Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £11,128, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come
in course of payment during the year ending on the 3lst day of March 1886, in aid of the Expense of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland.
MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, he wished to call attention to certain circumstances in connection with the Vote before the Committee, and he would do so in consequence of the absence of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). His hon. Friend had intended to bring this subject before the Committee, and was only prevented from doing so by a sudden and severe attack of illness. In his absence, therefore, he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) would invite the attention of the Committee to the many anomalies connected with the system of education in Irish Colleges. It was well known that this question had engaged the attention of generations, and had again and again been taken up by successive Ministers and Statesmen who, with the very best intentions, had endeavoured to set the wrong system right; but it had, unfortunately, been found that each attempt ended, if possible, in worse failure than that which preceded it. The right hon. Gentleman whom he saw opposite (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had taken a very leading part in this question of education in Ireland, and he did not suppose that there was a man who understood it better than the right hon. Gentleman. There was also associated with him another right hon. Gentleman, the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India (Lord Randolph Churchill), who had shown great interest in the education of the Irish people, and had, in that respect, rendered some very valuable services. He (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) thought, therefore, that the noble Lord would not be out of sympathy with him in the effort he wished to make to bring the system into accordance with the hopes and aspirations of the Irish people. He would point out that all the successive attempts which had been made to set this system right had been made in the absence of a well-defined principle. Sir Robert Peel, when about to give a system of College education to the Irish people, found out the difficulty of adopting a plan which would meet the requirements of the people of various religious persuasions. He offered to the Irish people a system of education which ignored questions of religion. He said 308 that if you allowed religion to be mixed up in any way with education, you could not satisfy Catholics, Protestants, and Presbyterians under one system, and therefore you had better exclude religion altogether, and have one uniform secular system. That proposal was made under what seemed to be satisfactory auspices. It took with it, at first, the assent of the English people; but it should be observed that the first note of opposition was struck not by the Roman Catholics, but by a public man of another persuasion, who condemned the principle of what he called "godless Colleges." After a while, it became evident that the Catholic Church and the Irish people would not accept that system; and then another attempt was made to meet the difficulty by the establishment of the Royal University. With the Royal University were joined the Queen's Colleges of Belfast, Galway, and Cork; and to these were added the University College of Dublin, and Magee College, Belfast. These institutions opened their doors to the members of all denominations; but the Royal University gave no advantage to any but those who accepted its principles and adopted its forms. In many ways it was becoming more liberalized; but such an institution could not be accepted as a whole by the Catholics. An attempt had once been made to establish a purely Roman Catholic University in Dublin. The Irish Catholics spent, he believed, £250,000, at least, in the endeavour to establish a Catholic University for the education of the Irish people; but, of course, the difficulty was that they were competing at such tremendous odds with the establishments of the Government, and they were not able to make their degrees equally valuable with the others. After a time, the institution was remodelled and was changed into University College. No sooner did that remodelling take place, than a most remarkable phenomenon was seen—no sooner was University College put into working order, than it began to be seen that, with all its own disadvantages and with all the advantages of its rivals, it was able to hold up its head against all competition, and was enabled to carry away a larger proportion of prizes than any of the institutions endowed by the State. He held in his hand a statement 309 of figures which showed at once the remarkable success of this Catholic institution without any State advantage, which enabled its pupils to carry off the best honours and prizes placed within their reach. Well, one appeal he had to make that night was on behalf of that institution; but he had also to appeal to the Government to tell them what they intended to do with regard to the whole system of College education in Ireland. The institutions already established were either wholly Protestant, or they professed a neutrality which the Irish people never could accept, and which was unsuitable to Irish educational purposes. The Colleges of Cork, Belfast, and Galway were well-appointed; they had efficient teachers, but they had the one great defect in the eyes of the vast bulk of the Irish people—that their education was secular. The Catholics of Ireland had endeavoured, with limited means, and in the absence of State support, to make the best way they could under immense disadvantages. He thought the time had come when the Government should make up their minds to grapple with this question; that it was now time the Government should go to work to reconstruct and re-organize the College educational system. He did not intend, and his hon. Friends did not intend, to offer any plan for the re-organization of the Colleges. It would be very unwise of any private Member to approach a Government in that House with a settled scheme. The effect of such a course would be that everyone who saw the smallest objection to any one detail would direct his attack upon that point, and the House of Commons would, in consequence, fall into a controversy of mere details. But Irish Members urged that the present Government might take the matter into their own hands, and bring in a scheme for the entire re-organization of public College education in Ireland. In doing that, they would have to recognize that the demand was merely for equality and justice. There were certain endowments, certain sums of money applicable, and certain State aid and support, and Irish Members claimed that they should be divided, so as to give the Irish people who were in the majority something like a decent proportion and share of them. He did not expect the Government 310 to bring forward any scheme of that sort in the present Session; but he thought that they might, in the meantime, recognize the claim which University College, Dublin, had established upon them. By its title, by its purposes, that College was bound to furnish all the teaching required of it, even by a small number of pupils. If something was not done for it, it must, after a limited time, fail in its purpose, and perhaps fail altogether. He asked the Government to say whether they could not at once adopt some plan which might secure for that College something like State support. He held that the Government were bound to give some support to enable the College to carry out its purpose, and he saw no reason why that might not be done even in the present Session. He had some hope that the right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or some other Member of the Government, would be able to tell the Committee that they had made up their minds to meet Irish Members in their very reasonable demand. Of course, the settlement of the larger question connected with Irish University Education must stand over; but, in the meantime, he held that something ought to be done for an institution which was so effectually educating the Irish Catholics.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, in supporting his hon. Friend the Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy), he should confine himself to the distinct proposition put forward by him at the end of his speech. In the first place, he said they had a special claim on Her Majesty's present Government. It would be remembered that in the year 1879 a proposal was put forward by The O'Conor Don, which had the approval of the Catholic population in Ireland; but Her Majesty's Government, in its wisdom, rejected, that proposal, and put forward, as a counter-proposal, the scheme of the present Royal University. He (Colonel Colthurst had never depreciated the Royal University. On the contrary, he thought it most valuable, and it had shown what Catholics and Catholic institutions could do. But when it was put forward, those in that House opposed to Catholic education, and amongst them the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), pointed out that the establishment of the Royal University, 311 which consisted of three endowed and one or two unendowed Colleges, would sound the knell of unendowed Colleges. And what had been the result? His hon. Friend the Member for Longford had stated to the Committee what had been the struggles of the Catholic University College in the commencement. He would take up the story from the year 1883. At the end of 1883 the late Cardinal M'Cabe found he could not carry it on, and it was handed over to the body now in charge of it. In the examinations of 1884 there were 139 passes from the Queen's College, Belfast, out of which 109 took honours; from Queen's College, Galway, there were 20 passes, and of those only eight were with honours. In the passes from the Catholic College, the proportion of honours to passes was very large. Let it be borne in mind that the College which obtained that success had only been one year in existence, or, rather, only one year under its present management. And what assistance did the State give to that College? About £3,000 a-year, in the shape of Fellowships—that was, it was given Fellows of the Royal University, upon whom the obligation lay of teaching in that College. In the same year the amount paid to the three Queen's Colleges—he would not go into details, but taking the total and deducting the foes received from students—there was the sum of £32,629 divided amongst them. To that must be added £5,000 a-year income upon capital expended on buildings; and that was not all, for they had, in addition, the sum of £1,500 for prizes to be competed for amongst themselves, while the whole amount for prizes at the College in question, which were competed for by students from every part of Ireland, was not, he believed, more than £1,500 a-year. He thought his hon. Friend had made out a good case for the recognition, in some way, by the State of this College in Dublin which had done such good work. He thought that—putting it upon the necessity of establishing religious equality—the demand that he made for the small sum of £6,000 a-year was unanswerable; but, putting aside religious equality, he (Colonel Colthurst) would ask for that small sum simply on the ground of educational work done. His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edin- 312 burgh (Sir Lyon Playfair), he regretted to see was not present, because he had hoped he would have supported Irish Members in this demand. The right hon. Gentleman had hitherto opposed the demands of Irish Members, because those demands had been, from the necessity of the case during the last 10 years, limited to asking that the prizes should be taken from the Queen's Colleges and made open to all University students. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman, in which he thought, there was a good deal of force, was that they would, be pulling down without building up. He said, both in public and in private—"Establish a College and I will assist in the work; but I will not pull down institutions which are doing good work." They now came to Her Majesty's Government with a definite proposal; they pointed to an institution that was doing good work, and they asked for it a small sum. He appealed on this subject, with special confidence, to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), the Leader of the Government in that House; because, when officially connected with Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman had carried out a scheme of intermediate education—a most admirable scheme, and a scheme which had been of the greatest benefit to the country. Its success was owing to the boldness of the right hon. Gentleman in looking difficulties in the face and establishing, so far as that scheme was concerned, the most absolute religious equality; and he hoped it would be perfected that Session by the application of endowments now misapplied. With his hon. Friend, he did not say that the granting of the concession asked for that night would be a settlement of the whole question. Far from it. The Catholics of Ireland were determined that they must have equality in one way or another. They would very much prefer equality in the sense of building up; but equality they must have, and he felt they were certain to have it, if not by building up, by levelling down—by taking away, or by interfering with, the endowments of the Queen's Colleges. They fully admitted that the Queen's College, Belfast, had done good work, and was doing admirable work; but it was almost entirely a Presbyterian College. They admitted 313 that the Queen's College at Cork was doing a certain amount of work, and that, from the necessity of the case, many Catholics in Cork were obliged to take advantage of it, because there was no other place for them to go to. With regard to Galway College, he thought the best thing would be to transfer its endowments to some College in Ulster, because it must be remembered that the Catholics in Ulster were absolutely without any endowment for educational purposes whatever. There were many ways of settling this question, and, as his hon. Friend had said, it would only perhaps be inviting criticism to go into the details. He submitted that the case which his hon. Friend had brought forward, and which he had tried to support, could not in justice he refused, and he hoped it would commend itself both to the favourable consideration of the Government and the country.
§ MR. LEWIS
said, he thought the Committee had reason to congratulate themselves on the absence from the speech of the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Colthurst) of the kind of remarks which had sometimes entered into the debates on this subject. He (Mr. Lewis) felt also that they might congratulate themselves that the demands put forward in so moderate a tone were of a more modified character than they were accustomed to. There was one fact which, after all, stood in the way of the argument of hon. Members opposite. To what extent would they have an exclusively Catholic College education, as in the case of University College, Dublin—to what extent did the Roman Catholics of Ireland make use of that College? He believed he was right in saying that for the year 1884 only 100 students from the whole of Ireland could be got to place themselves on the roll of that College, built and carried on after their own model, and in their own fashion. It was said that this College was unendowed; but if he understood the principle on which the Legislature had acted, it was that with regard to Colleges which were of a sectarian character no direct endowments had been given. They were aware that complaints had been made with regard to the Queen's Colleges. All those complaints had been made, however, in reference to Queen's College at Galway; but that was an exceptional case, and if 314 they took the cases of Belfast and Cork, they would find the Colleges there had been eminently successful, and had been much appreciated by the people of Ireland. It was true that the Queen's College, Belfast, was, from necessity, largely Presbyterian; but that was due solely to local causes, and not to the constitution of the College. If they took the endowments in comparison to the number of students under instruction, they would find that for each student in Belfast College, the State paid £19 a-year only; whereas, in the case of the Catholic University, the endowment was £5,000 for 104 students, which was at the rate of £56 a-year for each student; in other words, three times as much as the endowment in the former case. It was quite true that during the last two years there had been a decline in the number of students; but if they took the period antecedent to that, they would find there had been a very great increase. A great point had been made by the other side of the House as to the relative honours that were taken by the respective Colleges. It was quite clear, from the figures, that the record of the University College was a distinguished one; but that did not justify the claim for a larger endowment being allowed to the Catholic Colleges. All that it seemed to him to be necessary was that they should take care that the endowments were distributed with an even hand. He only hoped that to-night they would find that his right hon. Friend the Leader of the House (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), whose services in connection with education in Ireland everyone would recognize, was true now to his old principles of mixed education, and would not interfere with the present arrangement in order to appease hon. Members opposite. He would point out that the Catholic College, with all Ireland to appeal to, and with all their advantages, had only 104 students, and it did not appear to him to be a sufficient basis to make this additional demand.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the hon. Gentleman had warned the Government against 315 the appeasement of hon. Members sitting on those Benches; but he contended that they were presenting a national claim, and they were hopeful that that claim would be considered, not in any spirit of unnecessary or unreasonable concession, but solely upon its merits. He confessed he was glad that they came to the consideration of the question in the presence of the right hon. Baronet the Leader of the Government in that House (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), because the right hon. Gentleman had paid great personal attention to the question of higher education in Ireland, and because he (Mr. Sexton) knew that he had been personally interested in the passing of two Acts, with the object of lessening the disadvantages under which Roman Catholics suffered. Under the Intermediate Education Act, the Protestant schools were allowed to retain their large endowments; and when the hon. Gentleman talked with regard to the numbers of students and their cost, he (Mr. Sexton) wondered that he had not gone into the question of intermediate education, where, in some cases, the pupils cost the country £75 a-year. But the Intermediate Education Act had done one thing to enable them, the Irish Roman Catholics, to prove their taste and ability for higher education. Under the most discouraging system Catholic boys had come forward in their hundreds and their thousands. It was perfectly clear that the Catholic Body contained within it students in such numbers as would supply, under favourable conditions, a number of students for the University proportionate to the numbers which the Catholics bore to the whole population. Two-thirds of the honours achieved by the students had been obtained by Catholic boys. They had reason to be grateful to the Government for passing the Royal University Act, which enabled them to prove that the Catholic Schools and Colleges in Ireland which devoted themselves to University education were most competent, and compared, not only favourably, but marvellously with the Protestant non-sectarian Colleges. The comparison was so conclusive upon the most cursory examination, that it was not worth arguing. The £5,000 a-year which was applied to the expense of the Queen's University, instead of being applied to the Royal University, was removed from the Estimates, and as 316 the money applied to the Royal University was Irish money, the result was the saving of this £5,000 a-year to the Imperial Treasury. Similarly, by the establishment of the pension system for the National teachers out of Irish money, the Imperial Treasury was saved from £7,000 to £10,000 a-year. He never heard in his life a more misleading, a more fantastic and absurd comparison than the hon. Member for Derry made just now between the Belfast College and the University College; for they found that, while the Dublin University took 90 distinctions last year, the Magee College in Derry took one. That ought to be sufficient; and when they found that state of things to exist, then, he thought Magee College might be put out of consideration altogether. The number of students in Belfast College was not, from the present point of view, any final test of its utility. The test of utility was the passes and distinctions gained, by the students in the examinations of the Royal University, which was the machinery placed in Ireland by the Government to discover the competency of a College and the extent to which the students profited by the teaching. He declined to accept the figures, 480, as at all a test, or an efficient test, to prove the efficiency of the Belfast College. With regard to the cost of these Colleges, he would read a few extracts from a private memorandum prepared on the subject—The Queen's Colleges have had, since 1851, buildings provided and maintained by the State, a sum of £21,000 a-year, charged on the Consolidated Fund, and a yearly Parliamentary grant amounting, in the year ending March, 1884, to £14,728, exclusive of building charges amounting to £2,726, and pension allowances amounting to £3,525. If from the total sum of £41,979, thus paid from the Treasury on behalf of the Queen's Colleges, there be deducted £9,350, the amount of students' fees paid into the Exchequer, there remains a sum of £32,629, expended in the year 1883–4 on the three Queen's Colleges. Adding £5,000 a-year to represent the interest on the capital sum expended in buildings and appliances, you find that the yearly cost to the nation of the Queen's Colleges is nearly £38,000, or more than £12,500 each. University College, on the other hand, has no direct help from the public funds in any form; but the Senate of the Royal University requires that 14 of its Fellows should, in addition to their primary duty of acting as University Examiners, give their services in teaching at University College. This may be looked upon as an indirect endowment, equivalent, at the utmost, to £3,000 a-year, but given in an inconvenient form. Beyond this aid University College has 317 no endowment of any kind—no provision for buildings, or expenses, or maintenance of working staff.It was only fair, he contended, to charge University College with the proportion of the time of these Fellows which they occupied in teaching at the University College, and not that that they occupied in examination at the Royal University. Therefore, those who were best able to judge put the benefit down at£200 a-year each, instead of £400. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Berry had said that there were only 104 students at the University College. There were only 104 matriculated students, it was true; but there were 116 students who had not yet matriculated, making a total of 220 students altogether, and on that basis, instead of the figures given by the hon. Member, the cost of students at the respective Colleges was £27 at the Belfast College, and £28 at the University College. How did they provide for the endowment of Protestant University education in Ireland? The Royal University, which was a purely Protestant University, had an income of £00,000 a-year, not voted by the House, but provided from public sources. Now, they claimed a voice in the disposal of those resources; and they held that the Catholics of Ireland were entitled to their fair proportion not only of the money provided by Parliament for educational purposes, but of the money left from time to time from public sources for every branch of education—Primary, Intermediate, and University. He contended also that they were entitled to their fair share of such funds in proportion to the population, as against any other sect in Ireland. Trinity College, for the benefit mainly of Protestant students, was receiving £110,000 a-year; add to that sum the £38,000 received by the Queen's Colleges, and the £20,000 given to the Royal University, and they had a total sum of £168,000 a-year devoted by the State, or by the sanction of the State, to University education, and of that sum the Catholics received £3,000 a-year. Yet out of the 5,000,000 of people in Ireland 4,000,000 were Catholics. That was to say, that the Catholics received about 3d. in the pound of the total grant made to Ireland, notwithstanding that, as he had already pointed out, they had taken about two-thirds of the prizes. If he were pressed 318 for an opinion to-night, he would say that the whole of this amount would have to be put into a common fund, and that about three-fourths of it would have to be applied to Catholic education. [Laughter.] The hon. Member for Derry might smile; but the Irish Members always had to bring forward tremenduous moral grievances in order to get justice. What did the intermediate examinations prove? Would the Committee listen for a moment to the result of the examination for distinctions last October? Well, in that examination 80 passed from the Catholic College, and that from an institution carried on through an ordeal of exceptional severity. It had maintained itself for 13 years on public subscriptions, and at considerable loss to the Jesuit Fathers. What would become of the boast that the Royal University met the case of the Catholics if the Jesuit Fathers threw up the work to-morrow, and said they could no longer go on doing it at a loss? There would only be a handful of students go up in the future. Well, the University College passed 80 students; but what was the case with the Queen's Colleges of Cork and Galway? Cork had only passed 28, and Galway 30. So that between them these two Colleges had only passed 58 students, as against 80 by the University College. Cork and Galway cost £25,000 a-year between them; and if they divided 58 students into £25,000, they had the fact that the Queen's Colleges of Cork and Galway were passing students at a cost of £500 each student. At the examination in October, 1884, the total number of students who passed from University College was 80; Queen's College, Cork, 28; Queen's College, Galway, 30. In classics the Queen's Colleges at Cork and Galway took not a single honour. It was a remarkable thing that the record of those institutions, whose endowments were so costly to the State, should be, in respect of classical honours, a perfect blank. The case of University College was very different, for of the 80 students who passed 21 obtained distinction in classics. Then, with regard to modern languages, the analysis of the results list stood thus—Cork Queen's College, 6; Galway Queen's College, 6; and University College, 33. Again, in scientific subjects, although Cork Queen's College and Galway Queen's College had provided for 319 them by Government splendid buildings, libraries, museums, and laboratories, fitted up with all appliances without regard to cost, and although University College had no similar provision, actually the number of distinctions in scientific subjects had been for the Catholic University College 19, as against 6 for Queen's College, Galway, and 12 for Queen's College, Cork, or more than the total distinctions gained by the two latter Colleges together. This was a most remarkable fact. They made no attack on Queen's College, Belfast. It was in the midst of a Presbyterian population; it had an admirable body of Professors; it was practically a Presbyterian College; it was well attended, and had achieved most creditable results. They did not say one word against an institution which was a very useful one. At this point, he would ask the attention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite to a statement made by an eminent scholar, Professor Peabody, of the Magee College. Professor Peabody, in drawing attention to the fact that at Queen's College, Cork, 30 scholarships were available for distribution amongst 36 students, said that they must look at this matter without prejudice, and asked if the authorities of the Colleges in the South and West could be blamed for regarding such scholarships, not as rewards for learning, but simply as bribes to Catholic students to disregard the teachings of their Church and enrol themselves under the banner of Protestantism? He went on to say that the most enlightened Protestants had ceased to approve the policy of enforcing religious teaching by the offer of temporal prizes to supposed converts, and that the wisdom of paying young men for attending the Queen's College lectures would be questioned. That was the testimony of an eminent scholar; it could not be put aside; and he spoke simply as an educationalist when he called attention to what was, in its moral aspect, a scandal, and in its educational aspect an intolerable grievance. Now, with regard to the general summary of results, Queen's College, Belfast, obtained 105 distinctions and prizes at the examination of last October, and University College obtained 90, with, of course, a much smaller number of students. But where were the Queen's 320 Colleges of Galway and Cork? Queen's College, Cork, obtained a total of 20 distinctions, and Queen's College, Galway, obtained 8. With all their special advantages, with the payment of their expenses by the State, they had obtained between them 28 honours and prizes, as against 90 obtained by the practically unendowed University College, Dublin. That unrecognized and unendowed College had gained at the last examination three times more honours than the two other Colleges together; and taking the Cork Queen's College and the Galway Queen's College separately, it had gained three times as many honours as the former, and more than 10 times as many as the latter. Now, the claim which Irish Members made was that the College which had so signally distinguished itself should be allowed a chance of living. If the State did not go to its assistance, that College would go down. University College, Dublin, had national obligations, and it met them in a national and courageous spirit. The Government might say that the time was not come when that assistance should be given, and that the question must be considered as a whole. It was, no doubt, true that the whole question was in suspense; but why did the Government go on, year after year, making large and lavish grants to the Queen's Colleges in Galway and Cork, while they denied to University College, Dublin, a chance of existence? They could not say that they were debarred from helping it; because, while the State endowment to the Queen's Colleges amounted to £38,000, or more than £12,500 each, there was an indirect endowment of University College of about £3,000 a-year. Trinity College was, practically, a denominational College, and it received £110,000. In view of these facts, Irish Members considered their present demand an extremely moderate one. They asked no more than half the amounts enjoyed by either of the two Colleges of Cork and Galway, both of which together University College had eclipsed at the last examinations. For his own part, he would be disposed to say that the funds of the Queen's Colleges should be thrown into a common fund. It was necessary not only to aid institutions with a teaching staff and appliances, but also to aid the indi- 321 vidual student in his struggles towards educational distinction and a position in the world. The student at the Royal University had but a few prizes open to him; they were small in amount, and were hedged about by many restrictions. For instance, a Scholarship could only be obtained by one in nine. But how different was the case of the Queen's Colleges! The student there passed a nominal matriculation; no real knowledge of Greek or Latin was required of him; he might go up for examination at the Royal University; he might fail to obtain a prize, an honour, or a pass; but he could go back to Cork or Gal way, and then, by passing a nominal examination, obtain one of those Scholarships which were strewn about the floors of the Colleges, to be had almost without asking. That meant that wherever a Catholic student could be found in Ireland who would ignore the repeated instructions of his own Prelates, that it was not suitable or safe for a Catholic to go within the sphere of secular education, there was a prize awaiting him. All he had to do was to turn his back upon their instructions, and enter the halls of the University, and then, no matter how stupid he might be, or how contemptible might be his academic acquirements, he was sure of a Scholarship and the means of supporting himself on his road to education. But the Catholic student who obeyed the directions of the authorities of his Church, and got his education where it could be had consistently with conscience—he was left to starve. That was the condition of affairs at the present time, and Irish Catholics could not accept it as being just. Although the moment had not come for an elaborate examination of the Irish University Question, or for the full apportionment of the funds available for University purposes, and for the due consideration of the claims of the Irish people, he (Mr. Sexton) said that this moment was proper for the consideration of the special claim they made that night. If the Government neglected the reasonable claim of University College, Dublin, if that College went down, they might, before long, have to regret the result which might be brought about by their refusal to extend to it a helping hand.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, he should not again describe the various attempts which had been made by different Governments, Conservative as well as Liberal, to settle this question. The statement of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) having been followed and amplified by the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), he should confine himself to the narrow issue that had been raised. It seemed to him that this debate had arisen in Committee under extraordinary circumstances. The whole of the Liberal Party was absent, and the whole of the Conservative Party, with the exception of one or two leading Members of the Government, were absent also. It was under those circumstances that, as he understood, his hon. Friend proposed to draw from the Chancellor of the Exchequer his view as to the future of University education in Ireland, and his view as to the great inequality with which the Catholic University College in Dublin was at the present moment treated. If he (Mr. Synan) were to enter on the various aspects of the question of Irish University education, and if he were to repeat to the Committee the various attempts that had been made to settle it, he supposed he should delay them a much longer time than they or he would wish; and as that delay would be objectless he did not mean to weary the Committee by going over the subject again. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would know that the difficulty they had over the Irish University Question was as to whether it should be settled on denominational grounds or upon mixed educational and secular grounds. The hon. Member for Sligo had called the Dublin University a denominational University. It was so; but if his hon. Friend had been in the House of Commons in the year 1872, he would have known that an Act of Parliament was carried for the purpose of making it a secular University, and thereby gratify the Secular Party in England. Trinity College was a distinct College; its students went to the chapel of the College; it was, for all purposes, a denominational College; and yet, by means of the Act of 1872, it had escaped from the fangs of the Secular Party in England. Then there was the case of the Queen's College, Belfast. The hon. Member for Derry (Mr. Lewis) had 323 treated Irish Members as if they were attacking Belfast College; but they made no attack upon it whatever. But Belfast College was not a secular College; it was practically denominational; it was a distinct school; it educated people for the Presbyterian Church. It was in every sense denominational, and was entitled on that ground alone to retain the funds which it got from the State. The hon. Member for Derry said that Belfast College only received £9,000 a-year from the State; but with the £21,000 charged on the Consolidated Fund the yearly Parliamentary grant of £14,000, building charges £2,700, and pensions and allowances £3,525, the annual payment on account of the Queen's Colleges was about £41,900; and if from that was deducted the £9,350 paid into the Exchequer for students' fees, there remained £32,600, or thereabouts. Well, Belfast College received one-third of that; and if in the calculation of the hon. Member that amounted to £9,000, all he (Mr. Synan) could say was that they had learnt arithmetic in different schools. The issue before the Committee seemed to be as to whether or not University College, Dublin, was to get a grant of £6,000 a-year. The hon. Member for Derry said 'that University College received £5,600. But here, again, he (Mr. Synan) differed from the hon. Gentleman. One would say, at all events, that the expenses of the 12 Professors ought to be divided between the Royal University and University College; and if it were so divided the latter received the enormous sum of £2,800, and that the hon. Gentleman made out to be £5,600 a-year. And then the hon. Gentleman said that University College, Dublin, had only 104 students; but he (Mr. Synan) preferred on that point to take the uncontradicted statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton). If this £6,000 was given to University College, it would only make up the amount received from the State to £8,800, while Galway College was getting £12,000 a-year. And yet Galway College had only 103 students. Now, it appeared to him that, with all these facts and figures before them, Her Majesty's Government ought to be able to make up their minds at once what to do in this matter. But there was another and a larger matter in connection with this 324 subject which they had brought before the House in 1883, and that was the amount given to the Queen's Colleges for prizes. These three Colleges received every year for prizes £4,800, while the three unendowed Colleges got nothing. Let a few thousands be taken out of the £20,000 given to the Royal University and given to those Colleges which got nothing, which had only a few prizes, and were obliged to share them with the students of the Queen's Colleges. The prizes were open to the students of the Queen's Colleges, as well as to the students of the unendowed denominational Colleges. Would the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that that was a fair system? He (Mr. Synan) admitted that a student of one of the Queen's Colleges could not enjoy both prizes; but he could go down to the Royal University and contend for a prize, and perhaps got it; or, if he failed to get it, he could go to his own College and get a cheap prize there. What was the language of the learned Professor, quoted by his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo, upon that system? Why, he said that if a student of one of the Queen's Colleges won a prize at the Royal University it was given to him; but if he did not, he had only to return to his own College, and he would there find a prize preserved for him, a consolation prize, more valuable than that which he had been unable to obtain at the Royal University. And what was the result of this? According to the Report of the Royal Commission, the unendowed Colleges had beaten the Queen's Colleges. He asked why should this system be allowed to continue? If the Queen's Colleges were deprived of the amount given for prizes, and if it were attached to the Royal University, would it not be a fair, wise, and equal system, and should not the Queen's Colleges be content with being upon equal terms with the others? He admitted that Belfast College was denominational, that it fairly represented the Presbyterian population of Ulster, who were 40 per cent of the entire population, the Catholics being in the proportion of 50 per cent or 60 per cent. But the Catholic people of Ulster, on account of their principles, would not send their children as students to Belfast College, and accordingly there was only 4 per cent of Catholics among the students. What 325 were the number of Presbyterian students in Galway? 45; and where did they come from? From Ulster. Having failed to win prizes in Belfast, they went to Galway, where they won cheap prizes. No one would attempt to say that these Presbyterian students were in fair proportion of the total number. The Presbyterian population of Connaught was not 1 per cent, while the Catholic population was 95 per cent, and yet the Presbyterian students in Galway College were 85 per cent, and the Catholic students only 44 per cent. The Catholic population of Munster was 90 per cent of the whole, and yet there were only from 180 to 200 Catholic students in Cork College. But that was a broad question which he would like the Government to enter upon hereafter, He wished to pin the right hon. Gentleman now to this sum of £6,000 a-year to the Catholic University, to which, in all conscience, she was entitled. He admitted there were other unendowed Colleges under the Royal University; but they asked for nothing. He supposed they considered a waiting game the best, and remained silent. But the Catholic University wanted this £6,000 to make the Colleges more efficient, and he hoped the Government would give it. It would only, at all events, bring them within a very remote distance of the endowments of other Colleges. If the Government decided to give this money, it might have the effect of reconciling Catholic opinion within a certain limit. It might have the effect, perhaps, of earning some thanks for Her Majesty's Government for doing an act of justice, although it would not, he admitted, have the effect of settling this University Question, which, sooner or later, would have to be settled on a broad and efficient basis. It was impossible that they could leave the matter where it was. He knew that under the advice—the threat almost—of the hon. Member for Derry they were going to attempt to reconcile the Catholics in Ireland to their administration by telling them they would not get anything more than they enjoyed at present. He could assure them they had a very bad advisor in the hon. Gentleman the Member for Derry if they followed him so far. If he (Mr. Synan) appealed to them on principle, their principles were, he knew, denominational, if they could only carry them out. The Education 326 Question in Ireland must be settled, and settled according to the opinion of the Irish people; therefore, he rested satisfied with these observations, and the debate which had preceded his short observations. He awaited with impatience the answer of the Government in the person of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he trusted would be a favourable answer.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH)
I should have much preferred to have left this subject in the hands of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Sir William Hart Dyke), who, I am cure, is very well qualified to deal with it; but I must own that I have always felt, and still feel, a very deep interest in the matter. Hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House have referred to my action with regard to Irish education in so kind a spirit that I think I ought to make some observations on the subject. I would wish to say, in the first place, that this is not a question which ought to be approached with the idea of concession or conciliation. I should wish to approach it—and I think we all would wish to approach it—with the sole I desire of endeavouring to spread as far as possible what I believe to be the great blessings of University education in Ireland among all persons, whatever their creed, and, so far as possible, whatever their class, if duly qualified to receive it. That is the spirit in which I have always endeavoured to regard this question. That is the spirit in which the Intermediate Education Act of 1878 was framed—an Act which I think is admitted by all, whether the friends of mixed education or of denominational education, to have had a singular success, and to have conferred the greatest benefits upon the Irish people. That also was the spirit in which the University Education Act of 1879 was framed. What was the principal difficulty which we had then to meet? We were face to face with this fact—that, although it was possible for those persons in Ireland whose religious scruples forbade them taking advantage of the Queen's Colleges, or the education offered them in Trinity College, Dublin, to obtain University degrees by graduating in the London University, yet it was not possible for them to obtain 327 such degrees in their own country. Therefore, in 1879, the Government of the day, of which I was a Member, introduced and carried a Bill by which we merged the Queen's University, which up to that time had consisted, as the Committee are aware, of the Colleges of Cork, Belfast, and Galway, in a Royal University, which was enabled by the Act of 1879 to confer degrees upon all comers qualified to receive them, and was also endowed with a considerable sum to be devoted to the purpose of establishing Exhibitions, Scholarships, Fellowships, and other prizes for proficiency in subjects of secular education, and not in respect of any subject of religious instruction. In passing that Act I think there was one matter which very much weighed with us; that was this—that the sum devoted in Ireland to the purposes of University education was by no means a large one. The sum contributed either by the State or from the Church Surplus Fund, under the Act of 1879, to University education certainly cannot be called large. The endowments provided for the purpose, even if you take into consideration the endowments of Trinity College, Dublin, are certainly by no means too large for this great and extensive work. We were anxious in what we did not to destroy, but to maintain and utilize everything we found that aided in giving University education, and to extend the system in order to remove the particular grievance to which I have alluded. Well, now, we found the Queen's Colleges in existence as parts of the Queen's University. While I was Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, it fell to my lot to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the condition of those Colleges, mainly, I think, with reference to the system of instruction pursued in them and the emoluments of the Professors. On that Commission I appointed Mr. Osborne Gordon, whose name will, I think, long be remembered in Oxford University, and also in connection with the Civil Service examinations, as that of a man of remarkable attainments and knowledge of University education generally. He was aided in this work by two other gentlemen—Professor Allman and Mr. Herbert Murray—who were well qualified to act with him. Their Report spoke highly of the work done in the Queen's Colleges. Now, that was an au- 328 thority which was to my mind of a very important character. We believed the Queen's Colleges were doing a really good work in Ireland, and we endeavoured to sustain and to increase that work by passing the University Act, 1879; but now we have to look upon the subject by the light of five years' experience of that Act. In one point I am afraid it has done some harm to the Queen's Colleges. I understand that the fact that students can obtain degrees without being members of those Colleges has deprived the Professors of those Colleges of a very considerable amount of the attendance at their lectures which they formerly enjoyed, and that, therefore, their emoluments have been diminished. No doubt, that cannot tend to the efficiency of the Queen's Colleges themselves, besides being a very great hardship to the existing Professors, who have done their work well. But another point appears to have come to light, and I confess it seems to me to be one of great importance. In considering the Act of 1879, I was very much influenced by the relationship which the University examinations in the old Queen's University system bore to the Queen's Colleges. Those examinations were conducted by the Professors of the Queen's Colleges themselves, and I confess I was a little suspicious of their standard. It did occur to me that it might be possible that in a University so very close, so to speak, as the Queen's University was, the standard of a University degree might have been lowered, and that, in fact, the University would be a better instrument of education in Ireland if it were extended to other students, and included other examiners than those connected with the Queen's Colleges. Now, if I am correctly informed—and I have listened attentively to what has been said this evening—my suspicions were not altogether ill-founded. It is remarkable that a College not directly endowed with any public money, indirectly only receiving so small an amount as the Catholic University of Dublin receives, having to provide all its buildings and apparatus, still should, in a fair competition in University education with the students of the Queen's Colleges, show such surprising results as have been stated to-night. The statement which has been made appeared to me almost to require some explanation; 329 because I cannot understand how an institution which, according to the Parliamentary Returns that have been quoted, only possesses 104 students, should be able to secure so large a proportion of University degrees and honours as has been obtained by the students of the Catholic University College. It does seem to me as that the Catholic University College, being in the position I have described, has done better in these examinations than the Queen's Colleges which it meets in competition. Of course, I am not referring to Belfast College, which undoubtedly has held its own; but I refer to the Colleges of Cork and Galway. This, to my mind, raises a very important and serious question, which I think even the hon. Gentleman the Member for Derry (Mr. Lewis), or anyone who approaches the question of University education from his point of view, must admit deserves every consideration. Is it, or is it not, the fact that the money this House votes for the purposes of University education in Ireland is applied in the best manner possible at present? Now, I am bound to say that I find a difficulty in giving an answer to that question. I think it is one that requires the very serious and early attention of Her Majesty's Government; indeed, it seems to have, to some extent, received the attention of our Predecessors. In looking at the debate of last year I noticed that the Secretary to the Treasury, then the hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), laid great stress upon the Commission which had been appointed by the Government in 1884 to inquire into various points connected with the Colleges. He quoted the References to this Commission. He said one of them was—1. What is the standard of education maintained at the Queen's Colleges, or any of them?That, obviously, bears very much on the point I have alluded to. The other References were—2. In what mode the honours and rewards are distributed in the three Colleges respectively, having regard to the numbers of the students, and the various branches of learning taught? 3. To what extent, and with what results, do the students avail themselves of the advantages offered by the Royal University? 4. The question of the affiliation of these Colleges with the Royal University. Is there any active 330 and strong connection with the University? Do any large number of students go from the Colleges to the University; and what are the fees charged to the students?A statement has been made—I think by the hon. Member who last spoke (Mr. Synan)—to the effect that students of the Queen's Colleges, having failed in University competitions for prizes given under the Act of 1879, have actually been enabled to fall back on prizes of greater value in their own Colleges. I am bound to say that that does not seem to me a very satisfactory state of things. The Commission I have referred to was issued in the spring of 1884, and the hon. Member for Liskeard, in alluding to it, stated that the Report would not be ready until the end of September or October last. He further said that when it was presented it would be the serious duty of the Irish Government to consider the Report in relation to the whole question. He promised, in fact, that the late Government would deal with the matter by the light of that Report. Why have they not done so? I take it, for the obvious reason—although I have not been able, owing to the multitudinous duties of my Office, to study the Report—that the Commissioners were so seriously divided amongst themselves, that it could not be said they had made any Report at all; and, therefore, nothing was proposed beyond the renewal of the old Vote for the Queen's Colleges. Now, I do not at all wish to express a definite opinion on this question. Indeed, I have not had time to study it; and I should be sorry to express a definite opinion on behalf of any of my Colleagues. But this, I think, I may venture to say—that we do not feel that the present position of it is satisfactory, and that we feel this to such an extent that it would be quite impossible for us to comply with the request of the hon. Member for Limerick and other hon. Members, and try to deal with it by giving a Vote of £6,000 for a particular purpose. We could not do that. We think that a full examination of the whole question is necessary, in order to see whether we cannot settle it on a proper basis. The hon. Member for Londonderry has expressed the hope that we will not depart from the old lines on which the whole question has been dealt with. But what are they? The lines on which it has been dealt with 331 successfully are those of the Intermediate Education Act of 1878, and of the measure of 1879, whereby it was decided that the State should pay for the results of secular education wherever given and however obtained, quite irrespective of the circumstance whether they were gained by private tuition, in a denominational College, or in a mixed College. Now, those are the principles the Government ought to maintain. After the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church of Ireland, surely no one will for a moment propose that the State should pay for religious education in Ireland. What it can do for secular education it ought to do. Speaking here, as I have always done, as a believer in religious education, I will say that I do not think it is right in these days, when irreligion rather than the predominance of any particular form of religion is the thing we have to dread, that the State should endeavour to discourage religious education. This, Sir, is all that I have to say to the Committee to-night. We shall continue to regard this question on the principle I have laid down, with the hope and the wish to do something to make University education more general and widespread in Ireland; and if it should be our lot to hold Office next Session, to make some proposal which may deal in a satisfactory way with this most important matter.
§ MR. DAWSON
said, he had listened with great satisfaction to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was his (Mr. Dawson's) privilege to know something of the rule of the right hon. Gentleman in Ireland when he was Chief Secretary. He remembered that an impression had been fast gaining ground in the Corporation, of which he (Mr. Dawson) had been a member, that the right hon. Baronet was about the first Chief Secretary who had thrown off the shackles and was acting for himself and according to his own instincts and belief. But since he had listened to the right hon. Baronet's remarks that evening, he recognized, with still more hope and confidence, the ability with which he had discussed this question, and the sense of fairness and justice which had pervaded his observations. He (Mr. Dawson) was, furthermore, emboldened to believe that the subject of doing justice to the educa- 332 tional claims of Ireland was recognized from the fact that another Member of the Government, a noble Lord, having himself, on a Commission over which he presided, became practically acquainted with the inequality and injustice of the endowments for education in that country. Therefore it was that on all these grounds they approached this subject under the present Administration. They approached it with more confidence still, because when the right hon. Gentleman holding the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer—a right hon. Gentleman holding the purse-strings in his hand—declared the sum which was pleaded for to be miserably small, the only conclusion they could arrive at was that he was prepared to do what was liberal and just in the cause of Irish education. The right hon. Gentleman had heard with astonishment the figures which had been put before him in regard to University College, whose specific and peculiar claims the Irish Members were putting forward. He (Mr. Dawson) was informed that the figures quoted, startling as they were, still were perfectly true. There were only about 100 matriculated students on the books of the University, and 80 from University College passed with honours in the Royal University examination. On the subject of numbers, he might say, in passing, that the hon. Member for Derry (Mr. Lewis) had referred to the three Queen's Colleges and their endowments—to Galway and its 400 students; but that was not the Catholic University for which hon. Members were pleading. They were pleading the cause of a University of one years' existence; and they said that if it had 100 students so distinguished in one year, if they were to multiply its opportunities of usefulness, what would it not do in 30 years, which had been the period of the career of the Belfast College? But there was another reason why University College should be supported. On what did the Royal University depend? It could not depend on Galway College or on Cork College, because they had given it no aid whatever. They had shown no ability, and had won no prizes, nor had they given the Examining Board the shadow of a claim to the University. What foundation was there for the University? It was by University College that it had been known up to this—it was 333 by the distinction and success of this struggling University College that this beau-ideal of the right hon. Gentleman had any existence at all. If for nothing but the sustainment of the Royal University, with which the right hon. Gentleman was so much identified, the right hon. Gentleman ought not to put off this ad interim appeal the Irish Members were making on behalf of this University College. It was impossible to settle the whole question that Session; but if they let this College drop, the University would drop for want of students; therefore he (Mr. Dawson) hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider the matter, as he had had the courage in Ireland to reconsider points which were brought before him. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Derry had referred to the number of students in the Belfast and Galway Colleges which, as the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had shown, bad run down with such rapidity in the honour list. Well, in these Queen's Colleges the cost to the State for the students who took honours at the University was £500 a-piece. In the University College the cost was £40 a-piece. But they did not think, nor did the promoters of this scheme believe, that in giving this ad interim sustainment of a few thousands of pounds a-year the University Question in Ireland would be settled. He believed his hon. Friend the Member for Long ford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) had left some gaps in his history of University education in Ireland; and he (Mr. Dawson) would call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to what his own Government had proposed in the scheme of Lord Mayo, which was, perhaps, the only intelligible scheme ever proposed for the settlement of the question of University education in Ireland. He would not say what had made Lord Mayo's scheme decline—whether it was the hesitation of the Catholic Bishops to accept it, or the precipitancy with which the Government took it up. There was Trinity College with its endowments, arising from land and other sources, amounting to£110,000 a-year; and Mr. Butt's proposal was to establish a Catholic College which should be a College of the University of Dublin, to call it St. Patrick's College, and to give it a separate endowment. The only argument used against that solution of the University Question was that the 334 students of St. Patrick's College would turn in in such numbers that they would soon swamp the University. He was astonished to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer talk about one examination and one central authority. There was nothing more fatal to literature and learning than one State machine, which moulded into one mould the genius and learning of the country. Take the example of Germany and France. Germany, which had succeeded in every rôle it had played for the last 20 years, had 37 Universities; but in France there was but one huge State machine, and the result was most disastrous to the learning of the country. In Scotland there were four or five Universities, and in England there were many Universities. It was in Ireland alone that an attempt was to be made to diminish the number of Universities, and to approve a State machine like the Examining Board of the Royal University. The Irish people were not prepared to lose the traditions of University history; they were not prepared to give up their great scheme of a Catholic University for Catholic students; but they did fear that this long postponement of justice would be fatal to higher education in their country. They wanted the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to sustain this distinguished University College as a means of preserving the traditions of University life amongst Catholics. If this University College was shut up, the idea of a University and an academical life would be entirely removed from Ireland. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would display on this question what he had die-played in former times on Irish questions—namely, his own independence of character, and that he would give the small sum asked by this University College. University College in Dublin was supported, as had been said, by an Order who were themselves losing £2,000 a-year out of their own funds in trying to hold their own in this unequal struggle. Could they continue to do that? If they could not the doors of the College would be shut, and the distinguished students of the Royal University would cease to exist. He hardly thought the right hon. Genlteman appreciated the urgency of this question. The University Question might be 335 dropped for a later period; but the existence of this College was a matter of the moment. He was sure the noble I Lord (Lord Randolph Churchill), who had taken great interest in the education question in Ireland, who had himself pointed out the inequality of the endowments, would support the appeal now made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to put off any longer the settlement of this subject, because delay would be fatal to a College whose distinctions the right hon. Gentleman had confessed, and whose inadequate resources he had remarked upon.
§ MR. P. J. POWER
said, that hon. Members who sat near him had listened to some of the observations which fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer with satisfaction. At the same time, they heard the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech with some feelings of regret. It had been pointed out by Irish Members that this was a matter of life or death as far as one struggling College was concerned, and they thought they had very good grounds for making this claim on the Government. The broad issues of the case must be borne in mind in coming to a conclusion on a matter of this kind. Broadly speaking, the Catholics of Ireland numbered about four-fifths of the entire population; and though vast sums of money were spent on education—primary, intermediate, and higher—it must surprise hon. Members to hear that four-fifths of the people of Ireland received only about one-fortieth of the sum granted to the Universities. In fact, if they were to reckon the interest on the money invested in buildings, museums, and so forth, it would be found that the figure he had quoted was, if anything, under the mark, and that the Catholics of Ireland did not receive more than one-sixtieth part of the sum granted by the English Government to University education in Ireland. It was said the Catholics received a certain amount of endowment connection with this University College; but if the matter were investigated, it would be found that the sum, paltry as it was, was given in the most inconvenient way in which it could be given, and that placing certain Fellows at the service of the University College was not, in some respects, a wise way of indirectly endowing the 336 College. Then, again, other Colleges had this advantage on their side—the Queen's Colleges, for instance—that, besides very large endowments for educational purposes, they had a grant of £1,500 a-year to be distributed in honours and prizes to students who availed themselves of the services of those Colleges; whereas the University College had none of these inducements. But much as the Catholics of Ireland had to contend against in these matters—bearing in mind the way in which the Catholics of Ireland were handicapped—it must be conceded that the results, as tested by the Royal University, exceeded the most sanguine expectation of even Catholics themselves. It would be seen by the figures quoted by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) that the University College had obtained more distinctions in classics and in modern languages than three Queen's Colleges put together had obtained. These facts in themselves spoke something for the efficiency of the University College for which this claim was made. No Member of the Irish Party had contended that the Queen's College in Belfast was a failure. That College was, undoubtedly, a success; but the reason of its success was worthy of notice; it was a success because it met the views of the people amongst whom it was situated, and was in accord with the opinions of a majority, or of a very considerable portion, at least, of the people of Ulster. The conditions of the Queen's Colleges at Cork and Gal-way were due to the fact that the Colleges were at complete variance with the majority of the people of the Provinces in which they were situated. It was all very well for the Government to say that they were offering the Irish Catholics a system of education, and that it was their own fault if they refused to avail themselves of it. The Catholics of Ireland ought to be the best judges on the matter, and it made very little difference to them whether the Government offered them no University system, or offered them a system of University training which they honestly believed they could not avail themselves of. On that point it would be well to bear in mind that the Catholics of Ireland disapproved so much of the system that was placed at their disposal that, in the course of the last 30 years, 337 they had subscribed about £250,000 to provide themselves with University education. It might be a very expensive operation; but, at the same time, they might gather from the fact what the views of the Catholics were on the subject, and what great sacrifices they were prepared to make in order to obtain for their children a proper system of education. They asked no more than fair play in the matter, and he thought that the results attending the Intermediate Education Act, with which the name of the right hon. Gentleman was so honourably connected, were enough to show that if the Government supplied them with a proper system of higher education large numbers would be found ready to avail themselves of it. Handicapped as the Catholics of Ireland were in intermediate educational matters, it was gratifying to know that they had been able to obtain per cent of the exhibitions awarded under the Intermediate Education Act. Though he might thereby transgress somewhat upon the subject under consideration, he would ask the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the way in which the Intermediate Education Board was treating the matter of intermediate education. They were starving the funds, and endeavouring to keep people from availing themselves of the advantages of the system. The prizes were greatly reduced; in many instances the Board had refused to give the prizes earned by the students. He might mention one instance which came under his immediate attention not long since, of a poor boy who studied hard in school, and presented himself for the intermediate examination, under the impression that if he obtained a certain number of marks he would receive a silver modal. He worked day and night; his parents, who were poor, provided him with what books they could; and he did obtain the marks which entitled him to a silver medal. He was in formed, however, by the Intermediate Education Board that, though he had obtained the necessary marks to entitle him to a modal, the Government were not in a position to give one to him. The unfortunate lad would have remained without his silver medal had it not been that the Mayor of Waterford put his hand in his pocket and provided what in honour the Intermediate Board 338 were bound to provide. He (Mr. P. J. Power) mentioned this en passant, so that the Government might instruct those who were responsible for this state of things to see that such scandals—he could call them nothing else—were not repeated, at any rate, during the Tory régime. A great deal had been said as to denominational education in Ireland, and it had been stated that the Government could not approve of such a system. But he maintained that the very fact of Trinity College existing as it did was, to a certain extent, an answer to that argument. It could not be conceded that Trinity College was not worked, to some extent, on denominational lines. The College for which he and his hon. Friends now made a claim for help was open, as far it could be, to people of all political and religious opinions. It was competent for anyone to avail themselves of its services, and still, at the same time, not be actual students of the University College. But Trinity College, which had an enormous grant of about £60,000 a-year, leaving out of the calculation the interest of money sunk in permanent buildings and in museums, and the like, was, to a certain extent, carried out on the very lines to which he understood the Government objected; and, consequently, the objection of the Government to the College for which a claim was now made did not hold good. This was to be considered also in comparing the results—that it was only in those matters where money was needed that the University College was at all inferior or deficient to the Belfast Queen's College. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this was a question of the highest importance. The body at present conducting this University College was not in a position to incur any further loss. It had conducted the College at a considerable loss for the last two years, and could not afford to lose anything more by the transaction. If the right hon. Gentleman would accede to what he (Mr. P. J. Power) thought the very modest proposal of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Long ford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy), he would be able to make an institution which could be availed of to a considerable extent in the scheme which it was hoped the present Government would be able to bring forward in 339 regard to University education. In conclusion, he might say that, on this as on many other questions, the policy of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had been fully justified. It might be in the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, when a measure on this subject was introduced at the fag-end of a Session, that hon. Gentleman opposed it, regarding' it as a mere stop-gap Bill, which, in fact, would seriously impede the final settlement of this important matter. The hon. Gentleman was then, as on many other occasions, jeered at. It was said the hon. Gentleman was unwise in his opposition; but events had justified the course he then took. It was quite clear that, if that measure had been left un-passed, a much more satisfactory Bill would have been passed before this. There was no doubt that there were difficulties in the way of the Government dealing now with the broad question of University education. At that period of the Session it was quite impossible for them to bring in a Bill dealing satisfactorily with that, perhaps one of the greatest subjects which could engage the attention of any Government. On this Education Question the English Government owed the people of Ireland a considerable debt; indeed, nothing demonstrated so much their incompetence to deal with Irish subjects as the manner in which the people of Ireland had been treated in regard to education. It was impossible, as he had said, that the Government should be able to make up their minds now to bring forward a really comprehensive measure on the subject; but he certainly thought that a Government which had shown itself so deeply interested in Irish educational matters as the present would be able to grant the request made by the hon. Member for Long ford, and endeavour to maintain what was really a very valuable educational institution.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) asked for information on one or two points which he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) thought he could supply. The right hon. Gentleman asked how it was that, with so small a number of students as the University College, the students "were able to gain so many honours? 340 The explanation was this—that students going up to the first and second University examinations were allowed to take honours in more than one subject; and, accordingly, one student might take honours in Latin, in classics, and in modern languages. Of course, that did not apply to the M.A. examination, in which a student could only take one honour. It would be seen, therefore, that there might be more honours than students. Then the right hon. Gentleman said the statement was made that students failing to get honours in the Belfast College went down to Cork and Galway. On that subject the right hon. Gentleman could be supplied with all the facts, so as to bring the matter clearly to his mind. He (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) could speak with regard to the Queen's Colleges, because he was a student for several years at the Queen's College, Galway. Now, what took place? The examination in Belfast for scholarships took place, he believed, in October. In Belfast it was more difficult to get prizes than in Cork or Galway, because there was such a large number of students there in proportion to the number of prizes. The student who failed to get a prize in the October examination in Belfast came down to Galway, where the examinations did not take place until December, and was often able to get a scholarship there. He could speak with a certain amount of feeling on the subject. After he got his B.A. degree he went in for the senior scholarship. He found that he was not merely opposed by his own fellow-students, but by a gentleman who had never studied a single day or hour in the Galway College, but who had come down from Belfast, simply for the purpose of wresting from Galway a prize which really belonged to Galway. Upon the question of University education, he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) thought the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made as satisfactory a reply as anybody could reasonably expect him to make. The right hon. Gentleman went so far as to admit that the Irish Members had made out their case; that the Queen's Colleges did not give the State money's worth; and he went on to say, on behalf of himself and his Colleagues, that after they had inquired into the question, and examined all the facts, they would, if they were in a position, 341 find the means of remedying the grievance. Now, he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) spoke upon this question in a somewhat different spirit to some of his hon. Friends around him. He was for four years in the Queen's College, Galway, and he always wished to speak with the greatest regard and respect of the Professors and other officials of that College. Many of them were his personal friends, and certainly all of them were men of distinction. What he and others did was to find fault not with the men, but with the system which the men were compelled to administer. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House made allusion to the disproportion between the number of prizes and the number of students, and he more than implied tha tthe State was not getting its money's worth. He (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) did not think the right hon. Gentleman had the advantage of hearing a quotation which was made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) from something Professor Peabody had written. Professor Peabody had said—What shall we say of 30 scholarships in the Queen's College, Cork, available for distribution last session amongst 36 students, and of 36 scholarships in the Queen's College, Galway, available for distribution amongst 45 students?Now, there was just one point more, and upon it he would ask for the attention for one moment of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who might have to deal with this question. As a Galway Member, and as a Connaught Member, he did not desire the Queen's College in Galway to be suppressed as a College; but they demanded that its character should be changed. They wanted it to be maintained as a College, and to be incorporated with the University College. He would tell the right hon. Gentleman why; because it was of the highest importance that University education in Ireland should be brought down to the doors and to the homes of the poorer classes of the people. Any treatment of the University Question in Ireland must start on the principle that University education should take the form of local Colleges. To ask the sons of the lower classes to go to Dublin for their University education was as bad as asking them to go to Paris, to London, or to Calcutta. He knew several boys in 342 Galway, sons of very poor parents, who would never have been able to have got University education if they had had to go even 30 miles out of Galway, because their people were too poor to bear the expense. He knew of one case in point, of a boy whose mother was in a very poor state—indeed, he believed she was a laundress, and it was perfectly certain that she could not afford to send him away to obtain a University training. But by the fact that he was not obliged to go away from home, he was able to join the College, and was able, instead of being a mechanic, which in all probability he would have been, he was able to join the honourable and lucrative profession of a medical man. The Town Commissioners of Galway had passed a very strong resolution in favour of the retention of the Queen's College there; but he thought he had already made himself clear upon that point. He contended, however, that they were now in a condition to demand justice for all classes of the Irish people.
§ MR. MARUM
said, that while fully agreeing with what had fallen from the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) as to the necessity of following the principle of having local Colleges, promised the Committee that he would not travel over a single point which had already been dealt with. He wished to point out, however, that, in addition to the Catholic Colleges which had been mentioned, there were a dozen diocesan Colleges which were deserving of consideration, and which he hoped would not be overlooked. At the same time he did not want these Colleges to stand in the way of an increase of the grant to the University College, Dublin. He happened to know that the Jesuit Fathers were spending a largo amount of money now on University education out of their own pockets, simply in the hope that they would eventually obtain the grant.
§ MR. GRAY
said, that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was, in one sense, satisfactory; but in another it was extremely disappointing. The right hon. Gentleman had given them to understand that something must be done in this matter, and that the Catholics of Ireland had a solid ground of complaint; that was satisfactory. It was exactly 19 years since the Conservative Government of the day, 343 through Lord Mayo, recognized that the Catholics of Ireland had a solid ground of complaint, and made an effort to remedy it; but here they were, 19 years afterwards, pleading for that justice so long recognized as due, and so long denied them. The right hon. Gentleman would recognize that none of those who had spoken from the Irish side of the House had been so unreasonable as to ask that he should come down at that time of the Session, having been in Office for only a short time, with a cut-and-dry scheme to settle a great question which had puzzled so many Governments. But it certainly was extraordinary that, recognizing, as he did, so fully the grievance, and in view of the Report of the Queen's College Commission, which had exposed so thoroughly the utter failure of two out of the three Colleges, he yet came down to the House to ask it to pass a largo money Vote in support of these institutions, which were confessedly failures, and at the same time brought himself to refuse a grant of temporary assistance to the maintenance of an institution which might prove to be eventually the nucleus of an arrangement of the greatest advantage to the Catholics of Ireland. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his refusal of this grant arose from any fear of an anti-Popery cry in the North of Ireland, or of England, at the General Election? If that were his fear, he (Mr. Gray) did not think the right hon. Gentleman should be deterred from doing justice by any such apprehension, because those Colleges were already recognized by the State, and enjoyed a small amount of State endowment. It was scarcely reasonable of the right hon. Gentleman to expect that the Irish people would rest satisfied with his assurance that he would consider the question, whilst, at the same time, he asked them to vote money for other institutions which were being kept up with a view of strangling and destroying Catholic higher education in Ireland. If the right hon. Gentleman were acting bonâ fide, he (Mr. Gray) would say that he would not ask them to vote the money for the Queen's Colleges until he had an opportunity of considering the other matter; but if he were determined to do nothing whatever now, either as a temporary or as a permanent arrangement, he must only 344 expect that the Irish Party would use such action as was open to them to protest in the most effective manner possible against the present system. The right hon. Gentleman had thrown out something in the nature of a hint of the lines on which he contemplated dealing with the question if it came to his lot to propose a settlement of it. He (Mr. Gray) would ask the right hon. Gentleman to kindly elucidate that portion of his speech a little more. He understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that he contemplated seeking a solution of the Irish University Question on the lines of the Intermediate Education Act; but he (Mr. Gray) would venture to tell the right hon. Gentleman, if he had that in contemplation, the failure of his Government to settle the Irish Education Question would be at least as great as the failure of any of their Predecessors. The Irish people were determined in this matter that they would have absolute equality, no more and no less; and any settlement based upon the lines of the Intermediate Education Act would not create that equality, unless it were accompanied by the complete disendowment of existing institutions, not merely as prize-giving bodies, but as teaching institutions. He, for one, would be sorry to see all the educational endowments for higher teaching bodies taken away, and all the emoluments given for prizes. Most strong objections could be urged against that course; but if Trinity College was to be left with a large endowment as a teaching body, and the Queen's Colleges were to have endowments as teaching bodies, it was simply absurd for the right hon. Gentleman to dream that any settlement could be accepted by the Irish people which would merely throw open prizes to be competed for by the Irish Catholics, if no assistance was to be given them to prepare them to compete for those prizes. The Royal University gave a certain number of prizes already; but their objection was that while Trinity College was endowed for Protestants, and the Queen's Colleges for those who had no particular care about the combination of religion with education, the institution which alone commanded the confidence of the vast majority of the Irish people was left unendowed, and entered into the competition heavily handicapped. He asked the right hon. 345 Gentleman if he considered that any settlement or scheme based upon such lines as that could be satisfactory; and he would warn him again that if such a scheme, or anything approaching it, were to be propounded next year or the year afterwards, it could only be met by the most determined resistance by the Irish Members of that House. He did not wish to follow the able arguments of hon. Members on those Benches who had spoken on the matter, because for him to attempt to repeat them would be only to weaken their force. It appeared to him, however, that the great Liberal Party had taken no interest in this discussion, and that during part of it all the Liberal Benches above the Gangway had been entirely empty. They ceased to take any interest in the question since they had changed sides in that House. The Front Opposition Benches had been entirely empty, and no Member of the late Government had taken any notice of this debate, nor any interest in the proceedings whatever. They seemed to think that their interest in this matter had gone with their giving up Office. Now, the present Government could exercise their earnest consideration on this matter, and they would win the gratitude of the majority of the Irish people; but if they thought they could deal with it in the patchwork manner of giving a few more prizes, and throwing them open to Catholics, they were very much mistaken. The people of Ireland were now sufficiently organized, and next Session would be sufficiently represented in that House, to insist that they should have absolute and complete equality, either by levelling up or levelling down. He would earnestly recommend to the right hon. Gentleman that, before he committed himself to any scheme, he would recognize that one fact—they would have no half-measure in this matter; they were determined to have absolute equality. He himself was in favour of levelling up; but if levelling up was not possible they should have levelling down. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir William Hart Dyke) would be able to give them some better assurance than the Chancellor of the Exchequer had done.
§ MR. MELDON
said, he regretted that he could not join in the chorus of admiration at the remarks of the right hon. 346 Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had admitted that the case stated by the Irish Members that evening had been proved, but had held that the State did not get the full results for the amount of money that was given. Then, having made that admission in support of the case for the Irish Members, the right hon. Gentleman declined to go any further, and distinctly refused to do anything at present. Now, he (Mr. Meldon) did not approve of that "Live horse and get grass" policy at all. The Queen's Colleges were a direct blow at the religion of the country that could not be justified, as they had been forced upon the country, against the wishes of the great majority of the people. He wished to put it to the Government that in the interests of education itself it was all-important that some additional help ought to be given to an institution which it was admitted had, from the slenderest resources, conferred the greatest benefit on Ireland. He referred to the institution in Stephen's Green. It had been conferring the greatest benefits on the country for the last 30 years, and for the last few years it had been kept alive upon resources which he thought it was to the disgrace of that House to allow without making some return. What would be their position if this institution had to close because they had not enough funds to carry it on? Something ought to be done to enable it to go on in the same road on which it had been going since 1879. It seemed to him that the present Government had not been able to make up their minds whether they ought to allow them some temporary relief or not. It was all very well to throw all the blame on the late Government; but they must remember that the present Government had come into Office on their own Motion, and it would not do for them to do nothing and throw all the blame on their Predecessors. It was an exceedingly small matter for the Government, who had had ample time to consider it, and the excuse that they had not been in power sufficiently long had no weight in it.
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, he would say to the present Government that even although they might not be able to deal with the general question thoroughly at present, it would be very desirable if they could see their way to the settlement of the question of the Catholic University 347 College in Dublin. That College had done a great deal of good work; and although working under considerable difficulties, it had, by sacrifices on the part of the people of Ireland, been able to live on to the present day. Now, what they asked was that an ad interim grant should be given to the University College, and he did not consider that that was an unreasonable demand, seeing that it had done more educational work than two of the other Colleges—namely, the Queen's Colleges of Cork and Gal-way. It had done more work of an educational character than two of the Colleges that they were asked that night to vote money to support. He confessed he could not see on what ground the Government could ask them to continue the Vote for the Queen's Colleges when they would do nothing to assist the only Catholic College in Ireland. With regard to the ultimate solution of this question, he was very much in favour of its being based upon the suggestion of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor). It was far better, in his opinion, that University education in Ireland should be spread as far as possible over the whole country, because if the Colleges were concentrated in two or three of the large towns, the poorer classes, who could not afford to send their sons to distant places of education, would be practically excluded from the benefits they might otherwise receive. In the country where University education had been most satisfactory, he alluded to Germany, the system pursued had been to spread over the entire country a great number of small local Colleges; and even in Russia the same plan was being adopted, so that University education was open to the very poorest class of the community. Russia was a country which was generally considered to be tremendously backward in its system of education; and yet, even there, the opportunity was afforded to all classes of the people, to those of very small means as well as to the rich, to obtain a Collegiate education. What was now asked was that something like the same advantages should be given to the people of Ireland. They required that Collegiate education should be widened as much as possible in that country, so that those who might desire the advantages of a higher education should not be debarred from obtaining it by the cost of sending 348 their sons to places far away from the localities in which they resided. By concentrating the Colleges in a few of the larger towns they would thereby shut out the poorer classes living in the poorer districts, all of whom ought to be able to share in the educational endowments of the country. As a Western man—as a Connaught man—he felt very strongly on this point. There seemed to be an idea in certain quarters that the Collegiate institutions should be concentrated in Ulster, Leinster, and Munster. To that suggestion he, for one, was very strongly opposed, and he warned the Committee that any proposition of that kind would meet with strong opposition from the Connaught Members in that House. They desired that whatever scheme of Collegiate University education might be adopted hereafter they, in Connaught, should have the advantage of a local educational institution by the maintenance of the Galway College, not under present conditions, because under them it was quite useless, but under such conditions as would enable the Catholic people of Connaught to go to the College and profit by it, They wanted that College to be maintained, so that the people of that Province, who were the poorest people in Ireland, might be enabled to avail themselves of the advantages of the University education of the country.
said, the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) had possessed considerable influence with the late Government; but it did not appear that that influence had rendered any service to the Irish people as far as the question of University education was concerned. At the same time, he must confess that he (Mr. O'Brien) was somewhat disappointed at finding that the Members of the present Administration were not able to see their way to offering some concession to the universal chorus of Irish opinion as expressed from those Benches in reference to the somewhat vague, although he believed he might say enlightened and large-minded, observations which had been made that evening by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman had, he thought, plainly confessed that the Queen's Colleges, with the exception of the Belfast College, however good or bad their condition might have originally 349 been, had failed in achieving the purpose for which they were designed, just as the Disestablished Church had failed, and just as every other institution of a distasteful character that the English Government might attempt to acclimatize among the Irish people was bound to fail. It was universally admitted that those Colleges had not done the work they were intended to do; while, on the other hand, it was also generally admitted that the Catholic University College of Dublin had produced what the right hon. Gentleman had rightly called "surprising results." No attempt had been made to defend the Vote the Committee was now asked to pass for these Queen's Colleges; and not the slightest attempt had been made to show that they had accomplished successful work in return for the money that had been granted by Parliament. It seemed to him that if they were asked to vote money under such an unsatisfactory state of affairs for further expenditure on the Queen's Colleges, the least they could expect from the Government was that it should extend a helping hand to an institution which had done far better work, and which to his mind had produced the only good effect which the Royal University had as yet achieved, in having shown that, at all events, the ability lay on the Catholic side, while the endowments were, unfortunately, always on the other. It was utterly impossible to defend a state of things which gave vast endowments for purposes of purely secular education, of which at least four-fifths of the Irish people were unable to avail themselves without wounding their religious feelings and self-respect. The statement made by the right hon. Gentleman, although in one respect encouraging, left the matter in an exceedingly unsatisfactory condition; and he trusted that even yet, before the debate was brought to a close, some Member of the Government would make a satisfactory reply to the observations of his hon. Friend the Member for Carlow (Mr. Gray) with reference to the scheme of University reform which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had foreshadowed that evening. It was utterly impossible that the Catholics of Ireland should accept as a satisfactory arrangement any proposal based on the same principle as the Intermediate Edu- 350 cation Act, or any scheme which merely promised to offer further educational prizes. Equality, absolute equality, in matters of higher education the Catholics of Ireland were determined to have; and he trusted that either now, or, at any rate, in the next Session of Parliament, if the present Government should continue to hold Office, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would make up his mind to give up, boldly and once for all, this experiment of the Queen's Colleges, and to offer the Irish people a really National University, with endowments proportioned to the different creeds of the country, so that all parties could share in the education it would afford.
§ MR. DEASY
said, he had to complain that the standard of education in the Queen's College, Cork, was exceedingly low, and that the College produced very few graduates besides medical men. At the same time, however, the College had, in one sense, been a comparative success; and the people of that part of Ireland would sacrifice a great deal before giving up that establishment. Still, he urged it was absolutely necessary that the entire management of that institution should be changed, so that other advantages beyond the practice of medicine might be offered to the graduates. The inferiority of the standard of education in that College had been demonstrated over and over again. He remembered a debate which took place on this question of University education last Session, and on that occasion statistics were adduced by hon. Members on those Benches which tended to show that the standard of education given in the Queen's College, Cork, was much lower than that of almost any similar institution in Ireland. Any young man, not having the slightest knowledge of Latin, Greek, or French, might, in the course of five or six weeks, cram up to pass an examination in that College, and so scramble through, and obtain a degree very often in Edinburgh that would enable him afterwards to practise as a doctor of medicine on the credulity of the people. The people of the Cork district had not the slightest confidence in the existing management of Queen's College, Cork. The Catholics who went there made use of the College because there was no other for them to go to. The Corporation of Cork 351 last year passed a resolution to the effect that the management of the College ought to be changed altogether, and that it should be placed in entirely different hands, so that it might be devoted to the education of the Catholic population. It might be said that that would be an injustice to the Protestants of Munster; but that was not the fact, because the Protestants residing in that part of the country were, for the most part, in a position that would enable them to send their sons to the University at Dublin, whereas the Catholic population were for the most part extremely poor. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer imagined that the people of Ireland would be satisfied with the maintenance of the Queen's Colleges in their present state, and would not demand that they should be placed at the disposal of the Catholic population in a manner very different to that in which the funds were at present expended, he was making a great and grievous mistake. The people of the South of Ireland, who ought to be able to avail themselves of the College at Cork, were mainly Catholics; and if they had any other place to send their sons to, they would not send them to the Queen's College, where the education given was merely of a secular character. He trusted that in any scheme Her Majesty's Government might bring forward for the purpose of re-adjusting this question of Irish University education they would have regard to the fact that the Cork Queen's College was in every way admirably equipped for carrying out the work it ought to do, as far as buildings and general appliances were concerned, and that it would be a great mistake to abolish it as an educational establishment, while it would be an equal mistake to continue its present management. In order to satisfy the desires of the Irish people on this point, there ought to be at least two or three Colleges entirely under Catholic control. The Queen's College, Belfast, they would gladly hand over entirely to the Protestants; but they certainly did demand, and would continue to demand until the question was settled to their satisfaction, that they should have fair play in this matter. Pair play was all they asked, and he very much regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of 352 the Exchequer had not given a more satisfactory response to the representations of the Irish Members. He was glad, however, that they had now an undertaking on the part of the Government that the question should receive their best attention during the autumn; and he hoped the Government would be in a position, if they should retain Office during the next Parliament, to offer better terms than were now accorded to the Irish people. He was sorry the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon), who had taken the part of the late Government, had not used any of his influence with that Government for the purpose of procuring a proper adjustment of this question. It would have been a matter of the very slightest possible difficulty for the late Government, with its majority of 120 or 130, to have settled the question in any way they might have desired. They knew very well what were the wishes and aspirations of the Irish people; they knew what it was that the Irish Hierarchy demanded; and they might have brought in and passed a measure that would have satisfactorily met those requirements, if they had been so disposed. It was possible that this question would be made one of the war cries of the Liberal Party at the approaching General Election, and the constituencies might be asked to give them their support on the pledge that the question of University education in Ireland would be settled by them in accordance with the wishes and desires of the Irish people. If any such cry should be raised by the Liberal Party, he, for one, should decline to believe them. He should very much prefer to trust even to the partial promise the Chancellor of the Exchequer "had given that evening, than to place confidence in the most explicit statements that could be made by any of the Gentlemen occupying seats on the Front Opposition Bench. And with regard to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Kildare, he (Mr. Deasy) was convinced that, in spite of the anxiety of the hon. and learned Gentleman to obtain a settlement of this question, he would be unable to make his views prevail should the late Government again assume Office, unless the Irish Members were returned with sufficient strength to insure acquiescence in their demands. Before 353 concluding his remarks, he must express a hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his Colleagues would duly consider the position of the Cork Queen's College before the whole question should be decided. He ought to bear in mind that the people of Cork were willing to make almost any sacrifice for the purpose of maintaining the College, as they regarded it as of the utmost importance that some College should exist in that locality. There was a large population in the district who were anxious to avail themselves of such an institution; and, therefore, it would be nothing short of a national disaster if the College were removed. At the same time, they were very desirous of seeing the management of the College changed in the direction he had indicated.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he had a strong feeling in common with the hon. Members for Ireland, whose neighbour he had been for the last five years. The feeling he had entertained in favour of meeting the legitimate demands of the Irish people had never been lessened. In the great struggle that had inaugurated what was now the old question of commercial policy, he had had for his allies the Irish Members; and they were in the right, for Ireland had undoubtedly suffered severely under that system. And on a recent occasion he was proud to see the Irish Members assisting in vindicating that House against the invasion of Atheism. This had warmed him to Ireland more, perhaps, than any other circumstance in regard to which he had been in alliance with the Irish Members. He must tell those Members, however, that his long experience in that House had warned him that there was an influence dominant in Ireland that would prevent the Irish people from being satisfied with any educational or religious establishment that could be possibly brought into existence or be reorganized by the present Government, unless the preponderating power of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and of the religious Orders of the Church of Borne were made absolute over such a system. This was a great misfortune to the United Kingdom, and a source of deep suffering to Ireland, and he was sorry to see that the disposition to submit to an alien Power was not relinquished by hon. Members opposite, but that, on the 354 contrary, they took every opportunity of manifesting it. Would hon. Members opposite acknowledge the justice of that observation? [Cries of "No!"] He had studied the subject deeply. He believed they would admit he had. He remembered the contest about Maynooth. The House had already yielded on that subject to the demands of the Roman Catholic Party in Ireland. Had that yielding produced anything like a permanent satisfaction? The conduct of his late neighbours on the Opposition Benches proved the contrary that evening. Did they think that the Protestant Members of that House would for ever attempt to satisfy an insatiate demand? He put it to hon. Members opposite, as one who was by no means adverse to them or to their country, that, having been united with them upon one or two great questions, and having thus learnt the value of co-operation, they should endeavour to think for themselves, and free themselves from the domination of that influence which was bent on giving them a separate existence from the rest of the United Kingdom, and so would not allow them to acknowledge the justice of any concession the present Government might be rational enough to make. He had spoken this much with no feeling of ill-will. On the contrary, he fully acknowledged the bonds of union that had existed between him and hon. Members opposite; but he did pray them to break from the Ultramontane dictation of the Church of Rome, for, unless they did, there would be a constant tendency towards feelings of positive hostility against the maintenance of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. KENNY
said, they must accept the promises made by the Government in the belief that they had every desire to fulfil their good intentions with regard to University education in Ireland. Although they did not see their way to accede to the request made from those Benches with regard to the Catholic University College of Dublin, such a step, if they could only agree to take it, had been rendered additionally easy by the fact that the education scheme for the Queen's Colleges had shown a substantial decrease this year—that decrease amounting to nearly £2,000. If the amount of that decrease were to be given for the purpose of assisting in maintaining the Catholic University 355 College in Dublin, it would, he felt certain, be cheerfully accepted by the Irish Members, and would go a long way towards remedying the extreme inconvenience and difficulty experienced by those who were endeavouring to carry on the work of that Institution. He greatly regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not seen his way to making a grant, even to the extent of £1,700 or £2,000, in the direction demanded. Had he done that, it would have gone far to allay any feeling of irritation that might have existed among the Irish Members on this subject. When the Government dealt with the question next year, he trusted they would do he on the broadest possible basis, and he, for one, should be strongly opposed to any proposal in the direction of removing the existing Queen's Colleges. What was wanted with regard to those Colleges was not that they should be destroyed, but that they might be reformed and turned into really useful institutions, which would be the result, if they were reformed in the direction required by the Irish Members. In that event, he felt certain they would be taken advantage of by the Irish people, notwithstanding the fact that they had hitherto been regarded by popular opinion in Ireland with great aversion, although there could be no doubt that they had effected a considerable amount of good, and had certainly been the means of educating a large number of persons who had subsequently succeeded to positions of great eminence. There were many men who graduated in the Queen's Colleges in Ireland who were at the present time enjoying distinguished positions in England. Many of them had risen to high eminence in England, and many elsewhere. There was nothing in the system itself—in the mere professional teaching belonging to the system—which, so far as he could see, was bad. These Colleges simply required reformation, in the direction in which the people were anxious to obtain it, for the protection of youth, and in certain other respects in which, at present, there was considerable danger. He was certain that, with a little care, these institutions could be made extremely useful and valuable. He was in favour of establishing in Ireland, in support of a great central College, as many University Colleges 356 as possible, where the youth of each county might be sent to study, and thus be properly equipped at the expense of the Government. The expense of the education received ought to be a minimum in a poor country like Ireland. It should be the duty of the Government to undertake the education of the youth of the country; and, to a certain extent, this should be done at the expense of the State, thus reducing the expense of the education to the people as largely as possible, until it reached a minimum, as in Germany, and, to a great extent, in Scotland. In that way, a great deal might be done for the intellectual and moral and social advancement of the people of Ireland, and if it were once recognized that it was to the interest of the State that the youth of the country should be properly educated, the greatest possible advantage would, in the future, flow from the fact.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, he wished to point out to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) that he had fallen into a mistake as to the position take up by the Catholic Bishops and priests in Ireland. He (Colonel Nolan) had understood the hon. Gentleman to say that the Catholic Bishops and clergy wanted to be supreme in the Colleges, and the hon. Gentleman went on to warn the Committee against allowing any such supremacy to be established. But, as a matter of fact, they did not wish to be supreme. So far as he (Colonel Nolan) knew their views, and he thought he knew them pretty well, he had always heard them say that, so far from wishing to be supreme, they were most anxious to have a State inspection as to the results obtained—that they would like the State Examiners to see that the pupils were good in mathematics, in medicine, in arts, and in any other subjects that were taught. That he believed to be the opinion of a great majority of the Bishops—he could not, of course, say that it was held by every one of them—and they did not require any supremacy at all. They only wanted to be supreme in one subject—that of religious instruction. Of course, they would like to have their own way on subjects bearing upon religion, and he thought that was a very mild request on their part. Of course, there were certain subjects closely connected with religion where a certain 357 amount of influence should be left to them; and as a general rule, other things being equal, it was no doubt desirable that the students should be taught by people of their own faith. He did not, however, say that there might not be exceptions to this—such subjects, for instance, as mathematics, and certain others—but, as a general rule, teachers of the same faith would be preferred. But they did not object to examiners of any religion examining and testing the students, so that the State which paid the money might see that it got full value for it. The Bishops and clergy, however, did not wish for any supremacy. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire, although he began with pretty compliments, soon lapsed into his older manner of speech; and he (Colonel Nolan) would like to ask that hon. Gentleman to look at the observations which had been made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for be did not think the hon. Gentleman was present when the Chancellor of the Exchequer addressed the Committee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer reminded the Committee that it seemed absurd now, when religions of all kinds had to contend with infidelity, for one religion to attempt to narrow irreligion by combating with some other religion. Of course, the hon. Member for North "Warwickshire was always perfectly sure that he was right in everything—in fact, nobody could be orthodox in the eyes of the hon. Gentleman unless he accepted that hon. Gentleman's particular doxy. The hon. Gentleman was so certain, that he could not imagine the possibility of anybody believing in any other religion having any claim on his consideration. The hon. Gentleman would like the Catholics to join him, but would not allow them any equality in their own religion. But he (Colonel Nolan) was not much afraid of the point which the hon. Gentleman raised. He was not much afraid of an intolerant Protestant spirit in England. He saw very little of it; and he was far more afraid of the advocates of mixed education, who wanted no religion at all. These were the people he was afraid of—they objected to all the Queen's Colleges. He was sorry that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not risen again to explain his views a little more definitely, for several Members would like a little more definition 358 of views which, though very good so far as they went, would be better if they were more clearly defined. No doubt, one reason why the right hon. Gentleman had not spoken again was the lamentable state of the Front Opposition Bench. There had been no one there during the progress of this important debate. If there had been anyone there to speak and assist the Chancellor of the Exchequer in defining his views, no doubt the right hon. Gentleman might have got up again and placed thorn before the Committee in a more favourable aspect. As the matter stood, he quite understood the difficulty that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have in speaking again when the usual occupants of the Front Opposition Bench were all absent. Of course, the general outline of the right hon. Gentleman's views was pretty good. The right hon. Gentleman said he was certain that there was not too much money spent on Ireland, and that his idea for the future was that there should be payment by results. He (Colonel Nolan) thought that if the Government would wholly go in for payment by results the system would not be so bad; but he did not see how that could be done. He would not like to see either Trinity College or Belfast College destroyed, for they were doing very good work. The Catholics did not wish to upset the religion of people who differed from them. But if there was payment by results, and Trinity College and Belfast College competed, the share of the Catholics would only be one-half or one-third of what they ought to get. The total sum to be divided was diminished, and the Catholics were handicapped by the fact that the Protestants had this Collegiate training given to them to compete with the Catholics in the open market. Under these circumstances, and remembering what was the general practice and custom all over the world, and that it was the wish of the Irish people that there should be some Collegiate training, he did not think that a bare system of payment by results would do in Ireland. The Catholics ought to have a couple or three Colleges—one in Dublin, one in Galway, and one in Cork. If those Colleges were given to them, he did not at all say that only Catholic students should go through thorn. They should be protected by a Conscience Clause like 359 that of Trinity College, so that anybody could go through them, and use them just as much as Trinity College was used. This scheme was perfectly feasible—there was no difficulty about it at all. He had heard Catholic clergymen say that the religion of a Catholic was much safer in Trinity College than in the Queen's Colleges; and in the same way, Protestants would be in a better position for keeping their own faith if they were in a Catholic College protected by a strong Conscience Clause than in a College where totally different arrangements prevailed, as in Cork and Galway. This would be the true solution of the question. It was not a new one, for even in the Catholic College now in Dublin, formerly called the Dublin University, Protestants occasionally went in, thinking that they had a better chance of carrying off particular prizes. The Protestants in Galway would not be in a much worse position than now, if at all, and the immense bulk of the population of Galway and Cork would get fair play, which they did not get at present. He hoped that before the present Session of Parliament was brought to a close, or, at all events, immediately afterwards, they would have the views of the Government laid fully before the country in a somewhat more definite form. It was only fair, before the great appeal was made to the country, that they should hear a little more from a Conservative Government on this very important question. What they had heard so far was by no means unsatisfactory—it was, on the whole, good, and not wanting in courage on the part of the Government; but he thought they really ought to hear whether they were to have in Ireland a system of education which was to suit the fancies of England, or a system which was to suit Ireland herself. Of course, he agreed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that all difficulties as to the granting of degrees had been removed by the action taken in 1879. The whole question of education, from its primary up to its University branches, was rapidly becoming in England, Ireland, and Scotland a question of the distribution of money. The Catholics complained that all their endowments put together only amounted to about £6,000, while those of the Protestants, or the mixed endowments, amounted to £104,000; and the Catholics thought 360 that the proportion should be something like half-and-half, or that they themselves ought to get about three-fourths. If they got half-and-half, however, they would be content. But he hoped that the announcement which had been made by the Government would be followed up by something more definite within a reasonable time, because the matter should not be allowed to rest where it was.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he would not trespass upon the Committee with any comments as to the difference between Ultramontanism and what was called Gallicanism, or as to the differences which existed in the Church of Rome itself; but what he feared was that when the proposal of the scheme of the hen. and gallant Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan) and others was made before the House, it would be found to be deeply tinctured with Ultramontanism, which meant the dominion of the Papal Court.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 87; Noes 29: Majority 58.—(Div. List, No. 254.)
§ (2.) £108, 441, to complete the Bum for Prisons, Ireland.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said, he thought the Committee ought to have some few words of explanation with regard to some of the questions involved in the Vote. It would be obvious to any Member of the Committee who had read the Report presented by the Royal Commissioners a year ago, that some explanation was needed for the items in this Estimate, which were obviously incompatible with some of the main suggestions of the Report. The first point which arose was that as to the concentration of the prisons proposed by the Royal Commissioners. He greatly regretted that no Member of the late Administration connected with Irish affairs was now present. He might say that it was a matter for regret that in the whole course of these Estimates, and especially the Irish Estimates, the Front Opposition Bench had been totally, or almost entirely, deserted, and although they all understood that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen did not feel called upon to give so much attention to these matters when they were out of Office as they did 361 when they they were in Office, still, having framed the Estimates themselves, they ought to be here to defend them. The strictures that it might be his duty to pass upon them would, of course, be cast into the empty air; but he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir William Hart Dyke) might be able, from the records of his Office, to supply some information as to what seemed to be a considerable lapse of duty on the part of the late Chief Secretary for Ireland. On this question of the concentration of prisons, the Commission had two objects in view—one, better maintenance of discipline in the prisons; and the other, the great decrease of expense which might follow some proper scheme of concentration. With regard to these important matters, a Report was presented nearly a year ago; but no steps had been taken in the past year, and no steps would have been taken now, but for the fact that another Royal Commission was about to visit Ireland, and it was understood that the Home Secretary, who had before acted as Chairman of that Commission, would soon be upon the spot, and as it was known that he took great interest in the subject of artizans' dwellings, some steps were taken by the Lord Lieutenant, and an English official was nominated to consider this matter of prison concentration. In the year 1851, the population of Ireland was over 8,000,000. It was now under 5,000,000. In 1851, the prison population was over 10,000; it is now under 4,000, and consequently the decrease in the prison population had been enormous. A few of the prisons had been closed within the last few years; but the fact remained that there were 24 local prison s containing 1,800 prisoners; that there was an average of 46 prisoners in each of 14 prisons guarded by 14 prison officials; and that in some cases the average of officials was rather more than an officer and a-half to each prisoner. It was clear that some change was needed with regard to the administration of prisons. The changes suggested by the Commission were that minor prisons and bride wells should be shut up, and that as many of the larger as were necessary for the purpose should be devoted to the detention of short-service prisoners. He should like to know what steps had been taken, 362 or what steps were in contemplation, for the pm-pose of carrying out these recommendations? They had an Estimate of £158,441 for the maintenance of 64 different establishments in a case in which a Royal Commission had declared that 30 would be sufficient, and 13 of which could be handed over to the Constabulary. He certainly thought, therefore, that it was due to the Public Service that this matter should be gone into. Another subject to which he wished to call attention was the position of the Convict Service in Ireland. The Commission—of which the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Henry Holland) was a distinguished Member—decided in 1878 that the time had come to shut up Spike Island Prison. That recommendation had not been carried out. It was in consequence of the first Report of the other Commission that that prison was shut up. As a purely temporary and provisional proceeding, the whole of the prisoners were moved to Mountjoy Prison, and the consequence was that there were detained in that place 500 prisoners. The Commission had dealt with the question of finding proper accommodation. He himself, by the favour of the Chairman of the Prisons Board, had visited Mountjoy Prison a few weeks ago, and from what he saw, he believed the work the convicts were now employed on was absolutely coming to an end, and that they would have nothing to do after next month, and would have to be employed in some informal manner in the prison yard. That, he thought, was a matter with which the Chief Secretary for Ireland should deal with at once. It might be possible to take away two or three large bodies of the convicts temporarily in order to execute works at other places. The prisons to which they were taken would have to be adapted and fitted to receive a larger number of men than they at present accommodated; but, certainly, if the Executive continued to mass this enormous number of convicts at Mountjoy Prison they would be incurring serious responsibility, because it would be done in the face of the recommendation of everyone connected with the Prison Service in Ireland. Another point was, whether the intermediate prisons should be maintained. The Committee were scarcely conversant with the extraordinary expenditure entailed by their maintenance. 363 The cost of maintaining prisoners at Lusk amounted to no less a sum than £86 per head, and the prison officials of Ireland were strongly of opinion that this expenditure did not come back to the State. Furthermore, he had to complain of the parsimony of the Government in dealing with the recommendations of the Commissioners. It had been recommended that certain repairs and certain necessary sanitary alterations should be carried out—which works would come in this Estimate under Subhead 2. If the Committee would look at this sub-head, they would find that the total expenditure on these works was estimated at £16,000 a-year. He had reason to believe that when Her Majesty's Government were framing these Estimates in March last, before they had made the extravagant leap in the expenditure in almost every branch of the Public Service that the Committee were so well acquainted with, the Estimates had been cut down in a most extraordinary manner. He had reason to believe that £20,000 was asked for where £16,000 was granted, and that the Treasury, without specifying on what heads the expenditure was to be reduced, without stating that any of the demands made were excessive, or that any of the sanitary operations that were proposed were in any way unnecessary, proceeded to cut down the amount. This was a point which, if the Report were true, deserved explanation. Then, again, with regard to the warders in the local prisons, the Commissioners had come to the conclusion that this was a matter which required to be looked into in order to remove a substantial grievance so far as the pay of these officers was concerned. It was pointed out that the warders who did not get quarters had only 2s. 6d. a-week for housing, and that it was impossible for a man to house himself, to say nothing of his family, for that amount. The result was that the warders were obliged to obtain lodgings in places where they had to run the risk of the worst associations, especially in crowded towns. So far as he could make out, no steps had been taken in the direction of giving relief in this matter. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant would be able to throw some light upon it. One further; remark he (Mr. Brodrick) had to make, 364 and that was with reference to the Inspectors. The constitution of the Board, as the Commissioners had found it, was one member at £1,200 a-year, one at £1,100, and one at £1,000. The Committee had recommended that one of these offices should be discontiued, the post being occupied in the future by a medical officer—that was to say, that a medical officer should be placed on the staff, though not upon the Board. It had also been recommended that the number of Inspectors should be reduced from three to two, and that the salaries should be decreased, so as to effect a net saving of £400 a-year to the Treasury. The Treasury, however, when the demand was made on them, declared that they would not allow any sum for the two medical officers who would replace the retiring officials, unless the £1,000—pay of the Inspector—was given up. By the arrangement adopted, therefore, the Treasury effected a saving of £ 600 a-year, instead of the £400 recommended by the Commissioners. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would see that these officials were adequately paid, looking at the responsible nature of the duty they had to discharge, and that he would be able to give him a satisfactory explanation of the points he had raised, so that he might not be obliged to bring before the House a Motion on the subject.
§ MR. HASTINGS
said, he agreed with what had fallen from the hon. Member (Mr. Brodrick) with regard to the necessity of carrying out the recommendations of the Royal Commission as to buildings, and the reduction of the number of those small prisons which could never be rendered effective. But there were evils to be found quite as great as those which arose from structural arrangements—evils which appeared to him to be incidental to the present mode of prison administration in Ireland. One fact alone, pointed out by the Royal Commissioners, spoke volumes as to the present mode of prison administration-he meant with regard to the extraordinary amount of change which was constantly going on amongst the prison officials. The Commissioners pointed out that out of the 558 officials appointed since April, 1878, only 228 remained at present in the Service. Thus an extraordinary number of officials had left the Service in the course of seven years. 365 What must that mean? Why, in the first place, that there was a considerable amount of inefficiency in the staff itself. New officers were constantly being brought in, and many seemed to be very little acquainted with their duties; and he could only say, as Chairman of the Visiting Justices of a prison of a good many years' standing, that he should be very sorry indeed to have to conduct the prison with which he was officially connected under such circumstances. He thought also that the fact to which he had referred showed that there had been considerable mismanagement in the treatment of these officers. They were, he presumed, tolerably well paid; he presumed they were entitled to pensions after a certain number of years' service; but the fact that so many of them passed out of the Service, by voluntary resignation or otherwise, showed that there were grave grounds for discontent. One of these grounds was disclosed by the Royal Commission. It appeared that when what was considered an injustice was inflicted upon the officials, they were denied the right of appeal, and had no means of making known their grievances to the higher authorities. In one case, a Governor had sent in a complaint to the Lord Lieutenant; but the Chairman of the Prison Board had refused to allow the complaint to be lodged, that alone showed that the prison administration was conducted on very different lines in Ireland to those which were followed in England and Scotland. Then, again, there were the grave facts which had been brought to light by the Royal Commission—to whom, he thought, the public were greatly indebted for the statements they had made—as to the treatment of prisoners. The Commissioners had remarked upon the extraordinary number of punishments inflicted in Irish prisons as compared with those inflicted in English and Scotch prisons, and the treatment of prisoners who were on the border land between sanity and insanity. He (Mr. Hastings) was not surprised that it was shown in the Report that a largo number of prisoners passed that border, and, becoming insane, had to be sent to criminal lunatic asylums. He had no doubt many hon. Members would support him—those hon. Members who, like himself, had had experience of prison administration—when he said that cases of semi- 366 insanity constantly came before prison officials—that was to say, cases in which prisoners were in that condition of mind that harsh treatment would probably cause them to become permanently insane; whereas kindness, forbearance, and patience would bring them round into a very reasonable state of mind before they left the prison. He must say that that House, as the guardian of the liberties of the people, ought to feel strongly on such a subject as that which had been brought to light by the Royal Commission—the treatment of prisoners who were not fully responsible for their actions through mental infirmity. But, then, as to ordinary prisoners, there seemed to be considerable doubt as to whether they were treated properly, especially those who were in custody awaiting trial—a class who, unquestionably, had a right to proper consideration until the fact of their guilt had been established. There were many other points of this character which he could go into, but as to which he did not propose to detain the Committee. He hoped the Administration, which contained the right hon. Gentleman who had done such good service as Chairman of the Royal Commission, and to whom the whole country was indebted for the Prisons Act which applied to England, would take care that the recommendations of the Royal Commission which had been alluded to should be examined into, and, wherever possible, carried into effect. He trusted that some change would be made in regard to the Irish local prisons. There should be a reconstitution of the Prisons Board; but, above all, the recommendation of which the Committee had been reminded, and which would involve the placing of a medical officer on the staff, should be carried out. In his opinion, however, this medical gentleman should be not a mere subordinate of the Board, but a member of it, capable of using an independent voice and of exercising due weight with his colleagues. Then there should be an effort made to obtain the same amount of intelligent and independent inspection of prisons as was exercised in England. There were able gentlemen in Ireland—gentleman quite as capable of acting on Visiting Commit tees as any in England; and he thought that greater efforts should be made than had ever yet been made by the Chief 367 Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant to establish Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies in connection with Irish local prisons, as had been done in connection with, local prisons in England. He could assort, from experience, that an enormous amount of good was done in this country in assisting prisoners in this way-good which was not confined to prisoners released from gaol, but which extended to prisoners still under sentence. He had been astonished to read in this Bo-port of the Commission that in a country like Ireland, which was full of benevolent and religious-minded people, there were only two places where societies for the assistance of discharged prisoners were in force—namely, Dublin and Belfast. In England, these societies had been fostered by the Home Office and by grants from this House. As to convict prisons in Ireland, everyone who glanced at the figures would see that their cost of administration was enormous. It was as much as £30 a-head in Irish prisons, on an average, whereas in England it was no more than £38. How was this? Ireland was not a more expensive country to live in than England; salaries were not higher there; food did not cost more. Then why it was that in Ireland the average cost of a convict was £50, whilst in England it was only £38, altogether passed his comprehension. In conclusion, he urged the evils he had alluded to on the attention of the Government. In particular, let them see that those grievances which brought about constant changes amongst the prison officials were remedied, looking at the desirability of having experienced and trustworthy officers in the gaols. These subjects, he felt, were difficult to deal with properly without more time than hon. Members now had at their disposal. However, he earnestly trusted that the Department would allow some satisfactory result to follow from this discussion.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
said, he was sure the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Sir R. Assheton Cross), who had been Chairman of the Prisons Commission, would do all in his power to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Irish Prisons. No one in the House was better acquainted with the abuses which existed in the Irish prisons than the Home Secretery, 368 and he (Mr. Dickson) was sure that when the right hon. Gentleman came to deal with the matter he would press the Lord Lieutenant to carry out the various recommendations made by the Royal Commissioners. One recommendation of the Commissioners which the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Surrey (Mr. Brodrick) had referred to was most important—namely, the consolidation of the Irish prisons. In England there were 64 prisons with a daily average of 18,000 prisoners, whilst in Ireland there were 69 prisons with a daily average of 2,700 prisoners. Surely these figures showed there was ample scope for economy and consolidation; and yet, so far as he knew, the late Government had taken no steps to carry out the recommendations of the Commission. He believed, as he had said, the number of prisons in Ireland was still 69; and they must all know that when 2,700 prisoners were scattered over that number of prisons, there could be no proper supervision or control or discipline exercised, and the result was, as his hon. Friend had pointed out, that the cost of keeping up the prisons—at so much per head per prisoner—was much greater in Ireland than it was in England. The hon. Gentleman had also referred to the reconstitution of the Prisons Board. When it was remembered that it was stated in evidence before the Royal Commission on which he (Mr. Dickson) had sat, that for years the members of the Prisons Board had had no communication with each other, except by writing, and had not met, as they should have done, at the Board to discharge their duties—had not spoken to each other oven, except by letter—and when it was remembered that there was no cordiality between the members, it would be admitted that the Public Service must have suffered enormously. He was strongly of opinion that the late Government should have reconstituted the Board, and formed a new one. He did not wish to deal harshly with the present members; but, certainly, if he had had authority in this matter, he should have superannuated them and have appointed a new Board. There was one other point he wished to call the attention of the Chief Secretary of Ireland to, and that was the question of the architect to the Prisons Board. He saw an item 369 down for the salary of this person; but there was a foot-note in regard to it which he did not understand—nameby,The architect's salary has been estimated only to the 30th September, 1885, inclusive, that being the date on which the additional nine months for which his employment has been sanctioned will expire.He should like to know whether the services of the present prisons' architect would be dispensed with on the 30th September next? The present architect had admitted in evidence that when he was appointed he knew nothing whatever about prison architecture, that he had never been in a prison, and that he knew nothing whatever about the sanitary arrangements of these places. He had said that—Though the only architect appointed to look after the Irish prisons, he had known nothing whatever of their sanitary arrangements.He (Mr. Dickson) was quoting the architect's own words given in evidence. What had been the result of this gentleman's ignorance of prison architecture and sanitary science? Why, that in the prison at Omagh, four deaths took place within three or four years owing to defective sanitation. The attention of the Prisons Board was called to the matter from the year 1876 to 1883, during which period the Governor lost three members of his family by fever. The Governor applied for a change, and was sent to Galway, and another person was sent to take his place. The new Governor arrived with his wife and family; but before he could unpack his furniture, he was attacked with typhoid fever and died. The whole drainage system of the prison was most defective, and had been neglected for years. The Commissioners, in their Report, declared that an architect should be appointed who knew something of prison architecture and sanitary science, and that a larger salary should be paid I in the future. He (Mr. Dickson) should like to know from the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether anything had been done in consequence of that Report? There was one other point that the Home Secretary would be familiar with, and that was in regard to the stores and contracts of the prisons. He (Mr. Dickson) did not think anything could possibly be worse than the whole of the commercial arrangements in connection 370 with the Irish prisons—the system of supplies, of stores, and of contracts. He would undertake to say that any ordinary commercial man, accustomed to buying and selling, who went over to Ireland to supervise the contracts of the Irish prisons would easily save the State £10,000 a-year. In Ireland, for some articles as much as £3 per ton was given more than was paid in England, and evidence to that effect had been given by the English storekeepers. With regard to the punishments which had been practised in the Irish prisons, he believed that if the Royal Commission had done nothing else, all the trouble and expense it had caused was more than requited by the change effected by it in connection with these abuses. The punishments that had existed in Ireland were unknown in England; and he quite agreed with his hon. Friend that the punishments in Irish gaols, in connection with what were known as muffs and dark cells, drove many a poor wretch over the borderland into hopeless insanity. This, no doubt, accounted for the large percentage which they had in their Irish prisons of lunatic prisoners. As he had already said, he was glad that this subject had been brought under the notice of the Home Secretary, who knew better than anyone in the House 'the abuses which existed in the Irish prisons, and he earnestly trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would direct his attention to the matter in the endeavour to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he hoped that the Home Secretary, now that he had come into power, would see that the recommendations of the Commission were carried out. Those recommendations had come from Gentlemen of various shades of opinion. The warders' grievances should be attended to. These persons had difficult and fatiguing duties to perform for slight remuneration, and he hoped to hear from the Government that the reasonable recommendation of the Commission in the matter of the warders' salaries would be speedily carried into effect. What did the right hon. Gentleman think of the case of the warder who had passed as a teacher in Marlborough Street, Dublin? There had been an indisposition to appoint him to a school, owing to his being a Catholic; and, in the end, failing to 371 get an engagement, he had taken a situation as warder in a prison. Whilst acting in that capacity, the Marlborough Street authorities had claimed the £40 they had' spent on his education, and the Prison authorities, allowing the claim, had deducted a weekly amount from his wages, which reduced his income to such a low sum that he was unable to pay for his food and washing, and had been obliged to get into debt. He (Mr. Sexton) hoped something would be done to put a stop to such a state of things as that. Then, he desired to mention the case of a man driven over the border land of insanity by prison treatment—the case of Bartholomew Nolan, who had been in gaol, and who, immediately on obtaining his discharge, murdered his wife. The charge originally made against him was that of making an attack on a dwelling-house, and though he was found guilty, the evidence given on his trial strongly favoured the presumption of his innonence. His incarceration and the prison treatment unseated his reason—a circumstance which, again, favoured the presumption of his innocence, for he would be more likely to become insane suffering the accessories of penal servitude if innocent than he would be if guilty. The account he gave of himself, after murdering his wife, was that the devil came into his breast one night in his cell and prompted him to kill his wife. The state of the man's mind came before the authorities of Mountjoy Prison, and he was removed to another place of detention, and seeing that doubts existed as to his insanity, he (Mr. Sexton) could not help thinking that those who had released him had incurred great responsibility. The first thing the man's daughter said, when she heard of her mother's death, was—"Why did they let my father out of prison to come and murder my poor mother?" It was perfectly apparent that the man ought to have been sent to a lunatic asylum. The demand he (Mr. Sexton) made in this case was that the Government should make a strict inquiry into the treatment that man received in prison, and ascertain whether any manifestations of insanity had been made, and should lay on the Table any records which might have been made by the prison doctor or any other individual as to his state of mind whilst he 372 was in gaol. It was evident that no greater evil could arise than that men showing signs of insanity in prison should be released and thrown upon society in that state. One other case he had to refer to, which was that of a man who was now in gaol. It was one of those cases to which Earl Spencer had refused to give any attention—but if a messenger from Heaven had come to him with a tale of injustice, he would have turned his back upon him. As there was a new Government in power, however, a Government which was not responsible for Earl Spencer's proceedings, he (Mr. Sexton) would like to ask them what would be done in this case. A woman, Maria Egan, wrote to him on behalf of her husband, John Egan, who was confined in Castlebar Prison for an assault committed on a man named John Walsh on 27th December, 1883. The woman declared that her husband was innocent—a natural enough statement for her to make, and one which was not likely to have much weight with the authorities, seeing that it came from the man's wife. But her assertion was not unsupported. She declared that a man named John McManns was ready to come forward and plead guilty to the assault for which her husband had been condemned. On that representation, he (Mr. Sexton) had replied to the woman that it was useless for her to say that her husband was innocent, that no declaration of that kind would have any effect on the authorities, and that a declaration of the other man's guilt should be made before the police, or that the guilty man should be got to make a declaration of his own guilt. The guilty man, therefore, went before a Justice of the Peace for the county of Mayo, and made the following declaration:—
§ "I, John McManns, of Derryned, in the county of Mayo, of the ago of 23 yeans and upwards, make oath and say as follows:—
§ "1. I do solemnly and sincerely declare that the assault for which one John Egan, who is now undergoing imprisonment for the last nine months in Castlebar Gaol, was committed by me on one John Walsh, for the assaulting of whom the said John Egan is so imprisoned.
§ "2. I do solemnly and sincerely declare that I am now ready and willing to abide any prosecution that may be instituted by the Crown against me, by reason of my having committed said assault as aforesaid.
§ "Sworn before me this 23rd day of December, 1884.
§ "JOHN X MCMANS.
§ "JOSEPH McD. DAREY,
§ "Justice of said county."
§ That declaration was transmitted to the Lord Lieutenant at the end of last year. On the 2nd of January, the Lord Lieutenant replied—
§ "Dublin Castle, 2nd January, 1885."
§ "Maria Egan,—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your memorial and enclosure on behalf of John Egan, a prisoner in Castlebar Prison, and to acquaint you that, on a full consideration of all the circumstances of the case, the Lord Lieutenant has decided that the law must take its course.
§ "W. L. B. Kaye."
§ No inquiry was made—no observation in this letter on the sworn testimony of the man McManns. He (Mr. Sexton) had no hesitation in saying that if such a case as this had occurred in England, it would have been looked into. This unfortunate man had now suffered over a year's imprisonment. It was to be hoped that he would be released, even at so late a period as this, otherwise the imprisonment would continue until March. He had no doubt the guilty man would be willing still further to confirm his declaration of guilt.
§ MR. MARUM
said, he hoped something would be done in the way of consolidating the prisons in Ireland. The subject was one in which he had taken some interest, having several times brought it before the House. A prison was wanted for the county of Kilkenny, great inconvenience being experienced at present through having to convey prisoners from place to place. He pointed in particular to one case in which a woman who had made some resistance had been tied to a car with ropes and driven 11 miles, and then taken by train to Waterford. He trusted that the Chief Secretary for Ireland would be able to promise that the matter should receive his attention, and that no time would be lost in dealing with it.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE)
said, he was placed in rather an unfortunate 374 position owing to the multiplicity of subjects to which his attention had been drawn, and with which he had been asked to deal. He certainly felt most strongly that if he did in the future neglect the duties of his Office it would not be for want of critics. He had not only listened to-night to very able and intelligent critics, but he had the Chairman of the Royal Commission on his left, and other hon. Gentlemen before him who had either taken part in its labours, or interested themselves in its investigations, and with the remarks of these hon. Gentlemen he did not at all quarrel. During the short time he had been in Office, it had, of course, been impossible for him to deal adequately with all the matters which had been referred to in the course of this discussion; but he could assure the Committee that, in the future, he should consider it his duty to carry out the recommendations of the Prisons Commission in a broad and fair spirit. He had to thank the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Surrey (Mr. Brodrick) for the manner in which he had brought the subject forward. With regard to the consolidation of prisons in Ireland, the hon. Member had said that the recommendations of the Commission had not been carried out as they ought to have been. There might be difficulties in Ireland in connection with this matter which might not be found to exist in England, and, so far as his experience went, he believed that the work of consolidation had been stayed on account of some opinion which had been given by the Law Officers of the Crown. He could not say why that opinion was given, but there could be no doubt that it was well-founded. It was, however, evident that if they had an extensive prison system and a large number of prisons for the confinement of only a small number of prisoners, the cost of those prisoners must be very large. With regard to the large number of prisoners in the Mountjoy Prison, to which his hon. Friend (Mr. Brodrick) had called attention, he could only say that he was obliged to him for so directing his attention to the matter. Then, as to Lusk Prison, and the large cost per head of the prisoners, so far as his information wont, that large cost was brought about by the cause mentioned—namely, the reduction which had taken place in the number of prisoners, whilst 375 the establishment continued in its normal condition. No doubt, the cost of the prisoners per head was much larger than it ought to be. With regard to the pay of the warders, the matter had been taken into consideration; but pending the settlement of the larger question of the consolidation of prisons, the time was not ripe for making an increase. With regard to the Inspectors, it was proposed by the Commission to increase their pay to a maximum of £700. This proposal the Government could not adopt. It had been decided, in accordance with the recommendations of the Commissioners, to reduce the number of superior officers. It had been found necessary to appoint a medical Inspector, at a salary of £800 a-year. At first sight, the new arrangements appeared somewhat hard on the lay Inspectors; but, as a matter of fact, their responsibilities in some important respects would be considerably reduced. The very large question of prison discipline had been raised by an hon. Member opposite, and he (Sir William Hart Dyke) could not, upon his very short experience of Office, pretend to go into it. He would admit, however, that the question was well worthy of consideration. As to the general inspection of prisons, points had been strongly urged by the Commissioners, and he could only promise hon. Gentlemen that he would endeavour to see that that part of the Report of the Commission was carried out. Then, the general prison expenditure had also been alluded to. There had been a large increase in the Vote he was aware—a very large increase, amounting to £6,411. He might remind the Committee that a large portion of it came under Sub-head "G," Victualling Department, two pints of milk having been added to the dietary, Class II. Under Sub-head "N" there had been a considerable increase for the escort and conveyance of prisoners under the Prisons Amendment Act of 1884. The Downpatrick Prison had been converted into a convict prison, and the cost had been £400, with £1,155 for increased staff. Expenditure had also been incurred in converting the Mary borough Prison into an invalid prison for convicts. He was afraid he had not gone into all the various questions raised; but he could only promise that all these matters would receive his earnest attention, and that he did not feel in the 376 slightest degree disposed to shirk any of them.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said, he had to thank the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir William Hart Dyke) for the answer he had given to the various questions which had been addressed to him, and to express his confidence that the right hon. Gentleman would endeavour to deal with the Report of the Commission in the spirit in which it was presented. There was one other point on which he desired to ask his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Henry Holland), and it was, whether it was, or was not, the fact that the Treasury cut off the large sum of £4,000 from the Estimates of the year, without any reference to any particular item? He hoped the hon. Gentleman would be able to assure the Committee that that was not the fact. He also hoped the hon. Gentleman would be able to grant the extra allowances to the Inspectors.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir R. ASSHETON CROSS)
said, he would not have intervened in this debate if his name had not been mentioned, nor did he wish to detain the Committee more than a few moments. He should like, however, to impress on the Committee the very important fact that the Commission was composed of men of all shades of opinion. It was the greatest satisfaction to him, and he believed to all his Colleagues, that they were able to present an absolutely unanimous Report. The Lord Lieutenant was a man of very great experience; but he (Sir E. Assheton Cross) promised His Excellency that every possible assistance he could give him would be entirely at his disposal. He could also promise his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury that he would find no effort on his (Sir R. Assheton Cross's) part wanting to enable him to supply the funds which would be necessary to start this work. There was no doubt that, with regard to all the matters relating to discipline and to the comfort of untried prisoners, a material improvement had already taken place. The question of consolidation, which was really at the root of the whole' matter, was one which must be pressed on the Executive Government in Ireland. He believed that, in the long run, the proposed consolidation would result 377 in a great saving to the Treasury. He was very glad to hear that his right hon. Friend was so anxious to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners, and hoped that before another year had passed some progress would be made in the matter.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he would point out that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had not replied to the questions put to him respecting the increase of the warders' salaries, and also respecting the case of the man Nolan.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE)
said, he included the question regarding the warders' salaries in the matters which he said had not come under his cognizance. With reference to the case of the man Nolan, he promised the hon. Member for Sligo to make every inquiry.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
, in moving to report Progress, said, he did not wish to be obstinate; but he would like to know what Vote the Government intended to take to-night?
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Colonel Nolan.)
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir HENRY HOLLAND)
said, it was intended to take the Bechuanaland Vote.
§ SIR ROBERT FOWLER (LORD MAYOR)
said, he must appeal to the Government not to take the Bechuanaland Vote that night. It was most important that the Vote should be taken at a time when the debate could be fully reported. It was very necessary that his right hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Stanley) should make his statement at a reasonable time, and that it should find its way into the public prints. He understood, too, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) wished to address the Committee on the subject. The speeches of those right hon. Gentlemen on this subject might not excite any great feeling in this country; but they would be read with interest at the Cape. He hoped the Government would not persist in taking the Vote that night.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, he thought that, at that hour (1.20), it was not unreasonable that they should report Progress, especially as there was a very important subject to be brought forward. There were only three Votes in Supply remaining, and they could be very well discussed to-morrow.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Colonel STANLEY)
said, he had hoped that there would be no objection to take this Vote to-night. He had postponed it four or five times, in the endeavour to meet the convenience of various Members of the Committee, and he was rather led to believe that that night there would be no objection to take the Vote, looking to the time of the year and the general state of Supply. The statement he had to make upon the Vote was of a comparatively brief nature, and he did not think it would lead to any prolonged discussion. He was afraid that if they postponed the Vote until to-morrow, they would not have the presence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). The Vote was not for a large amount, being one only intended to cover the existing services for the year. He hoped the Committee would take the Vote now, particularly as another opportunity would be afforded for discussing it.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that if the Government did not propose to take any other Vote but that for Bechuanaland, he should recommend his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Nolan) to withdraw his Motion.
§ SIR FARRER HERSCHELL
said, he would submit to right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench that the Opposition were entitled to a little consideration. Hon. Members sitting below the Gangway got the Votes in whey they were interested fixed just as the pleased. ["Oh!"] He did not co plain of hon. Members getting that; but he did submit to the Government that some consideration should be shown to those who sat in the Opposition part of the House, when they made a request that a Vote should not be taken at a time when they considered it could not be properly discussed. The Bechuanaland Vote did not stand next. The Vote for National Education in Ireland was 379 the next Vote in order; but that had been postponed because hon. Members desired its postponement. The Post Office Vote was not to be taken that night, because hon. Members below the Gangway wished it should not. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had just said that if the Government would not proceed with any Vote but that for Bechuanaland, he should recommend his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Nolan) to withdraw the Motion to report Progress. Surely, under the circumstances, it was not an unreasonable appeal that was now made. It could not be suggested that any Members of the Opposition had done anything to impede the progress of the Estimates. He knew there were Members who felt very strongly that this Vote should not be taken at this time.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Colonel STANLEY)
said, that rather than there should be any wrangling, he would not proceed with the Vote. He had thought it was to the convenience of certain right hon. Gentlemen opposite that the Vote should come on that night.
§ MR. R. H. PAGET
said, he hoped the Vote would be taken that night. If hon. Gentlemen desired to discuss the Vote when the proceedings could be fully reported, they would have an opportunity of doing so on Report of Supply. The hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Nolan) had expressed a desire to withdraw the Motion to report Progress. He (Mr. R. H. Paget) hoped it would be withdrawn.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, the proposition of the hon. and learned Gentleman for Durham (Sir Farrer Herschell) was that the Committee should proceed with the Post Office Vote that night, and postpone the Bechuanaland Vote until tomorrow. The Irish Members were in the House during the whole of last night, and remained in attendance till half-past 3. They were obliged to be present on account of Bills being brought on in which they were interested. Where was the hon. and learned Gentleman? He was not present.
§ SIR FARRER HERSCHELL
I was the last person in the House, and spoke on the last Bill which was taken.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, that last night the Irish Members were in attendance; and, if he remembered aright, the Libe- 380 ral Benches were remarkable for their emptiness. They had been at work the whole of that night, and since 6 o'clock the Liberal Benches had only had one occupant, and he was asleep. He considered that the Irish Members were entitled to as much consideration as right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Benches, and therefore he strongly objected to the taking of the Post Office Vote.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. W. H. SMITH)
said, the Government desired to put an end to this conversation—it was really only wasting the time of the Committee. If right hon. Gentlemen opposite did not wish to take the Vote, the Government had no wish to press it on. His right hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Stanley) only proposed to take the Vote because he was aware that several Members were remaining in the House to discuss it. The Government would consent to report Progress, and put the Vote down for to-morrow.
said, it was necessary that the Motion be withdrawn, in order that he could put the Question that the Resolutions be reported to the House.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.