HC Deb 23 July 1885 vol 299 cc1734-57

, in rising to move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty to withhold Her consent to the Scheme of the Educational Endowments (Scotland) Commission now lying upon the Table of the House, for the management of the Endowments of Heriot's Hospital, said, the circumstances in which he brought forward this important subject illustrated very forcibly the futility of the Parliamentary control over the schemes of the Educational Endowments Commissioners. It was a matter of especial regret that he was driven to call atten- tion, at that hour of the morning (1.45), to a scheme affecting so important an endowment as that of Heriot's Hospital. Under the circumstances, he would best consult the convenience of the House if he stated very shortly the points in the Commissioners' scheme to which he took exception, and the grounds on which he based his objection. Of course, he would be obliged to assume that hon. Members present were acquainted with the main facts of the case—namely, that the endowment was one of the largest and most important in Scotland; that its annual revenue amounted to £25,000, a larger sum than the total capital bequeathed to the Trust by George Heriot a couple of centuries ago; that its available income for educational purposes was £21,000 a-year; that that income was devoted at the present moment to the support of a hospital and a large number of free schools, and to the maintenance of bursaries and evening classes; and that all the education given under the endowment was entirely free. The principal features of the Commissioners' scheme were three in number. The Commissioners proposed to turn the hospital into a day secondary school, with an exclusively modern side; they proposed to take over the Technical College in Edinburgh, called the Watt Institute; and they proposed to discontinue the free schools. Now, with regard to the first two points he had no very substantial objection. The Governors, in the scheme they presented to the Commissioners, themselves also proposed to turn Heriot's Hospital into a day secondary school; but the school they proposed to establish was to have, besides a modern side, a complete classical side. He could not forbear alluding to one point in connection with the hospital, because he well remembered that during the debate on the Endowments Bill the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) said that the only object of those who brought forward that measure was to carry on the reform of Scottish education in accordance with the best Scotch traditions. Now, it was one of the best traditions of Scottish education that a boy, of however humble origin, to whatever school he might go, and however humble in its character, should have an opportunity of proceeding from his school to the University; but by the action of the Commissioners the only school in all Scotland from which that, in the future, would he impossible, would be the school which was to be established in Heriot's Hospital. The exclusion of Greek from the Hospital School was surely an unnecessary provision, and the Commissioners might well have given way on this point to the objections of the Governors. Practically, however, he had no serious objection to take to that part of the scheme, or to that part of it which dealt with the Watt Institute or Technical College. The Governors were in favour of supporting technical education in Edinburgh. He believed they originated the idea of largely aiding the Watt Institute in furtherance of technical education; indeed, technical education had formed an integral feature of every scheme they had brought forward during the last 15 years. But it was in regard to the discontinuance of the free schools that he principally took exception to the scheme of the Commissioners; and he hoped to be able to show that the reasons alleged by the Commissioners for discontinuing those schools were not adequate to justify such a step; and, further, that the proposal was contrary to the tendency of all modern legislation. He hoped also to show that the principle underlying the changes which were proposed in the constitution of the Governing Body were retrograde in their character, in that they made that Body less open and less representative, instead of more open and more representative, and in that they also decreased the weight and responsibility of the municipality in that Governing Body. And now with regard to the discontinuance of the free schools. What were the reasons alleged by the Commissioners for taking that very drastic step, and what was the substitute they proposed? The Heriot free schools were 15 in number. They educated 4,500 children of poor parents; and he might add that the selection of those children was made by a careful system of Schedules, in which every particular with regard to the circumstances of the parents or guardians was set forth in detail. He had an analysis of the Schedules for a couple of years, and from it he gathered that the average wage of the parents of the children who obtained free education was about 17s. 4d. a-week. He need not detain the House on that point, because it was generally acknowledged that those who obtained the benefit of the free schools were those who, from their condition, most deserved it, and that they appreciated the education given them in the best possible way— namely, by insisting on their children attending regularly. It was generally acknowledged also that the education given in the schools was of the very highest character; he did not think that anyone disputed that. The percentage of passes at the last inspection was 95.7. Six of the schools had an average pass of 98, and one of them of 99—almost equal to the famous Jewish school which his right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) was so fond of quoting as a model. It was evident, therefore, that it was not on the ground of inefficiency or of bad management that the Commissioners desired to discontinue those schools. Now, the substitute for those free schools which the Commissioners offered was the application of an annual sum not exceeding £3,500 in paying in whole or in part, as the Governors may think fit, the fees of scholars, with books and stationary, at public or State-aided schools in the City of Edinburgh for elementary education. Undoubtedly, that was a very substantial grant in aid of free education; and those hon. Members who fought the battle on the Endowments Bill three years ago might fairly congratulate themselves that such a substantial aid had been given for that object. But he should like to make one remark by way of a criticism of the proposal, especially as he saw present one of the Commissioners, the hon. Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen (Mr. J. A. Campbell). It was as to the mode in which the free places were to be given. The free scholars, as was well known, had to be children of parents who were not in receipt of parochial relief. Of the grant of £3,500 a-year, two-thirds was to be given for children over 10, and these places were to be allocated by competitive examination, and one-third only was to be reserved for children under 10. And the selection shall ho made with due regard to merit as ascertained by such examination, suited to the age of the candidates, as the Governors may from time to time prescribe, or in the case of children for whom such examination is unsuitable, by evidence that the children possess such qualifications as to justify their selection. It would be remembered that there was a great deal of discussion on the 16th clause of the Endowment Act as to the manifest absurdity of introducing competitive examinations for children of this class, especially for those of tender age. Not only would it be manifestly absurd to introduce competitive examinations, but their introduction could not fail to operate in diverting the funds from the class who were most deserving of the assistance. The poorer the parents of the child the less prepared he would be for such a competition. The House would see, from the words he had quoted from the Commissioners' scheme, that this kind of examination was made compulsory for all children above 10, and was suggested as a desirable means of ascertaining the qualification of children under 10. It was fair to state, however, that the proposal which endeavoured to introduce, as far as possible, competitive examination even in the case of children of tender years was not that which the Commissioners themselves desired to carry out. The clause had originally been framed in a different form. Objection was taken to it by the Education Department, and reference made to the Scottish Law Officers of the Crown. In accordance with their opinion the present clause was drafted. Both Lord Balfour of Burleigh and Lord Shand sympathized with the objections raised against this undue extension of the system of competitive examinations, and expressed their opinion on the evidence that the clause went too far in that direction. They, therefore, could not find fault with the Commissioners. It was the Department, which had set itself to work this clause with the utmost possible rigour against the poorer beneficiaries in a way which certainly was not justified by the intention of the Act. They might fairly state that the reservation contained in the clause took away the greater part of the value of the substitute offered for the closing of the schools. What were the reasons alleged by the Commissioners for the closing of the schools? Lord Balfour of Burleigh was asked this question by Mr. Mackay of the Edinburgh Trade Council, and in reply his Lordship stated that, summing up the result of the evidence taken, the two main reasons which, in the opinion of the Commissioners, justified the abolition or closing of the free schools were, firstly, that it was expedient to put all the education of the city as far as possible under one Board; and, secondly, that the existence of the Heriot's free schools side by side with the Board schools was prejudicial to the general interest of education in Edinburgh. It would not be right of him to detain the House at that hour (2 o'clock) by examining the evidence as it was submitted to them in the Report of the Commissioners; but he took it that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) had examined the evidence—the evidence given by the School Board, and the rebutting evidence given by the representatives of the Governing Body. With regard to the way in which the general education of Edinburgh was supposed to be adversely affected by the existence of those schools, he took leave to allude to two of the contentions of the School Board. First of all they said they had a difficulty in recovering fees owing to the existence of the free schools. But the Chairman of the Edinburgh School Board was asked directly whether the difficulty in recovering fees was due to the juxtaposition of the free schools, or to the position of the parents, and his reply was that it was due to the position of the parents. Supposing the difficulty were due to the juxtaposition of the free schools, it appeared clear on the face of it that the difficulty would continue to exist in a great degree when there was a juxtaposition not of free schools amongst paying schools, but of free and other scholars in the same school. The only other allegation of the School Board was with regard to the transference of scholars from the Heriot to the Board Schools, and from the Board to the Heriot Schools. It was alleged that the transference caused irregularity of attendance; and that during a single quarter, more than 200 children had been transferred from the Heriot schools to the Board schools, and more than 600 children from the Board school to the Heriot schools. The figures were examined by the Governing Body, and it was discovered that while it was alleged that the transfers from the Heriot schools to the Board schools consisted solely of children who had been dis- missed for irregular attendance, the fact was that only 12 children had been dismissed during the year from the Heriot schools for irregularity of attendance. On the other hand, it was discovered that the average wage of the parents or guardians of the 600 children who were transferred from the Board schools to the Heriot schools was 16s. 2¼d. a-week, and 23 per cent of the children were orphans or fatherless. It was clear they were exactly the class of children who were most deserving, and who, as a rule, were most appreciative of the advantages of free schools. Lord Balfour of Burleigh's other reason for closing the free schools was that it was expedient to put the whole education of the City under one Board. He (Mr. Buchanan) submitted that, in the first place, the Commissioners had not succeeded under the scheme in doing so; and, in the second place, that they were not empowered under the Act to do so. Now, provision was made, as everyone knew, by Sections 38 and 39 of the Education Act of 1872, for the transfer of Voluntary schools to Board schools; the transfer was not compulsory, but provision was made for it. It was no part of the Endowment Act to supplement the Education Act in this particular. If the Commissioners had wanted to carry out what Lord Balfour of Burleigh considered expedient— namely, the placing of the whole education of the City under one Board, they should have taken the advice of Mr. Wallace, one of the members of the School Board who appeared before them, and transferred to the School Board the Heriot schools bodily, and all the money spent upon them. He did not think they ought to have done so, or could legally have done so; but that would have been the only way in which they could have carried out the intention which, apparently, they had in view. There was another point worthy of consideration, and it was that the £3,500 which was to be granted under the present scheme would not be confined solely to Board schools, but a portion of it would be given to the Voluntary schools of the City. There were almost as many scholars in the Voluntary schools as in the Board schools, and therefore the administration of the grant would tend to foster not unity of administration under the School Board, but rivalry of administration between School Board and the managers of Voluntary schools. Therefore, by this scheme, no real or substantial advance was made towards what was considered to be expedient, the placing of the whole education of the City under one authority. He submitted that even if they gave greater weight than he had been able to give to the educational arguments of the Commission, those arguments were hardly enough to justify the very drastic step which the Commission proposed to take in closing up and abolishing this large system of free schools which had given such excellent education. It was by no means a necessity, in order to carry out the other good objects the Commissioners had in view, because the scheme framed by the Governing Body proposed to establish a day secondary school with a fully equipped modern side, to take over the Technical College called the Watt Institute, to found bursaries, and yet maintain the free schools. He did not think such a step as the discontinuance of the free schools could be justified except by clear and undoubted substantial educational benefits to be acquired by Edinburgh, and that, of course, was the object they all had in view. He had endeavoured to show that no such clear case had been made out by the Commissioners. Besides, it must be borne in mind that the Commissioners were running counter to the strongly expressed local opinion on the subject; that they were running counter also, as he had already said, to the tendency of modern legislation; and that they were endeavouring to forestall the decision upon an issue which was coming prominently to the front, and would become one of the chief topics of discussion by the new electors and the new Parliament. Of local opinion on the subject it was hardly necessary for him to speak. Only that afternoon he presented a Petition on the subject signed by 42,000 of the inhabitants of Edinburgh. The Petition had been got up by the working classes in the city, and it was many times larger than any Petition he had had the honour during the last four years of presenting from the much petitioning City he represented. The feeling on this subject, as shown by the signatures to the Petition, was not confined to people of one shade of politics—it was not confined to one class in the community. But it was not worth while to enlarge upon the popular interest taken in this subject—anyone who knew anything of the politics of Edinburgh knew enough about this subject. He thought the late Lord Advocate (Mr. Balfour) knew something about popular opinion with regard to the scheme. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was deservedly one of the most popular men in his own constituency; but, if he (Mr. Buchanan) mistook not, on the last occasion when the right hon. and learned Gentleman addressed his constituents the unanimity of the proceedings was somewhat marred by the indignation of some of the inhabitants against the Dollar Scheme of the Endowments Commission. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) knew something about popular interest in a scheme of the Charity Commissioners which related to Cam in Gloucestershire, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Collings) knew something of the feeling with which some of the Commissioners' schemes were regarded by the people. Last Session a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the operation of the Charitable Trusts Acts, and amongst the recommendations of that Committee was one to the effect that in the appointment of the new Governing Bodies there should be a larger recognition of the principle of representation. The other day a dinner was given in London in honour of the Lord Advocate (Mr. Macdonald), who, he was sorry, had not a seat in the House; and at that dinner the Marquess of Salisbury, the Prime Minister, insisted upon increasing the powers, and throwing more responsibility and weight upon the municipalities with regard to all local matters, including educational matters. He could hardly believe, therefore, that a Government of which the Marquess of Salisbury was Prime Minister would give its adhesion to this scheme, which diminished from four-fifths to just over one-half the representation of the municipality, upon the Governing Body of this important Trust. When a demand for a system of free education was made in all quarters he could not believe it would be prudent or wise in the House to give its assent to a proposal which was to do away with the largest system of free schools at present existing in the Kingdom; when they knew that the larger subject was coming forward it surely was exceedingly unwise to put a stop to the best example and only large example of free education in the United Kingdom. He could understand those who were resolutely and somewhat selfishly opposed to the principle of free education saying —"Here is an excellent system of free schools in existence, let us vote for its discontinuance lest it should be quoted against us;" but he could not understand how those who were in favour of the principle of free education, or who desired, at least, that the question should be fairly discussed, could support the scheme relating to Heriot's Endowments. He apologized for having detained the House so long. He had endeavoured, however, very imperfectly he knew, to show that the educational advantages which were set forth by the Commissioners as likely to accrue by this scheme were not sufficient to justify the very drastic step they had taken in suppressing these free schools. He had also endeavoured to show that both in that matter and in the changes they proposed in the Governing Body the Commissioners were running counter to the development of representative principles, and to the tendency of modern legislation. He begged to move the Motion which stood in his name.


, in seconding the Motion, said, he did not wish to go into the question at any length, but merely wished to say that if the House should see fit to reject this scheme now they would not thereby endanger any necessary or useful reform of Heriot's Hospital. This question of Heriot's Hospital had now been before the public for a good many years. The Governors had themselves prepared a very excellent scheme, and should this scheme be rejected the only result would be that the Education Commissioners would take the matter into consideration next year, and probably lay on the Table of the House a scheme very much better fitted to meet the interests of the public, and more in accordance with the spirit of the foundation. This would not be the first time that this Institution had been reformed by Parliament. Fifty years ago an Act was passed reciting that it was desirable to carry into effect the intentions of the founder, and in pursuance of that Act 15 primary schools were established in the City of Edinburgh. The Act of 1882, which was passed at the instance of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), also contained a recital to the effect that it was the intention of that Act to carry out more fully than at present the spirit of the founder's intentions. The words of the will were— That this should he a Trust for poor fatherless bairns, sons of decayed burgesses in the City of Edinburgh. The spirit of the founder's intention had been carried out faithfully by Parliament and the Trust until the present day. Now, for the first time, the Commission, consisting of gentlemen for whom there could only be the deepest respect, had taken upon themselves to examine into the circumstances of the Trust; and with the best intention he was bound to say they had prepared a scheme which differed in most material respects from the intentions of the pious founder. In doing so they had set against them the opinion of Edinburgh, and of those towns in Scotland which possessed similar Trusts. The Town Council had unanimously petitioned against this scheme, and if there was anybody which represented the public opinion of Edinburgh it was the Town Council. They had all the parish ministers against it; and, on the other hand, they had a Petition from the Free Presbytery against it; and the Trades Council, which represented all the working classes in the city, and other public bodies, were equally opposed to the scheme. That afforded primd facie ground for delaying this matter. They did not ask for a final decision to be come to. They only asked that the scheme should be delayed for final consideration. His right hon. Friend the late Vice President (Mr. Mundella), when the Educational Endowments Bill was passed in 1882, said distinctly that it was not the intention of the Education Department to interfere with the free schools in Edinburgh. He would not hold his right hon. Friend responsible for what the Commissioners had done; but what the right hon. Gentleman said was some evidence of what the intention of the House was when the Bill was passed. He (Mr. M'Laren) submitted that in acceding to this Motion the House would be not only doing a great service to the City of Edinburgh., and to the poorer inhabitants of Edinburgh, but they would be doing a simple act of justice.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty to withhold Her consent to the Scheme of the Educational Endowment (Scotland) Commission now lying upon the Table of the House, for the management of the Endowments of Heriot's Hospital."—(Mr. Buchanan.')


regretted very much that at that late hour he was unable, as one of the Commissioners whose scheme had been assailed, to address the House as fully as ho could have wished upon this subject. He would ask the House to remember that the Commissioners were appointed under an Act of Parliament, and their duty was to do their best to carry out that Act in the spirit in which it was conceived. They had certain lines laid down for thorn, and their duty was to follow those lines. One of the conditions, about which a good deal had already been said, was that they were bound to have regard to the spirit of the founder's intentions. Now, the House must know that the Commissioners were not bound by any arrangement or Act of Parliament that might have been passed since the founder made his bequest; but they were referred to the original deed. They had also to construct such Governing Bodies as appeared to be most suitable to the work which they would be called upon to perform. The changes which the Commissioners had proposed in their scheme were not suggested from any doubt that the present Governing Body had done their best, but from a conviction that a smaller body, composed of persons elected with special reference to the work they had to do, would be a more efficient Governing Body than the whole of the Town Council, with the City ministers, none of whom occupied their positions because of any special fitness for this particular work. Many of them might be considered most highly-qualified men; but this was not the special work for which Town Councillors and City ministers were appointed. The Commissioners proposed to reduce the Governing Body to 21 members. Eleven of those were to be elected by the Town Council, and three by the School Board, so that the public bodies of the City had a majority (two-thirds) on the Board. There were, besides, one member to be elected by the Chamber of Commerce; two to be elected by the City ministers; one minister, not of the Established Church, to be elected by the Town Council; two to be appointed by the Senate of the University of Edinburgh; and one by the Royal Society. Considering the nature of the duties that fell upon the Governing Body, he had no hesitation in saying that this was a carefully-constructed Board. The Board at present was three times as numerous as the Governing Body which George Heriot had in view in his will; and the scheme now proposed introduced such changes as made it more necessary that the Governing Body should be elected with special regard to the duties which it had to undertake. The objection to the existing Governing Body was not new. Exception was taken to it in the Report of the Endowed Schools and Hospitals Commission, which set forth that while Town Councils had exercised their patronage with fairness and impartiality, they were A variable body, and, as a rule, too much inclined to regard merely the wishes of the community, without reference to what was best in the interests of education. A citizen of Edinburgh, a late Chairman of the School Board, who, he was sure, commanded the respect of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan)—Professor Cal-dorwood—gave this evidence— I think there is an obvious disadvantage to us as a City, in connection with our municipal elections, that this question of the Heriot Trust, and the use of the Heriot money, should come up as influencing the elections to the Town Council. I think that anything that could be done to deliver our City from the possibility of that should be done. In the same way the Endowed Institutions Commission reported in the following words: — While there can be no doubt of the right and of the interest of any members of the community to express their opinion in a matter which they consider important to themselves and their families, we think that the kind of control and pressure which is now indicated is one to which the Governors of such an institution ought not to be exposed, and is incompatible with due administration. That statement was called forth by evidence before the Commission, showing that the conduct of the Governors of Heriot's Hospital was made a leading question at the municipal elections, and that Town Councillors were elected with regard to how they pledged themselves to act in the matter of the free schools. The conclusion was not that Town Councillors should have nothing to do with such bequests, but that those bequests should be managed by men who could exercise free judgment as to what was best to be done—Town Councils, in common with other public bodies, being represented on the Governing Body. With regard to the free schools, while the Commissioners proposed to close those schools, they did not propose to put an end to free teaching. Those free schools were not contemplated, and were not provided for by George Heriot. They were the creation of an Act of Parliament in 1836. When they went back to the deed of George Heriot, they found that his object was to erect A hospital and seminary of orphans, for education, nursing, and upbringing of youth, being poor orphans and fatherless children of decayed burgesses, and freemen of the said burgh—destitute, and left without means. Thus the institution was not founded for the whole of the poor of Edinburgh, but for the orphan children of burgesses who were poor, but had been in better circumstances. The object, then, should he neither to relieve the ordinary poor rate nor the ordinary school rate, but to dc all that possibly could be done for such poor as Heriot had in view. They allowed that the free schools had done a good work; but it did not follow that more might not have been done. For instance, had they taken moderate fees from such scholars as could afford to pay them, the Governors might have extended the benefit over a far greater number. Again, by not placing their schools under inspection for Government grants, the Governors had lost money to the Trust. They had in that way lost about £4,000 a-year to the Trust for many years past. They had had so much less money to expend on other educational work. And, besides that, they had done an injury to the scholars. They had not improved their schools as they would have been forced to do under inspection for grants. It was notorious that the Heriot schools were not equal to the Board schools in the matter of accommodation and general equipment —a state of things that would not have been possible had they been under Government inspection for grants. The attendance had been excellent; but no wonder, because if the children did not attend they lost their places in the school, and the School Board officer would send them to the Board school, where they would have to pay. It was no wonder that free schools, alongside of schools with fees, were well attended. He did not deny that the educational results in the Heriot schools had been very good; but he said that better work might have been done at less expense. What was proposed in the scheme now before Parliament was to spend upon free education for poor children at public or State-aided schools £3,500, to spend £250 on maintenance and clothing, and also to give bursaries at these schools to the extent of £2,150, so that upon ordinary elementary education the proposal was that £5,900 should be spent. Then as to the Hospital School. The Hospital system was to be abolished, and that in itself would, in the opinion of the Commissioners and, ho thought, of many others, be a good point gained. The school which was to be established in the Hospital building was not to be, as it had been described, a day secondary school; it was to be a school of a peculiar character, embracing technical instruction, and have many appliances not usually found in secondary schools. The nature of the proposed school could be gathered from what was said in the scheme as to the subjects of instruction— The Governors shall take especial care to secure thorough and advanced teaching in mathematics, drawing, and modern languages. The classes in mechanics, physics, and chemistry shall in all cases be associated with sufficient experimental demonstration and practical teaching, and the Governors shall provide proper laboratory accommodation for the purpose. The use of tools shall be taught in workshops to be provided by the Governors, but not the practice of any specific trade. A school of that kind was not intended to be an avenue to the University; but there was a provision made that any scholar showing a particular talent for classics should be sent to the High School. There were bursaries to help such scholars there. The expenditure proposed for this school altogether would be £4,700. It was not, as had been stated by a Circular which he held in his hand, to be placed in a lower position than any public State-aided school. It was to be a very different kind of school from any ordinary State-aided school, and in some respects would be placed in an altogether higher position. On the subject of the Heriot-Watt College it was not necessary to detain the House. The scheme proposed that £5,300, including bursaries, be applied to that object. Bursaries were proposed to be given to the High School, and bursaries and fellowships in the University, and a sum of £1,000 was to be expended on the higher education of girls. Altogether it was proposed, under this scheme, to expend on the various objects embraced by it £18,570. The Governors had instructions as to the spending of the surplus; but there was this sum definitely prescribed to be expended out of the net income of £21,000. He would pass on to allude to a not very creditable handbill which had come into his possession. That handbill, he thought, accounted for the very large Petition which his hon. Friend (Mr. Buchanan) had presented from Edinburgh. He really did not wonder that the citizens of Edinburgh, after reading that paper, should wish to sign a Petition against the scheme. The citizens were asked to sign the Petition— To prevent the poor of the City from being robbed, and the free schools closed, for the purpose of providing scholarships and bursaries for the children of the middle and upper classes. But, when they looked at the bursaries and scholarships provided, what did they find? That they were expressly restricted to the children of parents who were in such circumstances as to require assistance. With three exceptions, all those bursaries were restricted to the poor. There was nothing said about poverty with regard to the bursaries, amounting to £;500, for Queen's scholars, who were young people preparing to be school teachers. The High School bursaries, again, amounting to £570, had no condition of poverty attached to them; but they were included in the scheme, because the High School was one of those institutions to which George Heriot showed distinct favour. In fact, according to Heriot's will, all the scholars were to be educated and trained there; and, therefore, the Commissioners felt that it was desirable to do something for the High School, in memory of Heriot. His interest in the University the Commissioners had recognized in a similar way; but, with those exceptions, all the bursaries were restricted to the poor. Those exceptions amounted to £1,170 out of a total net income of £21,000. He (Mr. J. A. Campbell) had also to notice a telegram which had been sent to many Members of the House, urging them— To do their very best to oppose the Heriot confiscation scheme. He wished to ask, where was the confiscation? A statement which was circulated by the Governors told how the funds were left by George Heriot for the City of Edinburgh; but they were left to that City for a certain purpose—for the purpose of doing good of a certain kind to a certain class of youth. Circumstances had so altered that Heriot's design must be extended —the Governors themselves admitted that—but it was not to be done simply by providing, as the statement said, that the funds— Shall be enjoyed by the greatest possible number of the citizens, but that they shall do the greatest possible educational good to the community of Edinburgh. No scheme had received more careful consideration from the Commissioners. They heard evidence, they published a scheme, they heard objections to it, they gave effect to many of the objections, and then they sent their scheme as altered and completed to the Education Department, where, after full examination, it was approved of. They had sought by this scheme to propose what they believed to be best for the interests of the people of Edinburgh, and most in accordance with the spirit of the founder's intentions; and he trusted the House would not reject it.


said, he would not at that late hour (2.40) detain the House more than a few moments. He had listened attentively to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan), who, he was glad to say, gave the Commissioners credit for having paid great attention to the framing of the scheme. Although he (Mr. Ramsay) was one of those who was responsible for the contents of the scheme, he felt that the people of Edinburgh had reason to be grateful to the Commissioners for having attended so carefully to the interests of the poor, especially in regard to the allocation of the funds. Talk of robbery and confiscation! Terms of that kind were not less applicable than they were to this scheme. Nothing had been taken from the people of Edinburgh. The three Commissioners had all united in considering that the Governing Body should be altered; and though his hon. Friend had not said anything special against the change in the Governing Body, yet those who would take the trouble to read the examination of counsel who were heard before the Commissioners would find that the alteration of the Governing Body was the chief blot in their scheme in the opinion of the present Governors. The reasons which rendered the change necessary were very simple. His hon. Friend had read the opinion of the Chairman of the School Board with reference to the proposal to modify the free schools, and to alter the constitution of the Governing Body. Professor Calderwood had declared it might be a disadvantage; but he feared it was one of those things that were unavoidable where they had popular representation, the citizens being the constituency to whom the Governors were amenable. He feared, however dangerous it might be, there was no escape from it. But if that was all the defence that could be made of the constitution of the Governing Body and against the doing away of these free schools, he thought it was a necessity that the Commission should consider the expediency of keeping up a system of free education alongside of Board Schools maintained at the public expense of the ratepayers, and he concluded that having approved of the Commissioners' appointment Her Majesty would not set aside their appointment now by rejecting their scheme. An hon. Member had said the scheme should be returned to the Commissioners; that they might modify it in view of the opinion of the community. But could the House suppose that seven gentlemen, who had laboured long and without remuneration, would sit again and return a verdict against themselves on the evidence adduced before them, when all parties interested and concerned in this undertaking had already been heard at the greatest possible length? He hoped the result of this discussion would be that the House would stamp with its approval the labour of the Commission.


said, it was his duty, in the first place, to ask the House to consider the circumstances under which this scheme came before them. He believed that it came before them with the unanimous recommendation of the Educational Endowments Commission, which was composed of gentlemen in whom he believed the House still placed the greatest possible confidence, and two of whom they had heard speak that evening. The scheme having been framed by them was put before the Education Department, was adopted by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Mundella), and by him submitted to the Scottish Committee of the Council of Education. The Committee, after considering the matter, as he was informed, in all its details, unanimously agreed to recommend it to Parliament for adoption, and the result was that the scheme was laid on the Table of the House. Personally, therefore, he was not in any way responsible for the scheme; it was the scheme of his Predecessor; but it had been his duty to examine that scheme thoroughly for himself, and to see whether there were any real grounds on which, after such examination, it would become his duty to recommend the House to reject it. Well, it did appear to him, after examination, that there were some details in it of which he should not have approved. But they were matters of detail only, and matters which had they come before him he would have desired to see amended; and he found that there was great difference of opinion in Edinburgh as there might be expected to exist with regard to any other scheme. But there was an almost universal agreement on the part of all who had occasion to inquire into this matter for years past that great changes were necessary in the administration of this Trust, and in particular in altering fundamentally the Governing Body. Having examined the scheme, it certainly seemed to him that there was nothing in it at all inconsistent with an honest intention to carry out so far as possible the original intention of the founder. He saw a great deal in the scheme to commend, and he believed it to be thoroughly calculated to im- prove the administration of the Trust, and to remedy the evils which had been discovered. He should, therefore, support the scheme on the Table of the House, and he hoped the House would reject the Motion of the hon. Member for Edinburgh.


said, as Chairman of the former Commission which inquired into the Endowment Scheme, he desired to support the views of his hon. Friend who had commended this scheme, and to say a few words in opposition to one or two remarks that had fallen from the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. M'Laren). The views of the earlier Commission very much agreed with those of the Commissioners who proposed the present scheme. They did not wish to abolish the free schools, but they did what was equivalent to something that was proposed in the scheme; they recommended that payment should be introduced, and that some strict rules should be introduced with reference to the instruction given to the children. In that respect they differed, but in general principles they thoroughly concurred. In no respect did he go more strongly with the opinion of the recent Commission than on the absolute necessity, as a condition of any reform, of some change in the Governing Body; and he must say that the present Governing Body were very unreasonable in their desire to monopolize the administration of this fund. That question had been decided over and over again in Edinburgh, and it was in evidence that it was most undesirable that the Governing Body should consist wholly of municipal authorities. The Commission of 1864 was of the same opinion. The hon. Member for Stafford had said that the free schools were consistent with the principles of the Heriot foundation. He denied that, and in his opinion and in that of all his Colleagues on the Commission it constituted a great deviation from the intentions of the founder. The Trust was left for poor orphans, the children of destitute burgesses; but the words had received a wider application—they had been made applicable to the poor of Edinburgh generally by the institution of free day schools. That took place 50 years ago, and in those times, when there was no public provision for education, there were very good reasons for considering such a proposal as a fair one to which to apply those large funds. He was quite sure that no Parliament of the present day would have come to that conclusion, and now that public funds were provided for education he thought it would be unreasonable to continue the free schools. Then, in regard to the management of the schools, it deviated from the original intention not only in principle, but in effect. It was the conclusion at which the Commission arrived that a very large number of children at the schools were quite able to pay fees —that was the evidence given. Not merely was that the opinion of the Commission, but it was the opinion of the Governing Body themselves, who brought in a scheme proposing to take fees from scholars, which unfortunately, from some technicality, was rejected by the Law Officers of the Crown. He thought the present scheme was well deserving of the support of the House; and after the long controversy that had gone on for 20 years it was high time that they should arrive at a settlement of the question on a fair and liberal interpretation of the terms of the Trust.


said, at that late hour he did not intend to detain the House for more than a few minutes. This subject was one which had occupied a great deal of attention, and one on which he should have been glad to have a discussion earlier, so that a real and thorough ventilation of the merits of the scheme might have taken place. His hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) had stated his case with great ability, and had done his best in the interest of his clients. His Successor, the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. E. Stanhope), had also stated his view of the matter. In one respect only did he disagree with the right hon. Gentleman in his statement. But before alluding to that, he would say that the Commission appointed to deal with the question was as fair and impartial a Commission as could have been selected. The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, who was at one time at the head of the Heriot Governors, was appointed a member of the Commission in order to see that the Heriot Governors were properly dealt with. The Lord Provost of Glasgow was also another member. There was also Lord Shand, who was deservedly esteemed among the most respectable citizens of Edm- burgh, and the whole of the Commissioners had been perfectly unanimous on the scheme. Two previous Commissions had agreed upon the absolute necessity of reforming the Governing Body. He did not want to say one word about past management on that occasion, or raise any question about it; but he did say that the necessity of reform was imperative, and had been absolutely affirmed by every Commission that had considered the question—and there had been four Commissions. Well, when the Commissioners sent in their scheme, the Education Department advertised for objections, and they received the present Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir George Harrison, and a deputation from Edinburgh to make their objections to the scheme. What did Sir George Harrison say? He said that nothing could exceed the patience of the Commissioners—that they had heard and reheard them again and again; that they had heard them by counsel, and in every shape, and that they had modified their scheme as much as they possibly could in order to meet their views. Sir George Harrison admitted that; but he also went further, and said— We have presented our scheme to the Commissioners, and they have presented theirs to us. We naturally prefer our own scheme; hut, "he continued," I do not hesitate to say that the scheme of the Commissioners is absolutely preferable to the scheme under which we are now working. Those were the statements of Sir George Harrison and the deputation. What did the Education Department do? They did not, as his right hon. Friend (Mr. E. Stanhope) said, pass the scheme; they simply called the Scottish Committee of Council together and placed it before them. The Department made no recommendations. They had the scheme, and as his right hon. Friend behind him knew, the Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Rosebery, the late Lord Advocate (Mr. Balfour), Mr. Baxter, and the whole of the Scottish Committee were present on the occasion. They carefully investigated the scheme, and they came unanimously to their conclusion. They found there were points of detail which might be amended afterwards. It was not difficult to amend one or two small details of the scheme; but it was thought most undesirable, seeing the pains which the Commissioners had taken, that this matter, which had been debated for 20 years, should not be finally settled. The Privy Council came to the unanimous conclusion that it ought to be settled. A new Government had come into Office, and the scheme was on the Table of the House. He was willing to take the responsibility for having assisted the Council to pass the scheme. It seemed to him that in recommending the House to pass the scheme his right hon. Friend had recommended them to do the very best thing that could possibly be done for the people of Edinburgh. A nobler scheme had never been brought before that House; and, although he never suggested a line of it, he said it was of immense value and importance to the City of Edinburgh. The hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) objected to the closing of the free schools; but he had noticed that they were increasing the free schooling. At present those very schools gave free education to 4,500 children in very bad schools-—in schools which Her Majesty's Inspectors would condemn at least to the extent of one-half of them. Those schools, if the scheme of the Governors were adhered to, would, in several instances, have to be entirely rebuilt, at an enormous expenditure on the capital account, and the Governors would not be able to carry out their scheme, because it would cost too much; so that, instead of giving education to 4,500 children, the Commissioners recommended that the sum of £3,500 a-year should be applied, which, at the rate of 10s. per head, would educate 7,000 children free, instead of 4,500, and that, too, under the best possible conditions. More than that, the children would not be marked as charity children, as was now the case. They would all be in the same schools and would be free from the taunt of being charity children. If free schools, were coming to the front, those who demanded that the vast bulk of this charity should be spent in maintaining free schools were simply robbing the poor. ["Oh !"1 Yes; was it the intention of George Heriot to do that which the State and the rates were going to do? It was to do for the children that which they could not do for themselves; and if hon. Members would compare the two schemes and their advantages, there would not be a moment's hesitation on the subject, and he believed that two years hence his hon. Friend would be thankful to that House for passing this scheme, and that the citizens of Edinburgh would be thankful for it. There would be a large increase of free education in good schools, and a large accession of funds for the purpose of educating the young people of Edinburgh. Was George Heriot's money ever intended to take the place of a Government grant, or was it intended to relieve the rich ratepayers of Edinburgh? Why, the thing was an absurdity. There would be a number of bursaries which would enable poor scholars to go up to the University. He should be glad if he could secure the same advantages for another town about the size of Edinburgh. There would also be a technical schools of the most excellent character, and night schools for commercial and other purposes. He trusted the House would not hesitate to pass the scheme.

Question put.

The House divided: —Ayes 15; Noes 49: Majority 34.—(Div. List, No. 246.)