§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
The second reading of this Bill was brought on so unexpectedly that I was then the only Scotch Member on this side of the House, and there was no discussion. This debate involves the principle of the Bill. I do not profess to see its necessity or to support its general provisions, while I ardently oppose some of them. No doubt, it has numerous supporters in Scotland. I know of no country which has made so much progress as Scotland since it became an integral part of Great Britain, united with England in interests, in feeling, and in administration. Undoubtedly, that administration had to be carried on with a knowledge of local differences in law and in the habits of the people; and, on the whole, through the Ministerial functions of the Lord Advocate and the vigilance of Scotch Members of Parliament, Scotland has largely had its own way as to its peculiarities; but has gained vastly in solidarity and prosperity by accepting its position as an integral part of Great Britain. This Bill is intended to accentuate the differences between England and Scotland for the future, and, in my opinion, it will tend to convert Scotland into a Pro- 923 vince, with the narrower peculiarities of Provincial existence. No country can less afford than Scotland to narrow the ambition of its educated classes or to parochialize its institutions. If it separates itself from England in administration and education it need not be surprised if in time England becomes less of an outlet for Scotch enterprize. I doubt altogether the wisdom of such a separation, though I admit that a certain demand for it exists in Scotland. The Scotch Secretary to be created by this Bill is to be the responsible Minister for affairs connected with local government—such as public health, the relief of the poor, the care of lunatics, the supervision of prisons, and like subjects, none of which have fundamental differences, either in their principles or applications, from similar subjects of English administration. But if separation of Scotch and English administration be desirable, I do not in the least understand why it should suddenly stop so as to exclude the new Minister from all control over matters relating to law and justice. Questions relating to law and justice are the very subjects of all others in Scotland where there are national differences and even mysterious peculiarities. I could understand the demand for a Minister who should be intrusted with the important differences of legal procedure, a different law, and a different form of justice. But just at this point the Bill fails, and the English Secretary of State at the Home Office is to control such administration with the aid of the Lord Advocate. The Lord Advocate, who has hitherto been the Scotch Minister, is to have no official relations to the new Scotch Secretary, but is to be a sort of comet revolving in a small orbit, controlled by the great English luminary in Whitehall. The noble Marquess at the head of the Government, in speaking of the Bill in "another place," stated that he supported it because it was a work of decentralization, and that it was better to localize than to centralize administration. I could understand this argument if there were a Scotch Parliament to whom this new Minister was responsible; I could understand it in a lesser degree if the Office of the new Minister was to be in Edinburgh. But we have been distinctly told that this Office is to be in London. How decentralization 924 and localization are to be produced by going from one side of Whitehall to the other side of Whitehall is altogether beyond my comprehension. The creation of this new Minister is an act of centralization, not of decentralization. It gathers into one office Acts now administered by the Home Office, the Privy Council, Treasury, and the English Local Government Board. Decentralization is the last word that can be applied to the Bill; but nationalization would be more appropriate. It practically means that no English Minister must presume to administer Scotch affairs. How would the converse proposition suit the ambition of Scotland—that no Scotchman should become an English Minister? One proposition is as good as the other. The new Scotch Secretary, as he is to have no charge of law and justice, must have something added to the duties of supervising local government, so that he may have an office of dignity and an office of work of such apparent magnitude as will justify Parliament in creating a new Minister. The dignity is to be conferred by giving to him the custody of the Great Seal. I do not know much about the Great Seal. I see that it has an office in Edinburgh, which is open one hour daily, and that it must be difficult to keep, for it has already a "deputy keeper" and a "substitute keeper." If such officers are really required for its safe custody, the new Scotch Secretary can have little work added to his office by being made Keeper of the Great Seal, and official dignity in these days does not arise from a mere name, but only from the due performance of official work and duties. As this dignity does not give work, education is to be added to his office. This raises the important question whether the supervision of education in Scotland by the new Minister is to be undertaken in the interests of education or in the interests of the new office? The Earl of Fife, speaking "elsewhere," let the eat out of the bag when he said that every Scotchman to whom he spoke on the subject, replied—"What on earth is the use of a Scotch Secretary if education is not included in his functions? "That really, Sir, is at the root of the Bill. Law and justice have been cut out of his functions, and so little is loft for the new Minister to do that you must add something, and so 925 education is to be joined to the Great Seal, to police, prisons, public health, lunacy, adulteration of food and drugs, pauperism, fisheries, wild birds protection, and other miscellaneous subjects with which education has nothing in common. No one will dispute that to Scotland education is a subject of the deepest interest, for its prosperity largely depends upon it. It is, therefore, a very serious matter to deal with education as a means of augmenting the importance of an office. In any case that is not an educational argument, for it proceeds on the assumption that education is a branch of administration which can be handed from one office to another, not for its own advantage, but for that of the office which takes it. No doubt, the noble Earl (the Earl of Rosebery) who introduced this Bill sincerely believes that the junction of education with the office of Secretary will benefit not only the office, but also education itself. I know much less of local administration in Scotland than that noble Earl; but I have made the study of its education a specialty, so I hope the House will allow me to state my reasons for opposing the educational provisions of this Bill. It is really the essence of the Bill, and cannot be relegated to the Committee stage. Afterwards I will speak of certain peculiarities in Scotch education. But now the initial question arises—Has education in Scotland suffered by its connection with that of England since the Act of 1872? For the answer to this question is the justification or condemnation of this Bill. Sir, it has gone on by leaps and bounds since it has been managed by the Department in Whitehall. Every parish has now its school board. In 1872 the schools in Scotland could only accommodate 282,000 scholars; now they have places for 656,000. The education, as a whole, has advanced, not only in extent, but also in quality. There is, therefore, no à priori argument for a change such as is proposed by this Bill. If we look at the amount spent on the education of the people in the three sections of the Kingdom, Scotland receives more than England. Taking the population of the Census in 1881, the money spent last year per head of the people was 2s. 6½d. for England, 2s. 8d. for Scotland, and 3s. for Ireland. If England had received 926 as much as Scotland, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have had to provide £162,340 more for English education. Surely, it is absurd to speak of neglect of Scotch education by an Engglish Department with such figures. The House cannot forget that it has appointed various Select Committees during the last 15 years to consider how Ministerial responsibility can best be secured for the largely increasing Votes for Education. It was pointed out by all these Committees that the present system by which the Lord President of the Committee of Council on Education sits in the House of Lords is essentially bad in theory, though it is tempered in practice by the really active Educational Minister—the Vice President of the Council—sitting in the House of Commons. Another Committee sat last year under the Presidency of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers), and it unanimously recommended that a Minister with duties not less important than a Secretary of State—by which they intended to indicate that he should be of Cabinet rank—should have charge of the education of Great Britain. The present practice of having the responsible Minister in the House of Lords, and the active, though irresponsible, Minister in the House of Commons, was emphatically condemned. The Cabinet of the late Government accepted the conclusions of this Report. The late Prime Minister [Mr. Gladstone), on the 6th of November, 1884, said, in answer to a Question—We propose on an early day—I cannot name the day exactly—to adopt measures founded upon the Report of the Select Committee."—(3 Hansard,  1116.)This answer was understood to mean that a responsible Minister of Education for Great Britain would be appointed, not certainly that the present Vice President of the Council should be reduced in influence and position by being confined to England, while a Minister was to be created for Scotland, with Poor Law, police, public health, and other offices tagged on to his educational duties. I am sure that the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) will not say that this is the spirit in which his Committee reported. But this Bill, so far as regards education, is founded on the system which has been so repeatedly condemned. It proposes 927 that a Vice President of the Council for Education in Scotland shall be appointed, and the terms of the clause are copied from the Act for appointing the present Vice President of the Council of Education. The Scotch Minister is to be the Vice President of the Council in all matters regarding Scotch education. What will follow in law, fact, and practice? The present Vice President of the Council, whom we have been accustomed to look upon as the Education Minister de facto, if not de jure, is to be shorn of his proportions and dignity in order to give increased proportions and dignity to the new Scotch Minister. If this Bill becomes law, you will have two Vice Presidents of Education—one for England and one for Scotland—two subordinate Tycoons to administer education; while the powerful but invisible Mikado, the Lord President of the Council, sits up aloft in regions to which we have no access, and remains irresponsible to us who have to vote large sums for the education of the people, while we have no Minister of responsibility in the House of the people. There is no mistake in this subject. The Duke of Richmond, when President of the Council, was asked—"Are you or the Vice President the Minister of Education?" And he replied, frankly and truly—"I am the Minister of Education." All the Presidents of Council examined before the Committee accepted this responsibility, and gave to the Vice President the position of an Under Secretary of State. But we found on examination that the Vice President did all the work, while the President monopolized all the patronage. This false relation of Ministerial responsibility became intolerable to the House, and your Committee recommended that a distinct Minister of Education, with the position, if not with the name, of a Secretary of State, should be appointed. This is not a view confined to one side of the House. The late Duke of Marlborough, when Lord President of the Council under the Earl of Beacons-field's Government, introduced a Bill to create a new Secretary of State who should take charge of national education. But what does this Bill do? It reduces the rank and position of the de facto Minister of Education in this House by passing part of his duties to the new Scotch Secretary, and thus it 928 raises the power and position of the Lord President as the true Minister of Education, although necessarily, from his relations to the Queen, he is in the House of Lords, which has no touch with the education of the people. I have no doubt that the promoters of this Bill thought that they were really passing Scotch education to the Scotch Secretary. They have done nothing of the kind. It is true that the Earl of Rosebery, who had charge of the Bill in "another place," said that it transferred education to the new Minister "in the most complete and absolute fashion." But how did the Lord President view the alleged transfer? He said—The Department existed, everything was ready to his hand, and the new official would merely have to take the place at present held by the Vice President of the Council for England, who was also Vice President of the Council for Scotland.That is the law and fact of the change proposed by this Bill. Both Vice Presidents will continue to be subordinate to the Lord President, who has the ultimate and single responsibility for the education of Great Britain. The Lord President will continue to exercise the patronage of the Department, and will appoint the Inspectors and other officers for both England and Scotland. The Lord President has the right and the responsibility of approving or disapproving of every act of his subordinate Vice Presidents in both countries. I believe that this will be the working of the Bill; and I admit that if there be no removal of the Scotch Department from its present offices, the educational evil will be reduced, because the Lord President and the two Vice Presidents can meet in constant consultation. But we ought to be assured that this is the way in which the system will be worked without transference to a new office, and that the new Scotch Vice President of the Council created by the Act is, like the English Vice President, a responsible officer of one division of the Education Department under a common head, and with the advantages attending a common office of administration. But even this least injurious form of working the two Departments does not commend itself to men of large experience in educational administration. The present Government have wisely called into their councils a well-known Scotch- 929 man—Sir Francis Sandford—and given him a seat in the Scotch Education Department. No one in the Kingdom can speak with greater authority on the subject. He was asked by the Select Committee what he thought of a proposal such as is made by this Bill—Would you be sorry to see the Vice President limited to English, work, and somebody else introduced for Scotch work—say a Scotch Vice President?—I think it would be better not to do so. My opinion is that it is bettor for the two countries to be both under one head.It would have been better for education and easier for administration if the Bill had proceeded on the recommendations of the Select Committee, and made an effective Scotch Department with a separate Secretary, and gave to the new Scotch Minister an ex officio seat on the Board. To make him a subordinate officer of the Lord President is altogether a mistake of administration when you are creating a new Minister, while it increases the evils of a condemned system of educational responsibility, and puts formidable obstacles to the future creation of a true Ministry of Education. At all events, it prejudges the question before this House has had time to consider the Report of its Select Committee. One of the great reasons for recommending such a Ministry was that we felt sure the responsible Minister of Education would be a man of Cabinet rank, and naturally would sit in this House. The absence of a Representative of education from this House led to the appointment of the present Vice President, who, if this Bill passes, will be reduced to a Vice President for English education only. But with regard to Scotch education, there is neither security, nor even probability, that the new Minister will be in the House of the people. The 3rd clause says that "the Secretary, if not a Member of the House of Lords," shall be able to sit in the House of Commons. You will continue to have the Lord Advocate in this House, and the most natural consideration to a Prime Minister forming a Government will be to say—as there is a Scotch Minister already in the House of Commons, let us put the new Scotch Secretary into the House of Lords. Quite natural and quite proper such an arrangement, if he were not also the Education Minister for Scotland; but 930 not convenient or even tolerable to this House, which votes £500,000 yearly to education in Scotland, to have no Minister here immediately responsible for its administration, when all results relating to the education of the people are so eagerly and constantly discussed in this House, and so rarely in the House of Lords. Is it not obvious that English education under an English Minister wholly devoted to it would have our fostering care; while Scotch education, lifted above our heads into the House of Lords, in charge of a Minister with fifty other functions, would be viewed with suspicious jealousy? Scotland has marked peculiarities in paying for higher subjects, and they are recognized in the Act of 1872; but when you find among these that classical and modern languages, as well as science, are subjects in primary schools, how are they to fare with a Scotch Secretary in the House of Lords? If you have any doubt on this subject, the recent discussion in "another place" by Lord Norton, and the speech of Viscount Cranbrook on the inexpediency of having such subjects taught in primary schools or in secondary schools by school boards, will indicate a very considerable danger. If the Scotch Minister was in this House, with the aid of Scotch Members this danger would be mitigated. It is possible, therefore, that the Prime Minister, in forming a Government, may ultimately allow the Scotch Minister to sit in this House. If so, we would then have three Ministers responsible for Scotch Business—not one Minister, which would appear to be the object of this Bill. First, law and justice would be managed by the Home Secretary, aided by the Lord Advocate. Then, sitting on the same Bench, but with an inferior salary of £2,000, you would find a Scotch Secretary, who has no official relation to either of them. Perhaps in time the English Members might learn their different responsibilities, and ask the right Questions of the right Ministers; but does not the whole arrangement look absurd, when it might be rectified in the construction of a Bill? My own belief is that no such bungling proposal as this Bill could have been made to us if it were not intended that the Scotch Secretary should sit in the House of Lords, and that the Lord Advocate 931 should represent him in the House of Commons. But when his main work is to administer the £500,000 voted for the education of the people, both this House and the Scotch people will ultimately insist that he should sit in the House of Commons, which takes such keen interest in all questions relating to education. We have an instance of combined work in the case of the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. He practically controls the work of local government, law and justice, and education in Ireland, or, at least, he represents Ministerial responsibility in this House. But his fractional care of education is so limited in amount that we have constantly to be reminded that he has charge of Irish education. And what has been the outcome of this fragmentary attention to the absorbing subject of education? It is that though Ireland has had a National system for more than half a century, the last Census shows us that 41 percent of the population above five years of age cannot read and write; while in one Province—Connaught—53 per cent are in this sad condition of ignorance. Had there been one Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, this melancholy outcome of half a century could not possibly have happened. And yet in "another place" this isolation of Irish education, and the neglect of it by a Minister who could only give to it a fragmentary attention, was quoted as a precedent, and held up as an example for the isolation of Scotch education. It was abandoned in the House of Lords; but the hon. Member for Roxburgh (Mr. Elliot) has given Notice of an Amendment to complete the isolation of Scotch education. It is true that in Ireland the isolation is so complete that teachers' certificates from that country are not recognized in England. Such a result is likely to happen if Scotland obtains the isolation of her education, for what interest would England have to recognize certificates given on a separate system? Already there is a plethora of teachers in Scotland; but it is relieved by 50 or 60 teachers, now the offspring of a common system, being annually appointed to English schools. The Earl of Rosebery, speaking in "another place," looks with contempt upon the proposal to have a Minister of Education for Great Britain, excluding Ireland, and calls him a vulgar 932 fraction of a two-thirds Minister. But what will this now Scotch Secretary be when he sits in this House? As a Scotch Minister with an inferior salary sitting on the same Bench with the Home Secretary, and the Lord Advocate having the important control of law and justice, he will, indeed, be a vulgar fraction of a one-third Scotch Minister. But what will he be as an Education Minister? The Act of 1872—the Education Act—is to be pitched, with more than 50 other Acts, into his Office. As Scotch Secretary, he is already the vulgar fraction of a one-third Scotch Minister; but, as Education Minister, he is one of lesser dimensions still—a one-fiftieth Education Minister. For if there be a real work for him to do in the care of police, paupers, lunatics, fisheries, and wild birds, there can only be a small fragment of his time left to take care of education. We have been told that there is a consuming desire of the Scotch people to have a Scotch Secretary, and there is no doubt a widespread demand for it. But I do not admit that there is the same feeling for including education in his functions. A number of the small towns, through their Town Councils, have petitioned in favour of this inclusion; and the large towns of Edinburgh and Paisley have also done so. But the other large towns of Scotland have expressed no such desire. The Churches met in General Assembly last May, and the United Presbyterian Church has petitioned; but the Church of Scotland and the Free Church have not. The Convention of Royal Burghs expressed a unanimous feeling on the subject last year; but this year the Resolution to petition was only carried by a majority of 2. I do not believe that any feeling in favour of education being attached to his Office would have arisen had not the lawyers been able to cut out law and justice from it. It is because they have succeeded in doing so that education has been thrown to him as a corpus vile. Schoolmasters and Professors are not as powerful as lawyers in this House; but surely their voice should be heard in such an important proposal. Educational authority is certainly against it. The Scotch Educational Institute, which is composed of Scotch teachers, have petitioned in favour of one Minister of Education for Great Britain, and against the separation of 933 English from Scotch education. Out of 2,473 teachers who have expressed themselves by Resolutions on this subject, only 97, or less than 5 per cent, are in favour of the educational part of this Bill. The Scotch Universities, which are most intimately connected with the schools of the people, are represented in this House by two Members, both of whom are in opposition to this proposal. No doubt it will be contended that my own opposition to it has lost me my seat. I sit here with only a small majority; and it is quite true that a considerable number of United Presbyterian ministers who have always supported me withdrew their support. Whatever capital the supporters of the Bill make out of this fact, they cannot deny the sincerity of my convictions when I sacrificed a University seat which I have had the honour to hold for 17 years, in order that I might be free to oppose this Bill. Not a single teacher, Professor, or University authority has intimated to me their disapproval of my hostility; while a large number of them have encouraged me in opposing a measure which they think will be disastrous to the interests of education in Scotland. The Earl of Rosebery in "another place" stated that he had waited for the expression of the school boards. What has been that expression? There are 980 school boards, and of those only 36 have petitioned this House in favour of the Bill. They are all small boards, for the united population represented by them is only 80,000. The Edinburgh School Board was last year against the proposal; this year it is in its favour; but I do not find a Petition sent to this House. Of the largo towns, the school boards of Glasgow, Govan, Dundee, and Aberdeen are against the transference of education. I include Aberdeen on the authority of its Chairman, who has been hero to oppose the Bill. I do not deny that there is a general feeling in Scotland that the Education Department has not sufficiently distinguished the differences between English and Scotch education. It was to insure this that the Select Committee of last year recommended that there should be a permanent Scotch Secretary to the Department, so that the responsible Education Minister should be brought into touch with the peculiarities of Scotch education. These differences are real, and depend upon 934 the fact that while education in England become National by the Act of 1870, the Scotch Act of 1872 was not the creation of a National system, but the extension of one which was no longer sufficient for the wants of the people. In Scotland the division between primary and secondary schools is not so marked as in England. The Scotch school boards are charged with the management of the burgh or grammar schools, and in England the boards have no such functions. This denominational system is not nearly so marked in Scotland as in England, for each parish has its school board. The Universities also receive many students direct from primary schools, where they obtain a certain amount of secondary education. These are distinctions of such importance that the Select Committee wisely recommended a responsible Scotch Secretary in the Education Department, with a staff charged with the ordinary administration of Scotch work. But, at the same time, they recommended that there should be only one responsible Minister for Education in Great Britain. England may learn many things from Scotch education, and the separation will be injurious to the interests of education in this country. For example, it will accentuate the antagonism between board and voluntary schools. You have an example in Scotland of board schools dealing satisfactorily with religious education, so that voluntary schools work with them in little antagonism. The denominations have had perfect confidence that the Department in Whitehall would give them fair play. But the Roman Catholics in Glasgow, who are very numerous, have not the same faith in a Scotch Secretary, who will be more subject to pressure from local influences. This has been pressed upon me as a real danger by those interested in denominational schools; and if it be well founded it will disturb the harmony which now exists between board and voluntary schools. If England may benefit by an example of this harmony, there is much also that Scotch education may learn from England. At present the Scotch Code is inferior to the English Code in its requirements, and requires assimilation. In the attention given to Art and Science, both in primary and secondary schools, Scotland is getting far behind England. Scotland has not 935 yet adapted itself to the needs of a scientific age. It may be contended that if there had been a Scotch Minister these differences would have been rectified. But he will be the Representative of national prejudices which have hitherto prevented this progress in Art and Science, and a more complete isolation will confirm them, while the friction with the English system was gradually rubbing them down. The Science and Art Department in South Kensington will in future be presided over by the English Vice President, though in a few years every school in Scotland will be reported upon for drawing by an Inspector from that Department, and, I hope, before long, for science also. Does this not show the absurdity of the proposed separation? I need not say that I think the educational part of this Bill is essentially bad. It is bad, because it lessens the influence of the Vice President of the Council, who has hitherto been a de facto Minister of Education in this House, though under a system of defective responsibility. It is bad, because it will render it very difficult, if not impossible, for us to rectify in the future a system so often condemned, and will prevent us, if the House so desire, from securing a single responsible Education Minister, not only for primary education, but also for all the Votes for higher education, including Science and Art. It is bad for Scotland, because it gives to its education only the fragmentary attention of a Minister who has many other duties unconnected with education. This is now a Government measure, acquired, like the Estimates and various other Bills, as an inheritance. Its conduct in "another place" shows that it has only a stepmother's love. How was it that the Duke of Richmond, with his large experience in the Education Department, said not one word in its favour, although he was in the House? He literally, not metaphorically, turned his back upon the speakers all through the debate. How is it that the present Lord President (Viscount Cranbrook) was deaf to all persuasions, and refused to praise the Bill? I go further, and ask whether there is one of the leading statesmen on the Treasury Bench who like this Bill in their hearts? The Home Secretary (Sir R. Assheton Cross), in 1883, described the then proposed Scotch Secretary "as an independent officer, who would be 936 neither fish, flesh, nor fowl." What does he think of him now with more than 50 miscellaneous Acts thrown into a Scotch Office, and then supplied with a Chair in the Education Department to administer the Education Act, when he has some fragment of time to attend to it? No doubt the Government may retort that this Scotch Secretary was the offspring of the Liberal Government. That is quite true. It was introduced into this House in August, 1883, by the late Home Secretary in a mocking speech that nearly strangled the infant at its birth. But then education was not in the Bill. I believe that now the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) is a supporter of the Bill in its present form. A General Election is near. That induces both sides to throw a tub to the Scotch whale. There is a demand on the part of many persons in Scotland for a Scotch Secretary. Though I am one of those who do not see any advantage to my country in such a measure, I would not divide the House against giving to the new Minister all Home Office work and local government. If he had the control of law and justice, he would have functions which would give him dignity and insure him respect. But I do not like this Bill, which makes a Minister of shreds and patches, and then to raise him from an inferior position gives him a Chair to sit in an Education Department outside his Office, and in subordination to another Minister. It is quite right that he should have influence of a powerful character in a distinct administrative Scotch Education Department. That could be given him by making him an ex officio member of it. Such a course would not raise a barrier between Parliament and the important reforms required in the re-organization of education in this country. This House must soon give its close attention to this subject, and ought not on a side issue to preclude itself from its consideration. The great countries in Europe give education to the charge of a Minister dealing with that alone. The smaller countries, like Greece, Portugal, Egypt, and Japan, have done so. Even Victoria and New Zealand have now their Education Minister. But Scotland alone, which above all other countries is essentially educational, is in future to have a Minister made up of a large variety of heterogeneous materials mixed 937 up like a Scotch haggis, and then salted with education to give it a flavour. It is too serious to deal with education in this fashion, and I make as earnest a protest as I can against it by moving the Resolution of which I have given Notice.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL,
in seconding the Amendment, observed that though he agreed with the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman, he could not commit himself to all the views he had expressed so forcibly and eloquently with regard to the Bill as a whole. At the same time, he could not say that he was particularly enamoured of this proposal to create a Scotch Secretary. He could not say that he had ever seen the necessity for adopting this particular way of improving the administration of Public Business connected with Scotland. For his part, he should have been better pleased if a Bill had been brought in to strengthen the position of the Lord Advocate, and, at the same time, to make an appointment which was proposed some years ago by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Sir R. Assheton Cross)—that of an Under Secretary of the Home Office, with special charge of Scotch Business. But the point in this Bill to which he would refer was that on which his right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) had dilated so fully and so much to the instruction of the House—the proposal as regarded education. The question suggested itself— why was it proposed to transfer education to the new official? Was it in the interest of the new Office, or in the interest of education? It could not be said to be in the interest of the new Office, for the simple reason that when the Bill was introduced last Session it was not proposed to make this transfer. What, then, had happened to Scotch education during the past year that had made it necessary to transfer it to the Scotch Secretary? The advocates of the Bill in its present form had said that education would be the most important of all the matters with which the Scotch Secretary would have to deal; but in his opinion that made it worse for the Government of last year, for it convicted them of having proposed to create an officer without enough to do, or with nothing to do of sufficient importance. Then, as to the interests of education, he considered that education in Scot- 938 land would be best attended to by a Minister who was appointed to his Office with the view of giving his services to education entirely. That surely was a reasonable view, because his attention would not be distracted by other and multifarious duties. It was said by the advocates of this Bill that Scotch education could only occupy part of the time of a Minister of Education, and that, considering the relative proportions of the two countries, it could only have a small part of his time. Taking the Government grant as an index, they found that in England as much as £3,000,000 a-year was spent in education grants, and in Scotland £500,000; so that Scotch education might be said to represent one-seventh part of the educational interest of Great Britain, as measured in that way; and it was argued, therefore, that a Minister of Education could only be expected to give a proportion—say one-seventh—of his time and attention to the interests of Scotland. But even if that were true, a small proportion given by a Minister who devoted the remainder of his time to cognate subjects was much more likely to do justice to Scotch education than a much larger share of time given by another Minister, who had besides to attend to the miscellaneous and wholly unrelated subjects found in the Schedule of this Bill. But he did not allow that the attention given by the Minister of Education to the educational interests of the two countries would be given in a measure proportioned to the relative magnitude of the countries, or the number of their schools. It was enough if the interests of each country would be fully considered and attended to, and by one who had the advantage of being familiar with what was going on in both countries. There was proof that good had come to both countries from having their educational system under one Head. They found, from the evidence of past Vice Presidents of the Council, that being in charge of Scotch education had been a help to them in the administration of English education; and they had evidence from teachers of the best standing that the education of Scotland had profited greatly by the familiarity they had—through their connection with the Education Department—with the progress of education in England. While he felt strongly that any 939 proposal to transfer education from the Education Department was to be deprecated, he felt no less strongly that it was necessary to plead for the separate management of Scotch, education under one Minister. At present they did not enjoy this arrangement to the extent that was necessary, now that the educational work of the country had become so important and so extensive. The Committee to which his right hon. Friend had referred recommended that a distinct permanent Secretary should be appointed for Scotland, responsible to the Minister of Education. That was necessary, because in Scotland they had a different Education Act, a different Code, and different educational history and traditions from England, and they had even now, as they had had all along, a separate Scotch Education Department of the Privy Council. Now, it was necessary that they should have separate administration within the Ministry of Education; but that by no means implied that their system should not be under the same Minister as the English system. He thought that the want of this separate administration accounted for no small proportion of the movement for the transference of Scotch education to a Scotch Minister. He could not admit that the movement was general. It had been keen in some quarters; but those quarters were not numerous or very extensive. But grant separate administration under the Education Minister, and he believed that many of those who had petitioned for the transfer would feel that they had got all that they asked for. He might mention that some of the largest school boards in Scotland had taken up a decided position against the proposed transfer. In fact, the Petitions in favour of it were from boards and places which taken together did not represent a population equal to the population of one parish that had petitioned against the proposal. The Bill appeared to him to weaken the position of the Vice President. He would no longer be responsible for education in both England and Scotland. They would be placed further than at present from having a proper Ministry of Education, and they would be practically condemning in advance a Report which had not yet been considered. It had been said that the evidence taken before the Com- 940 mittee was that only of Presidents, Vice Presidents, and other officials, and the Report was disparaged on that account; but he would remind the House that the duty of that Committee was to consider how Ministerial responsibility, under which the Votes for Education, Science, and Art were administered, might be best secured; and the question could be best answered by consulting those who had been engaged in the actual administration. He hoped the Government would give some indication that the changes suggested in the Amendments of his right hon. Friend would be satisfactory to them; in which case, he hoped the House would not go to a division, and that the object his right hon. Friend had in view, and which he believed would substantially accomplish all that the Government and the promoters of the Bill desired—giving the Secretary for Scotland an interest in education, without giving him the place now occupied by the Vice President—might be attained. He begged to second the Resolution.
To leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in view of the Report of a Select Committee of last Session, recommending that there should be one responsible Minister of Education for Great Britain, it is not expedient, before this House has considered that Report, to proceed with the proposal of this Bill, that the charge of Scotch education should be removed from the Vice President of the Council, thus lessoning his influence and responsibility, in order to transfer it to the Secretary for Scotland intended to be created by this Bill,"—(Sir Lyon Playfair,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. RAMSAY
said, he was very sorry that this discussion should have come on so late in the Session, for the majority of the Scotch Members had left for their homes, believing that this Bill would not pass. [Cries of "No!" and"Hear, hear!"] Well, he believed that till Friday last it was not thought by anyone that they could expect to have an opportunity for discussion; and as the Bill might be amended, and would require to be reconsidered in the Lords, and then come back to this House, therefore it was thought and believed it would not pass. His right hon. Friend 941 (Sir Lyon Playfair) had given them the benefit of his views on this subject; but he recollected that his right hon. Friend made the same appeal to the House some six or eight years ago, when speaking in favour of appointing a Minister of Education for the whole of the United Kingdom. The object of the Committee, to which reference had been made, was a very definite one. The Committee was appointed to consider how the Ministerial responsibility under which the Votes for Education, Science, and Art were administered might be best secured. His right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) attached great importance to that inquiry by the Committee; but they did not come to any resolution regarding Ireland. They only heard one witness regarding Ireland, and they felt that sufficient to satisfy them that the Minister for Education whom they desired to appoint should not take any cognizance of Irish education, but that Irish education should be left as it was. He was surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that over the whole of Ireland 41 per cent of the people were unable to read or write; and yet to find that the Committee, with that fact before them, should have neglected to make any suggestion for the improvement of education in that country. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of one county in Ireland where there were 55 per cent in that condition; and he dwelt on that fact as an evidence of the little that had been done under the present system of Irish education. That was quite true; but a Committee appointed to consider Low Ministerial responsibility could be best secured might surely, when they recommended the union of the education of Great Britain under one Minister, have taken some means of considering the difference in the systems of education in the two countries; but the Committee made no such inquiry, and made no suggestion for improvement either in Ireland or Great Britain. The English and Scotch systems were essentially different, and for that reason it was desirable that they should be separately administered. In England at present the majority of the schools were denominational. To place England on the same footing as Scotland it would be necessary to establish in the former 13,000 more school boards; and any 942 Minister who had charge of that number of English boards would have enough to do without interfering with Scotch education. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir Lyon Playfair), speaking very sharply as to the prospects of Scotch education, had assumed that it had not suffered by the present method of administration; but how could he be sure of that? He had advanced in support of that idea the fact that the Scotch school children had earned 2d. per head more than the English from the Government grant; but that was to be accounted for, in his opinion, by the circumstance that Scotland had had a system of National education in operation for 400 years; whereas there had been no attempt at anything of the kind in England until within the last 15 years. It was significant that in the Committee presided over by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) there was hardly a question asked as to the effect which any change in the mode of administration might have on Scotch education. It seemed to have been taken for granted that Scotland would be able to take care of itself. His right hon. Friend had expressed a doubt whether there was more than a limited number of persons desirous to have matters of education placed under a Secretary for Scotland. He did not like to controvert anything which was said by his right hon. Friend, who was so highly and justly esteemed in Scotland; but he must point out that the right hon. Gentleman had himself mentioned as his reason for withdrawing from his own country the zeal of his Scotch constituents to have Scotch education affairs placed under a Scotch Minister. He was as sensible as his right hon. Friend of the advantage that would arise if the Minister having charge of Scotch education had a seat in the Cabinet. He remembered that when, at the request of his Colleagues, he presented the first Memorial in favour of Scotch affairs, including education, being placed under a Scotch Minister distinct from the Home Secretary and the Lord Advocate, the Prime Minister asked him if it was wished that the proposed Minister for Scotland should be in the Cabinet. He (Mr. Ramsay) replied—"Certainly, that is our wish; but we do not make it a condition." The Memorial which he presented on that occasion was 943 signed by more than two-thirds of the entire Scotch representation. A great meeting was held in Edinburgh nearly two years ago, such as he had never seen in his country at any time before; and it was then urged that every part of purely Scotch Business should be intrusted to the Minister who would be appointed if their wish were carried out. If his right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) had been present at that great meeting he would never have entertained any doubt as to the feeling of the people of Scotland on that question. The people of Scotland were not only anxious to have this reform, but they were determined to have it; and although the Scotch Members did not act together so harmoniously as the Irish Representatives below the Gangway, they were not incapable of being educated in that policy of united action which their Irish Friends had found so successful. His right hon. Friend alluded also to the number of schools which had been established in Scotland since the passing of the Education Act of 1872, and adduced that as evidence of the efficiency of the administration of Scotch education in England; but the right hon. Gentleman had forgotten that the schools he referred to were not established by the Education Department, but, in terms of the Education Act, by the Board of Education from their office in Edinburgh. He adduced also the fact of the existence of the Scotch Education Department; but the truth was that the Department—and nobody knew better than his right hon. Friend —was but a sham. It had no record of proceedings, and it went on day by day without being asked for its opinion upon any question. He believed that the late Vice President (Mr. Mundella) did occasionally call some of the members of the Department to confer with him on certain points; but even then it was more a pro formâ meeting than anything like one for actual deliberate business, and that their opinion was never asked about the Code, or anything affecting it. He (Mr. Ramsay) felt, therefore, that it was quite sufficient to say that the people of Scotland were anxious to obtain this small measure of Home Rule. His right hon. Friend deprecated the separation of England and Scotland. He joined with his right hon. Friend in the statement that Scotland had derived much advantage from her union with England; 944 but England had also derived much advantage from her union with Scotland. It was said that the education of England was very much the same as that of Scotland; but where in England did they find the labourer's son rising to fill a pulpit? They had nothing of the kind. Where in England did they find the shepherd's son getting to be one of the most learned men of his time? These, he thought, were evidences of the efficiency of their system. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill would be prepared to accept some of the Amendments on the Paper for the purpose of rendering the transfer of Scotch education efficient and complete, and thus adding dignity to the Office of the Secretary for Scotland.
§ MR. COCHRAN-PATRICK
said, he was somewhat surprised that his right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) dealt with the general aspect of the Bill, as there was nothing in his Amendment to lead the House to believe he would attack the principle of the measure. He thought the Bill was one which was absolutely necessary; and he believed it was a Bill which would give very great satisfaction to the people of Scotland. He believed the main reason why the agitation in support of the measure assumed an acute form was that for many Sessions, for many Parliaments he might say, they had seen Scottish measures passed over, and not taken up, because there was no motive power to bring them forward; and he was sure, if the Bill should have the good fortune to pass into law, the result would fully answer the expectations formed of it. He was bound to say, with regard to the educational aspect of the Bill, he entirely agreed with his right hon. Friend. He was perfectly satisfied the real solution of the educational question was a Minister of Education, fully qualified and competent to deal with the subject. If they considered how important that subject was at the present moment, and how much more important it was likely to become in future, and if they considered also the vast amount of money annually involved in the Education Vote, he thought it was absolutely necessary that they should have one competent and responsible Head in that House to answer for that expenditure. But, at the same time, and along with a Minister of Education, he thought it was absolutely ne- 945 cessary that they should have the Scotch and English Departments in London made separate; that they should have a permanent Secretary for the Scotch Department; and that they should also have a Committee either of the Privy Council or of Privy Councillors. The measure before them was certainly not one in which the question of a Minister of Education for the United Kingdom could be dealt with; but he felt with his right hon. Friend that if they did anything in this Bill which would preclude or even postpone the adoption of such a measure, which he, for one, believed to be necessary—and it would come, eventually, sooner or later—that it would be a very great misfortune. But it should be remembered that a special recommendation of the Committee which had been alluded to was for a separation of the two Departments, and that that separation they could have now, and also have a Committee of Privy Councillors. He thought, therefore, it would be very advantageous if the Government would agree to the Amendment of his right hon. Friend to delete the words which referred to the particular position of the Scotch Secretary, and make him a Member of that Committee of Council dealing with Scotch education, leaving it to that Committee to place him in any position they pleased. Then he thought they should secure at once the great advantage of having a separate Department, and they would not imperil or put off the chance of the question of a Minister of Education.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, he had always held the opinion that the demand which was contained in this Bill had its origin in the defects as to Scotch work in that House rather than from any defects in the practical administration of the country. He would deprecate anything like a separation of Scotland from England in matters of general administration. He believed their administration would be benefited if some Minister connected with Scotland were appointed who would stand beside the Lord Advocate and fight their battles. Public opinion in Scotland on the question of education was very much divided. The other day he had the honour of introducing a deputation from one of the largest parishes in Scotland, and their opinion was very decidedly against the proposition in the Bill. 946 There was nothing conflicting between the two systems of education in England and Scotland, and they could be well worked together. He wished the present arrangement to continue; and he would strongly impress on the Government that they should do nothing to shake that union which now existed in the administration of the two countries. He hoped the House would soon get into Committee on the Bill.
§ SIR JOHN HAY,
while not supporting the whole of the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair), entirely concurred in the views he expressed on the question of education; but he (Sir John Hay) thought that was a question which ought rather to be considered in Committee, and not at the present stage of the Bill. He confessed that although the Bill was one which might be considered to be more sentimental than businesslike, yet it was one which had the approbation of the people of Scotland. On the other hand, the general feeling of Scotland, so far as he was able to gauge it, was in favour of leaving the management of education under the Privy Council as at present conducted, with a special Department for Scotland under its control. He did not believe that there was any general desire in Scotland that the Secretary for Scotland should appropriate to himself, in addition to all the various odds and ends which were to be concentrated in that Office, the charge of the education of the country. After all, what was the reason why this Secretary for Scotland Bill had become a national desire? From 1707 to 1747 there was a Secretary for Scotland. From 1747 to about I860 the Lord Advocate did the duty, and did it admirably; but about that time it was found necessary that the Lord Advocate should become Queen's Counsel in England, and have added to his various duties here as Scotch Minister the duty of attending to the trials in the House of Lords and elsewhere. The result of that was that from the time of Duncan Forbes to the time of James Moncrieff there was no complaint whatever of the management of Scotch Business in the House of Commons by the Lord Advocate under the Home Office; but from that time onwards there had been a general complaint, not due, he must say, to the negligence of the Lord 947 Advocate entirely, but due to the fact that there had been a great pressure of Business in the House of Commons, which had resulted in a difficulty to get through Scotch Business as well as other Business in the way the country desired. The fact had been that the Lord Advocate for the last 20 years had not been in the position of the Lord Advocate before that—he had not been the Scotch Minister to whom Scotchmen looked for the conduct of Scotch Business. His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh was right in saying that the general wish of Scotland was that education should not be among the matters entrusted to the new Secretary. That should be continued under the Privy Council with a special Secretary, and that he believed would be satisfactory to the whole of Scotland. That he believed would conduce to the advantage of education in Scotland, and, at the same time, to the management of the Scotch Business in that House, which would be expedited as far as might be possible by the creation of an official which, after all, was not an office of great importance, but was one which, under the Home Office, would no doubt gather up the various threads, exclusive of education, which were included in the Schedule of the Bill. He trusted his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh would not divide the House on his Resolution. If he succeeded in excluding education in Committee he (Sir John Hay) should be happy to support him. He trusted he would not delay the Bill, which he (Sir John Hay) would rather see pass as it stood than not pass at all.
MR. J. B. BALFOUR
I do not propose to go through the numerous matters that have been touched upon by previous speakers, but merely to say a very few words with regard to the question which has been raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews (Sir Lyon Playfair)—namely, the question of education. I daresay an opportunity will be afforded at subsequent stages of the Bill for dealing with the other matters which have been introduced. I shall make my words very brief, in order not to stand between the House and its desire to get through the Bill. As a Member of the Govern- 948 ment which introduced this Bill, I think it right to say that nothing has been urged to-night which has in the least shaken my opinion as to the propriety of confiding the care of education to the Secretary whose Office is proposed to be created by this Bill. My right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) began his speech by making observations of a general kind relating to the scope and effect of the Bill, and then gave it as his opinion that the effect of introducing education into the Bill would operate disastrously upon the interests of education in Scotland. While I followed him with close attention, I failed to discover in what particulars this proposed transfer would have these disastrous effects; and I think there were some admissions, and indeed assertions, which my right hon. Friend made which go very far indeed to justify the introduction of education as part of this measure. He admitted that the present system was not satisfactory; and one of his earlier remarks by way of criticism of the Bill was that it was founded upon a condemned system. He did not say, as I understood, that what the Bill proposes was worse than what now exists; but he suggested that it was not so good as something which was promised, but had not yet been fulfilled. The standard of comparison which he set up was not so much between the present system, which he condemned, and the new proposal, as between the latter and the system which we might have if the recommendation for a Minister of Education were carried out. We have not got that yet; and there are many difficulties which stand in the way of the appointment of a general Minister of Education. I agree with my hon. Friend (Mr. Cochran-Patrick) that, even if this Bill became law, it would be open to Parliament in its wisdom at any future time to reconsider this question; and if it arrived at the conclusion that it would be well to have a Minister of Education, education could be detached from the Office of the Secretary for Scotland and handed over to a Minister of Education. I am not anticipating that. I am only saying this—that the passing of this Bill with education in it will not be a barrier to the creation of a general Minister of Education, if, in the judgment of Parliament and of the country, such creation 949 should be thought desirable. Just let us see how very narrow, after all, the differences are between what my right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) put forward as desirable and what is proposed in the Bill, I think it is now common ground that there should be a certain amount of separation between the administration of English and Scottish education. That is one of the very things which this Bill proposes to further. Again, it is agreed that there should be two Committees of the Privy Council. This Bill accepts that position, and proposes to make the existing Scottish Committee of the Privy Council a more effectual instrument for educational purposes than it is at present. These are two things in regard to which not only the arguments advanced to-night, but the recommendations of the Committee presided over by my right hon. Friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) were practically agreed. I understand that the substance of the proposal of that Committee was that there should be a general Minister of Education, with an English Department, presided over by one Vice President, and a Scottish Committee presided over by another Vice President. There you have all the elements which you have here, except the common head over the two. So that if the House will consider for a moment how very slender the difference is they will see that there is no reason for rejecting this proposal, unless some cause can be shown for perpetuating or stereotyping the two separate systems which, it is admitted, should be brought into existence under a common head. The hon. Member for the Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities (Mr. J. A. Campbell) began by stating correctly that in Scotland we have different Education Acts, a different Code, and different educational traditions. In this he was correct; but I should have thought that these promises would have led to the conclusion that there should be a separate administration. But, by some strange transition, the conclusion which he seemed to draw was that you should put one man to administer both Departments, or put two sets of men to administer them, with one more or less ornamental head over the two. When we have arrived at a time when there are separate Acts, separate history, separate conditions, it seems 950 the most natural thing in the world, when the Minister is being created to have cognizance of many of the most important matters in Scotland, that this matter of education should be transferred to him. That is the proposal of the Bill. My right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair), in moving his Resolution, spoke of the progress which has been made in educational matters in Scotland. It has been great, and I hope it will continue to be great. But has that been due to a system of common administration? My right hon. Friend says "Yes, entirely." I do not agree with that at all. It was due, in the first instance, to the passing of the Education Act of 1872. Although it is quite true that every credit is due to the Department in Whitehall, a Board sat in Edinburgh for a considerable time, and aided in starting the administration of that Act. It was the great Act of 1872 which adapted the parish schools of John Knox to the existing conditions; but I submit that though the Act was launched and started with the aid of a temporary Board, it would not have succeeded any the less if it had been launched and started under a Scottish Secretary. While I should be sorry indeed to deny to the Department the credit justly duo to it for the manner in which it has administered that Act, still I fail to see that the administration by the Department was the cause, or at all events the sole cause, of the admitted advance of education in Scotland. I do not say that it would have been altogether better, or that it would have been worse, if there had been a separate administration of that Act in Scotland. I believe, in some respects, it would have been better if there had been a more direct and close connection between the official—whoever he was—and Scotland, in there had been more immediate and direct access to him; and if he had had his undivided attention devoted to Scottish education I do not see how that could have given a worse result. But it is said that, in some way, the advantages of deriving light from what is going on in English educational matters will be lost by this change. Why should that be? I do not suppose, if this Bill passes, and education is assigned to the new Minister, he will shut his eyes to what the English Department is doing. I hope he will keep his eyes and his ears 951 open to everything that is passing. Of course, he would not be influenced by that, except in so far as his reason dictated. He would not be obliged to assent to what he did not think right; but if he saw anything which he thought was an improvement, he would adopt it because it was an improvement. Is it not possible that there may be a certain advantage in an honourable emulation between the English and Scotch in educational matters? I should think it is very probable that if you have one Minister administering English, and another Minister administering Scottish education, they will each desire to do their best, and each wish to show that his educational system is superior to the other. The possibility of a Minister of Education being appointed at some future time is no reason against this measure of reform being passed now. We know that, under existing conditions, we cannot get Acts passed as we desire them; and if we are not to go a practicable step in a certain direction because there is a possibility of a larger proposal coming up for consideration by Parliament, there might be an almost indefinite postponement of many reforms. Something has been said in regard to Scottish opinion; and, no doubt, as we have heard this evening, there is a division of opinion in Scotland on this subject. But, as far as I have been able to collect it—and I have taken a good deal of pains to do so—the preponderance of Scottish, opinion is in favour of the inclusion of education in the Bill. Of course, if this question goes to a division, we shall have an opportunity of learning the sentiments of those who represent Scottish opinion in this House. I do not desire to detain the House longer. I thought it right to make these observations, in order to show that I see no cause whatever to go back on the Resolution in pursuance of which this Bill was introduced with education in it.
§ THE LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. DALRYMPLE)
said, he was anxious to say a few words on this Bill, for more reasons than one. Before he gave those reasons, the House would, perhaps, allow him to say that, so far as he understood, there was no difference of opinion in the House on the point of including education in the Bill. The 952 only question was as to the degree in which education should be included in the Bill. His right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. J. B. Balfour) had referred to the Board of Education in Edinburgh, which existed first in 1872, and which did so much to put the Education Act into operation. He (Mr. Dalrymple) maintained that the fact that that Board was provisional, and not continued, was a proof that it had been intended that in future the Act should be worked from Whitehall. He desired, before he forgot it, to refer to a remark made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay) concerning the great feeling shown in Edinburgh two years ago upon the question of education. The hon. Gentleman referred to the meeting which was held in Edinburgh at that time. It was, however, a peculiar circumstance, but one worth mentioning, that at that great meeting the question of education was not referred to.
§ MR. RAMSAY
I supported a Resolution myself in reference to education and all distinctively Scottish Business.
§ MR. DALRYMPLE
said, he did not think any very great stress was laid upon the question at the meeting, and for a very good reason. The two first resolutions at that famous meeting were moved by two noblemen whom he would designate as Lords A and B—[Cries of "Name!"]—well, Lords Aberdeen and Balfour of Burleigh—and they differed entirely in regard to the question of putting education under the Secretary for Scotland. It was not likely, therefore, that the question of education was mentioned very much at the meeting. But he would pass on—he had only mentioned that to show that the reference of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ramsay) was a type of the language which was used in regard to this subject. Reference had been made to the enthusiasm for this measure, and the enthusiasm was interpreted as enthusiasm for the educational proposals of the Bill. There was enthusiasm about the measure, but there was no enthusiasm about the educational proposals of the Bill, because there was no unanimity upon those proposals. He had said that for 953 more reasons than one he was anxious to say a few words on this Bill. He did not agree altogether with the educational proposals in the Bill; and, furthermore, two years ago he led the opposition to the Bill for the establishment of a Local Government Board in Scotland. He held then, and he held now, that the Bill had not then been properly thought out. It was thrown out in "another place," and he believed no one ever regretted its loss. By the fate of that Bill time was given for public opinion to be matured upon the question; and even if he were disposed to resist this measure, which, indeed, he was not, he should admit that there had been in Scotland a great advance of opinion in favour of the measure. It was not too much to say that many people were possessed with the idea of having a Scotch Minister to manage their affairs. People might differ as to the title to be given to the new Minister; they might differ as to the subjects which were to be dealt with by the Minister; they might differ as to the expectations they entertained of the appointment; but there was no difference, so far as he knew, as to the appointment itself, and accordingly a very great interest was taken in this Bill. The truth was that their defect in Scotland, as was very well said some time ago by the noble Earl who took charge of the Bill in "another place" (the Earl of Rosebery), was not legislative, but executive. It was not legislative, because the Scotch Members were in the habit, generally speaking, of agreeing on measures relating to Scotland entirely without reference to the side of the House on which they sat; and oven in a very congested Session of Parliament it was sometimes possible, in consequence of that agreement, to pass Bills relating to Scotland. The defect was executive. He did not wish to reflect in any degree upon the distinguished men who had filled the Office of Lord Advocate of Scotland; but the very circumstances which had led to this Bill had somewhat altered the position of that official. This movement had made the position of Lord Advocate somewhat provisional, so far as his lay character was concerned. Anyone who had seen the room at the Home Office in which the Lord Advocate sat would not doubt for a moment that his condition had of late years been of a provisional kind. 954 It was a small and dark apartment, and he doubted if it was even wholesome. The room was typical of the way in which Scotchmen carried on their affairs throughout the world; they carried them on in spite of the most adverse circumstances. But let him say there was no reason why, if this Bill passed, the position of the Lord Advocate should not be enduring. The Lord Advocate would still be an officer of State for Scotland; he would have, as heretofore, a great deal of patronage in his hands; he would retain his connection with the Home Department in reference to the administration of law in Scotland, and he would be the Legal Adviser for Scotland. Reverting to the question of the feeling in Scotland in favour of the Bill, he might say that he had been at some pains to examine the Petitions which had been presented, because the language used about the Petitions had been so very wild. It had been said that the school boards were unanimously in favour of the proposed transfer of the control of education to the new Minister; but he doubted that that was so. There was a body known as the Convention of Royal Burghs in Scotland, and hon. Members were in the habit of attaching considerable importance to its opinions when its opinions were favourable to their view of any case. When, however, its opinions were contrary to those of hon. Members the Body was spoken of as of no importance. Last year that Body was apparently unanimous about putting education under the Secretary for Scotland; but this year it was so divided on the question that by a bare majority of two it saved itself from stultifying itself by reversing its former decision. Whatever enthusiasm had been shown in Scotland for the Bill it could not have reference to the educational part of the measure. The proposal about education as it stood in the Bill was never even in print in the House of Lords before it was introduced. To show how suddenly the educational proposal was made, he might say he remembered the Lord President of the Council saying that until he came down to the House of Lords he had never seen it. One other statement had been made—namely, that Scotland had made up its mind to have charge of its own education. No one was opposed to the Secretary for Scotland being identified with the 955 management of education, the only question was as to the degree of that management. He rejoiced more than he could say that when Her Majesty's Government took up this Bill the subject of education was left an open one. There was great division of opinion about it; it was not an essential part of the Bill; but there was no sort of reason why the difference of opinion existing should in any way imperil the passing of the Bill. He had given the utmost thought not only to the whole Bill, but to this particular part of it; and he confessed that he cared more for the fate of Scottish education than he did for eking out a sufficient amount of work for the Secretary for Scotland. It was of more importance that the Scottish education of the future should be thoroughly well managed than that the Secretary for Scotland should have his time fully occupied; and yet he held that the Secretary for Scotland's time might be fully occupied even if he had no concern at all with education. Let the House remember that the proposal to include education was no part of the Bill of 1883, and no part of the Bill of 1884, and that in its present shape it was no part of the Bill of 1885 as introduced. ["Oh!"] He was not, and no one else was, proposing to put education out of the Bill; but he maintained that the particular form in which education was referred to in the Bill was no part of the Bill as the Bill was at first introduced; and, therefore, it was open to them in Committee to consider the exact shape in which education should be embodied. It was because he remembered that there had been some dissatisfaction in recent times with the management of Scotch education in detail that he considered it was important that the Scotch Committee of the Privy Council should be strengthened, and that its Members should receive the addition, amongst others, of so well known a friend of Scottish education as Sir Francis Sandford. Now, he (Mr. Dalrymple) submitted that instead of the Secretary for Scotland being a Vice President of the Council for Scotland he should be an ex officio Member of the Scottish Committee of the Privy Council, and that there should be a Secretary told off in the Department to be at the special call of the Scottish Committee, and that he should be specially informed, by being a Scotchman, of the 956 needs of Scottish education. That was a proposal which a large school board in the West of Scotland, and a great many elsewhere in Scotland, were in favour of. They were not in favour of including education in the Bill, but they were in favour of such a connection as he had specified between the Secretary for Scotland and education; they did not want to supersede the present Vice President, whose equal he never could be, because the English Vice President was a Member of the Cabinet, and it was not contended that the Secretary for Scotland should be always in the Cabinet. He was all for recognizing the peculiarities of Scottish education; and his idea was that the management of Scottish education should be distinct, but not separate. It should be distinct, inasmuch as those charged with it should be the Scotch Committee, of which the Secretary for Scotland would be a Member; and who could doubt that that Minister would be put in the Chair in the absence of the Lord President? On the other hand, no encouragement should be given to the idea of separating the management of Scottish education from the management of English education within the Department. This was the only modification he had to suggest in regard to the educational proposals of the Bill. Its adoption would not only satisfy his right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair), who moved the Amendment to the Motion that the Speaker left the Chair; but it was approved by all the Members from Scotland who sat on the Ministerial side of the House; and Gentlemen who sat on the Opposition Benches, to whom he had had an opportunity of mentioning it from time to time, regarded it as a fair compromise. The recommendations of what was known as the Childers Committee were not before the House at the present time; but what he asked of hon. Members was that the recommendations of that Committee should not be prejudiced by anything they did now. He put it to the House whether this modified proposal as to the new Secretary being an ex officio Member of the Scotch Committee was not less calculated to prejudice the larger question hereafter than was the proposal to create the new Secretary a Vice President of the Council? While he sincerely desired to support the Bill as a whole, he 957 should be very glad if the House, when it got into Committee, thought proper to accept this modified plan in reference to education, which he really believed would unite a great number of persons.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I assure the Scotch Members and the Committee generally that I will not detain thorn more than a very few minutes. I feel this is a Scottish question, and I would not have intervened at all except for my interest in education generally, and for the fact that I happened to be in Office when the English Bill was brought in, and when the Scotch Bill was brought in with great ability by the Lord Advocate of that time. It was my business to assist the right hon. and learned Gentleman in conducting the Bill, and to do my best afterwards in administering the Bill. This is a matter in which Scottish feeling and the views of Scottish Members ought to be mainly considered; and although I have a rather strong opinion in favour of the view of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews (Sir Lyon Playfair) I do not know that I should have ventured to express it if the opinion of the Scottish Members was strongly the other way. But certainly it is quite clear, from the debate to-night, that there is a very considerable amount of Scottish support of my right hon. Friend. The real point in dispute is whether education in Scotland will suffer or not by Scottish education being put into the hands of a Minister perfectly distinct from the Minister having charge of education in England. I have not the slightest doubt that education in England will suffer by the change; but hon. Members will say—"That is your look out; we do not much care about that." Of course, I feel that we have gained a great deal in England by the example which Scotland has set us, and by the hints that we have received from Scotland, though the advantage is not altogether onesided. The old system of education in Scotland was something that was quite wonderful in its time; it was an example not only to England, but to all Europe. But the social condition of Scotland has to some extent changed, and you have now very large populations in towns, as we have in England, and there was the fear that the children of the poor would be somewhat 958 neglected by the old system of higher education for the peasants of the country. There is now a feeling that there are two perfectly different educational systems; and it is said—"Let us have a Scottish Department with a Scotchman at its head, and an English Department with an Englishman at its head." I think that as matters are worked at present Scotland gets far more than its share, and very rightly, in the management of the education of Great Britain. Take the facts. The late Permanent Secretary. Sir Francis Sandford, was a Scotchman with Scotch views which he never forgot. The present Permanent Secretary, my friend Mr. Cumin, is also a Scotchman; and you maybe quite sure from that, that Scotchmen, knowing so much as they do about education, will have a very strong representation in the Education Department. But, after all, the real question is this—It is not proposed that there should be a Vice President for Scottish education, and that he should have nothing else to do —it is admitted that Scotland, with a population under 4,000,000, could hardly expect that there should be a special officer of State for that purpose, and that if there was he would be over-shadowed by the other officers of State who had more to do—but that the management of Scottish education should be entrusted to a Scottish Minister who has many other things to attend to. Is it likely that education would be attended to better by such a Minister than by a Vice President of Education who has nothing but education in Great Britain to attend to? Speaking with some degree of practical experience, I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that education in Scotland would gain more by the carrying on of the present system than by the change. Now, what you want is a Minister who has nothing else to do but to attend to education, and the difference between Scottish education and English education is nothing approaching the difference between education and the other matters that will have to be dealt with by a Scottish Minister. I have had some little experience in Ireland also. Of course there were circumstances in Ireland that took one's attention from everything else; but I was greatly interested in education, and I would have been delighted if I could have 959 attended to it. General business prevented me giving that attention to educational matters which I should have liked to give. And what was the result? Why, that education in Ireland fell into the hands of a Board, and I fear that the result of the change now proposed will be that education in Scotland will fall into the hands of a Board. I have no doubt some hon. Members prefer that; but what is the meaning of it? The more the control of education fell into the hands of a Board, the more it fell out of the hands of the House of Commons, or out of the hands of the Representatives of the people. I would hardly venture to express my opinion upon the subject if educational authorities in Scotland were strongly on the other side; but, so far as I can make out, they are in favour of the view of my right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair). Now, the schoolmasters of Scotland are a remarkably intelligent body of men. They take an immense interest in their Profession, and rarely have I received so strong and earnest a deputation as the deputation of Scotch schoolmasters who waited upon me two or three weeks ago to protest against this Bill. They contended that if the Bill passed the cause of education in Scotland will suffer, and they were particularly alarmed at the idea of education getting into the hands of a Board, and out of the immediate cognizance of the House of Commons. Well, then, it is true that there have been some school boards petitioning in favour of the plan proposed by the Bill. But my right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) tells me there are 980 school boards, so that there cannot be any very strong feeling in favour of the Bill, because only 36 school boards have petitioned for it, and these 36 only represent a population of 80,000. There are not two more important boards in the whole of Scotland "than those of Glasgow and Govan. When I was down in Glasgow, I found that the education there was managed economically, with the greatest possible efficiency, with full respect to the Scottish feeling on higher education. I had the honour of opening a higher board school in Govan, a suburb which, as hon. Members know, has increased more rapidly than any part of the United Kingdom. The population of Govan has increased in 10 years from 960 50,000 to 110,000, and with this large increase the school board has kept pace, not only in the matter of mere elementary teaching, but with higher teaching. I venture to state that there is more feeling in the two boards of Glasgow and Govan against this Bill than there is in the 36 boards which have petitioned in favour of the measure. There is also the large town of Dundee. That takes the same line, and I am told that in Aberdeen there is a greater feeling against the Bill than for it. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Webster) is one of the best authorities on education in the United Kingdom, and I hope I do not anticipate him when I say he agrees with my right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair). I think we ought to know what the view of the Government is. My hon. Friend the Member for Buteshire (Mr. Dalrymple) made a very good speech; but, so far as I could make out, he is in favour of the view of my right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) on the question of education. Did he speak on behalf of the Government or not? Surely we ought to know that. The question of education is one of immense importance to Scotland. Whether you make this change or not, it does seem to me to be rather a strong measure to propose it on a Bill brought in in the very last days of a Parliament. It appears to me that if the Government are rather unfavourable to it, it ought to be left for the decision of the Scotch people in the Election which will soon take place. I thank the House for the patience with which they have listened to me.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I must apologize to hon. Members from Scotland for taking any part in this debate; but during the last two years this subject has been so constantly before me, and I have received so many deputations and representations on this question, that it is only fair to those who have been at so much pains to bring their views before me that I should state what those views are, and how they bear on Scottish education. I had hoped to have risen after I had learned the views of my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope). It is significant he is not in his place at this time to give us the views of the Government upon this subject. I am sure he must have some views on 961 the question, and I have very little doubt what those views are. Now, by this Bill it is proposed to transfer the management of Scottish education to the new Secretary for Scotland. I would not venture for a moment to dispute the right of the Scottish people to have a Secretary for Scotland, or to administer Scottish education in Scotland. If a Minister were appointed to manage Scottish education solely and exclusively, I do not think anyone in this House would have any right to complain. I have no doubt that if a Minister devoted his whole time to the work he would do it well; but I am quite satisfied that to make such an appointment would be a comparatively reactionary step. It must be borne in mind that this is not the Bill which was introduced in the House of Lords. The Bill now stands in the most anomalous shape, reducing, as it does, the position of the new Secretary, with respect to education, to an absurdity. The new Secretary would have to deal with 50 or 60 Acts of Parliament; he would have to administer the Cattle Diseases Acts; he would have Home Office, Local Government Board, and other Scotch work to attend to; and he would not be, as it was intended he should be, the sole administrator of the Education Department in Scotland. He would simply be the Vice President for the Education Department of Scotland under the English Lord President, and the English Lord President will sit in the Privy Council Office, and the Scottish Minister will sit, I suppose, in the Home Office. The whole of the patronage of the Scotch Education Department will be vested in the English Lord President, and there is not a single act the new Secretary can do that may not be vetoed at any moment by the English Lord President. I cannot conceive anything more anomalous or more absurd than the position in which the Bill stands at the present moment. Talk about a step in advance! It is many steps backwards. It is not a step in the direction in which we have been going; but it is a decidedly reactionary step, and one which I believe will be fraught with disaster to education in Scotland. My right hon. and learned Friend the late Lord Advocate (Mr. J. B. Balfour) was very adroit in taking advantage of a statement made by my right hon. Friend the Member for the Universities of Edin- 962 burgh and St. Andrew's (Sir Lyon Playfair) to the effect that the present system is not altogether satisfactory. It is quite true that the present system is not altogether satisfactory; but why is that so? If my right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. J. B. Balfour) refers to the Report of the Committee, he will see that the present system is not satisfactory, because we have no responsible Minister for Education. What are you doing by this Bill? You are making confusion worse confounded; you are making a Vice President who is not to administer in his own Office his own Department, but who must go to another Office, under the Lord President, where he will have to ask for whatever staff he may require, and will have to submit all his Minutes, schemes, and Codes to the Lord President's approval. Now, with respect to the present administration. My right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) has spoken in the most eulogistic terms of Sir Francis Sandford. Sir Francis Sand-ford has been the Secretary for Scotland as well as for England ever since the passing of the Act of 1872; and I may say, from, five years' association with him, that, as Secretary for Scotland and for England, he did his duty faithfully and well. The Scotch part of his work he did with affection, and, so far from Scotland having been neglected under Sir Francis Sandford's administration, it always had his first thoughts and best efforts. Scotland has not suffered under the present administration. If she has suffered, it has been owing to the agitation of the last two years. All educationalists in Scotland—all those who have administered education and care about its progress, are thoroughly opposed to putting education under a Scottish Secretary. I am speaking from what I actually know. I have met the educationalists in Scotland, and have found a singular unanimity in this respect. There are two Members for the four Universities in Scotland, and both of them have spoken against the educational proposals of the Bill, and six out of the eight Scotch Members who have spoken in this debate have declared against these proposals. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) referred to the great school boards of Glasgow and Govan as being opposed to the inclusion of education in the Bill. He might have added 963 Dundee and Perth and Aberdeen. All the great communities in Scotland are in favour of the Bill, but against the inclusion of education. One of the hon. Members for Glasgow is in favour of it, but the other is against it; and I may say that Mr. George Anderson, than whom Scotland never had a better Representative on educational matters, besought me to oppose as strongly as I could the transfer of Scottish education to a Scottish Secretary. I will not detain the House long; but just let me point out that which has been referred to by various other Members—namely, what will be the position of this much occupied Scotch Secretary. Will he be able to deal with Scotch education when he is Vice President of the Scotch Council of Education? No; he will have nothing to do with any part of Scotch education except the literary department. Will he be a Minister representing the Science and Art Department—will he have anything to do with the teaching of Art in the common schools of Scotland, or of Science in the new endowed schools of Scotland? What would he have to do with Institutions like the Highland Institution and the Heriot's Trust? Why, nothing at all. You will have one Minister to settle the literary part of the Code, and another Minister to settle the Science and Art teaching, and also that more important branch, technical education, which Scotland cannot much longer neglect. Then take, for instance, the circulating objects for teaching Science. They will come from the English Vice President, who has to deal with the Science and Art Department—who has the supply of the Museums in his charge—all this must come from the English Vice President, and the Scotch Vice President will have nothing to do with it. So that the Code will have to be framed by the Scotch Vice President and submitted to the English Vice President entirely as a literary Code, and the Science and Art question will have to be dealt with by the English Vice President. Can anything be more confusing or more absurd than the position to which this matter has been brought? The Vice President of the Council at this moment is the sole Minister who devotes his whole time and attention to education. He receives Reports from time to time from the various Ministers of Education 964 throughout the world. It is his business to acquaint himself with all that happens in regard to education, not only in this, but in other countries. He is brought daily into contact with the Inspectors, managers, teachers, and the various educational systems that are in vogue and in progress. It is his business to gather up all points that his opportunities and experience suggest to him, and endeavour to apply them successfully to the educational system he has to administer, and, that he may be free to do this, Parliament has relieved him of all his other duties. It was thought a great anomaly that a Minister of Education should represent the Privy Council, and should have to do with questions of cattle disease, and so on. Unhappily, business of this kind has been put on him; and what would be said hereafter of the administration of Scotch education, if the gentleman intrusted with it had to discharge all these duties? Let me point out the first duty that would devolve upon the Scotch Minister of Education. His first duty would be to revise the Code. The Scotch Code needs revision. It should have been revised before, and it would have been but for this agitation. No one would revise it while this agitation, which had for its object to transfer the work from one Minister to another, was going on. I should like to see the Code revised by any new Vice President, and I should like to see what sort of condition the new Minister would be in after he had been six months in Office. I think we can very well imagine what would be the result. If he is not himself complete master of his business, what will be his position? Why, he will be entirely at the mercy of his permanent officials. I do not dispute that he may have good permanent officials; but a Minister of Education who resigns himself solely to his permanent officials, and is content to be governed entirely from within-side of his own Office, will inevitably come to grief, and we should soon hear about it in Scotland. That sort of system would not do at all. Scotland would lose the advantage, then, of the large experience of the Minister whose sole object it is to deal with education. She would lose another great advantage—namely, she would lose the advantage of interchange of ideas. I will give you an example of what I 965 mean. A few months ago, either at the beginning of this year or at the end of last year, I invited some Scotch Inspectors to come and inspect English schools with English Inspectors, and see what they found in them which struck them as being good or bad, and to report on them. They found much that was very interesting to them, some things that were very new, some things that they admitted were complete revelations to them; and I say to Scotch Members, honouring them as I do, and the educational system they have given to their country in the past, that there is one side of Scotch education which requires waking up and improvement. Instead of teaching Greek in their public schools to boys who are going out to work, they should teach them some modern languages and modern science, and bring home more to the pupils the facts that are necessary to enable them to apply the Arts and Sciences to the industries they have to enter upon. There will be no great advantage resulting from interference with the present system in regard to the training of teachers. The Scotch Secretary will have to train his own teachers entirely to meet his own supply and demand, and the English Minister will have to train his. Now, at the present time, a considerable number of Scotch teachers come to England, and I should be glad to see more of our English teachers go to Scotland to get the training that is to be acquired in that country. It would be a very good thing for them to do so; and it is, therefore, desirable that there should be solidarity in the system between the two countries so far as the training of the teachers is concerned, so that it should not be said that Scotland produces too many teachers and England too few. If you divide the two systems, the result will be that the English Minister will train just as many teachers as he requires for his own schools, and the Scotch Minister will train just as many as he requires for his, and it will be impossible to have that interchange and solidarity which there should be. I do not know whether hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have read the Memorials which have been received upon this subject. There has been one from teachers, not elementary teachers, but teachers of all ranks in Scotland. There is no better class of teachers in 966 Europe than the Scotch teachers of today. They are every day coming more and more into the Universities—more than half the teachers, I think, have passed through the Universities—and so far from the Scottish education having deteriorated, and the teachers having had their position injured by the Act of 1872, I was assured the other day that, since the passing of that measure, Scottish education has vastly improved as compared with the old parochial system—that the Universities are exacting a higher test every year, and that the Scotch schools are meeting these tests. I believe, however, that if this proposal is carried out, Scottish education will not keep pace with the progress that it has made during these recent years.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said, he desired to say a few words, as the House would be under some misapprehension if it imagined that all the Scotch Members agreed with the sentiments which had been expressed by previous speakers. There was one sentiment, and almost one only, which he agreed with in the interesting speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair); and that was that this Bill, both this year and in previous years, had been singularly unfortunate in those who took charge of it in that House. He quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, and he thought that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buteshire (Mr. Dalrymple) was justified in saying that they had an example before them in the attempt at infanticide made on the Bill at its first appearance by its first father, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt). And now they found that the Bill was in charge in that House of those who, two years ago, spoke against it and voted against it, and he thought he might say obstructed it in its progress through the House. The hon. Member for Buteshire had opposed it; but on the present occasion he had stood up in a white sheet, and with a candle in his hand, doing penance.
THE LORD OF THE TREASUEY (Mr. DALRYMPLE)
I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. I have done nothing of the kind.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said, that, at any rate, the hon. Member's vote that night would be singularly in opposition to the 967 vote he had given and the speech he had delivered on the subject two years ago. Then the action and vote of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. A. J. Balfour) would be very different from his action and vote two years ago. He had said on that occasion that he was rather lukewarm towards this Bill; that he did not altogether care for it; in fact, that he rather disliked it; but that there was one argument in favour of it which had not been advanced—and it had not been advanced to-night by anyone sitting on the Ministerial Bench. The right hon. Gentleman said—There was one argument in favour of the Bill which he had omitted to notice, and it was this. One defect of Scotchmen was that they did not show well at the poll; they had a habit of returning a majority of Liberal Members, and the result of that was that a Liberal Government could always command the services of eminent Scottish lawyers. It had not always been the case that the Conservative Government could do so, and that was a consideration the Conservatives should not lose sight of. This provision might be of convenience in the extremely unexpected event of a Conservative Government coming in. He did not mean to say that a Conservative Government were likely to come in; but in no circumstances, however unimportant, ought it to be lost sight of when they were passing legislation of this kind. Though he should vote with his hon. Friend against the Bill, still that was a reason which made him believe that, after all, there was something to be said for it."—(3 Hansard,  1523.)Now a Conservative Government had come in; but the Conservative Lord Advocate, unfortunately, had not a seat in the House. He (Mr. Buchanan), therefore, supposed that was the motive, and that was the sole reason, why hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Benches opposite now took up the sponsorship of this Bill. For what had been the action of those who had spoken more or less in favour of the Bill that night? Why, the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen (Mr. J. A. Campbell) had spoken against the Bill and blocked it on a previous occasion, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Wigtown Burghs (Sir John Hay) had spoken against it and blocked it, the hon. Member for Buteshire (Mr. Dalrymple) had spoken against it, blocked it, and divided against it. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Sir R. Assheton Cross) had also spoken against it, he did not know how 968 often. He had spoken against it on the second reading; he had advocated Amendments, and had blocked it on going into Committee—had blocked it with the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton) and the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar). Those were the Gentlemen who now had charge of this unfortunate Bill. The form to which the Government were going to reduce the Bill was exactly the form in which it was in in 1883, and that was what Scotch Members had to object to. His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair) he entirely agreed with in the criticism he had made as to the alteration that had been made in the form of the Bill as it at present stood—as to the manner in which it proposed to confer the charge of education on the new Scotch Minister. His right hon. Friend had clearly shown the confusion that would arise in the Education Office from the presence of two Vice Presidents. But added to that was the alteration proposed by the Government opposite, and, he was sorry to say, supported by the hon. Member for North Ayrshire (Mr. Cochran-Patrick), who had hitherto been a thorough supporter of the Bill. That alteration was practically to take education out of the Bill altogether. It was right that the House should be informed that if they were going to do that the Bill would not be worth having, and would not be received or welcomed in Scotland. He should like to say one or two words as to the argument brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair). The right hon. Gentleman's argument as to the progress of education had, he thought, been answered several times over. The right hon. Gentleman's other arguments were, first of all, a comparison between the educational systems of Great Britain and Ireland, and then one which he had based on the evidence of Mr. Childers' Committee, and the state of public opinion in Scotland on the subject. With regard to the argument as to the condition of Irish education, he (Mr. Buchanan) did not think he need trouble the House with any reply; for the right hon. Gentleman would himself remember that he had advanced that argument in Committee to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Border 969 Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan)—at that time Chief Secretary for Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs would on no account allow that the backward state of Irish education was due to its being managed in Dublin under the direction of the Chief Secretary; and the right hon. Gentleman had compared the backward condition of that education in the past with its present state, and had pointed out the great progress it had made during recent years. Then, as to Mr. Childers' Committee, he thought that one point had not been noticed. They ought to consider what was the authority of that Committee in dealing with this question. It would be in the recollection of some Scotch Members that the Motion of the hon. Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) for the appointment of a Minister of Education was brought forward on the same night as the Local Government Bill for Scotland was read a first time, and that at the conclusion of the discussion, after the Motion was put, there had been some allusion to this question of the control of Scotch education being dealt with by the Committee, when his hon. Friend the Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay) got up and protested against this Bill coming within the observation of the Select Committee. It had not been mentioned in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who proposed the Committee, and the hon. Member (Mr. Ramsay) at once got up and said—No arrangement would be satisfactory to the people of Scotland unless they had a Department of their own for administering the laws relating to education in Scotland."—(3 Hansard,  973–4.)But that was not all, because a week or two after, when the Local Government Board Bill came on for discussion, the hon. Member for the Kilmarnock Burghs (Mr. Dick-Peddie), whom he was sorry not to see in his place, moved to put education in the Bill, and he was met by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said that this Select Committee had been appointed, and was going to deal with it. What was the reply of the hon. Member for the Kilmarnock Burghs? Why, that he could not recognize the action of the Committee on that subject, for the matter had not been referred to the Committee, and that the only Scotch 970 Members put upon it were the Members for the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, whose views were known on the subject, and who, it was known, would vote in the same direction. A further caveat had been entered against it, for on the 17th of August, 1883, he himself (Mr. Buchanan) had said that theSelect Committee appointed was not such as would adequately enable a thorough investigation to be made, and a satisfactory decision to be given."—(3 Hansard,  1032.)He was bound to say that they could not have supposed that these two hon. Gentlemen, when they took up the matter, would have proceeded to deliberate upon it in the manner they did. They actually did not call a single Scotch witness on the subject. The only persons examined were the Permanent Secretaries of the Department, both Scotchmen certainly (Sir Francis Sandford and Mr. P. Cumin), and two Gentlemen from Ireland, the others being either past Presidents or past Vice Presidents of the Council. No one single witness was called from Scotland; and were they, he would ask them, to be bound by that Committee, when they knew that they did not attempt to get any evidence which did not agree with their own view? Therefore, he did not think that Committee was entitled to very much attention on this subject. Then there was the question of Scotch feeling on the subject. Well, he must, first of all, protest against the argument of the hon. Member for Buteshire (Mr. Dalrymple) with regard to the Petitions which had been presented to that House on the subject. The hon. Member said that the people were not in favour of the transference of educational matters to the Scotch Secretary, although in favour of the Bill, because education was not in the original Bill. He would point out, however, that in the Bill of 1884 education was transferred to the proposed new Minister; and it was on the basis of that Bill, as approved by the House and as introduced this year by Lord Rosebery, that all these Petitions had been sent in. More than that, almost all the Petitions this year specially included a clause in their prayer that I education should be given to the new Minister. He would point out also that there was not a single public Body in Scotland which had petitioned against education being placed in the hands and 971 under the control of this new Minister. He had only one other thing to say with regard to Petitions. Mention had been made of School Board Petitions; but no one had mentioned the large numbers of Town Councils and other public Bodies who had petitioned in favour of this Bill. He had looked through the list, and he found that no loss than 70 Town Councils and Municipal Bodies Lad petitioned this year in favour of it, and these included places of the importance and variety of Edinburgh, Greenock, Inverness, Paisley, Montrose, &c.; and he would also point out that he knew of no single instance in which one of those Bodies had said they were not in favour of the Bill including the question of education. Beyond this, he and other Scotch Members had had many representations made to him throughout the Session on the point. It was perfectly well known, and the Government ought to be aware of it, that this was the very substance of the Bill. The whole object of the measure was to give a thorough-going Department for Scotland, and there would be no general interest in it if it did not deal with the question in which all Scotland was interested in—namely, education. If Her Majesty's Government were going to accept the Amendment of his right hon. Friend, thou they had better not go on with the Bill at all.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR)
said, the last speaker had said that the occupants of the Ministerial Bench had hitherto been very lukewarm in supporting this Bill. Well, he must remind the hon. Gentleman that the debates to which he referred had not taken place upon this Bill at all, but on the Bill of 1883, which was in no souse the same Bill as that which was now before the House. He was especially surprised by what had fallen from the hon. Member, because he had said that if education were omitted from the present Bill it would not be worth having. He even hinted that he and his Friends would obstruct it. Well, in the Bill of 1883 education was not included; and, therefore, according to his own contention, the Bill which they were lukewarm in supporting was one which, in his opinion, was worthless. The debate that evening had been chiefly confined to a question which he thought ought to be 972 left to the Committoe—namely, the precise position to be taken with regard to Scotch education. The right hon. Gentleman, who understood the matter, and who spoke first that night (Sir Lyon Playfair), had not confined his remarks merely to the question of education; but he had spoken against the Bill as a whole. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that their motive for bringing in the Bill was to be found chiefly in the fact that a General Election was approaching, and that but for that fact there would not be found that unanimity which existed amongst Scotch Members. Well, all he could say on that point was that some time ago, at a meeting in Edinburgh, he himself had spoken very strongly in favour of the measure, and he believed that a very large number of Scotch Members were committed to it long before the prospect of a General Election appeared above the horizon. The right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment said the tendency of the Bill would be to narrow Scotch national fooling and to separate the two countries. Well, if he believed that either of those disastrous effects were likely to follow in the path of this Bill he would certainly have nothing more to do with it; but he could not understand why the appointment of a Minister for Scotland, administering a Scotch Department not in Scotland, but from Whitehall, would have a tendency to promote provincial narrowness or to separate the two countries. Then the right hon. Gentleman said that the efficiency of official Business, especially with regard to education, would not be promoted by this measure, because it was evidently the idea to make the Minister for Scotland a Member of the other House. Well, he did not believe that there was the slightest idea of allocating the Minister for Scotland to one House more than to the other; nor did he believe that even if the Minister were in the House of Lords that circumstance would make him neglectful of the interests of education, as the right hon. Gentleman seemed to infer. Some hon. Gentlemen held that the Lord Advocate was the proper Minister on whom the additional weight of Scotch Business should be thrown; but, as he had pointed out years ago, there was not always a Lord Advocate in that House. It unfortunately happened, for instance, 973 that when a Conservative Government came into power their Lord Advocate was not always elected, although they hoped that if they were returned at the coming General Election their Lord Advocate would be in the House. He thought that Scotland had a right to ask for a separate Minister, and, seeing the great difference between Scotch and English education, that education should be included in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had held that the tax upon the time of a Scotch Minister demanded by the consideration of several affairs would render him unable to devote the same amount of time that ought to be devoted to Scotch education; but he would point out that although the Scotch Minister with regard to Scotch education might have far more varied duties to perform than the English Minister of Education, still the demand on his time would probably be less than in the case of the English Minister. Indeed, he could not believe that there would be found any number of duties appertaining to this new Office which would so overburden the Minister that he would not be able to devote his best attention to the interests of a subject which was so dear to the hearts of his countrymen. He altogether denied that there was a single sentence in that Bill, or in the Bill as it was sought to be amended by the right hon. Gentleman, tending towards a separation of the interests of the two countries. He would be out of Order if he attempted to discuss that Amendment now, nor did he wish to do so; but he would suggest to the House that they should no longer delay the prospects of the Bill by debating a point which could be best discussed in Committee. He would suggest that they should get into Committee, and that when they came to the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman they should thoroughly thrash the matter out. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman would wish that the question of education should be discussed in Committee; and he would most earnestly recommend all Scotch Members who desired to see the Bill pass into law that Session not to interpose any unnecessary delay at this stage of the proceedings.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he wished, with the permission of the House, to make a few observations on this subject before the Question was 974 put from the Chair, because he had been connected with this Bill from the commencement. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair) had made a very impartial attack all round in stating his objections to the Bill; he began by attacking everyone on the Front Benches, and, amongst other things, he had charged him (Sir William Harcourt) with having been guilty of something like infanticide with reference to the Bill. But the right hon. Gentleman should remember that before he could perform that operation he had brought it to birth, and that very early in 1880 he had come to the conclusion that it was desirable that there should be a separate administration of Scotch affairs. He remembered very well having consulted with the Earl of Rosebery on the subject in 1880; but the real difficulty had been to get an expression of Scotch opinion in favour of the measure, and then to discover what that opinion was. And when his right hon. Friend complained of his lukewarmness in this matter, he remembered that he had been so doused with cold water by Scotch Members both in and out of the House that it was not an easy thing to maintain the temperature at the point he wished. But for the last three years he had been endeavouring to discover what were the wishes of Scotch Members on this subject, and that, too, with a strong and earnest desire to carry them into effect. First of all, he introduced the Bill of 1883; and the right hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter), who had studied the subject for many years, said it was exactly the thing that the Scotch people wanted—the thing they had wanted all along—and that he was glad they had got it at last. Well, he naturally supposed that everything was right. But afterwards he discovered that it was the thing which nobody wanted; another proposal was made, and he was expected to be enthusiastic in favour of it. There were many hon. Gentlemen who did not like that Bill; and, amongst others, the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken (Mr. A. J. Balfour) said he was opposed to the Bill of 1888 because it did not include education, although when the Bill was before them in 1883 he did not say one word on the subject of education. He did not think that that was 975 the ground on which the hon. Member for Bute (Mr. Dalrymple) had opposed the Bill; but, as a matter of fact, the Bill had been cold-shouldered all round. However strong might be the feeling in Scotland—and he believed the people of Scotland did wish for the measure—an extraordinary conviction took possession of hon. Members on both sides of the House that they were not very favourable to it. Then took place the great meeting at Edinburgh, and a deputation followed to the Prime Minister, and he (Sir William Harcourt) remembered that it was said that they had expressly determined not to accept any Bill which did not include education. Now, that was distinctly the case at the beginning of 1884, and the late Government were blamed for not including education in the Bill of 1884. After trying to ascertain the opinion of the Scotch Peers, the late Government were extremely anxious to know what were the views of Scotch Members in the House of Commons. There had been great difficulty in discovering that, and he was bound to say that the present debate had not removed that difficulty. He could not make out that any two Members who had spoken that evening held exactly the same views upon this subject. He would like to know what were the views which Scotch Members entertained on this subject of education, because if they were clearly expressed he should be extremely glad to defer to them. For his own part, with his right hon. and learned Friend the late Lord Advocate, he was prepared to support the Bill as it was introduced into the House of Lords. That was his view upon the subject; but he did not pretend to have that absolute knowledge of the matter which many Members present possessed, nor had he the knowledge which the Earl of Rosebery necessarily had when he introduced the Bill into the other House of Parliament, although he had taken the best means he could to inform himself from persons best acquainted with the subject. If the question of education was to be discussed, he thought that the present debate should terminate as soon as possible.
(who rose amid cries of "Divide!") said, it was all very well for the hon. Member opposite who cried "Divide!" to be impatient; but he did not represent a Scotch constituency; and 976 it would be well for him to remember that possibly some other Scotch Members might have to speak upon this question. He should himself not have spoken on the question if he had not understood that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Lyon Playfair) did not intend to divide the House upon his Amendment. He understood that the occupants of both the Front Benches would be governed by the opinions of the Scotch Members; and, therefore, he would have liked a division to take place, because he believed it would have shown that the proportion of Scotch Members who were opposed to this proposal to those who were in favour of it was as two to one. Without travelling over the old ground, he wished the House to understand that there was a large section of the Scotch people who, so far from agreeing with what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) had said—namely, that Scotch education had flourished under his Presidency, were convinced that it had flourished in despite of it. He wanted the right hon. Gentleman to understand that there was not the same unanimity of opinion upon that subject as he appeared to think. But the question was whether or not education in Scotland would be improved by the proposed changes. Well, his opinion was that it could not be made worse than it was at the present time. During the existence of the Scotch Board a number of grants were made for building purposes; but they were so administered that a deputation came up from Glasgow to point out that until they could get the grant for building on different lines to those laid down by the Department they had better build the schools themselves without any grant at all. With regard to the schools in the Highlands, year after year the Scotch Board had protested against the absurdities and extravagance of the Department in that matter. Further, he had put a Question to the late Lord Advocate on the subject of corrupt practices at elections, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman had told him that the law in England had made those corrupt practices illegal; but that with regard to Scotland nothing had been done, and the consequence was that the Scotch School Board Elections were carried out under an improper system. Again, what power had the 977 Vice President to carry out what he conceived to be good for Scotch Education? There had been, under a Scotch Education Act passed some years ago, a provision for the examination of the higher class schools in Scotland by Government Inspectors; and it was the intention that the Treasury should bear the expense of those examinations. But they had been pegging away at the Department for five or six years, and it was only the other day that they had succeeded in getting this reform carried through. They were told that the Scotch Code was inferior to the English Code. If that were so, why had not the right hon. Gentleman, who had been so long at the head of the Education Department, paid a little attention to Scotch affairs, and made the Scotch Code as good as the English? He mentioned those facts to show the absurdity of expecting that they would have greater powers in the hands of the Scotch Secretary if he had to attend to the affairs of the whole country. There was another important matter—namely, the health question, involved in this; and he could not help expressing his surprise that his right hon. Friend should pooh-pooh a Bill which would create a Minister for Health. He reminded the House that this Bill was the effect of a compromise, and that it was introduced into the House of Lords in a much stronger form. As he could not get the whole of what he would have liked, he went for a part; and he trusted the Government would adhere to the compromise that had been arrived at with regard to the Bill.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir R. ASSHETON CROSS)
said, he would appeal to the House as to whether they had not discussed this matter long enough, considering that the whole question of education must be discussed again on the 5th clause? Under the circumstances, he thought they would do well to get the Speaker out of the Chair; and then, as he had no wish to keep hon. Members discussing the question unnecessarily, he proposed, after the 2nd clause had been passed, to move to report Progress, and they would then take the discussion on the education question on another day.
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
said, after the long discussion that had taken place, 978 and the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that they would leave the question of education open, he thought it right to ask the House to allow him to withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. MARJORIBANKS
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) had stated that it was merely a question between the Vice President and the Chairman of the Council of Education. But he thought it was a question of restoring the Bill to the state it was in when the Earl of Rosebery introduced it to the House of Lords. He thought some further explanation was necessary; and he asked the Government whether they intended to accept the Amendment of the right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair), the Amendment of the hon. Member for Roxburghshire (Mr. Elliot), or that of the hon. Member for Eifeshire (Mr. Preston Bruce)?
§ MR. A. R. D. ELLIOT
said, he should like to discuss this question sufficiently to enable the Government to state to the House what line they intended to take with regard to the Amendments on the Paper, as had been suggested by his hon. Friend who had just sat down. There had been an extraordinary difference in the language which proceeded from the Treasury Bench with regard to this matter. They had had a fancy sketch of what had taken place in the House of Lords. What occurred was that the Bill, as introduced into that House, more or less with the approval of the Government, was a Bill which transferred bodily the management of Scotch education from the Education Department to the new Secretary for Scotland. The Acts relating to education were scheduled in the Bill, and all the powers exercised by the Department were transferred bodily to the Secretary for Scotland; but in the passage through the House it was proposed to substitute a clause constituting the new Secretary President of the Committee of Council on Education. The Bill had gone through three distinct stages, and they had heard that night that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair) had proposed actually to constitute the new Minister an ex officio Member of the Board. The Education 979 Board consisted of a number of persons who never came together. He was told that even on such occasions as when the Annual Code was brought forward they did not meet; that the Board had no head; and that, in fact, the whole business was in the hands of the President of the Council. He urged on the Government to tell the House what it was they proposed to do. He did not intend to address the House in the strong terms used by his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron); but if he were disposed to do so, he also could tell some tales about the management of matters by the Education Department. He had had some small experience in educational matters in the past; and he could only say that, instead of thinking that the Scotch parishes required to be made more alive to their duties, his own opinion was that the Education Department required to be awakened. In a particular case well known to the late Vice President of the Council, if it had not been for the action of persons of some little Parliamentary influence, who had used it on behalf of the education of the parish, the parish would have been entirely neglected by the Department, which it was difficult to get to perform even its statutory duties. Why that was the case he did not know; it might be because the Education Department had its hands full of English business, or because they thought that Scotch education was not a matter of first-rate importance. He had strong testimony from some school boards in Scotland that they were convinced by the neglect they had suffered that their endeavours would not be rewarded until their interests were looked after by a Minister for Scotland. He hoped that before the Speaker left the Chair they would be told by the Government what it was they intended to do when the House went into Committee.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir R. ASSHETON CROSS)
I understood that my right hon. Friend had stated that we intended to stand by the Bill as it is.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1 (Short title) agreed to.980
§ Clause 2 (Appointment of a Secretary i for Scotland).
On Motion of Sir R. ASSHETON CROSS, the following Amendment made:—Page 1, after line 9, to insert—
There shall be paid to the Secretary, out of moneys to be provided by Parliament, a salary of two thousand pounds a year.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir R. ASSHETON CROSS) moved, in page 1, line 14, to leave out after "determine," to end of clause, and insert as a new paragraph—
The salaries of such secretaries and other officers of the Secretary's office shall be fixed with the consent of the Treasury, and shall, together with such other expenses of the said officer as may from time to time be sanctioned by the Treasury, be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
asked if this clause would empower the Government to transfer the permanent staff of the Education Office, who had charge of Scottish educational work there, to the Scottish Secretary's Department?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he thought it almost impossible for the Bill to go further that night. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would now consent to Progress being reported.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir R. ASSHETON CROSS)
said, he did not wish to detain the Committee unnecessarily; but he would suggest that they should continue until Clause 5 was reached, when the real question at issue would arise.
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
said, he understood that there had been a distinct promise on the part of the Government that they would not go beyond Clause 2. In consequence of that understanding several hon. Members had left the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.