§ (28.) £60,000, Public Education (England and Wales).
§ (29.) £350, National Gallery.
(30.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £352, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Queen's University in Ireland.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
objected to the item of £231 for Medals and Prizes. The standard of education, he contended, in the Queen's University in Ireland was ridiculously low, and to lay out money upon it as proposed was neither more nor less than subsidizing a great institution to degrade public instruction. He had some personal experience of the results of the system pursued in the University. He recollected having obtained a Scholarship in modern languages, a second in political economy, and a third in law and jurisprudence; but he had had a competitor only on one occasion, and he, having failed, was rewarded with an exhibition. In the Queen's College, Cork, too, he found that exhibitions were last year given to all the unsuccessful candidates. Such a system' under which some sort of prize was awarded to everybody was productive of evil both inside and outside the University. The attraction of an University degree was perverted to a lure to draw pupils from the schools of the country before they were really fit to go to the University. But when to the attractions of a degree those of pecuniary emoluments were added, the result was 1561 still more injurious to the schools, for it directly tended to lower their standard of education. If there were a high standard for the examination at the University boys would not, of course, leave the public schools until they had become masters of that high standard; but once a low standard of examination was established, then, of course, confusion was carried into the whole system of intermediate education. The Government had promised to introduce a Bill dealing with intermediate education in Ireland. He did not know what the proposals were which they intended to make on the subject; but one of the first steps they ought to take, he maintained, was to reform or remove a so-called University which was pushing down intermediate education and driving the grammar schools of Ireland back more and more into the condition of elementary schools. There was, he might add, no end to the variety of the degrees conferred by the Queen's University, which the Committee was asked to encourage by granting money to be laid out in prizes and scholarships. The University did not in any way deserve the patronage of the House of Commons; and to squander the money of the State upon it would be not to support, but to injure and degrade education. The Queen's Colleges were first established purely for the purpose of giving liberal and general instruction to the youth of Ireland. It was not even contemplated to have in them professional schools, or that a University degree should be given to engineering or medical students. Now, however, from the hour an engineering student entered the University to the hour he left it with his degree, he was not required to attend a single class of general liberal education. In the same way, the 500 medical students, accounted a credit to the University, could not be counted as University students; and the institution that palmed them off as results of a University system was not acting fairly by the country; and those parties who were trying to hide the failure of the Queen's University were not discharging their trust to that House nor their duty to Ireland; but, on the contrary, were doing all in their power to support a sham education which was a failure and a mass of false pretences. He did not say a word against the medical education which was given in the University as 1562 medical examination. They knew that before the Queen's University was established there were medical schools at Cork and at Belfast; but no one thought that on that account general education was provided for at Belfast and at Cork. He looked upon these things as part of the same system of conferring small pecuniary rewards and petty distinctions, which were only of value so far as their nature was unknown. The gold medal at the Queen's University only represented that the man who held it had been successful in a competition against men very imperfectly educated. He might have a certain amount of special knowledge; but his gold medal was no mark of general culture. He had known men of the University plucked in competition against boys scraped together from schools of the better sort. The gold medal carried with it no guarantee of culture; and he protested against an institution conducted on such a principle, and against public funds being any longer voted to bolster it up. He should be glad to hear any explanation the Government might have to offer—but he could not suppose it would be satisfactory?—for pressing this extra demand on the public purse. If it were satisfactory, however, he should be happy to accept it; but he made those observations in the hope that they might learn something from the Government that might preclude the necessity for further proceedings against that institution.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down had on a former occasion, in the present Session, called attention to that subject, when he had brought in a Bill affecting the Queen's University and the Queen's Colleges; and he had told them that evening that there had never been any contradiction to his statements, and that there could be no doubt those institutions were an entire failure. He took care, on the last occasion when he introduced this subject, that there should be no answer to his statements upon it, for he talked out his own Bill, and so sufficiently prevented a reply. On this occasion, he (Mr. Plunket) was quite prepared-and on future occasions, also, he should be prepared—to answer him, in a manner which he trusted the hon. Member would judge—from the sample he (Mr. Plunket) was now about to give—to be ample 1563 and adequate. It would, of course, be out of Order for him (Mr. Plunket), at present, to refer further to what passed when the hon. Member introduced his Bill. But from the reply which he (Mr. Plunket) would now make to the latest utterance of the hon. Member, perhaps the House would be satisfied as to what amount of credit should be attached to what he said. The hon. Member, in stating his case against these institutions, no doubt ought to be able to speak, as he claimed to do, with some authority on the subject, as it was altogether in them that he acquired whatever knowledge he possessed; and among the Irish people, ever since he left the Queen's College, he had been, as they learned from the Irish papers, devoting himself to the task of denouncing and calumniating the University in which alone he obtained his education. The hon. Member had certainly made some very serious charges this evening; but he had not directed them against the political principles, or the system of education adopted in these Institutions; and he would confine himself to that which he had brought forward—namely, that which he alleged to be a gross excess of prizes given in the Queen's Colleges. Having condemned these institutions as a huge machinery for the degradation of learning, one might have thought that the hon. Member would have gone on to describe the sort of graduate that was turned out by a system whose machinery he had so much disparaged; for it was a matter of no small importance to the public what kind of value was to be attached to these degrees. He (Mr. Plunket) would explain his own ideas on this subject, in order that the House might contrast them with those of the hon. Member for Dungarvan. A University graduate should, he held, be one whose mind was stored with the fruits of deep and earnest study; whose habits of thought had been refined by the influences of ancient and modern classics, and whose manners had been polished by intercourse with the best and brightest spirits of his time—one, in fact, who enjoyed that most winning of all charms—the character of a scholar and a gentleman. Such a man would certainly secure in his College career the respect and affection of his companions, and would probably carry with him through his life a well-deserved popularity. The 1564 hon. Member had, however, assured the House that the graduates of the Queen's University were the exact opposites of all of this; but the only argument he had adduced in support of that assertion was that he had—in order to exemplify the kind of article turned out by the damaging process he had described—exhibited himself to the House as one who had obtained successively three prizes and a degree in the Queen's University. So far as that illustration of his proposition went, it was not for him (Mr. Plunket) to dispute the fulness of the proof. This much, however, he would say?—that in the Profession to which he had himself belonged in Ireland, some of the most distinguished men he ever met—men who were at the head of that Profession—were the graduates, and the distinguished honourmen, of that very University, and of those very Colleges which the hon. Gentleman had assailed. It had been his misfortune to be beaten by some of these—and he was proud to have been defeated by them. But he need not go outside the walls of that House for confirmation of those statements, for next to the hon. Member for Dungarvan on the benches opposite sat one of the hon. Members for Galway Town (Dr. Ward)—a Member to whom the House always listened with pleasure and advantage—and he had been an alumnus and a Professor of the College at Galway, and he appealed to that excellent and popular Member as another proof of what the Queen's University could do. The hon. Gentleman who introduced that Resolution had, in support of his ease, boldly stated a number of cases, without giving any notice, and with which, therefore, he (Mr. Plunket) could not at that moment pretend to grapple in detail; but he had also told them, generally, that the students who were professional students in the Queen's Colleges and the Queen's University were wholly devoid of any general education, except such as they might have accidentally scraped together in going through those institutions. Well, he could tell the House of many of his own friends in Ireland—men eminent for their learning—who did get there the remarkable scholarship and ability he had found in them. But he would ask the Committee to permit him to read to them what the fact was, as stated by one 1565 of the officials whose business it was to manage the affairs of Queen's University, and they would then see how far it was true that professional knowledge only was absolutely necessary for the degrees and honours of the University. [Having quoted from the Secretary of the Queen's University, to show that there was no remission of the Arts curriculum, in order to enable professional students to come in, but that the Arts studied in the general curricula were, to a considerable extent, incorporated in the requirements of professional students, the hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say that no one went to these institutions except for the sake of getting the prizes.] He would not detain the Committee by going through the whole of the prizes; but he would just state a few facts which he also had on the authority of the Secretary of the Queen's University. At the examination, in October, 1877, to the prizes obtained at which that Supplemental Estimate had reference, it appeared that 363 candidates were examined. Of that number, 66 received prizes; about one in six received honours of the first and second class; but to the candidates for the higher degrees, only about one in 14. He could state that as an absolute fact with regard to the Queen's University; but he would compare that result with the University of Oxford, and he was informed by the same authority that whereas about £5,000, including £4,500 of public money, was annually distributed among 810 students, giving about an average of £6 for each student, in the University of Oxford there was distributed annually about £80,000 among the 3,000 undergraduates, which gave an average of about £26 per student. Therefore, by the arguments of the critics of the Queen's University, the reason why Oxford got more students was that it bribed them four times as much! He (Mr. Plunket) asserted that those attacks stood without proof, and had really no substantial foundation whatever. He (Mr. Plunket) stated himself that he had met over and over again, in every walk of life, most distinguished men and ripe scholars, who had been turned out by those institutions. He knew that the Art students were, as a rule, even more busy and more earnest in their work than those who attended the University, and he took the reason to 1566 be, that they belonged to a class who did not go to the University to pass away their time. They were men who looked to their University studies as the means whereby they might afterwards earn their livelihood in the world, and who thus acquired knowledge that was useful to themselves and to the country. And were Englishmen and Scotchmen to be made to believe that they had devoted time and trouble for nothing, and that the degree they had obtained was so bad it had no authority and gave no guarantee It was a most unjust proceeding. It implied that those who gave away those prizes had been guilty of a gross abuse of their trust; that they had lavished honours where they were not wanted; that they had given degrees and awarded standards of excellence that were unfounded and untrue. And he said it was unjust and untrue to stamp all those young men who had worked hard to win those distinctions, and trusted to go out into the world and make their way with them, to tell the assembled Commons that it was all a sham and a humbug, and that they deserved nothing for their pains. How harsh must be the acrimony—how vindictive the enmity that instigated these calumnies? Such cruel charges ought not to be brought forward on no more attractive argument than the hon. Gentleman had, in his own person, offered. He would now only say, in addition, that if the hon. Gentleman should think it prudent again to bring forward accusations of that kind, and gave him a fair opportunity for dealing with them, he would undertake to answer him fully; but he hoped that, as far as the present occasion at least was concerned, he had satisfactorily and adequately fulfilled his expectations.
§ DR. WARD
said, he had had the honour and the pleasure of a long connection with the Queen's University, and many of the most pleasant and most useful of his days had been passed under its shelter; but, at the same time, they must not shut their eyes to facts. The Vote had been before the House for years, and they were now asked to go another step in strengthening an institution which had been set up in Ireland in direct opposition to the wishes of the people, and set up by a Government which, at the same time, refused to meet their wishes. They were asked to make further provision for the requirements 1567 of youth in Ireland, at the same time that the House was aware that the people of Ireland had all along protested against those institutions, and had asked that, at least, the House would allow those who had conscientious convictions against them to possess one of their own, to which they might go, and to which they might send their own children. That was the whole issue before the Committee. They had a fair right to demand an explanation on that point. It was true the prizes were not great, but they were large for a poor country; and there was this remarkable fact—that those portions of the Queen's University which dealt with Art was founded by that House, and endowed by that House, for the purpose of spreading liberal education in Art. If they came to the Colleges of the country—to that of Galway, for example—they found an extraordinary state of things. It was true that at Belfast they had more students on the lists; but at Belfast there were peculiar conditions in connection with the Presbyterian Church which made the number relatively large. In Gralway College, however, they found students exceedingly few. Galway, in fact, had not more than 40 students, and Cork not more than 50. It was a fact, that in the whole Province of Munster they could not get more than 50 students to enter for the Art education given in the College at Cork. What he said was this—that Munster, with a large Catholic population, and that the great mass of the Irish people, refused, from conscientious motives, to avail themselves of those institutions. He did not object to their keeping them up; but he did object to their trying to force into them the Irish people, who refused, from conscientious convictions, to enter them. That was a point they had brought before them again and again; and when they persisted in refusing them their rights and in keeping up a system of religious intolerance, how could they wonder at their coming thence from Ireland to protest against their conduct? He thought they could meet the case very fairly. He could not see how they could even obtain in Galway and in Con-naught the fair results of their expenditure in money under the present system, while they refused them their just claims. Could not they give one College, say in Dublin—anywhere, in which a Roman 1568 Catholic could get his son educated without wrong to his College? What they proposed did not meet their just and conscientious convictions, and they would not dare act in a similar way in Scotland or in England. The Queen's University was a purely State University, and the whole education of Ireland was in the hands of the State, which Mr. John Stuart Mill had declared to be the worst state of things a nation could be under. That was the case in Ireland, however, from the primary school up to the University. On national grounds, therefore, they were bound to prevent their continuing to do in Ireland that which they would not do in Scotland or in England; and they must object to the Vote as one which would strengthen an institution which the Irish people disapproved of, unless they would meet their views in another way.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
observed, that last year an arrangement was made with the Irish Party in reference to this Vote. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) had a Bill to which he attached great importance, and he had a sufficiently good position in the House to be able to ask the Government to give a day for the discussion of it without making any conditions. It was then understood that there was to be no debate on the Queen's University Bill—no substantial debate, at least, as to its principle—in -return for the Government allotting a day for a debate on the Catholic University Bill. That arrangement was faithfully kept by the Irish Members. The Irish Members voted in great force on the Catholic University Bill, and there were more than two to one in favour of the Bill. But when the news of the division was received in Ireland—of the large Irish Vote in favour of the Catholic University, and the still larger English vote against it—and when the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland was read, there was very great indignation excited. He thought the feeling in the country was that the people would be very sorry to see any money voted for the Queen's University without protests on their part, and protests as strong as the forms and customs of the House would permit. The House must also remember that when these Colleges were established the Irish revenue was not large,, and Ireland did not contribute so much to 1569 the Exchequer as it received. But now matters were changed; and after paying for the large military forces retained in Ireland—including the Constabulary—Ireland contributed a large sum to the Imperial Exchequer. As a consequence, every penny spent on these Universities came out of the pockets of the Irish people; and, therefore, even hon. Gentlemen opposite would surely admit that there was reason for the great indignation felt in Ireland that they were not permitted to spend their money in their own way. They had no objection to secular Colleges, and would readily vote money for them, if there were any secularists in Ireland; but they did object to Protestant Colleges being endowed and Catholic Colleges not being endowed, although the Catholics, from the manner in which the taxation was arranged, so as to fall on the lower classes, bore the greater part of the expense of that endowment. As a consequence, they had to maintain a system of education which they disliked, and which he would not say they despised—because it did a certain amount of good—but he would say that they had to pay for an education that they disliked. Though the system proposed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) was not a wise system, yet his Party infinitely preferred to let each sect do the best they could for themselves than to accept the present system, by which they were handicapped and placed at every possible disadvantage. It so happened, owing to a variety of circumstances, that they had not been able to protest as strongly as they would have liked against this Vote. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Limerick (Mr. Butt) did not bring in his University Bill until last year, because other measures stood in the way. But now circumstances had changed. They had discovered that hon. Gentlemen opposite were opposed to endowing a Catholic University, and knew what their course must be. It was true that they were helpless, and could not prevent their money being spent in a way they disliked; but, still, they could show their feeling on the subject to their countrymen by making a vigorous protest. He should very much wish to see the debate adjourned. The day previous was St. Patrick's Day, and many Members had not yet re- 1570 turned to the House. They had joined in voting the £700,000 asked of Ireland by the Government—for that was their proportion of the £6,000,000—for war preparations, and he now called upon the House and the Government to refuse to waste this money upon the education of the children of Ireland.
§ COLONEL STANLEY
said, he would not follow either of the hon. Gentlemen who had last spoken into the very intricate subject of Irish University education, because there would be other and more satisfactory opportunities of doing so. He did not question the absolute propriety of the course they had taken; but he did think that this particular moment was not the best moment for the Amendment brought before them, or a peculiarly suitable means for discussing so great and wide a subject. The hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell), who spoke with even more than his usual impetuosity, argued, from the fact of his being a prizeman of this University, that the University did not afford sufficient means of education.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he must beg to correct the hon. and gallant Member. In the first place, he never used the argument; and, in the second, as a joke this assertion was sufficiently played out already.
§ COLONEL STANLEY
said, if he had been led into a misrepresentation, of course he would immediately withdraw it; but there was no doubt that the hon. Gentleman did press very strongly on the House that the standard of education was not such as to justify this large number of prizes. For his part, he thought that to go into an elaborate examination of the various systems of prizes which obtained in various places would not be a very profitable expenditure of public time. The point they had to deal with was that this system of prizes had been established for a considerable time in the Queen's University—he was told that the same system obtained at Cambridge—the prizes had been awarded, and it was not for one moment intended or attempted to be established that the candidates who had won them were in any way inferior to their predecessors. It was true that the number of prizes was in excess of last year; but that was due to the larger number of students in the University, and was no reason why these 1571 prizes rightly earned should be withheld. As to the very small item of excess, he thought that was very fully explained in the foot-note. The hon. Member for Dungarvan was so fully acquainted with the subject that he need not state what the prizes were, except to say they were distinctions of an exceedingly moderate character. He trusted, after this explanation, that the Committee would sanction the Vote.
said, that several hon. Members from Ireland still wished to speak; and, therefore, he would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he would take any more Votes after this? It was then a quarter-past 1; and as the last two speeches had each taken 20 minutes, if three more Members spoke the Vote would not be taken before a quarter-past 2.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he thought this a very reasonable proposal. The Government would finish this Vote, and take the rest of the Estimates at a Morning Sitting next day.
said, the Chancellor of the Exchequer wanted money for war purposes, and the Irish Members now freely offered him what he was tendering to them. It was really too bad thus to cram money down their throats that they did not want. Was it consistent, also, thus to take money with one hand and throw it away with the other? If money was wanted for the defence of England, let the Government take what they were needlessly squandering on this monstrous imposture. He complained very much of the Irish Members for allowing four Sessions to pass without bringing this matter up, and informing the House of the real nature and character of these Queen's Colleges. He knew something of the way in which these prizes were given; and he believed that if they stopped 20 men going through Temple Bar, and out of the 20 selected 10 of the most stupid, that 9 out of the 10 would get prizes in the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. In fact, to a certain class of students in Ireland this was a most profitable trade and occupation, and they were enabled to support themselves upon these prizes, so few of the men at these Colleges were genuine students. He hoped his Friends would resist to the last this attempt, not to spend money in the spread of educa- 1572 tion, but to bribe young men to take part in a system which otherwise had no merit.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, his object in moving to reduce this Vote was by no means to afford amusement to hon. Gentlemen opposite, but to raise a thorough protest against this so-called University. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) was the advocatus—he would not say diaboli, but certainly the advocate—of an extremely unprepossessing defendant, and he seemed to have been very imperfectly informed even in regard to the poor merits of his very bad case. He would not refer to the personal remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman, especially as he enjoyed the advantage of an audience by no means favourable to himself; but in an assembly of their countrymen the hon. and learned Gentleman would soon find on whose side the feeling was. The hon. and learned Gentleman, to controvert his statement that in the medical schools the education of the students was purely professional, declared that they learnt chemistry and zoology. He hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman was more proficient in legal than he was in medical matters. It must be something new to the medical men in that House to learn that zoology and chemistry were outside the ordinary course of education of a medical man. The hon. and learned Gentleman also called attention to the wonderful fact that students of engineering were required to know a certain amount of geology and mathematics! It was with arguments of that sort that the hon. and learned Gentleman had been instructed to meet the facts quoted. Let the hon. and learned Gentleman ask the Professors what they thought. Professor Thompson, who formerly was a master of a school at Edinburgh, relating his experience to a trans-Atlantic audience, declared that, as a Queen's University Professor, he had to do the same work of elementary teaching as he did in Edinburgh. "Most of my first year students come to me utterly innocent of Greek," said the Professor, and yet the hon. and learned Gentleman extolled the character of the examination which admitted these students. He could produce any amount of evidence to this effect. Again, in the Report of 1573 the Endowed Schools Commissioners would be found what the schoolmasters had to say on the deleterious effect of the Queen's University College examinations upon the standard of intermediate education. The hon. and learned Gentleman, of course, had no exact acquaintance with the Queen's University system. He only came forward and volunteered his championship, because he found an Imperial institution under criticism, and because his sympathies were naturally attracted to the defence of a system which was condemned by the vast majority of his countrymen, and was defended by none but Members of that Party which had ever trampled on the rights of Irishmen. The hon. and learned Gentleman had compared the Queen's University with Oxford, and pointed out that while in Oxford one student out of every seven received prizes, in the Irish University the proportion was one in 14. But did he take the trouble to ascertain how many Arts students there were among the 300 and odd so-called University students whom he had quoted? If he had, he would have found that the proportion of prizes to students was by no means one in 14. He said nothing, be it remembered, against the quality of the professional teaching in the medical schools, because that was good and sound, and the medical degree was held in just honour. What they wanted in Ireland was the establishment of a University system, giving broad, liberal, and general culture. It was the Arts Faculty that had been a total failure in the Queen's University. First, it was a total numerical failure, and then, in defiance of the protests of the Queen's University graduates, the standard was lowered and the examination made a sham. This was a charge he had made, and would continue to make, till they had extorted from the Government a full and thorough examination into the system of Arts examination in the so-called Queen's University of Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman who, doubtless, meant to be accurate, said that he was only distinguished for his opposition to the University after he had left it. Had the hon. and learned Gentleman been better acquainted with the subject, he must have known that both as an undergraduate and as a graduate he (Mr. O'Donnell) was con- 1574 spicuous by his exposure of the evils of the system. He scarcely agreed with his Colleagues (Dr. Ward and Major Nolan) in their desire for the endowment of secular Colleges; but all he did say was that the Government were welcome to endow Colleges for mixed education, for Presbyterians, Protestants, Hindoos, and Mussulmans, if they choose; but the Catholics had a right to a system of education in conformity with their religious convictions; and as long as they were refused their share of the common taxation towards the support of an educational system in conformity with their views, they could not be expected to sanction the grant from their pockets of funds to be spent in the support of institutions intended to sap the religious convictions, to injure the faith, and to flout the religious opinion of the vast majority of the people of Ireland. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £231, the sum required for these extra prizes.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £121, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Queen's University in Ireland."—(Mr. O'Donnell.)
§ MR. O'CLERY
said, though the ability shown by hon. Members who were graduates of the Queen's University seemed to prove that the education given was scarcely so bad as they stated, yet he must remind the Committee that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) thought the Galway College so complete a failure that he left it out of his Pill on University Education. Apart from the question of the goodness or badness of the teaching, they had a right to consider what the majority of the nation thought. Now, in Ireland, 97 per cent of the people were Catholics, and he would venture to say that during the last 10 years not a single Catholic parent had sent his sons to a Queen's University. He hoped the Vote would not be allowed to pass without the most strenuou sopposition; because only in that way would they convince the Committee and the country how sincere was their demand for denominational teaching, not only in primary and intermediate education, but in University Education.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 18; Noes 118: Majority 100.—(Div. List, No. 51.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
moved to reduce the Vote by £56. Hon. Gentlemen would see that there were five items in this sub-head. The first had just been challenged, and now he challenged the second, because he believed his constituency would wish every item of this Vote to be disputed. This was a question of great importance to Ireland, and he very much wished they might be allowed to adjourn the discussion till the next day. In the last division, so far as he could judge, but two Irish Members voted with the Government, while 20 voted against them. That division was a very fair representation of the feeling of the people of Ireland. For the last four Sessions they had hoped that the Government would do something for denominational education in Ireland. They believed that up to last June; but now that hope had vanished, and they could only do all that lay in their power to show the feeling of Ireland as regarded the present system.
Motion made and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £296, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Queen's University in Ireland."—(Major Nolan.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, everyone must acknowledge that it was only reasonable for hon. Gentlemen opposite to take any fair opportunity of discussing the principle of the grants to the Queen's Universities in Ireland; but he would venture to point out that the present occasion was scarcely the most convenient for raising the question. This was not the main Vote, for that would be proposed later on in the Session, but was merely a small Supplemental Vote to make up for some slight expenses incurred during the year, and to reimburse money already spent.
§ MR. MELDON
said, some of his hon. Friends were prepared to remain all night, if necessary, to oppose this Vote. It was unprecedented for the House to be in Committee of Supply from a quarter 1576 to 5 till nearly 2 o'clock in the morning; and he thought Progress should be reported. The Irish Members were determined that not a single penny of public money should be granted for the maintenance of the Queen's Colleges and University—founded, as they were, upon a system of education abhorrent to the vast majority of the Irish people—without the most strenuous resistance on their part. The Government must look this fact in the face. He wished to express his opinions on this subject; but the hour was so late, that it was utterly futile for him to attempt to do so. He moved to report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."——(Mr. Meldon.)
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, the opportunity which the hon. and learned Member asked for would come when the regular Estimates for the year were brought up for discussion. The Vote which they were now asked to reject was for the payment of gentlemen who had done their work in the belief that they would be paid. The hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Nolan) could scarcely wish the Committee to reject that item.
hoped that the Motion to report Progress would not be pressed, because that would make it seem as though his Friends wished to waste time, which was by no means their object. But the Government must be made aware that a change of resolution on this subject had taken place in Ireland, and that as the Representatives of the feeling, he and his Friends were determined that while they had a vote to give, or a voice to raise, this system should be opposed.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
thought there were very strong objections, as a general rule, to Motions for reporting Progress; but in this matter there was more involved than the mere question of the comparative freshness or fatigue of hon. Members. The English people were perfectly ignorant on the whole question of Irish education, and at that hour the organs of public opinion were not likely to take much notice of a protracted, technical discussion. The Chief Secretary had spoken of the smallness of the Vote, and had said these gentlemen had 1577 done their work. But this question of the appointment of Examiners required to be discussed very fully and thoroughly. The Queen's Universities, not merely in the point of view of religion, but of Liberalism, and of free development, was based on the most vicious principles, and was a State University in the worst and narrowest meaning of the word. Everything about it came from the State, and it had no autonomy or self-government. Even one of its Professors at a meeting totally unconnected with the University, could not speak on the Land Question in Ireland without being threatened with a loss of his Professorial position. He really thought the discussion might be adjourned till the next day. ["Divide!"] Those cries showed that the House was in no humour for a careful and technical examination of the merits of the question, the public Press was gone, their constituents would have no opportunity of deciding the merits of the case, and therefore he hoped the Motion would be persisted in.
§ MR. MELDON
said, the most emphatic protest against the course the Government had taken was contained in the fact that at half-past 2 an adjournment was refused. He would not be a party to renewed Motions for reporting Progress, nor would he lend his sanction to any policy of obstruction; but he must refuse to withdraw that which he had made.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 17; Noes 113: Majority 96.—(Div. List, No. 52.)
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £296, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Queen's University in Ireland.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 16; Noes 113: Majority 97.—(Div. List, No. 53.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
MR. P. MARTIN
moved the reduction of the Vote by £36. At that hour of the morning it was not necessary to give any reasons for his Motion. He would say, however, that the views of the Catholics on this question were also 1578 shared by the Irish Protestants. He believed in a very short time a very strong public opinion would be manifested on this matter in Ireland.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £316, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Queen's University in Ireland."—(Mr. Patrick Martin.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 16; Noes 113: Majority 97.—(Div. List, No. 54.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. O'CLERY
moved that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £17. He understood that the October Examinations were a greater sham even than those in June, and that the prizes were given away with even less discrimination than usual.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £335, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Queen's University in Ireland."—(Mr. O'Clery.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 16; Noes 114: Majority 98.—(Div. List, No 55.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £340, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Queen's University in Ireland."—(LordFrancis Conyngham.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 16; Noes 114: Majority 98.—(Div. List, No. 56.)
said, his Friends, having divided on each of the items, would not use further the Forms of the House, and would simply protest against the Vote, without pressing the question to a division.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock;
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.