HC Deb 24 March 1884 vol 286 cc718-34

, in rising to call attention to certain provisions in the Scheme framed by the Charity Commissioners for the future management of Cam School, by which the children of the poor will be deprived of advantages they have hitherto enjoyed; and to move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to withhold Her consent from Sections 28, 32, 33, and 34 of the Scheme now lying upon the Table for the future management of the Charity known as the School founded by Francis Hopton, in the parish of Cam, said, he must apologize for the introduction of this subject at an unusually late hour; but his excuse for doing so was that the time for the purpose would shortly expire, and He would be as brief as possible. It might be a small question to the House; but it was not so to those interested. It was a trust, founded in an agricultural village within the constituency he had the honour to represent, in the middle of last century, for the education and clothing of eight boys and eight girls, children of the poor, the number being afterwards increased to 18 of each sex, and 15 years ago £20 was set apart for apprenticeship. The fund increased, and 24 children of each sex were educated, a school built, and a master established. Everything worked well up to a short time ago, and it was still working well, when—he did not know for what reason—the Charity Commissioners intervened. The Trustees, to a certain extent, acquiesced in what the Commissioners proposed, which, three or four years ago, was that the school should be merged into the public elementary school of the village; there were two other schools, an elementary school and an infant school in the village. The Commissioners proposed that no education should take place at the school which had been working so well; but that scholarships and exhibitions should emanate from this trust, and be given to scholars in any of those schools. The Sub-Commissioners came down, and conferred with the inhabitants, and the people interested, and, to a certain extent, gave way. They would not destroy the school, but it was to be used for boys only. He would not enter broadly into the question how, in his opinion, scholarships and exhibitions took away benefits from the real poor of the parish; there was no doubt they did so. He did not care how the scheme was applied—it did tend to give scholarships to those for whose benefit the trust was not founded. The trust was given to educate and clothe the poor of the parish, and it would be perfectly impossible for the poor to participate in the fruits of the gift if scholarships and exhibitions were given; at any rate, to the extent that those who were not poor could participate in them. Many manufacturing operatives, earning from 25s. to 30s. a-week, had come into the parish, and their children would be in a better position to take the scholarships than the actual poor for whom the trust was intended; and therefore it was that the inhabitants of the parish, almost unanimously—there were only one or two exceptions, the clergyman of the place, a gentleman a great friend of his (Colonel Kingscote's), who was a resident in the parish, and a local magistrate. With the exception of these, he did not think there was anyone in the parish but would say that the school was working very well, and carrying out the objects of its founder, and that if scholarships were to be given the poor would be unable to avail themselves of them. Several conferences had taken place between the Commissioners and the inhabitants of the parish; but the former were immovable. The right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) and himself (Colonel Kingscote) held a conference a short time ago with the Commissioners, who were instigated by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella), and he must say that nothing more unsatisfactory than that interview possibly could he. The Commissioners gave them no help at all. All they said was—"Here is the scheme, and it must be carried out." The House was in this position with regard to the scheme—it could take off from it, but it could not add to it. He maintained now, as He had maintained all along, that the scheme would take away from the endowment its only chance of reaching the children of the poor. How were exhibitions to be carried out? Why, only by depriving the poor of what had been given to them. Why should not clothing be given to the poor? He would not clothe them in blue coats and yellow shorts and that sort of thing; but he would give them clothing—or, at any rate, if he did not give them clothing, he would give them money. Let the money rest in the hands of the Trustees; but, at any rate, let it be given so that the children who were to take a certain position in the school would have the benefit in after-life of the money that had been left to them. What he asked for—or, rather, what the inhabitants of the parish asked for, and he had taken the matter up for that reason—was that the children of their poor should have a chance of obtaining the free education and the clothing which the founder had intended for their advancement in life. Even those who opposed the carrying out of the original intention of the founder were unanimously agreed with the inhabitants in this one thing—he would not say that there should be apprenticeships, but that the children of the poor should have the opportunity of getting a technical, or what he would like to call a mechanical education. They should have a chance of being put to trades, and made useful members of society. What he asked for was that, as regarded three or four clauses in the scheme, the Commissioners should take it back and make provision for a fund for the purpose of carrying out the original intention of the founder, because, as the proposal now stood, it certainly would not carry out that intention. He had been very much impressed with something that had been brought under his notice since he had put his Motion on the Paper, his attention having been called to it by the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire. It was this—he had observed that the London School Board—which was undeniably a body of intelligent men—and the inhabitants of this village of Cam might not, perhaps, be accredited with that qualification—had recently been dealing with trusts of this kind. If the House would allow him, he would read three Resolutions passed by the London School Board on the 13th of March. They were— 1. The Commissioners to be addressed suggesting that a body of Governors should be appointed to organize a system of supplying one or two meals a day and clothing out of the fund arising from trusts left for the destitute poor and indigent children, who are in regular attendance at elementary schools. 2. Urging that the funds arising out of the trusts left for apprentices, girls, and boys in Whitechapel should be continued for the original purposes made under the direction of the Governing Body. 3. Urging that the trusts left for free elementary education of the poorer classes in Whitechapel should he applied to that purpose, and should not be absorbed for the benefit of the class above that which requires the provision of public elementary schools. The first two Resolutions were carried unanimously, but the third was strongly opposed. A division was taken, and there voted 13 for and 13 against the Resolution, which was ultimately defeated by the casting vote of the Chairman. He did not wish to detain the House any longer; but he really considered that what had happened in the London School Board clearly pointed to the object he had in view, which was that the trust fund should be devoted to the purpose for which it was originally intended. He did not think any arguments of his could press more strongly on the House than these Resolutions. Without further comment he would now move the Resolution of which he had give Notice.


seconded the Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to withhold Her consent from Sections 28, 32, 33, and 34 of the Scheme now lying upon the Table for the future management of the Charity known as the School founded by Francis Hopton, in the parish of Cam."—(Colonel Kingscote.)


said, he very much regretted the absence from the House of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella). That absence was for reasons which the right hon. Gentleman had made known to the House; and, no doubt, they all very much regretted that the state of the right hon. Gentleman's health did not allow him to be present. In the absence of the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Courtney) was charged with the defence of the scheme of the Commissioners; but he considered the matter to be one of such simplicity, and so governed by the conduct of the last Government as well as of the present Government since the passing of the Endowed Schools Act, that it would not be a difficult matter for him to persuade the House that the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote) should not be accepted. The question was one which lay in a very small compass. As the hon. and gallant Member had stated, foundations of this kind were originally given for schools attended by small numbers; but those numbers had very largely increased. The boys and girls admitted to the Charity were appointed by nomination, and received their education gratuitously; and of late, in consequence of the increase of the fund, small sums had been applied in apprenticing the children. In the case of these schools, it would be seen, on reference to the terms of the foundations, that admission was by favour, and that the benefits included not merely education, but the clothing of children admitted into them. It had been the policy of the Endowed Schools Commissioners—which policy had been assented to by both sides of the House—to change those free nominations into selections depending on the quality of the boys and girls chosen to enjoy the privileges, and to abolish free gifts of clothes, and to provide instead thereof for some strictly educational purpose. His hon. and gallant Friend opposed that policy, because he thought it taking away from the poor that which was intended for them. To his (Mr. Courtney's) mind, the Commissioners had adopted the policy he had described, with the wisest prevision as to what were the wants of the poor. The reason the Endowed Schools Commission had restricted the numbers admitted to the educational advantages of these trusts was that they considered that elementary education in the simplest form should be a charge upon the parents on behalf of their children; and that it was a mistake to take away from parents that charge. In those cases whore it was necessary to supply the wants of elementary education, it must be recognized as distinctly given to those who were unable to obtain it themselves; but, primarily, the duty must be maintained on the parents of providing for the elementary education of their children. The Commissioners held that any charity, however beneficially designed, operated as a gift in aid of wages which was spent in relieving the parent from a part of the cost of living. They conceived, and rightly, that if it was wanted to maintain the working classes, especially the agricultural classes, in an independent condition, and to raise them in their social position, it must not be attempted to relieve them of their necessary burdens. Charities which were devoted to relieving parents from the primary cost of living were held to be far from beneficial. That was the vital principle on which the Charity Commissioners had acted; and the hon. and gallant Gentleman would negative it, notwithstanding that it had been widely applied, and was considered by those who had devoted a great deal of time and care to the matter a principle to the advantage of the poor. The matter was not one of first impression, the advantages of the principle having been found by experience. In the case of Great Wirksworth, free education and clothing was given; but in 1876, under the late Government, the object of the Charity was changed, as in the case of Cam. The scheme had been approved by the late Vice President of the Council, and laid before Parliament and assented to. Similar changes had been made in the case of West Hallam, Redwick, Bentworth, Berkhampstead, and other places, to which he would not refer in detail. The advantages thrown by patronage in the way of certain poor people, by relieving them of the education of their children, had been taken away, and in their place other and better educational advantages had been given. Many hon. Members would remember that, long before 1876—the date to which he had just referred—similar action had been taken. There was a well-known case in 1873 or 1874—a case in Westminster, not very far from the building in which they were. One effect of the General Election of 1874 was to bring under the revision of a Committee of the House the action of the Endowed Schools Commissioners; and hon. Members would remember that their rules were altered in many respects. In the alterations that were made, however, this particular principle that they were discussing was never attacked, but was always held sacred. The Committee never for a moment thought of challenging the principle as his hon. and gallant Friend did. What was the scheme to which objection was made? Why, it was this—that instead of free gifts to a limited number, chosen by patronage, some 30 scholarships of £3 a-piece were established, to be awarded to boys or girls, the children of parishioners, or of persons having resided three years in the district. The benefits would be conferred on the same class as the recipients of the free gifts, which were to be abolished. Children who were educated in the public elementary schools of Cam, or children in schools in adjoining parishes, whose parents had resided three years in those parishes, were to be eligible for these 30 scholarships. The awards would be given to those who proved themselves the most deserving in the public elementary schools of Cam, and of the adjoining parishes. It was further provided that, instead of apprenticeships, certain sums should be employed in exhibitions from the public elementary schools. That, as the hon. and gallant Member was no doubt aware, was part of almost every scheme which had been prepared under the Endowed Schools Act, and was in accordance with the principle the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had enunciated in bringing in the Bill. If a promising boy or girl, capable of making use of the benefits of education, was found in the elementary schools, he or she would be advanced by this grant. It was said that the scheme was unpopular in Cam; but he had a letter in his hand from a prominent person in the parish who spoke of it in the highest terms, and he thought the Governors of the Charity were unanimous—["No, no!"]—certainly, as a whole, they were in favour of it. [Mr. CAUSTON: There is opposition.] He was instructed, at the Education Office, as a strong point, that the Governors of the Charity were in favour of the scheme. He was not aware that there was anything else which it was desirable he should say upon the subject, especially at that hour of the night. He thought he had explained to the House that it was a matter which van on all-fours with other schemes already settled by both sides of the House, and supported by both Houses of Parliament. It was in the power of either House to reject any scheme of the Charity Commissioners, when it was presented to them; but the other House of Parliament had made no objection whatever to this scheme. Notwithstanding the strong opinions which were entertained in regard to education, he was satisfied the House would agree with him that the present scheme was opposed upon grounds which no educational reformer would approve. The change made by the scheme substituted educational advantages and exhibitions for gifts, although, perhaps, exhibitions of £40 or £50 might be considered to be in excess of the requirements of the school. With respect to that part of the scheme—as, indeed, with respect to any other—he might point out that the Charity Commissioners had power, under the scheme itself, to make alterations in it from time to time on such points as they deemed to be necessary; and if it should appear that these provisions for exhibitions were in excess of the requirements of the school, it would be in the power of the Charity Commissioners, and it would also be their duty, to amend the scheme in that respect; but, as a whole, He confidently recommended the House to adopt the scheme.


said, he thought it was hardly possible, under the Rules to which the Business of the House was subjected, for such attention to be directed to schemes of this nature as those who were interested in them desired. For instance, how could they discuss, at a quarter to 2 in the morning, a scheme which not only affected this particular locality, but was one in which a great many parishes throughout the country were indirectly interested, seeing that it would govern the action of the Charity Commissioners in regard to questions of very great importance affecting other localities? The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Courtney) had spoken of a certain vital principle which, according to the hon. Gentleman, was to govern all future action in matters of this kind. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) must say that, if it were known in the country that the doctrines of the hon. Gentleman with regard to the evils of free education—when the means for providing that free education were absolutely left by the charitable founder—were to govern the future action of Her Majesty's Government and the Charity Commissioners, he did not think Her Majesty's Government would obtain much additional popularity from the fact. He would appeal to hon. Members who sat on the other side of the House, who had often expressed their strong liking for a system of free education all over the country at the expense of the ratepayers or of the country at large, how they could reconcile it to themselves to support a scheme by which this very free education, provided for the poor of a parish by the founder, was taken away, in order to allow the endowments hitherto applied to it to be applied for the benefit of those who were really never intended to obtain advantage from the Charity at all? That, he contended, would be the real effect of the present scheme. [Mr. COURTNEY: No, no!] He maintained that it would be. It was all very well to talk about the intentions of the Charity Commissioners in abolishing patronage. He did not stand up there to defend the retention of patronage; but he did think that the benefit of these endowments should, in some way or other, be confined to the children of the poor, who were intended to be benefited by them. That, however, was not so under the provisions of the present scheme.


said, the scholarships would be applied to the benefit of the poor children.


said, the hon. Member told them that the scholarships were only to be applied to the benefit of the poor children attending the elementary schools. Now, he was well acquainted with a grammar school in his own neighbourhood—as a matter of fact, he was one of the Governors of it—in which the number of pupils had been much diminished within the last five years on account of the excellence of the elementary school in the same parish, and the smallness of the fees charged there, the result being that the children of shopkeepers and artizans earning high wages attended the ele- mentnry school instead of the grammar school, as would be the case in the parish for which the scheme they were now considering had been framed; and what he maintained was that the children of persons in that class of life would thus be able to compete for the exhibitions and educational advantages of this Charity upon unfair terms with the children of an agricultural labourer earning only 11s. or 12s. per week. In that way the children of the poor, who were intended to be benefited by these endowments, would be altogether deprived of the advantages to which they were entitled. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury had stated that in former years schemes similar to this had been sanctioned by Parliament; but he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) did not think that the attention of the country had been called to the matter in the past, as it was being in the present, and as it would be even more in the future, judging from the action of the London School Board, to which the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) had already alluded. And he believed that where the Charity Commissioners had dealt with endowments as they were proposed to be dealt with under the present scheme, those endowments had been much more in the nature of grammar schools than the endowment of this school was. This was an elementary school for the children of the poor; and he was convinced of this—that if a scheme of this kind was to be framed for every rural parish throughout the country wherever such a school as this had existed, there would be an universal outcry against such a policy. What had happened in this case? The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury said the Governors of the school were unanimously in favour of the scheme. Now, what occurred was this—the Governors, actuated by the vicar of the parish, were anxious that this charity school should be included in calculating the elementary school accommodation of the parish, and asked to have the school inspected by a Government Inspector. The Charity Commissioners, upon that request being made to them, proposed to abolish the school altogether, and to devote the endowments to the establishment of scholarships and exhibitions to be obtained by the children educated in the parish elementary schools. Now, these exhibitions which the Charity Commissioners proposed to found were, in the opinion of everyone in the parish, including those whom the hon. Gentleman had quoted as being in favour of the scheme, absolutely unsuited to the circumstances of the parish. The children of the parish belonged mainly to the lower class, and they did not require to go to any school which could be regarded as a school of higher education, nor could a place of technical training be found within any reasonable distance of the parish. What was wanted was that the funds of this Charity should be devoted in the future, as they had been in the past, to a certain extent, in supplying mechanical training to the children; or, in other words, apprenticing them to those trades by means of which they would be able to earn their livelihood. He hoped that the House, even at that hour of the morning, would consider the views entertained by the poor people in this country parish, who believed that this scheme of the Charity Commissioners would take away from them property which was as much theirs as the property of the richest in the land, and would devote it to the advantage of those for whom it was never intended.


said, he was sure that the thanks of the country, and especially of the rural population of the country, were due to the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) for having brought this matter forward. He thought the Cam School scheme ought to be regarded as a typical case—as an example of what was occurring throughout the country. He had been somewhat surprised to hear the doctrine which had been laid down by his hon. Friend on the Front Bench (Mr. Courtney). His hon. Friend said that to give free primary education to children was demoralizing. [Mr. COURTNEY: No!] His hon. Friend certainly used words to that effect; but he (Mr. Collings) would ask why they did not apply the same doctrine to the great endowments which had been enjoyed for centuries by the wealthy classes? He was anxious to learn what form demoralization took. It would appear that it did not occur only in the case of poor men, earning their 10s. or 12s. per week. He con- tended that charity was not the right word to apply to these endowments. Property was the right word, and they only misled themselves and confused the question when they supposed that they were dispensing charity. The right of these people to the endowments were as much their right as that which hon. Members themselves possessed to any property they held. In these days, when confiscation was talked so much about, and especially when they remembered what it was they had been discussing only that night—namely, the extension of the political power of the people—was it not a bad example to place before the people, in the fact that they were taking away from the poor, against their will and against their remonstrances, property of which they believed themselves to be, and which all who had gone into the question knew them to be, the rightful owners? He was not contending that no reform was necessary in regard to these matters. He thought that reform was absolutely necessary; but confiscation was not reform. He could show them a dozen ways in which they might spend the money in these poor districts for the benefit of the children, if they decided that doles and such-like charitable contributions were not a good form of expenditure. They might reform the manner in which the people enjoyed these gifts, without taking the property away from them altogether and placing it in the hands of the middle classes. The policy of the Charity Commissioners, in fact, was this—to take away this property from the poor, in order to establish what was called middle class schools, very often only good elementary schools, plus exclusiveness, for which the pupils had to pay so much per week. This sop of giving a certain number of scholarships to the poorer classes was a mere pretence of doing them good. His hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury said that a number of these schemes had not been objected to before, and that the proposal they were now considering had been applied to other schools without any opposition being raised to it in the House of Commons.


said, he had not said that. What he had said was that the principle involved in this scheme had been supported again and again in that House; and he had intimated that in the Westminster Schools scheme the objections which were raised were overruled.


said, that, in answer to the remark of his hon. Friend, he might say that, about 12 months ago, strong objection was raised to the scheme for the City of London School, and also for the school in connection with Emmanuel Hospital. There were other schools which had also boon objected to. What he contended was that the principle had not hitherto been, properly understood by the House. The poor had submitted to the injustice with which they had been treated, as, indeed, they invariably had to do; and they had no help unless somebody helped them outside. A scheme was laid on the Table, and by mere lapse of time, if nobody objected, it became law. He would mention the instance of Scarning, a village in Suffolk. That place had for 300 years enjoyed free education. The Charity Commissioners put on a fee of 2d., which fee was actually proposed to be employed for the establishment of scholarships for the middle classes. Well, what was the consequence? There had been a positive rebellion in that parish since the proposal had been carried out, and only a month or two ago the poor people of the locality refused to send their children to their own school, because they felt it an injustice to have to pay the fees; and at the present time they were making use of the Nonconformist chapel in the parish for their educational purposes. They had been told by his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury that the vicar, in the case of Cam School, approved of the scheme of the Charity Commissioners; but the Vicar of Scarning, Dr. Jessop, had been loud in his denunciation of the act of the Charity Commissioners. He was told that the same thing was going on in regard to Horsham at the present moment. That scheme would come before the House, and, in answer to the objections which had been urged to it, the Charity Commissioners stated that the endowments they had taken had been taken mostly to be given for the benefit of the poor. The action of the Commissioners had been met with a strenuous opposition. The Commissioners went on to say that they considered the rights of the poor were sufficiently safeguarded by the es- tablishment of scholarships obtainable by scholars in the elementary schools, and they held that to be a sufficient compliance with the obligations imposed upon them. Hon. Members know very well that that was a mere farce. He might refer to another case. For 300 years a great school had been enjoyed in Birmingham by the rich and middle classes respectively. He had seen the pupils riding to the school in their carriages, or on horseback; while the poorer classes had not even one of the crumbs that fell from that educational table. [An hon. MEMBER: No!] He was speaking of what he knew. He was one of the Governors of the school, and he thought he was entitled to know something about the case. That state of things went on, until when? When the Act of 1870 established elementary teaching the children of the poor, for the first time, had the power and opportunity of entering into that school. What happened? The Charily Commissioners placed a fee upon the school, upon the same miserable excuse of securing a certain number of scholarships for the humbler pupils from the elementary schools, He thought these cases showed that this was the policy which the Charity Commissioners pursued throughout the country; and he was inclined to think that there was an obligation laid upon the House of Commons to protect those who had not the power to protect themselves. The persons who were most affected met and protested against the action of the Charity Commissioners; but the thing, nevertheless, went on. He could imagine no plan by which they were more likely to anger and sour the poorer classes of the rural districts than by this sort of action. They often heard of setting class against class; but where could they find a more fruitful source of evil in that respect than in the promulgation of schemes like this? In saying this, He admitted the absolute necessity of reforming these Charities. Anyone who went into these poor districts and saw the condition of the people would be of that opinion. The case stood thus—there were certain incomes derived from property left for certain purposes. If it were found that the manner in which this property was spent was not in accordance with modern ideas, or if the property were applied in such a way as to do the poor people no good, it was within the duty and the power of the Government and that House to alter this. But it was right that the poor people should enjoy their property in some form or other, and he could find many ways in which this could be secured to them. The fact that elementary education was now supplied out of the rates and taxes might be a reason for closing primary schools of the character He was speaking of but it was no reason why the poor people should not have the benefit of their property in some other way. He trusted the Government would put its foot on this irresponsible legislation.


said, he was very well acquainted with the parish of Cam, which he had visited at least once a-year for the last 20 years, and therefore knew something of the feelings of the inhabitants with regard to this scheme. Where his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote) obtained his information he was unable to tell; but he (Mr. Causton) was satisfied that the opposition to the scheme did not come from the Trustees, except as to Clause 33. The clergy, Nonconformist ministers, and chief occupiers in the parish, who were, presumably, best able to judge of what was required for educational purposes in the parish, were in favour of the scheme, the opposition to which came from a Committee who told the people that their children were going to be robbed of their clothes. The population of Cam was 1,800; the average school attendance 300; and the income of the Hopton Trust, after deducting outlay for repairs and other matters, was £205, of which £102 was spout on education, £83 on clothes, and the rest on furniture. This scheme threw open to 300 children what was now given to 36; the Governing Body had been changed, and was now of a more or less representative character. There was not the least ground for saying that the scheme would take away the benefits which belonged to the poor and give them to another class; on the contrary, it extended the benefits to those who most deserved them. Out of a population of 1,800 at Cam, there were 1,700 persons who earned weekly wages; and, with the exception of one manufacture, the whole population belonged to the agricultural class. There were 20 farmers in the district, who, if they were over- taken by distress in bad times, might possibly make use of the school, as; they had a right to do; and he knew his hon. and gallant Friend would have no wish to deprive distressed farmers of that advantage. The only alteration desired was with regard to Clause 33. It was the general wish that, instead of giving exhibitions, the Trustees should have power, from time to time, to apprentice children. If his hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Courtney) could see his way to meet the object of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote) to that extent, he (Mr. Causton) was convinced he would thereby satisfy the reasonable requirements of the parishioners of Cam, and do everything that would make the scheme of the Commissioners acceptable.


said, he fully endorsed the opinions expressed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), and, knowing the difficulties in the way of carrying out the scheme, should certainly support the Motion before the House.


said, he would support the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote), on the principle that the Commissioners launched these schemes on the country against the wishes of the people. Notwithstanding that these schemes were often opposed, they were constantly being put forward. As he thought the Charity Commissioners had enormous powers—greater powers than they ought to have—he should certainly support the proposal of his hon. and gallant Friend.


said, he would call attention to the fact that the Charity Commissioners were only carrying out the principles and directions laid down in the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, which had been proposed by the Liberal Government of that clay, accepted and carried out by the succeeding Conservative Government, and repeatedly affirmed in that House. If the House should, at that hour—2.30 A.M.—disapprove the scheme in question, it would introduce hopeless confusion in respect of the carrying out of the Act, one of the most, beneficial that had been passed in our time.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 49; Noes 53: Majority 4—(Div. List, No. 51.)