HC Deb 02 August 1877 vol 236 cc329-46

(The Lord Advocate, Mr. Assheton Cross.)


Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, he thought the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Advocate) should, either at this stage or some previous stage of the Bill, have stated the grounds on which he asked the House to continue this Board of Education for Scotland for another year, because if the Board was simply to be continued under the present Act, he should be able to show very clearly that there was nothing for the Board to do; and if at some future period it was resolved to constitute a new Board for Scotland, with new powers, the questions should be considered when that Board was proposed. He would ask the House to listen for a short time to the history and duties of this Board. When the Education Bill for Scotland left that House there was no provision in it for such a Board as now existed; but in "another place," where they did not seem to entertain the same confidence in the governing powers of the people of Scotland, a proposal was introduced for a Board for the purpose of organizing the school supply for Scotland. It was said that, with a view to the greater efficiency and convenience and the organization of school boards, an Education Board should be appointed. Its duties were to settle the school supply throughout Scotland, as well in individual cases of parishes as in the joint parishes where joint schools were agreed upon as more convenient than special schools for each parish. The Board was invited by the Act to make proposals for raising and maintaining the educational standard of Scotland, and they were to decide any question or dispute between school and schoolmaster where there appeared to a school board to be a necessity for the retirement of the master. For the purpose of carrying out these duties it was provided that the Board should exist for three years, at the end of which time its existence should determine; but Her Majesty's Common Council had the power to continue it for two years further. It was contemplated that the whole of the work would be accomplished by the Board in three years; but in case it should not, power was taken to continue it for an additional period. That additional period would expire in the course of a few days, and hence it was proposed to continue the Board for another year under the provisions of the Bill now before the House. The Board was constituted, and got to work according to the provisions of the Act. It had to make a yearly Report to Parliament, and there were now upon the Table of the House four annual Reports, by which they might judge how the work had been performed. According to the first Report, the Board had considered the proposals of 398 boards, and settled them; in the second Report—for 1874— they disposed of the proposals of 355 boards. In 1875 they dealt with 72 proposals; and last year they dealt with 94—making altogether to the beginning of this year a number which left only 65 boards to be considered; so that, assuming the Board had continued to work this year at the same rate as last, there would not at this moment be more than a dozen proposals left to be dealt with. Then, as regarded the recommendation of any proposals to be submitted for the maintenance and elevation of the standard of higher education in Scotland, the Board made a Report in 1873, in which they submitted to the Privy Council certain proposals. He would not refer to them in detail, but he was entitled to infer that their alterations on this subject had been exhausted; because in their subsequent Reports they had made no additional proposals, and the other day they simply referred to the proposals they made in 1873, to which they said they still adhered. One of the remaining points over which they had power was with regard to the retiring schoolmasters. He had examined the Report for any statement of the work under this head, and although those Reports were very full with regard to the amount of the work which the Board stated it had done, there was no reference to the work which the Board had accomplished in this direction. Therefore, he inferred that these matters were chiefly settled by the school boards themselves. Certainly, five years had now well passed since the Act came into force, and they therefore had reason to suppose that all the inefficient schoolmasters had retired, and that this part of the work had been accomplished. Most of the work of the Board, therefore, being accomplished, the few matters of detail which remained ought to be accomplished by the Privy Council Department in London. The proposal now was that the Scotch Board should be continued for another year, at a cost of some £5,000, and the sole work remaining before them was to consider a very few proposals by school boards in Scotland which might have been considered and resolved upon before this time. It was quite true that several cases had occurred of school boards having gone to the Education Board for advice, and the Board had not been niggardly. In many cases that advice had not been adopted; but it seemed to him it would have been quite as well if the Board had attended to the duties actually imposed upon it rather than giving gratuitous advice, which comparatively few, so far as he could find, of the boards had adopted. He had also observed that many of the school boards had referred for advice to gentlemen of standing—Professors and others—who had acted as umpires for them; and if that course was desirable he should say that gentlemen connected with the Universities, and conversant with educational matters, could be found in the various localities who would attend to those matters quite as well as the Education Board itself at its offices in Edinburgh. But it was not specially for the purpose of saving this £5,000 that he objected to the passing of this Bill. He objected to the Education Board altogether, because it was an interference with local self-government in Scotland. The manner in which the local boards in Scotland had carried out their work showed that they could do very well without the supervision of the Board elected under the Act, and the proposal now was to create a Board with new powers of interference with the local government of Scotland, a course which was extremely objectionable. He did not wish to make any special complaint about the Board; but he could not help referring to one or two cases which had been specially brought under his notice. One of them the Board itself referred to in its Report for last year for the purpose of justifying its action in the matter, and it would give the House an opportunity of judging the nature of the interference which this Board in Edinburgh was entitled to carry out in Scotland. In two parishes in Aberdeenshire a proposal was made of a joint-school in a particular country district. The school boards arranged to buy the site, and the proprietor of the ground agreed to give the site; but when the title deeds were submitted to the Board, it was found that the condition was made in it that there should be no religious services whatever in this school, with the exception of the teaching of a Sabbath school. The boards were not influenced by sectarian motives, but they objected to the spending of the Board money in the purchase of a site with such a limited condition; and, in the second place, very great difficulty would arise in determining what were religious services. Under those circumstances the boards resolved to look out for another site, which was found, and the two boards considered the second site would be equally convenient. The distance between the two was not much over a quarter of a mile. They obtained the consent of the proprietor of this new piece of ground to give an absolute title without any such conditions as were stipulated in the other case. The proprietor of the first piece of ground, who was the Chairman of the two school boards, had a correspondence with the school board in Edinburgh, whose Secretary came down to see the ground, and then the Education Department in London was recommended to give no money for the second site, and the sole reason assigned was that, in the opinion of the Secretary, this site was not quite so convenient as the first. The whole of the members of the two boards, with the exception of the Chairman, were of opinion that the one site would be equally as good as the other, and equally convenient; but in this case we see that this opinion was overruled by the Secretary of the Board on his making a flying visit and consulting with the proprietor of the ground on the spot. There was a second case in which the school board of a parish had made arrangements for supplying the school wants of the parish in such a way as was acceptable to all the members of the Board except one. This member entered into correspondence with the Board at Edinburgh. The Board sent down some official not responsible to that House, so far as he could understand, or to any one in particular, who, after making a flying visit, in the same way overturned the decision of the school board, and fixed upon an arrangement which compelled this parish to join with another parish and to incur an unnecessary expense of £700. Advantageous arrangements were thus overturned by the flying visit of an Inspector in Edinburgh, who came down in the afternoon and returned and reported to the Education Board, and overturned the opinion of the school board, who were certainly the best judges, and upsetting all the economical and judicial arrangements they had made. The school board of Dundee, he thought, would be admitted to be composed of the best educationalists and business men of the country, that could make such arrangements as were no doubt most advantageous for Dundee, but they found their plans were obstructed by the Education Board in Edinburgh; and in consequence of the obstruction met with there they had to come to the Education Department of the Privy Council, which found a school board so highly qualified as the school board of Dundee being obstructed and overruled by the Board in Edinburgh, who could not know so much about the business of the Board as the Board itself. It would be seen what discouragement there was to gentlemen in the way of putting themselves to the trouble in carrying out the work provided for the school board. He might refer to the strong disposition the Board or its Secretary manifested to correspond with dissenting members of school boards. In several cases which had come to his knowledge correspondence was carried on with individual members of school boards not satisfied with the opinion of the majority, and dispeace and tumults were fomented in the school boards because the Education Board in some of these cases supported the minority, and enabled them to obstruct the majority. He did not complain of the individual members of the board. If they could not in the cases he had mentioned visit the locality themselves they sent down an official, who made his report, and practically overruled the local board. It was the system, not the individuals on the Board, he complained of. No doubt many Petitions had come up in favour of the continuance of the Board, but they were almost all, so far as he could recollect, in favour of a permanent board with large powers, and the ground on which it was demanded had been the ground that the higher education of Scotland was rapidly deteriorating. Others, more cautious in their statements, said the tendency was towards deterioration. This was a serious charge, and he had put himself to much trouble to ascertain the facts in support of this assertion. Those who made the assertion did not support it by facts. The statement had been made in several of the Reports of the Education Board itself, and yet the same Reports contained what he presumed were facts which clearly disproved the statement that there was any falling off or degradation in the standard of education in Scotland. He hoped the House would indulge him in stating a few facts with regard to the progress of education in Scotland of late years. In the first place, as regarded the teachers, he found that in 1867 there were 2,161 certificated teachers in Scotland, and that in 1876 the number had increased to 4,140; and that fact alone showed that the statements which were frequently made on this subject were of a very gratuitous description. With reference to the capacity of the schoolmasters of Scotland, he had no hesitation in saying that at the present time they were possessed of greater power as regarded teaching than at any previous time in the history of the country. The emoluments which they received were not a bad test, and he found that these emoluments had been steadily increased. In 1874 they averaged, as far as male teachers were concerned, £115; but in 1875 they had increased to £120, and in 1876 to £129. With regard to the provision for the future, the Education Board had said that the training of the pupil teachers should be more intellectual than formerly; but, strange to say, the Board proposed to ignore scientific subjects, and to confine educational training to classical subjects and to ancient and modern languages. Turning to the students themselves, he found that in 1867 the number of passes in elementary subjects—that was to say, in reading, writing, and arithmetic—was 264,000; while in 1873 it had increased to 370,000, and in 1876 to 560,160. As regarded elementary education, therefore, he did not think anyone could deny that very satisfactory progress had been made. With respect to the specific subjects for which the Education Department paid specially, he had ascertained that in 1874 3,338 students had passed in such subjects; while in 1875 the number had increased to 10,053, and in 1876 to 14,368. That was real evidence of the satisfactory progress made in Scotland in the matter of higher education. Again, if they turned to the particular subjects, and inquired what the passes were in, they would fail to discover that there had been any falling off in the education. In 1875, for example, the number instructed in Latin was 7,239, while in 1876 it had increased to 8,320. In Greek, again, the number had increased from 420 in 1875 to 479 in 1876; and in French from 4,410 to 5,260. One, therefore, was at a loss to comprehend upon what ground it was insinuated that during the last two years there had been a falling off in the higher education of Scotland. He thought that a considerable amount of misunderstanding existed with reference to the duties of the Board of Education in Edinburgh and the Scotch Department of the Privy Council in London. For himself, he objected to having education in Scotland controlled either by a Board in Edinburgh or by a Department in London; but as some misapprehension appeared to exist as to the real nature of the control which was exercised, he would endeavour to explain what the position of those two Bodies really was. Parliament voted a certain sum of money for education in Scotland. That money was applied to promote elementary education, and a certain sum was paid per scholar for all those who came up to the requirements of the Department; but, besides this, the Department paid what it could for specific subjects, and these were ancient and modern languages, English literature, and various sciences, chemistry, physiology, botany, and the like. The Department in London made no prescription as to what the students should be taught, but simply said that if the schoolmaster and the parents of the children arranged that the latter should be taught, and were taught any one of these subjects up to a certain degree of proficiency, a particular sum would be paid for each of the students who attained that proficiency. The school boards and schoolmasters, therefore, had perfect freedom as to what the children should be taught, and that instruction was given which it was thought would be most useful to them in after life. The Board of Education in Edinburgh, however, had its own opinion as to what education should be. In the proposals for a Code which the members of that Board submitted in 1873 they did not embody scientific subjects at all, and he thought this was a point upon which issue ought to be taken, for the Board was still of the same way of thinking. Specific arrangements were made, and specific payments arranged in connection with the teaching of ancient and modern languages, of English literature, and of mathematics; but those scientific subjects which had done so much, to place Scotland in the position she occupied were to be entirely ignored. He confessed he was surprised that the hon. Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay), who had such an acquaintance with the practical business of life, should have supported such a proposal as this, which he believed to be one of which the majority of the people of Scotland did not approve. He thought it was simply preposterous that the Board should propose to ignore those subjects; and there could be no more conclusive argument against any Department, whether in Edinburgh or London, having the control over education in Scotland, than that such a proposal should have been made, and that after the lapse of two years it should still be adhered to. Well, it was frequently stated that the education given now-a-days in the parish schools was not equal to that which was given formerly. He himself was educated for eight or ten years in a parish school in the north-east of Scotland. That school was considered to be one of the best in the district; and, remembering what was taught in it, he had no hesitation in affirming that with the slight exception of some Latin, which was taught to two or three pupils, in a desultory sort of way, there was not a single subject of education in that school which was not now embraced in the elementary Code. He thought the Education Board ought to have an opportunity of showing upon what grounds the statement was made that it had always been the wont to teach in parish schools Latin, mathematics, Greek, and French. Well, he had said that elementary education had been making satisfactory progress, but he was sorry he could not say so much for what he might call the higher secondary education in Scotland. The hon. Gentleman alluded to this point at some length, and after some remarks moved his Amendment, that the House go into Committee on that day three months.


rose to say a few words in support of the Resolution just moved by the hon. Member. It was much to be regretted that the Government should have yielded to the fussy agitation which had been got up in Scotland on the subject, and should have assented—most needlessly as he thought—to the continuance of the Education Board for another year. Nothing could more strongly stultify the action of the Government in this matter than the fact—which, he presumed, the Home Secretary and the Lord Advocate would both admit—that this policy was being pursued in the teeth of the opinion of the Privy Council. It had been shown that, in the opinion of the Privy Council, the Board was rather an obstruction than an authority. Undoubtedly, when originally instituted it had good work to do; but the objects for which it was created were now done away with. He would not follow his hon. Friend into all the arguments he had used in going into the question he had very properly raised. The Board, if continued, would be continued in the teeth of the general feeling of Scotland and the opinion of the majority of the highest authority on matters of education; and, in the second place, it was an unnecessary burden of £5,000 a-year imposed for the maintenance of an in- stitution that was clearly unnecessary. He had carefully read all that had been published by those who had made an appeal to prejudice in favour of the Board, and he confessed he never saw a case supported upon such flimsy grounds. It was argued that secondary education was suffering under the operation of the existing Code, and that the Scotch Department—which, of course, meant the Privy Council in London—was not willing to frame the education system of Scotland upon a Scotch basis, but would in the course of years reduce the level of Scotch education to that of England, instead of levelling up the English to the Scotch standard. But what evidence was there of the truth of that? The Department in London had shown itself perfectly willing to recognize what he might call the historic educational institutions of Scotland, trying to meet and carry on the great educational system which began so far back as the time of John Knox. What was it that they had asked? He did not know. They seemed to have been able to mesmerise a considerable number of people, among others the hon. Member for Glasgow. They had also mesmerised one or two Dukes and Marquesses; and altogether he must say again, looking at the manner in which the movement had been supported and got up, he did not think there ever was a movement which was called a movement of a great national character supported upon such flimsy grounds. The real object was to create in Scotland a Department which should be practically free from the control of that House. He thought no Government would be allowed to bring in a measure which had for its object the establishment of an irresponsible Department. Parliament must have the control, regulation, and supervisions of the action of any Department, whether in Scotland or Ireland, which had charge either of the primary, the secondary, or the higher education of the people. For that ground, if for no other, he felt it was somewhat deplorable that the Government should, in a moment of weakness, and giving way to influence of various kinds which had been brought to bear upon them, have yielded to the attempts being made for the withdrawal from the supervision of this House, and from the control of the Minister respon- sible to this House, of all the education of Scotland. Upon that ground, and upon others which he would not go into, he seconded the Motion of the hon. Member for Forfarshire.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee,"—(Mr. James Barclay,)—instead thereof.

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


said, that he was very glad the question had been raised, as he had long thought an opportunity might be afforded to Scotch Members to express their opinions as to the continuance of that Board. He was aware that great pressure had been brought to bear on the Government by Memorials, Petitions, and deputations for the continuance of the Board, and for the establishment of a permanent Board of Education in Scotland. From those views he dissented entirely. He considered that the Education Board had rendered great service to Scotland in putting the Act into operation; and if he thought that their work was complete he should say that the time had arrived when the Board ought to cease its functions, and that any future action with regard to the extension of education should be left to the Education Department. But it was understood that their work was incomplete, and in putting the law into operation had not been completely carried out. Other evidence had been given for its continuance, and, as he understood it, the statement on the part of the Government was that the Board should be continued for that purpose; and that, in the meantime, the consideration of the Government should be given to those other questions which were raised at the same time by the Memorials and Petitions upon that question. He, for one, was quite content with the continuation of the Board for a short time, upon the clear understanding that neither the Government nor the House were to consider themselves in any way committed to the state of education in Scotland, upon which the Board of Education had been founded. Now, in the first place, it was said that it was necessary to have a Board for the purpose of controlling the local boards throughout the country. He thought it was very much to be regretted, and he thought it was very extraordinary that among the charges made against those local boards was one that they had shown too much zeal, and that they had given too much attention to the subject of higher education. He considered that in the last few years during which the Act had been in operation they had rendered good service to Scotland, and that they ought not to endorse the charge against them, and particularly that charge of degrading the secondary education in Scotland. With regard to the question of higher education, he thought that there was a great misunderstanding upon the subject. He did not believe in the fear which had been expressed by the Ministerialists. He did not wish to revert to past times. He thought that the Education Act had rendered a great service to the country by placing the elementary schools upon an efficient footing, and he did not think that higher education would suffer in consequence. Undoubtedly, there was a tendency in the present system of education which led to Latin and Greek not being so exclusively cultivated as they were in former days. Other questions had come to the front—such as physical science and modern languages—and he tendered his humble thanks to the Education Department for the exertions they had made in giving free scope to those branches of education. Again, he would say with regard to their local schools that he could not deny a certain truth in the allegation that in the demand for teaching of the lower branches there was less time given to the higher branches, but he considered that they ought to rejoice at that. When the leeway in this respect had been made up, then the higher branches might have their full sway. He would only make one remark with regard to the secondary subjects, because he thought that the objects of a memorial which he had the honour to send in on the part of a certain Association for the promotion of secondary education was somewhat misunderstood on the occasion of the deputation being received. He only knew what had taken place from the public papers. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon having mentioned him by name, went on to say that there were some Gentlemen who knew a great deal of the matter, and that they had rendered due justice to the Education Department. These statements were perfectly true; but the noble Duke had failed to say that those Gentlemen had put in a word to point out the danger under the present system of distribution that these subjects requiring the most labour and the most exertion would not be fairly dealt with. He did not wish to draw a distinction between ancient languages and modern languages and scientific subjects. He wished well to both; and he wished parents to have the choice of both; but he did think that under the action of the Government there was a great power of giving little and superficial teaching. He trusted upon the whole question that the Secretary for the Home Department would stand to the announcement he made last year, that the Government were alive to the importance of the question, and that they would take the earliest opportunity in their power of dealing with the subject.


said, that the opinion of the people of Scotland was that the Board should continue to exist. He would not attempt to make any defence of the Board, neither would he occupy the time of the House by entering into the details which the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. J. W. Barclay) had put before them, but would merely refer to one point. He had mentioned a case in which a school board, after having selected a site for a school, had changed their mind when they found that the proprietor of the ground in question had determined to introduce a restriction, to the effect that there should be no religious services conducted there on Sundays, except those of the Sunday school. Well, if the hon. Member had been as well acquainted with the Education Act as he was with the details of that case, he would know that no school board had the right to use those premises for religious purposes on Sundays, and he therefore attached very little importance to that matter. Then in regard to the statement of the hon. Member for Dundee, regarding the proceedings of the school board of that town. Having visited Dundee at the request of the Board of Education, he was willing to add his testimony to that of the hon. Member for Dundee and the hon. Member for Forfarshire as to the excellent character and the energy and efforts put forth by the members of the school board of Dundee; but when the hon. Member complained of the action of the Board of Education in regard to the proposal of the school board to borrow money, he forgot that their application was for an amount in excess of the sum they were entitled to. They asked for authority to borrow £20,000, when they were only entitled to £12,500, and in those circumstances the Board of Education could not be fairly charged with obstruction for resisting that which was illegal. Then the hon. Member had spoken of the number of certificated teachers as an evidence that education generally had not deteriorated; but he had forgotten that certificates for teaching in a public school did not offer the slightest guarantee that those teachers were able to deal with the higher subjects. The schools of 1866 were not inspected; they were not buildings entitled to receive grants, nor taught by certificated teachers, and, therefore, could not be compared with those of 1876. He thought it only necessary to state that there was a further grave misapprehension in the minds of many hon. Members as to the prominent place which the Board of Education had always given to the higher branches which were usually taught in their best class of parish schools. Those were Latin, Greek, mathematics, and the modern languages. Well, the only reason why the Board of Education did not attach as much importance to the teaching of science in the elementary schools as some of his friends would desire was simply that for children of 13 years of age the Board of Education was under the impression that the minds of such children were more likely to be developed by the acquisition of knowledge of Latin, Greek, or mathematics than they would be if they were to be devoted to physical geography or domestic economy, or any similar branches, which were calculated more to exercise the memory than to develop the mental powers. But nothing was farther from the wish of the Board of Education than to put anything like a slight upon anyone of the special subjects. He had nothing to say for or against the Bill; but he hoped the Government would see their way to the establishment of a system which should be the means not only of making elementary education universal, but of placing instruction in the higher branches within the reach of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects.


The whole purpose of the Bill is to continue in office the present Board of Education in Edinburgh for one year. It is not expedient that I should enter into any detailed discussion of the numerous and important educational questions that have been raised in the course of the debate, and for this reason—that all these matters form part of a great question—namely, whether there shall be any, and if so, what new arrangements made for conducting not only elementary but higher education in Scotland for the years to come. That is a matter which must necessarily come under the consideration of the Government shortly, and it is a matter which occupies the minds of the people of Scotland at this moment; and I should not like in this place to say anything to prejudice a question that must ultimately be determined according to the feelings of the people of Scotland and their Representatives. I am aware there are Members of this House, and also constituents elsewhere, who hold very different opinions on the subject; but the fact that there is so great a difference of opinion in a matter of so much importance to the interests of education in Scotland, is of itself a reason why all these questions should be thoroughly sifted and carefully attended to before any decision is arrived at with reference to them. The Bill before the House is promoted by the Government for this reason, in the first place, that the work of the Education Board is not yet completed; and, in the second place, because there are many who are vitally interested who contend that it ought to be maintained, and opinion on these subjects is really so strong that I think it would be doing violence to that feeling if we did not give some effect to it. I have already stated that I have no wish to say or do anything to prejudice the question. There is a great difference of opinion on the subject, and there is a great deal of influential opinion on the one side and on the other. Under these circumstances, I trust the hon. Member will not press the Amendment.


said, if they were to go to a division he should feel it to be his duty to vote with the Government, who, under the circumstances, could not have done otherwise than recommend that the Scotch Board of Education should be re-appointed for another year. But if the question before them were not that, but whether the Scotch Board of Education should be re-appointed permanently, he, for one, should have agreed strongly with the hon. Member for Forfar (Mr. J. W. Barclay). That discussion, though short, would, he was sure, be productive of great good in Scotland, if for nothing else than for having elicited from the hon. Member for Forfar, who spoke for a very large portion of the farming interest of the north-east district, a statement to which it had been a pleasure to listen. As to the differences between the school boards and the Board of Education to which the hon. Member had alluded he (Mr. Grant Duff) knew nothing, but with the rest of the speech he heartily agreed. Nothing was less true than to say that the higher education in Scotland was declining. It was steadily advancing; but what was happening was, that the people of Scotland were giving every year a wider, and, if he might say so, a wiser meaning to the phrase "higher education " than was given to it by those old-fashioned educationists who identified higher education with Latin, Greek, and mathematics. Though he agreed generally on Scotch questions with the hon. Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay), he disagreed with all he said as to the un-fitness of children of 13 for elementary instruction in science. He (Mr. Grant Duff) hoped to see the day when in every school in Scotland there would be some provision for elementary instruction in science. He thought the minds of young children would be more cultivated by things which they could see and be brought into contact with than by the abstractions of grammar; and he thought that experience in Scotland was more and more tending to make that the opinion of the people. He would press on the Home Secretary the promise which he made a short time before, when a deputation waited upon him with respect to endowed schools in Scotland. Scotch elementary education was going on exceedingly well, and he was sure it was in perfectly safe hands, but secondary education was very far from going on well. They had large endowments which were at this moment running waste; and he was sure the right hon. Gentleman, with so powerful a majority behind him, and with the assistance of Scotch Members on the other side, would do a most wise thing for Scotland if next year he grappled with the very difficult and important question of improving secondary education.


said, he agreed with the clear statement of the hon. Baronet the Member for North Lanarkshire (Sir Edward Colebrooke); but with regard to the difference between the school board of Dundee and the Education Department, he was a member of the school board at that time. The hon. Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay) had stated that the Board wanted a larger sum than it was in the power of the Department to grant. Well, he dared say it was a large sum at one time, but ultimately they got the sum they wanted, and in a short time afterwards it was expended on schools. They had a system of schools in Dundee under the board which would bear comparison with any other board schools in Scotland. They had on the board men of the highest culture, refinement, and educational qualifications, and no board conducted its business better than did the board of Dundee. Another difference which arose was that they wanted to have the money repaid in 50 years. That was generally the case in England, and the Dundee board could not understand why the Education Board of Scotland should give them a less number of years than was generally allowed over England. He presented a Petition in that House against the course taken by the Education Board. He was quite willing that the Board should continue for another year, and it was useless for him or any other Member to contend against its continuance. The Board had done good service in the past, and he hoped it would do good service in the year to come, and when it came to an end he hoped the education of Scotland would be left to the school boards throughout the country, who were quite competent to attend to it.


said, he would withdraw his Motion, as his purpose had been attained by the discussion which had taken place.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

Bill considered in Committee, and reported, without Amendment; read the third time, and passed.