§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I regret, Sir, as much as any Member of this House that 633 Scotch Members should have been put to the inconvenience of waiting till this hour in order to discuss the measure which is now before us, and I am sure every Scotch Member will admit that it is through no fault of mine that the Bill is brought on at such a late hour. I quite agree, however, with the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) that as we are here we had better make a night of it. As we have the business on hand, let us get the business through. Nearly every Amendment on the Paper with respect to this Bill is a Committee Amendment. They are on matters really to be discussed in Committee; and as I have a statement to make which I think will materially affect those Amendments, I trust hon. Members will agree that we should go on with the second reading of the Bill; and, for myself, I will do my very utmost to get a proper time for the Committee, and ample opportunity for the consideration of those Amendments. I have certain Amendments of my own, which I will put on the Paper on Monday. Having said that, I feel that I ought to make my statement as brief as possible. I will set an example, I hope, to Scotch Members, by condensing any remarks I have to make upon this Bill. I shall not trouble the House with the history of former Commissions. Commissions have been appointed from time to time to deal with Scotch endowments; nor is it necessary to dwell upon the reasons which have, in the opinion of the Government, rendered this measure urgent. I may say that throughout the three Sessions during which this Bill has been before the House, although there have been many discussions, and many Amendments placed on the Paper, and many deputations to the Department, and many Divisions of the House, I have never received any representation to the effect that a Bill is not necessary. The most important school boards in Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, have petitioned in favour of the Bill. The Convention of Royal Burghs has petitioned for Amendments; but they have gone the length of saying that, rather than the Bill should be lost, they should prefer it as it stands; and every Scotch Member who has communicated with me has admitted the urgent necessity for the Bill. I may say, then, that the necessity for this measure arises as a 634 corollary of the Commission on the Act of 1878, appointed to deal with Scotch endowments, but which was almost entirely a permissive body, and, being so, failed in dealing with local endowments. It is not to be expected that a Governing Body will reform itself. When that measure was passed through both Houses of Parliament, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South-West Lancashire (Sir R. Assheton Cross) in this House, and the Duke of Rich-mond in the other, both made a statement to the effect that, if at the expiry of the Commission it had not accomplished the object in view, they would appoint a Commission giving compulsory powers and powers of a sweeping character. Now, Sir, I have to propose that such a Commission should be appointed. I say that, although a compulsory Commission is necessary, it does not arise from the fact that Scotch endowments have been subjected to those gross and flagrant abuses which characterize English endowments, and which so startled the country when the Schools Inquiry Commission made its Report to this House; but arises rather from the fact that many endowments are now obsolete, some are positively injurious, others are dormant, and all are more or less requiring adaptation to the new wants and circumstances of the time. But there is another question to which I would refer. Until these endowments are dealt with in the spirit I have indicated, they are a positive hindrance to much of the constructive work of a voluntary character that would otherwise be done in Scotland. Every Scotchman recognizes the need of a certain amount of technical industrial education. The whole traditions of Scotland are in favour of a higher education than the mere ordinary education of public schools. [Sir GEORGE CAMPBELL: NO, no!] My hon. Friend challenges me on this point. All I say is that John Knox advocated, and I think that is the tradition of Scotland, that there should be in every parish—"in every notable town," I think the words were—a higher or grammar school, and that these schools should be the means by which the poor of the country might go from the elementary school up to the University. Well, Sir, I say that until we have dealt with these endowments, they stand somewhat in the position 635 of a hindrance. A recent writer, writing on all these subjects, says—Until the country is satisfied that the money left to it by past benefactors is rightly used, it will not bestir itself to the only kind of voluntary activity which promoters of associations appreciate, the kind which results in liberal voluntary contributions for the improvement of high schools. The fact is that these endowments, so far from promoting, are, at this moment, a bar in the way of higher instruction.The State, by the Act of 1872, has provided a complete system of elementary education for Scotland up to the Sixth Standard. My hon. Friend behind me is anxious, and so was the Commission on which he sat, that the instruction in public schools should be raised as high as possible, so as to bring it within the limit of the grants of the State. I pointed out to him that if we are to grade the Scotch schools we must, as soon as possible, turn the endowments to a different account from that to which they are devoted at this moment. In Scotland there are nearly 500,000 pupils a-day under instruction—almost double the number that were under instruction in 1872; but this Act of 1872 renders the provision of endowments more imperative than it was before the passing of it. I say again, Sir, that the provisions of this Bill are strikingly in harmony with Scotch traditions. I know the need of secondary education has given rise in the last three Sessions to a great deal of dispute. It has been supposed that because secondary education is needed, the aim and scope of the measure is to take endowments, which were left for the poor, and apply them for the benefit of the rich. Middle-class education does not necessarily pre-suppose that it is education exclusively for the middle-class. Middle-class education should not be the monopoly of any class—an opportunity ought to be afforded to every class to rise to the class above them. Well, I hope, before I sit down, to remove some of those exaggerated apprehensions which some hon. Members entertain. I do not for a moment deny the value and importance to a considerable section of the community of free elementary education. I do not desire by this measure at all to interfere with the desire of the founder when he has made a bequest with a deliberate limitation. I know some of my hon. Friends say this does not appear in the Bill. All I can say is, that I will put in words to make it appear in 636 the Bill. We believe that it does so appear, but we are prepared to strengthen the words of the Bill. I say it is not contemplated in the Bill to interfere with the intention of the founder as to the providing of free elementary education. Free education may be most beneficially, and in some instances most injuriously, applied; it all depends on the administration. If it is done by pure nomination, it is very rarely done well. The whole experience of the past shows that. If it is done on some competitive principle—if it is done by fixing some standard of excellence, either by good attendance or good attainment—then free primary education is valuable. That is a question of administration and arrangement, which is entirely left in the hands of the Commission; but that no endowment shall be diverted from its purpose or its class is one of the objects of the measure, and I shall put in words to give effect to that statement. I should like to read a few lines from the Report of the Schools Inquiry Commission. As to selection of free scholars by competition the Commissioners say—Admission by competition has been tried in a considerable number of cases, and there appears to be no doubt of its success. It is universally recommended by our Assistant Commissioners as likely to be the most successful remedy for the present state of things, and seems to meet almost all the objections to any other system of nomination, or to indiscriminate admission. It is above partiality, whether personal, social, or political; it marks by natural selection those who can profit by an education higher than the rudiments; it puts the free scholar in the place of honour instead of the place of reproach; it stimulates the education without, and leavens the mass within; it encourages parents, masters, and scholars.Sir, I can answer for the advantages of education of that kind, because since the passing of the Education Act of 1870 in this country large numbers of scholarships have carried on poor children even for two or three years longer than the primary schools. There is another point on which I should like to say a word or two—namely, with reference to provision for the fees of poor children who cannot pay for themselves. I think an endowment applied to that purpose is perfectly legitimate endowment. For my part, I cannot see that where endowments are expressly left for that purpose you ought to divert them, nor do we contemplate doing that under this Bill; but after all that can be said for elementary educa- 637 tion, it does not remove the bar which separates the children of the poorer classes from the advantage of higher education. Take the mass of the working men's children in the country, the difficulty is not so much the 2d. or 3d. a-week to pay for the child's instruction until the child reaches the age required for labour, but it is that the parent denies himself the benefit of the child's labour when he reaches the age of 12 or 13 years. It is then that the help is wanted, when the child has to be kept at school and from labour during three or four years of great importance to the parent, and also when some higher education has to be provided and to be paid for. What we need so much is some means of carrying on poor children beyond the Fifth or Sixth Standard, and doing it better for them than we have yet done. There are many ways in which this can be accomplished. Of course, the principal means is by means of scholarships, and I cannot conceive anything better than a settlement of this question. It is not what it would do for secondary and higher education, but it is the enormous influence it would have on the whole mass of the public education of the country. I could give an illustration. In my own town, since the passing of the Education Act of 1870, it has been found by many manufacturers that the difficulty as to clever children of poor parents is the carrying them on after 12 or 13 years of age. They put their hands in their own pockets, having no endowments for the purpose, and they have offered scholarships of £10, £15, and £20 a-year, for one, two, and three years, for clever children, who gain them by com-petition in the elementary schools of the town. The result is to stimulate the whole elementary education of the district. The same thing has been done in Liverpool in a marvellous manner. There is an Educational Council in Liverpool that has contributed some £30,000 for this purpose. There are 90,000 children in the schools there, and I engage to say that that £30,000 has done as much to stimulate the better education of Liverpool as the very much larger sum which is contributed by the Government grant, and I believe the same effect will be obtained in Scotland. I do not think I need, in the presence of Scotchmen of very high position in regard to education, dilate on the advantages of what I have 638 shadowed forth. Many Amendments have been placed before me, and I wish to state, as briefly as possible, what we are prepared to do with respect to them. There are many things we can accept, and wherever there is any reasonable Amendment placed before us, we shall be glad to do so. We have no other object in the world in this measure but to improve Scotch education in accordance with the best Scotch tradition; and I can only say that I believe that if Scotchmen avail themselves to the full of the advantages which this measure affords, and if we have a good, useful, active Commission of able and intelligent men, the result will be satisfactory. When the time comes, we shall name a Commission of able and intelligent men, zealous for the cause of education and the honour and advancement of their country. I will now point out how far these Amendments will affect the Bill. In the first place, it has been said that the Preamble too specifically points at secondary education. I am bound to say that the subject has been long enough before the Scotch people to know what it means, and I am quite content to leave the matter to the time when the Bill has been properly formulated and settled, and to leave in these few words—"Whereas it is desirable to extend the usefulness," and so on, "of education," and to cut out the three succeeding paragraphs, down to line 12 in the Preamble. Then I come to the most important of all the clauses—Clause 6, which provides for a popular elective element in trusts. I perfectly agree that it is exceedingly desirable, in order that trust bodies may be kept wholesome and sweet, that the popular element should be introduced. There is a danger in having it exclusively popular. I can only say for myself that I have been a member of every kind of Governing Body in this country, and I say that it is a great advantage when men who are not called upon to go through the rough process of popular election are selected to give their services in the cause of education. I know nothing has worked better in that respect than the Free Library system, in which a certain number of members are appointed by the Town Council, and a certain number of members are appointed outside the Town Council. Persons appointed outside are persons who, while they would not enter into 639 the arena of political contest, are of high educational attainments, who are willing to place their services at the command of the community, and who have rendered the greatest possible service in our Free Libraries and Museums from one end of England to the other. What I propose is this. We have in Clause 6 stated that where a body has derived its qualification from election, the popular element shall not be less than a majority. I am prepared to say in that case it shall not be less than two-thirds; but, of course, I always adhere to the school board principle. I think it would be most important that there should be some of the school board element. In a country like Scotland, where every parish has a school board, it is important that those who have to deal with the education of the country should have some share in the government of these trusts. It is of the highest importance, for the reason that they are responsible for the education of their district; they know the exact condition of their locality, and the wants here and there throughout the country; and they are the men who supply information as to the necessity of this or that grant for education being most useful for the country. Therefore, I propose that, instead of not less than a majority, it shall not be less than two-thirds of the Governing Body where they are at present actually a majority. Where, on the other hand, they are to any extent representative, the popular element shall then be not less than one-half; and where there is no elective representation it shall now be not less than one-third, so that the popular element shall run through every trust in Scotland. I feel some remorse in fettering so much the hands of the Commission on this ground. If you appoint such men, who have but one object to serve—the good of their country—you ought not to tie them hand and foot when they come into a Commission of this kind. But let it be borne in mind that we have said here this is the minimum; they may make any other change beyond, they may make it entire, they may make it the maximum—not less than two-thirds, or one-half, or one-third, derive their qualification from election, and they may be members of the school board. [An hon. MEMBER: Is it to be direct representation?] The vast majority of the 640 municipal trusts in Scotland are under £50, and the idea of direct representation to multiply elections would make the thing ridiculous. I do not describe all the Amendments, but only the more important. My third Amendment is one in Clause 7, which meets, I think, really rather a bugbear, if I may so call it, than a reality. There has been an impression abroad that because we said we have a regard for secondary and higher education in Scotland, therefore that implied that a trust might be taken out of its particular locality to some other part of Scotland. There never was any such intention, and I have always declared so; and in order to make it plain that there shall be no danger of derealization, we have agreed to put in three words—I think, indeed, I borrowed them—"To provide for higher education in those localities to which the endowments severally belong." That surely fixes it as completely as it can possibly do, and puts an end to all danger of delocalization. The next point is that of free education. Clause 13 has relation to free education, and the scheme is supposed not to guard sufficiently free education. We have therefore agreed to put at the end of Clause 13 the words—And shall provide that no funds now applied, in terms of a founder's will, to frce primary education shall be diverted to any other purpose.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
Lot me answer my hon. Friend as to Acts of Parliament. I suppose what Parliament has done it can undo. I suppose Parliament has not always done wisely; and if my hon. Friend says that whatever has been done by Parliament shall never be disturbed, that is a conservative doctrine I never expected to hear from anyone on these Benches. If a man left something 200 years ago, and Parliament has in the last 10 or 20 years made some change, and if it is thought now desirable that some further change should be made, my hon. Friend wants to preclude the possibility of that being done. That is a new doctrine I never heard propounded before in this House. Suppose the money has been applied contrary to the provisions of the founder's will—is it not to be revised? And what we say is this—that whatever 641 has been provided by a founder for free education shall not be diverted to any other purpose.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
Those are the words. Now, Sir, there is another important Amendment to Clause 15—that is the limiting of the endowments to the classes to which they were intended to be made. We, therefore, propose to insert after Clause 15, and in line 29, the following words:—Provided that where the founder of any educational endowment has expressly provided for the education of children (whoso parents are not sufficiently able to maintain them), cither generally or within a particular area, or for their maintenance, clothing, or advancement in life, such endowment for such education or maintenance, clothing, or advancement in life, as the case may be, shall continue to be applied for the benefit of such.That strictly confines the endowment to the class for which it was intended. I see the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce), who is an old Endowed Schools Commissioner, is perfectly shocked at this. I am not altogether surprised, and I think, in some respects, he is right. But my duty is to carry a measure which shall be consonant, so far as possible, to the wishes of the majority of Scotchmen, and as shall conduce to the best interests of Scotch children and Scotch education. I have done my best, in conjunction with the Lord Advocate and the noble Earl (the Earl of Rosebery), to meet what we believe to be the wishes of the Scotch Members in this matter, and I trust we have so far succeeded. Then, Sir, I come to the last of my principal Amendments—that is, the question of procedure. Now, we have taken great care in order to meet—I may almost say the suspicions—the apprehensions of a great many of our Scotch friends. We have taken great care that the procedure shall be very careful and very guarded. We have proposed that the preliminary inquiry shall be a public inquiry. We do not propose, as some people have suggested, that the Commissioners should deliver their votes in public. That is too outrageous, and I think nobody will get up in the House to propose it. We do say the inquiry shall be a public inquiry. I will just give the mode of procedure as it will appear upon the Paper. (1) The Governing Body will have due time to prepare and send in a 642 scheme of their own; (2) the Commission will have to consider this scheme; (3) there shall be a full public inquiry; (4) full publication of all proposals; (5) objections to be received after the publication; (6) Scotch Education Department to consider the scheme and any objections; (7) there shall be a new publication with the decision of the Scotch Education Department; and (8) there shall be an opportunity for petition and Parliamentary consideration of any scheme dealing with this matter. Surely nothing can be more guarded or fair or hedged round than we have endeavoured to fence this measure. I am afraid I have kept the House too long; but it was my endeavour that my statement should be complete as to the Amendments. There are some Amendments suggested by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow which we are prepared to admit. One particularly is this—they have powers at Glasgow for appropriating moneys for a museum, technical education, and Free Libraries; and we shall put in these objects and include them in the scope of the Bill. I trust that though this measure is late and has been long delayed, and although there has been some inconvenience to hon. Gentlemen who have attended here to-day, I do trust they will still show that same self-sacrificing and patriotic spirit to the end of the Session, and that this Bill will become law, and Scotland will reap the advantage of it.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Mundella.)
§ COLONEL ALEXANDER
said, he was entirely favourable to the principle of this measure; and he was quite disposed to vote for the second reading. Indeed, if it had not been for Amendments proposed from the other side of the House the second reading of this Bill would have taken place long ago. As he and those who sat with him had not interposed any such Amendments, he felt that he could with a perfectly clear conscience suggest to the House a proposal which he was then about to make. Let him remind the House that this was a very important Bill; at least, Her Majesty's Government considered it to be a very important Bill, or they would not, he supposed, have put it down in the Queen's Speech in three successive Ses- 643 sions. Under these circumstances, surely they might have found some other and more favourable day for the discussion of this measure But assuming, for the sake of argument, that they were unable to find such a day, surely they might have given them a Saturday earlier in the Session. What had they done? They had not even given them a complete Saturday; but they had given them the fag-end of a Saturday at the fag-end of the Session. He said that Her Majesty's Government had brought the Scotch Members down to that House to-day tinder false pretences. ["No, no !"] He repeated his words—false pretences. They had used them as a catspaw—they had used them to keep a House for the Electric Lighting Bill. The President of the Board of Trade told the House yesterday that the Electric Lighting Bill would not occupy more than two hours. It had lasted more than twice that time; and he might remind the House that the Prime Minister said he did not intend the Sitting to-day should be a protracted Sitting. But if they might judge from the speeches which were about to be made, it was very likely to be protracted into Sunday morning. That was an evil precedent. Irish Members would not allow themselves to be used as Scotch Members were used in this business; and he could only warn Scotch Member's opposite that if they allowed themselves to be used in this way by the Government, not only this Government, but future Governments, would put down in the Queen's Speech any number of measures for Scotland, and say there was no occasion to find a day for a discussion of these measures early in the Session, because they could always give them a Saturday at the end of July. Believing this would establish an evil precedent, on the part of Members sitting not only on that side of the House, but on the other side—for this was no Party matter—he begged to move that the debate be now adjourned. MR. FRASER-MACKINTOSH seconded the Motion.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Colonel Alexander.)
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he sincerely trusted the Motion would not be pressed. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said—"Why did not the Government give us 644 an earlier Saturday Sitting?" He must know how bitterly the proposal for a Saturday Sitting had been fought by Members on his own side of the House, and he know that the Government could not have given one earlier. He appealed to the hon. and gallant Member, considering the difficulties of the Government throughout the Session, not to waste time in useless debates about adjournment. He would appeal to the patriotism of Scotch Members to allow the House to proceed with the Bill.
§ MR. ORR EWING
said, he sympathized with his hon. and gallant Friend in the feeling that the Scotch Members had not been well treated. They were in a very different position from English Members. When they came up to London, at the opening of Parliament, they very seldom had the opportunity of going home again during the Session, and they were practically kept in London from February to August. He thought, therefore, considering the importance of the questions involved in this Bill, and the small amount of legislation which was devoted to Scotland, a little more consideration should have been shown Scotch Members in the matter; and it was but due to them that the Bill should have been first on the Paper. The Electric Lighting Bill might have been brought on afterwards, and carried on to any hour of the night. However, seeing that this was a Bill which they should all like to see passed a little modified from what it was, and that the Vice President of the Council had made his speech and indicated several important Amendments, he hoped his hon. and gallant Friend would withdraw his Motion for Adjournment, and that they might finish the debate on the second reading.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he regretted that the Government did not seem to know their own mind on this Bill. The point on which he felt very strongly was the slur which was thrown by the Bill upon popular representation. That matter was brought prominently before the Government two years ago, and very strongly last year; but, nevertheless, no adequate concession was made in the present Bill. Under the pressure of the Scotch Members, the Government seemed now disposed to make certain concessions in the proper direction, and he only regretted they 645 did not do so to begin with, and frame their Bill on proper lines. If they had done so the Bill would have commanded greater confidence in Scotland, and its passing would have been facilitated. Personally, he was not satisfied yet with the concession which they had made with regard to representation. He was not going to argue the question upon this Motion; but he thought it would be well to exercise still further pressure upon the Government. He was exceedingly surprised that they should have been so niggardly on the question of popular representation, and particularly that the right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill should endeavour in this indirect way to throw discredit upon that principle.
§ LORD COLIN CAMPBELL
said, he rose to Order. He thought the remarks of the hon. Gentleman were not confined to the Question before the House.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he was giving his reasons for supporting the proposal of the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite. He said that on this point the Government had merely yielded to extreme pressure from the Scotch Members; and, perhaps, by exercising still greater pressure, they should get the representation put upon a proper footing. It was all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that these were questions for Committee. They knew very well that if the Bill went into Committee the Government would use its majority to press the Bill through, perfectly regardless of the views of the Scotch Members and the Amendments which they might move. The only hope, therefore, for those who wished to see the Bill further amended was to induce the Government to make further concessions before they went into Committee; and then, if the Government could do so frankly and freely, and state what they were prepared to do with regard to the measure, he hoped there would be no difficulty whatever in passing a Bill of which all the Scotch Members, in some shape or other, were in favour.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
said, he rose to join in the appeal which had been made to his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Ayrshire to withdraw his Motion. There was very much to be said for his contention that the Scotch Members had just grievances, and it was true that some most important mea- 646 sures in regard to Scotland had received no consideration from the House, and that there was no proper time devoted to Scotch Business. But the Scotch Members possessed one faculty, that of common sense, and it was certainly against all their hereditary common sense that the House should go on wasting time on Motions for Adjournment, while they might be in full discussion of the Bill. He was sure that, after the conciliatory speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and the many Amendments he proposed, his hon. and gallant Friend would not persist in his Motion.
§ MR. RAMSAY
also desired to appeal to his hon. and gallant Friend opposite not to press his Motion, and he might state to him—for he believed the hon. and gallant Member was absent from the House at the time—that during the discussion upon the previous Bill he (Mr. Ramsay) had entered a protest against the Government placing the Scotch Endowment Bill second on the Paper, as, in his opinion, it should have been the first.
said, he rose to support the Motion made by the hon. and gallant Member. Two nights ago he had appealed to the right hon. Gentleman not to bring forward this Bill at the fag-end of a Saturday Sitting, on the ground that the hour at which the Bill could be reached was too late to allow of its being properly discussed. He thought the Scotch Members had been hardly dealt with. They had had an arduous week's sitting early and late; and now, after meeting that day at 12 o'clock, they were ordered to begin the discussion of the Bill at an hour when, at a Wednesday Sitting, after so meeting, the House would almost be on the point of rising. They had been told by the President of the Board of Trade that the Electric Lighting Bill was not likely to occupy more than two hours. Under the expectation that the Endowments Bill might come on at 2 o'clock, the Scotch Members had withdrawn their opposition to its being fixed for second Order on a Saturday. He did not complain at all of the President of the Board of Trade, because he had no anticipation of the amount of opposition which would be made to the Electric Lighting Bill in Committee. But the fact remained, and it was now late in the afternoon. The Vice President's speech indicated some very im- 647 portant Amendments, and he frankly acknowledged that they removed a great many objections to the Bill; but those Amendments required consideration. They could not tell at first sight what their exact scope would be, and they might possibly be found to go to the desired length. He asked why no earlier opportunity had been given them of considering those Amendments? They had pressed all through the Session for concessions, and the right hon. Gentleman had kept them back, and would say nothing about them; and then, at the last moment on a Saturday afternoon, he brought them down and let them know what they were. He thought they ought to have been earlier informed of what the Government intended to do, and he should certainly support the hon. and gallant Member for South Ayrshire if he went to a division.
§ MR. W. HOLMS
said, that he, in common with all Scotch Members, felt that Scotland had been very badly treated; and had the hon. and gallant Member for South Ayrshire moved the adjournment before the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, he should have felt very much disposed to support him. But after the very clear and brief speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and after the concessions he had made, he thought, now that they were there, they should be playing truant from their duty if they did not go on. Moreover, he thought the Government concessions would go a long way to shorten the speeches hon. Members intended to make. Under those circumstances, he sincerely trusted that the Motion for Adjournment would be withdrawn.
§ COLONEL ALEXANDER
said, that, in deference to the appeal which had been made to him by the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Committees and by other hon. Members, he should ask leave to withdraw the Motion. He never wished to put the House to the trouble of a division; but he wished to enter a protest against important Scotch Business being taken on a Saturday afternoon at the end of the Session; and he should repeat that protest on every occasion on which this Government or any succeeding Government attempted to do so.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I understand that my right hon. Friend the Postmaster General stated that, if the Scotch debate was seriously entered upon, he had no intention of taking the next Bill.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. WEBSTER
said, he was very glad, and he must congratulate the Vice President upon it, that the Bill now before the House was so far launched on the way to success, and he was there to express his decided belief that the main scope and principles of the Bill had the feeling and opinion of the people of Scotland decidedly with them; and that they wore very anxious that this Bill, with certain Amendments, but in its main substance, should receive the Royal Assent. If that were doubted, he might point to the fact that it did not rest on the assurance of a single Member; but that 28 Petitions had been presented in favour of the Bill, and not one single Petition had been presented to the House against the principle of the Bill, and only seven Petitions had been presented suggesting modifications and alterations, which he believed would be met by the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman. He might say, also, that in addition to Petitions from the School Boards of Glasgow and Edinburgh, which were mentioned as supporting the Bill, there were also Petitions in its favour from school boards of other large towns in Scotland—from Aberdeen, from Dundee, and from Kirkcaldy. He should not go over the same ground as the Vice President of the Council had done when he communicated to the House the various points upon which he was ready to make concessions. He had watched these very anxiously, and desired to press upon the right hon. Gentleman and the House the consideration of a matter which attracted the highest interest, and that was the case of the Society for Propa-gating Christian Knowledge. He watched very anxiously to see whether that Society was included amongst the Institutions which were to be brought under the scope of the Commission; and he thought he was entitled to say, from assurances given by the Vice President and other Government officials, that it was intended that that Society, which, accord- 649 ing to the Returns, had the largest educational funds of any body in Scotland, amounting to £200,000 in value, should be brought within the purview and scope of the present Bill, and those who were acquainted with Scotland and knew the interest taken in educational bodies would understand that it must be so.
§ MR. WEBSTER
said, that being so, and the Society having expressed their willingness to be included, he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would consent to certain reasonable Amendments being put into the Bill, which should make that point perfectly clear and beyond all shadow of doubt. Leaving that point, he did not understand that any Amendments wore proposed on Clauses 8 and 10, which were so obscure and puzzling that, after very careful attention, he had found it impossible to understand them, and the same doubt and difficulty with respect to them was found by others. Another matter he wished to mention was that amongst the other safeguards to be furnished to the people of Scotland the right hon. Gentleman stated that the schemes passed by the Commissioners were to be brought before Parliament.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
The custom is this—that whenever any scheme is petitioned against by anyone in the district, then that scheme must be laid before Parliament; but to require that every scheme should be laid before Parliament would be too much.
§ MR. WEBSTER
said, he thought it was desirable that every scheme should be brought before Parliament; and, if he was not much mistaken, it was the case with respect to the schemes passed by the English Commission.
§ MR. WEBSTER
said, he would not dispute the point then, but he thought he should be able to show at a later stage of the Bill that it was so; but he thought that every scheme passed by the Commissioners ought to be brought before Parliament, which would give them an opportunity they would not otherwise have of having such schemes discussed. In conclusion, while he frankly owned that he had no objection or complaint to indulge in, nor any recrimination to make, as to the conduct of the Government in relation to this Bill—he knew how hard pressed they had been for 650 time—he nevertheless hoped there would be ample time given to hon. Members to put their Amendments on the Paper, and that, when placed on the Paper, time should be allowed for their consideration in Committee, which was certainly the proper time to raise and discuss objections to the Bill.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, that, although he had an Amendment on the Paper against the second reading, he did not for a moment object to the main principle of the Bill, which was that these educational endowments should be utilized to the fullest possible extent; and although the Bill diverted them, to a certain extent, from their original purpose, he thought it was really carrying out in the best way the intentions of the pious founders. But he did object to the way in which it was proposed to administer these funds in future as set forth in the Bill, more particularly before the explanation which had been given by the Vice President of the Council. The question which he wished to bring before the House was really this—whether these endowments should be invested in the future in representatives of the people or in a close Corporation? He was glad that the Government had given way to a considerable extent regarding the future Governing Bodies, and had provided that, in some cases, it should be administered partly by representative bodies, in other cases that it should be by one-half, and in the third case that it should be by one-third.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he was very glad to hear that statement, and that the right hon. Gentleman had seen his way to concede so far. Now, he wished to point out that they did not propose that the Governing Bodies should be actually elected representatives—for his own part, he should be satisfied that the popular representative bodies should be elected of two-thirds.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that; but, according to the Bill as it stood before the House, no such provision was made. He thought that one-third was too small a proportion for the future. If these were really public funds—and it was upon that ground that he understood Parliament was dealing with 651 them—he thought it essential that the funds should be intrusted to the control, at least, of popularly elected bodies. They had heard, and it was of considerable importance in connection with the agitation going on with regard to these funds, that Town Councils had been condemned for their administration of them as trustees. Well, he was not concerned to defend Town Councils, or prepared to say that their administration had been perfect; but he thought that the administration of these funds at the hands of Town Councils would compare favourably with any other bodies or trustees whatever, and when the Government proposed that in some cases the proportion should be one-third and in others two-thirds, he was anxious that the right hon. Gentleman should give them some indication as to who the Governing Bodies were to be, and say whether they were to be popularly elected. He was anxious upon this point, because the education of Scotland, which the right hon. Gentleman justly observed had been in all times influenced and regulated by the people, should continue to be so; and he was anxious that on this second occasion on which the Government were going to give to Scotland an Act which would, he hoped, be of great advantage to her people, the people should have a voice in controlling and directing the kind of secular education which they desired to have. But there was an apprehension in his mind, and in the minds of other Scotch Members—and he thought that that apprehension was not altogether unfounded—that this Bill was, to a certain extent, promoted by those who had some particular views of a particular kind of education, and that it was not the kind of education that the people of Scotland wished. [Cries of" No !"] If that was not so, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman why he did not trust the secular education of Scotland with the people of Scotland as it existed at the present moment? With regard to the question of competition, he did not see how it was possible to introduce competition into primary education; it was not obvious to him how children were to be admitted to the benefits of primary schools by any system of competition. He could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman as to the technical classes. It was a 652 more difficult subject than the right hon. Gentleman supposed. He was not aware that success had been very great in that direction, and, therefore, he was still more anxious that, if competitive technical education was to be adopted, it should be under public influence; and that was one reason why he was so anxious that the Governing Bodies should be very largely representative. There was another point on which he wished the Government had given way, and that was that in the matter of the Provisional Orders under the Bill they should have referred to the Representatives of Scotland in that House. He objected to the Education Board at Edinburgh, or to the education of Scotland being centralized in England. They heard of the Scotch Education Department; but he thought that the Scotch Education Department was really a myth. He understood that there had been only one or two meetings of that Department during many years past.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
That is not the case. I must at once take exception to that; there have been several meetings in the present year.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he should be obliged if the right hon. Gentleman would inform him how many meetings had been hold during the last three years. He had no doubt that, since attention was recently called to the subject, there had been some meetings; but he was very much afraid that in previous years the Department was very much neglected.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
There have been, ever since I have been in the Council, very frequent meetings of the Scotch Education Department. There were meetings on this Bill the first year, last year, and this year.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he was glad to hear that so much care was taken of the education of Scotland. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman had removed an impression that was very prevalent amongst Scotch Members. What he wished to see was this—that these Provisional Orders should be under the control of a Minister of Education for Scotand, or of whoever represented Scotland in the House of Commons; and his own feeling, and that, he thought, of some Scotch Members, was that they should prefer, if they had representations to make with respect to these 653 orders, to make them to the Minister for Scotland or the Representative of Scotland in that House, rather than to the Representative of education generally. He hoped, again, that the right hon. Gentleman would still further consider the question of popular representation, and if the Government would concede that there should be a majority of that character in all cases he should be very glad to give them his support in passing the Bill. He should have liked the Bill to have given even greater powers to the Commissioners in dealing with the money of these endowments, without having them confined to any particular purpose or any special locality; but he would very gratefully accept the Bill as it was if the Government would only afford what he thought fair and proper provision for representation of the Governing Bodies of schools.
said, that the statement which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman had very considerably altered the position of affairs; and, therefore, he hoped to be able to abstain from inflicting on the House such a lengthened argument as he might otherwise have felt inclined to enter upon in support of the position which he had taken up on this Bill. It was quite true that the Amendments which were on the Paper with regard to this stage of the Bill were more suited for Committee; but it must be remembered that this was the third edition of the Bill, and the Amendments had been repeatedly urged upon the right hon. Gentleman, and up to that time they had been unable to obtain any satisfactory replies to the various points. In common with hon. Gentlemen who had acted with him in this matter, he was entirely in favour of five-sixths of what the right hon. Gentleman proposed; but, as far as the remainder of the proposals went, they could not see eye to eye with him. In the speech he had just made, the right hon. Gentlemen had gone a considerable length to meet them; but, so far as the point which he himself had specially dealt with was concerned, he must say that he was not at all satisfied with the nature of the concession. In fact, it appeared to him to a very large extent illusory; and he should feel himself obliged, while not objecting to the second reading of the Bill, to place his Amendment on the Paper on the Bill 654 going into Committee. He should be perfectly willing, of course, to remove that Amendment should the words which the right hon. Gentleman proposed show that he was mistaken in the impression he had formed of his remarks. He was as fully alive as any Member could be to the amount of educational endowments in Scotland either wasted or misapplied, and to the importance of dealing with them at once, and applying them to some other purpose; but there was a small portion of the educational endowments thoroughly well applied, legitimately and quite in accordance with the will of the founders and of Parliament and of the people, to primary education. The right hon. Gentleman had acknowledged that the funds so applied were legitimately and well applied; and it would follow, if what he had said were so, that they should continue to be applied in that manner to their fullest extent. He did not go so far as the right hon. Gentleman did in the matter of doles; but he thought that money so spent in doles was to a large extent wasted, and that when the Government were dealing with them, they were dealing with one of the most demoralizing influences concerned with these charities. But when it came to primary education, and teaching children whose parents could not afford to pay the fees to read and write, then, he thought, these funds were properly applied. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that indiscriminate admission to primary education was bad. He (Dr. Cameron) did not agree with him in that. He did not see how they could have a system of primary education that was not to a large extent one of free admission.
replied, that in free elementary schools there could not be much corruption or anything else of that sort. The right hon. Gentleman had given a description of competition as applied to primary education; but he did not understand how the right hon. Gentleman meant that competition to be applied. In the Report of the first Commission on Scotch Endowments there was a rubric to the effect that they considered competition inexpedient at an early age when applied to the better class of schools, and it seemed to him (Dr. Cameron) that if the rubric was 655 correct in one case it was in the other. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned one good application of the funds in connection with free primary education—that of enabling parents to keep their children at school longer than they otherwise would do; but that was provided for, to a large extent, by the practice of admitting the oldest of three or four members of the same family to public schools for half the fees or without fees at all. The right hon. Gentleman went so far as to say that he considered the payment of fees of children who could not pay for themselves as a thoroughly legitimate application of educational endowments with which he would not interfere; and, in giving the details of the method by which he would deal with the question, he told them that he would provide that no fund which, in the terms of the founder's wish or will, were applied to primary education should be diverted to other purposes. Wishing to save time, he (Dr. Cameron) interpolated the words "and by Act of Parliament," and the right hon. Gentleman turned round upon him and said surely it was a most reactionary idea that Parliament was infallible, and that what was done by one Act of Parliament should not be done by another. But that was a most important point. The most extensive, the most important, and best conducted system of free schools in Scotland existed, not under the will of the founder, but under an Act of Parliament passed in 1836. In the free schools so conducted some 5,000 children were educated without any expense to the State. The average attendance was higher than in any other public schools in Scotland, and the proportion of passes was higher than it was in any of the Board schools in Scotland, owing, no doubt, to the high attendance. In these schools they had something like admission by com petition. These schools having, according to the Educational Commissioners, a reputation for the highest efficiency, it was an object of ambition for parents of the poor classes to get their children into them, and the Governors were able to lay down a rule that unless children attended regularly they would be deprived of the privilege of attending that school. He said that these particular schools were under an Act of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to exempt schools from an Act of Parliament in order to be 656 governed by the will of the founder, and he would thus withdraw with the one hand by far the most important part of the concession given with the other. He (Dr. Cameron) did not mention what the schools were; he know the name stank in the nostrils of many Members of that House. These were the Heriot Free Schools. He did not care for them except in this, that they were free schools, and he had the same regard for them as for free schools all through Scotland. They were by far the best conducted, by far the most successful, and by far the most extensive free schools in Scotland; and why the right hon. Gentleman refused to accept the principle with regard to them which he accepted with regard to every other class of schools he could not understand. In many cases the right hon. Gentleman was quite willing to grant safeguards; but if they looked at the Report of the Educational Commissioners, they would find that they reported that a largo number of the bursary endowments in Scotland were bad—that£5,500 a-year was absolutely wasted, and did more harm than good. The right hon. Gentleman had safeguarded in the Bill people who were strong-enough to fight for themselves; but here, when there was no one to fight except the Representatives of the Heriot Trust—who were not in very good odour in that House, probably on account of the pertinacious manner in which they had defended their Institution—he refused to do so. So far as the wishes of the founder were concerned, he (Dr. Cameron) had no respect for them; but so far as the funds loft for free primary education under the wish of the founder were being safeguarded he was perfectly satisfied. The Executive Commission which had just expired had shown a very great dislike to free education, and the Commissioners of 1875 had been strongly against it. The previous Commissioners had apparently been as strongly in favour of it; but since then the superstition had gone abroad that the Act of 1872 did away with all necessity for it. The necessities of poor persons, however, were just where they had been, and although provision had been made for allowing fees to be paid on behalf of parents who could not pay them, that provision was made payable through the Poor Board, and it had been admitted that that system of paying fees through the Parochial 657 Board was radically wrong. With regard to the Heriot Free Schools, it was said that the children educated in these schools were the children of parents who could quite well afford to pay fees; but statistics showed otherwise. There was nothing like looking to facts in such a matter. A collection of the schedules of applications for admission to the Heriot Free Schools had been taken, and it had been found that the average wages of the applicants were 19s. per week. Only a certain proportion of those applicants were successful, and the average wages of the successful applicants were 17s.4½d. per week. He must say that if they were to give educational assistance or endowments to any persons who were not paupers, they could not apply them to a better purpose than in aiding persons whose average wages were only 17s.4½d. per week. Not long ago a Sheriff in Bathgate had held that a man earning 17s. a week was not in a position to pay his children's school fees, and had granted him an order for them. It was said that these schools were not earning a grant, and that, consequently, £5,000 were lost that might have been earned. The Prime Minister had spoken not long ago of the demoralizing influence of grants in aid, and had said that they taught people to extract as much money as they could from the public purse; but why, if the people of Edinburgh could get their children better educated than in grant-earning schools without any cost to the Exchequer, and in a way that satisfied them better, should they not let them have their own way? If they wanted to alter that, why did they not extend the principle of payment by results, and pay schools by results, whether they charged fees or not? That was the proper way.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I beg my hon. Friend's pardon. Our Code does pay grants to schools, whether they charge fees or not.
said, he was very glad to hear that, because it took away an argument that he had understood was used by the right hon. Gentleman, and that certainly had been used by the previous Commissioners. It also took away a very strong argument that had been used for compelling the Governors of Heriot's Hospital to extract fees, because it was a fact that within the last few years the Heriot Governors had 658 proposed a scheme, and one of the reasons why that scheme had been rejected was that they did not ask powers to extract fees. So obnoxious to the people of Edinburgh had been the proposal to extract fees that they had expressed their dissatisfaction by turning out of the Town Council all the persons who voted for the fees. He hoped there would be no misunderstanding with regard to the position he took up in this matter. He had endeavoured to direct his observations exclusively and practically to one point. If the right hon. Gentleman confined his words to endowments applied to primary education, in accordance with the will of the founder, refusing to recognize endowments applied in the same manner in accordance with Acts of Parliament of 40 or 50 years' standing, the concession he made was simply an illusory concession, since it let all the institutions requiring reform escape out of the net, while it stamped out the most important free institutions in Great Britain. He hoped he might have misunderstood what the right hon. Gentleman had said; but, as a matter of precaution, he should put down his Amendment on going into Committee, on the understanding that he should be happy to withdraw it should he prove to be mistaken in the import of the words which the right hon. Gentleman had used.
§ MR. COCHRAN-PATRICK
said, he supported very cordially the second reading of the Bill, believing it would have the effect of removing most serious defects in Scotch education, defects which prevented many children of the poorer classes from getting the benefits of secondary education. There were just one or two points which had been raised in the discussion upon which he would ask the attention of the House for a very brief period. He thought, accurately to apprehend the precise effect of the measure, they must bear in mind the fact that in Scotland they had had for a period of more than 300 years a national system of education—meaning, by a national system, one which was supported not only by payments from those receiving the benefits, but, to a large extent, by rates from the locality and grants from the State; and in order that this system should be worth the money which it cost the State, it ought, in the first place, to be complete in itself, com- 659 prehending not only elementary education, but also secondary education, technical instruction, and that intellectual culture and subjective mental training which the University only could give; and, in the second place, that all those advantages ought to he free and open to every class in the community. Education in Scotland divided itself naturally into two periods—one period coming down from a very early time to the year 1872, and the second period commencing at 1872, and coming down to the pre-sent time. With regard to the period before 1872, it was of some importance for the House to dwell upon it for an instant, because the endowments which were dealt with in this Bill were left for education of the sort which existed before the passing of the Education Act of 1872. Without entering into very-minute details, he wanted to lay before the House three points which he thought could be conclusively demonstrated with regard to Scotch education prior to 1872. The first of these points was that the education given in the parochial schools was of such a sort that a poor child from the elementary schools could go directly to the University, and thence to the learned professions. In the second place, a largo number of the children of the poorer class, to their honour and credit, and to the honour and credit of their country, did avail themselves of that system; and, in the third place, that sort of education, and that only, was in the mind of those who left the endowments for education previous to the year 1872. He did not want to detain the House with statistics which might be adduced to prove these three points. With regard to the quality of the education, there was in 1690 a Commission very much the same as that now proposed, the Report of which conclusively showed that education of a very superior kind was then given in the common schools. Again, in 1827 there was presented to the first University Commission a Return of all the pupils receiving higher instruction in Scotland in the elementary schools, showing results which were very satisfactory. And with reference to the third point, they had the fact within the knowledge of every Member from Scotland that a large number of the distinguished men of their country had sprung from the poorer classes, and by means of education had 660 been enabled to take foremost places in the learned professions and in the world. Now, he would again point out that it was that system of education which was in the minds of the donors of these endowments. But in 1872 the Scotch Education Bill was passed, and that Bill made very important alterations in the conditions of education in Scotland. In the first place, it gave to every child in Scotland a legal right to have primary and elementary education provided for it. At the present moment there was not a child in Scotland, from the Pentland Firth to the Tweed, that had not a legal claim for education; for the parents, if they were able, must provide the education, or, if they were not able, the education must be provided from the rates of the locality. That made an important difference in their consideration of this point. As regarded endowments, it was perfectly obvious, in the first place, that those who gave the endowments for education intended giving to the poor something which, without that endowment, they would not otherwise possess. They intended to confer on them some advantage, and if the education which was contemplated by them could be shown to be different from the education now given, he thought that raised a most important point well worthy the consideration of the House. The point which he would like to bring out was, that the education now given by the State—the primary education—did not enable poor children to proceed, as they used to do, directly to the University, and so to enter professional life. Everybody knew that, from reasons into which he need not enter, it was impossible that the children of poor parents could got, without the paying more than they could afford, the advantages of higher education; and he hoped this consideration would not be lost sight of in dealing with the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. There was only one other point to which he asked the attention of the House for one moment. They had heard a good deal that day of the question of "popular representation." Now, "popular representation" was apt to mislead people, and one of those phrases which it was, he thought, advisable, in a case of this kind, that they should have some more accurate idea of what was meant; and he would submit that the proposals which 661 had been indicated by the right hon. Gentleman with reference to popular representation fully carried out all that was necessary. Indeed, if he could find any fault at all, it was that the Bill went in that direction somewhat too far. What he would point out was this—that while he was entirely in favour of some kind of popular representation, he objected altogether to that kind of popular representation which preponderated so entirely over the other interests which ought to be represented in Governing Bodies. Popular representation was valuable whenever popular rights, popular privileges, or popular payments were involved; but there were some cases in which popular representation was neither necessary nor advisable. The point in the recommendations of the Government was this—that while they admitted the full necessity of some popular representation, they pointed out that in certain cases they were against a preponderating popular representation. But one consideration should be taken into account. If the Government were going to continue the management of these trusts precisely as it was before the passing of this Bill, and if they said the passing of this Bill had been rendered necessary because there were faults in the management of the trusts, then they were putting themselves in the position of saying the Bill was unnecessary. If the Government put the management precisely in the same direction, and gave the same influence to the majority as before the passing of the Bill, they had no right to ask for the Bill. He had several other points of detail to which he wished to refer, but would not detain the House with them at that hour. He could only say that if the Bill were passed, as he hoped it would be, and came into operation this Session, and if it were administered in the way they had a right to hope it would be administered, he was perfectly certain it would do more for the intellectual future of Scotland than any measure that had been under the consideration of the House during the present century.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said, he would like to say a few words, because he had a Notice of opposition to the Bill on the Paper, and it was a measure that more largely affected his constituency than any other in Scotland. He did not wish 662 to speak in the character in which he supposed the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) would describe him—as Representative of Heriot's Hospital. He was not at all ashamed to defend the cause of that Institution, and to look at the Bill in view of the many ways in which it would affect that Institution. But on putting down his Notice on the Paper he had not been actuated by a desire to obstruct the Bill in any sense whatever. He was anxious that a Bill on this subject should pass, and that this Bill, with certain modifications, should pass; but he had thought he was acting on his full rights in putting down his Notice, so as to secure full discussion on the second reading. His main objection to the Bill was this. The Bill, he took it, as it stood, had really two objects. One object which it had in view was to re-organize endowments. He was altogether in favour of that. He thought they needed a Bill for the re-organization of endowments in Scotland. But the second object that the Bill, it seemed to him, had in view was, the promotion of secondary education in Scotland at the expense of funds devoted to primary education. [Mr. MUNDELLA: No, no!] He thought the Bill as it stood clearly had that object in view, and it appeared to bear that object on the face of it, as the Preamble incorporated the Report of the two previous Commissions. He was sure they were very thankful to the right hon. Gentleman for the Amendment he had intimated, which, he thought, was a very important one, and would take away a great deal of the ill-feeling and suspicion which they knew had existed in Scotland on this subject. He therefore considered it a very valuable Amendment. The clause was much stronger in the Bill of 1880, and he did not think he was going beyond the mark to say that it would be within the scope of the Commissioners under this Bill to divert funds set apart for primary education for purposes of secondary education. He was no opponent of secondary education; he acknowledged the want of secondary schools in Scotland; but he did not think funds for secondary education should be taken from primary education. As was said in a remarkable speech delivered last winter by a noble Lord who had taken a great interest in this subject— 663What they ought to have in view was the encouragement and development of secondary education; hut secondary education should not be chiselled out of stolen marble.He (Mr. Buchanan) dissented from the argument that the passing of the Education Act of 1872 justified Government in diverting funds on principle from primary to secondary education. They heard a statement from the right hon. Gentleman that indiscriminate gratuitous education was bad. He should submit that it was bad, because it was indiscriminate, and was generally badly managed, and the badness consisted not in the system, but in its management. So far as he could gather, the theory of the Education Department now was that in all cases fees should be imposed, and that where an endowment was given, as it generally was, for the free education of so many poor boys or girls, for the future these funds should not be devoted to supplying free primary education by payment of fees, but that the primary education supplied out of the endowment should be limited to bursaries.
THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR)
Clause 13 provides, with the Amendment, that the Commissioners shall provide that no fund applied under the direction of the will of the founder to primary education shall be diverted to any other purpose. They still remain as they were.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said, the only remark he had to make on that was that under it they would exclude the most important free schools in Edinburgh which had been established by Act of Parliament. If that Act was to be repealed, let it be done by Act of Parliament; but do not put it into the discretion of a body of Commissioners, of whom they knew nothing, to repeal the Act. He understood that the Commission would not be able to deviate from the will of a founder as regarded free primary education; but it would be able to abolish free primary education as laid down by Act of Parliament. Until he saw the Amendment on Clause 13 in print, it appeared to him to justify the epithet which had been used by the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), that "it was illusory as regarded free primary education." With regard to the constitution of the Governing Bodies, he might state that the great majority of them were in former times under the 664 control of the Town Councils. Out of 58 schools which came under the notice of the Education Commissioners in 1864, 29 were wholly under the management of Town Councils, while the Governing Bodies of 1G of the remainder consisted very largely of Town Councillors, leaving only 13 under other representation. He might also quote the Report of the same Commission in support of the contention that the Town Councils had given general satisfaction to the Scottish people in the administration of their endowments. These boards were looked upon with a good deal of confidence, which was duo to their deliberations being held in public. He would agree—and he thought Town Councils would agree—that, upon their bodies being remodelled, there should be placed upon them representatives of educational opinion from the school boards or elsewhere, He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether the two-thirds proportion of popularly-elected representatives were to include members of school boards? [Mr. MUNDELLA: Certainly.] That took away from the value of the Amendment, as a concession, in his eye. He should object to the Amendment thus suggested. His general objection to Clause 6 was that it distinctly pointed towards a lessening of the open character of those open Governing Bodies, while it made no provision for the opening of close Governing Bodies. [Mr. MUNDELLA: It is not so.] The right hon. Gentleman had suggested that in close bodies the proportion of popularly-elected representatives should be one-third. No doubt the action of the Commissioners in this matter was to a great extent discretionary, and he believed it would be found expedient, in many cases, to leave them as they were at present. The large Governing Bodies, he thought, were anxious and zealous for the advancement of education, as was shown by their management of the moneys under their control, and they claimed that their ease should not be prejudged by this Bill, or any alteration ordered without the grounds being fully investigated. He expressed the hope that with a fair Commission appointed there would be no useless interference with educational institutions doing good work. He hoped each case would be tried on its own merits, and that there would be no useless irritating interference with 665 educational endowments doing good educational work. They were exceedingly anxious that their system of endowed education should bo in accordance with the principles that had guided its history in the past, and under which that education had been so efficient.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
said, he regretted that this Bill bad been brought forward at a time when full discussion was scarcely possible. Before the Bill was read a second time there were one or two points to which be would like to draw the attention of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had rightly said that in the case of the educational endowments of Scotland there was no allegation of gross or flagrant abuse. It was important they should remember that. In connection with the Endowed Schools Bill for England, instances had been given of very great abuse, and there was danger lest this Bill should be regarded as dealing with a similar state of things in Scotland. What was wanted in Scotland was not a revolution or reorganization of the educational endowments so much as their re-adjustment to the changed circumstances of the country. The circumstances in educational matters had been changed mainly by the Education Act of 1872. There was a phrase that was frequently heard, and it had been heard, too, during this discussion, and that was "the education of poor children. People were apt to forget two things in using the expression. In the first place, what were poor children? They were too apt to forget that the poor did not belong only to one class. There were different classes of poor children. And, again, as to education in Scotland, they had never considered that education meant elementary education only. In England there was an Elementary Education Act. They had no such Act in Scotland. The word "elementary" did not occur in the title of their Education Act. This Bill, in his estimation, very properly instructed the Commissioners who were to be appointed to have regard to the spirit of the founders' intentions. He hoped he did not correctly understand his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) to refer to this subject generally when he said that he had no respect for the wishes of founders. He (Mr. J. A. Campbell) thought they 666 ought to have respect for them, within certain limits, with the view of carrying out their wishes in the best way, considering the changed circumstances of the country. And he thought they ought to consider their wishes, not only with regard to the object they had in view in making the bequest, but also their wishes in regard to the administration they suggested. In one respect, as regarded the proposed Amendments, he thought the right hon. Gentleman went further than he would be disposed to support him. The right hon. Gentleman proposed that where there was no popular representative element in a trust at present, there should be one-third of the trust representative in future. It might be quite proper that there should be some representation of the popular element and some representation of public bodies in every trust of a public character; but he would demur to making it so much as one-third in every trust where there was no such representation at present. As to the scope of the Bill, he should not be sorry to see it extended considerably. As he had said, the great change in Scotland was on the introduction of the Education Act of 1872, and he thought that, to be logical, the Bill should cover all up to that time. He believed that if it did not, a very large number of important endowments would not be within its range. No doubt they might be brought within its range, but it was better it should cover them from the beginning. He might mention, as an illustration, that there were very large endowments in Glasgow, only one-fifth of which would be touched by the Bill if it only referred to foundations of 40 years standing. This was not a revolutionary proposal. The revolution was in 1872. The Education Act was the revolution; and what they now wished was to adapt the educational endowments to the circumstances then brought into existence. He also would suggest that the scope should not go so far in another direction—that was, that the endowments that had been dealt with by the late Commission should be exempted from the range of the Bill. That provision was in the Bill of last year; it was not in this. It appeared to him that the trustees who came before the late Commission, and had new schemes sanctioned, had a distinct, or at least an implied promise, that by doing 667 so they should not he disturbed afterwards. No doubt it would be in many cases a grievance if trustees were put to the expense and trouble of again coming-forward to give evidence before a new Commission. A question had been put to the right hon. Gentleman as to whether the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge in Scotland was included in the Bill, and he understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that it would be. No doubt it was an educational endowment, but it was more; and he did not see why any one mixed endowment should be mentioned. As an educational endowment, no doubt, it would come within the scope of the measure; but, so far as it was not an educational endowment, it could not come within its scope unless they went beyond the provisions of the Bill itself. In conclusion, he believed that this Bill would load to a great improvement in the application of educational endowments, and bring additional benefits to beneficiaries quite consistently with the intentions of the founders, and it would do more—it would tend to suggest measures of educational reform and new educational provisions of a constructive kind, which would go far to promote education, especially the higher education, in Scotland.
§ MR. W. HOLMS
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the time this Bill had been before the country. He thought no time had been lost in the matter, and the lapse of time had rather tended to ripen the right hon. Gentleman's judgment. His proposals of l88l were better than those of 1880, and those of 1882 were better than those of 1881. This Bill was not permissive; some previous measures had been, and therefore it was all the more necessary that its scope and intention should be thoroughly understood. Throughout Scotland there was doubtless a strong feeling in favour of legislation; but he was bound to say that hitherto this had not been regarded with anything like unmixed satisfaction. What had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman that afternoon did do much to remove the dissatisfaction with which the Bill had been regarded. He (Mr. W. Holms) thoroughly agreed with the hon. Member for North Ayrshire (Mr. Cochran-Patrick) that the founders of various endowments meant that those who re- 668 ceived endowment should get the actual benefit; and now, as they had primary education given at the expense of the ratepayers, it would be a simple matter to continue primary education, except only such cases as had been indicated by the hon. Member for Glasgow, where it had been specially left for that particular purpose. He wished to know, however, if it was intended that secondary and higher education should be given generally, and to those who might be perfectly able to pay for such higher education? [Mr. MUNDELLA: No.] he should like to see that safeguarded in the Bill—that only the children of the poorer classes should receive such secondary and higher education. Reference had been made, again, to technical education. He did not know whether that was included; but he was all in favour of devoting a considerable amount of those funds to an object so thoroughly in harmony with the wishes and intentions of the founders. The next point was that of the Governing Bodies. He objected to centralization; and he thought the clause referring to this matter gave too much power to the proposed Commissioners, and took away very much from the powers that should be held by the Governing Bodies in the locality. A good deal of cause of complaint had been removed by the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman; at the same time, he did not see why they should not have the two-thirds majority in all cases. He must point out that in Clause 17 powers were given to the Commissioners in the way of dismissing officers and teachers in connection with these schools. He did not think it was desirable that the teachers and officers should be the servants of the Commissioners. They should be the servants of the Governing Bodies.
§ MR. W. HOLMS
said, that on the right hon. Gentleman's assurance he should take it to be so; but it by no means appeared clear in the clause, which said—"The Commissioners shall provide for the dismissal of officers, &c." At whose pleasure?
§ MR. W. HOLMS
said, he should like to see words put in making that much more clear and definite. Under Clause 4 there were to be seven Commissioners 669 appointed. In the original Bill of 1880, it was proposed to have five—two noblemen, two lawyers, and one a professor—all of them admirable men. At the same time, he thought it was rather a strange thing, looking to the fact that four-fifths of the endowments had been made by merchants and manufacturers, that that class should be entirely excluded from the Commission. The number was now to be increased to seven. He did not know what the intention of the Government might be as to the appointment of Commissioners. He thought a large proportion should be drawn from the class to which he had referred. He trusted that a day would be taken for Committee on which they should have time to go over the various points in question, and that they should not be called upon to go into Committee on a Saturday.
§ MR. BRYCE
said, the evening was so far advanced that he would reserve his remarks for the Committee stage. He would only say that the congratulations which he hoped to bestow upon the right hon. Gentleman on getting through a Bill of such great importance to the people of Scotland were very much qualified by the concessions which had been announced by the right hon. Gentleman. With the exception of the popular element in the Governing Bodies, he regretted those concessions, and thought they were a dangerous precedent, and would, moreover, much impair the effect and value of the Bill. He thought that these concessions were unnecessary, and had been made in consequence of the action of four or five Members from Scotland, who were highly to be respected on their own account, but who did not, as he believed, represent the opinion of the Scottish people. If the right hon. Gentleman had persevered, and relied upon the common sense of the bulk of the Scotch and English Members, who would have supported him, he might have carried a measure that would have been much more effective and vigorous than it would be now. In his opinion, free primary education was a relief, not to the poor, but to the rich; in fact, it was a gift to the ratepayers, and it ought not to be given except in the nature of a prize or a benefit to selected children.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he took a precisely opposite view to that of the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken. 670 It seemed to him that the concessions made by the Vice President of the Council would give very great satisfaction in Scotland, and that it would enable him to pass the Bill with general consent this Session. [Colonel ALEXANDER: No, no !] He hoped that it would be so; and he believed that the hon. and gallant Gentleman who said "No" did not object to the principle of the Bill. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) seemed to think that the gift of free education was a gift to the rich as it was a gift to the ratepayers. He could quote a case which showed the opposite. In the burgh which he represented an eminent founder left money for the primary education of the poor, who were sent to the parish school, and had their fees paid. Under this Bill it was perfectly open to them to follow that course. The result of that would be that not a farthing would be saved to the ratepayers, and that free education would be given to a largenumber of the labouring classes. He was of opinion that that was a great blessing and a great boon. He was aware it had been a kind of shibboleth in the Education Department that free education was a bad thing. It seemed to him that they ought not to be too positive in these things. If they went to America they found that the doctrine was the other way. Everybody there believed that free education was a necessity. [Cries of "Divide!"] As hon. Members were very anxious to go to dinner, he would not pull out his notes, or make the speech which he had intended. He would only, in a few words, express his satisfaction at the concessions which the right hon. Gentleman had made. They seemed to him, to a large extent, to disarm criticism on the Bill. They came rather late, he admitted; but still he thought that they were better late than never; and, that being so, he should do nothing to oppose, but, on the contrary, should facilitate, the passage of the Bill through the House. In conclusion, however, he must state that he was in doubt as to whether a snake did not lurk in Clause 7, as the right hon. Gentleman, whilst stating that it should be amended with reference to locality, did not make the same proposal with respect to the children.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he was not aware that had been done; but he was very glad of it. For his own part, he was extremely willing and anxious that, as far as was possible and consistent, the money available under these endowments should be devoted to the promotion of higher education of a technical and industrial character; but still he did desire that these funds should be devoted to the classes of children for whom they were provided.
§ MR. HENDERSON
said, that, after what appeared to him the very satisfactory statement of the Vice President of the Council, there did not seem to him to be any necessity for bringing before the House the Motion of which he had given Notice. He desired only to say that the views of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) as to popular representation and free education were views to which he was very much opposed. The hon. Member's statement, that the four or five Members who had put down Notices of opposition did not represent the feeling of the people of Scotland, did not come with very good grace from the hon. Member.
§ MR. A. GRANT
wished to add his thanks to those of other hon. Members for the very valuable improvement that the Vice President of the Council had announced it was the intention of the Government to make in the Bill. His reason for putting down a Motion which, to a certain extent, was hostile to the Bill, was, that he thought the interests of the poor in endowments left to them were rather loosely guarded in the Bill as it had been printed. The right hon. Gentleman had given Notice of several Amendments in the direction of limiting the power of the Commissioners to deal with these endowments. Of course, at such short Notice it was impossible to say whether the improvements given Notice of were sufficient fully to guard these endowments; but he thought the Committee stage was really the proper time when they should be considered and discussed. The right hon. Gentleman had given a great concession with regard to the Governing Body; but he wished the Vice President would go further, and provide that where the founder had appointed representative trustees from one particular body or source, the two-thirds or the one-third which were to be preserved in the Governing Bodies 672 should also be drawn exclusively from that source. No doubt the greater part of the power to be wielded under this Bill would be in the hands of the Commissioners, and he would suggest the importance of putting the names of the Commissioners in the hands of Members as soon as possible. He could wish that the right hon. Gentleman had given some good reason why what he considered to be good for the older endowments should not also be applicable to those of a more modern date.
said, he would not detain the House more than two minutes; but as he had a Notice on the Paper he thought it right that he should explain in a sentence why he had put that Notice down. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) could not anticipate what he had to say upon the Bill, and he had a good deal to say upon it at a later stage. He wished to express to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council his sense of the very important concessions he had made. The right hon. Gentleman thought he might be charged with the fault of being too lenient in making these concessions. He did not think anyone who knew the right hon. Gentleman would accuse him of weakness in that direction. He had made the concessions not merely in order to enable the Bill to pass, but because the concessions were good in themselves. The right hon. Gentleman said that the mention of secondary education had given rise to a great deal of misapprehension as to taking funds from the poor and giving them to the rich. That misapprehension had been felt, and he did not think that those who entertained it were to blame. This Bill was wholly the result of a movement in Scotland for promoting secondary education. That was a thing desirable in itself; but then those who were seeking to promote secondary education, knowing that they need not apply for funds to the State, sought to make the funds left for the benefit of the poor of use to the richer classes of the community. Earl Spencer, when he introduced the Bill of 1880, stated that the aim of the Bill was the promotion of higher education generally throughout Scotland. His hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) had shown that in this Bill, as originally introduced, that was set forward as one of its most 673 important objects. That being the ease, when the matter was not made perfectly clear and expressly stated in the Bill, they were perfectly entitled to oppose a Bill which appeared so liable to misconstruction. He thought the action of putting down opposing Motions for two years had been justified by the very important concessions which had been made, for not only had the funds been rescued, the constitution of the Governing Bodies greatly improved, but the power given to the communities had been modified in favour of representation. [Cries of" Divide!"] He would keep his promise to the House, but he would point out that this great impatience to finish the debate—a very natural impatience in the circumstances—was another proof of the inexpediency of bringing on important Bills on any future occasion at the latter end of a Saturday afternoon, and he would do his best on any future occasion to prevent the repetition of such a proceeding.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday next.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock till Monday next.