(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £222,409, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which, will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1880, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Science and Art Department, and of the Establishments connected therewith.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, Progress was moved on this Vote the previous evening, in order that he might make some statement as to the exact position of the arrangements contemplated under the Act passed two years ago in reference to the proposed Art and Science Museum in Dublin. In a very few words he would give the Committee a statement, which, he thought, would be of a satisfactory kind, of the progress made during the past year. All who took an interest in the matter were aware that the proposition made by Government in 1876 referred to two distinct and separate objects. First, there was a transfer to the Government of the teaching functions of the Royal Dublin Society in order that greater opportunity might be given to Irish students and teachers to acquire a knowledge of science and art, subsequently to be imparted in the various schools of Science and Art in which they might be engaged; and the second was to concentrate all the Science and Art Institutions established in Dublin in one building, and to create a Science and Art Museum worthy of Dublin on the site occupied by the Royal Dublin Society in Kildare 1950 Street. Last year he submitted an increased Estimate of £4,000 for the purpose of giving increased instruction to the Art School, which had then been transferred from the Royal Dublin Society. That Vote passed. He wished to enlarge that Art School, and that was a part of the question which brought him directly to the other point—the erection of the Science and Art Museum upon the ground occupied by the premises of the Royal Dublin Society in Kildare Street at Leicester House. There was but one site upon which it was possible to build a Science and Art Museum, and that was at Kildare Street. A strong objection was raised to the erection of a Museum on part of that site, and the proprietor, by his lease, had a certain power of preventing anything of that kind, if he objected to it. The only other spot on which it was possible for the Government to build was on certain land in the occupation of the Royal Dublin Society, utilized by them for the purpose of holding agricultural shows. By an agreement which the Government made with them the year previous, the Government undertook to allow either the Royal Dublin Society to hold their agricultural shows in those premises, or to provide them a place with equal facilities for holding shows; and also to take into account any loss the Society might sustain in consequence of such removal. The whole matter hinged on that proposal. Until they had the space upon which to build it was not possible for the Government to bring in an Estimate, or to concentrate the various institutions in Leinster House, Kildare Street. They were anxious to come to an arrangement with the Royal Dublin Society for the transfer of the ground upon which the Agricultural Show was held, and they offered £20,000 for compensation; and they also understood that arrangements were being made with Lord Pembroke by which the Society would secure some 16 acres in another part of Dublin for the purposes of their show. Well, the Royal Dublin Society were not quite satisfied with that offer, although he was bound to say he thought it a very fair one. They wanted a larger sum; and as he was most desirous to bring this matter to a successful conclusion he consulted his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury, and agreed to give them £25,000.
§ MR. PARNELL
asked the noble Lord to say what it was to be given for? Was it merely for the site of the proposed Science and Art Museum, or was it in compensation for all the property of the Royal Dublin Society to be taken by the Government?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, that £10,000 had been paid to the Royal Dublin Society for their proprietary rights; but the £25,000 he was speaking of was compensation for the transfer of their agricultural section to some place other than Leinster House; and this £25,000 was divided into two portions. The first portion was calculated to be sufficient to enable them to erect the necessary buildings elsewhere; and the other part was to compensate them for holding their meetings in a place where, perhaps, the receipts would not be so large. The sum was quite distinct from the compensation offered for the proprietary rights of the Royal Dublin Society, for that was contained in the Act of Parliament, and was paid as soon as the Act was passed. The Royal Dublin Society assented to this offer of £25,000, with the exception that they said that they must continue their offices on that site. He pointed out to them that it could not be; that if they got the compensation they could not stop in their offices. After very considerable difficulty he got the Treasury to assent to another concession, which was, that arrangements should be made, costing £300, by which temporary accommodation should be given to the Royal Dublin Society for their agricultural section until the offices were ready. There was a considerable correspondence between his Office and the Royal Dublin Society on this subject; and a good many matters not germane to the subject were introduced, and the proceedings were very protracted and slow. A Vote of £10,000 was moved last year for the Royal Dublin Society; but as he could not get them to come to any satisfactory conclusion before the commencement of the present financial year, therefore it was not possible to introduce the Vote before. He thought, however, it was of so much importance that some conclusion should be arrived at, because everything at present was hung up, that at last he was obliged to hint to the Royal Dublin Society that the Government had power, under the Act, if 1952 they could not agree with them, to take the site, on the condition that they provided accommodation for them equal to that which had been taken. By that course the Government would take the matter entirely into their own hands. He suggested to them, at the same time, that it would be most desirable, if possible, that they should come to some amicable arrangement, and that he would be only too glad if they would appoint a deputation to come over to London and see the Lord President and himself, with a view to an amicable arrangement. As he had said, £25,000 was to be given to them, in order to enable them to hold their shows elsewhere, and the Government to obtain possession of the land they wanted. It was now necessary to come to some definite arrangement, for if they had not, they might have spent a large sum in erecting a Government building on the land, the title to which was questionable; and after the Government had spent it the Royal Dublin Society might have claimed compensation for the buildings. He did not say it would have happened; but, of course, they were bound to contemplate any possible contingency. Therefore, having arrived at this settlement, they hastened to put it into a legal agreement, and that document was now before the Royal Dublin Society for their signature. When it was signed, that, and all the correspondence, would be presented to the House in a Parliamentary Return. He had been obliged to state these matters at length, and he hoped he had made the matter clear, and the result would be considered satisfactory. They could now proceed with the building, and when completed they could transfer the various art and science collections to the new site. They could enlarge the Art School, and, in fact, by developing the whole scheme, make it worthy of the City of Dublin. The question of site, of course, was one to which they must, to a great extent, be guided by local considerations.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
Before the noble Lord enters upon the question of site, will he say, in reference to the transfer of collections, that the Royal Irish Academy collection will be brought in with the others?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
replied, that the arrangements were stated in the Report of last year issued to Parlia- 1953 ment, and there was a long correspondence between his noble Friend and the Royal Irish Academy. The proposition was that the collection should be ultimately transferred to Kildare Street. That was at present in perspective, because it would, not be possible to transfer the Royal Academy until they had obtained the necessary buildings for its accommodation. As regarded the question of site, as he said before, that was a matter upon which they had, to a very considerable extent, to be guided by local considerations. Under the Act, a certain number of Visitors were to be nominated, and they were to annually report to the Science and Art Department on the condition of the management, and of the requirements of the Museum, and to advise on points of administration. Their functions were mainly in relation to the Science and Art Museum; but that Museum could not be commenced until the site had been selected. At present, those gentlemen who had been nominated had little or nothing to do; but the Department thought their opinion would be very valuable as to the site; therefore, it proposed that the first question referred to their consideration, in order that the Science and Art Department might have the benefit of their advice, should he the site on which to erect this Museum. If they could, as he hoped they would, in the course of next year, greatly develop the scheme laid before Parliament, and, at the same time, could also increase the accommodation and more thoroughly utilize the College of Science, he thought a great deal would have been done towards improving science and art instruction in Ireland. Not much had been done at present; but, still, the Report which had just reached him in regard to certain institutions in Ireland was not unsatisfactory. There had been a considerable increase to the books in the National Library, and there had also been considerable additions made to the Natural History Museum, which was part of the collection already at Leinster House. He was glad to find, also, the number of visitors during the past year was 20,000 more than the last year. He hoped he had given the Committee satisfactory evidence of the wish and the intention of the Department to push on as fast as it could the scheme which 1954 for some time past had been under consideration, and which had been embodied in an Act of Parliament. If hon. Gentlemen who took an interest in this matter would only co-operate, he hoped, in a very short time, they would have made such substantial progress as to show that they were in earnest in beginning to make the Science and Art Department worthy of Ireland.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
said, that he looked forward with great pleasure to the advantage which would accrue to Dublin from the establishment of the new Museum and School of Science and Art. But in England and Scotland there were various Schools of Science and Art in different large towns, as well as at South Kensington. There was nothing of the sort in Ireland. He believed that a central School—such as that projected by the noble Lord—would be calculated not only to promote art education in Dublin, but in the whole country. The noble Lord had informed him that it was proposed to appoint Visitors to perform certain rather indefinite duties in connection with the Museum. He would suggest that to make the Institution really useful, and a real College of Science and Art in Dublin, he should take care to avoid the causes of the decadence of the present Royal College of Science. The Visitors should have definite duties to perform which should be pointed out to them. They should not be left to discharge mere indefinite duties; but should have certain allotted disciplinary functions. He was not one who wished the School of Science and Art at Dublin to be distinct from South Kensington. It was highly desirable that Ireland should enter into competition with Great Britian; and, of course, if the national taste were cultivated, there could be a common competition between the three countries among the students of the different nationalities. But in order to obtain that they must put a soul into the Irish Institutions. They must have the government in Dublin which, could deal with difficulties as they arose; they must not be dependent upon communications between the Secretary at Dublin and the officials at South Kensington. The noble Lord would not secure a proper and adequate system of art education in Ireland, and would not enable 1955 the new Institution in Dublin to work harmoniously with South Kensington, unless he gave a proper and due responsibility to the Visitors of the College at Dublin. With respect to the Royal College of Science at Dublin, it was admitted that it was not at present in. a satisfactory condition. The case put forward by the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Errington) had not been attempted to be controverted. Twenty years ago, when that Institution was under local control, it flourished; but when it ceased to be under local control, and fell under the dominion of South Kensington, and South Kensington refused to constitute there any delegated or deputed body with local control to carry out the arrangements of the Institution, it steadily deteriorated. South Kensington appointed a Secretary and a Council, composed of Professors, who were only given indefinite functions and a most unsatisfactory power for the management of details. No rules were set forth by South Kensington by which that extraordinary local Council of Professors were to act, and they were completely at sea. The result was that those gentlemen fought amongst themselves with regard to their duties and the arrangement of the Institution. One Professor, a gentleman of very great merit, was sacrificed to the Institution in those squabbles. His services might have been saved to the Royal College if the maintenance of discipline had been intrusted to a local body. He should like to know what amount of local government the noble Lord proposed to grant to the new Institution? He did trust that the noble Lord would take an early opportunity of interesting himself personally in the management of the new Institution, and would give adequate and mature consideration to its future arrangements. It had lately been announced that a Commission would sit to inquire into the Endowed Schools in Dublin. He would direct the attention of the noble Lord to the very excellent work done, and the admirable discipline maintained, by the unpaid Trustees now appointed to manage the educational and charitable Institutions of Dublin. It might be necessary to have an official to maintain discipline; but he thought that the arrangements should be under the direction of unpaid Trustees. A Secretary was at present employed in 1956 the management of those Institutions, but his duties were limited, and he was subordinate to the Trustees. If the noble Lord would make inquiries, he would be able to find many professional and private gentlemen in Dublin from whom he would be able to select a body who would be well able to manage the new School of Science and Art. But whatever body the noble Lord might select, he would urge upon him the necessity of giving them definite administrative duties. Those duties should be clearly fixed, for unless that were done no real substantial control would be possible. Although subordinate to South Kensington, the Trustees should have local authority. By those means they would avoid the causes which led to the failure of the Royal College of Science. He thought that hon. Members for Ireland would agree with him that the Government deserved their thanks for having given them a central and local School of Science and Art in Dublin. He hoped that it would be made a worthy successor of the Royal College of Science, which in past times had done good service to Ireland.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
said, that before the Vote passed he should like to say a word or two in regard to this College of Science. Unfortunately, from some cause or other, its discipline had been exceedingly unsatisfactory. One reason of that, he thought, was that they had a Secretary who was made the medium of communication between the College and the Department in London, whose interest was between the two bodies, and who was not in a well-defined position of responsibility. Sometimes he acted as a superior, at other times he denied possession of powers, and referred everything to London. He only ventured to throw out to the noble Lord that an Institution of this kind scarcely justified a Directorate having nothing to do. But he would suggest the example of Owen's College, Manchester, where a Professor was also the responsible principal. The combination of offices might improve discipline. He wished to add, repeating what he had formerly said, that a great misfortune had been sustained by the dismissal of a Professor who certainly had been of great benefit to Ireland in establishing a practical School of Chemistry in the country.
§ MR. GRAY
said, he did not understand the noble Lord to inform the Committee as to what the nature or the amount of local control was that was to be given to the Science and Art Department, Dublin. Some further control was to be given to the Museum, and he thought the Irish Members would be pleased to know what amount of local control it was contemplated to give. A large number of gentlemen of high position and of great intelligence devoted themselves, without any pecuniary reward, to the promotion of the interests of the educational and charitable Institutions in Dublin, and contributed to give them a healthy local life. They did not want to have a similar experience with regard to the new College as they had already had in the case of the Royal College of Science. If the same plan were followed as in that College the same result would ensue. He did not understand the noble Lord to sketch out what was the amount or the nature of the control he was willing to give, and he thought it would be satisfactory if the noble Lord would give them some idea of the arrangement that was made with the Royal Dublin Society. The offer of £25,000 was not accepted; but when he announced that the compulsory powers under the Act would be put into operation then the terms were, of necessity, accepted. He thought they had not been treated in a way in which they had a right to expect, and he thought the evidence that had been given was scarcely satisfactory; and he might mention that a private meeting was held with respect to the operation of the original scheme with the new Society, and the new arrangement in contemplation, for which the £25,000 was given, and they came to the conclusion, it would be better to have as little to do with South Kensington as possible. What he was anxious for was to elicit some assurance that the noble Lord would endeavour to give as much local control as might be compatible with the working of the Institution. He wished to ask one question with reference to the Vote. The late Irish sculptor—Mr. Foley—bequeathed all his models to the Royal Dublin Society, and he was anxious to ascertain where those models now were, and what their ultimate destination might be? It had been suggested that a large quantity of the collection would 1958 be kept at South Kensington. Now, the importance and value of a collection of that kind was to have it in its entirety; and he thought it would be a very serious loss to Dublin and Ireland generally if Mr. Foley's bequest were not carried out in its entirety.
hoped the Government would carry out the promise made by Mr. Ward Hunt in 1868. That right hon. Gentleman, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, that the Government was most anxious to give Ireland national institutions of that character, on a basis which he stated at the time. Unfortunately, the Government went back, and re-considered their determination, and nothing was done, though a Commission was appointed to inquire into the matter, and see what could, be done. He must confess, with very great regret, that the Report of the Commission of Inquiry had had the result of changing the promise which the Government had made, and had entirely destroyed their hope of getting those Institutions. Under those circumstances, he had been requested, by many gentlemen who had taken an interest in the matter in Dublin, to bring it before Parliament four years ago. He did so, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the subject would be taken up very much in the spirit of Mr. Ward Hunt's promise to the Irish people. The right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was then the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and he took the matter in hand, and after a great deal of time a scheme was proposed. Without being unduly impressed with the importance of his own views, he would urge upon the noble Lord who had charge of the Department the three points which he had previously urged upon the Irish Chief Secretary as being essential to the success of the scheme. The first point was that the control of the Irish Institution should be vested in a Board or Committee of Irish noblemen and gentlemen in Dublin, and that it should be in harmony with the national sympathies of the population, which no subordinate section of the South Kensington system could well be. The second point was, that the system should be in co-operation and in connection with South Kensington, in order to secure uniformity 1959 between the Irish Institutions and South Kensington, and to give the students of science and art as great opportunities as possible for study and competition. Therefore, he was strongly of opinion that a Departmental Institution should be in connection and in co-operation with the South Kensington Museum, without any subordination or subjection to it as a mere branch of that Institution. The third point which he would suggest was, that the noble Lord should endeavour not to amalgamate, but to confederate, the three or four kindred Institutions—the Royal Dublin Society, the Royal Irish Academy, and the Royal Hibernian Academy. He protested against any attempt forcibly to amalgamate those Institutions; but he hoped that they would be brought into a sort of confederate action. He was sure that any attempt to force amalgamation upon those Institutions would be resisted by them, and that the attempt would fail. An attempt had been made, despite his remonstrances, to amalgamate some of those Institutions; and he believed that the noble Lord would admit that the failure which he had predicted had resulted. Those Societies resisted being put into a mortar and made into one amalgam at once. If different methods had been adopted, voluntary fusion, no doubt, would in time have followed. He was sorry that the Government had decided not to make the Irish National Museum of Science and Industry self-governing, but that it was to be placed entirely under South Kensington. There was a strong feeling amongst officials at South Kensington that the new Museum at Dublin should be subordinate to them; and their views seemed to have more weight with the Government than those of hon. Members from Ireland. He did not think that the views of those officials were always broad and national, and calculated to forward the interests of science and art, but partook very largely of number one. Officialism seemed to have very great weight with the Government. If they were only to have Visitors in Dublin to look in occasionally at the Science and Art Museum, and were to have no control, gentlemen in Dublin would soon cease to take an interest in the Institution. He might remind the noble Lord that 10 or 20 of the nobility and gentry in Ireland had certainly done very much to forward the interests 1960 of art matters in that country for the last 20 years. None of those gentlemen would continue the work they had undertaken if made entirely subordinate to South Kensington—it would be derogatory to their position. If the noble Lord did succeed in getting a Board at first, yet, under such a system, it would break down in a year or two. They would find that, like another great Institution in Dublin, the new College would become a mere corpse. On St. Stephen's Green they had a Museum of Irish industry which cost that country a large sum of money; it was excellent in its way, but they had large collections unvisited, and a Professor lecturing to empty benches. They would do no good with any National Institution in Dublin for the purpose of bringing home technical education in science and art to the people, unless local influence was to have some weight there. He would strongly urge upon the noble Lord, if he desired to give Ireland an Institution which would be thoroughly successful, he should put it under the control of a local board of Irish noblemen and gentlemen with real power to govern it. They had the Marquess of Kildare, Lord Powerscourt, the Duke of Leinster, and other noblemen and gentlemen who, at the cost of their own fortunes, for 20 years past had brought home technical science and art education to the Irish people. He would appeal to the Government to place the new Institution under the care of such noblemen and gentlemen as those, and it would then become a living reality; whereas, if they attempted to work it as a mere branch of South Kensington, it would never be a National Institution, and would fail entirely to produce any satisfactory results.
§ MR. PARNELL
hoped that the noble Lord would take to heart the speech which had just been delivered by the hon. and learned Member for Louth, and would endeavour to make the management of the proposed Museum of Science and Art as local as he possibly could. He observed that the scheme of the Government proposed that there should be local Visitors; but they knew that local Visitors were only sent there in order to strengthen the central authority, and to give an idea of responsibility where none such existed. They would be local Visitors without duties and 1961 without powers. If they merely appointed Visitors without responsible duties and powers, they would have an empty Board of Visitors, who would be entirely inefficient. Upon the other hand, if they gave the Visitors power and responsibility, they would make them take real interest in the life and interests of the Institution, and would encourage them to carry out efficiently whatever functions the Government might be disposed to give them. He regretted that the Government had not been able to place before them in better detail the scheme for the future management of the Musenm. But, perhaps, what they said to-day might have some weight, and be of some little use as regarded the shape the scheme was to take. If the whole arrangements had not yet been matured, there was still time for the Government to re-consider their decision, and to see whether they could not establish some local body in place of the Royal Dublin Society. They still felt the greatest respect and reverence for that Institution, in remembrance of its connection in times past with their history; but that Society had deteriorated, and had not, in late years, held the proud position it once occupied; but, still, they looked up to the Royal Dublin Society as having been the pioneer of instruction in agriculture in Ireland. That Society was the first that taught the Irish farmers how to cultivate their farms to the best advantage, and it had done very much in encouraging them to thrift and. industry. In the new Museum of Science and Art which they were about to establish, they should make a worthy successor of the old Dublin Society; but it would never be so unless it was to become a self-supporting and self-governing Institution. If it were to be a mere branch of South Kensington, the usefulness of that Institution would be cramped and confined; and it would never attain th6 great future which it would have before it under another and different system of management. He hoped that the noble Lord would give heed to the warnings that had been addressed to the Government, and that he would give as much local responsibility and power as he possibly could to those new Institutions.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
had frequently asked that the Estimates should be presented to the House in such a form that 1962 they might be able properly to criticize the items. He wished hon. Members would take the trouble to contrast the Vote of £322,000 that was asked for, in respect of South Kensington, with the Vote that was made in respect of the British Museum. In the British Museum account the particulars of the grant were given in detail; but in the South Kensington account the details were very imperfect. They were not told the number of police employed, or how many Inspectors there were, or how much they were paid; they simply had in the Estimate for South Kensington the general statement that £9,150 was expended on the police. Such information as that did not enable the House to judge whether the employment of the police at South Kensington was judicious or not. He was sure that the noble Lord would feel that it was desirable that South Kensington should be brought within some rule. They had all heard of the celebrated Mr. Cole—he and his friends had been ordering about South Kensington for some years, and scattering the public money in all directions. He was sure that if a Committee of Inquiry of that House were to be appointed to inquire into the history of the expenditure of money at South Kensington, there would be disclosed a system, of which—not to use a harsh name—he could say that it was an expenditure such as had never been exhibited by any other Institution under Government in modern times. He wished to point out why he should move the reduction in the Vote. In the first place, it would be found that, under head D 5, the sum of £8,700 was voted on account of artizans, cleaners, labourers, &c.; on turning to the details of D 5, it would be seen that the amount was said to be for theWages for works executed in the interior of the Museum, in connection with the exhibition of objects, and repairs connected with the glass roofs, heating and ventilation, also maintenance of the grounds.He would venture to say that the same items were charged for under the head D 6, which was expressed to be for "heating, lighting, and precautions against fire." The Estimates seemed to be prepared in a very careless manner, for, otherwise, it would seem that D 5 ought to be included in D 6. If the heating arrangements ought to be in- 1963 cluded in D 6, why did they find them in D 5? That was a conundrum, which he would propose to the noble Lord. Then, an item of £7,000 was charged in respect of workmen, artizans, and engineers employed at South Kensington. That was a large sum of money for those persons, and he should like to know how many of each class were employed? Then they came to an item headed "Services common to the general divisions." It could not be for the Science and Art Department, for there was a certain staff for that; and for the South Kensington Department there was also a staff. But, in order to throw them off their guard still further—whether intended to do so or not he did not know, but that was the result—they found sprung upon them the head "Services common to the several divisions." Under that head the sum of £12,920 was expended, which was a large increase on the previous year. They had no information to enable them to judge whether that was a proper expenditure or not, or whether the number of persons employed was justifiable. He supposed that the money would be spent for the objects for which it was voted, or otherwise the Comptroller and Auditor General would notice the matter. What they wanted was to get something like the same careful return of expenditure as was given in the case of the British Museum, so that they might know why the enormous increase in the expenditure at South Kensington took place. He would draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that the expenditure for the police at the British Museum was only £1,960; whereas the expenditure for that item alone at South Kensington was £9,150. The British Museum was a pretty large building, and it had the peculiarity that it was not built with long corridors. It was nearly as large as the South Kensington Museum, and he believed there were many articles of value there. How was it, then, that the police alone in one place cost £1,960, and at the other £9,150? He should like to know whether that additional expense in the case of the South Kensington Museum arose from the India Museum? The more they looked at these Estimates the more they would find that a very large increase in the expenditure at South Kensington had been caused by the India Museum. He thought that it 1964 was quite right to draw attention to these Estimates, in order that they might receive satisfactory explanations with regard to them. He wanted to know why the police at South Kensington were increased? There was also one other little matter which had been mentioned to him, and which, he thought, ought to be explained from the Front Treasury Bench. He was told that the Curator or Chief Director of the South Kensington Museum had moved away from the Museum, and that police constables were kept for the purpose of going between South Kensington and his house in order to keep him in constant communication with the Museum, when he ought to be living close to or upon the premises. As the matter had been mentioned in the Press, he thought that some explanation of it was due to the Committee. In the first instance, he should like some explanation as to why the accounts were not presented in a clearer manner; and, secondly, he should like to know why the cost of the police had increased? He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £20,608.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £201,801, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1880, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Science and Art Department, and of the Establishments connected therewith."—(Mr. Edward Jenkins.)
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, that with reference to the questions which had been put to him by various hon. Members from Ireland in reference to the new College of Science and Art in Dublin, he thought that hon. Gentlemen who were there on the previous night could bear testimony to the fact that, so far from expressing a wish to centralize the administration, he said that he was prepared to go over to Dublin that year in order to place himself in communication with the authorities, for the purpose of trying to constitute some authority which would relieve South Kensington from a constant interference in minute details of administration. For his part, he really thought that these matters would be better settled locally. But it was obvious that whatever Department was responsible to Parliament must have an officer representing it in 1965 that House. Some remarks had been made by hon. Members with respect to the Foley Collection. Almost all those works were plaster casts, and an enormous quantity of them were duplicates. The question was, what was to be done with those things? They were very anxious to keep the collection in its entirety; but it would have cost £3,000 or £4,000 to have removed the entire collection to Ireland, and to have placed it in a proper state of repair. Under these circumstances, it caused some little embarrassment to the Executors to know what to do with them, and the Government had consented to give £500 in order to make the necessary repairs, and to take over to Ireland the most essential and important parts of the collection. A committee of three gentlemen, one of whom was an Irishman, was appointed to superintend the work, and to select those casts which were most valuable. Those had been taken to Ireland. They would be glad if any local-authority in Ireland, or any municipal authority, would make some offer to take a certain amount of the casts that remained, as they did not know what to do with them. There could be but one opinion that it was most advisable, on the part of the State, to encourage bequests of a really valuable character; but it would not be wise to lay down a rule that they would spend any sum of money in taking care of and repairing those bequests. They had accepted the bequest in the present instance in consequence of the eminence of Mr. Foley, and of the value that his studies would be to the students. With regard to the observations of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Jenkins), he was not aware that he had made out any case for a comparison between the British Museum and South Kensington. [MR. E. JENKINS: Between the accounts.] One Institution presented its accounts in one manner and the other in a different manner. It should be remembered that the British Museum, although a most important Institution, was not of an educational character. On the other hand, South Kensington was not only an educational but a teaching and examining Institution; and all its collections and treasures of works and arts were for the express purpose of teaching and encouraging science and art throughout the country. It was not 1966 possible even for the best accountant to place the accounts of South Kensington before the House in the same form as those relating to the British Museum. Anyone with experience of the work at South Kensington would corroborate him in the statement that the complicated nature and the variety of the work done would prevent the accounts being put before the House in the same form as those of the British Museum. The hon. Member requested some information concerning certain expenditure. The hon. Member would find that D 5 related to repairs connected with heating and ventilation, while D 6 was an Estimate of the actual cost of lighting, heating, &c. It was not an encouragement for them to give the additional information which the hon. Member desired, when he criticized the details they had given. As regarded the other point made by him as to the difference of the Vote for the police that year and the last year, that was, no doubt, a proper object of criticism. The increase in the Estimate arose from the fact that some of the police had had to be paid for extra time, owing to the late hours at which the Museum was kept open—that was also the reason for an increase in other branches of the Institution. The hon. Member had called attention to the difference in the Vote for the police at the British Museum and at South Kensington. The reason for that was very simple. At the British Museum all the watching was done by attendants; whereas, at South Kensington, they found it more economical to keep policemen on duty both inside and outside the building. Then the arrangements at the South Kensington building rendered the employment of a larger number of policemen necessary. Then, again, the inflammable nature of a large portion of the collection at South Kensington rendered it necessary to have it very well watched. Taking all those matters into consideration he did not think the Vote for the police at South Kensington was at all excessive. He would be glad to meet the views of the hon. Gentleman with regard to putting the accounts into a shape that everyone could understand them; and he thought that that could be best done in the direction of making them more compact. Some services were put generally in the Votes as 1967 common to the divisions, because they could not be accurately assigned to either of the divisions of the Science and Art Department exclusively. He could assure the hon. Gentleman that he had personally gone over the Estimates both with regard to the amounts and objects of the Vote; and if the hon. Gentleman would only look at the enormous amount of work done by the Science and Art Department throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland, he did not think that he would consider that the expenditure had been great.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, that with regard to the police at South Kensington, a portion of the expense was in respect of the buildings given up to the India Museum. It did seem to him that the charge for the police at South Kensington was very large. He would wish to suggest that there might be a more economical mode of watching the Institution than having regular police, who were enormously expensive. For every man who might be employed to watch the building they were obliged to employ three policemen at enormous expense. He hoped the noble Lord would devote his attention to the possibility of cutting that item of expense down. With regard to the general charges for the Museum, it seemed to him that those were not fixed regular charges that could be checked, but were in the nature of discretionary charges. He should like to know in whose discretion those charges were, and by whom they were checked? The noble Lord had said that he had personally checked them. He had no doubt whatever that the noble Lord brought his great financial abilities to bear on the subject; but the noble Lord had great public duties of various kinds to perform, and it was impossible for him to check the whole details of that great discretionary expenditure. He wished to know who was the person responsible for the checking of those details? Perhaps the head of the Department of the Museum was responsible for the expenditure. He did not think, if that were so, that it was a right system; because every man, however honest, was desirous of increasing the expenses of his own Department. If the expenditure could be put into the shape of fixed salaries, there ought to be some limit to the discretion used. It seemed 1968 to him that until the responsibility was put into the hands of professional men to deal with, it was not likely that any limit would be assigned to it, or that it would be properly checked.
§ MR. RYLANDS
complained of the inconvenient form in which the accounts were arranged. If one wished to look at the estimated total expenditure, or the estimate of extra receipts, he would have to search through half-a-dozen pages, where would be found a number of little notes, in which certain information was given as to the amounts received for different purposes by the Department. For instance, on page 302, under the head of "Heating, lighting, and precautions against fire "—a most unlikely place to find anything about the Museum fees—it would be found that the fees for admission to lectures in September, 1878, amounted to £2,201 7s. 2d. Again, it would be observed that in several pages there were notes giving information as to the amount of money received in fees by the different lecturers and teachers. He thought it desirable that they should have an account showing at once the Estimate for expenditure and the Estimate of receipts from all sources, giving the fees for admission, fees for lectures, and for all other branches for which they were received. His reason for directing attention to this was the fact that some years ago there had been a great scandal in connection with the South Kensington Museum, owing to the laxity with which the accounts were kept. He would, therefore, wish it to be made perfectly clear that all the fees received for all purposes had been paid in and accounted for; and that where the officials had claims to these they should receive them by direct payment, and not by adding them to their accounts. Upon the occasion to which he had alluded, fees were paid to parties who did not give an accurate account of them. A fraud of considerable magnitude was committed, and the public lost a large sum of money entirely in consequence of the laxity in keeping the accounts of receipts for various purposes connected with the Department. He trusted, therefore, that he should receive a promise from the Government that, in future, the accounts for the South Kensington Museum would be brought before Parliament in the manner in which 1969 he asked that they should be presented.
§ MR. LOWTHIAN BELL
said, the amount of wages paid to some individuals appeared rather high. But there was one item, in particular, about which he desired information. The gas foreman, whose salary was 50s. a-week, was charged, in page 302, at the sum of £143. That was clearly wrong; and he suggested that, at all events, those persons who had the framing of the Estimates ought to be correct in their arithmetic.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
considered that the statement which had been made by the noble Lord was more satisfactory than any he had yet heard from the Front Bench opposite, and that, to a certain extent, it answered the strictures made with reference to the British Museum and South Kensington Museum. If the noble Lord would give his attention to the subject of the accounts, and endeavour to arrange them in future in such a manner that they might be criticized with more intelligence, he should be willing to withdraw his Motion for the reduction of the Vote.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, that everything possible should be done to render the accounts clear in future.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, it would be found, by reference to E 1, page 302, that the persons who had prepared the Estimates gave the Committee little information. They were told, with reference to the School of Science and Art, that eight technical and special assistants formed an ingredient in this item of £7,400; but the charge for these eight individuals would not come to much more than £300, the balance, apparently, being made up by temporary clerks and copyists, at 10d. an hour, their number or salaries unspecified. The next page showed a sum of no less than £12,000 for wages classified under attendants from 2d. an hour and upwards. It appeared to him that, in ordinary Institutions, wages' accounts would not be presented in this miscellaneous form. Further, this indiscriminate mode of statement did not give the number of persons employed, as generally given in these Votes. He thought that more precise information should be given in future.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.1970
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
suggested that the Committee should pass from the 2nd to the 9th Vote of the Class, the two subjects being more connected than the intervening Votes.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £266,766, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1880, for Public Education in Scotland.
§ MR. RAMSAY
said, he should not occupy much time; but felt that the arrangement, by which the Government had rendered it necessary that they should assemble in the House that day, at the end of the Session, to discuss a Vote of so much importance as that of Public Education in Scotland, was not creditable to their management of Public Business. He felt that no Vote passed in the House had greater importance than that which related to Education; and it, therefore, appeared to him that instead of going on, as the House had done, discussing Business of trifling importance for weeks during the earlier part of the Session, it would have been better to present the Estimates earlier, and not allow hon. Members to spend their time as if they were brought there without any adequate cause. Had the House assembled in March instead of February, he could have understood that there was some excuse for asking hon. Members at that period of the Session to discuss the Education Vote for Scotland; but, as it was, they had, without excuse, been thrown into a position in which they could not criticize it, and anything more discreditable than this he could not conceive. He hoped that this expression of opinion would not be lost upon the Leader of the House, and that he would take care next year that justice should be done to the Estimates, and that the Scotch Members should have the same amount of time for copious criticism as had been so successfully employed by the Irish Representatives. Those hon. Members had succeeded in obtaining from the Government complete control over the Business of the House as regarded the Irish Votes. To-day, the Scotch Representatives who had come down to the House found the Vote left over until the hon. Gentlemen who represented Irish 1971 constituencies would graciously permit them to have this Vote considered. He thought that if this was the way in which right hon. Gentlemen opposite were going to manage the Business of the House, although the Scotch Members were not gifted with the eloquence of the Irish Representatives, they might certainly claim to practice the same persistent efforts as the Irish Members had done so successfully.
I must point out to the hon. Member that the topic on which he is now entering has nothing to do with the Vote for Scotch Education.
§ MR. RAMSAY
had himself felt that he was rather travelling beyond the Scotch Vote, and was, therefore, not surprised that the Chairman had interrupted him. He had merely endeavoured to give expression to some of the indignation felt by Scotch Members at that time, by being made subject to the will of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. Perhaps the Committee would permit him to say that this view of the question would be considered in a future Parliament, and that the time of the House might be saved by the Government having the Estimates in such form that the whole of them might be considered in an earlier period of the Session, and that the House might not be left until the end of the Session to deal with the Votes in Supply. He wished to point out to the noble Lord, with regard to the Vote before them, the necessity of providing that the Code which regulated the operations of the school boards in Scotland should be presented henceforward at an earlier period of the Session than it had been for some years past. He had already taken the opportunity of mentioning to the noble Lord the great inconvenience which Scotch Members were subjected to, from the fact that the Code, which ought to be placed on the Table 40 days before the time when it was adopted, was very often presented in form only to the House, for, in substance, they did not get it before these 40 days had expired. He did not think that there could be anything more unsatisfactory than that. He remembered that, some years ago, a complaint was made upon the same topic by a Scotch Member who failed to get any opportunity of stating his objections to the Code, or his Amendments to it, be- 1972 fore the House, in consequence of its only being circulated to Members one or two days before the 40 days had expired. Before that hon. Member had an opportunity of bringing his views forward the 40 days had expired, and he found that he had no right to occupy time in discussing the question. The Code this year was not circulated amongst hon. Members until after the expiry of the 40 days, although, as everyone knew, it was laid upon the Table in dummy. The particular point to which he referred was the change made in the Code of the present year, as compared with the Code in the past, and of this, no doubt, the noble Lord (Lord George Hamilton) would give a satisfactory explanation. This change enabled the Department in Scotland to deal with the schools in a way that they had not been able to deal with them previously. The noble Lord would be aware that under one sub-section of the Code (17 C) the premises of a school were required to be "healthy, well lighted, clean, warm, properly furnished, &c," and containing "sufficient accommodation for children attending the school." This was a very important alteration of the provisions of last year, which laid down that in the principal school rooms and class rooms there should be 80 cubic feet of internal space, and eight square feet of area for each child. The effect of that was to take away from the Department the power of giving the grant in any school where there was no such provision for each child. But the Code of 1879 said—"In administering this Article of the Code the Department will endeavour to secure 80 feet of internal space.That was to say, they would only endeavour to secure what was previously compulsory. Formerly, there was no option in the case of board schools in Scotland, and all of them had to be constructed with reference to the requirements of the law. But it was now left optional to the Department to insist upon it with reference to the schools which had not previously received the grant. They were now going to give the less efficient schools a grant, thus aiding in establishing denominational schools, which could be set up by anyone merely for the purpose of injuring the board schools. 1973 He believed he was not in error in saying that, practically, the operation of such schools was that, with less perfect machinery, they were enabled to injure the board schools, and he, therefore, deprecated any such change in that respect; and he thought it would not be contended by the greater number of those persons in Scotland who supported denominational schools that any such change in the law should be made. The noble Lord would be able to explain whether this was the practical object which, the Government had in view in making the change. He trusted that the noble Lord would attend to his suggestion as to the way that the Code should be presented in subsequent Sessions, and that it should not be regarded as circulated in form until it was in the hands of Members of Parliament, in order that any suggestion for amendment might be discussed and considered by the Department before the 40 days expired.
MR. GRANT DUFF
said, that as the hon. Member behind him (Mr. Ramsay) had been ruled out of Order in some general remarks upon the course of Business and the conduct which the Government had thought fit to pursue with regard to Scotch Business, he would put himself in. Order by moving that the Chairman do leave the Chair. He wished right hon. Gentlemen opposite to understand that the Scotch Members did not think it fair or just to their constituents that Scotch Business should be postponed in deference to the wishes and, he might say, the whims of Members representing another part of the United Kingdom. It had never been the custom of Scotch Members to trouble the House at great length upon Scotch or other affairs. They had had for many years, on the contrary, the reputation of being amongst the least talkative Members of the House of Commons. But he would warn right hon. Gentlemen opposite to understand that if Scotch Members thought fit to adopt another line of tactics there was nothing simpler to accomplish. Nothing would be easier than to take objection to every clause of a long Bill. They also could put down 20 Amendments to a single Vote in Committee of Supply; and although they would be extremely unwilling to do so, being desirous rather of adhering to the ancient and usual method of 1974 carrying on Business in the House, yet it might be that they would be obliged to do so. There was no Scotch Member who would go down to his constituents during the Recess who would not have thrown in his face the example of the manner in which the Irish Members got their own way with regard to their Business; and it would be very difficult to resist the pressure that would be brought to bear upon Scotch Members to induce them to adopt a similar course. He hoped they would be able to avoid doing so; but the Government had put them in a position of extreme difficulty.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Grant Duff.)
desired to make some observations with reference to the subject of cookery as a branch of Education.
Order, Order! The Vote before the Committee is the Vote for Scotch Education, on which a Motion has been made that I do leave the Chair. The observations of the hon. Gentleman would, I presume, have been germane to the last Vote passed—that for South Kensington—and, therefore, these observations would come more fitly upon the Report of that Vote than upon the Vote for Scotch Education.
Of course, if the hon. Gentleman's remarks refer in any way to the Scotch Vote he will be quite in Order; but, otherwise, I think it would be more convenient to postpone them until the Report.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
said, that he was not surprised that his hon. Friend (Mr. Grant Duff) should have made the protest he did after coming in the expectation of discussing the Scotch Votes, and then finding that suddenly, not in deference to the wish of Scotch Members, but entirely against their wish, and in submission to Irish Members, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had postponed the Scotch University Vote. It was much to the inconvenience of Scotch Members, and it would be very much to the dissatisfaction of the Scotch people, who had no desire to see the Scotch University Vote mixed up with the Votes for the Queen's Colleges. They were postponing these Votes, in order to 1975 bring them into the vexed question of Irish University Education. He did not know whether a feeble yielding to dictation was government; but, at all events, it was a government of a kind which they had not been accustomed to. It was yielding everything to those—he would not say who obstructed Business—but to those who were very copious captious critics of the Business of the House. The result would certainly show that they might convert Scotch Members into copious captious critics also. At all events, he wished to point out that the course the Government were taking on that day would certainly cause the greatest dissatisfaction amongst the Scotch people. It was so obstructive to Scotch Members that he was surprised that the hon. and gallant Admiral opposite (Sir William Edmonstone) did not rise in his place and protest against the way in which Scotch Business was being treated, merely because certain Irish Members said it would suit their purposes that the Scotch Votes should be mixed up with the Irish University Question.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, I have really very great difficulty in understanding what can be the nature of this copious criticism to which we are to be exposed on all occasions in the future. My only object is to get on with the work of the House, especially, if possible, at a meeting like this, which is of a rather exceptional character, and which could only be attended with some inconvenience to hon. Gentlemen. But, having so attended, it was our object to try to take such Business as could be conducted and discussed upon its merits. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyon Playfair) said we have imported into this question another question with which it has nothing to do. But I must point out to him that we have done nothing of the sort. We cannot help it; nobody can help it if the Members for Ireland think it right to take the opportunity on a Vote for Scotch Universities to introduce questions which, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite says, ought to be kept distinct. But it is not a question of whether they ought to be kept distinct. We cannot help the questions being mixed together. I am perfectly satisfied that if we had gone on with the Votes we should have had a long and, 1976 perhaps, animated discussion ranging over several hours, and that no progress would have been made. Therefore, I thought it better to put aside all those subjects which might give rise to discussion and animated controversy, and devote the day to the humble and useful part of discussing those questions which aid not import, and cannot be held by anybody to import, merits other than their own. The Primary Education of Scotland, which, I believe, is the Vote now before the Committee, is one which, in our opinion, may be fairly discussed apart from any other consideration. We do not want to import other considerations into the Vote for the Scotch Universities; but we know perfectly well that that Vote would not be discussed irrespective of such considerations. I think we acted, upon the whole, a wiser and better part in proposing to let the question stand over to a later day, when it could be taken simply upon its own merits. I cannot help thinking that the course now taken by the right hon. Gentleman opposite is unintelligible, and one which, if I may venture to say so, is altogether absurd; and I think that my right hon. Friend will see that it is hardly reasonable that we should be made to stop the Vote upon the Scotch Primary Education, because we have not thought it advisable to take the Vote for the Scotch University.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
thought that the Scotch Members had not got up early enough that day. For the information of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff), he would state that, when the House assembled, there were only 37 Members present, including eight Irish Members, and one or two Scotch Members only. Therefore, had the Irish Members wished, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had held out, they could have put an end to the Business by simply moving that the House be counted before the Scotch Members came down. If the Scotch Members thought that their Votes were so important, they should have come down to support them; but, instead of that, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Grant Duff) himself was not present for a considerable period, and when he did come down he found that a very satisfactory arrangement had been come to with the other Members at an earlier period of the Sitting. It was not the Irish Mem- 1977 bers, he might point out, who had mixed up the Irish University Question with anything else; it was the Scotch Members who, when the hon. Gentleman's (the O'Conor Don's) Irish University Bill was introduced, took a very demonstrative part in objecting to it; and that had been the reason for the action of the Irish Members. He was sorry that the interests of the two countries should be run in opposition to each other in this House; but there was no doubt of the very prominent way in which the Scotch Members had interfered with the Irish University Question. The Scotch Members had all they wanted—they had five University Votes in the way they liked best; but when the Irish Members tried to get something of the same sort for their country, they took a very prominent part in attempting to thwart them; and the result was, that the Irish Members were anxious, whenever the Scotch University Question did arise, to contrast the position of the two countries. They did not wish to take away from others what they wanted for themselves; but if the Scotch University Votes were to be debated on one day, and the Irish University Votes on another, the result would be that there would be two debates instead of one—a waste of power and time which very naturally appealed to the Government.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he confessed he was not in the House at 12 o'clock, because he did not think it necessary to be there at the very commencement of Business. He knew that there were other Votes to be taken before the Scotch Votes; but he came down at 1 o'clock, and then he found that the Scotch University Votes had been put off. For his own part, he should be delighted to contrast the sum which was given to Scotland for University purposes with the sum hon. Members proposed to give to the Irish Universities. It seemed to him, having watched the recent proceedings in Supply, that the Government were, now setting a most dangerous example in yielding to the coercion of hon. Members below the Gangway, who generally succeeded in getting their own way by a Motion to report Progress. That morning there had been a Vote before the Committee with regard to the Navy, upon which a question had been raised with respect to the appointment of 1978 Roman Catholic chaplains to Indian transports. In that case the Government yielded, although the First Lord of the Admiralty had given very good reasons why he should not yield to the representations of Irish Members.
wished to point out to the hon. Member that he was not in Order in referring to the details of the debate which had taken place upon another Vote.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
was merely saying that, very excellent reasons having been given why the Government should not yield to the Irish Members, he had retired into the Lobby. But he afterwards found that, as a matter of fact, they had had their own way. The Irish Members had moved to report Progress, and the Government had given way, after showing reasons why they should not do so.
mentioned that the Irish Members were often informed in the Lobbies, by other Members of the House, that the Government were very unreasonable in resisting the demands of Irish Members.
MR. GRANT DUFF
did not wish the right hon. Gentleman opposite to misunderstand the views of himself and Friends. The Scotch Members had no quarrels with hon. Members from Ireland, who, no doubt, considered what was the best way of managing their own Business, against which the Scotch Members had nothing to say. They complained that the course pursued by the Government would oblige hon. Members from Scotland to adopt the same tactics as were employed by the Irish Members. As to the taunt that the Scotch Members were not in the House at 12 o'clock, he could only say, for his own part, that he had no reason to suppose the Scotch Votes would be on at 12 o'clock, and he had no interest in any others. He had no wish further to interrupt the Business of the Committee; but he must again point out that the Scotch Members had constantly dangled before them the concessions which were made to other persons who could make themselves intolerable to the Government. ["Oh, oh!" "Order!"] He repeated, persons who could make themselves intolerable to the Government, for he did not think there was anything un-Parliamentary in that expression. He would remind the Government that 1979 the Scotch Members only wanted the will to make themselves intolerable also.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the hon. Gentleman had threatened, on behalf of the Scotch Members, to "adopt the tactics of the Irish Members "—whatever those tactics might be; for his own part, he did not know what they were. The hon. Gentleman uttered this threat because the Irish Members "had been successful in obtaining concessions from the Government." He (Mr. Parnell) wished the hon. Gentleman would point out what those concessions had been, for he was sure the Irish Members themselves knew nothing of them. As to the success of the Irish Members, it should be remembered that the Scoth Members required nothing—they had all their wants satisfied, and had absolutely no demands to make upon the Government. Indeed, the Scotch Members were now in the position of the proverbial dog-in-the-manger, which, having got all it wanted, lay there, in this case, to spoil what it could not utilize for itself, rather than allow the Irish horse to have its proper feed. That was really the position the Scotch Members had taken up in reference to this whole matter. If Scotland had not always been the spoilt child of England; if she had not always had every legislative facility; if she had not always had everything she required; and if, when she wanted anything, she had to do more than ask for it, there might have been some excuse for the very remarkable attack of the hon. Member who sat upon the Front Opposition Bench. But the Irish Members had gained nothing. It was absurd to say that any concession had been made to them. He contended that the Scotch Members had nothing to ask, while the Irish Members had a great deal to ask for; and if that were not their position there might have been some reason for the course which had been taken by the hon. Member in this matter. It was very ill-natured on the part of the Scotch Members to come down to the House to blame Irish Members for doing their duty. They had always assisted Scotch Members in getting their Votes, and that was far more than the latter had done for them. He thought they were entitled to the assistance of hon. Members from Scotland in asking for what was justly their own.
§ MR. RAMSAY
said, as he was the cause of the conversation which had taken place, he thought it due to the Committee to state that the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Parnell) had entirely misapprehended what had been said, when he spoke of the Scotch Members denouncing the Irish Members. He (Mr. Ramsay) certainly had not denounced the Irish Members. On the contrary, he sympathized with them in their endeavours to obtain what they required. But it was a very different thing if the whole government of the country was to be placed in their hands, instead of in the hands of the Executive, who were the only persons responsible to Parliament. Whenever the Irish Members had had any important end to obtain, that end had been obtained by persistent efforts. At all events, that was the impression left on his mind; and he did not think the right hon. Gentleman opposite could be surprised if, without indulging in any denunciation, the Scotch Members were to declare that they would imitate the course pursued by the Irish Members, and would follow in the same track which had been so well and so successfully trodden. The Government certainly ought not to be surprised if the Scotch Members made that declaration. When he commenced his remarks he had intended to make some complaints as to the course pursued by Government; and he would take advantage of the right hon. Gentleman being in his place for making a formal complaint as to the way in which Supply had been dealt with during the present Session. He pressed upon the Leader of the House, who had been most willing, as all acknowledged, to meet the requests of hon. Members, and who had the management of Business, the necessity for bringing forward Supply at an early period of the Session, in order that it might be fairly attended to, and meet with the copious criticism which it was the province of the House of Commons to bestow upon the Estimates. Instead of that, however, the Government had introduced a number of Bills, of which they did not even themselves approve; and they had brought forward and occupied much time in discussing Bills which they were prepared at once to abandon. He wished to point out to the Government the necessity of having their arrange- 1981 ments in such, a form that the Estimates could be laid before the House immediately at the beginning of the Session—a course that would promote Public Business. As the matter had stood this year, for six weeks after hon. Members came to London, it seemed as if Parliament had been summoned by some mistake. He trusted that his suggestion, which was not made in any spirit of hostility to Her Majesty's Ministers, would not be lost sight of.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
wished to call the attention of the Committee, for two or three minutes, to the highly important question of cookery.
§ MR. PARNELL
rose to Order. He wished to know whether the hon. Member was in Order in introducing the subject of cookery on a Vote dealing with Scotch Education?
understood that the question of cookery entered into the Vote now before the Committee with respect to some alteration in the Education Code.
suggested that the noble Lord should make some alteration in the Syllabus, so far as the subject of cookery was concerned. Two things were necessary with reference to this grant on the part of the children. First, a knowledge of the composition of food; and, secondly, a knowledge of its preparation. He quite agreed that the instructors of the children should have this knowledge, and care should be taken that they had it; but he could not understand that it was equally necessary to children of 12 or 13 years of age. Their object was to get the children to understand the necessity of providing, in future, cheap, economical, and good food for their families. He was quite certain that there was no step which could be taken that would make education more popular than that of requiring a knowledge of cookery. It had been said that it would be hard upon the instructors to require that they should be examined in cookery. But he (Mr. Leveson-Gower) would suggest that a perfectly sufficient test of the practical knowledge of children might be obtained by asking questions. He thought the English people, when the excellent food at their disposal was considered, might become 1982 one of the best fed, instead of the worst fed, people in the world.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
recognized the importance of affording instruction in every branch of domestic economy. In framing the Syllabus, reference had been made to various modes of cooking food, and that which had appeared the simplest had been selected. He should be glad to take advantage of the practical knowledge of the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Leveson-Gower), in order to arrive at the best way of making children acquainted with a knowledge of cookery. The hon. Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay) made a just complaint about the delay in the publication of the Code, which was due to the consideration of the very point he had alluded to, for there were some rather startling Returns as to the effect of enforcing the provisions as to space in all cases, and all that was asked was that there should be a discretionary power of relaxation under exceptional circumstances. He was under the impression that the Code was liable to objection for 40 days after it had been issued.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, that he was well aware that the noble Lord had many public duties, which he performed with very great devotion and ability, and he should be sorry to lay any additional burden upon him; but, really, now the Scotch Education Board, had been abolished, he was quite sure that the noble Lord would recognize that Scotch education was fully as important, and required as much attention, as English education. In introducing the Education Estimates, the noble Lord had expatiated at some length on education in England; but he said not a word about the condition of Scotch education. He was a little jealous that the Scotch Education Vote should be passed over without an expression of the sympathy which he was sure that the noble Lord felt for it. He would call his attention to one important part of the matter. He had told them—and it was a piece of information exceedingly agreeable to the House—that education in England was so rapidly progressing that he had proposed the Estimates upon the calculation that the number of elementary schools would be increased 9 per cent. He (Sir George Campbell) was somewhat surprised that the number of scholars in 1983 Scotland had not only not increased, but had somewhat diminished. The total number of scholars in Scotland had decreased from 396,000 to 394,000; there being a decrease of 4,000 in the number of scholars attending the evening schools, but an increase of 2,000 in the day schools—he was referring to the figures at the bottom of page 227. He should like the noble Lord to inform them the reason for this, as it seemed to suggest that education in Scotland had reached its maximum, and was not now increasing. He was aware that it might be said that there was less room for improvement in Scotland than in England; but he knew by experience that the population in important places in Scotland was increasing. His own borough of Kirkcaldy was a model borough, and the number of scholars in the elementary schools was increasing there. They were now building two schools, and the Provost of Kirkcaldy, who was then in London, thought they would then obtain additional accommodation for 200 scholars. There had, however, been a falling off in the Highlands and the Isles which counteracted the advance in larger places. He hoped that the noble Lord would give them some information as to the small increase in the number of day scholars, as there was a very considerable decrease in the number of the night scholars.
§ MR. RAMSAY
rose for the purpose of saying that the noble Lord was somewhat mistaken as to the effect of laying accounts upon the Table in dummy. His impression was, that so soon as accounts were entered upon the Votes as having been laid upon the Table of the House time would begin to run. If he were correct in his opinion, therefore, he thought the noble Lord would find that after the expiry of 40 days—and 40 days had expired after the account was laid on the Table before the Vote was circulated—no Representative would have an opportunity of making any suggestion or amendment on the account. He hoped, therefore, if he were correct as to the legal effect of the account being entered in the Votes, and if, after having been laid upon the Table of the House for 40 days, no Amendment could be proposed, that, in future, that course would not be adopted.
§ MR. MACDONALD
expressed the astonishment with which he had heard 1984 the hon. Gentleman's (Sir George Campbell's) statement of what was going on in his own burgh. If there had been a great increase in the number of scholars this year, either at Kirkcaldy or anywhere else, it could only arise from the fact that the school board had neglected its duty before. He (Mr. Macdonald) was himself a member of one of the first school boards in Scotland, so far as efficiency was concerned. According to the Report of Mr. Smith, the Inspector, the school board for the parish of Cambusnethan, in the County of Lanark, the moment that school board came into existence a census of the parish was taken, and a list of all the uneducated children obtained, and schools were provided for them as soon as possible. The parish had now a set of schools which, he believed, were the best in Scotland; and if a child were absent for two days the school board officer went to his house to learn the cause of absence. There was no possibility of a sudden increase in the number of the children; and if there had been any diminution in the attendance it was simply owing to the number of people in the parish having decreased. He regretted to hear any hon. Member rise in his place and tell them that there ought to be an increase in the number of children at school, for, if that were the case, the school boards in Scotland had not done their duty.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
remarked, that the very slight increase in the number of children attending the day schools in Scotland was owing to the reason given by the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Macdonald)—namely, that most of the children were at present attending school. The proportion of uneducated children in Scotland was very much smaller than in England. There was a diminution in the attendance at night schools in Scotland, and his attention had been called to the fact before. He was informed that it was, in a great measure, owing to the severity of the weather, and also to the fact that a considerable number of people were out of employment. Strange as it might seem, the like fact accounted for the attendance at the day schools being somewhat increased.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
- (3.) £12,771, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, agreed to.
- (4.) £1,710, to complete the sum for the National Portrait Gallery, agreed to.
- (5.) £11,050, to complete the sum for Learned Societies and Scientific Investigation, agreed to.
- (6.) £8,076, to complete the sum for the London University, agreed to.
- (7.) £3,000, to complete the sum for Deep Sea Exploring Expedition (Report).
§ MR. BRISTOWE
wished to have some explanation with regard to an item in that account, for the travelling expenses of certain foreigners to England. He did not understand why the expenses of foreign naturalists, wishing to visit their English collections, should be paid by this country. It was a curious thing that they should be asked to vote money for certain foreigners coming to visit their collections. Of course, there might be a reason for it, and it might be that their own naturalists were unable to do without them.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, that the savants were scattered in all parts of the world, and it was thought desirable to obtain as much information as possible from naturalists who had special knowledge on any particular subject of real interest. The difficulty was how to get those persons together; and it was thought that the quickest and least expensive way would be to pay the travelling expenses of the foreign naturalists to England. If the hon. and learned Gentleman wished, he would give him some further account of the matter.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
remarked, that the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Treasury had given the correct explanation of the matter. Some naturalists had special knowledge on one subject, and some on another; and it was found that the cheapest way to get them into consultation was to pay their travelling expenses.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (8.) £1,500, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c. Scotland, agreed to.1986
§ (9.) £443,029, to complete the sum for Public Education, Ireland.
§ MR. GRAY
complained that the salaries of the national teachers were not paid until they were long overdue. There was no reason why they should not be paid immediately they fell due. It would be perfectly easy to get the money ready before the salaries were due, and let the teachers have it directly the money was due. It was of very serious importance indeed to the teachers, who very often had to borrow money through not receiving their salaries at the proper time.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
promised that the matter should receive the attention of the Treasury. No doubt, when the salaries were not paid at the time they were due it caused great hardship to persons whose resources were not very ample. The subject should be taken notice of, and he would endeavour to rectify it.
§ MR. GRAY
was exceedingly obliged to the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Treasury for the assurance he had given. There was another matter upon the Vote to which he wished to draw attention. In the English Vote considerable sums were paid on account of denominational training schools for teachers. The hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) brought the question forward as to making the like allowance in Ireland, and the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary did not strike him as being sufficient. He simply said that the Government was going to do something for the national school teachers; were going to improve their position—as it afterwards appeared—by providing pensions for them; but it did not seem to strike him that that had nothing to do with providing a suitable training for the teachers. In England aid was granted for training denominational school teachers, and those who desired it could avail themselves of other means. In Dublin there was a denominational training school for Catholics, and a grant might be made to that Institution. Of course, he could not expect that the subject should be dealt with at once; but he thought that, in all fairness, it ought to be considered by the Government on a future occasion.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
observed, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secre- 1987 tary had made a distinct promise to improve the position of the national school teachers, and also that a change should be made in their salaries. He had announced an improvement in the salaries of the teachers; and he thought an assurance should be given that grants should be made in the direction asked by the hon. Member for Tipperary.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, that with regard to the question raised by the hon. Member for Tipperary, it might be within his recollection that a considerable discussion took place upon the matter upon the Motion of the hon. Member for Roscommon. On that occasion he stated that the subject was one which required to be dealt with, but that he considered it would be impossible to deal with it during the present Session. He might observe that by the School Teachers Education Bill an addition to the fixed salaries of the teachers was being made. It had been pointed out, however, that the teachers in all their memorials and resolutions had requested that an addition to their remuneration should take the form of fixed salaries, and not in the shape of result fees. He thought that it would be found that the system of result fees would press unfairly on teachers in sparsely-populated districts. The proposal of the Government, accordingly, was that an addition should be made to the fixed salaries. The Estimate, on account of the additional salaries, would not appear in the ordinary Estimates, but would be dealt with by a Supplementary Estimate, to be moved next February. The alteration would take effect from the 1st of January, from which date the teachers would receive the increased salary. It was proposed that on the 1st of January the new system should come into force, and that an addition should be made at the rate of 16 per cent on the salaries of the third class of teachers, at 15 per cent on the second class, and 20 per cent on the salaries of the first class teachers. He thought that was a liberal addition to make to the amount now paid to the teachers, and it would constitute something like £40,000 addition to the Estimates. The principal object which the Government had in view, and which he hoped would be obtained by the school teachers, was to grant the request of the teachers by making a substantial addition to their salaries, and thus doing 1988 away with the agitation. The agitation had caused very serious injury to education, and it was an unmixed evil in other respects; and he hoped they would now see an end to it.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
wished to call attention to the system of agricultural teaching in the schools in Ireland. Formerly, fixed salaries were given to the school teachers in respect of the instruction they gave in this matter, in addition to their remuneration for their other duties. Sometimes they received from £5 to £10 per year on that account, and, small as those salaries were, they were all-important to men whose remuneration was not great. Moreover, the salaries were of importance to these poor men in calculating their pensions when they wished to retire. In 1876 a change was made, and, instead of giving fixed salaries in respect of that teaching, the teachers were paid by result fees; the consequence was that some men profited largely; whereas other men, who had held office since 1847 or 1848, lost a good deal of money. These men had served faithfully, and discharged their duties well; and it was not fair that the fixed salaries which they had been accustomed to receive for the work done should be changed into result fees. In 1871, the total amount paid in respect of result fees was £457. If a man had continued to be paid a fixed salary, the cost to the country would only have been £680 in the year. He did not think it was fair thus suddenly to change the fixed salaries paid into result fees; and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would look into the matter, and place the men in the position that they held before. There was another topic which he thought required to be treated with a strong hand, and that was the question of the supply of books and apparatus to the national schools in Ireland. In England the books and apparatus were supplied to the schools by the trade, and was open to public competition. There was such freedom in the matter in England that there was not even a recommendation of books by the Department. But in Ireland the Department printed, published, and sold books that were to be used in schools, and permitted no others to be used. That was a very evil system, both commercially and in its effects upon education. The result of 1989 the system was to cost the country a sum of £4,500 a-year dead loss. Many of the books which were issued for the use of the schools were very unsuitable and uninteresting, and it would be much better if the same system were adopted as in England. They complained that the present system prevented free competition by the trade in Ireland, and prevented the teachers from using their judgment as to the books to be used. It was particularly hard on the trade in Ireland that the State should undertake the duty of supplying those books. The system was not, as far as he knew, pursued in any other country. When the national system was first introduced it was surrounded with difficulties, and it was necessary to produce a set of books perfectly colourless, which would be alike suitable to Protestant, Catholic, and Presbyterian. But that state of things had changed, and, to a large extent, passed away; and he did not think that there was any pretence for saying that if a free choice were allowed of any books they would be of a sectarian character; they would be perfectly satisfied to allow the National Board to have a right of veto upon the books to be used. Subject to that restriction, he thought that the teachers should have the same freedom of choice in regard to books as was enjoyed in England. He did not press for immediate action on the matter; but he did trust that the Government would remedy the evil at the earliest opportunity. With regard to the agricultural teachers, who were a most deserving body of men, he would strongly urge their claims upon the Government.
§ MR. CHARLES LEWIS
did not think he would be justified in allowing the discussion to pass without acknowledging, on the part of those in whom he felt so strong an interest—the national school teachers of Ireland—the benefits which the Government had conferred upon them. He had not hesitated, in previous Sessions, to express his opinion upon the manner in which those deserving officers of the State had been treated by both sides of the House in former times. He had invariably maintained that it was the duty of the State, in respect of national education in Ireland, to provide such salaries for the teachers as would enable them to pay their way, and to hold themselves up as 1990 respectable members of society. He had always been of opinion that the system of payment by result fees was not so good as payment of a standing salary, adequate to the duties which the teachers had to perform. Therefore, he thought that the proposal which had now been made was only just and proper; and that it was a due recognition of what had been done by the national school teachers, whom he thought were deserving of the support of both sides of the House. In his opinion, it was a very much needed reform. The announcement which had been made that day, of the improvement to be made in the standing salaries of the national school teachers of Ireland, would be welcomed as a long delayed but much needed act of justice. On behalf of hon. Members on that side of the House, who had urged the case of the national school teachers, he begged to acknowledge the concession which the Government had made.
§ MR. C. S. PARKER
wished to know whether it was intended to make the proposed addition to the salaries of the national school teachers by Supplementary Estimates that year? The right hon. Gentleman had made an important announcement unexpectedly, and to a thin House, although he had intimated some time ago the intention of the Government to do something in the matter. He thought that the proposal would require some discussion before the extra sums required could be voted. Several important questions would have to be met. For instance, they would have to consider whether a higher standard of attainment should not now be exacted from the teachers of the national schools? Then, as regarded the question of local contribution. He did not wish, as a Scotch Member, to insist upon that point; but he did think that it was a matter which would require some investigation. He did not understand, however, that the proposal would be made in any Estimates in that Session, but that the increased grant would be proposed next year.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, that what was proposed to be done was to introduce a Supplementary Estimate, in accordance with the usual practice, next Session. The increase in the salaries for school teachers would take effect from the 1st of January next; and it 1991 would not be in accordance with, the usual practice to introduce a Supplementary Estimate before the quarter of the year that had to be provided for. In respect of the suddenness of the announcement, he might say that he had very clearly stated, on a previous occasion, that the Government had decided to propose some addition to the salaries of the school teachers by Supplementary Estimate. As regarded the agricultural Inspectors, he confessed that he did not think any injustice had been done them. If they had been deprived of any sum of money which they might have expected to receive, they would come within the category of vested interests, and their case would then deserve to be inquired into. He did not think, however, that any injury had been done them. With regard to the other subjects that had been mentioned, he might say that they were receiving the careful attention of the Government.
§ MR. RAMSAY
did not think that some of the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. O'Shaughnessy), with reference to the Irish school books, were altogether correct. From his own experience, he must say that he knew many cases in which Irish school books had been selected by Scotch school boards as the best school books to use. He thought that it was some justification of the mode in which those books had been selected that they should be so satisfactory to the people of Scotland. He wished to draw attention to the necessity of making the localities in Ireland contribute to the expenses of education. In Scotland they had to contribute for their schools; and it should be remembered that the expenditure was forced upon the people of Scotland by the Education Acts. They were compelled in Scotland to provide school accommodation to a greater extent than they had been accustomed to. He thought it would be found, if the amounts granted to the three Kingdoms were compared, that Scotland obtained very much less from the Imperial Treasury than any part of the United Kingdom.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
thought that the present Government had treated Scotland very well. He had not gone into the figures, so as to make a calculation as to how much was contributed per head of the population; but he thought that it 1992 would be found that Scotland got very much more per head than Ireland. Roughly speaking, he thought it would be found that the people of Scotland received 2s. 10d. per head; whereas in Ireland only 2s. 5½d. was contributed from the Imperial Exchequer, and thus Scotland was much better treated than Ireland. The amount contributed to Scotland had increased very much since the present Government came into power. He thought that both Scotland and Ireland ought to get more per head of the population than England. It should be remembered that in England it was very much easier to educate the children, where there were vast centres of population; while in Scotland and Ireland, owing to its being less thickly populated, a greater expense per head was caused. With respect to the announcement which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, he considered that the salaries of the national school teachers required increasing, for at present Irish teachers were only paid about £55 a-year; whereas teachers in England and Scotland obtained about £100 a-year. The increase, therefore, had been very much wanted. He should like to know what the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary intended to do in the cases of those schools where the teachers were not paid salaries? There was a class of schools in Ireland where the teachers were paid only by result fees—the scale, he believed, being £20 per 100 pupils. The result of that was to give much about the same remuneration as was paid to the salaried teachers. The increase which had been made to the salaries of the teachers was very proper; and he really thought that it reflected credit upon those who had induced the Government to grant it. He could have wished, however, that one or two other things had been done by the Government. In those schools where the teachers were now paid entirely by result fees the increase might be given them, either by paying them at a higher rate—for instance, increasing the result fees by 50 per cent—or by making the teachers some fixed allowance. He thought that if the increase were made in the shape of salary there would be some little jealousy; for some effort was made to keep up the relative proportion between the salaried schools and the unsalaried schools. He 1993 thought that the best plan would be to raise the result fees in the case of the schools he had mentioned. In his opinion, the education given in the schools in which result fees were paid was as good, and, in many cases, was much better, than was given in the salaried schools. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would take the case of these schools into his consideration, and so be able, either to raise the result fees, or to grant a fixed allowance. He thought their congratulations were due to the Government for the proposal they had made.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
supported the appeal of the hon. and gallant Member for Gal way, as to the necessity of giving a fixed allowance to the schools in Ireland in which result fees were paid to the teachers. In his opinion, they were some of the best schools in Ireland. There was much more freedom in those schools than there was in other schools. He thought the attention of the Government should be directed to seeing that justice was done in the case of those schools where fixed salaries could not be given. Either the result fees might be raised, or a fixed allowance might be paid. With respect to school books, he saw no reason why the English system should not be introduced into Ireland. In England, subject to the veto of the Education Department, school managers made use of any books they pleased. In Ireland they could only use those which were issued by the Department; and he considered that was a most objectionable system. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take it into his consideration, with a view to its alteration.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
wished to make a remark or two with reference to the announcement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. As he understood it, the new arrangement would come into effect on the 1st of January next, before the House had had any opportunity of discussing the subject, or giving any opinion with regard to it. He understood that in February the Government would then ask the House to sanction the system which they had brought into operation. They would thus be giving additional assistance to national education in Ireland, without first obtaining the sanction of the House. The total expenditure upon education in Ireland was very large at 1994 present. He should like to know if the Government, in deciding to grant that additional amount from the National Exchequer, had in any way made it conditional on the contributions from the localities being raised? In his view, it would not be right for the House to vote for the purpose of increasing the grant for elementary education in Ireland, unless that Vote were supplemented by local contributions. It was a most dangerous course to increase the grant from the central Treasury without requiring some local contribution; and it seemed to him that it was a most dangerous course, and a reversal of the policy that had hitherto been pursued by the House and by successive Governments. Some time ago, an Act was passed to remedy an acknowledged defect in Ireland, and to enable the different localities to supplement the salaries of their national school teachers. He should be extremely glad if they had been told that the localities were going to take advantage of that provision; and it was thought well that Parliament should meet them in a liberal spirit by increasing the grant. He had hoped the policy hitherto pursued would not be departed from in the present instance, and that the Government would not make the grant without the addition he had mentioned. It was apparent that there was becoming, more and more, a rapprochement between the Government and hon. Members below the Gangway on the Opposition side of the House; and that concession had been made to their demands which had not hitherto been granted by any previous Government. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to state distinctly whether it was intended that the additional grant should be given on condition of the contributions from the localities being raised?
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, these international disputes did not conduce to the despatch of Business; and, without entering into the wants and peculiarities of Ireland and Scotland, he thought it would be better to leave such a discussion to be treated next Session during the dinner hour. But the hon. Gentleman (Sir George Campbell) had made rather an extraordinary statement. He said—"The announcement with respect to teachers' salaries was altogether unexpected;" but hon. Members would re- 1995 collect it had been shadowed forth in reply to Questions; and, further, the statement had been made the other day on introducing the School Teachers' Bill. But the hon. Baronet went on to accuse the Government of a departure from recognized principles, and he spoke of it as being prompted by a desire for a rapprochementbetween the Irish Members and the Government. Well, he was glad to find that there was an agreement between Her Majesty's Government and hon. Members in other parts of the House; and being charged with the duty of representing the Government of Ireland, he was especially glad that the policy of the Government with respect to Ireland met with the approval of the Irish Members. But the hon. Member said the Government were going back from the invariable policy which had been observed in regard to education, and a Bill had been referred to which, a few Sessions ago, imposed a charge on the Unions. That was a new departure—not this they were now making. It was the invariable policy with regard to Irish education to separate it from the national funds. The hon. Member might disagree with that policy or not; but he could not charge Her Majesty's Government with inaugurating a policy designed to catch support from a particular portion of the House. They had simply adhered to the practice which, with the slight exception he had alluded to, had always governed these matters. With regard to schools supported by capitation grants, this addition to the school teachers' salaries was founded on demands put forward by the teachers and those who represented them in the House and elsewhere; it had nothing to do with an increase of grants. The proposal was intended to meet a distinctly expressed want on the part of the teachers; and if the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Nolan) had any other claims to urge they would be made the subject of inquiry.
§ MR. GRAY
said, the noble Lord (Lord George Hamilton) had mentioned, in connection with the Vote for Public Education in Scotland, that steps had been taken to provide for instruction in cookery. He did not know what steps had been taken in that direction with respect to Ireland; but there was no other country which, needed instruction in that branch more. He, therefore, 1996 asked if the Chief Secretary for Ireland would state what steps had been taken to further that instruction in Ireland, which would render the schools both popular and useful?
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
promised that the subject should be considered in connection with the system of national education in Ireland. He recognized the importance of the instruction, as a means of enabling females in Ireland to discharge their domestic duties.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (10.) £2,806,825, to complete the sum for the Post Office.
§ MR. GRAY
rose to call attention to a subject in connection with the Post Office Savings' Banks to which he had alluded on a former occasion. Under the Post Office Savings' Bank Act of 1863, Clause 38, a provision existed by which the entire deposits of any depositor were absolutely forfeited for the reduction of the National Debt if he opened more than one account. A person named Kelly opened two accounts, and deposited a sum of about £100; he died, and application was made by his executors for the money; they were informed that it was confiscated; they then appealed to the Treasury, and were again informed that the money was confiscated. It must be remembered that those who used these Post Office Savings' Banks were the poorest and, presumably, the most ignorant of the people. No doubt, in the case referred to, the provision of the Act had been violated, and that the deposits were liable to forfeiture. No doubt, also, notice was given to depositors, and he was aware that they had also to sign a declaration, although that form of declaration was very vague. But when it was considered from what class of people these Post Office Savings Banks' deposits were chiefly drawn, it did not come to be a matter of very great wonder that an occasional endeavour should be made to get the benefit of opening a second account. That offence, he thought, was not a very heinous one; and although it might be characterized as a fraud, it was fraud of a legal, and not of a moral kind. It did not defraud the Department of the Post Office, and it did not certainly defraud the public, or any individual. No doubt, it was an offence, and it ought to be punished with a small penalty; but to 1997 confiscate the entire of a man's savings for that reason was, he thought, straining the punishment, and making it quite disproportioned to the offence. He did not want to go into the case of this man Kelly again; but he appealed to the noble Lord at the head of the Department, and to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, to consider whether this regulation was not a little too hard, and did not fall too heavily upon the poorer classes? He trusted that they would take the matter into their favourable consideration, with a view to effecting some modification of this rule, which he considered to work a very considerable injustice. He also asked the noble Lord whether he would object to grant a Return of the amounts of money which had been confiscated since the Post Office Savings Bank Act came in force? He could not but think, if it once became public that a large amount of money was confiscated by the Department owing to the breach of some technical rule, that the poorer and most ignorant, and, therefore, the most defenceless class, would be frightened away from the Banks, and would put their money in some more secure investment. He thought the Government would see that the punishment was quite disproportioned to the offence. There was another matter to which he wished to refer. The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), he believed, had, on a former occasion, mentioned that there was too much red tape and officialism about the Department in connection with the rules relating to life assurance. The hon. Member stated that every transaction with the Post Office Savings Bank involved an expenditure of 8d. There was no conceivable reason why this should be the case; and he concluded either that the accounts must be weighted with an undue proportion of charge, or else there must be something wrong in the system. Every Assurance Company in the United Kingdom issued to the assured notice of when the premium became due, which involved the cost of stamp and stationery. But it appeared that the Department made no use of stamps, and gave no notice to the poor and ignorant people who insured their lives as to when the payment became due. He knew, from his own experience, how necessary it was to get this notice. The result of 1998 the system of the Department must be that a large number of assurers would forget when the date of payment came round. He did not know whether the Post Office had the system which prevailed amongst other offices of levying a small fine, or submitting the assurer to a second medical examination in the case of a lapsed premium; but, surely, it would cost nothing to the Department, beyond the cost of the paper of a post card, to issue notices to the assurers, because although the Department might be debited with stamps they would go into another branch of the Revenue. The matter was certainly one for the consideration of the Department, for they were bound to remember that they were dealing with a poor and ignorant class of people, and that, therefore, they ought to give them every facility for understanding the conditions upon which their lives were assured.
§ MR. O'CLERY
was also acquainted with the case of a very poor man in the County of Wexford who had about £180, the savings of his whole life, and who, through sheer ignorance, had allowed his money to be placed in the same bank in different names. In this case the man went straight to the postmaster of the place and acquainted him with the fact. No relief could be obtained in this case on the ground that, 18 months having elapsed, the money had been transferred. He believed that there were only two means by which it could be refunded, either by the Treasury placing the sum upon the Estimates of next year, or by the introduction of a Private Bill. The latter course it was almost impossible to adopt; and he, therefore, thought it better to leave the matter to the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Treasury. He trusted the hon. Gentleman would consider the case of this poor man, with a view to its mitigation. No injury had been done to the Department, and the irregularity might, in his opinion, be met by a small fine. The poor man who had been kept so long out of his money could neither read or write.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he would have great pleasure in granting the Return asked for by the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Gray), for he believed it would be of benefit. With respect to the cases mentioned, he need only point out that the regulation referred to was one established by law, 1999 over which the Department had no manner of control. Of course, it might be a question as to whether the law, as it stood, was not too stringent, and it might very fairly be considered during the Recess whether the law should not be looked into and the matter referred to next Session. It was not only the Post Office Savings Banks to which this provision applied; the original Trustees Savings Banks were regulated in the same way, with the only difference that, in the latter case, a barrister was appointed to decide whether the multiform deposit was made with a fraudulent intention. In the case of the Post Office Savings Banks the Treasury had to decide upon the point; but, in both cases, the words in the clause were "fraudulent intention." He trusted that hon. Members would see that the Government had only acted in accordance with the law under which the Post Office Savings Banks were carried on. With respect to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Tipperary concerning the notices in the case of life assurances, he would take care that this subject should receive due consideration during the Recess.
§ Vote agreed to.