§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL rose to call attention to the Endowed Schools of Ireland, particularly with reference to the Report of the Royal Commission on Endowed Schools, Ireland, appointed in 1854, and to a Return recently laid upon the Table of the House; and to move—
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the condition, revenues, and ma-
nagement of the Endowed Schools of Ireland, with instructions to report how far those endowments are at present promoting or are applicable to the promotion of Intermediate Education in that Country without distinction of class or religion.
In doing so, he wished to apologize to Irish Members for taking up what might be considered to be their peculiar property. His attention had been directed to the question, in the first place, because he thought the question of Irish education was not so much an Irish question as of one the most important Imperial questions of the day; secondly, because, though these endowments were in such a state of inefficiency as to demand the immediate attention of the Legislature, no Irish Member had devoted any attention to the subject; and, thirdly, because if the establishments with which they were connected were put into a thoroughly efficient state, they would have a most beneficial effect upon the higher education of the middle classes in Ireland. It was more than 40 years since these schools were last brought under the notice of Parliament; and he trusted, therefore, that he might claim the kind indulgence of the House while he touched very briefly upon some of the more striking facts connected with the subject. The endowments for educational purposes in Ireland were found, by the Report of the Royal Commission of 1854, to amount to £68,670 per annum, and were derived partly ram landed estate and partly from funded property. The extent of the landed estate was 75,000 acres, and the funded property produced an income of £16,000 a-year. Competent authorities had stated that, under proper management, there could be little doubt that before a generation or two had passed the endowments would amount to nearly double that sum. The Commissioners of Education for Endowed Schools administered the funds of and generally controlled six Royal Grammar Schools and seven schools of private foundation which had been placed under their management in 1813. The endowments arose from 25,000 acres of land; but the net income was only 7,000 a-year, and that, he thought, was a point that required explanation. The celebrated foundation of Erasmus Smith had landed property of 12,000 acres, and produced an income of £9,000 a-year; but they
had, at the time the Commission reported, a surplus of £3,000, and as they had given no account since that time, their income now might amount to anything from £12,000 to £20,000 a-year. They were supposed to support five grammar schools and 140 elementary schools. Another celebrated endowment was that called "The Incorporated Society," which was founded to support both higher and elementary education; it had an income of £11,000 per annum, arising from 17,000 acres of land, and £100,000 in the Funds. They supported eight boarding schools, and a number of day schools as well; but as, on the whole, this endowment was found by the Royal Commissioners to be fairly efficient, he did not propose to direct special attention to it on the present occasion. With respect to the Royal Free Schools, the State was directly responsible for their management, having placed them under certain Commissioners appointed by the State. As he had said, there were six of these Royal Free Schools—namely, Enniskillen, Armagh, Dungannon, Raphoe, Cavan, and Banagher. They were founded by James I. and Charles I., and their income was £7,395 per annum, in addition to exhibitions at Trinity College amounting to £1,200 per annum. They would accommodate 410 boarders, and 1,055 day scholars; but, as a matter of fact, they were only educating 150 boarders and 490 day scholars. The education was intended by the Royal Founders to be gratuitous; but, in actual fact, out of 671 pupils, only 85 received a gratuitous education. The schools were intended for the benefit of all Irish children, without distinction of creed. In the Report of 1858, the Royal Commissioners said—
We are of opinion that the Royal Schools are by their constitution essentially non-exclusive. They are not intended for pupils of only one religious persuasion, and the master has no power to compel all the pupils to receive religious instruction in his own tenets.
Yet, of the 671 scholars, only 49 were Catholics, and 45 Presbyterians; and of the 49 Catholics, 37 were educated in the Banagher School, so that only 11 pupils were left to be divided among the other five schools. The following quotation from the Report of the Royal Commission might, perhaps, explain how it was that the 25,000 acres under the ma-
nagement of the Endowed Schools Commissioners only produced a net income of £7,000 a-year. In it, they reported as follows:—
It appears, from the provisions of the Act of Parliament under which the Commissioners of Education were constituted, that it was part of their duty to take an annual account of the assets and liabilities of the Royal School estates. This, however, was not done; but, on the contrary, the accounts of the law agents were allowed to accumulate during a series of years, no provision being made for the payment of them. The accounts thus omitted contained some excessive items, yet they were allowed to remain untaxed during 13 years. In addition to this, the accounts of the Board were never audited from the date of its foundation down to the present time, and this neglect on the part of the Commissioners took place, although it was discovered, after one of their secretaries had died in insolvent circumstances in 1827, that he had appropriated the funds of one or two charities so long before as the year 1816, which they had reported in that year to have been invested in Government Stock, and had carried on a fraudulent system of concealment for 11 years previous to his death without detection. It also appeared in evidence that since 1827 considerable sums for the payment of law costs had been debited to several charities which ought properly to have been charged on the Consolidated Fund, and that payments had been made out of the funds of other endowments without any legal authority to warrant such an appropriation.
Notwithstanding this, the accounts of the Board had never been audited from the time the Royal Commission reported up to the present day, and no action had been taken on that Report. He could only account for that by the supposition, that when the Report was issued, the Commissioners of Education must have felt that their last hour had come; for the Report recommended the formation of a new Board, and the present one had not thought it worth while to justify the continuance of its existence. Its annual Reports to Parliament were characterized by a candour which was almost cynical. It reported that one school, in a Catholic district, and with a large endowment, educated only five pupils—all Protestants—and another seven; and this was not a temporary condition of things, for the Royal Commission in l858 reported the two as educating eight pupils between them. A school which, according to the annual Report, was "well attended"—namely, that of Clonmel—had accommodation for 115, and the attendance was only 38. Another—the Royal Free School at Dungannon—had accommodation for 170,
and the attendance was 49. Another—that of Cavan—did not "present any variation," its condition having always been most unsatisfactory; and, with accommodation for 140, it had an attendance of 36, all Protestants, in a Catholic locality. A mastership of one school, that of Banagher, having fallen vacant in 1873, the then Lord Lieutenant (Earl Spencer) appointed a Catholic headmaster. Now, of the 42 scholars, 37 were Catholic, and this was the only school which showed any signs of improvement, in spite of every drawback and an income of only £164 per annum. Unfortunately, the Irish Church Act abolished the diocesan schools, which might have been made, under good management, useful centres of higher education. It was supposed they were sectarian institutions, and they were treated accordingly; but they were nothing of the kind; the Church had nothing to do with them, except to contribute to their support, and they were only called diocesan schools because, at the time they were formed, a diocese was a more convenient division to deal with than a county. These Commissioners of Education, with regard to their meetings and the difficulty they experienced in holding them, asked that the attendance of an ex officio member should not be required, and three ordinary members should form a quorum. Now, this paragraph in their Report threw great light upon the constitution of the Board of Commissioners. Among the Members were the Lord Chancellor, the Primate, some Bishops, some Judges, the Member for the University of Dublin for the time being—there being at the time of the constitution of the Board only one Member for the University. He did not know, however, which Member for the University now performed that duty. All these eminent persons had a thousand other things to attend to, and it was, therefore, impossible for them to give their attention to the complicated affairs that must arise in the management of 25,000 acres of land, £16,000 a-year in money, and some 15 or 16 schools, which ought to be educating nearly 3,000 scholars. The Royal Commissioners said of the permanent Commissioners—
Their number is, no doubt, considerable—too large, indeed, for the efficiency of such a body. Nevertheless, the attendance of members at board meetings has been uncertain and ire-
gular, and for some years past increasingly so. It was stated to us by Dr. Kyle, the secretary, that for the last few years it has been very difficult to procure the presence of the Commissioners, and that he has frequently been obliged to make personal solicitations to induce the members to come. The necessary quorum is only three, yet out of a number of 17 persons the average attendance has been but three and four, and has often been reduced to a minimum. The presence of one ex officio member is made essential by statute for the transaction of business. Nevertheless, Dr. Kyle stated there had been a difficulty in procuring the attendance of one such Commissioner.
There was, however, one day of the year on which heroic efforts were made to get these dignitaries together, and that was the day when the annual report had to be signed. On that important occasion the Lord Chancellor forsook his Court, the Primate his pulpit, the Judges their benches, and the Member for the University of Dublin for the time being turned up from goodness knows where; but all they did, however, was to ratify the impotent proceedings and lend the weight of their names to the maundering lucubrations of their octogenarian secretary. He thought that the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) would agree that that Commission was a corporation a trifle more un-reformed than any of the bodies which he had had to deal with. All that he had said as to the Commissioners of Education would apply to the Governors of Erasmus Smith's foundation, and more. He should like to quote a passage of the Report of the Royal Commission—a perfect gem in its way, as showing how Irish endowments were managed—
We found that there were four officers of the Board intrusted with the duty of keeping the accounts. The forms of accounts to be kept have been supplied by Mr. Fetherston, the solicitor to the Governors, and to him we were referred by the chairman for every information with respect to the ledger. But Mr. Fetherston stated that he never looked into the accounts unless some question was raised with regard to special items. He never examined the ledger or took any particular notice of it. He thought that Mr. Thorp, the assistant registrar, had charge of the accounts. This Mr. Thorp denied. The Rev. Mr. Hamilton, the registrar, stated that he never had anything to do with the accounts, and that he was not responsible for them; that Mr. Thorp did keep the accounts. Mr. Barlow, chairman and treasurer, thought it necessary to set Mr. Hamilton right upon that point, and stated that Mr. Hamilton was held responsible for the accounts by the Governors. He was aware, however, that Mr. Thorp actually kept the accounts. Mr. Thorp, to whom
the keeping of the accounts was thus intrusted for a number of years, said that he did not understand at all what was meant by double entry in bookkeeping, and admitted he did not know what assets meant. The only check upon accounts thus kept was the audit by Mr. Barlow, chairman and treasurer, who, when questioned as to some errors, said—'I know nothing of it, as I never looked into the ledger in my life. I am not an accountant; I am not a bookkeeper; and if I did look at it, I dare say I should not be much wiser than I am at present. I am glad to have the opportunity of saying I never looked into a page of it.'
Yet these were accounts relating to the management of 12,000 acres of land and an income of £10,000 a-year. The state of the Swordborough School was most unsatisfacfory, and that of the Robert-son endowment was not only unsatisfactory in itself, but had prevented the establishment of satisfactory parochial schools. He might also quote the case of the Dublin Blue Coat foundation, amounting to £1,650 a-year, and which was a signal instance of the loss of property through neglect. If the title of that property had been kept up, it might now have been most valuable. Various other endowments might be mentioned in support of his argument; and last, but not least, there was that most monstrous of all anomalies, the Irish Society. After that statement of facts, he felt himself warranted in asking the House to agree to the Motion, for it was of the utmost importance that no opportunity should be lost of stimulating the existing educational institutions of Ireland. The Census Commissioners, in 1871, gave some important statistics as to the educational condition of Ireland generally, and it must be allowed to be altogether unsatisfactory. They said—
Under the head of 'superior instruction,' a term which comprises all instruction not strictly elementary, the movement between 1861 and 1871 is upon the whole the reverse of gratifying, representing as it does for Ireland so miserable a percentage as 05 to the total population. In 1861 the number of persons returned as under superior instruction, including everyone who by any forcing of the sense of the words could be said to be receiving, or in the way of receiving, something more than rudimentary instruction was 24,311. In 1871 these numbers had fallen to 24,170. Commentary would almost weaken the evidence of figures such as these; during a decade filled with the most excited struggles and impassioned debates upon the subject of higher instruction, and in a country where the appliances in aid of that instruction, whether from ancient foundations, from the liberality of Parliament, or from private
munificence, are certainly not scanty, a decrease is to be registered in the number of those who, upon the most charitable interpretation, can be treated as in the receipt of higher instruction. This flush of means and beggarliness of results exists, moreover, in a nation whose impulse would move it in the direction of excess rather than of defect along the line of liberal studies if those impulses were allowed full play. By some means or other the higher intellectual life of the country is plainly being starved and dwarfed; nor is there a moment to be lost before those upon whom the cure lies should apply their faculties to the infusion of blood and spirit into the dry bones of public instruction in Ireland.
This was testimony which revealed a state of things which was discreditable to Ireland, which was discreditable to the Imperial Parliament, and which, if no remedy was applied to it, would most certainly be discreditable to the Ministers of the Crown. He knew he should be told that Ireland was prosperous, and he would not deny that she had made a certain material progress. In proof that she had done so, they might enumerate the horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, and also, if they liked, the donkeys in that country; for he had seen it stated in a statistical paper that Ireland was a very prosperous country because of the number of its donkeys. But if they compared her rate of progress in those respects, however, with the corresponding rates of progress in England and Scotland, they would find that the boasted prosperity of Ireland was subjected to the most disappointing diminutions. How, indeed, could material wealth, and the rich natural resources with which Ireland was endowed, be turned to the best account when the means of distributing scientific culture among the masses of the people were so utterly deficient. He saw that the noble and gallant Lord the Member for Water-ford County (Lord Charles Beresford) had placed on the Paper an Amendment to the Motion, in favour of denominational education. On that point he (Lord Randolph Churchill) agreed with the noble and gallant Lord, who was, no doubt, himself a brilliant specimen of denominational education; and if he would bring forward his proposal at a future time, he would gladly support it. As an addition, however, to the present Motion, it was neither appropriate, nor germane to the question. He hoped, therefore, that
the Amendment would not be pressed, because it would only complicate the issue before the House, and embarrass hon. Members in arriving at a proper conclusion. He trusted, also, that the Government would not refuse to accede to his Motion. If, unfortunately, they did so, he could not see how they could escape the charge of being apathetic and indifferent to that subject, or how they could prevent its being said—to quote a now historical expression—"Will Ireland be content; can Ireland be content; ought Ireland to be content?" The House had every reason, however, to believe that the Government were far from apathetic on the education question, and he was only asking them to begin in Ireland a work with regard to her endowed schools which had been completed in England, and which was nearly completed in Scotland, and for which there was 10 times greater justification in Ireland than there ever had been in England or Scotland. The noble Lord concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
, in seconding the Resolution, said, he was quite sure that those who had heard the speech of the noble Lord (Lord Randolph Churchill) would feel that they owed thanks to him for having called attention to such an important subject, and for having introduced it in so able and interesting a speech. For his own part, as an English Member, he (Mr. Chamberlain) would make no apology for seconding the Resolution, for he felt sure that Irish Members would welcome any proof that English Members were interested in Irish grievances. It would be admitted on all sides that the state of education in Ireland was thoroughly unsatisfactory in all its branches, and he was unable to share in the opinion of his noble Friend that no charge of apathy respecting it could be made against the Government. He certainly thought it was hardly creditable to a strong Government that it had done nothing in five Sessions to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Irish people in the matter. The Resolution proposed by the noble Lord might have gone further, seeing that it dealt only with the fringe of the subject; but it was none the less important on that account. He imagined that the Government would see that they could not deal with interme- 1225 diate education, unless they arranged to take the greatest possible advantage of existing foundations. These foundations were of considerable importance in Ireland, their total income amounting to nearly £70,000 per annum. In comparison to English endowments they sank into insignificance, for the Endowed Schools Commission reported in 1867 that the gross income of the English foundations was nearly £600,000 per annum; and they reported upon nearly 3,000 endowments. But the comparative smallness of Irish endowments was an additional reason why the most should be made of such facilities as existed. They found that in the Royal Free Schools of Ireland there was accommodation for 1,500 students, while less than 700 were offering themselves, and while the grammar schools could accommodate 1,200, they only contained 800 scholars. It was, therefore, evident that there was great room for such an inquiry as had been suggested, and the Resolution of the noble Lord did not in the slightest degree prejudge the nature of the reforms which might be recommended. Precisely the same allegations which the noble Lord made against Irish endowed schools were made some years ago against English endowed schools, and an exposure of the abuses of the latter led to their reform. The abuses connected with the endowed schools in Ireland had been pointed out many years ago in various Reports; they were proved up to the hilt in the Report of the Irish Commission of 1854, and it was very difficult to see how such a Report had been permitted for 20 years to remain waste paper. It was stated, with regard to many of the smaller endowments in England, that the teachers had become mere parasites and pensioners upon the fund, and that the accounts were found to be most inefficiently kept, and there was not one of these charges which could not be brought with equal truth and force against the Irish endowments. They knew that in England abuses were long-lived; but in Ireland they seemed to have the life of a cat. From the Report relating to the Erasmus Smith foundation, the whole thing seemed to be regarded as a gigantic practical joke, and was quite worthy of the philosophers of Laputa. From a Report of the Commission of Lord Powis, in 1870, it appeared that 1226 the same official was still in charge of the accounts; but it was not stated whether he yet knew what double-entry meant, or that he could distinguish between assets and liabilities. The original intention of that foundation was to provide middle-class education in the localities in which the Erasmus Smith schools were established; but in 1858 only 10 per cent of the total endowment was applied to middle-class education, and the whole of the rest was devoted to elementary instruction, and therefore to the relief of the rates—to the saving of the pockets of those who might fairly be regarded as responsible for primary education. It was perfectly evident that the system of education in Ireland concealed abuses which at least were as great, and probably greater, than any disclosed by Schools Inquiry Commissions in England; and he could not but conceive why what was sauce for the goose should not be sauce for the gander, or why the legislation which had proved beneficial in England should not be applied to Ireland. Since the Report of the Schools Inquiry Commission, there was no proof that these institutions had voluntarily reformed themselves—in fact, there was every reason to suppose they had not; for experience taught him that self-electing and non-representative Bodies were rarely capable of self-improvement. He ventured to call the attention of the House to the part of the Census Commissioners' Report, which dealt with the fact that, while almost the whole of these endowed schools were strictly confined to the members of the Protestant Church, yet there had been an actual retrogression in the matter of Protestant education. On the other hand, the Roman Catholics had progressed in education. In fact, these endowments had acted as a hindrance to education instead of a benefit. From 1861 to 1871, the Report showed that there had been a diminution to the extent of 14½ per cent in the number of Protestant Episcopalians receiving intermediate education. The effect of these endowments had been, and still was, to discourage voluntary effort and individual enterprize. With such an indictment as had been brought against these endowments, it seemed to him impossible to understand on what ground the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock could be resisted. If 1227 it could be alleged that the grosser abuses to which they had pointed, and which existed at the time of the Report of the Commission in 1858 had now ceased, still there would be this reason for a Committee of Inquiry—that it was desirable to revise these foundations in order to ascertain whether they could not be made more generally available for the whole population, in order to remove the exclusive character they now possessed. Those who managed these endowments should not be permitted to fritter away the income at their disposal by making petty doles to small and comparatively useless institutions, instead of employing them in promoting really important educational institutions. The Amendment about to be proposed by the noble and gallant Lord the Member for Waterford (Lord Charles Beresford) was entirely alien to the object of the Motion, and, to an extent, it was deficient in meaning, and therefore he saw no reason why the House should accept it. For what purpose should an inquiry be held into the practicability of establishing denominational schools in Ireland? These very establishments, with regard to which an inquiry was asked for, were denominational institutions. They were Protestant Episcopalian denominational schools. Perhaps the noble and gallant Lord wished to inquire into the practicability of establishing Roman Catholic denominational schools in Ireland? But there was no need for inquiring into that subject, inasmuch as it was perfectly practicable to establish such schools, if the necessary private endowments were forthcoming. If, however, the noble and gallant Lord wished to know whether it was practicable to establish Roman Catholic denominational schools by means of State aid, the answer was—"Certainly, the moment that Parliament chose to sanction such a proceeding." The noble Lord who had brought forward this Motion had acted very considerately towards Her Majesty's Government in limiting its terms to a demand for inquiry, seeing that he might have asked for immediate legislation. But, probably, he had compared the promises made in the Queen's Speech with their fulfilment down to the present time, and if he had done so, he would have found that of eight measures so promised only one had as yet passed into law—namely, 1228 the Factories and Workshops Bill. The others were hung up, like Mahomet's coffin, between heaven and earth, and the prospect of their being realized was very doubtful. It was wiser of the noble Lord to ask for inquiry, and, his Motion being confined to that, in his (Mr. Chamberlain's) opinion, the Government could not refuse it, unless they desired to have it believed that they were anxious to conceal abuses the existence of which they could neither deny nor defend.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the condition, revenues, and management of the Endowed Schools of Ireland, with instructions to report how far those endowments are at present promoting or are applicable to the promotion of Intermediate Education in that Country without distinction of class or religion."—(Lord Randolph Churchill.)
§ LORD CHARLES BERESFORD
, in rising to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice, to add to the Motion—"and also into the practicability of establishing schools upon the denominational system," said, the noble Lord's (Lord Randolph Churchill's) Motion touched Irish education only in a certain part; but it was desirable that the whole subject should be inquired into, and with that view he should divide the House upon his Amendment. He believed that what was wanted was not only a new system of endowments, but a new system altogether—a denominational system, which he believed would be found more efficient than that which at present existed, and which did not please anybody, either Protestant or Roman Catholic. The question ought to be taken in hand as soon as possible; and he hoped that more was to be expected in this matter from the Conservatives than had yet been offered by the Liberals—they being pledged against the denominational system—that the Government would, at least, give that system a fair trial. For a system of education to be useful, the teacher and the pupil must be of the same religion; and no system like the present, under which the pupil must look upon his teacher as either a heretic or an idolater, could work efficiently. The strongest argument in favour of denominational schools was that they were admittedly the best managed educational institutions. 1229 The real difficulty with regard to the denominational system was, that the State did not like to make grants for educational purposes unless it had control over the manner in which that education was given; and, on the other hand, neither Protestants nor Catholics were prepared to give up to the Government their control of the education to be given to their, children. That, of course, was a very great difficulty; but he believed that if a Committee were appointed to inquire into the subject, they would find the way to a compromise. He could not help thinking that this religious principle was too much talked about in connection with education debates. ["No, no!"] Why, the whole question of religion was a matter of the accident of birth, the children generally inheriting their religion from their parents. His father and mother happened to be Protestants, and therefore he was a Protestant. So it happened all the world over. Why not live and let live? For his own part, he believed that a Mohammedan or a Bhuddist, or any other man, if honest and conscientious in acting up to his convictions, had as good a chance of getting to Heaven as a Protestant or a Roman Catholic. At all events, the denominational system, he believed, would be found to work well; and, with a view to the adoption of a new system in that direction, he begged to move his Amendment.
§ MR. KING-HARMAN
seconded the Amendment, affirming that the only hope for checking the spread of revolutionary principles in Ireland was a sound religious education, which the present system failed to supply. He could not agree with the noble Lord who had moved it, that too much was said in these education debates on the question of religion, for he could not imagine how that could happen. Education without religion was, to his mind, worse than no education at all, and he thought it would be a good thing for the country, and he should like to see established in Ireland a system, by means of which the children of Protestants and Catholics could be educated together; but he feared that was not possible, as they would not work harmoniously together. There could, however, be no reason why the whole question should not be referred to one and the same Committee, with good hope that satisfactory results would follow.
At the end of the Question, to add the words "and also into the practicability of establishing schools upon the denominational system."—(Lord Charles Beresford.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ DR. WARD
said, he was glad to hear the Conservative Representatives of Protestant constituencies contending for the denominational education which the Liberal Members representing Roman Catholic voters had so long contended for. While he thanked the noble and gallant Lord who had moved the Amendment (Lord Charles Beresford) for it, at the same time he would ask him not to press it. He did so for the reason that he could not help thinking that it was inopportune to mix the question of denominational education with the question whether large sums left for the endowment of education had not been misappropriated and ought not to be applied in accordance with the will of the people. If Her Majesty's Government refused investigation into the entire subject, they would be shirking their responsibility, and he should know how to regard their promises with respect to that of intermediate education.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
thought that inquiry into the subject of the disposal of the enormous funds devoted to denominational education in Ireland was urgently needed; but the Amendment which had been moved went too far, and dragged in questions which it was advisable at present to avoid. The object of those who supported the original Motion was simply to raise the standard of the present denominational schools in Ireland, by giving them an opportunity of attaining a greater degree of efficiency; but that object would be endangered by raising wider questions on which there were great differences of opinion. The adoption of the Motion would interpose no obstacle to the promotion and passing of any measure which Her Majesty's Government might have in contemplation on the subject of intermediate education.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
cordially agreed with the views expressed by the noble and gallant Lord who had moved the Amendment (Lord Charles Beresford). He (Sir George Bowyer) regarded the idea of carrying out a system 1231 of mixed education in Ireland as an idle dream. Mixed education was a good idea in itself; but, practically, it could not be carried out, and no education could, in his opinion, be beneficial which was not founded upon religion. Mixed education was inconsistent with a religious system, and, so far as pure secular education was concerned, they had now seen some of its results. Secular, or godless education, was radically bad, and all over Europe they saw the spread of Socialism as the consequence of its establishment. Under it, the young grew up without being amenable to any authority. It had especially been found most disastrous in Germany. The Governments of Europe thought that in increasing secular education they were increasing their power; but they had discovered that they had raised a monster which they could not guide. He hoped, however, that the noble and gallant Lord would withdraw his Amendment, as, if agreed to, the labours of the Committee would be interminable, and therefore fruitless. This was a question of policy, and the House should decide it.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
also hoped that the noble and gallant Lord the Member for Waterford (Lord Charles Beresford) would withdraw his Amendment. It was, no doubt, very good in itself, and might be usefully considered at a subsequent period; but, at present, it could only tend to hamper the Committee, and he did not think it should be mixed up with the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill).
§ MR. ERRINGTON
thought injustice was done to the Amendment by calling it irrelevant, and that it really supplemented the Motion in an important particular. The Motion contained an instruction to the Committee to proceed on certain lines; and this rendered the further instruction contained not only relevant, but opportune and necessary. He, therefore, hoped it would be pressed, unless the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock agreed to leave out the words in his Motion "without distinction of class or religion."
§ MAJOR NOLAN
thanked the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) for his speech, which would become an historical document in Ireland. This was a most diffi- 1232 cult matter for the Irish Members to consider at the present moment. The Amendment would suit his views if it could be carried, and in that view he would heartily support it; but he was afraid that the Government would vote both against the Amendment and Resolution, and that would leave the Irish Members in some difficulty. He did not wish that this question should be made the pretext for shelving that of intermediate education. He hoped that the noble and gallant Lord opposite (Lord Charles Beresford) would withdraw his Amendment, unless the Government supported it.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
believed there was need for an inquiry into these endowed schools; but he hoped Ministers would be careful in dealing with the subject, and that the Protestants of Ireland would not be deprived of the endowments which they now possessed, and to which they were entitled. He supposed the wish of the noble and gallant Lord the Member for Waterford (Lord Charles Beresford) was to preserve the denominational character of the endowments, but he should recommend him not to press his Amendment. If the mixed system were "rotten," it was the result of the determination of the Catholic Hierarchy to exclude from the schools the Scripture extracts in the use of which the Catholic and the Protestant Primates had concurred.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he had not been fortunate enough to hear the speech of the noble Lord who brought forward this Motion (Lord Randolph Churchill); but he understood that he had made out a very powerful case for an inquiry. It was acknowledged that the great educational want of Ireland was that of secondary and intermediate education, and he trusted that the discussion would be confined to the manner in which that want was to be met. There were certain endowments for the purpose, and the question was how they could be best utilized. There could be no doubt that great abuses existed in reference to the endowed schools of Ireland, and the only objection that ought to be urged against the Motion should be either that a case had not been made out—which no one suggested—or that a Commission would be better than a Committee. He should have supposed that a Commission might have been better 1233 than a Committee, if it had not been that there was a Commission 20 years ago, whose Report had furnished many of the facts, but on which Report no action had been taken. The matter, therefore, seemed one for a Committee. If the Government thought its inquiry would militate against the progress of their promised Bill, perhaps the general opinion would be that the Motion ought not to be pressed; but he could not conceive that inquiry could be otherwise than useful in facilitating legislative action. There was a strong case for making a similar inquiry by a Committee for Ireland to that which had been made by Commission for England and Scotland. With regard to the Amendment of the noble and gallant Lord the Member for Waterford (Lord Charles Beresford), it appeared to him that the pressing of that Amendment would be a mistake, and that it would be almost fatal to any educational object in that matter. For himself, he had a strong opinion in regard to separating religion from education; but he thought the true question ought to be considered appropriately and at the right time. They had a case for inquiry as to how far certain endowments had been misused, and the noble and gallant Lord the Member for Waterford wished the Committee also to inquire how they were to put up denominational schools. But if they put that second subject of inquiry on the back of the first subject, the first would be utterly lost sight of. Lot them first ascertain the facts as to how these endowments had been abused, and afterwards the important question of religious education could be considered. In dealing with the question they should not forget that they were legislating for Irishmen, and not for Englishmen or Scotchmen.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
thought the House would not complain of the manner in which that evening had been spent, as they had had some very instructive, and—he was bound to say, speaking for himself—very amusing speeches. They had had, first, the able and amusing speech of his noble Friend the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), who had devoted great attention to that subject. Most hon. Gentlemen must have thought the noble Lord's statements were of a somewhat startling character, and might 1234 also have felt some curiosity to see the proofs by which they could be established. Next came the Amendment of the noble and gallant Lord the Member for Waterford (Lord Charles Beresford), which was supported by that ability and wit for which he was so well known in the House. His noble and gallant Friend the Member for Waterford had scarcely been used fairly in that discussion. Hon. Members had urged that the Amendment was inconvenient, and he could fully believe that to many of them it would be most inconvenient. But the Motion was also inconvenient. Now, speaking for himself and the Government, he need hardly say they could not accept the Amendment, whatever course they might adopt as to the Motion. At the same time, representing, as he did, an important Irish constituency in which strong feelings were entertained on the subject of that Amendment, his noble and gallant Friend was not only justified in raising, but bound to raise, that question; and he (Mr. Lowther) could not agree with those who said that if the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock were adopted, the Amendment would be out of place. Now, there were parts of the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock which the House generally would admit were deserving of their serious attention. His noble Friend had alleged against the Endowed Schools maladministration of the temporalities in their hands, and had suggested that a Committee of that House should inquire into their management. He did not deny that his noble Friend had made out a primâ facie case for an inquiry of some kind, although he had prudently reserved his proofs for a tribunal competent to deal with such details. But a Committee of that House would be one of the most inappropriate bodies to conduct such an investigation. ["No, no!"] His noble Friend had mainly based his case on maladministration in regard to the management of farms, the collection of rents, the audit of accounts, and various other details, many of them involving local elements; and a Committee of that House was hardly the tribunal to which matters of that kind should be referred. His noble Friend had referred to the great question of the policy which was to regulate Parliament on the subject of intermediate 1235 education. With regard to it, it was his (Mr. Lowther's) duty last night to make an announcement of the policy which Her Majesty's Government intended to submit to Parliament. He stated that it was the intention of the Government at an early period to introduce in the other House of Parliament a measure dealing with that important subject. He could not imagine that the noble Lord had any means of knowing what that measure would be. He (Mr. Lowther) was not going to avail himself of the present opportunity by attempting prematurely to divulge its details. But he thought the House would be disposed to agree with his contention, that there were two distinct branches involved in the Motion of his noble Friend. There was the question of the administration of the temporalities in the hands of the Commission, and there was the question of the policy which should guide Parliament in dealing with the question of education. With regard to the question of policy, he thought the Government had already expressed their intention of dealing with it. If the House were to appoint a Committee, it would be the duty of the Government, out of respect to that Committee, not to introduce any measure in anticipation, of its Report. He thought the Government could hardly be expected, in the face of a Committee appointed by one of the Houses of Parliament, to introduce a measure and take the subject out of its hands. He would admit that his noble Friend the Member for Woodstock had made a statement with regard to the management of the temporalities of these academies, which he thought deserving of inquiry; but he thought a Committee of that House could not undertake properly those limited and merely local functions. He thought inquiries would be more appropriately conducted by a small Commission appointed for the specific purpose of inquiring into the management of the temporalities. If that suggestion would fall in with the views of his noble Friend and those who supported him, he should be quite willing to undertake that a Commission of the character which he had mentioned should shortly be appointed to inquire into and report upon the management and conduct of the temporalities and revenues of those bodies. He hoped that, in these circum- 1236 stances, his noble Friend would be satisfied with the important discussion which he had raised upon this question, and would not press his Motion. Of course, some alterations would be required to adapt his Motion to the limited inquiries to which he (Mr. J. Lowther) had referred. He hoped, also, that his noble and gallant Friend the Member for Waterford, who had contributed so ably to this discussion, would see that, in the circumstances, he would certainly be consulting the interests he had at heart, and also the convenience of the House, by not pressing his Amendment.
THE O'CONOR DON
said, he must express the deep obligations of himself, and he thought he might say of all the Members connected with Ireland, to the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), for the great interest he had taken in this subject, and for the manner in which he had introduced the Motion. He hoped, however, that the noble Lord would accept the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He entirely concurred in the remarks he had made, and was glad to learn that the inquiry which he had suggested would not interfere with the intended measure of the Government.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
consented to withdraw his Motion, on the distinct understanding that there would be no limit to the inquiry of the Commission, and that it would have full powers to inquire into the existing condition of the schools, their management, and their revenues.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, it must be understood that he did not propose that there should be a Royal Commission. What he was prepared to agree to was a small Commission to inquire into the subject of the management of the property. He would be happy to communicate with his noble Friend as to the terms under which such a Commission might be appointed.
§ Amendment and Motion, by leave, withdrawn.