HC Deb 14 March 1884 vol 285 cc1589-632

, who had given Notice that he would call attention to the present position of Aberystwith College; and to move— That the College of Aberystwith having, notwithstanding the Report of the Departmental Committee, been left out of the scheme for higher education in Wales, this House is of opinion that the injury to the cause of education in the Principality, and discouragement to a great portion of the Welsh people, will result, unless measures are taken to place that College, in respect of State recognition and support, on an equal footing with the Colleges at Cardiff and Bangor, said: Mr. Speaker, my first desire, and indeed my first duty, in regard to the Motion standing in my name, is to express the gratitude which, in common, I believe, with every one of the Welsh Members, I bear to Her Majesty's Government for the action they have taken in the promotion of the cause of education in the Principality. We do not forget the significant utterance of the Prime Minister on the last occasion when the subject of higher education in Wales was under discussion in this House. It was during the debate so happily brought about in the last Parliament by the hon. Baronet the Member for Glamorganshire (Sir Hussey Vivian), and so unhappily fruitless at the time. The right hon. Gentleman then stated that for two centuries past nothing Welsh had received any consideration at the hands of Parliament. That is no longer true. Welsh affairs are now become matters of interest to Her Majesty's Government, and may be brought under the notice of this House with every chance of a fair and a kindly hearing. One of the earliest acts of the present Administration was the appointment of a Departmental Committee to examine and report upon the whole subject of education. Not only is Wales indebted to the Government for the appointment of that Committee—it is even more deeply indebted to the Committee itself. Never was an inquiry more thorough and exhaustive, and I doubt whether it would be possible for any country to show an Educational Report more admirable and complete. Again, Sir, the Principality is also deeply indebted to my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education (Mr. Mundella) for the generous alacrity and sympathy with which he threw himself into the work of giving prompt effect to every recommendation of the Committee to which effect could be given without previous legislation, and in particular for securing to Wales at once the handsome grant of £8,000 a-year in aid of higher education. I do not stand here, Sir, to air any grievance, or to make any complaint. If anything I may say seems to bear that complexion, it is the fault of my expression, and certainly not of my intention. My case is simply this: that the University College at Aberystwith, as a result of the kind intentions of the Government and the operation of their scheme for higher education, somehow or other has fallen through; and my hope is that I may be able to present sufficient reasons to the Government and to this House to induce the Government to amplify their scheme to such an extent as to enable Aberystwith College to maintain its existence and success. That Institution, Sir, has an almost touching history. From time immemorial the Welsh people have been devoted to learning. I do not know that that devotion has ever been signalized in a manner more remarkable and pathetic than when by long, by strenuous, and unassisted efforts, the people established for themselves the College at Aberystwith. Sir, the College might almost be said to have been built with the pence of the poor. It was the noble work of a noble Welshman and a valued public servant now gone from us: and for ten years it has done its work in a field which, if not the most fertile that might have been chosen for it, was, at any rate, the field that seemed the most suitable and the fairest for the then single University College of Wales. Sir, there is abundant evidence to show the peculiar and enduring affection of Wales for the Aberystwith College. It was founded in the year 1872, and by the year 1875 so much was the national sentiment centred upon it that no less than 256 public Bodies—that is, Town Councils, Local Boards, and so forth, representing, it is computed, more than two-thirds of the population of Wales, memorialized the then Government in its behalf, and yet without effect. The debate, to which I have already alluded, in 1879, though wisely directed to larger issues, turned very much upon the claims and destinies of Aberystwith. Almost every person entitled to speak for Wales in that discussion pleaded the cause of Aberystwith, yet still without result. Accordingly the case of the College was fully considered by the Departmental Committee. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? But for the College, the Committee would probably never have come into being. The President of the College was the President of the Com- mittee; and one of the Members of the Committee, whose presence on it gave the greatest satisfaction to Wales, was my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard), who was one of the first friends of the College, and who has made for himself an almost patriarchal position amongst his countrymen. It is needless to say that the Departmental Committee not only considered the claims, but took care to protect the interests of Aberystwith College. In their Report on the higher education branch of the question, they approved the principle of Provincial Colleges such as Aberystwith, for they saw the necessity in Wales of bringing the teacher to the pupil. They recommended that a second one should be established, and that it should be placed in Glamorganshire, where a highly concentrated population afforded the best scope for it. And this they called the College for South Wales. They went on to declare that the College at Aberystwith, whether retained on its present site or removed to Carnarvon or Bangor, must be accepted as the College for North Wales. And they advised that £4,000 a-year should be given to each College. To all these recommendations my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council on Education proceeded to give immediate effect. The question of the site for the College of South Wales was happily settled, and the £4,000 a-year duly granted. The choice also of site for the North Wales College was determined. But what then happened? An entirely new Institution was created there, to which the other £4,000 a-year was promised in due course; and thus Aberystwith College, which has enjoyed the £4,000 a-year in the meanwhile, must now lose it, and will apparently be left out in the cold. Sir, the result of this misadventure has been a spontaneous movement from end to end of Wales, and a warm awakening of the unfailing attachment of Wales to the national and popular Institution. Within the short space of time since the danger was realized I have record of no less than 133 public meetings, at which resolutions have been unanimously passed, calling upon the Government for aid and recognition for Aberystwith. At least 100 public Bodies have passed similar resolutions, and petitions are coming in with increasing volume. Among those that I have myself presented is one signed by over 1,000 workmen of Festiniog, always found true to the cause of education in every part of Wales. Sir, I can assure the House that these Resolutions and Petitions and Memorials might easily have been multiplied to almost any extent; but I would ask leave to observe that when the honour was done me of being asked to move Parliament in the interest of Aberystwith, I made it a point to take no part whatever in relation to any of these meetings or Memorials, lest I should give them the least appearance of a factitious character. No doubt, a little more lapse of time would have led to the strengthening of my hands here, and even fuller evidence of the opinion of Wales on this matter. But the House is well aware of the exigencies under which any private Member labours in bringing questions before Parliament, and I took the day I could obtain, not that which I myself might have chosen. Sir, I can see now that we are all in somewhat of a dilemma. The Government has provided a liberal grant, but it has expended it. The Committee provided for the retention of Aberystwith University, but it has somehow been displaced. Thus there is no money available; and the appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for more must be made under peculiar difficulties. Sir, no wonder that in these circumstances excellent arguments are to be found for doing nothing. I hope the House will bear with me while I touch briefly upon some of them, seeing that the Rules of Debate give me no opportunity of reply. It is said, Sir, that this is somewhat of a sectarian movement. I am not about to enter upon the thorny ground of local sectarian feeling; but, speaking generally, I will confess the surprise and regret with which I hear Englishmen sometimes assume that because Wales is Nonconformist she must be, therefore, what is called sectarian. Why, Sir, to take a broad illustration which will come home to this House. In Wales the Nonconformists are to the Churchmen in the ratio of four or five to one. [Au hon. MEMBER: Ten to one.] [Mr. DILLWYN: Twelve to one.] But, nevertheless, Wales sends to this House her Representatives whose creeds are in an almost inverse ratio. Compare this with the action of England and Scotland. The Roman Catholic population of Great Britain is larger than the whole population of Wales. Judging by mere numbers, it has a right to some 25 Members in this House. Nevertheless, neither England nor Scotland returns a single Roman Catholic Member to this House. [Several hon. MEMBERS: Yes; one.] No, indeed, that is left to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Another argument is that if you assist Aberystwith in this matter you will be doing an injury to Bangor. Sir, I am satisfied that this is an argument which has not been used and will not be used in this House by any real friend of Bangor. I say that there is no jealousy between Bangor and Aberystwith. It is not difficult to find evidence to support this assertion. In the first place, you have the fact that many gentlemen are common to the Governing Bodies of both Colleges, and to the satisfaction of each. In the next place, I may appeal to a remarkable and most able document forming the Memorial of the Council of Aberystwith College to the Prime Minister, and just submitted to him. That Memorial conveys a striking statement of the case for Aberystwith; and its prayer, if not in terms, is in effect in harmony with my Motion. Well, Sir, 10 out of the 12 Members for North Wales have endorsed their approval upon that Memorial; and if they do not represent the opinion of North Wales, I do not know who is to do so. In the face of such evidence it would be impossible to urge, in this House at least, for a moment that North Wales has any anxiety in behalf of Bangor, or any desire that Aberystwith should suffer in the supposed interests of Bangor. A third argument that has been used against Aberystwith is that two Colleges are sufficient for Wales. It is difficult to deal with an argument of this kind, because it is founded on opinion only, and opinion which is necessarily arbitrary. Of course, its force depends upon the source of the opinion and the experience or knowledge on which it is founded. I give no opinion; but I may observe that opinions on this point of apparently equal authority are conflicting. Some say one College would be better than two, others insist on a third College for Mid Wales; and, again, others think Wales is not ripe for Colleges at all, and that we ought to turn our whole attention to intermediate education. Sir, where opinion at the best is arbitrary, and is, in fact, conflicting, it would be strange if Wales was, on the strength of it alone, to consent to the extinction of valuable and honoured existing and working appliances. It is true that the Report of the Committee may be cited in support of this opinion; but I urge that the Committee's Report, while recommending Provincial Colleges, and for the present two only, contemplated expressly the utilization of Aberystwith, and I infer from that Report that bad the case been presented to them which has in effect occurred, of Aberystwith College being in danger of falling through, the Committee would have saved Aberystwith even as a third College for Wales. And if so at the date of their Report, still more so now, when the decision of the eight Theological Colleges to send their students to the new Colleges for their Arts courses is likely to largely reinforce those Colleges, when we are three years nearer to an Intermediate Education Bill, and when the movement in favour of higher education has, through the generous action of the Government, on their recommendations, been stimulated beyond all expectation. The last argument for doing nothing which I will notice, Sir, is this—that a present demand for more money would injure our prospects of obtaining an adequate grant for intermediate education. I never hear an argument of this kind without regret. Why are we to mix up what is to follow with what we have got in hand? It is a blind business to try to make a better bargain for the future by giving up something in the present. The cases of higher and intermediate education must obviously stand and be treated each upon its own merits, and in any case we have the interests of an existing institution to consider, which you are asking us to suffer to die in the interests of an unborn one. Sir, such an argument is a kind of scarecrow argument by which Wales will refuse to be frightened from the corn; and if it be used as a threat, Wales will be tempted to rejoin that she remembers how and whence Ireland obtained £1,000,000 for intermediate education, and that she, too, can look to a Church Fund Surplus for such purposes. Sir, it is evident that something must be done for Aberystwith, and it seems to me that the only course left open is to place the College upon an equality with the other Colleges in respect of State recognition and aid. What else can you do? Some say you should transform it—that is, devote it to the education of women. It is true that the educational destitution of Wales is as grave in respect of women as of men, and I trust that Aberystwith may in time have grafted upon it ancillary appliances for the education of women. But it is as a men's College that we have to deal with it now, and I am sure that Wales will not hear of its total transformation. After all, the men are the breadwinners, and must have the prior consideration. Another course proposed is to transfer Aberystwith—that is, I presume, to Bangor. But it is obviously too late to take that step. Such a course would not mean a combination of the two Colleges, and a migration of the Institution would mean simply the liquidation of Aberystwith, its extinction as an Institution, and the handing over to Bangor of the balance of the material assets. The only course open to the Government is then to endow Aberystwith—even though that means to increase the grant of £8,000. Now, Sir, I am not about to cavil at that amount, or to question how far it is in precise proportion to those which Scotland and Ireland enjoy, beyond saying this—that obviously it is not up to the just proportion, taking population alone into account. I prefer to urge that Wales is entitled, at the hands of this House and of Great Britain, to special favour and indulgence in this matter. In the first place, Wales is a poor country, and I presume that the only principle on which a grant for higher education can be made out of public funds is based upon the advantage to the nation of helping a poor country to help itself. If you take the Income Tax Returns of Parliamentary Boroughs in England and in Wales, you will find that the middle classes of England are, by their own showing, nearly twice as well off as those in Wales. The Returns show an average of £24 a-head in England as against £13 a-head in Wales. Poor as Wales is in many or most parts by the dispensation of Providence, she is made poorer by the act—I might say the spoliation—of England. Her total endowments are, as compared with those of England, but one to five. The average endowments of an English county are £55,575 a-year, and of a Welsh county not £1,700. Per head of population the endowment comes to 1s. 9½d. in England and 4¼d. in Wales. In educational endowment the contrast is almost as great. It is 6¼d. per head in England and scarcely over 2d. in Wales. As an Oxford Graduate, I am ashamed to reflect that the Colleges of Christ Church, All Souls, and University, which do nothing special for Wales, draw from the county which I have the honour to represent (Montgomeryshire) no less than £4,000 a-year; while that county, with 67,000 people, has but one Grammar School endowed with £120 a-year, and some 30 boys, and a total educational endowment, much frittered away, of only £750. Being thus denuded in favour of England of her endowments, Wales suffers further from exceptional burdens. One of these is her language, which, to say the least of it, she is entitled to retain; but which everyone will admit is and must be a heavy additional educational tax upon her. Again, she has to support her own religion, and without speaking of the vast sums she has expended in the creation of a vast religious machinery, she has the annually-recurring necessity to raise from her middle and poorer classes from £300,000 to £400,000 a-year for the maintenance of religious ministrations. Undoubtedly, these are burdens of which Wales does not complain. She bears them cheerfully and with pride, and would not have them taken from her. But they unquestionably limit her capacity to provide for other national needs, and increase her claim upon the State. Sir Hugh Owen once said that the average reward of talent and learning in Wales, whether in the pulpit or at the desk, did not exceed £200 a-year, and it certainly cannot be said that in Wales a career is open to talent. Take the service of the country, whether naval and military, or civil, into consideration; they are entered only by competitive examination early in life, and with educational tests. It is plain that Wales has an equal claim to this, perhaps the largestopening to merit which the country affords. Yet is it not clear that she is heavily handicapped in the race? But, Sir, I must come to closer and more practical issues, and upon practical grounds I urge the retention of Aberyst- with. It may not have attracted in the past a great body of students, and it has not the population necessary to furnish night students in any number; but at least it has supplied the wants of the neighbourhood in a great degree, and done excellent work there. Three-fourths of the 459 students who have already passed through it have come from Mid Wales—one-sixth only from the farther North Wales. So local, so clannish are as yet the habits of the Welsh people, so difficult are they to move about, that it is safe to assert that should you deprive Mid Wales of Aberystwith you will put back for a full generation the higher education of at hast three counties. But, Sir, there is a sentimental argument on which I am not afraid to rest. Sentiment in this matter is neither to be slighted nor disregarded. The present enthusiasm of the Welsh for education is the animating spirit necessary to give life to any Government action. You may provide the most perfect appliances and machinery, but without the life and breath of that enthusiasm they will prove barren and dead. Of that enthusiasm Aberystwith College was the first-fruits. It is, indeed, for all Wales its living expression and embodiment. To extinguish Aberystwith could not quench it, but would certainly chill it; and it is upon this ground in particular that I bespeak the favourable consideration of the House and the Government for the Resolution, which I will now read.


Sir, in supporting the appeal made to Her Majesty's Government on behalf of Aberystwith College, I also would bear testimony to the gratitude of the people of Wales to Her Majesty's Government, and especially to the Vice President of the Council on Education, for what they have done in respect of education in the Principality. And it is precisely because they appreciate that action of Her Majesty's Government that the people of Wales now make a special appeal on behalf of Aberystwith College. I think it will be admitted that my hon. Friend has stated the case on its behalf both temperately and forcibly; and I do not believe I could add anything to the presentment which he has made of it. I will turn, therefore, to the objections which may be urged against this Resolution. Now, Sir, there are two main objections which may be advanced against it. First, that inasmuch as the Government has already made a liberal contribution in aid of higher education in Wales, they can hardly be expected to give more. Secondly, that the establishment of a third College, so far from aiding, might be injurious to higher education, because experience might show that there would be a sufficient supply of students for two Colleges, but not for three and that, in consequence, all three would suffer. I will take, first, the question of an increased grant. Sir, we all know it is a matter of difficulty, and properly so, to obtain money from the Treasury. It is, of course, the duty of the Government to be vigilant guardians of the public purse; but if an appeal may ever be made for a liberal, and even a generous consideration of an educational question, I hope I am not too sanguine in thinking it may be made for a portion of the country which is very poor, which has made most honourable exertions to help itself, and which, above all, has long been neglected in the matter of higher education. I need not repeat what has been said by my hon. Friend with regard to the sum of £71,000 and odd pounds, which, exclusive of the Government grant of £3,000, was the amount raised in Wales for Aberystwith College up to June, 1883, and the greater part of which was drawn from persons in the middle and humbler classes. That shows, at least, that Wales was in earnest in its desire for greater educational advantages. I would ask the House to bear in mind what has been done for Scotland and Ireland. Scotland, with a population not three times greater than Wales, receives for its Universities annually £18,992, and the Scottish Universities Bill proposes to raise that amount to £40,000. The Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh have received between them for building purposes £220,000. Ireland, with a population not quite four times greater, receives for its Colleges £22,783 annually. In addition to this the House will remember that £1,000,000 was appropriated out of the Irish Church Fund for intermediate education; and though, of course, this is not directly applied in aid of the Colleges, yet by fostering the intermediate schools it must largely help to produce the class of students they desire. And there is another considera- tion that deserves to be borne in mind in endeavouring to provide for the educational requirements of Wales—namely, the relative deficiency of its endowments as compared with England. Upon this point I would only quote these very few words from the Report of the Departmental Committee— The educational endowments of Wales to those of England relatively to the population has been stated to us in evidence to he 1 to 3, and this appears to be an approximately correct estimate. Without dwelling longer on this point, I venture to submit that Wales has some claim for further consideration from Her Majesty's Government. The other objection to which I have referred—that a third College might be injurious to the cause of higher education, because it might not attract sufficient students to justify its own existence, and yet draw enough from the other two to prejudice their success, is, I admit, one of much force if it can be sustained. But I think it can be shown that we need not fear this result. As regards Cardiff, I believe no one doubts of its success. It has, at this moment, 150 students; and the large population of Glamorganshire, amounting to over 500,000, might alone furnish a considerable supply. As regards Bangor—speaking as a member of its Council—we have good hope that our numbers will be sufficient; and I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvonshire (Mr. Rathbone) can have no doubt that the men of his county, who have so warmly and liberally supported the College, will not fail to avail themselves of it to the utmost of their power. But we have some figures to guide us upon this point. The number of students from the various counties in Wales since the opening of the Aberystwith College, in October, 1872, up to Lent term, 1884, shows a total of 459. Of these Northern Wales—that is, Anglesea, Carnarvon, Denbigh, and Flint—have supplied 70; Glamorgan and Monmouth, 44; England, 49; but Central Wales—that is, the counties from which Aberystwith is more easily reached—have sent no less than 296, and of these 183 have come from Cardiganshire alone. Now, Sir, it must be remembered that the population of Cardiganshire and the adjoining counties is the poorest in Wales; the figures show that these populations are most eager for education, and yet if Aberystwith is to be extinguished it is more than probable that a very large proportion of these poor and remote districts will remain outside the benefits which these now Colleges are intended to confer. I think, Sir, we may fairly conclude from the experience of the past that whilst Cardiff and Bangor will each draw their supply from those districts which lie most convenient to them, there will still remain an ample field for the usefulness of Aberystwith. And lot me remind the House that, in judging of the degree of success that Aberystwith has had in the past, it is only fair to bear in mind that the College has laboured under the two great disadvantages of poverty and uncertainty as to its future; but give it the stability which will come from Government recognition, and the assistance of a Government grant, and I think we might confidently hope that it would take a very different position. The Memorial to the Prime Minister states that in— The three years which elapsed between 1879 and 1882 it was only possible to set aside an average sum of £160 a-year for distribution in scholarships and prizes among a set of students as poor as any in the United Kingdom. And to this there should be added that some portion of the income and assets of the College are conditional on its being retained at Aberystwith and attracting a certain Government grant. The hon. Member for the Cardigan Boroughs (Mr. D. Davies) has, on such conditions, offered £4,000 to the College, and £500 yearly for the next six years, if Government should give a competent grant; and his generous example will, no doubt, induce others to follow in his footsteps when they see that Aberystwith has the likelihood of a permanent position. Let me remind the House that the certainty of a Government grant has elicited £35,000 in subscriptions for Cardiff, and an almost equal amount for Bangor, and we may feel sure that similar results will follow in the case of Aberystwith. In spite of the disadvantages which it has had to contend against, the College has at this moment 95 students. There is no medical school, and no female students; and if, therefore, we exclude these two classes we find that it compares favourably with Liverpool, which in 1882 had 54; with Bristol, which had 74; and with Firth College, Sheffield, which had 83 male students. Sir, I need only say further on this point that the Memorial of the Governors of the College distinctly states that they would be willing to be judged by the result; and to accept a grant from the Government, which would be determinable if, after a fair trial and sufficient time, it should appear that the cause of higher education would not be advanced by the further continuance of the College. There is one other point well worth the consideration of the House. There is a disposition among the eight Theological Colleges of Wales to give the Arts education at a secular College, and this is a movement which I think the House would wish to encourage. Now, it appears that the Independent College at Brecon had almost decided to send its students to Aberystwith; but the doubt as to its future has led to the opening of negotiations with Cardiff. If, however, this doubt were removed, the central situation of Aberystwith would tend to increase so desirable and salutary a movement. In conclusion, I think the Government and my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education will feel, if they had ever any doubt upon this point, that the Resolution of my hon. Friend represents a deep and widespread desire in Wales for the retention of Aberystwith College. Out of 30 Members of Parliament who represent the Principality in this House, 26 have signed, and not one, I believe, is hostile to it. It cannot, therefore, be said that the feeling, of which this is a proof, belongs only to a Party or a section. We earnestly hope that Her Majesty's Government will make a favourable response to this appeal, and we can assure them that it would be gratefully accepted as a generous recognition of the just claims of the Welsh people.


Sir, there can be no doubt that my hon. Friends who would have moved and seconded the Resolution on the Paper, if the Rules of the House had allowed them, represent a large body of opinion in Wales in favour of a continued grant to Aberystwith College. And this is no wonder, because Aberystwith was the creation of popular enthusiasm for education in Wales. The fact stated by my hon. Friend who has just sat down is a very significant fact to those who know the class of people from whom, for the most part, the money was got, that upwards of £70,000 has been contributed by the people of Wales towards this Institution. The College has an excellent and commodious building, with laboratories, class rooms, museum, and a library. It has a staff of most competent and efficient Professors, and a considerable number of students, who are increasing year by year. I had the honour and pleasure of being present and bearing some part in the inauguration of this College in 1872, and ever since, as a member of the Council, have watched its interests with great anxiety. Like many young Institutions, it has had to pass through somewhat fluctuating fortunes; but, on the whole, its progress has been steady and satisfactory. It may be said, and has been said, that we have not in Wales enough of what I may call the raw material for three Colleges—that is, a sufficient number of young persons of that class likely to avail themselves of the advantages of Collegiate education. That I frankly admit is a matter open to question, and I do not know how it can be solved except by making the experiment. But there are two or three considerations which I shall venture to submit to the House in favour of the affirmative view, which it is the more necessary to state as serving to correct certain grave misapprehensions which exist in England as to the state of things in Wales. There is a notion still widely prevalent that Wales is, for the most part, a pastoral and agricultural country, with a sparse, scattered, and poor population. And here I must differ a little from my hon. Friend who would have moved the Resolution about Wales being a very poor country. A hundred years ago, or even later, it might have been truly said that Wales was a thinly inhabited and poor country; but within the last 50 or 60 years there has been an immense increase of wealth and population. My noble Friend (Lord Aberdare), whose services to the cause of Welsh education have been inestimable, wrote a very able letter to The Times last year, combating objections of this nature against establishing any Colleges in Wales. Among those who urged such objections there were two distinguished Scotchmen, one of them being my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair). In reply to them Lord Aberdare showed that Glamorgan-shire had a larger population and rental than any county in Scotland except Lanarkshire, and that probably the population of Wales and Monmouthshire in 1881 was twice as great as was that of Scotland when its earlier Universities were founded. He showed also that Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire, Breconshire, Denbighshire, and Flintshire had large mining and manufacturing industries, that Carnarvonshire and Merionethshire had in their slate quarries a singularly intelligent body of workmen, who had shown their appreciation of the value of education by the great sacrifices they had made, and that in other counties of Wales there is a considerable urban population. As a proof that the raw material is not wanting, I may refer to the marked success of what I may call the Infant College at Cardiff, which was opened only in October last. I have received a letter from the Principal within a few days, stating that it has already 150 day students, and that there are between 600 and 700 young persons who attend the evening classes in Cardiff and adjacent towns. But there is another fact to which I should like to call the attention of the House in support of my argument, and that is that there exists already a large amount of intellectual life and activity in Wales. I believe that Englishmen generally look very kindly upon my countrymen. They regard them as a good, quiet, orderly people, but also as comparatively ignorant, illiterate, and uncultivated. A short time ago The Times told its myriad readers that the Welsh read nothing but the Bible and sermons. With regard to the former part of the indictment, I plead guilty on their behalf. They do read the Bible very largely, and I think a nation may do a worse thing than be familiar with that Book. But as for the other, the fact is that there are comparatively few sermons printed in Welsh, as the Welsh prefer hearing sermons to reading them. But what I want to convey to the House is this—that there is a large living literature in Wales, which proves that its people are a reading people to a remarkable extent. In 1879, the Church Congress was held at Swansea, and a clergyman, the Rev. David Williams, read a very able and exhaustive paper mainly on the periodical literature of Wales, in which he showed that Wales had 84 newspapers and periodicals (32 in Welsh and 52 in English), and that, if we exclude London, this is a larger number than is found in England in proportion to the population. As for periodicals, he said that Wales stood higher than any part of the Kingdom, London again excepted. Scotland has 41 periodicals, Ireland 29, England 148, Wales 22. Thus, in proportion to population, Wales has twice as many as England, one and a-half time as many as Scotland, and four times as many as Ireland. But there is a large living literature not only in periodicals, but in books. There are works in the Welsh language not only on Theology and Biblical literature, of which there is great abundance, but on History, Biography, Science, Natural History, Fiction, Poetry and Music. One of the witnesses before the Departmental Committee, a large publisher at Wrexham, stated that he had made a calculation that the Welsh spent some £100,000 a-year on literature. I say this not by way of vaunting, but because I really think there is great ignorance and misconception among Englishmen as to the condition of Wales, and because, also, what I say is strictly ad rem in reference to this discussion, as showing that the mind of the people of Wales is alive, and that they are, therefore, prepared to appreciate higher education. It may be said that we ought to wait for the development of the intermediate system of education promised by Government; that it is more logical to begin with secondary schools rather than with Colleges. There is, no doubt, much force in this. But it is a curious fact that in Scotland and Ireland, and, I believe, to some extent also in England, Collegiate Institutions have preceded intermediate and even elementary schools. The system of parochial schools established by John Knox was posterior to the three Universities of St. Andrew's, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, which were founded respectively in 1410, 1450, and 1495. The Queen's Colleges in Ireland were founded in 1849; but the system of intermediate education only in 1879; and yet the Queen's Colleges did good service in giving to many young Irishmen an excellent education. My right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education may think me a little inconsistent, after having signed a Report recommending two Colleges, to be now asking for help for a third. I might answer my right hon. Friend in the language of the poet, that— The thoughts of men are widened With the process of the suns. But, Sir, the fact is that since the Report of the Departmental Committee, and very much in consequence of that Report and the kind and generous feeling shown by the Government to the recommendations of that Committee, a great stimulus has been given to the cause of education in Wales, so that we may expect a large rush to the Institutions that are provided. I join my hon. Friends in expressing gratitude to the Government for the manner in which they have taken up this matter. Certain recommendations were made in the Report of the Departmental Committee, every one of which the Government have shown their willingness to adopt. The Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education has approached the question of Welsh education in a spirit of earnestness and sincerity which has been of very great benefit to the cause, and, having helped Welshmen to establish two Colleges, I hope my right hon. Friend will add to the obligations he has already imposed upon us by lending a favourable ear to the prayer of so many thousands of the Welsh people, and not allowing the College at Aberystwith to be left without succour.


felt confident that the appeal now made to the Government would not be made in vain, because as Welshmen they had, in his opinion, a large claim upon the Government. Amongst other things, they had put the country to no expense for soldiers, and to very little expense for policemen. But, at the same time, he felt that they had no right to call upon the Government for more money unless they could show something for it. All they asked the Government to do was to give them something which would enable them to go on now, and if in the course of five or six years it was found they were not worthy of it, the grant now given might be withdrawn. The richer classes in Wales could afford to send their sons to the Colleges in England; but the farmers could not afford to do so. He, therefore, earnestly appealed to the Go- vernment to consider the case of Aberystwith College, and hoped they would look favourably upon it.


joined with his hon. Friends who had spoken in thanking the Government for what they had already done. Welshmen felt grateful to the Government, especially because they felt that they were the only Government which, during the last 300 years, had done anything for the Welsh people. At the same time, they felt that what had been already promised was not all that was required. This matter had been brought before the House in 1879 by the hon. Baronet the Member for Glamorganshire (Sir Hussey Vivian), and it was while that discussion was going on that he, at all events, and he believed many other Welsh Members, felt that there was really hope for the Welsh people; and that hope was brought about by the expressions made use of by the Prime Minister in the course of that debate. The College at Aberystwith was the outcome of a movement commenced in the year 1863, with the object of establishing Colleges and a University for Wales. He had been connected with that movement from the first, and had, therefore, every opportunity of knowing what the original programme was, and what difficulties the promoters had to contend with. Many years were spent in raising money and holding meetings to arouse public sympathy; and the Welsh people responded liberally to the appeal made to them, though many from whom better things might have been expected held aloof, or even showed hostility to the movement. At last, in the year 1872. a College was established at Aberystwith, which had proved a great success, and at which the attendance of students had increased from year to year. Whatever might be the success of the Colleges to be established at Cardiff and Bangor, the College at Aberystwith was the parent Institution, and ought to be supported. The College at Aberystwith was the only one that would supply the educational wants of the people of Mid Wales. In these circumstances, he trusted that the grant to the College would be raised from £8,000 to £12,000 a-year. It must be remembered that Wales was the most inexpensive part of the United Kingdom to govern, and that, except as a part of the highway between England and Ireland, no public money had been spent upon it. In conclusion, he ventured to appeal to the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education to assist in bringing Aberystwith College into such a state of efficiency as would render it capable of supplying the higher educational wants of the people of Mid Wales.


said, there could be but one opinion, among those who heard it, as to the admirable speech of the hon. Member who had placed this Resolution on the Paper. He did not rise on behalf of the Government to respond to the appeals of hon. Members on behalf of this College, because that task would devolve upon his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education. For his own part, he yielded to no man in the House as regarded sympathy with the question which the hon. Member had so much at heart, because he himself had been one of the pioneers of the movement which had led to the foundation of Aberystwith College. As far back as 1853 he had been associated with the movement which had for its object the promotion of higher education in Wales, and very uphill work it had been to bring about the present state of things in that respect. Notwithstanding the passionate desire for higher education prevalent among the Welsh people, no part of Her Majesty's Dominions had been so miserably provided with educational endowments. Such as there were had been given by Churchmen; and it had, therefore, been almost impossible for the Nonconformists to avail themselves of them. The Aberystwith College, which had been established, in a large degree, through the exertions of Sir Hugh Owen, had been founded and had been supported for a long time by the pence of the poor, which had been obtained by a house-to-house collection, and by collections made at the doors of the churches and chapels; and the fact that 100,000 people had each subscribed 2s. 6d., or a less sum, towards its endowment, was sufficient to establish its claim to being a people's College. He desired to call the attention of the House to the fact that of 16 scholars sent from Aberystwith to Oxford four gained the first-class and 10 obtained honours; while of 12 sent to Cambridge two ob- tained first-class honours and one became a Wrangler. He very much, doubted whether the best of English public schools—whether Eton or Harrow, for instance—could show such a record. It was a pity that the Departmental Committee which had expressed definite opinions concerning the Cardiff and Bangor Colleges had left that of Aberystwith an open question. The physical barriers which separated one part of Wales from another made communication between them very difficult. There were really three districts in Wales—North Wales, South Wales, and Mid Wales. Two Colleges were established at the extreme North-West and South-West ends of the country; but the people of Aberystwith might just as well send their sons to Oxford or Cambridge as to Bangor or Cardiff. He entirely agreed with the Report of the Departmental Committee that if we wanted to educate the people we must take education to their doors. Welsh Members ought to feel very grateful to the Government for what they had done for Bangor and Cardiff; and he could not but remember that when a similar appeal was made to right hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were in power it was received with deaf ears. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote), who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, received their request with a stubborn non possumus. He hoped that the liberal spirit which had induced the Government to give £8,000 a-year to Bangor and Cardiff would now induce them to give something—not necessarily so large a sum—to Aberystwith. He had no doubt of the ability of the people of Wales to support three Colleges, and there was no reason in the world to fear that Aberystwith would do any damage to Cardiff or Bangor. Cardiff was already thoroughly established, and he was delighted to hear that it was achieving a success not surpassed by Liverpool, or Manchester, or Sheffield. There were 150 day scholars and 700 night scholars already at work. No such great results could, of course, be expected of Aberystwith; but he was sure it would justify by results the action of the Government if a substantial grant were made to it. Nothing could be more fair and moderate than the speech of his hon. Friend who introduced the subject, and he thought they would all be content to leave the question in the hands of his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, who had shown a greater interest in Welsh education than any of his Predecessors.


said, that in 1879 he, at the request of his brother Welsh Members, had brought the matter before the House, when his Motion did not meet with the acceptance of the Government. He was deeply grateful to the Government for what they had done, and he was sure that his feelings were shared by all the Welsh people. The College at Aberystwith was in a different position from any other Welsh College. It had been established, as had already been stated, by a national movement; and it would be a great pity if it were allowed to die, as it certainly would, if it were not aided by the State. The students of the College came almost altogether from Mid Wales, and there was no danger of its interfering with Cardiff. There were young men enough for all the Colleges. Sir Hugh Owen had said that of young men between 15 and 26, who might avail themselves of College education, there were 50,000 in Wales. All Welshmen would look with deep regret at the abandonment of the College, and he thought it was fairly entitled to some measure of assistance from the Government.


said, that the House had had a most interesting debate, and the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen who opened the discussion were all that could be desired in tone, manner, and most effective advocacy. It was impossible for anyone acquainted with Aberystwith College—supported, he might almost say, by the pence of the people—to over-estimate the good work which it had done. The objects for which the College was founded had practically been obtained. He did not say it had not work still before it; but if its doors were closed to-morrow it would have done a successful work for the cause of education. It was not that the number of its students had been great, for in any year they had not reached 100, and they had often fallen lower. Nor was the site a good one. That was admitted by all the witnesses who came before the Committee. It had been stated that it drew three-fourths of its students from Mid Wales, But the testimony was distinct that the success of the students at Oxford and Cambridge had been most remarkable, which testified to the good work done in the College, and still more to the excellence of the raw material with which it was supplied. He had had abundant evidence of the remarkable efforts made by the Welsh people to obtain knowledge under difficulties such as hardly any other people, except Scotchmen, had to contend with. Cases had been brought under his notice of miners, quarrymen, and people in the most straitened circumstances, almost starving themselves, in order that they might go to College, and of their obtaining such sound knowledge and such distinction as to do honour to the Principality as well as to themselves. The Departmental Committee had done good service. This was the first opportunity he had had of saying anything in the House with respect to the Departmental Committee; and he should be doing injustice to them and to his own feelings if he did not say how much the House, and how much Wales, was indebted to their labours. The noble Lord opposite (Viscount Emlyn) and the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard) had been most energetic. Mr. Lewis Morris had shown all the ardour and affection of a Welshman for his country, Lord Aberdare had done yeoman service, and the Committee had also the great advantage of the services of a most able man—Canon Robinson. Speaking for the Education Department, he would say that they would be very glad if either North Wales accepted Aberystwith College, or Aberystwith College had offered to transfer its endowments to Bangor or elsewhere in North Wales. He believed the people of North Wales were perfectly justified in requiring that their College should be more accessible than Aberystwith was to them. In the Memorial submitted to the Prime Minister, enough had been said of the inaccessibility of Aberystwith. He thought they were all agreed that the people of North Wales had done wisely in selecting Carnarvonshire as the site for the North Wales College. The only question was whether Wales could support three Colleges. Having himself recently gone to the Treasury and obtained two not inconsiderable grants, one for North Wales and the other for South Wales, he felt that he should be going very far if he were now to ask for a third grant. The large subscriptions raised, both in North and South Wales, for the Welsh Colleges, did great credit to the Welsh people. He had been astonished to hear of the subscriptions, amounting to thousands of pounds, raised by the Welsh quarrymen, showing the earnest desire of those men that the Colleges should be a success. He could not accept the Resolution of his hon. Friend, because it was plain that to put the three Colleges on the same footing, so far as State aid was concerned, was not quite the position which ought to be taken up. If the three Colleges could co-exist and flourish without interfering with each other, then he thought the Department would be justified in subsidizing them. He therefore proposed that an inquiry should be instituted in order to ascertain what was the actual condition of Aberystwith College. If he found that the three Colleges could co-exist without mutual disadvantage, he should then have to inquire into the financial position of Aberystwith College. He could not immediately make any further declaration, nor was it possible for anyone to do so without obtaining further information. All he could say was that a good case had been made out for inquiry, and that the Government would consider the matter in the most favourable manner.


said, he was astonished at the right hon. Gentleman pointing to some further inquiry in connection with this matter. The House had not been told what the result of that inquiry would be.


said, what he stated was that an inquiry would be made into the financial position of the College—the cost at which it was carried on.


said, that anybody who wished to find out the financial position of the College could do so in one day. The hon. Member who introduced this subject (Mr. Rendel) said he made no complaint. He (Viscount Emlyn) did complain, and he thought the constituencies of Wales were complaining strongly of the prospect of Aberystwith College being allowed to drop and fall. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that his answer-would give the hon. Member who brought this matter forward perfect satisfaction. He should be curious to know whether it had had that effect. The movement out of which Aberystwith College grew was one of a most remarkable character, because it stood a test which had wrecked many other Colleges—the test of an appeal to the pockets of those who were engaged in it. He could not accept the statement which they had heard from the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, in any shape or form, as being satisfactory. It was clearly laid down by the Committee appointed in 1880 to inquire into the whole subject that Aberystwith College was to be utilized; and the right hon. Gentleman was in error when he stated that the Report of the Committee was vague as to what was to be done with it. The Government might have taken several courses; but, at all events, it was requisite that they should have a policy. He gathered from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that he had not the least idea what he should do with Aberystwith College. All he did was to promise inquiry into the financial conditions of the College, which did not seem a very satisfactory answer. The Government appeared to be drifting in an aimless way, which would be very dangerous unless they were pulled up in their course. They had, in the first instance, adopted the plan of giving grants simply because it was the easiest way of dealing with education; and now they had shelved for the time the question of intermediate education. It was true that for the last two Sessions it had been mentioned in the Queen's Speech; but nothing had ever come of it. The scheme, if there was one, should be laid on the Table of the House, as some earnest given them that that question was going to be dealt with. They had been told at the very fag end of last Session that some details were not settled, and now they had the same thing told them; in fact, the question of intermediate education was put entirely aside. He would press upon the Government that until they had drawn up a scheme for the grammar schools they would not be able to deal properly with the Colleges, which depended upon these schools. It looked now as if the grammar schools were to be gradually squeezed out of existence. The Government seemed quietly and calmly to have let Aberystwith drop out of their sight. Last year a deputation had waited on the right hon. Gentleman to ask that he would give due consideration to the claims of Aberystwith in deciding upon the claims of the different towns which were competing as to which should have the College, and the Lord President of the Committee of Council on Education had admitted their claim to consideration. The admission of Bangor did not make it necessary to lose sight of Aberystwith, which might have offered to meet them in some way. Now there was considerable difficulty in the position; it might be contended whether three Colleges could exist together and do good work. Another point to which he would like to call attention was the marked absence of any reference, on the part either of the right hon. Gentleman or any other Member who had addressed the House, to the existence of another College in Wales—namely, Lampeter. This College had existed for over half-a-century; it had good buildings, and its work was increasing. The students of Lampeter graduated not only in theology, but in classics, history, science, and modern literature. Theology there occupied a position as nearly as possible identical with that which it occupied at Cambridge. Lampeter was established for the training of young clergymen; but its doors had been opened as widely as possible to Nonconformists, and no religious tests or observances were required. The College was affiliated to Oxford and Cambridge in a way that no other College was affiliated except that at Nottingham. This College was doing good work, and he protested against its being ignored in the discussion.


said, all that the noble Lord had stated was correct; but Lampeter was a denominational College, and if he had mentioned that he must have mentioned others.


said, there was absolutely no religious teaching given unless it was requested. The action of the Government during the last few years had rather disappointed him. He had hoped that long before this the right hon. Gentleman would have taken in hand intermediate education for Wales. He did not know whether the Bill was ready. [Mr. MUNDELLA said that it was.] He hoped that, being ready, the right hon. Gentleman would produce it, because if he waited until the Order Book was cleared, he would have to wait a long time. He felt that Aberystwith College had been hardly treated. As the pioneer of education in Wales, it was hard that it should be suddenly, dropped, and almost snubbed, by being left to die a natural death, while the other two Colleges had £4,000 a-year each.


said, that Aberystwith had £4,000 a-year up to the present time.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would say he was not going to drop it? [Mr. MUNDELLA: I have said so.] But how long was the grant to be continued—for a term of years or permanently? The right hon. Gentleman had absolutely refused to give a pledge, except as to inquiry. There was nothing to prevent Aberystwith being dropped if it could not have the grant; and the stoppage of it was threatened. Uncertainty was a great drawback to education in Wales. People were hanging back, waiting to know what would be done with Aberystwith. If the right hon. Gentleman had made up his mind, he ought to have told the House so in his speech, instead of indulging in these interruptions. He hoped that when the right hon. Gentleman had adopted some policy in regard to this question he would tell the House what it was.


said, they did not ask the Government to support any denominational College. They appealed to the Government on behalf of Aberystwith, on account of the excellent work it had done, and on account of its undenominational character. The people of Wales were not fond of applying to the Government in such matters as these. They preferred subscribing among themselves, and in regard to Aberystwith they had subscribed £51,000 for its maintenance between 1863 and 1880. Aberystwith had also strong claims owing to its geographical position. This appeal was made respectfully and earnestly on behalf of the loyal people of Wales, and he hoped it would not he made in vain.


said, that, as several appeals had been made to him in the course of the debate, it would be hardly respectful for him to remain silent. The Motion of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel) only appeared on the Paper that morning, and he had only learned the purport of it yesterday, when it became his duty at once to look into the question, and see what information the Treasury had on the subject up to the present time. He found, to his great surprise, that there was not a single word at the Treasury on the subject of any grant to Aberystwith College, except the intermediate grant made during the last two years out of the £8,000 a-year which was promised after the Committee of 1881 to the North and South Wales Colleges. The Papers relating to this intermediate grant were the only Papers in the Treasury from which he could obtain any information except the Report of the Committee of 1881—a very influentially constituted Committee, of which the noble Lord who sat on the opposite side of the House (Viscount Emlyn) was a Member, and which made, apparently, a unanimous Report, or, at least, a Report as to which there was no difference of opinion on the subject of this College. That Report, for which the public were greatly indebted to the Committee, covered the whole question; but on this subject of a third Welsh College he wished the House to remember that the noble Lord and the other Gentlemen who signed the Report only proposed that there should be two Colleges in Wales. They gave a tolerably satisfactory reason why there should only be two Colleges; and as to the existing College at Aberystwith, they used an expression which pointed to the propriety of that Institution being closed or being transferred to Bangor. ["No, no!"] Well, the words to which he referred were these— The College at Aberystwith, whether retained on its present site or removed to Carnarvon or Bangor, must be accepted as the College for North Wales. This being all the information he found at the Treasury when endeavouring to prepare for this debate, he had come down to-night to hear what it was the hon. Member proposed. He had listened very carefully to almost the whole of the debate, having only been absent from the House for a few minutes; he had heard the proposals made on both sides; and the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Emlyn) would, perhaps, forgive him if he said that it would not be proper for him to pass from the express question before the House, which was that of Aberystwith College only, to the other interesting points to which allusion had been made. As to the College itself, the proposal seemed to be that, inasmuch as it was recommended that grants of £4,000 a-year should be given to two Colleges, one at Cardiff and the other either at Aberystwith or at Bangor, and inasmuch as while the other Colleges were being built part of the grant had been given to Aberystwith, they ought not, now that the other Colleges were built, to cut Aberystwith adrift and leave it entirely without help. It was contended that there was good cause for supporting three Colleges instead of two. This being really the whole of the case before the House, he wished to say, on behalf of the Government and in support of what had fallen from his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council on Education (Mr. Mundella), that he would very carefully consider the proposal, which was absolutely new as far as the Government were concerned. He had heard of the Memorial presented to the Prime Minister the day before yesterday, and he had heard of the proposal of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire through the Notice which that hon. Member had given. He had also heard the debate, and, as a result, he could promise with almost absolute certainty that—notwithstanding the fact that the Departmental Committee of 1881, which was composed of Lord Aberdare, the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Emlyn), and others, recommended that there should be two Colleges—inasmuch as they had to-night heard very strong reasons assigned why, instead of two Colleges, the Government should endow three, the matter should be looked into with impartiality, and with a view to give any consideration in their power to the claims of the Welsh people. He was bound to say that it was very satisfactory to listen, almost for the first time since he had been in Parliament, to a not absolutely, but certainly essentially, Welsh debate; and he might, perhaps, be allowed to congratulate the hon. Gentlemen who had taken part in the discussion upon the fact that there seemed to be great moderation in the tone adopted, and practical proposals had been put forward which it would not be difficult for them to deal with when they had to consider the course it was best to take. He ought not to say more at the present moment. He had, he thought, said as much as it was reasonable the Government should be asked to say on such very short notice; and he hoped his hon. Friend (Mr. Rendel) would accept the assurance he had given, and that the debate would not be prolonged.


said, that every hon. Member who had spoken, except the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers), had expressed himself in favour of the Resolution of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel). The words uttered by the right hon. Gentlemen he had referred to were really the death-sentence of Aberystwith College. The Vice President of the Council had said that he would grant an inquiry; but the matter had been already inquired into by the Departmental Committee, which sat for two years. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) had said that he was not certain as to the financial condition of Aberystwith College. Well, in the very Memorial which the right hon. Gentleman held in his hand every statement which could possibly be made as to the financial condition of that College was made. The right hon. Gentleman, having read that Memorial, knew everything that could be possibly known on the subject. He (Mr. Stanley Leighton) hoped that his hon. Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire would not allow himself to be put off in this way by the Government, and would not allow the interests of Aberystwith to be shunted once more. Those interests had been shunted by the Departmental Committee, they had been shunted by the Government, and now, having been held for a length of time in a sort of balance, they were to be shunted again by this answer of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella). The Chancellor of the Exchequer had congratulated hon. Members on this being a Welsh debate, but there was no reason why it should be an exclusively Welsh debate, because in this question was involved the payment of a large sum of money out of the Imperial Funds; and the country and every Member of the House had a right to see that the application of that money should be settled on a principle tending to the national good, and contributing towards the attainment of an object of national importance. It was on this ground that, as an English Member, he desired to take part in this debate. But he had a still nearer and still more personal reason for intervening; because he, like his hon. Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire, had many Welsh-speaking constituents, and he, unlike his hon. Friend, had his home in the midst of those persons, to whom the removal of this College would be an absolute denial of the means of higher education—means which they had promoted and obtained themselves, and which now, for a length of time, they had been enjoying. He did not believe, from what had passed in that House, that Members who had not an intimate knowledge of the case could be quite aware of some of the circumstances connected with the origin of this College. The circumstances connected with its origin were these. The Nonconformists of Wales were determined that their ministry should be a learned ministry; they were determined that the ministers of their chapels should have as good facilities and as great opportunities of obtaining the very best standard of knowledge and learning as were known in England. That was the origin of the College. It was the outcome of a movement of Nonconformists, not of Secularists; and, like all great movements, it was inspired by a deeply religious motive. The religious arrangements of the College, and the facilities for religious instruction, were such as were agreeable to all the Nonconformists of all the different sections—to the Wesleyans, the Calvinists, the Baptists, the Methodists, and the Unitarians. It was a fact that one-third of the scholars who had been trained at Aberystwith College had gone into the ministry of the Church or of the Chapel.


I think you will find that it is one-sixth. The numbers are 59 to 369.


I beg pardon. I am taking it from the Memorial presented to the Privy Council, and I think the hon. Member will find the figures to be 90 out of 300.


I must state positively that the numbers are as I gave them—namely, 59 to 369, or under one-sixth.


said, he was at issue with the hon. Gentle- man. If the hon. Member would refer to the document he (Mr. Stanley Leigh-ton) was quoting, he would see that he was right, or that if the number was not exactly a third it was only a trifle short of it, and it was certainly more than one-fourth. He maintained that everybody who knew anything about this College knew that what he said was true—namely, that it had had its origin in the strength of the feeling that prevailed amongst Nonconformists in favour of a learned ministry, and in the opinion that the establishment of this College was the means of obtaining it. First of all, the subscriptions came from the poor—from the congregations of the chapels—and Sir Hugh Owen had declared that 70 out of every 100 subscriptions were of sums of 2s. 6d. and under. So strong, however, was the feeling, that the rich people saw that they could not overlook the movement; and they themselves came forward with subscriptions of fifty pounds, hundreds, and even thousands of pounds. The rich and the poor were thus joined together, and, in a little time, it was found that politics created no division on this matter; but that Conservatives and Liberals were united in their support of the College. Furthermore, it was found that religious differences, which were strongly marked in the Principality, were wiped away on the question, and that Churchmen and Dissenters both extended their cordial support to the scheme, and offertories from the churches swelled the subscription list. He did not believe that another instance was to be found throughout the whole of the United Kingdom where the whole population, putting aside religious and political differences and distinctions bet ween rich and poor, had gone together so thoroughly and entirely as the Welsh people had done in their support of Aberystwith College. It was a College founded upon such principles and upon such a national feeling that the Government, as he understood, were about to abolish. But, even more than this, it was not only from Wales itself that subscriptions came, for the Welshmen of London, Manchester, and Liverpool contributed. No less than £25,000 were received from England in support of this National College. The Departmental Committee had done but scant justice to the College in their Report. They found a growing College, a College which had been created by the self-help of the Welsh people, and a College which had been in existence for about a quarter of a century. They found that College nationally endowed, supported by special grants from Parliament, and yet now, between the Departmental Committee and the Government, that College was in danger. At this point he should like to say something as to the conduct pursued by the Government in the matter from the beginning to the end. He felt very strongly on the subject. The Government sent a number of agents on a tour of perambulation throughout Wales, shaking a bag of £8,000 in the ears of Welshmen. They went from one county to another, the Government being in search of popularity, and the unfortunate Welshmen, of course, being in search of endowment, every one of the 12 counties expecting that it would be the happy recipient of the £8,000. It must be remembered that this was national money, and the House had a right to demand that the Government would take upon itself the responsibility of saying where the endowment should be located. Well, what did they do? They put up the endowment, as it were, to auction, and said—"Whoever can bring the greatest number of votes and appears the strongest will have the money, and not those who are most in need of the money." In this way Central Wales was betrayed, and two rich places—namely, Bangor, with its slate quarries, and Cardiff, with its docks—towns which, though they were Welsh in name, were hardly Welsh in character, having lost much of their Welsh nationality through the influx of foreigners—which were able to take care of themselves, received these two grants, while the poor men of Central Wales had had taken from them even what they possessed. Now, he hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel) would not be satisfied with words, but would insist upon deeds. He hoped the College of Aberystwith would not find in his hon. Friend a second Lord Aberdare. That noble Lord had been the first President of this College, and the Chairman of the Departmental Committee, and the friends of the College thought he was a person whom they could trust. This was, perhaps, the reason why they did not press their claims as strongly as they might have done in the first instance. Lord Aberdare had now left them entirely in the lurch, and had become the President of, or a leading man in, the College of South Wales. He (Mr. Stanley Leighton) did not wish to urge the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire and the other Members, who, in this instance, were allied with him, to undertake a forlorn hope, or to undertake anything in which they were perfectly certain to be beaten by the strength of the Government. Therefore, he desired to make them a practical suggestion, and one which, if it should not be taken up by them, he trusted to be able himself to bring to a test in the House. His proposal was this—It was understood that the Government were prepared to hand over to the cause of higher education in Wales £8,000 a-year. He wished to point out the utter insecurity of an annual grant from Parliament. The position of Aberystwith College at that moment was an example of the danger of trusting to Parliament for continuous support. "Put not your trust in Governments or in Parliaments." It might happen that a Government might come which knew not Joseph, and whom Joseph did not know. Suppose a Government of economists sat on the Treasury Bench—a Government, say, presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen), and supported by hon. Gentlemen from Ireland—and suppose they accepted the prevailing idea which was growing so strong in these days that higher education should not be under the thumb of the Government, but that it should take care of itself, the very first thing they would do would be to veto the endowment of the Welsh Colleges. Perpetual annuities were not unlike hereditary pensions. Both were in danger in these days. He would ask his hon. Friends, as a compromise on this matter, to appeal to the Government to commute that £8,000 into a grant of £250,000 down. This seemed to him a very fair proposal, based on economical principle, and it was one which the Government of the present First Lord of the Treasury was most likely to look on with favour, because the right hon. Gentleman now at the head of the Ministry had always had an objection to saddling posterity with the debts which he himself had contracted. This, therefore, would be an easy way out of the difficulty. A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush. All Wales could unite in such a demand, and the sum should be divided between the three Colleges. They would then have North Wales and South Wales, Bangor and Cardiff, entirely with them. This was his proposal to the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire, and all the other Welsh Members, as well as all those who, like himself, were deeply interested in Welsh education. In conclusion, he wished to say that he was glad to find himself allied with his hon. Friends opposite in this matter. They were allied in this—that they all of them protested against the injustice and the impolicy of disestablishing and disendowing the Nonconformist College of Aberystwith. He could assure the House, and he hoped every Member would believe that they were not actuated by any sectarian, personal, or local motive, but that they acted on the principle, and on the sure conviction, that the policy of disestablishment and disendowment was wrong.


said, he would not detain the House more than five minutes. As, however, the debate had consisted of a series of appeals by Welsh Members to the Government, and of answers to Welsh Members by the Government, he thought it only proper that an English Member, who had had some opportunity of knowing the state of Welsh education, should add something to the discussion. It had been his duty to make inquiries in the year 1866 into the condition of intermediate and higher education in Wales for the Royal Commission, which was then sitting, and in this way he had had opportunities of gauging the condition of education in the Principality. The impression left on his mind, and which he had no doubt would have been left upon the mind of any Englishman visiting Wales, was that the country had fared ill indeed, as compared with England, in the matter of its educational facilities. He believed the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire had already given some statistics to the House, and he (Mr. Bryce) would not repeat them, except to remark that the population of Wales was 1–18th of that of England, and that the educational endowments of Wales were only l–45th of those of England, or less than a third. This condition of things was very much due to the neglect of Wales by her richer neighbour, for he believed that the only time when England had thought of doing anything for the Principality was when the Commissioners for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales, who were sent there under the Commonwealth, founded grammar schools there. There was in Wales a great want of even such educational facilities as existed in England and Scotland, and this state of things had been intensified by the fact that until very lately Wales was insufficiently provided with means of communication. Wales was a mountainous country, and had only recently been opened up by railroads, so that a country as to which it was more than usually necessary to bring education to the doors of the people was just the country to which education had been least brought. It was surprising to notice, under the circumstances of such want of educational opportunities, what a passion for education seemed to possess the people. He did not think there was any part of England or Ireland, or even of Scotland, where such a zeal for education was found to exist amongst the very poor. Whilst on his rounds in Wales, he had been very often struck by the large numbers of people, scarcely able to speak a word of English, who attended humble school-buildings which would not be accepted by the Education Department for the poorest elementary school in England, labouring away at classics or mathematics in order that they might fit themselves to become Nonconformist ministers. To his mind, no better proof could be given of the zeal of the Welsh people, of the thirst of those people for educational advancement, than the fact that Aberystwith College had been erected to so large an extent out of the subscriptions of persons of limited means. With regard to that College, he wished to make one remark in reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Departmental Committee had reported that two Colleges were enough; but that one of them should be placed in South Wales, and that the other should either be retained in Aberystwith or transferred to Bangor. The Departmental Committee did not speak of the extinction of the College of Aberystwith; but said that if a College were started at Bangor, it should be Aberystwith College removed there. Though he did not argue that there was a complete case made out for three Colleges, still he admitted that this was a point deserving further inquiry. It was, however, a different thing to say that they must establish de novo three Colleges, from saying that they ought to extinguish an existing College, which had its buildings and its clientéle, as well as the attachment of the people who had established it. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would bear this fact in mind, and also the fact that Wales was a country where the people were still very much under the influence of local feeling, and where it was not necessarily the case that people living in one district, who went to a certain place for education, would, if the educational establishment at that place were removed to another district, follow it. It was, he believed, a fact that Aberystwith College had hitherto obtained her students from North Wales or Mid Wales. As to the remarks of the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Emlyn), he should like to support them. The College at Lampeter, to which the noble Lord had referred, had for its Principal one of the most able men in Wales; but it must be remembered that the ecclesiastical associations of Lampeter were such that it was not to be expected that that gentleman, or his colleagues, could gain the confidence of the Nonconformists of Wales for some time to come. Besides the out-of-the-way situation of the place, its connection with the Established Church had been such that it could not do for Wales what a College otherwise as well fitted ought to do. He ventured to express a hope that the Government would Very soon bring in their Intermediate Education Bill, of which so much had been said. He believed that intermediate education was the great need of Wales, and that, where good intermediate schools had been established, they would serve as feeders to the Colleges, and would justify the existence of, perhaps, even three Colleges. He hoped that full powers would be taken for the consolidation of endowments, and for their removal from places whore they were of little value, and also that power would he taken to lay hold of dole charities, and apply them to more useful purposes, though always for the benefit of the poor.


said, he had no wish to continue the debate, which, as it had now been going on for a considerable length of time, the House was anxious to bring to a conclusion. But he wished to say one word with regard to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council on Education, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was clear that this matter really resolved itself into a question of finance; and, in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might not imagine that it was a question that merely concerned those who resided in Wales, he (Lord Claud Hamilton) wished to tell the right hon. Gentleman of the strong feeling which existed amongst Welshmen in Liverpool, who had left the Principality possibly never to return to it. As the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council on Education was aware, the great majority of these gentlemen were not political supporters of himself (Lord Claud Hamilton), but were the strongest supporters of the Party sitting opposite. Well, he had received many communications on the subject under discussion. During the past two or three weeks a great many letters had been sent to him with regard to it; and, without exception, they had all pointed to the desirability of continuing the grant to Aberystwith College. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would approach this question in the fair and comprehensive spirit in which he generally dealt with these matters; and, if he did so, no doubt he would find that the College in question had been proved to be a great success as far as it had gone, and that unless it obtained a grant its continuance would be impossible; and, no doubt, under the circumstances, he would deal with the subject not in a cheese-paring or pettifogging spirit, but in the broad, liberal, and comprehensive spirit which its importance deserved.


said, he was one of those who believed that though speech was silvern silence was golden, and he did not trouble the House often. But on this occasion he could not sit silent, even at that late hour, when an active debate was proceeding—a debate in which not only his countrymen on the Ministerial side of the House, but he was happy to say Gentlemen on the other side who sympathized with the Welsh people, were taking part. He would, however, only say a very few words, and they would be practical. He did not happen to be in the House to hear the favourable and courteous speech which he was told the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council on Education had made on the question a short time ago. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman very much for what he heard he had said in that speech; but he would venture to remind him, and also the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of one point which appeared to be very crucial—namely, that last year an offer was made to the Universities of Scotland of £40,000, and that offer was rejected by the Scotch Members as being utterly inadequate. Taking into consideration the relative population and taxation of Scotland and Wales, he calculated that if Scotland was entitled to £40,000 for her Universities, the Principality was entitled to £17,000 annually. And yet what did the Welsh Members ask for? They asked simply for £12,000 a-year, and they would be very glad and very grateful to the Government if they would give them that. The Government had already promised them £8,000 a-year, £4,000 for the new South Wales College at Cardiff, and £4,000 to the new North Wales College at Bangor. All they asked was that the Government should give them another £4,000 a-year for the already-established and popular College of Aberystwith in Mid Wales. Wales, he might remind hon. Members who lived before school boards were established, was known in old times as North "Wales, or, in their ancient British language, Gwynedd; Mid Wales, or Powis; and South Wales, or Dehendir. They had already, through the generosity and justice of the Government, for which they were very grateful, because it was exceptional, obtained two Colleges; but in the College of Aberystwith he had always taken a great deal of interest. He, in his humble capacity, was one of the first supporters and originators of that College, and he should be very sorry indeed if it were to collapse while its two more modern rivals flourished. He would point out that Aberystwith College was specially adapted for Mid Wales. Cardiff College was at the extreme end of South Wales, while Bangor was at the extreme end of North Wales; and these Colleges, being intended for the higher education of the middle classes, must necessarily be fed by students in the immediate locality. This might be proved by the fact that the four counties of North Wales—namely, Carnarvon, Anglesea, Denbigh, and Flint had only contributed about one-sixth of the students of Aberystwith College up to this time. Again, he would remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Scotland had had a grant amounting to £150,000 towards the buildings of her educational and University Institutions. Welshmen did not ask for any aid towards their educational buildings. Aberystwith College was already established in very handsome and commodious buildings, and the two new Colleges of North and South Wales were being built from their own resources. He thanked God that his countrymen, though they were called poor, had come forward in a most generous and magnanimous manner—even to the pence of the poor—not only to establish the College at Aberystwith, but also to assist the two new Colleges. Though he did not wish to use strong or un-Parliamentary language, he might say he thought it would be almost a national crime if the College of Aberystwith, which had led the way under very disadvantageous circumstances, in educational advancement, and which had been working so satisfactorily for many years, should be allowed to collapse for want of a paltry £4,000 a-year from a great country like this. He appealed to the Government on another ground. Welshmen had been—and who would deny it?—the most loyal, quiet, and well-behaved people in the United Kingdom ever since the days of the Tudors. If hon. Members wanted a proof of this they should read through Welsh history. They had had no rebellions; they had had no revolutions; they did not deal in dynamite; they paid their rents to their landlords, and they never troubled the House of Commons in any way. They did not pretend that they had grievances. Thank God, all their grievances were wiped away in the times of the Tudors, when they were placed on a perfectly equal level with their friendly neighbours, whom they called the Saxons, and who only invaded them now for their advantage. He humbly hoped and trusted, and he believed firmly that the Government would treat them as generously—he might almost say as justly—as the Welsh people thought they deserved. Although he regarded this as a national question, quite irrespective of creed or of politics, as was shown by the Report which had been received, he would say that Members from Wales had a right to some consideration from the present Government, in whose support every county and borough in the Principality sent to that House a Member, with the exception of the constituencies represented by two hon. Gentlemen opposite.


said, he joined in the opinion expressed as to the moderation which had characterized the speeches delivered in the course of that debate; but even at the last moment they had not arrived at the conclusion of Her Majesty's Government in respect of this matter. The Vice President of the Council had said that he was going carefully to consider the question—that was to say, the financial position of the College at Aberystwith. Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that he was rather taken at a disadvantage because he had only become acquainted with the terms of the Motion within the last 24 hours, and he also assured the House that he would give the matter his favourable consideration. He ventured to point out that, notwithstanding the short notice spoken of by the right hon. Gentleman, the subject was no new one to Her Majesty's Government, because it was one which had been mentioned in the Queen's Speech on two occasions. [Mr. MUNDELLA: No, no! Not Aberystwith College!] No; but the question of intermediate education in Wales. The right hon. Gentleman said that he had not taken this matter into consideration. Well, then, the right hon. Gentleman ought to have done so. He ventured to remind Her Majesty's Government that the College of Aberystwith moved to Cardiff or Bangor was not the same thing as the College at Aberystwith, and the Government must have known that that College was on the verge of being shut up; and he thought it would only have been fair on the part of the Government to have prepared the people of Wales interested in this matter for the closing of the College of Aberystwith, if that was what they really intended. But he had heard that the Government had not been able to make up their minds as to the course to be taken, because they were unwilling to disappoint their supporters from Wales. He hoped, however, that the result of the debate would be that the Government would determine one way or other—that they would tell the people who were connected, as teachers or otherwise, with the College at Aberystwith that the College would be closed, so that they might make their arrangements accordingly; or, if they proposed to retain it, that they would give them notice that the grant would be continued. This was no question of local prejudice, or of removing from one part of the country to another a denominational establishment struggling for existence. A great deal more than that was involved, because the persons immediately interested would have to make arrangements in accordance with their convenience; they could not be turned out at once. He was far from saying that the Government ought to allow the College at Bangor to be established under something like false pretences; but if the Vice President of the Council had made up his mind that there should only be two Colleges in Wales let him say so, in order that the people of Wales might know. The Government, by not coming to a conclusion on this subject until they were forced to do so by the exigencies of the case, had given rise to a great deal of disappointment and heart-burning. An hon. Member had referred to the College at Lampeter as being a Sectarian College. Well, no doubt it was a Church College; but, although established on Church of England principles, it was a College at which ample provision was made for those who were not members of the Church of England. He had authority for stating that one-third of the boys who were educated in the junior department at this moment were Nonconformists. It was, therefore, clear that Nonconformists were at least satisfied that justice was done to them when they went within its walls. Hon. Gentlemen were probably aware that the scheme of affiliating Colleges to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was one which had created great interest in the country; and he would take that opportunity of saying that Lampeter College was, he believed, the first of those which had availed itself of the scheme, so that he was justified in saying that Lampeter College occupied a distinguished position amongst the Colleges of the country. In making the appeal to Her Majesty's Government for a decision about Welsh education, he wished it to be borne in mind that he was not suing in formâ pauperis; he simply asked them to come to a conclusion on this truly important question without loss of time.


said, this was a matter of great interest to a large number of his constituents in Lancashire, a view which would, he believed, be confirmed by his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool (Mr. Whitley). It was not a question of establishing a new College, but of destroying an old one, and the Government ought to consider seriously before they took that step. He thought it right to state that the existence of Aberystwith College was a subject of the greatest concern, not only to Welshmen in the Principality, but elsewhere; and he could bear personal testimony to the immense disappointment that would be caused by its disestablishment.


said, he had been struck with the extraordinary interest shown by the Welsh people with regard to Aberystwith College, who, he felt sure, would be deeply disappointed if the action of Her Majesty's Government led to its surrender. He believed, however, that the declarations of Her Majesty's Government would give great satisfaction to the Welsh people generally; and, on behalf of a large number of constituents, he tendered his thanks for the manner in which they had responded to the Motion of his hon. Friend.


said, with reference to the Supplementary Votes in Committee of Supply, it was admitted that they must either be taken at that Sitting or finished to-morrow (Saturday). He thought his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proved to hon. Members who were present last night that it was absolutely necessary to take the Votes without delay. The question, then, was whether the House should, in the event of any other hon. Members wishing to speak, continue the present discussion, or proceed to the consideration of one or two limited Votes. He submitted whether it would not be better to allow Mr. Speaker to leave the Chair, so that the Vote for the Afghan contribution and two Votes on account of the Post Office might be taken.


asked if, in the event of the House going into Committee of Supply for the purpose of considering the Votes indicated by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Postmaster General would be in his place?

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.