HC Deb 03 July 1889 vol 337 cc1388-408

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

*SIR W. HART DYKE (Dartford) moved, Clause 1, p. 1, line 9, after "Acts," add "and may be cited together with those Acts as the Endowed Schools Acts, 1869 to 1889."

Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.

*SIR W. HART DYKE moved, Clause 2, page 1, line 10, leave out "provide," and insert "make further provision."

Question, "That provide 'stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.

Question, "That the words make further provision' be there added," put, and agreed to.

*SIR W. HART DYKE moved Clause 2, page 1, lines 11 and 12, leave out, "and the county of Monmouth."

Question proposed, "That the words 'and the county of Monmouth' stand part of the Clause."

* MR. T. P. PRICE (Monmouth)

As one of the Representatives of the county of Monmouth, I wish to say a few words upon the exclusion of that county. The proposal has caused very deep feeling throughout the county and throughout Wales. It is a very short time, indeed, since the President of the Council set down his Amendments; but even in that short interval there have been a large number of Petitions from various Local Authorities against the exclusion of Monmouth. Notwithstanding Henry VIII.'s policy, if he ever had one, which did not make Monmouth a part of Wales, Monmouth was entirely Welsh. It was Welsh in race, tradition, and geographically; it was Welsh in sentiment, and Welsh by its similarity of industries. The Act of Henry VIII. had been in operation 400 years, yet it had not altered the nationality of Monmouth. Almost every parish, farm, and field had a Welsh name; and he ventured to say that the feeling of the great bulk of the people of Monmouth was in favour of being included in this intermediate education scheme for Wales. The Departmental Committee of 1881, a very strong Committee, contemplated the inclusion of Monmouth in the Intermediate Education Act. They stated that Monmouth was amply provided with endowments, but that the endowments lay outside the population, and that there were densely populated mining districts where there were neither endowed schools, nor indeed any school of any kind whatever. At the present time, no doubt, there were sparsely populated districts in Monmouth, and which were likely to be still more sparsely populated; but there were centres of mining industry where where the population was likely to increase. I may say that there is a large development of minerals going on in Monmouth at the present moment. In a very few years there will probably be a score of new pits, which will attract a very large population, and I venture to say the bulk of the population will be Welsh. For these reasons, both on account of the natural conditions of the country, and most strongly on account of the Departmental Report of 1881, I do hope that this House will be induced to include the County of Monmouth in the Intermediate Education Bill for Wales.

MR. WARMINGTON (Monmouth, W.)

I must say I am greatly disappointed at the action of the Government. This is the first attempt with regard to our education scheme to exclude Monmouth. In 1880, its inclusion went without saying, and Earl Spencer in a letter to the Chairman of the Deparmental Committee (Lord Aberdare) used the phrase Wales to include Monmouth. There never was a doubt on the part of the Committee, although it was composed of politicians of different sides, about Monmouth being included in the area of their inquiry. Nor does the hon. Member for Denbighshire exclude Monmouth from the area of his Bill dealing with this subject. It is now for the first time, and without a word of justification, that Monmouth is to be excluded from this Bill. I should like to know what means the Government have taken of ascertaining the opinion first of Wales as to whether Monmouth should be excluded, and, secondly, whether Monmouth itself desires to be included. I can hardly believe that the Government have taken any means whatever to ascertain these two important facts. I have had the pleasure of often going across the border of Monmouth into the Principality, and I have not found that I have had to deal with people of different tastes or desires with regard to intermediate education. On the contrary, I have met with people animated by exactly the same desires as those which animated the people of Monmouth; and in Monmouth the great representative bodies, so far as the Government have allowed them, have unanimously expressed their opinion in favour of the inclusion of the county. A hastily summoned meeting of the County Council decided by 24 to 4 in favour of the inclusion. The vast majority of the people of Monmouthshire cannot he distinguished from the Welsh population. In a great many parts of the county conversation is carried on in Welsh; and in nearly every town of my division there are chapels in which the Welsh language is used by the ministers, and where the Welsh language is used by a great portion of the people. The people of Monmouth take the very deepest interest in this great struggle. They regard the improvement of their education as the great lever by which they can lift their fellow-countrymen, and to deny for the first time Monmouth the benefit of that education is, I must say, a very harsh step.


Sir, some of the arguments which have been advanced by the two previous speakers would apply to others of the adjoining counties besides Monmouthshire. In Herefordshire you will find many of the farms bearing Welsh names, and many Welsh terms used, yet I find no public desire there to include the county in the intermediate Education Scheme. In Monmouthshire, in a large part of the county, you find English-speaking people, and the bulk of the population far more resemble the English than the Welsh. It strikes me there is something behind this movement—some desire to increase the area of Wales, to grab an English county and make it appear, when any movement connected with the Church, for example, be brought forward, that there is a larger area in favour of that movement than there would otherwise be. More than that, it is well known that Monmouth contains rich endowments, and, in fact, this is a case of land grabbing and money grabbing. And hon. Members ask why the Government have not ascertained the opinion of Monmouth, so that it would appear that the opinion of the people of Monmouth is yet to be discovered. Nothing that has been said with regard to the amalgamation of Monmouth with Wales would not equally apply to the County of Hereford. That county is also part of the Marches of Wales, just as Monmouthshire is, and I can recollect when there were on the Post Offices Welsh notices as well as English notices within a short distance of my own house. I venture humbly to submit to the House that it should support the proposition of the Government.

* MR. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, East)

I was greatly surprised that the right hon. Gentleman opposite should have moved this Amendment without saying one single word on the subject. Surely we had a right to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the grounds on which we are asked to take this new departure on Welsh questions. I listened to the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, and it seemed to me he furnished the very strongest argument possible for not including the County of Hereford, because he says there is not a single person in Herefordshire who desires to be included.


I said that, although it was a border county, none of the people desired to join Wales. The argument was the resemblance between the people.


There are other adjoining counties besides his. Shropshire and Cheshire are adjoining counties, but those counties do not wish to be incorporated with Wales, and we have no desire to take them in. The case of Monmouthshire is entirely distinct from these cases. In the first place, two out of the three Members for Monmouthshire have already expressed their opinions on the subject, and I believe that one of them (Mr. Warming-ton) was returned by the largest majority recorded at the last election, with the single exception of that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone). Then you have the most representative body that can be found—the County Council of Monmouthshire—which, by a majority of no less than 24 to 4, has decided in favour of including Monmouthshire in the Bill. Now I think we have reason to complain, that the right hon. Gentleman has not given us a longer opportunity of considering the Amendment. He has virtually put a new Bill on the Paper, and we were furnished with copies of that Bill only a few days ago, although the Second Reading was taken as far back as the 15th of May, and the Bill has been in Committee for nearly a month. On the ground of the general sentiment of Monmouthshire I ask the House to reject the Amendment, first, in the interests of Monmouthshire, and, secondly, in the interests of Wales. The whole endowments of Monmouthshire do not amount to more than £3,000—[cries of "Oh!"]—well, £3,700; they are, at any rate, under £4,000. Since the time of Henry V.—Harry of Monmouth, the first Welsh King of England—the county had been more Welsh than any of the border counties. It is Welsh in sentiment, Welsh in language, and all matters relating tc education in the county are invariably dealt with as if it was a part of Wales. The principal scholarships at Jesus College, Oxford, are by statute restricted to candidates who are natives of Wales or Monmouthshire, or who aresons of persons who have been resident in Wales or Monmouthshire; and in the appointment of the recent Commission it was assumed, as a matter of course, that Monmouthshire was included in Wales. It is true there is an old statute of Henry VIII. which dissociates Monmouthshire from Wales, but we have learned by this time that it requires something more than an Act of Parliament to stamp out a nationality. The only Act which can be quoted against us is the Welsh Sunday Closing Act. The promoter of that measure was induced to leave out Monmouthshire, and we have regretted it ever since. But independently of the national ground, there is a further reason why Monmouthshire should be included in the Bill—namely, that the Bill is specially wanted for Monmouthshire. I observe that, with the exception of Glamorganshire and Durham, there is not a county in England and Wales whose population has increased so much as in the County of Monmouth. But this increase has taken place in the mining districts; whereas the only portions of the county benefited by these endowments are the agricultural districts. Now we want the endowments to follow the population, and for that and many other reasons, which I have stated, we object to this Amendment.

COLONEL MORGAN (Monmouthshire, S.)

I am very sorry to differ from my hon. Colleague in the representation of Monmouthshire, but I think I may claim to be pretty well acquainted with the wishes of the Monmouthshire people, especially of those of the Division I have the honour to represent. In Monmouthshire there are something like 28 endowments, and 19 of these are in the Division I represent. It is not unnatural, therefore, that my constituents should object to being included in this Act. Moreover, I never heard it proposed before now that Monmouthshire should be included. Certainly I never heard of the people of Monmouthshire asking to be included. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members may cry "Oh, oh" but I have lived on the borders of Monmouthshire all my life, and know as much, I should think, of the country as any else one. It has been said that the County Council have adopted a resolution in favour of the inclusion of the county. That resolution was adopted by 24 votes to four, but there are very nearly 60 members, and therefore the resolution does not amount to much. The resolution was introduced at a very extraordinary time, and when it was quite impossible for many members to be present. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. O. Morgan) has said the endowments of Monmouthshire only amounted to £3,000. [Mr. O. MORGAN: £3,700]. As a matter of fact they now amount to £11,469. [Mr. O. MORGAN: I was speaking of educational endowments.] I know very well that in 1871 the endowments amounted to something like £4,000. [Mr. O. MORGAN: My observation was based on the Report of the Departmental Committee]. The county has a larger amount of endowments than the whole of Wales put together. As a Welshman, born and bred, I trust Monmouthshire will be exempted in this case as in other cases. We have never been included in any separate legislation, and the only reason for Monmouthshire being in- cluded in regard to education is that it is affiliated with the University College of South Wales.

* MR. KENYON (Denbigh, &c.)

I wish to make a earnest appeal to Her Majesty's Government on this subject. I ask them not to wreck this measure on a matter which is really only one of detail. If the question of the inclusion or exclusion of Monmouthshire is a principal subject of difference between Gentlemen opposite and ourselves cannot we be content to postpone it until after the other clauses have been disposed of. Personally, I have no reason to doubt the equity of including Monmouthshire in the Act. The reference to the Departmental Commission included Monmouthshire, and the Report of that Commission included Monmouthshire. The Royal Charter, which incorporated the University of South Wales, included Monmouthshire. The question is one of national sentiment, and I earnestly hope the Government will give the fullest consideration to it, that they will not let their final decision be given upon it until they have fully ascertained the real wants and wishes of the Monmouthshire people and of the whole of the rest of the people of Wales. I have taken infinite pains and trouble to promote a settlement of the question, and I think not without some success. I have dealt with the matter in a conciliatory spirit, because I believe that if we are to have an Act of Parliament it must be one of compromise and conciliation. Gentlemen opposite have met us in an extremely handsome and conciliatory manner; let us meet them in a conciliatory spirit. Do not let us upon such a point as this wreck the Bill, which is regarded with so much favour by the people of Wales.


In answer to the criticism of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. O. Morgan) let me at the outset say I did not give my reasons for the Amendment when I moved it, because I have been more or less hurried in its preparation, and was anxious to hear the opinion of hon. Gentlemen from Wales. I am afraid I can give but cold comfort to hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to the inclusion of Monmouthshire. Mention has been made of the reference to the Departmental Committee. It is as well the matter should be cleared up. I find the first reference to the Committee did not include Monmouthshire, and I have here a letter which explains the whole matter. Sir Francis Sandford wrote:— In reply to a question put to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Brightside Division as to whether the Vice President of the Council would be willing to include Monmouthshire in the scope of the inquiry, the hon. Gentleman stated that the proposal would be agreed to. Therefore, we find that the inclusion of Monmouthshire was really an afterthought. Now the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Denbighshire (Mr. O. Morgan) has dealt rather hard measure out to me in regard to the introduction of the Amendments. The measure was considered before the Whitsuntide recess, and the framing of these Amendments really destroyed the pleasure of my holiday, but the result is the proposals which now appear on the Paper. Whether I have kept hon. Members waiting a long time or not, I think they will admit the Amendments deal fairly with a difficult and complex question. Now, I think this has been accurately described as a sentimental difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has repudiated the idea of there being any monetary question involved. Do hon. Gentlemen wish that the endowments of Monmouthshire should be taken from the people of that county and applied elsewhere? [Cries of " "No."] I believe they do not, but that made the practical part of the inclusion of Monmouthshire a little more difficult. According to the last census, the population of Monmouthshire was 211,267, while that of the whole of Wales was 1,360,513, and the growth of the population in Monmouthshire is rather lessening that disparity. Therefore, at all events, we find an enormous and an increasing population in Monmouthshire with very considerable endowments to deal with. Since 1882 the proceedings of the Charity Commissioners in regard to Welsh endowments have practically ceased. In the last year or two they have recommenced. The Government propose to put this machinery into motion again for three years, and in doing this we wish to acknowledge that the Welsh people have been badly treated in the past by these endowments in comparison with the rest of England, and offer, if they will rate themselves to the extent of one halfpenny in the pound throughout Wales for three years, to meet that contribution from the Treasury by a precisely similar amount. Whereas the endowments of Wales and Monmouthshire together amount to £38,000 a year, those of Monmouthshire alone are nearly £12,000 a year, and this county could not, therefore, be regarded as in the same position as the poor counties of Wales. I hope that this Amendment will be accepted. However, I should like to bear more of the opinions of hon. Members in regard to this vexed question, for certainly no one would more sincerely regret than I would that this Bill should be wrecked on such a point as this.


I confess I was never more surprised than when I saw the notice of the right hon. Gentleman on the Paper that Monmouthshire was to be separated from Wales for educational purposes. If anything could surprise me more it is the speech just delivered. In the Department over which the right hon. Gentleman presides, the Welsh domain includes Monmouthshire. The Chief Inspector of Wales has control over Monmouthshire. In all previous educational administrations Wales has included Monmouthshire, and the very Charter which the right hon. Gentleman has granted during the present year to the South during College includes Monmouthshire. If the right hon. Gentleman wants any better proof that Monmouthshire is always included in Wales, let him turn to the Report of the Schools Inquiry Committee. In every line and page of the Report of that most important Committee, Monmouthshire in mixed up with Wales. The Charity Commissioners have always included Monmouthshire in Wales. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the inclusion of Monmouthshire in the reference to the Departmental Committee was an afterthought. Immediately I came into office I was asked whether we included Monmouthshire in Wales. What was the answer of the Chief of the Department? "That goes without saying; Monmouthshire has always been included." I have never heard anything to the contrary, and how the right hon. Gentleman can take Mon- mouthshire out of Wales I cannot understand. When the question arose as to where the South Wales College should be situated, the whole of the towns of Monmouthshire were in agitation upon it. The people of Monmouthshire, being an integral part of the Welsh population, wanted to have access to the Cardiff College. Reference has been made to the endowments of Monmouthshire. I find on referring to the digest of the aggregate endowments of England and Wales that the endowments are as follows: England, exclusive of Monmouthshire, £632,650 17s. 11d. per annum; North Wales, £5,843 5s. 4d; South Wales, £4,330 5s. 4d.; Monmouthshire, £4,057 16s. 1d. I should like to know how many of the Monmouthshire endowments are educational. We know that for the town of Monmouth there are abundant endowments, but that the county is as poverty stricken in educational matters as a county can be. I cannot understand why the Government should exclude Monmouthshire. The right hon. Gentleman says he has been hurried in preparing his Amendments. What have the Government been about ever since they have been in office? The right hon. Gentleman has promised again and again that the matter should be considered. This Bill was introduced during the first days of the Session, and four or five months afterwards the right hon. Gentleman comes down to the House and says he has been hurried in the preparation of his Amendments. I am bound to say the Welsh Members will not be true to themselves or to Monmouthshire if they do not stand by the inclusion of Monmouthshire in the Bill, for Monmouthshire requires this legislation as much as any other county in Wales. I trust that in such a paltry question as this—for it is not a matter of more than £1,000 a year—the Government will not persevere with their Amendment. We want a Welsh Intermediate Education Bill. I am anxious, by any reasonable compromise, to get such a Bill, and I entreat the First Lord of the Treasury to let us arrive at a settlement—a settlement based on reasonable lines, and one which will give satisfaction to the people of Wales


The Government have put these Amendments on the Paper with an earnest desire to make a good Bill of a measure which they could not accept in the form in which it was presented to the House. We desire to pass a measure which we believe will be acceptable to Wales and this country. At all events let us enter into the discussion of the Bill in the best temper, and with a desire to give credit to those who differ from us. These figures are given on the authority of the Charity Commissioners themselves. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the figures vary from day to day. But these are the authoritative figures of the Charity Commissioners relating to this current period, and from them we learn that there is at this moment an endowment of the value of £12,397 6s. 9d. available for educational purposes in the County of Monmouth, while the total endowment for Wales —or if it satisfies hon. Members thus to call it—the rest of Wales—is £25,567. The view of the Government was that this endowment of £12,397, properly and judiciously applied in the County of Monmouth, would prove sufficient, and that it would not be necessary to provide for a Parliamentary subsidy in addition. I have put these figures before the Committee with no desire to stop the discussion or to impute to hon. Gentlemen that they are wrong in their claim that Monmouth should be included in Wales, and we certainly are not anxious that either the Welsh or the English in that county should be excluded from the scope of the Bill.

MR. A. WILLIAMS (Glamorgan, S.)

In the debate on the Second Reading we were all agreed in the desire to get a practical measure of intermediate education for the Welsh people. It is admitted that there is a sentimental feeling on the part of the people of Monmouth in favour of their county being included in the Bill, but the right hon. Gentleman now says—"We find there is a considerable endowment for educational purposes which has not hitherto been properly applied, and for reasons which we think sufficient we hold that Monmouth should not come under the Bill." He says this in spite of the resolution passed by the representative body in Monmouthshire, and notwithstanding the expressed opinion of the people that the county should be treated as a part of Wales; and he tells us that the Government take this course because they think there is a sufficient endowment in Monmouthshire to render it unnecessary to apply the machinery of the Bill to it. In the name of common sense, is that any argument against the people of Monmouthshire being included in the management of the machinery created by the Bill? Now we want a proper scheme for the application of this endowment of £12,000; and if the Charity Commissioners do their duty they will see that one is forthcoming. I hope that I am not using language which is too warm, but I tell the Government that this proposal involves the breaking of a compact which has been entered into, and I appeal to them not to place in limine an obstacle in the way of this great measure, and so seriously harm a Bill intended to benefit the Municipality.

MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)

I desire to appeal to the Government not on the ground of nationality, but on the ground of precedent. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Council, on the Second Reading of this Bill, made serious objections to the measure proposed by the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire, and objected to the form of the National Board, but not one single word of objection did they raise to the exclusion of Monmouthshire. I am afraid that this is an afterthought on their part, due to the pressure brought to bear on them owing to the existence of one large charity in Monmouthshire. Now, this large and increasing charity—the Jones Charity—is, we are told, now under the consideration of the Charity Commissioners, who are on the point of issuing a new scheme for dealing with it. Why, Sir, that very fact removes from this controversy the only bone of contention. The argument of the First Lord of the Treasury is that in consequence of possessing this one endowment Monmouthshire is too rich a county to be aided by the county rate and the Imperial Exchequer. Yet this charity only amounts to £12,000 a year, and I will ask the House to look at what the charities in English counties amount to. In Norfolk the available charities amount to over £50,000; in Surrey they are over £70,000; and the charities available in the City of Coventry alone amount to £15,553. Now the amount of charitable endowment available for educating a quarter of a million of people in Monmouthshire is only £12,000, and surely that fact ought not to be deemed a sufficient excuse for excluding the county from the benefits of this Bill. If it is, then I am afraid that the County of Denbigh will also have to be excluded, for it is in even a more favourable position in regard to charitable endowments in proportion to population than Monmouthshire. Now in all previous educational schemes Monmouthshire has been treated as a part of Wales. The Court of Chancery in the years 1845–46 dealt with a certain number of endowments in Wales and certainly included Monmouthshire in the Principality. Then, again, the Schools Inquiry Commission which sat in 1867–68 appointed a special Commission for Wales and Monmouthshire, because, as they said, "they had always been placed together by the Registrar General and so treated by Government Departments," and when they came to make their Report they recommended that there should be provincial authorities in eight Divisions, and that the Welsh Division should include Monmouthshire. The Commission were simply acting on precedent set them by the Education Department, which had always treated Monmouthshire as a part of Wales. A Departmental Committee in 1880 did likewise, they inquired into certain matters in South Wales and Monmouthshire, and further every recommendation they made was a recommendation for Wales and Monmouthshire, and when the Government proceeded to act on the recommendations of that Committee they set up a college in Cardiff under a Royal Charter, which gave it the name of University College for South Wales and Monmouthshire. If any more practical argument be needed in order to show how in all educational matters Monmouthshire has been treated as a part of Wales, it is to be found in the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield. The Education Department is not the only one which has included Monmouthshire in Wales for administrative purposes. The Registrar General includes that county, and all the other Government Departments have taken the same course. The Home Office, in regard to mining regulations and other matters, includes Monmouthshire, and the same may be said of the Privy Council Office and the Local Government Board, the President of which latter Department I am glad to see in his place, the divisions made for Poor Law purposes between England and Wales including Monmouthshire in Wales. And in order to show how this arrangement has always been taken for granted, I may state that not merely has Monmouthshire always been so treated in Education Bills brought in by Liberal Members, but even the Bill brought in by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Denbighshire included Monmouthshire in Wales. If any further doubt could have remained as to the inclusion of Monmouthshire, surely it must have been dispelled by the fact that not only have all the other local bodies of Monmouthshire expressed a wish to be included in Wales, but the same desire has been evinced by the newly elected County Council, as representing the feelings and sentiments of the great body of the inhabitants of that county. When we find only four Members of this House inclined to vote for the exclusion of Monmouthshire from Wales, and that mainly on the ground of the one endowment—Jones' Charity—belonging to Monmouth, I think the last rag of doubt or suspicion as to the propriety of including that county has been disposed of. In conclusion, I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman (Sir W. Hart Dyke), who is in charge of the Bill, and to his Colleagues on the Treasury Bench, each of whom when they go to their offices to-morrow will be called on to sign documents relating to Monmouthshire as included in the Principality of Wales, to allow this Amendment to be withdrawn.


I wish to offer a word or two of explanation. When, some time ago, I stated that the endowments of Monmouthshire, at the time the Report to which reference has been made was presented, amounted to £4,000 a year, I was strictly accurate. Since then I believe the leasing of land belonging to Jones' Charity has considerably increased the amount. I want to know why Monmouthshire should not have the control of its own educa- tional endowments in the same way as other parts of Wales?


I have approached this question with a perfectly open mind, and with the full intention of being guided in the vote I shall give by what I have heard pro and con in this debate; and I feel bound, at the outset, to say that having listened attentively to all that has been said both for and against the Amendment, I have deliberately come to the conclusion that this Amendment ought not to be adopted, and that, in point of fact, Monmouthshire ought to be included in Wales for the purposes of this Bill. I listened with great attention to what was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, and I thought in that one sense he made out a good argument, though, at the same time, it could not fail to be observed that it was the only argument used for the exclusion of Monmouthshire, and that was with reference to the fact that Monmouthshire has educational endowments to the extent of £12,000 a year. It is true that, in regard to the question of intermediate education, Wales is very poor in educational endowments, and therefore is deserving of exceptional treatment and ought to be helped in the matter by the Legislature; while, inasmuch as Monmouthshire has £12,000 a year in educational endowments, she does not require the same sort of treatment. That, as far as I could see, was the only argument the right hon. Gentleman was able to employ in favour of his proposal, and a powerful argument no doubt it was. But I ask, is that to be set against all other arguments which have been so forcibly used? Unquestionably Monmouthshire is, in point of law, an English county; but it cannot be denied that in sympathy she is closely connected with Wales. There are plenty of arguments to show that we should not he doing wrong in including Monmouthshire in the scope of this Bill. I listened to ascertain whether it was the wish of the people of Monmouthshire —because that was a point on which my own action very much depended—as put before this House by their Representatives that they should be included in Wales. The right hon. Gentleman on this side of the House has spoken against that inclusion, but there was nothing in his speech which proved to me that the people of Monmouthshire generally did not desire the benefits proposed by the Bill. Whether the Committee was authorized to report specially on Monmouthshire or not I do not know, but we have before us the fact that the Departmental Committee have actually reported in favour of the inclusion of that county. Besides we have heard that there are a great many of the endowments which are practically outside the population, and one of the arguments against the Amendment is that whoever has the management of these endowments should be able to make them follow the population. If this Amendment be carried, they will not be able to benefit the people in the way they ought to be benefited. Monmouthshire is a county with great mineral products, and enlarged commercial prospects before it, and these things will undoubtedly bring about a large increase of population. It is only right and just that its educational endowments should be at once dealt with, so as to bring them within the reach of the poor people who ought to have the benefit of them; and this is one of the many reasons why I shall vote against the Amendment. But there is the additional argument that the County Council of Monmouthshire has by a large majority petitioned in favour of the inclusion of that county. The County Council represent the voice of the people in this matter, and it is by the voice of the people that the action of the Government ought to be guided. If we look at the large majority by which the County Council expressed its views on this question, I cannot but think that we have, in the vote they came to, a clear and distinct expression of the opinion of the county upon it. With regard to the endowments, I understand that, whether the Amendment is passed or not, they will not be taken out of the county, and this I regard as a sufficient answer to the position taken up by the supporters of the Government. I have never hitherto had the opportunity of saying a word on the question of intermediate education for Wales, and I now desire to state that there is no one, either in or out of this House, who more earnestly desire that a just and righteous measure in this direction should be passed by the British Legislature. I look on this Bill as an honest attempt on the part of the Government to try and meet the views of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House in regard to the matter. I trust that the Amendment will be withdrawn, and that the result of that withdrawal will be that we on this side of the House will be able to shake hands with hon. Members on that side, and put our heads together, in a really amicable manner, to try and get a sound and beneficial measure.

* MR. STUART RENDEL (Montgomeryshire)

I feel, after what has already passed, entitled to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman opposite to withdraw his Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman has used but one argument in its favour, and as yet he has found but one supporter, and that supporter is the Representative of a. Metropolitan constituency—the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Newington (Mr. Cooke). The right hon. Gentleman stated that he had waited to hear the speeches of hon. Members for Wales and Monmouthshire before making any statement in support of the Amendment for the exclusion of Monmouthshire. Well, the right hon. Gentleman has now heard what hon. Members for Wales on both sides of the House have to say on the subject, and he will have discovered that, besides having only one argument in its favour, the Amendment has only one supporter. The argument in favour of the Bill as it stands, is that there is an unbroken tradition by which Monmouthshire has always been included in Wales for the purposes of education, as well as for all purposes of local administration, and it is, therefore, an innovation, and in breach of all precedent, for the Government to come forward and spring this Amendment upon us at the last moment. They have had ample expression of the opinions held by the Members for Wales on this subject, and they must have seen that there is not a single Welsh representative who is in favour of the exclusion of Monmouthshire from Wales, except, indeed, the hon. and gallant Member for Mon- mouthshire, who frankly admitted that he was influenced mainly by the desire to keep for his portion of the county the whole of its endowment, whereas under the Bill as it stands the endowments of Monmouthshire would be applicable for the benefit of any part of Monmouthshire. If any concession is to be made on this point, I put it to the Committee which side ought to give way. Is it to be the side which desires to follow the unbroken line of precedent to commit themselves to a course contrary to all previous practice; or is it to be the side which is breaking all precedent; is it to be those who are supported by all the Members from Wales but are without distinction of party, or by the Government, who on this question have no supporter behind them except an hon. Member for a Metropolitan constituency? I earnestly urge the Government to give evidence at once of their real desire to give Wales and Monmouthshire the boon which they have held out to a long expecting people, before whom it has been so invitingly dangled, let us hope not at the last moment to be withheld. I do most sincerely trust that the Government will give evidence of their goodwill and good faith towards the Welsh people by withdrawing this Amendment.

MR. A. THOMAS (Glamorganshire, E.)

I also hope the Government will be induced to give way on this matter to the representations that have been so strongly urged by the whole of the Welsh Members who have spoken in this debate, and I may add that the constituency I represent would feel themselves slighted, if not insulted, if Monmouthshire is to be excluded from this measure. With regard to the endowments to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, I have already stated at a public meeting on the subject of Welsh education that I would never be a party to the withdrawal of those endowments from the localities for which they were intended. I fully sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman on that point, but at the same time I trust that the endowments may be made more completely to meet the wants of the population.


I would also urge on the right hon. Gentleman the desirability of agreeing to the inclusion of Monmouthshire in this Bill. I have listened to everything which has been said by my right hon. Friend, by the Leader of the House, and by the only two supporters which the Government have had on their own side of the House, and I have heard no argument whatever in support of the Amendment, but that Monmouthshire is pretty well endowed with regard to education, and therefore ought not to be included. Almost every speech that has been made in this debate has shown that the people of Monmouthshire do desire to be included, and we have had put before us the strong fact that the great majority of the Monmouthshire County Council, who have recently come into being direct from the ratepayers, have passed a resolution—the numbers being six to one—in favour of the inclusion of that county in the measure. I put it to the Committee, is it not a solid and cogent argument in favour of such inclusion that the people of Monmouthshire, which is essentially a Welsh county, desire to participate in the advantages of this Bill. Supposing the right hon. Gentleman had been able to say that six to one of the people of Monmouthshire desired to be excluded from the Bill, we should have been bound to admit that our case was a bad one; but when it is the very reverse of that surely the argument is a strong one. It has been sought to set up the fact that there is a portion of Monmouthshire which is English. That is so; but by far the larger part of the county, and especially that portion the population of which is most rapidly increasing, is essentially Welsh. South Monmouthshire may be more or less English, but the whole of the mountain district is as entirely Welsh as any part of Wales. It is said Monmouthshire has considerable endowments, but we have heard from the hon. and gallant Member for South Monmouthshire (Colonel Morgan) that these endowments are chiefly in his own district, and that he opposes being included in the Bill because he is afraid of the endowments being taken away from that district. But is this so? Will those endowments, by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners or the Court of Chancery, he applied for the benefit of the people of Monmouthshire generally? Our desire is that these endowments, which are said to be worth £12,000 a year, should be applied to the population of the county generally, but we have no desire that they should be extended to any other part of Wales. This is all we ask. Is it an unreasonable thing? An hon. Gentleman who, I am told, lives near Herefordshire, but represents a metropolitan constituency, has spoken of this Bill as a "land-grabbing" measure. I entirely dissent to that, and object to any such stigma. We have no desire to take the endowments out of Monmouthshire; all we desire is that the people of that county should have the use of them. I do most earnestly appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to press this Amendment against the very strong feeling which exists among the Welsh people on this subject. Why should this lion meet us in the way? Why, at the very first step in Committee on this Bill, should we have this Amendment forced upon us? Surely the right hon. Gentleman might accept the opinions of the Welsh Members on this subject. They know and represent the feeling of Wales on this subject. What, I would ask, is behind the right hon. Gentleman? What is the real object with which he forces this Amendment on the Committee? Is it possible that there is any desire to stop this Bill in limine? Can that be the reason for the introduction of this Amendment? I would earnestly implore the right hon. Gentleman not to insist on so small a thing as this—small from his point of view, but of the greatest importance to the people of Wales, who will not desert their countrymen in Monmouthshire, whom they know to be the same people with the same feelings as themselves. Why should they be placed by the Government in this undesirable position?

It being half-past Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee also report Progress; to sit again upon Wednesday next.


, in pursuance of the Order of the House this day, called on the Clerk to read the Order for the Committee on the Coal Duties (London) Abolition Bill.