§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
Sir, in rising to move the second reading of this Bill, I should hardly be justified in referring to the question of University Education in Ireland at any length from an historical point of view. One reason why I should not feel disposed to adopt that course would be that this matter has been so constantly and recently a topic of consideration in the public mind that enough is known about it by all hon. Gentlemen without my going into it. There is another reason why, upon the occasion of the second reading of the Bill, the retrospect to which I have referred would not be a very inspiriting one. The study of the list of casualties in previous engagements is hardly an encouraging theme for anyone who is girding on his armour for the fight; and, therefore, I would rather leave the historical retrospect of Irish University Education to other hands. I have myself thought that the moral we should draw from what has taken place on this subject is this—that if ever this question is to be finally disposed of and satisfactorily settled it must be by the abandonment of all Party controversies, and by a resolute determination to deal with the subject honestly and apart from any attempt to snatch a Party triumph. The Bill which is now before the House, whatever may be thought of its merits or demerits, is, at any rate, an honest 1183 and sincere attempt to deal with this difficult subject in a sense to remove it entirely from the realms of Party strife. It is not necessary for me to point out the necessity of some measure dealing with this subject. That necessity has been admitted on all hands. I am quite aware that Parliament, many years ago, endeavoured to lay down a system of University Education in Ireland which, it was hoped, would finally settle the question. I am aware that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House will admit that that attempt has been in some measure a decided success. The Queen's Colleges have, from an educational point of view, done very good work. They have placed the advantages of University Education within the easy reach of the Irish people. The benefits those institutions have conferred have not been confined to one religious persuasion. All the various creeds of Ireland have freely partaken of its benefits. [" No, no ! "] Hon. Gentlemen may say "No, no !" but I think the study of statistics, which are within the reach of any hon. Gentleman, will show that the Queen's Colleges and University have been attended by numbers of students of all the religious creeds of Ireland. It is true that in the case of the Roman Catholic body there has not been the cordial appreciation of the institutions which was hoped by those who founded them, and that being so, the necessity is found to exist of endeavouring in some way to make good the defect which experience has proved to exist. That, Sir, is the reason why the Bill is introduced. I have said that this Bill is not introduced with the object of promoting the interest of any Party; in fact, University Education is a subject which is approached, I think, by the various political Parties without any settled purpose in the mind of any Party, and I think no Party is united upon it. The staunchest Tory, or the most enlightened, if I may say so without offence—the most philosophical Radical, may approach this subject from different points of view, and, perhaps, in some cases arrive at the same conclusion. This is not a case for destroying bridges and burning boats, and expressing any great and herioc determination. It is rather an opportunity for inviting the House of Commons calmly to consider this question in a judicial 1184 spirit, and to endeavour to arrive at a settlement without consideration of the Party by whom it may be introduced. The proposals of the Bill are to establish a new University, to which shall be given the power to provide examiners and to grant degrees. We do not propose that there shall be a third University, for the proposal before the House is that the Queen's University shall in a manner provided for in the Bill cease to exist, and that the graduates of that University shall form members of the Convocation of the new University. I think there are many reasons why a third University in Ireland would be objectionable. Those who are now graduates of the Queen's University can be transferred to the new University without interfering with the advantages of the degrees they have already obtained. The Convocation of the new University would occupy a position as high in public estimation as the body which exist at present. The Bill does not propose any arrangement of a financial character. I notice on the Paper an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw) which directly challenges the opinion of the House on the subject of Collegiate Education. The advantages of Collegiate Education do not require to be dwelt upon. I had the privilege of being a member of one of the old Universities, and I confess I have always thought—apart from the social aspect of the question—that the intercourse of one with another in the University is an advantage certainly not second to the education there obtained, and the advantage of the association of students in the Colleges is, I think, very great. But in the case of the more recently founded institutions, it is not the practice to insist on residence in the manner it was in the old Universities; and, in fact, it has always been the object of University reformers to place the privileges of obtaining degrees and taking part in the various examinations and classes incident to a University career within the reach of those to whom residence in College may not be convenient. That has been the principle upon which Parliament has proceeded in its grant to the London University, and is the principle upon which University reform has invariably proceeded; though, at the same time, it seems to me that there is much to be said for facilities being 1185 afforded to those who may prefer what I think is a great advantage in training. We propose in this Bill to transfer the grant that is now annually made to the existing Queen's University to the new University. It is a matter of some £ 5,000 a-year. The Queen's Colleges would retain the existing grants, as part of the Parliamentary Votes, and, of course, the existing endowments. But it is said that in the Bill for the promotion of Intermediate Education passed last year the principle was adopted of payment of what are called result fees to institutions which educated successful pupils, and that that principle might he made available in the case of University Education. Now, I think it will he manifest to the House that in the case of students of an age below that of a man the payment of prizes in any great proportion to them would be undesirable; but in the case of students of more advanced years the objection vanishes, and I think the House will agree with me that the form the prize should assume to the successful student would be that of payment to himself. With regard to the financial proposals—the absence of which from the Bill I have just remarked upon—I must confess that the form in which it is proposed in a Bill recently before the House to deal with the financial problem is one that is open to many objections. The sources especially from which the hon. Member for Ros-common (the O'Conor Don) sought to obtain the desired finance was one which, on the whole, it appeared undesirable should be trenched upon for the object of his Bill; and, therefore, not being prepared to propose any demand on the Irish Church Surplus, or the appropriation of any capital sum whatever, for the purposes of promoting University Education, no reference is made in the Bill to finance with the exception of the transfer of the University Vote to the new University. At the same time, I think that there is good reason in what has been urged with regard to the absence of any encouragements to conducting education in places other than Queen's Colleges. I think as long as Parliament continues annually to appropriate a considerable sum for the promotion of education within the Queen's Colleges, those who are invited to come within the University pale, but not to place themselves within the walls 1186 of the Queen's Colleges, must naturally complain that they are placed at a disadvantage; but in attempting to remove that disadvantage the Government must adhere to their determination that any endowment whatever to any denominational institution, from whatever source it comes, is one to which we will not assent. The endowment of any strictly denominational institution is one which I think Parliament will not be likely to sanction, and it is one which Her Majesty's Government would be very unlikely to propose. The appropriation, therefore, of any sum of money, whether derived from the taxation of the country or from any other source, to the endowment of any Collegiate institution of any sort or kind was a thing which we could not propose. At the same time, it seems to me that the absence of any financial proposals in the Bill need not by any means preclude us from dealing in some other manner with the difficulties involved in finance. I think I am right in assuming that the annual Votes of Parliament are the proper places in which provision can be made for the grants to which I have referred. I certainly shall have no objection, subsequently, to the introduction into the Bill of words which will enable such a proposal to be embodied hereafter. I shall, in fact, be prepared to submit in Committee words which shall throw on the Senate of the University to be created the duty of framing and submitting a scheme for the promotion of education in the following way:—I should propose that provision should be made at the instance of the Senate by Parliament by annual Votes for the establishment of Exhibitions, prizes, Scholarships, and Fellowships. In adopting that course, the Government is strictly complying with the terms and conditions which they have laid down in regard to the subject in "another place," and also upon a recent occasion when discussion took place in this House. On the second reading of the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon, it was stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we entertained special objections to that portion of his scheme which would involve the payment to a new University, and to the allocation of a portion of the Surplus Funds of the Irish Church. On that point we do not recede. And in the scheme now before the House we have endeavoured to avoid 1187 that. With regard to the name, we do not propose to select any name for the new institution. The House will see that is a matter better dealt with by other hands than those of Parliament. I have heard it suggested that there would be some difficulty; but I do not share those fears. It is quite possible that at the first mention of the idea the members of the Queen's University might not wish to lose the name they had hitherto borne, and that various opinions might be entertained as to the best one to substitute for it. It is an old saying," "What's in a name?" but I cannot think that such a detail will prove an insuperable barrier to the settlement of a great question. The fact that a new University is to be established, and that plans of a financial character are to be the subject of a subsequent consideration, suggests the propriety of leaving as many details as can be conveniently left for the deliberation of those who may bring their minds to bear on the subject. [A laugh.] Hon. Members may be amused; but I must remind them that this Bill does not propose to found a new University, but proposes to give powers under which a University may be constituted. The question of granting a Charter to a University is a Prerogative of the Crown and is entirely outside the function of Parliament; and I think that if the Government proposed to forestall the action of the Crown in the exercise of its Prerogative, it would be doing an action which would be unconstitutional. Now, Sir, I said that the financial arrangements would, I thought, be made by Parliament for the objects I have named. Of course, there may be other objects which may partake of the nature of detail, such as the erection of suitable buildings, &c.; because a University must have a local habitation as well as a name, and the erection of buildings for the holding of examinations, and probably a library, would be necessary. The funds necessary for such a purpose would come naturally within the scope of a Parliamentary Vote; and if the House goes into Committee, as I hope it will very soon, I shall be prepared to move words which shall enable provisions to be made in that direction. In connection with this subject there has been a good deal of unnecessary mystery thrown around—I do not say the history—but the contemporary his- 1188 tory of this subject. It has been said that negotiations have been carried on by Her Majesty's Government with I know not whom in Ireland. It has been hinted that a proposal for the settlement of this question had been submitted by the Irish Executive to persons in Ireland. I took the opportunity, the other day, of saying that these ingenious surmises are absolutely destitute of foundation. I cannot, of course, within the limits of the Orders of this House, refer to what took place "elsewhere;" but I may, without infringing upon the Rules, say that nothing has been said in this or the other House upon this subject which really in any way detracts from the absolute accuracy of my statement. I have heard it stated that observations were made somewhere or other to the effect that propositions had been submitted, and negotiations had taken place, and so on; and it appears this was denied by one of my Colleagues, who said that if any such negotiations or arrangements had been conducted he, undoubtedly, would have been informed of them. Well, that is perfectly true; and the truth is more apparent when I say that the Members of Her Majesty's Government were not only not aware that any negotiations had taken place, but were positively aware that they had not. When members of the Irish Executive find themselves in communication in private circles with members of various religious communions in Ireland, it is, of course, only natural that they should avail themselves of the opportunity to converse upon subjects of public interest. Since I have been officially connected with Ireland, I have had many such conversations, and I hope to have many more. It has been observed—sometimes in not very flattering terms, though, at the same time, with perfect truth—that persons having no direct connection with Ireland are sent there to govern the country, and, of course, a person going there, as I have myself, could not undertake to be aware of all the various questions requiring to be dealt with, and must take opportunities of becoming acquainted with local opinion; and I say, without any attempt at concealment, that I frequently have availed myself of opportunities of learning what the different classes of opinion are; and that, so long as I continue to have the honour of holding the Office of Chief Secretary, I 1189 have every intention of adopting a similar course. That is the sum total of all those wonderful negotiations and propositions; and if what I describe has given rise to the rumours, I can only say that many similar opportunities will arise. I shall not longer detain the House by dwelling on this subject. I thank the House for the attention it has given me, and beg to express the hope that the hon. Gentleman who proposes to move an Amendment to the Bill will consider the propositions which I have made, and will not consider this as a fitting opportunity to oppose the principle of the measure. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. J. Lowther.)
§ MR. SHAW,
who had on the Paper the following Amendment to the Bill:—That no measure of University Education can be considered satisfactory to the people of Ireland which does not provide increased facilities for Collegiate Education as well as for the attainment of University Degrees,said: Sir, I acknowledge the fairness of the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman, who, I think, has delivered it in a somewhat less oracular fashion than usual. With regard to the negotiations to which he has referred, I am not disposed to make too much of them. I think it would be a pity if any outcry on the subject should prevent free intercourse between gentlemen who govern Ireland and the leaders of public opinion in that country. I have only to express the hope that when the right hon. Gentleman returns to that country he will continue to carry on those pleasant negotiations of which mention has been made, and I hope that it will result in making him considerably more of an Irishman than he is at present. I ought, in respect to this Bill, to say that I differ from my hon. Friends around me, who think that this Bill is a sham and has been introduced merely for electioneering purposes. I must say I do not think it is anything of the kind, and I must begin by giving the Government credit for an honest attempt to deal with the subject. You may call it a simple attempt if you like; but, at all events, I think the Government wish to settle it, and the speech of the right hon. Gentle- 1190 man has confirmed that impression. There were reasons why the Government should prefer not to touch the question until after a General Election, and probably they would not have touched it had it not been that they were almost forced to it by the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon. Now, I concur entirely with the remark that this question should be treated and looked at as much as possible apart from Party considerations. Party treatment is what we complain of in Ireland. We are not come here to war against this country. Our action has an intelligible basis. We do not object to your Conservatism and your Conservative Party being in power. We know well that there is a very strong sympathy between many principles of Conservatism and our principles. What we do object to is that the Conservative Party, and those who are in the Government of Ireland, should be ruled in their treatment of Irish questions by the narrowest and most ignorant section of their Party. We take no objection to the Liberal Party. Historical and other reasons make us remember the period when the Liberal Party were in power with pleasure; but what we object to is that the Liberal Party, in their treatment of Ireland, should allow themselves to be ruled by the narrowest and most bigoted section of the Party. That section of the Party which, having the phrase of Liberalism in their mouth, trample on its spirit. Our action in this case is based upon that intelligible principle enunciated in The Quarterly Review, which I am sure every Member of the House must have read—" Treat us, not by repression, not by force, but by justice;" and that is all we demand. Now, in looking at this Bill, perhaps I may be allowed to refer to the difficulties which stand in the way of the subject. They are very great difficulties indeed. There is no doubt that it is not an easy subject to settle. One great difficulty arises from this—that there is in this country and in this House a constant notion that we should legislate upon some defined and abstract principle. I met a gentleman to-day who is a distinguished ornament of the Party opposite, and he said to me—" Sir, the genius of legislation for the last three-quarters of a century is against your proposal." Well, said I, that would be a very fine 1191 sentence, no doubt, on a platform where you are bound to adapt your nonsense to the nonsense of the people you are addressing. But my opinion is very far from that sentiment. We are not a company of scientific legislators, but we are an Assembly of men of business who know the world, and we come here from our constituencies, and we endeavour to adapt our legislation to the wants of our constituencies. It must be, from the very nature of the case, a system of give and take legislation in such a country as ours; and if any one of us construct our legislative machine, and want it to do the work of the world, we will soon find it knocking itself against obstructions. Now, this has been the difficulty to Ireland with this subject. As regards Ireland, the philosophical Radicals who exist somewhere—I do not know what to call them; I do not know whether there are really any philosophical Tories—whenever those subjects connected with Ireland and with religion in Ireland come up, think they have some great principle upon which to legislate. There is nothing more absurd than that. We must look at the difficulties, the requirements, the prejudice's of the country for which we are asked to legislate. Well, there is another great difficulty in the way, and that is the dislike that exists in this country, and in Scotland, to the religion of three-fourths of the people of Ireland. There is no doubt of its existence, though it is not expressed. Some of my Friends on this side of the House would not for a moment like to say they were affected by anything but the highest principles of Liberalism in dealing with Ireland; but if we could get at the bottom of their minds we would find that beneath all that profession of Liberalism, there exists the opinion that this is the machinery they are setting up to destroy the religion of the Irish people. There is the notion that mixed education is, for this purpose, the best thing to be adopted. I want to speak to the Protestants in this House quite independent of the Catholics, and to show them that this attempt at repression, this endeavour to drive the people of Ireland out of their religion, is one of the most unjust and absurd that was ever inflicted by one people upon another. It would be more honest to repeal all the beneficial legislation of the past, and to re-enact the Penal 1192 Laws, if this atmosphere of suspicion and doubt be maintained in Ireland. There is another feeling, Sir, in the minds of many Members of this House, and that is, that the Irish Members are not the masters of the situation; that they-are moved by a body behind who pull the strings, and who give them orders. In fact, I myself saw in a paper the other day that my Resolution had gone over to Dublin to be submitted to the opinion of certain ecclesiastics. I acknowledge that I did consult certain hon. Members about this Resolution. I showed it to about a dozen of them, and every one of the dozen had a different Resolution; and so, in desperation, and to save myself from doing something rash, I came into the House, and threw it on the Table to the Clerk; but as to showing it to any ecclesiastics, with a view to obtaining their opinion on it, I never had such an idea in my mind. I can say for myself that I was returned by a constituency, and had the confidence of every Roman Catholic in the place; and for two years they had a full belief I was opposed to them on this question. I was never asked a question about it, although it was of as much interest then as now. I have the honour of knowing—and not only that honour, but the friendship, of some of the highest dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church, and I have consulted with them on this subject; but, instead of their giving me orders, I was always surprised to find that they wished to ascertain my opinions and advice, and I never anywhere found a more sincere desire than among those gentlemen to settle this question on the foundation of reason and common sense. Now, the Government acknowledge that there is about the granting of degrees an inconvenience. They acknowledge that about the endowment question there is very great injustice. This Bill provides for the inconvenience, but it leaves the injustice where we found it. However, I acknowledge that the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman, to be embodied in Amendments, would go to some extent, but to my mind, a very small extent, to meet the injustice. I would beg the Government to re-consider their decision, and go a little further. If they do, they may really be the means of settling this great and difficult question. They may say that the fund out of which this 1193 question may be settled cannot be taken out of the Irish Church Surplus Funds; but I cannot see the reason of this at all. This very week they have laid on the Table of the House a proposal to apply £1,300,000 to the education of the lower classes. Last year they took £1,000,000 for the education of the intermediate classes; but this year they cannot see the reason or sense of taking £1,000,000 or £1,500,000 out of that fund, and laying the foundation of a good and healthy system of University Education. The noble and learned Earl who introduced the Bill in "another place" (Earl Cairns) evidently thought that there was some great difference between the principles of Intermediate Education and University Education. It would not have been probable that he would have made an elaborate joke; besides, he was not born at the right end of the Island for joking; but this looks very like one. There can be no possible difference in principle. We have now come to a crisis at which, I think, this question may be fairly settled. We have on our side reason and moderation, and we are not going in for any great or heroic measures. I believe this is the time for a complete measure; but if you say you will bring in this bit of a Bill this year, and that you complete it next year, then I say that that is absurd and unreasonable. You may not be there next year; we may not be here next year; and if you do introduce another Bill next year, perhaps it may not at all fit with the Bill you pass this year. And so it will go on, year after year, a mockery, a delusion, and a snare. I believe that if Sir Robert Peel's original proposition with regard to the Queen's Colleges could be carried out, it would go far towards settling this question. If the Colleges of Cork and Galway were under the control of Catholics, were for the benefit of Catholics, and met the desires and wants of the Catholics, the question would be very nearly settled; but they have got into such a state now that it would be quite impossible to go back to the original intention without creating an immense amount of confusion, and hence the proposal we have made; and we have not the slightest hesitation or difficulty in placing side by side with the proposals of the Chief Secretary the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon. So far as I am concerned, I would not hesitate for a moment about allowing a Roman Catholic College 1194 in Dublin, or in Cork, or in Galway, giving the money for secular education, and guarding, at the same time, against the money being applied for religious purposes. You have left this question unsettled for three generations. Just think what the effect has been upon the Irish Roman Catholics ! They are a class of the community from whom you have cut off the advantages of higher education. You could hardly conceive the evil influence it has had upon the higher and middle classes to feel that they are shut off from University Education. The deterioration that must result from this increases more rapidly than by geometric progression. You have throughout Ireland a large class constantly moving higher and higher in the social scale. You have old landed families, you have a large class of business men whose sons would naturally go for University Education; but they find themselves driven to private seminaries, or they have to send to England or the Continent for that education which they have no prospect of getting in Ireland without their first step being at variance with all they hold sacred. I know that sons of gentry and of business men have not a chance of aspiring to high positions, because, as Catholics, they have not access to their University degree. This must cramp and isolate them. Do you think you will by this means destroy their religion? Why, if there is anything bad, anything narrow, anything antiquated in their religion, you go the way to perpetuate it, for you refuse to lift them from the prejudices that surround them. You shut them, out from knowledge and science. Now, the suggestions of the Chief Secretary go, to a certain extent, in the direction we wish. They propose to give us Exhibition Scholarships and Fellowships, which, I presume, will be under the direction of the Senate. Well, what is to prevent them from going a little further? Even then, the Catholic youth of Ireland will be heavily weighted in the race for knowledge in Ireland. You have the Queen's Colleges well endowed—I will not say richly endowed, but well endowed by the State. I do not wish to say anything against them. They are doing very good work; but it is not the work which is so much wanted. Then, you have Trinity richly endowed for another section of the community. But Her Majesty's Government say to 1195 the Catholics—" Your youth may go in and get prizes, but you must do all that is required for secular and scientific teaching at your own expense; we will not reach out a hand to help you, though we give money to the Queen's Colleges and to Trinity College without stint." Why is this? Such a state of things is bad every way. Consider how bad it is for the individual, how bad for the country, how it will ever widen instead of unite the feelings of the people of Ireland from this country. We ask you to give us, in addition to what you propose to give, result fees; and in saying this we consider our request is a moderate one. Some years ago our demands went considerably beyond this. These result fees will not be for religious teaching, and will not supplement religious teaching, and will not and cannot do more than pay half the expenses of secular education in any College. Whether as a matter of principle or policy this is a moderate settlement we propose, and I do not see why it should not be granted. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may say—" Oh, why should we attempt to settle this question? Why not leave it to our successors? We have no objection to their getting into difficulties, for which they have a fatality; but we do not mind aiding them in that direction. Why not leave this vexed question to be settled by the noble Lord when he comes into power, with his lieutenants below the Gangway?" This would be a fair resolution to come to, if they regarded it only from the jocular point of view; but I do not think that right hon. Gentlemen opposite, once they have touched the question, will withdraw their hand until they have completed its settlement. It may not bring them many votes in Ireland; I cannot promise that, for this is only one of many questions which will have to be answered at the next General Election; but I do not doubt, if they meet us in this, they will excite feelings of gratitude in Ireland. Not that I lay much stress upon that, for there is no such thing as gratitude in politics. All we do is on the maxim—" Do the best you can in the present, and get as much as you can in the future." We are grateful for what we are going to get, and we assume that the past was done on principle, and not as fishing for compliments and gratitude. Legislation must stand on its own merits, and we 1196 cannot approve of things we object to because, in Sessions past, things were done which we liked. The Party opposite have done good things for Ireland. They have given us no "heroic measures," and the great difficulty about "heroic measures" is to keep them within the bounds of justice and right. They are so influenced by sentiment and vanity and all sorts of nonsense that they are very apt to run over the boundary of right. I would rather have measures of common sense policy, the result of thought and examination of all the circumstances dealt with. The Government deserve great credit for what they did last year in the Intermediate Education Act. I hope they may deserve well for what they do this year. I am not here to place difficulties in their way, but to co-operate with them in passing a good, useful measure. I know the difficulties they have to contend with from some enlightened Members of their own Party, and the difficulties from some superlatively enlightened Members on this side of the House. This question is ripe for settlement. It is a very remarkable thing that there is hardly an organ of public opinion in the country that is not in favour of such a settlement as I have suggested—The Times, and almost all the other daily papers of the Metropolis, the two weekly organs, The Saturday Review and The Spectator, and the great organ of Conservatism, The Quarterly Review. With such a concurrence of opinion outside, and such a concurrence of opinion in, the House—for during the discussion on the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon that has been shown—there is an opportunity of settling this question, if only the Government will put down their foot and say, "We are determined to carry it." You will not lose a vote if you do. Take the senior Member for Belfast (Mr. J. P. Corry). Do you think he would go into violent opposition if you carried it—or the hon. Member for Armagh, or the hon. Members from Lancashire, the source and centre of true Protestantism in England? I tell you they will do nothing of the kind; they will be obedient to your Whip. You would not lose support in the country. On the contrary, you would have a chance of gaining. I do not know but you would retain a seat or two which we should otherwise take from you. We have the highest 1197 respect for some of our Irish Conservative Members, and I shall be sorry to lose them as business men, and we should feel a kind of delicacy in turning them out after their support of a very little extended programme, such as I have suggested. Now, I hope the utterance of the Chief Secretary is only preliminary. When we had the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon before the House, we had a statement early in the night, and we had another statement later which differed considerably from the first. Now there will be nothing like the variance if, some three or four hours hence, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gets up and concedes our proposal as reasonable and sensible, and grants all we ask—perhaps a little more. I desire this debate should be conducted with good humour. I know there are Gentlemen around me who are men of genius. Now, I am always afraid of men of genius; and I hope, during the progress of the debate, there will be nothing said to excite the feelings or disturb the equanimity of the Bench opposite. They have been worried terribly this Session, and I think they ought to have one quiet night. I have ventured to trespass so much on the time of the House, sincerely trusting that the Bill will not be objected to on its merits, but that if we divide on the Resolution I have placed before the House the Bill will be allowed to pass the second reading, and in Committee we will endeavour on both sides, and with an anxious desire, to make this a good useful measure for Ireland. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "no measure of University Education can he considered satisfactory to the people of Ireland which does not provide increased facilities for Collegiate Education as well as for the attainment of University Degrees,"—(Mr. Shaw,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
gave the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw) the greatest credit for the tone of his speech. It appeared that the Party of which he was the Leader were about to reap the reward of their exertions for the last three Ses- 1198 sions. They had prevented the House from proceeding with legislation which was deemed essential by the country. A section of the Irish Members had completely fettered the action of the Legislature; and now the hon. Member, in the most good-humoured manner, came forward with his Amendment upon the University Bill which the Government had introduced because they felt they were unable to agree to the principle of the Bill already before the House. The hon. Member had enunciated a sort of maxim which he seemed to hope would be accepted by the House—" that they should do as well as they can for the present; "that was the hon. Member's advice to the House generally, and then he went on, "and get what they could for the future." This last was the hon. Member's injunction to his adherents. His Amendment was the embodiment of the Bill proposed by the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don), to which the majority of the House was known to be so positively opposed that there was no chance of its passing. Was it possible for a majority of the House, who had practically refused to assent to the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon, to accept this Amendment, which embodied the principle of that Bill? The position in which the House stood was this. It had been coerced for three Sessions by a small section of its Members, and they were now to comply with the requisition of the hon. Member for Cork, by discarding all principle in dealing with the question of higher education in Ireland as the consequence of the coercion to which they had been subjected. The hon. Member for Cork had put the matter most dexterously, and in a form which he hoped would be acceptable to the House; but it was clear, from his statement and Amendment, that although the Government had made an enormous concession he expected and desired that they should concede still further. The Chief Secretary for Ireland proposed to cancel the Royal title of the Queen's University, and leave it to the body to be created by this Bill to designate by what other name the new University should be known. Was there any loyalty in Ireland? If there was, he (Mr. Newdegate) did not think this concession would be agreeable to the loyalty of Ireland. The expunging of Her Majesty's name from all connection with Irish education would 1199 scarcely be regarded as a tribute to Irish loyalty. The Government had in this Bill made the widest concession in principle which the English and Scotch people would permit. He hoped it would not be attempted to carry concession further. If they did, he was conviced that the feeling of national dignity and loyalty would rise up against them, and that their whole scheme would be defeated. He had no wish to keep up a feud with Ireland. He had been long a Member of the House; but he had never seen unprincipled concession really conciliate Ireland, or produce peace in that country. The recommendations of the hon. Member for Cork were cloaked by the old cry of "justice to Ireland." He remembered that the Repeal movement adopted as one of its banners, "Justice to Ireland." He had known every unreasonable demand of the Ultramontane hierarchy of Ireland—the representatives of those dominant principles in regard to education which France and Belgium, both Roman Catholic countries, were resisting—he had known these dominant principles asserted under the plea that justice should be done to Ireland. He did not believe in "the justice" that was not founded in principle.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, in spite of what the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had said about justice to Ireland, he (Colonel Colthurst) should use that argument. He considered that no settlement of this question could be satisfactory which was not only framed in the spirit of justice to Ireland, but in the spirit of reparation to the Irish people for injustice in the past in the matter of education. He contended that University Education ought to be looked upon, as the right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair) said on a former occasion, as being, not as it was in England, the luxury of the few, but as the food of the many. This was what it had been in Scotland for many years. In the early part of the last century, education was brought into harmony in Scotland with the religious convictions of the great majority of the Scotch people. Parish schools were introduced all over the country, and were brought into connection with the Universities; and he would here remind hon. Members from Scotland that for three of those four Universities the Scotch people were indebted to Catholics and to Catholic ecclesiastics, 1200 members of that Ultramontane hierarchy which the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had denounced. The result of 120 or 130 years of such legislation for Scotland had been what might naturally have been expected. The people of Scotland were, perhaps, the best educated and the most intelligent in Europe. In Ireland the result aimed at was directly the reverse as far as the mass of the people were concerned. They were entirely shut out from education by the effect of the Acts for the prevention of the growth of Popery. It was made penal for a Catholic to teach a school, and it involved forfeiture of civil rights to send a son to be educated abroad. This state of things subsisted for 70 years, or two generations, and when it was modified, and in 1793 was finally abolished, and Trinity College was opened to the upper classes, what was the fate of the masses of the people—those to whom the right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh said that University Education should be thrown open? System after system was devised, all equally repugnant to the consciences of the Catholic people of Ireland, and the education of the people was never encouraged till 1832. It was not to be wondered at that the Irish people were not as well educated as the people of Scotland, though they were naturally as intelligent and as clever. Directly opposite treatment had produced directly opposite results. But if they took the narrow view that it was not a grievance to the mass of people to be deprived of University Education—if they took the grievance as being confined to the upper classes—they were told that the class of Catholics in Ireland who might fairly look for University Education was very small, and that ample facilities were afforded by the Queen's and Trinity Colleges. Well, perhaps the Catholic gentry of Ireland was a small class; but why was that? It was the direct result of the legislation of England. If the laws against the growth of Popery pressed hard on the masses of the people, they pressed with tenfold rigour on the gentry. When these laws were brought in the Catholic gentry numbered one-third of those holding property. The laws were avowedly directed to their extirpation, or, as Burke said, for their degradation. Besides persecution, various inducements were held out to them to conform, and during the 70 1201 years ending in 1777, when the laws were modified or repealed, 4,000 persons conformed. That was not surprising, for the people would have been martyrs to hold out against the persecution and annoyances to which they were subjected. The laws were designed wilfully and knowingly to prevent the acquisition or retention of property, land, position, or power by the Catholics of Ireland; and in 1777, when they were modified or repealed, the Catholic gentry had been reduced to a handful. Of that handful which remained steadfast there were worthy Representatives in that House, like the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) and others. That was only 100 years ago, and when they considered what was the present number of Catholic gentry in Ireland, and the number of Catholic professional and commercial men who had attained a high position by their intelligence, and industry, and energy, he thought it was much to their credit. He held that the House and the country were bound in this matter of education to make reparation, and that no legislation would be satisfactory which did not approach the subject in that spirit. In saying this, he did not lay down the form which such legislation should take. Of course, it must in some way or other produce equality. The Bishops of Ireland, though they were called an Ultramontane hierarchy, had never asked for anything but equality in all the proposals which they had put before the Government of the day. Equality might be attained in various ways, and he left the selection of the method to the Government; but the Catholics of Ireland asked equality with their Protestant fellow-countrymen. He hoped, though appearances were not very favourable, that the Government would see their way to put the roof on the edifice of which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, to his everlasting credit, dug the foundation and raised the walls in 1869.
§ MR. COURTNEY
sympathized with one observation of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, as to the desirability that this should not be treated as a Party question—a hope which he feared would be disappointed. They ought to have at heart the educational improvement of the Irish people; but he feared that would not be the motive of their action. Because the question was embarrassed by Party considerations it was likely to 1202 be exposed to peril. There was something very singular in the situation. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw) had advised the putting aside of all principle except the great one of obtaining all he could. They were asked by Her Majesty's Government to assent to a Bill of an imperfect character, explained in an indefinite and uncertain way, which did not disclose the proposal of the Government; and that could only be regarded as trifling with a great subject. They did not approach it as an educational problem; if they did, was it conceivable that at the last moment the Bill would be amplified by suggestions of endowment, which were not explained, lest, being understood, they should alarm any section of Members? The hon. Member who moved the Amendment said nothing of a definite character; and a natural conclusion from his admirable speech would be that the Chief Secretary for Ireland and he were playing a comedy; that one had said his part, and the other had taken his cue; that, by-and-bye, they might or might not have a Division, and in the course of a few weeks this undeveloped Bill would attain to some form which would satisfy the hon. Member for Cork, and would not dissatisfy the supporters of the Government. It was not very respectful to the House that it should be asked to entertain a question of this kind in this way. It was bad enough that they should approach the question at the fag-end of the Session; but that it should be put before them in a shadowy form, wholly undefined, with suggestions of modification, was a thing not to be tolerated. On the ground of the imperfect and unascertained character of the Bill, they ought to be slow to assent to the second reading. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had assumed the necessity of doing something; but he had not pointed to any evil to be remedied. They ought not, because of an agitation, to take for granted the alleged defects of higher education in Ireland. He was slow to admit that the existing system had failed at all, or that there was a gap to be filled. A all events, they ought to realize accurately what the present organization was. The Queen's Colleges were branded as godless Colleges and irreligious institutions, which it was supposed Roman Catholics would not frequent; but he denied altogether the accuracy of the character given to them. Remarks had 1203 been made conveying the impression that the Colleges were buildings in which resident students received their education. The Chief Secretary for Ireland apparently thought they were of this character; but the truth was that each of these Colleges was a University in itself; its buildings embracing museums, libraries, and lecture-rooms; and a certain number of Professors delivered lectures on secular subjects to students of all creeds. To the extent that the lectures were of a secular character the Queen's Colleges might be said to be godless. But it was open to every religious communion in Ireland to build halls of residence, to appoint Deans of residence, and to found theological Professorships in connection with the Queen's Colleges, so that facilities for religious education of every kind were provided in connection with those Colleges if only the different religious Bodies chose to take advantage of them. The hon. Member for Cork admitted that if the present system had been managed with more discretion, it might have succeeded in satisfying the claims of the people of Ireland generally. But whose fault was it if it had not succeeded? There was no disguising the fact that it was because the Roman Catholic hierarchy had refused to co-operate in the system that Parliament was now asked to legislate. If the Roman Catholic Bishops had cared to make an appeal to the faithful for funds to build halls of residence and establish theological Professorships everything would have gone smoothly. No hon. Member who examined the constitution of the Queen's Colleges with reference to the facilities given for religious education could fail to see that there was nothing scandalous in the present system, and that it was the duty of Parliament to regard with great suspicion any demands such as those now made. But, after all, was it the fact that the present system of the Queen's Colleges had failed to satisfy the people of Ireland as distinct from the Roman Catholic hierarchy? Since the foundation of the Queen's Colleges, the number of Roman Catholic students attending them had gradually risen, though subject to fluctuations in consequence of the periodic fulminations of the Roman Catholic Bishops. People went on sending their sons in greater and greater numbers to the Colleges; but every now and then there came some pastoral, some 1204 declaration from this or that Bishop or body of Bishops, and the progress of the Colleges was for the time arrested, only to resume when the terrors of the Roman Catholic hierarchy had been forgotten. The proportion of Roman Catholic students attending the Colleges was about 25 or 30 per cent. No doubt, the proportion of Roman Catholics to Protestants in Ireland was much greater than that; but it should be borne in mind that only persons of a certain amount of means could afford to give their sons a University Education, and the number of such persons would not be found to be so very much in excess of 25 or 30 per cent. It had been estimated not to exceed 35 per cent altogether, and when allowance was made for the circumstance that all Roman Catholic theological students were educated elsewhere, while the Protestant theological students were not, it would be found that the number of Roman Catholic lads actually attending the Queen's Colleges was just about what it might reasonably be expected to be. If it were the case that a large mass of Roman Catholics were deterred from attending the Queen's Colleges who would be glad to attend a Roman Catholic University, why, he would ask, did they not concentrate themselves upon Galway or Cork, and, by their mere numbers, make the Colleges there as distinctly Roman Catholic in character as the College at Belfast was Protestant? What the Bill proposed was to create a University which would admit all students, however educated, to examinations for University degrees. As an educational matter, he ventured to say that that was an alteration of very doubtful expediency. The existence of the London University, which now examined students in Carlow and Dublin, did away with any necessity that might formerly have existed for such a Bill as the present. The change proposed was a dangerous one, because the new University would be a competitor with the London University for the same class of students, and it might be assumed that the University which admitted students with the greatest ease would be most patronized. There was, therefore, this danger—that the new University would make its examinations easy for the purpose of out-bidding the London University. Then, again, the Bill created a University open to all comers—but how would it do so? First, it created a 1205 University, then it destroyed an existing University, and then it passed over the graduates of the existing University to the new University. What was the use of that roundabout way of doing a very simple thing? Why was it not proposed, instead, to give the Queen's University the power of examining students from without? Why not enable it, with its traditions, and standard, and machinery, and organization, to examine outsiders? The reason given in "another place" was this—that, in 1866, an attempt was made to enable the Queen's University to examine outsiders by means of a supplementary Charter, which was rejected by the Queen's University. It required the authority of a Lord Chancellor to make such a reason as that plausible. The change might not be possible by Charter; but why should it not be done by Act of Parliament? They could do what they liked with the University by an Act of Parliament, and they were going to destroy it by an Act. It was perfectly clear that there was something beyond and below this. There was only one reason he could suggest for it—namely, that when they got rid of the old University they would get rid of its Senate; and when they created a new University they could bring in a new Senate disposed to be very favourable to certain institutions. That was only another reason for looking at the Bill with extreme jealousy. If they were to make an alteration, why should it not be done in a straightforward way, by enlarging the powers of the existing University? It had admittedly done good work. Why destroy it? Why not supplement it? With respect to the admission of all new comers to examination, he would quote the opinion of a very distinguished man, recently returned to England, after receiving great honours, which all Englishmen, who had any regard for culture and genius, were glad to know he had received—he alluded to Cardinal Newman. If he had to choose, he said, between a University which dispensed with residence, and gave its degrees to those who, on examination, were found to be qualified, and one which had no Professors or Examiners at all, as was the case with Oxford 60 years ago, which kept its students for three or four years, and then sent them away—if he had to determine which of the two courses was the more successful in training, moulding, and enlarging 1206 the mind, which produced the better class of public men, he would not hesitate to give the preference to that University which did nothing in preference to that which taught its students every science under the sun. That opinion was worthy of consideration, when they were asked to drag down an existing University and substitute for it a mere Examining Body. The hon. Member for Cork, in his Amendment, stated that the Bill did not meet the demand for increased facilities for Collegiate Education in Ireland. It was true that the Bill gave no such facilities; but he was not quite sure, from the ambiguous language of the right hon. Gentleman, that those facilities would not be foisted into the Bill. And in what manner was it suggested that these facilities should be afforded? They were to be made dependent upon annual Votes. In other words, they were threatened with an agitation from year to year every time the Votes were brought on. Every friend of higher education must object to that. He held that Collegiate Education, in the best sense of the word, was provided by the system of the Queen's Colleges as they existed. The Roman Catholics, it was said, would not take it; but the facilities for obtaining Collegiate Education existed, and those who opposed the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork were voting for true Collegiate Education against the sham Collegiate Education of which he was the advocate. What was really the point in dispute? It was a question not confined to this country, but was at issue in France, in Belgium, and in Italy. The question was, whether youths should be educated together or apart in distinct and separate institutions? Which of the two systems, he asked, deserved to be approved as a means of education? The Roman Catholic hierarchy had insisted, again and again, that they would be content with nothing that did not give them exclusive control over the education of their youths from first to last; that they should teach them not only morals and religion, but science; that they should not only teach but examine them, and have control not only of the education, but of the examinations also. He was for the free education of youths jointly and together, for youths by communion one with another learnt very quickly that life was greater than the particular forms of life in which they were brought 1207 up, that the world was vaster, and humanity wider, than anything taught in particular schools of theology. This knowledge obtained in Colleges was what prepared men for life. In the House of Commons there were men of all creeds, and they were the better for it. Why, then, should a College be restricted to one? He, and those who agreed with him, were fighting for the freer, wider, and better education, against those who, under the pretence of offering facilities for Collegiate Education, were endeavouring to obtain the opportunity of cramping youthful minds by the teaching of particular seminaries. In defence of the higher education to which he had referred, which had been established in Ireland for 30 years and more, which had flourished there in spite of opposition, he hoped the House would refuse to listen to proposals, however convenient, which were made for the promotion of Party purposes.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
thought the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) had shown very conclusively the great benefit which the Queen's University had been to Ireland. The hon. Member had quite refuted the argument of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw), who said that it was the great wish and intention of the House to exclude the Roman Catholics from their fair share of education. The hon. Member had shown rightly that their object was that Catholics and Protestants should be brought up side by side, because to bring them up in this manner would have an influence upon their after life which they could never forget. In the statement of the hon. Member for Liskeard were contained the views of a large majority of the House. He knew that the Roman Catholics stated, and firmly believed, that they had a grievance with regard to higher Education; and it was in the endeavour to meet that grievance that the Bill of the Government had been brought in. He regretted that a Division was not taken on the Bill of the hon. Member for Eos-common. He held, in fact, that it was one of the greatest mistakes that had ever been made that the House was not allowed to show to Ireland in connection with that Bill what the real view of the country was in reference to the question of higher education in Ireland now before the House. Their great object was to give to the Irish people the best 1208 education which they could possibly give; but that could not be secured by subsidizing, as the hon. Member for Eos-common proposed should be done, those Roman Catholic seminaries which now existed in Ireland. This would perpetuate in the future all the evils which had disfigured Irish education in the past. In his opinion, the question could only be dealt with in a national sense, with regard to the wants of the country. He agreed that it would be a mistake absolutely to abolish the Queen's University. He certainly wished that the name might be retained. Surely the House had the power to extend the Charter of the University and increase its Senate. He hoped that later in the debate the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would say that the Government did not intend to interfere with the present Senate of the University. He was most anxious to see this question settled; but it could only be done upon lines approved by the great majority of the House; and he hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would clearly state that the Scholarships, Exhibitions, and Fellowships to be given for secular purposes in the University were to be provided for by money voted annually by Parliament. He felt certain that the country would not agree to the application of a lump sum of money out of the Disestablished Church Fund to the purpose which he had named.
§ DR. WARD
warned the Irish Members against listening to the proposals made to them by the Liberal Party. It was by the mouthpiece of philosophical Radicals that they heard it said—"You can have nothing but what I can give you; "and, therefore, he would say to his Friends from Ireland—"Be cautious of what you hear from the Liberal Party when it is said—'Pass this over, we will give you something better.' "They had listened to such advice before in the hope of getting something better than was offered them at the time, and the result had not been satisfactory. Lord Mayo made a proposition, the generosity of which towards Catholics had never been equalled; but the present Lord Emly, a Member of the Liberal Party, said—"Hold on; you will get more from us when we are in power." What was the fact? The Liberals got into power, and the Irish got nothing. The same thing, he believed, would happen 1209 again. He would, therefore, have them take warning from the past. The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) got up and stated the grounds upon which the all-powerful tail of the Liberal Party would proceed, if in power, and they were—that Ireland must have secular education, and secular education alone. Nothing else would be given now if that was to be the line on which the Liberal Party was to be worked; and they knew it was, because they knew the Liberal Party could not get on without its tail—then he (Dr. Ward) said it was hopeless for the Catholics of Ireland to give up the half a loaf which the Government offered. [Mr. SULLIVAN: Oh!] It appeared his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Louth was willing to give it up; but what happened 13 years ago? Thirteen years ago, they threw up a good offer from the Conservatives in the hope of getting something better, and, as a consequence, three generations of young men in Ireland had been practically destitute of University Education. Who were the people, he asked, who were much interested in this question, perhaps, more than anyone else? It was not the House of Commons, nor the ecclesiastics, but it was the young men of Ireland, who were exceedingly interested in this matter of their education; and the hon. and learned Member for Louth would take upon himself a great responsibility if he shut the doors of University Education to the young men. [" Oh ! "] It was shutting the doors, he repeated. The Government said they would open those doors and enable young men to enter them by grants of money. What did the hon. and learned Member for Louth expect from the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) and the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), and those Members who led the Party to which he was so proud to belong? What did the hon. and learned Member expect from that Party? [Mr. SULLIVAN: Nothing.] The hon. and learned Gentleman said nothing. But he did get something from the Party opposite. The Bill before the House was an honest attempt to settle the question. [Mr. SULLIVAN: Oh!] The hon. and learned Member said "Oh!" but he would repeat his assertion that the Bill was honest in its purpose and desire to settle the question. In the teeth of a very 1210 strong Party behind the Government, he said it was a thoroughly honest consideration, and nothing but faction and prejudice in the House had tried to prevent the endeavour succeeding. He could say more in that direction, and he spoke in the interests of the young men of Ireland in protesting against that spirit existing which he had indicated. They had heard a great deal said with regard to the terrors of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and he had something to say about that matter. He had nothing to urge against the Queen's Colleges; he had received kindness from them; and although his father and three sons had had a connection with Queen's Colleges his Bishop said nothing against it. Yet the minds of some hon. Members of the House were filled with terrors respecting the Catholic hierarchy. He denied the existence of any such terror in Ireland. Of course, they wanted the Queen's Colleges, but they wanted more; and if they could not get more they sometimes availed themselves of what those Colleges offered. He believed the Bill might be made a very good measure, as it gave them what they did not now possess. The hon. Member for Liskeard, who was wiser than the people of Ireland, came down with an array of figures, and with his science, with the object of showing that there was no practical impediment in the way of any Catholic in Ireland who really desired education. In the county which he (Dr. Ward) represented, there were a number of Catholic gentry whose sons never availed themselves of the Queen's Colleges; but who were, practically, uneducated so far as University Education was concerned. Those were the very people they would get at by this Bill. The hon. Members for Liskeard and North Warwickshire were understood to be fighting the phantom of clericalism; but they were, in point of fact, fighting the battle of clericalism. The young men to whom he referred were shut out from University Education because their parents had objections against their entering the Queen's Colleges, and the consequence was they were sent into clerical seminaries. That was what the hon. Member for Liskeard and others were doing. They were actually promoting and upholding that state of things, for they advocated the system which, of all others, was most 1211 calculated to fix clericalism on the country. Did they tell him the people in Ireland were different to the people in other parts of the world? They knew well that the people would say—"Hands off," if they put the education into the hands of the clericals, and they overstepped their bounds. He did not deny that the Queen's Colleges were good institutions; but he did assert that the system in Ireland was not educating the large proportion of the people of the country. They wanted a loyal and understanding people in Ireland; but how were they to get that? Ireland must have that which it required, and in the name of this great Empire, and of all that was called liberty, he asked that it should be granted them. He deprecated the action of those who were but theoretic upholders of liberty, and who said if they did not educate their sons in a certain fashion they would not educate them at all. In a short time he thought they would have some of these gentlemen endeavouring to regulate their breakfasts. In his belief, the Liberal intolerance of the Liberals was the worst of tyranny; and if they were to be governed by the hon. Members for Hackney and Liskeard, backed by a few Gentlemen opposite, life would be absolutely unbearable. They ought to approach the question from the point of utility, and if they did that they would find that the Bill afforded a very fair opening. [Mr. SULLIVAN: No.] Again the hon. and learned Member for Louth said "no." Would he tell them what his Party would give? [Mr. SULLIVAN: The Home Rule Party is my Party.] "Well, the Leader of that Party had distinctly endorsed the policy of Her Majesty's Government; and if the hon. and learned Gentleman would follow his Leader he would vote for the second reading of the Bill; because, if the hon. Member for Cork could not get what he wanted in its entirety, he had not refused what the Government offered him. No doubt, the hon. Gentleman would endeavour to secure the adoption of his Amendment; but if it should be rejected he must take the milder proposition. With regard to the provisions of the measure, he ventured to say that they enabled the sons of Roman Catholics to obtain a thorough education. At the same time, there were some which might well be considered for amendment, so 1212 that the scope of the proposal might be somewhat widened. Whatever was done, however, the House should be most careful not to hold the responsibility of rejecting the Bill. It was a grave thing that three generations of Irish young men should have gone down without receiving University Education, while they had been quarrelling in the House over mere words. He now appealed to the House to accept the Bill as a fair compromise, and allow the Government to do this year an act greater than it did last year for Ireland by giving the country extended University Education.
§ MR. KAVANAGH
said, that although he believed in the abstract truth of the views which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw), he could not support the Amendment of that Gentleman, because to pass that Amendment would be equivalent to rejecting the Bill. Moreover, he believed that he would not be representing correctly the interests of his Roman Catholic friends in Ireland, who were anxious to obtain increased facility for higher education, if he were to throw any difficulty in the way of the Bill, even in its present form. He was glad to observe that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had enlarged the scope of the Bill very much indeed. As the Bill was originally introduced—namely, in the House of Lords—he was inclined to find fault with it, not for what it did, but for what it did not do. He, however, thought it would meet a want which he heard very generally expressed in Ireland, and upon that account he made up his mind to support the second reading in the hope that in Committee Her Majesty's Government would see their way to put a little more flesh on the bone. The right hon. Gentleman, on introducing the measure, had unveiled the way by which he hoped it would be found acceptable to all parties in Ireland; and, therefore, he (Mr. Kavanagh) would be all the more sorry to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork. Many remarks had been made by previous speakers about the Queen's Colleges, and work which they had done in Ireland. He did not disparage the Queen's University or Queen's Colleges; but he did not believe that they had fulfilled the intention of their founders. The Queen's University 1213 and Colleges were founded for the purpose of conveying to the Roman Catholics in Ireland equal advantages to those possessed by the other religious persuasions. Now, that he did not think they had succeeded in doing. The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) quoted some figures which, he said, proved satisfactorily that the Queen's Colleges had accomplished their object. He (Mr. Kavanagh) had not got the figures with him; but the statistics he had seen certainly proved the very opposite. If he remembered correctly, the students in the Queen's University numbered 920 in the years 1878 and 1879, and out of that number he found that there were only 230 Roman Catholics. Now, if they compared the number of Roman Catholics to the proportion of the other religious denominations, they would find, even allowing that the Roman Catholics, as a rule, were of the poorer class, and, perhaps, did not desire so much University degrees as the members of other denominations—even allowing for that, he thought they would find that the discrepancy was a very marked one indeed. If the present Bill were passed, he believed that University Education would be placed within the reach of those people who at present were unable to afford it. He, however, was desirous of taking this opportunity of joining with the hon. Member for Cork in appealing to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and to Her Majesty's Government, and to the whole of the Party on this side of the House, to grant what he asked in his Amendment—namely, result fees. He believed result fees would be the most rational and most useful way of assisting education. It was perfectly well known that they could not advocate any scheme which bore the slightest tinge of endowment. The days of endowment had gone by; but, although that was so, he thought it was quite in accordance with the old principles and traditions of the Conservative Party to be generous as well as just. The policy of disendowment had never belonged to their traditions. On the contrary, if they looked back to history, from the time of Mr. Pitt, they would find many instances to show that concurrent endowment, and not disendowment, had been the policy of the Conservative Party; but that policy, he was sorry to 1214 say, had now passed. It was no use attempting to re-open that question, especially since the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. He did not want to re-open it; but he did ask hon. Members on his own side of the House—some of whom were strongly opposed to giving Roman Catholics anything—he did ask them to put aside their prejudices, and to be generous as well as just. Had the hon. Member for Cork been in his place, he would have suggested to him that the best course for him to pursue might be to withdraw his Amendment, and let them all see what Her Majesty's Government were prepared to do in Committee. Then, if all their efforts failed to obtain anything satisfactory, or if the statements which, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had made proved to be empty promises, the Amendment would apply with quite as much force, and with a great deal more reason, on. the third reading of the Bill. He believed that it would be a great pity indeed to reject the measure which, although it might not be exactly what the hon. Member for Cork and his Friends wanted, would afford the foundation to build upon, and to effect what he hoped might become a just and generous settlement of this great question.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
said, that it was because they believed that the estimate of the duties and functions of life given by theological teaching was the true estimate that the Catholic Church. wanted a safe and guarded kind of education. His hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw) pointed out the inequality which the Bill proposed. It was admitted on all hands that the measure, as it now stood, only gave the power of receiving degrees, but provided no adequate means whatever for giving to young men all the benefits of University Education; and his hon. Friend proposed that the principle of payment by results should be adopted to supplement the Bill, and to provide young Catholics in Ireland with University Education, and with all the benefits of Collegiate life. Now, that did not contain the objectionable feature of denominational education which was regarded with dislike by many hon. Members. What his hon. Friend claimed was Collegiate Education in secular matters, and not in religious matters. Supposing the State consented 1215 to give them payment by results for secular matters, the State, undoubtedly, would have the right to see that the money paid for results was devoted altogether for secular learning. Furthermore, the State would be intitled to establish machinery by which to insure that the fees were devoted to purely secular subjects, and that they were so applied to them as to produce the best possible good from an educational point of view. Let them see what the State would be fairly entitled to do, in order to see that the result fees served no denominational purpose. The first matter to which he would call attention was the appointment of Professors. Much would depend upon the class of Professors appointed. In the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon there was a provision which no Roman Catholic would object to being employed in the appointment of Professors—namely, payment by results. In the hon. Member's Bill it was proposed that salaries should be paid to Professors appointed by the College and approved by the University. No one was disposed to ask for money to be paid for Professors solely appointed by the Bishops or the Body in charge of the affiliated Colleges. They would not do so, but were perfectly willing that the secular Senate or the State should have an equal voice in the appointment of Professors. Some time ago he made, through another channel, the suggestion that the State or the Senate should have the power of appointment, subject to the approval of the affiliated Colleges, and that the affiliated Colleges should have the power of dismissal if the Professor turned out unsuitable. If the Professors were to be paid by results, the affiliated Colleges should not claim the paramount right of appointment. If they had payment by results, probably they would insist on the introduction of a Conscience Clause to guide the studies in the affiliated Colleges. A Conscience Clause was introduced in the Intermediate Education Act. In that Act they were dealing with schools in which boys from 11 to 16 years of age were educated—an age when religious principles were formed, and when the religious edifice of a man's life was built up. It was said in "another place" that a Conscience Clause would be useless in the affiliated Colleges of a University, although it would be 1216 useful in a school; but he thought it was quite the other way. A Conscience Clause was no use whatever for the purposes of mixed education, because no Catholic would think of going to a Protestant intermediate school, and vice versâ. Therefore, the Conscience Clause was a mere sop of no practical use with regard to Intermediate Education; but it was a very different thing with regard to the halls of a University, where the young men came to pursue their secular studies. It was perfectly possible that Protestants would come to the halls of a Catholic College; and if a Catholic College was a success, he thought there would be a larger number of Protestants come to it than many hon. Gentlemen supposed; and, therefore, he had no objection to a good and substantial Conscience Clause to protect the rights of the Protestants who might wish to come. Mixed education seemed to be a source of great anxiety to many hon. Members, who said they would be glad to see the Protestants and Roman Catholics studying together. He believed that if they provided this safeguard for Roman Catholic education, guarding it, at the same time, by a Conscience Clause, there would be a greater chance of bringing both classes together than there was under the present system. He would suggest that, if the payment by results was adopted, the State should have the right to inspect, by the officers of the University, the affiliated Colleges of the University; and the State should also have the right of seeing that the money that was given for the purpose of furthering secular study was applied for that purpose. He also thought the State should be entitled to lay down certain conditions as to the constitution of the Colleges which were proposed to be affiliated, in order to secure that the Colleges should not be altogether under clerical control. The State, also, would be bound to see that nothing in the nature of an intermediate school received one halfpenny of payment by results. In regard to this matter, the hon. and learned Member for Louth had been misunderstood. He had suggested that, in the first instance, a hard-and-fast line should be drawn, and that it should be determined that, until an Act of Parliament allowed it, only two or three institutions in the country should receive any endowments in the shape of result 1217 fees. There was an institution in Dublin known as the Catholic University, and the result of this would be that an institution like that, having a status, would be a nucleus of University life, and result fees would pour in, guarded by a Conscience Clause. He desired not merely to have provision for instruction for young men, but he desired a Collegiate and resident University life to grow up; and it was only by excluding intermediate schools and seminaries from result fees under this Bill, and confining the fees to institutions which, by locality, number of pupils, and absence of intermediate teaching from their curriculum were qualified, that the wants of the people could be properly met. The young men of the present day fell behind in culture the generation which was passing away; and, he believed, if hon. Members could see the falling off in Ireland in this respect—talents lost and capacities abused, bad habits formed for the want of culture—they would generously make a sacrifice of principle. But no sacrifice of principle was required. Result fees, properly guarded, would involve no sacrifice of principle. With regard to the Fellowships proposed to be created under the scheme, one solution of the question which had been proposed was to pay the Professors. He would suggest that they should make the Fellowships which were to be created tenable on condition that the Fellows taught in some University College affiliated to the University. He thought that was a fair solution. A good deal had been said about the Intermediate Education Act; but it did not afford any worthy or satisfactory analogy on the present occasion, and it was weak and dangerous to pursue that line of argument. They should accept the proposal of the hon. Member for Cork, and, in connection therewith, the payment by result fees would stand upon its own merits. As he had sketched that payment, it did not in any way involve the principle of denominational education, and it was free from the trait which made denominational endowment or denominational education so objectionable to the great majority of the Members of the House. Unless the suggestions of his hon. Friend the Member for Cork, or some similar proposal, were adopted in the Bill, such as would give means for growth of University 1218 life in Ireland, this question could not be regarded as settled. If an attempt were made to pass the Bill into law without such an addition, the Government would probably succeed; but they would only succeed in carrying a measure unworthy of a Government which pretended to deal seriously and effectively with this question, and unworthy, also, of the warm approval of the Representatives of Ireland.
§ MR. GREGORY
had listened with regret to the speech of the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down, because he thought the Government had gone quite as far as many of their supporters, and certainly as far as he himself would be prepared to go. He could not help feeling that, logically, hon. Members who represented Roman Catholic constituencies in Ireland had hardly a case for the Bill which was now introduced. As a matter of fact, it appeared to him that all the requirements of the Roman Catholics were met by the institution of the Queen's Colleges; that there was no ground, logically speaking, for the prejudice entertained by the Roman Catholic gentry of Ireland against those Colleges. Some of the leading members of the Roman Catholic Church in this country had, he believed, sent their sons to the English Universities. He accepted the statement, however, that the Roman Catholic gentry of Ireland objected to send their sons to the Queen's Colleges, and, on that ground, he was willing to go so far as to accept the present Bill; but it would be necessary to see that the endowments under the Bill, whatever they were to be, were to be endowments of a University, and not of denominational Colleges; and the House did not yet know what those endowments were to be. Taking the Bill as it stood, he should give it his support. In so doing, he confessed he did not feel there was a very strong case made out for the measure. He accepted it on the representation of certain Members of the Roman Catholic persuasion coming from Ireland, and in deference to their feelings and prejudices, rather than on account of any logical ground on which the measure stood.
§ MAJOR O'BEIRNE
could not help regretting the unfortunate results with which the introduction of the first Bill on this subject this Session had been met. He was quite sure the present 1219 Bill would not satisfy the demands of the Irish people for University Education. The proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, in 1874, would have been far preferable to them, for by it Trinity College, Dublin, would have been converted into a National University, which would have been affiliated to the Catholic Colleges throughout the country. The present Bill did not propose to give any money endowment to Catholic Colleges in Ireland. It was impossible that the Catholic people of Ireland could shut their eyes to the fact that denominational education was at present amply provided for in England and Scotland. They had only to look at the provision made for elementary education in England and University Education in Scotland to see how liberally the sister countries were provided for in a matter in regard to which the scantiest justice was denied; and while this was 'the case, the Irish people had taxed themselves to the amount of £200,000 to establish a Roman Catholic University, they not receiving a single farthing of public money to aid them in this great effort. Trinity College was one of the most richly endowed educational establishments in the Three Kingdoms. It had 200,000 acres of land, museums, and libraries, was rich with valuable manuscripts; but it was thoroughly Protestant. All its Professors were Protestants, nearly all its students Protestants, and the whole tone of the institution showed it was, though nominally open to Catholics, practically as exclusive as if it were closed by law to all but members of the favoured faith. In view of these circumstances, the Irish people could not but be extremely disappointed with the present Bill. It was impossible that English or Scotch Dissenters could understand the question of Catholic University Education in Ireland. When Protestant Dissenters went to a Protestant institution they saw rites and ceremonies, not the same as their own, no doubt, but not so very different as to occasion them any shock, and they took no great exception to the religious services of the great Protestant Universities. Between these denominations there was not that enormous difference to be found between either; and Roman Catholics could not in this respect act as the Dissenters did. 1220 They did not think their sons could learn history from a Protestant Professor, because, to begin with, the whole course of Irish history took its character from what occurred 200 years ago; and the Catholic parent objected to history distorted or coloured by the prejudice and bigotry of a Protestant Professor. They conscientiously insisted that the Professors who trained their children should be Catholics, and what they were contending for was really a Catholic University. How, he asked, if the tables were turned, would Protestant parents like to send their sons to an institution where all the Professors were Jesuits, or even Catholic laymen? It was only natural that Ireland should insist in her demand to have a grant of money for a University; and although some hon. Members might be willing to accept the proposition of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw) of payment by results, yet, he was sure, that would never settle the question. That settlement could only be arrived at by disendowing Trinity College, selling the property, and devoting the proceeds to national purposes, and putting every religious denominational College on an equality, or by giving equal endowment to Roman Catholic Colleges.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, he should give his most sincere support to this Bill, principally because it dealt in a genuine manner with the great grievance of which the Irish Roman Catholics had hitherto complained—namely, that there was no University in Ireland which gave degrees to persons educated in denominational schools and Colleges. That was so with the Queen's University, because that University gave degrees only to those who had studied in the Queen's Colleges, and those Colleges were undenominational. Then there was Trinity College. It had, no doubt, been made accessible to Roman Catholics; but it was under conditions which Roman Catholics could not accept, because in that College the education was undenominational. Parents had a right, on behalf of their sons, to insist upon that form of education of which they approved, and the Roman Catholics of Ireland had a right to say their children should not be denied a University degree because they had been educated in schools where the Catholic religion was taught. They had beep told that 1221 Irishmen might come over to London and take degrees at the London University. But Irishmen had a right to say they did not want to come over here, but desired to have a University in their own country capable of granting degrees. That was a most reasonable feeling on their part. What would the Scotch think if they were obliged to come to the English Universities to receive their degrees? The Roman Catholics were a majority of the people of Ireland, and their religious principles ought to be respected; and, in his opinion, this Bill really did remedy one of their grievances, because the University to be created under it did not favour Roman Catholics more than anybody else; at the same time, it was a concession to those who were in favour of their sons receiving a denominational education, because under the Bill young men who had been educated in Roman Catholic Colleges or schools would be able to obtain these University degrees, which they could not do at present. It had been contended at some length that an institution which brought young men together was much better than a mere Examining Board. No doubt, this was true but; it was beside the question, for it did not apply to the present case. They could not have what was best in the abstract, and must content themselves with that which best met the special circumstances of the case. This Bill did not interfere in any way with the Queen's Colleges. It had been argued that the Queen's Colleges ought to be amplificated. He supposed what was intended was, that there should be something in the shape of the Supplemental Charter of which so much had been said, and that what had once been vainly attempted by means of such a Charter should now be effected by Act of Parliament. He maintained, however, that to introduce into the Queen's Colleges principles which were totally different from those upon which they had been founded would be a process of mere tinkering and cobbling, which could not lead to any satisfactory result. If they wanted to redress the grievance that admittedly existed in Ireland, it would be necessary to make a clearance, and to erect something new. Had the Queen's University been a venerable institution, sanctioned by age and history, he should have hesitated to destroy 1222 it; but, in point of fact, it had been created by Act of Parliament, and might, therefore, be abolished by the same means. The wisest plan would be to sweep it away, and to set up something more in accordance with the necessities of the case. He had felt, with regard to the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don), that there was a great objection to it in the fact that it created a third University; but the present Bill steered clear of that obstacle to its acceptance. Whatever endowments belonged to the Queen's University would be transferred to the new University, which would, consequently, not have to ask for fresh benefactions. The Bill, however, did not interfere with the Queen's Colleges, which would still remain, and would be included in the new University, which, at the same time, would grant degrees to persons educated in denominational Colleges. He had been very anxious that the Government should offer some subvention to the new University. When the Bill had first been introduced he had felt that that new University would be in formâ pauperis, and that it would not be able to hold its own against Dublin; but the Government had made a considerable concession in the direction of supplying it with Fellowships and other advantages of that kind. However, even if no important concession had been made, even if no money had been granted, the Representatives of Ireland would make a great mistake in rejecting the Bill. They had made a mistake in rejecting the measure of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. ["No, no!"] He said "Yes," and he believed a majority of the Irish Representatives would now agree that a mistake was made when that Bill was rejected. They had made another mistake at the time when Lord Mayo was in Office, and the Conservative Government had been disposed to make concessions to the Roman Catholics. A great step was to have been made in that direction, whatever might have been the precise intentions of Lord Mayo. Hon. Members should remember that extreme views were fatal to legislation, and that, now they had thrown away several valuable and important opportunities, they had to make the best of their position. The Government had made a liberal offer in en- 1223 deavouring to remove the grievance of which they complained. The University of London, whether it was in Piccadilly or in Carlow, was still English, and not Irish, and the Irish had a right to have an University of their own that would give degrees to persons educated in denominational Colleges. He would be very glad to see a purely Roman Catholic University endowed; but how could they expect such a thing? If any Government proposed it, they would be turned out of Office in a fortnight. It could not be done; for neither the strong Protestants, nor the Nonconformists, nor the other House of Parliament, would give their assent. They might just as well cry for the moon. They must not ask for what was impossible, and they ought not to expect any Government to knock their heads against brick walls, ending in their political destruction. No doubt, it would be very heroic to see that species of martyrdom; but it was impracticable. The Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon, though it did not propose a Roman Catholic University, certainly went very near the endowment of denominational schools and Colleges; but even if the Government had supported him he could not have carried his Bill. Even in the case of the present Bill, which avoided the difficult question of endowments, they had had the violent speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), and probably some Nonconformist Member would join his opposition to it. Nor, in fact, did he himself think the Bill perfect; but he wished to avoid the grave error of refusing a fair offer for the sake of the unobtainable. He could not vote for the Amendment, because, if it were carried, it would be fatal to the Bill. Hon. Gentlemen, he was sure, would not vote for that Amendment if they thought there was a chance of its being carried, because, if carried, it would be fatal to the Bill. The Bill conceded as much as the Roman Catholics could expect—not so much as they had a right to, but as much as they could get. He did not mean to say that when the Bill was in Committee modifications might not be introduced in it; possibly there might be. He should be very glad if Her Majesty's Government would modify the Bill in the sense he had indicated. But he gave a most cordial support to the Bill, and, when carried, he 1224 thought Her Majesty's Government might congratulate themselves on having settled what the French called a burning question—a very difficult and troublesome question; and he was sure the people of Ireland would find they were benefited by the Bill.
§ MR. J. MAITLAND
thought the reasonable demands of the Irish in this matter would be conceded by the people of this country as soon as it became thoroughly instructed in the matter. He was humbly of opinion that the people on this side of the Channel did not know what they themselves had in the way of Universities, and what the people on the other side of the Channel had not. He had himself had a good deal of experience at various Universities, and he should like to point out, in the first place, what we had in this way. The impression was general in this country that we had at our great Universities a secular system—that, in point of fact, our great Universities were not Protestant, and certainly not denominational. Now, at Oxford, not only the Professors, but the tutors, Fellows, and students were almost to a man not only Protestants, but members of the Episcopalian Church of England. Besides that, it was necessary, or, at least, the custom and practice—anyone who did not conform to it rendering himself an outsider—not only to attend the College Divinity lectures, but to attend the College chapel. It was quite true that the Dissenters in this country—and amongst them he included the Catholics—had obtained the right to go there without signing tests; but that had not been the kind of grievance which the Roman Catholics had objected to. "What they objected to was, that if a Roman Catholic allowed his son to go to Protestant chapels there was a high probability that he would not leave it a Roman Catholic, if he did not leave it a Protestant. The same state of things existed at Cambridge. In a much less degree the same thing prevailed in the Scotch Universities. He knew perfectly well that it was said these Universities were not mainly supported by the State, and that the Professors did not draw their salaries largely from the Consolidated Fund. At the same time, there was a very considerable number of Regius Professors who were appointed by the Crown, and, he understood, received 1225 salaries from the Crown. This was said not to be a public endowment; but both the Universities of England and Scotland had a very large amount of endowments of Professors, but endowments which had, over and over again, been dealt with by a Parliamentary Commission, which had been treated as public, and had been handed over from one Professorship, and from one purpose to another. It therefore appeared to him that these endowments were thoroughly, or in the main, public. What was the position in Ireland? The Protestants had a University, and a good one, already endowed. But the people of Ireland—the 4,000,000 of Catholics—had not an endowed University. They had not got a University which their religious scruples or religious prejudices would permit them to send their children to. It was said that if that was so the Catholics should put their hands in their own pockets. He maintained that to ask them to do so was entirely unjust, as putting them in a position which was totally different from that of the people of England and Scotland. It was very difficult for an English or Scotch. Member thoroughly to understand the needs of the people. The mere offer of degrees to the people of Ireland was not what they principally wanted. What they wanted was education; and they wanted the education to be brought to the poor people of Ireland. He was very much struck with the speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), who seemed to think that University Education was only for the rich. Why, anybody knowing anything of the Scotch Universities knew that they were the Universities of the people. Hon. Members would be surprised how very small a sum of money would bring a youth up from the country, and get him all the advantages of a University Education. This was what the people of Ireland wanted, and had not got. He hoped the Irish would stick to their colours, for they were fully entitled to have something more than this Bill would give them. When the people of England and Scotland thoroughly understood the position of the people of Ireland—that they had themselves got what the people of Ireland had not got—he believed there was too much justice in this country to make this the subject of a Protestant cry.
§ MR. HOLT
said, no one who understood the subject could be surprised that the Bill had given rise to much speculation, and had been sharply criticized. He was of opinion that the statements made by the Home Secretary in that House, and by the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor in "another place," amounted to a definite pledge on the part of the Government, which ought to disarm opposition on the part of those who objected to denominational endowments. The conviction that such was the case would render his criticism very friendly. He looked at the Bill, under these circumstances, as an honest endeavour to deal with this question. He had stated on a previous occasion that he did not at all approve the erection of a third University in Ireland, and he must express his regret that a very good institution now in existence should be destroyed in order to build another on its ruins. For his own part, he should prefer to retain the old name of the Queen's University, to enlarge the number of the Senate, if need were, and to increase its powers. The subject had, however, he had no doubt, been carefully considered by the Government in that aspect; but he would invite them to explain to the House the reasons which had induced them to destroy the Queen's University instead of bringing in a Bill to deal with it in the way which he had just suggested. Regarding, as he did, the constitution of the Senate to be created under the Bill as a matter of the greatest importance, he hoped special care would be directed to that point. There appeared to him, he would further observe, to be a great deficiency in the Bill, as originally introduced, which, however, had been to some extent remedied by the suggestions which had been made by his right hon. Friend who had moved the second reading. The Bill would, he though, be rendered more perfect and attractive by some provision for University prizes; and if the thing were worth doing at all it was worth doing well; but if Fellowships and Scholarships were to be provided, he hoped the University would be endowed with money voted annually by Parliament; that the endowment would be kept entirely separate from any Collegiate institution, that the Fellowships and Scholarships would be thrown open to public competition, under regu- 1227 lations to enable them to be held by students resident in any part of Ireland without any restriction whatsoever as to creed. There was one restriction, however, which, in his opinion, should be imposed, and that was that they ought not to be permitted to be held along with similar preferments in any other University. He had no objection whatever to raise as to the suggestion which had been thrown out by the Government with respect to the erection of University buildings, for it was very desirable, he thought, that the new University should have a visible existence and a local habitation. But that would not satisfy the wishes of the hon. Member for Cork. His Amendment was entirely antagonistic to the principle of the Bill as he understood it. It was alleged that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were unfairly treated with regard to higher education; but on examining into the matter he found that they enjoyed an exceptionally favourable position. Every hon. Member was aware that the Church of Ireland had long been connected with Trinity College, Dublin, and that Churchmen there enjoyed educational advantages of a high order; but they were also aware that the doors of the University of Dublin were open to all comers. And, again, as to the Queen's University, he found that for the year 1877–8 there were in attendance at the Queen's Colleges 348 Presbyterians and no fewer than 224 Roman Catholics, the members of the Church of England being 226, while there were 88 belonging to other denominations. The fact, therefore, was that even though Presbyterians were the most numerous, the advantages conferred by the Queen's University were enjoyed by students of all denominations. He must, however, observe, as to the Roman Catholics, that it seemed to be generally forgotten in the course of the debate that there was in Ireland such a College as Maynooth which was exclusively the property of Roman Catholics, which was not open to Protestants, and which was entirely free from the control of that House, and that not less than £1,000,000 of the public money had in one way or another been expended upon that College. That being so, he could not help thinking that, with the Queen's Col- 1228 leges and the University of Dublin also open to them, the complaints which were made by the Roman Catholics of Ireland on the score of inequality as regarded education were not well founded. No doubt, it was generally understood that Maynooth was reserved for the education of candidates for the priesthood; but if the Roman Catholic authorities were apprehensive that the minds of young priests might be contaminated by association with laymen of their own communion, that was their concern, and not the fault of Parliament. It seemed to him that the Protestant Members of that House ought to do everything which they could to encourage education in Ireland; and, for his own part, he would concede to Roman Catholics everything which he conceived he would be entitled to ask for himself in a Roman Catholic country. He did not think, however, that the House ought to be required to concede more. He thought the privileges allowed to Protestants in the City of Rome, under the temporal rule of the Pope, might be fairly taken as the measure of the concessions which Roman Catholics were entitled to seek from a Protestant Legislature. He would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite whether any one of the Popes of modern times would have given to Protestants residing in Rome such advantages as were already freely accorded by Parliament to the Roman Catholics of Ireland? But he was willing to go still further—to give them more than they would give to him—and should have no objection to see the provisions of the Bill extended. He should vote for the second reading for two reasons—because he was willing to do all that he could to meet the wishes and the religious convictions of his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and because he regarded the Bill as a deliberate declaration by Parliament that it was not prepared to vote money for the endowment in Ireland of an educational institution which was not to be under the control of Parliament and for the efficient management of which Parliament could take no sufficient guarantee.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, the general subject had been so ably dealt with on both sides of the House that he should not refer to it at any great length. If the hon. Member for the County of Cork went to a Division, he should certainly 1229 support the Amendment; but, at the same time, he should not vote against; the Bill of the Government. The sole reason why he did not think he should be justified in voting against that measure was, that, although obnoxious and unsatisfactory in probably every other respect, it was very satisfactory in this respect, that it was an excellent unsettling Bill. It was a Bill which broke up some very obnoxious institutions which introduced the thin end of the wedge of change into the existing educational system in Ireland; and while Her Majesty's Government might think they were entitled to stop there he had no doubt whatever that the National Party would drive home the wedge before they were done with the subject. The Bill, as it at present stood, might be thus summarized, taken in connection with existing institutions which were not intended to be touched. They had Intermediate Education, recently reinforced and improved, with the object of preparing young men for Colleges. They had the Queen's Colleges to receive them in view of the supporters of denominationalism and secularism in Ireland; and now they were to have an extended University, to which the Queen's Colleges would have the same access as ever, and which would be assisted by a considerable endowment from the public funds. It was said the funds that would be spent on the new University would be equally open to Catholics. That was evidently not the case, because these funds could not be equally open to competition so long as Protestant and non-Catholic students had exceptional and special advantages and facilities in professional halls for being educated for these prizes, while the Catholics of Ireland received no such facilities whatever. Although the Bill, as it stated, was an amplification and extension of secular education in Ireland, yet expressions had been dropped by various Members of the Government, and by the more advanced and truly Liberal Members of the Liberal Party, which did not deprive the Irish Members of a hope that the measure might possibly be amended in Committee. Besides, the Bill proposed to do away with the Queen's University in Ireland; and, while it was all very well to talk about the Queen's Colleges being left untouched, it would be necessary in the new University to raise the standard 1230 of secular education; and the moment that was done the present education given in these Colleges would be no longer fit to qualify men to obtain University degrees. It was not known, except to those who had studied this question, that the Queen's University was founded for a severe degree examination, and that the Colleges did not prepare their students to pass that examination, and that they accordingly proposed to lower it, and, in spite of the protests of the graduates of Cork, Galway, and Belfast, the old degree examination was" adulterated down to the level necessary in order, to quote the words of Vice President Andrews—To allow of the presentation of a good number of students for degrees at the annual examination in the presence of the public in Dublin Castle.This Bill could be no settlement; it was the beginning of great changes in the Queen's Colleges which, ultimately, it would revolutionize. It was impossible to lay hands on the Queen's University, and to leave the Queen's Colleges untouched. It would be necessary to raise the standard of secular education, as it now stood, to qualify for a University degree. Then, the Bill would encourage the National Party in Ireland not to stop or stay until, by levelling up or levelling down, they had placed the Roman Catholics on a footing of equality with their Protestant fellow-countrymen. Englishmen must not be misled by the figures which were sometimes used to show the success of the Queen's Colleges. There were, it was true, 900 students in these Colleges; but of these, 600 were medical or professional students. Only 200 or 250 of these students were Art students, yet, out of these, there were 25 Roman Catholic students at the Cork College, 20 at Galway, and 3 at Belfast. Now, the Queen's Colleges were not originally intended to be mere professional schools. They were intended to be the medium of giving a University Education to the youth of Ireland. In that they had failed, as the figures he had quoted showed. How had these Colleges had the success which was supposed as professional schools? It was perfectly true that the Colleges of Belfast and Cork were good medical schools; but good medical schools existed in those towns before the Queen's Colleges were established there, and 1231 were not created, but were simply annexed by the Colleges. The so-called Medical School of Galway had no real existence. Therefore, even in regard to medical education, these Colleges had not had the success which was supposed, while their Arts Faculties had been a complete failure. However they might regard the question, this Bill was certain to be the forerunner of great changes; as it stood, it was suspected by the whole of the Catholics and many of the Protestants of Ireland. The reason why he did not oppose the second reading was, that the Bill held out such hope of thoroughly unsettling everything that at present existed in Ireland in the way of education as to insure that the question must be thoroughly treated at some other time when, perhaps, the Government might be a little less afraid of the ultra-Protestants, and the Front Opposition Bench might be able to look at Irish questions with a little less dependence upon the ultra-Radicals. Anyhow, whether it came to be a question of levelling up or levelling down, the Irish people were determined to be placed on a level in the matter of education.
§ MR. J. P. CORRY
said, that as he presumed he was one of those narrow and bigoted Conservative Members to whom his hon. Friend the Member for Cork referred so pointedly in his able and humorous speech he felt bound to say a few words. Knowing, as he did, the feeling of the North of Ireland on this subject, he had some right to express his views. His hon. Friend thought that unless they had denominational Colleges endowed in Ireland there could be no real University Education. He, on the other hand, was very strongly of opinion that if this Government, or any other, proposed the endowment of Roman Catholic Colleges it would upset them. His hon. Friend had referred to the Intermediate Education Bill of last year. So far as the granting of Exhibitions and premiums to the students was concerned, he was thoroughly at one with those who supported the proposal; but he altogether objected to the payment of result fees to denominational institutions. His hon. Friend had said that he (Mr. Corry) was so strong a Party man that, no matter what measure was proposed by the Government, he would vote for it. But he could conscientiously say that if the Go- 1232 vernment proposed to endow any denominational institutions he would certainly oppose them. His hon. Friend the Member for North-East Lancashire referred to the money given to Maynooth. That seemed to have been kept out of sight in every debate since 1869, when a large sum was handed over to that College. If it had not been for that, and if the money had to be voted annually, they would not have had the opposition to the grant to the Queen's Colleges which they now had to contend with every year. He was quite of opinion that what the Chief Secretary for Ireland had shadowed forth in addition to this Bill would meet the wants of University Education in Ireland. In connection with the Queen's Colleges, there was about £4,000 a-year given in Exhibitions. That was a large amount; but there were no Fellowships attached to them. He would strongly urge the Government to establish Fellowships of a substantial amount, to be competed for, not only by students of the Queen's Colleges, but by students from outside. If an equal amount to that now given in College prizes were given to students outside, it would be in the first place, at all events, a very fair settlement of the question. He was very glad his right hon. Friend intended to propose that there should be University buildings, libraries, museums, and other appliances in connection with the new institution. In such matters the Queen's University had hitherto felt a great want. He agreed with his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) in preferring that the existing University should have been continued and extended; but he presumed the Government had some reason for the change proposed. He hoped the House would hear from them the reason for making the change. He sympathized with the graduates of the Queen's University in the extension of their University, and he hoped the Government would take the views expressed by them into serious consideration. He thoroughly supported this Bill, especially with the additions foreshadowed by his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland; and he was anxious that it should be thoroughly debated and decided that night.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, it would be generally admitted that the House had been placed in a position of unusual— 1233 he might almost say unprecedented—perplexity, by the extraordinary course adopted by the Government. So far as he was aware, what had recently occurred, and especially that evening, had never happened before. A Bill calmly considered, and obtaining a large amount of support, had been introduced by his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon. He had not intended to support that Bill; but he could not conceal from himself that it met with an unusual amount of support from Irish Members and from many distinguished Members sitting on that (the Opposition) side of the House. That Bill was fully discussed, and at the end of the discussion, without a word of warning, the Government suddenly announced that they were going to introduce a Bill of their own. In a Session when Members were constantly told that there was not time for the practical Business of the House, when many important measures had to be abandoned, when Supply had been huddled up and thrust into the last corner of the Session, surely a Government anxious to economize the time of the House might have adopted some other course than, at the end of a Wednesday Sitting, announcing that they were going to meet the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon with a measure of their own? But, strange as that proceeding was, what happened that evening was infinitely more strange. A Bill was introduced in the House of Lords by almost the most important Member of the Government—the Lord Chancellor—who, above all others, would be supposed, from his intimate acquaintance with University Education in Ireland, to have been prepared with a matured and not an inchoate and ill-considered measure; that Bill was discussed on the second reading, and passed subsequent stages without a word of warning as to what was coming. What was the House asked to do now? Not to give a second reading to the Bill introduced by the Lord Chancellor, the Bill which had obtained the assent of the House of Lords; but, without having seen it, to give a second reading to an entirely new Bill. He had almost thought of appealing to Mr. Speaker, as a question of Order, whether such a proceeding was not absolutely an infringement of the Rules of the House; whether it was not, at any rate, laying down a precedent which might have extremely 1234 awkward and inconvenient results? The second reading of a Bill was not an empty form, an idle sham; it was the affirmation of a principle. What was the Bill which was introduced and had passed the House of Lords—the Bill which, so far as the printed document was before them, they had to consider that evening? It was simply a Bill for extending the examining functions, the degree-conferring powers of an existing University in Ireland. But what was that Bill suddenly, without a word of warning, converted into? A Bill for the endowment of a new University. That was an entirely distinct and different proposal. He did not wish hastily and prematurely to express an opinion; but he would say that nothing was more dangerous than for that House to affirm a Bill which they had not yet seen in print, and to assent to proposals which might assume altogether a different character when they had an opportunity of seeing them on the Paper. Whatever their opinions might be on the vague and shadowy proposals sketched by the Government that evening, the House ought not to allow this entirely new Bill to be read a second time, unless they received from the Leader of the House some more distinct and precise explanations than had yet been given of it, and also a distinct assurance that before they were asked to go into Committee the nature and the amount of endowment should be placed on the Table. Unless they received a distinct assurance to that effect, after the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw) was disposed of, he should move the adjournment of the debate. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork, read in the light of his speech, amounted to a declaration that no solution of the University Question in Ireland would be satisfactory without some distinct endowment in the shape of result fees, or in some other form. To such a proposal as that he could not give his consent. The hon. Member for Cork had attributed certain motives to a section of the Liberal Party. He said the Front Opposition Bench was influenced, almost coerced, by a section of the Liberal Party, which had but one object in view—to steal away from Catholics that faith to which they were attached. The hon. Member for Cork had a perfect right to say their opinions were wrong, or 1235 mischievous; but he had no right to attribute motives. Let him specify more distinctly who those Members were to whom he referred as anxious to sap the foundations of Catholic faith. He could only say for himself, so far as any opinions he had expressed or any action he had taken on the subject, he had but one motive—to place the Irish people in exactly the same position with reference to University Education as the people of England and Scotland. In his own University no one would work more cordially than he was prepared to do in getting any remaining disabilities removed. One of the first things which the Liberal Government would be called on to do whenever they came into Office would be to remove those disabilities, and if they did not do so they would be forsaken by nine-tenths of their supporters. They would have to sweep away every vestige of denominationalism, so as to leave University Education in England what they wished it to be in Ireland. In this matter of University Education there was no middle course—they must either have freedom or restriction. With regard to the proposals of the Government, of course, they had to consider both their original and their new Bill. There was great force in the argument of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney)—the nature and extent of what was called the Irish Catholic grievance had been greatly over-estimated. It was said, for instance, that the Queen'3 Colleges had been failures. But the Queen's Colleges had never had a fair chance. The Irish people had never been allowed to go freely to them. Not only had they been subject to the constant opposition of the Catholic Prelates, but, what was worse, they had been made the victims of political intrigue. When left alone they had exhibited a steady and sure progress; but, from 1865, they had been tampered with. The Catholics had shown great anxiety to go to the Queen's Colleges; if not, why should Catholic Bishops have fulminated severe denunciations against parents for sending their sons to them? Cardinal Cullen and Dr. Derry had gone so far as to threaten to deprive them of the Eucharist and of the Last Sacrament; they could not have gone further if the object had been to deter parents or their children from some great immorality. Much of this 1236 Catholic grievance was not a natural grievance; it had been artificially created; and it ought not to receive from this House so much consideration as it would be entitled to if it were a natural grievance of spontaneous growth. He should be asked—"Do you think, then, that nothing requires to be done, and that everything should be allowed to remain as it is?" Of course, in politics they could not always be logical, and so anxious did he feel that no Irishman should be placed at the least disadvantage in regard to University Education that he would sacrifice some logical consistency rather than run the slightest risk of placing Catholics at a disadvantage. With the precedent of the London University before him, and the promise of a Charter for a new University for the North of England, he was not prepared to resist the claim embodied in the first draft of the Government Bill, so that it might be possible to obtain a degree in Ireland without going to a particular institution for instruction. But he could not support the Bill of the Government, because it did a thing desirable in itself in the most undesirable way it was possible for the ingenuity of man to devise. He had not heard an argument to show why the Government should destroy an existing University in order to carry out the small change of conferring degrees on those who had not attended particular Colleges. When that principle was applied to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, what would have been said if it had been proposed to destroy them in order to set up a new University? Why did not the Government give the Queen's University the power of conferring degrees upon others than those educated at the Queen's Colleges? There would be no legal difficulties in the way, no infringement of the Prerogative of the Crown. All that was necessary was to say it should be lawful for the Queen to amend the Charter of the Queen's University, so as to allow of the desired change being made. However, if destruction were deemed necessary, it ought to be nominal only, and members of the existing University and of its Senate should be transferred to the new University. As to the suggested endowment, the Government must have some scheme. It could not be that the Chief Secretary for Ireland had simply said in a careless way—" Let us throw in a sop, 1237 and say we will give some endowment, just to satisfy the Irish Members." The creation of a new University was a very important matter. The House had a right to explicit information as to the amount of endowment, the number and conditions of the Scholarships, the Professorships, and the Fellowships. Then, again, they had a right to know whether there would be new University buildings. These, and other points, would have to be sifted before legislative sanction was given to the Bill. As the Government seemed to be perplexed to know what to do with the Irish Church Fund, why should they not devote a portion of it to this purpose, instead of taking money from the English and Scotch taxpayers? The only pledge that had been given with respect to the Surplus was, that it should not be devoted to denominational purposes; and as £ 1,000,000 had been devoted to Intermediate Education, and £1,500,000 was proposed to be applied to the provision of pensions for school teachers, why should not the same Surplus furnish what was required for the new University, unless the Government feared that it would be denominational in its character? Again, it would be a great advantage to sever this new University from an annual Parliamentary Vote. Nothing could be worse for a new University than to be made the subject of political discussions and the victim of political intrigue. It was sometimes said, by Irish Members—" Oh, a certain section of English Members wish to govern Ireland according to English ideas;" but, to make a slight alteration in the words, he thought that a more unfortunate phrase than that of "governing Ireland according to Irish ideas" had never been invented. Governing Ireland according to Irish ideas led straight to Home Rule, and Home Rule simply meant disruption of the Empire. They all knew that undenominational education was alike a boon to England and Ireland; and they were, therefore, determined to maintain the principle. They believed that it was a great advantage to Ireland that people of different religious convictions should be brought harmoniously together, so that they might forget their bitter sectarian differences. They blieved it was of advantage for England; and they knew it was an advantage for Ireland; and they also believed that one of the great 1238 hopes of the people of that country was that they should be no longer torn asunder by denominational differences and political rancour.
THE O'CONOR DON
thought the subject was quite wide enough already, without entering upon a discussion of Home Rule, or denominational education. He desired, at the outset, to express the great sense of responsibility he felt in taking part in the debate. He could only say that he had never addressed the House under a feeling of greater difficulty than at the present moment. One of the reasons why he felt himself placed in a position of such great difficulty was the reason supplied by his hon. Friend who had just addressed the House (Mr. Fawcett)—namely, that whilst a skeleton Bill had been before the country for the last few weeks—it was not that Bill which they were asked to discuss, but something else which had been shadowed out in a very vague manner by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. His hon. Friend who last addressed the House spoke in his speech of the great change that was to be made in the Bill; but he (the O'Conor Don) confessed that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman had left him quite uncertain as to whether the actual Bill was to be changed at all or not. It might be that the right hon. Gentleman meant to ask them to accept the present skeleton measure, and merely to suggest that when the Senate it proposed to constitute had been firmly established an application should be made to Parliament for funds to enable it to provide the prizes he had indicated. He did not feel sure that there was to be any provision in the Bill upon the financial question, and if there was, they were left in ignorance as to its direction and amount. They did not know what was to be done, even as regarded the present emoluments of the Queen's Colleges. If these new Scholarships, Exhibitions, and prizes were to be founded under the new University, were they to be competed for by the Queen's College students, and were the Queen's College students to hold, in addition to them, the prizes which they had at present? They were in ignorance on that point. They did not know whether the Scholarships which were at present in existence were to be thrown open to students who would come from other places to have 1239 the advantage of the University if it came into existence, or whether they were to be reserved as the special prizes of those students who would also be allowed to compete for the new prizes which were to be given. In the absence of such information they approached the question under the greatest difficulties. He had, personally, some reason to complain. He had placed before the House a Bill of the fullest character, and concealing nothing. He had explained its object. It was distinctly stated by several of his hon. Friends who followed him that if the Bill was found not to carry out the intentions of its promoters, which had been clearly laid before the House, the promoters were perfectly willing to amend it. But what did the Government say? What did the Home Secretary say? He said—" Oh, it is all very well for hon. Gentlemen to talk about intentions. We must look at the Bill as it is. We must look at the Bill as laid on the Table, and the Bill, according to our interpretation, does not carry out the intentions which the promoters profess to desire to carry out." This objection came from a powerful Government with a large majority at its back, which had it in its power to alter the measure as it thought fit. And yet the same Government now brought down a Bill which in itself was utterly valueless, and said there was something else to be added to it which ought to give satisfaction. What did the Government propose to give them? As far as he could gauge their promises, there were to be certain prizes and Scholarships and Fellowships established, for which the students of the Queen's Colleges, who were to be students under the new University, and anyone else, were to be allowed to compete. They proposed, at the same time, to retain for the Queen's Colleges all their present endowments; and then they came forward and told them that this was equality, and that it ought to give satisfaction to the Irish people. What had been all along the demand of the Irish people? What they had demanded was equality; what they said was that they had not been given the means of obtaining that education which would enable them to secure University training. The existing inequality would be only made the more patent by placing in the same University Colleges richly endowed, and then asking them to com- 1240 pete with institutions to which the State did not give a farthing. Surely the demand made by the Irish people ought to commend itself to the most extreme politicians sitting on that side of the House. They were not asking for anything in the shape of religious endowments. They had a right to select the institutions to which they would send their children to receive secular education; and those institutions ought to be treated in the same manner as similar institutions were from which, for conscientious reasons, many young Irishmen were excluded. That was not a principle held by Roman Catholics exclusively, for it was embodied in a Memorial presented to the House by the Wesleyan body last year. They, owing to conscientious objections, could not send their children to certain State-supported schools, and they complained that the fact that their own schools were deprived of public grants was an infringement of religious liberty; and he agreed with the memorialists that it was. As he had said, the parents had a right to select the schools to which they would send their children, and the State ought to assist them in obtaining secular education. That was the principle to which he endeavoured to give effect in the Bill which he had introduced. What he asked for was an extension of the principle recognized and adopted in the Intermediate Education Bill of last year. By that Bill, rewards were given to students; but grants were made also to the institutions in which they were educated. But, said the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Intermediate Education Act dealt merely with children, and the University would deal with young men; but the right hon. Gentleman forgot that the children so dealt with ranged from 15 to 18 years of age. Such an argument as that used was simply a trifling with the House, because there was no real difference between the class of students who went to the intermediate schools and those who went to the University Colleges. They were told that the University Colleges were more denominational than were the intermediate schools. But what were the intermediate schools? Why, they were the most essentially denominational schools to be found in Ireland. There were amongst them Jesuit schools, schools conducted by religious ladies, and eccesiastical seminaries, 1241 which were attended by children of one denomination only. A Conscience Clause applied to such schools was a perfect farce. He had so stated last year, because he knew that to speak of a Conscience Clause as regarded those schools would be merely to throw dust in the eyes of the public. But with respect to the University Colleges, he thought a Conscience Clause might much more easily and effectually be applied than it could be to the intermediate schools. Then there was the point as to inspection. The intermediate schools, it was said, were inspected, and there was no proposal to inspect the University Colleges. That was altogether a mistake. There was no inspection of the denominational schools. How, he asked, could they justify the payment of the result fees to the intermediate schools, and refuse them to the intermediate Colleges which prepared young men for the University? The wording of the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Cork had been criticized; but all it asked was an extension of the principle which had been adopted last year. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard had twitted the Chief Secretary for Ireland with his ignorance of the state of education in the country, and alluded to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman seemed to entertain the view that residence in the Queen's Colleges was necessary. [Mr. J. LOWTHER denied that he had said so.] He did not charge the right hon. Gentleman with that; but the hon. Member for Liskeard did. Then, having informed the House that Collegiate residence was not necessary in the Queen's University system, he quoted a most eloquent passage from the writings of Cardinal Newman, with every word of which he (the O'Conor Don) agreed, the whole point of the extract being in favour of Collegiate residence, and apparently thought that he was strengthening by that the case for the Queen's Colleges. The hon. Member was also very uneasy lest the very high standard of education in the Queen's Colleges should be injured by the establishment of this new University. He wished the hon. Gentleman really knew what the standard of education maintained at the Queen's University was. He had been informed by a gentleman, on whose word he could place the utmost reliance and who was the head of one of the intermediate schools, 1242 that, within the last year, boys from his institution who held a very low place there had gone up to the Queen's University and not only matriculated, but gained Exhibitions and prizes, although, in his school, they were not at all able to take front rank in the examination. It was notorious in Ireland that in order to gain students the Queen's College standard had been lowered to such an extent as to prejudice the education of the country. One of the great results which he hoped would be obtained by the institution of a new University was the raising of the standard of education, which the Queen's University had so greatly lowered. He trusted that the Government would explain more clearly before the close of the debate what they really proposed, and whether their proposals were or were not to be embodied in the Bill. For himself, hazarding his own individual opinion, he did not think that a proposal which would give prizes and rewards to be competed for in a common University by institutions largely endowed, and institutions which had no endowments whatever, would be satisfactory. To accept the proposal would be to give up the principle which he and his Friends had fought for so long. He could not, therefore, accept the proposal as a settlement of the University Education Question.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he did not propose to trouble the House with any lengthened observations upon the Bill. He thought there was a general feeling among hon. Members to the effect that they were placed under some disadvantage in discussing the measure, because they did not precisely know what the proposals of the Government were. His hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) had already alluded to the extraordinary fact that they learned on that evening for the first time the intention of the Government with regard to finance, in relation to which not one word escaped the lips of any of the Colleagues of the Leader of the House in "another place." The Chancellor of the Exchequer had been asked to give explanations upon this point. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would feel that it was due, not only to that House, but to the House of Lords, that those explanations should be forthcoming. At the same time, he thought it was scarcely satisfactory that they should only hear 1243 those explanations at the end of the debate. The absence up to that moment of such explanations reminded Mm of another occasion, when, after the House had discussed a Bill for a whole day, one of Her Majesty's Ministers at the close of the debate gave some explanations which completely changed the whole aspect of affairs. He hoped the explanations to be given would be satisfactory, and would not be confined to the one point which he had mentioned. It was quite possible that actual clauses could not be passed in the House of Lords relating to money; but surely it was incumbent upon the Government to state, when presenting their Bill, this important fact—that the House of Lords did not have before them the whole case, and that the most important feature of the Bill—namely, the question of finance—was reserved to be introduced when the Bill should be read a second time in the House of Commons. These circumstances appeared to be still more remarkable, when it was remembered that a statement was made in "another place" that the Bill had been carefully considered, though it appeared to hon. Members on this side of the House that the Bill was only a 10 minutes' Bill. If the measure was in the minds of the Government before the commencement of the Session, they were entitled to know whether this endowment of the University formed part of the original scheme. The hon. Member who had spoken last had indicated some further questions, upon the answer to which depended their whole attitude towards the Bill. He regretted that they had been obliged to debate the Bill without the requisite knowledge respecting those important questions. Was it intended by this Bill to open up the whole scheme with regard to the endowment of Universities, or only to introduce certain clauses which would leave the Senate to deal with the matter hereafter? If it were intended to follow the latter course, he could only say that Parliament would be handing over to the Senate of the University difficulties which were baffling Government and Parliament, and which it eminently baffled Government and Parliament to settle themselves. Parliament was entitled to know the whole policy of Her Majesty's Government, and he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would 1244 make what might be called a "clean breast" on this question. At present, the House was not at all acquainted with the scale of endowment which was intended. Nor did they know whether it was proposed that the endowments to be given to the University were to be tenable by students of the Queen's Colleges, which already possessed endowments on their own account—endowments intended for the extension of University Education in Ireland, or whether the endowments to be proposed were to be of the nature of certain Scholarships, available only to those who were non-resident students and who did not belong to any of the Colleges. It seemed to him that the difference between what appeared to be the present proposals of the Government and those which the Leader of the Home Rule Party had announced himself ready to accept had become very small indeed, and that possibly a golden opportunity might thus be afforded for that settlement of the question which, he believed, hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House most earnestly desired. He could not admit that the Home Rule Party were begging the question, when they said they were ready to accept results fees in addition to an endowment, because that was much less than had been demanded by the Roman Catholics in Ireland on previous occasions. He could not but think that Her Majesty's Government would do well to adopt, with modifications, the suggestion of the Leader of the Home Rule Party. It appeared to him that the difference between the Government and those speaking on behalf of the Irish was now so small that, if there was any desire on both sides to settle the question, an agreement might very soon be arrived at. He was sure that he spoke the views of a great many who sat on that side of the House, when he said that they would not grudge the Government the credit of settling this thorny and difficult question in a satisfactory manner. The only point of difference between the Government and the hon. Member for Cork appeared to be that the Government proposed to pay to the successful student a certain sum of money, whereas the Member for Cork wished that the institution which prepared him should share the fees. But it had already been pointed out that this principle had been accepted by Her 1245 Majesty's Government, and the distinction which had been drawn by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland as to the youth of the students was not one which would hold good. He did not wish, in the present state of the discussion, to give any decided opinion on the Bill; but it appeared to him that the difference was now becoming so small that, with the goodwill of the House, this difficult question might now be settled. The speech of the hon. Member was, he must say, a most moderate one; so moderate, that it must have commended itself not only to those who sat on that side of the House, but also to those who sat opposite. He stated distinctly the sense in which he wished his Amendment to he supported. He must say that the course of the Government, in amplifying their own Bill, showed that the hon. Member was perfectly justified in putting his Amendment on the Paper. Under the circumstances, he should feel it his duty to support the Amendment of the hon. Member; and if that was negatived, he should hope that the Bill might be so amended as to bring about a settlement of this thorny and difficult question.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Although I cannot say that the result of this evening's discussion is to leave us in perfect harmony with regard to all the difficult points of this question, yet I think I may fairly congratulate the House on the tone and spirit in which the discussion has been carried on, and the evident desire that has been manifested in all parts of the House to consider this question in a fair and reasonable spirit, and, above all things, the desire to arrive at a practical and-useful settlement in which we shall regard much more the object to be attained than the credit which may belong to particular persons in advancing towards it. I am sure that this is the spirit in which a question like that now under consideration ought to be approached. No doubt, there have been for many years attempts made by different persons in different senses, all of which attempts I am willing to believe were made in the most thoroughly honest spirit and with a full desire to arrive at practical results; and I hope that we are now prepared not to go back more than is needful on old sores, but that we are desirous to arrive at a practical settlement. I am asked, in the first place—and that is the 1246 question which I ought first to attend to—to explain what is the precise proposition which the Government, as has been indicated by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, desire to make in Committee on this Bill. There are several points on which I should wish to say a few words; but after the direct appeal which has been made to me by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) who has just sat down, I ought explicitly to state what our proposal is. In the first place, I must take exception to what the right hon. Gentleman said with regard to this being a proposal which had no foreshadowing in the discussions on this Bill "elsewhere." The right hon. Gentleman referred in such terms to those debates that it is necessary for me to quote a few words that were used by my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor in a discussion on this measure. He said—The London University has a grant made to it annually by the State for that purpose in the Votes of Parliament. For this year you mil find that there are several thousands—I cannot remember the precise amount—to he paid to the London University, in order that they may he able to confer Exhibitions, Scholarships, and rewards of that kind upon those who pass examinations satisfactorily. I want to guard myself to show that it is to a state of things of that kind that my observations point. But that is not denominational education. That is a system of open rewards given to all comers capable of winning them, and it is one of the best ways of promoting education. If the University created by the Bill were to come to Parliament next year or the year after, and say that, for the purpose of advancing learning in Ireland, it would be highly desirable that we should arm it with the power to confer Exhibitions and rewards of the same kind—if the University came to Parliament with a demand of that kind, no objection would be taken by Parliament on the ground that it was a grant for denominational education."—[3 Hansard, ccxlvii. 1860.]In those words my noble and learned Friend exactly shadowed forth the views taken by the Government of what was the nature of the proposal we should have to make. We have objected throughout these discussions to anything in the nature of an endowment of a denominational system. We expressed that objection upon the discussion of the Bill of the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don); and it is the objection which we entertain to the endowment of a denominational system that, at the present time, prevents us from coining to an agree- 1247 ment with the hon. Member for Cork County (Mr. Shaw) and with those who desire to introduce proposals which we think would lead to the endowment of a denominational system. Then we had to consider what we could do in this matter. The object of this Bill, as it was explained in "another place," and as it has also been explained by my right hon. Friend to-night, was to remove a grievance, or, as my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor, I think, said, rather to supply a deficiency in the University system of Ireland. That deficiency was occasioned by the fact that there was not in that country a National University at which degrees could be obtained by those who did not belong to certain particular Colleges, and the scope of the Bill was to remedy that defect by providing for the constitution of a University which would give those facilities. That is the particular and the main object of the Bill; but undoubtedly we feel that merely to establish such a University might be considered a very imperfect act, unless we were prepared to furnish the means, which are necessary for the conduct and for the development of a University. My hon. Friend the Member for North-East Lancashire (Mr. Holt) speaking ing on this subject a little while ago and expressing his approval of the course which, in the circumstances, Her Majesty's Government are taking in this Bill, expressed also his hope that we should be prepared to supplement that course by making a grant, and, as he said, a liberal grant for prizes and Exhibitions, and for other purposes connected with the University. Now, the proposal which we intend to make is this. It was, I thought, sufficiently indicated by the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, when he introduced the Bill this evening; but as those remarks do not appear to have been fully understood I will endeavour to make them still clearer. It is intended to propose in Committee on this Bill a clause, which clause my right hon. Friend will place on the Paper to-morrow, and which I think he stated would be to a certain effect, though he could not at the moment bind himself to the precise words, because they required legal revision. But the nature of the proposal is that there shall be in this Bill a clause which shall declare that it shall be the duty of the 1248 Senate, within 12 months after their first appointment, to prepare a scheme for the better advancement of University Education in Ireland by the provision of buildings, including examination rooms and a library, in connection with the University to be founded under this Act, and by the establishment of Exhibitions, Scholarships, Fellowships, and other prizes, or any of such matters in which scheme the following conditions shall be observed:—First, that the said several prizes shall he awarded for proficiency in subjects of secular education, and not in respect of any subject of religious instruction. Secondly, that they shall be open to all students matriculating or who have matriculated in the said University, and the scheme may propose that they shall he awarded in respect of either relative or absolute proficiency.I call the attention of the hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Major Nolan) to these expressions—Thirdly, in fixing the value and number of the said several prizes, the Senate shall have regard to the advantages of a similar kind offered by the University of Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin, to students in that University, so as to avoid, as far as possible, injury to the advancement of learning in that University and College. Fourthly, that provision shall he made that no student holding any Scholarship or similar prize in Trinity College, Dublin, or in the Queen's Colleges, shall hold any prize or Scholarship in the new University founded under this Act without taking such other Scholarship or other prize into account.That is the nature, generally speaking, of the proposal which is to be made. [Mr. FAWCETT: What is meant by relative and absolute proficiency?] I think the hon. Gentleman will see that relative proficiency means superiority in a competitive examination, while absolute proficiency is rather in the nature of coming up to a test standard. That is a proposal which, as the House will see, is made with reference to the duties that the Senate will perform; and directions will be given to it when constituted to prepare such a scheme. But it will be clearly understood that the scheme will be of no effect whatever unless it is accepted, and unless the funds to carry it out are provided by Parliament. Therefore, we are not liable to the charge which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen) suggested that we might be liable to of throwing on the Senate that which the House ought rather to undertake to deal with; but we provide that 1249 a scheme of an academical character, and which must be framed with a due regard to academical considerations, shall, in the first instance, be elaborated by an academical body, in the quiet of its own apartments, and then submitted for approval to Parliament in order that provision may be made for giving effect to it. Having, I hope, now explained at all events, what the view of the Government is, our conduct will, I think, be seen to have been entirely consistent in this matter. I do not know whether there is any further explanation that may be asked for; but I shall be most ready to give any that can be desired.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I have said already that in the discussions in the House of Lords the Lord Chancellor did state what the views of the Government were. But I must remind the House of what has been the position which the Government has taken in the matter from the commencement of the Session. In the beginning of the Session, and before it began, there is no doubt that the subject of University Education occupied the attention of the Government both here and in Ireland, and that it -was a question for us whether we should or should not deal with that subject in the present Session. We communicated, and we considered, and we discussed the question, among ourselves; but we came to the conclusion that we would not undertake to bring in a Bill this Session; and among the reasons which we gave for not bringing in a Bill, one—and it was a very important one—was this. That we had last year established a new system with regard to Intermediate Education, and we were anxious to wait until we had seen how that new system worked before we proceeded further in the task of dealing with the higher or University Education. It was in consequence of the action of the hon. Member for Eoscomrnon—the action which lie had clearly the most complete right to initiate, but which he had taken without communication with, or without any reference to, the Government—it was in consequence of our being obliged to say "Aye" or "No" to his proposals, that we felt it impossible to say "Aye," and also impossible to give a simple negative 1250 without explaining, to some extent' what we ourselves were prepared to do. What we were prepared to do at once was that which is indicated in the Bill as to its main purpose; and with regard to what might be necessary in respect to grants which might be made hereafter, it appeared to us that it would be the best course to leave that matter to be dealt with when the Senate was constituted. That was the reason why, in the original Bill, as introduced into the House of Lords, nothing was said about the prizes and Exhibitions, and other grants, because we thought all that would be best left to the Senate when it was constituted and brought into operation. That was the view the Lord Chancellor had when he made those observations. But we have since thought that, in order to prevent misunderstanding, and to show clearly what the whole mind of the Government was, it would be better that instructions to the Senate should be put into the Act of Parliament of such a nature as to indicate what was the line in which the Government and the Legislature wished the Senate to proceed. Their action, as I have said before, will not be final, but will be the subject to the decision of Parliament; and I hope the result of this will be that we may arrive at something of a satisfactory character. I would say a very few words on a point which has naturally been raised by some few of those who have expressed themselves in an unfavourable manner towards this Bill. I say some few, because, although it has been more or less critical upon the conduct of the Government, and although some Members have expressed their dissatisfaction at the Bill not going further, yet the general tenour of the debate has been in favour of a measure something like this. But we have had from the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) a distinct challenge. That hon. Member took us to task, and said—"Why do you want a Bill at all? Why are you not satisfied with the University as it now exists? You have a most excellent University in the Queen's University, and most efficient institutions in the Queen's Colleges. They are doing the work which they were set to do, and there is no reason in the world why the people of Ireland should not be content with, them. And if there is any want of satis- 1251 faction, if in any respect these institutions do not give perfect satisfaction," adds the hon. Gentleman, "I am a member of the Senate of the University of London, and we are ready to supply all deficiencies." Well, the hon. Member, of course, comes forward as, to a certain extent, a competing tradesman, if I might use the expression, and he offers to the people of Ireland his wares, in case they they are not pleased with those they now have.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I beg pardon; the hon. Gentleman is an Examiner of that University. He spoke with some sensitiveness, I think, with regard to the proposed new University; because he said that the London University can do what is required, and he complained that this new University would be a competitor with the London University. I do not all blame the hon. Member for speaking up for the London University. It is a most admirable institution, and one that cannot be spoken of with too much praise. But I must say that I feel a little sympathy with those Irish Gentlemen who say that, good as the London University may be as a stopgap, they would much prefer to have a University of their own. The hon. Gentleman says that the Irish people ought to be content with the University they have. I will not enter into that question. Perhaps they ought; but, as a matter of fact, they are not. The case is one in which nobody knows where the shoe pinches so well as the wearer of it. And as for the hon. Gentleman saying, "I am sure the shoe cannot hurt you, because it is exceedingly well made," that is not an answer to the observations made from the other side. And, moreover, the authority of statesmen of all Parties, as well as that of the Irish people themselves, is against the hon. Gentleman, because we have for years found statesmen of every Party and every shade of political opinion coming forward and saying there is no doubt that a need of this kind exists. Therefore, I think, we may set that aside. It is not necessary to go minutely into questions of statistics. These have been given over and over again. I think we may assume that, with the exception of 1252 the hon. Member for Liskeard, everybody is of opinion that there is room for improvement in the Irish University system. "Well, granting that that is so, we are met with another question—" Why do you propose to dissolve the present Queen's University? Why not expand it?" I quite admit there is something to be said on that point—I do not at all disregard—I honour—the sentiment of honourable jealousy which animates those who have been educated at that University, and who are reluctant to see it apparently set aside. But we have to consider the object which we desire to accomplish—to provide for the deficiency in Irish University training. When Sir Robert Peel established the Queen's University he had not the experience we have gained by the great development of the London University since those days. That great development of the London University has shown what might be done by the expansion of the Queen's University. But since its establishment the Queen's University has acquired a certain character of its own; and, moreover, there is that connection between the Queen's University and the Queen's Colleges which renders it exceedingly difficult to expand the Queen's University without appearing to maintain a system which a large portion of the Irish people declare to be unsatisfactory. If you want to establish an Examining University, such as is now proposed, and to put the Queen's Colleges upon an even footing with other institutions, I think you gain a great deal by dissolving the existing University and making a new departure. If a mere expansion of the existing University took place, new institutions would come in, so to speak, on a secondary footing. Then we are asked—"Why are you going to endow"—as the expression is, though we do not use it—" Why are you going to endow by annual Votes, and not out of the Church Surplus?" Of course, there is a great temptation to endow out of a fund like the Church Surplus, and to put the matter quietly out of the control of Parliament. But that is exactly what we think ought not to be done, and what we understand Parliament would not assent to. We have, no doubt, done it in the case of Intermediate Education; and I think, on the whole, we were justified in making the experiment. But the House will feel, 1253 considering the thorny nature of the subject, that there is much more delicacy in dealing with a great University Question than with a system of Intermediate Education; and although we not like annual wrangle, we think the new system ought to be brought under the annual review of Parliament until, at least, it has taken root. It would, no doubt, be a great relief to get rid of these annual Votes for education, and, perhaps, even the learned Bodies concerned would benefit by it. But that time has not yet arrived. We do not hold out the idea of any sectarian endowment; but we agree that some means should be adopted to secure for the Irish people the advantages in the matter of a University which they do not now feel themselves able to obtain. We hope that the Bill may be accepted in the spirit in which it is presented; and we are very much encouraged by the mode in which the proposition has been made, and by the language that has been used in all quarters, and which, though not always in perfect agreement with us, has, nevertheless, been on the whole of a sympathetic character. I trust this may be the beginning of a settlement, which may be of the greatest utility to our friends in the sister country. We hope and believe that a proposal which is made in the full faith that if it is fairly worked it will accomplish great good, even if not the whole of the good that some may expect—we sincerely hope and believe that if that proposal is accepted in the spirit in which it is made it will be one which will confer real, great, and lasting benefits both on Ireland, and, I trust, also on this country.
I entirely share the general desire of this House that these discussions should be so conducted as in no way to impair whatever chance or prospect there may be that the present Bill may be made the basis of settlement of a very difficult question. But the course of proceedings with regard to it on the part of the Government has been, I think, so important, and has produced, also, so unusual and so important a bearing upon the Forms of this House, and the Rules of this House, that are so essential to the character and conduct of its Business, that I cannot help making it the subject of notice. I shall endeavour to do so as in no way to prejudice the general discussion. I must say, however, at least, that I heard with surprise, and especially I heard with 1254 surprise for the first time in my life, a responsible Member of the Government and a Departmental Minister, propose to-night the second reading of a Government Bill closing his speech by expressing a hope that Members would not consider this an opportunity for questioning- any principle. [" No, no ! "] Well, those were the words used by the right hon. Gentleman. Now, the right hon. Gentleman must be perfectly well aware that the second reading of a Bill—
But the right hon. Gentleman did not use the words, "divide against the Bill." He used the words," questioning any principle of the Bill." Does the right hon. Gentleman disclaim the words?
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
What I meant to say was, that I hoped the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment would not think this was an opportunity which would justify him in challenging the principle of the Bill.
That is an amendment of the words; but, still, it seems to me an extraordinary invitation to address to any hon. Member, because the second reading of a Bill is the precise opportunity presented by the Rules of the House for accepting or challenging the principle of the Bill. I am bound, however, to say, though I cannot approve, I can perfectly understand the singular attitude of the right hon. Gentleman, and which I think is the reason that lay at the bottom of it. The reason is this—he has in his hands, and he is asking the House now to give a second reading to one Bill; whereas he has in his mind, as we all know from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the most important portion of the provisions which really point to another thing. The Government Bill which is now proposed for second reading is a totally different measure from that which we are asked to discuss in Committee. I put the points to this test—supposing that my hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don), or my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett)—I am not now quoting them with reference to the opinions of this or that Gentleman, or any particular Gentleman—had brought a Bill into this House to constitute an Examining Board in Ireland, and on the second reading had said he would not be himself loth to see intro- 1255 duced, or he would himself propose to introduce, in the Committee provisions for enabling the Senate of a University to present to Parliament, with its official authority, a complete scheme of endowment for certain purposes, I am quite sure, from all I have seen of the practice of this House, he would have been met on all sides with the observation—" The Bill which you are now shadowing forth to us may be good or bad; but it is a different Bill from that which you have laid on the Table. Your proper course is to withdraw the Bill you have laid on the Table, and present to us for second reading a Bill which you really mean us to discuss." It has just been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there was an indication in "another place" of something of this kind. Now, I have some information, which I remember well, on that subject, and it is this—that considerable efforts were made, at a period corresponding to that which we have now reached, to draw forth the intentions of the Government on the subject; that these efforts ended in entire failure, and that the expression used was that the Bill expressed the present intention of the Government. The words which were used, and which have now been quoted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, are extremely vague words, and I think I am right in stating that they were not words used either on the introduction or on the second reading of the Bill. Therefore, Sir, the House of Lords was asked to examine a Bill totally different in its conditions from the Bill now shadowed forth by the clause of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am entirely at a loss to know why that clause should not have been made known to the House of Lords. I apprehend it is in no sense a clause such as the House of Lords could have no power to entertain. On the other hand, I think it a most unfortunate thing that a tolerably accurate acquaintance with the views and intentions of the Government should not be obtained at the time when a Bill is originally introduced to Parliament by a responsible Minister—the House of Lords should not even have before it the Bill which is presented to us in the House of Commons, or even the official statement with which it is submitted to us, and by which we first become aware of the real value of what is intended, at the close of the debate on the second reading. I feel it quite necessary to 1256 offer this protest against this mode of proceeding, because I am quite sure if it were allowed to pass as a precedent without such a protest—if the Government, who ought always to be watched more strictly in regard to these matters even than private Members, on account of the great power and influence they possess over the proceedings of the House—if they were to make a principle of this manner of making known in debate in the House of Commons a complete transformance in their measures, the consequence would be to throw into total confusion the Business of the House, and to make some of its most important Rules perfectly useless. These observations, however, are devoted entirely to the method of procedure which has been adopted; and I, for one, am quite prepared to say that I will not desire, on this occasion, so to use any regulation connected with the mode of procedure as to impede the progress of this Bill, or to diminish its chances of success. There are a number of important points raised in the measure, three of which I will endeavour to discuss. First, it is intended to make over to the Senate the initiative, the whole scheme of—what shall I say?—the endowment?—the dotation?—tiie subvention? I do not want to raise a question on the form of the word. Secondly, it is intended that that subvention shall be given by an annual Vote; and, thirdly, it is intended, as indeed is implied in what I have said, that no recourse shall be had to the fund of the Established Church Surplus. All this must appear to me to be matter which calls for a good deal of discussion. I have some doubt as to the principle of the present division, and whether the Bill ought to make over any such right of initiative; and I have a still greater doubt whether it is wise to leave that scheme to the annual discussion of Parliament, and the chances there may be that passion, prejudice, and Party interest may gather round it. I think, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer says, it may be long before the institutions of this University have completely entered into the habits and feeling of the country so as to conform to its general views. But I must say, if there is any general class of institutions in the whole circle of our institutions which it is desirable to exempt from the influence of another discussion in Parliament the class of 1257 institutions is the one we know by the name of a University. Something like solidity, something tranquil, something like freedom from the waves of passion and Party interest is absolutely necessary to enable these institutions to conduct their work with freedom. However, these are matters which may be discussed in Committee, and that, no doubt, will be the proper place for discussion. I shall vote without any difficulty with my hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw). It appears to me that this subvention ought to go beyond that which has been described by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the clause which he has read. I do not intend at present to attempt to give any special construction to the Motion of my hon. Friend, for which I am prepared to vote. He has put his own construction; but that construction is not so expressed in the Motion as to make it binding upon our consciences or understanding; and there is, as I think he will be quite prepared to admit, and as we have seen in the speech of the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don), room for a considerable variety of opinions as to the precise form in which it may be right to make the pecuniary aid of Parliament contributory to the advancement of a superior education in Colleges in Ireland. That liberty of opinion I wish to reserve on my own part. That with which I agree is a sentiment which he has declared. I should be very sorry indeed to take the responsibility upon myself, having failed in an attempt to settle this great question, to introduce any obstacle in the way of those who are making an endeavour to settle it. The rule which I wish to take for my own guidance is this—this is pre-eminently an Irish question, and I do not wish, unless driven by some high consideration of Imperial policy, to separate myself in such a matter from those who represent the general and well-considered feelings of Ireland. Moreover, I will not lightly, or without good reason, nor without much consideration, and then only with reluctance, determine, if I find I am compelled, so to separate my path from theirs. This is their question more than it is ours. They have made, and are making, the most intelligent and conciliatory efforts to arrive at some settlement. It is my duty and business to co-operate with them as far as I can, and as far as I see, and that co-operation I cheerfully 1258 offer. Undoubtedly, one thing I could not do; having been myself a party to larger efforts and proposals than are contained in the Bill before the House, I could not be a party to forcing upon Ireland the acceptance of a Bill which I believe in itself to be inadequate. That, Sir, is a principle which I shall endeavour to be governed by in all future proceedings in this matter. And it will be to me, as it will be to them, and to all Members of this House, a sincere satisfaction if, out of an imperfect administrative proposal which is now on the Table, and in the shape of a printed Bill, such a measure can be framed as shall tend to give to Ireland the fulfilment of her highest expectations on a question of that vital importance.
Sir, under no ordinary circumstances would I rise at a moment like this, at an hour so far advanced, and when many hon. Members regard the debate as closed. Yet I do appeal, as I never did before, to be allowed to speak what I feel must be spoken, at all hazards, before this Division, in justice to myself, in justice to the House, and in justice to the people I represent. It is hard on me to interrupt the flow of amiable felicitations by a jarring note of unpleasant truth; but there is something I value beyond the applause of these Benches, and that is my own character for truthfulness and honest dealing, and I should be deficient in each if I allowed you to act under the impression, which seems to prevail on all sides, that with this Bill you are happily going to satisfy and settle the Irish University Question. The remarkably conciliatory tone and substance of the speech delivered by my hon. Friend the Member for Cork County (Mr. Shaw), and the extremely moderate proposals he made to the Government may, perhaps, induce the Government and the House to think that because he spoke in such a moderate and conciliatory tone, he places, or we place, but a small value on the demands he made. Let no one suppose that my hon. Friend attaches but a slight importance to the suggestion he has made; because the fact and truth is, if the Government are not in a position to accept the proposal of the hon. Member for Cork, this Bill will not be acceptable to the people of Ireland, and will not even temporarily settle the Irish University Question. I would ask the House to avoid self-delusion, 1259 and consequent waste of effort. What is it that is demanded and required? The Catholics of Ireland require and demand a University to which they may send their sons for Collegiate training and University Education without violence to their conscientious convictions. No one else in Ireland is asking you for change, because you have already, nay, long ago, satisfied all others. If, then, this Bill does not meet the necessity of the Irish Catholics, and liquidate their demands, there is no reason for the Bill at all, and you are simply wasting your time. '[" Oh ! "] Well, just answer to yourselves candidly the question—Does this Bill give the Irish Catholics University Education as acceptable to them and as consonant with their conscientious convictions as Trinity College is to the Irish Protestants, or the Queen's Colleges are to the Irish secularists? This proposal of the Government is simply a sort of London University, with a few money prizes tacked on as a bait to the youth of Ireland. Setting up an Examining Board is not what we have asked. Would the men of your Oxford, or our Protestant Trinity, exchange their University for an Examining Board? I do not want to unfairly disparage the London University. In this matter of University Education I am liberal enough to recognize, and freely concede, that in a country possessed of what I call genuine Universities, one like this may be found exceedingly useful for young men whose circumstances preclude them from a course in Collegiate life. But to say that this shall be the best, the first, last, and only University acceptable to the Irish Catholics, is not meeting their demands and necessities. You are, in fact, delivering us over to mere "pass" learning. This is the enthronement of "cram." You may distribute amongst the youth of our Diocesan Seminaries a few hundreds of pounds in prizes; but you are going to destroy in us for ever all hope of possessing a genuine University—a great central, National Institution—in which the youth of Catholic Ireland might enjoy the advantages of an academic life and training. But you claim that this Bill will establish equality—that its prizes and rewards will be fairly and equally open to all comers, without advantage or favour to one class more than another. But is this so? No, nothing of the kind. Inequality and injustice are never more 1260 reprehensible than when they clothe themselves, as in this Bill, in the garb of equality and justice. No, you do not deal out fair play. On the contrary, this Bill perpetuates in its worst and most offensive form the inequality and partiality of which we complain. For you retain to the Queen's Colleges all their endowments out of the public funds, and you propose that the students, whom you thus educationally feed and equip and train at the public expense, shall compete in the race against these towards whose training or equipment you refuse to vote a farthing. And this is what you are pleased to call equality and fair play. The intellectual requirements of a small section of our population are, forsooth, to be lavishly provided for, while those of the great bulk of the nation must be met at their own expense ! This is a state of affairs with which the Irish Catholics will never be content—never ! [" Oh! "] No doubt, we hear to-night some capitulating voices; and far be it from me to blame too severely men who dread to sacrifice, as they view it, a certain present measure of good for the sake of a future they despair of. I consider for their difficulty; but it is their faint-hearted-ness. I would remind them that long before 1829 the Catholics of Ireland might have had large instalments of Catholic Emancipation, which they refused to accept, though many of their friends and advocates thought these were valuable and substantial concessions. But I am not for rejecting any instalment, if it does not in itself perpetrate an injustice upon us, and prejudice our indefeasible right and claim. I only want it to be on record that you were honestly warned, and frankly and fairly told tonight, that this Government Bill, as it now stands, will not and cannot settle the question. You but put it off a year or two. It will return, as of old, to plague you here. I know that even some of my own Friends think we ought not to say this now, but let you think you are going to make an end of your difficulty. I cannot lend myself to such tactics. I tell you, honestly, we Irish Catholics must have equality, and mean to be content with nothing less. I say, moreover, I cannot allow this question to be let down to the low level of a paltry squabble about a few pounds for school prizes. No; there is, in my conception, something higher, and grander, and 1261 nobler, in the object before us than this; and I, for one, will be no party to closing the future upon the youth of Ireland, or selling away their birthright, to buy for ourselves a petty and transient ease. The object of our hopes, our demands, is that we, Irish Catholics, may possess ourselves of, and hand down to our children, a National University, around which their associations may twine, in the halls of which their ambitions may be elevated, and to which, as to a genuine Alma Mater, they may always look back in after life with reverence, affection, and pride.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
hoped neither the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), who immediately preceded the hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan), nor any other Member on either side of the House, would imagine that the hon. and learned Member for Louth was entitled to speak on behalf of Ireland in this debate, or to pronounce more than his own views. He (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) would only speak for himself on the subject; but he would do so frankly. He could, not regard the Bill now before the House, or the proposed new clauses, as a full compliance with their demands; they did not even, purport to be so; but he, nevertheless, considered the Bill, with the Amendments foreshadowed for Committee, as an honest effort and a significant step on the part of the Government to settle the question; and, in the same spirit, he would thank the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich for the speech he had delivered, and for the intimation he had given them that if they divided on the question now before the House he would be found voting with the Irish Members. This was an important announcement; for the right hon. Gentleman, some years ago, introduced a measure with the same object in view as the Bill now before the House—namely, with, as he (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) believed, an honest desire to settle the question for the time, within such limits of power—and they were not always very extensive—as a Minister or a Cabinet could exercise over Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman was not then met in a considerate spirit. He (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) was not mixed up with the educational polemics of those days, and, therefore, could speak his opinion freely; but he regarded the cir- 1262 cumstances at present as analogous to those at the time when the right hon. Member for Greenwich brought forward his project of a Supplementary Charter, and he hoped that a similar mistake would not be now made by setting proposals at naught which were, at least, well-meant, and capable of development and improvement. The hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) had taken upon himself to interpret the sense in which the Irish Members were to accept the speech of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw); but he had no warrant for expounding it, any more than he (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) had. If the hon. Member for Cork called for a Division, of course, they would all follow him into the Division Lobby; and he apprehended, when that was done, they would, en masse, subsequently vote for the second reading of the Bill. That the hon. and learned Member for Louth had no warrant to speak on behalf of the Irish Members was a fact which might easily have been gathered by an attentive listener. To his speech, and to those cheers which greeted its most salient passages, he (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) was an attentive listener. The voice that spoke was that of the hon. and learned Member for Louth, and the cheers were those of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney).
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 257; Noes 90: Majority 167.—(Div. List, No. 192.)
§ Main Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MAJOR NOLAN
wished to express his sentiments with regard to the Bill. He was in the position of a man playing a game of cards whose cards were turned down, and who did not know what they might be. He felt himself exactly in that position, and would not take any part in the Division on the second reading, because he should not know what he was voting for. On the third reading he would probably be better informed. He might say that he had reason to believe that there were a good many other hon. Members who entertained the same feelings as himself with regard to the matter; they did not know whether they would be doing right or wrong in voting for the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said, that he would certainly vote for the second reading of the Bill; but he did so with the clear conviction upon his own mind that the only object of the proposal of the Government was to adjourn the consideration of that question for another 12 months. His reason for that opinion was, that a Bill was really to be framed by a Senate of 36, who were charged to prepare a scheme within 12 months. What would be the result of that? To his mind, it would be impossible to find in Ireland a Senate nominated by the Government, which would, within 12 months, hit upon a scheme which would be satisfactory to those who entertained the same views as the hon. Member for Cork, and to all other hon. Members who entertained different views. The result would be that when a scheme of that kind was drawn up it would be submitted to the Government 12 months hence; but the Bill itself could not be brought into operation during the present Parliament. The whole result of the proceeding, which he looked upon as one of the most adroit proceedings that had ever distinguished the reign of an adroit Government, would be that the question would really and truly be adjourned until after the General Election. In the meantime, the Government would reap the advantage of having taken steps to meet the views of the Irish people. It was not to be taken that he objected to the second reading of the Bill; but he begged to say that Irish Members could see as far into a millstone as others.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
rose for the purpose, not of making a speech, but of proposing a Motion. The hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Major Nolan) had said that he did not understand the Bill, and he thought a good many other hon. Members were of the same opinion. He did not remember, in the whole course of his Parliamentary experience, ever having seen the House so mystified and obfuscated. The Government, in bringing the Bill from the House of Lords, had really brought in a completely new Bill. That being the case, he did not think that they ought to be called upon to decide upon the merits of the Bill at that time. They knew nothing about it—the country knew nothing about it—and, under those circumstances, he felt himself justified in 1264 moving that the debate be now adjourned.
§ MR. EVANS
had pleasure in seconding the Motion, and he should like the attention of the House for a few moments while he explained his reasons for doing so, as that was only the second or third time that he had ever had anything to do with moving the adjournment of the debate. In the last Division he voted with the Government, because he did not approve of the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Cork; but he did agree with what had been said by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) and the hon. and gallant Member for Galway. He thought that the House had not been fairly treated by the Government on that question; the Government were a long time before they made up their minds whether they should introduce a Bill, and now they had done so they had left the House very much in the dark as to what they intended to do. Up to 11 o'clock, when the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his speech, he did not know what the provisions of the measure were that the Government had brought forward. The whole Bill seemed to him to turn upon a clause the substance of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to introduce in Committee. He did not consider that that was the way in which the House of Commons ought to be treated, and he really could not form any opinion as to the way in which he ought to vote upon the question of the second reading. He had not been able to make himself sufficiently master of the proposals of the Bill in the state in which it now was—he said that with perfect sincerity, and not with any desire to cause obstruction, and he was sure that hon. Members would admit that he did not cause obstruction in that House. His reason for seconding the Motion was solely that hon. Members were not sufficiently informed upon the merits of the Bill to be able to vote upon it.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Sir Wilfrid Lawson.)
§ MR. COGAN
could not allow the debate to conclude without giving expression to his opinion with regard to the measure. Some of the speeches that 1265 had been made by certain Irish. Members, and more especially by the hon. Member for Galway Borough (Dr. Ward), and by the hon. Member for Youghal (Sir Joseph M'Kenna), compelled him, in rising, to say that he could not agree with the criticisms that had been passed upon the Bill by them. If it were not calculated to increase the advantages of Collegiate Education in Ireland, he believed that the measure would leave the question in as unsatisfactory a state as ever. For his own part, he sincerely felt that the most important part of University training was the Collegiate life; and he did not think that any proper solution of the University Question in Ireland could be arrived at by the institution of an examining University as was provided by this Bill. To such a University there would be affiliated, on the one hand, a number of endowed Colleges; while, on the other, it would have a number of Colleges supplying its students which possessed no endowments whatever. The students from the Colleges without endowments could not enter into a fair competition for University honours with those who came from richly - endowed Colleges with large staffs of Professors, and libraries, and all the appliances of education. He did not think that a measure which would promote a state of things of that character would be satisfactory; and he could not, therefore, allow the debate to conclude without expressing his entire disapprobation of the Bill, which, in his opinion, would be fatal to the hopes of future Collegiate life for Irish Catholics, and would leave to scattered and small seminaries intermediate schools, and private crammers to provide University scholars instead of having them trained in a great College.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, that last year the House had passed an Intermediate Education Bill for Ireland. Some hon. Members did not like that measure. It seemed to him that they should not be asked to pass the present Bill in a hurry. It was only a reasonable proposal, as the Bill had been sprung upon them, that they should be allowed time to consider it.
§ MR. SHAW
hoped that the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) would not press his Motion. It would be quite impossible, at that period of the Session, to press 1266 on the Bill, it the debate on the second reading was adjourned. The proper time for discussion would be on the Motion for going in Committee, when the House would be in possession of the Amendments of the Government.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that when the Bill had been read a second time the Government then proposed to put upon the Paper a clause which he had already described. They did not propose to take the Committee for some little time, in order to give hon. Members opportunity to consider the proposals. He could not name any particular day at the present moment; but he would promise that sufficient time should be allowed for the consideration of the clause.
§ MR. FAWCETT
was sure that the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle would not unnecessarily put the House to the trouble of a Division. They did not want to put any unnecessary impediment in the way of the conduct of Public Business by the Government; but he was sure that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would feel, with his usual fairness, that they had been placed in a somewhat awkward position by the course taken with regard to the Bill. The practical difficulty which they felt was not that the Bill was a new one, but that, without any notice, the Bill had been materially changed in its character. There were two points upon which they thought they could freely claim to have further information before accepting the principle of the Bill. Upon those two important points they had had no information at all; but if that information were given them, he should suggest that the hon. Member for Carlisle should not put the House to the trouble of a Division. The points were—first, were they distinctly to understand that the Government did not propose in any way to make it a teaching University? The second was this—as he understood it, the new University was to be constituted mainly from a scheme to be prepared. He thought they had a right to know something of what would be the character of the new University. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not a word of objection to allege against the existing Queen's University; but he considered it was necessary to substitute 1267 another University in the place of that institution. Could he give the House any assurance that a certain proportion of the members of the Senate of the existing University would be appointed members of the Senate of- the new University? That was not an unreasonable request, for, in the first place, it would be unfair to interfere with men who had been doing good work, and men with whom no fault could be found; and, secondly, it would only be right to give the House an assurance that a proportion of them would be appointed to the new University. He thought the House was entitled to some assurance or to some guarantee as to the character of the proposed University; and as they knew the character of the Senate of the present University, it would give them some assurance of the character of the new University, which was to have the administration of so large an amount of public money, if they knew that a number of those gentlemen were to be upon the Senate.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
trusted the information asked for by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) would not be given on a Motion for adjournment, but at a time when the House would have an opportunity of entering into a discussion of the points raised.
§ MR. BIGGAR
hoped the hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) would not withdraw his Motion for adjournment. The Government Bill was really worthless as a means of settling the Education Question in Ireland; while as it was equally clear that it could not pass this Session the time of the House would be wasted by further discussion. If the Motion for the adjournment of the debate should be carried to a Division and negatived, he trusted some hon. Member might move—" That the House do now adjourn." He thoroughly coincided with the view expressed by the right hon. Member for Kildare (Mr. Cogan) that the Bill was most unsatisfactory.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
felt, with his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), that the Government had placed the House in a very difficult position by asking them to give a second reading to a Bill, concerning which they appeared to have no settled opinion, and the House knew nothing. It had, however, been stated that a clause would 1268 be in the hands of hon. Members tomorrow, which would give some information upon the matter. Now, if the Bill had been brought forward at the beginning of the Session, he thought that an adjournment of the debate might fairly have been asked for; but the House must remember that the question which it dealt with was one that they all wished to get settled, and that there appeared to be a possibility that some settlement might be arrived at this Session, in spite of the exceedingly remarkable manner in which the Bill had been brought forward by the Government. Take the views of hon. Members for Ireland; they were in favour of the second reading of the Bill. It was impossible to disregard the opinion and wish of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) in this respect, who had brought forward his objection to the Bill as it stood, nor that of the hon. Member for Cork County (Mr. Shaw), who had embodied his objections in an Amendment, but had, at the same time, said—" If that Amendment is not assented to by the House, I hope I may get something corresponding to it in Committee." The hon. Member held out an opinion that the Bill might, in Committee, be so dealt with as to make it a satisfactory settlement of this question. With the exception of the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar), he thought that most hon. Members for Ireland agreed with that opinion. That being so, it became a serious responsibility upon hon. Members to vote for the adjournment of the debate; for if that Motion were assented to, or if the prospect held out to the House by the hon. Member for Cavan were realized—that if it were negatived it would be impossible to come to a decision that night—he (Mr. W. E. Forster) gathered that the result would be the shelving of the question altogether. That result was one which, in his opinion, the House ought not to contemplate with satisfaction. Nevertheless, he thought all hon. Members had a right to say—" If we assent to the second reading of the Bill to-night, it is in order to give the Government an opportunity of saying what they really mean to bring before the House; but, in doing so, we do not pledge ourselves to the acceptance of any principle whatever." He would not be tempted into dwelling upon the extra- 1269 ordinary position in which the Government had placed the House; but expressed a hope that hon. Members would assist the Government in their endeavour to get the Bill into Committee, with the object of finding out what it was like, and in the hope that it would prove to be a settlement of the question. For these reasons, he trusted that the hon. Member for Carlisle would not press his Motion.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, the House had heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), only a short time ago, an expression of astonishment that the Chief Secretary for Ireland should expect them to read the Bill a second time without questioning the principles which it involved. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had just said that they could agree to the second reading without pledging themselves to any principle whatever. How, therefore, those two right hon. Gentlemen were to reconcile their views he was at a loss to understand. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford wanted to have this question settled; but there was nothing surprising in that, for a great many people wanted a settlement. The right hon. Gentleman urged the hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) to withdraw his Motion for the adjournment of the debate because the fag end of the Session had been reached and the question ought to be settled. Of course, it ought to be settled, for a General Election was near at hand. But what had been said by hon. Members from Ireland upon the Motion for adjournment? Why, commenting upon the statement elicited from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the new University would not be a teaching University, the right hon. Member for Kildare (Mr. Cogan), and the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar), had both said that Bill could not be a settlement; and the hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) had previously expressed the same opinion. These opinions were surely of some importance. Again, whose fault was it that the House found itself discussing the Irish University Education Bill at the fag end of the Session? It was the fault of hon. Gentlemen who were now supporting the Government. The Government brought 1270 in the Bill at the fag end of the Session, and when they wanted to rush it through Parliament the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford came forward to assist them in doing so, however much it might be believed by hon. Members near him that it would not be a settlement. That being the case, the Chancellor of the Exchequer having declined to answer the Questions of the hon. Member for Hackney, and no Member on the opposite side of the House having shown a disposition to reply, he thought the House ought not to assent to the second reading of the Bill. Nor could he agree with the view of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford that the House should read the Bill a second time on the understanding that in doing so they bound themselves to no principles whatever. He trusted his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle would adhere to his resolution.
§ DR. WARD
challenged the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), and other hon. Members who opposed the Bill, to show that the ecclesiastical party in Ireland were not willing to go a long way to meet the Government in this matter. On the contrary, they said that there was very much good in the present measure, and were disposed to regard it in many respects as a fair settlement of the question, and one likely to meet, to a considerable extent, the wishes of the Irish people. He felt that a very serious issue was arrived at when it was found that the education of young men in Ireland was to be sacrificed to the exigencies of Party in the House of Commons; and he warned Irish Members not to join the hon. Member for Liskeard, and others who thought with him, in their endeavours to prevent the second reading of this Bill. The House had heard a great deal about clericalism and sectarianism. Why, the hon. Member for Liskeard was the high priest of non-sectarianism and as such proclaimed—" If you do not believe in my doctrines you are heterodox;" and then, forsooth, he must stand up in the House in the name of liberty. The people of Ireland had been befooled too long over this question of education to the injury of the youth of the country—[" Hear, hear ! "]—and the hon. and learned Member for Louth, who said "Hear, hear," would befool it a little longer. The hon. and learned Member would support two things. He 1271 was an early supporter of the Liberal Opposition of the day, and an apparent supporter of the clerical element in Irish University Education. When Lord Mayo brought down the best Bill upon this question that had ever been introduced, the hon. and learned Member for Louth had said—"We will give you something more." And what did he now expect to get from the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), and the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), who were urging on this opposition? The House had to decide whether this Bill was to be killed or not. The hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) said it was to be killed; but he would kill any Bill that was ever brought into the House. He (Dr. Ward) reminded hon. Members who lent their assistance to the killing of Bills of this kind that not merely were they doing an injury to the country and to the reputation of the House, but were gravely compromising the just claims and rights of the Irish people. But he asked the hon. Member for Cavan, and other hon. Members who viewed things in the same light as he did, whether a petty reputation built upon mere obstruction, or, indeed, individual reputation of any kind, was to be compared in importance with the education of the youth of Ireland? They had been discussing this question for years, disputing upon words and compromises, while the best part of the Irish youth had been kept waiting for University Education. He believed that if the Bill brought in by Her Majesty's Government were passed, with such modifications as were proposed in good faith, much good would be done to the Irish people.
said, the House had just had an illustration of the inconvenience of discussing questions of this kind under present circumstances. The question was one which ought to be discussed in the absence of all heat, and finished, if possible, in the same vein in which it was opened by his hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw). But the House now found itself in a discussion, not upon the merits of this Bill nor as to whether the debate should be adjourned, but upon the relative merits of the hon. Member for Galway (Dr. Ward), an ex-Queen's College student, and the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar). Was the time of some200 or 300 1272 Members to be wasted in that way, or was the character of the Irish Representatives in the House of Commons to be lowered by the spectacle of two of their number engaged in a personal encounter? He most strongly complained that the House should be asked at the end of the Session, and at that hour of the night, to pass this Bill in a "stand and deliver" sort of way. He need not waste the time of the House by entering upon a detailed reference to his own efforts upon this question; for he believed it was well-known to those around him that, during 20 years, according to his humble opportunities and abilities, he had been the champion of the principles which he had advocated that evening, that, as against both Whig and Tory Administrations, he had held the same line, and that he had defended the right of the youth of Ireland to University Education when the hon. Member for Galway was partaking of the emoluments of the godless system of the Queen's Colleges. It was a thing of every-day occurrence in the religious and moral world to find men trotted out who had undergone conversion; a converted collier would hold forth to-day, and to-morrow somebody else; but it had been reserved for the House of Commons to listen to a converted Queen's College student.
THE O'CONOR DON
said, he was no great admirer of this Bill, as would appear from the speech he had already made; for he could not think that, confined to its present limit, it was likely to bring about a settlement. Nevertheless, upon a question like the present, he felt that he ought to follow the advice given by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw), who had been, by the consent of his Colleagues, representing a large proportion of the Irish Members, selected to express their opinions in the House of Commons, and he thought that if any point existed upon which his opinion was to be taken it was surely upon the question of procedure.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
remarked, that several of his hon. Friends had asked him to withdraw his Motion for the adjournment of the debate; but after what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), that nobody had any principles with regard to this question of Irish Education, he should go to 1273 a Division, in order to give time to hon. Members of one Party or another to find out what their principles were.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 28; Noes 260: Majority 232.—(Div. List, No. 193.)
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday next.