Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £285,376, 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 1890, for Public Education in Scotland.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
There are one or two points I desire to touch upon before we come to a decision. I observe from the Report of the Department that the Technical Education Act of 1887 has, after its two years' test, proved au absolutely dead letter. I predicted, as the Bill was passing through the House, that it would prove a useless measure. The hon. Member for St. Rollox is, I think, right in criticising the statistics of the Department, in making the comparison with the state of things in 1872. The figures are undoubtedly misleading, and it is worth the consideration of the Department whether they should nut in future give the information the hon. Member suggested. There is one other point to which I wish to refer. The Department is very anxious to encourage the attendance of children in schools. The children in Scotland do not go to school at quite so early an age as the children in England. But I find in this Report two statements which in reality neutralise each other. 1363 The first is that the children are too long in going to school, and the second is that they leave school too soon. It is, however, admitted that the children in Scotland acquire all the elements of education, and it is admitted that they learn more in less time than the English children—principally, no doubt, in consequence of the superiority of the Scotch schoolmasters. I regret that children leave school at so early an age in Scotland, but I do not lament the absence of very young children from school. In Germany the age at which children go to school is rather higher than it is in Scotland, and I think that what the children lose in education between the ages of four and seven, they more than gain physically, and they lay the foundation of a healthy education afterwards.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON, Bute)
I understand that it will be for the convenience of this House if I say now the few words that are necessary in reply to the general observations that have just been made. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) has referred to the enormous field of controversy which was traversed by the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division (Mr. Caldwell) yesterday. The question raised by the hon. Member for St. Rollox is, after all, only indirectly connected with the present Vote, and arises out of a reference made in the Report to the state of matters in 1872. I can most honestly say that the Report states the facts quite fairly. I do not intend to enter into the matter, because it has been discussed at the instance of the hon. Member for St. Rollox every year since this Parliament met. The very same battles have been fought, the very same accusations made, and the very same answers given every year as would be fought, made, and given now if I entered into the question; and accordingly I must reserve the time at my disposal for answering Members who have spoken at less length than the hon. Member for St. Rollox. The hon. Member for Sutherlandshire (Mr. A. Sutherland) has raised a very important question with reference to directing more attention to class instruction and less to individual instruction than has been hitherto the case. That is not a subject which has escaped the attention 1364 of the Department in recent years. A great impulse has been given to class instruction, and class subjects are now receiving a greater amount of encouragement than heretofore. I should say further that all the children in the lower standards are now examined in classes, and not individually.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
In the three first standards there are only class examinations. The Department has the subject fully in view, and will watch for apportunities of further extending the system. An hon. Member spoke on the subject of drawing, and many representations have been made to the Department on the subject, but I must remind the Committee that it is not a question with which the Education Department is chargeable or which arises upon this Vote. It was practically by the choice of those who are locally in charge of education in Scotland that the present system was adopted. I must refer gentlemen interested in the subject to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Education Department, because he has charge of it and it does not fall within the present Vote. I am not aware that there is any other separate point which was taken except the one raised by the hon. Member for North Aberdeen. He thinks that the figures with regard to technical instruction are not as hopeful as they ought to be. Let us be just. Five School Boards have in operation the necessary procedure for taking advantage of the Act, and it is necessarily a subject in regard to which we cannot expect a very large number of School Boards to take action.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I rise to move the Motion of which I have given notice, the rejection of the amount set down in this Vote for training colleges. I have already had an opportunity of stating my opinions on this subject, and therefore will content myself with the briefest possible statement. My objections to the present system may in the main be said to be two. In the first place all the training colleges are denominational institutions, though the public school system of Scotland is becoming less and less denominational. In the second place the work which they profess to do would in my judgment be better performed by the national Uni- 1365 versities. The Committee is aware that all the training colleges are denominational, and that the public school system of Scotland has year by year become less denominational. The increase in the number of public schools and the decrease in that of the denominational schools observed in previous years has been continued during the past year. Therefore to maintain denominational training colleges is really to act in a spirit out of harmony with that existing in the schools. The Universities are perfectly willing to frame schemes for conducting the work of the training colleges. Of course it is a matter of opinion whether is is possible for them to do the work or not, and what additional facilities they may require to carry it on properly. I want to call attention to what is said in the Report of the Committee of Council on Education upon training colleges, and I venture to submit that the rather guarded references in that Report almost justify me in inferring that my views are really shared by the Scotch Education Department. There is a certain amount of faint praise of the institutions, no doubt, but on the main points on which I have laid stress, I maintain that the spirit of the Report is really in harmony with what I say. Everything they say about the denominational character of the colleges is of an apologetic character, and they state that they are denominational only in name and not so in character and effect. I want to know why they should be denominational in name even, seeing that it is an excellent thing in the eyes of the Education Department that they should not be denominational in character. It appears that these denominational institutions, whatever virtues they may possess in the eyes of the Church, make no successful appeal to the pockets of the churches. As to the question whether the Universities could be usefully employed in connection with this work, I venture to submit that the Report of the Committee of Council is very much in my favour. It lays stress on the encouragement given to the University education of teachers, and indicates clearly that that encouragement will be continued. It also refers to statistics as showing that "not a few of the future Scotch teachers are acquiring some higher culture" in a 1366 sphere larger than that of any institution devoted to training alone. Having admitted the desirableness and the necessity of this higher culture in the case of a limited number of students, the Department ought, instead of limiting opportunities in this way, to throw the benefit open to all the students. The Universities have no doubt as to their competency to undertake the work, and, as I have already stated, some of them have prepared schemes which, as far as I have examined them, seem to be perfectly fair. I regret that the date at which we are discussing this matter is so late that there is very little hope of obtaining the opinion of the Scotch Members as a whole. In some other Session, however, I hope we shall be able to raise the question in a more effective fashion.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Item H, £28,706, for Annual Grants to Training Colleges, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Edmund Robertson.)
§ * MR. C. S. PARKER (Perth)
I concur with my hon. Friend in regretting that so small a number of Members should be present for the discussion of this interesting question, and especially that there is so small a number from Scotland. The chief difficulty I find in replying to my hon. Friend's attack is that he has referred us to arguments which he has used in former years, but has, with great consideration for the time of the Committee, been exceedingly brief in stating those arguments. The first of them was that the Training Colleges are denominational, whilst the system of education in Scotland is almost entirely undenominational. I admit the force of that argument, but I think it is overstated. I think those who closely examine the system of education in Scotland can hardly deny that there is still a very large denominational element. There is the teaching of religion, and although each School Board in Scotland can do as it pleases in this matter, there is almost invariably a working majority in favour, not only of teaching religion, but also of teaching the old Westminster Catechism. It can hardly be denied that in this respect the schools favour one denomination. I may mention an illustration as having come under the notice of the Committee upon which I had the honour to serve. We had a 1367 complaint brought before us from the Episcopalian Training College, that when they had, trained their teachers they could not as a general rule get one of them accepted in Scotland. The Episcopalian schools are usually too poor to employ trained teachers and the Board Schools will not employ Episcopalians, so they have to go to England. So far, therefore, the Scotch Estimates are bearing the cost of training teachers for England. Presbyterian denominationalism is so strong that no Episcopalian would be allowed to teach a Scottish Board School. The other side of the question is that the Training Colleges are much less denominational than is generally supposed. The Committee took evidence from teachers, Inspectors, Training College Authorities, University professors, and others interested in the subject, and they all of them seem to agree in saying that there is next to no denominationalism. The management, no doubt, is entrusted to a particular Church. But members of all Churches attend the Training College, and even serve upon its staff. In fact, it appears that in choosing, say, an Established Church College in preference to a college of some other religious body, the students are influenced by companionship, and considerations of that kind, rather than by regard for denomination. The difficulty I find in attaching much weight to my hon. Friend's authority is, that he has not supplied the want which we find to exist of an alternative system for giving teachers adequate professional training. I do not remember that either on this or on any former occasion he has developed his views—at any rate, so far as he has done so, they are views which nearly all Educational Authorities in Scotland hold to be impracticable. The hon. Member seemed to draw a distinction between the tone of the Report of the Committee of Council this year, and the tone of the Report of the Departmental Committee. I do not know whether he thinks that the two are at variance; but if hon. Members care to consult the Report of the Departmental Committee on Training Colleges they will see that, on the contrary, it laid the foundation for the action taken by the Education Department this year. The first recommendation, 1368 no doubt, is that professional training should be conducted in establishments set apart for that purpose; but it is added that, in order to avoid professional narrowness, it is desirable to combine that training, as far as possible, with a liberal University education. That was the desire of the Committee; that was their recommendation; and the Department states that, in consequence of that recommendation, they are giving further opportunities in the Training Colleges to all who are qualified to profit by University training. But the hon. Member is not content with this. He says that the whole of the teachers should attend the Universities. Let me remind the House how the matter stands in foreign countries. We think a great deal of the German and Swiss systems, but I am not aware that in any country the training of teachers in the Universities is carried anything like so far as it is in Scotland. My hon. Friend spoke as if Scotland were behindhand in this respect, but, on the contrary, I say that Scotland is the one country in Europe which possesses teachers who combine—many of them—University degrees, and more of them some University teaching, with their professional training in the Training Colleges. Now, let me look at the feasibility of the system recommended by my hon. Friend as a whole. We have female teachers, as well as male teachers, who have been pupil teachers in the ordinary schools of Scotland. Can it be contended that the Universities are at present equipped with the requisite machinery for teaching to young girls of that age and class geography, arithmetic, English grammar, singing and sewing? I should be happy to see these girls attending University classes, but many of them are-so far below the University standard that it would be useless to send them there, and the same remark applies to many male teachers. You cannot get the candidates to come up to that standard. The Universities do not teach arithmetic, geography, English grammar and the sol-fa system, and you would require a special staff to do it; and even if you had that special staff the instruction they would give would be less practical than what the teachers get in the Training Colleges. The hon. Gentleman has said the Universities are willing 1369 to undertake this work. But the Departmental Committee conferred with all the Scotch Universities. Those of Edinburgh and Glasgow were not willing. There was no such proposal from those Universities, although there were proposals that the students in training should be set more free to attend University lectures. There had been a proposal that the University of Aberdeen should itself train teachers. We went into the matter with the professors, but, on the whole, the conclusion arrived at was that the University did not see its way to undertake the training unless more favourable financial considerations were allowed than the Government were likely to entertain. St. Andrew's is the one University which is prepared to train teachers, male and female, for the ordinary schools, and, for my part, I should be glad to see the work entrusted to this University. I have pointed out to the Principal of St. Andrew's and to those interested there that there is a recommendation of the Committee on which they may found a claim. It is true that in the body of the Report the Committee did not see their way to recommend direct grants to one of the Universities as a Training College, but the principle was laid down that if any other body should come forward and make themselves responsible in the way that the Training College Authorities do—especially if they assumed financial responsibility—it should have a share in the training of the teachers of Scotland. I should be delighted to see St. Andrew's, in connection it might be with Dundee, organise a Committee and frame a scheme by way of experiment, and if it succeeded, it might then be extended. But it seems idle to propose at present that all teachers should be University men. The country will not go to that expense. I believe that in Scotland we have already more training of elementary teachers at the Universities than is to be found in any other country in Europe, and I do not believe the Universities are willing to undertake more; while if we were to press more upon them I am afraid it would be found that the Universities would become less efficient for the higher purposes which they now subserve. All countries that stand high in regard to education find that an important part of their system is in the 1370 creation of teachers; but you cannot create teachers without a special training. It is generally admitted that a young man from a University, whatever honours he may have obtained, when made a School Inspector is not always found thoroughly to understand his work, and the same is true of teachers trained in Universities only. I trust the Department will maintain, but also improve and liberalise the present system of professional training for teachers, combining it as far as may be practicable with attendance in University classes.
§ * DR. McDONALD (Ross and Cromarty)
We have heard a good deal about the teaching of religion in. the Scotch Colleges, but the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken knows as well as I do that we have three religious denominations in Scotland—namely, the Free Church, the Established Church and the United Presbyterian Church, and if any one can say that the definite limits of either of these three religious bodies are being taught in any of the schools in Scotland I reply that he is mistaken, and that that is not the case at all. An inspection of our public schools will show that there is really no difference in regard to religious teaching as between Free Church and Established Church. It is to be said that the schools are denominational, because the catechism is taught in them, inasmuch as the catechism is purely Protestant, and applies, equally to all three denominations.
§ * MR. C. S. PARKER
I did not for a moment intend to convey that there was denominationalism as between the Free and Established and the United Presbyterian Churches; but there is as against Catholics and Episcopalians.
§ * DR. McDONALD
Certainly, they are denominationalist as against Catholics and Episcopalians; but we have hardly any Catholics or Episcopalians in Scotland. Well, the hon. Gentleman talks about denominationalism in the School Boards, and the same answer applies there—namely, that there is really no difference between the Free, Established, and United Presbyterian Churches. There can be no doubt on this point. A great deal has been made of the professional training which is given in these Training Colleges or normal schools, as we call them in Scotland. I myself have been 1371 there, I am sorry to say it is now more than 20 years ago, and I know that at that time they did their work admirably. All the time we devoted to profeesional training was about two or three hours a week; the rest of the time was devoted to the ordinary education given in the secondary schools. But now these schools are to be met with all over Scotland, and especially in the large towns; hence the non-necessity for the higher education which is given in these colleges, the reason for supporting them being as great again then as it is now. Again, we have been told about the bursaries being lost, if given to students in the Universities or in Secondary Schools. The fact is, that they have got into the same position as that in which we find the students in the Training Colleges. We cannot compel these to become teachers. They leave the Training Colleges (though I believe they are now compelled to give two years' teaching) and then they may go away just as those who leave the Universities and in the same way be lost as teachers of education. With regard to the female students, there certainly is a difficulty in their case, and I think it would be found better to keep up one or two Training Colleges for females alone. I have before spoken about the denominational schools, called Free Church Colleges and Established Church Colleges, in Glasgow and Edinburgh. What do we find? Why there are two of these colleges within 200 yards of each other, each maintaining a large staff, so that a double amount of money is expended. Does anyone imagine that the tenets of either the Free or the Established Church are taught within the walls of those Training Colleges? If not, why do we waste money in the keeping up of two large schools which differ in name and in nothing else, when both might be put into one building and served by one staff? I would suggest that this would be a good way of reducing the expenditure on these denominational colleges, in which, at the present time, there is a great waste of power and a large waste of money. This, I think, would be a good and proper beginning.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy)
I understood the hon. Gentleman the Member for Perth (Mr. Parker) to apologise for these denominational 1372 schools, but I think the result of his statement goes far to confirm the view which many of us here entertain. He tell us that the pupils from the Episcopalian Training Colleges do not teach in Scotland, but go away to England, because there is no demand for them in Scotland. With regard to what has been said about the other colleges, I have more faith in my countrymen than to believe they are as bigoted as the hon. Gentleman supposes them to be. I cannot believe that our School Boards are so bigoted that a teacher who does not profess the form of religion they affect is not likely to be employed by them. I refuse to believe this. I may say with regard to candidates for Parliament, as to whom my experience bas a wider range, the constituencies do not show themselves particularly ready to refuse a man because he is an Episcopalian. I know a great many Episcopalians who represent Scotch constituencies. It is my belief that if ever there was religious bigotry in Scotland it is softening down and gradually disappearing, and in point of fact it can hardly be said to exist at the present time. It may be that the catechism to which allusion has been made is still nominally taught in the colleges; but it is not likely to subsist very long. Public opinion in Scotland with pull all this down. On general grounds I quite agree with what has been said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross-shire, who has pointed out the waste of power, and the unjustifiable expenditure of money for denominational colleges, that are placed side by side in Edinburgh, and Glasgow. I do not want to abolish these denominatonial colleges; but I wish to see a system of education in Scotland which shall be national, and also Training Colleges which shall be under the control of the Government. I am not so clear as to the argument of the hon. Member for Dundee, that you ought to transfer the school teachers to the Universities. I am not a very strong believer in the higher culture of the Universities. I think it would be a very great deal wiser to maintain the Training Colleges on a modernised basis, and to give our teachers the training which will fit them for the public schools and enable them to give instruction in the natural sciences and 1373 useful arts in which our schools are to some extent deficient because of the deficiency of the schoolmasters. I admit that something must be done to improve the Universities of Scotland, though I sympathise with what was said by the hon. Member for Perth. The University of St. Andrew's has several very excellent professors, but somehow or other they have never succeeded in the training of schoolmasters. The Duke of Argyll and others tried to popularise the University of St. Andrew's, but they were not able to do so; still I think it might be so modernised as to make a charming University where could be combined the training of young women with the training of young men to fit them as teachers in the highest standards. I do hope the Government will tell us that they intend to get rid of this, to a certain extent, obnoxious denominational system of Training Colleges, and that they will substitute for it a system which is more rational.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The action of the Government towards these Institutions has rested upon most intelligible grounds. Nobody suggests that à priori, or as a matter of theory, there is any necessary connection between the denominationalism of the country and the Training Colleges. We must take things as we find them. We find that there are Training Colleges which are doing their work to the satisfaction of the School Boards. And I emphasise that by saying that it is never to be forgotten that School Boards in many parts of the country almost invariably choose the students of those Training Colleges as teachers. It is suggested that the Universities should take up this business of the training of teachers. As a matter of fact they do not do so, and we have to look to the Training Colleges which are actually existing and which do this work. As to the denominational character of the teaching, the report of the Department is absolutely accurate. There is no shadow or trace of denominational bias in the training of our teachers. I understand that the action of the School Board is very impartial, and they take either the students of the Free Church or the Established Church. There is no overlapping of the work between these different Institutions, and the supply of teachers they send cut is not in excess 1374 of the requirements of the country. I do not see that any good would be done by throwing the two Colleges into one in Edinburgh and Glasgow. As to the Universities, if you ask them to undertake the training of teachers, the fact of whether they may or may not be adapted to the work is a matter to fee watched for the future. Be it observed that the Department have of late years given great and increasing encouragement to the students to attend a University by giving the Colleges allowances to send them there in the third year. Although, therefore, the system of these Training Colleges in the abstract is not perfect in theory, good results come from it, and the money paid by the State is well spent.
§ MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)
Mr. Courtney, we have had so far to apologise for this present system of denominational training. It is very easy to understand the ground on which the right hon. Gentleman defends these institutions. He falls back on the position that "we must take things as we find them." These Colleges are denominational at the present moment; therefore we must not do anything to reform them. If he held out any hope that denominationalism would be got rid of, my view might be changed; but he is prepared so long as he is in authority to maintain denominationalism in the Training Colleges. I do not understand the attitude of my hon. Friend the Member for Perth. Are we to understand that he favours denominationalism? Does he defend these Colleges because there is so much denominationalism in the system of education in Scotland? At any rate, he might have gone this small step with us and protested against this system of denominationalism being kept up. It is perfectly true that these Colleges are kept up at a very considerable and unnecessary expenditure to the taxpayer, because you have in one place two or three different training colleges maintained where one would suffice. The fact that there is no shade of difference, practically speaking, between the principal Churches of Scotland is an additional reason why the Government should not encourage denominationalism by sanctioning the maintenance of denominational Training Colleges in different centres.
§ * MR. A. SUTHERLAND (Sutherland)
Sir, I was rather astonished to hear the argument used by the Lord Advocate, that, because these Training Colleges exist, therefore we are bound to carry them on. That argument might have been applied in favour of continuing the old parish schools at th9 time of the Act of 1872. I think the whole argument lies in the waste of money involved in keeping different colleges in close proximity. I have no objection to these Training Colleges, and think they are doing the work imposed upon them. At the same time I do not agree with my hon. Friend (Mr. E. Robertson) that the Universities are qualified to do the work of training teachers. The work of the Training Colleges is well done; but that is no reason why it should continue to be done by the denominations. It is all very well for the Lord Advocate to say that there is no connection between the schools and denominations in the colleges; but my experience has been that teachers from a Training College have got appointments simply because they belonged to a certain Church. I vote for the Amendment as a protest against these institutions being carried on, really, as I understand, at a profit. The whole of this money for the maintenance of these colleges is public money, not supplemented to any extent by money derived from the denominations. I do not say that the money has not been economically spent, or spent in the best way; all I wish to do is to make my protest against the continuance of this system. If I saw any disposition to put an end to it I should be content to give them an opportunity. But no such policy has been manifested by the Scotch Department, and, deprecating the absence of such a policy, I shall support the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend.
§ * MR. HUNTER
Sir, there is one point which has not been brought before the Committee. The Schoolmasters' Association in the North, of Scotland is a body of as excellent, intelligent, and successful teachers as there are in Scotland; and it is their unanimous opinion that it is most desirable to make the Universities training schools for teachers. We are agreed that the Universities at the present moment have not the machinery of Training Colleges; 1376 but it is suggested that it is possible, if they are encouraged, for them to find the means to give effect to the principle laid down in the statement for the University of Edinburgh; that the teaching, like all other of the learned professions, ought to be provided for in the University curriculum. One reason why my hon. Friend has brought forward his Amendment is that we are anxious to impress upon the University Commissioners the propriety of directing their attention to this subject. At present the Education Department spend £30,000 a year on Training Colleges in which there are only 860 students being taught. The number of the students in the Scotch Universities, on the other hand, amounts to over 6,000, yet the cost to the nation is no more than the expenditure on the Training Colleges. The teachers in the North are very anxious that some portion of this money should be given to the Universities under a properly devised scheme. It would be entirely impossible for th9 Universities to undertake the work with their existing funds. If the change were made, a great saving would be effected to the public exchequer, because, whereas each student at present costs the nation £35, the cost under the Universities would be very much smaller for obtaining an adequate supply of teachers. Another consideration which weighs with the teachers in the North of Scotland is, that the status and pay of teachers would be raised. The State at present tempts a certain number into the teaching profession by giving them a gratuitous education. In that way the salaries of teachers are depressed below a proper level, and the consequence is that School Boards find that they can get certificated teachers from these Colleges at a rate at which they could not hope to obtain them, had the students to pay for their education as in all other professions. I cheerfully admit, from a secular point of view, that the Training Colleges have done their work in a perfectly satisfactory manner according to the standard set before them. And I admit that it was perfectly inevitable we should have had them, because there was no other machinery for the training of teachers. It is to be regretted that the Universities did not undertake the work earlier, but I hope they are in a more re- 1377 pentant mood, and are willing and anxious to discharge what is their true function. I hope that the University Commission will be prepared to recommend to Parliament that some portion of the money now given to these Training Colleges should be given to the Universities, which would do the work much more cheaply, and give the teachers a much higher status and better training than they get at present. The hon. Member for Perth imagines that ladies could not possibly enter the Universities. That is really an antiquated notion. The attendance of ladies at college is so familiar that I should have thought the hon. Member would not have been startled by the suggestion. Certainly the attendance of ladies at colleges has an effect both beneficial to themselves and to the young men who attend. My hon. Friends the Members for Perth and Inverness were the only two Scotch Members of the Committee, and, on reading their Report, what convinced me there was something weak in the position of the Training Colleges was their statement that in the Universities it was impossible to give close attention to the moral and religious training of the teachers. Now, if they could have put forward any tangible result of this training in the colleges, certainly they would have done so; but they have not, and have fallen back upon language vague and obscure. Another objection is that the students are not qualified to attend the University classes. That would be so, if they were asked to attend the whole of the curriculum. But what we suggest is that a special faculty, or course, shall be prepared, alongside medicine, law and divinity, called the faculty of education. That, I think, is the true course which reform should take in Scotland. I can only say with regard to the remarks of the Lord Advocate that I think they show he is open to receive impressions, and to consider the whole state of the case, and I hope we shall find him joining in efforts to enable the Universities to train teachers.
§ * MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
Mr. Courtney, perhaps I may be allowed to say a few words. I think on this side of the House more stress than is warranted has been laid by some hon. Members on the description of Training Colleges as "denominational." In Scotland 1378 there is little or no difference of religious principle between various denominations. We should bear in mind that it is always desirable that those who are to train the young should themselves be brought up carefully and religiously. These is one other observation I would like to make. It has been said that the Universities are capable of giving all the education that those who intend to be teachers required. I am very strongly of opinion that it is not so. The great difficulty is to know how to impart knowledge to others, and I believe that those who intend to take up teaching require special training. Again, I am bound to say that the supervision exercised by the University Authorities is not sufficient. In my time, as long as a young man attended his lectures they did not care what became of him. The consequence was that many of the men who were at the University with me made sad failures in life. I consider it very important that young men and young girls at the impressionable ages of 15 to 18 should be under some sort of supervision, and that supervision will be best obtained at the hands of religious bodies.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford)
I must apologise to Scotch Members for interfering in the Debate at this stage, but as my hon. Friend has broken the ice I will follow him. In the first place, I may be allowed to say that I do not think my hon. Friend is a bad specimen of the training of the Scotch University. In the great Universities of this country, when they were par excellence religious Institutions, there was as large a percentage of failures as ever came out of the Scotch Universities, where no regard is supposed to have been paid to the religious welfare of the students. The English people are conscious that upon educational, as well as upon other matters, Scotland always leads the way for Great Britain, and when the subject now under discussion is definitely settled it will be easier for England to follow in the wake of Scotland. These separate Training Colleges are kept up on the one side for the purpose of getting quit of the Establishment, and on the other for the purpose of maintaining it. Why cannot the Presbyterians of Scotland combine, seeing there is really no difference in their religious tenets? The case for the 1379 Training Colleges in Scotland is weaker than it is in England, where it is considered of the first importance that doctrinal differences should he recognised and emphasised. In Scotland no effort of the kind is necessary, because they are all of one opinion. For my own part I think the Universities would be eminently qualified to do the work which is now being done by the Training Colleges. I believe much harm is done in this country to young people by compelling them to recognise denominational differences. I think Scotland is quite right in demanding this change, and it cannot be long before it is conceded.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I have to thank, on behalf of Scotch Liberals, the hon. Member for Bradford, for having, by taking part in this Debate, added another to the many debts we owe him for his fearless, long continued and consistent advocacy of Liberal principles. Sir, this Debate has sounded the death knell of denominationalism in Scotland, particularly after what has fallen from the Lord Advocate. He said that we were not dealing with these Institutions de novo, which is an abandonment of the entire principle on which they are founded. He went on to say that these Colleges are kept up by denominational Institutions. But what I want to point out is this, that they are kept up, not by the denominations, but by the public money. The right hon. Gentleman said the Universities are not ready to train teachers. Of course they are not. He knows that they cannot be expected to be ready so long as the State keeps these Training Colleges at its own expense. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. S. Smith) has quoted the Member for Perth in support of the denominational character of these Institutions, and I can only hope he will not think me rude when I say that I am glad he is not a Scotchman. The hon. Member for Perth made one significant remark. He said:—If you take away the money and give it in the shape of bursaries to the Universities you will have students who had entered to he schoolmasters going into other professions.That observation expresses what used to be the spirit of the Privy Council's system; but I feel pretty sure that the Scotch Educational Department are too liberal to be prompted by such a spirit, which would mean that you would deliberately mutilate the training of 1380 young men in order that they should not be fitted to enter any other profession than that of teaching. There is most force in the objection of my hon. Friend (Mr. A. Sutherland), that the Universities cannot do this work. But I do not propose that they should undertake the work without special provision being made for them. I do not see why the business of the Training Colleges should not be brought within the University system, just as is the professional training of lawyers, ministers, and doctors. Now, my hon. Friend expressed some little doubt about the value of University training. I am deeply impressed with the high value of University training, and I believe that the Universities, both in England and Scotland, afford by far the finest and best intellectual training that anyone could have. What I object to is this—that you should divorce those who are to teach the children of the country from this higher intellectual culture. It is not the mere Degree which gives this University training a high value. It is rather what I may call the moral education and intellectual culture obtained, not so much in reading for the Degrees and in listening to the lectures, as in the common membership of the University system. It is not what the professors teach the students that is valuable in University life, but it is what the students teach each other. If you insist upon excluding schoolmasters to whom the destinies of the children of the future are to be entrusted, I think you will be inflicting a grievous harm upon that body. I believe that the people of Scotland at large are entirely in sympathy with the stand which is now being made for the freeing of the Training Colleges from all connection with denominational schools, and enabling schoolmasters to share in the higher intellectual culture already provided for in the Scotch University system. I do not intend, neither do I desire, that the already overgrown Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow should be swollen by a further accession of students through transferring to them this work of training. I think those Universities are already much too large, but I have always held that the smaller Universities, such as St. Andrew's and Aberdeen, are perfectly competent to undertake this work. I know that 1381 Aberdeen and University College, Dundee, are desirous to undertake it, and I believe that, under proper management, these three Institutions could easily take over the 860 normal scholars and perform the work of training them quite as well as it is being conducted under the sectarian system.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I want to clear up one point. I understand that the sum to be devoted to the Training Colleges is considerably in excess of that voted last year, and I am told that if we did not take advantage of these Institutions we should have to pay a great deal more. The hon. Member for Dundee asserts, however, that the denominations contribute nothing towards the expense of these schools, but that on the contrary they make a profit out of them. I should like to know if it is so, and if the schools are maintained solely and exclusively at the expense of the taxpayer. Again, I find that every pupil trained in these schools costs £35 per year. That seems to me to be an enormous expenditure, and if that is to be the result of a system of maintaining two or three denominational colleges, all I can say is that it is an abominable abuse, even from a financial point of view. I again ask, do these denominational bodies contribute towards the expenses of the colleges.
§ * MR. ANGUS SUTHERLAND
The hon. Member for Dundee seems to think that I, in my observations, depreciated the value of University training. Now, if my remarks seemed to do that I wish at once to say that it was not my desire to convey that impression. I should like to point out to the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, when he refers to the cost of the pupils in these Training Colleges, that the sum of £35 represents much more than the mere cost of education, and that the cost of living is included.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The answer to the remarks of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy may be stated very briefly. It is that the amount of the grant is 75 per cent of the approved expenditure.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I am going to support the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, because I hold that the course now taken by the Education Department in certain matters makes it desirable that the present 1382 system should be altogether abolished. At the present time a teacher who is certified by these Training Colleges only earns a Government grant of 4s. per head for all pupils he passes in scientific subjects; whereas if the teacher is a University graduate the Government grant in such cases is 10s. per head, although the pupils pass exactly the same examination. It is hard that teachers who get practically the same qualification should thus be handicapped in the matter of Government grant for scientific subjects, and I think the difference ought to be done away with. My hon. Friend seems to think that the students in Training Colleges are boarded and lodged there. As a matter of fact, the student is treated in exactly the same way as a University student. He lives in lodgings. He goes to his class and back again, and nobody takes any more notice of him.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 146.—(Div. List, No. 307.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £12,888, 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, 1890, for Grants to Scottish Universities.
§ MR. HUNTER
I move to reduce this Vote by a sum of £1,316, the amount proposed to be paid to Professors of Theological Chairs in the Universities of Scotland during the current year. I wish to call the attention of the House to the extraordinary expense connected with the education of divinity students. The sum at the disposal of the University of Aberdeen for divinity students is £1,921 a year. Taking an average of three years, this amount has been spent in the education of about 30 students, so that each student costs no less than £62 a year. The medical endowments are smaller than those for divinity; but the number of students in medicine is more than 10 times the number of divinity students, while the cost is only £4 16s. per student. In St. Andrew's University the endowments for divinity amount to £1,800 a year, the number of students, taking an average of three years, being 33, so that the cost is £56 5s. per head. 1383 This seems to be very exorbitant, but the difference is still more striking in the case of Edinburgh University. The University of Edinburgh has an income of £1,944 for divinity and the mumber of students was 107; while the endowments for medicine amounted to £1,766, the mumber of medical students being 1,879. So that the cost per medical student is 19s., and for each divinity student £18 3s. Taking the whole of Scotland, the endowments for medicine amount to £5,800, and there are 3,000 students, the cost being less than £2 per head. The endowments for divinity amounted to £7,664, and the students numbered 278 only. Therefore, on grounds of financial economy alone, we ought to stop the grants for these Theological Chairs. But when we add the fact that the students who are taught in these Universities are only the theological students belonging to the Established Church, we find that more than one-third of the total endowment of the Universities of Scotland—over £7,000 a year—is devoted to the education of divinity students belonging to one only of the numerous denominations to be found in Scotland. This is a scandalous evil, and I have thought it desirable that the Committee should know the facts I have stated. I hold that it is entirely contrary to sound policy and to justice that taxes which are collected from all religious denominations should be applied for the purpose of educating only those who are connected with the Established Church.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding£11,588, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Hunter.)
§ * THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING, Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
The hon. Member has based his Motion on a number of calculations which he has made, and which for the moment I am not in a position to controvert, but if they are all of the same inaccurate character as the figures relating to St. Andrew's University I cannot receive them with absolute faith. The number of divinity students given for St. Andrew's for instance, tails very far 1384 short of the actual number in attendance.
§ * MR. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING
The hon. Member may be right in his average, but what I say is that the actual number in attendance last session was 48. The hon. Member also referred to the point raised during the discussion on the Universities Bill by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy—namely, that many men who do not intend to follow the theological profession enter the theological classes. I have made inquiries oh the point, and I am informed that that is an entire mistake: that there may be isolated cases of the kind, but that they form so small a proportion of the whole as not to be worth taking into account at all. Inasmuch as the general question raised by the hon. Gentleman has been so recently discussed, I think I shall best consult the convenience of the Committee if I refer the hon. Gentleman to the arguments which were used in the Debates upon the Universities Bill, and do not pursue the subject further on the present occasion.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I am not willing to accept a general statement in contradiction of the general statement I made. If the Solicitor General has statistics I shall be very happy to stand corrected; unless he has, I do not think the question is fully set at rest. One word with regard to the present number of students in St. Andrew's being 48. I do not know how that has been brought about, but I know that a very few years ago there were only 18 students. I regret that my hon. Friend proposes to refuse the whole of the Vote for Theological Chairs in Scotland. I am not anxious to raise the question, because I think it will come up along with the question of the Disestablishment of the Church. I should have been satisfied to reduce the Vote by the cost of the utterly unnecessary Theological Chairs at St. Andrew's and Aberdeen Universities.
§ * MR. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING
If the hon. Gentleman wishes me to be more precise I will say that upon inquiry I was informed that there is only one student who answers the description given by the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. HUNTER
The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the number of 1385 these students at St. Andrew's. Let me read out the figures for the last 10 years. In 1878–79 there were 22, the next year 20, the next year 20, the next year 24, the next year 22, the next year 24, the next year 28, the next year 34, the next year 38, and last year 42. The Solicitor General makes the number last year 48, but the difference is not significant; it would only reduce the cost from £54 or £56 to £40. I contend that £10 would be an extravagant sum considering the resources of the Scotch Universities, but when you add the fact that these are denominational Colleges the argument becomes stronger. I beg leave to dispute the doctrine that this is part of the question of disestablishment. A Disestablishment Bill would have nothing whatever to do with the Universities.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 73; Noes 123.—(Div. List, No. 308.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £1,900, National Gallery, &c, Scotland.
§ DR. CLARK
At this late period of the Session I do not intend to oppose this Vote; but I beg to give notice that next year I shall move to reduce the Vote, in order to raise the question of the advisability of transferring the control of the National Gallery from the Board of Trustees of Manufactures to the Secretary for Scotland.
§ Vote agreed to.
4. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £337,957, 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, 1890, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Science and Art Department, and of the Establishments connected therewith.
§ * MR. WOODALL (Hanley)
I am glad to find a restoration of the "grant in aid of examples to local museums." The withdrawal of that grant has been very disadvantageous, and I personally would have liked to see the item standing at the figure it did formerly. I also regret the decrease in the item for the reproduction of works of art. Although I have no doubt the Vice President of the Council will be able to offer to the Committee a satisfactory explanation of the figures, I think the decreases are regrettable if they show a falling off in 1386 the demands of the country in this respect, or a diminution in the capacity of the Science and Art Department to satisfy those requirements. I am sure the Committee will feel these are amongst the most satisfactory forms of expenditure we can have. Notwithstanding that, from time to time, trenchant criticism is indulged in, there is in the country—especially in the industrial, manufacturing, and commercial districts—a strong feeling that very valuable service is rendered by the Science and Art Department. With regard to the items which show a diminution, it is very possible the right hon. Gentleman may allude to the sparcity of the space at the disposal of the authorities at South Kensington, which necessarily cripples their power with regard particularly to the reproduction of works of art. Anyone who has been to South Kensington recently and seen the conditions under which much of the work has to be carried on must feel there is great need for further enlargement. The cramped condition under which the revision of the work sent up for competition is to be carried on is really little short of a scandal. I have no hesitation in pressing this particular point, because I know how zealous the right hon. Gentleman is for the efficiency of his own Department. I only hope the First Lord of the Treasury or some other authority will be equally sympathetic when the facts are pressed upon their attention by the Department, and cause the deficiencies to be made good.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir W. HAET DYKE, Kent, Dartford)
I am glad my hon. Friend commends the step we are taking in respect to the two very important matters connected with the working of the Science and Art Department he has referred to. I entirely agree with the hon. Member as to the necessity for increasing the space at South Kensington allotted for the reproduction of works of art. The state of things in connection with reproduction of objects of art is eminently unsatisfactory, and I shall not relax my efforts until they have been improved. With regard to the reductions of the amount of grants of which the hon. Gentleman has complained, I shall keep a careful watch over the matter, and if I find that 1387 the efficiency is being lost in consequence of those reductions, I shall make an appeal to the Treasury on the subject.
§ DR. CLARK
I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £10,000. We vote for the College of Science in Jermyn Street and its museum, nearly £20,000. The result is, that the Scotchmen who study applied science are very heavily handicapped; while the English students are taught at the expense of the State and are granted bursaries, so that they may be boarded during the time they are studying, the Government have again and again refused to give a single farthing for the teaching of applied science in Scotland. We have the Heriot Watt School near the Edinburgh University, but it is supported entirely by the fees of the students, and by such endowments as can be got. Ireland receives a grant of £7,000 for the Science School. The proper thing thing to do is to reduce the London School to the level of the Dublin School, and then, perhaps, Scotland can be fairly treated in this matter.
§ MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
I hope the hon. Gentleman will not move his Amendment at this stage, in order that one or two points connected with examinations can be dealt with.
§ MR. T. ELLIS (Merionethshire)
I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President one or two questions in regard to the examinations in Science and Art. The right hon. Gentleman is aware that of late attempts have been made in Wales to extend the teaching of agriculture. From the report of the inspector I find that much progress has been made, and we may anticipate further progress next year. But there is a difficulty owing to the refusal of the South Kensington officials to allow a certain number of the candidates to be examined in Welsh. I am sure that from his knowledge of the condition of education in Wales the right hon. Gentleman knows that here is a real and practical difficulty. Hitherto the system of teaching English has been such that the children in the rural districts on leaving school lose all the knowledge of the English language they may have acquired. This is owing to the unintelligible way in which the 1388 Instruction is given, and the right hon. Gentleman has acknowledged this in the Code for the year. Under the old bad and expensive system, with large expenditure, little result has been attained in imparting sufficient knowledge of English to allow of these examinations being passed in English, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to promise that a certain number of the candidates, they will not, I think, be a very large number, shall be allowed the alternative of examination conducted in the Welsh language. I admit that there may be a present difficulty, from the fact that the examiners do not understand Welsh, but really no effort has been made to find anyone who can examine in Welsh or translate Welsh examination papers for the English examiners. When an application in this direction was made from Bangor University, it was met by a naked refusal, no attempt being made to comply with the request, but I now hope that we may have some definite and specific promise that an effort shall be made otherwise. I must formally move the reduction of the Vote by £50.
§ MR. CONWAY
The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that complaints have been made against the system of delivering lectures on the production of lace in Ireland. The visits of the lecturer are too few, and they are delivered at places too distant from each other; for instance, they are delivered in Waterford one day and in Cork the next. I see there is an item in the Vote—£50 for lectures in Ireland, and I presume that is for the expenses of Mr. Alan Cole. I take no exception to this gentleman as a lecturer, and I do not think that £50 is sufficient remuneration for his services, and I should be glad if the Department could see their way clear to extend it in the interest of the lace-making industry, and allow of more frequent lectures. I acknowledge that Mr. Cole has done much service in Ireland, though I regret that in a recent lecture before the Society of Arts he rather discouraged the work in Ireland—he was himself his own critic. I desire that he should have more abundant means and facilities for giving as many lectures as he can in Ireland, and I would press on the Government the necessity of increasing the Vote for the purpose. The second point I wish to 1389 raise has reference to agricultural education in Ireland. By a recent rule of the Education Department the children in the best classes—the second stage of Class 5 and the first stage of Class 6—in Ireland are excluded from examination in agriculture, and accordingly from the South Kensington grant. We know the difficulty in this country of keeping children at school until they are able to reach the sixth standard, and in Ireland where so many demands are made upon our children at certain seasons, the difficulty is greater. This rule will affect the children who have reached the second stage of Class 5, who will be excluded from the Kensington grant, and must be satisfied with the grant from the National Commissioners in Ireland. In Ireland agriculture is a very interesting and popular branch of study. By school farms and school gardens we give practical illustration of the teachings of textbooks, and with the result that of 863 candidates presented for examination, 630 have passed, earning amounts from 10s. to 40s. The grants from South Kensington do not exceed the latter amount, so that it is not so much a monetary consideration but the Kensington certificate that is valued, for it is a severe test of efficiency. But by the new rule the best children are prevented from undergoing these examinations and from participation in the grants. The reason for the Vote is, I believe, the overlapping of the grants from Kensington and from the National Commissioners as set forth in the Appropriation Accounts. But what I would urge on the South Kensington Authorities is this, that they should institute an interchange of lists. Lists might be furnished by the teachers in the respective schools of the pupils presented in the subject of Agriculture, and the Commissioners might determine which boys have passed or not, and these lists might be interchanged with those from South Kensington. It would only mean a little additional clerical work, but this the Department are very averse to. I think by the means I suggest the little friction that has arisen might be overcome. As I have said, the desire for the Kensington examination arises from the fact of the test having more value than that of the National Commissioners; it is not a monetary question. I shall 1390 be glad if the right hon. Gentleman can give me some satisfactory assurances with regard to the two points I have raised.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
I do not object to this South Kensington expenditure for science and art teaching, and believe that in the main it is wisely administered, but it strikes me that much of the expenditure is too much concentrated in London, and that it would be much more effective if diffused among various centres throughout the country. This applies to expenditure under many heads, but confining myself to mining especially it strikes me that London is about the worst centre for a Mining School that you can have, for no mining is carried on within a hundred miles of London. Some 30 years ago I had the pleasure of assisting in the establishment of a Mining School in Bristol. Of course it is in a small way as compared with the. Metropolitan establishments, but in its way I think it has done more practical good than the more pretentious and more ambitious work carried on in London. If schools of this class were encouraged in the different mining centres much more would be done to encourage the teaching of mining science and much towards the development of our mining resources, upon which the future of the country so much depends. I will not criticise the Estimates in detail, but I would just observe that a good deal too much is expended on salaries.
§ * SIR W. HART DYKE
I know the hon. Member for Merionethshire will not attempt to convict me of any want of sympathy with him on the point he has raised. As the hon. Member knows, I have gone to extreme limits in the new Code, in order to meet the point raised with reference to scholars being examined through the medium of the Welsh language. I only wish the new task he sets me were as easy of accomplishment as that with which I have endeavoured to deal in the new Code. I should like to explain the difficulties of the position if only to show the hon. Member that the matter has been carefully considered. These science examinations take place simultaneously, and are distinct from the examinations in elementary subjects. They take the form of examination paper, and are not conducted by 1391 examiners on the spot. The examiners are not acquainted with the Welsh language; so that in order to carry out the proposals of the hon. Gentleman the examination papers would have first to be set in Welsh, the results sent up in Welsh, and then translated into English. This would entail very great labour and expense which the Department, I am afraid, would cot be prepared to face. I promise, however, to inquire into the matter, and see whether there is any possibility of meeting the hon. Member's views in any way. Then the hon. Member for Leitrim has referred to Mr. Alan Cole's lectures on lace making, and I may point out that in the Report this year it is shown that the efforts of the lecturer have not been unattended with success, and some of the Colleagues of the hon. Member for Leitrim have spoken very highly of the lecturer's labours. I regret to hear there are any adverse criticisms in regard to a recent lecture.
§ * SIR W. HART DYKE
It is true that the amount of money provided is small, and I should like to see the amount increased, but this, of course, is a question for the consideration of the Treasury. There can be no doubt that agricultural teaching is a most important element in the school life of Ireland; but the difficulty complained of by the hon. Member arises out of a challenge by the Auditor General as to certain accounts which were found of duplicate payments to pupils. There has been some correspondence with the National Board of Education on the subject, and they appear to be of opinion that the agricultural teaching given in Ireland under their programme of instruction is suitable and sufficient for the pupils at the national schools. In these circumstances, the Department felt bound to accept the suggestion, and the result has been the rule to which the hon. Member has called attention. There was nothing in the regulations as they stood to prevent their duplicate payments of grants by the Board of Education in the event of their examinations being held posterior to those of South Kensington, and that is the crux of the difficulty I have indicated. After the letter from the Secretary to the Commissioners, to the effect that the instruction given by 1392 the Commissioners covered the whole ground, and was efficient and sufficient for the purpose, we were bound to accept the suggestion. Then the hon. Member for Bristol has made a remark on the advantages of decentralisation in the system of science teaching. I can imagine no more practical suggestion also than that of decentralisation in the matter of science teaching. There is nothing to prevent schools giving this form of instruction being established in any mining centre, provided they conform to the rules of the Science and Art Department, and are under an efficient Committee. Such schools will receive every recognition from the Department, and in due time will receive grants from. South Kensington. When, however, complaint is made of the large salaries paid, it ought to be borne in mind that the work is increasing very much, while the salaries are not increasing. In 1887–8 the number of schools examined in science was 1,952, and in 1888–9 2,265. The number of students under instruction in 1887–8 was upwards of 112,000, while in 1888–9 the number was over 131,000. In art subjects also the increase of students in the years mentioned has been from 77,364 to 88,969. This year also the work, both as to submitted specimens and general average, shows a remarkable improvement as compared with previous years.
§ DR. KENNY (Cork, S.)
I acknowledge the very courteous spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman has met the representations of my hon. Friend the Member for Leitrim; but will he allow me to press the importance of the subject, in the hope that he will use his influence with the Treasury to undo the rule which has been made, which, I can assure him, will be absolutely destructive of agricultural instruction in Ireland. Under the old rule a boy in the fourth class was qualified for the instruction—a sufficiently high qualification, I think; but, under the new rule, unless a pupil has passed into the highest class of the National School system he is not eligible. Ireland is an exceedingly poor country with, practically, only one industry—namely, agriculture, and there are not 5 per cent of the pupils in the schools who ever attain to the necessary classification. Those who could do so are drawn away from the training by the 1393 necessity for earning their bread. The whole difficulty is a purely mechanical one. I hope it will not be thought that I am defending the action of the National Board, which in this case has been infamous. They shelter themselves behind the Treasury, and adopt a system which reminds one very forcibly of Charles Lamb's description of the Chinese method of obtaining roast pig, which was to burn down the house with the animal in it. The Treasury are the masters of the National Education Board in Ireland, and if they choose to make a rule of a proper kind the National Board will have to accept it. If they make a rule that in all cases where agriculture or other scientific instruction is paid for by the Science and Art Department, the examinations can take place in Ireland by examiners from the Department, the arrangement would be satisfactory, or, if that is considered too drastic, there might be interchangeable papers. At present if the examination of the National Board precedes that of the Science and Art Department all is well, but if the contrary happens there is a danger of duplication. The new rule has shifted whatever blame there may be to the shoulders of the Science and Art Department, and I would urge on the right hon. Gentleman to exercise his great influence in order to compel the National Board to come to a reasonable settlement and revert to the old rule. This is considered a very important question by the whole of the people engaged in education under the National Board in the North of Ireland. I and my Colleagues are deluged with letters on the subject, in which it is pointed out that the new rule will annihilate agricultural instruction in Ireland. The statement of the National Board that "they are satisfied with the instruction" goes for nothing. The point is to give real instruction in agricultural matters in Ireland—where it is all important—at the time the boy is in the National School, for he can then unite theoretical and scientific instruction with the practical training he gets at home. In many other departments of technical instruction we endeavour to follow this system. We endeavour to establish workshops in connection with the schools, and as the plan is found advantageous 1394 in these cases, surely it would be so in the matter of agriculture. Here we are practically losing an opportunity of doing the very thing which is most required in Ireland. I know the Vice President of the Council is animated by the best intentions in the matter, and that he will do what he can for us, although he finds himself confronted by the Treasury who are masters of the situation. I would again urge him to spare no pains to bring pressure to bear on the Treasury in the matter.
§ MR. T. ELLIS
I am thankful to the right hon. Gentleman for the statement he has made, but I regret that he could not give us a more specific reply. Though, no doubt, it is difficult to carry out the arrangement the Welsh people desire, I would ask him to realise our position. He must recognise the plain fact that the people in the rural districts in North Wales are Welsh speaking, which is due to their nationality and their national life. But the fact that they are not a bi-lingual people is due, first, to the neglect of the Education Department; and, secondly, to the vicious principle they lay down of insisting that Welsh shall practically be proscribed from the schools. If the use of the Russian language were insisted on in the schools, say, in Dorsetshire, what would be the effect upon the peasantry in that county when they left school? So long as you have control over Welsh education—and you have absolute control over it —you must recognise the fact that the Welsh language prevails in the Principality, and that without a knowledge of English in the rural districts. I would point out that there is great enthusiasm for agricultural teaching in North Wales, and I can illustrate that by what happens in my own county of Merionethshire. We have courses of agricultural lectures there. One of the lecturers is at Bangor, and large numbers of peasants trudge there to attend the lectures, which are delivered in English, but made intelligible by being interpreted into Welsh. The examinations, however, are conducted in English, and, therefore, the Welsh-speaking people are debarred from testing the knowledge they have acquired, and from obtaining certificates and grants. If the right hon. Gentleman would remove this difficulty, he 1395 would find that extremely intelligent replies would be given in the language of the people, which will show that they thoroughly appreciate the efforts which are being made to extend the teaching of agriculture. That this teaching is extending, and that the people desire it, is to be seen not merely in the efforts of University College, Bangor, but the efforts of the farmers and peasantry all through North Wales. I desire strongly to support the appeal of the hon. Member for Bristol, and I desire to press it home in view of the working of the Intermediate Education Act for Wales. We hope that in the course of the next two or three years the vast industrial community of South Wales will have a large number of excellent, practical, scientific, and technical schools under the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council has piloted through the House. It seems to me that it would be impossible to have that Bill thoroughly and efficiently worked unless the Science and Art Department is fairly generous in providing specimens and sending down collections to the schools and museums.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
I merely desire, as an agricultural Member, to remind the House that a Bill was brought in by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler), the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division of Birmingham (Mr. Jesse Collings), and myself, for facilitating instruction in horticulture and agriculture, assisted by the Science and Art Department. I hope that Bill will be reintroduced next Session, and that it will receive the favourable consideration of the Government.
§ MR. W. ABRAHAM (Glamorgan, Rhondda)
I quite agree with my hon. Friend in thanking the right hon. Gentleman for the expression of sympathy he has so honourably given to the Welsh Members in this matter. Yet we should like him to meet us still further, because sympathy by itself will do very little good. I can scarcely think that right hon. and hon. Members in this House understand the difficulty we are in in these matters. Some of us—I myself, for instance—whilst speaking in English, are thinking in Welsh; consequently, we are under considerable difficulty. The peasantry in the country, who have little chance of learning the 1396 English language, are under even greater difficulty. But it is in this way. You have an Englishman, who is a good English scholar, and myself, who am an indifferent one, and we are both under examination. If the examiner asked the Englishman to describe "the rudiments of agriculture," the Englishman would clearly understand what was meant, whilst I should scratch my head until he nudged me and said, "Rho ddesgryfiad o elfenau cyntaf amathyddiaeth." Then I should know what he meant. This is the difficulty we are in, and the right hon. Gentleman, I am sure, will see it, and pardon us for pressing the question. We are thankful for every consideration; we have to be thankful for small mercies. I do not think you should treat as you do a country which has been so loyal to every Government of this country. You would not think of treating India or Afghanistan, or any other country, as you do Wales. Because we are the children of your little sister, as it were, you expect us to endure these difficulties. Pardon me for pressing the matter now, but I do say that even if it is impossible to meet us now something should be done to satisfy our demand in the future.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM
I should like to back up the argument of the hon Gentlemen from Wales. I know from my own experience how strong the feeling in Wales is in favour of the education there being given in the Welsh language. My own opinion is, it is very unwise to try to snap out that language as we have done in the past. I believe the reason the Established Church has lost its influence in Wales has been because it has carried on its services in English instead of Welsh, and I think that the people should be left to their natural instincts in the matter of language, for the sake, not only of their literature, but of their general advancement in science and learning.
§ * SIR W. HART DYKE
I am afraid I have not a strong measure of comfort to offer to hon. Gentlemen. With reference to the alleged difficulty of teaching agriculture in Ireland, I can only repeat my regret that I cannot give a more satisfactory reply. It is said that we can get over our difficulties by an interchange of lists between the 1397 two Departments, but I take it that the letter I read out from the National Board would preclude that. The hon. Gentleman says that agricultural teaching will be debarred from these schools, but I take it that agricultural subjects are compulsory between classes 4 and 6 in the National schools. If the hon. Member thinks that our teaching of the principles of agriculture is so superior to anything else on the face of the earth, that any teaching given by the National Board of Education in Ireland sinks into shame beside it, then I admit there is something in his attitude, but my contention must remain, that this teaching has been described by a responsible Educational Department as being sufficient and efficient for its purpose. Referring to the question of examination in Welsh for scientific subjects, I wish I could see my way out of the present difficulty. I sympathise with the objects of the hon. Member for Merionethshire, but there is a difference between a lecture and dealing with a vast mass of examination papers, and that is the prominent difficulty in the matter. With regard to the question of dealing with the subjects which may be taught in connection with the Welsh Intermediate Education Bill, of course I shall do my very utmost to bring the Science and Art Department into accord with any school or institution that may spring up.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item B (Normal School of Science, &c), be reduced by £10,000."—(Dr. Clark).
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I desire to point out that in this matter of technical education Scotland is treated differently to England and Ireland. We have an equal grant with England and Ireland in respect of passes at examinations, but there is this difference—that in England you have the Science and Art Department; in Dublin you have the Royal College of Science, but you have no corresponding National School of Science in Scotland. I am sure it was never intended by the Government that Scotland should 1398 in a matter of, this kind be treated in any way differently to England and Ireland. Though we have no School of Science and Art in Scotland, upheld by the National Exchequer, we find, that the grants for science and art teaching received by Scotland amount to £17,000, whilst England only receives £52,000. Scotland receives a much larger amount than England in proportion to population, therefore the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council will see that science is more taught in Scotland than in England, and that Scotland is a country where science can be developed very largely. All that we ask is that we may have the same facilities for developing science in Scotland that you have in England and Ireland. Diplomas can be obtained without difficulty by Englishmen in London, but Scotchmen, if they require diplomas, have to leave their own country to get them, and that I consider a great hardship. We have an admirable College of Science and Art in Glasgow, and if it were to get a proper grant from the Education Department that college would answer, so far as that part of Scotland is concerned. Something similar should be carried out in Edinburgh and Aberdeen; but, certainly, we are entitled in Scotland to the same facilities for the study of science and art that you have in England and Ireland. I know that in taking the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council to task it is like attacking the wrong man. The right hon. Gentleman would not object if we had half a dozen schools of Science and Art in Scotland; but the difficulty is with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Departments of the Government. We can do nothing more than bring the matter under the notice of the Committee.
§ * SIR W. HART DYKE
I would point out that the effect of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Caithness will be to enter on a process of levelling down instead of levelling up. But with regard to the Normal School of Science, I have to remark that its scholarships and exhibitions are open to Scotch as well as to English pupils. Scotland also obtains a full proportion of those scholarships and exhibitions, and a full proportion of Scotch teachers are trained in this establishment.
§ DR. CLARK
I am compelled to move to reduce the Vote, because by the Rules of the House I am precluded from moving that a sum of £5,000 be given to a School of Science in Edinburgh. I do not in the least object to this money or even more being spent on Science and Art in England, but I object to Scotland not getting its fair share. I am aware that Scotch students come here and obtain bursaries, and I am also aware that those who pass best have the choice of going to the School of Mines here or to the Royal College of Science in Ireland, but what I object to is that they cannot go to a school of this kind in Scotland. You treat Scotland unfairly; you give Ireland all she wants—[Some Rule cries of "Oh!"]—I mean financially. Financially, Ireland is the spoilt child of this House. What I want is that the Government should redress our grievances and give fair play to Scotland.
§ * MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I have heard with disappointment and with some surprise the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President in reply to my hon. Friend. The right hon. Gentleman fell into one error. I do not think my hon. Friend intended to compliment the Science and Art Department. We in Ireland regard that Department with particularly mixed feelings, and Irish teachers prefer that their pupils should be examined by the Science and Art Department, only because the result fees are higher. With regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark), that we get all we want in Ireland financially, I think for a hard-headed Scotchman, he has travelled very much into the realms of fancy. We get more than we want of the batons of the police, but we do not get anything like what we want financially. The result of what the Government have done at the instance of the National Education Board is practically to take away the incentive of result fees in regard to the teaching of agriculture. If you fix upon the 4th class you catch the main body of the students, but if you raise the standard to the 6th class, you may as well abolish the result-fees for agriculture altogether. I do trust that the right hon. Gentleman, whose sincere interest in all that concerns education no Member of the 1400 House doubts, will feel it his duty to reconsider the subject.
§ The House divided: —Ayes 58; Noes: 103.—(Div. List, No. 309.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(5.) Motion made, and Question, proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £103,975, 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, 1890, for the Salaries and Expenses of the British Museum, including, the amount required for the Natural History Museum.
§ MR. SEXTON
I fear it may be necessary in the state of the House to ask for a postponement of this Vote. I regret that the hon. Baronet, the Member for London University is not in his place, because he is well acquainted with the details of the working of the British Museum, and usually answers questions relating to the administration of that institution. However, I gave notice some months ago of my intention to raise certain questions-upon this Vote, and I hope some Member may be able to give me the answers I desire. I wish to ascertain what are the conditions of employment of the principal officers of the Museum, and I think I am entitled to affirm that they are bound to maintain an impartial position between political Parties. Two of the permanent officials of the Museum placed themselves at the service and employment of the manager of the Times in connection with the Commission which has been sitting, and I wish to know whether that was done with the assent of the Trustees. It appears that these officials received certain documents from the Times and applied themselves to an examination of them. I wish to know whether, under the conditions of their appointment, they are expected to devote their whole time to the service of the Museum. I am aware that the examination of these documents took a considerable time, and I hope that some one will be able to tell the Committee on what conditions these gentlemen entered into the service of the Times, and what was the amount of the remuneration they received. I have also to complain that the premises of the Museum were placed at the service of the Times for the purpose of taking 1401 photographs and enlargements of documents. After Mr. Macdonald had been examined the Attorney General desired to put Mr. Inglis, an expert, into the box to prove that the hon. Member for Cork had written certain documents. After he had been examined Mr. Birch, another official of the Museum, was ready to go into the box to swear that the hon. Member for Cork had written those letters. Fortunately for the Museum and its officials it happened that when Mr. Inglis went into the box Sir Charles Russell declared that he would not cross-examine him until the history and genesis of the letters had been laid before the Court, and thus the Museum was saved from the misfortune of having its officials called to prove the genuineness of letters which everybody but Lord Salisbury admit to be forgeries. Another question I have to put relates to the files of Irish newspapers. These, of course, are preserved in the Museum, but since the opening of the Special Commission readers at the Museum have been deprived of the means of reference to these files for historical or political purpose. They have been transferred from the Museum to the Law Courts, where I am not even aware that they were kept in the custody of an official of the Museum. Mr. Soames has been allowed a room in the Courts and the files were stored in that room. Although I am sensible of the inconvenience of permanently removing the files from the Museum, I would have made no objection if they had been equally accessible to both sides in the case. Several of my hon. Friends have been attacked because of their connection with Irish newspapers, and although they were on their trial, and although the files of the papers had been removed from the Museum to the Royal Courts of Justice, the Committee will be surprised to hear that those files were not open to their inspection. I protest in the strongest manner open to me that it is not just that a great public institution maintained out of the Imperial purse should allow its officials and documents to be used in a political issue in favour of one of the parties only. I find that the salaries of the two officials concerned are £750 a year each, and, therefore, I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £1,500.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £102,475, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Sexton.)
§ * SIR G. STOKES (Cambridge University)
As I happen to be one of the Trustees of the British Museum, I think it is right I should say a few words on this question, although I regret that not being aware that the discussion was coming on to-night, I have not provided myself with full details.
§ * SIR G. STOKES
As to the conduct of the two officials to whom the right hon. Gentleman has referred, I am informed that what they did was done entirely out of office hours; at all events, they were not absent from the Museum during office hours, as I am informed. As to the removal of the files of newspapers, of course that can only be done by legal authority, and there must be a guarantee for the safe custody of papers so removed. What are the conditions under which papers are so removed, and in whose custody they remain are questions as to which I can give no opinion, nor have I any legal knowledge on the subject.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
I think the Committee will agree with me that the distinguished professor has not thrown much light on this subject. This is a very different case from that of the Shapira manuscripts, which but for the intervention of a German professor would have been accepted as genuine by the British Museum. This is the forgery of letters by a modern politician, and there are tests which we were assured by the Attorney General had been applied to the consideration of these forgeries. It was always understood that lurking in the background loomed the distinguished gentlemen connected with the British Museum. It is much to be regretted that these gentlemen did not hold themselves absolutely aloof from an inquiry which concerned the fate and fortunes of one of the great parties in the State. We all know what light has been thrown on this question of the genuineness of handwriting by photography; and no small sensation was created when it was 1403 said that the officials of the British Museum, with the dry light of science and impartiality in politics, were on the side of the Times. Now, the only excuse we have offered is that these officials acted after office hours. But does this make men purblind; is it an excuse that they made asses of themselves after office hours? If that is the defence, they are not fit to receive their salaries. If these gentlemen are asses after office hours, surely they will be asses in office hours. But the antecedent question is, what right had these gentlemen to intervene in this business at all? But having intervened and having brought the light of their intellects to bear, what was the result? If these experts could not find out the hand of Richard Pigott, how on earth can they find out the stamp of Julius Cæsar? What are we to think of what are called the resources of civilisation in their hands? The absolute fraud and humbug of these letters might have been demonstrated at the cost of a few shillings and a microscope. Why, by throwing a magnified photographic representation of these forgeries on a screen one could see that they were as full of composition and decomposition as a pond of fetid water is full of animalculeæ. One could see the whole plan of the forgery as elaborately traced as M. de Lesseps' plan of the Panama Canal. I attack the action of the officials of the British Museum on the ground of their scientific incompetence as well as on political grounds. But I have a third proposition to make, and it is with reference to the action of these gentlemen in connection with the files of newspapers. The hon. Baronet says that what they did they did under legal conditions. What were the legal conditions? I apprehend it is quite impossible to serve a subpæna on the British Museum. I do not see how you could serve a subpoena on the British. Museum to produce the files of newspapers. I will not discuss the legal conditions, but I say that to serve a subpoena duces tecum on the clerk of the British Museum is not sufficient to cause him to produce the file of a newspaper. However, apparently the British Museum, whether they had a subpæna or not, did not require much tuition in the matter. They at once produce their files. Let us suppose that this was a Tichborne trial. Would 1404 it be tolerated as between two private parties that all the newspaper files of the country which are collected in the British Museum should be carted away to the Strand and locked up from the general body of the public, who have the first right and claim upon them? If that is the use to which the British Museum is to be put, I say, "Away with the British Museum!" I apprehend the British Museum is for the advantage of the public generally, and not for the advantage of Mr. Soames or any other solicitor. For the last 12 months anybody who went up to the British Museum to consult the files of the Irish newspapers or the English newspapers was told, "Oh, they are down at Mr. Soames' office!" What answer is that to the British taxpayer? I maintain that if only one humble being would be inconvenienced by the removal of these files, they ought not to be removed. It seems to me that if a subpoena is sufficient to break up the collection at the British Museum, there should be salutary legislative authority to prevent it. I suppose that if the subpoena had ordered the authorities to send down the whole library or the skeleton of a megatherium, it would have been obeyed. The Times might have called for every mineral, vegetable, or animal specimen in the building. There is no doubt these gentlemen acted with the greatest imprudence. I do not believe any legal subpœna was served at all; but even if it was possible to subpœna the authorities of the British Museum, I think they might have found a way of excusing themselves from the production of the files if they had cared to do so. I now go to my fourth proposition. I desire that everything done by the British Museum shall be regularly done. I want to know what right the British Museum Authorities had to transfer all these valuable records to the custody of Mr. Soames. I saw from the newspapers that the clerk of the British Museum attended the Commission Court for one or two days, and that then a gentleman called Sir Richard Webster got up and said—The British Museum Authorities are attending day after day and bringing down these documents every day, but we desire that they should be left here."Oh, certainly," said the President. I 1405 recollect reading that nothing that has once been put into the Museum can be taken out of it again without the sanction of a special Act of Parliament, and that when it was desired on one occasion to remove an old skeleton to make room for a new one the authorities had to put the old skeleton inside the new one so as to avoid the necessity for a special enactment. At any rate, it was no part of the duty of the British Museum to relinquish the custody of these documents. There may be Acts of Parliament to enable the authorities to dispose of their lumber; but it is another thing for the authorities to hand these files over to Mr. Soames. The clerk who produced them should have said, "I am a public official. You require these papers, and I will give them to you to look through; but they must be equally accessible to the litigants on the other side." That was not done; Mr. Soames had them under lock and key, and so far as the general body of litigants were concerned the files were absolutely closed to them. Undoubtedly the Times nobbled the British Museum; and on a later date we shall show that the Times got officials of the Royal Dublin Society, who are paid out of the public money, to look out extracts for them. I think that the Motion which my hon. Friend has made is a reasonable and necessary one. It is very unsatisfactory to the Irish Members to have to bring these matters forward after the thing is over. But that is all we can do in Irish matters. It is no remedy, however. I do not suppose that there will be a Parnell Commission again for another century. The British Constitution has not sufficient resources to produce anything like it again on this side of the 20th century. There is absolutely no defence to be made for the authorities of the British Museum in this matter, and therefore I support the very proper Motion of my right hon. Friend the Lord Mayor of Dublin.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASUEY (Mr. JACKSON, Leeds, N.)
I am afraid I am not able to give very much information to hon. Gentlemen opposite; and I regret very much the absence of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir J. Lubbock) who usually answers for the British Museum. My Hon. Friend the Member for the Cam- 1406 bridge University has told the House that two officers of the British Museum were consulted in this case, but that they did not act in the matter within the hours which they are called upon to give to Museum work. I do not suppose that anybody believes that they entered into the examination which they were asked to undertake from any partisan view. The hon. Member for Longford, I am sure, will testify to the facilities afforded to him whenever he has applied to any officer connected with the Museum. I believe it is customary for officers at the British Museum who have special knowledge to be consulted from time to time by those who desire to have their opinion. Whether these officers would have undertaken this duty, had they known the whole circumstances of the case, is extremely doubtful; but I do not think it has been shown that they have in any way taken a Party side. They have examined the documents purely from the point of view of their knowledge and experience of such documents. I believe there is ample power to compel the production of any documents in the Museum; and I do not understand that it is contended by the Lord Mayor of Dublin or by the hon. Member for Longford that there has been any refusal to anybody to see the files of the newspaper in question. These files were sent to the Court; and I take it that they were in the custody of the Court.
§ MR. JACKSON
I do not understand that either of the hon. Gentlemen have gone so far as to say that anybody who has applied to see the files has been refused, but rather that the newspapers were sent to the Court and placed in a particular room which, in their opinion, looks as though they were sent there in the interests of one side or one litigant. I imagine that when the newspapers were brought into Court under an order of Court, they were open to inspection by any party in the case. I am sorry that I am not personally acquainted with all the details of the matter; but if there are any questions of detail upon which answers are desired, distinct inquiries shall be made before the Report stage.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I know something about this matter. I have had a good many actions brought against me, and I remember that in regard to one action—I am not quite certain whether the Solicitor General was for me or against me; he has been both—I wanted to obtain the files of one or two newspapers from the British Museum, and I was able to do so by subpoenaing some official. But the newspapers were not given into my custody. They were brought into Court by an official, who took them away again. What we now complain of is that certain documents were brought from the Museum and handed over to the custody of Mr. Soames.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
The Solicitor General will tell the hon. Gentleman that the Court has no power to allow such documents to be handed over either to a plaintiff or to a defendant. Undoubtedly in this matter there is a certain bias on the part of every official of the Government, which induces them, I do not say to act against the other side, but not to do anything for the other side. The hon. Gentleman who has defended the Museum authorities stated that the two officials devoted their time to this matter out of office hours. But I put it to the First Lord of the Treasury whether public opinion will not be biased by two gentlemen from the British Museum coming forward as expert witnesses for the Times? Unless we get an admission from the Government that a wrong has been done, and a promise that it shall not take place again in any future trial of this sort, I hope that my hon. Friend will go to a Division.
§ MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)
Obviously, all documents in the British Museum, within the possession, power, and procurement of the trustees, are entitled to be produced in Court, although they are held under strict regulations by the trustees. The words of the Act of George II. are most specific on the point. All property is by that Act to remain under the control of the trustees for public use to all posterity. But not only so, even if the trustees desire to move part of their collection to another building, they have to come to 1408 Parliament for an Act for the purpose. Thus, in 1878, the British Museum Act gave the trustees special power to remove a certain portion of their collection to the buildings at South Kensington. Did they get any special Act for the removal of these documents from the Museum to Mr. Soames's office? These are points which I think the Solicitor General might help us to clear up.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
The Secretary to the Treasury has stated that these two gentlemen, had they known the circumstances from the beginning, probably would not have gone into this transaction at all. But surely it was known long before the production of these forged letters in Court that they were not documents that ought to have been used in a criminal charge. Another point has been raised which is a little confused. I suppose there is no doubt about the right of any party in a suit by a subpœna duces tecum to call for the production in Court of any particular documents; but such documents, so produced as these files of papers were, should never leave the custody of the individual producing them. They should be held in his care for reference by either party to the suit, or the solicitors. This practice is inherent to the proceedings. I have seen officials of the British Museum in Court over and over again produce under subpœna files of papers, but I never heard of a case in which such documents were placed in the custody of one party to the suit. If that has been done in this case—I have no knowledge myself about it, but I have heard what has been stated as to these files being in the custody of Mr. Soames—then I say it is a proceeding that this House ought to condemn in the very strongest fashion. There is not a shadow of doubt about the practice that such documents should be open to the access of either party.
§ DR. KENNY
The Secretary to the Treasury has applied himself to the task, which he can perform better than most on that Front Bench, of throwing oil on the troubled waters. He has expressed his willingness to answer any questions of detail that he can, and there are one or two questions I should like to put to him. We should like to have the name of the second official which, as yet, we have sought in vain. We have the name of Dr. Birch, but we 1409 should like to know who was the other expert employed. It might be that we may have occasion for his services in a case of our own in the future. Another question of detail, which may be within the hon. Gentleman's cognisance, is—Did the experts day by day have these files of papers in their custody? Also—were they paid by the Times, or who were they paid by? These are questions upon which I hope we may get an answer. Then as to the conspiracy in which these gentlemen seemed to have joined, a grave question arises. I think we must all feel that it is necessary we should be tender about the reputation of our ancestors. Now, suppose one of these gentlemen should have before him a letter, say from the Duchess of Portsmouth or Mistress Eleanor Gwynne, upon the authenticity of which may depend the reputation of an English Monarch. Very grave errors might arise to the Monarch's reputation through the incompetency of these gentlemen, and the same questions might arise in reference to the Monarch of a later era. The hon. Baronet the Member for Cambridge University has told us that the work of these officials in regard to these letters was done after office hours. But does he really mean to say that a series of very elaborate experiments were not conducted at the British Museum, and with the apparatus of that Institution? It does not require less faith than that of St. Thomas, if we hesitate to believe that the Museum was not so used. These are questions upon which I hope some explanation may be forthcoming.
§ MR. E. HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
I desire to bear brief testimony to the fact that the papers removed from the British Museum, and which have been understood heretofore to be the property of the nation, and in the custody of the trustees, were brought down from the Museum, I think without formal order of the Court, and certainly were transferred to the custody of Mr. Soames, and access to them was denied absolutely to the other parties in the suit. This is our grievance. I have no complaint myself to make of being personally damnified, for I have small faith in British Institutions, including the British Museum, and so I provided myself with a file of papers from my own office, and therefore was not at that loss which others of my Colleagues suffered through Mr. 1410 Soames being in possession of the Museum files. Day by day I had before me the fact that not only were the Museum files in Mr. Soames's custody, but he had Irish policemen placed at his service to go over the papers for him and make extracts therefrom. This is a fact that cannot be denied. I believe the First Lord of the Treasury must be in a position to have had some knowledge of these proceedings from their inception. [Mr. W. H. SMITH expressed dissent.] We must accept the right hon. Gentleman's disavowal. But the fact remains that we, the weaker party in this contest, had all the odds against us. You used the public money; you used your control of public Institutions; all social advantages were on your side; you used even the money that we are now asked to vote, that you might ply Mr. Soames with every advantage to be used against us. And all this time you denied any access by us to this public property for reference. I think my hon. Friend has made a good point in his reference to a special Act being required to take documents from the British Museum; but I do not rest my argument upon that. What I say is that no one party in litigation should be able to compel the production of such documents in Court, and withhold them from the other party. It was especially hard upon us, who had nothing to rely on but our truth, our pluck, and public virtue. Against us you used all the advantage of wealth and social influence, and you cannot complain if we indulge in the luxury of grumbling and protestation. I am quite certain that what my right hon. Friend (Mr. Sexton) says is a fact—that these documents were in the custody of Mr. Soames at the Law Courts; and, further, that he had the assistance in the examination of these documents of the official staff of the Museum and also of the Irish police.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
I regret that none of the hon. and learned Gentlemen who were engaged before the Commission are now present, because I feel confident that if either of those who sit on this side in Committee were here this evening he would be able to show to the satisfaction of the Committee that these newspaper files for a considerable period were not, properly speaking, in the custody of an official 1411 from the Museum, but solely and exclusively in the custody and occupation of Mr. Soames. In proof of this statement on several occasions last November and December, and while the House was in Session, and Members of this House were lying under these charges, we went to the Court to obtain extracts from Irish newspapers, from certain speeches alleged against us in evidence, and the learned counsel to whom we referred told us we should go to Ireland or send to Ireland for the newspapers. So it is evident he could not procure these extracts in Court. This much will be conceded, that these files if they were in Court should have been as accessible to the one side as the other. They were not in Court, and they were, I allege, absolutely in the custody of Mr. Soames and his coadjutors. I do not think the Committee will be satisfied with the explanation of the hon. Baronet that these British Museum experts did this delicate work after office hours. It is an extraordinary thing that in a great State trial, as a Member of the Government has appropriately termed it—it is positively indecent, I will say, that servants of a public institution, officials of a great national institution like the British Museum paid out of public funds should be employed in a transaction of this kind. Beyond all doubt it raises serious questions as to the competency of these gentlemen to occupy their present position. As an ordinary layman, I should be inclined to call in question the ability of these gentlemen to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics, if they have failed to see the forgery of these pen scratchings attributed to my hon. Friend the Member for Cork. Any ordinary judge of caligraphy would have discovered the forgery after a few hours' examination. The hon. Baronet says these gentlemen did their work out of office hours; but did they perform their experiments within the walls of the Museum in midnight secrecy, and did they avail themselves of the apparatus and machinery of the Museum? I do not know, but I suppose cameras and photographic appliances are to be found at the Museum. If this was the case, what a lame excuse it is to say the work was done after official hours! But passing from that, why should these gentlemen be required to undertake the work at 1412 all? Are there not in London plenty of skilful photographers who would have equally well discharged this comparatively simple work of taking and enlarging photographs? Why were these officials employed at all? I think the time of the Committee is well employed in the endeavour to get at the truth of this business, and I hope some right hon. Gentleman will be able to supplement the little information we have had as to these very suspicious transactions.
§ * MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)
I join in acknowledging the reasonableness and courtesy of the Secretary to the Treasury, and I hope he will make an effort to satisfy us on this subject. He asked us to put questions to him upon detail; but if my hon. Friends will accept a little advice from me, I should recommend them not to ask for any details, but to demand a full and complete statement of all that has taken place. For my own part, I shall decline to intimate any particular point upon which I should like information. What is wanted is a full account of the whole transaction; when it began; where it began; how the work was done; who paid for it; in fact, the whole story in connection with it. The Secretary to the Treasury is generally very clear and straightforward, and I hope he will be so in this case. I do not propose to enter at length into the subject. I will only add that it does seem a little strange that with the knowledge that this discussion was coming on to-night—for it has been a matter of controversy both in the House and in the country for months—it is strange, I say, that we have nobody here to speak with authority for the British Museum. The Solicitor General has sat through this discussion and displayed his interest in it by someTimes nodding and someTimes shaking his head. Will he get up and tell the Committee what is the law on the subject? If he cannot tell us what it is the British Museum have done, will he tell us what they should have done and should not have done with reference to the custody of these papers?
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
The British Museum Authorities were bound to produce these papers under subpœna duces tecum, but that subpœna must have been seen by the trustees. It could not have been served upon anybody in the Museum without it 1413 being brought to their knowledge, because no document can be moved without their authority. Perhaps the hon. Baronet (Sir G. Stokes) will let us know what action was taken by the trustees, and if it is within his knowledge that the subpoena was served.
§ MR. SEXTON
I think the hon. Baronet has given the Committee all the information in his power, but I think that he will agree that the information he has given is not sufficient to satisfy even the most modest curiosity. I admit that the testimony of the hon. Baronet is valuable on many subjects; but in regard to this matter, it is evident that the testimony would be more valuable after inquiry than before, and I hope he will be so good as to make inquiry. His arguments simply amount to this—that what the officials did was after office hours. But that appears to be founded upon speculation in his own mind, for the only reason he could give was that they were not absent during the hours of duty. Now, there is no doubt one of the reasons why the British Museum was selected for these experiments was because of the character of its plant and apparatus and its facilities for the enlargement of photographs. But the hon. Baronet does not appear to have informed himself upon this point, whether the work was done in the Museum at all. The Secretary to the Treasury has made but a lame apology. Of course, he is very effective in apologising for the sins of others, perhaps because he has so few of his own to answer for; but I am quite sure that he will agree that an arrangement should have been made by which the custody of these papers should have been in an officer of the Court or of the Museum, and that they should be open to the inspection of litigants on either side.
§ MR. JACKSON
I entirely admit that, and I did not understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that that had not been done. I quite understood that the files were in Mr. Soames' room; but I did not understand there was any difficulty, or any refusal of access to them, to others who were concerned, and I understand, moreover, that they were actually in the custody of the Court for the whole time.
§ MR. SEXTON
The Commission sat for four days in the week, and during that time they were open to Mr. Soames 1414 and not to us. During the other three days we were also debarred from inspection, while Mr. Soames had full control.
§ MR. JACKSON
I understood that it was under the advice of his own counsel that the hon. Member sent to Ireland for his own copies.
§ MR. SEXTON
My hon. Friend's counsel would not have advised him to go to Ireland to look through the files when he could get them in London. Mr. Soames's agent had access to the files at any time; but whenever the representatives of the Irish Members desired to look at them, they had to ask the permission of Mr. Soames to state what papers they wanted and to examine them under the supervision of Mr. Soames's clerks, so that Mr. Soames knew exactly what evidence it was intended to give and was able to prepare his cross-examination. The whole thing was a conspiracy engineered by Mr. Soames. I am surprised that a man of legal eminence, such as the Solicitor General, should sit through the whole discussion and not take any part in it except by gesture. No doubt it is a discreet silence, and the matter is more the Attorney General's business than the Solicitor General's. The Attorney General received a splendid fee in the case, and the Solicitor General did not. I admit that there is a strong contrast to be drawn between the conduct of the two hon. and learned Gentlemen—the Solicitor General, though he received no fee, being in his place, and the Attorney General, who had so large a pecuniary interest in the Times' case, being absent. Without going any further into that matter, I desire to point out that we have not had a reply to several questions we have addressed to the Government. The Committee wish to know who the officials were; whether they were served with subpœna duces tecum, and, if so, when; how long they continued in the service of the Times; what operations they performed; what remuneration they received from the Times; and what documents were specified in the subpœnas? Lastly, are these the officials upon whom the country depends for deciding the validity of valuable documents. I shall ask the Committee to divide on this Vote to-night. I intend to raise these questions again on the Report stage, and I trust that then a reply will be forthcoming either from the 1415 Attorney General or the Trustees of the British Museum.
§ MR. CHANNING: (Northampton, E.)
I do not think this Debate should be allowed to close without the law being laid down by the Law Officers of the Crown as to the custody of the documents in the British Museum. I think, seeing that the Solicitor General is present, we should have his opinion of the law upon a question of such importance as this.
§ * THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir E. CLARKE, Plymouth)
If the Committee desires to hear my opinion I have no objection to give it. Two questions have been raised in the course of the discussion; one is strictly relevant to the Motion before the Committee for the reduction of the Vote, and that is the question of the conduct of the two gentlemen who seem to have been consulted with regard to these documents. The other is the question of what was done with regard to the production of printed matter from the British Museum in the course of the case, and of its being left in the custody of Mr. Soames. With regard to the authority for having printed matter from the British Museum produced in Court, the legal knowledge and experience of the two Members for Northampton has already shown that it is within the competence of a Court to cause printed matter to be brought from the British Museum when dealing with any sort of case, public or private. One of the public purposes of & complete collection of literary work in the British Museum is that the Courts of Justice may be able to refer to it. Both the hon. Members for Northampton in their diverse experience in courts of law, have had to do with the production of printed matter. It is said that in this case printed matter was brought to the Court by an official of the British Museum in the morning and taken back in the evening. [Cries of "No, no."] I beg pardon; I know this from one of the hon. Gentlemen who have already spoken in this Debate. It was taken back each night until on the second or third day the Attorney General suggested that this moving to and fro was extremely inconvenient and unnecessary, and I understand from the statements made in this Debate that it was ordered that the files should remain in the custody of Mr. Soames.
§ * SIR E. CLARKE
By the Court. No such proceeding could have taken place except under the order of the Court; and if objection had been made by either of the litigants against the application that the documents should be left with Mr. Soames, no doubt the order would have been refused. It is stated that there was great difficulty in obtaining access to the documents. I have no knowledge of that, but it has not been stated that any application for such access was made to the Court. If representations had been made about the inconvenience of the documents lying in Mr. Soames's office, no doubt that inconvenience would have been removed. As to the question of consulting officials on the question of handwriting, two gentlemen of the British Museum have been referred to. The name of only one of them has been mentioned, and that is Mr. Birch. I do not discuss whether it is right or wrong for the officials of the British Museum to be consulted, but I do know that it is by no means an exceptional thing for Mr. Birch, one of the officials in question, to be consulted on questions of handwriting. In the last case but one in which I appeared—which involved a question of forgery—where the forgery of a will was exposed, Mr. Birch was called upon to give an opinion on handwriting. I succeeded in defeating the will which was then in question, and I knew of Mr. Birch having been employed because I held his report in my hand. I only instance this case to show that it has, undoubtedly, been the practice to consult the officials of the British Museum, and there is not the smallest reason for supposing that their intervention in the particular case under discussion had any reference to the character of the case.
§ MR. O'HANLON (Cavan, E.)
One thing is certain—that Pigott and his party will follow the Government to its grave. We have heard nothing whatever from the Government, who should give us every information in the matter, except that we ought to have gone into Mr. Soames's office for the information we wanted. If we had done such a thing what would have been thought of us? Does the hon. and learned Gentleman really think it would have been possible for any Member of this 1417 party to go into Mr. Soames's office? I think the proposal to reduce the Vote a very proper one.
§ MR. T.M. HEALY
I shall, on Report, press for an answer to one or two questions of which no notice has been taken. I desire to know to whom the subpœna was addressed, what it contained; what the officials subpœnaed were asked to produce; what these gentlemen were paid, and whether the payment was brought in ease of the charge on the taxpayers. The answer given by the Solicitor General is no answer at all, and I assert as a matter of law that there is no authority to compel the British Museum or any officer of that Institution to produce anything on subpœna duces tecum. It is a monstrous thing if Soames's office and the British Museum are to be interchangeable terms. The course taken by the British Museum Authorities in this instance has been most regrettable, and no answer of any sort or description has been given to our questions. Supposing Soames had stuck to those documents, or had mutilated them by cutting them into ribands, what answer would be forthcoming to the inquiries of the taxpayers? There would be a suit for damages, of course, by the British Museum against Soames, but what answer would that be to the general public; and this shows the inconvenience of the course which has been followed. Where are those documents now? I submit that they are still in the office of Soames. Are they back again in the British Museum? No one can say; and yet the Vote is brought forward for discussion in this way. As to Messrs. Birch and Inglis, all I will say is that it was on the testimony of experts such as these that the Crossmaglen prisoners were sentenced to penal servitude, and I submit that they should be prevented from giving bogus evidence in fraudulent perjury cases. While they may be competent enough to deal with evidence pertaining to the days of Julius Cæsar, they are not competent to do so in the days of Richard Pigott. Let Mr. Birch remain in the classic shades of the British Museum and draw his salary peaceably. If he is an expert the best place for him to exercise his calling is in the place where he is paid for it by the country. It is a monstrous thing that any of these public servants when they get into official 1418 positions should be trotted out as experts. They really know nothing more about these things than anybody else, but they put on great airs, take great oaths, and get great money. This scandal has gone far enough, and I hope that to-morrow we shall have some better answer than that given from the Treasury Bench.
§ MR. CHANCE
I wish to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will take steps to see that Mr. Birch and other gentlemen are not permitted to go round the country, with all the material in the Museum at their disposal, swearing people into gaol?
§ MR. O'DOHERTY (Donegal, N.)
I have always understood that it was one of the duties of the Government to call attention to the extra receipts of these officials. We certainly have a right to know what are the indirect salaries which these gentlemen receive, and to what extent the British Museum grant is supplemented by receipts from private individuals when those receipts are earned in consequence of the official position of those who obtain them. This Debate will be useful if it has no other effect than to direct particular attention to the fact that these men are in receipt of enormous sums for private work done with public instruments, and obtained because they are public servants. It is preposterous to say it is not in the power of the Committee to investigate the matter. I think we ought to be informed not only what remuneration these gentlemen received when attending on their subpœna, but what remuneration they received during the time they were making the investigation, and were not on subpœna. It is also our duty to inquire whether or not they used the instruments of the British Museum or devoted any of their official time to this outside work. I give the hon. Baronet (Sir G. Stokes) perfect credit for believing that they were at their offices during the proper hours, though he did not say they were doing official work all the time. I hope the Secretary to the Treasury will inquire whether any of the work was done during official hours.
§ MR. D. SULLIVAN (Westmeath, S.)
After the very inadequate reply of the Government I beg to move, Mr. Courtney, that you do now report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. D. Sullivan.)
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Amendment again proposed.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I see the hon. and learned Attorney General now in his place. He will remember that certain documents were obtained under a subpœna duces tecum from the British Museum. These documents were placed in Mr. Soames's private room at the Law Courts. It has been complained by hon. Members, who may be described as the persons sued in the case, that they had not equal opportunity with Mr. Soames to look into the documents. Our complaint is that documents were taken out of the custody Of the British Museum and left in the custody of Mr. Soames. Of course, the Attorney General will see that that was a most improper thing if it was so. The Solicitor General admitted that it was improper, but said he did not know it to be so at the time; and so said the Secretary to the Treasury; at least, he did not attempt to defend it.
§ * SIR E. CLARKE
I did not say so. What I said was that it was understood that these documents were being carted backwards and forwards at great inconvenience; that the Attorney General said this was a most inconvenient course, and that no objection was taken to the Order of the Court as to their custody at the Law Courts.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I do not care about the Law Courts. I am a taxpayer, and these things are to a certain extent my property, and I object to my property being left in the hands of Mr. Soames, whether by the permission of the Judges of the land or of the Attorney General. We want to understand whether these documents were left by an official in the hands of Mr. Soames; whether they really were in the hands of Mr. Soames?
§ * THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER, Isle of Wight)
I am glad to think that my presence here at this stage may be useful in affording hon. Members below the Gangway, on the opposite side answers to the questions that have been put to the Government. The documents were never 1420 out of the custody of the proper officer of the British Museum. No access was ever had to them by the advisers of the Times, so far as I know, except under the custody of that officer, and the same access was given to all parties concerned. During the first three or four days the papers, all of which were produced on subpœna, were carted backwards and forwards, to the great inconvenience of everybody. Then the suggestion was made, if my memory serves me right, by Sir Charles Russell, that they should be left in the Law Courts; I will not be quite certain as to this, but the suggestion came, so far as I recollect, from the other side. My recollection is that this was suggested to Sir James Hannen, who was informed that the officials of the British Museum were not entitled to leave the papers anywhere else than in the Museum, unless the Commission made an order to that effect. Whereupon Sir James Hannen said it was a reasonable proposal, and directed that they should be left in a room in the Law Courts. I am able to say from personal knowledge—though, having been counsel for the Times, I am unwilling to obtrude my personal knowledge—that the papers were accessible to any of the parties to the inquiry. So far as I know, the documents were never produced except under the custody of the official of the British Museum. They were never in the custody of the solicitor for the Times, in whom the hon. Member for Northampton expresses such distrust.
§ MR. M. HEALY (Cork, City)
The hon. and learned Gentleman says these papers were never in the custody of Mr. Soames. I may state that, as a party to the suit, I once had occasion to apply for access to the documents, and I had to go to Mr. Soames and get Mr. Soames's permission to see them. I was conducted by Mr. Soames to his room, and I had to inspect the documents in the presence of half-a-dozen of Mr. Soames's clerks.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 97; Noes 133.—(Div. List, No. 310.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £9,487, 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, 1890, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Gallery.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I have something to say in regard to this Vote, and as time does not now admit of my doing so, I will move that the Chairman report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Sir George Campbell.)
§ MR. W. McARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid., St. Austell)
I understood the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to promise that on Saturday he will only take non-contentious business. I, therefore, assume that on that day he will not take the Diplomatic and Colonial Votes.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I am afraid it will be impossible to satisfy both those hon. Members who want to take Votes and those who do' not, but I will endeavour to-morrow to state some arrangement with regard to the Saturday Sitting, which, I hope, will be generally satisfactory to the House. If hon. Gentlemen are really desirous of making progress, they will be content to make some sacrifice of their own personal convenience.
§ MR. W. M'ARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid, St. Austell)
I would point out that the House has now for several months been discussing the affairs of some 37,000,000 of people in these Islands, but there are 270,000,000 more under British rule whose affairs have not yet been touched. All I ask is that we shall not be called on to take the Votes I have named on Saturday.
The Diplomatic Vote is always regarded, not so much as a contentious Vote, but as one that requires to be discussed. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman as a matter of fairness not to call upon us to take that Vote on Saturday.
§ * SIR R. FOWLER (London)
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not take the Colonial Votes on Saturday.
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I trust the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to take Supply on Saturday.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
Some business must be taken on Saturday, and Gentlemen who complain that Votes are postponed are now asking for their further postponement. I desire the House to take notice of this fact.
§ MR. CHANNING
I have a notice on Class V. of the Estimates, and I am perfectly willing that it should be taken on Saturday.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported to-morrow.
§ Committee also report Progress; to sit again to-morrow.