§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY,
in moving for a Return from each of the three Queen's Colleges (Ireland), showing: —
- "I. (1) The number of Matriculated Students of the Royal University now reading in the College the course for the First University Examination in Arts, specifying how many of these Students are also reading the course for the First University Examination in Medicine;
- (2) The number of Matriculated Students of the Royal University who have passed the First University Examination, and are now reading in the College the course for the Second University Examination in Arts;
- (3) The number of Matriculated Students of the Royal University who have passed the Second University Examination, and are now reading in the College the course for the B.A. Examination;
- (4). The number of Matriculated Students of the Royal University who have passed the B.A. Examination, and are now reading in the College tie course for the M.A. Examination;
- "II. (1) The names of the Students now in the College who have gained a Scholarship of the Royal University;
- (2) The names of all the Students now reading in the College the First, Second, or Third Year's Course in Arts, who have gained Exhibitions of the Royal University; specifying, in the case of each Student, how many Exhibitions he gained, what each Exhibition was worth, and at what Examination it was awarded;
- (3) The names of all the Students now reading in the College the First, Second, or Third Year's Course in Arts who have gained Scholarships or Exhibitions of the College; specifying, in each case, the duration of such Scholarship or Exhibition, the date at which it was awarded, its value in money, and the value of the Fees remitted to the Student holding it; stating also, in each case, whether or not the Student who gained the Scholarship or Exhibition was a Matriculated Student of the Royal University;
- "III. The number of Students who entered the College in the Academical years 1882–3 and 1883–4 respectively; stating how many of these Students, in each
595 year, passed the Matriculation Examination of the Royal University, and how many are not Matriculated Students of any University;
said, he would not go into the details of this Return; but it was most important that it should be granted, in order to show that public money was being wasted. Prizes were given away in a most reckless fashion, while the best teaching and the real honours were obtained outside these Colleges. The Chief Secretary knew perfectly well the meaning of this Return; but while not saying that the Return was unreasonable, he said all the information it could give would be brought out before the Commission which he proposed to grant. It was most important that the House should know, on authentic evidence, which were the grievances complained of, so that they might understand how they could be remedied. Unless this authentic information was given they could not tell what the grievances were, nor could they understand another reason there was for placing this Motion on the Paper. No one knew whether there was to be a Commission of men actually impartial, or whether further inquiry into the whole question would yield further evidence. Whether he pressed for this Return or not depended upon whether the Chief Secretary answered his question as to what sort of a Commission it was that he intended to give, and as to whether he would put upon it some person who would represent the views of the Catholic clergy and those of 596 his hon. Friends around him. They were entitled to have such a Representative on the Commission; but he would now content himself with making his Motion.
- "IV. (1) The number of Students who competed, in the Academical year 1883–4, for the five Entrance Scholarships in Classics, worth £24 each, and the number of such Scholarships awarded;
- (2) The number of Students who competed, in the Academical year 1883–4, for the five Entrance Scholarships in Science, worth £24 each, and the number of such Scholarships awarded;
- (3) The number of Students who competed, in the Academical year 1883–4, for the five Scholarships of the second year in Classics, worth £48 each, and the number of such Scholarships awarded;
- (4) The number of Students who competed, in the Academical year 1883–4, for the five Scholarships of the second year, in Science, worth £48 each, and the number of such Scholarships awarded;
- (5) The number of Students who competed, in the Academical year 1883–4, for the Seven Senior Scholarships, worth £40each, and the number of such Scholarships awarded,"
§ MR. SEXTON
wished to urge upon the Chief Secretary the reasonableness of this Motion. The Irish Bishops, as heads of a body directly interested in this matter, because of the exclusion of Roman Catholic students from their fair share of prizes, met recently and passed a Resolution outlining the Catholic claims, and that Resolution attracted public attention to the subject. He thought his hon. Friend had no option but to make this appeal to-night, because the right hon. Gentleman had stated that the Commission might possibly be appointed to-morrow. Therefore, there could be no delay allowed. It was essential that there should be an Irish Member on the Commission; and if the right hon. Gentleman would state that there would be such a Representative of the Irish Bishops and the Irish public the work would be more than half done.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
trusted that hon. Members who were interested in this question realized the full gravity of the step the Government had taken in consenting to the appointment of a Royal Commission. With regard to the remarks of hon. Members as to the continued anxiety to obtain this Return, he could not help thinking that they underrated altogether the importance of the stop the Government had taken. He would not say that that step would not have been taken but for Parliamentary pressure; but the step would not have been taken if the Government had not been satisfied that there were serious grounds for inquiry of the nature which he had several times indicated, and to which this Return referred. That step was taken at a time when the authorities of the Queen's Colleges were, undoubtedly, having their time largely taken up by responding to demands for Returns, and by sending answers to Questions put in this House. Those Returns and answers were assuming a volume, which amounted to something very like a Parliamentary inquisition into their condition. The Government were of opinion that it was necessary to choose between this Parliamentary inquisition, which might, in the long run, become somewhat costly and voluminous, and have the business done by a body of gentlemen whom they 597 could thoroughly trust. They had taken their decision; and he must say he could not see his way to departing from that decision. If, when the names of the Commissioners were announced, hon. Members felt no confidence in the proposed Commission they would then obviously continue their inquiry; and the knowledge of that had, of course, influenced the Government in the selection of the Commissioners. With regard to that selection, the first object of the Government was to get men who were thoroughly acquainted with education in Ireland; and their next object was to get a Commission which should have upon it some men who were primarily interested in the matter. If the Queen's Colleges could stand the test of an examination by men who were accustomed at their Universities to see that the greatest amount of educational work was done for the least amount of money, they would stand any test they would be required to stand. The one method of obtaining rigid and thorough workmen on the Commission was to have a small number, and it was proposed to appoint three. Another point was that the Commission should set to work at once. The Government were perfectly aware that it was necessary to have on the Commission some person who would represent those people in Ireland who imagined that the education funds of the country were not at present properly administered. He had had placed before him the names of several gentlemen of high University distinction who would be very proper persons to serve on this Commission; and, as a Member of the House of Commons, he was proud to find that several of those gentlemen were in the House; but he felt that it would be a distinct disadvantage to select English Members, and for that reason he had set aside two hon. Friends of his own, who were second to none as connected with the practical work of University education. The gentlemen whom he had asked to represent English University education had been specially selected as not belonging to the House of Commons, and on that ground alone he had not asked any Member of the Irish Party to sit on the Commission. If any Member of the House of Commons did sit on the Commission eventually, which he hoped would not be the case, he would then communicate with Irish 598 Members as to whom from among them, the Government would be willing to accept. With regard to a Member of the Commission who might be supposed to represent the views of the Prelates and educationalists who had been referred to, the Government thought they could get such a man. That was the Commissioner whom they were most anxious about; and, under the circumstances, while he should be very sorry to ask the House to negative the Motion for these Returns, he trusted the hon. Member would postpone the Resolution, say for a fortnight. If the hon. Member did that, he could not see that he would be in any degree in a worse position than he was now; whilst, on the other hand, it was quite certain that during the interval the Government, would get the names of all the Members of the Commission. He hoped that by to-morrow, or Tuesday, he should have the acceptance of a gentleman who had been asked to serve as representing a very influential body.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, that he was with his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) on this subject of University education; hut he would ask him to accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. He was certain that the right hon. Gentleman would make such a selection as would be acceptable to the people of Ireland. Suitable ecclesiastics, who were not Bishops, could be obtained; and, on the whole, he thought that the hon. Member for Longford would best serve the interests he had at heart if he would allow the matter to stand over for a fortnight.
said, the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant had to leave the matter in suspense. The right hon. Gentleman seemed perfectly to realize the fact that the entire usefulness of the Commission would depend on its commanding the confidence of the Irish people; and while he (Mr. O'Brien) was sorry to say that the right hon. Gentleman's statement did not indicate a desire to procure anything like a full or preponderating representation of Irish opinion upon the Commission, still he thought it was desirable, in view of the passing promise given them, that the body appointed should be such as to secure the confidence of the people of Ireland, that they should, for a time, at 599 all events, suspend their judgment on the matter. With the leave of the hon. Member for Longford, therefore, he would move that the debate be now adjourned.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. O'Brien,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned till Thursday next.