§ Order for Second Reading read.
THE O'CONOR DON
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said: Sir, I do not intend to criticize the Amendments that have been put down by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), the hon. Member for the City of Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), and the two other Amendments which amount to a direct negative of this Bill; but I would most earnestly appeal to the hon. Gentlemen who are about to take part in the discussion on this measure that they will confine themselves as much as possible to the real principle involved in the Bill which I now ask the House to read a second time. I make this appeal, especially because I am afraid that some of the Amendments are of a character that might lead us into discussions which I should regard as very wide of the real objects and intentions of the measure. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy has given Notice of an Amendment which, 931 with all respect to him, I would venture to say is one that would be more appropriately made to a Vote in Committee of Supply on the question of primary education. Considering the nature of the Amendment, I have thought it desirable to make the appeal that, in discussing the second reading of the Bill, we should, as far as possible, confine ourselves to the real subject-matter of the measure. The real questions at issue are—Is there a want in Ireland of further facilities for higher education? If that question be answered in the affirmative—is the mode proposed by this Bill for meeting that want one that ought to commend itself to the approval of the House? If these two questions be answered in the affirmative, I do not think the House of Commons will be inclined to refuse the necessary amount of money for the carrying out of the objects of the Bill, and I may say at once that it is no essential part of our proposal that the money shall come from the fund mentioned in the Bill. We have selected that particular fund, because it was that which was selected by the Government in relation to the measure of last year; but if Parliament should think it advisable to have recourse to any other fund in order to meet the requirements of the measure, there is not the slightest objection to such a proposal being accepted, and the question whether primary education in Ireland is sufficiently met, and whether the money wanted for the purposes of this Bill should be provided out of the fund which is referred to in the measure, or in any other way, are issues entirely outside the present question, and ought not to be discussed on the second reading of this Bill. As to the second Amendment on the Paper, which is to be moved by my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Edinburgh, I would say a few words. The hon. Gentleman is much opposed to this Bill, and he says in his Amendment that the measure is opposed to the principle of civil and religious equality, by proposing to endow mainly the members of one Church and their Colleges with £1,500,000 of public money. Well, but I would ask the hon. Gentleman what is the present state of affairs in Scotland? Are there not in that country four Universities fairly endowed, and are they not far more denominational than the Univer- 932 sity we now propose to establish in Ireland? Are not the benefits conferred by those Universities far more for the members of one Church and profession, one particular creed, than will be the case if this Bill be passed into law? ["No, no!"] An hon. Gentleman behind me says "No, no." I would ask him, is there not a Chair of Theology in each of the Scotch Universities, are not the Governing Bodies of those Universities largely composed of Presbyterian clergymen, and are they not mainly attended by Presbyterian students? If my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Edinburgh, or any other Scotch Member, could point out a so-called non-sectarian University in Scotland, the chief Professors in which were Roman Catholic priests, in which University there was a school of Roman Catholic theology, and could show that such University was attended largely by Presbyterian and Protestant students, then he might come to this House, and say to the Irish Roman Catholics—"You have no right to complain, because you have a Protestant University in Dublin, in which there is a Chair of Protestant Theology, and a College in Belfast to which you can send Irish Roman Catholics." I deny that there is anything contrary to the principles of civil and religious liberty in what we are asking to-day, and assert that those who refuse to aid us are acting contrary to those principles which they so loudly profess on so many different occasions. I have only one word more to say, and that is on a topic which no doubt will be often raised, and that is the objection taken in some quarters that we are asking for the second reading of this Bill so soon after the introduction of the measure. This, no doubt, is thought unreasonable, and I have seen statements in the papers to the effect that we are desirous of rushing this Bill through the House. At the very outset, I wish most distinctly to disclaim any wish to take such a course. "We have no desire whatever either to rush the Bill through the House, or in any way to shirk the discussion of its principles; and I would venture to add that, in proposing the second reading of the measure to-day, we are doing nothing that is at all unreasonable. I stated the other night, in introducing the Bill, that I did so in the sincere desire that it might 933 be passed into law this Session as a practical measure, and not one to he thrown down upon the Table of the House for the mere purpose of raising a discussion. If it is to be regarded as a practical measure, I ask the House what other course is open to us than proposing the second reading to-day? Hon. Gentlemen will remember that this is the 21st of May, and that in a few days we shall adjourn for a fortnight. This being so, hon. Members must be aware that, in the usual course of procedure, it would be impossible, if we were not able to take the second reading of the Bill to-day, to again submit it to the House for at least a month, or about the middle of June, and in that case I ask what chance should we private Members have of passing the Bill this year? Therefore, if there be anything unreasonable in our seeking to have the Bill read a second time to-day, it applies to our desire to have it passed at all. But even if we desired to rush the Bill through the House, it would be impossible to do so. We all know the many stages a Bill has to go through before it can become law; and even if the House were to-day to approve the second reading of the measure, and if it subsequently should turn out that its provisions are such as the majority of the House thought they ought not to approve, there are many other opportunities on which opposition could be raised. We appeal to hon. Members to allow us to have a decision taken on the second reading to-day; and if it should subsequently turn out to be desirable to raise any question as to the principle of the Bill on the next stage, we not only would not object—of course we could not prevent it—but we will undertake that the next stage shall not be taken until an ample opportunity has been given for considering every detail of the Bill, and obtaining opinions from all parts of the Kingdom on the measure. Under these circumstances, I venture to move the second reading of the Bill, and to hope that hon. Gentlemen will confine their remarks to the real merits of the measure, and not wander into discussions that will be wide of the main issue.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(The O' Conor Don.)934
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
, in rising to move the following Amendment:—That while this House recognizes that the funds set free by the disestablishment of the Irish Church should be devoted to the benefit of the people of Ireland, provided they are not again applied to the support of any sectarian religion, it is not desirable to devote additional public funds to the further promotion of higher education in Ireland till adequate provision is first made for elementary teaching in that Country, without aid from Imperial funds exceeding that given to other parts of the United Kingdom,said, he was not surprised that his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) should be anxious to limit the scope of the discussion upon this Bill; he was ready to meet his hon. Friend in debating the positive merits of the Bill; but, before they passed it, its merits, not only positive, but comparative, should be shown to them. He was surprised when his hon. Friend said it was not essential to the passing of the Bill whore the money should come from. But the providing of the money was the essence of the measure. If the hon. Member for Roscommon could find liberal Roman Catholics who would endow a University from their private funds, he had no objection in the least to their doing so. His objection to this Bill was that the hon. Member meant to dip very largely into public funds for the endowment of his University. He, therefore, altogether declined to exclude the question of money from the discussion of this Bill, and insisted rather on that question being put in the very forefront of the discussion. The hon. Member for Roscommon said the Scotch Universities were more denominational than anything that was proposed to be established by this Bill. He (Sir George Campbell) ventured to deny that; but his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) would answer the hon. Member for Roscommon better on this point. All the education in these Scotch Universities, except some special theological classes, was now absolutely unsectarian. There was no objection whatever, either legal, social, or in any other way, to any student of any denomination pursuing his studies in all the classes of the Scotch Universities; and it was the case that many not only might, but actually did, so follow them. If the theological departments were to be deemed a fault in an otherwise excellent system, all he 935 could say was that two blacks did not make a white, and there was no reason why the fault should be re-introduced in Ireland also. It would, he admitted, be very desirable if the theological departments could be separated from these Universities; but there was no reason why their Irish Friends should copy what was bad and reject what was good in the Scotch system. He looked with very great suspicion upon the circumstances under which this Bill had been brought into being. It was a very suspicious fact that when they were suddenly told that the hon. Member for Roscommon wished to introduce a Bill on Irish University Education, Her Majesty's Government, in a singular and unexpected manner, immediately made way for it. Her Majesty's Government were not in the habit of giving such extreme facilities to private Members who had been disappointed in bringing on their Bills, and it seemed to him that the action of the Government had shown a singular benevolence towards, if not connivance with, the hon. Member for Roscommon with regard to the first stage of his Bill. He trusted that the support of the Government was not to be extended to the subsequent stages. Another singular fact was the way in which the other Bills down on the Order Book for second reading to-day had been cleared out of the way in an almost unprecedented manner in order to give the hon. Member for Roscommon the first place. Irish Members had singular good fortune in obtaining the first place for their Bills upon Wednesday, and the unanimity with which they had all given way on this occasion to the measure of the hon. Member for Roscommon was remarkable. Such action on their part seemed to indicate a unanimity of which he confessed he was a little suspicious. The House was not accustomed to see such perfect unanimity among them. There was usually a good deal of division amongst them, except on subjects that gave them a hope of touching public money. This Bill was one of those subjects. The Government having exhibited so much benevolence towards this Bill, in regard to which the Irish Members were so singularly unanimous, he could not help thinking that at best or at worst a General Election was not far off, and that there might be parties 936 in this House who would not be sorry—God forbid that he should say that they would bid for the support of the priests !—but who would not be sorry to have their support in the Irish elections. Putting this and that together, he was suspicious of this Bill. He suspected the presence of the cloven foot, which his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh saw more distinctly. Therefore, he said, let them not press this Bill forward with indecent haste, but discuss it thoroughly, so that they might know what were the bearings and intentions of the Bill, and what were the opinions of the public with regard to it. The more he looked at the Bill the less he liked it. Public attention was gradually being directed to the Bill, and the organs of public opinion were pointing out, he thought very justly, various points in which the Bill was open to the animadversions of the hon. Member for Edinburgh. He not only disliked what was in the Bill, but he also disliked a great deal that was not in the Bill. He disliked the reticence that was shown as to making its objects and intentions more clear and distinct; he disliked the proposal for leaving the rules and procedure for carrying out its provisions to a Senate which was to be so largely composed of elected members. He disliked also the exclusion from the University of the members of all Colleges otherwise provided for; and he could not help thinking that the new University was intended to be mainly a Catholic University, and that its graduates, who would exercise the voting power, would mainly be Catholic graduates. If that were so, whatever might be the intentions of the hon. Member for Roscommon, the end would be that the elected members of the Senate would be Catholic members, and the rules and procedure left to them would be rules and procedure drawn up, he would not say in the interests of Catholics, but, at least, in deference to the prejudices and honest opinions of these Catholic members. The Bill ought, therefore, to be very cautiously looked at before they proceeded too far. In reference to this subject, he had during the last two or three days looked at the communications and articles in the public Press, and he had been struck by one which appeared this morning in the shape of a letter in The Times from a Protestant Nobleman, Lord 937 Portarlington, in support of the Bill. He did not know whether there were any Protestant Jesuits; but if there were any such persons, he was inclined very much to suppose that Lord Portarlington was one, and that, in professing to favour this Bill, the noble Lord had put forward the most favourable arguments that could be used against it, for his Lordship, noticing a previous letter against the Bill from Lord Longford, said—Will you allow another Irishman, likewise a Protestant, to express the great satisfaction with which he has learned the proposals of the O' Conor Don, as some return and compensation to our fellow-countrymen of the Roman Catholic faith in Ireland, for all those iniquitous years during which tithes were wrung from the people for the support of the clergy of a Church with which they had no concern.That was the statement of Lord Portarlington; and it was because he (Sir George Campbell) believed that that was the honest intention of those who promoted the Bill that he, for one, was opposed to it. He had said before that two blacks did not make one white; and it was no reason because we had done injustice to Ireland in the past that we should now do injustice to ourselves—returning injustice for injustice. Having got rid of the injustice which Lord Portarlington described, let them not introduce again injustice of the same kind by al tempting, directly or indirectly, to endow Roman Catholics with public funds. It was on that ground that he sought for delay; and it was on that ground, as it seemed to him, that the opinion of the country was rising very rapidly against the Bill. He was very much inclined to look for guidance in regard to his conduct with respect to such a Bill to the opinion of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. If' they approved of, or did not disapprove of it, he should say it would be a wise course for the House to disapprove of it. That hierarchy were wedded to unreasonable principles, especially on the subject of education, and anything on that subject that satisfied them must be unreasonable. On that ground, he had been somewhat exercised by observing what he could not help regarding as the suspicious silence of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on the Bill. He had seen a letter from a source not hostile to the Bill remarking upon that extraordinary silence—indeed, it seemed as though it had been thought better to induce the Roman Catholic 938 Bishops and the great power in Rome to hold their tongues and say nothing about the matter. He should think the approval of the Roman Catholic hierarchy a suspicious circumstance, which would tend to set him against such a Bill as this; but he drew a distinction between the Catholic hierarchy and the parish clergy. When he was in Ireland, some time ago, he went into this matter, and was struck by the fact that elementary education in Ireland was far more denominational than people in England and Scotland had the least idea of. It was, in fact, almost as much Roman Catholic in its character as the most ardent Catholic could desire. Under the character of managers and patrons of the elementary schools paid for by British money, the priests had set up a denominational system. But the priests were not under the Bishops in that matter; they were under the Board of Education. The priests were satisfied, but the Bishops were not; and he repeated, that anything that would satisfy a Roman Catholic Bishop must be so extreme that those who did not hold with those Bishops must be opposed to it. He wished it to be understood that he was not speaking under the influence of what might be supposed to be Scotch prejudice. Most of his life was spent out of Scotland; he had seen a good deal of the world; he had seen a good many phases of the Christian religion, and of other religions also, and his own opinions had been rather favourable than otherwise to the Catholic religion. He had found that on the field of battle, and in the midst of difficulties and dangers, the priests of the Church of Rome had done very good service; and notwithstanding much that was objectionable in it, he recognized the fact that there was a great deal of the true fire of Christianity in the character of the professors of that religion. But when they came to the political character of that religion, not only from what he had read and heard, but from what he had seen, especially in recent years, on the Continent of Europe, he was thoroughly convinced that, in regard to civil matters and administration, and especially in regard to education, the Roman Catholic hierarchy were irreconcilable. In every country in Europe in which the Governments had attempted the plan of levelling up, by gratuities from the 939 public funds, in the hope of coming to terms with the Catholic Bishops, those Governments had invariable come to grief. They had found that the cure they attempted was worse than the disease. That was the state of France and Germany, and it would be the state of Italy were it not for the fact that Italy had, to a great extent, broken herself loose from the priests. Taking a wide and an historical and philosophical view of the case, he was deliberately of opinion—and his opinion was not influenced by Scotch prejudice—that it was not desirable to attempt to come to terms with the Catholic hierarchy in this matter, or to pass this Bill in the hope of reconciling them. The House ought to treat them as irreconcilable, and exclude sectarian religion from the question of education in Ireland. He had no doubt that when the hon. Member for Edinburgh came to make his speech, he would give excellent reasons for the strong terms of the Amendment he had put on the Paper. He (Sir George Campbell) had thought it better to be content with the milder terms of which he had given Notice, and, as far as possible, avoid matter of a controversial character. He bore in mind the sublime poetry of his youth, which he might adapt thus—Let certain Members bark and bite,For 'tis their nature to.And he would suggest to the hon. Member for Edinburgh.—But, Scotchmen, you should never letYour angry passions rise.Therefore it was that he had drawn his Amendment in a somewhat negative form, only hinting at that denominational question which the hon. Member for Edinburgh had tackled more boldly and decidedly. He did not think the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) had made out a primâ facie case for his Bill. As to the source from which it was proposed that the funds for carrying out the Bill should come, he reminded the House that they were in the position of a man who was contingent heir to an inheritance that was to come in some day hereafter. They were to deal with funds which had not come into their pockets yet; and though it might be possible to sell their contingent rights under an urgent and pressing necessity, he was totally unable to see that there was any good ground for reversing the 940 decision already come to by Parliament as to the ultimate destination of those funds. Even supposing that the money was available, and that it should be devoted to purposes of education, then he would suggest that was a much more crying want than that which the present Bill was framed to supply—for hon. Members from Ireland were constantly pointing out, and the hon. Member for Roscommon himself had given Notice of a Motion on the subject—that additional grants were needed for elementary education in Ireland, and especially for the purpose of providing training schools for elementary school teachers. The argument in favour of devoting funds to elementary education rather than to University teaching in excess was not one which he had recently developed; it was a principle which he had long maintained, that elementary education should first be developed before too extensive provision was made for higher education. He knew that people newly entering on a path of progress were rather apt to fall into a blunder on this point. When a comparatively small section of the people of a particular country were rapidly becoming educated and progressive, they cried out for an excessive amount of State aid for higher education. He had lately visited one such country—modern Greece—where that had been found to be an evil; and in India he had found the same tendency, and had struggled there, and had struggled successfully, against devoting public funds too much to higher education whore elementary education was neglected. Just as it was in Greece, just as the hon. Member for Roscommon would make it in Ireland, so it was in Bengal and in India generally. Public money was devoted to higher education, while lower education was neglected. He had thought that unjust, and had proposed a material alteration, so as to bring the education provided for within just and reasonable limits. It was upon that ground, which he had long thought out, that he submitted his Amendment in opposition to the Bill. No doubt, he would be told—"Your arguments are all very well, but the principle has been conceded by the Government when they passed the Intermediate Education Act of last year." Again he said, two blacks did not make one white. He had considerable doubts about the Act 941 of last year, because it was to apply public funds to higher education before the lower had been properly attended to. Still, he did not take upon himself to actively oppose it, because the want it was meant to supply was a real one, and it was desirable, in the interests of both rich and poor, that a ladder should be provided by means of which clover boys of the poorer class should climb to the advantages of higher education. But the present proposal was an infinitely greater one, and was more objectionable in many respects than the Intermediate Education Bill, for it proposed not only to give grants to scholars who passed a successful examination, but it proposed to give great grants to particular schools and Colleges which were to be selected by this Catholic Senate, and also to pay their Professors and build their museums and schools. It was on that ground that he thought this Bill must be much more minutely criticized than was the Intermediate Education Bill of last year. The hon. Member for Roscommon had said that there was not sufficient provision for University Education in Ireland at present; but on that point he took issue with him. If the question of religion was put aside, the present provision for University Education in Ireland would be found amply sufficient. In Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland had a University which was one of the most noble and amply-endowed institutions in Europe; and then there were the Queen's Colleges, which were most amply endowed with funds. Therefore, he argued, there was not that want of University Education said to be prevalent in Ireland. But the difficulty in regard to Irish University Education was the religious question; and if the hon. Gentleman who moved the second reading of the Bill was not satisfied with the provision for University Education, he ought to tackle the religious question directly. He should have brought the other Irish Universities within the scope of his Bill. It was true that the hon. Gentleman stated in his speech that if the Bill had been a Government Bill it would have been right and proper that those Universities should be brought within its scope; but the Government had not thought fit to bring in a Bill of that kind, and hence he asserted that the hon. Gentleman should have treated the religious question directly and not 942 indirectly. Not only was it the case that, religion apart, there was sufficient provision for University Education in Ireland already, but, in spite of the religious difficulty, he was inclined to believe that our fellow-subjects in Ireland really had a very ample share of University Education. The proof of the pudding was in the eating; and it would be found that, instead of a small proportion of Irishmen competing for the prizes of the Indian Civil Service and other Departments of the State, a very large, and he might say an abnormal, proportion of Irishmen were to be found competing successfully. Then the Bill proposed to endow the new University to a much greater extent than the Scotch Universities, and to that he strongly objected. As to the comparison drawn between the numbers in Ireland and Scotland, the Scotch Colleges took students at a much earlier age, and were more like intermediate schools, the bulk of the students being nothing more than day scholars in the great towns. In reality, the necessity for this Bill was a political necessity, and it was put forward to conciliate that body—the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland—which had more influence than any other in the electoral affairs of Ireland. His Motion had reference to the question of Irish elementary education, and he thought that hon. Gentlemen from Ireland must well know that there was a great want in that direction. He did feel that the House should make an effort to extend elementary education for the benefit of the poorer classes of Ireland. Undoubtedly, it was the case that funds were devoted by this country for the purposes of elementary education in Ireland; but they were not sufficient, as the House had been informed over and over again. Even the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill now before the House had put a Motion on the Paper asking for additional funds to be expended in the cause of Irish elementary education. He justly asked for more money; and it would be seen that there was a great want of additional funds. In spite of all that had been done in the past, it was a fact that half of the people of Ireland could neither read nor write; and in the schools already established the teachers were very inadequately paid. He asserted that it was the duty of the House of Commons, before they pro- 943 vided for any further educational facilities for the upper classes in Ireland, to give more attention to elementary education. The House had recognized that want, and had tried to remedy it by passing a permissive Bill to enable the people of Ireland to rate themselves for the purpose; but that was a remedy of which the Irish people had been very slow to avail themselves, and it had proved a failure. In the few cases in which advantage was taken of the Act to impose rates to pay salaries to teachers, the ratepayers had receded from that system. Both upon positive and upon comparative grounds he submitted the Motion of which he had given Notice, the effect of which was to postpone the Bill, because he was inclined to think that it was a Bill not so innocent in its character as some hon. Gentlemen seemed to suppose. The Bill was not a good Bill, and before it was allowed to proceed further the country should thoroughly understand its character.
LORD EDMOND EITZMAURICE
said, he rose to second the Amendment of his hon. Friend behind him (Sir George Campbell). Before he went any further, let him start by making this admission—that whatever advantages a Bill, in itself good or bad, could obtain from being introduced in a spirit of fairness, justice, and moderation, this Bill had obtained from the introductory statement made by his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon. Beyond that degree of praise he could not go. He considered that the Bill was a bad one, and that it ought to be rejected. He also confessed to having been rather astonished at hearing that there was any necessity at all for a further extension of University Education in Ireland, because, not long ago, it was his fortune to receive an Irish newspaper with a report of a very eloquent speech made by a priest at a meeting in the South of that country, in the course of which he quoted a lengthy passage from Virgil. At this there was great cheering; and then he added—"I shall not translate to you, because every Irishman knows Latin and Greek from his cradle upwards." Upon that statement there followed loud and long-continued cheering. Well, it struck him (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) that a country in which every child was born with a knowledge 944 of Latin and Greek could not, after all, be in such very great want of University Education. On the contrary, he should imagine that any unfortunate Englishman who might be sufficiently rash to enter into competition would find himself at a considerable disadvantage. However, he should not press that argument, nor, speaking seriously, had he used it with the intention of denying that there was a certain Roman Catholic grievance in regard to higher education in Ireland. His object was rather to show that there was a certain grievance, to explain what it consisted in, to point out, if he could, what the proper remedy was, and also to convince the House, which he thought he should be able to do, that the Bill of his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon provided a cure altogether beyond the evil which he sought to remedy. It would be his earnest endeavour to avoid saying anything which might wound the religious susceptibilities of the tenderest Roman Catholic conscience, because he knew only too well that this and kindred topics had only been already too much hindered in their settlement by theological rancour and sectarian bitterness; and he should be very sorry if any word escaped him which, either in the course of this debate, or upon any future occasion when the subject might be under discussion, was capable of being east in his teeth as having contributed to fan into fresh life the sparks which still lingered among ashes, destined, he hoped, before long to grow cold. At the same time, he must observe that he did not intend to ask himself whether or not this Bill, or any proposals he might make himself, would satisfy the demands of the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. He did not believe that that was the proper way to approach the question, or to obtain a settlement of it-He recollected that in one of those memorable speeches in which, early in this century, Mr. Canning urged the removal of Roman Catholic disabilities, he said, in reply to the taunts of those who told him that, even if they were removed, Roman Catholic feeling would not be satisfied, that he did not trouble himself whether it would be satisfied or not, and that he was ready to run the risk of offending the Episcopalian hierarchy on the one side, and the Roman Catholic hierarchy on the other, 945 so long as he felt sure that justice would be done. He recollected, also, that when that very University question was under discussion in the year 1872, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), in the speech which he made upon that occasion, adopted an exactly similar line of three arguments, and the remarks which he then made were still so apposite and germane to the subject that he made no apology for quoting them. His hon. and learned Friend said—If they were to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas, he feared they would find themselves reduced to the consequence of not governing Ireland at all. They were left, then, a deplorable option between anarchy, ascendancy, and priestcraft. He was not willing to adopt any one of these three courses. For himself, not being a 'Home Ruler,' he had never adopted the idea of governing Ireland according to Irish ideas. The House of Commons had not to consider whether a measure squared with Irish ideas or satisfied the demands of any section of the Irish people, but whether it was consistent with equal justice."—[3 Hansard, ccxiv. 1618–9.]That language struck him as just and statesmanlike, and although he could not equal the ability and eloquence of his hon. and learned Friend, he should try to imitate the spirit in which he spoke upon that occasion. Now, in order to realize the true circumstances of the University question in Ireland, it was necessary to state accurately, and realize fully, certain facts. The House would recollect that after the rejection of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), a Bill was passed at the instance of his hon. Friend the Member then for Brighton, but now for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), by which every religious test and disability was removed from all endowments in the University of Dublin and Trinity College; but, at the same time, the religious services of the Church of England were allowed to be kept up in the College chapel, and Parliament rejected the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Mr. T. E. Smith), which would have compelled the Governing Body of Trinity College to make attendance at the service a matter of option to the students. At the same time, the School of Divinity within the College was allowed to subsist unaltered, and that school, he need hardly add, was a school of Anglican theology. Therefore, in regard to the University of Dub- 946 lin and Trinity College, they had this condition of things—a secularized University, and a College secularized as regarded its endowments, but not secularized as regarded its discipline and internal arrangements, and further allowed to keep up within its walls a school of Anglican theology. There was also in Ireland the Queen's University, and the Queen's Colleges connected with it. That University and those Colleges wore purely secular. And here let him observe that he thought, if he might be allowed to say so to his Irish Friends, that they had had their case enormously injured for them by the constant denunciations of that University and those Colleges by the Roman Catholic hierarchy as being Protestant institutions. They were not Protestant, and never were. They were set up by Sir Robert Peel, not for the benefit of the Protestants in Ireland, who were perfectly satisfied with the University of Dublin and Trinity College, but for the benefit mainly of the Catholics; and it was only because the Catholics, acting under the orders of their Bishops, who themselves received their orders from Rome, were compelled to refuse to send their children to them, that the Queen's University and Colleges were chiefly frequented by Protestants of different denominations. It would, at the same time, be a mistake to suppose that there were no Roman Catholics in those institutions. The Reports, on the contrary, of those institutions, showed that their number was increasing, though slowly. At Cork, the Roman Catholics were 50 per cent of the whole number of students. At Galway there was, it was true, a slight falling off last year in the number; but that was owing to an epidemic which, incredible though it might sound, attacked all the students without distinction of creed, affording thereby a great argument in favour of mixed education. He might add that the President of Galway College, in his last Report, stated that since the foundation of Galway College religious differences had never once been the cause of any trouble amongst the pupils. It must also be recollected that by the appointment of Deans of Residence belonging to the different denominations, facilities were given at the Queen's Colleges for maintaining a religious tone amongst the students; but he believed he was right in stating that the 947 Roman Catholic hierarchy had never allowed the appointment of a Roman Catholic Dean of Residence. Such, then, was the condition of University Education in Ireland. They had two secular Universities, and in one of them they had a College, the discipline and atmosphere of which were Anglican and Episcopalian. Let him now turn to the state of things existing in the English Universities; and it was necessary to do so, because it was frequently stated that there was not only in Ireland a grievance as between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants, but also that that inequality was made doubly conspicuous by reference to the state of things which they had allowed to grow up in English Universities. By the Act passed in 1871 by the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, all religious tests and disabilities were removed from the endowments of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham; but the services in the College chapels were still allowed to remain part of the discipline of the place, and in most of the Colleges lectures on theology—Anglican theology—wore still given. He said nothing here about the University teaching of theology and the University Professors in that school, because, no doubt, if the Church of England were disestablished, the University Schools of Theology would be disestablished too, or would be deprived of their exclusive character. They could not compare the condition of things in Ireland, whore the Church was disestablished, with the condition of things in England, where the Church was not disestablished. Therefore, he put aside at present the University Schools of Theology in England as being outside the question, and having made that exception, he thought he should not be mis-describing the condition of things introduced by the Tests Act of 1871 as being closely akin to that existing in the University of Dublin—that was, that while they had secularized the endowments of the Universities and the Colleges within them, they had not secularized the discipline and what he might call the atmosphere of the place, which still remained Anglican and Episcopalian. Some flowers from the unsectarian Eden were scattered among them, but "the trail of the serpent was over them all." But that was not all. The Tests Act of 1871 did not forbid the es- 948 tablishment of new sectarian Colleges within the Universities. It was true that an Amendment was moved by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the City of Oxford with that object; but the House refused to entertain the question, and the result was Keble College was established—a College more sectarian than the sectarians, and more Episcopal than the Bench of Bishops. That College, he was informed, was now crowded from roof to basement, while Hertford College, founded originally by the amalgamation of two old endowments which came within the Act of 1871, had received a practically sectarian character by accepting a large private endowment with sectarian conditions attached. He was also informed that a College similar to Keble, called Selwyn College, was shortly going to be established at Cambridge, and was likely to be as much sought after as Keble. Such, then, was the condition of things at the English Universities in regard to foundations made subsequently to the Act of 1871. Every facility was given for the incorporation within the Universities, by charter, of sectarian Colleges. There was only one check, that the charter for 40 days must remain on the Table of that House. Now, he thought the House would at once see that what the Episcopalians of Ireland and of England did possess, and what the Roman Catholics of Ireland did not possess, was the right of having a College or Colleges of their own in which the discipline and atmosphere of the place should be that of their own religion, and in which the teaching of theology of their own school of thought should be taught by lecturers enjoying the confidence of their own communion. Here he might mention that he was fully aware that he might be told that the School of Theology at Dublin was a University school and not a College school. Now, that simply arose from the great difficulty of distinguishing between the University of Dublin and Trinity College. Personally, he believed that the School of Theology at Dublin was quite as much, if not more, a Collegiate than a University school; but, be that as it might, his argument was not affected thereby, because he approved that portion of the abortive Bill of 1872 which clearly separated in law the University from the College, and he thought it would be desirable 949 that in any legislation upon the question the School of Theology should be clearly separated from the University and attached to the College, and to the College only. He recurred, then, to his original proposition, that there was equality as regarded University Education between Protestant and Catholic, but not as regarded Collegiate education. Now, perhaps he should be told that there was an easy and simple way of settling all these difficulties by prohibiting the religious services, and putting an abrupt end to the religious lectures and teaching which he had mentioned. His reply to any such proposition was that it was impossible. As an old member of the Birmingham League, he was in no manner ashamed of saying that nobody in that House had contended more firmly than he had for the absolute separation of secular and religious teaching; but there was a time and a place for everything, and, as a practical man, he knew that these questions were fought, and settled for a considerable period, between 1870 and 1873, although, no doubt, some day they would be re-opened, there being no such thing as finality. But, because at some future time, and at some remote date, they hoped to push their own principles further, were they in the interval to inflict a grave injustice and inequality on the Roman Catholics of Ireland? He thought not. That being so, there was only one other alternative, which was to give to the Roman Catholics of Ireland the same Collegiate privileges which they had given to the English and Irish Episcopalians. He might be told that he was advocating the scheme of the late Mr. Butt. He acknowledged it; but there was this difference between his view and Mr. Butt's—that he proposed that there should be a State endowment given to the Catholic College, whereas he (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurico) did not; and Mr. Butt further proposed that that endowment should be got by appropriating a considerable portion of the revenues of Trinity College. Now, he protested against the disendowment of any corporation, unless they could prove abuse and misapplication of funds; and nobody, English or Irish, Catholic or Protestant, had ever suggested such a thing in regard to Trinity College, Dublin; on the contrary, that institution was one which was always spoken of with respect and admiration by persons of every shade 950 of opinion, whether religious or political. He was aware that some wits connected with the College at Cambridge which bore the same name thought fit in times past to sneer at their "silent sister;" but he believed that wit was never more misapplied, as that so-called "silent sister," in every department of science, art, and literature, had ever held, and still held, a proud and conspicuous position. What, then, he proposed was that one or more of the existing Roman Catholic Colleges in Ireland should be incorporated either in the University of Dublin or in the Queen's University. The latter course would, he thought, raise fewer difficulties. As to what College should be selected, the old charter of the University of London, with its list of affiliated Colleges, would afford a guide. He believed it would be found upon inquiry that Carlow College would be able to prove a better claim than any of its possible competitors. Its head, Dr. Kavanagh, was a man of undoubted ability and learning, and he believed that former Examiners of the London University would be found ready to state that students from that College had always come up well and carefully prepared. Then there was the College of St. Patrick on Stephen's Green, an institution endeared to Catholics by its association with the struggles connected with that question. He confessed to having never himself heard very favourable accounts of the teaching in that College; but he was willing to bow to the high authority of his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair), who, he knew, had expressed a strong opinion in the contrary direction. Therefore, he proposed that Carlow College and St. Patrick's should be incorporated within the Queen's University. But he might be told that this was not enough, and that those two Colleges would not be able to hold the youth of Ireland, who would flock in to obtain a Collegiate education. Well, his mind was quite open on the question, because he shared the opinions, based on Scotch experience, of his right hon. Friend, that University Education was not merely a luxury of the upper classes; but he believed in any case, at starting, the incorporation of two Colleges would be enough. But that was not all. He would propose that a general examining 951 power should be conferred upon the Queen's University, similar to that possessed by the London University in its supplemental charter. He had always considered that the loss of that privilege, through the discovery of a technical error in the supplemental charter actually granted in 1866, was an immense misfortune. He wanted to say a word about that supplemental charter. It had been constantly and falsely represented that the object of those who advised Her Majesty to grant the supplemental charter was surreptitiously, and by a side wind, to introduce the Catholic College into the Queen's University; and he confessed to having believed that himself at one ime. But it was an utter mistake, as was pointed out by Sir Dominic Corrigan in 1872, who spoke with much authority on the question, being Vice Chancellor of the University. lie said the supplemental charter was not passed to admit the students of the Roman Catholic University, but was passed to admit, on the same system as the London University, all candidates on undergoing certain examinations; but the Rolls' Court, in deciding against the supplemental charter, merely decided on a legal point—that was, "that the Senate of the University should not accept the charter without the joint assent of Convocation." That was a very important point. What were the words of the abortive Charter? They were these—We do will, ordain, constitute, and declare that the said University, created by our said Charter, shall have power to grant to any person who may have matriculated in the said University, and who may be deemed qualified by the Senate of the said Queen's University in Ireland, to obtain the same, all such or any of the degrees or distinctions which by our said Charter the said Queen's University in Ireland is empowered to grant, notwithstanding that such persons may not have matriculated in any of the said Colleges, or pursued any of their studies therein.Then followed a similar clause, enabling any person to matriculate, although not educated in any of the Queen's Colleges. Now, the reason why the decision of the Rolls' Court was so disastrous was that if the University had been thrown "open it would have been possible to endow the University with a variety of prizes and emoluments which could have been competed for upon equal terms by the whole youth of Ireland, whether educated in the Queen's Colleges or not. These, then, were his recommendations 952 to meet the Roman Catholic grievance in Ireland—namely, one or more Catholic Colleges in the Queen's University, and an amendment of the Charter of the University in the direction which he had indicated. And now let him turn to the Bill. Did it do any of these things? Not one. What was the first thing he found in the present Bill? Why, it proposed to establish a now University; and he absolutely denied there was the least necessity for that. It-was to be a new secular University apparently, established in a country where there were already two existing secular Universities. Let him ask why this new University was to be established? It appeared it was to be a kind of conduit-pipe or filter through which the interest of £ 1,500,000 of public money was to distributed amongst a largo number of sectarian tea-cups. Great political pressure and chicanery would be brought to bear upon the Senate, and there would be a scramble for the money. If this matter was to be dealt with on the basis of endowments, and of setting up a purely Roman Catholic University, let them discuss the question on its merits. Do not let them have an ingenious scheme to filter away a largo sum of money into denominational cups and saucers. It was a great mistake to introduce a Bill of this kind, because, if it did please the Roman Catholic hierarchy, it would only be because they thought that before many years were gone by they would be able to do with the Bill what they liked. The Senate of this University was to have a practically unlimited power of affiliating Colleges. Now, there was no part of the Bill of 1872 which was more attacked than the proposal of affiliating Colleges. It was attacked by nobody more vehemently than by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the City of Oxford. In his speech he proposed a plan by which that part of the Bill could be got rid of in Committee. After describing it, he said—In this way, they would get rid of the whole vexed question of affiliated Colleges, and of the denominational and undenominational prejudices against the Bill."—[3 Hansard, ccxiv. 1630.]Sir Dominic Corrigan gave the experience both of the London University and of the Queen's University against the plan. What he (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) insisted upon was that whatever was done 953 Parliament should know clearly and distinctly what the Colleges were which it was proposed to benefit. He objected altogether that £1,500,000 of public money should be scrambled for by unknown recipients. He did not wish to dwell too much upon details at that stage; but the House ought to observe that the clauses of this Bill were so drawn that such enormous benefits were proposed to be conferred upon these Colleges that no student would think of entering the University except through their doors; while a direct pecuniary bribe was offered to the youth of Ireland to abandon the old Universities and enter the new. Then he objected to the constitution of the Senate, which was mainly a nominated body, and would, he believed, become the creature of political intrigue and chicanery. That was another bad feature borrowed from the Bill of 1872. Now, as regarded endowment, he wanted to know what claim the Roman Catholic Colleges had to an endowment? Keble, and Hertford, and Selwyn, had not asked for a State endowment. Why did they not? Speaking of the question of endowments reminded him of what was proposed to be done by Her Majesty in Council with respect to a Northern University. They all knew that a few days ago a very large and influential deputation was received by the noble Duke the President of the Council (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon), and the noble Marquess the Secretary for Foreign Affairs (the Marquess of Salisbury), who was also Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and it was urged upon the noble Duke and the noble Marquess that it was necessary to establish in the North of England a new University. Had he had the honour of belonging to the North of England he would have been exceedingly proud to have joined that deputation. The object in view was a most excellent and admirable object, and he desired to call the attention of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to the proposal in regard to the Colleges which was made by that influential deputation. Did that deputation propose that a sum of money should be given to Owen's College, which was the one College to be mentioned in the projected charter? The gentlemen who composed that deputation did not propose that Owen's College, or any other College which might 954 come within the University as an affiliated body, should receive a handful of money out of the public funds; but they stated that they were prepared to endow the institution themselves. The gentlemen who composed the deputation of the other day did not ask for £1,500,000 of public money—all they asked for were for certain University and College privileges. Turn to a similar scene—turn to his own University. The University of Cambridge had gained of late honourable distinctions by attempting to extend the benefits of University Education outside its own limits by conducting examinations, and now by affiliating Colleges, and he had heard that a scheme for that purpose had been drawn up by the Syndicate, with the sanction of the greatest names of the University, which passed the Senate last week, and which was as certain to be acted upon as was any measure which might receive the sanction of the House in the course of the present Session. Was it proposed to give a sum of money out of the University funds to affiliated Colleges? All that was proposed was to confer upon any College or institution in the United Kingdom which chose to place itself in connection with the University of Cambridge certain facilities in regard to degrees, and a diminution in the number of terms of residence. From first to last in the case to which he was alluding there was not one single word about getting hold of University funds, still less at getting a pull at funds which were under the control of the State, or which were raised from the taxation of the country. They might plead their poverty; but Roman Catholicism was not a local or national religion peculiar to Ireland. Were they not constantly being told in home and foreign newspapers of the numerous and wealth converts who were flocking over to the Church of Rome? Why, there were half-a-dozen Roman Catholic noblemen who, if they would meet together to-morrow, would find it just as easy to endow a Roman Catholic College as the merchant princes of the North to endow the great institutions which were rising under their patronage. They might invite that generous Protestant Peer, Lord Portarlington, to join them. Such a course, surely, was better and nobler than coming to Parliament, in formâ pauperis, for £1,500,000 of public money only recently taken from another denomina- 955 tion. He recollected, during the debates of 1873, that his noble Friend the Leader of the Opposition, who, being at that time Chief Secretary for Ireland, had a responsibility in this matter second, only to that of the Prime Minister, speaking on this part of the question, said—The Protestants of Ireland used the mixed Colleges, but the Roman Catholics, for whom they were designed, had seen fit to disapprove them; that, however, was no reason why they should not do what all others were free to do—establish their own Colleges and voluntarily endow them. … Would anyone got up and say that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were not prepared, or were not able, to endow Colleges for themselves? He believed they were fully able, and that if once they could remove from their minds that fatal delusion which appeared to have taken possession of them, that sooner or later they would obtain a Parliamentary endowment, they would endow a Roman Catholic College for themselves."—[3 Hansard, ccxiv. 1206–8.]He (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) believed that those words of the noble Marquess expressed the sound common sense of this question—that, in regard to matters of discipline, they should allow the Roman Catholics every single privilege which had been given to Protestant Episcopalianism, whether in England or in Ireland; but that, as regarded endowments, they should stand firmly upon those lines which had been adopted by the House of Commons—namely, that there should be no new endowments of any sectarian institution. They were told the other day by the noble Lord the Member for Waterford County (Lord Charles Beresford) that he was in favour of the endowment of a Roman Catholic University. He hoped that the noble Lord would be consistent, and that when the Navy Estimates were under consideration he would explain the lines upon which Roman Catholic ironclads and Protestant turret-ships should be built. He (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) believed that the one would not be more ridiculous or baneful than the other, so far as State endowment was concerned. This was a question in which he had taken a great interest. He had been always anxious to meet the just demands of the Irish Roman Catholics. There was one member of his family, of whom he preserved a recollection from his childhood, who had passed the best years of his life out of office because those who occupied the Throne in his country would not admit 956 to their Councils any person who was in favour of the removal of the tests under which Roman Catholics suffered. He had been brought up to venerate his name; but he had not been brought up to wish to substitute one religious equality for another. He desired to do that which was just and right to the Catholics of Ireland, without doing that which would be unjust to the Protestants of the United Kingdom. He believed that to pass this Bill would be to do that which would prove injurious to those higher interests of education which rose above every sectarian difference, and which, he believed, would be absolutely ruined by any looking back upon the evil past, and by any renewal of that principle of religious endowment, whether concurrent or not, which would prove hurtful, not only to the State which gave it, but even to the religious denomination which it was intended to benefit.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "while this House recognises that the funds set free by the disestablishment of the Irish Church should be devoted to the benefit of the people of Ireland, provided they are not again applied to the support of any sectarian religion, it is not desirable to devote additional public funds to the further promotion of higher education in Ireland till adequate provision is first made for elementary teaching in that Country without aid from Imperial funds exceeding that given to other parts of the United Kingdom,"—(Sir George Campbell,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. KAVANAGH
Sir, I shall begin the few remarks I intend to make on the subject by congratulating the House, and thanking the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) on the good humour which characterized the remarks he made. I look upon it as an auspicious omen, and hope it will continue. I am sorry I am quite unable to follow the noble Lord in the very exhaustive and able speech which he made; but, perhaps, it is fortunate for the fate of the Bill that I do not know as much about the subject as the noble Lord, because another speech of the length would, perhaps, endanger the ultimate result on a Wednesday. To me the question is a very serious one— 957 a serious one for the whole country. The position I occupy is, perhaps, rather a delicate one, and. I think it is only right to myself and to my constituents that I should say a few words as to my reason for occupying it. I do not think we owe the House any apology for bringing the measure on, because we all know that during the last 20 years every Government in Office, if it has not itself undertaken to deal with the question, has, at least, admitted the necessity that something should be done. With regard to the reason which has influenced us in adopting the course we have, of suggesting a third University instead of keeping to the two already in existence, that has already been fully explained by my hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon in his introductory speech; and I should not have thought it necessary to touch upon it, were it not for the fact that both the noble Lord the Member for Calne, and the hon. Baronet the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), in their remarks raised the question. Now, Sir, it appears to me, not knowing very much about University Education, that to deal with the question as in connection with the two existing institutions, we should have to go into an immense deal of matter of most invidious difficulty. Those who have tried to draw the line in educational subjects between science, history, and religion, to define where the one should stop and the other begin, to sketch a history of nations uncoloured by religion, or to devise a system for teaching the physical and. higher branches of science, robbed of the supernatural, and dragged down to the level of the rationalist, will appreciate the difficulties to which I have referred. Those pitfalls and dangers have been avoided by the lines on which the present Bill is laid. Anybody who listened to the debate which took place on the introduction of the University Bill of 1873, and, I may say, to all the debates on the English Education Question, will agree with me that, if it was possible, we were right in endeavouring to avoid those dangers and those quicksands. But, although by the lines on which this Bill was brought we have succeeded in avoiding that, we have at least other difficulties to meet, and the difficulties are not only from objections raised by those upon principle opposed to a settle- 958 ment altogether, but, I may say, they have been more raised by those who are, most of them, interested in the settlement of it, and who must largely benefit, if this scheme which we propose were adopted. It is always perfectly clear that unless each party is prepared to approach the subject in a spirit of compromise, a settlement is utterly hopeless. I shall endeavour to deal with the objections to which I have referred, and I will take first those I have referred to last. To my mind, the main difficulty of dealing with this question has been created by the policy of disendowment which this House endorsed by a large majority in 1869, and which hon. Gentlemen will remember was warmly supported and advocated by the Roman Catholic clergy, and by members of that persuasion in Ireland. Now, Sir, that policy I disapproved of and resisted to the best of my power; but I do not attempt or wish for one moment to subvert what can be done, and, consequently, this difficulty is placed in my own, and in the way of others who wish to deal with this question. I can see no other course open. We are driven to adopt the lines of the Intermediate Education Bill. I am happy to say, from the immense success which it has mot with since, I was in hopes that a Bill honestly framed on those lines, so far as they could be adopted, would be generally accepted as a compromise by the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. I was given directly to understand that that would be so, and looked upon the fact that the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) had taken up the question and brought in a Bill on those lines as a proof that it had been approved of by hierarchy of the Irish Roman Catholic Church, and would be accepted by them as a settlement of the question. I hope I am still correct in that assumption. But, whether I am or not, I think it is very unfortunate that rumours have got abroad—and I am not accountable for that—to the effect that if the Bill is accepted by the Roman Catholic clergy it is only as an instalment, and an instalment to be followed by a fresh appeal. If that is so, our position is a very difficult one; and I must say that our chances of success, based upon that, would be very slight, and I think that the hon. Members opposite, and the clergy of the Catholic Church should remember that 959 the main difficulty, as I said before, is one of their own creation. If the way to deal with this question is the adoption of a spirit of compromise, I hope, before the debate on the second reading closes, that we shall have some authoritative announcement on the subject, which will remove this difficulty, and assure the House that if this Bill pass it will be accepted in the same spirit in which it is offered. The Bill, as we see by Amendments on the Paper, is already attacked by many, as being equivalent to a direct endowment of a Roman Catholic University. That I distinctly deny. I say that it has in its clauses, Preamble, and Schedules, not one single word which I can see gives to the Bill a sectarian hue. Throughout the entire Bill there is no mention made of any one religious denomination, so far as I can see; but while I say this, I do not deny for one moment that there are circumstances existing in Ireland in regard to University Education which give this Bill a significance in that direction, and that it has for its object the establishment of a Roman Catholic University. I do not deny that for one moment, and the circumstances are these. If I understand it aright, every denomination in Ireland has facilities and opportunities of availing itself of the advantages of University Education without a sacrifice of any scruples except the Roman Catholics; and I think it is only natural to expect that if you pass a measure for the advantages of a University system which will do equality to all—which I believe this does—and if you have the existing institutions, it is, I say, only natural to expect that the Catholics who are shut out from those advantages will largely avail themselves of them. But it is only in that sense that it can be regarded as a Roman Catholic University; and I have no hesitation in declaring openly and frankly at once that my object and intentions in joining in this undertaking is to afford to my Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen those advantages which they desire, and which I do not think they now possess. The noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) might call me a Protestant Jesuit for this I know very well; and I daresay I shall be told that my premisses are false and wrong, and that the Dublin University, as it has been extended by the Bill of the hon. Member 960 for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), and the Queen's University, regulated as it is, give ample facilities to all denominations to avail themselves of University Education without any necessary sacrifice of religious principles—and I am sure that those who say so believe it. But I am not going to enter into the theological disquisition which such a point would raise. I take my stand upon what appears to me to be a plain and undeniable fact, that at present the Roman Catholics avail themselves of neither the University nor the Colleges, and that if they are, practically, to remain excluded from the advantages of the University system, we must devise some plan to include them. And it is not that I cannot see a better plan, but it is that I cannot see any other plan, that leads me to endorse and support this Bill. I deny emphatically, as I have already said, that the Bill is literally an endowment of a Roman Catholic University, and, in support of my denial, I may say that since its introduction I was told by a clergyman of high standing in my own Church that its effects would be detrimental to the interests of the University of Dublin, by withdrawing from it Methodist and Presbyterian students who now avail themselves of its advantages. Now, I should be sorry to do anything detrimental to the Dublin University; but I may say that you cannot condemn the Bill upon two actual diverse issues at the same time. If it is, as it is objected, a Roman Catholic University Bill, then I do not see how its effect will be to withdraw Methodists and Presbyterians from the Dublin University. I may, therefore, I think, leave those objections to answer each other; and I can only repeat again, that while the provisions of the Bill are equally open to all who may require them, it is only natural to expect that Catholics will most largely avail themselves of its benefits, just because they are the class who want it most. Of course, I cannot for one moment hope that this—or, indeed, any Bill that could be introduced—would meet the approval of what I may call the extreme section of what, I think, the hon. Member for Kircaldy (Sir George Campbell) called Scotch prejudices, represented by some hon. Members opposite; but I cannot for myself admit that there is a single principle or word in the Bill to warrant the 961 Motion of which the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) has given Notice. I think that, far from his Amendment applying with any justice to this case, it rather seems to indicate on the part of those who hold such opinions, or give support to such an Amendment, that they have not the capacity for truly appreciating what true civil and religious equality moans. I do not wish to follow that subject further. It is sufficiently clear, and requires little advocacy on my part to make it plain. I will come to another objection expressed in the second part of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Edinburgh. He objects to the application of part of the surplus funds of the Disestablished Church, as being contrary to the principle of the Irish Church Disestablishment Act of 1869. But I think the hon. Member, when he put his Notice on the Paper, must have forgotten that last Session this House, by passing the Intermediate Education Act, practically broke through the principle which was created in the Preamble of the Act of 1869, and sanctioned and approved the application of those funds to purposes of education. Therefore, I hardly think it is quite possible for him to rely much on this part of his objection. Another ground of opposition has been raised by a class who never succeed in making themselves much heard, and that is, that it is wrong to take these surplus funds while there are vested interests now neglected, but having claims upon these funds. I am fully prepared to admit the justice of this; but I can by no moans regard it as an insuperable or great difficulty in the way, or anything that could not be very easily dealt with. I believe it is true—the House will excuse me for alluding briefly to these claims—I believe it is perfectly true that there is now in the hands of the Church Temporalities Commissioners an amount of £400,000 not properly belonging to the Irish Church, but which was raised by the taxation of the clergy in past years. If I am rightly informed, this sum does not belong to the Church of Ireland, but to a limited number of minor incumbents and curates, whose just claims can be clearly established. I have no wish or intention now to enter into the merits of that question. But, allowing it, these and any other claims can be dealt with by Parliament. Each 962 claim, according to its merits, can be dismissed if not recognized, and attended to if well founded. But, after allowing these claims to be disposed of, I cannot see a more beneficial object for part of the surplus to be devoted, to than the furtherance of the three classes of education—elementary, intermediate, and University. We had a beginning last Session. Government began in the right direction, though rather oddly, taking up the middle first; and in our Bill we propose a plan for dealing with the higher end; and I do not see any reason why, if it succeeds, the lower end, or the primary education branch, should not then be settled on similar lines, adapted as far as possible to the requirements of the case; and that might perhaps dispose of the objection of the hon. Baronet the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell). There is another objection raised, to which I am bound to refer, though there are but few who held it lately, for, I suppose, I must be looked upon as a black sheep. I have been blessed by receiving anonymous letters, the writers of which bring arguments against our present actions such as these—It is wrong to afford the means of disseminating error. Now, that is a very high ground to take, indeed, and a ground the abstract truth and justice of which very few will be prepared to assail. I will not take time to controvert it, or, condemning the tenets of one Church, defend the tenets of another. So far as that is involved in the question now before us, I will take the broad and indisputable ground that we are all Christians. Assuming that, then, I would ask who amongst us is qualified to pronounce his brother in error? We are told, "Judge not, that ye be not judged," and. I cannot read this as in any way binding us to force down the throats of others our conceptions of what is right. If I may carry that argument further, we may be wrong to refuse to those with whom we disagree the advantages of higher education. Of course, the letters I received were all bent on this point. I think the policy of proselytizing is too monstrous to be thought of. Throughout all history it has proved so disastrous that it is no use occupying the time of the House in dwelling on it. I respect the man who, conscientiously and fearlessly holding his belief, adheres to it; but I have no 963 sympathy with a narrow-minded bigotry that would force that belief on others. These are the reasons that have influenced me in taking the course I have done; and I must say I am most anxious to have the question settled, while I think the present Bill is the most reasonable way a settlement can be arrived at. I therefore hope it will be passed, and be accepted by my fellow-countrymen in Ireland in the same spirit as it is offered to them. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, in another part of his Amendment, blames us for endeavouring to hurry on the measure with indecent haste, or he implies as much. As to this, the hon. Member must know, with his long experience, what every hon. Member must know, that days and opportunities are not within the choice of private Members. They must take what they can get, or go with nothing. For myself, I have not the slightest wish to rush the Bill through the House like a dark horse. I am not ashamed of it. I do not fear, and have no wish to avoid, danger from the most ample discussion. I shall only be too glad if the Bill meets with the patient consideration its importance requires; and if it does, I am sure it will, at the hands of the House, receive the fate it deserves. I need not say what I hope that may be. In asking the House to read this Bill a second time, we ask it to affirm the principle—which is, I believe, the true principle—of religious equality; and if the Bill goes further than that, or fails to carry that out, amend it. But I do hope the House will not refuse a principle which, I believe, is founded on justice and fair play.
§ MR. M'LAREN
, who had the following Amendment upon the Paper:—That the leading provisions of the Bill are unjust and impolitic, being opposed to the principles of civil and religious equality by proposing to endow mainly the members of one Church and their Colleges, with a million and a-half of public money, which has already been appropriated by the Irish Church Disestablishment Act, for the equal benefit of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, by enacting that the surplus funds of the Church shall be applied 'mainly to the relief of unavoidable suffering and calamity,' and that, 'in the manner in which Parliament shall hereafter direct;' and that, in addition to these considerations, a Bill of such importance, and involving such novel principles of legislation, should not be proceeded with until ample time has been given to the public for its proper consideration;964 said, he was aware that the Forms of the House would not admit of any Amendment being put, unless the hon. Baronet (Sir George Campbell) should withdraw his, in which case some hon. Member might afterwards propose the Amendment, of which he (Mr. M'Laren) had given Notice; but as his hon. Friend, in drawing a distinction between the Amendments, spoke of his (Mr. M'Laren's) as being the more extreme and violent, he thought he might be allowed to suggest another definition of the difference. His was intelligible—"he who runs may read"—while he had heard many hon. Members say of his hon. Friend's Amendment that they did not understand what it meant; and, certainly, he was in that position, and thought that, in place of an obscure Amendment, a plain one should be substituted. He understood that the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) was very much concerned about the large endowments which the Scotch Universities got for religious purposes, especially as they were largely devoted to Presbyterian students, and under the management of ecclesiastical functionaries. With respect to that, he wished, before proceeding, to sweep away such an impression, and to assure the hon. Gentleman the Member for Roscommon that it was entirely wrong. The whole of the grants to the Universities of Scotland—he had taken the trouble to search for the figures since the hon. Gentleman had made his speech—were £16,000 for the Professors of four Universities having 5,000 students.
said, the hon. Member was not in the House when he was speaking, and had misunderstood what he said of Scotch endowments.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, it was quite true he was not in the House, having been sent for; but two hon. Members had told him the import of his remarks. But whatever the hon. Member did or did not state, the House might be interested to know that, so far from the Edinburgh University being under ecclesiastical influence, out of 39 Professors, only four were what he might call Church Professorships, and none of those four had churches, parishes, or the cure of souls. With regard to ecclesiastical management, there were seven Curators appointed and elected in various ways; 965 not one was, or ever had been, a minister of any church, and three of them were Episcopalians. Among the 39 Professors £6,604 was distributed; and if his hon. Friend would move a Resolution in this House that the House was of opinion that all payment for ecclesiastical teaching should be discontinued in Scotland and Ireland, he (Mr. M'Laron) should be most happy to second his Motion with all his heart. Along with the grants to Maynooth—commuted since the Disestablishment at 14 years' purchase—and the commuted Regium Donum, he should be delighted to see these and all other Irish and. Scotch ecclesiastical endowments swept away. Just one remark he should like to make in passing upon what was said by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh). In commenting on his (Mr. M'Laren's) proposal, the hon. Member objected to that part of it which condemned the application for the purposes of the Bill of the fund specially devoted to meet suffering and calamity by the Act of 1869. The hon. Member seemed to assume that because Parliament had done wrong in regard to a previous measure, dealing with intermediate education, that was complete absolution for every wrong which might be committed upon the fund in after years, no (Mr. M'Laren) took leave to differ from that view. If the House did wrong in appropriating £1,000,000 destined for the suffering poor of Ireland by the Act for the Disendowment of the Church, he saw in that no reason for taking another £1,500,000 from the poor and suffering classes and giving it to the rich and middle classes for the endowment of Colleges and Universities, that their sons might attend them almost free of expense. He thought the very opposite should be the case; and he would apply the common remark of police magistrates in dismissing the offender for the first time—"Go, sir, now; but remember you are not to do the like again." With these preliminary observations, he (Mr. M'Laren) would refer to the Bill, condensing his remarks, inasmuch as he could not formally move his Amendment. One remark he must make as to the constitution of the Senate. The Senate was to consist of 24 members, and he had no doubt that, as nominated at first, a fair proportion of Protestants and Catholics would be declared under the terms of the Bill; 966 but, possibly, Roman Catholics would secure more than half the representation. A considerable number of the Senate would be grandees who would never attend. A number would be in this country attending Parliament and others Irish Judges. There was a significant clause, that the graduates of this University might, in certain cases arising, elect six members out of these 24. Then another significant clause said that six should be a quorum. He apprehended that when the six were elected by the graduates of this University, they would naturally and very properly be members of the Roman Catholic body. Those six men, in order to give satisfaction to their constituents, would be constant in their attendance, and, practically, would have the whole management of the funds and of the arrangements of this University in their own hands. There was something very peculiar about the Colleges. This University body which he had described had the sole power of deciding whether a College should be affiliated to the University or not. If the College was one which they did not agree to affiliate, that College could never get a share of the benefits arising from this University grant. It had been stated by a powerful organ of public opinion that there were two non-Catholic Colleges to be considered as being admissible—the one Presbyterian, and the other Wesley an. He would ask first, would they desire to be admitted into this University; and next, would they be admitted, even if they desired it? On the first point, he was by no means clear that they would desire it. He had some information that they would not; but that remained to be proved. The definition of Colleges to be admitted was somewhat strange. A College to be affiliated was described to be an institution with not fewer than 20 students, either in the College or in a boarding-house. That was a very strange kind of College to be affiliated—20 students living in a boarding-house. It seemed to him that it would be a very good speculation for anyone to get 20 pupils into his boarding-house and bring them up for examination, and get the large result fees and the salaries authorized by the Bill. Certainly it was an odd idea for Colleges of that kind to be affiliated to a University. If a young man chose to live with his father and go to the Univer- 967 sity for examination, he would not be admitted. He must live in, and come from, one of these Colleges. Then, again, the definitions excluded the students of the Queen's Colleges, and any person having any endowment from a University. Hon. Members were aware, from the Reports published the Other day, that in Queen's College, Galway, there were no fewer than 73 Roman Catholic students. Why were they to be excluded? If they had even attended one of these Colleges during the previous year, that would, by the Bill, be sufficient to exclude them. He ventured to think that that was unjust. Another thing was that the students must be educated in Colleges in Ireland. This excluded all students educated in England and Scotland who might choose to go to Ireland to be examined, and to compete for prizes. He remembered hearing some years ago a report, which afterwards turned out to be false, that a manufacturer in the North of England put up a notice on his gate—"No Irish need apply." This Bill had a notice put on the gate of the University that no English, Scotch, or foreigners need apply there. It was to be a close University for the benefit of certain persons described in the clauses. Was there any University in the world where there was such an exclusion? He greatly doubted it. Members of his own family had been partly educated at the Universities of Paris, Heidelburg, and Bonn; and, so far as he had heard, they were received with open arms by the French and Germans, just the same as if they were native subjects; but if French or Germans came to be examined at this University, they would be told "that it was exclusively for Ireland." ["No, no!"] He would refer hon. Members to the words of the clause. On page 6, Clause 23, it stated that the Colleges must be "in Ireland," and that all students—Shall for at least six months be resident in one of these Colleges before they can come up for examination.Now, students educated in Dublin, or anywhere else in Ireland, might go to a University on the Continent to pursue their studies and to be examined. By the Bill all students must come up for their first examinations in the Arts classes; and when they became professional men, as lawyers, doctors, or engi- 968 neers, they must be examined in their respective branches. Here he would like to state, to prevent misapprehension, that reference was made by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh) to the strong Scotch feeling against this Bill. He did not exactly know what was meant by Scotch feeling; but he knew what his own opinions were, and he begged leave to say that he had no anti-Irish feeling of any kind. The first vote he gave in that House, 14 years ago, was on a Coercion Bill for Ireland, 354 for it and 6 against it; and he had the honour of being one of the six who voted on the occasion. The last vote he gave was on that day week on the Irish Land Bill. He had very great difficulty in voting for it, because he thought some of the clauses were unjust to the landlord; but, because it was an Irish Bill, and it was urged that it would be for the benefit of Ireland, he stretched a point and voted for it. If the Bill had been for Scotland or England, he would not have done so. He had no feeling against the Irish or against the Roman Catholics; and he would like to discuss this Bill as if it were connected with the Synod of Ulster, or any other Presbyterian body, apart altogether from any anti-Catholic feeling. Another point of great importance from a pecuniary point of view was the large power of expenditure. There was power to provide museums for these Colleges, laboratories, and libraries, and to provide for their future maintenance. Anybody who knew anything about the expense of a laboratory, as his right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh University (Mr. Lyon Playfair) did, would see the enormous expenditure which might in this way be incurred. Anybody who did not know would be staggered at the amount—an amount which, he believed, the framers of this Bill had not calculated upon. Another power in the Bill to which he very strongly objected was the salaries to be given to the lecturers in these Colleges and boarding-houses. While the Treasury was to have control over the salaries given to examiners in the University, the Governing Body might give lecturers any salaries they thought fit in any Colleges they might be pleased to affiliate, without any check on the part of the Treasury. This was a power which he would not willingly trust to 969 any such body. These lecturers, no doubt, were to be paid only for teaching subjects that were not considered religious subjects. Suppose a lecturer had to teach mathematics, or natural philosophy, or any other branch for the degree of Arts, there was nothing to hinder him, at a different hour, from teaching a religious class; and if he got a good salary as a lecturer for teaching secular branches, he might well lecture on and teach religious subjects for a small additional sum. The Governing Body, in selecting the Colleges to be affiliated to the University, and in the other matters which he had mentioned, would have an amount of power and influence which he thought no such body ought to possess. With regard to the Colleges or boarding-houses with 20 students, they were not called upon to send up their students to be examined until they knew them to be ready to be examined and likely to pass. They would get to know what the nature of the examination would be, and they would be advised not to go up unprepared, lest they should be plucked. Was not that a common sense rule. Therefore, when 20 students would be sent up from a College or boarding-house, it ought to be taken for granted that nearly all of them would pass. This did not apply merely to Art students; all the medical and law students and engineering students must also undergo this first examination in Arts. If the 20 students passed, what was the result? Why, the College or boarding-house would get a grant of £400 for the first year, in addition to the salaries of the lecturers, and to all the appliances in the College, for teaching of the young men. It was very difficult to analyze the result of this state of things unless by way of comparison. He would make a comparison, to show how it would work in regard to existing institutions, and would for that purpose take the University of the City of Edinburgh. It had now nearly 3,000 students, including summer classes. Suppose that only 2,000 were qualified to pass their first examination, what would be the result? The University, it must be remembered, was not merely an examining body. It was a teaching body, and, after the teaching, there followed the examination. If those 2,000 out of 3,000 passed, the result would be that the teaching body would receive £40,000 for 970 the 2,000 students at £20 each. Now, was not this monstrous? Did the House contemplate such an expenditure? No doubt, it would be said—and fairly said—that it would be a long time before the proposed University had 2,000 students. Not only were they to get their education practically free, but large bribes were, in this way, to be offered them to come up. But if a University should be established, the sooner it was in a thriving position the better; but the House had a right to inquire what would be the result when that thriving position was attained. Edinburgh was only one of four Universities in Scotland; and as the Roman Catholic population of Ireland was said to be greater than the whole population of Scotland, it was by no means an extravagant supposition to conclude that there would be a large number of Roman Catholic students. The hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) was concerned about the fact that a great proportion of the students in the Universities of Scotland were Presbyterians. He would just refer to one class of students to show how incorrect such an idea was. There were about 1,100 medical students attending Edinburgh University. He was very sorry he had not with him a list which he had at home of their whereabouts—whence they came; but he could tell with sufficient accuracy for the present purpose that about one-third belonged to Edinburgh and the other towns and counties of Scotland; about one-third belonged to England, and about one-third belonged to the Colonies, America, the Continent, and to Ireland. He believed there were about 30 from Ireland. The impression that these students must necessarily be Presbyterian, or in any way under Presbyterian control, must, therefore, be a mistaken, one. The medical students, under this Bill, were to undergo four examinations. For the first they were to earn £20, for the second £25, for the third £30, and for the fourth £35. Placing this in comparison with his own University, suppose that 500 medical students were able to pass these four examinations—for the first, the University would get £10,000 in a lump; for the second, £12,500; in the third year, £15,000; and in the fourth year they would get £17,500. Hon. Members would observe that he 971 had taken the minimum scale of rewards, there being two scales in the Schedule. Then, in addition to all these grants, there wore Fellowships, and all that sort of thing.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
I venture to interrupt the hon. Member one moment. He is under a great delusion. It could not possibly be as he states, because the interest of the sum of £1,500,000 could not be exceeded.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, it seemed to him, with submission, that the remark should naturally have come in reply. Having said this about grants to Colleges and Universities, he had not said a word about grants to the students themselves. If 1,500 passed their first examination in Arts, every tenth man would receive a grant of £20 for each of three years. This would be for 150 students, and would amount to £9,000. Why should 150 raw young lads who had passed their first examination get a grant of £9,000 at the public expense? What had they clone to deserve it? They had been promoting their own interests, and had been pursuing their education in preparation for business. If a man passed with honour he received a larger grant, and there were Fellowships of £200, which a man could take along with a lectureship. He found that the £1,500,000, as provided for by the Bill, might be invested in various ways, including ground rents. It was reasonable to suppose that it would produce 4 per cent, which would be £60,000 a-year. It was proposed to give that £60,000 a-year absolutely, and at once, for the purposes of the University. But a University did not grow up in one day, and it was accordingly provided that if the Senate once got hold of this £60,000 they should keep it, whether they spent it or not. If they only spent £40,000, they would put £20,000 aside, and might invest it in Government securities. Was that a transaction the House of Commons would sanction? It was said that last year the House passed the Intermediate Education Bill, and that this Bill followed upon the same lines. He took leave to deny that altogether. The Intermediate Education Bill of last year did equal justice to all sects and classes in Ireland. Under that Act no one inquired where the pupil came from, whether from a Presbyterian family, or a Roman Catholic family, or a Roman 972 Catholic nunnery, or an Episcopalian school, or whether the pupils wore boys or girls. They passed a proper examination, and the advantages were equally open to all classes. The case of Manchester had been referred to. He happened to know from another source that the people of Manchester had raised in subscriptions £450,000 for the endowment of their proposed University. They had not asked the Government for a shilling. A great number of the rich and influential parties had, in the last 20 years, joined the Roman Catholic Church. Why could they not club together and endow a religious institution? This Bill provided that no religious matter should be examined into. Those who were old enough to remember the outcry on Sir Robert Feel's Queen's Colleges would remember how the changes were rung year after year on the "Godless Colleges" because religious teaching was excluded; and yet this Bill, promoted by the opponents of the Queen's University, proposed to do the same thing. It was said in the speech of the hon. Member for Roscommon, to which he listened with great attention, that Protestants might come to the examinations in the Roman Catholic University. He begged to return the compliment, and to say that Roman Catholics might also come to be examined in the Queen's University and the Dublin University. If it was answered that though the Catholics would be glad to receive Protestants at their University, they could not be expected to go to Protestant Universities themselves, he must say that he could not understand that kind of reciprocity. It came to this—that they disendowed one Church 10 years ago, and that they were now asked to give a large part of the spoils to endow another Church—not directly as a Church, but by endowing the members and the Colleges of that Church. He had now come to the last point with which he would trouble the House. The time that had been given was much too short to consider a Bill of this kind. The proposal appeared in the papers on Friday morning, and here, on Wednesday, they were asked to consider a Bill of such great importance in all its details. They had only had four clear days to consider it—Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. That was all—only four days, including Sunday—to 973 consider that momentous Bill. He doubted whether half the people of Ireland had had an opportunity of considering it. It would be most injudicious to press on the Bill at this time. He had said so much about students in the Universities of Scotland, of grants to religious teachers, that he forgot to tell what were the largesses given to the students of those Universities. They remembered the grants to the students at Maynooth. They knew what grants were made to the students of the Queen's Colleges and the University of London. Hon. Members would doubtless suppose that students of the Universities of Scotland were treated on the same principles of civil and religious equality; but they would be startled when he told them that there was no student in Scotland who got one shilling from any Parliamentary grant, although there was a small sum derived from the old Revenues of the Crown in Scotland. The salaries of the Professors were very moderate. In his opinion they were far too small. They mainly depended upon the fees they got from the students, and in that way their income was made up. See how all that was reversed by this Bill. In the place of students paying foes for their own education, they wore practically rewarded, and their education was to be provided for at the public expense; because the Bill enacted that lecturers should get such grants as the quorum of six thought fit, and that the students themselves should, in place of paying for their own education, got some £20, £30, £40, and £50 on passing their different examinations—sums which, with the moderate cost of living in Scotland and Ireland, would amply suffice to maintain a student during his six months' course of instruction at these Colleges and boarding-houses.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
Sir, the attempt to defeat this Bill—but not on its merits—by certain hon. Members, is a course which is highly to be reprobated. I therefore think that the best way in which we can show our decided determination to pass the Bill is by adopting the course of saying as little as possible. The Bill was introduced in a very able and moderate speech, which could not fail to commend itself to the good sense of the House. Many of the objections which may be raised against the provisions of 974 the Bill may be safely left to the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don), who introduced the Bill in so able a manner. The noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice), in a speech which everyone who listened to it must have admired for the terseness and closeness of his argument, made a number of attacks upon the Bill. From the objectionable points thus enumerated, I maintain that the present Bill, submitted by the hon. Member for Roscommon, is entirely free. A point was made by the hon. Member for Car-low (Mr. Kavanagh), who said that he hoped that a statement would be made to the House to the effect that the Bill, as it now stood, would commend itself to, and be approved and accepted by, the Roman Catholic Bishops. I am not by any means empowered to say whether it will or will not meet with the reception named; but I do honestly believe that this Bill has received a close scrutiny from the hands of the Roman Catholic Bishops, and that they are prepared to look upon it as a fair measure of justice, and one calculated to meet the ends which they have in view. In conclusion, I will say that I regret that my name does not appear on the back of the Bill. I believe it to be a just and true measure, and one calculated to bring about the settlement of a longstanding and sore grievance.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
said, most hon. Members were agreed on two points—first, that it was high time that this question, which had hung like a cloud over Ireland for the last six or seven years, should be settled; and, secondly, that if it was to be settled at all, it ought to be settled upon a permanent basis; or, in other words, a basis likely to recommend itself to the majority of the Irish people. He submitted if a University was to flourish in a country like Ireland, or in any free country, it must give to that country the thing which it wanted. His noble Friend the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) had constructed an ingenious and admirable scheme; but did he believe any large portion of the Irish people would accept his plan for amalgamating a Roman Catholic College with the Queen's Colleges? It was upon a similar rock that the Bill of one of the strongest Ministries that ever existed in this country had split. Of course, 975 they must not expect this question to be settled at once, or that it should be jostled through the House of Commons on a Wednesday; for triumphs of that kind, snatched in that way, were generally short-lived, and were likely to recoil upon the heads of those who won them. There was one thing about which he was particulary anxious, and that was what reception the Bill would meet with from the Roman Catholics. He did not mean the Bishops, but the people. Would they or would they not be satisfied with it? There was no doubt it was well recommended; and he must say that, looking at the six names on the back of the Bill, looking at those who supported it, it appeared to be a genuine Irish Bill, and on that point he was almost a Home Ruler. The measure had been described by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) as a proposal to endow the members of one Church and their Colleges with £1,500,000 of public money already appropriated to the relief of unavoidable misery and calamity. Of course, Parliament could undo what Parliament had done, and last year it had departed from the principle to which his hon. Friend referred. But was his hon. Friend's description of the Bill a fair one? There was not a single word in the Bill from one end to the other about any particular Church; and he was told that a Wesleyan College in Dublin and a Presbyterian College in Belfast were to be affiliated to the proposed University. If the Bill refused to affiliate those Colleges, they would know what to do with it. It was, perhaps, a sort of concurrent endowment; but mainly in this sense—that it proposed to give certain prizes for proficiency in purely secular subjects to students educated at affiliated Colleges, which might, or might not, be denominational. No doubt, the effect of the Bill would be to call into existence a number of Roman Catholic Colleges which could not exist if the Bill did not pass. But was that an objection? When he listened to some of the speeches to-day he could not help thinking that some hon. Members seemed to speak of Ireland as if it were a newly-discovered Island in the Pacific Ocean. Why would the majority of the affiliated Colleges be Roman Catholic if the Bill passed? Simply because Roman Catholics were the persons who wanted a University. 976 The Protestant Episcopalians did not want it, they had got Trinity College; the Presbyterians did not want it, they had got the Queen's Colleges. It was the Roman Catholics who would use the new Colleges—the sons of farmers and others of the middle class, very inferior in wealth to persons of the same class in England. It was positively monstrous to compare these young men with the sons of middle-class people in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Hon. Members might ask why the Roman Catholics did not go to the Queen's Colleges and to Trinity College. They might as well ask why Mahomedans did not eat roast pork. Therefore, was it fair to the Roman Catholics of Ireland to say to them—"You shall be educated on our terms, or you shall not be educated at all?" That was a very short-sighted policy. He endorsed every word of his noble Friend when he said he wished that religious animosity had died out in Ireland. But how was that to be brought about? In no better way than by encouraging a higher class of education. He did not care whether it was Roman Catholic bigotry or Protestant bigotry—for there was such a thing as Protestant bigotry too—there was no way in which they could so well fight against it as by higher education. There were two points in the Bill which commended it to his mind. First of all, there was the constitution of the Senate, which was to be a State-appointed body. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland might be relied on to put proper men into it; and when once appointed these men might be trusted to do their work, for the full light of day would be let in upon them. The small proportion that was to be elected by the graduates themselves was a security to him that the Colleges would not be allowed to degenerate into merely theological institutions. They would be secular first and sectarian after. In the second place, all the prizes were to be given for secular knowledge; and he, having been not only a student but a teacher, knew that, as a general rule, young men would work for those subjects for which prizes were given. But in giving this general support to the Bill, he did not mean to say that he approved everything it contained. There was one clause in the Bill, for instance—the 18th clause—to which he did strongly object. His hon. Friend 977 was asking for a very large grant of public money, to be taken, no doubt, from an Irish fund, and he did not say that his hon. Friend was dipping too deep. It was all very well for the hon. Member for Edinburgh, to speak of the small prizes offered to Scotch students; that was a reason for increasing their value, but not for cutting down what was proposed to be given to Irish students. All he could say was that he did not find £200 a-year excessive when he had a Fellowship. A man could not live to study when he had to study to live. But when hon. Gentlemen asked for so large a sum of money, they were bound to spend it in a way which would meet the approval not only of Ireland, but of the nation generally. He would say with respect to the 18th clause that the more the area of competition was extended, and the higher the standard of our Universities would be, the better. He was not afraid of new Universities. Competition, in whatever shape, would be good; and he did not fear this University would be allowed to degenerate into a mere theological school. If that were done, the evil would very soon work its own remedy, and its degrees would be treated with the contempt they deserved, like those of some Gorman and American Universities. But he did not anticipate any such thing from Ireland. There was no fairer field for the establishment of a national University than Ireland. It was impossible to walk half-a-mile in the streets of Dublin, or to mix with the people in any part of Ireland, without finding that there was there a great deal of solid ore, which required only to be extracted from the matrix and to be properly worked to become precious metal. Ireland had probably produced more men of genius than any country of its size in the world; and it would be a lamentable thing if a nation which had produced a Burke, a Grattan, an O'Connell, a Sheil, a Lecky, and a Justin M'Carthy, should be deprived of a University adapted to its wants, simply because Englishmen and Scotchmen could not agree as to the principles on which it was to be founded.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he did not propose to go into many of the arguments that had been raised during the debate; but he must be allowed to refer to the speech of his noble Friend the 978 Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice). On behalf of the University which he (Mr. Plunket) represented, he begged to thank the noble Lord for the generous praise which he had bestowed on that University. That praise would be gratefully accepted, all the more because it came from a man who was one of the most distinguished graduates of this country. The noble Lord referred to the question of the Divinity School and the College Chapel; but it would appear that he was not quite aware of the present position of the school, or that proposals were under consideration which would, he believed, entirely and satisfactorily settle the matter. He was sure that there was no Irish Member in the House who did not agree with him in saying that the question of the present state of the Divinity School, and of attendance in Trinity College, had nothing whatever to do with the grievances that had been brought forward during the debate. The reason he desired to address the House on the occasion was to explain the position in which he stood. He could assure the House, and the hon. Gentlemen who were interested in the progress of this measure, that he was sincerely desirous of accepting and considering, in a frank way, the proposals they had made. If hon. Gentlemen opposite succeeded in obtaining a just and satisfactory settlement of the question, no one would rejoice more heartily in their success than he should. But he must decline to give a vote in their support on the present occasion, for the reason—which was one which would be shared by many hon. Gentlemen in the House—namely, that he was not in a position to say what the effect of all the elaborate proposals contained in the Bill would be. It was impossible in so short a time to get that assistance and advice which was required to deal with a question like this. He wished to know what would be the view taken of it by those who were most interested in the financial part of the proposals. It was not wrong to say that the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland had been at the bottom of this question for years and years past; but no one had told the House that they were prepared to take the Bill as a settlement of their claims. Not only was that so, but he had observed that many newspapers had pointed out that 979 the Bill would have to be very much modified if there was to be a chance of its passing. Would the Bishops be willing to accept large modifications? Then there was the question of the existing Universities. He said again it had been impossible for him to collect opinions on the subject. There was, for instance, that University which he had the honour to represent in that House. It might, although not directly assaulted or even mentioned in the proposal, be indirectly affected by the Bill, and to a very large extent. It was on those grounds that he protested, the other night, against the action of his hon. Friend in announcing an early day for the discussion of the Bill. He warned him, in no hostile spirit, that it might bring' a certain degree of suspicion upon his measure, whatever its merits were, if any hurry should be shown in bringing it forward; and he must say for himself, in the few observations he would have to offer on some points that had struck him very forcibly—he must say frankly that he had not had time as yet to consider their application and bearing as fully as he could have wished. He desired to refer to the extraordinary constitution of the Governing Body for the new University. There was no University in existence that had a Governing Body at all in comparison with it. When the six members proposed to be chosen by Convocation should be appointed, there would still be a great preponderance of members appointed by the Government—that was a total innovation on the present idea of University government. But when they considered the proposals carefully, it would be seen that it was proposed to give to this Senate extraordinary powers of government, which would affect not only the University itself, but also the affiliated Colleges to a great extent. Whatever degree of control the Imperial Government had over the appointment of this Senate, there was no check whatever within the University upon the operations of that body, and yet the House was asked to pass the second reading of the Bill in which the Schedule which ought to contain the names of the senators was a perfect blank. Therefore, upon this important question affecting the whole constitution of the new University, the House was left en- 980 tirely in the dark. He next wished to call attention to the enormous sum of money which it was proposed to hand over to this uncontrolled Senate to be spent upon a University in which there was not yet a student or a Professor. No one had ventured to give the House any information as to the number of students that might be supposed to join the University; but still the demand was made that a large amount of money should be given over to the Senate—an amount far exceeding the endowments of the Dublin University or those of Queen's Colleges, in which there were and had long been a vast number of students. That might startle the House, but he would explain his meaning. £1,500,000 might, of course, be invested by this Senate to as good a purpose as the money of the Disestablished Church of Ireland had been and was now invested. A great deal of money had been invested quite safely and properly at 4½ per cent, and it might still be invested very well at 4 per cent. He had no reason to believe that the Senate would deal less wisely with the money in that respect; but the result of such an operation on its part would be an income of £60,000 per annum for the new Senate, of which they knew nothing—to be dealt with as that body pleased. The income of Dublin University was about £40,000, and of Queen's Colleges about £30,000; so that the new University would have an income of nearly half as much as one and double as much as the other of the two existing Universities. That was a very startling proposition, and one which should not be settled with but 48 hours' consideration. Although the Senate might at once, after the passing of the Act, demand the whole of this sum, it by no means followed that they should be required to spend it. On the contrary, a clause was placed in the Bill directing how the surplus funds, which, at first, might not be required, should be invested. It was, therefore, impossible to say to what amount those funds might, in a few years, be increased. Then, as to the direction from which the funds would come. He did not wish to argue with his hon. Friend the Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh), in what he said with reference to the application of that largo sum of money taken from the surplus of the Irish Church funds. No hon. Gentleman would deny that it 981 was proposed to apply a large portion of that money for the purpose of endowing Catholic Colleges in Ireland. There was no doubt of that, at all events. Those who had no objection to united education were, at present, sufficiently provided for. It was to provide those who would not avail themselves of this united education that the money was to be applied, and he contended that 19 out of 20 students who entered the new University would be Roman Catholics. He was not saying this at all in a hostile spirit; but he could not feel quite so calmly on this subject as the hon. Member for Carlow, when he recollected what took place in 1868, when he recollected how ruthlessly the axe was laid at the very root of the tree, how completely the process of levelling down was carried out. And now he could not view without pain the proposal that the spoils of the Irish Church was to be, in a short time, shovelled over in heaps to build up a new institution, which would be practically the exclusive possession of the Catholics of Ireland. They must recollect how strong were the appeals to the justice and even to the mercy of the House made at the time by clergymen of the Church, which was then disestablished, whose hopes in life were blighted, and whose prospects were ruined. They must recollect how sternly those demands were repressed, for it was said that was the day of levelling down, and the principles of disestablishment had been adopted by the State, and must be carried out to the bitter end. But now, if Parliament was going to re-open this question, surely they must deal, first of all, with the claims of the unfortunate curates and other clergymen of the Disestablished Church? And if they were going to touch the surplus funds of that Church at all, he would point out that the Divinity (School of Trinity College had not yet been provided for. And now as to the way in which it was proposed to apply this vast sum of money. They could not, by direct endowments, give so much money to such institutions as were in existence, and so, if he might use the expression, they had to stuff in at the eyes, ears, and nose, what the mouth could not swallow; and, once given, there would be no power of recalling the money, however those Colleges might turn out. 982 There was not, in any other University in the world, such a thing as these result fees. Not only honour men, but mere pass men, would be able to bring back to the College which housed them, and the Professors who taught them, £114 each, every year. How was it possible that fair competition could be carried on between institutions where the pupil had to pay more than £80 a-year, and institutions which gave gratuitous education; for he believed it would be possible for the Colleges that would be created under the Bill to give education gratuitously. He wished it to be understood that if there was to be a new University, he was by no means desirous that the provisions made should be scanty. He did believe, however, that it was unwise to hand over such a large sum of money before they knew what students they were going to have, or what kind of men were to form their Governing Body, or what Colleges were to be affiliated. This money would be handed over, bodily, actually, and for ever. He deprecated jealousy between the different Universities, and he hoped that hon. Gentlemen opposite would not imagine that he was speaking at all in a grudging spirit. He had always considered it to be the best plan, when any additional provision was required, to increase rather than diminish the number of Universities. Such a competition he had always held to be extremely healthy as between University and University. He freely admitted that the amount of money to be given, and the conditions to be imposed on the Governing Body, were such as it would be possible to modify in Committee; but, apart from all this, there was the old objection, which he considered a very grave and serious one—this was really a new departure from the position which the State had taken up in regard to University Education in Ireland. In Ireland they had held to the principle of united education in regard to the Dublin and Queen's Universities, and any change from that principle with regard to a new University he should deeply regret. He should regret it, to a certain extent, as a stain upon the statesmanship of Irish Members; and, certainly, if on further consideration the principle adopted in this Act should seem to at all, however indirectly, deal with or injure those great principles, as they were established in 983 the University of Dublin, he should give such a proposal his uncompromising opposition. It was with great regret that he had had to make these criticisms in a somewhat hostile sense on a proposal brought forward by the hon. Member for Roscommon. On the other hand, he was free to admit that the Bill now before the House was in some respects attractive in comparison with other proposals which had heretofore been made on the subject. It would be a great gain, if they were approaching the settlement of this question, that a measure had been introduced on the one side, and had been supported on the other side, by independent Members, because it at once removed the question from the arena of Party struggle, which had brought so many previous similar attempts to an untimely end. That would be a great gain, and he should be glad if it were possible, on further consideration, so to modify the measure as to make it acceptable to the House generally. He was sure that would be, to a great extent, the result of the spirit in which the measure had been brought forward by the hon. Member for Roscommon. He must observe that the hon. Member had introduced it very moderately and fairly; but there was also this point on which he thought the proposals of the Bill might be regarded as much more acceptable to the House than some of the proposals previously made on the subject, for, although the limits to the power of the Governing Body were very vague and wide, and although the amount of endowment claimed was very large, still there was an admission that State control was to some extent to follow State endowment. There was another reason why he very much preferred this Bill to some of the previous propositions. Unlike the Bill introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), the present Bill did not destroy any existing institutions as a condition necessary for the building up of a new one. It left the other Universities as they were. It left the Dublin and the Queen's Universities standing. And it was not only in the interests of those Universities that he claimed this credit for the present Bill over previous ones. Should it turn out that this new institution, if it came into existence at all, was really to be merely a denominational University in its character, then he held 984 that the best safeguard they could have against the development of all the worst consequences which were by some persons anticipated as to the teaching and standard of education in such an institution, would be the presence of such rivals as those of Dublin and the Queen's Universities, constantly in the presence of the new Colleges, and capable of holding up a high standard of education with which those might compete, and, at the same time, quite free from any injurious influence coming from that quarter in return. For these amongst other reasons, he was, for his own. part, desirous—and he was sure many other Members of the House agreed with him—to give a fair, and full, and frank consideration to the proposals before the House; but, on the other hand, he must decline to be pledged to the second reading of the Bill until he had more time to consider it, not only by himself, but with the advice of those who were better qualified by their experience to deal with such a subject than himself, and to decide what would really be, on the whole, the general result of these very important proposals.
§ MR. SHAW
felt sure the hon. Member who had introduced the Bill had no wish to force it in an undue manner upon the House, and, in giving the Bill a second reading, he contended that the House did not endorse the principle of the Bill. It was quite in the power of the House to consider the Bill on the Motion "that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair." It was obvious that any hon. Member introducing the Bill at that time of the Session did receive very great advantage from the Bill being advanced a stage. The question of University Education in Ireland had been brought before the House for the past 10 years, and he hardly knew any question which had been more debated than that question; while for the last six months it had been so constantly before the country, and in the newspapers, and speeches, and in other ways, that he could hardly think there was any hon. Member of that House who had not fully made up his mind on the subject. They had been asked whether they would assure the House that the Prelates of the Catholic Church in Ireland were in favour of the Bill. The only answer he could give to the House was that he and his hon. Friends with him would hardly 985 have taken the step they had done in bringing the question forward without having some pretty general assurances that it would meet very generally with their approval. The hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) said that the Bill confined its benefits to affiliated Colleges. Students from other countries could compete for the degrees and prizes of this University, and he had no doubt they would have a great influx of students from that land which they all seemed so anxious to leave, but to which none of them appeared to be in a great hurry to return. The opposition to the Bill had come from various sources. They had that day had an opposition from the Liberation Society; but he asserted that that Society, in its fundamental principles, was in full accord with the principles of the Bill. He belonged to the Dissenting body, and what education he had received was given him in an English Dissenting College; and he knew that those very men who led English Dissent based their whole opinions on the lines laid down in the present measure. The noble Lord who seconded the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice), in an admirable speech, pointed out another mode of dealing with this question; but surely those other ways had been tried long enough. Where was there as practical a measure, that would settle this question, which could compare with the present Bill? He voted against the Bill brought in by the right hon. Member for Greenwich; indeed, he had no love for any of the previous propositions on the subject, because they commenced by destroying existing institutions. He was proud of Trinity College, Dublin, and of the education which was imparted there; and, therefore, he did not look with any pleasure on a measure which would destroy, or interfere in any way, with its full operation. But they were asked to plant their new institution under the shade of Trinity College. Why, they might as well say to them they should not exist at all; for if they were to plant the new institution beside the old one, it would be many years before it grow to any dimensions. The only way in which this question could be satisfactorily met was by proceeding on the lines laid down in the present Bill. They proposed to give money to institu- 986 tions as a result of work done, and to students as the result of work done, and they said—"Give students the very best religious education possible. But the moment you go into the arena of science and kindred subjects we bring before you the test of examination, and until they were equal to that they could do nothing." Now, he asked, was not that the very best method of bringing the Catholic students of Ireland out of anything narrow, anything selfish and antiquated, and bringing them into the full and free life of modern literature and modern science? There was such a bonding and bowing to what, was called popular feeling, there was in this country such a dread of agitation, that men would even trample on their own opinions and give way to that feeling. The question of University Education in Ireland was a matter the settlement of which was so necessary in order to bring modern ideas and modern improvement a in science to three-fourths of the people in Ireland, that he would do anything to try to settle it on the basis of that Bill. He knew thousands of men who were not able to go to the London Universities owing to the expense; and he thought that, as Protestants, they ought to be ashamed of such a state of things. So defective was the present system that the people of Ireland were not able to return a single Representative to Parliament. He believed the House of Commons, as generous Englishmen, would endeavour to remedy that great wrong by at once settling the question. The matter was now before the House; and he hoped, if they did not give the Bill a second reading that day, at all events it would go for discussion at another time, and that it would then get a second reading. He did not at all adopt the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, for it seemed a most unfair one—it was that they should tax the converts for the foundation of the University; but he thought that would be a very hard thing to do. Their poverty had been thrown in their face, and it was asked why they did not subscribe towards the education of a University? Why, the Catholics of Ireland had raised a large sum of money, greater in proportion than the people of Lancashire had raised for a similar object; but the good results which would have accrued from that subscription had never been 987 realized owing to the inaction of the Government, who refused to give them a charter, whereby the money might be brought into use. He strongly supported the Bill before the House.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, the hon. Member who has just sat down has made an observation which I shall notice at once. He said that although it might not be possible to come to an agreement on the principle of the Bill at so short a notice, still it might be a wise course for the House to take to read the Bill a second time, and refer to the future stages—to the question of your leaving the Chair—the discussion as to the expediency of the plan proposed, and as to the circumstances of the case with which we have to deal. Now, upon that point I think the House o Light to be very careful how far it commits itself to the second reading of a Bill as to the exact effect or intentions of which it is not satisfied, with a view to the discussion at some later stage of points upon which it is necessary that we should have full information before we pass it. We have heard one or two remarks in the course of this discussion, and remarks have also been made elsewhere, as to the apparent hurry in pressing forward the second reading of the Bill. But I wish most distinctly to say that I do not think we have any right whatever to charge the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) and the Friends of the Bill with any attempt to hurry the Bill through Parliament, or to find any fault with them for using the best expedition in their power to bring it under our notice. We cannot help recognizing the difficulties under which independent Members in this House are placed when they wish to bring forward any measure for discussion; and we most gladly recognize the desire which the hon. Member has shown to prepare his measure carefully, and to bring it forward at as early a period as possible. We also admit that it was difficult, if not impossible, for him to obtain a day for bringing it under the notice of the House in sufficient time unless he obtained an early day; and, therefore, we do not wish to express our dissatisfaction with the course taken by the promoters of the Bill in bringing it under our notice to-day. But while I admit that the promoters of the Bill are right in bringing it forward as quickly as pos- 988 sible, I would impress on the House that it is quite a different thing to consider how far it ought to be in a hurry in accepting a Bill such as the one before us until we fully understand what are its general effects and intentions. I must say—as far as the discussion has proceeded—we have still a great deal to hear before we can thoroughly satisfy ourselves on that point; and even in the course of this very day's discussion, the hon. Member in charge of the Bill has made an important statement, and one which seems to me to open an entirely new issue for us to consider. In the few observations he made in moving the second reading of the Bill, the hon. Gentleman said he hoped that we should confine our attention to-day to the real issues which were presented to us; and those real issues were two. The first was whether there was any necessity for the further extension of University facilities in Ireland; and, secondly, whether the plan which he submitted to us was a plan well calculated to meet the wants which might exist. Then he went on to say that he did not bind himself to details of the proposal, and even with regard to the funds by which the expenses were to be met he by no means bound himself to the suggested method as the proper means to take; but that he would be prepared to consider any other proposal for meeting the expense of the scheme. I am bound to say that that is a proposal which can hardly be treated as a suggestion merely of detail. It seems to me that it is a proposal which opens to us considerations of a very large character, and which we can hardly be prepared to consider without further deliberation, and which the Bill, as it at present stands, does not sufficiently explain. If a proposal is made which may be turned into a proposition to place a new University upon the Votes of Parliament, that may open to us a totally new field of consideration from a proposal that we should take a large amount of money from the Irish Church surplus, and apply it to that purpose. I am always reluctant to raise minute points and quibbles about matters which are really matters of detail, and which may be considered in Committee; but I think this is really one of a very large character, and goes very much to the root of the question with which we are now 989 concerned, and I think it would he only right and proper that before we decide whether we can give the Bill a second reading or not we should know how far one or other of the proposals is to he treated as the essential basis of the scheme. We cannot help feeling that we have many instances before us where attempts have been made to settle the question of Irish University Education. The sands are strewn with a good many corpses, and we know very well that the difficulties with which we have to deal are very great and various; and I am sure that we shall not act wisely in rushing too quickly in dealing with this question until we really understand what the nature of the scheme is. Now, I do not wish, at the present moment, to go very fully into the details of the scheme which is before us. I think my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) has raised several points upon which it would be very desirable that we should have an answer. It is desirable that we should know something more about the proposals as to the affiliated Colleges; and we ought, as I have already said, to know something more distinctly as to the funds which are to be the foundation of the scheme, and we ought to see whether it really is or is not the intention of the promoters of the Bill that so large a sum of money should be placed at the disposal of the Governing Body to be created; whether it should have the power of increasing it by accumulations, and whether it should acquire the command over the whole University system of Ireland, as my hon. and learned Friend seemed to think might be the result of the scheme. This is a matter which is really worthy of consideration; and we ought to know also whether the now University, which is to be a rival of the existing Universities, is to have the power not only of carrying on competitions, as has been stated, for students by granting degrees—perhaps on more favourable and easier terms than other Universities; but whether in consequence of those easier terms it would have the effect of obtaining a greater number of students, and thus increasing the wealth of the body, who would also have greater facilities for endowing or assisting by material advantages the various affiliated Colleges with which it will be con- 990 nected. That is a point of a large and important character, and one which ought to be explained to us and thoroughly sifted out. There is also another point—but, before I go to that, I should like to say a word on the general structure of this Bill, and especially in reference to the observation that this Bill has been drawn on the lines of the Intermediate Education Bill of last Session. Now, the Intermediate Education Act of last Session was an Act of an experimental character—it was one which was favourably received by Parliament, and I think it is one which, as far as we can get at the experience of its working, seems likely to be of very great advantage to Ireland. We must remember that there are several distinctions between the case of the Intermediate Education Act and the ease of the Universities. In the case of the Intermediate Education Act you have, in the first place, this great point to be observed—that you had not in existence intermediate schools. It was necessary, if Intermediate Education views were to be promoted, that something should be done to make that exist which did not exist. In the case of the Universities, you have already a University, and the point is whether this University can be made more suitable to the requirements of the country, or, if that is impossible, whether a new University ought to be created and made suitable for that purpose. With regard to the Intermediate Education scheme, we considered we were perfectly justified in proposing to apply a considerable sum of the surplus of the Disestablished Church of Ireland, because we thought that in the scheme there would be no infringement of that which we regarded as the fundamental principle to be observed in dealing with the question. In the debate to-day, as to whether it is or is not in the power of Parliament to alter the disposition of the funds, which was contemplated by Parliament at the time the Church was disestablished, everybody, of course, must admit that, at all events, technically speaking, it is free to Parliament to alter the work which has been done by a preceding Parliament, and to vary the disposition of the funds which were formerly intended to be appropriated in a certain way. That was done last Session, when we confined the operation to the Intermediate Education 991 Act; and I think we must all recognize that there was one condition which was distinctly contemplated by Parliament at the time of disestablishment, and which is almost in the nature of a fundamental principle, in dealing with the funds—that is, that the funds should not be applied, directly or indirectly, to any denominational purpose. In the case of the Intermediate Education Act, great precautions were taken to prevent the funds being applied to denominational purposes. It is true the result fees and payments were made to the students themselves, because it was open to anyone to be examined; but the examinations were not of a religious character, and the same may be said, no doubt, of many of the proposals in the present Bill. But there were result fees, and these result fees were to be applied subject to the guardianship of the Conscience Clause. But in this Bill, it is to be observed, there is no Conscience Clause, and it would be a question I should like to have cleared up whether it would be in the contemplation of the promoters of the Bill to introduce anything in the nature of a Conscience Clause applying to those Colleges, which are to take advantage of the foundation which it is now proposed to establish. Then, again, the Intermediate Education Act did not apply at all to buildings, and that is a matter very well worthy of consideration, and it is one upon which, before we enter upon the Bill, we ought to have full information. We are in this position—we admit that it is desirable to provide for the expansion of the University system in Ireland, and are anxious to see measures taken for that purpose; but, on the other hand, we cannot assent to any proposal which could be turned into an endowment of religious teaching. We consider that that is a point which has been settled by Parliament; and when it comes to a question of the Irish Church surplus, we feel bound not to allow that surplus to be applied in a way that would be open to objection. There are other points which may be raised with regard to this measure. I do not think it would be advantageous to go into them, nor do I think it would be possible to improve much on what has been said by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin. The hon. and learned Gentleman has great knowledge and has 992 had large experience on the subject, and he has expressed an opinion in favour of a third University. That is a point upon which I must cordially say I do not feel so sure as my hon. and learned Friend; but I am ready to suspend my judgment respecting it. The question of affiliating Colleges is one which raises very great difficulties; and I confess that I should prefer to see payments made directly to the students themselves instead of to the Colleges, unless some better provision can be made than that contained in the Bill to prevent payments being made to endow denominational institutions. As to the various purposes to which the money might be applied, I will not now enter fully into them; but I think it would be wiser, if we are to have payments made to Professors and persons engaged in teaching, that it should be kept more directly under the control of Parliament, and that the salaries of such persons should be placed on the Votes of Parliament rather than that they should be defrayed out of a fund over which Parliament has no control. These are some of the suggestions which arise on the scheme which we have had before us during the last few days. There has not yet been opportunity for that scheme being particularly examined by those most competent to examine it, and it is a scheme upon which further information really is required before the House can come to a conclusion whether it will or will not proceed so far as to give it a second reading.
§ MR. LOWE
Sir, I take it for granted, after the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that my hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) will not think it wise to press for a Division this afternoon, as he might meet with opposition on that side of the House which, possibly, a little more consideration and reflection would altogether obviate. I trust, also, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give—indeed, I am sure he will give—that fair and candid consideration to the question which it requires, and will not consider that he is deterred from doing so by any objection to details of the Bill which might be removed in Committee. The matter is, of course, one of considerable complexity and still greater delicacy, and I think we cannot approach it in too calm or, 993 I may say, judicial a spirit. The right hon. Gentleman has set a very good example in that respect in the speech he has just made, and I cannot do better than follow it. We all have, I believe, the same view in our minds, and that is to do the best which can be done for the people of Ireland. One thing which strikes me is that the course of the present debate has turned on matters which are not matters of the principle of the Bill, but matters for Committee. A great deal has been said as to the body which should be intrusted with the funds, and that is a matter entirely for Committee. A question has been raised as to what sort of Governing Body it ought to be, and whether it ought to be based on the example of the Governing Body of London University. I confess myself that, having some experience of it, I consider that a very proper body. London University is governed by a body similar to that which is here proposed, except that there is a difference in the number. Some hon. Gentlemen have expressed an apprehension that the members would not attend. The meetings of the Senate of the London University are not very exciting; they seldom have any disturbing topics, except when there is a question of admitting ladies to degrees. But we can generally get an attendance of 20 or 25, and, if that is the case in London, I think there need be no fear of obtaining a sufficient number in Dublin. All that has been said about jobs being done in a corner is, in my experience, quite imaginary. But what I really want to impress on the House is this—that it is absolutely necessary, not for the sake of Party, but for the purposes of education, and for good government in these Islands, and for the stability of this country, that we should take a clear and decided course with respect to Ireland. Forty years ago, an attempt was made to establish a system of joint education in Ireland. There is an immense deal to be said for the advantage of promoting the association of young men of different denominations, so that they may form those associations which are often so durable in after-life. It was a noble and good thought, and no one can blame those who made the attempt. But look at what has been the result. Look also at the result of the late Lord Derby's sys- 994 tem of joint education. Where is it now? It exists in name; but, in reality, it is a denominational system to all intents and purposes. Last year Parliament took Intermediate Education in hand. On what principle? All that has been done points in the same direction. We are told that we are to assist schools; but they are all denominational schools. The late Sir Robert Peel made a noble attempt. He tried to establish a system of joint University Education in the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, and we have now Dublin University thrown open to all comers; but could anything be a greater failure? ["No, no!"] I do not mean to say that the Queen's Colleges in Ireland have been a failure in all respects; but they have failed to bring University Education to the Catholics of Ireland. The repugnance of the people is such that they will not go. Therefore, the state of things in Ireland is this—that we have originated a great and noble policy to which we have given every trial; but that that policy did not suit the habits, wishes, or feelings of the Irish people, and, in short, would not work. That is the position in which we stand. We have worn out all the machinery we devised for ameliorating the condition of Irish education, and we have now to take a fresh departure; and the question is, what is the fresh departure to be? Will you cling to the beggarly elements of the old system? Will you attempt still to force into unwilling connection with each other Catholics and Protestants, when you see by 40 years of experience that they are determined to remain asunder; or will you, as you cannot have what you would have, make the best of what you can have? I would myself rather see the youth of different denominations educated together; but is it wise or statesmanlike, having tried the experiment, and having found that it will not answer, still to go on with it, certain that nothing can come of it? As we cannot do what we would, had we not better do what is in our power? If we cannot educate all the youth together, is it not better that we should yield to the feelings of the nation, and adapt our institutions to those feelings? If we cannot unite them, the best thing we can do is to give them separately the best education in our power. What are we doing? We have adopted a system of Interme- 995 diate Education; but what are we doing with University Education? It is quite true we have thrown open Trinity College to Roman Catholics, but on terms which, in obedience to those whom they respect, they cannot accept. Are we, then, to say that all the University endowments of Ireland are to be absorbed by the Protestants, and that the Catholic masses of the people are to be left without the means of University Education because they will not accept the system you think best? Is such a course safe, or wise, or worthy of a great nation? That is the question which I hold ought to be decided on the second reading. If we go on as we are going, nothing but mischief can come of it. I think that all the details of the Bill, with which this matter is encumbered, are of secondary consideration. Any mistake in detail can be corrected; but if you insist on setting your faces against what is fair, and reasonable, and just, you will educate a race of people who will hate you instead of loving you. It is in vain to talk of discontent and disaffection, unless we exhaust every means in our power in order to give Ireland what she never yet has had—a fair and reasonable share in the money spent on University Education in Ireland. I thank the House for having listened to me so kindly. Perhaps I have hardly kept to my intention, which was to speak with great calmness and reserve; but I feel very warmly on this subject, and I can imagine nothing in the world is so calculated to unite together all classes of Her Majesty's subjects as that the House of Commons should—and I have great confidence, after the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that they will—take the subject into very serious consideration, not allowing themselves to be turned aside by small difficulties of detail, but determined that, come what may, nothing shall be wanting on their part to do equal justice to all Her Majesty's subjects.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
inferred, from the speech just delivered by the right hon. Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe), that the Senate of that University was not quite an happy family. He (Mr. Newdegate) was one of those who looked at the substance rather than the form of the present Bill; and he thought, after having consulted Mr. Speaker, that the substance of it ought 996 to have been introduced in a Committee of the Whole House before the Bill was introduced, for the Bill proposed the endowment of a particular form of religion for educational purposes, as had just been declared by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London, and the House could not have a more competent witness. The framers of the Bill had managed to elude the Rule of the House, for it had been so drawn that the word "religion" did not appear in it, and the consequence was, that although it was a Bill for the endowment of a particular religion, the terms of the Bill had enabled its proposers to evade the Forms of the House. The House had thus a Bill pressed on for second reading, the substance of which ought to have been submitted to a Committee of the Whole House before the Bill was introduced. The Bill, as was now declared, ought to have been founded upon Resolutions passed in Committee of the Whole House. By the process which had been adopted the Bill had been thrust on the attention of the House with undue haste, and now the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) urged that the House should at once adopt its principle. What was the principle of the Bill? It was exclusive to the last degree. The first principle of the Bill was that no student of any of the schools or Colleges connected with the Queen's University, the University in Dublin, should be admissible for examination for a degree before the Senate of the University, which the House was asked to create. The House knew not how that Senate was to be composed; but the hon. and learned Member for Denbigh (Mr. Osborne Morgan) said that he should support the second reading of the Bill, but would insist upon Parliamentary control over the intended University. Well, there was a case in point. This debate reminded him (Mr. Newdegate) of the debates prior to the adoption of the first grant for the College of Maynooth, which he had read. At the close of the last century, an attempt was made to accomplish an object closely analogous to that which was now proposed. The Maynooth College had been founded on the same principle as they were now asked to re-adopt, but with the security that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland was to be a leading member of its nominated Senate, and with the further security 997 that the provision for Maynooth was to be derived from annual grants, to be year by year proposed and voted in the House of Commons. The hon. and learned Member for Denbigh could not be ignorant of the history of the College of Maynooth, or of the final abandonment of all attempts on the part of Parliament to control it. How, then, could they hope that Parliament could control such an institution as that now sought to be created? He (Mr. Newdegate) adduced the case of Maynooth as an illustration of the failure of Parliamentary control. The Lord Chancellor of Ireland (Lord Chancellor Redesdale), after the institution of Maynooth College had been in existence for some years, petitioned His Majesty, that he might be relieved from his functions with respect to the College of Maynooth, because he found himself in a position of disgraceful nonentity. What hope, then, was there of the efficiency of Parliamentary control over a University, constituted as was proposed by the Bill? Not only did the Bill involve the principle of denominational endowment, but, as he had said before, the principle of exclusion—exclusion of the pupils of every school connected with either of the other Universities in Ireland. How could they have a clearer illustration of the obvious character of this proposed institution? This University was founded on the principle of exclusive denominationalism, and yet the Representative of the University of London, which was founded upon the opposite principle of non-denominational inclusion, seemed to imagine that the House would create satisfaction by this abandonment of the principle he was bound to represent in favour of principles Parliament had not for 300 years sanctioned. Parliament had abandoned the principle of denominational exclusiveness, even where much more moderately exemplified in the case of the older English Universities, and yet Parliament was now deliberately asked to adopt the principle of exclusive denominationalism in Ireland. Be it observed that the Bo-man Catholic Bishops were silent. At the end of April there appeared in The Times newspaper an announcement that there had been a serious difference among the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Simultaneously with the appearance of Cardinal 998 Cullen in Ireland, as a Bishop, in 1851—he (Mr. Newdegate) well remembered it—the Christian Brothers, an Order affiliated, as he (Mr. Newdegate) believed, to the Jesuit Order, appeared in Ireland. After Cardinal Cullen had attended the last meeting of the Papal Council of 1870, he went to the Irish College in Rome, and there made a speech which was reported in the English Roman Catholic newspapers, and of which the Cardinal never to the day of his death denied the authenticity. He told the Irish College that the object of the Papal Council of 1870 was to suppress Gallicanism in the Roman Catholic Church, and to establish the domination of Ultramontanism. Ultramontanism was the extreme of Popery. It was the principle, which sought to uphold the universal and temporal, as well as the ecclesiastical, power of the Pope. Ultramontanism involved this principle—that whatever a Roman Catholic might seek in the form of education, in the sphere of literature, or in the form of any intellectual pursuit—he might have on one condition—that it should be granted to him by his Church, but that he should not pursue it, if forbidden by his Church. That principle the Christian Brothers had been inculcating and carrying out in Ireland to such an extent, and in so bigoted a spirit, that the Roman Catholic Bishops appealed to the present Pope against the exclusive action of the Order and their rejection of the Bishops' authority. The present Pope was reported to have refused the petition of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland, though it was apetition, adopted by them, when assembled in Synod at Maynooth. This monastic Order was, in consequence, independent of the Roman Catholic Episcopate in Ireland, through the decision of the present Pope, whose predecessor, Pius IX., upheld the independence of the Jesuit and Franciscan houses in Paris, against the Archbishop of Paris. As far as he (Mr. Newdegate) could understand, the schools and Colleges, which would directly benefit by the grant Parliament was asked to make for this University would be the schools and Colleges of the monastic Orders, and over the conduct of these Orders and their schools the House had not even the security of the control of the Roman Catholic Bishops in Ireland, whatever 999 that might be worth. He asked the House, after their experience of Maynooth College, their connection with which, and pretended control over which, Parliament had been forced to abandon—whether, if Roman Catholic Bishops could not control these schools and Colleges, which were to be connected with this new University, there was any hope of Parliament doing so? He trusted that the House would forgive the length of his remarks; that his experience of the Maynooth question in that House, the attention he had for years given to the condition and effects of the College of Maynooth, would induce the House to excuse his occupying their time. What was discovered by the Commission appointed to inquire into the education of Maynooth? They discovered and reported, that the education given at Maynooth was not only limited and imperfect, but that it tended to the most ultra doctrines of Ultramontanism. Now, the House was asked to proceed upon the principle on which Maynooth was founded, in erecting a University for the laity of Ireland, after Parliament had deliberately severed its connection from Maynooth, a seminary which inculcated doctrines of which Parliament could not approve. That was the principle of the Bill. It had been introduced with great dexterity by the hon. Member for Roscommon; but he (Mr. Newdegate) prayed the House, and those who thought it necessary to establish another University in Ireland—a University to which no Roman Catholic could take any reasonable exception, if that were possible—not to adopt the Bill, because it embodied the desire of a small section of that House to endow that Ultramontanism—that egregious Popery, the representatives of which now governed the Papacy by a persistent system of rebellion. These extreme doctrines had become dominant in the Vatican, and were found to have rendered the Vatican a focus of rebellion against every Government in Europe. ["No, no!"] He referred those who denied that to the Chambers and Government of Italy, to the Chambers and Government of Prance, to the Chambers and Government of Germany. Her Majesty's Government had, through the Chancellor of the Exchequer, expressed their opinion that this House could not safely sanction the second reading of 1000 the Bill without further inquiry—a Bill so drawn as to have invaded the Forms of the House, which, on any matter touching religion, required that the subject should be debated in Committee of the Whole House before any Bill thereon was introduced. He asked the House to reject the second reading of the Bill, as founded on a system of exclusive denominationalism, totally inconsistent with the principles, on which Parliament had for more than 30 years proceeded, and no less at variance with the principles, on which the Parliaments of an earlier period had invariably acted.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Synan.)
THE O'CONOR DON
I do not think it would be desirable, after what has fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe), that I should resist the Motion for the adjournment of the debate; but I would appeal to Her Majesty's Government as to whether they should not give me an early day for its resumption, in order that we may come to a determination on the question involved in the principle of the Bill. The whole course of to-day's discussion proves that the subject is one which the House considers to be of the highest importance, and, indeed, which is so important as to be taken out of the category of ordinary Private Bills. One point has been mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to which I should wish for a moment to advert. The right hon. Gentleman has said that in my opening statement I made an important announcement, which he regarded as, to a certain extent, ah alteration of what I stated in introducing the measure, and that is, the source from which we proposed to get the money to carry out the provisions of the Bill. If I made any observation to lead the right hon. Gentleman to the conclusion at which he appears to have arrived, I can only say that I did so by mistake. We propose that the fund which we have mentioned in our Bill is the fund which should be used. We believe it is the right fund to have recourse to. But what I intended to convey in my opening remarks was, that if the majority of 1001 the House thought otherwise, and considered it better some other fund should be taken, we should consider any proposal in that direction rather than abandon our Bill—because that is not a cardinal point. We still contend that the fund we have named is the one to take; but, of course, we will bow to the opinion of the House in the matter. I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will accede to the request I have made.
§ SIR HARCOURT JOHNSTONE
, as representing a constituency, seven-eighths of his supporters being Nonconformists, would give his hearty assent to the principle of the Bill, because it would not subsidize denominational education, and it was the duty of Parliament to pass a measure that would be thoroughly satisfactory to the people of Ireland.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
It is hardly necessary that I should say a word in support of the appeal which has been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon, that the Government should give him some facilities for the further consideration of this Bill. I do not wish to press the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer any further than it is reasonable to do. I did not understand the right hon. Gentleman to commit either himself or the Government to the support of even the principle of the Bill; but I did gather from his speech that the right hon. Gentleman had applied his mind to the subject, and that on their being satisfied on certain points which he indicated, it was possible that the Bill might meet with the support of the Government. In these circumstances, and looking to the large amount of support which has been given to the Bill on both sides of the House, I cannot doubt the Government will be anxious that such an opportunity as seems now to present itself of settling this long-standing and difficult question should be taken advantage of, and I hope that they will give an opportunity for the further prosecution of the debate. If the Government intend, on further consideration, to oppose the Bill altogether, the measure can probably be disposed of at another Sitting. But, on the other hand, if the Government, on examination, clearly approve of the principle of the Bill, it will then be a matter for consideration how much time they may be able to give to it. I hope, 1002 at all events, that they will entertain the proposal for another day.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I am sorry to say, in reply to the appeal which has been made to the Government, that we are unable to respond to that appeal, at all events, at the present time. I quite acknowledge the importance of the measure and of the subject; but I must remind the House of the great difficulties which the Members of the Government themselves experience in proceeding with their own Business. It is, therefore, not in my power to name a day for the resumption of the debate.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
I think that the reply of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to be regretted. The Leader of the Opposition has applied to the right hon. Gentleman to afford a day on which this discussion might be resumed; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer, acting contrary to the ordinary usages of the House, does not see his way to do so. I maintain that it is a most unusual thing, when the Leader of the Opposition asks for a clay, for the Leader of the House to refuse that day. Other Irish Business was given up upon this Wednesday, in order that the Bill of my hon. Friend might be taken; and a wish having been expressed for another day from the front Opposition Bench, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken a somewhat extraordinary course in declining to accede to this request.
§ MR. PARNELL
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has always shown himself to be very desirous of doing everything in his power to meet the convenience of the Irish Members—at least, that has been my experience, and, I believe, it has been the experience of other hon. Gentlemen. What is the position of the Irish Members? Most of them, including myself, have come over here at the greatest possible inconvenience, in order to be present at the second reading of this Bill, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer refuses to name a day, at some time or other, when the consideration of the subject may be resumed, we shall be placed in the position of being obliged to hang about the House waiting for the Bill to come on. On the other hand, if a day were appointed as requested, we could return with clear consciences to our pur- 1003 suits in our own country. I do hope the right hon. Gentleman will re-consider the point.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I am glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not given a day. However, I merely rise to say that if there should be an adjourned debate on the question, I shall, after what I have heard to-day, ask permission to withdraw my Amendment, in favour of another Amendment, pure and simple, to the effect that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.