at a certain time, rises in the course of the debate and asks whether the will of his founders is to be respected. The Prime Minister rose with some signs of embarrassment, and not with the briskness he usually displays; and what was the nature of his answer? He says, "Don't talk to me of the wills of the founders. In that early stage, I answer you by pleading the continuity of the English Church." But what is the legislative and political meaning of the continuity of the English Church? It is simply that the power of Parliament was called in to control and reverse the will of the founder. And the claim of the Government is to avail itself, turn about, of principles contradictory to one another. When it is desired to overturn or alter the legislation of the last Parliament, then it is to be done on account of the wills of the founders. But when somebody else proposes that you should act on your own principle, and recognize the wills of the founders in reference to the schools to which the hon. Member alludes—"Oh, no," you say, "the wills of the founders were overruled by the will of Parliament." And so were the wills of the founders overruled by the will of the last Parliament, and your principle comes to this—it is to be turned to the one side or the other exactly as it suits your purpose. When it is desired to turn the wills of the founders to account, then the high, moral, and constitutional principle is to be pleaded for observing the founder's will; but when his will is inconvenient, it and his memory are to be east to the winds. So that the Endowed Schools Act of 1869 is to be overthrown in the name of the founder's will, and then the founder's will is to be overthrown in the name of the continuity of the Church. Well, I want to know whether this policy of disturbance is a wise and considerate policy, I will not say in a Liberal sense—on that point, I think, we who claim to ourselves especially that honourable name have all made up our minds—but in what may be termed a Conservative sense. It appears that the greatest difficulty will arise in reference to those schools which have actually received definitive schemes under the existing Endowed Schools Commission. If you are altering and overthrowing that Commission, because its acts have trespassed against that great and elevated principle—namely, the sanctity of the founder's will, why are you to leave undisturbed the schemes in which they have thus ruthlessly violated the founder's will? Why is there to be that sort of insula of legislation?—why are a certain batch of schools to remain as the evidences of a period of desecration, like the marks of a portentous deluge that has passed over the land, with the old reign of sleepy indifference and abuse before it, and with your now system of careful regard to the wills of the founders to come in after it? I venture to predict that, if this Bill goes forward, the schemes which have already passed are not secure. In principle it is evident that their standing-ground is entirely cut away; and I want to know how they are to be secured against the exercise of that power of the Commissioners which enables them to bring in subsidiary and supplemental schemes, and which, as far as I know, will enable them to deal in those subsidiary and supplemental schemes with the very points on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer frankly informs us that there is to be a radical change of policy? But look to those schools which have not yet received their schemes; and I will take only one case for the purpose of testing the principle on which we are now invited to proceed—I mean the Manchester Grammar School. That school and its friends are now, in trembling, awaiting the judgment of Parliament with reference to this Bill. What is the existing state of things? The school has been reformed by the energy of the public of Man- chester, that remarkable community; but it awaits that measure of security which it would have received from a scheme framed by the Endowed Schools Commissioners and approved by Parliament. That school had a much smaller number of pupils some 25 years ago, before principles were applied to it identical with those upon which, generally speaking, the Endowed Schools Commissioners have been acting. It is enormously raised in its numbers. They were mentioned to-night as approaching 300. I understand they approach 600. I understand it does not stand on its numbers alone, but on the perfect harmony of its system; and not even alone on its numbers and its harmony combined, but, in conjunction with these, on the great distinctions which have been achieved by its pupils, and the marked efficiency of its instruction. Nay, Sir, even this is not all that combines to give force to the example of the Manchester Grammar School. There have been great alarms on the other side of the House as to stopping up the sources of private liberality. We have been told, I do not say threatened—it has been said, I have no doubt, in perfect sincerity—that the continued recognition of the principles of the Endowed Schools Act would have the effect of inducing private individuals to withhold their bounty from the cause of education. Let us test that allegation by the case of the Manchester Grammar School. Within the last five years £50,000, from sources purely private, and to a very considerable degree Nonconforming, has been subscribed for the purpose of that Grammar School. Now, I ask, is it good policy to disturb that state of things? We are told that it is a question of Secularism, and of the exclusion of religion from education. I understand that a course has been taken at Manchester, which I confess I believe, in the difficulties of the day arising naturally from our many religious divisions, to be no unwise one. The instruction given by the Governors of the School is secular instruction; but every encouragement and every facility is given for imparting religious instruction by the teachers of religion in conformity with the convictions which they and their pupils entertain. The Governing Body of that school consisted of 12 persons, of whom six were Nonconformists and six were Church- men, and I ask why is that system to be disturbed? Is it good policy to disturb it? Under the present law it is secure, because in any scheme which the present Endowed Schools Commissioners may issue they are required to provide that the religious opinions of no person shall affect his qualification to act as one of the Governing Body. But the noble Lord, instead of that perfectly secure title which Nonconformists and Churchmen enjoyed together in perfect equality and harmony, offers to the Commissioners permission to include Nonconformists in the Governing Body unless there shall be any special promise to the contrary in the original will or instrument. I want to know what case can be shown in reference to an instance like this of Manchester, which I believe to be a most fair and typical one, in support of a policy to impair and, indeed, to cut away the legislative foundation of the title which the Nonconformists at present enjoy of fair play in the appointments to the Governing Body of the school, and to substitute for it a permissive title which may or may not come into action, but which if it does will not stand forth as the clearly-expressed will of Parliament, but as a permissive sanction under which, by way of indulgence, they are to be allowed to take their places at the Board, and thereby to destroy the equality of position between themselves and their brethren—to use the noble Lord's expression—of the Church, which has been the secret and the seed of the concord which at present reigns. Upon the faith of the legislation of 1869 these £50,000 were subscribed, partly by Churchmen, but yet more by Nonconformists, and we are now deliberately asked, in the name and under the sanctity of the intentions of the founders, to pass a Bill which will place those £50,000 at the mercy of the new Charity Commissioners, and will bring the money within the sweeping declaration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who tells us that there is to be, and shall be, a fundamental change in that portion of the Endowed Schools Act which relates to the treatment of Nonconformists in comparison with Churchmen. I want to know how it is reconcilable with good faith that we should pass an Act in 1869 which went forth like sunshine over the city of Manchester, and induced the people of that city to bring forth from their own treasures those large sums of money for the promotion of education, and then to interfere by means of a Bill which would destroy the legislative sanction under which these funds were given, and given not by founders on their death-beds, but by living men dealing with what was truly their own? Neither policy, as it appears to me, nor good faith will be promoted by such a Bill as this. As has been said by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe), this, the act of the first Conservative majority in this country for 33 years, is a distinct provocation and challenge to the next Liberal majority to act upon the same principle as that by which the present Government is prompted in the measure now laid before us. I do not enter into the question of what that Liberal majority will do. I dare say there are many hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who do not think it will over come into existence. [Ministerial cheers.] When we consider the proverbial uncertainty of human affairs it is gratifying to see men so well supplied with faith as those Gentlemen who cheered my last observation, and to whom it was my object to give pleasure by making a reference to the nature of the persuasion which they entertain. Obviously, that persuasion is not universal on the other side of the House. There are those who think it possible that the scales which have leaned in other Parliaments of England in a different direction may come again to decline in the other direction of what is called a Liberal policy. Ought you not to take that contingency into view? Is it wise in you to decline this challenge? Is it wise in you to set an example which may be used to such disastrous effect against the purposes, the designs, and the institutions which you hold dear? I do not ask you to disregard the tie of party; but I ask you to recollect that we are bound by a regard to principles higher than the tie of party, and that the principles of the combination into which you have entered are higher than the immediate interests of any particular measure which may be submitted for your sanction. We, at least, have done our best to indicate the true character of this Bill and its mischievous tendency, both upon the present and the future. Your numeri- cal force I do not for a moment question; but this I say—that if under your countenance and by your initiative the peaceful, onward, stable course and onward march of legislation, which has hitherto been the characteristic of this country, is to be altered for more uncertain and fitful movements—sometimes in one direction and sometimes in another—you, who have set this evil example, may be those who will suffer by it the most, and will undoubtedly be those who are the most to blame.


Mr. Speaker,—the right hon. Gentleman says that no suggestion was less founded on fact than mine—an insinuation that the debate which has now gone on for three days upon this Bill was promoted and supported by hon. Gentlemen opposite merely to gain time. My suggestion was one of those remarks which I think it sometimes salutary to make at a period of the Session when the House has suddenly become unexpectedly excited by a measure which has prolonged its debates, and when it has no clear comprehension of the position which the legislation in question really occupies. I have listened to these debates with as much attention as any one; and, having been generally present in the course of them, I am still of opinion, notwithstanding the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, that after the first night of the discussion on the second reading of this Bill nothing that has been urged on either side of the House has afforded matter other than that which was legitimate material for Committee. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen) in speaking this evening, challenged the position which has been laid down on this side of the House that the principle of the legislation on this subject has been the same on both sides of the House. The right hon. Gentleman told us that this was a complete error. He admitted that in the Act of 1869 the claims of the founders of the endowments had been recognized, but he said that they were recognized only to a limited degree, and on a principle which probably included less than 100 schools. The right hon. Gentleman then said "that was the exception to our principle, and you have adopted that as your principle." But the right hon. Gentleman was not ingenuous enough to remind the House that it was not merely in the legislation of 1869, in the limited application of the principle which recognized the claims of founders, that hon. Gentlemen opposite, and especially the Members of the late Government, were committed to a recognition of the founders' claim. He left out of his argument entirely any reference to the Bill of 1873, which re-adopted the principle of the recognition of the founders' claim, and extended it on a much larger-scale, admitting into the area every school founded since the Toleration Act. I say, then, that we have a right to maintain that the principle of legislation is the same on this subject on both sides of the House. And if that be so—and I have shown it is—I have no hesitation in saying that as in 1869 right hon. Gentlemen opposite adopted partially the principle of the recognition of the founders' claim—as in 1873, in a spirit of development, they more largely adopted that principle—so we have a right in the Bill now before the House to pursue the same course, and to develope still further, if circumstances require it, the principle which in two instances right hon. Gentlemen opposite have recognized—one which they themselves have considerably developed and extended. Well, then, I say that, under these circumstances, every other observation that has been made, every suggestion that has been offered, every Amendment that has been devised, on both sides of the House are legitimate materials for discussion in Committee. Observations have been made upon an Amendment, or rather an addition to a clause in the Bill, which has been suggested by my noble Friend the Vice President of the Council. Well, Sir, so far as I am advised, it was not necessary to propose that addition in order to effect the purpose which my noble Friend contemplated. According to the admission of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) the words were not necessary, because the original language of the Bill would have carried the purpose. But the words are most clear. It was desirable that there should be no mistake upon the subject. The language is, I think, not by possibility liable to misconstruction, and it meets, at any rate, the objection—the great objection—which has been urged against this Bill, that we are seeking to establish a monopoly of management. The House is familiar with the language of the addition, and I have seen a change produced by it in the course of the discussion. The candour of the House—a quality which even in our warmest debates exercises a considerable influence upon results—has acknowledged that by that language the principal objection which was urged to the measure upon that particular point has been fully met. But if it has been fully met it should always be remembered that the late Vice President of the Council says that the original language of the Bill contains the same meaning and makes the same provision. What, then, becomes of the charge that we have introduced a Bill the principal object of which is to secure a monopoly of management for the Church? Well, Sir, the right hon. Member for Birmingham has dilated upon the, no doubt, extraordinary case of the great school which is an ornament to his town, and has said that a mere chance expression in the ancient muniment upon which the school was founded, to the effect that the Bishop of the diocese was to be referred to upon certain matters, has been adopted as sufficient evidence that the school should be treated as a Church school. But an Amendment has been placed upon the Paper by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Spencer Walpole), which, if adopted, would remove any doubt upon that point. I do not think myself that the original objection is well-founded; but that is a matter for Committee. I am perfectly willing to admit that if the only foundation upon which the great School of Birmingham is to be treated as a Church school is a casual notice in an ancient muniment that reference is to be made to a Bishop, that is a proper matter for consideration in Committee. Then, again, it is said that there are schools which were founded by the Puritans, which would also be treated under the Bill as Church schools. Well, if it can be shown that that is the case, that, surely, is also a subject which can be fairly discussed in Committee, if, indeed, under this Bill such a claim could be made. I do not admit it; but I am alluding to the criticisms which have been made in the course of the debate, and which, in my opinion, do not justify the prolonged discussion which has been held. Well, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman opposite has dilated with great emotion on the subject of the School at Manchester. As I am advised, there is no foundation whatever for the view which the right hon. Gentleman has laid before us. I am advised that under the 19th clause of the Act of 1869 such a contingency is entirely provided for. There, again, however, if I am wrong, I can be corrected at a later stage; but I shall be prepared in Committee to maintain my opinion. [A laugh.] Probably, the hon. Gentleman who laughs is a new Member and has never been in Committee. But if this Parliament should exist for some years, as probably it may, the hon. Member will enlarge his experience on the subject, and he will find that a Committee of the Whole House, when in earnest upon great subjects, is no laughing matter. The hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland) has addressed three questions to me which I hope I have taken down correctly. In the first place, he asks me whether the Nonconformists are to be excluded from the management of the schools generally. To that question my answer is that there was never any intention on the part of Her Majesty's Government that the Nonconformists should be excluded from the management of those schools. I believe that the draft of the original Bill as drawn by a very experienced gentleman who received instructions certainly not to draw up a measure calculated to produce an impression such as that entertained by hon. Members opposite, is quite satisfactory upon this point; but we have taken precautions, without in any way changing our ground, by the Amendment, or rather the addition of the Vice President of the Council, to prevent the possibility of any misunderstanding occurring upon this subject. Then, the hon. Baronet asks me, whether Nonconformist scholars were to be excluded from the benefit of exhibitions? We have no intention that they shall be excluded, and I believe that, under this Bill, every exhibition and every educational advantage will be equally open to all. The hon. Baronet's third question was, whether the Head Masters were to be compulsorily in Holy Orders. I see nothing in the Bill that would require that they should be. These are my answers to the hon. Baronet's three questions. On these three great points we have debated two nights, and I only wonder that a third has not been devoted to the same purpose; and yet if we had gone into Committee on the Bill hon. Members opposite would not have had the slightest doubt of the intentions of the Government with regard to them. We have been told in the course of this debate that this Bill is a great mistake on the part of the Conservative party; and the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), who brought the question forward, congratulated the country in Demosthenic terms on the fact that the action of the Conservative party with regard to this measure had re-organized the great Liberal party. I must say that if the only result of bringing forward this measure has been to re-organize the great Liberal party, I am extremely glad that it has been introduced, seeing that now there will be a chance of carrying on the business of the country with some credit. As far as material results are concerned, I can only say that the effect of the re-organization of the great Liberal party has been—that, though I supposed Her Majesty's Government were supported by a respectable and sufficient majority, since the re-organization of the great Liberal party several divisions have taken place, and I have found that our calculated majority has been exactly doubled. Notwithstanding the alarming peroration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, I confess that I am not at all appalled by the prospect which opens upon this subject. I believe the Bill is a very good Bill. I believe that it is a very good Bill because we have availed ourselves of all the experience of our experienced Predecessors, and because we have added to that experience the results of our own observation and judgment. All the time that hon. Members opposite have been denouncing and deriding our efforts, they have, in fact, been attacking the legislation which they themselves devised, carried, and approved. We have seen remarkable incidents in the course of this debate. Our Bill has, without doubt, been received by hon. Gentlemen below the gangway on the other side of the House with some severe criticism. For instance, the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), who is always ready to criticize anything, has criticized it; but he took every opportunity to as- sure the House that it was not merely our Bill that he disapproves, but all the legislation on the subject under the late Government. Again, the hon. Member for the Denbigh Boroughs (Mr. Watkin Williams), with a violent good humour which has a charm that is irresistible, rose to ban, but sat down blessing. He described minutely the character of our measure, which, he said, was exactly the measure that we ought to have introduced, that it did us honour, and that what he disapproved particularly were the measures which had been brought forward by the leaders of the party to which he belongs. After this brilliant debate, the character of which I entirely understand, but which I know very well has been no more occasioned by the Endowed Schools Bill than the eccentric light which is now flaming in the heavens, I can perceive that this is an admirable occasion for reorganizing the great Liberal party. They have succeeded entirely in their object—at least, they tell us so—and I most sincerely congratulate them. The Session will, therefore, close by the re-organization of the great Liberal party on the one hand, and on the other by the Conservative party doubling their majority. That will be the result of the Session. There has been one part of these discussions to which I have listened with that pain which hon. Gentlemen on both sides have expressed, and that is with regard to the late Commissioners. I cannot boast of an intimate friendship with the noble Lord at the head of that Commission (Lord Lyttelton), but I know him to be a distinguished gentleman, an eminent scholar, an amiable man, an ornament to society, and respected by all who know him. But when I am told the Government have not behaved in a proper manner to that Commission, I can only say that on such a point the Government must be ready to take the responsibility, and that they must be the best judges of the course which it is their duty to pursue. No one would wish to terminate easily a connection with the distinguished men who formed the late Commission; but there may be reasons which, on the whole, must influence those who have the painful office of deciding in these matters. I do not impute any fault to either, but there have been two parties who did not agree—the Commissioners and the trustees; and the consequence was that, never agreeing—["Oh!"]—I do not blame the Commissioners, or give an opinion upon the conduct of the trustees, but if you find that Commissioners who have certain duties to perform and trustees who are in a certain position do not work together, you may respect them both, but a responsible Minister must see that the work of the country is done. The progress of the Commission has not been of a satisfactory character. The work has not proceeded with that decision and promptitude which one could have desired, and one of the provisions of this Bill, if the House should sanction it, is that the whole of the endowed schools shall be examined and settled in the course of five years. Now, Sir, we thought it expedient that these duties should be delegated to the Charity Commissioners. That proposal has occasioned a good deal of criticism in this House, and one Gentleman to-night, the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland), has asked—"What are the Charity Commissioners?" He says they are a mere delegation of the Court of Chancery, and not persons to be intrusted with these duties. Now, I have got here the Report of the Schools Inquiry Commission—a volume of great interest, which touches all the points connected with these matters, and I would recommend it to the attention of those who have not had much experience of Committees of the Whole House. They say— The Charity Commissioners have already acquired so much experience in dealing with schools, and by the general assurance of the evidence we have received have used that experience so well, that in all probability they would avoid many mistakes that would he inevitable in the operations of a new Commission. A higher and more deserved testimony of admiration was never offered to a body of public men. And by whom was it offered, and by whom was that Report signed? By Lord Taunton, Chairman of that Commission, and long a Member of this House; by Lord Lyttelton, W. F. Cooke, F. Temple, Anthony Thorold, Thomas Dyke Acland, junior, and W. E. Forster. I think we may really rest the policy which the Government has recommended, and proposes to follow in this Bill, upon the documents which I have just read. I have now touched upon the principal points which have been noticed in this debate. I must sum up again by expressing my opinion—and I believe that when we are cooler it will be the general opinion—that we have been debating points which ought to have been debated in Committee; that every exception that has been urged is susceptible of explanation or amendment. To suppose that a measure of this kind is to be introduced in a state of perfection to the House, that it should be an exception to all Bills of the kind that have ever been introduced, that it cannot be improved in Committee is absurd, unreasonable, and not to be desired. I trust the House will consent to go into Committee, and I believe that when our labours on this Bill have been terminated, they will give satisfaction to the country.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 262; Noes 193: Majority 69.

Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C. Cameron, D.
Agnew, R. V. Campbell, C.
Alexander, Colonel Cave, rt. hon. S.
Allen, Major Cawley, C. E.
Allsopp, S. C. Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.
Anstruther, Sir W. Chapman, J.
Archdale, W. H. Charley, W. T.
Arkwright, A. P. Christie, W. L.
Arkwright, F. Churchill, Lord R.
Arkwright, R. Clifton, T. H.
Ashbury, J. L. Clive, Col. hon. G. W.
Assheton, R. Clowes, S. W.
Baggallay, Sir R. Cobbett, J. M.
Bagge, Sir W. Cobbold, J. P.
Balfour, A. J. Cole, hon. Col. H. A.
Ball, rt. hon. J. T. Corbett, Colonel
Baring, T. C. Cordes, T.
Barrington, Viscount Corry, hon. H. W. L.
Barttelot, Colonel Corry, J. P.
Bates, E. Crichton, Viscount
Bathurst, A. A. Cross, rt. hon. R. A.
Beach, rt. hn. Sir M. H. Cubitt, G.
Beach, W. W. B. Cust, H. C.
Beetive, Earl of Dalkeith, Earl of
Bentinck, G. C. Deakin, J. H.
Birley, H. Denison, C. B.
Boord, T. W. Denison, W. E.
Bourne, Colonel Dick, F.
Bright, R. Dickson, Major A. G
Brise, Colonel R. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Broadley, W. H. H. Douglas, Sir G.
Brooks, rt. hon. M. Dowdeswell, W. E.
Brooks, W. C. Dyott, Colonel R.
Bruce, hon. T. Eaton, H. W.
Bruen, H. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Buckley, Sir E. Egerton, hon. W.
Buxton, Sir R. J. Elliot, Admiral
Callender, W. R. Elliot, G.
Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H. Lewis, C. E.
Emlyn, Viscount Lewis, O.
Eslington, Lord Lindsay, Col. R. L.
Estcourt, G. B. Lloyd, S.
Ewing, A. O. Lloyd, T. E.
Feilden, H. M. Lopes, Sir M.
Fellowes, E. Lowther, J.
Finch, G. H. Macartney, J. W. E.
Floyer, J. Mahon, Viscount
Folkestone, Viscount Majendie, L. A.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Makins, Colonel
Forsyth, W. Malcolm, J. W.
Gardner, E. Richardson- Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Marten, A. G.
Garnier, J. C. Maxwell, Sir W. S.
Goddard, A. L. Mellor, T. W.
Goldney, G. Milles, hon. G. W.
Gordon, rt. hon. E. S. Mills, A.
Gordon, W. Mills, Sir C. H.
Gore, J. R. O. Monckton, P.
Gore, W. R. O. Monckton, hon. G.
Grantham, W. Montgomerie, R.
Greenall, G. Morgan, hon. F.
Greene, E. Morgan, hon. Major
Gregory, G. B. Mowbray, rt. hn. J. R.
Guinness, Sir A. Mulholland, J.
Halsey, T. P. Naghten, A. R.
Hamilton, I. T. Neville-Grenville, R.
Hamilton, Lord G. Newdegate, C. N.
Hamond, C. F. Newport, Viscount
Hardcastle, E. Noel, rt. hon. G. J.
Hardy, rt. hon. G. North, Colonel
Hardy, J. S. Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.
Harvey, Sir R. B.
Hay, rt. hn. Sir J. C. D. Onslow, D.
Heath, R. Paget, R. H.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Parker, Lt. Col. W.
Hermon, E. Peek, Sir H. W.
Hervey, Lord A. H. Pool, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hervey, Lord F. Pell, A.
Heygate, W. U. Polly, Sir H. C.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Pemberton, E. L.
Hogg, Sir J. M. Percy, Earl
Holford, J. P. G. Phipps, P.
Holmesdale, Viscount Pim, Captain B.
Holt, J. M. Plunket, hon. D. R.
Home, Captain Plunkett, hon. R.
Hood, Captain hon. A. W. A. N. Polhill-Turner, Capt.
Powell, W.
Hope, A. J. B. B. Praed, H. B.
Hubbard, E. Price, Captain
Hubbard, J. G. Puleston, J. H.
Hunt, rt. hon. G. W. Raikes, H. C.
Isaac, S. Read, C. S.
Jenkinson, Sir G. S. Repton, G. W.
Johnson, J. G. Ripley, H. W.
Johnstone, H. Ritchie, C. T.
Johnstone, Sir F. Round, J.
Jolliffe, hon. S. Ryder, G. R.
Karslaie, Sir J. Sackville, S. G. S.
Kavanagh, A. MacM. Salt, T.
Kennard, Colonel Sanderson, T. K.
Kennaway, Sir J. H. Sandon, Viscount
Knight, F. W. Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.
Knightley, Sir R. Scott, Lord H.
Knowles, T. Scott, M. D.
Lacon, Sir E. H. K. Scourfield, J. H.
Learmonth, A. Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.
Lee, Major V.
Legard, Sir C. Sidebottom, T. H.
Legh, W. J. Simonds, W. B.
Leigh, Lt.-Col. E. Smith, A.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Smith, F. C.
Smith, S. G. Twells, P.
Smith, W. H. Vance, J.
Smollett, P. B. Wallace, Sir R.
Somerset, Lord H. R. C. Walpole, hon. F.
Spinks, Mr. Serjeant Walpole, rt. hon. S.
Stanford, V. F. Benett- Ward, M. F.
Stanhope, hon. E. Welby, W. E.
Stanhope, W. T. W. S. Wellesley, Captain
Stanley, hon. F. Wells, E.
Starkey, L. R. Wethered, T. O.
Starkie, J. P. C. Wheelhouse, W. S. T.
Steere, L. Whitelaw, A.
Stewart, M. J. Williams, Sir F. M.
Storer, G. Wilmot, Sir H.
Sturt, H. G. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Sykes, C. Wolff, Sir H. D.
Talbot, J. G. Wynn, C. W. W.
Taylor, rt. hn. Colonel Yarmouth, Earl of
Tollemache, W. F. Yorke, hon. E.
Torr, J. Yorke, J. R.
Tremayne, J.
Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill- TELLERS.
Turner, C. Dyke, W. H.
Turnor, E. Winn, R.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cowen, J.
Adam, rt. hon. W. P. Cross, J. K.
Amory, Sir J. H. Dalway, M. R.
Anderson, G. Davies, R.
Anstruther, Sir R. Digby, K. T.
Antrohus, Sir E. Dilke, Sir C. W.
Ashley, hon. E. M. Dillwyn, L. L.
Backhouse, E. Dixon, G.
Balfour, Sir G. Dodds, J.
Barclay, A. C. Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.
Barclay, J. W. Downing, M'C.
Bass, A. Duff, M. E. G.
Bass, M. T. Earp, T.
Bassett, F. Edwards, H
Beaumont, Major F. Egerton, Adm. hon. F.
Beaumont, W. B. Errington, G.
Biddulph, M. Evans, T. W.
Blennerhassett, R. P. Fawcett, H.
Bolckow, H. W. F. Ferguson, R.
Briggs, W. E. Fitzwilliam, hon. C. W. W.
Bristowe, S. B. Fletcher, I.
Brocklehurst, W. C. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Brogden, A. Forster, Sir C.
Brown, A. H Forster, rt. hon. W. E.
Bruce, rt. hon. Lord E. Foster, W. H.
Burt, T. Fothergill, R.
Cameron, C. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Campbell-Bannerman, H. Gladstone, W. H.
Carington, hn. Col. W. Goldsmid, Sir F.
Cartwright, W. C. Goldsmid, J.
Cave, T. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Gourley, E. T.
Chadwick, D. Gower, hon. E. F. L.
Chambers, Sir T. Gray, Sir J.
Childers, rt. hon. H. Grey, Earl de
Clarke, J. C. Grieve, J. J.
Clifford, C. C. Hankey, T.
Cole, H. T. Harcourt, Sir W. V.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Harrison, C.
Collins, E. Harrison, J. F.
Colman, J. J. Havelock, Sir H.
Conyngham, Lord F. Hayter, A. D.
Corbett, J. Hill, T. R.
Cotes, C. C. Holland, S.
Cowan, J. Holms, J.
Holms, W. Pender, J.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Pennington, F.
Ingram, W. J. Perkins, Sir F.
Jackson, H. M. Philips, R. N.
James, Sir H Playfair, rt. hn. Dr. L.
James, W. H. Plimsoll, S.
Jenkins, D. J. Portman, hn. W. H. B.
Jenkins, E. Potter, T. B.
Johnstone, Sir H. Price, W. E.
Kay-Shuttleworth, U. J. Ramsay, J.
Kensington, Lord Rathbone, W.
Laing, S. Reed, E. J.
Lambert, N. G. Reid, R.
Laverton, A. Richard, H.
Law, rt. hon. H. Robertson, H.
Lawrence, Sir J. C. Rothschild, N. M. de
Lawson, Sir W. St. Aubyn, Sir J.
Leatham, E. A. Samuda, J. D'A.
Leeman, G. Samuelson, B.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Seely, C
Leith, J. F. Shaw, R.
Lloyd, M. Sheil, E.
Lorne, Marquis of Sherlock, Mr. Serjeant
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Sherriff, A. C.
Lush, Dr. Simon, Mr. Serjeant
Macdonald, A. Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.
Macgregor, D. Smith, E.
Mackintosh, C. F. Stafford, Marquis of
M'Arthur, A. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
M'Arthur, W. Stevenson, J. C.
M'Lagan, P. Stuart, Colonel
M'Laren, D. Sullivan, A. M.
Martin, J. Swanston, A.
Melly, G. Synan, E. J.
Milbank, F. A. Talbot, C. R. M.
Mitchell, T. A. Taylor, P. A.
Monck, Sir A. E. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-
Monk, C. J. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Moore, A. Vivian, A. P.
Morgan, G. O. Waddy, S. D.
Morley, S. Walter, J.
Mundella, A. J. Waterlow, Sir S. H.
Muntz, P. H. Whalley, G. H.
Mure, Colonel Whitbread, S.
Nevill, C. W. Williams, W.
Noel, E. Wilson, C.
Nolan, Captain Wilson, Sir M.
Norwood, C. M. Yeaman, J.
O'Brien, Sir P. Young, A. W.
O'Callaghan, hon. W.
O'Donoghue, The TELLERS.
O'Gorman, P. Cavendish, Lord G.
Peel, A. W. Fitzmaurice, Lord E.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


moved that the Chairman do report Progress.


I have no objection to Progress being reported. I would fix the Committee for to-morrow.

Motion agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.