§ (1.) £14,250, to complete the sum for Learned Societies and Scientific Investigation.
§ (2.) £7,749, to complete the sum for the London University.
§ (3.) £2,400, to complete the sum for Aberystwith College, Wales.
§ (4.) £4,000, to complete the sum for the Deep Sea Exploring Expedition (Report).
§ (5.) £570, to complete the sum for the Transit of Venus.
§ (6.) £255,723, to complete the sum for Public Education, Scotland.
said, he must express his regret that this Vote was brought on at so late a period of the Session. Even now, however, he could not allow it to pass without calling attention to one or two practical points of importance. The Report of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland presented this year showed one rather discouraging fact when considered in connection with the rose-coloured descriptions of education in Scotland which were sometimes given. The Report showed that the ratio of average attendance on population of school age was about 3 per cent lower than in England. It showed a falling off of 500 in the number of 1023 children between 13 and 14 on the registers, and a similar falling off in children above 14, and further that the education of children over 10 years of age was sadly defective. Of the children over 10 presented for examination, 30 per cent were presented for Standards suitable for children of seven, eight, and nine years of age. The Appendix for this year had not yet been published, but, according to last year's figures, the number of children on the roll in Scotland between 13 and 14 was 26,900, and between 14 and 15, 14,700, or 41,700 in all, of whom only 5,478 were presented in their proper Standards. That showed that the attendance of scholars was not defective, but that there was something very wrong in the system of education. There were upwards of 14,000 children between 14 and 15 on the registers, and it required not only these children, but 26,000 in addition between 13 and 14, to make up the 5,400 presented for Standard VI., which ought to be passed between 12 and 13. Last year the percentage of children presented for the three higher Standards who passed in the three R's was 63 per cent for the Fourth Standard, 61 for the Fifth, and 66 for the Sixth. That showed that one third of the entire number of children presented in the three higher Standards failed in one of the elementary subjects. But that was not merely one-third of the children who were on the registers, but one-third of the children who had qualified for examination. In Scotland there were 761 schools, accommodating from 60 to 100 pupils each. These constituted one-fourth of the entire number of inspected schools. In the schools accommodating 60 only one teacher was required, and that teacher was required to teach all the Standards up to the Sixth, in addition to special subjects. That arrangement must create such a sub-division of the teacher's time as to prevent his giving a proper attention to the various pupils; and that he thought, to some extent, explained the lamentable failure of the scholars in Scotland in regard to the high Standards. In the schools accommodating an average of 60 to 100, a pupil teacher was required in addition to the head master; but the pupil teacher took the infants in the First Standard, and the head master had still to attend to so many Standards that he could not take proper advantage of the 1024 attendance of the scholars. At the present moment, when the age of compulsion was prolonged by a year, it appeared to him a very important matter that no effort should be spared to secure that the best educational use should be made, if the opportunity afforded; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) would inquire into it with a view to remedying this defect.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he shared the regret of the hon. Member at the late period of the Session when the Education Vote (Scotland) came forward; but he was thankful that he was not in a position to take such a desponding view of education in Scotland as his hon. Friend had done. The standard of education in Scotland had grown very much year by year; because, when he compared the position of Scotch education to-day with its condition when the Act of 1872 was passed, he found, not only a marvellous improvement, but a steady annual increase. The best test of what was doing in education in that country was the percentage of the children in the schools who were in the higher Standards. When the Act was passed, the number of scholars presented for examination in Standards IV. to VI. was 35,502, which represented a percentage of 27.33; but it was to be remembered that those 35,502 were a percentage of the children upon an average attendance of something under 250,000. In 1873, the number of scholars had risen to 36,900, or 27.46; in 1874, which was a year of transition, the Code being changed by Standard II. of the previous Code becoming Standard I. of the New Code, the number was 36,240; in 1876, the number of children presented in the higher Standards fell to 33,538; but, in 1876, it rose to 43,000, and went on rising to 57,327 in 1877, 71,731 in 1878, 85,890 in 1879, 102,259 in 1880, 112,462 in 1881, and 117,677 in 1881. 36.69 of all the scholars were presented in the upper Standards. It was quite true that, in proportion to the population, there was not the same number of children in attendance in Scotland that there was in England. The reason of this was that the climate of Scotland did not favour the sending of children to school at so early a period as in England. In England, children were often sent to school at from three to five years of age; but 1025 that was almost unknown in Scotland, while in England the attendance was much more strictly enforced than it was in the Northern part of the Kingdom, and the consequence was that the ages of the scholars ranged very much higher in Scotland than in England; but the attainments were higher, the percentage of specific subjects was much higher, and the earnings were also very much higher than they were in England. He admitted that there was room for improvement in the average attendance. Greater regularity was wanted. He had had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Kerr, one of the senior Inspectors, the other day; and he had said that, so far from the children being over-pressed, they could rise a Standard a-year as half-timers, and were doing it with marvellous regularity in Scotland. Scotland had an excellent body of teachers, the Training Colleges were good, and were very much helped by the Universities. It was an excellent thing to know that a large number of the school teachers availed themselves of the advantages of University teaching, and that gave a high tone to the education in the Scotch schools. He hoped that would go on; but he also looked for a good deal more in the future, because there had not been that progress during the last few years that was desirable. What was wanted now was regularity of attendance. He was told there was an improvement; but he hoped for more from the operation of the Act passed through that House a few days ago. He believed the Scotch school boards had been very much hampered and handicapped by the defective condition of the law that it was intended to amend; that Act would give them increased power, and when it came into operation he believed there would be a very much better average attendance, and he hoped that something more would be done for those poor half-timers who, in one part of Scotland, were found to be in a most disgraceful condition—a condition that really constituted a blot on Scottish education.
said, the right hon. Gentleman had overlooked his point, which was that out of 41,700 children of an age to be presented in Standard VI. only 5,478 had been presented.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, that was entirely due to the want of punctual and regular attendance in the earlier years 1026 of school life. Besides, Standard VI. in Scotland was tolerably high, and included specific subjects—Latin, and very often Greek.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
said, he believed the right hon. Gentleman had given the correct explanation of the point raised by the hon. Member for Glasgow, in saying that the unsatisfactory result referred to was due to the want of regular attendance on the part of the children. In his opinion, the unsatisfactory percentage of passes might, to some extent, be accounted for by the difficulty of getting children of tender years to attend school so regularly as they did in England. If there was any strain felt in the schools in Scotland it was in the very lowest Standard; and he believed that if the right hon. Gentleman would give some relaxation of the Code in that respect, he would do what educationists in Scotland would regard as a great favour. With reference to the strain upon scholars of which they had heard when the English Vote was under consideration, he thought the experience in Scotland was that, with the exception of the very lowest Standard, there need be no strain whatever, provided that the schools had a sufficient and an efficient staff of teachers, and that attention was paid to the attendance; and, above all, that a continuous and steady effort was made in the schools all through the school year, and not for the last few months of it alone. He was in a position to give the Committee an example of what might be done without the slightest strain on the scholar through attention being paid to the principles he had indicated. He referred to schools in Glasgow under the School Board. The school board of that city had paid great attention to those matters. He had the particulars relating to several schools in Glasgow; but he would only ask the attention of the Committee to the particulars of one out of five or six schools of which he had reports, and in doing so he would not conceal the fact that he took the best out of that number. In this school under the Glasgow School Board, with an average attendance of 818 pupils, the number qualified for examination in Standards was 811, and of these the number presented was 799, or 98 per cent. The percentages of passes of the number presented were—in reading 98.8, in writing 98.2, and in arithmetic 1027 98.7; while the grant earned by the school was for every scholar in average attendance £1 2s. 9d. That result had been attained without any strain whatever on the pupils; and the secret of success was that there was no relaxation of attention on the part of the teachers. With regard to regularity of attendance, he might mention that the School Board of Glasgow had adopted a plan which he thought was worthy of imitation. They had offered small prizes to children who were never absent a single day or a single attendance, and who passed the standards regularly; and the result was that last year, with a roll of 42,000 children in the public schools in Glasgow, there were between 15,000 and 16,000 scholars never absent one day for several months, and that from September to May, which might be considered the school session, there were 3,000 scholars who had never once been absent. This he gave as an illustration to show that by attention on the part of the school managers a great deal might be done in the way not of forcing, but of encouraging the scholars to regular attendance. They heard, when the English Vote was under consideration, of the importance of seeing that scholars were not suffering from being under-fed, as well as from being overworked. In Glasgow there was a very useful work done by day industrial schools. The poorest of the children were provided with food as well as education. That, however, was not under the School Board. He ventured to say that school boards should not mix themselves up with outside work of that kind; but they could do a great deal by way of co-operation. He thought that one of the attendant defects or disadvantages connected with the system of school boards was that a number of people who used to find a great deal of interest in school management were now, as it were, thrown out of occupation; and it was a misfortune if the interest in schools was to be confined solely to the members of school boards. Now, here, in the work of providing day industrial schools for the poorest children, such people would find a useful field of work. But this work might be done upon a much smaller and less ambitious scale. They had a very interesting statement while the English Vote was being considered as to what was done 1028 in a country village in Devonshire in the way of providing the scholars with dinner. He would, with the permission of the Committee, state, in a few words, what was done on a humbler scale in a country school in Scotland. He did so, because what was done there might be done elsewhere. The place he had in his mind was Farnell, in Forfarshire. It was a small parish, with a population of about 600. It was a compact parish, with an area of about six square miles. The minister of the parish, who was a member of the school board, was struck, some years ago, with the suffering or hardship on the part of many scholars because of the cold in winter, and the want of a comfortable meal. He found that the attendance in inclement weather was irregular, and he suggested that a warm dinner of some kind should be got for the scholars. The result was the establishment of a school soup kitchen, not connected with the school board, but still with the co-operation, and consent, and assistance of the board. The soup kitchen had been in existence for five winters, and he might, in a few figures, give the result. The meal which was supplied to the scholars would, perhaps, appear to English Members something almost contemptible; but in Scotland their ideas on the subject were plainer and less ambitious, and they considered a bowl of soup not a bad dinner. The bowl of good soup was all that was given. The spoon belonged to the scholar, who brought it with him in his satchel. The soup was not given for nothing; but each scholar paid one halfpenny per day for it. There was this discount given—that a family of any number was supplied with soup for one penny per day, so that three or four children, if of one family, got their share for one penny. The soup was prepared in a place adjoining the school, and the preparation of the soup was under the charge of a woman receiving from the school board—and this was the only charge which fell on the school board—a wage of 1s. per day, or for the three months of the winter £3 5". For this expenditure something was received in the way of instruction, inasmuch as the elder girls assisted the woman in cooking the soup, and received a practical lesson in domestic economy. The average attendance at this school last winter was 114, while 1029 the average number of portions of soup served daily was 110, showing that nearly all the scholars took the soup. The expenditure for the soup kitchen was £10 1s. 11d; but, in addition to that expenditure, gifts of vegetables, meat, and the like, were received from parishioners, the value of which was estimated at £10. The money expended, however, was only £10 1s. 11d. The income received from the sale of soup was £9 7s. 3d., and the Curling Club of the parish handed over a prize of £ 1 they won, so that the income was £10 7s. 3d., a few shillings more than the money spent on the dinner. The dinner might be said to pay itself, inasmuch as it was no expense to the parish, except in so far as voluntary donations were given. What were the results? One result had been that the school had gained an additional grant to the extent of £10 from the Education Department; and beyond that, he was assured that this winter dinner had had the effect of improving the health and spirits of the scholars. There had been no epidemic in the school, while there had been epidemics in neighbouring parishes; and the average attendance had increased since this dinner had been established. There had been no other change—the population of the parish had remained the same, the teachers were identically the same—yet, since the dinner was instituted, five years ago, the average attendance had increased from 90 to 114, and the grant from £89 to £99.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I think you have said the children are charged one halfpenny per day for the cost of the soup. Do they bring their own broad?
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
said, he ought to have mentioned that they got no bread. They had to bring bread if they wished it; but he believed that many of them took no bread; they were satisfied with the soup. The plant to start the kitchen was supplied by donations from parishioners, the value of it being about £7. With regard to specific subjects and elementary science, he believed there was not much done in the way of teaching science in the schools of Scotland. He thought this branch was useful or the reverse, according to whether it was well taught or not well taught. Where badly taught it was useless, and it was a very great strain upon both teacher and scholar. 1030 Where it was taught from text-books it was useless. It was so stated by the Commission who reported on this subject some time ago; their statement being that it appeared more reasonable that elementary science should be taught by object lessons only; and he hoped they would soon see the day when the Department would give some substantial grants to teachers who did their work efficiently in giving science lessons in that way. The specific subjects which might be regarded as of a more educational nature, and were sometimes called University subjects, had always been taught in Scotland; and although in many schools they were not taught to the same extent as they used to be, he believed there was not much falling-off in that respect. He hoped they would always remember that the teaching of the higher branches, when done well, was in no way a hindrance to the proper teaching of the more elementary branches; in fact, in the words of the Report which had been made on this subject some time ago, it was not only possible to combine thorough elementary teaching with instruction in the higher branches, but any separation of these subjects was detrimental to the school, and dispiriting to the master. There was one subject in connection with the teaching of the higher branches in regard to which, on one or two occasions, he had taken an opportunity of putting Questions to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella)—he meant the inspection of higher-class schools. It was felt a grievance in Scotland that the provisions of the Act of 1878 with regard to the inspection of higher-class schools had never been acted upon. He noticed the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) looked to the Secretary to the Treasury, and he believed the Treasury were in this matter more to blame than the Education Department. He had always understood that the reason why the provisions of the Act had never been carried out was that the Treasury had regarded the provisions as only permissive; and in that way they had, in the estimation of educationists in Scotland, neglected the intention of the Legislature in passing the provisions. It would be of the greatest consequence to education in Scotland that there should be a uniform system of inspection for the 1031 higher-class schools. The cost to the Treasury would not be more than a mere trifle—something between £400 and £500; and for the expenditure there would be gained the great advantage that all the higher-class scholars in Scotland would be under the same kind of inspection. With Government inspection there would be much greater confidence felt in the instruction given. There was another matter on which educationists in Scotland had a grievance—and he hoped there might be some removal of the grievance before long—and that was that no grant was given to any schools the fees of which averaged more than 9d. per week. He did not ask that that should be entirely removed; but it would be a very great advantage if the Department would allow a portion of a school to be relieved from the restriction. The working of this 9d. per week limit at present was rather unfortunate. There were Schools in large towns where the people would willingly pay a higher fee than was asked, but where the fee was kept low in order not to lose the benefit of the inspection of the Department. The Report of the Scotch Education Department this year referred to a matter in which many were doubtless interested. It appeared there was a large number of inefficient uninspected schools to which children whose fees were paid by public bodies were sent. That was a surprise to many, and it was desirable that children whose fees were paid by a Parochial Board, or any such body, should be sent only to inspected schools. They had heard of the unsatisfactory schools in one town of Scotland for half-timers; but he believed there were schools for whole-time children which were very unsatisfactory, both as regarded accommodation and teaching. He did not know why all school boards should not exercise the power which he knew some school boards had exercised, of visiting all schools in order to see what the school provision of their district was. He was told that some boards fancied that they had not power to inspect schools; but one school board, he knew, the operations of which were very large, went on the principle that it was their duty to ascertain the nature of all the schools in the place, and where they found schools unsatisfactory in regard to accommodation or teaching that they 1032 should take no account of these whatever, and provide for the educational wants of the districts as if these schools did not exist. He hoped that statement might help to give greater courage to school boards to ascertain the condition of schools other than their own. If there was any want of power to make the inspection which was necessary to ascertain what school accommodation existed, and what additional accommodation was wanted, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take means to give school boards that power.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said, he wished to raise a somewhat peculiar point, which had its origin in the statement which was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) as to the possibility of the superintendence of education being taken out of the control of the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella). The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it would be necessary to consider the question, and that it was left to the consideration of the Select Committee which had been appointed in consequence of the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for London University (Sir John Lubbock). If that subject was to come under their consideration, he (Mr. Buchanan) held that the Select Committee appointed was not such as would adequately enable a thorough investigation to be made, and a satisfactory decision to be given. The only two Scotch Members were his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities (Mr. J. A. Campbell) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair); and, of course, no two Gentlemen were more competent to decide on Scotch educational questions, but he believed that on this particular question their views were already well known to the House; and if this was to be an impartial inquiry it would be necessary that there should be some Representative, he would not say on the other side, but who would look at the question in a different light. If the right hon. Gentleman next Session moved the re-appointment of the Committee, he should endeavour to ascertain definitely if this matter was to come under their consideration; and, if so, he should feel fully justified in moving that the constitution of the Committee might be somewhat amended.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, be regretted that there were so few Members in the House to hear the exceedingly interesting speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities (Mr. J. A. Campbell). One of the points to which he desired to allude was the inspection of the higher-class schools in Scotland. The clauses of the Act of 1878, in the opinion of the Treasury, left it optional for the Department to inspect the higher schools.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, that was so; but that was considered not obligatory, but optional. But after the Education Endowments Act last year power was taken to inspect the endowed schools of Scotland; and when the machinery was brought into operation it was to be hoped that the same machinery might be applied to the higher-class schools, so that the work might be done more economically than if it were to be taken by two independent authorities. With respect to the abolition of the 9d minimum, he confessed that he regarded with very grave suspicion any extension of the limit beyond the 9d. in the public schools, because it simply subsidized the better class of schools. The hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities gave a case where the grant amounted to 22s. 9d. per head per scholar. That was a very considerable grant; and if they doubled the grant, and gave it to 1s. 6d. fees, they practically largely subsidized a middle-class school. If they subsidized middle-class education they degraded the school in this way—that they created a class of public schools supported out of the rates and grants, to which schools the poorer classes could not have access because of the fees. That was a very doubtful question. He knew the Glasgow School Board were in favour of it; and, as he was going to Glasgow this year, he hoped to have an opportunity of examining the question on the spot. As to the payment of fees in private adventure schools, he held that the public money ought not to be spent in subsidizing schools which were practically inefficient. Henceforth, no fees were to be paid from Public Services except to public inspected schools. That, he thought, would bring to an end a great deal of that inefficient education 1034 which had been too much encouraged by some school boards in Scotland giving subsidies to schools that were practically inefficient.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £12,852, to complete the sum for Universities, &c. in Scotland.
§ (8.) £1,700, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c. in Scotland.
§ (90 £10,000, Scottish Historical Portrait Gallery.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
asked whether this was not a Supplementary Estimate? He thought they had a right to call for an explanation of the reason why this money was asked for.
§ MR. COURTNEY
, in response, stated that a private donor had made an offer of £10,000 for the establishment of a Scottish Historical Portrait Gallery, on condition that a similar sum was contributed by the Government. This Gallery would be attached to the suite of rooms in the Scottish National Gallery. The sum of £20,000 would be kept as a capital sum, and the interest of it expended on the purchase of historical portraits. This was a gift once for all, and there would be no additional charge for maintenance.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (10.) £408,339, to complete the sum for Public Education, Ireland.
§ MR. HEALY
said, that on this Vote he wished to ask a question as to a matter affecting the Albert Agricultural Model Farm. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant would remember that a year or two ago the Government promised to grant an additional £100 or £200 a-year to enable experiments to be made in regard to the potato disease. He (Mr. Healy) desired to know whether the right hon. Gentleman could give any information as to whether or not the Model Farm had been used for that purpose? The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for County Galway (Colonel Nolan) had taken the matter up during the time the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) was in Office; and a promise was made that this amount should be given for experimenting in regard to matters connected with the potato disease. He failed to: find any charge in the Votes for the full filment of that promise, and he did net 1035 know what the result had been. Would the Government say whether they knew anything about it?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, he knew very little about the matter; but during the past two months he had made inquiries in regard to it, and had been informed that the experiments were being very carefully carried out, and that by about October they would be sufficiently advanced to enable another annual Report to be furnished. No doubt, if he had had any knowledge that this question was going to be asked, he would have been prepared with details; but the impression on his mind was that the experiments were engaging attention, and that there was an amount of money being spent on them.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
said, he was aware that the system of public education in Ireland was different from the system in England; but still the Commissioners were bound by certain rules which ought to have the force of a Statute. It had come before the Committee on Public Accounts that the Commissioners had in their discretion distinctly infringed the rules, or that they had considered, on special occasions for special reasons, that they could set the rules aside. The Treasury, in answer to a question put to them, had strongly taken an opposite view, and had contended—as he thought, justly—that the Education Board were bound to abide by those rules. He would ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the Commissioners were prepared to be guided by the Treasury letter, and to abide by these rules so long as they existed? If it was found that the rules were not workable, then let them be altered; but, so long as they existed, the Department ought to be bound to abide by them.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, the Treasury were not at all disposed to depart from the position taken before the Committee on Public Accounts. He had no doubt these rules must be considered binding. If found inconvenient, the proper course for getting them altered would, no doubt, be taken.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he had a word to say on this Vote on a subject which was engaging considerable attention in Ireland—he referred to the manner in which the National Board of Education treated the Irish language. It was well known that there were in Ireland some 1036 hundreds and thousands of people who could not speak a word of English. The Government and the people of England ignored the fact as much as possible; but, unfortunately, at the recent trials in Ireland, this fact was brought only too painfully before the notice of the country. Some of the people who were placed on their trial could not speak a word of English, and could only be communicated with by pantomime action until the services of a policeman-interpreter were obtained. The Board of Education gave little attention to Irish—not even to place it on the same footing as French. The people who did not know a word of English were taught to read English reading lessons with as much success as would attend an effort to teach English children Greek without a grammar or vocabulary. In the West of Ireland the unfortunate urchins at school were put through their lessons in English, and taught to read that language without knowing a single word of it, and taught to spell just as if they were parrots. The thing was so comical, so ridiculous, that it could not possibly occur in connection with any other institution than the Irish Board of Education. It had been shown, over and over again, that they could teach the people to read English far quicker and far better by means of first teaching them their own language. Teach the people to read in their own language, give them a grip of the language in which they talked, and thought, and lived, and then teach them English by aid of Irish instruction books. Some time ago it was not thought extraordinary for a boy to be taught Greek by means of a Latin instruction book; but that system had been condemned, and was now abandoned. In the West of Ireland—indeed, almost all over the country—they had schools in which the children could not speak a word of English, and yet in which they were required to read their lessons in English. They went through the pantomime of spelling in English before the English Inspector, who gave the result fee for this absurdity. Not only was this the case, but the parents of these children, knowing that the English language was the only means their sons and daughters would have of getting on in future life, especially if they went to America, would not talk to them in 1037 Irish. These parents might be intelligent people enough in their own language, but could not communicate their ideas fluently in English, owing to their want of knowledge of English; and the result was that the minds of the unfortunate children were stunted, knowing little of either English or Irish. The conduct of the Board of Education was extraordinary. For £1,000 or £2,000 a-year they would be able, from the numerous monitors and teachers who were sent up from the country knowing Irish fluently, to give the children who required it instruction in Irish, and cheap instruction. Books could also be printed in the Irish language, by aid of which they would be ultimately able to teach the children to read English. But what was the result of the present system? Why, that the children neither knew Irish nor English. When they came to England, if their necessities brought them to this country, they were laughed at—when they went to America also they became the laughing-stock of the people, who did not, by the way, laugh at Germans or Italians for not knowing English, because they were not expected to know it. Sir Patrick Keenan, the distinguished and able Resident Commissioner and chief official of the National Education Board, who was sent out to Malta—the Government regarding his educational services so highly—to make inquiries on the subject of education in Malta—the children there speaking either Arabic or Italian, or, at any rate, not speaking English—had made several statements with regard to this question of teaching the language of the country which were worth repeating. The question that he (Mr. Healy) was now raising had been raised with regard to Malta. The idea had been to root out the Maltese patois; but it had not been successful. When Sir Patrick Keenan was examined before the Royal Commission of 1868, Professor O'Sullivan asked him—Have you ever turned your attention to the subject of the instruction of the Irish-speaking part of the population?—Very much. I have had, on different occasions, to consider that question minutely.In what parts of the country is Irish still spoken to any considerable extent?—In the counties of Galway, Mayo, Kerry, Cork, and Waterford—these are the chief. In the county of Galway 62.1 per cent of the people speak Irish.1038Has the National Board over made provision for teaching the people through the medium of the Irish?—I am very sorry to say it has not.What is your opinion with regard to instructing the people in Irish with a view to their learning English?—I believe it to be next to impossible to teach, skilfully and effectively, the Irish-speaking population by the ordinary process adopted in our schools, which at once gives them the English alphabet, English books, and English everything, without reference to translation into or from their vernacular language.In your opinion, they would, if taught Irish, learn English better?—I think those who desire that the people shall soon speak English—and every lover of his country must be desirous that they shall—should teach them, in the first instance, to read Irish, in order that they may all the more readily and naturally soon afterwards learn to read English.Would you propose that they should learn Irish only at first, or both Irish and English together?—I propose that that should be done which is done in Scotland, and of which the present Scotch Commission approve for Scotland. I propose that the children should commence their school education in Irish books, and that their instruction in English should begin when they have learned to read Irish.Do you think those who read Irish and subsequently learn to read English will continue to read English?—I think they will be through life afterwards an English-reading people.Have you ever drawn attention to the subject of teaching Irish to the Irish-speaking people?—I have, in various Reports, drawn attention to the subject.Did you recommend to the Commissioners the plan you have now stated?—Yes; I recommended a plan something to that effect.At what period?—I recommended it in 1855, and again in 1856, and I think again in 1858.No step has ever been taken on the subject?—No; my project was not favourably received.The following was also very interesting, which was taken from the Report of the National Teachers' Congress held in 1874:—The parents in Irish-speaking districts have not English enough to convey their ideas, except such as relate to the mechanical business of their occupation. Hence they are not able in any degree to cultivate or inform the minds of their children—though often very intelligent themselves—who consequently grow up dull and stupid, if they have not been suffered to lose the Irish language, or to drop out of the constant practice of it.Further on Sir Patrick Keenan said—The shrewdest people in the world are those who are bi-lingual; Borderers have always been remarkable in this respect. But the most stupid children I have ever met with are those who are learning English whilst endeavouring to forget Irish …. the natural result is that the English they acquire is very imperfect.1039 He would call attention to the fact that people who only spoke Irish in Ireland at the present time suffered the most tremendous disadvantages. If a man came up in a Court of Petty Sessions, as was very frequently the case, and took the book in his hand, and happened to know enough English to be able to say "thank you," he would not be allowed to give his evidence in any other language than English. That was obviously very absurd, because a Russian might be able to say "thank you" without knowing anything more of English than those two words. He (Mr. Healy) had himself heard from a person present only recently in the Land Court at Ban-don of a remarkable instance of the unfairness with which Irish-speaking witnesses were treated when they came forward to give evidence. A witness was asked a question as to rental, and in reply to his interrogator said he could only express himself in Irish. Well, directly he made that statement there was a howl amongst the barristers, and they insisted that he should give his evidence in English, and he had to do so. Later on some question as to rent turned up, and the man made use of the words "£50 a-year." If it had happened that that statement was near the mark, it would have been put down that he was a perjurer, and the case would have been dismissed, and a fair rent, perhaps, would not have been fixed; but it was plain to everyone that "£50 a-year" was not what the man meant to say. The services of an interpreter were availed of, and it was found that the man really meant £30 a-year. Here, then, was a case where a man's whole life would have been affected by a question of words, for it made all the difference in the world to a tenant whether he was charged a high or low rent. It was a very common thing that a person might be able to express his views on matters that were not complicated in a language, when he would altogether break down in matters of detail, particularly when he had to deal with figures. Irish children did not get a very extensive amount of learning of English in the schools, and they suffered from that all their lives. His suggestion was that some £2,000 or £3,000 should be devoted to the systematic and scientific teaching of the Irish language to schoolmasters who came up to the 1040 model schools in Dublin and elsewhere, and who already knew something of Irish, so that they might be able to train the children under their care in that language. He would point out to the Committee that although England and the English Government neglected the Irish language in the way in which they had been doing, yet German students were continually pouring over to Ireland, doing their best to learn the language. Only recently, also, in the Royal Irish Academy, he saw a Frenchman, who did not know a word of English, translating Irish into the French through the medium of a young man who was acquainted with the Irish and the French languages. Professor Windisch had published a grammar in Irish, and had himself dwelt upon the necessity of teaching the language. It was really too bad that some little endeavour was not made by the English Government to cultivate the scientific teaching of the language. No one could ever have studied the language, or have inquired into it, without coming to the conclusion that it was a most interesting branch of learning. The language was a most peculiar and interesting one; and he would put it to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary that he would be doing a graceful act, and an act which would go far to soften the prejudices which his action in other respects created in Ireland, if he would undertake to look into this subject, and endeavour to meet the views which he (Mr. Healy) had tried to express. The right hon. Gentleman should endeavour to satisfy the national feeling in Ireland on this point, and should put some sum of money aside for teaching the masters who came up to the training class a thorough knowledge of Irish. It would be better for English teaching, and for Irish also, if this were done.
§ MR. C. S. PARKER
said, he should like, as a Scotch Member, to join in impressing on the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant the educational importance of the question raised by the hon. Member for Monaghan. There was a corresponding question in regard to Scotland, and another in regard to Wales. In Scotland he believed, officially, little or nothing was done to teach Highlanders to read in their native tongue. But there were voluntary schools in the Western Islands, chiefly 1041 conducted by a society of ladies, who had always held that the best way to convey a knowledge of English to the Highlanders was to instruct them first in reading Gaelic. The hon. Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) seemed to think that he might be suspected of national prejudice or narrowness of view; but it would be remembered that the hon. Member had fully acknowledged the importance of teaching English to the Irish people, and had said that the Irish parents recognized the necessity of such a course. The question that he raised was, whether the proper way to teach English to the Irish-speaking children was by using none but English books—whether the better way to teach them English was not to begin with Irish books? He (Mr. C. S. Parker) was inclined to agree with the hon. Member that it might be better to teach a foreign language by teaching children in their own tongue first. It was certainly undesirable, as the hon. Member had pointed out, to teach a language which was to be the most useful to them in after life as they might teach a parrot. Even English children might often be found reading books in which the language was too hard for them, and gabbling out words which they did not understand. If teaching of that kind was unsatisfactory even amongst children learning their mother-tongue, how much more so when every word was new to them? The children of poor parents in the West of Ireland were under a great disadvantage through not being able to understand the spelling of their own language, which was exceptionally difficult. If the National Board of Education would recognize the difficulties of the case, and would endeavour to teach the English tongue through the Irish, it seemed to him that they might be taking the best means to spread a knowledge of the English language more rapidly and more effectually. But he should like to say to the hon. Member for Monaghan that in one respect the remarks he had made were too highly coloured by national feeling—namely, in so far as he laid the whole blame in regard to this matter upon English institutions. By his own account, part of the blame should be laid elsewhere—namely, upon the Irish parents who declined to speak the English language to their children; they could not lay 1042 the blame of that upon the English. If time were not so precious, he should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council what he had done in regard to the Welsh and Gaelic languages; but, at any rate, he would join in pressing the right hon. Gentleman to grant a little more money for the experiment of teaching Irish, or, at least, to apply his mind to the question whether the English language could not be more effectually taught in Ireland through the Irish.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the hon. Member for Perthshire (Mr. C. S. Parker) had done well in not calling upon the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council to give his experience on this question. The right hon. Gentleman had had considerable experience in Wales; and he (Mr. Trevelyan) had found, from private conversation with the right hon. Gentleman, that his deduction drawn from that experience was not favourable to the views of the hon. Member who had last spoken. On the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman had stated what was a very interesting fact—namely, that the Welsh children were exceedingly bright and clever from the fact that they had a bi-lingual language. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that, in order to bring out their cleverness, it had been found necessary to appoint Inspectors who knew Welsh, and that whilst the children were examined in English, as in a foreign language, as hon. Members would have been examined in Latin at school, the details of the examination were conducted in the language familiar to the children. It was certain that of all questions this was one that most required experience, and scientific experience, to discover what was the best method of teaching the language which he thought he gathered from the hon. Member for Monaghan's speech that it was most important these children should be instructed in—namely, the English language, which was the language of the majority. So far as he could gather, in Ireland, Irish was the language of the minority; because whilst the people who could speak Irish were very numerous indeed, there were very few who could not speak English. [Mr. HEALY: There are 300,000.] He (Mr. Trevelyan) was not acquainted with the precise 1043 statistics; but, no doubt, there were a great many who spoke Irish and English, probably very imperfectly; but he believed the number who could not speak English at all was very small. But that was a point upon which it was necessary to make inquiries from those who had experience. The hon. Member had stated quite enough to interest anybody who had education at heart; and he (Mr. Trevelyan) would certainly make it his duty—and a pleasant duty it would be—to inquire into the matter when he got to Ireland. He would undertake to set Sir Patrick Keenan at work in procuring information from those persons who were concerned in the education of Wales and the Western Islands. He hoped to be able to give a full report of this question next Session—a much fuller reply than he could now. At this moment he had only one feeling, and that was that the effect of Irish education would be that the children should leave school instructed in that language which would serve them well in future life—namely, that which they all in the House of Commons spoke.
§ MR. TOTTENHAM
said, he should not have taken part in the discussion, if it had not been for the absurdity of some of the views which had been laid before the Committee. He had lived for 25 years amongst the people of Ireland, and in the course of that time he had been brought into contact with all classes of the population, both at Assizes, Quarter Sessions, Petty Sessions, and on Boards of Guardians—[An hon. MEMBER: And at evictions.]—and other places where one was likely to come into communication with the people; and all he could say was that in the county he was most connected with, in the whole course of that time he had only known it necessary on one occasion to make use of an interpreter. The hon. Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) and other hon. Members would have them believe that the majority of the population of Ireland were Irish-speaking.
§ MR. TOTTENHAM
said, he could so far bear out the hon. Member's statement as to Galway as to say that the one occasion when he did happen to require the services of an interpreter was one Winter Assizes at Carrick-on-Shannon. A large number of the witnesses from Galway, 33 per cent of them, were unable to speak with sufficient fluency, and the services of an interpreter had to be engaged. But that was the only county in which Irish was spoken to any extent. He should not have found it necessary to take part in this discussion had it not been for the utter absurdity of some of the statements which had been made.
§ MR. BULWER
said, he adopted the same view as his hon. Friend who had just spoken. ["Hear, hear!"] Some hon. Members from Ireland called out "Hear, hear!" but he would remind them that before most of them were born he had travelled through a great part of the country, and was now speaking of his experience of it. When the hon. Member for Monaghan spoke of hundreds of thousands of people who spoke only Irish, he could only say that you might travel through the North and West of Ireland, where he had frequently been, and seldom—except, perhaps, in Donegal—would you come across a man who would not understand you if you spoke English. [An hon. MEMBER: Galway.] Yes; he included Galway, and the neighbourhood of Maamtrasna too, where those horrible murders were committed of which the hon. Member might have heard. In Donegal he was furnished with a shibboleth, in order to enable him to get some potheen. He was informed on that occasion that if he wanted potheen he must ask for what he wanted in Irish, and when he used the words which he had been taught he got what he wanted. He was astonished to hear the statements which had been made by hon. Members to-night, as it was contrary to his experience in travelling through the North and West of Ireland, where he never found, save on the one occasion to which he had referred—and he was not sure that even then the ignorance was not assumed—that the people did not understand English. He was not at all opposed to the extension of the 1045 Irish language, and should be sorry that a language which had a history and annals of its own should be extinguished; but to toll him that they should go to the great expense of teaching English through the medium of Irish was to tell him a thing which he did not for a moment believe to be necessary. He should think there were few scholars—save, perhaps, in some isolated districts of the country—who he would not say were thoroughly acquainted with English, but still knew enough of its elements for education to be given in that language.
§ MR. DAWSON (LORD MAYOR of DUBLIN)
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had said what was so satisfactory that it was not necessary to pursue the question any further. The point was not whether the people knew English or not; but Sir Patrick Keenan insisted upon this—that the people knew English so imperfectly, and were so improperly educated in the vehicle through which they were going to learn that language, that they seldom got a sound instruction in it. Sir Patrick Keenan said that the people had got a hazy knowledge of English owing to the fact that those who taught them did not know the language of the people, and they could not make themselves understood in it. He wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant to another portion of this Vote. He had frequently moved in the House for Returns as to the Model Schools. These were put down as entailing an annual expenditure—in addition to the account for construction, which was £160,000—of £36,000 a-year. He wished to know what good were these schools doing? The school in Dublin was, no doubt, doing something; but the late Chief Secretary had given him a Return of the Model Schools throughout Ireland, according to which it was clear that these schools were only attended by the children of well-to-do people—by children of parents who were well able to pay for their education. This £36,000 was forced upon Ireland—Ireland did not require it. It was spent upon a very few only, and even that few were perfectly able to pay for their own education. The right hon. Gentleman's Predecessor gave him statistics showing that there were £160,000 1046 spent on the construction of the schools, and that the annual grant was £36,000. The students numbered only 11,000. Who were the students, or rather who were their parents? Agents and managers, 344; architects, 29; artists, 30; clerks, 842; farmers, 827; Government employés, 210; medical doctors, merchants, and traders, 281; gentlemen of no profession, 164; police, 256; railway employés, 197; well-to-do tradesmen, 2,429; &c. These were not the subjects or objects for free National Education; and, even if they were, the number was a very small number to be taught for £36,000 a-year. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had defended the system; but he promised that the subject should receive careful attention.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, he would draw the attention of the Committee to this—that the Commission of 1869 made some suggestions in regard to these schools. He could bear out what had fallen from the hon. Member who had just sat down as to the class which attended the schools in the City of Cork. They were hardly fit subjects for almost gratuitous education—or, at any rate, very few of them were. The children who attended these schools were principally the sons of professional men, or, as the hon. Member (Mr. Dawson) had pointed out, the sons of well-to-do tradesmen. Take, for instance, the Model School in Dunmanway. It entered into competition with the ordinary schools, and its effect had been to injure and stunt the Roman Catholic primary schools in the district to a very great extent, owing to the small amount of the fees which were charged, and the other advantages which it possessed. He sincerely trusted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant would take this matter into his consideration.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to a point on which, on a previous occasion, he had made detailed allusion. He wished to say a word or two as to the character of the books which were used in the National Schools in Ireland. He did not say that the time had yet arrived for writing the history of Ireland; but when it did he could wish that the right hon. Gentleman, who had already distinguished himself so remark- 1047 ably by his literary efforts, would set himself the task of writing that history with the experience of 10 years as Chief Secretary. There was one thing they had a right to demand in Ireland, and that was that their children in the Irish schools should not be asked to read books insulting to their nationality. That, he thought, was a very moderate claim to set forward. Let them take the books which were supplied to the children in the Irish National Schools for their instruction—let them take first The Fourth Book of Lessons. They would find in that book the following—The people of Ireland are a clever, lively people; formerly, very much given to drink, and very ignorant; but now it is believed that they are one of the soberest nations in Europe: and it will he their own fault if they are not also one of the best educated.["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Cropper), he thought it was, cheered that. That cheer represented the mind of the hon. Member for Kendal—that was but a narrow view to take of the state of Irish history. Then, as to the history of Dublin, this Fourth Book of Lessons said—Dublin has some beautiful manufactures of poplin, velvet, and glass, and there were once many more manufactories; but the workmen, not satisfied with good wages, refused to work at a lower price than they should themselves appoint, which the masters being unable to afford, the establishments were broken up, and the proprietors took their money and machinery elsewhere.That was the history of Dublin compressed into a very narrow compass. Then, turn to the history of Franco in this Fourth Book of Lessons. It said—The religion of France is Roman Catholic; but there are many Protestants also.That was in the National School Book. Then, with regard to Wales, the book said—The dress and appearance of the Welsh are very different from those of the English. The women wear a man's black beaver hat tied down with a handkerchief over their clean, nicely crimped-caps, as white as snow, and, generally, blue cloth jackets. They are a remarkably clean, active, industrious people—their houses and persons are very neat, and they are so careful never to lose a moment of their time, that they carry their knitting with them wherever they go; they may often be seen with baskets or bundles on their heads and knitting needles in their hands, making woollen stockings, night caps, or other articles of warm clothing. The Welsh are fond of music; their favourite instrument is a large harp, and in almost every inn a harper may be found.1048 With regard to the objects of these books, as he had stated before, it was, clearly enough, to make the Irish people ashamed of their own country. The Third Book of Lessons, speaking of Belgium, said—I need not point out the striking contrast of the mode of living here described with the state of the same class of persons in Ireland; and it is important to investigate the causes of this difference. In the greater part of the flat country of Belgium the soil is light and sandy, and easily worked; but its productive powers are certainly inferior to the general soil of Ireland, and the climate does not appear to be superior. To the soil and the climate, therefore, the Belgian does not owe his superiority in comfort and position over the Irish cultivator. The difference is rather to be found in the system of cultivation pursued by the small farmers of Belgium, and in the habits of industry, economy, and forethought of the people. The cultivation of the small Belgian farms differs from the Irish—first, in the quantity of stall-fed stock which is kept, and by which a supply of manure is regularly secured; second, in the strict attention paid to the collecting of manure, which is most skilfully managed; third, by the adoption of a system of rotation of five, six, or seven changes of crop, even on the smallest farms, which is in striking contrast with the plan of cropping and fallowing the land prevalent in Ireland, and by which so large a portion of its produce and powers is every year wasted.There was not a word about the landlords"25 per cent of whose rents the Government had taken off. [Mr. CAVENDISH BENTINCK: Hear, hear!] The right hon. and learned Gentleman said "Hear, hear!" but he was not appealing to him—he was appealing to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary opposite. Well, to proceed. Ireland had supplied a great deal of poetry to the world—her poetry found a place in every heart and in every place except the Irish National School Book. He did not find here any of the poetry of James Clarence Mangan, of Thomas Davis, of Thomas Moore, or of Justice O'Hagan, or of Charles Gavan Duffy. He did not find here any of the poetry of Justice O'Brien; but what he did find was poetry of this description, in The Fourth Beading Book—The beasts that roam over the plainMy form with indifference see;They are so unacquainted with man,Their tameness is shocking to me.This was the kind of model poetry put before the youth of Ireland of both sexes who might be inclined to indulge their fancy in alcaics and trochaics. There was not a single poem in all this 1049 book of a National character—nothing from the Young Ireland poets—in spite of the amount of poetry which Ireland had given to the world, and which was read with admiration by English and Scotch, and all other people who had any respect for National aspiration. They would find in these National School Books given to the youth of Ireland poems of Campbell, and such verses as—Ye mariners of England who guard our native seas,and poems of that kind, which, as far as literary merit was concerned, were about on a par with—We don't want to fight; but by jingo if we do," &c,but none of the productions of Mangan, who was, to his mind, one of the most remarkable men of the century that Ireland or any other country had produced. He had a very serious purpose in making all these quotations, and that was this—he wished to put it to the Committee whether they could expect the Irish people to regard the Government of England in Ireland as anything but hostile and anti-national when they compelled Irish children to read books which teemed with insults to their nationality and sometimes to their religion, which was even a more susceptible point. He hoped he had touched the sympathetic bosom of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary opposite on this point. The right hon. Gentleman himself had contributed many notable books, which he believed would live, to the literature of this country—he would ask him, therefore, were the books to which he had referred, from the point of view of literary merit, or good sense, or decency, such books as should be imposed on the rising generation in Ireland?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, he should be sorry to express an opinion on the books from which the hon. Member had quoted until he had had an opportunity of studying them. He must say he was thankful for such a speech as had just been delivered on the 17th of August—at such a time the interest of the House of Commons in speeches of hon. Members had already flagged, and they were not treated to such amusing dissertations very often. Even from the specimens which the hon. Member had given them, he should not care to give a criticism of 1050 these books. When the hon. Member had referred to Moore and Mangan he could not suppress a cheer. With Moore he had long been acquainted; but it was only within the last year that he had got a strong feeling for Mangan's poetry. But the latter was poetry for mature years, and the poetry of Moore was hardly poetry which one would care to put in the hands of youth. He thought the hon. Member had quoted, with a certain amount of unnecessary depreciation, the poetry of Campbell and Cowper; for the sort of reading to which the hon. Member had treated the Committee did very well, and was very intelligible to children under the age of 12—certainly, quite as intelligible to them as would be the poetry of Mangan. And as to the books the hon. Member had. read from, geographical works, and works descriptive of the different nationalities, they appeared to him very much the sort of reading his own youth was nurtured up to about the ago of 10. The gentleman who described Wales as the hon. Member had pointed out would, no doubt, describe the typical Irishman as dressed in a swallow-tail coat and brass buttons, and with knee-breeches; and would describe the Englishman similarly costumed, but with top boots. Still, that was the kind of reading that did very well for children up to about 10 years of age. He had read with very great interest some of the books of the Christian Brothers; and if the hon. Member brought before him some of those books, and asked why they were not used in the higher classes, he should find it very hard, perhaps, to answer, because it seemed to him that they possessed very great literary merit, and he was unable to see that they could do any possible harm. The particular suggestion of the hon. Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy), that the evils of Ireland were produced not by those causes which produced evils in all other countries—that was to say, by the moral defects of the inhabitants—which were the same in Ireland as elsewhere, but were produced by the presence of landlords, was a proposition which he did not think it would be proper to set forth in a school book. If the hon. Member for Monaghan wished to follow up the subject, he should be very glad to have a talk with him upon it; and if the hon. Member knew of any book which was excluded from 1051 the National Schools on account of two or three excerpts from the National literature, or from the passages being of a somewhat more interesting kind than people usually put in school books, he should be glad if the hon. Member would mention them, so that he might consider whether they could not be included in the National répertoire. As to the Model Schools mentioned by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Dawson), he was not going to commit himself to a general opinion with regard to those upon the present Vote. If the hon. Member would move a reduction of the Vote, then he would meet him as necessity required; but when they had schools which commanded the confidence of a considerable portion of the population, and which occupied a certain position—a position rather dubious and amphibious perhaps—between the middle class schools and the elementary schools, he thought Parliament ought to be very slow before it refused to grant money for their support. It might be that as elementary schools they were expensive; but that would not be the case if they were regarded as middle class schools. As middle class schools they were extremely cheap, and as institutions which kept up a very high standard of education in different parts of Ireland, he must say that a change which more thoroughly sustained, and one that recommended itself more strongly in its details to the general sense of Parliament, would have to be brought before Parliament before the House would refuse to pass this Vote. He did not think on this occasion he could give any more definite statement than this.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant with regard to an establishment for the purpose of teaching agriculture at Glasnevin which had existed for some time under Professor Baldwin. There was great want of agricultural education over a large part of Ireland. The Government were teaching it at Glasnevin; but it appeared to him that it was their duty to teach it in other parts of the country on the Glasnevin model, for the purpose of showing the people how properly to farm. His hon. Friend the Member for the borough of Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) had read out a contrast between the Irish peasant 1052 and the Belgian peasant. Children were taught, as the hon. Member had shown, that the Belgian farmer was a much better farmer than the Irish peasant. If the Government taught that in the schools, the least thing they could do would be to give the Irish peasant some slight chance of competing satisfactorily with the Belgian peasant. If there were a few more agricultural schools over Ireland it would do a great deal of good, in the manner in which Glasnevin was doing good. He would, therefore, ask the Chief Secretary if he could hold out any hope that they would put some of those schools, say, for instance, in the part of Ireland where there used to be some, but which, he was sorry to say, the English Government had not persisted in, and had abolished some 10 or 12 years ago. Then there was another question to which he wished to draw attention. He had several times alluded to the fact that, unless the Government produced good agriculture in Ireland, they would have another famine in the course of seven or eight years—it might come in four or five years, and, perhaps, not for 10 or 12 years; but, unless something was done, come it assuredly would. Prizes were being given for the development of good potato seeds to National schoolmasters—they were acting in the most frivolous manner with this most grave subject. They were spending about £200 or £300 a-year in looking after a new variety of potato. He would suggest to the Government that they should prosecute their operations as to the cultivation of a new variety of potato, and try how far the Scotch varieties answered in Ireland on a more extended scale. They were at present doing it on a very small scale. The Committee, which had sat upon the subject, had pointed out that individuals could not do a great deal in this matter—they had shown that, in order to be successful, the thing must be done upon a large scale. The Highland Society had taken the matter up in Scotland; but the Government had refused to help them, for which he was very sorry, because the solution of the question in Scotland would be extremely useful in Ireland. But even if the Government did something in this matter in Scotland, he thought they should also do something in Ireland. He believed that the Government, at the present moment, 1053 in neglecting to loot after the potato crop, and prepare a fresh variety against the failure of the present variety, were flying in the face of warnings which had been often repeated. This might be a dull subject; but it was necessary to speak about it two or three times a-year, in order that the Government might be impressed with its importance, and might be impressed by the arguments adduced. He wished to know from the Chief Secretary what was being done in Ireland—he wished to hear from him whether any new varieties of potatoes were being acclimatized in the Island; and, if so, when these new varieties would be ready? He might inform the right hon. Gentleman that he intended to make three or four speeches upon this subject until he received an answer.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, that experiments were being carried out in all the schools; and the Report of what had taken place last year was before the House of Commons. He knew that two or three months must elapse before the next Report could be issued. The experiments were being carried out as far as the capabilities of the farms would allow; and he had every reason to believe that the same activity which was at present being expended had been expended upon them for the last four years. The Government would take care that the hon. and gallant Gentleman was as well satisfied on this point this year as he had been in previous years. The Government, as the hon. and gallant Member justly observed, had done nothing; but in Ireland experiments were being conducted on two farms.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered one question, as to whether he would do anything to establish new schools of agriculture in the more remote parts of Ireland?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the tendency of the action of the Government went rather in an opposite direction to that contemplated by the hon. and gallant Member. The idea of the Government was to keep up those establishments they had in the best condition, and to spend what money they could upon them. Their efforts had been at concentration—at diminishing the number of schools, instead of keeping them up in large numbers.
§ Vote agreed to.1054
§ (11.) £1,040, to complete the sum for the Teachers' Pensions Office, Ireland.
§ (12.) £410, to complete the sum for the Endowed School Commissioners, Ireland.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he could state whether these Commissioners continued to hold over the heads of their tenants the rents due since the Famine year? They had admitted in their Report, the year before last, that they still continued the system which had been abandoned by every respectable landlord throughout Ireland. He would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he had put a stop to that course of proceeding; and next, he should like to ask him if the Government had come to any decision as to what was to be done with the Endowed Schools throughout Ireland?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the hon. Member had better put this Question to him at Question time, particularly as to the arrangement of these estates by the Endowed Schools Commissioners. The account they gave in their Report was that they had in two successive years struck off a considerable amount of the old arrears, but that a very large quantity of arrears of rent had recently accrued. He did not know what their relation was with regard to the Arrears Act; but if the hon. Member would remind him of it by a Question, he would make all necessary inquiries. The hon. Member would be more likely to get an answer if he would do this. As to the more special duty, which it was their province to superintend, it was one of those questions which the Government had been unable to bring before the House, in the shape of a Bill, this Session, through want of time. No one would say that the state of the Endowed Schools in Ireland was satisfactory; but legislation, to put them to rights, must be of a very drastic description—much more so than any existing legislation. His earnest hope was that, after the Session after next, when arrears of legislation were a little cleared off, they might be able to look back to this question, and do something for Ireland in the same nature as that which had been done for Scotland.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the hon. Member for Monaghan must be very sanguine if he thought that the question was one which would not raise controversy. There were some parts of it which they could deal with, with the almost universal concurrence of the House; but there were a great number of schools which stood between the national and undenominational schools, and of schools which would be claimed by a denomination—and in Ireland a large number came under that latter category. He thought a great deal of good might be done by legislation without more friction than was necessary to pass an ordinarily important Bill.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman knew that these Commissioners were not paid at all? They themselves had stated last year that being unpaid, and having important duties to fulfil, they could not possibly look after the schools, and could not be responsible for the estates—they said they knew nothing at all about the one or the other, and desired to be relieved of their functions. They admitted that the accounts had never been kept by anyone—in fact, the Secretary had been able to invest thousands of pounds without its being known for years. In one Report, a short time ago, they had stated that they had not sufficient funds to enable the estates to be visited; and the consequence was that they sent a clerk round to several, and got him to furnish the account and Report. They were unable to diminish the expenses, and it was perfectly scandalous that this kind of thing should be allowed to go on.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, it was obvious that more drastic and effective administration in regard to these matters was necessary. Undoubtedly, the Endowed Schools of Ireland were not under the supervision of a Commission which had power to do what was required. He (Mr. Trevelyan) had gone into the question this year.
§ Vote agreed to.
(13.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,029, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary
to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Gallery of Ireland, and for the purchase of Pictures.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
said, there were some omissions in this Vote which made it highly desirable that the attention of the Committee should be called to the matter. It struck him as a very remarkable circumstance—and he had already called attention to it—that there was no Report from the Trustees, or whoever was responsible for the carrying on of the National Gallery in Ireland. No doubt, in the case of Ireland, that information, for reasons already assigned, might be dispensed with. As far as he could understand the National Gallery of Ireland, it was precisely on the same footing, and stood in the same position, and was worked on the same principle as the National Gallery of England. Therefore, he could not conceive how the money had been expended—and there had been no Report from those responsible for the conduct of it. He would ask the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Courtney) to give them some reason why there had been no such Report for some years past, and also to give them some undertaking—which he was sure he would do—that in future years these omissions would be supplied. That was not the only matter which seemed to him to require comment. There was, in the first place, a sum in the Estimate for the purchase of pictures. They were entirely without information, that was to say, whether these pictures were such as were approved by the Committee or not. Then they came to the question of travelling expenses—that being a question on which the Chairman himself (Sir Arthur Otway) had taken a great deal of interest, with such good results to the country. It had been said that £150 in the English Vote was by no means an unreasonable sum for the travelling expenses of a Director of the National Gallery. [Mr. COURTNEY: The maximum sum.] The hon. Member would have an opportunity of expressing his view upon the matter, and perhaps he would allow him (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) to finish his observations first. There was no return from the Exchequer. What did the hon. Gentleman tell them last year, when £150 was granted to a Director of the English National Gallery 1057 for travelling expenses abroad?—a system which he (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) had ventured to comment on, as well as the lateness of the hour and Her Majesty's Government would allow him to do. But what he wanted to know was, how did the Director of the Irish National Gallery spend £150 a-year in travelling expenses? Surely he did not go on those roving expeditions which he (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) had pointed out as having been so fraught with evil in times past, and which probably, as history repeated itself, would occur again in future. He should like to have some reason how in the world the Director of the Irish National Gallery spent £150 in buying pictures which were only worth £750? £150 was a large percentage on £750. There was another matter to which he had been unable to draw attention yesterday, but which he should have mentioned had time and Her Majesty's Government permitted. It was in reference to the English Vote; but the point arose again on the Irish Vote, and he should now be bold enough to mention it. He condemned entirely the system of sensational sales, and spending money lavishly in one direction, when it might be more advantageously expended in another. The Committee would observe that £2,000 was spent in this Vote, and of it £1,000 on the sensational sale known as the Duke of Hamilton's sale. To the astonishment of all attending the sale, the Directors of the Irish National Gallery bought a picture by Nicholas Poussin for £400 or £500. He (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) was sorry the hon. Gentleman the Member for South-East Lancashire (Mr. Agnew) was not now in his place. The hon. Gentleman, who seemed to disappear when he was most wanted, was a well-known authority on pictures, an expert in these matters, and who was a witness before the Committee of which he (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) was a Member, and who had said his "turnover" in pictures was something like £1,000,000 a-year. Well, this gentleman, if he would rise in this place, would say, that a more unfortunate purchase was never made—first of all, because, although the master was one for whom they might all have an admiration, he was, at the same time, one whose works did not fetch a high price, because, not long before, a picture by the 1058 same master was knocked down for 25 guineas. He should like to know, therefore, why, if the Irish National Gallery had been anxious to purchase a picture by this master, they had not gone to a smaller exhibition to buy a picture at a reasonable rate, instead of rushing in to buy one like this? The explanation of this somewhat singular conduct would be found, he believed, in what was now stated—that was, that when the Government were unwise enough to allow the Trustees to have a sum of money, then the latter, like boys with money to spend, or sailors just paid off, wore never satisfied until they had got rid of the whole of it. He had been told by an authority whom he respected that the Trustees of the Irish National Gallery could find nothing else to suit their purpose, so they rushed into this expenditure and let off their £500. He sincerely trusted there would be no repetition of this on the part of a body entrusted with public money. Another point he would refer to was of a more technical nature. He wished to ask, in the absence of any Report from the Trustees or Director, who were the Trustees of the Irish National Gallery and what power they had? The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury and himself last night, on the subject of the English Gallery, came to a difference as to a question of fact; and since then, probably, the hon. Gentleman had inquired more minutely, and discovered that the Director of the National Gallery was really the person responsible for purchases. Then, he hoped he would once more consult his means of information, and find out who were the Trustees of the Irish National Gallery, and what were their powers. Did they exercise greater or less power of control over the purchase of pictures, or did the whole power rest with the Director, and was he alone responsible? This disposed of all the points he wished to put before the Committee; and he hoped the Secretary to the Treasury, in giving the information, would also undertake that in future years there should be a greater amount of information given to the Committee on the subject of the Irish National Gallery, embracing all the details to be found in connection with the English Gallery.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, the right hon. Gentleman had repeated what he said the day before in reference to the National 1059 Gallery; and though he did not think it was desirable to give a pledge, he thought such a Report as the right hon. Gentleman asked for was desirable at short intervals—he would not say-annually.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, it would give an account of what had been done in the year past. The right hon. Gentleman, in reference to the purchases made, questioned whether they had been worth the money expended; but, as to this, he could appeal to the experience of those who had seen the Gallery, and say it was extraordinary what an admirable collection of pictures had been got together with such a small amount of money. The amount devoted to the purpose this year was less than the usual annual sum in consequence of the extra increase last year, and this increase would be repaid by deductions in the annual grant. And here he would correct a misapprehension of the right hon. Gentleman, who spoke of the Trustees of this, as of the National Gallery, as boys with money in their pocket, or sailors with their pay which they must spend. No doubt it was so at one time. A certain sum was voted each year for the English and Irish Galleries; and if that was not spent in the year it was paid back into the Treasury, and not taken into account in future Votes. Under that system, no doubt, there was a great temptation to spend up to the sum voted; but all that was now altered. The Treasury now laid down the principle not to allow the money to accumulate in the hands of the Trustees; but they recognized the principle that if, over a series of years, the sum expended was lower than the amount voted, the unspent portion of the Vote was looked upon as a reserve to be drawn upon in the event of the expenditure in other years being above the amount of the annual grant. If not spent, the balance of a Vote was treated as a sum to be drawn upon in future. The right hon. Gentleman asked who were the Trustees, and he was sorry to say he did not happen to have a list. He knew Lord Hardinge was a Trustee, and that he took the greatest interest in matters connected with the Gallery. In the purchase of pictures, the Trustees and the 1060 Directors in Ireland, as in England, worked together, and a purchase was a matter of joint consultation between them; and he believed he was right in saying that no purchase was made without the approbation of the Trustees, and not on the mere motion of the Director. Then the right hon. Gentleman referred to the allowance for travelling expenses. The allowance was made as it was to the Director in London, and it must be borne in mind that the Director had other duties to fulfil besides the purchase of pictures; he must keep up to the level of what was being done in other Galleries; he must keep up his mind to that activity required in the Director of a Gallery; he must make himself acquainted with the means by which a Gallery was made available for the purposes of the student and of the public; and his position required he should have the advantage of a knowledge of other pictures in other Galleries, and the arrangement and management there.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
said, he did not find fault with ordinary expenditure; his objection was to extraordinary Votes for purchases at sensational sales, when numbers of questionable pictures were bought for the nation at high prices. It was to the extraordinary, not the ordinary, expenditure he referred. He was bound to say the explanation of the Secretary to the Treasury with regard to the travelling expenses was so very unsatisfactory that he should move the reduction of the Vote by that amount. He never heard of such a thing as that a Director of a Gallery should spend £150 a-year to visit Foreign Galleries. There was very little advantage he could get from that. What number of Galleries could he visit year after year? Was a gentleman to be selected as the Director of a National Gallery, and to travel like a commercial man? He should have thought that the first thing anyone who chanced to have the patronage of such a post would do would be to appoint a gentleman suited to the duties—not one who would have to learn the ordinary duties of his office by travelling year by year at a large expense to the country. The present Chairman of Committees succeeded in past years in knocking off the expenses of a travelling agent for the 1061 National Gallery. That was only £300; but now there was £150 for the traveling expenses of the Irish Director, and the same for the English Director, and the Secretary to the Treasury, who he believed was a great mathematician, would agree that was £300; so there was absolutely the very abusive system the Chairman condemned in former years. Why, if it was necessary, should not one Director go on his travels, and on his return impart his information to his colleague, who in turn could make the visit to the Continent the next year, and so on alternately. At all events, that would save the country £150 a-year. As a matter of principle, and in the interests of economy, he would move the reduction of the Vote by £150.
Motion made, and Question,
That a sum, not exceeding £879, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Gallery of Ireland, and for the purchase of Pictures,"—(Mr. Cavendish Bentinck,)
§ —put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(14.) Motion made, and Question proposed.
That a sum, not exceeding £10,728, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, in aid of the Expense of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the Act under which the Royal University of Ireland was founded had been in operation since 1879. He thought it was reasonable to suppose that the Government, in the interval, had made up their minds with regard to the continuance or the determination of the anomaly which had been pointed out and recognized in the discussions which had taken place in the House with reference to the provisions of the Royal University Act. It was pointed out that while it was proposed, under the provisions of that Act, for the foundation of the Royal University of Ireland, that Scholarships, Exhibitions, and other academical prizes should be founded for the purpose of public competition by the matriculated students of the Royal University, that 1062 to the Queen's Colleges were left the Exhibitions, Scholarships, and other prizes which they received and were endowed with before the foundation of the Royal University, and that consequently, while the prizes of the Royal University were open to the students of the Queen's Colleges, as well as to the students of other unendowed Colleges in Ireland, or having no endowments to compare with the Queen's Colleges, the students from the latter class of Colleges must necessarily compete to great, disadvantage, for the prizes, so-called, of the Royal University, with students coming from the endowed Queen's Colleges. It was felt by many people at the time that the Royal University would have an unanswerable claim to the benefits of the Queen's Colleges, and the transfer of the endowments and prizes to help it, as well as the fund out of which the comparatively poor Scholarships and other prizes were given for competition to the matriculated students of the Royal University. The value of these Scholarships, Exhibitions, and Prizes, thus strictly reserved for competition by students of Queen's Colleges, were found in the present Vote under Subheads A, B, and C, and amounted to £4,800; and he proposed, at the conclusion of his remarks, to move the reduction of the Vote by the amount under these three sub-heads. An eminent authority, writing on this subject, said—he quoted from the remarks of Mr. J. Peabody at the examinations at the close of the session at Queen's College, Galway—The students of the Queen's Colleges can compete in the examinations with students of unendowed Colleges for Exhibitions and Prizes; and if the student of the Queen's College wins it, he gets it; but if not, he has only to return to his College, and there he will find preserved for him at the public expense a consolation prize as valuable, or more valuable, than that for which he unsuccessfully competed.What ought to be done, continued Professor Peabody, was this—The entire sum now granted to Queen's Colleges for Scholarships and Prizes should be added to the Royal University Prize Fund.That was the argument he should use to the Committee in moving to reduce the amount to be voted to the Queen's Colleges by the sum of £4,800, which went to make up the prizes so much objected to. It was a monstrous anomaly 1063 that could not be defended that, while a Royal University for Ireland was founded ostensibly for the object of opening University Education to all classes and all sects in that country, yet the State refused to endow the Catholic Colleges, from which the greater proportion of the matriculated students were taken, and to meet whose wants the Royal University was mainly founded; while to the Queen's Colleges were left the old endowments, which they had received as a portion of the University system of Queen's University, which existed previous to the Act under which the Royal University was founded. It was impossible for any Government to contend that the students coming from unendowed Colleges in Ireland were treated fairly, and education as regarded the Royal University failed, while it admitted such competition as at present existed on the part of the students of the Queen's Colleges of Cork, Dublin, and Belfast. Two courses were open—either to prevent students in Queen's Colleges from competing at the Royal University, or to throw into a common fund of the Royal University the prizes and endowments given to support the Queen's Colleges. It was an absurdity to maintain the College system apart from the University under the system that existed by this Vote. The Royal University had been endowed and offered as a system for the satisfaction of the Catholics of Ireland; but he maintained that it could not be held to be that satisfaction—that proper and suitable offer it was intended to be—so long as these endowments of Queen's Colleges, which formed no part of the University system, were maintained by an anomaly not equalled in the educational system of any other country. He would not detain the Committee at length; and he would conclude by saying he thought the Government ought to have formed some opinion in its own mind as to whether they intended or did not intend that the anomalous system of Queen's Colleges in Ireland should continue. In any case the Royal University had a claim for a large augmentation of the prizes it was now able to give; and there was no better source from which to satisfy that claim than that he had mentioned—namely, the transfer of the Scholarships, Exhibitions, and Prizes of the Queen's Colleges 1064 to the fund of the Royal University.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £5,928, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1884, in aid of the Expense of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland."—(Mr. Parnell.)
§ SIR. LYON PLAYFAIR
I ventured three years ago to predict that the establishment of the Royal University of Ireland would be no settlement of the Collegiate Institutions of that country, and that constant claims would be made upon our attention in regard to the Queen's Colleges. The House did not then believe this warning, and thought it had protected itself by putting into the Act these words—"Nothing in this Act shall in anywise affect the Queen's Colleges." But already we have assaults made upon their outer buttresses, and when these are knocked away the walls will be more easy to attack. If hon. Members from Ireland refer to my speeches on Irish education, they will find that I have been as warm an advocate as any of them for the systematic higher education of Roman Catholics in well-ordered Colleges; and I have never shrunk from advocating endowments to a well-ordered Roman Catholic College. Nor am I sorry to see that the effect of the rules laid down as to Fellowships by the Royal University has already been to endow the Roman Catholic College of St. Stephen's Green in Dublin with £3,600 a-year; and that, when three more Fellows are appointed, it will be practically endowed with £4,800 paid to 12 Professors, who will aid in making the instruction more thorough and systematic than it is at present. I have made these preliminary remarks, because I wish Irish Members to feel that, in opposing them on the present occasion, I do not do so from any narrow view of what is required for the higher education of a people three-fourths of whom are Roman Catholics; but this present opposition to the Scholarships of Queen's Colleges would, if successful, be most disastrous to the higher education of Ireland. They speak of the Scholarships as being extravagant in number and unnecessary for the Queen's Colleges, though they 1065 think they might be properly transferred to the Examining Board called the Royal University. An Examining Board has only an indirect influence on education; it is not in any sense a teaching College. But the three Queen's Colleges are well-ordered and thoroughly efficient teaching Colleges. [Cries of "No, no!"] Their results give the proof. Their graduates have been numerous and singularly successful in all open competitions of the Public Service. They fill very high positions both at home and abroad. The Queen's University is now merged in the Royal University; but what was the work of the Colleges before it was extinguished? Oxford and Cambridge have one graduate to every five students in attendance, the Scottish Universities one to seven, the London Universities one to eleven, and the Queen's Universities of Ireland had one to three. The Queen's Colleges, therefore, did their work admirably. Of 2,850 matriculated students, 1,247 graduated, 735 being graduates in Arts, and the rest in Medicine and Engineering. The fact that so many of the students graduate in Professions is the greatest proof that the Colleges are doing their proper work in a poor country. It is the same in Scotland as it is in Ireland. The Universities of both countries must chiefly rely on preparing the youth of their country for productive life, or they miss their chief function. It is from these Colleges, which have done their work so well for students of all religions, that hon. Members desire to remove their Scholarships. Of course, the object of such Scholarships is to enable the deserving poor to obtain Collegiate education. Our Colleges in Scotland would be in a very poor way indeed if they were not supported by such Scholarships, which we call bursaries. Let me compare the Queen's College in Belfast with the College of Aberdeen, and you will then be able to judge whether the Scholarships in the former are abnormally largo or extravagant. In Belfast, as well as in the other two Colleges, a sum of £1,180 is set apart as prizes to undergraduates. Deducting class prizes of books, amounting to about £ 100, this sum is divided into Scholarships of £24 each, tenable for one year. In this respect they are on a different tenure from other Colleges, and cannot be 1066 compared. If you arrange them to be held as in Oxford and Cambridge, or as in Scotland, during the entire course of Arts, there would be 10 Scholarships of £24 each to 200 students, while in Aberdeen there are 80 to 200 students, or eight times as many as in Belfast. The only difference between them is that the bursaries in Aberdeen have been founded by private liberality, and the Scholarships in Belfast are supplied by Parliament; but, however provided, they are absolutely essential to the success of high education in a poor country for the purpose of enabling persons of humble means to become educated when their talents fit them for Professions based upon learning. Even Oxford and Cambridge could not live without such Scholarships. Belfast has one curriculum scholar to every 20 students; Oxford has one of three times the value for every three students. Irish Members say they only desire to transfer the Scholarships from the Queen's Colleges to the Royal University, and open them to the competition of the whole nation. In other words, they wish to divest them of their essential condition—that they must be held in well-ordered Colleges with a distinct curriculum, and give them as prizes for mere examinations which may be the result of unmitigated cram. To my mind, nothing would be more disastrous to the higher education or to the material prosperity of Ireland than such a course. I wonder how Roman Catholics would relish the proposal, if I were to make it, to transfer the Scholarships of Maynooth, which has been founded with £370,000 of public money, and transfer them all to the new University? The Queen's Scholarships are open now to every undergraduate of the Royal University; provided that he will go through a well-ordered curriculum of education at a Queen's College. Thus, last year, more than 100 undergraduates of the Royal University entered Belfast College, and eight of them won Scholarships. I have not seen the Returns relating to Cork and Galway. The complaint is made that while students of a Queen's College can compete for Scholarships at the Royal University, the undergraduates of the latter cannot compete at the Queen's College unless they take the curriculum. That is quite true as to the last assertion, and is absolutely necessary to the 1067 very idea of a teaching College; but it is not true that the students of Queen's Colleges can add Royal Scholarships or Exhibitions to those which they already possess. If an undergraduate at a Queen's College wins an Exhibition at the Royal University, he must elect which he will hold, for he cannot hold both. They, therefore, have no advantage whatever over any other undergraduate. Hon. Members who may continue this debate will, no doubt, reproduce an attack on the students of the Queen's Colleges at the late examinations contained in a lengthy pamphlet, of which Dr. Welsh, the Sector of Maynooth College, is the reputed author. This is a big pamphlet on a very small foundation. The Royal University has only been in partial operation for one year, and in full operation for another year, and has given 12 Scholarships during these two years; and of these, eight have been won by the diocesan and other Roman Catholic Colleges. I am very glad that so many have been won, and it is quite natural. They are regular schools, which systematically prepare for matriculation, and they ought to be successful. The Queen's Colleges only commence at matriculation, and do not prepare for it at all. Their purpose is to teach students who have matriculated. Students entering the Queen's Colleges for the purpose of study begin their connection with them by, and are not prepared by them for matriculation. Even were the Queen's Colleges preparatory schools, which they are not, the conclusions upon which this demand is now made are on a very narrow foundation. The Scholarships given by the Royal University have as yet been only 12 in number, and of this the diocesan and other schools won eight; but it is only as regards the last six that students from Queen's Colleges came into the field, and the candidates from all Ireland won only 20 in all, nine of these being for modern languages. It is absurd, from such a small number, to form any conclusion whatever, and still more absurd to base upon it the demand for the subversion of the Queen's Colleges. The test of the future success of the Colleges under the new University will not be honours in matriculation, for which they have no means of preparation, but the honours which they take in graduation. If they do not sustain their position on 1068 the roll of graduates, then will be the time for Irish Members to attack them. I observe, on looking at the Reports just issued of Belfast and Galway Colleges, that the results are full of promise. The Report for Cork I have not seen. Dr. Porter, speaking of Belfast in relation to the new University, says—From the tables it will be seen that our students are taking in the Royal University the same high place which they so long maintained in the Queen's University. Two obtained first-class honours for the degree of L.L.B.; four obtained first-class honours for B.A.; six at the second examination in Arts; three at the first examination in Arts; two at the second examination in Engineering; and three in Medicine. In addition to those first-class honours, 16 obtained honours of the second class.It would be difficult indeed to surpass such a record. At Galway, the President tells us that out of seven degrees of M.A., three passed with honours; out of 12 B.A.'s, six passed with honours. These are promising results, and the future will show whether they are sustained. Irishmen ought to be proud of the success of this Queen's College. They may not educate their students on the purely denominational system which the Roman Catholic Hierarchy prefer; but as mixed Colleges they are eminently successful. In Cork College, the Roman Catholic students already outnumber those of other denominations. For last year, to 181 Protestants, there were 221 Roman Catholics. In Galway, the Roman Catholics were 42 per cent; and even in Protestant Ulster, Belfast had 4 per cent of Roman Catholics. Do not let those who at heart desire higher education in, and the material prosperity of, Ireland damage these excellent Colleges. A mere Examining Board like the Royal University can never do the work of a teaching College. This University has started its career fairly and honourably; its Statutes are impartially framed; and its action has been wise and full of promise. But it cannot go beyond its function of being a mere Examining Board, and it must depend upon well-ordered Colleges for its ultimate success. There are, no doubt, many Roman Catholics who will not go to mixed Colleges. In myself and many others of this House, they have friends who wish to see them have colleges of their own persuasion; but, in their efforts to obtain these, do not alienate their supporters by trying to 1069 destroy the Queen's Colleges, which have done, and are doing, such excellent work. All of them, and more still, are required to promote the material prosperity of Ireland. Let us aim at construction, and not at destruction, in our efforts to promote the higher education of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, he would remind the Committee and the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Lyon Playfair) that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were in no way responsible for the present state of affairs. The O'Conor Don proposed, on behalf of the Catholics, that there should be a separate University; but that solution, which left the Queen's University and the Queen's Colleges absolutely intact, Parliament, in its wisdom, refused to adopt; instead of building up a separate University they threw open the Queen's University. Surely, it was not now for Parliament to turn on the Catholics of Ireland and say—"You want to destroy, and not to construct." Parliament refused to construct when the Catholics suggested they should. In 1879 the present Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Courtney), who had now to defend those endowments, said the Government ought not to put the University on a basis it would be impossible to maintain; they could not maintain the endowments of the Queen's Colleges. Hon. Members in various parts of the House had then pointed out that the Queen's Colleges could not be maintained in their present position. But the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. Parnell) made no attack upon the endowments of the Queen's Colleges; he simply attacked the prizes, the prizes which they now had to the exclusion of all others. Whether it was true or not that students had gone up to the Royal University, there failed, and then gone back to their own Colleges and taken prizes, there was still au inequality, and there would be an inequality so long as there were three Colleges in Ireland, which, besides being richly endowed, had at their disposal £4,800 a-year for prizes, while the whole prizes at the disposal of the Royal University only amounted to £1,800 a-year. To establish equality it was not necessary to take away the prizes; but they must be made available to all students of the University. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to Maynooth; but it stood on an entirely different footing. Maynooth 1070 had no prizes, but it had an endowment from the Church Funds. Why was it endowed at all in 1791? Simply as a kind of set-off against the ecclesiastical inequalities in Ireland. The whole of the Church endowments in Ireland were then in the hands of the minority, and a small endowment was made for the education of the priesthood of the majority. When the Church was disestablished and disendowed, out of the funds of the disendowed Church Maynooth was re-endowed, in the same way that the Protestant and Presbyterian Churches were re-endowed; not otherwise. The case of Maynooth, therefore, was not apposite to the present discussion. He hoped the hon. Member (Mr. Parnell) would press his Amendment to a Division.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, this question had occupied the attention of Parliament for three years, though it was only the fringe of the University Question. In the interest of Collegiate education the greater the competition the better, and that system must be a vicious one which was buttressed by a kind of monopoly in Exhibitions, Scholarships, and Prizes. In the one case there was a sort of walk over, while in the other case there was a substantial competition. What would be thought if the stewards of a race meeting had two sets of prizes, one set for general competition, and another for their own horses to run for? Would that not shock the sense of justice of the people of any country? As unfair a state of things in regard to higher education prevailed in Ireland. The students of the Queen's Colleges were not satisfied with the prizes of their Colleges, but must go to the Royal University to compete for the prizes there. He did not object to the Queen's College students winning prizes if they were able to do so; but he thought the prizes should be won in fair competition among all the students of the University, and that they ought to be more evenly divided between the different educational establishments. £4,800 a-year was given in prizes at the Queen's Colleges, and only £1,800 to the unendowed schools. What was the amount given in support of the Queen's Colleges? They got £21,000 a-year from the Consolidated Fund, they received another £16,000, and they got £3,000 a-year from the Board of Works for repairs and ornamentation—in all 1071 £40,000 a-year. And that for how many students? For about the same number of students who attended the unendowed schools, and the unendowed schools of the Royal University had only £20,000 a-year for all purposes. And out of the £20,000 the sum appropriated to Scholarships and Exhibitions was shared by the students in the Queen's Colleges. Such a state of affairs ought not to be tolerated longer. The right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Play-fair) boasted that 40 per cent of the students of Galway College were Roman Catholics; but what was the Roman Catholic population of Connaught? It was 95 per cent. Where did the 58 per cent of Protestants come from? From other parts of Ireland to win cheap prizes. Was that a fair system? Was it not fair that the students educated at their own expense should compete on the same terms with the students who were educated at the public expense? He contended that this inequality should be removed, because to say that competition in the matter of education should be different to any other competition was a thing which shocked reason and common sense.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair) had always something to say upon educational subjects which the House listened to with pleasure, and with the respect due to his authority. But they had not to go beyond the figures of the right hon. Gentleman to see that a great injustice was being committed in Ireland in the matter of the Queen's Colleges. There was the sum of £40,000 given for the purposes of mixed education in Ireland, which the Roman Catholics heartily disliked, as well as a large sum to Trinity College, which was only open in a certain sense to Roman Catholics. He would ask the Head of Her Majesty's Government if he believed that the Roman Catholics of Ireland would be satisfied as long as £40,000 a-year was given for mixed education, and only £4,000 a-year for Roman Catholic education? His right hon. Friend, who well knew the difficulties with which young men in Ireland had to contend with on the road of education, said—"You had better take the money as long as you can get it. Young men must go to these Colleges, even if they are Roman Catholics, 1072 if they want a start in life." However that might be, it was perfectly impossible that satisfaction could be expected from the present anomalous system; and he urged upon the Prime Minister the desirability of finding out some way by which equivalent endowments would be given to Roman Catholic Institutions. Their only plan to get redress in this matter was to attack these Queen's Colleges in Ireland, and continue attacking them until it was obtained. He was not disposed to push this question very far on the present occasion; but next year Her Majesty's Government must expect that the Vote would meet with a most determined opposition unless some efficient and satisfactory steps had been taken in the direction he had indicated. There was no wish to attack the College at Belfast; but they did intend, if possible, to have the Colleges at Cork and Belfast re-modelled. He concluded his remarks by assuring the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh that his able speech, although they had listened to it with great interest, was not sufficient to satisfy Irish Members that the Queen's Colleges, as at present constituted, were indispensable to the course of education in Ireland.
§ MR. DAWSON (LORD MAYOR of DUBLIN)
said, he was not an apologist for what was known as the Royal University; and, so far as that appellation was concerned, he regarded it as a misnomer. It was unnecessary to say that, in the opinion of the educated body of Irishmen, it did not fulfil the requirements of the people. The Institution in question had left the Irish people in this position—the Episcopalians, who were small in number, had Trinity College; the Presbyterians had Belfast; the Secularists had Cork and Galway; and the only body who were deprived of everything necessary for academic education and culture was the vast majority of the Irish people. He was surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair) say that the Queen's Colleges should not be judged by the number of matriculations at the Royal University, but by the number of the graduations which took place there. When the students who came to matriculate were first passed through the Queen's Colleges, surely the teaching of 1073 these Colleges was tested by the Royal University Matriculation Examination. They had been told that the Queen's Colleges had produced great results; but it was a curious fact that the first time they came into open competition, with the exception of Belfast, they did nothing at all. At the M.A. examination of the Royal University, of the eight successful candidates from the Queen's Colleges, none succeeded in taking first honours, and to only two were second honours awarded. In the first honour list, only one student from the Queen's Colleges won a place, and that was the last one; while the first, second, and third places were gained by Catholic students of the unendowed schools. Coming to the matriculation examination, he found that while the students from the Queen's Colleges obtained 23 honours and Exhibitions, the students from the unendowed schools won 56. On examination of the lists it would be found that the unendowed schools showed better results than the Queen's Colleges; and, therefore, he said that the reduction of this Vote was necessary, on the ground that the entrance to the Royal University ought to be made as attractive to students as that to the Queen's Colleges. There was, in his opinion, an unanswerable claim on the part of his hon. Friend to reduce the Vote, his object being to do away with the anomaly and injustice which had been shown to exist. His answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh was that the real need of the Catholics of Ireland was sufficiently-endowed Colleges to which they could go; and he would ask how often had the late Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) brought in Bills beseeching Parliament to do justice to the people of Ireland in that respect? The Queen's College Scholarships, which were not open to the students of the Royal University, were nothing else than consolation prizes for those who did not succeed at the University examinations. There was compensation in Cork, and Galway, and Belfast; so that the students of these Colleges, when they failed at the Royal University, could go to their own Colleges, and, without any competition at all, gain prizes. He trusted the Vote would be reduced by the amount moved by his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork.
§ MR. DALY
said, these Scholarships were originally instituted as a bribe to enable persons who had conscientious scruples to pass without danger to their conscientious principles. The Irish people said that, although the Scholarships might have been useful at the inception of the Queen's Colleges, they were now 37 years old, and the same state of things no longer existed. One feature in connection with the Motion of his hon. Friend was that, when it was said that the amount in question should be taken away from the Queen's Colleges, it was not meant that it should be taken away absolutey. If the College system of teaching was a good one, the grant would, so far as they were concerned, only be deferred; because the students would have the same chance of obtaining the prizes as the students from the unendowed Colleges, and if the teaching were superior they would still be secured to them, because the best men must win them. He considered the word "bulwark," as applied by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair); singularly infelicitous, because if they could not stand without State aid, after 37 years of existence, they had better go down. There could be no doubt that the students who were obliged to go to the Royal University were unfairly treated in this matter; and he contended that the present system of endowments of the Queen's Colleges, as a means of promoting the cause of higher education amongst the great body of the Irish people, would not bear five minutes' examination. The truth of this was so manifest that, although they might not be so fortunate as to alter the amount of the Vote in Committee, he was confident this question would have to be settled at no distant period. He considered that the demand of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) was based on the inimitable principle of justice that, where there was any public money to be competed for, all persons had an equal right to eon-tend for it; but it was nothing else than a system of nursing to continue this grant to the three Colleges in the manner in which it was applied at present, and he was satisfied that a few more experiences would put an end to it altogether.
said, this was necessarily only a fragmentary discussion. He regarded the condition of University Education in Ireland as so anomalous and unsatisfactory that the whole question would very soon have to be raised. It was recognized by the Act of 1879 that the Catholics of Ireland would not, under any circumstances, accept this system of education. There was not a single endowed College for Catholics—Trinity College was a Protestant Institution, and had a revenue of £75,000 from Irish money; and the only thing left for the Catholics was that they should take part in the tooth-and-nail scramble for prizes which took place every year at the Royal University, and which really absorbed the energies of both teachers and pupils. Like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh, he should be glad to level up instead of levelling down in this matter of education; and he would like to see in Ireland some great central institutions where competitive examinations could be carried on, and something like higher culture created amongst the people of the country. As long as the present system continued dissatisfaction would exist; because it was most unfair that, when the students of the Queen's Colleges broke down at the Royal University, they should be able to fall back upon another set of prizes. He protested against the continuance of the Votes, and he was sorry it was not earlier in the Session, so that Irish Members might have carried their objection to them to a greater length.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he thought it better not to enter into the discussion of the general question, because he did not think he represented the views of anyone but himself. But there was a point in connection with the salaries of the Professors at the Queen's Colleges which he wished to raise. He was himself an ex-Queen's College student; and for those institutions, as well as the learned Professors who assisted at them, and who had suffered greatly in a pecuniary sense by the institution of the Royal University, he wished to speak. Those learned men were certainly entitled to better treatment than they had met with, for it was perfectly well known that their duties had been discharged in a most satisfactory manner; but he had received letters from several of them 1076 which showed that in the case of three Professors their incomes had been reduced by one-half, or even more, owing to the effect of the University system on their class fees. The fact was that the Royal University system was the most stupid arrangement ever passed through Parliament by a set of sensible men trying to make their way through idiotic prejudices. When the Prime Minister was in Opposition he attempted, in a bold and statesmanlike way, to deal with the question of Irish Education; but the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General and several others grumbled and obstructed the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman; the consequence was the establishment of the Royal University, by which the unfortunate Professors he had alluded to were deprived of a great part of their incomes, and a state of things was originated which was prejudicial to the interest of education in Ireland. The whole question of education would have to be opened up and settled upon a rational basis; and as to future legislation on the subject, he thought that would be made easier by the enormous advance of English opinion, which would clear away bigotry.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the hon. Member for Galway, who was certainly at this moment both physically and mentally better able than he was to make a brilliant speech, had told the Committee, rather to their relief, that he had spared them; but, to his disappointment, the hon. Member sat down rather prematurely. But after the hon. Member's forbearance he should certainly not detain the Committee at this hour more than to announce the intentions of the Government. The case for the Queen's Colleges was completely stated, and some hon. Members thought it had been overstated by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Lyon Playfair), and he was willing to adopt the right hon. Gentleman as an advocate of the cause. The hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan) made one or two remarks to which he must take exception. He had several times described the Vote for the Queen's Colleges as £40,000 a-year; but he counted in that the £26,000, which was composed of £21,000 from the Consolidated Fund, and £5,000 taken in the Estimates, and he included also a sum which, no doubt, was correctly stated, 1077 from the Office of Works, he presumed, and also a sum of about £10,000 a-year, which was equivalent to the students' fees. In the last item the Government could not agree. In speaking of the endowment of the Colleges, he was willing to place that at £30,000, and the question was whether that was too much. If it was not too much for the purpose for which it was allotted, then they would be adopting a course to which great exception could be taken if they cut away from that already not superfluous sum an amount to be devoted to any other purpose. It was not enough to say that the Royal University was not sufficiently endowed, unless, at the same time, it was said that the Colleges were over-endowed. The hon. Member for the City of Cork proposed to deduct a certain sum from the Vote—namely, £4,800; but the hon. Member was, no doubt, aware that that was not the Prize Fund of the Colleges. The Prize Fund was derived from the £21,000 per annum which was charged on the Consolidated Fund; but, considering that some small portion of the savings on the ordinary expenses of the Colleges went annually to the Prize Fund, it was, perhaps, not an excessive calculation to put that at about £4,800, although, as a matter of fact, it was not so much as that. He believed it rarely exceeded £1,180. Was that excessive? There were 350 undergraduates, and the £1,180, divided among them, gave £3 each in Prizes, Exhibitions, &c. At Belfast there were 500 undergraduates, and they really got only a little over £2 a-head. If young men, on leaving school and going to Oxford or Cambridge, were told that the prizes amounted to £2 or £3 per head, they would say the conditions of higher education in England were certainly different from those they had been brought to look forward to. Even at Galway the Prizes and Exhibitions did not amount to more than £6 a-head. He believed that at Oxford not less than £80,000 a-year was given in Prizes, Exhibitions, and Scholarships; and it must be remembered that over and above that there were at Oxford and Cambridge Fellowships which were much more easily obtainable than at the Queen's Colleges, so that, in reality, a successful student had much more to look forward to. Supposing there were 2,000 students at Oxford, the £80,000 1078 would give £40 a-head, as against £2 or £3 a-head at the Queen's Colleges.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, there were very few Scholarships at Oxford, and these would be almost entirely College prizes. The students at the Queen's Colleges might be set down at 800 in number; but the endowments only amounted to £30,000 a-year. The most successful College—at any rate, patriotism would lead him to call it so, taking the whole history of the Colleges at Cambridge—was Trinity College, where there were 500 students, and where the endowment, he believed, was not much less than £40,000 a-year; and bethought it would be allowed that Trinity College did not suffer from the evils of over-endowment, or any of the corruptions which might be supposed to result there from. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) said these were not the Colleges of the people of Ireland. To that observation, in one sense, he must take exception. It was very much to the credit of the people of Ireland that they had such a very large amount of high instruction; but at the two English Universities there were about 5,000 students in a population of 25,000,000, while, setting aside the Royal University, there were in Ireland in this single set of Colleges 800 students in a population of 5,000,000. He could not see that Colleges containing that number of students could, in any sense, be called not the Colleges of the people of Ireland. The hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan) used a simile which he found it difficult to accept in regard to educational questions. He talked of the "walk over" of All Saints, and of one College being handicapped as against another. If he might be allowed to say so, he would say it was this fallacy that underlay the whole of the defects. Hon. Members were naturally pained at finding that large Colleges attached to the Royal University, in which they took great interest, were not so well endowed as Colleges that fulfilled the real functions of Colleges ought to be; and, therefore, they endeavoured to find a comparison between them and other Colleges, and they desired to take away some of the emoluments and endowments. In that he 1079 thought they made a great mistake. When anything worked fairly well it was better not to pull it about, but to let it go on working. By adopting the recommendation of the hon. Member for the City of Cork they would injure, and cruelly injure, the Queen's Colleges, because the prizes and Scholarships were as much a part of the life of a College as the rooms in which the young men met. They were part of the life which bound them together in intellectual intercourse, which was by far the most valuable element in College life—far more valuable than the lectures, books, and examinations. It was the effect which young men who, with all the ardour of opposing intelligence, produced upon each other, which could only be secured by living together in some one institution, that formed one of the most valuable parts of University life. No doubt hon. Members recognized that, and they said they would like to extend these advantages to other Colleges than the Queen's Colleges. He should be very glad to see these advantages extended; but he could not admit that that should be done at the expense of Colleges which had done very good work in Ireland. Such a step could be in no sense to the public interest of Ireland or the interest of the country at large.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he had expected to hear the right hon. Gentleman wind up by saying that, while he could not take away a single penny from the Queen's Colleges, yet, so greatly did he recognize the benefit of their Halls and Colleges and University of Ireland, that the Government intended to propose a handsome Vote for the Royal University. But the right hon. Gentleman had sat down without saying anything of the kind; and while he maintained that this sum was necessary for prizes for the Queen's Colleges, he seemed to be in the dark as to there being the same interest in the other institutions. He had managed to get through his speech without saying a single word in reference to the fact that there were barriers which shut out the bulk of the people from these Colleges. They might, in his view, have been artificially imposed or not; but hon. Members must recollect the prejudices of the people of the country, and the country and its conditions. The people of Ireland were shut out from the Queen's Colleges to a 1080 large extent, because their religious superiors had ordained that it was not desirable that they should receive instruction at these Colleges. The Government wanted to drive the people in the teeth of what they considered absolutely impossible for them, when their religious superiors desired that they should not enter these Colleges. He did not grudge the Colleges all the money proposed for them, provided the Government gave the other institutions a fit sum; and he was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman had given no sign in that direction. It was proposed the other day to sink £8,000,000 in the sands of Egypt, and here Ireland could not get £100,000 for Colleges to which the bulk of the people could resort. They had money scattered broadcast on institutions which they did not require, and which they protested against; but the Government insisted upon cramming them down their throats, and would not give them a few thousand pounds for the University. This was not statesmanship. Had the right hon. Gentleman such a dreadful terror of the Secretary to the Treasury that he could not say that in a few months he would propose an enlargement of the Vote, so that the Royal University should get some of it? This Treasury bugbear was always being flung at them. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to an enlargement of the University Vote.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 23; Noes 72: Majority 49.—(Div. List, No. 297.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (15.) £1,200, to complete the sum necessary for the Royal Irish Academy.
§ MR. HEALY
said, an important question had lately been decided with respect to certain manuscripts; but he should like to hear some defence of what had been done. He could not see what was the use of sending Irish manuscripts to London, where people did not understand them. There were plenty of people who could read Mr. Shapira's manuscripts; but he did not hear of any of these scholars wanting to have these manuscripts, while there were a larger number of gentlemen in Ireland who were interested in them, and they complained very strongly of what had been done. 1081 Sir Samuel Ferguson was President of the Royal Academy, and was Keeper of the Records in Dublin, and in that position he did not think he was strictly impartial. He did not see why they should not have these manuscripts in Dublin, where they would be more studied than in the British Museum.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, the Stowe Collection consisted of a great variety of manuscripts, of which a certain number were Irish, and would go to Dublin.
§ Vote agreed to.