HC Deb 17 April 1879 vol 245 cc588-91

Order for Committee read.

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


, in moving, as an Amendment, that the House would, upon that clay six months, resolve itself into the said Committee, said, he wished to have some expression of opinion on the part of the Government with regard to this Bill, which seemed to him to require more consideration than the House could bestow upon it at that moment. The measure dealt with several important questions; amongst others, the disputed point as to whether the children should be sent to schools established for the re- ception of children of the religion to which they belonged; it also provided that in case of any question arising as to the religion of any child the same should be determined by the Local Board, so that the right hon. Gentleman opposite would be thereby constituted the sole and entire judge of that very knotty and difficult point. He (Mr. Dillwyn) desired to know whether the right lion. Gentleman accepted that responsibility, or whether the Government thought it proper that he should do so? He also wished to know why the magistrates should be empowered to purchase or provide, out of the county rate or borough rate, buildings for the care and education of these children? In his opinion, this was not one of the cases in which magistrates ought to be allowed to establish such buildings and pay for them out of the public rates, seeing that the application of the Bill was merely optional. He would move the postponement of the Committee.

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

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


said, he could not see that the hon. Member for Swansea had stated sufficient reasons for his Motion. The greater part of the Bill was of a permissive character. His hon. Friend (Mr. Dillwyn) would be quite within his right in endeavouring to alter Clause 3, which provided for the settlement of the religion of the children in a peculiar form, and which appeared somewhat open to objection, although the principle was not at all a new one. With regard to Clause 4, he was not sure that there was anything objectionable in the magistrates having the power proposed to be conferred upon them. He felt that the Bill was one which, although framed with benevolent intentions, was not likely to be brought into active operation, and had always been of opinion that it professed a great deal more than it would be able to accomplish. He trusted the Bill would be allowed to go into Committee.


said, that after the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman, he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Preamble postponed.

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 (Provision for children being received into schools established in connection with religion to which they belong).


, in moving, as an Amendment, in page 2, line 13, to leave out from the beginning of the clause to "and," in line 18, inclusive, said, he had no objection to the remainder.


said, that his sole object was to get these children educated, and he was very anxious indeed to accomplish that purpose. He cared very little—indeed nothing at all—as to how the education was to be found for them; and if religious instruction was not to be disassociated from the school teaching, how it was carried out did not seem to him a matter of any importance. His only motive for inserting the clause in the Bill was to protect the religious feelings of parents. Children, he thought, should be taught some form of religion; and, in his opinion, children ought to be educated in the faith of their fathers, for if that were done, everything like an attempt at proselytizing would be avoided. With those views this clause had been inserted, and with the object of carrying them into effect he desired to retain it; but if the House thought it better that the clause should not remain in the Bill, he should not personally stand in the way. He did trust that, whatever the House did as regarded this clause, the passage of the Bill through Committee would not be imperilled.


said, he wished children to be educated in the religion of their fathers; but there was another element which would render this clause prejudicial. There was only to be one of these establishments in each county, and the effect of the clause would be to prevent a great number of children being sent to the school in their county.


thought the clause was justifiable as it was originally drawn, on the ground that the general law was that every child should be brought up in the faith of its father, but that the clause was most unjustifiable as it stood amended, for it would deprive these poor children, whom the whole Bill assumed, though deprived of certain faculties, to be intelligent, of the benefit of the general law.


agreed with the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) that this was a restrictive clause upon the operation of the Bill. The Bill provided for payment of money out of the rates for the education of these children; he could not possibly have assented to that provision if it had not been for the well-known operation of the Act passed in 1875, under which poor people were allowed to have the school fees paid for their children without being pauperized. He had, however, told his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Wheelhouse) that now that provision was passed into law, he had no longer any objection to that part of the Bill.


pointed out that this clause, taken in conjunction with the 1st clause, imposed upon the Guardians an obligation which they could not fulfil. By the one clause the Guardians were empowered to provide a school for these children; by this clause a restraint was placed upon the schools to which blind or deaf-mute children might be sent in particular counties.


observed that the restriction on the schools to which blind and deaf-mute children might be sent was permissive only. He did not think that there was any reason for saying that this was an absolute restriction, or that it was intended to be, or that it was anything more than permissive.

Amendment agreed to; words struck out accordingly.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.

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