HC Deb 05 August 1879 vol 249 cc187-232

Order for Committee read.

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


I have risen merely for the purpose of saying that, in compliance with representations that have been made to me, expressing- the opinions of many of those who are known to be sincere friends of Catholic education, I shall not at this stage trouble the House with the Amendment which stands on the Paper in my name—an Amendment to the effect that the House resolve itself into Committee on the Bill that clay three months—but I reserve to myself the right to move the Amendment at a subsequent stage of the Bill.


said, he would ask the attention of the House but for a very few moments, as it was not necessary nor desirable that in submitting his Amendment he should enter on a discussion of the large question of University Education. Neither did he conceive that many words were required to explain and enforce the proposition that the period of the Session at which they had arrived, and the state of information as to the feelings of the Irish people with regard to the Bill, rendered it, to say the least, inexpedient that a measure of such high importance, and involving interests so momentous, should be pressed forward during the expiring hours of an over worked and exhausted Parliament. He submitted that a University Education Bill should possess, as far as possible, a character of finality, and that it should be accepted, and freely accepted, for the time being as a settlement. It was not pretended in any quarter that this Bill was so accepted, or that it could be so amended in Committee as to be a settlement. Why, then, proceed with it, with the certain knowledge that, if passed to-morrow, an Irish University Question would still exist, a source of agitation in Ireland and of embarrassment to the Government of this country? The Bill destroyed, but did not construct, a University; and when the House was asked to assist in a work so unusual as the demolition of a University it was bound to examine very closely, indeed, the plan of the edifice which it was proposed to erect upon the ruins. He had no desire to defend the Queen's University, as he thought it was not in harmony with the character of the country. At the same time, he was bound to admit that, with its three affiliated Colleges, it was, in form and substance, a real University. He did not think it was necessary, for the purpose of satisfying the claims of the Catholics, that anything should be destroyed, or that any existing institution should be even materially weakened or impaired. Destruction, in fact, was not called for, and could only be justified, if at all, in the event of the edifice destroyed being replaced by something more largely beneficial, more justly proportionate, and more real. Seeing what he now saw, and all that had happened since the introduction of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), he had to express his extreme regret at the part he took in opposition to that Bill; for the measure to which he referred was a reality. The proposal of the lamented Lord Mayo was a reality; so also was the Bill of the late distinguished Member for Limerick, and, in a lesser degree, that of his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don). But the one stupendous reality of the present Bill consisted in the almost unlimited powers conferred upon another Crown-appointed Board, of the composition of which the House was uninformed. There was at present, properly speaking, no University Education Bill at all before the House; nor would there be such a Bill before it until the unnamed three dozen gentlemen should have submitted their scheme for the better advancement of University Education in Ireland. All that this Bill of itself accomplished was the destruction of the Queen's University; but everything in the shape of University construction it committed unreservedly to the tender mercies of the three dozen gentlemen whose Report, with the sanction of the Lord Lieutenant, would be laid on the Table of the House on or about, that day 12 months. He had no desire to criticize minutely or in an acrimonious spirit a tentative measure like that before them, framed, as his hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw) had said, with the honest intention of settling a vexed question. He must, however, be allowed to enter his protest against that, or any measure by whomsoever devised, that would hand over to any three dozen Castle-appointed or Crown-appointed gentlemen the absolute control of Education in Ireland. The alternative proposal to which he should like to direct the attention of the House, and especially of the Government, was the ap- pointment of a Royal Commission for the purpose, not of preparing a scheme of University Education, but of ascertaining, through full and impartial inquiry, the mode of settlement that would be most acceptable to the country. A similar proposal, he recollected, was made some years ago by the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry), and if it had been adopted the question of Irish University Education would have been settled before this. Its adoption now would expedite, not retard, the settlement. They had had Royal Commissions in Ireland on subjects of comparatively trivial importance; and it was a remarkable circumstance that no Commission should ever have been issued with respect to this, the highest, the most important, and the most difficult, perhaps, of all subjects. There had been pourparlers which one party understood to mean negotiations, while the other party took them to mean proposals, and hence a controversy, terminating almost in an action for breach of promise, arose in "another place." That little difficulty had been amicably arranged by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who placidly assured the House that the pourparlers, the negotiations, and proposals meant nothing more serious than a little angling excursion on the part of the Vice-Regal party. To share in such an excursion might be a facile way of obtaining information of a delicate nature; but it should be borne in mind that University Education was one of those subjects which, to be dealt with satisfactorily, must be dealt with in accordance with the interests and feelings of the country at large; and what those interests and feelings really were, and how they could best be satisfied, could only be authoritatively ascertained by the medium of a full, open, and impartial inquiry. The plan of settlement which he had always advocated was the establishment of a Catholic College, as a College of the University of Dublin; and it surely was a matter of the utmost importance to ascertain with certainty the terms and conditions on which the heads of the Catholic party, on the one hand, and the heads of Trinity College on the other, would agree together to give effect to such a plan. He believed that if these bodies were fairly consulted it would be found that such an arrangement might be made as would astonish, by its simplicity and its moderation, and command the assent of all for its fairness and its justice. The plan itself was not a new one. It was, in fact, as old as the time of Charles II. In the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, it was provided that— The Lord Lieutenant, or other Chief Governor or Governors of the Kingdom, by and with the consent of the Privy Council, shall have full power to erect another College in connection with the University of Dublin, to be called a King's College. It was evident, from the spirit of the Act of 1793 of the Irish Parliament, the 33 Geo. III. c. 21, and from the specific words of the Act, that— Papists might graduate and be Professors or Fellows of any College hereinafter founded in Dublin University; that it was even then in the contemplation of the Irish Parliament to found another College—necessarily a Catholic College—in Dublin University. He maintained that the Imperial Parliament, in the 79th year of the Union, need not blush to follow the example of the exclusively Protestant Irish Parliament of 1793; and he felt confident that, in giving effect to the intentions of the Parliament of Grattan, Curran, Plunket, and Flood, the House would respond most effectually to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the Irish nation, without distinction of creed or party at the present day. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving, as an Amendment— That it is inexpedient, at this period of the Session, to proceed with a measure of such high importance; and that the appointment of a Royal Commission with instructions to confer with the heads of existing Universities and of collegiate institutions, affords the surest means of enabling Parliament to arrive next Session at a satisfactory solution of the problem of higher education in Ireland.


seconded the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "it is inexpedient, at this period of the Session, to proceed with a measure of such high importance; and that the appointment of a Royal Commission, with instructions to confer with the heads of existing Universities and of collegiate institutions, affords the surest means of enabling Parliament to arrive next Session at a satisfactory solution of the problem of higher education in Ireland,"—(Mr. P. J. Smyth,) —instead thereof.

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


felt sure that nobody, whatever his opinion upon this much-vexed question, could fail to admire the eloquence of the speech just delivered; and, although it was not in his power to follow the hon. Gentleman in his plea for delay, nevertheless, there must be many in the House—including himself—who must sincerely thank the hon. Member for what he had said in regard to the impolicy of the destruction of the Queen's University, and the connection between the Queen's University and the Queen's Colleges. The hon. Member maintained that it was in no way necessary, in order to satisfy the Roman Catholics of Ireland, to destroy the Queen's Colleges or the Queen's University. Such a statement as they had heard made by the hon. Member was one which, coming from him, was grave and weighty, and contained within it the seeds of much that would be useful in the discussion of the question. If it was not in his power to support the hon. Member in his plea for delay, it was partly because he felt that it would not be altogether impossible, if a fair and reasonable spirit were shown by the Government, to secure, to a certain extent, the objects which the hon. Member had at heart—he meant the retention in substance, if not actually in name, of the Queen's University, and the conferring, upon a Roman Catholic College of some advantages, greater or less, which would, to a certain extent, meet the views of the hon. Gentleman and those who agreed with him. Here he might be allowed to observe that they had some reason to complain of the attitude of the Government on the Bill. Only a few weeks ago an eminent Member of the Government, speaking at a rural gathering of the distinction between Conservative principles and the more Radical measures of their opponents, said the Government, when it saw what appeared to be a great and crying evil, always remembered that much evil often resulted from very slight causes, and that the first effort of the Conservative Go- vernment was not to destroy the whole, but to search and find the small grain of evil. But hardly had the country ceased to rejoice at being under such a Government, that did not rashly destroy existing institutions, when, happening to cast their eyes on the Professoriate of the Queen's University, they proceeded to put an end to it. The hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) had asked why the Queen's University was to be destroyed, and why the connection between the University and the Colleges was to be severed? He had not been able to obtain any answer at all. In fact, Her Majesty's Government stood in the position of deliberately going out of its way to destroy a valuable existing institution. Then, it had given no good or sufficient reason for this extraordinary resolution, and they were naturally led to believe that there must be some other reason which had not been stated. He called on the Government to explain what it had not yet explained—how it was that justice could not be done to the Roman Catholics of Ireland without the destruction of the Queen's University? With reference to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth), that the best way out of the difficulty would be to found a distinctly Roman Catholic College, either in the University of Dublin, or in another. University, he (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) had put on the Paper a Notice of Amendments which would meet the views of the hon. Member. It was true that if this Bill passed the Queen's University would perish; but, still, he supposed a new University to take its place would be instituted, and he would venture to ask whether the same name could not be perpetuated in the new University? The name of the Queen's University was honoured in Ireland, and its degrees were valued. ["No, no."] Hon. Members representing some Irish constituencies dissented from this statement; but the question was one upon which English Members held views, and he, for one, thought that an Irish Queen's University degree was a respectable, if not even a high one. He held that the main grievance of the Roman Catholics of Ireland could be settled by giving further privileges to one or more of the existing Institutions in that country. In the debate on the measure of the hon. Member for Ros- common, he had urged upon the Government three things—first, in his opinion, they ought to throw open the degrees of the Queen's University, just as the London degrees were; secondly, to endow the Queen's University with a sum of money to be spent in Fellowships, Scholarships, and other rewards impartially competed for by students of any denomination; and, thirdly, to charter the College of St. Patrick as a College of the Queen's University—in fact, establish a fourth Queen's College. He had placed Amendments on the Paper having for their object the retention of the connection between the Queen's Colleges and the University, and another proposing a Charter for St. Patrick's College; but he had also gone further, and proposed to give certain pecuniary privileges to the College of St. Patrick. This last Amendment required some justification and vindication of his own consistency. The Amendment was to enable the Crown, in the event of St. Patrick's College being created a chartered College of the Queen's University, to pay certain Professors appointed by the Crown in the three faculties of Arts, Law, and Physic, in the same manner as Professors were paid in the existing Queen's Colleges. He would not deny that, in effect, the result of that would be that the Catholic College would have so much more money to pay the expenses of the College, among others the teachers of Divinity; but there was an old legal maxim that recommended regard being paid to the immediate consequences of an action, and that they should not follow it into its remote consequences. A discussion of the ulterior results of such a payment would be unwise, if not absurd. He might as well object to a Vote in the Navy Estimates, because a contract with a Catholic manufacturer of armour plates was an indirect endowment of that religion. Put what he asked was payment to the Professors, not to the Governing Body of the Institution, solely on condition that they should teach in St. Patrick's College; that their lectures should be guarded by a Conscience Clause, and that the College and the University should' each have the benefit of their lectures. What he had objected to was the proposition which had been made in 1873 by the Roman Catholic Bishops that there should be a direct endowment of a Roman Catholic University or Col- lege; and, secondly, he also objected to the proposition which was contained in the Bill of the hon. Member for Eos-common (the O'Conor Don), that there should be a payment made to these Colleges. Why did he object? He objected because, although they might in the case of result fees delude themselves with the belief that they only paid for secular results, as a matter of fact, they were doing nothing of the kind. He wished to impress on his. Nonconformist Friends this fact—that the objections against result fees did not apply to the plan he proposed. He had no desire in any way to obstruct this Bill. He knew there was in Ireland a wish that this Bill should be knocked into shape and passed, and he should do what he could towards that object. What he wished to urge was that, under his Amendments, Roman Catholics in Ireland would only be placed in the same position which Roman Catholics were placed in other countries where they were in a minority, and in the same position that Protestants were placed in in countries where they were in a minority by the Legislatures of those countries. As long as they kept up religious services and Divinity Professorships in Trinity College, Dublin, the Roman Catholics could not say that there was absolute religious equality. Was he to keep the Roman Catholics waiting 30 years for the equality they asked for? He cast about to see whether there was not some mode of conciliating the conscientious scruples of the Nonconformists of England, and, at the same time, of doing justice to the claims of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and it was guided by that feeling, and by the fact that these things had been found possible in foreign countries, that he placed on the Paper his Amendments. He might, perhaps, spy, that he had not introduced these Amendments in consequence of a letter which had appeared in the public prints from Mr. Matthew Arnold. As a matter of fact, they were on the Paper five days before that letter appeared, and they were arrived at simply upon a consideration of the merits of the question. He had been told the Professors whom he proposed would be persons agreeable to Roman Catholics. Of course, they would be agreeable to Roman Catholics. What a sensible Lord Lieutenant would do would be to look out for as eminent men as could be found, and who would teach in a Roman Catholic College in a fair and liberal spirit, and, at the same time, without offence to Roman Catholics. If they attempted to settle the question and yet left much behind unsettled, they might depend upon it that the day would come when, under the pressure of public uproar, they might be called upon to grant something that was not reasonable. He trusted that the question would be approached in a spirit of compromise. Let them recollect the saying of the great Irishman Burke—that compromise was the foundation of government, and let them act accordingly. Then they would have the happy satisfaction, in this otherwise misspent Session, of settling a thorny question, and, at the same time, contributing to the peace and contentment of Ireland.


said, that whatever were his own ideas, he certainly should not bestow them upon the House at that late day of the Session, and that very late day of the question. He rose to make an appeal, not in any Party spirit, but with a desire for peace and conciliation, that they might be allowed to go practically to work with as few words as possible, and with a belief in the good intention of all around. His noble Friend (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) had talked about settling the question; but if there was one word which had crept into modern politics to unsettle everything, it was that word "settle." He was sure the Government had no intention to settle the Education Question for Ireland, in the sense of passing something or other which should servo for all time. If they had any such purpose, he certainly should not rise to support so absurd and illogical a proposal. The matter was simply this-—there was a demand on the part of the youth of Ireland for the provision of a liberal education, with academical degrees. The present academical degrees, in consequence of their conscientious feeling, were really not accessible to a large portion of the educated youth of Ireland. It was believed that this Bill would remove the difficulty. As this Bill, therefore, would be a real boon to the cause of education in Ireland, he trusted that in the form it would assume in Committee it would be adopted, and would stand on the Statute Book. Really, it was confusing the discussion to enter into discussions on the merits of Universities with Colleges. They all of them had their opinions on this matter. Personally, he had a strong feeling in favour of that form of University education which was found ed upon the Collegiate system; he should deem himself unworthy to represent the constituency he did (Cambridge University), if he had not that belief; and he rejoiced to find the same feeling among his Roman Catholic Friends in Ireland. He desired them to get as full a concession of the means of University education as they could, and, for that reason, he advised them strongly to accept the present Bill and be satisfied with it. Within its four corners there was everything they could hope to get from any present Parliament; for the rest they must trust to self-help to start these Colleges—that valuable quality which had operated so largely in the founding of all the great Universities of the Middle Ages—Paris, Oxford, or Cambridge. His attendance at the House that day had prevented him from being present at the laying of the first stone of the fifth or sixth of a magnificent series of denominational Colleges for the education of English boys, founded and endowed solely and exclusively by private gifts, under the inspiration of Canon Woodward. That which had been done in England was surely feasible for Ireland. The Roman Catholics might, it was true, have made better use of the opportunities afforded them by the provisions contained in the Act which governed the Queen's Colleges, permitting denominational halls, with their deans of residence. A trusting acceptance of that provision, and a real effort to give it life would have resulted in a very different condition of matters from that which we now found. But the fact was, that they had not taken advantage of that concession, and that was enough for Parliament. There was no use in lecturing a nation of several millions of people, and pointing out to them what they might have done had they been less wayward and wilful. The Queen's Colleges, it was clear, did not give the Roman Catholic people in Ireland what they personally wanted, and this Bill was intended to remedy the defect. It might not be so complete as they desired; but it afforded them splendid opportunities of exercising that self-help of which he had spoken. To reject it, because it did not endow this or that College, was to throw those valuable opportunities away. He asked the Roman Catholics to show themselves the descendants of the great scholars of the Middle Ages, who founded those Universities and Colleges which kept burning the lamp of learning in the darkest ages. The Bill went as far as any Government Bill could be expected to do, and, recognizing in it a message of peace and goodwill to Ireland, he offered it his most cordial support.


Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in opposition to the principles of the Bill brought forward by the Government. I look upon this measure as one fraught with serious dangers, not only to 'the closing Session of this Parliament, but also to all future relations between Ireland and England. Upon this Bill we may see the issue which has long been working in Ireland, through the want of attention on the part of English statesmen to the wishes and sympathies of the Irish nation, This Bill may be described, not as an Irish measure, but as one introduced by Englishmen anxious to do a considerable conciliatory part towards Ireland, but thoroughly innocent of the aspirations and of the sympathies of the Irish people with regard to University Education. I have followed, with very great pleasure, the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope), and I find that he is frank enough to state that he does not look upon this Bill as what he is pleased to term a final settlement of this very large and vexed question. But he does hope that this Bill will be cast in Committee into such proportions as to render it, so cast, acceptable as a qualified settlement of the University Question. In that I quite agree with him; and, knowing the terrible majority that the Government can always carry with them upon this or upon any other question, I feel that all the Irish Members can do is to accept whatever concessions' they can squeeze from Her Majesty's Government, and to bring up this Bill again in some amended form in the forthcoming Session, or, it may be, in the new Parliament. The hon. Member for Cambridge University has commended to us—the Irish Members—the consideration of that great virtue, self-help. Mr. Speaker, I may remind the hon. Member that the University which he has the honour to represent, and the other University of England, owe their first endowment and their State support to times long gone by, when the principles which Catholic Ireland holds to-day were paramount throughout this country. And, Sir, as to self-help in Ireland, it is rather a difficult process for a man who has had his pocket robbed to aid himself in such a gigantic scheme as this of University education. The very Trinity College, which has been such a consideration to the Irish people, owes its origin and its first endowment to Roman Catholics; and, therefore, I think that if English Members of this House—if both Liberals and Tories—are anxious, as they say they are, to offer conciliation to Ireland, they ought to remember that it is only by considering the feelings of the Irish people, and looking upon this question, if it were possible for them, from an Irish platform, that they can really understand the aspirations of the Irish people. Sir, the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) has given us a long disquisition upon University education, and upon the Colleges attached to a University; but I will remind him, through you, that the appearances of truth are often more deceptive than error; and that in offering to us conciliatory measures, and in wishing to extend to us that sympathy for which we are thankful, we would remind him of his own words, when he said that the Queen's University degrees were of very considerable value; but, as it was a discussible question, he would leave that domestic matter to the Irish Members. Now, if the noble Lord carried his philosophical principles further, he would have said also that this Irish University Question ought also to be left solely to the Irish Members. Sir, a distinguished literateur, a writer, and one of an unbiassed temperament—Mr. Matthew Arnold—wrote in The Times of last Thursday a very remarkable letter upon this question of University education; and though the noble Lord repudiated any connection with the principles, or rather with having borrowed from the principles, of Matthew Arnold, I myself prefer to take the opinion of Matthew Arnold upon so important a question as University education, believing, as I do, that there is no higher authority upon this question than Matthew Arnold. Now, Mr. Matthew Arnold, in quoting the various systems upon the Continent of University education, has told us that the Theological Faculty of Montauban embraces eight professions. Now, we all know that the Protestant minority of France is comparatively insignificant; and 3Tet the French people have Liberalism enough to recognise that the Protestant minority must have their religious and political convictions valued at their proper qualifications. Then, Sir, the University of Bonn is also quoted; and so are several other foreign Universities, showing that minorities are respected, religiously and intellectually, upon the Continent; but there, we do not ask that you should extend to a minority the same religious liberties which the Continent extends to Universities. We, in Ireland, are the majority, and we simply ask that the majority of Irish people should be respected in their wishes. Moreover, this is not a question of paying out of English funds for Irish education. The money for which we ask belongs to the Irish nation; and, Sir, never mind what express trusts or private endowments may have been given to the Queen's Colleges of Ireland, it is an axiom, I think, of equity, that whenever any private or express trusts interfere with the general good, or with the public welfare, they must stand aside in the interests of a nation. Therefore, these private trusts and endowments should be so arranged that, whilst doing violence to the conscience of no man, they shall be placed in accord with the wishes and sympathies of the great majority of the Irish people. Sir, this House is asked to remove the last vestige of the Penal Laws, to do away with that denominational gulf which divides the Irish and the English people on the question of education. This House is asked to do an act of justice towards Ireland, which both Conservative and Liberal Governments have professed themselves willing to do. The Government have taken the initiative in this matter; and it only remains for this House, when it goes into Committee, to so amend this Bill as to render it acceptable to Irish Representatives here, who have, at least, the greatest right to say what will be acceptable to Ireland, and what will not. If this Bill is not clothed with some rights on the part of the Catholics of Ireland, it will simply become a subject of future discussions in this House; because no Catholic can rest satisfied until this House has done an ample measure of justice to Catholic Ireland, and an act of reparation to the general principles of liberty, justice, and equality.


said, he understood the hon. Member for Ennis (Mr. Finigan) to say that he intended to support the Bill, and he supposed, therefore, that the hon. Member would not follow the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth) into the Lobby when he divided on the Amendment which he had moved. It appeared to him (Mr. Courtney), however, that the speech to which they had just listened led up to the conclusion that they ought to adopt the Amendment of the hon. Member for Westmeath. No Bill dealing with a question of this importance had ever been laid before the House which was of so sketchy a character as the present. It appeared to him that there was no section of that House that could feel that the situation in which they were placed in regard to the Bill was satisfactory. Those who represented the Roman Catholic Prelates of Ireland said they could not accept the measure as a settlement; while those who approached it from an educational point of view were equally dissatisfied with it. It was just as acceptable or unacceptable as was the proposal of Sir George Grey, in 1865, that the obtaining of degrees should be no longer restricted to students of University and Queen's Colleges. It was proposed to destroy a Collegiate system, which he (Mr. Courtney) had shown to be sufficient to meet the wants of the laity of Ireland, without satisfying either religious or educational claims; and as the position of the Bill could not be satisfactory either to the Government, who had exhibited so much squeezability, or to the Leaders of the Opposition, whose followers had not shown much obedience to them in the Division Lobby, it was hopeless to think of dealing with the question in the remainder of the Session; and it had better be referred to a Royal Commission, to consider how the existing Collegiate system could be extended so as to satisfy all, without doing violence to the principles on which Parliament had recently and for a long time previously acted. For his part, he adhered to the objections that he stated upon the second reading of the Bill, against any alteration in the existing system of University Education in Ireland. He believed that if that system were properly understood, it should, and, as a matter of fact, it did, satisfy all the wants of the Catholic laity of Ireland. It was true that since the Bill had been read a second time they had had the benefit of an epistle-general from a very distinguished person, who had been referred to by more than one hon Member in the course of the debate. Mr. Matthew Arnold was a gentleman given very much to instructing them in an elegant and languid way, and he was, of course, a great authority. He had invented, of late, a new religion. It was a religion which dispensed with all forms, all articles, and all doctrines; but, with a delightful suffusion of tender sentiment and generous feeling, they were able to go on professing and repeating all the existing formularies, although they had no kind of significance or meaning. That was Mr. Matthew Arnold. The only fault with his religion, apparently, was that nobody was disposed to accept it but himself. A religion of that kind failed in the necessary element of being popular. It did not appeal to the rich, still less did it appeal to the poor; and thus it was rejected altogether. Mr. Arnold said that there was a great want of Catholic University Education in Ireland, and he referred to the state of things existing in Germany and France. But, there, it happened there were payments of stipends to the priests; and it was in connection with the payment of stipends to Protestant pastors in France that there were payments for a Protestant School of Theology. Did Mr. Arnold propose to introduce anything of that kind in this country? Why, they were moving in a totally different direction. They had not yet disendowed the ministers in Scotland, or the clergy in England; but they had disendowed the Church in Ireland, and if the argument prevailed at all it should go to this extent—that because they had not disendowed the clergy in England, or the ministers in Scotland, they were bound injustice to set up and endow the Catholic priesthood there, and, with them, a Catholic University. For his part, he rejected altogether the lesson which was founded on Mr. Matthew Arnold's Continental I experiences. Mr. Matthew Arnold appeared to be very little acquainted with the facts of University organization in Ireland. In one part of his letter he said— The Irish Catholics may say, Give us an undenominational University just like yours; that is all we want—a University where the bulk of the students and the teachers are Catholic. Well, the Queen's Colleges in Cork and Galway were undenominational in the sense which Mr. Matthew Arnold used. It was asserted that the people of Ireland rejected those Colleges. He denied that those whose means enabled them to avail themselves of those Colleges rejected them. It was a matter of figures; and the figures, as he had shown on a former occasion, proved what he stated. Then, with reference to the organization of the Colleges, he would refer to a speech delivered when the Colleges were proposed to be founded, and when it was objected that they did not afford religious education. Referring to the speech of the then Member for Kerry (Mr. Morgan John O'Connell), Mr. Shiel said— I coincide with the hon. Member in thinking that secular education in Ireland should be mixed. And he pointed out that, in after life, the Catholic merchant associated with the Protestant, the Catholic advocate with the Protestant, and the Catholic soldier was the comrade of the Protestant soldier. He said— Mixed secular education ought to be combined with separate religious instruction, which, ought to be provided by the State. Well, the State did provide it. It was open to all; and he (Mr. Courtney) believed it to be the best system of education that could be devised, and adhered to the statement that it was, in fact, satisfactory to the people of Ireland. If it were not for political reasons, they would not, in his opinion, find any Government endeavouring to undo it; but now, from time to time, they saw Government after Government trying to go as far as they could—fearful of their own Followers behind them—in the effort to obtain the support of a particular body of Members. Even if they succeeded, did they for a moment think that that was the way to secure the support of the people of the United Kingdom? He supported the proposal of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth), for he thought that the question should not be hurriedly settled at the fag-end of the Session, in accordance with a scheme which, more than any other, was open to objection. With regard to the present Bill, he had not yet heard a single word from a single man in that House in favour of the plan which was recommended. They proposed to destroy the Queen's University; but why did they propose to do so? The Chief Secretary for Ireland had not told the House yet—and he was afraid he would not tell them—why it was proposed. If no argument was brought forward to show the advisability of it being destroyed, why should they consent to its destruction, and with it the destruction of a system which had done so much, and brought out and trained so many students? The facts showed that the Queen's Colleges had turned out a set of students who had proved themselves equal to those brought up at any other College in the country; and, that being the case, it was idle to tell him that they were not of great value. The Government proposed to destroy the Queen's University without assigning any adequate reason, and to make the University of the future dependent upon annual Votes in that House. Now, was there any Member who really thought that University education could be suitably maintained when in a state of dependence upon the fluctuating will of the House of Commons? What would be said if it was proposed to make the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge depend on Party Votes? He sincerely hoped that hon. Members would protest strongly against this scheme, and insist, at least, upon a definite settlement of the financial question. The organization of the future University was not in the Bill at all. It was intrusted to an unknown body of gentlemen, who were to say what it should be, what kind of prizes should be instituted and in what manner they were to be bestowed. That was like accepting a bill in blank, which they gave to an unknown person to fill up the amount and put it in circulation. They were going to permit the extraordinary trust to an unknown person of drawing upon them to an unknown amount. The Government were going to accept such a Bill, and the House was asked to consult its dignity and honour by giving a Roving Commission to those unknown persons, that they might draw 12 months hence on an unknown Ministry of that day. Surely such considerations were sufficient to enforce the wisdom of the proposal of the hon. Member for "Westmeath—to relegate the consideration of that question to a Royal Commission, who should fully deliberate upon it. He quite recognized the necessity of doing something, and doing that something as soon as possible; but he could not approve the suggestions of the Government, which, if carried out, would not be creditable to the House, and would be most injurious to the cause of higher education in Ireland.


said, that as reference had frequently been made in the discussions on this Bill to the University of London, he should like, holding, as he did, the office of Vice Chancellor of that University, to say a few words on the subject. In the first place, he wished to remark that he was sure the University would feel no jealousy on account of the possible effect this Bill might have in diminishing the numbers of those who would hereafter go to it for degrees. In the matriculation examination which had just been held, nearly 1,000 students presented themselves, and as the number increased year by year, the House would see at once that the University was not likely to be influenced by any such feeling. It was, however, very undesirable to do anything which would tend to lower the standard of degrees. At present, the London degrees were known to be severe; but then it was sometimes said that the University of London was a mere Examining Body, and its degrees were contrasted with those of Oxford and Cambridge, as if Oxford and Cambridge implied Collegiate as against private instruction. So far was this from being the case, that nine-tenths of the London graduates had had a Collegiate training. To suppose that, because the University was, in one sense, an Examining Board, the students had had no Collegiate advantages, was entirely a misconception which it seemed desirable to remove. The next point on which he was anxious to say a word was the question of finance. It had been stated that the University of London had several thousands a-year to distribute in Fellowships and Exhibitions. Now, the fact was that the annual sum so applied was only about £1,500. Indeed, the whole Vote for the University of London was under £11,000 a-year, while about £6,000 was received in fees and repaid to the Exchequer, so that the net expense was only about £5,000 a-year—a striking proof of how much might be accomplished at a comparatively small outlay. But of this £5,000 a-year only about £1,500 was devoted to Scholarships, &c, the rest being for salaries of Examiners, and similar charges. He thought it was clear, therefore, that a most important question was raised as to the relations which were to exist in future between the different Universities, if large sums were to be granted for Fellowships to this new University. If Parliament granted to the new University much more than £1,500 a-year—and he did not know whether this sum would satisfy the aspirations of hon. Members from Ireland—it was clear that Parliament was offering students a bribe to enter there. But, apart from the pecuniary consideration, he confessed that the relation which was to exist between the new anonymous University and other Universities did not seem clear. The new University was not to be exclusively Irish. Under the Bill an Englishman could enter for any of the examinations, and, as no residence was required, there would always be a tendency to go to whichever University granted its degrees on the easiest terms. On the other hand, with regard to prizes and Exhibitions, there was nothing in the Bill to prevent the best men from Oxford and Cambridge, or the Scotch Universities, from carrying them off. Perhaps there was no objection to their making the attempt; but the point seemed to him to be one worthy of careful consideration.


said, he desired to make a few remarks with reference to the course which he took on a former occasion in voting for the second reading of this Bill. It appeared to him a very unseemly spectacle that a portion of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland should for years have been induced by their ecclesiastical leaders to repudiate the Queen's University. He regretted, exceedingly, that the Roman Catholics of the sister country had not, more emphatically and generally than they had yet done, availed themselves of the opportunities for obtaining degrees which were afforded by the Queen's Colleges and University—that they had not repudiated the stigma, which the ecclesiastical leaders to whom he had referred, had long laboured to fix upon those Institutions. As for pacifying the Ultramontanes, who had constituted themselves the ecclesiastical leaders of the Roman Catholics in Ireland, experience ought to have taught the House that this was simply impossible. He rejoiced, however, that one phrase of this contest was coming to an end. It had long been painful to him that Her Majesty's name and title, as connected with the Queen's University and Colleges in Ireland, should be exposed to slight and insult by so large a portion of her subjects. That, he was convinced, was not the result of failure in the munificent scheme which the late Sir Robert Peel devised and carried for higher education in Ireland; but was simply and solely the effect of the Ultramontane virus which poisoned the minds of the Irish people. It had become, in his opinion, neither decent nor safe that Her Majesty's name should be connected with any phase of higher education in Ireland. He thought it essential that Her Majesty's name should always be treated with reverence, and that, therefore, it ought in no manner to be connected with the University to be erected under this Bill. The House of Lords had been induced to send the general scheme of this Bill to that House, and the House was now about to try its hand upon it. What the result of that manipulation might be found to be remained to be proved; but, whatever the result, the scheme had become a Parliamentary scheme, and Parliament ought to be held solely responsible for it. If the Home Rulers preferred the control of the Parliament to that of Her Majesty, it was reasonable that this desire should be fully met. He did not entertain any sanguine anticipations with respect to the measure which was about to be considered in Committee. It would, however, to use a military phrase, develop the position. Her Majesty's Ministers had practically declared that, in their opinion, the Queen's University in Ireland, as it existed, was indefensible, and appeared to think that they could not reject the Bill proposed by the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) without substituting something for it. He (Mr. Newdegate) did not understand exactly the motives of their conduct; but these two facts were patent— that it was late in the Session, and that Her Majesty's Ministers had an obsequious majority at their back. He had not any sanguine anticipations with regard to the measure now before the Committee. Why Her Majesty's Ministers, had chosen to abandon a position which had been found tenable for 30 years he did not understand; they would find, that by shifting their ground, they would not escape the necessity for resisting somewhere the aggressive spirit which prevailed amongst the Ultramontane hierarchy in Ireland; that had been discovered both in Germany and in France. It was, however, his earnest wish to show the Irish people that it was not, what was foolishly thought a trifle, which would prevent the House of Commons from endeavouring to meet their desires. Many hoped that some final settlement would be arrived at; he was not at all sanguine that this would be attained by concession. The opinion,, however, seemed to prevail that some settlement might be reached; that the Legislature might find some ground, some position more tenable than that which the Queen's University occupied. He. (Mr. Newdegate) could not forget promises of peace and good-will on their part tendered, and even upon oath, by the Papal hierarchs, on the faith of which the Relief Act of 1829 had been obtained. The House had even up to the present hour, in the conduct of the Home Rule section, an ample illustration of the value of those promises. But the conduct of the Opposition, in supporting the University Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon, and the production of the present Bill by a quasi-Conservative Government, showed that there was a determination or, it might be, a helplessness in that House, which rendered the trial of some experiment inevitable. Without, therefore, any sanguine expectation that the present measure would prove a panacea for the troubles of Ireland, he should make no futile attempt to interrupt the experiment upon which the majority of the House seemed determined. As he had indicated, he could not indulge in any glowing hopes, such as the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope) had expressed, with respect to the Bill. That hon. Gentleman said he wanted to give contentment to the Irish Roman Catholics. He (Mr. Newdegate) also wished, if possible, to give satisfaction to the Irish nation; and, entertaining that desire, he was most decidedly opposed to any idea of any permanent endowment for higher education in Ireland. That would be granting a principle the consequences of which might be found irretrievable. Remembering the example of Ultramontane education in France, having read the evidence which had been produced by the Minister of Public Instruction, and the character of the teaching which was given to some of the Orders of the Church of Rome, he sincerely trusted that the Legislature would not sanction any permanent endowment for the object the House had now before them. He held that this should be treated as essentially a tentative measure; and, although he did not look for much in the way of results from it, he would acquiesce in the Bill going into Committee, in the hope that those who called themselves educationalists would, with a view to the creation and maintenance of an adequate standard of education in Ireland, be found to possess and exhibit the courage and sincerity which, on this subject, had been evinced by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney).


said, that the question immediately left to the House was the Amendment of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth), which asked them to drop the Bill, and to refer it to a Royal Commission. The hon. Member had correctly said that so long ago as 18 7 3 he (Mr. Mitchell Henry) had brought forward precisely the same proposal. The House did not entertain the proposition at that time. He thought then that there was need of such information as to the wishes and views of those interested in University Education in Ireland; but he was not able to support the Amendment now, because, to use an historical phrase, "many things had happened since then." They knew now perfectly well what were the views of the people of Ireland on the subject of University Education. Nevertheless, they were asked, especially by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), to accept the Amendment, drop the Bill, and review the whole subject. Before taking that advice, he thought that they were entitled to look a little into the motives of the hon. Member who tendered it. The hon. Member for Liskeard was not in the House in 1873, but representatives of his opinions were. The hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) and his Friends did not support the proposal m ado in 1873 to refer the matter to a Royal Commission, because they believed that they themselves knew the proper way to settle the question of University education. The hon. Member for Hackney was just as clear in his statement to the House that he knew what was wanted in Ireland on the subject of University Education as the hon. Member for Liskeard had been that afternoon. The hon. Member for Liskeard had told them that the Catholics of Ireland were quite content with the Queen's Colleges, and became quite irritable if hon. Members who represented Irish constituencies ventured to differ from the opinion which he expressed. He (Mr. Mitchell Henry) never ventured to address the House on Irish education without great reluctance, because he felt his opinions, as a Protestant, were different to those of many of his co-religionists. The first class was represented by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), who had just addressed the House, and the hon. Member for North-East Lancashire (Mr. Holt). They who represented that Party were mortally afraid of the Pope, of everything that the Pope could do, and believed the intentions of the Catholics were to undermine the Constitution of the country, to withdraw all their liberties, and to place them under ecclesiastical domination. That feeling predominated all through whatever those hon. Gentlemen said or did. He respected their opinions, as he respected the opinions of any other person. He considered that they were far-fetched and rather eccentric. They did not wish this question settled. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire did not wish it settled.


I did not say I did not wish it settled; I said I did not think this Bill would settle it.


had understood the hon. Member to imply that he was opposed to any complete settlement by endowment, and wished to have an annual discussion in the House to enable him and his Friends to ventilate their fears of the Pope. Then there were other hon. Members who came forward ostensibly in the interests of education and in the guise of friends, but who were, in reality, the bitter enemies of Ireland. He referred to those who were called—and rightly called—"Doctrinaires" on the subject of education. Those Gentlemen appeared to demand that the Catholic youth of Ireland should be educated upon the lines which they laid down, and upon no others; but hon. Gentlemen experienced the greatest difficulty in putting themselves in the position occupied by the Catholics of Ireland, so far as the question of University Education was concerned. He had often heard the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), who spoke very freely on the subject, say—"Why cannot you Catholics go to the University of Oxford or that of Cambridge? There is nothing to prevent you. If you will come to my College, you will find your religious convictions not only respected, but taken no account of. We have elected to our Scholarships three Nonconformists, and if you distinguish yourselves in your studies you will also be elected." It was perfectly plain why the Catholics did not accept the invitation. The hon. Member for Hackney and others of this Doctrinaire school had not that positive belief as to religion which was entertained by Catholics in all parts of the world. Protestants differed amongst themselves. Some were Episcopalians, some were Dissenters of various kinds, some were Unitarians, as to whom some denied that they were Christians at all. Whatever they were, Protestants agreed that they could accept these different forms of faith without danger to their eternal happiness. That was not the way with Catholics. They believed that there was only one salvation under Heaven. That being so, did the House desire to deny the Catholic the right to educate his own children in that faith which, if violated, he believed would imperil eternal salvation? He (Mr. Mitchell Henry), himself, advocated the claims of the Irish Catholics for years before he became an Irish Member. When he was a candidate for an English constituency, no doubt the unpopularity of the opinions which he held was the cause of his defeat; but he had never asked anyone to advocate the claims of Ireland in this matter except on the grounds of justice. There was a population in Ireland of 5,500,000, four-fifths being Catholics; they paid their share of the taxes, and they had the same rights and no more than they would have if they were Mahomedans, who constituted a portion of our country, and paid four-fifths of the taxes. They possessed, in his opinion, a right to have their own system of University Education. Of course, the Bill would not settle the question; it relegated it to a body of gentlemen that might, practically, be called a Royal Commission; it, in point of fact, carried out in a practical way the proposition of the hon. Member for Westmeath, which was also advocated by the hon. Member for Liskeard. The opinion of the Irish people upon the subject was now well known, and the Government would, of course, take care to nominate upon the Senate of the new University representatives of all classes and opinions. It would be the duty of the Senate to ascertain, if they did not know it before, what were the wishes and feelings of the different University Bodies. It would be their duty also to attend to the wishes of the Irish people. When that had been done it would be for them to lay before the Government a scheme of University Education which would satisfy the religious wants of the Irish people. The Government would lay the scheme upon the Table of the House; and if it did not meet with the satisfaction of the House, and the Catholics who sat in the House as Irish Representatives, it would be open for them to oppose it. The proposal of the Government was one for really and practically referring the whole question to a Royal Commission. He would much rather that the Government had come forward, as a bold and strong Government ought to have done, with a well-considered and liberal measure. But there had been influences at work that had prevented them from doing that which would have been a statesmanlike and honourable act. He, however, for one, would not take the responsibility of voting against the Government proposal. He would support the Government Bill, and such Amendments as commended themselves to him in the passage of the measure through the House. In concluding his observations he wished to say that he had had much intercourse with Roman Catholics in Ireland, and especially with the Roman Catholic hierarchy upon this subject, and what had struck him most was the moderation and reasonableness of their claims; and if the House would grant to the Roman Catholics of Ireland some of the facilities for University Education which existed in England, he felt certain that they would set at rest the question, without which settlement Parliament could never proceed smoothly, and without which there could be no lasting union between the two peoples.


congratulated the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) upon his somewhat tardy conversion to the cause of justice to Ireland. What was the position in which the House was placed with regard to this Bill? They were within a week of that anniversary, after which it was said no Government could keep a House of Commons together. They had been sitting for six months—the dreariest he ever passed in his life. They were now, on the 5th of August, asked to grapple with what he would venture to call the most difficult Irish problem since the passing of the Irish Church Act. He held in his hand four innocent-looking pages of Amendments to the Bill. These Amendments raised every possible question—financial, educational, academical, theological, and oven sexual, for he noticed that his hon. Friend (Mr. Courtney) intended to raise the point of women's rights. How was it possible that a Bill involving questions of such importance could be properly discussed at this late period of the Session? This was a purely Irish subject, and, as such, ought to be considered. Still, there was a limit to "squeezability." Let them look at the history of the Bill. To whom did they owe it? Why, to the hon. Member for Roscommon, (the O'Conor Don) who, in the first place, introduced an honest Bill. But the Government would not accept it. The way in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had turned round on this question reminded him of Richard II.'s turning to the mob that followed Wat Tyler, and exclaiming—"I'll be your leader." There was only one "way of passing the measure this Session, and that was by Members agreeing not to discuss it at all; but, for that purpose, the Irish Members must be "squared;" and it seemed, from the speech of the Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry), that they had been squared most successfully. The Bill of the Government had been materially altered since it was introduced, for it now included all those clauses which the hon. Members for North-East Lancashire (Mr. Holt) and North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) considered the most objectionable clauses in the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon. He (Mr. Osborne Morgan) supported those clauses, and he should support them in the present Bill; but, in doing so, he drew down upon himself the censure, not only of many of his own Friends, but also of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Yet the Government now came forward and inserted those very clauses in their own Bill. He did not think that was a straightforward way of acting. The Government had endeavoured to do what no Government or no man could do gracefully—namely, to sit upon two stools. They desired to offer solace to the Irish Representatives, and administer soothing syrup to the hon. Members for North-East Lancashire and North Warwickshire. Although there was much of the Bill as amended of which he approved, yet he could not approve of the way in which it had been introduced; and he thought that it would be wise for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to put it on the top of the funeral pyre which he would soon have to light, or else relegate the question to a Royal Commission, or to another Session, or even to another Parliament.


said, the existence of the Bill admitted a grievance, acknowledged a claim, and offered satisfaction. There was, no doubt, a strong desire in the House to accept a Bill which might settle the question of University Education in Ireland for a considerable period. It was a palpable fact that the Roman Catholics had not University Education in proportion to their numbers; and when they told the House that they could not avail themselves of existing Colleges, owing to their conscientious scruples they were bound to devise means for enabling them to obtain higher education on conditions consonant with their religion and conscience. This Bill admitted their claim, and offered satisfaction. He understood the claim to be that the Catholics desired to have equality with their Protestant fellow-subjects in higher education. They pointed to Trinity College, and said that students who had Protestant convictions could there be educated with perfect security to their faith. But Catholics were not all of the same mind. There were some who were content to acquire secular education in mixed Colleges. These could go, and did go, to the Queen's Colleges. But there was a much, larger section who required that their spiritual guides should superintend their education and guard their faith and morals while they were being educated in secular matters. Undoubtedly, this large section was cut off from the excellent education of Trinity College and the Queen's Colleges, and it was to meet the wants of this section that the Bill was devised. Now, if equality of education were the first demand of the Roman Catholics, this Bill certainly did not meet it. For whore were the Catholic Colleges in Ireland at all comparable to the well-ordered Colleges—Trinity College or the Queen's Colleges? If this Bill did not secure equality of higher education between the Protestants and Roman Catholics, there could be no settlement of the question of University Education in Ireland. Without equality this Bill could not result in settling the question; but, as the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) had frankly pointed out, it must be an eminently unsettling Bill—one that would stir up the foundations of all existing education, and build nothing upon the quaking ground. Now, both sides would go a long way to remove the legitimate grievances of Roman Catholics in regard to higher education; but they would think it intolerable if, by their present labours, they agitated everything and settled nothing. The Queen's Colleges professedly were to remain as they were. He denied that this would be the result of the Bill; but he would put that aside for the present, and look to how this Bill supplemented Catholic education outside these Colleges. It did so in two ways—(1) it created a University open to students resident or non-resident; (2) it induced students to join this University by Exhibitions, Scholarships, and Fellowships. These were to be given for "relative and absolute" proficiency, not only at matriculation, but at each stage of examination for a degree, until it was crowned by a Fellowship. Looking at the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don), whose Bill was agreeable to the Catholics of Ireland, they might easily see how such a system of payments by standard would work. Let them follow a student in his course. He came up for matriculation, and won, say, by "absolute" proficiency, £20. With that he went to his College, and demanded preparation for the first examination in Arts, and he handed over his Scholarship. If successful in that, they might assume that he won £30. That sum he paid to the College to prepare him for his second, and then for his third, examination, at each of which he might win a prize. Ultimately, he might win a well-paid Fellowship. In what form was that different from result foes, payable directly to a College? Only in this—that the student received the money into his pocket, and that the College took it out. Instead of Government money being handed frankly over the table to a College, it was handed under the table. Could his Liberal Friends be deceived as to the character of the Bill, when they found the sudden conversion of Irish Catholic Members, who, refusing indignantly the Bill as introduced, now supported it by significant silence when the money clause was added? Now, which were the Colleges that would benefit by the Bill? There was only one secular Catholic College in Ireland—namely, that in Dublin. But there were numerous Bishops' seminaries, called Colleges, in almost every diocese. Practically, these were mere schools under priestly instruction, and they benefited largely by the Intermediate Education Act of last year, and they would be still better supported under this Bill. The Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) excluded the diocesan seminaries when they benefited by the Intermediate Education Act, This Bill did not. The effect of the two Acts together would be richly to support with public money the Bishops' schools in the various dioceses of Ireland. The Intermediate Act secured payments for boys; and this Bill, when it became law, would also secure payments for young men in the same diocesan seminary. That, so far as he saw, would be the whole operation of the Act. It might improve the upper classes of theological seminaries when they took lay pupils; but it gave no inducement for a Collegiate system of education, or even for any well-ordered curriculum of study. The Bill did not reward laureation in study; but it paid for subjects from the first matriculation, and took no security that the scholar should ever proceed to his degree. In such a system there was no equality between Protestant and Roman Catholic education. The Protestant would continue to receive his education at an organized College, under a well ordered curriculum. He would have the advantage of study in practical sciences in well-appointed laboratories. The mode of studying science by observation and experiment bad received great development in modern times; but it could only be carried out in well-appointed Collegiate institutions with museums and laboratories. The Catholics, having no secular Colleges, would be forced to resort to a mere priestly school, chiefly under the Jesuits, at which religious education was the primary object, and secular instruction a mere subordinate purpose. Of course, if the competition for prizes and Scholarships were for relative merit, the Catholic would have no chance in such an unequal contest. But the prizes were for absolute proficiency; and if they lowered the standards to a sufficient abasement, the Catholics might come in under this comprehensive term. But the only effect of the Bill, so far as he could judge, was to throw higher education entirely into the hands of the priests. Now, he did not care whether the priests were Catholic or Protestant, because he thought an Act which had the effect of putting the youth of the country, in relation to higher education, under mere ecclesiastical training, was thoroughly mischievous. That must be the result of the Bill, for, with one exception, there were no Colleges in Ireland other than the diocesan seminaries, and these were those which would be largely supported by this Act, in conjunction with the Intermediate Education Act of last year. It might be contended that the prizes and Scholarships could be won by students working at their own homes without going to diocesan seminaries. No doubt some might be won in this way; but the object of the Bill was not to give educational out-door relief of that kind, but to promote higher University Education in Ireland. The true object of a Bill for promoting higher education ought to be to gather young men together into residence at a secular College, so as to secure the benefits of well-ordered teaching, and to expand their minds by association and the inter-communication of ideas. That certainly could not be accomplished by any provisions at present in the Bill, or in the Government clause for enlarging its scope. Government had introduced the Bill in the hope that it would satisfy the Protestant Party upon which it relied. But in no sense was the Bill anti-Catholic. It was the most pro-priestly proposal of education that was ever made in any European country in modern times. It might, in perfect fairness, be described as a Bill for the better support of Bishops' schools in Ireland. Now, although he thoroughly disliked a pro-priestly Bill of education, he did not object to a pro-Catholic system. He would willingly support a scheme which would give the Roman Catholics well-organized Colleges of secular education, comparable in efficiency to Trinity College and the Queen's Colleges. Without that there would be no equality; and yet both Parties in the House were inclined to support the Bill, because they thought it might settle the question. Of course, the Roman Catholics would fake as much as was given them for a time; but they would not be content. When, by this Bill, they had given liberal support to the diocesan schools, this support would not be renounced, but a new demand would arise for distinct Catholic Collegiate institutions, comparable to Trinity College and the Queen's Colleges; and having established under this Bill intense denominational education in the diocesan seminaries, he did not see how they were to resist a demand for true equality, for very soon it would be made. But, beyond that, the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) was right; for it was, in every respect, an unsettling Bill. It unsettled the Queen's Colleges, and reduced them to the position of well-endowed schools. At present, the Colleges were Colleges of a University under a well-ordered curriculum. Their Professors were Professors of the University, and co-ordinated their instruction to the requirements of the degrees. But they would cease to be University Professors as soon as this Bill passed, and have no locus standi, for they had not even seats in the Convocation. Their well-ordered curriculum vanished, and their natural inducement would be to prepare for examinations in subjects of "relative and absolute proficiency." Hitherto, in the Queen's Colleges exami- nation had been a test of organized I teaching. In future, not teaching, but examination would be the end, and cramming would be the substitute for teaching; for the 7th clause provided that no attendance at lectures or course of instruction should be obligatory, so that the following out of a well-ordered curriculum ceased to be necessary in the Colleges, which, to keep their position, would have to work for examination, and not for systematic Collegiate teaching. Very few of his Liberal Friends accompanied him into the Lobby when he voted against the second reading of the Bill, so he felt bound now to state his objections to it. He did not believe it could work well for the higher education of Roman Catholics, for it gave to them no equality of Collegiate instruction. It might serve the purposes of Irish ecclesiastics for a time, because it would improve and support their diocesan seminaries. They would feel that the Bill practically gave them what their Church so much longed to obtain—ad eum qui regit Christianam rempublicam scholarum regimen pertinere. But it was no satisfaction to the legitimate aspirations of enlightened Roman Catholics, who knew that what they wanted was systematic Collegiate education, under lay Professors, with securities for faith and morals in its superintendence. This Bill did not settle Irish University Education; but it did throw the future higher education of Catholics in Ireland entirely into the Bishops' schools, and that was a result deeply to be deplored for the freedom of education, and for that intellectual development which was so needful for a poor country like Ireland.


I do not intend, on this stage of the Bill, to occupy the attention of the House at any great length, because I did so upon the occasion of the second reading. At the same time, it must be remembered that when I spoke last the Bill was a very different one to the one which is now before the House. On the second reading I spoke with considerable difficulty, because we really did not know what the Government intended to propose. We now know the full extent of their proposals on the subject. I must say that, looking at those proposals, it seems to me that the question must come up for consideration again next year. The Government propose to leave to the Senate the arrange- ment of all details; and, therefore, at the present moment, as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyon Playfair) has stated, we are not settling the question. There is no use in concealing the fact that the present Bill cannot be accepted as a settlement, and that it must come up for revision next year, and probably in subsequent years. That is the position in which we are placed. That being so, the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth) proposes that we should refer the question to the consideration of a Royal Commission. I hope my hon. Friend will not press his Motion to a division; because,-if he does so, I should be most reluctantly obliged to vote against him. I consider that in this question of University Education in Ireland the need of a settlement is very urgent. We have at the present moment in operation the Act of last year, under which a number of students have passed examinations. By the end of the year many of these young men will be ready for the University, and I think anything which may tend to delay their carrying on their University course is to be deprecated. Nothing is more likely to delay a settlement, and to delay it for several years, than the appointment of a Royal Commission. That is a proposal which is usually made when a Government finds a question very inconvenient, and wants to hang it up for an indefinite period. We had a Royal Commission proposed in 1868 by Lord Mayo, which we expected would report in the following year. But what was the result? The Commission took three years to make their Inquiry, and very little action has been taken on it up to the present day; so that I should look with very great dread upon the appointment of a Royal Commission on University Education in Ireland on the present occasion, simply for the reason that I fear it would lead to almost interminable delay. If it were not for that, I should be very glad to have an inquiry by a Commission; and on one point in particular I should be glad that the condition of education as carried on in the Queen's Colleges should be inquired into, and that there should be an investigation which would show the English people what we in Ireland know perfectly well—that the education in these Colleges, at least in two of them, is a mere sham and a humbug, and that they have tended very much to lower and degrade education in Ireland. One of the good effects that is likely to arise even from this imperfect Bill is that that sham will be exposed, and that education in the Queen's Colleges, instead of being lowered, will be raised to the standard which it ought to reach. I cannot concur with my hon. Friend in the Motion for a Royal Commission; and I would appeal to him not to press us to the position of being obliged to vote against him. I do not intend, at this stage of the Bill—because in Committee we shall have an opportunity of dealing with it—to go very much into the details of the measure; but I would wish to reply to some of the remarks which have been made in the course of the debate. The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) is always taunting us with the statement that the Roman Catholics are in favour of the Queen's Colleges, and are satisfied with their results. He has challenged us, over and over again, to prove that the statement is not accurate. I thought we had proved it on many occasions. In what way can the opinion of the Irish Catholic laity be ascertained, except by their own declarations? and we have had declarations from them over and over again on the subject. This year, declarations signed by almost all of the higher and middle classes of the Irish Catholic laity have been laid upon the Table. They have been signed by the great bulk of the professional men, the higher class of traders and merchants, all declaring, in the most clear and distinct way, that they are not satisfied with the present state of things, that they do not consider they have equality, and demanding that a change should be made. But my hon. Friend says all this is to be sot aside, because he finds that a certain proportion of Roman Catholic students go to the, Queen's Colleges, and he says that is sufficient to prove that the Roman Catholic population are not opposed to that system. The number of Catholics that do go to them is very small. Besides, I would point out that, there is a very great difference between entering those Queen's Colleges and receiving a real University Education. Hon. Members never tell us how many of those who enter go on and get a degree. Let us take the figures from their own Calendar. I find that between 1860 and 1870 the total number of Roman Catholics who entered was 672, and the total number who took degrees of any sort was only 215, or one in three. Then, if you take the degrees in Arts, which, after all, is the real test, out of all these 672 students who, we are told, have received a University Education during these 10 years, how many does the House think took the lowest degree in Arts? Only 89, or one in eight; or on an average three students a year from each of these so-called University Colleges; and yet, in spite of this, my hon. Friend makes out that these Institutions are a great success, because a certain number of young men are tempted by the lavish supply of prizes and Exhibitions to enter on a course which they do not subsequently pursue. On the last occasion I spoke I mentioned, as a proof of this, that in a particular Catholic College, or rather an intermediate school, a boy who was not considered fit for the class in his own school which prepared for the London University matriculation—a boy who was, in fact, in the third class—went up to Queen's College, Galway, and not only matriculated with ease, but got one of the Exhibitions. A letter from this boy states that between 20 and 30 students went up for this matriculation examination, and they had five Scholarships and seven Exhibitions amongst them, or one prize between every two students, and he took the third place in the Exhibitions. My Bill was objected to as giving too many prizes and rewards; yet under it, I proposed that there should be only one prize amongst every 10 students; but in the Queen's Colleges there are often as many prizes as students. Now, I say it is monstrous that that sort of education should be foisted upon the country as such a fine standard, and that people should be afraid this new University Bill will lower it. As I said before, I do hope one of the effects of this Bill will be really to raise the standard. At present, the examinations are in the hands of the persons who teach; and, consequently, although they have a very fine programme on paper, no one knows how much correctness in answering is required by these Professors; and we know that students, whom their own schools would not think of sending up to a University, are able to go to Cork or Galway and gain these money prizes. On the last occasion that I spoke I pointed out the gross inequality that would exist if the new Scholarship prizes and Exhibitions were to be thrown open to competition by students from Colleges that are endowed. I suggested that if those Colleges were to retain their own Scholarships and prizes, paid for out of the public money, it was only fair that the prizes given under this Bill should be restricted to other than students of those Colleges. Since I made that statement, I have been informed by the heads of the Catholic Colleges that they would entirely disapprove of this, and that they were in favour of competing with the Queen's College students; that they were perfectly satisfied they would be able to beat them; and that they do not want to have it said that these prizes are given to them on a lower standard. They have no fear whatever of that very high teaching which goes on in the Queen's Colleges, and feel perfectly confident of being able to hold their own ground. They say the way to give them fair play would not be to restrict these prizes to students coming from non-endowed Institutions, but to open the prizes at present given by public money to endowed Institutions to competition amongst all classes of students. That is the proposition we should like to see carried out, and which I hope the Government will see their way to adopt in Committee. I do not believe this Bill will settle the question; but it will give an opportunity to students, who are now ready to commence their University course, of carrying it on with some better advantages than they now possess. I will not take upon myself the responsibility of delaying it for a year; and, therefore, although I do not care very much about it, although I do not think it is of much consequence, and although I do not think it will be a settlement, I appeal to my hon. Friend not to press his Motion.


I gather that the general feeling of the House is in favour of proceeding with as little delay as may be to the consideration of this Bill in Committee. The Amendment which is before the House has been moved in a speech of considerable ability; and the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) delivered a long speech, concluding with a non sequitur intended to support the Motion. Notwithstanding the arguments of those hon. Gentlemen, I think the House is inclined to avail itself of the opportunity it now has of dealing with the question during the present Session. The speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard was chiefly devoted to the advocacy of a scheme of his own, in respect of which the hon. Member does not require any information from a Royal Commission. The hon. Member has made up his mind, and he did not hesitate to state the result of his deliberations on the subject. It was evident that, unless a Royal Commission was prepared to adopt his suggestion, the hon. Member would not consider it worthy of his support. [Mr. Courtney: I expressly said the Contrary.] The hon. Gentleman said a great deal to the contrary I know; but I could not trace throughout his speech on what ground he based his support of the proposition he intended to vote for. Then the hon. Gentleman stated, among other things, that there was no grievance at all, and no demand for legislation. He stated that there was no reason for any alteration in the status quo. He said that the Queen's Colleges, first of all, should satisfy the people of Ireland. Well, the hon. Gentleman has a perfect right to entertain that opinion, and a great many, I have no doubt, agree with him; but he further went on to say that it does happen that the Queen's Colleges do satisfy the people of Ireland, and in that statement he failed, I think, to carry with him any of those Representatives of Ireland who sit upon his side of the House. It is not for me to say whether they are right or wrong in the opinion they evidently hold with regard to the Queen's Colleges. I stated, on a former occasion, that, from an educational point of view, I considered those Colleges had done good work; but it was evident they did not satisfy the requirements of the people of Ireland; and, therefore, it was on that account alone that Her Majesty's Government undertook to deal with the subject. The right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair) served to reassure those who are responsible for the Bill by the manner in which he dealt with the subject. I felt sure, when the right hon." Gentleman rose, that any defects this Bill might have would not escape observation at his hands, and that if we escaped the ordeal of his criticism we had not much else to fear. What was his criticism? He says the Bill has been changed since it was first introduced. That, of course, we were aware of, and we think the alterations we propose to make, and which are perfectly consistent with the statements which were originally made upon the introduction of the Bill in the Upper House of Parliament, are an improvement upon its original draft. But the right hon. Gentleman says that by the introduction of certain words we are enabling Collegiate Institutions to derive a benefit under the Bill. Well, the right hon. Gentleman has told us that the blot upon the Bill is that it does not afford sufficient inducement to those Institutions, and he would like to have given them encouragement directly. I cannot see that if the result of the proposal is to give encouragement to those Institutions that that is any harm; but what we have laid down is that the prizes and rewards earned under this Bill must be received by the students themselves who earn them, and not handed over to anybody else. I apprehend that the money which has been earned the student is due to him, and the manner in which he spends it is a matter with which we have no concern. The right hon. Gentleman also said that intermediate schools will obtain aid under this Bill. Well, if there are any precocious boys in these schools who can earn for themselves University rewards I think nobody would grudge them; but, at the same time, I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that no scholar can obtain advantages derived under the Intermediate Education Act who is over the age of 18 years. [An hon. MEMBER,: No.] That, at least, is the way I read it, as regards the payments of result fees. On the whole, the criticisms which have been passed upon this Bill have not been of a very alarming character, and I think they show that the House is prepared to go into the consideration of the measure in Committee, and to deal with it in a fair and candid spirit; and I may remind the House that it now has an opportunity of dealing with the question upon a Bill which has been supported by a large majority of the House in its earlier stages, and which affords some promise, at any rate, of meeting with a generous support throughout its remaining stages. If this opportunity be lost, I think he would be a very sanguine man who would expect to find himself very soon again in a similar advantageous position.


expressed a hope that his hon. Friend the Member for Westmeath would not put the House to the trouble of a Division on his Amendment, and that the discussion, which had been a very interesting one, would be brought to a close, so that they might get into Committee on the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had, he thought, misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair), for what the right hon. Gentleman said was that the Bill would encourage diocesan schools, but would not encourage Colleges. That was, no doubt, a grievance; but, he would not on that account vote against the Bill, or treat it in any other than a fair and generous way, because they had every hope that the Government, who had acted so well throughout the business, would, when they heard the arguments to be advanced in Committee, agree that that was the blot on the Bill, and would help them to promote Collegiate Education in the four or five Colleges which they hoped would grow up in time. He trusted that the good sense of the House would enable them to carry the Amendments they had placed upon the Paper.


said, that the speech of the right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Pluyfair) was the speech of the debate. No Irish Member could have hit the blot of the Bill better than he had done. Under the Bill the House was asked to endow diocesan education, which it was not the special wish of the Irish people to have endowed. The Bill was one for endowing, not only denominational education, but clerical denominational education.


said, it was obvious that a Bill of the importance of that before the House could not pass at this period of the Session, unless both sides acted on the principle of giving and taking. There was so much in the Bill that he disliked that he would gladly have opposed it; but it was evidently the wish of the House that it should be considered in Committee. If the Bill were allowed to go into Committee, he hoped the Government would not force on them those portions of it to which the strongest possible objections were entertained. He wanted an answer to this question, and on that much would depend—Why were they going to destroy an existing Institution which had done its work so well, when all they desired might be accomplished by retaining the Senate of the Queen's University, and enlarging their powers in an analogous way to what was done 10 years ago with Oxford and Cambridge, by enabling them to grant degrees to those who had not resided at either University, but had attained the requisite standard of education? If the Government were anxious to have a new University, they might, at least, meet the friends of the Queen's University halfway, and give them some security as to what its character would be by saying that all the existing members of the Senate of Queen's University should be members of the new University they proposed to constitute. They might add new members; but if the Government gave that guarantee they would remove the most serious objection that was entertained to this Bill—namely, that it would suddenly deprive those who had fulfilled their public duties so well of the position which had been conferred upon them and the trust which had been confided to them. He hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would give them some assurance to that effect; if he did a great part of the objection to the Bill would be removed, and its progress would be expedited.


only rose to answer the question of the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett). He regretted that he was not, at the present moment, in a position to give exactly the answer he should wish to give. He felt, with the hon. Member—and the Government felt with him—that it was of the greatest importance that in making such a change every consideration should be shown to the distinguished men who had, with so much public spirit and success, conducted the Queen's University; and he might safely say that in the organization of the new Senate the greatest care would be taken to admit and place on it the largest number of the members of the Senate of the Queen's University. He could not go the length of saying, at the present moment, that the Govern- ment would be prepared to put into the Bill a clause that would import into the Senate the whole of those gentlemen who were at present on the Senate of the Queen's University; but when the matter came to be considered the greater part, if not the whole, of that body might be included.


said, he did not believe that the present Governing Body of the Queen's University was so good a body as some seemed to suppose.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Short title) agreed to.

Clause 2 (Foundation of University).


thought it would be best at that stage to report Progress, and that the Committee should resume at 9 o'clock. The Amendment standing in his name raised a most important question, which it was absolutely impossible to discuss properly at that time; and as he believed the Government would think they had done a good stroke of work that afternoon in getting into Committee with the Bill he moved that Progress be reported.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Courtney.)


was obliged to say that, as the hon. Gentleman had already delivered two long speeches upon this question, it was hardly reasonable to move to report Progress. He trusted the Committee would be allowed to proceed with the Bill.


rose to Order. He wished to know whether, if Progress were reported then, the Committee could resume at 9 o'clock?


There will be nothing to prevent the debate being resumed at 9 o'clock if the House so desires.


hoped the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) would not press his Motion. The hon. Gentleman could make his speech then; the Committee need not divide after it; and they would then have the interval between that time and 9 o'clock in which to digest the speech of the hon. Member.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


regretted that it was necessary for him to make another speech. He should move, in page 1, line 12, alter "by," to insert "supplementary." The object of that Amendment, as understood by hon. Members interested in this question, was to proceed in this matter in the same manner as the Government of Lord Russell proceeded in 1866—that was to say, by enlarging the powers of the Queen's University, so as to admit all those students who desired it to a degree in the University. It would be remembered that in 1866, after some correspondence and discussion between Sir George Grey and the Roman Catholic Prelates, which had not resulted in showing any disposition on the part of those eminent persons to accept the proposal, Lord Russell's Government proposed to issue a supplementary Charter for the University. Queen's University had been founded by way of bringing the Irish Colleges together into University life, and by its Charter it was provided that only those students should be admitted who had passed through a course of instruction at one or other of the Queen's Colleges. Up to that point the Queen's University had had no local habitation. It was contended that many students desired the privilege of obtaining admission to degrees who, for conscientious scruples, were unable to resort to the facilities offered by the Queen's Colleges; and it was proposed to enlarge the Queen's University by admitting the outside students to degrees, however or wherever educated. Lord Russell's Government propped to solve the University Education Question in Ireland by issuing a supplementary Charter, and the fact of that course having been adopted by the Government, of which Lord Russell was the head, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) a Member, ought, he thought, to recommend his Motion to hon. Members on both sides of the House. That proposal had failed because the then Government had overlooked the fact that the supplementary Charter altered the original Charter of the University against the will of the Body Corporate; but the same objection did not apply in this case. The Lord Chancellor had been understood to say that the reason for not following the former precedent in this ease was the legal difficulty attendant upon it. No one knew better than the Lord Chancellor what the legal difficulty was; but if they acted under the powers of an Act of Parliament they could proceed by way of supplementary Charter as well as by original Charter. There would be no difficulty in that course. The principal objects of the Bill were to enable degrees to be given to students who had not passed through the Queen's Colleges or Trinity College, and to give them prizes; that would still remain the first principle of the Bill. They wanted, next, to provide certain Scholarships. But both those ends could be clearly secured by enlarging the Queen's University. Nothing whatever was gained by the creation of a now University that could not be secured by the enlargement of the existing University. Then the question arose—why should they destroy the Queen's University? It had done perfectly good work; it had got together a considerable number of students, and a certain number of them obtained their degrees; it had a certain status in Ireland; it had a history, and it had traditions—in short, in the language of the Law Courts, it was a going concern, and he (Mr. Courtney) did not know why it should be broken up. The Petition of the medical graduates of the Queen's University, which he held in his hand, declared that the abolition of the name of the Queen's University contemplated in the Bill at present before Parliament was for every medical student belonging to it a personal wrong; and that if Parliament deemed a change necessary the name of the Queen's University might be retained. He thought it was impossible not to feel that the medical graduates of the University had made out a very strong case, personally, as well as collectively, against the change contemplated by the Bill, by showing that medical education in Ireland would be injuriously affected by breaking the continuity of the Colleges in the step about to be taken. There was another Petition, to which he asked the attention of the Committee, presented by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), from the University Graduates' Association of London, and other graduates of I the Queen's University, declaring that the dissolution of the Queen's University was an unprecedented proceeding, and that the status of the Petitioners would be thereby impaired.


rose to Order, and asked whether, under similar circumstances, he would be right in occupying the time of the Committee by reading such long Petitions?


replied, that the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) was in Order in referring to the Petitions relating to the Bill before the Committee.


said, that the documents which he had read were Petitions from graduates of the Queen's University, and had reference to the Amendment which it was his intention to propose. Nothing, therefore, could be more pertinent than the statements in question. The petitioners submitted to the House very grave reasons why this change should not be effected. The Petition went on to say that the dissolution of the University would be a proceeding unprecedented in the United Kingdom. Hon. Members should note that the Queen's University had been in existence for something like 30 years; that it had gone on with the increasing appreciation of the people of Ireland from the time it was started to that day; that the standard of examination had been gradually raised, and that the number of its students had increased to 2,000. They had that continuity of existence, and it was, nevertheless, proposed, instead of making use of the accumulated force gained by the University, to dissolve it, establish a new University, and to make a fresh start. There was no argument sufficiently strong to support that proposition; certainly, no argument had been adduced. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had been challenged that afternoon to produce a single argument in favour of the proposed abolition. He had made, as he generally, did, a very short speech, shortened by the omission of a great deal the Committee might have been very glad to hear from him. The right hon. Gentleman had, in his speech of that afternoon, quite omitted to refer to the question of the necessity for dissolving this University and creating another University to take its place. His Amendment, he thought, was well recommended by its doing that which was proposed by Lord Russell's Government in 1866, and which would have been done then but for the reason to which he had referred. He had another Petition upon this subject, which had been presented to the House; but this he did not propose to trouble the Committee by reading.

It being ten minutes before Seven of the clock, Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.