(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £195,303, 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 31st day of March 1889, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Science and Art Department, and of the Establishments connected therewith.
§ MR. A. H. DYKE ACLAND (Yorkshire, W. R., Rotherham)
asked the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Sir William Hart Dyke) if he had considered the relation of the Science and Art Department to the legislation of the House? Already on two occasions Technical Education Bills had been brought before the House of Commons, both of which had proved to be abortive. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated last year that the Government were determined that the working classes should have technical education in spite of the difficulties which had been thrown in the way. He hoped the Government would adhere to tois. Although he had no wish to discuss the question of technical education generally, he desired to refer to that part of it—the Science and Art Department—which might be said to be connected with it. It was perfectly certain that more demands would be made on the Department in the future, and many difficulties yet remained to be solved. He wished to point out that the present administration of the Department was already broken up into two parts, and the relations between Whitehall and South Kensington must sooner or later be seriously considered, and to some extent altered. Already South Kensington was doing a great deal of work in direct connection with the elementary schools. Out of the large grant of £90,000 for science and art classes, an increasing part of it was going to the higher elementary schools—schools like that at Birmingham, which was already 1397 drawing considerable sums from the Department, and whose demands were expected to go on increasing. Besides the grant to classes there was the large grant of £37,000 for the drawing classes, and of £5,000 for training colleges. It was perfectly certain that since the publication of the Reports of the Commission there would be more demands for science teaching in connection with the elementary schools. In the course of a few years they hoped to see evening schools and continuation schools growing up in the country, and most assuredly there would be a demand from them for grants for science and scientific teaching. Had the Vice President of the Council considered the question of the inspection and examination of this kind of teaching? Was it to he done by the Whitehall Inspectors? A considerable amount of difficulty might be created in this matter, because it would be most undesirable to establish a system of double inspection and examination. So strongly did the Royal Commission feel upon the subject, that in their final Report on the Elementary Education Acts they had published several of the questions set by the Inspectors in relation to the instruction given in special subjects. At page 151 of the Report, the questions set on paper in the Fifth Standard to boys, ranging, as a rule, between 11 and 12, were given—1. Impenetrability and elasticity do not apply to atoms. Explain this and give illustrations. 2. A nail driven into a piece of weed is not a case of impenetrability. Explain this. 3. Compressibility is due to the approach of the molecules. It is a proof of porosity. Explain the words in italics. 4. There are two kinds of forces to be found. Explain this and give examples;and so on. The Royal Commission called attention to these questions, in order to show that seine of the Whitehall Inspectors were scarcely qualified to conduct such examinations. He wished to know what Her Majesty's Government intended to do? Was there to be an amalgamation of the two Departments into one at Whitehall or, on the other hand, were there to be two sets of Inspectors engaged in examining the same kind of work undertaken in the same sets of schools? He wished now to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that more and more were they coming to the time when the State would be compelled to do something in respect 1398 of secondary education. The middle classes who were paying heavily, in the shape of rates, for elementary education, would soon demand from the Government the better recognition of the secondary schools, and further assistance for them. It must also be borne in mind that, in many parts of the country, secondary schools did not exist at all, and it was quite evident that there again the Science and Art Department would have a very important part to play. So far as the elementary schools were concerned they were open to all classes, and in some of the large industrial towns he was glad to see that the middle classes were sending their children to mix with the children of the poor. Both would benefit from this. But this was no the case with science teaching. Hitherto the children of the rich were practically shut out from some of the greatest advantages of efficient teaching, the instruction being given mainly to the industrial classes. In the two Technical Education Bills which had been brought before the House, the Science and Art Department had been indicated as the authority which was to take charge of the matter and to provide the subjects. That seemed to him to be a very important question. When once the Science and Art Department began to provide subjects, great pressure would be put on them to make grants. If the thin end of the wedge was got in in this way, it was impossible to say how far it might go. They wanted specially in regard to this Department to decentralize as much as they could; but there was one thing they wanted also to do, and he was glad the Department was encouraging it, and that was to draw nearer all the existing agencies of scientific teaching in the different parts of the country, and make it more in accord with the University Extension Movement that was going on. One of the Inspectors reported, the other day, that in the teaching of geography in his district, by far the best instruction was given on notes made by a teacher who had been attending one of the University Extension Courses. So far as the teachers were concerned, a great deal more was necessary, and to his mind the question of the teachers was the most important point of all. He condemned mere grant earners, and was of opinion that that class of teachers did great harm to the cause of scientific teaching 1399 He was inclined to say that if they were to withdraw any grant, part of the grant for payment by results should be the first to go, while for really effective scientific teaching it ought to be increased. He thought they were all coming to the conclusion that there was a considerable amount of evil in the existing method of making the grants. They were paying the teachers upon purely commercial lines. He wanted to get rid of that system where possible, and to get teachers with a higher ideal of teaching. Professor Huxley, in his Report of last year on the Science and Art Department, said—During the past few years there has undoubtedly been an improvement, but this is manifest chiefly in the avoidance of gross errors. There has not been a corresponding progress in the manner of teaching, or in the amount taught. The teachers teach much in the same way that they did, and teach about the same things, only they avoid the conspicuous blunders to which the Examiners have called attention in their successive Reports. This is the reason why the numbers in the first class remain low, though the actual rejections are diminished. We must once more repeat the statement of former Reports, that some knowledge of chemistry and physics is an indispensable preliminary to the study of physiology; and that teachers simply waste their own time, and that of the Department, in attempting to teach physiology to pupils who do not understand the difference between carbon and carbonic acid.Professor Huxley was of opinion that one thing we wanted for technical and commercial education was science teachers. In an address delivered at Manchester in November, 1887, Professor Huxley made these remarks—I venture to say that there are no persons more cognizant of the defects in the work of the Science and Art Department than those who administer it. But those who talk in this way should acquaint themselves with the fact that proper practical instruction is a matter of no small difficulty in the present scarcity of properly-taught teachers, that it is very costly, and that in some branches of science there are other difficulties, which I will not allude to. But it is a matter of fact that, wherever it has been possible, practical teaching has been introduced, and has been made an essential element in examination; and no doubt, if the House of Commons would grant unlimited means, and if proper teachers were to hand as thick as blackberries, there would not be much difficulty in organizing a complete system of practical instruction and examination, ancillary to the present science classes. Is it possible, under the conditions, to enlarge the work of practical teaching and practical examination, which is the one desire of those who administer the Department? … For this purpose, for the obtaining of teachers of science and of technical classes, the 1400 system of catching a boy young, making a pupil teacher of him, compelling the poor little mortal to pour his little bucket into a still smaller bucket, that which has just been poured into it, and passing him afterwards through the training college, where his life is devoted to filling the bucket from the pump from morning till night, without time for thought or reflection, is a system which should not continue. I repeat, that kind of thing will not do for science teachers, for science teachers must have knowledge, and knowledge is not to be acquired on these terms. … So far as science teaching and technical education are concerned, the most important of all things is to provide the machinery for training proper teachers. The Department of Science and Art has been at that work for years and years, and though unable, under present conditions, to do so much as could he wished, it has, I believe, already begun to leaven the lump to a very considerable extent. It has often occurred to me that probably nothing would be of more service in this matter than the creation of a number of not very large bursaries or exhibitions, to be gained by persons nominated by the authorities of the various science colleges and schools, more to supply good teachers than anything else.For his own part, he could not help fancying that £5,000 might have been better spent in teaching a smaller number of teachers, and teaching them more effectively. He very much doubted whether any real progress in scientific training was being made in the training colleges at the present time. Whatever else happened, he hoped the Vice President would do all he could to provide efficient training for the teachers. He was firmly convinced that that was necessary, and he would only add that, in order to do it thoroughly, they ought to bring Departments like this more in connection with the wants of the country. Before he sat down he would like to read one or two words from the Special Report of the late Mr. Matthew Arnold on "Certain points connected with Elementary Education in Germany, Switzerland, and France." Mr. Arnold said—The instruction is better in the foreign popular schools than in ours, because the teachers are better trained. This is the main reason of the superiority, that the teachers are better trained. But that they are better trained comes from a cause which acts for good upon the whole of education abroad, that the instruction as a whole is better organized than with us. Indeed, with us it is not and cannot be organized as a whole at all, for the public administration which deals with the popular schools stops at those schools, and takes into its view no others. But there is an article in the constitution of Canton Zurich which well expresses the idea which prevails everywhere abroad of the organization of instruction from top to bottom as one whole; the higher estab- 1401 lishments for teaching shall be brought into organic connection with the popular school.He was quite convinced that until we had a Minister of Education, we could not get that organization of education, which was needed quite as much in the interests of the poorer classes as it was in the interests of the richer classes. It was in that sense that he hoped the right hon. Gentleman was approaching the subject. He was glad that during the last 25 or 30 years much of the work of the Science and Art Department had accomplished splendid things for the industrial classes. The Department had given them opportunities for acquiring scientific knowledge, of which they would otherwise have remained in absolute ignorance. Great changes had taken place since the Department was started. Elementary education had made a rapid advance, even into the region of secondary education, but he thought that great changes were still needed in organization, so that they might be able to make the best of their materials.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said, he had put down a Notice on the Paper of his intention to move the reduction of this Vote, but in doing so, it must not be supposed that he in any way wished to reduce the amount given by the State for the purpose of promoting science and art instruction and technical education. Indeed, he thought it would be a great advantage if still larger sums of money were voted for that purpose. In going back to the beginning of the history of the Department, it was somewhat strange to find that a Department of Art was commenced even before the idea of a public Department in connection with elementary education was contemplated. In 1836 a Committee of this House which inquired into the subject reported that instruction in Art or Design, as it was then called, should form the basis of a system of popular education, and thus a School of Design was the beginning of the system of granting aid to some sort of technical instruction in our schools. Therefore, for upwards of 50 years this work had been going on. In 1847 another Committee sat and reported that the education given in our schools was not of a sufficiently practical character, and urged that a greater amount of instruction in art should be given. In 1853 the Department of Science was added to 1402 the Department of Art, and then began a system of annual grants, increasing largely from year to year, in order to enable the working classes of this country to acquire education in all the true bases of science, art, and manufactures. When they looked at 50 years of effort in connection with art, and 25 years in connection with science, during which time the House had granted millions of money for this purpose, it was only reasonable that they should ask themselves what the result of that expenditure had been. He, for one, believed that it was absolutely essential to our welfare that these subjects of instruction should underlie the basis of our educational system. But when they studied the new Report just issued, it was strange to find that art teaching and drawing, which all the witnesses examined before the Commission and the Commission itself stated to be the basis of our educational system, were at the present time in England not only deficient, but almost wanting. In foreign countries it was the fault of the workman himself if he did not get art training, but in England the reverse was the case. Our system of instruction was altogether insufficient in these bases of instruction. The remarks concerning scientific teaching were still more unsatisfactory. It was said by many witnesses, and adopted by the Committee in their Report, that our elementary scientific teaching was quite in its infancy. The hon. Member opposite (Sir Henry Roscoe), who, he was glad to notice was in his place, had said that elementary teaching in schools was going backwards rather than forwards, and if this were so, there must be some reason for it. Not only was this House liberal in its grants, but it would be more liberal if it were certain that it was getting more value for its money in an extension of science and art education amongst the population. In the Science and Art Directory, the Science and Art Department said they were the Department for spending and applying grants of money given by Parliament for the promotion of science and art; and they added that they were promoting that class of education amongst the industrial classes of the community. As an indication that our forefathers really knew more about these mattres than we sometimes thought, it should be remembered that when this 1403 Department of Science and Art was established it was placed under the Board of Trade. He did not say that that was a wise system, but it showed that technical education was then considered to have a strong bearing on the trade of the country, and he was sure that the Committee would agree that that view was correct, and that our supremacy in manufactures and commerce could only be maintained by an efficient and thorough system of artistic and technical education. He must refer to a large number of figures in the remarks he was going to make, for what he wanted to impress upon the Committee was that the money granted went in an enormously too great proportion to the staff, rather than to the actual encouragement of science and art instruction. The Vote for last year—and it was a little more this year—was £386,493 for this particular branch, leaving out Ireland and Scotland, for, after all, the museums in Edinburgh and Dublin had staffs of their own, and did not want more than a small amount of supervision from London. One third of this amount, or about £130,000, was spent on the staff of this Department. Now he asked the Committee whether it was reasonable that about 6s. 8d. in the pound should go to the staff. He should be sorry to say a word against the staff, because he believed it was most efficient, but he contended that there must be something wrong when such an enormous proportion of the cost was paid to the staff of the Department. What were the numbers of the staff and their cost? In the first place in what was called the staff department there were 46 persons costing £11,000 a-year. That was a fairly large staff, no doubt, but not an unreasonable one. It was probably a more liberal staff than they would see in a large office not connected with Government, but, still, with regard to this he would say nothing. Then the second item came under the head of direction, inspection, and examination. The staff for this consisted of 404 persons, costing £33,650 a-year with travelling expenses. It was true that not all of these gave their full time, but considering that there were 404 persons employed costing over £33,000, the Committee would see that a very large proportion must give their full time. This was not all; there was the Normal school of 1404 Science, in which 38 more were employed, with salaries amounting to £10,187. Then there was the Normal Art Training School with 17 persons, earning £2,445. Next, there were the Museum Offices with 24 persons, costing £10,248. There were nine technical assistants, costing £1,800; occasional professorial and professional assistants, 20, costing £600; and 8 persons employed in the Stores Department, costing £1,550. So that as a result the general administration employed 566 persons, earning £71,487. He thought it only reasonable and right that, having a seat in the House, he should look into these facts, and especially into those relating to a Department with which he was so well acquainted. He know a good deal about the Department in question, and it was only right that he should use that knowledge to see that the House got the full possible amount of good for the money it granted. It might be considered that 566 officials, costing £71,478 a-year, were necessary, but this was not all—there were the officers of the Department. The rank and file he had not yet referred to. He found that, in addition to the officers he had mentioned, there were 101 copyists, earning £9,880, and 225 attendants, messengers, repairers, labourers, etc., receiving £22,116. There were 91 policemen for South Kensington and Bethnal Green Museums, earning £12,650, and finally there were 183 firemen, artizans, Royal Engineers, and so on, earning £11,800. Thus the rank and file, as he called them, were 600 in number, earning £56,445. The total staff, with the officers and rank and file, was 1,166 officials, costing £128,000 a-year. He had not finished yet, however, because there were a certain number of persons in all parts of the country who got a small fee for conducting examinations. The country voted £3,500 more, distributed amongst 2,000 for assisting at various examinations. Considering that these people only got on an average the paltry sum of 30s., he was bound to say that he thought their work would be better done if it were left to gentlemen in the districts. All this expenditure which he had described was for the purpose of administering the sum of £216,000. The Committee and the Treasury, and he thought, also, the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, would agree 1405 with him that these things required a good deal of looking into. The hon. Gentleman who last spoke (Mr. A. H. Dyke Acland) had said that he considered the Department required re-organization, and he (Mr. Bartley) had no hesitation in saying that that was his opinion also. The country would not grudge the amount spent, if it went to promote the object they were all driving at; but there must be something done to put a stop to the enormous increase of the staff. The hon. Member for Leeds had stated the other day, in the most graphic terms, that the officials at South Kensington were herded together, and that the offices were overcrowded in a most unhealthy manner. Of course they were. The officials had been continually increased, so that now that the Department was so overstocked, they were going to build fresh offices to accommodate them. He trusted the House would hesitate before it permitted money to be spent on the building of fresh offices. It should, he thought, first see if the officers could not be greatly reduced. The time had come when the two Education Departments should be combined—when they should have the whole educational system of the country under one head. As had been pointed out over and over again, there was no reason why they should have one Department looking after the drawing and another looking after the writing. He saw that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had stated in the House, only last week, that the subject of drawing had been for some time a sort of football between the two Departments to the immense detriment of art teaching. He did not wish to say anything unfriendly or unpleasant, but he thought the House was bound to look into these facts. In conclusion, he thanked the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council and the Secretary to the Treasury for their courtesy in giving him the statistics he had read to the Committee.
§ SIR HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)
said, he did not propose to enter into details with regard to expenditure on the question which had been so fully and ably discussed by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down; but he should like, in answer to a remark on one particular point, to say that, so far as he could judge, the remuneration of the scientific work done by the Depart- 1406 ment was not at all heavy, nor was it, indeed, beyond what the requirements of the case demanded. It must be remembered that this system of examination, and of teaching by examination, was one peculiar to our own country, and not found abroad. It was brought about, as they all remembered, by the late Prince Albert, and it had brought to the doors of the poorest of the poor a system which, if not complete in itself and not very deep, at any rate, so far as it went, was sound. He thought in this respect it was absolutely necessary, if this scientific instruction was to be good, that the men who were intrusted with the examinations should be men of the highest eminence, and if the country was to secure the services of gentlemen such as Professor Huxley, and other well-known men of science, they must pay adequately for their services; and he did not think, whatever might be said of other Departments, it could be said that in the scientific branch of the Department under consideration there was any over pay at all. He had listened with great interest to the remarks made on the subject of the training of teachers by hon. Gentlemen behind him. This was a matter of the very highest consequence, but if we in England were to train our teachers in a national science school, we must have that national science school to train them in. At the present time he was sorry to say that the amount of accommodation which was absolutely necessary was not to be found in South Kensington School. He held in his hands a Report giving a description of one large technical high school which had lately been built in Berlin, and, with the permission of the Committee, he would say a word or two by way of comparing our only science school, so far as size and accommodation was concerned, with this school to which he referred—one of the many schools of the kind in Prussia, and one of the very many similar schools in Germany. This large school was built at the national cost at Charlottenburg, near Berlin, and no less a sum than £400,000, he believed, was spent upon the building alone. In addition to this a very large sum was annually voted by the Government for the maintenance of the school. To give the Committee an idea of the relative extent of this building and of our own school at South Kensington—the only one we had in 1407 this country, with the exception of a small school in Dublin—he would point out that the whole of our building could be put into the middle block of the German building to which he referred—that was to say, the size of our school was such that the building might be erected in the large hall and staircases in the middle of the German building. Indeed, one part of this German establishment alone—namely, the Commercial Laboratory—had as much accommodation as the whole of the South Kensington establishment. He had to call the attention of the right hon. Gentlemen the Vice-President of the Council and the First Lord of the Treasury a short time ago to the question of this accommodation at South Kensington, the matter being one which really ought to be attended to. It was not merely that the accommodation for the Normal School was insufficient, but the accommodation for the whole of the Department was lamentably insufficient to carry on the business of the Department. When they knew that the clerks had to work on the stairs and in the passages, when they heard that the arrangements for examinations were always insufficient to carry on the business of the Department, he thought the Committee would agree that it was really time that something should be done to increase the accommodation. He was very sorry to hear the Gentleman who had just spoken state as his opinion that increased accommodation was not required. Now, this question was not a new one, but had been under consideration, he might say, for years—
I must point out to the hon. Member that the question of accommodation in buildings is considered in Class I. The present Vote only deals with administration.
§ SIR HENRY ROSCOE
said, he bowed to the Chairman's decision. With regard to the administration, he had only to point out again that it was most important, as his hon. Friend behind him (Mr. A. H. Dyke Acland) had said, that other subjects should be introduced into the curriculum of the Science and Art Department. They heard a great deal about the importance of technical instruction at the present time, but they had to remember that there was another branch of equal importance—namely, the question of commercial education, and that that question was of no less 1408 consequence than the scientific instruction of the people. In this matter they would, he thought, have to meet the requirements of the day. They would have to get some system by which commercial subjects would be brought within the scope of the examination system of the Department. Commercial subjects, especially drawing—both mechanical and freehand—and especially, also, languages, were of the very greatest importance. He trusted that this discussion would be of interest and importance to the country, in pointing out the great value to be attached to the Department of Science and Art. Not only was it of importance that scientific instruction should be given from a technical point of view, but also from a moral point of view. If, in so doing, he would not be out of Order, he would like, in conclusion, to read a few words from a letter he found in The Times of last week dealing with what the writer termed the Increase of Mendacity. The writer, in concluding the article, said—It can hardly be expected that any considerations derived from morality will suffice to stem the prevalence and the toleration of mendacity which I have described; but we may hope for the development of a better spirit when education in physical science is more generally diffused. The physicist comes naturally to hate what is false in the region of his own work, because every falsehood is an ignis fatuus, which, if he follows it, will lure him from the path of discovery, and will waste his time among the quicksands of error. A profound intellectual appreciation of the value of truth, and of the pernicious character of falsehood, although produced originally by the experience of the laboratory, will generally, in the long run, be extended to embrace the other affairs and interests of life. Whoever once becomes a worshipper at the shrine of the goddess will be certain to erect her image in every department of the understanding.He (Sir Henry Roscoe) felt that these words were true, and that the Science and Art Department, for which they were asked to vote this sum, was doing a great deal to support this love of truth, as well as a knowledge of scientific facts throughout the country.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
said, he did not intend to discuss the Vote generally. There were two points, however, he should like to refer to, though before doing so he must say that he had listened attentively to the remarks of the hon. Member opposite with regard to the expenses of administration. That was a very 1409 important part of the business which he (Mr. Jesse Collings) did not think the hon. Member had made out a sufficient case for. What, after all, was the indictment against the administration? The hon. Gentleman had certainly given them the expenses of managing, but he had not alluded at all to the character of the work done. It was not a question of spending £120,000 in order to look after £200,000. The hon. Member entirely left out of sight that we, as a nation, had one of the greatest possessions in the world. We had an unrivalled collection of objects—priceless objects they might be called—which had to be looked after as the capital, so to speak, of the concern. The mere £200,000 formed but one part of the duty of administration. He was not saying that the administration was perfect, but he was objecting to the way in which the hon. Member had let his indictment go forth to the public. It was like a commercial man saying how much his concern had cost him, but, at the same time, not saying a word about the extensive character of that concern and the work the staff had to do. He himself, during a long connection with a provincial museum, had something to do with South Kensington, and he was bound to say that all the officials seemed extremely animated by zeal for the service in which they were employed, and, so far as he could gather, their remuneration was not at all extravagant for the duties they had to perform. He considered that this Vote was one of the most important in connection with the welfare of the country which came before the Committee, and he agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherham (Mr. A. H. Dyke Acland) that it would be a continually increasing Vote. Let them hope that it would be a continually increasing Vote. The country, he was sure, would not object even if the increase was somewhat rapid. He would only ask that the money should be well spent in the direction in which the Department professed that it would be spent. He quite agreed as to the necessity of doing more than was done at present. All the work of the Science and Art Department was practically in its infancy, but, at the same time, he thought that the Report which had been issued showed some increase in the work. Let them take, for instance, 1410 the matter of drawing to which reference had been made. There was, of course, not that increase which they would like, but if they compared 1887 with 1886 they found that in the latter year 870,491 persons were taught, as against 875,263 for the former year, an increase of nearly 5,000 in one year—not a sufficient increase, but still not a going back. Then when they come to scientific teaching in the elementary schools, where he thought it very important, and also in science classes, there were also increases, although still not of the character they would like them to be. It was better, however, to see the work go forward than backward. One of the questions to which he wished particularly to refer was that of circulating objects of art in the Provinces. In 1886 there were 26,164 objects of art circulated, and in 1887 that number had increased to 28,363. That was an increase of over 2,000 objects, which was an improvement. He hoped to get an assurance from the Vice President of the Council that he was mistaken in supposing that the grant for this purpose was cut down. Of course, great expense and trouble were incurred by the Department in circulating works of art among the Provinces. The South Kensington Department was not adverse, in the interests of art and science throughout the country, to take any amount of trouble in connection with this matter; but it could not do it if the grant in this particular item were cut down. He therefore trusted that if the Vice President thought of effecting any economy he would not do it in this direction. If he read the Estimates rightly, there seemed to be a reduction in the purchase of works of art for circulation among the local museums. Whether that would affect the circulation he did not know, but he hoped to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that it would not, and that no reduction was intended. It was utterly impossible that people could come from the country to South Kensington to examine works of art. They could only do so in flying visits at long intervals. They were all proud of the collection at South Kensington. There was nothing like it in the world. With all its defects it was remarkably well selected, and if it were appraised for the purpose of sale it would be found how large its value was. As he 1411 said, it was impossible for persons in the Provinces to come to London to examine the National Collection, and it was, therefore, only by circulation, as far as possible, that these objects of art could be brought within the reach of the industrial community. He found that last year the objects lent to museums were 13,000, and to exhibitions 7,000. This was one of the points he had risen to ask the Vice President to consider, and to give an assurance that no reduction was intended, but that there would be an increase in this very important part of the work of the Science and Art Department. Another point was this—it was a great disappointment to find that no assistance had been given in the past year to local museums and art galleries in purchasing works of art. In March last year this grant was withheld. In 1882 about £1,500 was granted, and that sum was continued until March, 1887, when it disappeared altogether. This had been a great disappointment to those who were interested in local museums, because, up to that time, the Department used to assist the museums and art galleries to the extent of one-half of the purchases made. That was a direct incentive to local liberality, and drew forth many gifts from the locality when it was discovered what great advantage could be gained by the assistance given by the Science and Art Department. From 1882 to 1886 the whole cost of the objects purchased for local museums amounted to about £10,000, a-half of which sum was contributed by the Department. It was not a very large sum, and he saw no valid reason why it should be taken off. There was one other reason for the continuance of this assistance that he would impress upon the right hon. Gentleman. It must be borne in mind that the great collection at South Kensington was kept up by the taxation of the country, and, at the same time, large towns, such as Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham, and others, had not only to contribute to the general taxation for the purpose of keeping up South Kensington, but they had to bear the whole cost of their own local museums. Therefore it was only right that some small help should be given to the localities; some of which were not rich, and had a great deal to 1412 do, especially as this was an easy and proper way of giving some slight assistance. The Department began by giving assistance in the best way that it could be given, because, while they received assistance in money from South Kensington, they also took advantage of the skill and knowledge of the experts there in order to secure and purchase the various objects that were suitable for the locality. As a mere act of justice he thought the grant should be restored. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that the withdrawal of the grant was a matter which would continue to be a subject of complaint in the Provinces unless satisfactory reasons could be assigned for withdrawing it. Nottingham, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, Glasgow, Manchester, Preston, Birmingham, and other places had all received great advantage from the assistance which had been given by the Department, and he thought it was extremely probable that many of the local institutions would not have been started if it had not been for the incentive given to them to spend their own money by the grants from the Science and Art Department. These two points—the circulation of objects of art and the reinstatement of the aid to provincial museums for the purchase of objects of art—were the two points which he wished specially to impress on the Vice President. There was, however, one other point—namely, the summer course of agricultural teaching at the South Kensington Museum. He did not know that that course of teaching was the best that could be adopted, but he was quite sure that that was the direction in which the country must look for a supply of teachers for technical or industrial education in the rural schools. It was remarkable that while great anxiety was expressed about the establishment of technical schools in the large manufacturing towns, and while constant references were made to such schools as that which had been commenced in Birmingham by the hon. Member for the Edgbaston Division (Mr. Dixon), scarcely any anxiety whatever was shown as to industrial teaching or the practical application of knowledge in reference to the largest industry of all—quite equal to a dozen other industries all put together—namely, agriculture. In the summer course of teaching 15 lectures were 1413 given, and there were 31 students. He believed that the Department proposed to have another course of these lectures next year. That was very good as far as it went, because the teachers would go back to the centres from which they came, and would disseminate their knowledge provided that there were means and inducements given to them to do so. He was glad to find that the lectures were to be printed, as the complete course would form a valuable text-book. The elementary teaching of agriculture in the rural schools was the one thing wanted to revive the rural districts, and, of course, the primary want was the want of teachers. He hoped the Vice President would continue the work in this direction, however imperfect it might be. Something had already been done, seeing that 31 students had attended 15 lectures, and he presumed they would know something about what they had been taught. Probably the scientific knowledge they had acquired of agriculture was not enough; but it was a step in the right direction to instruct teachers, so that teachers might be found when the House of Commons resolved that their past neglect should be atoned for, and the elements of agriculture taught in precisely the same way as it was considered necessary to give technical instruction to the children of the artizans in towns whose lives were to be spent in particular industries. He was sorry for having detained the Committee so long, and he would conclude by impressing upon the Vice President the three points he had mentioned. First, not to cut down the grant for circulating objects; second, to restore the grant-in-aid for provincial purposes; and, third, to extend and improve the teaching of the teachers.
§ SIR RICHARD TEMPLE (Worcestershire, Evesham)
wished, in answer to the hon. Member for Manchester (Sir Henry Roscoe), to say that the London School Board was waiting for the long-promised Technical Education Bill, in order to carry out throughout the Metropolitan area such a plan of instruction as should be satisfactory to the claims of scientific and technical training, and, at the same time, should not add to the burdens of the ratepayers. They hoped to accomplish this without any addition to the burden of the ratepayers, although some slight addition might have to be 1414 made to the Vote now under consideration.
§ MR. LANE (Cork Co., E.)
said, he wished, in reference to this Vote, to call attention to a matter of considerable interest to the South of Ireland, which formed the subject-matter of a Question which he had addressed to the Secretary to the Treasury early in the evening—namely, the visits of Mr. Alan Cole to Ireland as lecturer on the Irish lace industry. The lectures of Mr. Cole commenced four years ago at the Cork School of Art, and the Members of the Committee could have but a faint conception of the amount of good done by them and the value of the work which Mr. Cole had performed. At the time Mr. Cole took the subject in hand the important industry of lace-making was in a very backward and languishing state. Five years ago it was in a state of absolute collapse, not owing altogether to any disinclination or even anxiety to carry on the work as it had been carried on in former years, but because those who carried on the lace trade had become quite tired of the old patterns upon which the lace of the different lace-making establishments in the South of Ireland were worked. The want of education, or of any lectures or information as to what was necessary in order to bring up the lace-making industry in Ireland to a level with that of its competitors elsewhere, was found to be a great evil. The Irish lace workers had to be content with the old patterns which they had been working for a great many years, and as there was no novelty in them the demand fell off. As a Member of the Committee of the School of Science and Art in Cork, he had taken great interest in the lace industry. The Committee took the matter in hand, and expended a sum of money in new patterns. But as they could not send these patterns all over the country they had to invent other means of distributing the advantages they had gained for themselves, and of educating the people in the most improved and newest designs. They therefore placed themselves in communication with the Department of Science and Art at South Kensington, and the Department kindly consented to send Mr. Alan Cole, who was specially qualified to give instruction in the matter, over to Ireland to give lectures, so that different schools might 1415 be started in connection with the lace industry. They succeeded in starting schools of this kind, almost entirely at local expense; and the Head Master of the School of Science and Art in Cork went about to different places, following Mr. Cole's lectures and providing technical and artistic instruction to the students, co-operating in that way with the work of Mr. Cole. The result had been something marvellous, considering the short time the system was in operation, and such an impetus had been given to the making of Irish lace in the last five years as, but for Mr. Cole's efforts, it would probably not have received, if it had been left to local effort, in the next 20 years. But a very unfortunate event had now occurred, which he was afraid would throw back all the efforts they had been making. Within the last two years a lady had been appointed Inspector of Lace-making in Ireland, at a salary of £200 a-year. The Department at South Kensington seemed to consider that, in consequence of this appointment, Mr Cole would no longer be wanted in Ireland. The initiative in the matter was not taken by the Science and Art Department of South Kensington, but it came from an Irish source to which it was not necessary that he should further refer. The Vote for the salary of this lady appeared under the Sub-head A., No. 2 of the present Vote. It was only in consequence of the very strong representations that were made in the early part of the year that the Treasury were induced to allow the Department to send Mr. Cole over to Ireland for one visit this year, instead of the two which he had been accustomed to pay formerly. They had been given to understand that that visit was to be the last that was to be made by Mr. Cole. Now, he wished to point out to the Vice President of the Council that in his (Mr. Lane's) opinion, in that of those who had taken a great interest in the revival of the lace industry of Ireland, and especially in that of the Cork School of Science and Art, no greater mistake could have been made by the Treasury than to believe that the appointment of Mrs. Power Lalor as Inspector of Lace-making should be made the means of discontinuing or cancelling the visits of Mr. Cole as lecturer. The duties of this lady were quite distinct and separate from those of Mr. Cole, whose duties 1416 had hitherto been performed under the Department of Science and Art at South Kensington, and consisted simply of lectures with illustrations upon the designs for lace. The lectures had given most valuable assistance to the schools in Ireland in which lace-making was taught, and Mr. Cole had been engaged in the discharge of a duty altogether different from any that was now performed by the lady Inspector. Her duty was when the lace had been manufactured to inspect it, to see that it was correctly copied from pattern, and also to assist in finding a ready market and sale for it. Another part of her duty was to inspect the material provided in the places where the lace was manufactured. Under these circumstances, he respectfully submitted that the appointment of this lady and the item for her salary would be advantageously transferred from the Vote the Committee were now discussing, and included in Vote No. 13, Sub-head B., which would bring the matter under the Board of National Education in Ireland, and enable this lady Inspector to extend her duties to the general inspection of lace work in the National Schools of Ireland. As far as he had been able to ascertain—and he had made a careful inquiry into it—the number of schools in which lace-making was conducted in Ireland was very limited; and, with ordinary diligence, Mrs. Power Lalor would not be occupies more than half her time in the discharge of the duties which she was now required to perform. If she was to be paid a regular salary, with only this particular duty to perform, the Treasury ought to get the best value they possibly could for the money. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council whether, in regard to this appointment, he did not think it would be better for the administration of the Department, and also better, so far as the general work was concerned, to place Mrs. Power Lalor on the Vote for the Board of National Education in Ireland, and under the direction of that Board, instead of retaining her in connection with the Science and Art Department at South Kensington. It would be found from the Report of this lady that she herself regarded the duties she performed as being rather in connection with the commercial aspect of the ques- 1417 tion than with Science and Art. An extract from her Report was given on page 35 of the Annual Report of the Department of Science and Art, in which she said that—The most profound ignorance existed in the lace centres. 'Wholesale' and 'retail' were words that conveyed no meaning, and until some knowledge on these subjects was obtained and acted upon, Irish lace could not obtain its place in the world's market.The lady Inspector wound up her Report by saying—This has been the point that has had my special attention during my visits.It was evident, then, that Mrs. Power Lalor's duties were not connected with the Science and Art Department, but with the commercial department of the lace-making industry; but, on the other hand, the duties performed by Mr. Alan Cole were purely technical and artistic. In this Vote there was a Vote of £500 for lectures to be delivered in connection with South Kensington. It was the particular subhead under which Mr. Alan Cole's lectures were included, and he wished to call the attention of the Vice President to the fact that, in answer to the Question put to him early in the evening, he had stated that the expenses of Mr. Cole's visits to Ireland, both in fees and expenses, were £412 odd. He thought the right hon. Gentleman must have been mistaken in the figures he had given, and had included the total amount for two years, 1886 and 1887.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE) (Kent, Dartford)
said, he had given the total cost.
§ MR. LANE
said, that Mr. Cole's visits to Ireland cost something like £190 or £200 a-year. He considered that that was a very small sum for the great advantage Mr. Cole's visits had been to the lace industry in the South of Ire-Ireland. He expressed a hope that the Vice President of the Council would see that Mr. Cole's efforts in connection with the lace industry were not cut short or prevented by the Treasury, because a lady Inspector had been appointed. He believed be was correct in 1418 saying that it was the wish of the bead of the Department at South Kensington that Mr. Cole's visits should not be interfered with. Therefore, when the Department was getting a Vote for lectures, he did not think the Treasury ought to interfere and say to the Department—"Such and such lectures must be discontinued, because an appointment has been made, owing to a suggestion from Ireland, of an Inspector of Lace." The Science and Art Schools in Cork had been at very great expense in carrying out the object of the Department, and numerous private subscriptions had been received. Through the munificent liberality of one of the leading citizens of Cork—Mr. Crawford—lately deceased, no less a sum than £20,000 had been placed at the disposal of the School of Science and Art in that town. When a private citizen, of his own munificence, gave a princely sum like that for the extension of education in Science and Art, it was paltry for the Treasury to step in, and stop such a trifling grant as £200 for advancing what was formerly, and what he hoped would shortly be again, one of the chief industries of the South of Ireland. He respectfully asked the Vice President to consider the propriety of transferring Mrs. Power Lalor's services from the Department of Science and Art to the National Board of Irish Education, under whose direction and control her services would certainly be more useful. She had hardly enough to do if her duties were confined to lace; and he would suggest, therefore, that she should be made Inspector of Needlework generally, as well as of Lace.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
said, he had very few observations to offer at that moment upon the subject of the Science and Art Vote. He wished, however, to congratulate the Committee on the tone of the last speaker's observations. He felt sure that the development of local industries in Ireland would do more than anything else to strengthen the sources of happiness and prosperity in the Sister Island. He was glad to find that the interest taken in the development of the lace industry had been of such a character as to promote the manufacture of lace. There was every reason to hope that in the future the manufacture of lace would be a source of wealth to the 1419 Irish people. The industry was one especially deserving of support and encouragement, as it could be carried on largely in the homes of the people. He was convinced that the ability and energy of the Irish people were worth directing to the manufacture of lace, and he was satisfied that the result would be content and happiness, where nothing but misery and wretchedness now prevailed. At present many families in the South of Ireland experienced great difficulty in obtaining the means of existence; the introduction of the manufacture of lace to their firesides would, at any rate, provide them with the means of obtaining the necessaries of life. The hon. Member for the Bordesley Division of Birmingham (Mr. Jesse Collings) had made a reference to the circulation of works of art. He (Mr. F. S. Powell) had had the opportunity of seeing many works of art which had been exhibited in the provincial towns, and he was able to bear his testimony to the advantage which arose from the cultivation of objects of art. There was one condition that must be complied with, if this circulation was to render all the advantages it was desirable that it should render. The specimens themselves must be of the very highest character. If they did not give the various centres of industry an opportunity of seeing the works of the first masters, they would fail to elevate the public taste and give a high direction to the talent of the locality; on the contrary, they would incur the danger of lowering public taste, and misdirecting the energies of the people. The Committee knew well enough that in our manufacturing districts we were unrivalled in the abundance of our production; but if we were to retain our position and increase our reputation in the quality as well as in the quantity of the article produced, we must direct our attention to the beauty and artistic skill of the productions of our looms. Reference had been made in a recent debate upon the Education Vote to the expenditure upon education. He was sure that the House of Commons did not grudge the expenditure, because it was certain that, unless the expenditure was ample, specimens of art supplied to the country, instead of displaying good taste, would, on the contrary, have a prejudicial and mischievous effect. The 1420 efforts of South Kensington in placing in different localities the highest examples of art work and art schools had done much to improve the artistic character of our products, and this country was now, in many industries, well able to hold its own against foreign rivals. There had been one remarkable feature in the debate which he had been glad to notice—namely, that though there had been some criticism on the various items of this Vote, there had been no complaints, in any quarter, of the magnitude of the Vote. All the Members whom the people had sent to represent them in Parliament were of one mind—that there should be no diminution of the Vote. There was a desire for wise expenditure, but no wish to reduce the amount devoted to this important work. The hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley) had made some reference to the history of the Vote. He had pointed out that it owed its origin to the establishment of Schools of Design, which were introduced for the encouragement of our manufactures. He had no doubt as to the historical accuracy of the hon. Member's statement; but, if that were true, it was not the less true that the policy inaugurated so many years ago had been successful, and that by the training in practical art given in those schools a great improvement in our manufactures had been effected. This country now successfully competed with the rest of Europe in regard to manufactured articles as to which formerly we did not occupy a very high position. There had, of late, been a great improvement in the artistic merit of our manufactures; and in some, as glass and porcelain, we now occupied the very highest position among European competitors. This, he thought, was in a large measure due to what had been done by South Kensington. He had the honour to be connected with some of the schools for technical education in the North of England, and he was quite sure that the prosperity of those institutions was in a great measure owing to the Vote which the Committee were now asked to grant. Reference had been made to the number of persons employed and the sum expended. It certainly did appear to be large, but it must not be forgotten that the Vote was essentially a personal Vote. As far as 1421 he understood it, the Vote was chiefly for examiners and teachers, and those who conducted the practical work of the Department. For instance, a certain sum of money was given in the shape of payment by results in the art schools throughout the country. Therefore, it was only right to consider that sum, not in regard to the amount of the grant, but the work which was done for it, and stimulated by it. He desired, for a moment, to direct attention to the local schools, the work of which had been greatly augmented in consequence of this Vote. The figures in the Report afforded ample proof of the large amount of work done. The number of persons examined had been no less than 67,620, the number of papers 127,875, the number of first classes 25,833, and the number of schools no less than 1,684. He was quite sure that these figures, without troubling the Committee with any further enumeration, afforded sufficient proof that the Department was most liberal in its operations; that the work done by individuals was very large; and that in no other branch of public work where a large sum of money was expended had results more permanent and enduring been achieved. His hon. Friend the Member for the Rotherham Division of the West Riding (Mr. A. H. Dyke Acland), who made an interesting speech in opening the debate, quoted some disparaging remarks of Professor Huxley; but it ought to be borne in mind that Professor Huxley, though a very high authority, was not only a critic, but a cynic. It was the habit of the learned professor rather to point out faults than to direct attention to things that deserved commendation and praise. No doubt the observations of Professor Huxley were of great value, but it was neither fair nor just to quote the remarks of a learned professor of that character of mind, and, at the same time, not to mention the very different description of the work given by other authorities.
§ MR. A. H. DYKE ACLAND
said, it would not be fair to Professor Huxley if he were not to say that the passages he had quoted were contained in an address mainly in praise of the work done by the South Kensington Department.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL
thought that the Committee would pardon him for 1422 having drawn attention to the matter, because they had now before them a more complete statement of the views of Professor Huxley than they had before. He held in his hand the Return of the Department of Science and Art, which showed that they were proceeding in the right course, and that, apart from minor and more technical questions, they were receiving their money's worth for the Vote they gave. Many very competent persons had spoken in terms of commendation and eulogy of that work. He was most anxious for and regarded it as essential that the Central Department in London should be maintained. He knew what had been done in some of the provincial towns, and he had had occasion to see the operations conducted at South Kensington. He thought that provincial effort had been greatly stimulated by what had taken place in London. The time had now come, however, when London ought to be placed more than on a level with the Provinces. If the South Kensington Department was to be at the head, it ought really to occupy that position; because, as compared with what was done in the Provinces, unless a great advance was made in South Kensington, the Provinces would occupy a first position, and the place which South Kensington nominally held would really belong to some of the great Provincial Colleges. He strongly felt the importance of the subject, and he was anxious that the debate should not be conducted by the economists alone, but that some words should be pronounced—earnest and emphatic words—on behalf of those for whose advantage the resources at the command of the House of Commons had hitherto been so wisely expended.
§ MR. C. T. DYKE ACLAND (Cornwall, Launceston)
said, that he had been unable to find anywhere in the Report any allusion to the instruction in agriculture which they had been promised. In regard to Ireland, there was a Vote for an agricultural establishment there. His hon. Friend the Member for Somersetshire was Chairman of a Departmental Committee on the subject, and a sum of £5,000 had been promised for the encouragement of agriculture. He wished to know where they were to look for any indication of an intention to fulfil this promise? It was understood that the Bill for the creation of a Department of 1423 Agriculture had been abandoned, and the Committee ought to be informed whether any particular encouragement was being given for instruction in dairy schools; whether there was to be any institution for training teachers, or any place devoted to experiments in illustration of agriculture; and, whether there were to be peripatetic lecturers sent over the country? Three or four different schemes had been laid before the Department, and he was anxious to hear what was going to be done as the result of the Vote of £5,000.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
said, that hon. Members on the opposite side had pointed out the great advantage which England enjoyed in regard to South Kensington; but it was rather a vexed question as to what advantages Ireland derived from the Department. He wished to know whether there was any intention of placing Ireland on anything like a footing of equality with England? For 20 or 30 years there had been a magnificent Museum in Dublin, and he wished to know what amount of aid it was to receive from the State?
§ COLONEL NOLAN
thought he ought to be allowed to do so, because the Librarian of the National Museum had presented a Report, and his salary was provided in the Vote. Under the circumstances he thought it would not be irregular to draw attention to the Report.
said, that any reference to the particular accommodation provided would be irregular, because the buildings were provided for in Class I. The questions dealt with in the present Vote were questions of administration.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, that as he could not allude to the Report of the Librarian of the National Museum, he should like to draw attention to the extreme smallness of the grant for Ireland. So far he had not been able to separate the proportions of the Vote given to the Three Kingdoms, because the grant appeared in the 24th Report 1424 as one for the promotion of Science and Art in the United Kingdom, but he saw that the grant for the purchase of apparatus was extremely small in Ireland as compared with England. The same remark applied to the grant for drawing, which in the case of Ireland only amounted to £200, as against £2,000 for the whole of the United Kingdom. To such an extent was this inequality of treatment the rule in Ireland, that the result was to keep that country in a very backward state. As the Irish people were not so rich as the English, if Her Majesty's Government drew up a rule that they would only give grants in proportion to local subscriptions, Ireland was bound to be kept in her present backward state. The people of Ireland contributed to the general taxation of the United Kingdom, and paid on tea, tobacco, and other articles, nearly the same amount per head as the people of England. Under these circumstances, he thought the rules which regulated the grant of State aid should be so drawn up that the benefits should be distributed in something like equal proportion. It was impossible that they could be fairly drawn up when he saw in the case of Ireland such an extremely bad result. There was another question he wished to put to the Vice President of the Council. He desired to know how the Visitors were appointed for the School of Science and Art in Dublin, and would he kindly state who they were? Their names were not given in the Report, but he believed they were the gentlemen who controlled and directed the working of the Institution. The list of the Visitors of the Hibernian Academy were given, but not for the School of Science and Art. Most of the institutions of this class in Dublin were managed by Boards of Directors or Visitors; and, as a general rule, he did not think the Vice President had sufficiently attended to the way in which the Boards were constituted. He thought it was desirable to appoint upon these Boards men who enjoyed the confidence of the people.
said, the hon. and gallant Member was again wandering from the subject dealt with by the Vote.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, he had thought that he was in Order, seeing that the Vote dealt with the payment of these people, and he held in his hand a Report 1425 which related to them. He thought he was entitled to refer to the matters included in the Report.
said, that a Vote in connection with National Art Education was not a Report upon a School of Science and Art in Dublin.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, he was quoting the 24th Report of the Department of Science and Art, and it was the one which dealt specially with this Vote. For his own part, he should like to see a greater number of men in whom the country placed confidence placed upon these Boards. Hitherto, the constitution of the Governing Body of these institutions had been very much neglected. As a rule, he thought that the greater part of the Members for Dublin should be put on them. One of the Representatives of Dublin had a special acquaintance with such matters, and it was of great importance that the members of the Boards should be accessible to the people, and that any complaint might be readily brought to the ear of the House. He attributed the smallness of the sum contributed in connection with Science and Art to Dublin to the way in which the Board which controlled the Irish National Institutions were constituted, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council would pay some attention to the matter in future. Although the rule now followed by the Treasury might be an excellent one for England, it was a very bad one indeed for Ireland. He was of opinion that steps should be taken to establish more science and art schools, and to give increased assistance to the day schools in drawing. The largest town of the six counties of Connaught received no benefit whatever from this grant, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not allow it to rest contented with the museum it now possessed. It was said that there was a magnificent collection of works of art at South Kensington. There could be no doubt about it; there was nothing like it in any other part of Europe; but that was not the only question they had to consider in connection with science and art. It was not sufficient to have a large collection in London; but there should be smaller collections, rather for the purpose of teaching than of show, in different parts of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)
asked the Vice President to inform the Committee whether the Government proposed to continue the grant of £5,000 voted last year for the encouragement of agriculture? It would be a great advantage to those interested in agriculture, not only in England, but throughout Scotland. Although he believed there was no specific item for agriculture in the present Vote, this was the only opportunity that was available for calling attention to the subject. He entertained a hope that the Government would be able to give an assurance not only that the grant for the encouragement of agriculture would be continued, but that it would be increased in the coming year. There was an impression lately that the work of the skilled artizans of this country was inferior to that of the workmen of Continental nations. We, in this country, found ourselves handicapped by the skilled artizans of foreign countries, who were taught at great expense. Accordingly, a considerable amount of help had been extended to art and science by the State with the most beneficial results. He could not help thinking that if something more were known by the public generally of the Science and Art Department greater interest would be taken in this Vote. Very few persons seemed to be aware that we voted annually £400,000 or £500,000 to this Department. £445,000 was asked for on the present Vote; yet very little interest appeared to be taken by hon. Members either in its magnitude or its details. He could not help thinking that there must be a certain loss of money in keeping up two separate Departments to teach—the Education and Science and Art Departments—instead of their forming one united whole, and being included in one Vote. If there was one Minister who would explain the work going on in the two Departments at the same time, the Committee would see how the one dovetailed into and was the handmaid of the other, and not only would greater interest be excited in the country, but it would show our artizans where to look for the best teaching. He hoped the Government would give the Committee an assurance that the amount of the grant would not be diminished, but increased in the coming year. Although the £5,000 1427 voted for agriculture had not been all distributed, he had no doubt that a stimulus had been given in the direction of making provisions for agricultural teaching in the rural schools, which was worth far more than the £5,000.
§ MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
said, he wished to call the attention of the Vice President to two items in Sub-head 3, one of which showed a diminution, while the other was conspicuous this year by its entire absence from the Vote. The item in which there was a diminution was that for the payment of prizes for art instruction. He saw that the sum asked for the year 1887–8 was £104,700, while that for the present year was £95,350, a diminution of £9,350, for art instruction. He confessed that he saw that kind of diminution with very great regret.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, it would be found in Sub-head 3, at page 363 of the Estimates. The amount of the diminution was £9,350; and he thought it was in every way to be regretted that, while they were urging that drawing should be made obligatory in our schools, and that it would be of great advantage to the elementary schools to bring up the children and youth of the country in the higher grades of art teaching, there should be a serious diminution in the Estimates of this character. The amount expended on science and art teaching in this country was almost a minimum. The hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley) had complained of the amounts taken for payment by results as altogether out of proportion to the amounts paid for administration. He might as well take the payment for results at the British Museum, which was nil, and say that nothing was spent, because all this expenditure was covered under Sub-head 4. The Vote had nothing to do with the cost of distributing objects of art throughout the country, but applied only to the cost of the management of South Kensington. There was another item to which he must ask the attention of the Committee. He remembered very well when he was moving these Estimates in 1880 that hon. Members rose, one after another, from both sides of the House, to complain that, while large sums 1428 were spent on the great National Museums in London, nothing was done for the museums in the Provinces. The hon. Members for Manchester, Birmingham, and other large towns, rose up, one after another, demanding to have some help for the localities they represented as well as South Kensington. He felt that there was great justice in their claim, and he then promised to bring the matter before the Treasury, and see what could be done to assist the provincial museums. Nothing was more surprising than the development of the provincial museums. In some of the large towns they had almost been of mushroom growth. They were museums that were highly creditable, and well worth a visit. Nottingham had a splendid museum, Birmingham had an art collection and a museum of the first class, and Sheffield had a very fine art gallery and museum. The same might be said of Salford and other large towns. As they contributed to the taxes of the country, they had a claim upon the Central Department; but they got no help from it, except from the loan collection. That had done the greatest possible service in giving education in art. For instance, if the potteries required a loan, a collection of pottery would be sent down, or to an iron manufacturing district the Department would send specimens of art work, in old iron and metal, that were worthy of consideration by the artificers and art workers of any country. A great deal of good had been done in that way; but what was wanted was articles that would remain in the locality permanently. The Department took the matter into consideration, and he approached the Treasury, and got a sum put on the Votes—£2,500 a-year, he thought—but the Government of that day made it a condition that for every £1 they contributed to a provincial museum the locality should contribute the same sum. The working of that plan undoubtedly was admirable. Manchester had a collection of objects connected with textile manufactures which was the finest in Europe, and altogether unique. One-half of its cost was contributed by Manchester itself, and the other half by the Science and Art Department. It gave a great stimulus to gifts and donations in the locality. In Sheffield it was found necessary to 1429 make a collection of reproductions of works in silver, and the whole of the best silver work to be found in St. Petersburgh had been reproduced in electroplate. £1,000 was contributed towards the reproduction which had rendered great service in Sheffield in teaching the excellent silversmiths' art of the last three centuries. For the last three years this item in the Vote had disappeared. He wanted to know why it was? There were constant complaints that while they were keeping up the Central Museum they had discontinued the help they formerly gave to the local museums. The localities were placed in this position. It was of importance in the teaching of art that they should have art objects and designs to study, but such towns as Sheffield, Bradford, Nottingham, and others were not able to defray the entire cost of obtaining them. If, however, the State made a contribution, they would readily provide the rest. The result of the withdrawal of the grant was that important objects of art had been lost. He knew that his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury would forgive him if he were a little severe upon the Treasury Bench, but he was satisfied that very few of the occupants of that Bench had the slightest appreciation of art or science. They thought they were an abomination, and that we should be better without them. It was, therefore, the fashion of the hon. Gentleman who represented the Treasury to talk lightly of this Vote. Their highest contributions to art consisted in magnificent decorations like the splendid statues on the Horse Guards' Barracks. That showed the style of art these Gentlemen appreciated. It was "stone masons'" sculpture. There was nothing so hideous in all Europe as the caricatures put up of our great warriors—Marlborough, Wellington, and others. In this respect the Home Office was not much better. He would ask hon. Members, as they passed along the streets, to cast an eye upon our public buildings and notice the style in which they were decorated. He wanted to know why the Conservative Government, who were all for the greatness and glory of the country, could not do a little for the promotion of science and art? Why had this Vote been dropped? Nor was that all. Other Votes had been cut 1430 down. The sum for the purchase of works of art had this year been reduced to £7,000. He presumed that we were such a poor country that we could not afford more. Whatever might be required, £7,000 was the utmost limit of the grant next year for the acquisition of works of art. Unless the Government were prepared to provide new objects they could not expect to extend their circulation system, and he maintained that they ought to spend at least £2,000 or £3,000 every year in objects for circulation, in order to encourage and extend the taste for the study of high art. If they decreased the Vote it was clear that they could not have so many objects to circulate. He was sorry to hear the hon. Member for North Islington speak ill of the public, services which had been rendered by the late Sir Henry Cole.
§ MR. BARTLEY
said, he had not spoken ill of Sir Henry Cole or of the Department. He entertained great respect for the Department, and only desired to make it more efficient, and if the right hon. Gentleman had condescended to hear his speech he would have seen that that was so.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he had heard a speech from the hon. Gentleman on the same subject last year, in which an opinion of the kind he had referred to was very strongly expressed. He presumed that he was not permitted by the Rules of the House to discuss upon this Vote the question of the housing of our works of art. He might, however, be allowed to say that there was no "pot-house" in London that had not a better entrance than the South Kensington Museum. It was perfectly disgraceful. What had been the outcome of all our expenditure? We were voting £7,000 for the acquisition of works of art this year, and, as it stood at present, the collection at South Kensington was unique, and had not an equal in Europe; yet we refused to provide a decent building for it. Persons came from all parts of Europe to see it. The French workmen came over here, and sat daily in the Museum making designs for textile manufactures and furniture. The entire collection had cost the nation very little. We had never spent more upon it, from first to last, than some £300,000. Yet the gifts made to the Department in one year, while he was connected with it, amounted to nearly £500,000 in value; 1431 among them being the Jones collection, worth £300,000. They had at South Kensington the nucleus of the greatest Art Museum which any country ever possessed; and he asked why it was dealt with in so stingy a manner, and why the paltry sum of £2,000 had been cut off the Estimate? If the right hon. Gentleman would make an inquiry he would easily ascertain the way in which the money was spent, and the amount of good it did. Objects of art once placed in Manchester or Birmingham remained there for ever objects of art instruction to the people. Then, why had this sum disappeared? He sincerely hoped that the Vice President of the Council would try to melt the stony hearts of the guardians of the Treasury, and induce them to raise the Vote for the Department of Science and Art to £9,000, so that £2,000, at least, might go to the Provincial Museums. Why should they refuse this small Vote, which had been of such inestimable service for some years? There was such a thing as an unwise and a petty economy, and he thought the reduction of this small sum was an act of unwise and unsound parsimony.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
said, he was obliged to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President for having repeated his speech of last year. Attention was drawn last year to the reduction of the amount of the grant in aid of local museums from £2,000 in 1886 to £1,500 in 1887, and now it appeared that there was to be nothing this year. Notwithstanding the promise made by the right hon. Gentleman last year, no sum appeared in the Votes for this particular object. It was thought in the country that the great accumulation of art treasures in the Metropolis paid for out of money drawn from the taxpayers of the whole Kingdom, while so little was done for the encouragement of art in other parts of the country, was not only extremely unfair, but absolutely dishonest. Last year the Vice President said he would give the subject his attention during the Recess, and there was a general impression that an increased sum would be given this year. Last year he (Mr. Molloy) had made a strong appeal on behalf of art classes in the elementary schools, and a Bill was promised to be brought in which, in the shape of technical education, was to do a great deal for the mechanic 1432 and artizan population of the country, by giving greater facilities and advantages for instruction. Last year, also, the right hon. Gentleman had said that every opportunity would be given for the circulation of works of art throughout the country as widely as possible, and the right hon. Gentleman promised to consider the matter, together with the extension of art classes in the elementary schools, during the Recess. But what had all the Vice President's promises resulted in? Had works of art been more widely circulated or not? The number circulated had been extremely small, and no assistance had been given to the teaching of art to the young in the elementary schools, although that was one of the points specially raised in the discussion last year. He regretted that the Government had not redeemed their promise. For his own part, he failed to see what was the use of continuing these discussions, and getting these promises year after year, if nothing was to come of them. He was somewhat an old hand at this kind of work now, and the experience he had acquired merely taught him that the Minister in charge of the Estimates was simply anxious to hurry through them and get rid of the business, the promises he made being little better than pie-crusts—made only to be broken. Last year the right hon. Gentleman made a promise in a most emphatic manner, but what was the use of making a promise if it was not to be carried out? There were not a dozen Members in the House who would object to the increase of this Vote for the purposes which had been named by various hon. Members, especially by the right hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), who ought to be listened to by the Committee on such a matter, seeing the manner in which for some years the right hon. Gentleman had been identified with the Department, and the interest he had taken in the work of education. In his opinion, economy was being practised by the Government in a direction where extravagance would be allowable, while extravagance was indulged in where it could not plead the least justification for itself. He could quite understand economy being effected in salaries and in certain other matters, but in every instance in which economy had been carried out it was effected just where 1433 it ought not to have been made. He would give the Committee an example which occurred at the commencement of the consideration of these Estimates. There were three Commissioners engaged in legal business, who received £1,500 a-year each for doing practically nothing. It was proved to the Committee, and tacitly admitted by the Treasury Bench, that the retention of these Commissioners was a superfluous luxury; but, nevertheless, the Government declined to carry out any economy, and although he would not call the matter a "job," he regarded it as most objectionable. In such palpable cases as that which he had mentioned the Government refused to reduce the expenditure, preferring to economise in another direction at the expense o f the instruction of the youth and people of this country. There was no sort of excuse, he maintained, for cutting off from the present Vote the sum of £2,000 for a grant in aid of the purchase of works of art for provincial museums. The right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the Committee had told them the immense amount of good this grant had done in the very direction for which the Department was created—namely, the encouragement of a love of science and art. Yet that was the direction the Government seized upon for cutting down the Estimates. If it could have been shown that the £2,000 and £1,500 voted in 1886 and 1887 were extravagant and had effected no good, he would be willing to support the Government in cutting off the grant. But, on the contrary, the present Government themselves had admitted and had strongly advocated the expenditure when the late Government were in power, although, now they were in Office themselves, they had no hesitation in getting rid of a grant which had been so beneficial to the country generally. Unfortunately the Committee had no power in the matter themselves; but he asked the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President if he would give a promise this year to remember the promise he had made last year, and see whether something further could not be done to give assistance to art classes in the elementary schools, and to aid in the purchase of works of art for the provincial museums, so that a sum of money, which was approved of by both sides of the House, should be replaced on the Vote, 1434 and be found there next year when this Estimate came up for discussion. If the right hon. Gentleman would not make such a promise, all they could do was to go on year after year fighting the question.
§ MR. ISAACS (Newington, Walworth)
said, he concurred in the words of praise which the hon. and learned Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy) had used in reference to the protest which the right hon. Member for Sheffield had made against the cutting down of this Vote on the three items to which reference had been made—namely, the Central Museum, the local museums, and the grant to the Department of Science and Art. Probably no person in that House had seen more completely than himself the distinct advantage which was derived by the expenditure of the public money in this direction. Forty years ago it was possible to go upon a building in the course of erection, and find that the workmen engaged were not competent to understand a drawing, much less to make a technical contribution themselves. He had himself been engaged in carrying out works in the country where, so far from being able to get the workmen to understand a drawing, he had found it necessary to put the materials together himself, in order that the men might be able to comprehend what was wanted. He had frequently been in a carpenter's shop, with the view of setting out work, and had found the men so ignorant of the technical knowledge necessary for the due performance of the work, that until the arrival of the foreman he found it impossible to proceed with what he had in hand. When he compared the state of things 40 years ago with that which existed now, he said, unhesitatingly, that no better expenditure of the public money could have been made, than in providing instruction in art and science for the artizan classes. If that were so, why did the Government of this great country indulge in this paltry parsimony in connection with the South Kensington Science and Art Department? God knows they spent money enough in other ways, often foolishly, and sometimes even wickedly. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent, from which the people got no benefit at all, but injury more probably. Then why should the Government pursue paltry parsimony in 1435 this case? He trusted that the Vice President of the Council would gather from the views which had been expressed by hon. Members in the course of the debate that on neither side of the House was there a desire for such an economy as was displayed in the diminution of this Vote, and that when the Estimates were framed next year they would be framed with the full intention of meeting the wishes of the House of Commons and of the country in this particular. He ventured to call the attention of the Department to the desirability of helping the new technical institutions, which had grown with such marvellous rapidity and strength in London, and were spreading all over the Metropolis, such as the People's Palace in the East End, and the Institution towards the endowment of which the Goldsmith's Company had liberally contributed a sum of £85,000. He trusted that the Government would aid such institutions, by making liberal grants of the public money, where students devoted themselves to the acquirement of art education, and a knowledge of science in the evening, instead of spending their time in a far less useful way. He thought that a special grant or a special sum might be allocated to these purposes, and he also suggested that there should be established in London an Institution similar to the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris. He had seen most of the technical educational institutions on the Continent; but he had seen none of the same kind as the Conservatoire to which he referred, and he was certainly of opinion that it was an institution that might be usefully copied in this country. In the Conservatoire at Paris all the machinery was worked by steam power, and the appliances for carrying on the work could be seen in going, order, so that the workmen who visited the Institution were not only able to take a sketch of the machinery, but actually to see it at work—a system of education the benefit of which it was impossible to overrate. He would make an earnest appeal to the Vice President of the Council, to see if some corner could not be found, not in South Kensington, for that was not the workmen's quarter, but in the heart of London, for the erection of a building similar to the Paris Conservatoire.
§ SIR WILLIAM PLOWDEN (Wolverhampton, W.)
said, that in looking over the Estimates he found that the increase in connection with the Department of Science and Art was made up almost entirely of extra pay for examiners who were paid by the day, and for piece work also. He doubted very much whether that was the best way in which additional money could be expended. But this increase was not followed by a proportionate increase in the grant given for "payment by results," and at least they had a right to look for such an increase; and he should like to have some explanation upon the matter. There appeared to be a decrease of £7,000 in the payment for results in the science schools, while there was an increase of £3,000 for examiners. He expressed a hope that if the Government were going to spend £3,000 on extra examination they would also increase the grants-in-aid. Where they ought to look for an increased grant—namely, in scholarships, local exhibitions, and prizes, there was a decrease, and he wanted to know why that was? If they were to extend the examinations, they had a right to anticipate somewhat happier results, although, as an actual result, he found there was a small decrease.
§ MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)
said, he would be glad if the Vice President of the Council would assure the Committee that the change made in the grant-in-aid for the art classes a year ago had not already had a disheartening effect in the way in which the schools carried on their work in the country. If hon. Members would look at the Memorandum which had been presented to the House some years ago, they would see that the grant-in-aid had been increasing at the rate of £3,000 per annum on an average, for five years, and now there was a positive decrease. Some of the existing schools must have been heavily struck this year. Indeed, he knew from experience that that was the case, and that it was a very serious matter to some of the schools of art to have their work checked in this manner. The grant to a school with which he was personally connected was less than one-half this year what it was in 1887, although there had been an improvement in the work sent up. He thought 1437 the way in which the decrease had been effected was doubly prejudicial, because the knocking off had been in the elementary work of the very schools which required the most assistance. It was the desire of the Department to raise the standard of work; but the course taken had been to knock off the grant from the lower standards, and to give it exclusively to the work required for a teacher's certificate. The effect was that the masters of the schools of art got no grant whatever on the work of the elementary pupils, and consequently their interest was more and more centred in the higher students, many of whom were simply looking forward to art as a profession. He took it that that was not the object of Parliament. They wanted the industry of this country leavened by art and scientific knowledge, and it was to be regretted that by the change that had been made the interests of the teachers should he only to advance the higher students, and to neglect the elementary pupils and the young artizans who went to these schools of art. He hoped this policy on the part of the Government would be modified, and that they might receive an assurance that no hindrance would be placed in the way of our schools of art making further progress among the industrial classes of the country. Surely the Government grants were especially intended to assist in educating the artizans of every town in the country; but the present policy of the Department seemed to be directed against the furtherance of that object. He would be glad to hear that this would not continue to he the case.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, the discussion had extended over a very wide range, but he should be the last person to complain of any criticism bestowed upon the Science and Art Department. Reference had been made to the education given in the science and art classes, and technical training, and also to the general administration and expenditure of the Department. In the first place, he should like to tell the Committee what was the position of the science and art schools at the present time. The number of students under advanced instruction in the science schools in 1887 was 103,000, and this had increased up to date to 112,108. In the art schools the number of students 1438 for whom grants had been made in the present Vote was 41,262, of whom 23,670 were of the artizan class. As to art and science schools combined, the number was 807 in 1887, and 885 in 1888. He thought it was fair that they should ask themselves whether there had been a wise expenditure of money; and whether, as had been urged again and again a fair return was obtained? This institution had been subjected to a good deal of criticism for many years, but he thought there was no more well-deserved criticism bestowed upon it than that of the Commission of 1884 on Technical Education, the Report of which said there was no organization like the Science and Art Department and the City Guilds existing in any other country, and the absence of that was lamented by many persons they had come in contact with. Allusion had been made to the importance of technical education and continuation schools; and he would read some figures to the Committee which would show the amount of work actually done at South Kensington, and which figures he thought the Committee would agree were of great importance. They would show the number of scholars who left the elementary schools in a year after passing Standards IV., V., and VI. Approximate estimates for the year ending the 31st of August, 1886, showed that 155,000 left having passed in Standard IV.; 146,000 in Standard V.; 69,000 in Standard VI.; and 22,000 in Standard VII., making a total of 392,000 leaving in a year after passing these Standards. The Government had been urged again and again that the education of these scholars should be carried further by means of continuation schools. The figures in his hand showed that in the following winter of 1886–7, after eliminating all who were not of the class in receipt of weekly wages, there were earning grants in evening schools, 30,584; in art schools, 60,108; in science schools, 95,000; making a total of 185,692 scholars who, according to the Return, were spending a certain number of hours per week in the evening schools or classes, while, with regard to the 95,000 in the science schools, two-thirds of these were under 18 or 19 years of age. He thought it right to give these figures to the Committee, because he considered 1439 that the question of continuation schools must come prominently forward in future. The hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. A. H. Dyke Acland) had made a most interesting speech, and had raised many points with reference to the future relationship between South Kensington and Whitehall in connection with technical instruction, which he thought his hon. Friend would not expect him to go into at any great length. But he might say that the two points raised were such as must be considered shortly by Her Majesty's Government in connection with the Report and recommendations of the Royal Commissioners on Education. So far as science and art teaching was concerned, he thought the figures which appeared in the Report of the Department amply showed, and the general Estimates also showed, that there had been a fair and constant progress. The hon. Gentleman also seemed to hold the opinion, which was largely shared by the Committee, that the Science and Art Department and the Education Department were totally distinct from each other. He could not admit that definition of the two Departments. It was true they were in different buildings and under separate sets of officers; but they were both under the absolute control of the Lord President of the Council, assisted by the Vice President, and it was, therefore, not an accurate description to say that they were absolutely distinct Departments. The hon. Member for Rotherham had referred to what he admitted to be a point of paramount importance—namely, the supply not only of teachers in art and science, but also of technical teachers. On that point he could assure hon. Members that he would do his utmost to supplement and improve the machinery in hand, so that a supply of these teachers might be forthcoming. With reference to the amount of £5,000 under Sub-head B, he might explain to the hon. Gentleman that this was a special grant given for the purpose of giving elementary teachers some knowledge of science teaching. The hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley) had been very critical with regard to the internal administration of the Science and Art Department; but, as he had always invited criticism, he trusted his hon. Friend would not think that he, for one moment, 1440 blamed him for his remarks on that subject. His hon. Friend, however, as had been pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), was not quite fair in his manner of dealing with this question, because he had taken the large sum of £130,000 expended at South Kensington and compared it with that paid on results, whereas that amount included a number of various items. With regard to the item of £12,650 for police to which his hon. Friend had referred, he pointed out that they had to look after the most valuable collection in the world, and it must be remembered that an enormous responsibility rested upon them in respect of the preservation of the contents of the buildings, which extended over a large area, from fire and other risks. Further, the Department had absolutely no control over this sum, and he could assure his hon. Friend that on the 28th of March the Chief Commissioner of Police had been asked whether it would not be possible to reduce the staff of police at South Kensington, and on the 28th of April a reply was received, that after careful consideration the Chief Constable could not recommend any reduction. His hon. Friend had gone over the whole cost of the staff; but, without following him into all the cases, he would remind him that, from the highest officer to the lowest, it was necessary to have the very best material at their command, and the Committee would be aware that they could not have that without paying for it as much as other people, and he believed they were not paying for the work done at more than the average rate. In the case of examinations alone, the Committee would see that they could not get first-class men to test the work done for payment by results unless they paid them fairly. He wished that hon. Members would visit for themselves these huge buildings and see the amount of work and the manner in which it was done. The collection and circulation of loans, and the arrangement and re-arrangement of the immense number of objects alone involved an enormous amount of labour. The museum was open every day, and on three evenings each week; and, therefore, all the work which had to be done from day to day required a corresponding expenditure, and without going into all the details the Committee 1441 would understand that an exceedingly large amount of skilled labour was necessary. With regard to the management, he should like to tell the Committee that the museums, schools, and offices under the control of the Department occupied a space of more than 13 acres. It was a noticeable fact, showing the economical administration of the Department, that while, during the past five years, the grants made as payments for results had increased 30 per cent the total expenditure of the Department for labour had only increased 9 per cent. He would, however, impress it upon his hon. Friend that he felt a considerable responsibility rested upon the Lord President and himself with regard to this question, and that he by no means received in a hostile spirit the criticisms passed upon this expenditure. In his opinion all Departments required the wholesome stimulant of criticism inside the House and out of it, and the Committee might rely that he should devote his care to this matter, and introduce economy at every loophole possible. The hon. Member for East Cork (Mr. Lane) had referred to the possible loss of the services of Mr. Alan Cole. On this subject he might say that they had been so gratified with the success of his efforts that full consideration should be given to the point the hon. Gentleman had urged, and personally he sincerely hoped that they would be able to continue to give the valuable services of the gentleman referred to. He had been asked whether he considered valuable the teaching given with regard to agriculture. As one brought up from boyhood in agriculture, he would say frankly that his personal belief was that the teaching of the principles of agriculture was not as valuable as instruction of a more practical kind would be in our schools; and be would remind the hon. Gentleman who asked the question, that he had given a promise that he would endeavour to introduce into the Code some improvement with regard to the elementary teaching of agriculture by means of object lessons. The hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan) had pointed out that Ireland was under great disadvantages in respect of the raising of local contributions to secure Grants in Aid, and asked for some 1442 special alteration of the rules in favour of Ireland. This proposal would place the English grants in a disadvantageous position, and he regretted therefore that he could not accede to the hon. and gallant Gentleman's request. In reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), he pointed out that the fact that the number of those examined had increased, while there was not a corresponding increase in the amount of payment for results, was the result of the raising of the Standard which was gradually taking place. In answer to the hon. Member for Scarborough (Mr. Rowntree), it was perfectly true that an alteration had been made with regard to the examination papers in drawing. They had arranged that there should be fewer papers, and that these should be of a less elementary character, and then they hoped that the change made would be compensated by the advantages that would result. If, however, there should be any loss to the schools in consequence, the Department would consider, of course, what further change might be desirable. He thanked the Committee very sincerely for the earnestness that had characterized the discussion on the Vote. The criticism on the Science and Art Department would be of great service to him, and he trusted they would be able gradually to increase the efficiency of the Department in such a way as to make it worthy of the nation and of solid and lasting value to the working classes of the country.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said, the Royal School of Mines in Jermyn Street received £19,000 a-year, and the Royal College of Science in Dublin £7,000, while not a penny was given for teaching science in Scotland. Their share of the prizes, however, was good, and represented one-fifth of the total amount of £106,000 earned in the three countries, whereas their actual proportion would have been one-seventh. Opposite the museum in Edinburgh, there was a Science School, established by subscription and endowments, without any aid from that House. He thought it was very unfair to provide for education in science and art in England and Ireland, and to refuse to give anything in aid to Scotland. Of course Ireland, as usual, in this matter was the 1443 spoilt child. She had four times as much as England, and England had four times as much as Scotland. Scotch members had not been in the habit of asking for money, but henceforth—as in the case of the unjust Judge and the importunate widow—they would try to get a just share for themselves. Scotland had been able to develop institutions for the teaching of science, but it got no assistance from the State; and, therefore, he thought they had a good case in asking that there should be a Scotch College of Science as well as English and Irish Colleges. They did not want £19,000 a-year, which was given to Jermyn Street, nor the £7,000 given to Dublin, but if £5,000 a-year were paid for professorships at Heriot's School, they would consider that they received a fair share; and they were entitled to this, because they were made to pay for carrying on the business of the country.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
said, the Vice President had not answered the question of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Mundella) with reference to local associations. He would like to add his own appeal to that of his right hon. Friend, and express a hope that Her Majesty's Government would take the matter into their favourable consideration. He thought the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) had forgotten the assistance given to the Universities in Scotland; and he rather doubted whether the Universities would agree that it would tend to the improvement of education in Scotland if a new Government Science School were started. Perhaps his hon. Friend would consider the matter from that point of view.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, the total amount of money voted for the purchase of specimens, books, and apparatus for the College of Science in Dublin was only £6,340, while the rest of the money voted was for the payment of salaries. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that it was necessary to obtain the services of competent people to promote instruction in the various establishments, but that was no answer to the question elaborately stated by the hon. Member opposite in the earlier part of the evening. He had frequently pointed out, in that House, that the artistic structure in which they assembled was the work of a Cork man; so 1444 also were the pictures and sculpture outside the work of Cork men; and, consequently, when Irish Members endeavoured to get money devoted to artistic purposes in their country, he trusted the Committee would not think they were presuming too far. They had, in the city of Cork, owing to the munificence of a gentlemen who had recently gone to his rest, Mr. Crawford, a very handsome museum, prepared for specimens and the instruction of classes. A great number of the specimens in that museum had been lent from the South Kensington Museum; but in a city like Cork—if there was such an arrangement at hand as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield referred to—the spaces in the museum would be very soon filled up, because there were many gentlemen in Cork who would provide money to assist in the purchase of specimens which would promote art and technical instruction among the population. He hoped, therefore—profiting by the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman—that a sum would be placed on the Estimates next year for the advancement of science and art instruction in the large towns of the provinces. He hoped that due cognizance would be taken of the remonstrances which had been addressed to the Lords of the Council by the Board of Visitors of the Dublin Science and Art Museum. When all this building was going on in Dublin, these gentlemen said it was their right to supervise the structures and the amount of money spent, but they were told that "they would not be called upon in ordinary circumstances, when no special need arose." This was a distinct indignity to them, and he called attention to the matter in order, at any rate, that it might come under the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman. Again, there were only two local scholarships granted to Ireland, and these were in the North. He did not object to their being in the North of Ireland, but it was an extraordinary fact that at the present moment a gentleman from the Cork school studying at South Kensington had gained a scholarship, and since the school had been opened the pupils had carried away some of the highest prizes. That being so, he thought there ought to be an increase of the scholarships granted to Ireland. He sincerely hoped that as this great Department was every 1445 year getting a larger Vote, Ireland would not be long in getting her fair share of it.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, he must apologize for allowing the question of the right bon. Gentleman opposite to escape his memory. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the reduction in the Estimate with regard to drawing. The explanation of this was, that last year the Estimate had been placed at a higher figure than was necessary, and a slight difference had also been made by the Standard in drawing having, as he had pointed out, been raised. But he hoped that before long a larger sum would be asked for, as he heard the best accounts of the schools, which were teaching drawing in a much larger proportion than before. The right hon. Gentleman had expressed regret that the Vote for local museums had been dropped out of the Estimates, and he did so on the ground that local munificence should be met by public munificence. He also would like to see the Vote restored. But there was another thing which he thought more important, and that was the reduction of the purchase Vote, and he would like to see the full sum replaced on the Estimates, and he would do his utmost to move the stony heart of his hon. Friend on the left to do so. With regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark), he had always found, from personal observation, that in all matters of education Scotland had always been able to take care of itself. But with reference to Heriot's College, if the hon. Gentleman looked into the Calendar he would find that the College had earned a considerable grant in science and art at South Kensington, and he was, therefore, glad to say that the College had been recognized by the Department.
§ DR. CLARK
said, his complaint was, that while thousands of pounds were given to science colleges in London and Dublin not a single farthing was given for professors or scholars in Scotland. He admitted that Scotland gained more than their fair share of prizes, but his point was that in Scotland they did not get a fair share of assistance.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, it was perfectly true that there was no science college in Scotland aided in the 1446 way the hon. Gentleman referred to. A deputation had waited on the Lord President some time ago with reference to this subject, and he believed that, so far as he was concerned, the conversation with the members of the deputation was satisfactory.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he fully admitted that the right hon. Gentleman had been anxious to give him a satisfactory answer, but he could not accept as satisfactory the answer he had received. There was no promise that the Vote he referred to should be on the Estimates next year, or that anything would be done next year with regard to Grants in Aid to local museums, such as had been done by former Governments. He must inform the right hon. Gentleman that if the Votes were not replaced on the Estimates next year he should take the sense of the House on the question. He did not know anything more shabby than the way in which these Votes had been dealt with during the last three years. The simple cause of this was that Education was not represented in the Cabinet. There was no one to take charge of it, and the effect was that, notwithstanding the enormous sums spent on some objects, in the matters he had referred to there was a continual plucking, paring, and starving which was a discredit to that House. He only made that statement in order that during the Recess the matter might be fully considered, for he was determined that it should be brought to a test by Vote in this House, if what he suggested was not done.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
As the right hon. Gentleman has so directly made his appeal to me, I would ask permission to be allowed to say a word in reply. It is true, as he says, that the amount which is in the Estimate for the particular subject to which he refers, and which was employed, I understand, in assisting the localities or local museums in the purchase of specimens, was struck out of the Estimates. It is true, also, that the purchase grant was reduced at first from £10,000 to £7,000, but when the right hon. Gentleman charges the Treasury, as everyone does alternately, first with shabby niggardliness and then with wanton extravagance—
§ MR. JACKSON
But we are charged on the one hand with niggardliness and on the other with extravagance, and I want to point out that when the right hon. Gentleman refers to niggardliness there are two figures to be borne in mind—figures which are probably in his recollection. In 1875–6 the Vote amounted to £300,772, while in 1888–9—that is, this year's Estimate—the total is £520,785.
§ MR. JACKSON
Yes; in 13 years the Vote has increased from £300,000 to £520,000. What I want to point out is this—it is very well to blame the Treasury for this, that, and the other, but what the Treasury has to consider is the general condition of the whole subject; and it must be borne in mind that whilst the right hon. Gentleman believes that the Treasury has no soul or heart, I am afraid that the Treasury believes that South Kensington has not much regard for the pocket of the taxpayer. What, I say again, I want to point out is this—and I think it meets the right hon. Gentleman's desire—our duty is to try, as far as we can, to limit the total expenditure to the amount of money that it is reasonable to ask the taxpayer to provide. I am speaking now of the matter as a whole. It is for the Department to determine in what way the amount to be placed at their disposal shall be distributed, and I think I may appeal to what fell from my hon. Friend (Mr. Bartley), who has attacked some payments in this Vote to-night with great vigour, as to the possibility of so re-arranging the whole without adding to the total cost, and in that way to provide something in the direction the right hon. Gentleman desires. I agree with him that there was a time when it was exceedingly desirable to stimulate local effort. I rejoice as much as the right hon. Gentleman rejoices at the extension which has been given to this movement; but surely the day has passed, or almost passed, I hope, in our great centres of population, when the earliest and initial stages are to be taken in connection with this movement. I admit, however, that the right hon. Gentleman has dealt with this question in a reasonable spirit, and, so far as I am concerned, as representing 1448 the Treasury, I will carefully bear in mind what he has said. In spite of the threat he makes of the serious consequences which will happen to us if we neglect his advice, we will endeavour to meet his wishes.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
In reply to one remark of the hon. Gentleman, I should like to point out that the growth of the Vote is not a growth of expenditure in connection with museums. The growth is in connection with the educational part of the Vote. The hon. Gentleman is aware that the Vote for elementary education in this country has grown from £1,500,000 to £3,500,000, and we all say, "So much the better." We rejoice at that growth, as I am sure he does himself. What I want to point out is, that it is all nonsense to talk about re-distributing the money for the Departments, and appealing to the words of the hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley). The hon. Member for North Islington knows very well that it is impossible to re-distribute the money in this way without starving some other Department.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
said, he was sorry that it should be necessary for him for a moment to distract the attention of the Committee from the matters referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella). He quite agreed that this was not a subject in regard to which the Committee should be niggardly, and that, if possible, even greater expenditure should take place under this Vote. He wished to refer to certain Irish matters; and it was necessary that he should do so, as Ireland was treated very badly. It had been pointed out how little Ireland earned under this Vote at the competitive examinations—that Ireland only earned £200 out of £32,000 in the drawing classes. He admitted that Scotchmen were very hard to beat, but there were some matters in which Irishmen could beat Englishmen, and even Scotchmen. What, therefore, was the reason that Ireland only got £200 for drawing classes, while the whole sum given to Great Britain was £32,000. Why, clearly, there was something wrong with the administration. He did not blame the Vice President of the Council (Sir William Hart Dyke), but he maintained that the Government had been leaning too much upon the 1449 Irish Administration in Dublin, and that, as a matter of fact, the officials there did rot care what took place so long as they got their salaries. As one of the gentlemen concerned in the administration of Ireland had said the other day, so long as there were four quarters in the year, and they could draw their salaries regularly at the end of each, they did not care. There was a Board of Visitors in Dublin of the Science and Art Department, but as they represented no one but themselves they had been uniformly snubbed by the Department in London. In their official Report the Board of Visitors declared that they had been all along anxious to carry out the duties prescribed by Acts of Parliament, but that ever since Lord Sandon had left Office the Department had been most unwilling to assist them in doing their duty. This Board of Visitors was made up of three or four Peers, several high officials, and one or two others—12 of them in all—representing nobody but themselves, their servants, and a few other people; and this was the only body Ireland had to depend upon in the matter of science and art education. What he would propose was that the Government should reinforce this Board of Visitors by members who would have appreciably the 5,000,000 of the Irish people behind them. If this were done the Department in London would have to listen to the Board of Visitors. He doubted whether the money at present paid was properly allocated, but if they had three or four men on the Board of Visitors, such as Members of Parliament, these gentlemen would be active in bringing attention to the claims of Ireland in regard to science and art education. They might have one Conservative and two Nationalist Members put upon the Board—an arrangement which would be giving the Government an unfair share of the representation, as the Conservatives were not one-third of the population of Ireland. The Government might put on the Board, for instance, the member for South Belfast (Mr. Johnston). He, no doubt, would be a good man for this duty, and would have a large force behind him. Certainly, if the hon. Member and a couple of Nationalist members were added to the Board of Visitors, that Board would become of some weight and importance 1450 in Ireland. He should be very glad to see the three or four Irish Peers at present upon the Board retained, but he thought they and their colleagues ought to be reinforced by having some popular members added to their number. The subject with which the Board dealt would in this way become popularized in Ireland, and it would be soon seen that Ireland was earning her share like Scotland in the competitive examinations. At the present moment the amount spent in Ireland was very little, and that little was absolutely wasted. If, however, the system he proposed were adopted, the money could be properly allocated. It was a curious thing, but it nevertheless was the fact, that a number of these scientific departments in Dublin were contained in the Act of Union, and the Government were afraid to interfere with them, and to re-allocate the duties. They looked upon it as dangerous for the Unionist Ministry to interfere with them. If, however, they would reconstitute this Board of Visitors, he was sure it would be to the great benefit of Ireland, and that it would ultimately lead to economy.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
said, he did not think the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had sufficiently appreciated the Scotch opinion in this matter. The complaint of the people of Scotland was that there was a school of science in England for teaching, and also a school of science in Ireland, but that there was no school of science in Scotland, the whole extent of such teaching in that country being borne by the Scotch people. In Scotland they had appropriated lately a considerable portion of the educational endowments which were left very much for the poor of the people of that country for the purpose of assisting science and art schools; but this, of course, was done entirely out of Scotch money. The whole expenditure connected with science and art schools in Scotland was paid by the people of Scotland; and the Scotch people, therefore, complained of England and Ireland dipping into the Imperial Pulse for the purpose of affording that instruction for which in Scotland the people themselves bad to pay. They maintained that that was unfair; when the three countries were paying into one common purse, assuredly one country was as much entitled to her share of the 1451 expenditure of the money she contributed as another. There were two ways of remedying the grievance to which he was referring. They might remedy it by taking a fair proportion of the public money from the Imperial Purse and applying it to Scotland, or by requiring the people of England and Ireland to do as the people of Scotland, and support science and art education at their own expense. He was not sure that the latter would not be the more expedient course to adopt, because they found that, although Scotland had no school of science and art, and although England and Ireland possessed those schools, Scotland earned a larger grant for science and art in proportion to her population than did either of the other countries. It simply came to this, that the more they did for the people the less they would do for themselves. The Government, he maintained, should have the people very much to depend upon their own resources. When people had to pay for a thing they appreciated it much more than when they got it for nothing. He was willing to assent to that principle, and that was the reason he said to the Government, "Cut down this Vote for England and Ireland out of the Imperial Purse." The more the people of the localities were compelled to stimulate and subscribe for science and art education themselves, the better would be the results. A great deal of money was spent in Glasgow in science and art teaching, and the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council knew the value of the schools there. Well, those schools were very much hampered for want of money, and they could enlarge the sphere of their operations very considerably if they had a larger income. Moreover, they should take into consideration the question of loans from the authorities in London. They could not have the people of Scotland coming up to see our National art treasures in the Metropolis, and it seemed to him to be most convenient if they had a place in Scotland to which these art treasures could be periodically lent. The money for this purpose should be provided out of the Imperial Exchequer. Unless the Scotch Members had a pledge from the Government that they would consider favourably the claims of Scotland in regard to the matters to which he had referred, and treat that country 1452 on an equality with the rest of the United Kingdom, he should certainly move a reduction of the Vote so far as England and Ireland obtained anything in excess of their fair share of this Vote.
§ MR. BLANE (Armagh, S.)
said, he must complain that in spite of the large expenditure of money in the South Kensington Museum, there was an extraordinary deficiency of objects of interest in the Electrical and Magnetical Department when compared with institutions of a similar nature in other countries. In this department there was not, so far as he could see, a single specimen of some of the modern developments in cells and batteries, notwithstanding that specimens in these could be obtained at very little cost. So far as he could see there was not even a specimen of the cell charged with sulphate of mercury. In spite of the many thousands of pounds put down in the Estimates for this museum, where a man was supposed to be able to get the best specimens of recent inventions, he found an entire absence of those things. There was an entire absence of certain descriptions of electric motors. The Americans in these matters were greatly ahead of us. Then, in regard to gas engines, although there was one of an improved type and of a very valuable description exhibited at the American Exhibition, and inspected there by thousands of visitors, there was not a single specimen of it at South Kensington, and the only exhibits at South Kensington in connection with electric motors was one dating from the year 1846 and another dating from the year 1851, and the only gas engine was one dating back some forty years ago. These things were very valuable no doubt as belonging to a bygone time, but he thought this Committee should insist that at the South Kensington Museum we should be more abreast of the times than we were. Surely this was not too much to expect? He had noticed, even without the use of a catalogue, that South Kensington was deficient in a great many branches of scientific advancement, and if he had had a catalogue no doubt he would have been struck with these deficiencies even more forcibly. Even the most superficial observer would come to the conclusion that there must be a large amount of money misapplied at 1453 South Kensington. This state of things should be remedied; and though a large expenditure should not be incurred, there ought to be a better application of that which was voted. Some of the cells and batteries which were conspicuous by their absence in the museum could he obtained for as small an expenditure as 4s. He himself had priced some of them, and had found that they could be procured for from 4s. to 6s. 3d.
§ DR. CLARK
said, he thought the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) had rather misunderstood his point, which was a practical one. He thought that Scotland was unfairly handicapped by this Vote for England and Ireland, because it was to enable Englishmen and Irishmen to compete with Scotchmen, who in the past had been getting the majority of the positions of mining experts and mechanical and chemical, experts. The Scotch student who desired to become a mining or chemical expert had no chance with the man who graduated at the School of Mines, for at that school there were three or four Exhibitions tenable for three or four years. Although the Scotch people paid a portion of this money, not one penny went to Scotland for that purpose. £10,000 was spent on professors in England to teach these men, and there was another £3,000 for scholarships to pay those taught; but in Scotland neither for the professors nor for the taught was there a farthing given—that was to say, in connection with applied science. He thought, under the circumstances, the only way in which the Scotch Members could express their opinion was to take a Division on the Vote, and, therefore, he would move to reduce it by the sum of £5,000.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £190,303, be granted for the said Service."—(Dr. Clark,)—
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, he desired to know where they were? He wished, first, to have the question of the Board of Visitors of the Science and Art Department in Dublin settled before they went on to any other question. He would ask the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) not to run across the important question he (Colonel 1454 Nolan) had started. He desired to know whether the Government would reinforce this Board of Visitors so as to make it a popular body. They could do this by putting upon it either Members of Parliament or the Mayors of such cities as Dublin and Belfast. That would perhaps be the simplest and best way of carrying out the object he had in view.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, the hon. and gallant Gentleman appeared to imagine that the Board of Visitors in Dublin had some influence in regard to science and art teaching, but that was not the case.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, he had not said that the Board of Visitors had any influence in this matter, but his view was that they ought to have.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, the hon. and gallant gentleman he thought had mentioned the question of drawing. These matters were under the management of the Commissioners of Elementary Education in Ireland. A sum was voted for elementary education, which was an entirely different matter, and therefore the Government could not be responsible for the comparison the hon. and gallant gentleman had made. It was not within his power to alter the arrangement for the appointment of the Board of Visitors, which was constituted by agreement with the Royal Dublin Society under the provisions of the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act, 1877.
§ DR. TANNER
said, he should have thought that a Minister of the Crown like the right hon. Gentleman would have made himself acquainted with the Reports brought before him from time to time. At any rate he might have consulted some of his subordinates before rising to make some of the most extraordinary statements which he (Dr. Tanner) had ever heard made by a Minister sitting on the Treasury Bench. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Board of Visitors had nothing to do with the Museum of Science and Art.
§ DR. TANNER
said, that if they reported they evidently had something to do. If, however, the Board was to have no power for good in the making of investigation and in reporting, the Government should enable them to act in a satisfactory manner. In taking up this case the Irish members were not taking up the cause of an Irish Nationalist body, as the Gentlemen on the Board of Visitors were mostly the Tories of Tories—they were as intensely Conservative as the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council himself. He (Dr. Tanner) should have thought that aright hon. Gentleman placed in the position of the Vice President of the Council, and especially after his acquaintance with Ireland—although that acquaintance was, no doubt, of a very superficial character—would have met these noblemen and gentlemen whose names had been mentioned in connection with the Board of Visitors. That the Department was in communication with them was evident from the Report which the Irish members had had the audacity to bring before the right hon. Gentleman's notice. Surely, instead of continuing the present state of friction which evidently existed between the Department and the Board of Visitors, and which had brought the representatives of the Board of Visitors to an end for a considerable time, as the Visitors considered themselves flouted and insulted by the Board of Education, anyone responsible for the expenditure of this money should endeavour to bring about a more satisfactory state of feeling between themselves and the Board of Visitors. There could be no doubt in the world that if the Board of Visitors had conferred upon it, instead of a name which literally meant nothing, a name meaning something, and duties of a substantial character, it would be for the benefit of the people of Ireland. The Government should give them powers of a definite kind, and make them a popular body, so that their reports would attract public attention. He thought that if they had four fresh members appointed to the Board, including the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Mayor of Belfast, the object in view would be obtained. He thought the governing municipalities ought to have some voice in the management of this Science and Art Department, and that either the Lord Mayor of 1456 Dublin, or some one chosen by him, should be put upon the Board. The Board of Visitors themselves had put forward the statement that they had been better able to deal with a great many matters in connection with the Science and Art Department in consequence of their having been able to consult various interests, including those of the Corporation of Dublin. Well, if the Corporation of Dublin had a general interest in this matter why not allow some member of the Corporation to be appointed on the Board of Visitors. He thought it was a very practical suggestion that two or three Members of Parliament should be put upon the Board. If they allowed one member to be appointed by each province of Ireland, there could be no doubt that better attention would be paid to science and art education, which was of the greatest importance to the Irish community. Another matter to which he desired to draw attention was this: The right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council said that the museums were almost always open to the public. Well, he (Dr. Tanner) remembered the old English song which said:—Of all the days that's in the weekI dearly love but one day,And that's the day that comes betweenThe Saturday and Monday.The right hon. Gentleman had not the words of that song in his mind, for he had left out the Sunday. Of what use were these museums if they excluded the general public from them on the day which, of all others in the week, was the only one on which they could make use of these institutions? It appeared to him to be very extraordinary here in London that Members of Parliament, who did not get very many days to themselves, should not on a Sunday be allowed to see the various museums. Of course, he could not enter into the general question of the opening of museums on Sunday, as the subject was limited by the Vote, which was for the South Kensington Museum. Surely, when the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council laid so much stress upon the museums being always open, he was regarding the question from his own point of view—from the point of view of the classes, who could always command a day to go and see the various collections 1457 of artistic interest in the Metropolis. In the interest of the instruction of the masses of the population, he thought that, instead of permitting the closure of these museums on Sunday, they required them to be thrown open to the people on that day. The people had only got that day at their command to enjoy the inspection of works of artistic merit; and to enable them to visit the museums on this day would, he was sure, tend to the elevation of their minds. He was very sorry to have to correct the right hon. Gentleman. He always did it with pain; but when the right hon. Gentleman said that South Kensington Museum was always open, he was bound to point out that the right hon. Gentleman could not be paying much attention to what he was saying. He hoped that when next the right hon. Gentleman brought forward the Education Estimates in Committee of Supply, the museums would be open on Sunday to the inspection of the public.
§ MR. LANE
begged to give Notice to the hon. Gentleman who represented the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) that when they came to Vote 2 he should call his attention to the concluding sentences of paragraph 93 of the hon. Baronet's present Report in reference to building grants. He wished to add his views to that of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Galway (Colonel Nolan) in making an appeal to the Vice President of the Council in reference to this question of the Board of Visitors of the Science and Art Department in Dublin. He regretted that his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) had misunderstood the reply of the right hon. Gentleman in reference to the Board of Visitors a few moments ago. But that did not alter the principle of the question which the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Galway had put forward—namely, the principle of having some kind of popular representation on the Board. It was important to the Irish people that, though the Board of Visitors only had the Dublin Museum under their control, still that the Representatives of the people should have some voice in the management of what, in a short time, would become a great National and public institution in Ireland. He was not at all so unreasonable as to ex- 1458 pect that the right hon. Gentleman should, at a moment's notice, with this question sprung upon him, say right off that he was prepared to add a certain number of representatives to the Board, which was so very unconstitutionally formed at the present moment; but he thought they might ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether it would not save the time of the Committee if he gave some kind of promise that he recognized the principle contended for by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Galway, and that, between now and the period at which the Vote would come on for consideration next year, the Vice President and the Board of Education would see if they could not meet the very reasonable and just complaint put forward by some of the Representatives of Ireland as to the composition of the Board of Visitors. The Board required re-constitution, if for no other reason, in order that when the Vote came on for discussion there should be someone in the House to urge the claims of the people of Ireland in future, and, if need be, to fight for the rights and claims of the Dublin Museum as against the very powerful claims of the London Museum. For that reason alone he thought that representation ought to be given to the Dublin Corporation on the Board of Visitors, and that some of the Visitors should be Members of the House. He simply asked the right hon. Gentleman to give them this assurance—not to make an absolute promise—but to assure the Committee that this principle for which he pleaded would be considered between this and next Session.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, the right hon. Gentleman said that it was not within his power to appoint representatives on the Board of Visitors, but whilst the right hon. Gentleman made that statement, he had sitting by his side the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Treasury. It would have been competent for him to refer the matter to them, and they would have been able to give a different answer. These appointments were in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant, and, no doubt, his Lordship acted in accordance with the views of the leading Members of the Government. The Board of Visitors, it must be remembered, were the only people connected with the Science and 1459 Art Department in Ireland. He did not wish to have them reinforced with three or four Members of Parliament taken from the various sections of the House.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, he could only assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman again, that this Board of Visitors was constituted by solemn agreement drawn up with the Royal Dublin Society.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said, he trusted that the electors of the United Kingdom, and particularly the electors of the Metropolis, would note what had been the course of the debate this evening on the Science and Art Department. At general elections, Conservative gentlemen were fond of declaring that they were opposed to every species of extravagance, that they would keep their eye on all the Estimates, and resist any Estimate which they regarded as excessive. He did not know whether the hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley) held such language at his election, but the hon. Gentleman put down an Amendment to reduce this Vote by £500. No doubt, the fact was commented upon in the local organs of the hon. Gentleman's constituency. The hon. Gentleman gave Notice that it was his intention to move the Amendment that night, and he had made a speech which had convinced him (Mr. Labouchere) that the Amendment was desirable. But when the hon. Member sat down he did not move the Amendment; he got all the credit for the Amendment, but, at the last moment, he ran away from his suggestion. This, surely, was an instance of how so-called Independent Conservative Members dealt with the Estimates, which ought to be brought to the notice of the constituencies. He (Mr. Labouchere) proposed, before sitting down, to do what the hon. Gentleman himself ought to have done—namely, to move the Amendment of which the hon. Gentleman gave Notice, which was, that the Vote should be reduced by the sum of £500. His right hon. Friend the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) was a gentleman 1460 at whose feet, on ordinary occasions, he was ready to sit, but he was bound to confess that when the right hon. Gentleman discoursed on art, his love of art obscured his financial acumen. On an occasion like the present, he never heard the right hon. Gentleman make a speech without asking that more money should be spent on the Science and Art Department.
I understand the hon. Member proposes to move an Amendment, Notice of which was given by the hon. Member for North Islington. [Mr. LABOUCHERE: Yes.] That was an Amendment to reduce the Vote by £500, and an Amendment to reduce the Vote by that amount had just been withdrawn.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he understood the hon. Member for North Islington wished to reduce the Vote by £500. ["No, no!"] Then, he would move to reduce the Vote by £500. The object of the hon. Member (Mr. Bartley) in making his speech was to protest against the large number of attendants employed in the Science and Art Department. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Manchester (Sir Henry Roscoe), in the very interesting speech which he had delivered, said that they were all worshippers at the shrine of the Goddess of Science. They might not all be worshippers, but it appeared to him (Mr. Labouchere) that there were a great deal too many priests at the shrine of the Goddess of Science—in this particular instance the Goddess was at South Kensington—who, instead of devoting themselves to their Goddess, looked very keenly after their own interests. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Islington pointed out in the excellent speech he made that there were 1,100 employés, costing about £130,000, to administer £386,000. No one objected to much that was granted under the Vote. He had no doubt a great deal of it was exceedingly well expended, but it seemed to him that if they reduced the expenditure on administration, they could add to the amount which was usefully expended in the interests of art and science. That was the basis of the Amendment he should conclude by proposing. On looking through the accounts, he found that there were far too many minor Departments, and that at the head of each there 1461 was a gentleman with a very high salary. He was perfectly certain they might reduce the number of employés, and reduce considerably the superior heads of Departments by uniting the Departments. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President (Sir William Hart Dyke) told them as a reason for having 1,100 employés that there were 13 acres of ground. He never heard such an argument before. Surely, they were not to settle the number of employés by the acreage that a Department occupied. That was literally what the right hon. Gentleman had to say in answer to the conclusive and excellent speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Islington. He (Mr. Labouchere) wanted it to be distinctly understood that he, and those who would vote with him, were not in favour of any reduction of useful expenditure under this Vote. They wanted that expenditure to be increased, and they thought the best way to obtain that increase was to have the Department more cheaply administered. He begged to move that the Vote be reduced by £500.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £194,803, be granted fur the said Service."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
said, he hoped he would not be out of Order in calling attention to a very practical Scotch grievance, a grievance, however, which he was afraid could not be remedied by any Vote of the Committee that night. In the elementary schools of Scotland, the children, owing to that proficiency which was very commonly attained in Scotland, could easily earn the grant of 17s. 6d. per head. Formerly, in addition to the grant, the children were entitled to obtain a grant from the Science and Art Department for drawing, but now, by the introduction of a new rule, the grant for drawing was merged in the 17s. 6d. The result was, that if schools were so proficient—and in Scotland they mainly were—as to earn by ordinary subjects the full amount of 17s. 6d. per head, they were debarred from earning anything for drawing. The consequence was that schools were inclined to give up the teaching of drawing. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council would agree with him it was 1462 most important that drawing should be taught in all schools, and that it would be a terrible misfortune if, by some rule adopted by the Department, the teaching of drawing was discouraged in Scotland. He understood that originally the rule was so made that the discouragement of drawing applied to England as well as to Scotland, but that the Education Department in England applied to have the rule rescinded so far as this country was concerned, with the result that it was so rescinded. In England, therefore, schools could earn a grant for drawing in addition to the 17s. 6d., but in Scotland they could not. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President would tell him that his attention had been called to the matter, and that he would have it remedied as soon as possible.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, it was perfectly true that schools in England had the advantage that the drawing grant was absolutely outside the 17s. 6d. limit. He cordially agreed with the hon. Gentleman's view that they should do their utmost to assimilate the practice of the two countries, but, as the hon. Gentleman was no doubt aware, drawing in Scotch schools was altogether outside the scope of his Department. He promised the hon. Gentleman, however, that he would communicate with his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, and see what could be done.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the promise he had made, for the grievance was one which was most keenly felt.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 41; Noes 106: Majority 65.—(Div. List, No. 296.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he would like to receive a definite assurance from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council that something would be done to remedy the sadly neglected state of affairs connected with the Department in Ireland. For two years application had been made by the Dean of the Faculty of Science for drawing materials, but they had never been supplied. Attention had also been drawn to the fact that a considerable amount of time was wasted in 1463 the drawing classes by calling over the roll of names. This time might be spent to much better purpose by the teacher in really teaching his class. He had no wish to delay the taking of the Vote, and therefore he would not refer to the many other points which required the attention of the Department.
§ MR. LANE
said, that the particular point to which he wished to refer was mentioned in paragraph 93 of the Report of the Department, and it had reference to the dispute which had arisen between the Department of South Kensington and the Treasury Department as to whether Grants in Aid should be given to two convent schools in County Cork to enable the authorities to build schools of art. The Department of South Kensington was favourable to the giving of Grants in Aid, but there was a technical objection on the part of the Treasury to comply with the recommendation of the South Kensington Department. That technical objection was a grave one, and one which he fully appreciated. He knew very well it would be argued against him that if the Treasury were to give way in this instance, a precedent would be established which might be very largely followed. The objection was that no Grant in Aid of building could be given to schools of art unless the schools were to be open to the artizan classes. It was perfectly clear to any person who understood the constitution of convent schools that it would be impossible for such schools to be open at such hours of the evening as artizans might ordinarily be expected to attend—say between 7 and 10 o'clock—but it was as well he should direct the attention of the Committee and of the Representatives of the Treasury to the fact that in the small towns from which the applications for Grants in Aid of schools of art bad been made, there was no possibility of the ordinary artizan class desiring to attend the schools. The schools were mainly started with the aid of local effort and with the assistance given by the Central School of Art in Cork, which was established for the purpose of art teaching, chiefly as applied to the lace industry. The Cork School of Art authorities had sent down their head master to the convents, but now the nuns had obtained certificates in art teaching from the Department of South Kensington. In every way the nuns 1464 were qualified to receive a Grant in Aid, except in the one particular detail that they could not open their schools during certain hours in the evening. But the nuns would be quite prepared to teach whoever would attend the schools at any time, say between 4 o'clock and 6 o'clock in the afternoon, and he was assured that such times would suit all the artizans who would be anxious to study in either of the two schools in question. He did not wish the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) to think he was making a claim in regard to the two schools, because, owing to the refusal they had received already from the Treasury, the nuns had raised money from other quarters, and the schools were progressing. But he knew that the discouragement which the nuns had received, through the refusal of the Treasury to comply with the request of the Department of South Kensington, had prevented the sisterhood in other towns in Ireland undertaking the establishment of Art Schools. They had no room for art teaching in their ordinary schools, and their resources were not equal to the strain which the building of art schools would entail upon them. He therefore asked the Representatives of the Treasury to take the matter into further consideration, and endeavour to fall in with the expressed view of the authorities of South Kensington that Grants in Aid ought to be given to convent schools. There was one other point to which the Treasury took exception at first, and that was that as these institutions were principally for Catholics, students belonging to other religious persuasions might not care to attend the schools. He was authorized to state on behalf of those who administered the institutions that there would not be the slightest objection on the part of the authorities of the schools to receive students of any denomination whatever who presented themselves for teaching in the schools. He was glad the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) was present, because he imagined that when the final appeal came to be made, it would be the right hon. Gentleman who would have to decide the matter. He very respectfully asked the right hon. Gentleman to give the matter his favourable consideration when the Department brought it under his notice.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lane) was good enough to bring the subject under his notice some time ago; but he did not do so altogether in the same light in which he had presented it that night. From what the hon. Gentleman said originally, he (Mr. Jackson) was under the impression that the difficulty was not so much as to the hours at which the schools should be open, but whether the word "artizan" might be interpreted to be limited to males, or to include females. Upon the former occasion the hon. Member pointed out that possibly the lace makers might be entirely females, and he thought it would be a great hardship if the word artizan were interpreted as excluding such lace makers from the benefits of the education simply because they were females. It seemed to him (Mr. Jackson) that that would be a hardship, and he promised the hon. Gentleman that, if that were the only difficulty, his endeavours would be in the direction of meeting his wishes. The hon. Gentleman had pointed out that night that by the Rules and Regulations—made not by the Treasury, but made, no doubt, with the sanction of the Treasury, by the Science and Art Department—there were certain conditions which must be complied with before a Grant in Aid could be given. One of those conditions was, that a school, in order to obtain a Grant in Aid, must provide a class for artizans' meetings, under the direction of a master, for two hours during certain evenings of the week for 40 weeks in the year. He imagined that this Regulation was framed with a view of securing to the whole of the public, and in such hours that the whole of the population could avail themselves of it, the use of the schools for which public money was given. He was afraid it would be impossible to give a Grant in Aid to the schools in question unless the condition laid down by the Science and Art Department were complied with. If a grant were so given, a precedent would be established which many people might not be slow to avail themselves of. He had carefully noted that the Science and Art Department said in their Report that the Rules of the Department as to such grants could not be complied with. The Treasury was very often accused of 1466 being governed by Rules and Regulations. The fact was, the experience of the Treasury showed very plainly that if Rules and Regulations—which were carefully considered before being adopted—were not adhered to, there was no stopping point.
§ MR. LANE
said, it was not contemplated that the teaching in the schools in question should be confined to females. As to the demands which might be made in case an exception were made, he was able to say that claims would not be made from more than eight or 10 existing convents. Those convents were in small country towns, and the artizans who would be prepared to take advantage of the classes would be perfectly satisfied with a class which would commence, say, at 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock in the evening, and last for two hours. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury wound up his speech by saving that once rules were laid down for the management of Public Departments it was impossible to change them. That was a very indefensible position to take up; because rules, no matter what they were made for, must, at some time or other, be altered so as to meet the changing circumstances of time. He maintained that the breaking of the Rules in the direction he sought would not be taken as a precedent by any very large number of schools, while it would be a graceful act on the part of the Treasury. It was because he knew that several convents were inclined to make an application for a Grant in Aid that he begged the hon. Gentleman to prevail upon the Treasury to reconsider the matter with the Department of South Kensington, and see if they could not arrive at some kind of compromise which would enable them to extend the schools of art in the South of Ireland.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £61,359, 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 31st day of March 1889, for the Salaries and Expenses of the British Museum, including the amount required for the Natural History Museum.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
said, that the Committee had usually expected the Senior Trustee to say a few 1467 words on the subject of this Vote. In the first place, he must express the great regret of the Trustees at losing the valuable services of the late principal librarian, Mr. Bond. The publications of the Museum had been presented to various free libraries, a considerable number of duplicates had been distributed, and sets of electrotypes of coins and casts of gems had been sent to local exhibitions. He regretted that the Government had not felt themselves able to increase the grants for purchases to the old amount; but he hoped they would be in a position to do so next year. The Museum, in addition to purchase, had again received many valuable presents, which were duly acknowledged in the annual report. He might just mention those by the trustees of the late Mr. Christie, and especially a collection of prehistoric antiquities from Bruniquel, in the South of France, containing some very interesting archaic sculptures of the mammoth and the reindeer, and rendering our national collection of ancient cave remains the most complete in the world. Lord Chichester had presented a valuable series of the Pelham papers in continuation of those mentioned last year. The Natural History Museum had been for some years past particularly fortunate in the rich donations made to it. This year the Trustees had to thank Captain Ramsay for a collection of over 30,000 birds' skins, formed principally by his uncle, the late Lord Tweeddale, and which was particularly rich in the birds of the Phillippine and Andaman Islands and the Malayan Peninsula. Captain Ramsay had also deposited in the Museum the ornithological library, consisting of over 2,000 volumes, many of them very costly, collected by his uncle and himself. Lord Walsingham had presented to the Museum a most interesting collection of mounted larvæ of British and Indian lepidoptera, and also a large collection made by him in California and Oregon. Messrs. Godman and Salvin had presented a large series of American birds, and donations had also been received from Mr. Seebohm and other gentlemen. He mentioned them, both to express the gratitude of the Trustees, but also, he confessed, in the hope that others would follow so excellent an example.
§ MR. HOWORTH (Salford, S.)
said, that the British Museum stood in a 1468 very special position compared with the other museums of the country; at all events, in one respect—namely, that while the other museums had been continually subjected to criticism, both on account of their contents and their management, the British Museum, by the assent of everybody, had been free from any matters of this kind calling for comment. The Natural History Department was now the richest in the world; and he should like to supplement the rest of donations just announced by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London by mentioning that within the last few weeks a public-spirited gentleman, Mr. Godman, had presented to the Museum the most complete and valuable collection of American birds that had ever been made by any private individual. He felt great regret that three or four years ago—when a wave of economy passed over the country—a reduction of £10,000 was made in the sum annually granted for purchases. Nothing was so regrettable as starving this great and noble Institution by the reduction of the grant by such an amount. People were hardly aware what it meant to deduct at once and at one bound £10,000 from the grant. It was impossible, in many respects, to make up in subsequent years for the evils effected during a period of false economy. The objects which were collected for the Museums were so rare that very often, when they were in the market, there was a rush for them, and when once our valuable objects were purchased by Foreign Museums they were lost to us for ever. Moreover, objects such as we required for the Museum increased in value every year, and in many cases articles which had been purchased by the Museum during the past 15 years were now worth as many pounds as they had been paid for in shillings. That was the case with a great part of the Mediæval portion of the collection which had been made with judicious care by Mr. Franks. He should like to add his voice to the appeal made by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London for the restoration of the grant to its original amount. He would also ask the Government to do one other thing which all the officers of the Museum and of every other museum in the country were continually 1469 urging, which was that the British Museum should be exempted from the Treasury Rule and the Treasury Minute, which required that unexpended balances should be returned to the Treasury at the end of the year. In the case of any other expenditure, it was right that they should have a clear balance at the end of the year; but so far as the British Museum was concerned—seeing that great collections of objects only came into the market sporadically—it seemed an irrational rule that they should not allow their curators to accumulate a fund until something worthy of the Museum turned up. By the present system they inevitably held out an inducement to the Museum authorities to spend the whole of their grant upon things that were not of supreme importance, for the reason that, if the amount given were not spent one year it would be reduced the next. It seemed to him a rational and good rule that these grants should accumulate when not spent, until a great opportunity arose, when they could be expended with due regard, not only to the value of the objects purchased, but also to economy. He hoped he might be pardoned for making these remarks; but he felt, having tested the opinions, especially of the more economical Members on the other side of the House, that he was expressing the feelings of all classes, and especially of the artisans of the North of England, when he said that the pinching and starving of the Museum was a most false economy. It was, in fact, no economy at all, but went to deprive the country of that which was a great source of its wealth and its most lasting capital—the capital which consisted in the materials for securing the best education of our people and the development of a school of original research among our scientific and literary men.
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
said, that this was one of those happy subjects on which there was no Party division imaginable. He should differ from the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Howorth) on a great many important questions, but as to this question he was glad to echo heartily what the hon. Gentleman had brought before the Committee; and if not too presumptuous in doing so, he should like to add some figures which wonld go strongly to support the appeal which the hon. Member had made. 1470 Now, in the year 1886–7 the Grant to the British Museum, including the Natural History Museum at South Kensington was £116,152. In the year 1887–8 it was reduced by £11,377; moreover, that reduction was made most largely in regard to sums required for purchases and acquisitions. In 1886–7 the amount spent on purchases and acquisitions was £21,025, and in that next year it was only £13,140. At the time the Natural History Museum had been removed, but it was not the fact, as some might imagine, that the amount held over was handed to that Museum. No doubt there had been an addition to the Vote this year of some £2,000, but what was that when compared with the enormous and priceless interests involved in this great institution? The hon. Member for Salford had said that our Natural History collection was not to be equalled in the world; and taking it all in all—the library, the collection of ancient sculpture, the antiquities, including the Egyptian remains and inscriptions from that country and Assyria and Babylon—he did not believe the world could show such an institution anywhere. We might be inferior in this country in regard to some of our educational institutions—and he had sometimes pleaded that in the House—but with regard to this great Museum and library, he believed we were unrivalled in the world. He submitted that we ought to take a national pride in such an Institution, and ought not to economize in regard to it. All must feel that no voluntary effort and no private combination could ever have established such an institution, and when he remembered the extravagant sums which were spent and voted here, almost without a word, on such luxuries as hon. colonelcies in the Army—£1,000 a-year being paid to each for doing nothing—he really felt indignant when he found that it was not possible to increase, rather than to diminish, the amount spent on this great Institution. There were no words possible ether than those of praise and admiration to be bestowed upon the management of the Institution. He cordially concurred in the enconiums uttered by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) upon the recently retired chief librarian. He hoped it would 1471 not be considered in the least degree inconsistent with that tribute of admiration if he stated that in one respect at least he considered the policy of the authorities in regard to the library was mistaken. An error of judgment had been committed in rendering the library accessible to a large number of persons who could hardly be called students—who went there to study nothing more important than the last new novel, or to lounge away a few idle hours. Looking at the great and growing demand made upon the space of the Institution, he certainly thought that it should not be made a sort of free library for London, seeing that it was maintained by the State for scholars not of this country only, but of the world. He was sorry to see such a sum as £3,400 put down in the Estimate for police and watching. He was led to suppose that fears had been entertained in recent years lest this great and glorious Institution should be made an object of attack by dynamiters or other ruffians of that character; but it seemed to him scarcely possible that such a thing should be thought of—surely better times were coming. He hoped that this extravagant amount for the police would be reconsidered, and the money devoted to adding to the collections. He most cordially joined in the satisfaction expressed in voting this money, which he devoutly wished had been three or four times the present amount.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
asked, whether anything had been done towards opening the British Museum in the evening? There had been a good deal of discussion about this from time to time, and he thought that, owing to the improvement in the electric lighting, the question should have been considered, because he believed the opening of the Museum at night would be a great advantage to students and the yearly increasing number of thinking members of the poorer classes.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
said, this was the fourth or fifth year in which he had drawn attention to this subject, and moved the reduction of the Vote. When the late Government was in power, they were almost promised that the British Museum should be opened in the evening for the benefit of the working classes. Some delay had taken place, it was said, because it was 1472 necessary to get an estimate of the cost of the introduction of the electric light into the British Museum, and the Party then in power allowed the matter to rest. Last year he had again brought the subject under the notice of the Government, and he had now to point out that the delay which had taken place was hardly justified on any ground. The British Museum was kept up by the taxation of the country—that was to say, a large sum was voted annually, which came out of the general taxpayers' pocket, and he had made a calculation that the proportion of this amount paid by the working classes was £100,000 out of a total of £150,000. So far as the working classes of the country were concerned, however, the British Museum might just as well not be in existence at all, because they had no opportunity of visiting it; and although on Bank holidays they could do so, it was not to be expected that the masses of the people would be contented to restrict themselves to indoor museums, so that, practically, while they supported this Institution by the earnings of the working classes, they were at the same time told that they should not enjoy the advantages which it offered. This, he said, was class legislation to the very last degree; it was not dealing fairly with the people, and in these days, when they heard so much of Tory Democrats and friends of the people, it was time that the Government should begin to act upon their own principles, and the professions made on the platforms. The difficulty in this matter was the question of electric lighting. Now, if electric lighting had but just been introduced into the country he could understand the argument as to not having had experience of the system, but there was now hardly a club in London that was not thus lighted, and the system was also in use at the Museum in Jermyn Street, and in many public and private establishments throughout the country; and, moreover, there was not the slightest difficulty or danger in connection with it, and, therefore, no argument could be drawn from it with regard to its ill effect upon works of art. The second difficulty was the financial one, but he saw no difficulty of this kind in the matter. One would think that the money came out of the pockets of the Ministers themselves. 1473 The Government were willing enough to make economies amongst the lower classes of officials, while they were always ready to allow extravagance in the upper Departments to continue, and, so far as the leisure and pleasure of the upper classes were concerned, they were willing to go to any amount of expenditure, for at the West End large institutions—which ought to be national and popular in their character, but which were confined exclusively to the use of the class among which they were placed—had been and were being built out of the public money. Now, there was this one Institution in the centre of the working population, and the excuse for not opening it in the evenings was that it would cost money. He admitted that it would do so, but that was no reason why the people should be deprived of the advantage and pleasure of going there. The Estimate made was that the introduction of electric lighting would cost £15,000, but it was now calculated that the installation would not cost anything like that amount; besides that, they had electric lighting in the Museum already. And then there was the cost of working, put down at £1,200 a-year. He asked hon. Members who represented Metropolitan Districts if they were going to allow their constituents to be deprived of that opportunity of entering the British Museum because it would cost about £1,200 a-year? He extremely regretted that a very strong supporter of this movement had passed away from among them—Colonel Duncan, a gentleman respected by every Member of that House for his genial kindness and good nature, and whose loss they all felt severely. Colonel Duncan was a strong advocate of opening the Museum in the evening, and he had told him, a very short time ago, that he had tried to induce the Government, by every argument he could use, to grant this right for the benefit of his constituents. But there were other Metropolitan Members in the House, and he asked if they were going to support the exclusion of the people who paid for these art treasures, or were they going to do them simple right and justice, and by their vote induce the Government to allow the Museum to be opened at night? There would, of course, be an addition to the staff, but he cared not what that 1474 or the expenditure might amount to, for it was no valid excuse as against the demand of the working classes of London or of the country generally. In France and Germany the people had the opportunity of visiting public museums at night, and the result was seen in that higher politeness and good behaviour which he regretted to say was not often found in this country. There had been an exhibition of pictures at the East End of London from time to time, and other works of art had been lent for the purpose, and in no single instance had any damage been done to them; on the contrary, it was well known that the best police to have in these institutions were the people themselves, and this the police themselves acknowledged, because they had stated that, so far as good conduct was concerned, they had nothing but praise for the behaviour of the people. As his hon. Friend had said, this was no Party question; this was a question affecting the well-being of the people, and surely hon. Members then present could all say something in favour of the proposal that night. It was not that the Government objected to the Museum being open at night; it was but a question of cost, and he was satisfied that, were they to largely increase the expenditure on this object, not the slightest objection would be taken to it by any Member of the House; on the contrary, he was convinced Members on both sides would agree that it was one of the best ways of spending money, and one of the highest duties of a Member of Parliament, thus to endeavour to elevate the minds of the people.
§ SIR ROPER LETHBRIDGE (Kensington, N.)
said, he would ask the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) whether the Trustees of the British Museum had made any representations in the proper quarter with a view to obtain the great reform which had been advocated by the hon. and learned Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy)? As a Metropolitan Member he strongly supported the hon. and learned Gentleman's appeal. On many platforms in the Metropolis he had ventured strongly to oppose the opening of the Museum on Sundays, partly on principle, and partly because he believed it would lead to many evils to the working classes; at the same 1475 time those who objected to the opening of Museums on Sundays were bound in honour, in his opinion, to find some other opportunity of which the working classes could avail themselves for visiting these great educational institutions. It was quite clear that the expense of opening the British Museum in the evening, now that the system of electric lighting had been so far perfected, would not be very heavy, and he quite agreed with the hon. and learned Member for King's County when he asked why they should not pay for this right of the working classes. He appealed to Her Majesty's Government to listen to this request of the hon. and learned Member.
§ SIR HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)
said, he rose to ask the hon. Baronet whether the Trustees had considered the question of opening, at any rate, the Natural History Museum on Sunday afternoon; and, if so, what conclusion they had arrived, and, if favourable to the measure, what would be the extra cost? It was well known that there were a few Government Institutions, such as Kew Gardens and others, open to the public on Sundays, but if they stepped beyond the bounds of this Island they found that all museums on the Continent were open on Sundays. Again, he failed to see why the people should not only not have an opportunity of viewing the beautiful treasures of art and science by electric light, but why they should not also be able to see them on Sundays.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
said, with regard to the opening of Museums on Sundays, he thought that this was a matter which must be settled by the localities themselves. He was himself no Sabbatarian, but not being a Metropolitan Member he did not wish to express any opinion upon this question, though he had for many years strongly urged that the question of lighting the Museums at night should be dealt with. He made this appeal strongly with regard to the Natural History Museum at South Kensington. He thought the experience of recent years of exhibitions at Kensington had shown that there was an immense demand in London for opportunities of visiting places of this kind at night. The question was how were the working men to amuse them- 1476 selves in the evening? He was himself a working man, and desired to amuse himself at that time, but he had no means of doing so except by coming down to that House, and there were times when he would very much rather go to instruct his mind with his children to the Natural History Collection at South Kensington. He maintained that the great expenditure on this Institution was absolutely lost, so far as the masses of the people were concerned, by their not being open at night. They had several times had from the Government promises of favourable consideration for this matter, and he now asked whether they had now considered it, and if they were willing to carry out the proposal?
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
said, that with regard to the opening of Museums on Sundays the working classes were greatly divided in opinion, as was shown in the discussion at the Trade Congress last year. But, especially as a Metropolitan Member, he could not conceive any objection being raised to the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy). He knew that there were very large numbers of the working classes who could not go to these Institutions in the day time. As these were debarred on Sundays, if they were not to be admitted in the evening, the result would be that they could not go at all; and if there was anything in what was said of the educational value of Museums the Committee ought to put pressure on the Government to give to the working classes the desired opportunities. It seemed to him that the expense would be limited, inasmuch as the electric light was already on the premises, and he pointed out that there were a number of days which could not be utilized for want of light which would be available if the electric light were more largely used. It seemed to him that if they were to make this concession in favour of the working classes they would only be doing an act of justice. When he referred to the frequent expressions of opinion, and the promises that the Government would consider this question, he could not but hope that they would have a satisfactory announcement from the Government on the subject. If not, he should decline to treat this question as a Party one, and should take an independent part in any 1477 Division indicating the sense of the House, that it disapproved a large section of the people Wing excluded from the British Museum, and that every pressure should be applied to remove the disability.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, he was not surprised to hear the opinions which had been expressed. Last year the Government had received a clear intimation that there was a strong desire on the part of hon. Members to have this question thoroughly considered, and the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy had said that he (Mr. Jackson) had promised, on behalf of the Government, that it should be fully and favourably considered. The subject accordingly had been most carefully and thoroughly considered; communications had been made to the Trustees of the British Museum, and inquiries also as to the cost of electric lighting. There were, of course, two questions to be dealt with—one that of cost, the other that of safety in opening the Museum in the evening. There was some misunderstanding apparently in the minds of hon. Members as to what the cost would be. He had stated last year the estimated cost, and since that time they had made further inquiry, and received other estimates from the authorities as to what the cost would be. Taking the British Museum proper, the estimate for plant was £12,618. His hon. Friend the Member for North Kensington (Sir Roper Lethbridge) had said, that there would not be very much additional cost, because already the electric light was on the premises. He would see on reflection that the small instalment of two lights outside and a few inside the Museum was of no practical value, and could not be of use for the object in view, which really meant more machinery, which, as he had said, was put down at £12,618. The estimated annual cost of maintenance and service would be £3,595 a-year for three days a-week, and £7,197 for six days. Those figures were very large, and required careful consideration before the Government could add such a sum to the annual Estimates. The estimated cost for the Natural History Museum was—for plant, £15,000; and the annual cost of maintenance and service on three days a-week was £3,737, and for six days 1478 a-week £6,974, together representing a total cost of nearly £28,000 for outlay on plant, with an annual expenditure of £14,000 a-year for opening the Museum at night on six days a-week. The Government regarded these items as very serious, but there was another consideration, perhaps, even more important than that of cost. The Government had consulted the Trustees of the British Museum, and endeavoured to elicit from them what was their opinion as to the desirability of opening at night and the safety of doing so. The answers they received practically came to this—that if the Government were to require the opening of the Museums they must accept responsibility for what, in their opinion, was not entirely free from risk. It appeared to the Government that the Trustees were the Body best able to judge on this matter, and in the face of this opinion the Government did not feel themselves justified in giving effect to what would appear to be a general wish, that the Museum should be open at night, if it could be done with safety and at a reasonable cost. With regard to the question of electric lighting, he did not think they would suffer anything by waiting another year. It was true that great progress had been made in electric lighting, and also, as the hon. and learned Member for King's County had pointed out, the system was in use in many places in London, but there had been recently a very decided advance in the direction of private electric lighting without the necessity of providing for separate installation; and, personally, he would prefer to wait for a short time, because he thought that it would be more economical if they could make use of some general installation rather than have to supply the engines and boilers with a staff of workmen which would be necessary to furnish the two branches of the Museum with separate installations. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) had spoken of the cost of the police, and he would observe that the Trustees were not responsible for the men in charge of the Museum. The Trustees had taken up the position that the Government were responsible for the enormous value of the treasures contained in these buildings, and the Government did not feel that their opinion on this subject should be set up in opposition to that of the head of the police, 1479 who knew better what was necessary for protection against fire and other dangers. He agreed with the hon. Member for Leicester that the charge for police was very high, and he believed if he (Mr. Jackson) had pressed the matter it might have been reduced, on the distinct condition that he would be responsible for the safety of the collections, which responsibility he was not prepared to accept. Whilst the Government had most carefully considered this question, whilst they were entirely in sympathy with the view which had been expressed, that the greatest liberty should be afforded to the largest number of people desirous of making use of these Institutions, neither on the question of cost or upon the question of safety did they feel themselves justified in coming to any other conclusion than to postpone for a time the settlement of this matter.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said, the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) had told the Committee, as a Representative of the Government, that it was not prepared to carry out the electric lighting of the British Museum in the evening on the ground of cost, and also on the ground of safety. Again and again it had been said in that House by almost every Member who took an economical view of the question that they were in no sort of way opposed to the proposal. The hon. Gentleman had frightened the Committee with his observations on the question of cost, but he (Mr. Labouchere) did not see anything particularly terrible in the figures he had given. He had no objection to vote for the expenditure of £12,000, and for the subsequent expenditure of £7,000 a-year for these Museums. After all, they belonged to the nation, and they knew that the greater part of the inhabitants were obliged to work for a livelihood during the day. If there was a feeling—he did not share it—that the Museums should not be opened on Sundays, then the least they could do was to give working men an opportunity of going there in the evening of week days. At the present moment they were told they were preventing the great majority of the taxpayers of the nation from visiting the Museums, because they had no right to expend for their benefit £6,000 or £7,000 a-year. The hon. Gentleman said it would be a 1480 mistake to do it this year, and why? Because they might get electric lighting done better in a subsequent year, as there had been a great improvement, and we ought not to expend this money before we could get the work done by some general installation. He believed that a much better result would be got if they did the work themselves, as had been shown to be the case in connection with private residences where the light was used. He believed that the cost of electric lighting was one-third of ordinary lighting, and probably, with their own engines, it would be found to be less than that. This, however, was a matter of minor detail, and it could not fairly be raised as a reason for not doing what was wanted at once. The hon. Gentleman then went on to say that they must consider the question of its safety. The Government had applied to the Trustees, and asked if they could guarantee the safety of the Museum, but he would point out that the Trustees had special duties to perform, such as the purchase of objects of art, and it was for the Government to decide whether or not there was any danger to be apprehended. The Trustees, said the hon. Gentleman, threw the responsibility upon the Government. Of course they did; the Trustees had absolutely nothing to do with it. The Trustees had simply said that the matter in no way referred to them, and that the Government must accept the responsibility of their own action, and that if pressure were put upon them they would consent. The Trustees ought not to be asked about the matter at all; it was not their business, but the business of the Government, who looked after the police and were responsible to the House for seeing there was no danger of fire, and it was the business of the Government to accept that responsibility. He presumed the danger would be from overcrowding more than from fire; but there were Museums in other countries which were open in the evening as well as many in our great towns, but the people, as was well known, conducted themselves when they went there perfectly well. They were told that if the people went at night the rowdies would destroy everything. He did not believe the rowdy class would go into the British Museum in order to make a row there and destroy property, 1481 and hon. Members might be sure that until the public-houses were shut up, and ether places, this terrible being would not go to the British Museum. He was himself in favour of opening the Museums on Sundays as well as upon the evenings of week days, but he was perfectly aware the there were differences of opinion in that House on the question of opening them on Sunday. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Albert Rollit) had said that the working men themselves were divided on the subject. He agreed that this was so, but a motion was carried amongst the trades unionists in favour of Sunday opening by two to one. However, he admitted the difference of opinion on the matter, and until they could agree to some unity of action he doubted whether the proposal could be carried in that House. There were, however, many hon. Members who would vote for opening the Museum in the evening, and therefore he begged to move the reduction of the Vote by a sum of £300, and those who voted in favour of the Amendment would be understood to declare themselves to be in favour of an expenditure being incurred for the opening of the Museum in the evening.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £61,059, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
said, it appeared to him that the question of safety in connection with electric lighting depended on whether they could trust to it as well as they could to other means of illumination. The experience of hon. Members in that House had been on one occasion that the electric light was liable to go out, and it was a fact that at most institutions where the electric light was used there was, besides, supplementary means of illumination. If had been conceded that gas and other modes of lighting would he dangerous in Museums, but he asked if the Trustees had considered whether science had advanced so for as to make it possible to trust to electricity alone?
§ MR. JACKSON
said, the question of safety was net limited to that of protection against fire. There was safety against theft, and safety in respect to the protection of treasures, and when he employed the term he did so in its largest sense, regarding the question from the 1482 police point of view as related to the protection of these invaluable treasures. It was in that sense that he considered the opening of the Museum at night to involve an element of danger and increase the difficulty of protection for reasons of various kinds which did not exist in the day time.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, there was not a single point in the argument of the hon. Gentleman that would not justify the Government in making a demand for the closing of every public institution in the country. Year after year this Motion came forward, and year after year there was the same defence; first it was a question of cost, then it was a question of electricity, then it was a question of police, and now the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Tomlinson) had furnished a new defence for the action of the Government. He granted that there was an element of danger; but was it forgotten that there was danger in the House of Commons from gas, electricity, and other causes? There was danger in the case of the Museum in Jermyn Street, both in regard to electric lighting and the protection of objects of great scientific value. Surely the points to bear in mind in considering the question were the interests and the rights of the people in a discussion in the House of Commons. There was no man in that House who understood the question of electric lighting who would not tell the Government that for places like the British Museum it was not only of advantage to have electric lighting, but that it was necessary to have their own instalment and control of it as they liked. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) had last year promised that during the Recess this question should have the best consideration. He was glad to see the right hon. Gentleman back in his place, because he knew that he, at least, above all men in that House, would do all in his power to benefit the working classes. He said that advisedly, and last year the right hon. Gentleman's words were—"I will undertake that the question shall be considered during the Recess, and, if possible to be done, it will be done." There had not been a single valid argument put forth in the course of the discussion for not opening the Museum in the evening; on the other hand, there 1483 was no difference of opinion among the Committee. With regard to the Trustees, he remembered that four or five years ago, when he raised this question in the House of Commons, the hon. Baronet the Member for London University (Sir John Lubbock), who was one of the Trustees of the British Museum, said that, so far as be was concerned, he had no objection to the proposal, and the hon. Gentleman now confirmed his recollection. They had been told, however, a few minutes ago, that one of the great difficulties was the opposition of the Trustees, but it appeared that it was now minimized to this—namely, that the Government wished to throw upon the Trustees the responsibility of opening the Museum in the evening, and the Trustees properly replied that it was the business of the Government to take the responsibility, that they were there as Trustees only, and that if the Government decided to take the course they were willing to carry it out. Now, that was not opposition on the part of the Trustees of the British Museum, who might really be quoted as friends and advocates in this matter. When hon. Members were willing to pay £12,000 for an instalment for the purpose of opening the British Museum at night, and for giving to the working people of the Metropolis that which was their right, to take their pleasure and instruction in institutions to the cost of which they subscribed two-thirds, they were then met with this paltry excuse, that it would cost £6,000 a-year. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, in the interests of education, which all Members had at heart, and from a stronger point of view, in the name of the working men of the Metropolis, who paid two-thirds of the cost of the buildings—he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to announce to-night that he would, on behalf of the Government, consent to the proposal he had made. Of course, he knew that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury was just as strong an advocate as he himself for the opening of the Museum at night, and he knew that in that House he was bound by his official position to defend things as they were, and without any disrespect to him the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury might very well rise and say, in 1484 response to the almost unanimous expression of opinion on both sides of the House, that he would grant the demand which had now been before Parliament for five years.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF TEE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
said, he had listened with great attention to the observations of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy), who had always evinced considerable interest in the opening of Museums for the instruction of the people. It must not be supposed that the Government had any desire to prevent the inhabitants of the Metropolis having the advantage of visiting the British Museum in the evening, if that could be accomplished with perfect safety. If the Government had the assurance of the Trustees, those who were responsible for the great collections, that measures could be taken to secure the safety of the collections, the Government would raise no objection; but he had a letter before him which threw doubt upon the view of the Trustees in that matter. He did not wish to enter on any controversy with the Trustees, or with hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, in respect to this question. All the Government desired to do was to discharge their duty as custodians together with the Trustees, as they thought, of the great National collection of inestimable and priceless value. They dared not, and ought not, to expose the collection to any risk whatever. But they must take the Trustees into council, and receive some assurance from them as to their feeling as to what was right and best to be done under the circumstances. He assured the Committee that the question of cost involved in the matter was no obstacle at all; if they could be satisfied that the Trustees themselves were confident that the arrangement which was proposed would be one which could be carried out with advantage and with safety, it should be carried out so far as the Government were concerned. That was an answer which he hoped would be satisfactory to the Committee. Hitherto the Government had not been satisfied that the conditions laid down were capable of attainment. He had no doubt whatever that in further con- 1485 ferences with the Trustees they might receive more complete and more satisfactory assurances. If they did, he assured hon. Gentlemen it would only remain with the Committee to vote the funds necessary to enable the change to be made.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
said, he did not understand his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) to say that the Trustees raised any difficulty as to the opening; but the question of safety was to be regarded from two points of view. There was the question of electric lighting itself, and there was the question of danger from other causes. The Trustees felt that, although possibly they might be able to advise as to the lighting of the Museum, on the question of safety the Government and the House had the same means of information as the Trustees, and that the Trustees would be taking upon themselves a great responsibility if they attempted to give the impression that they were better able to form a judgment on a question of that sort than the Government and the House. He might say that one reason which had prevented the Trustees from pressing the matter forward at that moment had been that they did not quite agree with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy), that a separate installation would be better than to make use of a general installation in that part of the Metropolis. The Trustees had always been under the impression that there would be some advantage in waiting until there was a general system of electric lighting in that part of London of which they might avail themselves. He thought there was more reason to hope for such a general installation than there was some time ago, and the feeling of the Trustees was that if there was a probability of a general system of electric lighting being carried out it would be more economical and safe to wait until they could avail themselves of it. The second consideration which had influenced them in the matter was the question how far the evening opening was likely to be made use of. Hon. Members who had spoken in the debate appeared to assume that there would be a very large number of persons who would avail themselves of the right of access to the British Museum at 1486 night, and if there was any prospect of that the Trustees, as a body, would be only too glad to facilitate their doing so. He did not know whether the Government had before them the Returns as to the attendance at South Kensington Museum, which was at present open at night. At South Kensington there had been no danger, but he was afraid that the numbers who went there had not been so large as had been anticipated. However, on that question, again, the Metropolitan Members were better able to judge than the Trustees of the British Museum, and if those Members thought it was likely that the access would be availed of to a large extent, the Trustees would be most glad to co-operate with the Government and the House of Commons, because it was their one object always to make the inestimable treasures of the Museum as available to their countrymen generally as they possibly could be. He did not know whether he should be in Order in replying to one or two other questions which had been asked; but if the Chairman did not stop him he should proceed to do so. His hon. Friend the Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) spoke about the library. The Trustees of the Museum had had the point to which the hon. Member directed the attention of the Committee before them, but it was not a very easy matter, as he was sure his hon. Friend would feel, that the use of novels in the British Museum should be limited. The Trustees had always been anxious to make the Museum as widely available to all classes of the community in London and in the country as possible, and under these circumstances it was difficult to check the reading of novels; but, at the same time, he would mention the point raised by the hon. Gentleman to the Trustees, and if they could do anything to carry out the suggestion, he was sure they would be glad to do so. With reference to the question of police, no doubt the amount of £3,400 was rather large, but the present arrangement in that respect was really economical. They had been employing police more largely of late, and in that way had been able to reduce the other staff, which was more expensive. The number of passages in the Museum was very great, and the objects exhibited were of such inestimable value that he was sure that the Committee would feel that it was de- 1487 sirable they should be very carefully protected. He did not think that the danger to be feared was from the rowdy element; there was not much fear of a large number of roughs visiting the Museum; the real danger was that persons who knew the value of some of the articles displayed should run away with them, and dispose of them to their own advantage. His hon. Friend the Member for South Manchester (Sir Henry Roscoe) asked a question about the opening of the Museum on Sundays. That was a matter upon which there was some difference of opinion in the House; but, so far as the Trustees were concerned, they were of opinion that it would be a great advantage to the people of the Metropolis if the British Museum were open upon Sunday afternoons. The Museum at Kew, which was only a few miles off, was open on Sundays, and why there should be any conscientious objection to the Museum being open in London on Sundays while the Museum at Kew was open on that day it was not easy to see. His hon. Friend asked him what the cost of opening the Museum on Sundays would be? The Trustees had ascertained that the cost of opening the Museum at Bloomsbury would be about £1,000 a-year, and that of opening the Natural History Museum at Kensington about £500 a-year. He thought he had now answered all the questions asked him, and he had only to add that, so far as the Trustees were concerned, they were entirely in the hands of the House in reference to the question of evening opening. When the Government thought that, on the whole, it was advisable to open the Museum at night, and the House voted the money for that purpose, the Trustees would do everything in their power to carry the scheme out as satisfactorily and as promptly as possible. He might, perhaps, be permitted to add one word with reference to the cost. The sums which had been mentioned had been on the hypothesis that the whole Museum was to be opened every evening. The Trustees thought that, if anything were done, it would be desirable to open the Natural History portion first and try that as an experiment; and he thought also that, even as regarded the Natural History Museum, it would not be necessary to open the whole of it every evening. Perhaps some economy might 1488 be effected if certain parts were opened one evening and certain other parts another evening. If there were any other questions which hon. Members desired to put to him he would gladly do his best to answer them.
§ MR. LAWSON (St. Pancras, W.)
said, as a Metropolitan Representative and not as a Party man, he might be forgiven if he said a word in support of the reduction of this Vote, with a view to a real nationalizing of the British Museum. As a London Member he should like to say how satisfactory he and his Colleagues thought the statement made by the hon. Baronet the Member for London University (Sir John Lubbock). The hon. Baronet had demolished the arguments both of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury and the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
begged the hon. Gentleman's pardon. He entirely agreed with the remarks of the hon. Baronet.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, that in that case there was small reason for pressing the Motion to a Division, because the hon. Baronet had said that if the House and the Committee were in favour of opening the British Museum in the evening so were the Trustees. If the Government were in favour of the Museum being opened in the evening the matter was settled once for all. He understood the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to say, however, that they waited for the opinion of the Trustees. They had heard the opinion of the Trustees. The hon. Baronet dealt with the argument of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, that liability to outrage was the principal reason for not opening the Museum in the evenings. The hon. Baronet replied that there was nothing to fear on that score. The Committee could accept the hon. Baronet's assurance, after the experience gained at the South Kensington Museum; and he (Mr. Lawson) must point out that, if there was to be adequate lighting by electric means, he could not see how there could be greater danger of outrage in the evening than there was during the day. What outrage was expected? Was it expected there would be the theft of some article of great value, or wanton destruction of one kind or another? He could not see that danger 1489 was to be expected at the one time more than at the other. It was, of course, a commonplace to say that the Museum was valuable as a means of scientific education by object lessons. A great effort was being made for the extension of University teaching in the Metropolis, both in its scientific and literary sides. The opening of the British Museum would be a valuable help indeed to students who were engaged in studying in the science classes. As to the fact that there had not been a very adequate attendance at South Kensington, not so large as the hon. Baronet had hoped for, it must be obvious to the Committee that the South Kensington Museum was out of the way of the working classes, and that the British Museum at Bloomsbury was far more accessible from the North and East of London.
§ MR. NORRIS (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
said, he thought that this was a question upon which the Government might very gracefully retire. The Government had expressed their opinion in regard to the opening of the Museum, and they had also stated the course which they were prepared to pursue. They were aware, from what the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London had said, of the opinion of the Trustees, and he thought that there could be no doubt whatever that the feeling of the Committee was in the direction of opening the Museum in the evening. He could not but think that the working classes would take I advantage of the opportunity of attending the British Museum in the evenings of the week. Of course, it was a very different matter for them to attend the South Kensington Museum. The British Museum was situated in the centre of London, and therefore was very accessible to the working classes living in all quarters of the Metropolis. The cost, too, of opening the Museum would certainly be infinitesimal in the total expenditure of the country, and therefore he thought this was an occasion when all political sentiment might be put aside and they might legislate for the benefit of the people. He believed the working classes could be trusted, and that the treasures collected at Bloomsbury would be perfectly safe in their hands. Frequently there were very dense fogs in London, and when they prevailed in the day time the 1490 Museum was open. Personally he could not see that any greater danger would ensue from the Museum being opened in the evening than from its being open in a London fog, or until darkness set in in the winter months. As he had said, this was an occasion when the Government might at once consent to fall in with the opinion generally expressed in the Committee. At any rate, he hoped that a trial would be given to the suggestion, for he felt that the carrying out of it was calculated to promote the best interests of the people.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, he thought that the Committee was under some misapprehension as to the attitude of the Government. Having heard the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London express a view in favour of opening the Museum at night, or, at all events, of that portion of the Museum which was called the Natural History Museum, the Government would certainly afford every facility for the attainment of that end. They had not hitherto received the assurance of the Trustees in favour of the project, but he wished to remind the House that, after having made this declaration, the adoption of the Motion to reduce the funds available for the British Museum would be a misfortune, while it would not effect the object aimed at by its supporters.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he would like to have the matter perfectly clear. The Government had first, through their spokesman, the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, said that the Trustees were not prepared, he thought—[Mr. JACKSON: I did.]—to accept the responsibility of opening the Museum at night. That, of course, involved the idea that the Government wished to throw the responsibility upon the Trustees. [Mr. W. H. SMITH: No, no!] The right hon. Gentleman said "No, no!" Did he understand that the right hon. Gentleman considered that the statement made by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock), who was a Trustee of the British Museum, gave them full authority and power to open the Museum at nights? [Mr. H. SMITH: Yes.] Then in that case he thought it would be possible to withdraw the Motion, because, without going to a Division, he had gained the 1491 Government over. Let him, however, point out to the right hon. Gentleman that it was hardly fair to use the argument that, if they were to agree to a reduction of £500, they would reduce the amount necessary to carry on the Museum. That was a mere technical objection, because everyone knew that often, when an increase was desired, a reduction was moved. That was a roundabout way of doing the thing; but it was according to Constitutional usages of which he was a supporter. If they had carried the reduction, it would not have followed that any blame was attached to the authorities of the Museum. The attitude of the right hon. Gentleman had not, however, rendered a Division necessary. Even if the Vote had been reduced by £500, no doubt, as had been done before, the Committee would have agreed with the original Vote on Report. He asked leave to withdraw his Motion.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)
said, that before the Motion was withdrawn, it would, perhaps, be as well that they should consider the equity of the case. There was no doubt whatever that London would receive the main advantage from this projected change, and while anyone would agree that the original installation might fairly come out of Imperial funds, it would be but a reasonable thing, as a matter of equity between the Metropolis and the country, if one-half of the cost were to come out of the London rates. They had had a discussion on the identical principle in regard to the London Parks. The Metropolitan Members advocated this change an the ground that it would be a great been to the working classes of the Metropolis. Now, every other town had to provide its own Museum. It was argued that the British Museum was a National Museum, but certainly the Metropolis received the principal advantage from its existence. He therefore suggested to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that when he came to carry out the details it would be worth his while to see that at least one-half of the cost of maintaining the Museum was defrayed out of the London rates.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, that perhaps he might be allowed to make an explanation. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) appeared, he was 1492 going to say, to throw doubt—[Mr. LABOUCHERE: Not intentionally.] What he (Mr. Jackson) had endeavoured to convey was that, while the Trustees were willing under pressure to agree to the opening of the Museum at night, they would not accept the responsibility, but threw the responsibility of doing so upon the Government. Perhaps it would be as well he should read one passage from the correspondence with the Trustees. They said that they were prepared to do this—that was to open the Museum at night—On the responsibility and at the call of the Government. They cannot themselves urge the adoption of the measure at the present time, and they would again recommend that, if evening opening is adopted, it should, in the first instance, be restricted to the Natural History Museum.That, he thought, conveyed the views he endeavoured to explain.
§ MR. PICTON
said, he protested against the doctrine uttered by his hon. Friend the Member for West Bradford (Mr. Illingworth) that the British Museum was, in any special sense, the property of London. His hon. Friend had said that Londoners reaped the principal advantage of the Museum, and that they ought, therefore, to pay at least one-half the cost, just as the hon. Gentleman contended that the cost of maintaining the London Parks should be defrayed out of the local rates. But the London Parks were matters of local recreation, while the Museum was a matter of National information. A man could not carry the Parks away from London, but a man who went to the British Museum, and studied there, carried the knowledge he obtained wherever he went. The British Museum existed for the information of the whole nation; they might as well say that the citizens of Oxford ought to pay part of the cost of keeping up the University of Oxford. The British Museum was as National in its character as was the University of Oxford.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. HOWORTH
asked that some answer might be given to the suggestion he put earlier in the debate—namely, that any balance of the grant remaining unexpended at the end of a year might be allowed to accumulate instead of 1493 being returned to the Treasury. Such a rule existed in the case of the Scotch Museum.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
said, that the point had been more or less under the consideration of the Government, because they saw some force in it. The Government would carefully consider the suggestion, which was one applicable not only to this particular Vote, but to several others.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
was glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would favourably consider the suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford (Mr. Howorth), which appeared to be a most reasonable one. It was a bad system that they should allow the British Museum a fixed sum per annum, and that if the Trustees did not expend it in the year they should not be allowed to carry it over to the subsequent year. It was possible under such a system that the Trustees would buy things which were not of very great value rather than hand back any balance to the Treasury. In a particular year they might have occasion to buy something of great value, but be unable to do so, because they had not sufficient funds at their disposal. He certainly thought there would be very little opposition on the Liberal Benches to the suggestion made.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he thought that the work accomplished that evening would be incomplete unless they were to go a little further. An instalment had certainly been gained for the people against the privileged, but anyone who listened, as he did, with interest, to the remarks which fell from the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) could not fail to be impressed with the force of his argument in favour of the Sunday opening of Museums. It appeared to him (Dr. Tanner) to be an incomprehensible thing that the British Museum—the National Museum—should be closed upon the very day upon which many people could only visit it. He quite agreed that it was most important that the British Museum should be thrown open in the evenings for the benefit of the people of the City of London, but it must be borne in mind that many people visited the Metropolis from 1494 all parts of the Kingdom and stayed over the Sunday. People who had not a club, like so many hon. Members of the House, found very great difficulty in knowing how to spend a Sunday in London.
rose in his place, and claimed to move "That the Question be now put;" but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ DR. TANNER
asked if such people might not reasonably be permitted to visit on the Sunday such an Institution as the British Museum? He was very sorry to be interrupted by the hon. and learned Member for East St. Pancras (Mr. Webster), who, living in London, had frequent opportunities of visiting the Museum. Other people did not live in London, and had not frequent opportunities of inspecting the Museum upon week days. It was, however, very likely that such people would take the advantage, if it were afforded them, of visiting the Museum on the Sunday. He wished to afford hon. Members an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon the question whether the Museum should be open on Sundays or not. Therefore, he begged to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £250.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the reduced sum of £61,109 be granted for the said Service."—(Dr. Tanner.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 24; Noes 137: Majority 113.—(Div. List, No. 297.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £4,429, to complete the sum for the National Gallery.
§ MR. W. H. JAMES (Gateshead)
said, he wished the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) would inform the Committee how long the policy of starvation was to be pursued in regard to the National Gallery. In the earlier part of the Session he addressed a Question to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) upon the Correspondence which had passed between the Trustees of the National Gallery and the Government in regard to the grant of £10,000 which had been suspended 1495 since the purchase of the Blenheim pictures. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer replied to him at that time that it was undesirable that the Correspondence should be laid before the country, on the ground that it was expedient in these matters that there should something in the nature of continuity of policy. The right hon. Gentleman led the House to suppose that at the time of the purchase of these works of art something in the nature of an agreement was entered into between the Government and the Trustees, that the annual grant should be suspended until such time as the sum given for these priceless works of art had been covered. He (Mr. W. H. James) had referred to the documents laid before Parliament on this subject, but he was unable to glean from them anything in the nature of an agreement. But he was prepared to go further, and to maintain that, whether there was an agreement or not, the House should determine whether an institution like the National Gallery ought to be deprived of the very small pittance which had annually been been granted to it. He should be most anxious to hear from the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury on what grounds he supposed there was anything in the nature of an agreement between the Trustees and the Government. But, assuming that there was such an agreement entered into, he (Mr. W. H. James) thought that the opinion of the country was favourable to the resumption at an early date of the grant. The non-existence of the grant, he contended, had been the means of depriving the nation of the acquisition during the last two or three years of several very important works of art. For instance, in June of this year a picture by Vandyke was purchased at Christie's for £2,500, and it had since found its way to Berlin. Last year a very valuable picture by Vandyke was sold, and he believed it had since been sent to America. Two years ago there was also for sale a very interesting portrait, by Romney, of Lady Hamilton reading Lord Nelson's despatches containing an account of the battle of the Nile, and that also, he believed, had found its way to a foreign country. During the present year six pictures by Reynolds were disposed of, and there was a general impression that the buyer had agreed 1496 with the Trustees of the National Gallery that one or more of these works of art should be possessed by them, and that the payment should be deferred to such time as the grant might be renewed; in other words that there was an agreement mortgaging the grant, and that appeared to be a most unsatisfactory arrangement for the Trustees to have to make. He again asked the Government why, considering the enormous sums which were required for other purposes, the National Gallery should be deprived of this small pittance? In those days we spent £500,000 upon an iron-clad, and it was well known that in a few years after its construction the question was raised as to whether it was seaworthy or battleworthy. When we spent recklessly these enormous sums on the defences of the country, was it worth while that the Government should treat such an Institution as the National Gallery with such a niggardly hand? He hoped his appeal to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would not be in vain, but that before very long the annual grant would be renewed.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, be thought he could answer the hon. Gentleman's appeal in a manner which would be satisfactory to the hon. Gentleman. He would not go into the whole question whether there was an agreement to suspend the annual grant until such time as the amount spent upon the Blenheim pictures was covered. He thought, however, that practically there was such an agreement. [Cries of "No, no!"] Well, he thought there was. [Mr. W. H. JAMES: When?] Perhaps the best answer he could give to the hon. Member was that the Government had decided to make some modification next year, and he hoped he might be able to put on the Estimates for next year a sum which the hon. Member would agree was fair and reasonable.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
said, he was very glad to hear the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, because it had struck him that the treatment accorded to the Trustees of the National Gallery had been, to say the least of it, shabby. There was one point to which he desired particularly to draw attention. Undoubtedly, the National Gallery was the finest collection of its kind in 1497 the world, but the Trustees were placed in a very awkward position. If they got any more additions to the Gallery, either by purchase or gift, it would be impossible for them to hang them, unless they were to sky them, or destroy the admirable classification which had been introduced. He would not press the point now, but content himself by asking the Government to consider the Report of the Trustees upon this head, and see whether they could not acquire a piece of ground adjoining the Gallery, which might, in the future, be of very great service as a site upon which to enlarge the Gallery.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said, he had no desire to delay the taking of the Vote; indeed, he only rose to ask whether anything had been done in regard to lighting the National Gallery by electricity, a subject which he brought under the attention of the House last year?
§ MR. JACKSON
said, that the Trustees were of opinion that the time had not yet come for the adoption of a system of electric lighting.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he thought that the Committee might fairly demand some distinct assurance from the Secretary to the Treasury that ample and suitable provision would be made for the reception of such pictures as might be from time to time acquired by the nation.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next.
§ Committee to sit again upon Monday next.