§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
, in moving the Education Vote for England and Wales, said, although the Education Estimates had, for reasons with which he was well acquainted, been postponed till this late period of the Session, he did not suppose it would be the wish of the Committee that he should forego the usual practice of making some statement when they were before the Committee. The total amount asked for the Education Vote amounted to £2,149,208, being in excess by £238,000 over that asked for by his noble Friend, his Predecessor in this Office, last year. But the amount he asked for was insufficient to meet the total disbursements of the year, and £60,000 of a Supplementary Estimate was voted to wards the close of the late financial year. Including that Supplementary Estimate in the comparison of the two years, the amount now asked for was only £178,397 in excess of that required last Session. There had been in the hands of hon. Members for some time past statements relating to the progress of education during the school year ending August, 1877. Upon these figures had been estimated what demands would be made on the Education Department, not for the ensuing school year, but for the financial year beginning in April, 1878, and terminating in March, 1879. The Educational Estimates might be divided into two heads—first, that re- 1220 lating to administration and inspection; and, secondly, the sums that might, under Acts of Parliament or the Revised Code, be claimed by training colleges and elementary schools. The latter part of their disbursements for the ensuing year was one of estimate only. They calculated, as accurately as they could, on the actual figures of the past school year, what the wants of the ensuing financial year were likely to be; and those calculations were to a certain extent modified by any alteration in the Code, and by the operation of those sections of the Public Elementary Edution Acts which had not yet fully come into force. The Estimates, therefore, now presented, were, as regarded administration and supervision, thoroughly reliable; as regarded the grant, they were based on Estimates which must, necessarily, be uncertain. Last year, for instance, the Department believed they had made sufficient allowance for the operation of the Act of 1876; but an agreeable surprise was in store for everyone, except the Treasury, for so much greater was the attendance and the results of that attendance, that a Supplementary Estimate of £60,000 was necessary to cover it. The increase estimated for the present year was almost entirely accounted for by the larger grant earned by schools and training colleges; but every great increase in the number of schools and children to be inspected entailed a slight increase in the administrative and supervising staff of the Department, yet that increase did not represent the additional work performed; so that, year by year, the percentage of the cost of administration was diminishing. The increase in the annual grant this year, over the total Estimates of last year, was £168,304, due to an estimated increased attendance in day schools of 140,000 children, and in night schools of 16,000, making a total of 2,388,174 in day schools, and 70,100 in night schools. This increased attendance was not the sole cause of the increase of the grant; for they calculated that under this year's Code, and also to the greater proficiency of the children presented for examination, there would be an advance of 5d. per scholar in attendance. A penny per head upon the estimated attendance was about £10,000. To give some notion of the nicety required in calculating the annual grant for the 1221 year, he need only mention two very slight alterations in the Code, but each of which involved, in the aggregate, a large sum. Under one section of the Code, an alteration was made by which a child must obtain a pass in two standard subjects and earn 6s., instead of being able, as under the old system, to pass in one and earn 3s. This slight alteration would, they believed, make a difference in the grant of £17,500 in our favour; whereas, on the other hand, an alteration made in a subsequent portion of the same section of the Code, by which a child would be able to earn 2s. for passing in one subject, instead of being required to earn 4s. by passing in two subjects, would make an addition of £20,000 to the sum which otherwise would have been required from Parliament. If they succeeded in realizing, during the present year, this progress, they ought to be fairly satisfied, as it showed, not only an increase of numbers, but a corresponding improvement in efficiency. Although in comparison between two years the advance might not seem very great, yet if they could in a number of successive years maintain, both in attendance and passes, this ratio of improvement, the progress made in the next decade would be marked and substantial. So much for what they hoped to do during the next few years. He would now turn to the figures which showed what they had done in the past school year. The Report which was in the hands of hon. Members gave such full information that he would not travel over its details; but there were certain salient points in it on which the Committee might require a little information, and which were worthy of notice and comparison. These were four in number—first, the teaching power and the supply of schools and teachers; secondly, the attendance at these schools and the results; third, the organization by which that attendance had been secured; and fourth, the school expenditure of the year and the sources from which it was met. First, as regarded schools and school teachers. In the school year ending August, 1877, the accommodation increased by 227,000 places, and amounted to a total accommodation of 3,626,000 places. The number of schools inspected rose from 14,273 to 15,187, of which 428 were new voluntary schools and 486 board schools. Of 1222 the schools inspected, 10,472 were connected with the Church of England, 1,976 were Wesleyan, British, and other schools unconnected with the Church of England, 659 were Roman Catholic, and 2,082 school board. They found that although there had been an increase of population, and the whole of that increase was necessarily amongst children, yet the school supply was increasing in greater proportion. During the last six years the increase of children between three and 15 years of age was about 500,000, or 8 per cent; the increase in school accommodation was 1,640,000, or 81 percent. Unfortunately, this school supply was very unevenly distributed. There were certain parts of the country in which the supply was in excess of the demand, and others in which it did not at all equal the demand. This was one of the difficulties the Department had to contend with. In several districts in which application had been made to give annual grants the school accommodation had been in excess of the demand; but in another instance they had to provide accommodation for a considerable extra number. In point of the relation of supply and demand, there was a very remarkable feat performed in the school district of Lincoln. It was stated in the Appendix to the Report, and it was so remarkable that an inquiry was made by the Education Department to ascertain if there was not a mistake. The number of children in the district was 38,513; the accommodation was exactly the same. They had adjusted the supply to a unit. So that if other districts could adjust their arrangements so nicely as Lincoln, the greatest difficulty the Department had would be overcome. The supply of teachers would very shortly be—if it was not already—adequate to the educational wants of the country. There was no lack of candidates, either male or female, which was scarcely to be wondered at considering the very remarkable improvement that had been effected both in the position and prospects of certificated teachers under the recent Education Acts. No doubt, a certain number of complaints had been made as regarded the number of returns they were called upon to supply; but as the hon. Member for Shefield (Mr. Mundella) had been courteous enough to waive that subject until they 1223 were into Committee, he would wait to hear what he had to say, and if he had any suggestion to make, as complaints from a good many quarters had reached the Education Department. One of the causes of the greatly increased demand for teachers arose from the very large number of small schools in the country in receipt of annual grants, 700 having accommodation for less than 60, and 3,100 for 100, or under. Coming to the attendance, he found an increase on the register of over 7 per cent. of those present at inspection over 9 per cent. in the average attendance over 8 per cent; while the number of presentations was 16 per cent in excess over the preceding year. Out of those presented out of every 100 scholars, 85.78 passed in reading, 78.99 in writing, and 69.97 in arithmetic. These percentages showed a great improvement on the preceding year. The same advantage might be shown in the Return of night schools this year. Passing on from the attendance to the organization by which so great an improvement was effected, the population of England in 1871 was 22,713,266, of whom 13,517,585 were under school board jurisdiction, and 9,700,000 were under school attendance committees. Since the Returns from which those figures were taken were published, further Returns had been made to the Education Office, which showed that there was a considerable number of fresh districts which had come under bye-laws and school attendance committees; so that, out of 22,000,000, there were now about 15,000,000 under bye - laws. The number of parishes in England and Wales, which, under the Act of 1870, had placed themselves under the bye-laws of school attendance committees was 353, and of these no less than 80 were in the county of Lincoln, and 50 in the county of Kent; so that, of the whole of England, 36 per cent were in those two counties of Lincoln and Kent. When the Education Act of 1876 was under discussion, no section or clause was more fiercely debated than that permitting the dissolution of school boards. Over this section the House consumed nearly a week, and dire were the forebodings of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and somewhat heated their opposition. We had now had one year's experience under those Acts, and so far 1224 from the whole system of school boards being overthrown by this section, it was found that only two small school boards had been dissolved, one at Great Addington, and another at Waldron; and, as far as he could make out, these school boards had levied no rates, had no schools; and, in fact, he could find nothing respecting them, except their petition for their own dissolution. The great increase in the attendance at schools naturally necessitated increased expenditure. All schools, whether board or voluntary, had two sources of income in common—annual grants and school pence—the deficiency being met in voluntary schools by subscriptions and endowments, in board schools by the rates. All these sources of income were considerably augmented, the annual grant having risen from £1,316,863 to £1,543,226; school pence from£l,036,408 to £1,138,270; voluntary subscriptions from £751,800 to £786,245, and rates from £369,918 to £447,700. As regarded the grant, the children in board schools had turned the tables this year on children in voluntary schools. Last year the grant of voluntary schools was 13s. 3¾d., as against 13s. 0¾d. of the board schools; this year it was 14s. 4d. as against 14s. 5d. to board schools. The cost of maintenance per child was estimated in voluntary schools to be £1 13s. 11d., in board schools £2 1s. 4¼d. This comparison was, however, in one most important sense unfair. The only public money, with the exception of a few fees which voluntary schools received, was from the annual grant; the whole of the rest of their income was drawn from private sources. School boards, however, derived the chief part of their income from rates which was as much public money as taxes, though levied locally. Deducting all private sources of income, and dealing only with the public money, the education of a child in voluntary schools cost the country 14s. 4d., in board schools £1 15s. 0½d. But even this comparison did not show the real cost of school boards, for he had excluded all expenditure except that for the maintenance of the school. On page 26 of the Report, it would be found that the annual expenditure—excluding loans— from the rates was 66 per cent of the total expenditure of school boards, the annual grant being 18 per cent. 1225 To put it in other words, the expenditure from the rates was 2⅔ as much as the annual grant; therefore, for every pound received from the annual grant, the school board spent £3 13s. 4d. out of the rates. He would particularly call attention to these figures, for the House would be warranted in drawing a certain conclusion from them. When the Bill of 1870 was under discussion, many Gentlemen on the other side were in favour of a more drastic measure for the extinction of voluntary schools, and the substitution of a uniform rate-supported school system. Suppose that such a measure had been passed, and that voluntary schools had been extinguished, they could now accurately estimate the cost of the experiment. The annual grant to schools this year, excluding all assistance to training colleges, grants under Acts of Parliament, &c, was £1,851,796. Multiplying that by three and two-thirds, they found that a system of education by which our voluntary schools would be extinguished would not be effected unless an additional burden was cast upon the rates of between £6,000,000 and £7,000,000. Supposing, therefore, that this enormous increase to the burdens of the poor ratepayer had been coupled with the compulsory attendance of his children at school, so that he could at once trace an arbitrary interference with his rights as a parent as the cause of his increased taxes, would there not at once have arisen a spontaneous and ubiquitous outcry, and would not a re-action against education have set in, which would have made it almost impossible for the Education Department—nay, even for Parliament—to have rigidly enforced such a measure? The Acts of 1870 and 1876 were framed and conceived in a different spirit, for they carried a wave of popular opinion with them; they utilized to the utmost existing agencies, and the Act of 1876 gave to the properly constituted local authority the power to enforce attendance. The results had been very remarkable. Taking the figures for the present year, and comparing them with the years 1870-1, before the latter came into operation, there was this extraordinary contrast. The amount voted in 1870 for Education was £804,000; it was now £2,149,000; being an increase of £1,345,000, or 167 per cent. The annual grant to day 1226 and evening schools was £614,000; it was now £1,857,000, or 201 per cent. The cost of administration was £82,000; it was now £175,000, or 201 per cent. The rate of grant per day scholar was 10s. l¾d.; it was now 15s. 3d. The schools inspected were 8,281; they were now 15,187. The average attendance was 1,152,000; it was now 2,150,000. The number of certificated teachers was 13,957; it was now 30,400. The number of pupil teachers was 14,710; it was now 31,780. These were great results to have been achieved in so short a space of time; and when they had been accomplished by what had been sometimes sneered at as optional or permissive legislation, his two Predecessors in Office might fairly retort that so great an advance in so short a space of time without direct compulsion was never before made in the popular education of any country, and for this great progress they were entitled to the full credit. The House naturally took great interest in the religious instruction which might be given in schools under school boards. An annual Return was moved for by the hon. Member for Plymouth, which gave details as to the various schools, and the regulations made by school boards in regard to religious instruction. The other day, Sir Charles Reed, at the Crystal Palace, made so remarkable a statement of what the London School Board had done, that, perhaps, the Committee would like to have the observations of Sir Charles on the subject—By the Act of 1870, it was loft free to the School Boards either to give Bible instruction to the children in their schools or to withhold it. The School Board for London, without hesitation, decided that Bible instruction should he given to every child in the schools of London. Therefore, every day, in every school, a portion of the Bible was read, with explanations suited to the capacity of the children. In 690 departments in the London schools 188,000 children daily heard a portion of the Word of God read to them. The attendance upon religious instruction was perfectly voluntary; but he was bound to say that with that perfect option it was almost universal, for not one child in 4,000 was withdrawn from the schools on account of religious instruction, and no single complaint had yet reached the Board from any parent who had been offended by the instruction given to the children. He wished next to say what were the numbers of children who had voluntarily attended the examination in each year. In 1876 —the first year of these examinations—42,000 children attended the examinations. In 1877 the number examined rose to 84,000, and this, year the number was 105,000.1227 These figures showed clearly, that when school boards acted in the same spirit as that which had actuated Sir Charles Reed and the London School Board in teaching children in elementary schools the truths of Christianity, there would be a hearty response both from children and parents. The only other Vote he had to move was that which related to the teaching of Science and Art at South Kensington.
The noble Lord would not be in Order in making observations on the South Kensington Vote.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, it would be hardly necessary, when that Vote came on, to allude to it at any length; and he thought that he would have been able at once to deal with Science and Art as well as elementary education; but he would accept the ruling of the Chair, and would not allude to Science and Art. He had now brought before the Committee sufficient facts and figures to show that the elementary education of the country—and if he might have alluded to Art and Science, he should have shown that technical education also—was steadily progressing. No doubt, much remained to be done both in filling up gaps in our elementary system, and in broadening and smoothing its upward gradations towards University education. If they could only continue for some years longer the present policy of utilizing to the utmost the various voluntary and endowed agencies willing to co-operate with the State, and thus perpetuate the present educational zeal, they ought to so perfect the whole educational system as to make it equal to the ever-increasing demands of a nation whose well-being depended on the maintenance of its industrial, manufacturing, and commercial supremacy.
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,432,808, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1879, for Public Education in England and Wales, including Expense of the Education Office in London.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
agreed with the noble Lord in his remarks on the pro- 1228 gress of education during the last eight years. He had remarked that in many cases the school boards throughout the country had not a single school under their control. Had the noble Lord made a comparison between the results of board schools and voluntary schools, it would be found that the former produced results which had surpassed those of many of the best voluntary schools. He had only to congratulate the noble Lord upon his successful Statement, and the Committee upon the progress made year by year both in the increase and quality of education. He would have to trouble the House with a few words upon the Question which he had put on the Notice Paper, but which he had withdrawn to enable the noble Lord to get into Committee. He was very much obliged to him for his courtesy in anticipating what he wished to say, because it referred to matters of great importance to education. He knew at that period of the Session, and at that hour of the night, it would be unwise to detain the Committee by any long or exhaustive statement. The first part of his Notice referred - to the excessive amount of labour imposed on teachers, which was in a great measure interfering with the quality of our education. The question, which was not merely a teachers' grievance, was necessary to be attended to both in the interest of education itself and with regard to the efficiency of the instruction imparted in our schools. The House had done much to increase the quantum of education, and bring it home to every child; but, in order to obtain this result, we had created most complex machinery. We were not merely content with the attendance of children at the schools, but we required a record to be kept of attendances and standard of attainments. We had one standard for half-time, another for full-time, and we had honorary certificates, the registration of which had imposed an enormous amount of labour upon our teachers. By the Act of 1867, the relations of the teachers were solely with the managers and with the Education Department, and the whole work of the school consisted of such registration as was necessary to obtain the grant, the requirements being of the most simple character. But the requirements under the new regulations had increased some- 1229 thing like five-fold. In addition to this, we had the requirements of the local authorities of parents and employers of labour, from all which it would be seen that the Act of 1876 had largely increased the responsibilities of the teachers as well as the amount of clerical labour imposed upon them. He would quote some of the 27 new regulations. The first was that—Any parent or other person interested in the education or employment of any child may apply to the local authority or local committee of the district, or to the managers of a certificated school in which the child is for forms of certificate of age, school attendance, and school proficiency.The 5th clause said that—Any parent or other persons interested in a child may require the principal teacher of any certificated school to furnish a certificate supplying the number of attendances of the child during each year since the age of five.But the 8th regulation was one which imposed by far the largest amount of labour on the teachers, and it was really necessary that the Committee should know the amount of labour it occasioned. It required that—In the month of January in every year the managers of every certificated school shall forward a list showing the name, residence, and age of every child above five years of age, who has attended school for any number of days, however few, in the course of the year, and the number of attendances made by the child in that year, and these registers were to be kept for a period of ten years, and at all times the teachers were bound to furnish copies.The House would notice that the school year was made up to the 31st December every year, while more than eleven-twelfths of the schools in the country made up their registers to a different period. The new school year was the 31st August. The Inspectors fixed their own time as to the period of their examinations; but in the month of December the schools were mainly employed with their examinations. The result was that nearly all the schools in the country made up their returns to some period other than the 31st December, and the teacher had to keep a separate set of Returns, and a separate set of averages, the mere making up of which alone, in a school of 300 or 400 children, would employ him from 30 to 50 hours in the month of January. The House could hardly be aware of the amount of 1230 statistical and clerical work, with all its necessary correspondence, which they had year by year imposed on the teachers. But for most of this work the Act of 1876 was responsible, and a great deal of it was quite unnecessary. It answered no practical purpose, while it was very onerous to the teacher and quite immaterial to the efficiency of the schools. By the 25th clause, any teacher making a charge, or refusing to make an entry, would no longer be recognized by the Education Department as a teacher of a certificated school, while any certificates held might be suspended or cancelled. So that it would be seen that in addition to being obliged to make a vast number of Returns, the teacher was under penalties of a serious character for any neglect or inaccuracy by which he might be practically deprived of his certificate, and, consequently, of his livelihood. But there was a charge of a different character against the effect of the present system. He held in his hand the list of Returns that had to be made every year by teachers in connection with the London School Board schools, and these were of a more onerous character than were generally supposed. The Board Returns had not only to be kept for the purposes of the London School Board, but for the purpose of meeting the requirements of those districts not under compulsion, and many of them had to be rendered in duplicate and triplicate. These Returns, some of which were of the most difficult character, numbered 63 in the course of the year; and, as he had before stated, there were, in addition to them, the separate set of registers and averages that had to be struck in consequence of the 8th clause of the Act of 1876, in order to enable the teachers to arrive at the required results. But, perhaps, the female teachers were most heavily burdened, as they had, in addition, to register the amount of needlework done in the schools. He would point out the extra labour which this one branch of work entailed on the female teachers of the schools. The principal teacher was required to take an account of every article made, to take stock of the articles made, to distinguish the materials used, to bring forward the old stock, to value the old stock, to value the quantities taken from stock, to state the total quantities taken from stock, &c, and to make a Return of 1231 these twice a-year to the Board. This was but one additional item of labour imposed on the female teacher. The effect of all that was, in his opinion, to impair the efficiency of the instruction imparted in our schools, and to interfere with their character and discipline. As a consequence of the teachers being so thoroughly overworked, they had no leisure for the culture of their minds, for the preparation of their lessons, nor for healthy recreation, and the effect of this would be that the teaching would only become mechanical. He apprehended, therefore, that unless they relieved the teachers of some of these onerous and unnecessary labours, the worst results would accrue to education. He had endeavoured to obtain an estimate of the time occupied in this labour, and in order that he might lay it fairly before the House, he had obtained it from a variety of sources. The result of his inquiries was, that after delegating all the work that could be intrusted to pupil teachers, the principal teacher would be employed during one-third or one-fifth of her entire time in making up returns. Now, all this had to be done without fee or reward, for Parliament refused to recognize the teachers as servants, while they were really servants of the school managers and school boards. Without any Act of Parliament to warrant it, the Education Department was constantly issuing regulations which required more and more labour from the teacher, and putting them under the severest penalties if they did not comply with the regulations of the Department, or sent in erroneous returns. He had had occasion to apply to the Education Department to ascertain if they were willing that the teachers should be paid something for this work, and they were of opinion that the teachers should be paid. But while the Department were of that opinion, the Local Government Board said if the school managers paid anything they should disallow it. So the teachers had to do all the work he had described without fee or reward, and do it under such a very high pressure, that they had no time to acquire a knowledge of science of languages or of the higher subjects which had been introduced. Under these circumstances, the discipline of the school must suffer, and already there were complaints of broken health from the teachers, espe- 1232 cially the females. He was aware that there were some who argued that payment should be immediately made to the teachers by the Education Department for the work done; but, as one who thought more of the interests of Education, he believed that such payment would of itself not compensate for the ill results that were accruing under the present system. Having increased the quantum of Education, they now wanted to keep up and increase its quality; and the only way to arrive at that result was to relieve the teachers of those onerous and burdensome duties which had been imposed upon them. Parents being ill able to afford to keep their children for many years at school, school life was necessarily short; and it was, therefore, desirable that we should as much as we could economize that time, and give the children as good and perfect an education as possible. The noble Lord had told them that 15,000,000 of the population were under compulsory education. He (Mr. Mundella) believed that this had resulted from the complex machinery which we possessed for bringing children to school. He hoped the noble Lord would not suppose that he was making any complaint with regard to that machinery. He believed that at the end of the year there would be 16,000,000 or 17,000,000 of the population under compulsory education, and that at the end of the next year there would be only 4,000,000 or 5,000,000, who were not under direct compulsion. In his opinion, the way to cut the knot of this question was to put the whole population under direct compulsion, and simplify the labour imposed upon the teachers; which latter was, in his opinion, sufficient to break down the whole system. He was sure the noble Lord did not want to perpetuate a system that would work injuriously on school education, and he believed he would agree that, as far as the teachers were concerned, the present system was highly unsatisfactory. With regard to the alterations which were required, he would leave the matter to the House to fill in the outline he had sketched, and find out a remedy for the evils which he had pointed out. The next subject he had to refer to was that of Inspectorships. At that period of the Session he thought the Committee would agree that the question could not 1233 be fully discussed; and he should, therefore, reserve much that he had to say until another opportunity. There was no doubt that the increased demand for teachers, referred to by the noble Lord, had also increased the emoluments of teachers, and that their position had been much improved during the last six or seven years; but there was undoubtedly a want of that stimulus which persons usually had in every other department in life. For the teacher there was no future, so to speak. A man of culture might become Prime Minister of England, a curate might become an Archbishop, and the soldier had the chance of commanding his regiment; but it might be said, once a teacher, always a teacher. He desired to know how long this system, which was utterly at variance with the whole practice of life, was to continue? In England, we always offered to good men the prizes of every profession, and why this should be the rule in the Army, at the Bar, and in the Church, and not in the profession of teaching, he was unable to see. The result of this was that many of the best men were now leaving the profession; and this was much more the case before the increased demand for their services set in, with better pay and other advantages, to the teachers. But the social position of those who remained was precisely the same as it was before, and they all knew how much that had to do with the character of a man. The teacher might say of his profession, in the words of Dante—Lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate.We had in England something like 30,000 teachers. We had in the Education Department 118 Inspectors, with salaries rising from £300 or £400 to £900 a-year. We had a large staff of Examiners, senior and junior, with salaries of £400 to £800 a-year. We had Clerks with salaries rising to £500 a-year. But for not one of these places was the certificated teacher eligible, although he might be the most accomplished man in his profession. Could the noble Lord point to a single instance where a teacher had been promoted to an Inspectorship or an Examinership? He (Mr. Mundella) could learn of no instance of the kind. It was quite true that many teachers, ordained to the Church, had been made Inspectors. In 1234 every instance these men had turned out to be the very best of Inspectors. Why could not the teachers rise to Inspectorships? He was not asking the noble Lord to lower the standard. It was at present required that Inspectors should be men who had taken a University degree, and who were under 35 years of age. He was told that among our teachers there were scores of men who had taken their degrees at Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Dublin, but who had not the smallest hope of promotion to these offices. These appointments were made simply by political influence; but in saying this, he did not wish to imply that they were in the slightest degree corrupt, but that young men just fresh from the Universities were made Inspectors and Examiners over the heads of persons who had taken the highest degrees, but who, under the present system, had no chance of mounting the ladder. The result of this was the greatest discouragement to the teachers, who discussed the question at every meeting with the strongest interest and evidently with a great deal of pique. He had been informed that many of the young Inspectors, who had never before entered an elementary school, sometimes fell into the most ridiculous mistakes. He admitted that among our Inspectors we had had some splendid men, who deserved the highest praise and confidence; but during the last three or four years the number of Inspectors had been multiplied. He had heard teachers in his own constituency speak with pain and shame of the absurd questions which were sometimes put to the children by these young Inspectors. One Inspector put this question to children in Standard II.— "Suppose the north were where the south is, where would the east be?" Another set of children, in Standard III., had the following question addressed to them:—"If all the water were drawn off the Straits of Dover, what would be the name of the land that would be discovered?" "What is the colour of salt found in South Wales?" was also a question which was asked; and the interrogation, put to children in Standard II., "What is a steed?" at once elicited the answer, "A horse." That, however, would not do for the young Inspector from Oxford, who declared that a steed was "a horse in motion." A rocking-horse, perhaps, was meant. Anything 1235 more absurd he had never heard. Other questions were—"What Strait is there between Europe and America?" "What is the use of fire-flies?" and, "What is the character of the despotism by which India is governed?" Perhaps some hon. Gentlemen might be able to reply to the latter query; though he believed it would be found rather puzzling by a good many hon. Members of the House. No wonder, therefore, that the children could not answer it to the satisfaction of the undergraduate Inspector. What could be more ridiculous than to suppose that young men, who might, no doubt, have passed a very good examination, and have obtained, perhaps, a degree at Oxford or Cambridge, could all at once enter into the minutiœ of child life, and understand all these things without previous training? Some few years ago there were established what were called Inspectors' assistants; and, if hon. Members turned to the Estimates under this head, they would find that there were now 107 of those officials appointed at a minimum salary of £125 a-year. That minimum salary rose £10 annually for nine years, and then at the rate of £15 a-year, until a maximum was attained of £275. So that an Inspector's assistant, who was generally a man of marked ability, of discretion, and of good manners, and who was taken from amongst the best elementary school teachers, had to descend to a salary of £125 per annum before he could occupy that position. He knew one of the very best of Inspectors' assistants who had given up £210 a-year in order that he might hold, though at a considerably reduced figure, what he conceived to be a better social position. Not one of these men had ever yet been promoted to be Inspectors; and he asked hon. Members whether they thought it right that this should be the case? One very remarkable circumstance occurred to him at this moment in connection with this subject, and that was the case of a gentleman who was employed as an Examiner of the Education Department. That gentleman had taken a very different part in politics from that which he (Mr. Mundella) had done; he was a pronounced "Jingo," and went lecturing about the country; he had stormed platforms in Hyde Park; he had been in Servia; he had written capital newspaper articles; and now he 1236 was—an Examiner in the Education Department. How had he attained that position? Was it because he was an accomplished schoolmaster? Nothing of the kind. In 1874 he was an undergraduate at one of the Universities; he made good political speeches; he had considerable influence; and he was pitchforked into the position which he now held. The House could not imagine that that sort of thing could go on without teachers making their comments upon it, and without causing amongst them great bitterness and heartburning. He urged upon the Government the desirability and the justice of giving the teachers a better chance than they had at present of becoming Inspectors. He did not ask that the Department should lower the standard of education required of an Inspector. Let the standard be raised if necessary; but let the teacher who possessed culture, fitness, and merit, enjoy the advantage of his professional training as much as the man who was appointed to an Inspectorship merely because he had political information. He was much obliged to the Committee for giving him the opportunity of making these observations. He had touched upon a subject of much importance; and he might enlarge upon it at another time. Before resuming his seat, he might be allowed just one word more. It might be said that the majority of teachers were not cultivated men; but why were they not cultivated men? Why should the teacher not be a gentleman? In the best clubs of Germany and Switzerland, teachers associated, on terms of perfect equality, with officers in the army and with gentlemen in every rank of life; and if their position in this country were improved, as it might be, how much greater might be their influence upon the children with whom they came in contact—how much greater might be their effect, not only in regard to instruction, but in producing higher social aspirations, and in leading to greater refinement of manners.
§ MR. BOORD
said, that after the very full statement of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), he would only trouble the Committee with a few words in support of the complaint he had made on behalf of the elementary teachers in reference to the burdensome work thrown on them by the very voluminous returns they were obliged to send in. It was 1237 doubtful what precise proportion of the clerical work complained of resulted from the extended operation of the original Act of 1870, and what was due to the amending Act of 1876; but there could be no question that recent Codes had led to a considerable increase in such work, notably in the case of returns relating to needlework, on which the hon. Member had laid great stress. The returns must either be prepared in school time—in which case the attention devoted to the children must necessarily be diminished—or afterwards, when the leisure the teacher had for rest and recreation would be interfered with. Seeing that extra payment for such work might prove an incentive to neglect more important duties, he suggested that the better course would be that they should be relieved of all labour of the kind that was not absolutely indispensable to the Department, and he hoped that that proposal would be favourably considered by the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council. He had had several communications from elementary teachers in his own constituency and elsewhere, and amongst their grievances was one which had not been referred to by the hon. Member for Sheffield. It was that, in case of complaint being made against them by their managers to the Department, they had no opportunity of submitting their defence, and that instances had occurred where the Department had taken action, by suspending their certificates, on the ex parte complaint of managers, without appeal, and without the teacher having any opportunity of stating his case in reply. The position was somewhat anomalous, since the Department, although the teachers were not its servants, exercised considerable control over them. The remedy asked for was what was described as a Court of Appeal, in which cases could be heard on their merits. He was doubtful as to the possibility of doing anything in that direction; but if the noble Lord would give his personal attention to such cases, with a view to seeing that no injustice was done, he would probably do all that was at present desirable. He begged, in conclusion, to congratulate his noble Friend on the extremely lucid statement he had made, which must be highly satisfactory to the friends of education throughout the country.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he must also congratulate the noble Lord on the statement which he had laid before the Committee. That statement was, upon the whole, satisfactory; but, while he said so, he desired for the first time during all the years in which he had either brought forward the Estimates himself or had heard them brought forward, to give a little warning about the matter of expense. It seemed to him that the grant had now got as high as would be really useful for educational purposes. If they went further they would be doing out of Imperial taxes what ought to be accomplished and overtaken out of local resources; and that might eventually lead to centralization, which, though tempting, perhaps, at first sight, would be disadvantageous to the interests of education. With reference to the subject which had been brought under the notice of the Committee by the hon. Member for Sheffield, there could be no doubt that the question of school returns was one which deserved careful consideration. He had himself gone practically into it, and had been not only astonished but pained to find the great amount of time and labour which had to be given to the preparation of the returns. He did not know how far he himself might be answerable for that result in connection with the Act of 1870; but he thought it had been caused more immediately by the Statute of 1876. Indeed, he did not know but that all hon. Members were more or less responsible for the result to which he referred. They were all deeply interested in the subject of education, and this interest might have led to the preparation of returns which, perhaps, involved more labour than they were really worth. The head master of a large school had to devote a considerable number of hours every week to the preparation of these returns; and that to some extent necessitated his turning himself into a clerk, and calling upon assistants to do work which he ought to do personally. So far as this was the case, nothing could be a more foolish and wasteful expenditure of public money. If a master did such work outside of school hours, the loss to the public was still almost as great. The work of a master did not, or should not, end with school hours—he had to prepare for other lessons; he had to instruct the 1239 pupil teachers, which was a very considerable labour; and, in a good many instances, the management of Science and Art, and of evening classes, had also to be attended to. No persons worked harder than the masters or mistresses of large schools; and the fact was that they had. not time to expend upon the compilation of these returns, except at the cost of their own health or of efficiency in the conduct of their establishments. He should not recommend that they should be specially paid for that particular work. The result of making a special payment would simply be to fasten the work upon them. But he would suggest to the noble Lord, whether the time had not come for thoroughly looking into the subject of the returns referred to, and whether a Commission might not be appointed— and it need not be a Royal, nor yet exactly a Departmental Commission—in order to ascertain whether some of the returns could not be simplified, or got rid of altogether? The main object of the Act of 1876 was to secure the attendance of children at school, and this purpose was one which was not to be frustrated. The Committee, however, would remember that compulsory attendance depended upon three things—first, the age of the child; second, the standard to which he had passed; or, third, the number of attendances he had made. That was to say, that no child should he allowed to work before he was 10 years of age, and that if he could not pass a certain standard, he would be kept at school until he was 14; while, if he came up to the mark, he would be allowed to work at an earlier age. But the Government thought it right to provide an alternative to the standard of proficiency in the shape of a certain number of attendances; and he did not believe the noble Lord would dispute the assertion that a large proportion of the returns consisted of statements as to the number of attendances made by each child during the previous five years. Although this was done, he believed that the number of cases in which the returns were found to be of any practical service was infinitesimally small; and he hoped the noble Lord would consider whether it was worth while continuing the stipulation as to attendances. Of course, this was an important question, and was not to be 1240 judged of merely from the point of view of the schoolmaster; but he should be very much surprised if, after careful examination, the noble Lord and the officers of the Department did not come to the conclusion that there was more trouble than use in retaining this stipulation with regard to attendance. With regard to the position of the teachers, and the possibility of their becoming Inspectors, he knew that there was a strong feeling on the subject, and he was not surprised that it should exist. He was strongly of opinion that there ought to be nothing to prevent a schoolmaster from being appointed an Inspector. If the schoolmaster fulfilled every other requirement, there certainly ought to be nothing to prevent it. He supposed his noble Friend, as Vice President, was like himself when he held that Office, and had none of the patronage. The patronage belonged entirely to the President. In his time, the rule that the Marquess of Ripon laid down was that no schoolmaster should be appointed an Inspector who had not taken a high University degree. He did not know what the present rule was, but if a schoolmaster had taken high honours he ought to have a chance. But he thought it would be misleading schoolmasters if they were led to imagine that many of them could fulfil conditions such as these; for, indeed, very few could ever become Inspectors, as there were only about 200 Inspectors. [Mr. MUNDELLA: There are 118 Inspectors.] Yes, and there were 15,000 schoolmasters or thereabouts, and so very few could look forward to being Inspectors. The real prize which, he believed, they would look forward to was the mastership of a secondary school, and that would be what they would aim at. The position of schoolmasters and mistresses required very careful looking at, for they were becoming a most important body in the State. Their position was better now they had better pay and a better social position; but it was not yet so good as it ought to be, and they were sensitive—naturally sensitive—on that account. He thought that they should acknowledge their position more and more every year; but the relations between them and the Inspectors did require great consideration, and, so to speak, the inspection of the Department. The Inspectors had been, and, no doubt, 1241 would be, increased, and it was difficult to make so good a choice as before; and he thought the schoolmaster—say with a large school containing 500 or 600 children, and who was a superior person—had a right to complain of the manner in which they were inspected by some young Inspector. That difficulty might, he thought, be met by the establishment of a sort of hierarchy in the Inspectorate; two ranks of Inspectors might be made, and they might have a few of the oldest and best Inspectors put in a position over the others, so as not to allow a young man to start as an Inspector until he had passed some apprenticeship under some of the most experienced Inspectors. He only threw out these ideas as suggestions, for no doubt these questions occupied the mind of the noble Lord quite as much as anyone outside the Department. Just one word more, and that would be as to the appeal of schoolmasters, and on this head he thought there must be some misapprehension. He did not suppose that the Department would suspend the certificate of a master without allowing him to be heard, or without looking into the matter, or someone high in authority reading carefully the Report of the Inspector. When they came to the managers, it was more difficult to deal with. When the managers dismissed a schoolmaster it was not easy to say how far the Department ought to interfere in the matter, for it came to this—that the masters must be employed either by the managers or the Department. If the managers employed the masters, they must have power to dismiss them; but then some said, why should not the Department employ the schoolmasters? That would lead at once to centralization, and the managers would naturally cease to take any interest in the schools, which would be practically taken from their control.
§ MR. WHEELHOUSE
said, that agreeing, as he did, for the most part with the views of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) in reference to the status and pay given to requirements now demanded from teachers, there was an aspect of this business that he felt he should be derelict in his duty if he did not mention, and against which he must most emphatically protest. He alluded to the fact, unquestioned and unquestionable, that, instead of contenting 1242 themselves with putting into force the principles, powers, and provisions of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, a great many of the school boards, especially those in the North of England, were systematically departing from — nay, he would say actually infringing, the provisions of the Act and the objects they were supposed to have in view originally. In a large number of those boroughs there had been instituted by the several school boards, schools, under the designation of higher board schools, in which young ladies were taught the piano, and young gentlemen were instructed in Latin, Greek, Mathematics, Euclid, Gymnastics, and almost the entire curriculum of the most finished education. Now, what he (Mr. Wheelhouse) wanted to know was, how was it to be expected that the poor and indigent ratepayers of our large towns ought, in any reason, to be called upon to pay for the ornamental education of such children? Was that either the purpose or supposed intention of the Elementary Education Act? He ventured to think not; and he (Mr. Wheelhouse) also said, most decidedly, that had the promoters of this Bill, while it was passing through this House, dared to point out any such goal, they would never have been able to pass it at all. The Bill, while it remained such, was stated—even ostentatiously stated — to be a measure in aid of those who could not afford to give their children the fair opportunity of earning their own bread without such eleemosynary assistance; but the attempt to do more than that was, as he (Mr. Wheelhouse) contended, beyond the purview of the measure, wholly and entirely. Not only were the school-houses used, but prospectuses were printed and published, for the especial use of the better class of children at the cost of the ratepayers. These prospectuses spoke for themselves; and what he wished to know was, where, if this sort of thing was to go on unchecked, it was intended to place the limit, or where it was proposed that they should stop? He hoped he was—indeed, he thought he was—as strong an Educationist as any man in that House; but he thought it worse than absurd to make the poorer classes of ratepayers in the large towns provide not merely palaces as schools, but to seek to give an education—at the cost of those poor 1243 ratepayers—which, practically, fitted the children of the better classes for entrance into any one of our Universities. If they could do this legitimately under the provisions of the so-called Elementary Education Act of 1870, he could not see that there was anything whatever to prevent the application of that Act to the Universities of the three Kingdoms. Either that Act was—as he believed—intended for the education of the poorest classes, who could not afford to pay for their education, or it was not; but if not, and if the present state of things was not altered, all that he could say was that the sooner the attempt was made, legislatively, and in the face of day, to establish middle-grade schools, with something like free education for everybody, so much the better. He knew that was a doctrine which would meet with the approval of many hon. Members on the other side, but with those ideas he could not concur. Still, if it were to be, let the present—or any other—Administration say so boldly, and endeavour to lay down, and act upon, such policy. Let the ratepayers fully understand the position, and let them find what they were expected to pay, and then they would be able to cope with the difficulty. He had foreseen it long ago, had mentioned it long since, and the question of possibly prospective, if not present, expense, was apparently coming home to the mind even of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). He (Mr. Wheelhouse) was beginning to doubt whether they had not gone far enough. He had no hesitation in saying they had already gone further than they were warranted in doing under this Act, and he must confess that he feared the action of the Education Department had not only facilitated, but fostered, departure from the original purpose of the Act of 1870. They had been told that the expenditure ought to be curbed. In that he fully agreed; but he told the House plainly that it was no good expecting any such curb to take effect, while such a derogation from the original principle and purpose of the measure was either permitted or sanctioned. So far as the ratepayer's pocket was involved, he could not see why he, or any poorer ratepayer than himself, should be called upon to put his hand into his purse to educate the child of any other man who was far better 1244 able to give such education as might be deemed necessary than he was. If it were a question of educating any child, who, without assistance, could not earn his own bread, then he would give the necessary aid most willingly; but if it were a question of rates, then even this aid must be given as economically as possible. Let those who wanted higher class schools by all means provide them; but do not let it be attempted by means, or at the expense, of the rate paying community—a class already quite sufficiently burdened as it was. He did not desire to put a stop to education, but he was extremely anxious that the ratepayers' money should not be illegitimately or unreasonably spent. But he had another, and, as he felt it, a most serious charge, to bring against not only this, but the Education Department of the late Government. It was said that the object of the Act of 1870 was to insure "that every child in the Kingdom should be educated." Had the Government either done this, or sought to do it? Not a bit of it. Simultaneously with the Act of 1870, he himself had brought in a Bill providing for the education of two classes of children who required the necessary instruction more than any other—he referred to the blind and deaf-mute children of this country; but for eight long years he had begged Government either to do something itself for those classes, or give him (Mr. Wheelhouse) some assistance in doing it for them. Still, with the exception of allowing him to hope to pass a Bill, very much eviscerated from his original proposition, nothing had been done. He had no hesitation in saying that had these children not been poor and few, and weak and helpless, something would have been done for them. It must be borne in mind that the parents of such children were required to pay their quota to the new education rate, and yet in the case of each one of them every statutory assistance was denied. While such a state of things existed, it was worse than idle to speak of "educating every child in the Kingdom," since any such allegation was little more than a cold, unkindly, and uncalculating farce. He trusted that the attention of the Government would even yet be directed to both the matters of which he complained, without any further delay.
said, he rose for the purpose of supporting the recommendations of his right hon. Friend near him. His right hon. Friend began by pointing out that, for the first time, he experienced a feeling of apprehension with regard to the rate per head to which this subvention of the State in the matter of education had now reached. The hon. and learned Member who had just sat down referred, as one of the main sources of this difficulty, to the practice of introducing the branches of higher education into board schools, and the hon. Member urged that there should be something like an absolute prohibition put on that practice. He was not prepared to go to that extent, for it appeared to him that they were not reduced to a dilemma quite so embarrassing as that which the hon. and learned Member seemed to take for granted. They must consider the sources of income of the board schools before they could deal with that question. First, there was the Public Exchequer, then the rates which were locally levied and self-regulating, and, finally, the fees paid by the children. His right hon. Friend had pointed out that the duty of Parliament was to take care that the contribution of the State was duly watched and properly limited, was not allowed to go beyond certain bounds for the purpose of providing this extraneous and higher branches of education, or for any other purpose; and it appeared to him that, in making that suggestion, his right hon. Friend had said substantially all that was necessary in the case. Parliament could only deal with that matter, and they ought to see that the funds of the Exchequer were not made applicable for the purpose of conveying the higher branches of education. But with regard to the other two sources from which the cost of the schools was defrayed, it seemed to him that other considerations came into play. He should suppose that when it was thought fit to allow of the introduction of the higher branches of education, wise and intelligent boards would take all the care in their power to provide that, as far as possible, the charges of those higher branches of education should be met by extra fees. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Wheelhouse) said that it was a hard case on the poor ratepayers to have to pay for the schooling of the children of those who were well able to pay for such educa- 1246 tion themselves; but the hon. and learned Member should recollect that the school boards were elected, and that there was a system of free representation, and surely, if any great hardship came to exist, it manifestly would make itself felt in the elections, and the board would be under the control of the ratepayers. All Parliament could do was to take care that the State contribution was not excessive; and they might consider that, on the whole, the self-acting principle would keep the other sources of income in order. He was also desirous of speaking on the point raised by the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) as to the extra labour imposed on schoolmasters by having to make returns. He would extend the dicta of his hon. Friend, that the schoolmaster of a large school, if he did his duty, was a very hard-worked man, by adding that the teachers of all schools, if they did their duties properly, must not unreasonably be called very hard-working men. Teaching of itself was among the most laborious of employments, and they should not tamper with the instruments which they had put into action for the purpose of discharging such duties. It seemed to be agreed that this matter of statistics had grown to a head which called for the careful attention of the Department. On many grounds, it was not desirable to consider a separate remuneration, because that would make a distinction of work—the conveyance of instruction and the making of returns. It was not desirable to have that competition which would inevitably arise. It was quite obvious, however, that they could not go on multiplying without limit these returns, and, at the same time, escape from being driven into giving additional emolument. He was startled and pained to hear from the computation of the hon. Member for Sheffield, that from one-third to one-fifth of the whole time of the schoolmasters was taken up by making returns. That was a very unsound state of things, and it certainly did need the careful attention of the Department, and for these reasons—-First of all, with the view of doing justice to the claims of the schoolmaster, as far as they might require it; and, secondly, with a view especially of preventing such an amount of interference with the discharge of his proper duties, as must necessarily be very injurious, in the vast majority of 1247 cases, to the manner in which they were discharged. There was one other point on which he wished to say a few words, and that was with respect to the conduct of the Department in respect of complaints made against schoolmasters—in fact, whether the Department was to be a Court of Appeal. If schoolmasters conceived that they ought to be made servants of the Department, he thought the observations of his right hon. Friend on that subject were conclusive. They could not alter the present state of things, with regard to the appointment and dismissal of schoolmasters, without fundamentally altering their entire system. He thought that after the fullest admission of that principle, it was still in the power of the noble Lord, if he would kindly use it, to give considerable relief and satisfaction to schoolmasters on that subject. He was convinced that it would be a matter of comfort and satisfaction to the schoolmasters, if they were assured that whenever the Department was called upon to act in cases of imputation or charges made against them the Department would not rest satisfied either with the ex parte statement of the managers, or even with the official statement of their own Inspectors; but that the noble Lord would take such measures and cause such care to be had of the investigation of the case, that he could feel himself that he could become responsible for its determination. With regard to the principle of promotion among schoolmasters, it was impossible, in considering a question between schoolmasters and the Inspectorate, not to be reminded of the question analogous to it in so many senses, of the relation between commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the Army; but, after all, the first promotion of a non-commissioned officer was not such a great step; it was important because it introduced him to a series of steps. He did not attempt to dogmatize as to the conditions upon which that principle could be best applied to the Inspectorate; but he was sure that among all employments there was none that more absolutely required for its efficient discharge to be sustained by a reasonable hope of promotion, and, perhaps, in some degree, accompanied by change and relief, than that arduous duty of the schoolmaster.
§ MR. E. HUBBARD
said, they were granting a Vote of £2,145,000, and he 1248 wished to inquire whether they were getting good value for their money. Were they training up for a future generation boys who would become kind and sober husbands, and girls who would become good housewives? He thought that as long as children remained uninstructed in the art of swimming, which he had found to be taught both to boys and girls in the London pauper schools, one important part, at all events, of their education was neglected. He was aware that the construction of baths in large towns would be attended with expense; but, on the other hand, he was of opinion that in a great many country schools a bath might be made with very little outlay. Again, with regard to the crime of drunkenness, he suggested that the noble Lord should embody some of the results of the inquiries of the Commission of 1864, which sat upon that subject, in the form of an inventory, so that every child might be taught to avoid the consequences of drunkenness. He looked forward to the time when it should be as impossible for a man to lose his life by drowning as it would be for a man or woman to be brought before the bench for drunkenness.
SIR UGHTRED KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH
said, it seemed to him that so long as the Education Department had to call on teachers for the returns, so long, probably, must the penalty of the withdrawal of their certificate be attached. That seemed to him to be, amongst other objections, fatal to the plan of obtaining those returns directly from teachers; because that penalty was out of all proportion to the offence of omitting to make those returns. He thought that there really ought not to be any difficulty in requiring the local authorities to furnish returns which, in his opinion, might be greatly reduced and cut down, or in getting the managers of the voluntary and board schools to make them up. But, if the teachers were called upon to furnish them, they should, of course, be remunerated. He passed on to say a word for trained teachers in industrial schools. Some years ago it was impossible for teachers serving some time in industrial schools to have that time counted to them for the purpose of their certificates. That was now altered—the time spent in teaching in an industrial school was counted; but the 1249 certificate was not given to a teacher engaged in an industrial school; and, in order to obtain his certificate, a teacher was obliged to leave the industrial school, and go into an elementary school. This was a great disadvantage to the industrial schools, and was also most unfair to the teachers. He suggested that the Education Department should get over any jealousy or distrust that they might have of the Home Office Inspectors, and accept their Reports on the merits of teachers, so as to enable the teacher to get his certificate without being obliged to leave the industrial school. He would not say more upon that point, except to express his hope that the noble Lord would give an assurance that the subject should receive some attention. He ventured to ask the noble Lord whether it would not be possible to produce the Reports of the Inspectors at an earlier date than that at which they were now forthcoming? The Reports presented to the Education Department for the past year—1877—were dated in January of the present year, but had not yet seen the light, and might, probably not be in the hands of Members till their return from the Recess, when the Reports would be quite stale. He did not see why the Reports of the Inspectors should not be printed at the same time as the annual Report of the Education Department. He had looked into the Report of last year with very great interest, and had compared it with that of 1870; and he must congratulate his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford and the noble Lord on the very great progress made since the passing of the Act of that year. He found the school accommodation had increased from 1,878,584 to 3,146,424, or about double, for the year 1877. There was still a want of school room, however, for 181,000 children; the corresponding want in 1870 having been for 1,577,000. There was one point in which we were receding, rather than advancing, and that was, that in proportion as we built more schools and provided more places in schools, the average of empty seats constantly increased, because the attendance of children did not keep pace with the increase of accommodation. He found that whereas the number of empty seats in 1870 was 726,195, the number of empty seats in 1877 was over 1,500,000. 1250 Now, that fact pointed to the importance of measures for securing that the attendance at the schools should be more regular. It was most important to consider how this was to be effected. He was very much struck with the advance made during the last two years in the adoption of bye-laws for compelling attendance; for while, in 1876, 10,500,000, out of a population of 24,000,000, were under compulsory education, we were now told that bye-laws had been practically adopted for more than 15,000,000, out of a population of 24,500,000; the result being that whereas, in 1876, 13,500,000 were not under compulsion, at the present time only 9,500,000 were not under compulsion. He could not help thinking that the time was coming when no districts would be allowed to remain outside the operation of compulsory education. He thought it worthy of the consideration of his noble Friend, whether the time was not approaching when this question should be settled by the establishment of one general law of compulsory education, which should supersede bye-laws. He did not think we should attempt to move too much in advance of public opinion, although it was the duty of the Department to lead it. He would have liked to say a little more upon the subject of the great progress that had been made under the two Acts of 1870 and 1876; but, at that hour, would do no more than commend the suggestions which he offered to the consideration of the noble Lord.
§ MR. DALRYMPLE
said, of all the modern instruments of torture, by which the labours of school teachers were aggravated, The Child's School Book, which he held in his hand, was the worst. But that book was connected with the whole school life of every child. The book was in itself of the most flimsy material, and never could last for the period of nine years, for which returns might be asked. But what he (Mr. Dalrymple) referred to in the book was the excessive amount of returns which it necessitated, and if there was to be an inquiry into the painfully minute returns which had been referred to by the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), he asked the noble Lord to allow that book to be made one of the first subjects to be inquired into. It gave an immense amount of unneces- 1251 sary labour to the teachers, without any corresponding value being derived from it.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, the subject of the returns referred to by the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) was an important one in two respects, inasmuch as it imposed upon the schoolmasters a great sacrifice of time. The matter had been properly dwelt upon; but perhaps some hon. Members might not be so thoroughly convinced of the difficulty as were those who had investigated the question. He had found that the entries required to be made by schoolmasters might be called forth as legal evidence at one time or another; and it was, therefore, absolutely necessary that the greatest exactitude should be observed with regard to them, while it would be wrong to delegate them to anyone else. It was very important that the Department should see whether these returns could be reduced in extent, and yet be accurate. With regard to the other question raised by the hon. Member for Sheffield, as to whether educated schoolmasters wore competent to perform the duties of Inspectors of schools, there could not be the slightest doubt that it ought to meet with the attention of the Department. Since the recent increase in the supply of teachers, some of them had, by the management of very large schools, proved their competence and qualifications for these appointments; their education had been thoroughly evidenced by the degrees taken by them in our Universities, and he could not see that there ought to be any hesitation on the part of the Education Department to investigate the question whether these men might not be wisely introduced into our Inspectorships. The young undergraduates appointed as Inspectors were necessarily inexperienced, and in other respects not properly educated for the purposes required. There was another question to which he would call the attention of the noble Lord, with the hope of modifying the conditions upon which pensions were granted to teachers. Some years ago, the Department became convinced that it was time to take into consideration the necessity of granting pensions to teachers who had fulfilled certain conditions. The Department most satisfactorily granted the request of the teachers and their friends, and estab- 1252 lished 270 annuities for a corresponding number of teachers. With that grant were incorporated some very suitable conditions, for it was quite necessary that these pensions should not be thrown right and left to anybody who asked for them. When the grants were first made, they were much more easily obtained than they were now; because, under the present Code, they were not given to a teacher who had not been, at the time of applying for the grant, continuously a teacher since the year 1862. He believed the Department had not rejected many applications; but it was true that some rejections had been made, and, to his knowledge, there had resulted some cases of very great hardship. He thought the Department should take into consideration that the grant was not exhausted by a considerable amount, and he hoped the noble Lord would be able to see his way to some relaxation of the hard-and-fast line which had been applied. He trusted the Committee would be ready to recommend the noble Lord to look upon the cases he had referred to with favour, and with readiness to include as many of them as he could in the future administration of the funds.
§ LOUD GEORGE HAMILTON
thanked the Committee for the favour with which it had received his statements on education. He would now proceed to refer to some of the observations which had been made by hon. Gentlemen. The hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. E. Hub-bard) was anxious that children should be taught to swim. It was hardly possible, however, in small towns, and even in the country, to provide swimming baths, where all children could be taught to swim, without enormous expenditure. The hon. and learned Member for Leeds (Mr. Wheelhouse) had called attention to the advanced education that some school boards were giving in certain parts of England, and had expressed a very strong opinion that the ratepayers should not be forced to contribute towards the education of persons who were far better able to pay for education for their children than they themselves were. He quite agreed with a great deal that the hon. and learned Member had said; but the principle on which the Education Department had acted in such cases was this—that where a school board had established advanced 1253 schools, care was taken that those schools should not become a greater burden to the ratepayers than ordinary elementary schools. The Department insisted that such fees should be levied upon the children attending those schools as would pay for the higher class education which they received; and so long as the Education Department insisted upon this principle being enforced, he did not think that the ratepayers had any cause of complaint. For his hon. and learned Friend must remember, at the present moment, any person had. a right to send his son to the elementary school; and if he were prepared to pay sufficient to enable his children to get a higher and a better education, he could do so. Thus, a higher education could be obtained by anyone who chose to pay for it, without any additional expenses being thrown on the ratepayer, who, therefore, had no reason to grumble. A great part of the discussion which had taken place had been with respect to position and fees of teachers, and three questions had been prominently brought forward. The first point had reference to the claims of teachers to become Inspectors; the second related to the power of suspending the certificates of teachers; and the third referred to the number of returns which teachers had to make. As regarded the first point, he might inform the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) that there was no bar whatever to teachers becoming Inspectors; they were eligible, and the rules which his noble Friend the Lord President had put in force were precisely the same as those previously in use. In those rules, it was insisted in every case that Inspectors should have taken very high University honours. The Lord President was quite ready to admit that, in any exceptional cases, teachers might become Inspectors. But, as a matter of fact, the duties of Inspectors were very different from those of teachers. They had to decide upon the proper amount of school accommodation in a district, and they had to discharge a variety of other duties, involving considerable experience. Because a man was a good teacher, it was not certain that he would make a good Inspector; and the number of teachers was so great, and of Inspectors so email, that very few only from among the teachers could ever be selected as Inspectors. It must be remembered 1254 that the teachers were an organized body, and he could not conceive anything more dangerous than that the House of Commons should pass a Resolution giving teachers a priority of claim to become Inspectors. The result would be very undesirable, for then the whole body of teachers and Inspectors would become a close corporation. With regard to the suspension of certificates, he might inform his hon. Friend that in every case which had come before him, the rule he had applied was, that when an Inspector made a charge against the teacher, such as involved suspension of his certificate, the teacher was called upon to explain the matter; and not until such an explanation had been received, in any single case, had any decision been arrived at. With regard to the returns which were required to be made to the Education Department, there seemed to be a strong feeling on the part of the Committee that it would be unwise of the State to undertake to pay persons to furnish those returns. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) admitted that the way in which the grant was spent must be narrowly watched, and that at present the country was paying almost as much under the head of managers of schools as was proper. It must be remembered that the State entered into a contract with the managers of schools at so much per child, for the children conforming to certain conditions. Of late, the managers had considerably increased the amount which they obtained under their contract. The teachers were the servants of the managers, and their complaint was, that in a Circular recently issued by the Education Department, insisting upon certain returns being filled up by teachers, and not by managers, they had had extra work placed upon them without remuneration. He was quite prepared to consider whether the onus of filling up the returns could not be put upon the managers instead of upon the teachers, so long as terms of the Act were complied with. He should also be disposed to consider whether some alteration should not be made with regard to the local authority. He had a list of the returns which the Education Department required; they were divided into three heads. Those under the head of Inspectors were furnished by the Inspector. Possibly, the 1255 manager or the local authority might hit upon some plan by which the other heads of returns could be furnished without burdening the teachers. Some plan might be devised by which the managers could do what was necessary. Attention had been drawn to the regulations drawn up by the Education Department under Section 25, by which teachers were put under regulations with respect to making charges for certificates. He would explain the reason of that requirement. Complaint was made to the Department that in agricultural districts children, or the guardians of children, were unable to obtain certificates from the teachers; and in one case that came under the notice of the Education Department, the teacher had made a most exorbitant charge for giving this certificate. This regulation was, therefore, put in force for the purpose of preventing the recurrence of the practice. He would assure the Committee that during the Recess the question of the returns would be very carefully considered by him. He did not think that the proposal to appoint a Royal Commission, independently of the Education Department, would answer; because those returns were for the purpose of affording the Education Department certain information. Therefore, it would be impossible to arrange the Returns except with the knowledge of the exact purposes for which the information was required by the Education Department. But he would undertake, during the Recess, to look very carefully into the question of the returns, with a view to the amelioration of the hardships of which complaint was made.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
wished to assure the noble Lord that all he desired the House to express an opinion upon was that it was desirable that the office of Inspector should be thrown open to the teachers. He did not, for one moment, wish the teachers to have any preference over anybody else, but simply that a teacher should have equal right of competition if he could show the same University honours and experience.
§ MR. WHEELHOUSE
had certainly not said, nor did he wish to be understood as describing the Education Act of 1870 as a farce; he only intended to imply that the mode in which some children were now educated under it 1256 was, so far as the ratepayers were concerned, a farce.
SIR UGHTRED KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH
observed, that the noble Lord had omitted to answer the point he had raised with reference to the industrial schools.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
apologized for having forgotten the matter; but before he could give an answer to the question, he should be under the necessity of consulting the Secretary of State for War, and the President of the Local Government Board. There were a certain number of schools in connection with the Local Government Board, and with the Admiralty and War Office, in which there were teachers who might be entitled to the certificates granted by the Education Department. But they must do nothing which would, in the slightest degree, diminish the value of the certificates now given by the Education Department; and, therefore, he must consult with his Colleagues before he could give any definite answer as to whether or not the Department was prepared to recognize teachers in their schools in the same way as teachers under the Education Department. With respect to the remarks of his hon. Friend as to compulsion, he would remind him that, at the present moment, only small parts of England were not under bye-laws. In the opinion of many persons, in the agricultural districts education was progressing too fast. He might say that he did not share that opinion; but if the public were found to send their children to school voluntarily, he thought it would be dangerous to apply compulsion. At any rate, it was an extreme measure, and one upon which he should not like to express any opinion. As regarded pensions, as his hon. Friend was aware, 14 years ago the system in force was suspended by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe). The Education Department had since been constrained to lay down certain regulations with regard to pensions. He did not know whether the hon. Member proposed that pensions should be given to all persons who would have been entitled to them under the regulations which were suspended. Under the present system, pensions were only given in certain cases; so that, in any distressing or hard cases, the Department was always 1257 prepared to strain a point. At the same time, he might observe that the Department always considered the claims to pensions on the basis of the rules which they had laid down.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £205,014, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1879, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Science and Art Department, and of the Establishments connected therewith.
§ MR. ERRINGTON
said, that there was a question with reference to this Vote that could not be passed over. He did not raise any objection to the purpose for which the money was voted; on the contrary, he would be delighted if the sum voted should be increased, provided it was properly spent. The accounts given by the Science and Art Department were very complicated. Within the last year there had been a very grave irregularity in several particulars which he did not think ought to be passed over. The Estimates last year for the South Kensington Museum amounted to £315,673. But beyond that, there was spent £15,000 for purposes not mentioned in the Vote, and which had not received the authority of Parliament. About £18,000 was borrowed on the Vote, and that enabled the £15,000 to be spent, and left a surplus of £3,000. When it was considered that these Votes were intended to give Parliament some sort of control over the way in which money was spent, it was not too much to say that nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the mode in which these Votes were prepared and the money spent. It appeared that this money had been spent on the Loan Exhibition. The original intention was that this Loan Exhibition should cost £500; and that sum was so small that it was probably thought not worth while to increase the Votes on account of it. He made no imputation that this money had been dishonestly made away with; but he did say that it had been spent in defiance of ordinary rules. The matter was investigated by the Committee of Public Accounts, and the impression produced upon the Members of the Committee by the answers given to them by the head of the Science and Art Department was so unsatisfactory, 1258 that he felt bound to call attention to it as a mode of protesting against the illegal way in which this money had been spent. There was another instance he would mention. The sum charged in the Accounts for the preparation of rat-guards was £366 5s. 3d.; but the Estimate was £1,700, which made a very considerable difference. When the Chief of the Department was examined before the Committee, he stated that this was due to the expenditure on the rat-guards required by the Loan Exhibition which had outgrown its anticipated limits. But when the Accounts for the Exhibition were examined, it was found that only £841 in respect of rat-guards was due to the Loan Exhibition. Thus there was actually the sum of £1,100 to be accounted for; and when the official was asked about this, he admitted that he had not looked into the matter, and could not explain it. The Committee considered that this matter showed so exceeding a laxity on the part of the Department, that they felt bound to take notice of it. Under these circumstances, the Committee expressed their strong opinion which was concurred in by the Treasury as to the unsatisfactory nature of these Accounts. Supposing they thought it would never occur again, there would be no necessity to go back again to what had passed. But that was hardly the case, and the Accounts were still exceedingly complicated. He thought there should be some security that these things should not occur again, and that the way in which the money was spent should be shown by the Science and Art Department. There was another matter in the Accounts this year. He found a sum charged for police. Last year it was £6,630, and that included the extra amount for the Exhibition. But this year the sum amounted to £8,040, being an increase of £1,410. There were no Estimates to show the reason for that increase, or whether the police were not being paid at too high a rate. At all events, there were then very large Estimates over which Parliament had no sort of control, and there was no guarantee that whatever had occurred last year would not happen again. He had felt it his duty to bring the subject before the Committee, in order that they might have some assurance from the Treasury that the matter should be carefully considered. His Colleague, who was un- 1259 fortunately absent, took the same interest as himself in this matter, and he had given Notice to reduce the Tote by the sum of £10,000, and he justified that reduction under the principal heads with which he had reason to find fault. Under all the circumstances, although he did not desire to reduce the expenditure, yet, in order to bring the matter before the Committee, he felt that the proper course for him to adopt would be to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £10,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £195,014, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1879, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Science and Art Department, and of the Establishments connected therewith." —(Mr. Errington.)
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, that there was no ground for the statement that the Accounts were presented to Parliament in a confused manner, and that while the Estimates for last year showed a saving, there was an excess of £16,000. The fact was, that in these Votes too much information was given. The principal object was to show, as a general result, at the end of the year, the manner in which the Department had spent the sum which had been voted. It was a necessary consequence of the expenditure of the Science and Art Department being divided into so many heads and sub-heads, that there should be a considerable difference between the Estimates and the Expenditure. With regard to the principal complaint made by the hon. Member—that certain sums had been spent last year without the authority of Parliament—he thought he could clear that matter up. It was proposed that there should be a general Loan Exhibition of Scientific Apparatus at South Kensington. The proposal was immediately taken up by the different Scientific Societies of London. There was no reason to suppose that the Exhibition would be very large, or would occasion any great expenditure. The sanction of the Treasury was given to an expenditure of about £2,000 on it; but after the announcement of the Exhibition, various Scientific Societies of Paris, Berlin, and other places, took the matter up, and requested permission to send scientific apparatus to South Ken- 1260 sington. The Science and Art Department were put in the position of having to choose between two things—either to stop the Exhibition altogether, or to incur a largely increased expenditure in holding the Exhibition. It was decided that it would be best to hold the Exhibition, and that determination of the Department was communicated to the Treasury, who where also informed that the expenses would be largely increased. The moment the Science and Art Department found they had exceeded their estimated expenditure, they at once set to work to cut down the expenses under other heads, and they succeeded in doing so to a considerable extent. As regarded the item to which the hon. Gentleman had called attention—the increase in the Vote over last year—it was entirely due to a proposal to which the Treasury had assented, which was, that this year an extra shilling wages should be paid to the constables on duty on public occasions. Hoping he had given a satisfactory answer to all the points raised by the hon. Gentleman, he trusted he would allow the Vote to pass.
§ MR. ERRINGTON
felt it his duty, after the statement of the noble Lord, to call attention to the Treasury Minute, in which the Science and Art Department were severely rebuked for exceeding their expenditure without the sanction of the Treasury. He objected to the noble Lord's proposal that, in future, a sum of money should be placed at the disposal of the Science and Art Department to spend as they liked; and he thought the money should be under the control of Parliament, in detail. Still, under the circumstances, he would withdraw his Motion.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
thought the hon. Member was perfectly justified in bringing the matter before the House. He (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had mentioned the subject before, and he was sorry his noble Friend the Vice President of the Council had made the reply he had. As a Member of the Public Accounts Committee, he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) was bound to say that a gross irregularity had been committed by the Department of Science and Art. The Committee had thought when any extra money was required the Department was absolutely bound to get the sanction of the Treasury before spending a penny. The Committee 1261 could not help feeling that the accounts had been manipulated in a way in which they ought not to have been, and they had expressed a hope that no such occurrence would have to be complained of in the future.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £331,812, to complete the sum for Public Education, Scotland.
§ (4.) £1,835, to complete the sum for the Board of Education, Scotland.
§ (5.) £84,790, to complete the sum for the British Museum.
§ MR. SPENCER WALPOLE
observed that the increase of the Museum Estimates this year was mainly owing to the arrangement which the Treasury had sanctioned in the salaries of the keepers and other officers of that institution; and he was sure that the House would not grudge an improvement in the salaries and positions of these gentlemen, whose duties were discharged to the entire satisfaction of the country. He wished to mention to the House what he considered to be a rare circumstance. Perhaps few hon. Members or persons in the country were aware that about 200 years ago the then Emperor of China ordered the commencement of a remarkable work, embracing all scientific researches and learning of the country from a period of 1,000 years before Christ down to the year 1720. The preparation of the work was ordered in 1662, and the labour on it was continued for about 60 years. Special types were struck for the purpose, and as these were subsequently broken up for other requirements, there was no chance of any further number of copies than those originally printed. The work so printed consisted of 5,120 volumes, not ordinary volumes like those we were accustomed to in England, but about double the size of the present number of The Nineteenth Century. There were 100 sets of these volumes printed, and the existence of one set for sale in the market became known to the Trustees two years ago. They secured it, and, although they gave £1,550 for it, he was sure everyone would feel that the nation had thereby secured a valuable contribution to Oriental literature; and those interested in the matter would have an opportunity hereafter of 1262 acquiring a knowledge of the Eastern world and its literature, not as seen through European spectacles and from European observation, but written by the Chinese themselves in their own words and with their own habits of thought and observation.
§ MR. W. M. TORRENS
believed he was one of the few Members of the House who sometimes availed himself of the opportunity of doing work at the Museum, and he bore testimony to the efficient service rendered by the officials, and he was glad of the increase of salaries to them. And while he did not grudge the expenditure upon Chinese literature, he must express his regret at seeing so many gaps in the historical library of the institution, especially of works referring to the history of our own country. He called upon the Trustees to give attention to the matter.
§ MR. SPENCER WALPOLE
was not aware that such gaps existed, but he assured the hon. Member he would call attention to them.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £9,133, to complete the sum for the National Gallery.
§ (7.) £1,500, to complete the sum for the National Portrait Gallery.
§ (8.) £12,850, to complete the sum for Learned Societies and Scientific Investigation.
§ MR. WHITWELL
asked the Secretary to the Treasury for explanations as to the increase to the Meteorological Office.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
was informed that the increase occurred in consequence of a number of special researches and experiments, for which an additional sum of £500 had been granted. There had also been an increased payment to the extent of £250 made to the Council, while the telegrams of storm-warnings had cost about £200 more. Then there was the additional amount of £250 for paid Inspectors in Scotland and Ireland. Great advantage had been derived from the extension of this particular branch of scientific investigation, and owing to the extra work of the Council, it had been found necessary to increase their salaries.
§ MR. WHITWELL
assented to the great usefulness of investigations under the observation of such a Society.
§ MR. M'LAREN
observed, that the £1,000 voted last year to the Scotch Meteorological Society had been omitted this year. He knew the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not promise to continue it, but he should like to say a word on the subject. They had heard that evening of increases of salary to the officers of the English Meteorological Department; whereas it was well known that they were already well paid, one man having as much as £900 a-year. The Meteorological Society of Scotland paid no salaries except to the Secretary; and all the observations made, and which were so valuable, were obtained and paid for by voluntary contributions. That being so, he thought it very unfair that the Scotch Society should be treated so shabbily.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, a Committee of the Treasury was appointed in 1875 to consider the whole matter, and they sat until 1877. They considered the whole matter, and recommended that a single Vote should be taken, the money being disposed of by the Meteorological Council in London. It was on the recommendation of that Committee, the Members of which had gone carefully into the whole subject, that the amount was voted, and they also recommended the appointment of a Council, at salaries, to administer the sum voted.
§ MR. M'LAREN
was quite aware of the Report when he had first spoken on the subject. It was a Committee, not appointed by the House, but by the Treasury—a Committee of scientific men, with only one Representative of Scotland, and they reported that they should have so much money to spend themselves. The Secretary to the Treasury had not said a single word of the injustice done to Scotland by the withdrawal of the £1,000, seeing that so much valuable work was done by that Society.
§ MR. VANS AGNEW
said, it was not of the Report that they complained, but of the decision of the Government founded on that Report. The English Meteorological Society availed themselves of the observations made in Scotland, and yet the Government gave no assistance to the Scotch Society. The Meteorological Society of Scotland got its valuable Reports gratuitously, the only expense they were put to being the small salary of the Secretary. He con- 1264 fessed he thought there were very strong grounds for complaint as to the way the Government had dealt with this matter, and great dissatisfaction had been caused in Scotland thereby.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, hon. Members were labouring under a misapprehension when they said a grant was made to the English Meteorological Society and not to the Scotch Society. There was no grant of any sort or kind made to the English Meteorological Society. The English Meteorological Council was a different thing altogether. [Mr. M'LAREN: I admit that I made a verbal error.] It was more than a verbal error. It was an entirely different thing. The history of the case was this. Certain work used to be done by the Board of Trade through Admiral Fitzroy, and, after his death, the work was still carried on by the Board of Trade. But, after some time, the Board of Trade found they were not very competent to do that kind of work, and that it would be better to hand it over to some other body with scientific attainments. They went to the Royal Society, and asked that Society to undertake to do the work, a certain sum of money to be paid by the Government, equivalent to the work performed. That went on for some time, and, subsequently, the work was taken from the Royal Society and placed in the hands of a body constituted for the purpose—the Meteorological Council. This was, in fact, a body in the nature of a Government Department, which received a certain sum for doing certain work for the Government. No grant was made to the Society, for the purpose of encouraging that Society, as some hon. Gentlemen seemed to imagine. The Department was constituted for the purpose of doing certain Government work. Undoubtedly, the Scotch Society was a very excellent body. It was a body which deserved the highest respect. But it was impossible for the Government to make grants to all scientific societies. They made none whatever to the Meteorological Society of England. With regard to the Society of Scotland, its services had, to a certain extent, been made use of by the Government, and a certain sum given in compensation for those services. He was not quite sure what the arrangements were as to the employment of the Meteorological Society of Scotland; but he believed, to a cer- 1265 tain extent, there were services rendered which were paid for.
§ MR. MELDON
said, that the explanation was, no doubt, a correct one; but he hoped, that next year the country would know what it was getting for its money.
§ MR. WHITWELL
observed, that the Accounts stated that the expenditure was on behalf of certain Learned Societies in Great Britain and Ireland. If any error had been made by the Committee in supposing the money was voted to Learned Societies as such, it arose from the mode in which the information was given.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (9.) £8,244, to complete the sum for the London University.
§ (10.) £3,010, to complete the sum for the Deep Sea Exploring Expedition (Report).
(11.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £24,500, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1879, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Royal Commission appointed in connection with the International Exhibition at Paris, 1878.
§ MR. MELDON
said, he should have to move to reduce this Vote. The Royal Commission charged with the conduct of this matter had voted the sum of £100 for the purpose of sending British artizans to the Paris Exhibition; voluntary associations were also got up for the purpose of obtaining subscriptions to enable artizans to visit the Exhibition. When he had asked a Question of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with regard to this matter, the right hon. Baronet had informed him that the Royal Commission was an independent body, and that he had no authority on the subject. By the courtesy of another hon. Member, he was informed that the sum of £100 was granted for the purpose of enabling artizans from the United Kingdom to visit the Exhibition, and that it was possible to have a portion of that money allocated for the purpose of sending Irish artizans to Paris. Accordingly, considerable pres- 1266 sure had been brought to bear upon the Commissioners to induce them to assist in sending Irish artizans. They refused to do so without receiving a subscription, and he thought it invidious that a Commission of this kind should make any distinction between English, Scotch, and Irish artizans. He did not know whether any application had been made on behalf of the Scotch; but by reason of the slight put upon Irish artizans, he felt compelled to move that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £33, that being the estimated share of the Irish artizans in the £100 granted to assist artizans in visiting the Exhibition.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £24,467, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1879, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Royal Commission appointed in connection with the International Exhibition at Paris, 1878."—(Mr. Melton.)
§ MR. M'LAREN
was quite sure that no more benefit had been obtained from this grant by the Scotch than by the Irish artizans.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, that he had the honour to be a Member of the Royal Commission, and also of the sub-Committee appointed to superintend the sending of British artizans to the Paris Exhibition. He could assure the hon. and learned Member that the Royal Commission knew no distinction between Irish, Scotch, and English artizans. A sum of between £2,000 and £3,000 had been raised entirely by voluntary contributions; and that, with the £100 voted by the Commissioners, was the amount which was available for sending artizans to the Paris Exhibition. He did not know any more arduous task than that which the Commissioners had had to perform, having to pay their own expenses to Paris, and being called upon to give subscriptions out of their own pockets in addition. And he could not but mention the praiseworthy part taken by their Chairman, the Prince of Wales, in this matter. Anyone who had been in Paris must have seen the way in which he had discharged his duties, and must have admired his excellent conduct of the whole arrangements of the British section of the Exhibition. The French people had been more gratified with 1267 what the Prince of Wales had done, in regard to the Paris Exhibition, than they would have been by years of diplomatic negotiation. His general conduct of the business was excellent, and his affability and courtesy to everyone had given the greatest satisfaction. With regard to this miserable £100, it had been voted by the Commissioners out of the paltry sum granted them. He would explain the matter to the Committee; and he would say, in passing, that he knew some gentlemen on the Commission, though without seats in that House, who had been ashamed at the expenses which had been thrown on the Prince of Wales. If a reception were given to the French. Commissioners, the Prince of Wales had had to pay for it out of his own pocket. But out of the paltry sum allowed them, the Commissioners had granted this £100 towards the expenses of artizans. They had asked the great towns in England to subscribe, and many towns had subscribed, and sent 20 persons each to Paris at their own expense; but what had Dublin done? No money had been raised from her for the purpose of sending artizans to the Exhibition. The money voted by the Commissioners had been spent in making arrangements for the artizans when they reached Paris. The Commission had arranged that for 20s. they should be carried to Paris and back, and £100 was all that was available towards paying the extra expenses. Any sum that the city of Dublin might subscribe would go towards the expenses of the Dublin artizans, and they would receive the benefit of the £100 subscribed by the Royal Commission in the facilities which had been provided for them in Paris. Not one shilling of the money had gone especially for English artizans as distinguished from Scotch or Irish; and Ireland would obtain its full share, not only of the £100, but of the English subscriptions.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
hoped that the Motion would not be pressed. The £ 100 had been added by the Commissioners to sums they had received from subscriptions towards sending artizans from England, Scotland, and Ireland to the Exhibition. With regard to what had been said as to the amount of the sum allowed to the English Commissioners at the Paris Exhibition, he would observe that it was equal to what 1268 had been voted in the cases of the Vienna and Philadelphia Exhibitions.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
thought that the Paris Exhibition could not be put upon the same footing as those at Vienna and Philadelphia. It was necessary for England to make a better appearance at Paris than at either of the other places.
§ MR. MELDON
could not admit that the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) had in any way given a satisfactory explanation. His statement was that subscriptions were raised in England for the purpose of sending English artizans to the Paris Exhibition, and that the Commissioners gave £100 to the fund. It was said that the Commissioners had provided certain facilities for artizans, and that they were intended for Irish and Scotch, as well as English, workmen. That was scarcely an accurate statement, after what had taken place, for the managers of the Irish subscriptions made a communication to the Commissioners with reference to sending Irish artizans. They were willing to accept aid in any shape or way; but they were told that unless the Irish Committee was prepared to guarantee £10 for each artizan sent from Ireland to Paris, they would receive no aid from the Royal Commission. Considering that the amount necessary for sending Irish artizans to Paris was £7, it was hard to ask the Irish Committee to spend £3 more before it could receive any benefit from the sums voted for the express purpose of sending artizans to Paris. It was unfair to limit the money for the benefit of the British artizan, for Irish artizans had the same right to the fund. He should take the opinion of the House upon his Motion.
§ MR. BELL
would be sorry if a division were taken upon this Motion. He had the honour to be one of the Royal Commissioners, and could say that no distinction was made between English, Scotch, or Irish artizans. With regard to the sum voted by Parliament towards the expenses of the Commission, it would fall short by £10,000 of what was required.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, that if the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) would write to him, he would communicate with Lord Spencer, the Chairman of the sub-Committee, and care should be taken that Irish arti- 1269 zans should have the same advantages as the English and Scotch; and the hon. Member should be satisfied that the Committee made no distinction between one nationality and another. He could assure him that there was no intention to show partiality to any branch of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. MELDON
said, that, perhaps, the hon. Member would state what facilities would be given to Irish artizans visiting the Paris Exhibition. He should also like to know what conditions they must comply with to get the same facilities as English artizans?
§ MR. M. BROOKS
was under the impression that funds were subscribed specially for English workmen. He understood now that, although subscriptions had been given towards artizans from any particular place, yet that artizans from any town would be sent to Paris by means of subscriptions of the towns generally.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
stated that the facilities given to artizans consisted of cheap travelling, guides, and catalogues. The journey cost them £1; and, in this respect, Dublin enjoyed the same facilities as Sheffield.
§ MR. MELDON
said, that, after that explanation, he would withdraw his Motion. The fact was that in Dublin they could send their artizans to Paris for £7; but in England they had to pay £10 before they could be sent.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (12.) £14,074, to complete the sum for the Universities, &c. in Scotland.
§ (13.) £1,580, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c. Scotland.