HC Deb 09 July 1875 vol 225 cc1267-303

in rising to call attention to the Report of the Royal Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Endowed Schools and Hospitals (Scotland), said: I have been anxious, Sir, to bring on, before the Scotch Members left town in any numbers, a conversation about the recent Report of the Royal Commission on our Scotch Hospitals and Endowed Schools, with a view to ascertain how far the recommendations of the Commissioners are approved, and I should like also to learn from the Government whether we may hope next year for any legislation in the direction of the Commissioners' recommendations. This Royal Commission was appointed in 1872, and its duties were to inquire into all endowments in Scotland applied or applicable to education, with the exception of those which were reported upon by the Commissioners appointed under the Universities Act of 1858. It found that the endowments into which it had to inquire amounted to £195,000 a-year—a small sum if we compare it with the vast figures of English endowments, but still a sum which, wisely used, is capable of conferring great benefits upon a comparatively small country. Of this sum, something less than £80,000 a-year belongs to the great schools known as hospitals—hospital being used with us in the same sense as it is used in England when people speak of Christ's Hospital. Something over £42,000 are endowments in connection with elementary schools; something over £16,000 are endowments attached to secondary schools; something over £17,000 are endowments not appropriated to any particular institution; something over £18,000 is the amount applicable to education belonging to certain endowments, partly charitable and partly educational; while £22,000 are endowments given to the Universities since 1808. All University endowments given previous to that year were, it must be understood, reported upon by the Commission appointed under the Universities Act of 1858. First, then, I will say a word or two about the hospitals. For many years a feeling has been growing up in Scotland that the revenues of these institutions are not doing nearly as much good to the country as they might, and various attempts have been made to put them, or some of them, on a better footing. More especially in the year 1868 and 1869 a great step forward was made when the powerful body known as the Edinburgh Merchant Company commenced, under the presidency of Mr. James Duncan, and carried through very serious reforms. I will not detail the various proceedings in this House and out of it in connection with these and other reforms, which led to the appointment of the Royal Commission. Suffice it to say that it became clear in 1872 that public opinion in Scotland as to hospital management had quite outgrown the powers of self-reform vested by law in these institutions. New legislation became necessary, and this Commission was appointed with a view to inquire what reforms were wanted, and what kind of legislation was required, not only as to hospitals, but as to other educational endowments in Scotland. The recommendations of the Commissioners with regard to hospitals generally are very shortly these—They advise that the children, instead of living a sort of half-prison life within the hospital walls, should be as far as possible boarded out in families; that in many cases they should attend the public elementary schools; while in others children from outside should attend the hospital schools. They advise that the numbers of charity foundations should be reduced, seeing that education in Scotland is now so much more accessible than it used to be. They advise that, in some cases, the charity should be assisted by requiring the persons interested in the children to contribute something to their maintenance, and they think that some of the places on the foundations should be thrown open to competition by boys who have completed a course-of instruction in elementary schools. If these suggestions be adopted, the Commissioners conceive that the resultant changes will introduce into the hospitals a far healthier and happier tone; that they will benefit the districts in the immediate neighbourhood of the hospitals; that they will aid the charitable designs of their founders by getting from without contributions in aid of those charitable designs; that they will stimulate education generally, and build a ladder by which clever boys in the elementary schools of the country may rise to have the benefits of secondary and higher education. These are the chief general recommendations with regard to the hospitals. I myself entirely approve of them, and should like to hear from others that they do so too. There are a variety of other recommendations with regard to the special wants of particular hospitals, as to the character of which it would be unreasonable to ask the Government or private Members to give opinions to-night; but there is one with regard to Heriot's Hospital so important, and, as it seems to me, so excellent, that I must call attention to it. After pointing out that the children of petty tradesmen and skilled artizan form the greater part of the foundationers at Heriot's Hospital, the Commissioners go on to show that the skilled artizan in various foreign countries is—thanks to his greater facilities for getting a good education—leaving his British brother far behind; and they proceed to say— We have alluded to the schools of Prussia and Switzerland as the most famous. But indeed there is scarcely a considerable State on the Continent which does not contain schools more especially adapted than the ordinary schools to the practical wants of these pupils, who have hereafter to gain a livelihood in connection with the leading industries of the country. Austria, Bavaria, Saxony, Sweden, and France are all provided with such schools. There appears to he hardly any institution of the kind in the United Kingdom. We are of opinion that Heriot's foundation offers an opportunity for establishing a school somewhat after the model of the Realschulen—one in which the basis of education shall he mathematical and practical to the same degree that in our ordinary secondary schools the basis is classical. Indeed we should be disposed to recommend the exclusion of classics, believing that where a classical education is given it is apt, as being the more fashionable, to oust or starve the modern instruction that ought to be given alongside of it. Some degree of acquaintance with Latin, however, would seem to be necessary. But we don't think it necessary to lay down any detailed plan for the course of instruction. It is enough to say that we think it desirable to give to mathematics, modern languages, drawing, and the sciences bearing upon manufactures, or so much of them as could he taught to lads, the greatest prominence in school curriculum. The details of organization should he left to an executive body co-operative with the governors or to the governors themselves, assisted by the best special opinions on the subject which the country can afford. We cannot doubt that scientific men and those who have made education in its various forms their study, and have considered and observed the working of technical and commercial schools abroad, would give their best assistance to carry out the proposal. So large an experiment must necessarily be expensive, for models and laboratories will be required—consequently it is to a wealthy foundation that we would assign the honour of carrying it out. While making these recommendations, we would deprecate any attempt to confine the educational curriculum to scientific subjects to the exclusion of literature; but we would suggest that successful competitors for places on the foundation who desire a purely classical training should he sent to the High School of Edinburgh. It appears to me that the Commissioners have in these words made a proposal of real national importance, and one which deserves the strongest support that Parliament and the Government of the day, to whatever Party it may belong, can give it. I believe that the danger to which they call attention is as far as possible from being an imaginary one. We must look to our commercial laurels in every part of the world; but I believe that if we are wise now—wise enough to take that step here recommended, and other cognate steps—we shall keep for many a long year to come industrially and commercially the first place in the world. I come now to the endowments in connection with elementary schools. The leading idea which governs the proposals of the Commissioners with regard to these is, that Parliament having now stepped in to make elementary education in Scotland nearly universal, these endowments should be applied, except in very peculiar cases, not to giving mere elementary instruction, but to provide a somewhat higher instruction for the sort of persons whom the original givers of the endowments meant to benefit. The exceptions would be in favour of very necessitous parents, and in favour of parishes where the school-rate exceeds 3d. in the pound. It is unnecessary to go more particularly into the recommendations of the Commissioners under this head, with which those who accept their leading idea will, I think, generally agree. To that leading idea I give my entire adhesion. In Scotland our elementary education has long been good, and is rapidly becoming, under the influence of recent legislation, all that we could desire. Our secondary education, on the other hand, is very, very far from good. It is so bad, or rather there is so very little of it, that, considering the great improvement that is taking place in English secondary education, Scotchmen will really be placed at a serious disadvantage in the battle of life if it is not speedily and greatly improved. The present dearth of good secondary schools in Scotland acts unfavourably, chiefly in two ways. First, by depriving clever but necessitous boys who have passed with credit through an elementary school of the chance of getting a thorough training for industrial or commercial life; and, secondly, by lowering the standard of the Universities, and so keeping down the whole of the higher education of the country. We have, as everyone knows, a number of professors in Scotland of very high, and some of European reputation; but having got them, we too often waste their power by making them lecture to youths who ought to have gone through a long drill, and passed a matriculation examination, before they came into personal contact with these distinguished men. There are only 50 schools which can possibly be called secondary schools in the whole of Scotland which possess any endowment whatever, and their whole endowment consists of a little more than £14,000 a-year, or, if we add the bursaries connecting these secondary schools with the University, a little more than £16,000 a-year. The result of this miserable state of things is that the Universities cannot even venture to have an entrance examination. In answer to the question— Should you think it desirable to restore the entrance examination, if the other Universities would unite in doing it? Professor Shairp, of St. Andrews, says— I should think so, if something were done for the secondary schools first; but I think the secondary education throughout Scotland must be enlarged and improved before that would be desirable. Principal Sir Alexander Grant says— There is no entrance examination as yet. The argument against that has always been that the schools are not fit for it. The low state of the secondary schools of the country provents the Universities from introducing an entrance examination without inflicting a great hardship on the boys in many parts of the country. It would be easy to multiply opinions on this subject, for the extreme inconvenience of the existing position of affairs has been noticed by almost everyone who has given any attention to the subject. The recommendations of the Commissioners towards remedying these evils seem to me judicious. They advise that the school boards should ex animo carry out the spirit of the Act of 1872, by relieving the higher class elementary schools of their elementary teachers, and providing for it elsewhere. They advise that the unseemly competition between teachers at the same schools, of which we have seen more than enough, should be brought to an end by fees being paid into a common fund under the management of the school board in each burgh, and they advise that a general examination of the higher class elementary, hereafter to be the secondary schools, should be organized. They do not fail, however, to draw attention to another cause of the inefficiency of our secondary education. They say— The Act does not provide any remedy for the evil which lies at the root of the chief defects of the secondary school system of Scotland—namely, the want of endowment. Powers were given to the school hoards to pay examiners out of the rates, and it may he—hut this point is doubtful—to defray the repairs of the buildings. Without additional funds no effective improvement of the higher class schools of Scotland is possible, and the requirements of the country cannot be met. Provision of the amplest kind has been made by law for elementary instruction. By means of rates, Parliamentary grants, and fees, elementary schools have been, or are in the course of being, established and supported throughout Scotland. The Universities are aided from year to year with Imperial money. Large sums have been raised of late years both in Glasgow and in Edinburgh for the University buildings in these two towns, and these sums have been supplemented by building grants from the National Exchequer; and scholarships and fellowships have been established in connection with the Universities by the liberality of enlightened benefactors. But, while the elementary schools and the Universities are thus fostered by the State and enriched by individuals, the secondary schools, which ought to fill the gap between these institutions, are left to starve. Parliament has not granted them any aid, and private benefactors, who deal liberally with the Universities, forget the source that supplies the objects of their liberality. Is this want of endowment to be perpetual? I hope not. May we not trust the time is coming when very rich men—and even in Scotland there are now some very rich men—will try to make for themselves a position in the world, by conferring in their lifetime great benefits upon their countrymen to which shall attach no ecclesiastical, or what is commonly called charitable character? Surely, there are at this moment many rich men in Great Britain extremely anxious and laudably anxious to make for themselves social positions, and not seeing their way to do so, who could do so in a year if they only turned their ambition into the channel of becoming great citizens, by using the overflow of their wealth for great national purposes. They have to face, on the paths on which they now strive to rise, the competition of many others over whom their vast wealth gives them no special advantage. On this path, however, they would and could, in the nature of things, have no competitors. Many hon. Members, I dare say, remember the story of Herodes Atticus, who spent so much of his life in adorning Greece with magnificent works. Why should not his example be followed mutatis mutandis in this age of ours? If there are any such persons in Scotland, here is a field ready for them. By the expenditure of a much smaller sum than was lately given in Scotland for an ecclesiastical purpose, the whole of our secondary education could be put on a proper footing; while a sum not larger than the one I have alluded to would make our Universities all they ought to be, and enable Scotland to compete educationally on equal terms with any country in the world. But to return to the Commissioners' Report. Secondary schools being established on a proper footing, the next step should be to connect the elementary schools with the secondary schools by a system of bursaries, which should help deserving boys to step from the elementary to the secondary schools, should partially support them at the secondary schools, and be then met by the existing bursary system, which, properly re-organized and reinforced, is capable of conferring even greater benefits than it has done hitherto. Turning to the next head, that of general endowments, I am glad to see that the Commission have given most well-merited praise to the management of the Dick Bequest, a fund set apart for augmenting the salaries of schoolmasters in Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray. I suppose very few sums of money ever bequeathed for a public purpose have done so much good and so little harm. A curious contrast to it is presented by the Burnett Trust. A gentleman residing in Aberdeen left, late in the last century, the income of a portion of his property to be accumulated for 40 years in the hands of trustees, and then to be paid over to the author of the best and second-best essay on the existence and attributes of the Deity, considered under certain aspects defined by the will. This was all well as long as the amount was moderate, but in 1894 the amount divisible between two fortunate essayists will be about £10,000, which is clearly beyond all reason, and I think I may say with confidence that I and all my fellow-trustees, of whom the hon. Baronet the Member for Perthshire (Sir William Stirling-Maxwell) is one, will be very glad if Parliament steps in to point out a better method of employing a very large part of the money. With regard to the endowments, which are partly charitable in the common sense and partly educational, the general effect of the recommendations of the Commissioners is in favour of an accurate demarcation, by Parliamentary authority, of the funds applicable to each purpose, and in favour of applying to educational purposes all those funds which from a change of circumstances can no longer be usefully employed in charitable purposes of the common kind. With regard to University endowments, the Commissioners think that bursaries in the patronage of public bodies should be thrown open to competition; that bursaries in the gift of private individuals under £10 of annual value should be combined so as to form bursaries sufficiently large to be of some practical use, and should then be thrown open to competition; while with reference to bursaries still retained in private hands, or otherwise not thrown open to competition, they consider that the Universities should be empowered to submit the presentees to an examination. If they pass that examination, and show themselves sufficiently advanced not to keep back the teaching of the University, they should enjoy their presentation bursaries; but if not, the bursaries should lapse for that term only, and be thrown open to competition. Any one who has had much experience in the working of our Scotch Universities will, I am sure, agree with me in thinking that these recommendations do not go at all too far, and I believe public opinion in Scotland will very fully support them. Personally, I think there is much to be said for the view of those among the Commissioners who wish to do away with all presentation bursaries; but if the reforms to which all the Commissioners have agreed become law, enough will probably have been done for the time. As public opinion in these matters matures, one patron of a presentation bursary after another will throw open his bursary to competition, until at last they will all disappear. In old times they had their uses, but when our schools are made what they ought to be—a real ladder to learning, a ladder up which all boys of superior merit can rise by superior merit through a system of scholarships—the use of them will entirely pass away. The Universities would probably aid their disappearance more quickly if they adopted the suggestion of the Commissioners to exclude bursaries not gained by competition from a place in the calendar, and to substitute the word scholarship for the word bursary in describing all bursaries gained by competition. There are a variety of other recommendations, such as that the trustees of endowments should be relieved from restrictions in favour of particular names, and that restrictions in favour of founders kin should be limited in duration by statute; that all endowed educational institutions should be inspected under the authority of the Education Department or the Universities; that the accounts should be annually audited, and a balance-sheet published; that there should be a public register of all educational endowments; that power should be given to modify the constitution of trusts, due importance being attached both to local and general interests; that powers should be given to combine small trusts, and to transfer them to school boards with the consent of trustees, and so forth. Nearly all these last-mentioned recommendations have been discussed again and again in connection with English foundations, and there are few which have not been accepted by all who take any interest in these matters from a national point of view. Such is, in brief outline, the scheme of the Commissioners for the reform of our endowed educational institutions. I have seldom had the good fortune to read any public document with which I so entirely and cordially agreed. The Commission contained prominent persons belonging to both political parties. It took an immense deal of evidence, and on every page of its Report there is proof of a studious desire to be moderate and practical, to recommend not what might be absolutely or theoretically best, but what was best under the conditions of Scotland in the year 1875. I shall be glad if, at a later period of the evening, the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate is able to say that Her Majesty's Government proposes next year to deal with this very important question in the spirit of the Commissioners' recommendations, which they suggest should be carried into effect by the usual machinery of a Parliamentary Committee appointed under an Act,


The House, Sir, certainly cannot complain of the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff); he has stated the substance of the Report of the Commissioners with great fairness and perspicuity, and I have not a word to say against any remark he made in describing it. I do not think any one would have done it better than he did; but the hon. Gentleman failed to throw any new light on the subject. He merely recapitulated the statements in the Report, and said he approved of them. He did not bring forward any new facts to show that the Report was wise and true, and he did not begin at the beginning of the inquiry. What occasioned it? As very few Members here know why the Commission was appointed, it might be well to state the facts. In 1869 the then Lord Advocate (Mr. Moncreiff) carried a Bill to enable charitable institutions in Scotland to extend their powers, subject to the approval of the Home Secretary. It was a sort of Permissive Bill for endowed institutions in Scotland. Under that Act the Merchants' Company obtained the necessary powers to re-organize their schools. Heriot's Hospital applied in the succeeding year for powers to re-organize theirs, and to extend their powers somewhat, though not to the same extent as the others, inasmuch as they had previously obtained an Act which went far in that direction. The Act of 1869 contained a power for the Secretary of State to prolong its existence for one year in the case of any school where anything occurred to prevent their wishes being complied with in the three years of the duration of the Act. The Lord Advocate for the time being thought the demand of Heriot's Hospital in the way of extending powers was beyond the spirit and intention of the Act of Parliament, and he advised the Home Secretary that he should not give effect to the wishes of that great trust. The Governors of the Hospital asked an interview with the Home Secretary, and availed themselves of a power in the Act which said that if the Home Secretary did not approve of anything in any scheme laid before him, he could strike out, or put in, or alter in any way he thought fit, and that if the parties were not satisfied with his proposals they might withdraw the scheme. The Governors of the Hospital said to the Home Secretary—"We are perfectly willing to leave out all those things you think in excess of the powers given by statute, and to take the rest." The Home Secretary would not do that. He said it was not his business to frame a Bill for them. They then struck out what they supposed was objectionable, and went to him again to pass the amended Bill. That he declined to do. Years passed on, and when another hospital made application for an extension of one year, Heriot's Hospital asked to be put in also, but the Lord Advocate opposed this, and the Home Secretary refused to put it in. So Heriot's Hospital did not get the advantages of the powers of that Act. The Government, however, promised to introduce an Act which they thought would please all parties in another year, and accordingly they did introduce a Bill which gave extravagant powers to the Government to devise or alter a scheme in any way they thought fit, and with the provision that in whatever way the Home Secretary altered it, the parties must take his fiat and receive the Bill. This Bill was opposed out and out, and after it had been read a second time we succeeded in getting it stopped. The result was, that the parties whom the citizens of Edinburgh credited with a secret desire to get hold of the revenues of Heriot's Hospital for purposes connected with the University, and for other purposes which the founder did not contemplate, felt checkmated by these proceedings, and got the Government to appoint a Commission to inquire into the endowed schools and institutions of Scotland, with the view of gaining their objects by that course. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Elgin Burghs has said that this Commission was composed of men of all political parties. That is literally true, but hardly true in its spirit. The inhabitants of Edinburgh were most anxious that some one man should be put on the Commission who was acquainted with the management of the institutions of Edinburgh—a man of intelligence and probity, who would look to the interests of the institutions, and be able to put the right questions at the right time, and to elicit information. Great influence was used to get the Home Secretary and the Lord Advocate to appoint one such man, and the gentleman who was President of the Chamber of Commerce at the time was recommended. They resisted that proposal, and appointed a Commission on which there was not one man who was at all conversant with the affairs of Edinburgh. Two Edinburgh barristers were appointed, holding office at the time under the Lord Advocate, but no other person connected with Edinburgh was on the Commission, and it was, in consequence, distrusted both by my constituents and myself. There was one Conservative Member on it, and in that sense the statement of the hon. Member is correct that both political Parties were represented; but only in the proportion of one to six. I do not think that was a fair proportion. The Commission reported, and a very accurate and fair epitome of the Report has been given. The chief point in which I am interested for my constituents is that in regard to what they think and I think—the proposed misappropriation of the revenue of that great trust, Heriot's Hospital; and that I may not be thought presumptuous in setting up my opinion against the opinion of those seven able Commissioners to examine this question, I may inform the House that although there are 54 Governors of that Hospital, 13 of the city clergy, and 41 magistrates and town councillors, not one of them approves of the Report. They are unanimously against it. During the last three yearly elections to the Town Council of Edinburgh, the candidates were asked whether they would approve of such an appropriation as this of the funds of Heriot's Hospital, and without one exception in any of the wards of the city, not a man came forward who said he would approve of this proposition. Under those circumstances, I hope I shall not be thought singular or presumptuous in trying to give effect to the opinion so generally felt in the great city I have the honour to represent. George Heriot's Trust was constituted 250 years ago. In the deed of trust he said it was to be modelled on the plan of Christ's Hospital or the Bluecoat School in London; not on that school as it is now—a school for the rich and well-to-do citizens of London—but as it was then, a school for the poor in London—for the endowment of Christ's Hospital has been changed in its character as much as any endowment. In many cases of English trusts it has been found that when the Governors did nothing, the value of the land originally left increased while they slept, and therefore they deserve no credit for any increase in the revenue. The improvement arose from circumstances beyond their control. But it was very different with the managers of Heriot's Trust. He left no land, but some houses in Edinburgh, and money, which he authorized them to invest in whatever way they thought fit. They sold all the property he had, and bought other lands from time to time as they came into the market. The whole money he left was about £23,000 and the revenue of the Hospital now is about £20,000, so that the yearly income, entirely owing to the good management of the Trustees, and not to any peculiar circumstances, is nearly equal to the original sum, and out of the original sum the beautiful building, the Hospital itself, was erected. About 40 years ago, it was found that the revenue was nearly £3,000 in excess of the requirements of the institution, and I think I can say, from having been then a Governor, that the surplus was not always wisely spent. There was an inclination to spend it in ornamental embellishments. A motion was made for the Governors to endeavour to get an Act of Parliament to apply the surplus in establishing out-door schools as nearly as possible in the spirit of the original document, which was "to provide for the maintenance and education of poor orphans and fatherless children." But Heriot left power to a gentleman, afterwards Dean of Rochester, to make the constitution such as he thought fit, and the Dean left out the words "fatherless children." Therefore, the trust stood for 250 years for poor children, being the sons of burgesses in poor circumstances, whose parents were not sufficiently able to maintain them. The Trustees applied to Parliament for an Act to enable them to establish out-door schools. Their wish was that the original institution should be kept up to the original extent as to the number of boys, and that the surplus should be applied to the out-door schools, under the careful nursing of the Governors. Thirty-nine years ago, one school was created; another, and another, and another followed, as the funds increased, until now there are 16 in existence, and other four are being erected. Upwards of 4,500 children are now receiving an entirely gratuitous education in these schools, in addition to keeping up everything that the original founder desired to be kept up. [An hon. MEMBER: Including the maintenance?] No, I speak of out-door schools; the maintenance only applies to the children in the Hospital. The Governors, by the Act, did not seek to extend the principle of seclusion and maintenance; there was plenty of that already provided in the city. They preferred to establish schools to take the children in simply for education, believing that in that way they could do many times as much good as could be done with the same sum of money in any other way. That Bill was keenly canvassed in both Houses of Parliament. Six Petitions were presented against it in the House of Commons by trades and corporations and other parties who thought themselves interested, and five Petitions in the House of Peers. Considerable Amendments were made in the Bill, particularly in the House of Peers, one of them to the effect that the Dean's statutes was to be read as equal in authority with the terms of the will. I mention this circumstance because of a direction in the will that no arrangement should stand which was contrary to the spirit of the statutes; and it is contended in the Report that the omission of the words "fatherless children" was a mere clerical blunder, notwithstanding that the Dean went down to Edinburgh to consult the local authorities, and there came to the conclusion that there were not a sufficient number of fatherless children of the class requiring to be provided for. Then it is said in the Report that the University of St. Andrews, having a residuary interest in the funds of the Hospital, was not aware of the Bill being before Parliament. The old system of Committee of the House of Commons was in existence at that time. Scotland was divided into two or more districts, and one Committee, called the Eastern Committee, included the Members for St. Andrews, Fifeshire, and all the neighbouring burghs, and for counties on the East of Scotland. To that Committee the Bill was referred, and if St. Andrews supposed it was interested, there was no difficulty in moving in the matter, but they never made any application. The Governors appointed by Heriot were every minister of the Established Church in Edinburgh, and every member of the Town Council, and he gave solemn injunctions in his will, which were repeated in the Dean's statutes, that an oath should be taken by each Governor on entering upon office, that he would never try to alter the terms of the Trust in any way whatever; and there was a condition that if they did not carry out the will, the trust should be forfeited to the University of St. Andrews. That is what the Commissioners call the residuary interest. Who can imagine that St. Andrews has an interest of any kind whatever? The Governors have not only done all that Heriot desired, but they have so administered the trust as to produce results conferring an incalculably greater benefit on the community. The Commissioners are not disposed to let well alone. Whatever may be said of the monastic character of the Hospital, one would suppose that schools so well-established, and which have done so much good, would escape any changes such as might visit others not so successfully administered. The Commissioners admit that these are the best schools in Edinburgh, and there are many still higher authorities as to their excellence. Those schools are free. Every child costs about 30s., and therefore every poor mechanic's son in effect gets a bursary of 30s. a-year. The most necessitious children are admitted, judging from the income of the parents and other circumstances. The advantages are such, the Commissioners state, that there is a great pressure to get in, and a great fear of being put out. The attendance is better than at any other schools in the kingdom, and it may interest hon. Members to know what is the talisman which brings about that result. Rules were made at the establishment of the first schools that when a child was absent, the teacher or his deputy must go and ascertain the cause each time, and if it was found that a child was absent three times without proper cause, his name should be struck off the roll. That is the only compulsion applied; there is a moral compulsion, and that is found quite sufficient to fill the schools, and to keep them full, and to do a great deal of good. The result is that of every 100 children on the roll there are always 89 or 90 in attendance. The Edinburgh School Board have established many schools, and I find from their Report, which I read in the newspapers a few days ago, that the average attendance at their schools is only 73 out of every 100, the absentees being 27 per cent, as against 11 per cent at Heriot's Hospital. We see how well these work, and yet the Commissioners cannot let well alone, but insist on fees being charged at least to the extent of those who are willing to pay—and of that number they assume there are two-thirds. They say—"If you charge fees, you can get a grant of £2,600 from the Privy Council, and as much, or more, from the children's pence," and therefore they strongly recommend that course to be adopted. They are also strongly in favour of the establishment of bursaries, and of giving advantages to the University, and extending the benefits of the institution beyond the limits of the City of Edinburgh and the neighbourhood, to which they are now confined. Now, all that is fair matter for discussion, but for my part I do not see where the principle, if you once begin to act on it, is to end. One would have thought the Commissioners would have gone to the towns where nothing has been done, and call on those towns to open up their schools as the Merchant Company of Edinburgh has already done, but they do not ask that. All they ask is that Edinburgh should be deprived of its remaining advantages. They forget that there are large bequests at Aberdeen, Glasgow, and other places—larger even than that of Heriot's Hospital. There is the Ferguson bequest of about £16,000 a-year, extending to four counties in the West of Scotland. Why do not they recommend that the advantages of that bequest should be opened up to all other counties? Why not recommend the opening up to other districts of the Hutcheson bequest in Glasgow, which is larger than Heriot's? There appears to me to be no principle in their recommendations. Carrying the illustration still further, look at Oxford and Cambridge in England. If it is a wise thing to seize on the funds of a great institution in Edinburgh; if that is a principle which is to receive the sanction of Parliament, why would it not be right to seize on the property of Oxford and Cambridge and apply it to the University of Durham, Owen's College in Manchester, and similar institutions in England? Once admit the principle of spoliation—for such, without meaning any disrespect to the Commissioners, I venture to call it—if you once admit that principle of confiscation where are you to stop? Then, in regard to bursaries, which the Commissioners think so exceedingly advantageous, a good deal has been done in that way already. Edinburgh has between £6,000 and £7,000, and Glasgow between £7,000 and £8,000, and the other Universities have also considerable sums. The thread running through the whole of the Commissioners' Report is that University education is the one thing needful, and they seem to complain that only two boys have been sent to the University from Heriot's Hospital each year; but the fact is, they do not want to go to the University—they want to learn trades. There are already a much larger number of University students in Scotland in proportion than in England. In the Scotch Universities, after deducting the English, Irish, and other students, there are about 4,000 Scotch students. If there was the same proportion of University students in England their number would be 26,000, whereas, I believe that, taking both Oxford and Cambridge, there are fewer than 5,000; so that Scotland, in proportion to its population, has five times as many University students as England. Yet it is implied all through this Report of the Commissioners that University education is the thing neglected in Scotland. It appears to me that Edinburgh, where there is so small a population engaged in trades and manufactures, is the last place in the country where the Commissioners should propose to try such an experiment as they suggest, for establishing a large technological school on the German model at the expense of Heriot's Trust, with any chance of success. Why should not they have tried the experiment with Hutcheson's Hospital at Glasgow—a city where it might have borne fruit, instead of in the more sterile soil of Edinburgh? The Commissioners place great value on University education; they are probably all University men themselves, and their opinion is no doubt entitled to respect; but still their opinion does not seem to be shared by the large towns of England and Scotland. I have looked at the biographies in Debrett of the Members for five large boroughs in England, and I find that out of 14 Members, only one describes himself as having had a University education. Looting to the Members for four of the large burghs in Scotland, I find that one graduates at Aberdeen, one in Dublin, three simply say that they were "at Universities "—one of them abroad—and three had not been at Universities at all. Those facts go to show that the electors of our large cities and towns do not value University education quite as much as the Commissioners do. They think men are quite equal to their duties even in Parliament, although they have never had the advantage of a University training. I find, too, that the same thing applies to the Judges of the Superior Courts in England. One would naturally suppose they had all been educated at Oxford or Cambridge, but I find that is by no means the case; nearly one-half of the Judges, both in the Courts of Chancery and Common Law, never having been at any University. If, then, men are good enough to be Members of this House, and Judges holding the highest position in the land, without having been to a University, surely it is unreasonable to urge that all the poor lads in Heriot's Hospital ought to get a University education, or be disparaged if they do not. They cannot afford to spend the years necessary for a University education, even if all their fees and maintenance were paid for, unless they intend to follow one of what is usually called the learned professions. The Universities are very good in their way, but the cry in their favour may be carried too far. The Commissioners object to poor people being, what they call, pauperized by having a free education given them; but are not the bursaries and prizes given for the Universities sufficient both to clothe and educate the students who obtain them. Does that pauperize them? And, if not, why should you say it pauperizes poor children to have a free education, without food or clothing, if it does not pauperize the richer classes? The Commissioners do not approve of giving benefactions to particular names. There was a gentleman of the name of Maclean who recently left about £16,000 to establish a benefaction for boys of that name. I say that if they do not think it right to give the benefaction to the name of Maclean's only, they ought to give the money back to the heir-at-law. Parliament should never decide that benefactions should not be applied for the purposes and in the manner intended, so long as it is a legal and useful purpose. There are several rather wild statements in the Report, one of which relates to the expenditure. The Commissioners find fault with the expenditure; but the expenditure has not been made out fairly. It is just like some hon. Member asking what the expenses of the regiments of Guards in London are, and in making up the account to put in the whole expenses of the staff in London, and say that that is the cost. Heriot's Hospital has a superintendent of works, clerk of works, treasurer, law agents, and all those officers; and their salaries and outlay for repairs are all put down in the return of the expenditure. I contend that in every estimate showing the cost of education all the salaries paid to the officers I have enumerated ought to be deducted. Then the Commissioners appear to think that Heriot's Hospital was meant for boys who were to be of rather a better class than the present inmates; and, in support of this view, they refer to the requirement that they ought, at certain stages, to attend the Grammar School. If they had looked to the records of the Town Council they would have found the Grammar School of Edinburgh was the only school in Edinburgh at a time when trade guilds and similar combinations were rampant, and when it was strictly forbidden for anyone to open another school in competition. I have already adverted upon one chief matter, and I will just say another word or two—without intending to disparage the Report in any way—about the open competition for bursaries. It sounds well, and it would also be very well if the open competition was among persons in equal circumstances. It is then the best possible means of selection; but if you have to draw into competition raw young lads who have never been at good schools with those who have had superior advantages, then I answer that it is not at all a good mode of selection. The son of a poor man has not had the advantage of being at a first-rate school. The sons of wealthy men have had the advantage of good schools and private tutors. If you send the sons of working men to compete with the sons of well-to-do men for bursaries, with a view to entering a University, this is not fair competition. George Heriot was most particular in imploring the Governors of his Hospital never to devote any of his funds to any other purpose than that for which he meant them—to support poor orphans and fatherless children, or children whose parents were not sufficiently able to maintain them. A poor man with 30s. a-week, I should say, is not sufficiently able to maintain them—probably one child would get to school, but all would not get a sufficiently good education, and Parliament could not do a greater wrong than sanction those principles of confiscation which, I venture to think, are contained in this Report.


said, it was not necessary for him to waste time in alluding at length to the subject before the House; but he could not refrain from taking the opportunity of expressing his satisfaction that a Gentleman so well able to judge of the merits of the Report to which allusion had been made, should have expressed approval of its terms, and approbation of the general recommendations of the Commissioners. He had the honour to serve on that Commission, and he felt it a high honour to make an inquiry of which he hoped the result would be that they would obtain for the poor the advantages of instruction in the higher branches of learning, which appeared to be denied to them in the present state of education in Scotland. He regretted that what was stated by the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs had not been concurred in by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren). The Commissioners never expected that recommendations so general, and affecting so many different interests, could possibly be received by everyone, without leaving room for difference of opinion. There was room for differences of opinion on many points of the recommendations, but they certainly did not expect that objection would be raised by anyone interested in Heriot's Hospital. The hon. Member for Edinburgh had complained that the Commissioners were not sufficiently informed of the state of education in Edinburgh. He (Mr. Ramsay) thought that came with an ill grace from the hon. Gentleman, seeing that the Commissioners wrote him a polite note, asking him to give evidence before them on the subject of inquiry. The hon. Member declined—on what grounds was not stated, except that he might have thought the Commissioners were not properly qualified, and were not capable of judging of the interests of Edinburgh. That might be so, because he could not think that the hon. Member would have refrained from giving evidence solely on account of not getting the Gentlemen appointed on the Commission whom he thought ought to have been there. He (Mr. Ramsay) must repeat that he could not possibly have expected that anyone interested in He-riot's Hospital would have raised objection to the Report. He arrived at that conclusion because the Governors of Heriot's Hospital themselves submitted a scheme to the Home Secretary in 1870, in which they really asked to obtain powers to do all that the Commissioners recommended should be done in regard to that Hospital. He had a copy of the scheme, and he had been struck with the fact that the recommendations of the Commissioners were in strict accordance with the proposals of the Governors of Heriot's Hospital, and he could not, therefore, comprehend what change of opinion could have come over that body, to induce them to send Gentlemen to spend some hours in the Lobby of that House, lest the action of the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs should result in something detrimental to the interests of Heriot's Hospital and education in Edinburgh. It would only occupy a few minutes to go over all the recommendations seriatim, and place them in contrast with the scheme proposed by the Governors of Heriot's Hospital so recently as 1870. The first recommendation was that the charitable foundationers should be boarded out in respectable families. The Governors in their scheme proposed there should be a grant conferred upon them, and that they should have power, if they deemed it expedient in order to render the funds of the Hospital of greater benefit, to board out foundationers with persons approved of by the Governors. The second recommendation of the Commissioners was that the Hospital School should be thrown open as a day-school free to all. The Governors of Heriot's Hospital had also asked to have that power. The Commissioners next proposed that a considerable proportion of the places in each foundation should be thrown open to competition among boys, with a view to technical instruction. The Governors asked for the same power in their scheme. In the next case—that of pupils paying fees, it was provided that a sufficient number of places should be reserved for necessitous cases. Was there anything there to exclude the poor? Nothing could be further from the desire of the Commissioners than that the interests of the poor should be in any way neglected. The scheme of the Governors also provided for a system of education where fees could be charged. Therefore, he did not see what objection the hon. Member for Edinburgh should have to the recommendations of the Commissioners. With regard to higher instruction, the hon. Member had taken special exception to the proposal that technical schools should be opened, because he believed there was no demand for such instruction. Why did the Governors propose they should have that power conferred upon them? They not only recommended higher and secondary schools to be called "George Heriot's intermediary schools," but they would give technical education and instruction in modern languages. How then was it possible for the hon. Gentleman to object to the Commissioners' Report? The hon. Member took an active part in promoting the reforms in 1836 which induced the Governors of Heriot's Hospital to open the elementary day-schools which were now in existence. The Commissioners' Report also gave effect in that direction, and he could not explain how the hon. Gentleman, accurate as he usually was, should have asked them to believe the Report was not beneficial to the public, when there was not one word in the Report to countenance such an idea. [Mr. M'LAREN: Charging fees.] He had already stated that in the Governors' scheme fees were to be charged. Not only that, but the working men of Edinburgh came before the Commission, and said they preferred to pay them, therefore if the hon. Gentleman had been on the Commission he must have concurred in the recommendation. He did not feel—and he was sure the hon. Member did not feel—that they could do enough for the poor by providing a merely elementary education. That was not the Scottish idea of education at all—it was that the poor should get an education in the higher branches of learning. He was astonished to hear the opinion expressed that elementary education was all that ought to be provided. [Mr. M'LAREN: I never said anything of the kind.] He certainly understood the hon. Gentleman to deprecate anything like the higher education. He was quite satisfied, however, with that disclaimer, and he thought he had said enough to satisfy the House that the recommendations of the Commissioners in their Report were quite in accordance with the wishes of the Governors of Heriot's Hospital as expressed in their scheme in 1870. Nothing in the Report would tend to injure the institution; but he thought if the power were conferred on the Governors of carrying out the recommendations it would be a great blessing to Edinburgh, and to the people of Scotland. As to the cost of the Hospital system, the hon. Member had said that in reckoning the cost of each child, they had included the general expense of the administration. [Mr. M'LAREN: The salaries.] It was a point on which he thought the hon. Member was mistaken, and the hon. Member would perhaps allow him to say that probably he had not read the Report with the care which it might be expected he would have bestowed upon it. The net amount expended on the maintenance and education of the children was the basis of the calculation, and anyone who would refer to the Report would find that that was correct. He would urge upon the right hon. Gentleman the desirability of the Government taking the subject into their very serious consideration, in order to do something to make the application of the funds of much greater use than they had hitherto been. His conviction was that by means of those funds, which were very great in the aggregate, they might confer upon the people of Scotland, not the elementary education, which was already provided by statute, but place within the reach of the poorest that higher education which, as he had said, was the ideal of what constituted education in Scotland, and which was at any rate the ideal of the founders of the Scottish school system.


said, that this was a much wider question than one affecting a single institution, and as one having had some experience with regard to the endowments of the town and county of Aberdeen, he wished to express his concurrence very largely with the Report of the Commissioners. Throughout the North-Eastern districts of Scotland there was a very high system of parochial teaching, and he thought that the success which had attended many of the young men from Aberdeen and that district was due to the beneficial effects of inducing high-class teachers to accept appointments in the parochial schools. No doubt, that money had been exceedingly well applied, and had been productive of the highest results, and he did not quite agree with the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff) who said they had no secondary schools in that part of Scotland, because it was a fact that many of the pupils in those parochial schools got a good secondary education, comparatively speaking, went directly from them to the Universities, where they achieved great success. He agreed very much with what had fallen fron the hon. Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay). He thought that in these endowments they had ample funds to provide secondary education. He knew the anxious desire in Aberdeen and in Scotland generally to utilize the endowments, and he found the sum of money which might be fairly and well applied to the secondary schools was ample for all useful purposes; but as matters stood he was afraid there was a considerable risk of a secondary education falling through between the elementary and the University education. As regarded University education, a strong feeling existed that it did not provide the education which it was necessary for young men entering the world to have, and that the popular element should have greater power in deciding the curriculum of the Universities. At present the University curriculum was based very much on the ideas current 100 years ago, and young men were practically bribed to go in for a University education, which, having obtained, they did not know very well what to do with. It would be very much better if the education comprised what was now necessary for an educated gentleman; but, practically, the curriculum of the University was confined to the ancient, to the almost total exclusion of modern, education. But that was rather apart from the questions under discussion. He merely wished to state that, so far as the University of Aberdeen was concerned, he believed that the curriculum there, and also the curriculum at other Scottish Universities, was such as did not command the general confidence of the public. It was not what the general public desired. With regard to the endowments in Aberdeen which were referred to by the Commissioners, he would support the views of the Commissioners from his own acquaintance with the abuses which existed at present in regard to them. Where the endowment had been confined to the nearest of kin it turned out in this way—two or three generations back the nearest of kin was ascertained to be a certain child, and then the descendants of that child continued to lay claim to the endowment as the nearest of kin, and thus abuses grew up. Again, as regarded the endowments which were confined to certain classes—for instance, take the case of the sons of burgess of guild. Certain endowments were strictly confined to what were called sons of decayed burgesses, but he knew that cases had arisen where there were no sons of burgesses answering that description, and although the Town Council had desired to bestow the bursaries in accordance with the intention of the founder, there were no students qualified. He thought it right to state with regard to one important endowment in Aberdeen, that of late years the Trustees had taken a much more liberal view of the deed of foundation, and instead of restricting the benefits of the institution to the sons of burgesses of guild as heretofore, had liberally construed the provisions of the deed in favour of the sons of necessitous parents. He thought that showed the desire on the part of the Trustees to go forward in the direction of the views of the Commissioners. He therefore hoped that the Home Secretary and the Lord Advocate would take into consideration the propriety of bringing forward a Bill which would freely give to those Trustees the power to liberalize those endowments in accordance with the views and the wishes of the public. Considering that the Trustees were almost in every case elected representatives of the public, they would not move farther in straining the views and the opinions of the testator than public opinion warranted. He could not agree with the opinion and the statement with regard to confiscation that had been uttered. He thought the sound view to take in regard to the endowments was this—that the founder was sincerely actuated by the desire to apply the money to the purpose which would do the greatest amount of good in a particular direction to his fellow-citizens. The principle, therefore, which ought to guide them in dealing with the endowments was to apply them in such a way as would lead to good and not harm; to apply the money in the most advantageous manner under the circumstances of the present time, and see that it was really productive of good, and not of harm, which could not have been the object of any pious founder.


said, that, as a Member of the Commission, he was not unprepared for some exhibition of local prejudice or claims in the case of endowments which it was proposed to open up and extend. But he owned he was surprised at the opposition which he very much regretted had been offered by his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) on this occasion. Generally, the Commissioners had every reason to be satisfied with the reception their Report had met with. It had been received with cordial approbation; and a general desire had been expressed to see its principal recommendations carried into effect. He was, however, aware that, judging from the past, they might meet with some special difficulties when they applied their principles to that part of Scotland which his hon. Friend below him represented. He utterly denied that the Commissioners had in their recommendation drawn any distinction between the principles which they had applied to Heriot's and to Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland, but they had proposed principles which they thought would be beneficial to the whole country. He had not disguised from himself the doubt that the remedies formerly proposed might not yield the fruit expected from them. In the first place, they would only be operative in a limited number of institutions; again, there was the difficulty formed by the unwillingness to part with power. In saying that he was happy to say that the effort made by the late right hon. and learned Lord Advocate (Mr. Moncrieff), in passing a Permissive Bill giving facilities for the reform of these endowments, had been very liberally responded to by some of the leading institutions in Scotland, and it was much to be regretted that the progress of that reform had been checked by the opinion of his successor (Mr. Young); indeed, but for his interposition, many of those institutions would have been reformed, and would have conferred great benefit upon Scotland. He was surprised that his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh should have made the application of the funds to elementary education the text of his speech. He (Sir Edward Colebrooke) believed Edinburgh derived the greatest benefit from those schools; but he thought that the testimony which they had received from the Trustees of Heriot's Hospital fortified the conclusion at which the Commissioners arrived, that the time was come when indiscriminate gratuitous education should cease. That was the principle they proposed to apply to these schools. They thought they should stand like every other school, and in laying down that principle they laid down one which they were prepared to apply generally. With regard to that part of the question which referred to competition, he thought that the more they could spread competition the better it would be for the cause of education, and for the institution they wished to support. This principle they were prepared to apply generally. They thought that, as far as possible, consideration should be shown for the wishes of original founders, but at the same time they held that the Legislature had a right to see that such institutions conferred the greatest benefit on the greatest number. There was one point on which the Commissioners were entirely at one, and that was with respect to the claims of secondary education. Scotland, while rich in endowments, and while possessing Universities which opened their arms widely, was more poorly supplied with secondary schools than England or almost any other country in Europe. Hero there was a great field open to the Government. If they took this matter in hand with the view of seeing how far they could carry the recommendations of the Commissioners into effect, they might confer the greatest benefits on Scotland, without in any way shocking the feelings of the people or going in advance of public opinion. Above all, it was the object of the Commissioners to recommend what was practical, and to endeavour that those fine revenues might be so applied to the wants of the people, that Scotland would take her place in the front rank of the educated nations of the world. In that view, the duty of the Commissioners was to consider, not merely what would meet the popular case at the moment, but to lay down broad rules that would meet with general support. Whether they had succeeded or not, it would not be for the House to say; but, at all events, they had discharged their duty conscientiously.


hoped that he would be allowed to address the House for a few minutes, for the question was one of great importance to Scotland, and it seemed to him that if the Government were to take the recommendations of the Royal Commissioners, the result would be to embroil the country in a great deal of mischief. He must say for himself he totally disagreed and dissented from the Report of the Commissioners, and he would explain why he did so. In their final Report the Commissioners recommended that the Government should cause an Act to be passed for the appointment of an Executive Commission to deal with all the endowed schools in Scotland according to the recommendations of the Department. He (Mr. Maitland) objected to the appointment of any Commission, and he had the greatest possible objection to the specific recommendations contained in that Blue Book. His objections were two-fold. In the first place, all the recommendations contained in the last few pages were so vague and ambiguous, that he could imagine the two Commissioners endeavouring conscientiously to follow them out might come to diametrically opposite opinions. He thought that the House should more clearly understand what these recommendations were before they appointed a Committee to carry them out. Moreover, it seemed to him that from beginning to end of the Report there was something like a misrepresentation of the hospital system. An hospital was really nothing more than a public school for the poorer classes. It was like Eton, Harrow, and Rugby, with this difference—that it was a school for the education and maintenance of the poor, or orphans; and children of persons in such crippled circumstances that they could not provide for the education of their families. In that Blue Book every possible objection was urged against the system, and he would show how groundless many of the objections were. The boys maintained in the Hospital were all from 7 to 14 years of age, and yet from beginning to end of this Report the system was branded as the monastic system. That was the way it was sought to prejudice people against it. Why, the children in these hospitals saw more of their parents than the children of any public school in either England or Scotland, and yet it was called the monastic system! He could only say that this was a deliberate attempt to mislead the people of Scotland. The expression occurred 20 or 30 times, and there was not the shadow of an excuse for it. The Commissioners were to-night maintaining that the opposition to their scheme was all local prejudice, and when the hon. Member for Edinburgh got up and objected, he was pooh-poohed, and the House was asked to believe that there were no solid arguments against the scheme. Another objection taken to the hospitals was that the children were brought up in a style of life for which they were not suited. He did not think that was a good objection, and he held that they should carry out the intentions of founders, unless there were some strong reasons for disregarding them. So highly was the system thought of in Scotland that £80,000 or £90,000 had been devoted to an hospital for the maintenance of children of a better class, for Fettes College was nothing but an hospital for the better-off classes. He would not follow the speech of the hon. Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay), but he would say this, that before they attacked such a system as this which had existed so long, and had done so much good, they must have some good object in view to which the revenues could be applied. And what was the object in this case? Every sort of proposal—some of them most preposterous—had been made in regard to the hospital. One was to found a school of technical education, and another to found a Chair of Paedutics. He trusted that the Government would not accede to the recommendations of the Commissioners.


said, he wished to say a few words in support of the view which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) on the subject. He (Mr. Macdonald) was disposed to go as far as any hon. Member in that House in favour of securing secondary education in Scotland, and he thought that the time had come when an effort should be put forth for that purpose. But while he desired to see a technical education given at every large centre of industry in the country, he would not consent to that object being attained by despoiling any institution of funds which had been left to it for a totally different purpose. There were institutions in Scotland, and notably the one to which the hon. Member for Edinburgh had referred, which were designed by the founder for the purpose of educating the poor. He had read carefully the Report of the Commissioners, and found that they admitted that this institution was carrying out almost to the letter the object of its founder. If that were so, and if there still remained poor children in Edinburgh to be educated, he ventured to say that if that House attempted to apply the endowment to any other purpose, it would be depriving these poor children of their birthright, and of the benefits which the founder designed to confer upon them. He went further, and said that he did not believe in confiscating or diverting from their original uses the endowments which, either in the Middle Ages or in modern times, were left by persons for good and pious purposes. He was convinced that if the Legislature should take the course of laying ruthless hands upon the revenues of institutions of this kind, they would dry up in a large degree, if not altogether, the feelings which prompted benevolent persons to leave these benefactions, and to do away with that public sympathy which was one of the characteristic features of our times. He entered his strong protest against any interference with these institutions. If any mal-practices were alleged, by all means let an inquiry be instituted; but he trusted that the Home Secretary and the Lord Advocate would deal with this subject in the spirit of maintaining these institutions for the purposes and objects which their founders had in view, and would not, either now or at any other time, allow ruthless hands to be placed upon them.


said, he must confess that he had been much taken by surprise by the remarkable Tory speeches which they had heard from that—the Liberal—side of the House. The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Macdonald), whom he knew to be zealous for education, had spoken as if the question were a new one, and did not appear to be aware that the subject of these endowments had been exhausted by the fullest inquiries, by not a Scotch Commission merely, but also by a great English Commission. The hon. Member asked that all endowments should be kept to the most pious purposes for which the founder originally intended them. He would keep, for instance, the large endowments that they possessed in London for liberating English captives from Barbary—a most pious intention of the founder, whose money had swelled to gigantic proportions. But now there were no English captives at Barbary to be released. Yet that pious foundation must be preserved according to the principles of his hon. Friend. There was another foundation for killing lady birds in Cornhill. Would his hon. Friend wish that the will of the founder in that instance should be perpetually kept, and not dealt with according to the wants of the time? Such views were so old that he had not believed that there was a person in the House who would have advanced them. The hon. Member for Kirkcudbright (Mr. Maitland) spoke of the hospital system as if it were a system for which the Scotch people had the greatest admiration. Why, the reason that this Commission had been instituted at all was that the Scotch people were perfectly convinced that the hospital system had failed. ["No, no!"] Was it not the Trustees of these endowments who themselves had come to that House with schemes for the reform of the hospital system. The Edinburgh Merchants' Company had abolished the hospital system, and made great day-schools. The Governors of Heriot's Hospital, if they had not abolished, had largely modified that system. When the Scotch people had ascertained that there were no fruits of that system, that the children educated under it never attained distinction, they applied to that House, and asked them to change the system and mate it useful, and that was what the Commission had most laboriously inquired into and had furnished them with admirable plans. The hon. Member for Kirkcudbright said that hospitals were more schools like Eton or Harrow. Why, then, had they been productive of so little fruit? Every parish school in Scotland could boast of its distinguished scholars. How came it that these Scotch hospitals, with all their wealth, had none to boast of? He was an older educationalist than the hon. Member for Kirkcudbright, and he thanked the Commission for the admirable Report which they had made, in which ample care was taken of the poor. What was the change which they desired to see? It was this—Edinburgh, as the metropolis of Scotland, had got an enormous acquisition of wealth in regard to these hospital foundations. It had got this great wealth, not because it was Edinburgh, but because it was the capital of the kingdom; and was the hon. Member for the City of Edinburgh to be the person to ask that House to treat Edinburgh as a small locality, and not as the metropolis of Scotland? Why, did it not add to the dignity of Edinburgh if it were made the metropolis of education as well as the metropolis of Scotland. The Commissioners recommended that Edinburgh should he made the metropolis of education in Scotland, and that these enormous foundations, which had come to it because it was the capital of the kingdom, should not be limited to Edinburgh alone, but extended to the whole kingdom.


What foundation has Edinburgh got, because it is the capital of the kingdom? I know of none.


Heriot himself left it to Edinburgh because it was the capital of Scotland, and what he said was this—"If you don't fulfil the purposes of my foundation, it shall go to another place." He said that the Governors of the Hospital had never fulfilled the literal terms of Heriot's foundation, and it was because they had not done so that Scotland was grateful to them. They had enlarged the terms of the trust, as they found there was occasion for it, and the schools spoken of as "Heriot's" might he called "M'Laren's schools," because there was a celebrated Lord Provost, now one of the Members for the City of Edinburgh, who instituted these schools. It was because Heriot's views had been altered to suit the wants of the time that this trust had done good outside its hospital system. It was in order to still further enlarge that trust that the Commissioners had made the recommendations which had been brought under the attention of the House. There had been remarks made about the Universities of Scotland, which answered themselves. For instance, the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. Barclay) said he did not think they suited the wants of the people at present, and therefore the Commissioners recommended too much when they desired to promote the existing objects of those Universities. But that was answered by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, when he said that they educated too large a proportion of students in proportion to the population, so that they obviously possessed the confidence of the people. He hoped the Lord Advocate would tell the House that he appreciated this Report as highly as he (Mr. Lyon Playfair) was sure the large proportion of the population of Scotland did; that he would be willing to adopt the moderate views which were expressed in it; and that he would enable them by an executive Commission to carry out the recommendations somewhat after the manner in which action was taken by the Schools Inquiry Commission in England. If he did so, he would confer a great benefit upon Scotland, and promote very largely the education of the people.


I was very glad, Sir, that the hon. Member who opened this discussion (Mr. Grant Duff) said he was about to originate a conversation on the question, and that he would not conclude with any practical Resolution. I think his object has been amply served by the discussion which has taken place, with which I trust the House will be satisfied. I agree with other hon. Members that the question is not quite so clear as the Commissioners, by the terms in which they make their Report, appear to think it, and that there are difficulties connected with the subject. I am glad the hon. Member did not conclude with any Motion, because I have not been able to give that consideration to the matter which its importance demands, nor has my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, owing to the pressure of other Business. All I can say is, in answer to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), that during the Vacation we shall take the opportunity of most seriously considering the terms of the Report. I can give no pledge as to what our decision shall be, because I have not studied the evidence sufficiently to offer an opinion, and it must be evident to all hon. Members that there are considerable difficulties about the question. At the same time, I am certainly anxious that something should be done for the benefit of the secondary schools in Scotland. Nobody can be more desirous, than I am that that should be done, and it may be remembered that I proposed an Amendment to the Education Act of 1872, the object of which was to secure for the secondary schools all contributions which had been previously given from corporations and other sources to parish or burgh schools for the purpose of higher education. But, anxious as I am to see secondary schools established and supported in a better manner than they are at present, we must be very careful indeed that we do not infringe the supposed rights or the actual rights of persons who are interested in particular localities in regard to the funds which have hitherto been devoted to them. We shall very likely encounter prejudices which may throw obstacles in the way of carrying out even the more moderate recommendations of the Commissioners. But, with a sincere desire to do what we can for the purpose of improving the secondary schools in Scotland, we shall consider fully the recommendations and the evidence, which I confess I have not yet done. I have certainly read the Report, which is a very long one, but it requires that we should apply our minds to it more thoroughly before arriving at a decision; and meanwhile it would be wrong of me, regarding the matter rather in my judicial capacity, to express any strong opinion either for or against the terms of the Report.


trusted the Government would not hastily adopt the recommendations of the Commissioners, however good they might be in themselves, because he conceived they had no right to interfere with the will of the founders of charities so long as they were not detrimental to the public interests. He wished to speak especially in regard to Heriot's Hospital. The Commissioners in their Report adduced in support of their recommendation, the evidence of Dr. Bedford, who in 1862 had written a paper which was read before the Social Science Congress. The evidence given by Dr. Bedford before the Commissioners, and which was quoted in full in their 1st Report, was also mentioned in the 3rd Report. Dr. Bedford was asked the question— Do you to a certain extent hold the opinion that in these institutions, the children are of less intelligence than in other schools? To which he replied— Yes; I stated that at the time with the view of considering whether it was correct or not, but I have no hesitation in saying I believe it is substantially correct. It was Heriot's Hospital with which I was familiar. But the Commissioners, in their last Report, had omitted to add a most important addition which Dr. Bedford made to that answer—namely— I have modified my opinion since then in respect to Heriot's Hospital, because new arrangements have been introduced into that institution. He (Mr. Noel) was quite ready to acknowledge that if the founders of those educational institutions had directed anything wrong in the application of their funds, that House would be perfectly justified in taking some steps in the matter, but nothing of the kind could be shown in the application and working of the endowments. He therefore contended it was neither right nor proper to so alter the original intention of the founders as to expose Heriot's schools to changes that might endanger the best interests of the large number of children that were receiving a good education on its foundation. No one could doubt that Heriot's Hospital in Edinburgh had within the last few years been effecting great good; and how could it be justified that a school that was imparting the benefits of education to 5,000 children in a much more effective manner as regarded the compulsion than the school board schools, was to be interfered with on the Report of the Commissioners, and to have its funds diverted. The Commissioners, according to their Report, recommended that the body of administrators of the funds, amounting to 54, should be reduced to 15, and that in the face of the fact that the administrators of the funds were comprised of the corporation and other respectable citizens of Edinburgh, whose object it was to carry out the intentions of the founders to educate the children of poor burgesses. The endowment fund amounted to £9,886 18s., and the cost of boarding and educating many of the children amounted to £54 each per year. The £9,886 18s. included all the expenses of administration, &c. He submitted that it would be most unfair to single out that school to be dealt with in accordance with the recommendations of the Commissioners; and unless they were prepared to deal with the whole question they should not meddle with the funds left for such objects, as he had pointed out, by the founder.