§ 1. £82,388 to complete the sum for the Board of Trade.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I desire to move the reduction of the Vote by £100, part of the salary of the President of the Board of Trade, in respect of what, I think, is the neglect of the right hon. Gentleman, and Her Majesty's Government, in not applying themselves to the great disturbance of trade, which, I think, is caused by the system of Trusts and syndicates which now prevails.
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Sir M. HICKS BEACH)
I rise to order. I venture to remind you, Sir, that on the Motion for going into Committee on the Civil Service Estimates generally, Mr. Speaker ruled a Motion by the hon. Gentleman, on this very subject, out of order as having no relation to any Vote in the Civil Service Estimates. I ask you whether the hon. Gentleman is in order in calling attention to the subject now.
The hon. Gentleman is exceeding very much the limits of the discussion of this Vote as his Motion does not relate to any part of the administrative duty of the President of the Board of Trade.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 2. £4, to complete the sum for the Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade.
§ *MR. H. H. FOWLER
I should like to know whether this £4 really represents the exact balance between the income and expenditure. There are a large number of items charged under this and other Votes, and, therefore, I should like it to be known whether the Bankruptcy Court is or is not completely self supporting.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
A great deal of information on this subject is given in the Estimates, but I think a still better statement will be furnished to the House by the Return ordered yesterday upon the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for West Birmingham.
§ Vote agreed to.
3. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £35,374, 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 Charity Commission for England and Wales, including the Endowed Schools Department.
§ *MR. J. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I am glad the Charity Commissioners are about to send down a Commissioner to inquire into the local charities of Shoreditch. It is important to observe that such an inquiry has not been made since 1836, and that Mr. Walker, the vestry clerk, reports that since that time many alterations have taken place in the nature, value and application of the charities and that at the present time there is no complete record of the charities. I understand, however, that the Webb's Charity, which is the principal charity in Shoreditch has been expressly excluded from the provisions of the Commissioners inquiry, as being one coming under the Endowed Schools Act. But there are points in respect to the charity which I think merit inquiry at the hands of the Charity Commissioners, and it is to urge upon them the necessity of inquiring into these points that I now rise. The Webb's Charity dates from as far back as 1661, when a certain Thomas Webb made a will devising his property to Christ's Hospital, for the purpose of maintaining six poor children at least from the parish of St. Leonards, Shoreditch. For a long time the property consisted of leases which had not fallen in, and about the end of the last century, there were three children being maintained by the Charity. In 1790, the Governors of Christ's Hospital refused to receive six children, but were compelled by the Court of Chancery to do so. Six children from that date have been maintained. In 1790 the annual income of the Charity was £130, but it has since 1582 grown to £1,300. Still only six children from the parish of Shoreditch are maintained. Of course it costs more than £130 to maintain them, but the whole of the £1,300 is by no means absorbed in the maintenance of the children. The balance goes to the general fund of Christ's Hospital. That is a grievance to the parish of Shore-ditch, one which is very keenly felt by the people, and which causes much recrimination. I would observe that it is no unfair claim of the parish of Shoreditch, because though the fund has increased ten times since 1790, the population has increased in proportion, the number of houses in 1790 were 3,000, they are now 15,000. But as there are an average of two families in each house the increase is ten fold.
I am unable to make out how this is relative to the Vote. It does not appear that the Commission is in default.
§ *MR. J. STUART
The Commissioners have sent down a Commissioner to investigate the Trust, but they have omitted a certain part, and I am now urging that they ought not to omit that, and desire to give reasons for that. I am trying to show the claim of Shoreditch is a just one. But I have nearly finished my argument to show that the increase in population being equivalent to the increase in the value of the trust, we might fairly hope to get an increase in the number of children to be educated in Christ's Hospital. There is another point in respect to this charity which falls very immediately under the purview of the Charity Commissioners, and which this Commission ought to inquire into, and that is the method of selection of these children by the vestry of Shoreditch. I think some inquiry ought to be made as to what has been the method of selection of children of inhabitants of Shoreditch to receive the advantages of education in these schools. I hope I may have some reply from the representative of the Charity Commissioners in the House.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)
I think I can explain shortly how the case stands. It is perfectly true that the land out of which this fund is provided is situated in Shoreditch, but the endowment is not applicable to Shoreditch parish, it forms part of Christ's Hospital endowments, subject to 1583 one condition, that the Hospital shall educate a certain number of poor children from the parish of Shoreditch, and I believe for many years the number educated has been six. As the hon. Member is no doubt aware under the proposed Christ's Hospital scheme, it is proposed to continue that number. If the hon. Member has any complaint to make in regard to the number being insufficient, then that is a very proper complaint to make to the Privy Council, with whom the scheme now rests, or, indeed, it might be very proper ground for comment when the Christ's Hospital scheme comes before the House for deliberation. But I do not think the hon. Member has shown there is any good to be got from inquiry. We know all the facts in regard to the endowment which, as I say, belongs to Christ's Hospital, and as such, is actually being dealt with. With regard to the selection of the children, I may say that the Christ's Hospital scheme provides that in future these children are to be selected, not by the Vestry or the Churchwardens or any particular person, but are to be taken from among those educated at the public elementary schools of Shoreditch, by open competition. I might finally point out to the hon. Member that the case is almost identically the same as that of a Cambridge or Oxford College holding endowments in any particular locality. The sole condition under which Christ's Hospital is placed in respect to this is that it is to maintain six children coming from Shoreditch.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
Yes, six at least. If the hon. Member thinks that number is not sufficient, then it will be proper for him to raise that question in connection with the new scheme if he thinks that legally speaking the Charity Commissioners have not properly dealt with the case, of course the proper method is to apply to the Privy Council. If be thinks that, morally, Shoreditch has a claim to more, then the proper time is if and when the Christ's Hospital scheme comes before the House.
§ *MR. JAMES STUART
May I ask has the point I have urged been before the Charity Commissioners? Has it in any sense been under consideration?
*MR. T. W. LOWTHER
Certainly the point has been considered carefully in the course of the proceedings, which have been somewhat long, that have led up to the framing of the Christ's Hospital Scheme, and a provision in that scheme deals with the education of six children.
§ MR. A. H. DYKE ACLAND (York, W.R., Rotherham)
Just a few words on the work of the Commissioners. They have lately begun a branch of work which is likely to prove very valuable if they get the assistance they ought to have. They have been able in one county in Wales to conduct an enquiry into existing charities, and they have already discovered certain charities which the Commissioners say are in immediate danger of being lost. It is perfectly clear that such inquiry is a most important matter, but it appears at present the Treasury is not able to give any encouragement for the development of the work. The Commissioners say they hope to make enquiry through South Wales, but at the same time they are disappointed by their failure to obtain the sanction of the Lords of the Treasury to the extension of the inquiries beyond the limits of a single county. I would like to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he recognizes the importance of these inquiries, and if so will the Treasury allow the work to proceed more rapidly than last year. Then, the Commissioners have made another new departure in the inspection of the working of the new schemes to see if the schemes are being properly carried out. The Commissioners say they have extended this inquiry to four counties and have discovered a variety of cases in which parts of the schemes were not being properly carried out. I think everybody must feel that if the Commission is to carry out its work properly it should have full power of inspection at least every three or four years to see that schemes are being properly carried out. From the Report of the Commissioners there appears some doubt whether they can make it a permanent part of their work, and I would ask the hon. Gentleman what he would 1585 recommend in this direction. The Commissioners are empowered under a temporary Act, renewed from year, to year. Their chief work has been the formulating of new schemes, and this is now drawing towards a close; but it appears there is permanent and useful work that might well fall to the Commissioners in looking after endowments to see that they are being properly worked, according to the schemes sanctioned, for there is no doubt there is a tendency among managers to drop out parts of a scheme with which they may have no sympathy. The assistance of the Commissioners in this way would be valued by all friends of secondary education, and I am sure that head masters especially would welcome such inspection. I trust that the Treasury will give encouragement to this work, making it effective and rapid throughout the country. There can be no doubt that here is a great want of a unified authority in questions of this kind, and until we have such, a great deal of the work of the Commissioners upon Endowed Schools will be wasted. We must all recognise the good work the Commissioners have done in London by encouraging the formation of groups of Polytechnic Institutions scattered throughout London. They have done this work admirably; avoiding the frittering away of large sums in petty schemes, they have framed a broad scheme, and managed to draw support from the liberal friends of education. I hope these Polytechnic Institutions may turn out successful, for education of a technical kind especially. But I have said before, and must say again, that it is of the first importance to secure properly trained teachers, and to this end the Normal School at South Kensington is of little use. At the proper time I shall point out, as I have pointed out before, that the state of this school is disgraceful, and until it is put into a proper state we shall not get the supply of teachers we require to make these Polytechnic Institutions as valuable as they ought to be.
§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
I simply rise to support the request that the Commissioners may be encouraged to extend the inquiries they have commenced to all the endowments of Wales. Confined to one county, as the inquiry has been, the value of it has been shown. 1586 Wales is a poor country, and has comparatively few educational endowments, the more necessary is it therefore that those we have should be fully availed of.
§ *MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
I take the opportunity of referring to the Pasture Charity at Belgrave, a suburb of Leicester, to which I have previously drawn attention. This is an old endowment which in its time was useful for a village of 300 or 400 inhabitants but has become wholly unsuitable for a large suburb of an increasing town, a suburb containing now from 12,000 to 15,000, largely artizan population. The terms of the new scheme were practically arranged before Christmas last, and with the exception of one or two points as to the future appointment of trustees, had the approval of those interested, and of the hon. Member for Leicester and the noble Lord the Member for the Melton Division who had, in conjunction with myself, brought the matter before the Commissioners. All the materials for a division were before the Commission a long time ago, and the people, I think, have reason to complain of the delay caused by one or two lesser points which should occasion no great difficulty. Will the hon. Gentleman opposite say when this matter is likely to be dealt with? The proposals include the conversion of some 40 acres of what is now pasture land into small allotments for the artizans of the suburb of Leicester, but this has been delayed for another year simply because a decision is delayed upon one or two points of comparatively small importance.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
I am sorry to trouble the Committee by moving a reduction of the Vote, but the point I desire to raise is of considerable interest to agricultural labourers in my constituency, and it affords a typical instance of the diversion of a fund. towards objects in which this class have no interest. It concerns the agricultural labourers of Canewdon, in the South-East Division Essex. Application was made under the Act of 1887 for allotments, and not successfully, for the land was offered at £4 an acre. Now, the claim is that as there is a certain fund left for the benefit of agricultural labourers, they have a right that a certain portion of the money should be devoted to reducing the ex- 1587 penses connected with allotment, and they applied through me to the Charity Commissioners with that object; but the Commissioners said they could do nothing in the matter, and met me with a non possumus. Money which used to be spent upon doles, coals, bread, &c., for the poor is now spent in payment of salaries, the purchase of books, and for other purposes in which the labourers have not the faintest interest. Under a scheme sanctioned by the Court of Chancery, the residue of the fund is to be spent upon the agricultural labourers; but I suppose I shall be reminded that, owing to the decline in the value of land in Essex, there is no residue, and also that the money is spent under an Act sanctioned by Parliament in 1852, and with which the Commissioners have nothing to do. But I venture to think we sit here to rescind and abrogate such obsolete schemes as have been passed almost entirely in the interests of the rich, and certainly to the prejudice of my poorer constituents. I venture to carry out my notice, and move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
Motion made, and question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £85,274, be granted for the said Service."—(Major Rasch.)
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
Perhaps it -will be for the convenience of the Committee if I answer my hon. and gallant Friend at once. He has correctly stated the facts, and correctly anticipated my answer. This matter does not rest with the Charity Commissioners at all. The scheme under which the Canewdon fund is administered was established by the Court of Chancery in 1852, and the income is appropriated to certain purposes, after which the residue is to be devoted to the interests of the agricultural labourers. A well is kept up, and I suppose that is not for the benefit of the rich. Then £70 is devoted to the salaries of the master and mistress of the school. The residue should go to the relief of the needy and indigent, but, as the hon. and gallant Member says, there has been no residue for a considerable time. If the hon. and gallant member wishes for an alteration of the scheme he should use his influence with the trustees of the charity and get -them to apply for a new scheme. Until they make such an application to the 1588 Charity Commissioners, the Commissioners are unable to do anything in the matter, however desirous they might be of assisting the views of the hon. and gallant Member.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original question again proposed.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
I think a word of acknowledgment is due for the work of inspection the Commissioners have undertaken, and I am perfectly sure that if this work is carried out on a well-considered system, much benefit will arise from it. In too many cases, schemes are not fully carried out by the governing body, they being tempted to depart from the provisions laid down for their guidance, and carry out some favourite idea or policy of their own. I sincerely hope that the system will be carried out, and I may mention that it fulfils the recommendation of the Select Committee on the subject, which sat some two years since. I regret that there should be any hesitation on the part of the Treasury to sanction the work. After schemes have been settled with the greatest care and after the most careful inquiry, it is a great discouragement to find that still the benefit to the community is curtailed by mismanagement. I hope, however, that we shall have the advantage of the Commission being made permanent. It is most unfortunate, and limits the power for good, that the Commission should lead a doubtful and uncertain life, renewed year by year, and in the course of this or next Session I trust the Commission may be endowed with a permanent existence. I am sorry to see in this report some suggestions made as to parsimony on the part of the Exchequer, for I am sure that anything of the kind would be a fatal mistake. You are really gaining a pound where you are spending a penny or a shilling. My wish is that the Government should deal with the whole subject of the education of the people in a more liberal spirit. So far from gaining anything by being niggardly, they lose the opportunity of rendering their aid really acceptable to the community. I trust that some attention will be paid, if not now, at any rate in the future, to the remarks I have made. Let us have the Commis- 1589 sion a permanent Commission, and let the Commissioners be encouraged by more liberal grants to go on with the good work they have so well begun. I believe that the reforms inaugurated in London, partly by the scheme for Christ's Hospital, and partly by the scheme of the City Parochial Charities, have been of the greatest advantage to the people who live in the Metropolis. Those who have benefited have been the poor and industrious among the labouring classes for whom these endowments were created by their Christian and benevolent founders.
§ *MR. H. H. FOWLER
I sympathize very much with the motives of the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the Committee, but I must enter a protest against the recommendation he has made to the Government. I take this opportunity of asking the Secretary to the Treasury if he has had time to give some attention this year to the question I have brought before the House for several years past, and which, until it is dealt with, I shall certainly continue to bring before it—namely, the relative position of the taxpayers of the country and the cost of the Charity Commission. All Chancellors of the Exchequer, both Liberal and Conservative—Lord Beaconsfield, Lord Iddesleigh, the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone), and Lord Sherbrooke—have agreed that it is absolutely wrong in principle to saddle the taxpayers of this country with the cost of working the Commission. I cast no imputation upon the ability of the Commission, when I maintain that those for whose benefit the work is done should pay the cost of doing it. The Commission will receive this year out of the public funds £48,000, against which there is a receipt of about £4,700. I know the question is one of great difficulty, but if the Government would entertain it and evince a determination to grapple with it, especially with the able assistance of the Chief Charity Commissioner, I have no doubt that every difficulty could be overcome. The charities exist for the benefit of certain localities and certain classes. They are in possession of enormous revenues. The Report of the Commission last year showed that there were between £11,000,000 and and £12,000,000 sterling invested in 1590 Consols. Lord Sherbrooke put the estimated income at something like £4,000,000 per annum. These funds ought to be under strict State control—strictly supervised and administrated; and if they were, we should get all the educational advantages which the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down alluded to, and the charities themselves would be a greater national boon than they now are. But my point is this—that this enormous income should defray the £40,000 or £50,000 a year which represents the cost of supervision. I do not think anybody will say that I am wrong in principle. Nor will anybody who has studied the case deny the weight of authority is in favour of the position I am now urging. I wish to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are able to do anything in fulfilment of the promises made to the House 12 months ago to make the charity funds themselves contribute.
§ *SIR J. SWINBURNE (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
I wish to put a question to the hon. Member for the Penrith Division (Mr. J. W. Lowther). I wish to know whether the Charity Commissioners intend to continue the policy of setting aside the expressed desire of the inhabitants of a district in which a charity is situated for its representative administration. The Commissioners, where the inhabitants express a strong desire to elect a majority of the trustees, pay no regard to that desire, but continue to appoint a majority from London. Let me mention the case of the Charity at Colwich, in the County of Stafford. That Charity was mismanaged and the funds misappropriated in a most flagrant manner. The parishioners met together and investigated the whole case with the assistance of a gentleman sent down from the Charity Commission. A general scheme, in which all parties concurred, was come to and everybody expected that it would be carried out, when, to the astonishment of the parishioners, a scheme was sent down from London of an entirely different character, retaining as managers the very persons who had so grossly mismanaged the Charity in the past.
§ MR. W. JAMES (Gateshead)
The point which has been raised by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H, 1591 H. Fowler) is a very important one, and I hope the Secretary to the Treasury will be able to give the Committee some information in regard to it. I wish to ask the hon. Member for the Penrith Division whether he can state when the appeal of the Governors of Christ's Hospital before the Privy Council is likely to be heard. The matter has now been going on for something like ten years.
§ *SIR L. PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S.)
I wish to express, as Chairman of the Committee for examining the schemes of the School Commissioners, my warm appreciation of the experiment they have made. The House has always been exceedingly anxious that the public should be regularly informed as to the way in which the new endowed schools schemes of the Charity Commissioners are succeeding. The failure of the previous system was that the public had no information in regard to the working of the schemes, and we strongly pressed upon the Charity Commission the necessity of a thorough inspection. Until the charges are put upon the localities, as I trust they will be, I hope the Government will not be illiberal in allowing the scheme of inspection to be carried out, because without it the whole of the work of the Commissioners may be a failure. So far the schools have done their duty. They have welcomed the inspection and have agreed to carry out the suggestions which have been made to them, but unless they are watched they may lapse into indifference. I hope the Charity Commission will feel that Parliament fully appreciates the experiment, and, as it has been successful in these cases, I trust that it will be extended to the whole of the schools.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
Perhaps I had better reply now to the questions which have been put to me. First of all with regard to the questions of the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. A. Acland) I think that part of them ought to have been addressed to the Secretary to the Treasury. With regard to the continuation of the Welsh inquiry the matter rests entirely with the Treasury. The Charity Commissioners are perfectly satisfied with the progress that inquiry has made already, and they feel that its continuation would be as productive of good 1592 results as hitherto. It may be of interest to know that from the latest accounts it appears that no less than 27 parishes in Denbighshire have been inquired into, and 148 charities have been investigated. Since the issue of the return, which is more than a month ago, more parishes have been inquired into, and still further practical results had been obtained. As to the administrative inspection of endowed schools, that work is still being continued by the Charity Commission. During last year schools in Lincolnshire, Devonshire, Staffordshire, and Northamptonshire were inspected; and orders have been given for the inspection this year of schools in Lancashire, Surrey, Sussex, Leicestershire, and Gloucestershire. If any hon. Member will look at the report issued from the Charity Commission, he will find the subject not only fully dealt with, but also some very valuable and interesting information with regard to the administrative inspection of schools.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
That is a matter which rests with the Government to decide, and not with the Charity Commission. The general policy of making the Endowed Schools Act permanent is a matter which must necessarily rest with the Government, and I do not feel myself at liberty to make any proposal in regard to it. If I did it would simply come from one who has no power to give effect to his wishes. The delay which has occurred in carrying out the Belgrave scheme has arisen, I understand, from the fact that it has been necessary to make the laud subject to the Allotments Act and to frame a scheme in order to bring it within the purview of that Act. Some progress has been made in the matter and I regret that it has not been more rapid. The hon. Baronet the Member for Lichfield (Sir J. Swinburne) has again brought forward the case of representative trustees. Last year I stated what had taken place in the Committee upstairs, which fully considered the hon. Member's Motion—namely, that representative trustees should always be in a majority; but the Committee reported against the proposal of the hon. Member, being of opinion that 1593 it was impossible in all cases to constitute representative trustees a majority of the trust. As to the case which has been mentioned by the hon. Baronet, I believe that an Assistant Commissioner went down to Colwich. He met certain representatives of the parishioners there, and an agreement was come to by those then present as to the particular number of representative trustees to be appointed. But the Charity Commissioners, being responsible for the scheme, felt that they could not be bound by a decision which may have been a chance decision. [Sir J. SWINBURNE: NO; this was no chance decision.] I do not say it was; only that a chance decision might be arrived at in a particular locality. The Commissioners are obliged to consider the representations which come to them from all quarters before finally determining the constitution to be adopted. In this case it was found that a body of trustees appointed in the manner suggested at the meeting to which the hon. Baronet has referred, would not have fairly represented some parts of the parish, and it was with the view of furthering the interests of certain outlying portions of the parish that the Commissioners in charge of the case altered the composition of the body of the trustees.
§ *SIR J. SWINBURNE
Everybody had full notice of the meeting, and could have appeared before the Commissioner. The case was thoroughly thrashed out on every side. Every interest and all classes had a full opportunity of representing their views. As I understood the report of the Committee upstairs, which sat upon the Charity Endowments, it was determined that there were only to be exceptional cases where the representative managers or trustees were not to be in a majority. The Commissioners, however, have reversed the whole thing, and have adopted, as a rule, what was to have been the exception only.
*Mr. J. W. LOWTHER
I am sorry that I have not the Report with me, but I will be prepared with it next year if the hon. Member raises the same point again. So far as my memory serves me, in all cases a substantial share in the management has been given to representative trustees. The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. James) asks 1594 me when the Christ's Hospital scheme will come before the Privy Council. I understand that the date of hearing the appeal has been fixed for the 28th inst. I understand that so far the Treasury has paid all the expenses during the years the City Parochial Charities Department has been at work. When the scheme for managing the City Parochial Charities comes into force, the Treasury will be repaid the money advanced. Mr. Anstie, the Commissioner, expects to be able to complete the scheme very shortly, and it will contain provisions for the repayment to the Treasury of the money advanced. The remarks of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton rather require an answer from the Treasury than from myself. I think I have now answered all the questions that have been put to me.
§ *THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON,) Leeds, N.
In reply to the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, I regret to say that I cannot give him a very satisfactory answer to the question which he has put to me. The fact is that the Treasury have not had time to consider the subject, but I agree very much with what the right hon. Gentleman has said. No one knows better than himself that it is difficult to deal with such a question by means of legislation, but I think that the work which is done by the Charity Commission, and for which the charities would have to pay if they did it themselves, ought to be provided for by a charge on the various charities. The question will not be lost sight of by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will soon be able to give his attention to it, As to the City Parochial Charities, I believe that at present there is a sum of £10,000 outstanding, and due to the Treasury. I think it would have been better if some provision had been made in the Act by which a portion of the money, at any rate, should have been handed over to the Treasury during the time the schemes were being worked out. There is, however, no provision of that kind in the Act, and not only is the Treasury paying all the cost, but it is losing interest upon the money advanced. It is expected that by the end of the year these schemes will be 1595 completed and we hope that next year we shall be able to receive back the money which has been advanced.
§ MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)
I think the Committee generally will acknowledge that on the whole the reply of the hon. Member for the Penrith Division is very satisfactory, but I should like to ask the Government what reply they have to make to the two important questions which have been addressed to them. First as to the inspection of endowed schools. The interesting and valuable report of the Charity Commission shows that excellent work has been done. I hope that the Government will take some steps to render the Commission permanent, and to induce the Commissioners to extend this work of inspection to all the counties of England. I wish to know whether in next year's report a review cannot be published of the reports of the examiners sent to the Charity Commission every year. The inquiries into the Welsh charities have been begun with excellent results, and I should like to see the system extended, on two grounds—first, that the existing reports with regard to Welsh charities are very defective, and, secondly, that a need exists for precise and recent information regarding Welsh charities as an addition to effective legislation on the subject of intermediate education in Wales. For the last eight years, since 1881, the Charity Commissioners have not dealt with more than one charity throughout the whole of the 13 counties of Wales. They suspended their operations when the Departmental Commission was appointed, and they have not touched one endowed charity since, except the scheme discussed in the House before Easter. In England between 400 and 500 schemes have been passed by the Charity Commissioners, and the result has been that secondary education throughout England has been much extended and improved. It is deplorable, more than deplorable, it is criminal, that in Wales, where secondary education is very backward as compared with England, these eight years should have passed away without any attempt made to inquire into the charities of Wales, and especially of South Wales. I contend that at least four sub-Commissioners should be appointed, so that the work should be done immediately. There is nothing to be gained by delay, and every 1596 advantage to be secured by immediate action. In their report the Charity Commissioners say that inquiries have already resulted in the due registration of charities hitherto unknown, and that their operations have sustained charities which otherwise would have been lost. These charities and doles in Wales disappear year after year, and I venture to appeal to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, that he will give us this year a promise that, at any rate, one Commssioner will be immediately appointed to inquire into the charities of South Wales. I will go further and ask that the Assistant Commissioner, as soon as he has finished in Denbighshire, will be sent to other counties in South Wales. The local authorities, I know, are taking steps to obtain as much information as possible, in order that the work of the Assistant Commissioner, when he comes, may be facilitated, and I think the words which appeared in the report of the Charity Commissioners that they have been disappointed by their failure to obtain the sanction of the Lords of the Treasury to have more Assistant Commissioners appointed should be considered.
§ MR. T. E. ELLIS
In this year's Report. I admit that we had one Commission given to us to inquire into the Charities of North Wales, but I think the desire expressed that we should have at least two, one for North Wales and one for South Wales is one that might well have been granted. I do not wish to throw the whole blame on the Treasury. I think the Charity Commissioners themselves, in view of the fact that they have not spent one penny on South Wales for eight years, might spare some of their Assistant Commissioners to do the work for South Wales. Welsh education has suffered a great deal, and should not be permitted to suffer any longer. I would appeal to the Secretary to the Treasury to give us a promise in this matter—and we know that whenever he gives a pledge he carefully adheres to it. I would ask him to promise to bring pressure to bear on the Charity Commissioners to induce them to extend their very necessary and admittedly useful work in Wales.
§ *MR. JACKSON
I think the very high standard of good faith the hon. Member has been good enough to lay down for me—whether I deserve it or not—will be the best of evidences that I must be careful in making promises. As the hon. Member knows in pursuance of a pledge I formerly gave, certain inquiries have been made into the Welsh charities. A Commissioner has been appointed and investigations have been going on in the county of Denbigh. I do not know the details of what has been done, but I believe that 67 parishes have been inquired into, and in about half of them the inquiries have been 'completed in a way which has given great satisfaction. I ask, however, that the Treasury may be allowed to see the completion of the inquiries before the Department is pledged to additional expense. The work done by the Assistant Commissioners is extremely well done.
§ *MR. RATHBONE (Carnarvonshire,) Arfon
The hon. Member's argument is rather inconsistent. He admits that the results of these inquiries have been very satisfactory.
§ *MR. JACKSON
No, I do not say that. I say I do not know what the results have been, but that some of them have given satisfaction.
§ *MR. RATHBONE
These Welsh charities have been neglected. Every year the Government delay the inquiry we are losing some of these charities because many of them are of so small amount that if left alone they disappear altogether. They are not large prominent charities such as are many of those in England but they are exceedingly small and require careful watching. I hope the Secretary to the Treasury will be encouraged by the good result and great appreciation of what has been done to continue in the good course on which he has entered. We have at this moment before us a proposal for intermediate education in Wales, founded on these very charities, therefore for the very work we have now in hand we require these charities to be looked into. I do not think the fact that the matter has been left so long is a ground for further delay. On the contrary I regard it as a reason for pressing for something to be done.
§ MR. ABRAHAM (Glamorgan, Rhondda)
I would further press on 1598 the Secretary to the Treasury the necessity of extending the inquiry as to charities to South Wales. We have for a long time been unable to find out where the blame lies—whether with the Treasury or the Charity Commissioners; but whoever is responsible the fact is that Wales has always been neglected in these matters. We find from the Report of the Charity Commissioners that they are well inclined on this question, but that they have been disappointed, the Treasury having failed to supply them with the funds necessary to extend the inquiry to South Wales. I think there can be no doubt as to the result of the inquiry carried on so far. The Commissioners say—It was not until the end of the month of October last that the preliminary arrangements for the institution of a local inquiry into the charities of the County of Denbigh were completed, the holding of these inquiries being entrusted to a Commissioner especially appointed for the purpose, and possessing, among other qualifications, a competent knowledge of the Welsh language.It is to be hoped that every Commissioner appointed to inquire into these Charities in Wales will have that qualification. The Commissioners further say—Inquiries into the Charities of 11 out of 66 parishes in the County of Denbigh have been held.They also say—These inquiries thus conducted so far as they have at present proceeded, not only appear to justify the anticipations expressed in the Memorandum, but they have already resulted in the due registration of some charities hitherto unknown or imperfectly recorded, and in the taking by the Charity Commissioners of measures for the rescue of some charities that were in imminent danger of being lost.We know that even in South Wales there are some charities in imminent danger of being lost, and I would press on the Government the point that some one may be at once appointed to carry on this inquiry in South Wales. South Wales is in very great need of education that can be supplied by these charities, and we hope that the Secretary to the Treasury will reconsider his position and give us immediate aid in the matter.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
I have to complain of the remissness of the Charity Commissioners in respect of one important charity, and I should like on the other hand as a 1599 Metropolitan Member to commend them for the wise and liberal spirit which has characterized their action in connection with the City Parochial Charities. It seems likely that their efforts will issue in providing a complete system of recreational and educational institutions of which the people of the Metropolis may be justly proud. My complaint, however, refers to a different class of charities—namely, the prisons charities—a class of old trusts coming down from the middle ages and originally intended for the purpose of discharging poor debtors from prison and similar purposes now obsolete. The consequence is that the trustees are squandering and in many cases misapplying the income. A schedule of these charities was issued so long ago as 1878, showing a total income of £3,000, and in 1882 an Act was passed by Parliament giving power to the Charity Commissioners to frame new schemes. My complaint is that since the Act of 1882 the matter has been bandied about from pillar to post, represented on the one hand by the Charity Commissioners, and on the other by the Prison Commissioners, or in other words the Home Secretary. It would appear that there is some kind of friction or misunderstanding between the Prison Commissioners and the Charity Commissioners. In their last report the Prison Commissioners give a return of these charities. They show what has been done under the Act of 1882 as regards reappropriation. I will read one of these statements which may be taken as a sample of a large number. The statement I refer to relates to a Charity in the County of Chester, and it is made by a Prison Commissioner apparently by way of complaint. It says:The Secretary of State moved the Charity Commission on the 27th March, 1886, to make a new scheme, but no Report has yet been received.That is apparently putting the Charity Commissioners on their mettle, and they appear to desire to throw the blame on the Home Secretary. In the last Report of the Charity Commissioners, only published a few weeks ago, they say—It was not until the month of April, 1886, that we had before us the application sent by the Home Secretary necessary to enable us to take proceedings for dealing generally with Prison Charities.1600 Now, I should like to obtain from the hon. Gentleman who represents the Charity Commissioners, or from the Home Secretary, some explanation of the delay which has occurred. The Commissioners say that in December, 1886, they submitted a draft scheme to the Secretary of State, and that, owing to the correspondence which took place, it was not until January, 1888, that they were finally enabled to complete a scheme. I think that those who are interested in the subject have a right to complain of the delay. It appears to me that under the Act of 1882 the responsibility lies with the Charity Commissioners, and therefore it is to their representative opposite that I address my appeal. The original beneficiaries were poor debtors. That particular form of benefit having become obsolete, I think the benefit ought now to be transferred to poor prisoners, and that the Charity Commissioners cannot find better almoners than the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society. That society, if properly supervised and managed, could effect incalculable good by setting upon their feet again persons who may have once lapsed into crime. In order to obtain some explanation I will move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £35,274, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Pickersgill)
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
I am afraid I cannot give the hon. Member a very complete answer, as I was not aware to what particular subject he intended to address himself. I understand that the delay which occurred between 1882 and 1886 rests with the Home Office, and the only Gentleman who can explain the matter is the right hon. Member for Derby, who was at the Home Office the greater part of that period. The reason of the delay from 1886 to the present time, I understand, is that the Prison Commissioners and the Charity Commissioners tried to agree on one typical scheme which, with very little variation, would be applicable to a great number of the Prison Charities scattered over the country. It was owing to this scheme having to go backwards and forwards that delay arose. I am glad to be able to inform the hon. Member that a 1601 scheme was finally agreed upon not very long ago, and since then the matter has been taken up by the Charity Commissioners, who have already completed two or three schemes drawn with the necessary modifications upon the lines of the typical scheme. In these cases, as, I believe, in all others, it was proposed that the funds should be handed over to the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society, the trustees of the charities being, as a rule, the Visiting Committee of Justices of the respective prisons. I am afraid that is all the information I am able to give the hon. Member. If he desires further information on any particular point, and will put a question on the Paper, I shall be glad to supply him with whatever information I can obtain.
§ MR. AUSTIN (York, W. R, Osgoldcross)
I desire to know when these funds are to be disbursed. Prisoners are being daily discharged without deriving any benefit from the charities, and we think the time has now arrived when some definite scheme should be agreed on, and poor prisoners should be benefited. The Charity Commissioners and the Home Office ought to deal with the funds with as little delay as possible.
§ *MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
For the last two or three years when this Vote has been under discussion, I have felt it to he my duty to call attention to the funds of St. Katharine's Hospital in the Regent's Park. We have recently seen in the Press that a scheme for St. Katharine's Hospital has been agreed upon, but unless I hear now that the existing scandal is about to be terminated, I shall vote with the Motion for a reduction of the Vote. This is one of the oldest charities in the Metropolis. It was originally on the site now occupied by the St. Katharine's Docks. When the St. Katharine's Dock Company was formed in 1826, they bought out the trustees of the Hospital, and they gave them, if I remember aright, £127,000 for the site which the Charity then occupied, and the new building was erected in Regent's Park. The Building is there still. A considerable amount of waste and extravagance took place in the building of the Hospital, and it practically had to be reconstructed, I believe, a few years 1602 after it was built. It is governed by a Master who takes the largest possible amount of salary which he can manage to get out of it, for the very smallest amount of labour which he can perform. Some years ago this scandal had attained such magnitude that the Charity Commissioners inquired into it, and I have a Report dated 1866, from which, perhaps, the Committee will bear with me while I read one or two paragraphs. It is signed by Mr. Skirrow, a Charity Commissioner. He says, in regard to the Master, that upon his first appointment to the Mastership, he visited the Hospital four times a week—the brethren then being aged persons; but since that period his visits have been less frequent, as it has happened of late years that the brothers in residence are comparatively young, and upon them, therefore, devolves the more immediate charge of the Hospital. The Master attends the meeting of the Chapter, which, comparatively speaking, is a rare occurrence, but seldom or ever the chapel in which divine service is performed on Sundays or saint's days. He occasionally visits the Schools, but these are considered to be sufficiently superintended by the brothers and sisters in residence.Well, Sir, these are the onerous duties which the Master of the Hospital is expected to perform. It is, however, by no means clear whether he discharges to-day the very trifling duties which he discharged in 1866. The Commissioner himself, indicates that since then the duties have grown smaller by degrees and beautifully less. Now, the Committee will perhaps be surprised to hear, that for the discharging of such very trifling duties, the Master in residence receives the following emoluments:—In the first place, his stipend is £1,200 a-year. The fines have averaged in 27 years £228 6s. 4d.; income from Blackwall dividends, less property tax, £28 6s. 8d. Then there is the magnificent residence which is provided him in the park in which he does not reside, that park not being sufficiently aristocratic for him, his preference being for the aristocratic quarter of St. James. He lets the house and ground adjoining for the amount of £542 10s. per year. The total from salary and emoluments which the Master received was £1,999 2s. per year. I think I am justified in denouncing this as a scandal which ought long since to have been ended, and which would have been terminated years ago, if the funds had been appropriated to the education 1603 of the poor; but because they have been swallowed up in the manner which I have indicated, this monstrous scandal is allowed to continue in existence. Then, in addition, we have three brothers, who each receive £300 a-year from the charity, and a sum of £76 2s. Id., of which I confess I do not know the meaning; compensation for fees, £24 3s. 10d.; Blackwall dividends, about which there is a mystery, "less property tax," £4 14s. 9d. Then the brothers have a house in which they do not live. They prefer to imitate their Master, and they let it at £100 a-year; so that these three brothers have each £505 Os. 3d. a-year. They give little or nothing in return for that sum obtained from the endowments. Then there are three sisters, each of whom receives a stipend of £200 a-year and other emoluments of a similar character to those which I have just read—making £370 16s. 10d. They, like their brothers, do little or nothing for their money. A few boys and girls are fed, clothed, and educated out of this endowment, and they are paraded in the neighbourhood occasionally so that the public may be led to believe that there are some tangible benefits connected with the institution. There are also an organist, and some beadsmen and some beadswomen. Nobody can tell exactly what their duties are, and I believe there a re sermons that have to be preached to somebody. Well Sir, the income for this endowment in 1866 amounted to £7,097, and at that time the Commissioners anticipated that ere long it would be gradually increased, and that it would reach £14,832. I want to know, first of all, what is the actual income of the endowment now, and how the money is expended? Does the master still receive the same large sum for doing no work? Do the brothers and sisters and beadsman and beadswomen continue to receive the sums which I have referred to? Has any scheme been formulated by the Charity Commissioners? Is anything likely to be done to bring about those reforms which in 1866 the Charity Commissioners said were absolutely necessary; and in reference to which the School Board for London, in the early days of its existence, appointed a Committee of Inquiry. The Report of that Committee fully confirmed the statement of the 1604 Charity Commissioners. Yet the Charity is still unreformed, and the abuses to which I have referred, I believe are still going on. I hope the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowther) will make it clear to the House that the Charity Commissioners at least have made an effort to put an end to this scandal, and to apply this endowment to some useful. and beneficial purposes.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
I am afraid I shall not be able to satisfy the hon. Member. He seems to be labouring under a misapprehension as to the law. The Charity Commissioners have no power to initiate any change of administration in any charity the income of which is above £50, unless the trustees of the charity apply to the Commissioners-for a new scheme.
§ *MR. CREMER
Am I to understand that unless the trustees of a charity request the interference of the Commissioners, the Commissioners have no power to interfere with a charity the income of which is above £50, unless the trustees apply to have a new scheme?
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
The hon. Member is perfectly correct. The case to which the hon. Member for Haggerston refers is a very exceptional one, because in this case Her Majesty is the patron of the Charity, and claims to exercise full jurisdiction. I am afraid that I can only give the hon. Gentleman the same answer as I gave him last year, namely, that Her Majesty was considering a scheme for the alteration of the administration of the Charity. I believe it is under Her Majesty's consideration now, but I can give the hon. Member to further information with regard to it.. As to the Master's House, I may inform the hon. Member that it has been sold recently, and it is no longer in the power of the Master to let it. I am not able to give him the actual figures as to the amount of the endowment, but if the hon. Member will put a question on the Paper, I shall be very glad to have the matter looked into and give him the figures. The hon. Member quoted from a report which was made some 30 years ago by Mr. Skirrow. I might remind him that since that time rules were framed by Lord Cairns, acting of course for Her Majesty, and the Charity is at present under the rules of the Lord Chancellor of 1878.
§ *MR. CREMER
I am afraid I have misunderstood the hon. Gentleman, or else I have been in a lamentable state of ignorance for a long time with regard to the schemes which the Charity Commissioners from time to time propound. Two or three times in the course of this Session we have been called upon to consider schemes of reform, if you so please to term them, of certain endowments. These schemes were promoted by the Charity Commissioners, and certainly, unless the House has been misled, the statements made and the explanations given in reference to those proposals led us to believe that the incomes of those endowments were far above £50.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
These were endowed Schools Schemes, an entirely different branch, and originated under separate Acts.
§ *MR. CREMER
Then, perhaps, the hon. Gentleman will answer this question. Of course, the Charity Commissioners must have been perfectly aware of the state of the law to which the hon. Gentleman refers. The Report from which I quoted was not made 30 years ago but 22 years ago, and what I want to know is why the Charity Commissioners permitted one of their body to inquire and report, if they bad no power to interfere. If the hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the law is correct, it was an absolute farce to inquire into an endowment over which they had no control and had no power of interference in the slightest degree. In the Report, from which I have already quoted, Mr. Skirrow says:—I have directed attention to the existing administration, and I have directed attention to several proposals submitted to them for adoption, and whatever the merits or demerits of such proposals may be, I certainly think that the age and the increasing resources of this institution should by competent authority be made productive of more extended benefit than they are at present.The Commissioners did not repudiate that Report by a member of their own body, and I think it goes far to water down—though I have no wish to deny it—the view which the hon. Gentleman has endeavoured to lay before us of the powers and duties of the Commissioners. I am surprised the hon. Gentleman has not given a definite answer to the questions which I just now addressed to 1606 him and which I have asked in previous years. Unless the Charity Commissioners are prepared to take some steps, and to give some clear and definite promise to the country that something shall be done, steps will have to be taken to expose the existence of this scandal, for I consider it very little short of a scandal, and that it fully deserves the language which I have applied to it.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
The hon. Member should not pour the vials of his wrath upon the heads of the Charity Commissioners. He has failed entirely to point out what steps the Charity Commissioners should take. I have proved conclusively that they have not the power.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
I have proved to the hon. Member that he was not aware of the Act under which alone we can act. The hon. Member says, "Why did the Charity Commissioners send an Assistant Commissioner to inquire in the year 1866?" I am not aware what was in the mind of the Charity Commissioners at that time, but I should think it very likely that they thought by sending an Inspector to inquire, they would bring some pressure to bear on the Governors to make application. It seems to me that is the natural view to take of the situation. The Inspector's visit did not have the result expected, and the Charity Commissioners are powerless to do anything in the matter. If the hon. Member will bring in a Bill widening the power of the Commissioners, that might enable them to do something. If after that they failed, then perhaps they might justly incur some of the hon. Member's criticism.
§ MR. PICTON
The Report quoted by my hon. Friend suggests a mode in which the Commissioners might take some steps. A Commissioner was sent in 1866 to bring pressure to bear, and it that could be done in 1866, why is it not done now? A long time has elapsed, and perhaps the Commissioners, if they tried the experiment, might have more influence now than they had then. In past days there is no doubt this institution exercised a beneficient influence in the neighbourhood where it was placed—just beyond 1607 the walls of the City of London. But since the Reformation, so-called, was triumphant, since modern manners have been introduced, this institution has simply become a place for a few people, who are favoured with an income and residences for life, and the charity is positively of no public benefit whatever, except in the ease of a few boys and girls, who are paraded, as my hon. Friend says, for the sake of show. It is my lot to pass that institution almost every day, and I never pass it without reflecting afresh upon the apathetic folly of the public of this day who tolerate such a scandal. Here is a foundation which certainly in equity belongs to the people of the Metropolis, and which ought to go to their benefit in some way or other. Yet we stand by while this abuse goes on from one point to another, and no one, except my hon. Friend, seems to have been stimulated to call public attention to it. Sir, I do hope that the Charity Commissioners will find some way of bringing pressure to bear upon those, who have been asked for information in vain. At any rate, we are glad to hear there is some prospect of a scheme, and I hope when it is produced it will be such as the Commission can approve. The hon. Gentleman has shown in one part of his speech that the Charity Commissioners are not so powerless as he would have us believe, and I do hope they will exert themselves to put an end to this scandal.
§ *SIR. J. SWINBURNE
Surely it is -the duty of the Charity Commissioners rather than that of a private Member to bring in a Bill; and I am sure Her Majesty would be guided by a Bill brought in by the Charity Commissioners. When it has been shown year after year that this Charity has been misapplied in the most flagrant manner, the Charity Commissioners have sat still, and now they ask a private Member to bring in a Bill, knowing well that it is a very difficult thing for a private Member to carry a Bill.
§ *SIR J. GOLDSMID (St. Pancras)
I should like to protest aginst the view expressed by the hon. Member who has just sat down. The Charity Commissioners have no right whatever to bring in a Bill to increase their own powers. If their powers are to be in- 1608 creased, let some hon. Member or let the Government bring in a Bill.
§ *MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury)
I wish to ask the hon. Gentleman whether he has any information to give us respecting the City of London Parochial Charities Department, and whether it will have completed its work by the time its powers expire, on the 31st of next December?
I was speaking to Mr. Anstie, who, as the hon. Member knows, has charge of this department of the work of the Commissioner, and he certainly hopes most fully to be able to get the scheme complete in the course of two or three months, and he trusts to get this work done before the end of the year, and before the powers expire.
§ MR. ROWLANDS
Does Mr. Anstie think he will have settled by that time the whole of the question of the technical and recreative institutions for the North of London. No doubt the hon. Gentleman is aware that the Department is under some obligation to the people of North London to give out of this Fund a certain sum towards the erection of four technical and recreative institutions in North London.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
Mr. Anstie, the Commissioner, knows perfectly well, of course, the state of affairs in North London; yet with that knowledge in his mind, he certainly does hope to be able to complete this theme by July or August, taking all the steps necessary under the Act. Of course, if subscriptions come in more rapidly from North London than at present, they would to a very great extent assist Mr. Anstie in the formation of his scheme, and enable the whole of the Metropolis to benefit at an early date by the action of the Commissioners under the Act.
§ *MR. BARTLEY
With reference to North London, supposing it happens, as is very probable, that this £200,000 is not collected locally, and supposing that in July this scheme was completed—which is referred to as Mr. Anstie's scheme by the Commissioners, which I think is rather a mistake—would the North of London be cut out of it, because if it were, I think there would be a very strong opposition on both sides of the House. It is quite impossible for many of these poor districts in the North of London to raise the amount 1609 of money which is required in order to secure the sum offered by the Charity Commissioners.
I cannot on the spur of the moment give an answer which my hon. Friend may take as official, but I think I may safely say that what he suggests will not occur when the scheme is complete. Of course, the provisions made cannot be so munificent and so useful as they would be if a large sum of money were subscribed by the locality, but I think I may say that in the scheme to be propounded by the Commissioners, North London will certainly have a place.
§ *SIR J. GOLDSMID
One thing ought to be remembered, that in South London, where a large amount was raised, the money was not collected in the locality. Rich people from other parts have also subscribed largely to South-East London, and North London, which was last in the field, has not had that advantage of outside assistance. North London, which is quite as poor as South London, has in consequence to suffer. The people of North London are just as much in need of technical education as the people of other districts of the Metropolis, and I do urge upon the hon. Gentleman who represents so ably the Charity Commissioners, to see that the people of North London have a fair share of this sum, which is intended for the benefit of the whole of London, and not one portion.
§ MR. ROWLANDS
It will be in the recollection of the Committee, that last year, I raised some criticism on the Scheme of the Charity Commissioners. I then expressed the opinion, that, suppose we were not able in North London to raise pound per pound with the Charity Commissioners, we should demand our fair share of these Parochial Charities. Now we have been unfortunate in trying to get this money. Much public money has been called for in Educational matters. First there was the Polytechnic in Regent Street; then there was application for the People's Palace in the East end of London, and none of the means have been drawn from the localities themselves. The movement in the South of London has obtained large sums of money from the giving public, and the City Companies, whereas we in the 1610 North of London have been very unfortunate. We represent a district of London which is excessively poor, because we have not in our midst any large residential people who can give money. The only persons from whom we can at all look for large sums to be given towards the scheme, are the large manufacturers and city people, north of the Thames, but up to the present time, none of these have given at all liberally, so far as my information goes. There is the North of London Scheme, and we distinctly want to know, if we pass the Vote, in what position we shall be placed. I hope the hon. Gentleman will give us some satisfactory answer, which will indicate to us that we shall have our fair share of the public money. Of course we admit that if we are not successful in getting outside money, we cannot expect the same result as those who have got it from the sharing of the City Parochial Charities, although they may have got their subscriptions augmented by voluntary subscriptions from the outside public. But we have a right to demand, at any rate, our fair share of the public money which is now in the hands of the Charity Commissioners for distribution over the metropolis. I want to ask the hon. Gentleman whether he can indicate to us in what way we can express our opinion upon the scheme with regard to North London. Must we do it before the Vote is passed, and if the Vote is passed shall we be helpless? Will the Charity Commissioners be able to formulate any scheme they like, leaving us only the satisfaction next year of complaining that we have not been liberally and justly dealt with?
§ MR. PICTON
The hon. Gentleman said that the house in Regent's Park had been sold. Perhaps he will tell us now what is going to be done with the money, and whether it is still to continue to form part of the income of the Master. There is another question which is worthy of consideration, seeing that St. Katherine's Hospital is in North London, I would suggest whether it is not possible by some legislative process to get some of the funds, which are now being wasted, devoted towards the erection of a Polytechnic Institution for London. Such a scheme, I think, would meet with public approval. At any rate, I should like to 1611 know what is to be done with the money which has been realized by the sale of the house in the Park.
*MR. JAMES W. LOWTHER
I am afraid that I cannot answer the hon. Member straight off, but if he will put the question down on the Paper, I will have the matter of the disposal of the funds obtained from the sale of the house in Regent's Park inquired into. I was only aware a short time ago that the house had been sold. Now with respect to the question raised by the hon. Member, for Finsbury, I may point out that the proposed distribution of City Parochial Funds is to be made in two ways. First, it is to be devoted towards the creation of open spaces, and secondly towards the creation of polytechnics and libraries. North London has had a large share of the money allotted for the purpose of open spaces. £50,000 has been allotted to North London in respect of the extension of Hampstead Heath, and £47,500 towards the acquisition of Clissold Park. South London seems to have had only £12,000. With respect to Notting Hill, the Commissioners have allotted the sum of £2,000 for open spaces there. Altogether North London has had £97,500 allotted to it out of the City Parochial Funds in respect of open spaces. Then the hon. Member asks what he will be able to do if this Vote passes to-night. I think he will be in exactly the same position in the future as he now is in regard to this scheme. The proper time, as I understand it. to object to a scheme is when it comes before the House, and this scheme, unless it goes through unanimously, will probably come before the House at some time, probably next year, and it will then be open to the hon. Member to make such objection as he may think fit. I will convey to the Commissioners the expression of opinion which has fallen from the hon. Member in regard to the claims of North London, but I am afraid I am not in a position this evening to make any definite statement as to the exact amount which it is intended to allot out of the City Parochial Funds.
§ *MR. JAMES STUART
There are one or two matters in the Report of the Charity Commissioners to which I should like to call attention. I notice that in the fifth paragraph there is a Return 1612 showing the number of charities which have sent in their accounts to the Commission during the past year, and the number is given at 32,213. Might I suggest to the Charity Commission that it would be advantageous in another Report if they could give us the total amount of the capital dealt with in these accounts, and if they could divide them into counties. I should also like to know what the Commissioners do with these 32,213 accounts. I suppose that under the Act of Parliament they have a right to demand that these accounts shall be sent them, and would it not be desirable that they should insist on the accounts being drawn out on some uniform plan which would assist in the task of comparison. Are these accounts all duly audited, and if so, by whom? It appears to me that the mere sending in of these accounts gives a false sense of security. I take it, however, that the Charity Commissioners do not, as a fact, go through these accounts and assure themselves that they are correct. I do not see how it is possible for them to do so. There are only fifty-seven persons altogether engaged in the Charity Commission, and I fail to see how they could go thoroughly through all these accounts. I am not blaming them for this. I am merely suggesting that something might be done to secure a satisfactory audit. As I understand it, most of these accounts are audited locally, and in many cases the auditors are appointed on the spot by the trustees of the charities. The audit therefore is not really in the hands of the Commissioners. This is a very important matter affecting an extremely large annual income, and I would urge upon the Charity Commission that some step ought to be taken to secure the proper audit of these accounts, and, at any rate, they ought to have some control over the appointment of the auditors, for I believe that that would tend not only to a more efficient and trustworthy system of audit, but would also help to secure that the accounts are presented in a correct form. I hope the hon. Gentleman will be able to tell me what is the capital amount involved in these accounts, and how far the auditing has been supervised by the Commission; also how the accounts are dealt with by the Commision. As to the disposal of the City Parochial Funds, 1613 I may say I think that the Charity Commissioners' scheme for establishing Polytechnic Institutes, and promoting Industrial education is on the whole well devised. I might be able to suggest one or two alterations in it so far as it affects Clerkenwell, Finsbury, and Shoreditch, but I feel sure that the idea of the scheme is a good one. In conclusion let me say that I believe the information for which I am asking, would prove exceptionally useful at a time when we are considering how far the County Council should interfere in the management of charities, how far these charities, large or small, might be placed under their control. There is at this moment a mass of information which must be in the hands of the Charity Commissioners, and I trust they will give it to us in a subsequent report. I think it would be better if the charities in the country were in a large measure at any rate, relegated entirely to the management of County Councils. It would largely preclude the necessity for such debates as this in the House of Commons, which useful as they are, take up time urgently required for other business.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
The fact of the matter with regard to the accounts which come into the hands of the Charity Commission, is that they have no power to audit them. I believe that in the Charitable Trust Act Amendment Bills of 1878, 1881 and 1883, such a power was proposed, but it was struck out because the Government of the day, or the House did not see their way to conferring the power on the Commission. While therefore the accounts do come in, they are not audited by the Commission. They are very useful, how.ever, in cases where complaint arises, and in dealing with applications for power to sell or purchase land, or to deal with other securities. I believe I am right in saying that all the accounts come into the hands of the Commission in one form. There is I think a regular form upon which they are returned. With regard to whether the Commission should have the power of auditing these accounts, that is a question for the Government and for the House. I do not think I am called upon to express an opinion upon it. Of course it would be extremely useful for the Commission to have some such power, but let me 1614 point out that it would necessitate an increase of its staff to a very considerable extent to deal with the thirty-two thousand odd accounts, a number which increases year by year, because almost every year we are able to find out some new charities. I am sorry I am not able to give the hon. Member the total amount of the capital value of the charities, and I do not think it could be arrived at without a very great expenditure of time and labour, with which the utility of the return would hardly be commensurate.
§ *MR. JAMES STUART
If the accounts are returned on a uniform plan,. I think it would scarcely be so difficult to give me the information I ask for.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
I will consult the Commission with regard to the matter. I am sorry I cannot give the hon. Member the information he desires.
§ SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
I wish to raise the question of the recovery of rent charges in connection with rural charities. Is there any chance of the Charity Commissioners succeeding in recovering any of these rent charges of the loss of which we have complained more than once in the House? I have myself more than once endeavoured to bring in a measure to give the Charity Commissioners more powers with reference to these matters, but last year my Bill was opposed by hon. Members opposite, and unfortunately I was unable to secure a favourable opportunity this year. There are a good many of these charities in the country which it is desirable that the House and the country should hear of. A large number of them have been lost year by year, because the Commissioners have no power of enforcing payment of certain rent charges upon certain lands. The present process, as I understand it, is an extremely difficult one. They have to obtain practically the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in order to institute prosecutions, for in most cases the rent charges are so very small—in some cases not exceeding £2 or £3 and in some cases not as many shillings—that they would entail far more cost to recover than the local trustees are justified in expending. These local trustees distribute the property as long as they receive it, but the land passes into other hands, and the 1615 people buying the land, being unaware of these rent charges refuse to pay them, and the local trustees having no property in hand and no means of prosecuting or enforcing payment, the charity tends to lapse and thus becomes lost. This has happened to a very large extent throughout England. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Penrith, who represents the Charity Commissioners in the House, has been good enough to grant me a Return of charities lapsed in several counties, and when that Return is laid before the House I believe it will create a large amount of interest in this question, which materially affects the poor. We should also be glad to know whether during the last year the Charity Commissioners have been endeavouring to recover any of those properties, and, if so, whether they have had the co-operation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to prevent this property of the poor being lost.
§ MR. T. E. ELLIS
I think the least satisfactory part of the work of the Charity Commission is that relating to the collection of annual Reports of charities throughout the country. Some of those Reports are meagre and some are misleading. Without an audit it seems impossible to know whether they are accurate or not, and the only means the Commissioners have of verifying the reports is to send down an Inspector. This is most costly and in most cases is not worth the expense. Now, if the Charity Commission and the Government will bring forward some measure by which they can elicit the co-operation of the County Councillors, I believe an excellent work will have been performed and that something like a business-like audit will have been secured. I would also urge on the hon. Member (Mr. J. W. Lowther) the facilitating of the work of inquiry in the Welsh counties by obtaining the cooperation of the County Councils. I think the adoption of such a course would not only facilitate the auditing of the charities, but would enable the Commission to obtain very necessary Further information with regard to them.
*MR. J. W. LOWTHER
I think the House will appreciate the way in which the hon. Gentleman has addressed it. I am sure the Charity Commission always feel that they have derived great assistance from 1616 him, and I shall take care to convey his suggestion to my fellow Commissioners. As to the question raised by the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Foster) I am informed that some rent charges have been recovered, though I am at present unable to give the exact figures.
§ *SIR J. SWINBURNE (Staffs.,) Lichfield
May I ask Her Majesty's Government and the Charity Commissioners whether they will combine together to take active steps to prevent these small rent charges being lost in the future? Every year land is sold subject to small rent charges, but in many cases these rent charges have not been collected for years; and the vendors sell the property, concealing the fact that it is subject to such charges. Subsequently, when the new owner is applied to by the managers of the charity for the arrears and current rent charge, he declines to pay it, on the ground of having purchased the property free of all incumbrances, and demands the authority of the managers to claim such a charge, and asks them to produce their title deeds to such a charge. These deeds are seldom to be found, and the law costs of endeavouring to enforce the claim would far exceed the value of the charges; the result being that these rent charges are lost to the charities for ever. It is only by the combination of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Charity Commissioners that the stealing of these charities can be stopped.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH,) Strand, Westminster
The Government will undoubtedly confer with the Charity Commissioners and see if any measure can be framed which will secure that these endowments shall not be lost. I am sorry to hear the hon. Baronet give so bad an account of Staffordshire and the North of England.
§ Question agreed to.
4. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £33,168, 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 Civil Service Commission.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's County)
A considerable number of complaints have been made with regard to the delay in 1617 giving the results of examinations, more especially the military examinations. I have had several letters complaining of this delay, mentioning that in some cases there has been a delay of six weeks, and in one instance there was an interval of two months. This causes a great amount of inconvenience to candidates, who do not know meanwhile whether it is necessary for them to make further arrangements to go on with their studies, or whether they are in the happy position of having passed their examination. I merely mention this in the hope that inquiry will suggest a remedy. I believe the third unpaid Commissioner is still unappointed. Last year the First Lord of the Treasury mentioned the difficulty found in getting anyone to undertake the onerous duty, more especially as no salary is attached to it, and I believe that difficulty still exists. I would like to suggest to the Government that they should have in view the selection of some gentleman who will be able to effect a reform in the whole system of examinations which some of the highest authorities in educational circles think it necessary. The complaint made is that the system of examination in vogue is based absolutely on the practice of cram. This is not due to the gentlemen who carry out the examinations, but to the Commissioners. If you compare the system with that carried out at the great Universities, you must conclude that one of them must be absolutely wrong, so different are the two in principle. The cram system does not obtain at the University examinations, but in the Civil service examinations that system is absolute, and for Indian appointments, for instance, the examinations are utterly useless, or to a very large extent I should say. The men who should be sent out to England are those of the highest education, but the result of the cram system is seen in the falling off in this class of appointments. The system is purely one of getting so many marks. You are to get a certain number of marks in certain subjects, but if you fail in any one you can make up the deficiency in another subject, perhaps of no earthly use in India. History I take to be important for the Civil Service in India, but it only obtains 300 marks, and with the books of skilled crammers the amount of cram required 1618 to secure this number of marks can be got through in six weeks. History is a branch of knowledge in which those who are to take high places in India should be well founded, but if candidates fail in that they can take up another subject.
The subjects are presented by the Secretary of State in Council; the duties of the Civil Service Commissioners are simply those of administration. The hon. Member therefore would be travelling beyond the scope of discussion of the Vote in criticizing the character of the examinations.
§ MR. MOLLOY
What I wanted to draw attention to was the desirability of some change being initiated, more especially by the gentleman whose appointment is still in the hands of the Government. But I will not go into the character of the examinations, which as you say is in the hands of the Secretary of State; but I was under the impression that the method of examination was in the hands of the Commissioners who formulated the system and arranged the details. I will not deviate from your ruling, but will simply point out to the Government the desirability in the appointment of a third Commissioner of securing the services of a gentleman capable of going into the whole subject; with a view to a change being made, which, if I had been permitted to go on, I would have shown is demanded by the highest educational authorities. I am sorry I cannot go into the subject, it is a very interesting one, and some good would have been effected, I hoped, by raising the discussion. I confine myself to the expression of a desire that in the appointment of the third Commissioner selection should be made of one capable of taking a greater interest in the subject from a higher standard of education and experience than is to be found in the two Commissioners who are now carrying out the whole of the work. It must be admitted that these two gentlemen are deficient in knowledge upon certain subjects most necessary to carry out the system properly. I will not go further into the subject now, but I hope the Secretary to the Treasury will not refuse the suggestion, but secure in the new appointment qualifications in which, I am sorry to say, the Commissioners are now utterly wanting.
§ *MR. JACKSON
I am not in a position 1619 to say anything as to the appointment, but I will take care that the views expressed are put before my right hon. Friend.
§ *MR. J. STUART
I do not think the Commissioners can be fairly credited with the encouragement of a system of cram. As far as investigation into the result of the examinations has gone it shows that under the method pursued the best pupils win, those best taught are successful. There are so called crammers who teach badly and those who teach exceedingly 'well, but in either case there is more success among the pupils trained in well managed institutions. It would be a great mistake, however, to put all crammers into one class. I think the Civil Service Commissioners have followed a very sensible line, laid down originally in the Indian Civil Service, as to subjects to be examined in, and that the age of examination should be such that a young man who fails in examination should not feel that his life is from that moment a failure. The object is to make selection from candidates according to measure of general education. I hope that in spite of all criticism they will persevere in the line they are now going, although, of course, I do not deny there are many details that might be modified. The method, I think, compares favourably with other examinations. A couple of months is certainly too long an interval between examination and publication of of result. Such a time could not be absorbed wholly in the work of examining papers, but must be partly occupied in something anterior to, or following after that work—official correspondence or something of that kind. I am sure if the examiners take up this time in the examination of papers, then the system is not so satisfactory as it should be. I observe there is a decrease on the Vote this year, an unusual characteristic, of which perhaps the Secretary to the Treasury can give some explanation. It may be that a reduction has been made in the payments to those who are called in to assist the permanent staff of examiners; or there may be a reduction in the number of examinations, or of candidates. I think there is room for saving money in the multiplicity of papers that are frequently set. As to the point raised by the hon. Member who pre- 1620 ceded me, I can say that I should not object to the appointment of a third paid Commissioner, if we could secure certain qualifications that are not possessed—though it is not their fault—by the existing Commissioners. It is matter of regret to everyone who reviews the position of the Commission. It was said by the First Lord of the Treasury last year, when I made some remarks on this subject, that the Commissioners did not require to set the papers, and did not require to know all subjects upon which the examinations they superintended took place. I admit that, but it is no answer to my question, for subjects group themselves, and one of these groups should certainly be of scientific subjects, and the foundation of a correct opinion as to scientific papers may be fairly made by a man who is fairly acquainted with one branch of science but not of others. But he has a fair idea of the relative merits of papers that might be set. There should be a correlation of various scientific subjects, and how far either of the branches of science should be employed as an engine of examination, how far it should be used as a test of general culture and for discrimination, are matters to be taken into consideration in framing a scheme of examination for any particular group of candidates. The Commissioners rely on their subordinates for information on such matters, and though they certainly are well served by them, yet, of course, the responsibility attaches to themselves. Last year I found fault with the appointment they made, though not with the individual appointed or with his ability; but I feel that I must again urge on the Government the extreme necessity there is of supplying this want among the Commissioners, the best plan, probably, being the appointment of a paid Commissioner, who should be placed on all fours with the rest. I ought, also, to express the confidence I feel in the action of the Civil Service Commission, not only in regard to the work it does, but the spirit in which it is done.
§ *MR. JACKSON
The hon. Member has alluded to the decreased cost of the Department, and I desire to point out that it is not due to any decrease in the remuneration paid for the work, but to the fact that examinations have not been held when there has been no like- 1621 lihood for vacancies. The examiners are paid for what I may term piecework—that is to say, they are paid for the work they do.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin, North)
I wish to draw attention to the fact that the Government advertisements in Ireland are given to newspapers supporting the Government, and not in accordance with the position or circulation of those journals. On a former occasion when I called attention to this matter, I was fortunate enough to obtain a promise from the Secretary to the Treasury that this system should be revised, and that if it were shown that a newspaper received advertisements to which it was not entitled by reason of its circulation, a change should be made. It was unfortunate, however, that I placed any reliance in that promise, for I find that no change whatever has been made in the system. I have a letter from a newspaper proprietor in Ireland complaining that Government advertisements are given to a paper in county Clare which has only a circulation of a couple of score or so, while a paper circulating 3,000 or 4,000 copies fails to get them. The only reason for this is to be found in the politics of the newspapers—whether it is a Nationalist journal or an organ of the Tory or Unionist Party. I invite the hon. Gentleman to explain whether any change has been made, and if not, why not?
§ *MR. JACKSON
The explanation I have to give is that since the time the hon. Gentleman refers to there has been a very complete change in the method of giving advertisements. Of course, the Secretary to the Treasury can know nothing about the wants or requirements of the parties to whom the advertisements relate or of the particular papers which get them; and at the present time, instead of the advertisements being sent out as was formerly the case from the central office, they are issued by each particular Department in regard to matters relating to its own particular work. For instance, the War Office sends out its own advertisements, the Board of Trade do the same, and so on through all the public offices, and I believe they endeavour to select the papers most likely to give effect to the advertisements so sent out, as it would be absolutely useless to advertise in 1622 papers not likely to reach those for whom the advertisements are intended.
§ MR. CLANCY
The hon. Gentleman can hardly suppose I shall be satisfied with the answer he has given. The only change that seems to be made is to allow the separate Departments to send out the advertisements instead of letting this be done by the Central Department, and if the same system is still pursued I am afraid the change made is no improvement. It is very different in England, where public opinion has greater influence. Under the system which prevails in Ireland every little rag of a Conservative or Unionist paper gets the Government advertisements, while no Nationalist journal, however large its circulation, ever gets one. It is useless to deny the facts, as I can give them from my own knowledge, and I am not disposed to pass this matter over or allow it to go without protest. I shall certainly divide the Committee, unless the hon. Gentleman gives me some assurance that the several Departments which he can influence on the part of the Government shall make a change in the direction of giving the advertisements to those papers which have the largest circulation, irrespective of Party politics.
§ *MR. JACKSON
I believe the hon. Gentleman is absolutely and entirely wrong. He says there has been no change, and I assert, as a matter of fact, that there has been a change. With regard to the advertisements of the Civil Service Commissioners, the list has been revised. If any case can be brought forward showing the necessity for further revision I have not the smallest objection to consider the circumstances and lay them before the Commissioners, who, of course, have only one object in view—namely, to advertise in those papers that will best circulate their advertisements. I do not think the hon. Gentleman can reasonably ask more than that. He has made a general statement that no Nationalist paper receives any Government advertisement, and I believe that that is incorrect. If he will put before me a case in which there is a grievance, I will bring it before the Commissioners, but he must see that otherwise it is very undesirable that I should interfere with the action of Departments charged with the responsibility of selecting the newspapers.
§ MR. CLANCY
I accept the invitation of the hon. Gentleman and will bring before him specific cases, although I may remind him that the same process has been gone through before without result. Many of the Nationalist newspapers have applied for the Government advertisements again and again, and have always got the stereotyped answer that the names of their papers are not on the list. The hon. Gentleman now, however, invites me, and I suppose other Irish Members, to bring forward specific eases of papers that do not get the Government advertisements, and I suppose he intends that they will hereafter have them.
§ MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, West)
It seems to me that the position in which the hon. Gentleman leaves the question by the offer he has just made as to the bringing forward of specific cases is simply this—that instead of having our heads cut off all at once, we shall have them cut off in detail. The hon. Gentleman has said there has been a revision, but he does not promise any reform. As it is, wretched little papers with no circulation at all get the Government advertisements, while others that have large circulations are passed over—which is manifestly unfair. With regard to the system of examination under the Commissioners, it seems to me to come to this, that certain men, by cramming, may pass with distinction, but they are like some men I know who, possessing an immense amount of information, have got it all so mixed up that if you were to put them up to speak on one subject they would be sure to speak on another. I think it would be well to consider whether some better system than the present could not be adopted.
§ MR. CLANCY
I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £400—the amount put down for advertisements next year. The promise made by the hon. Gentleman was bad enough, but he is not sticking to it. I think the hon. Gentleman ought to extend his promise to all the Departments of the Government, as they are all under the control of the Government, and a single word from him would of course have weight with each. In the absence of any satis- 1624 factory and specific pledge, I beg to move my Amendment.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item C, of £1,320, Incident Expenses, be reduced by £400, for Advertisements of Examinations:"—(Mr. Clancy.)
§ *SIR WALTER FOSTER
I think the complaint of the hon. Member behind me is well founded, and that the tendency on the part of the Government is to run these advertisements in a certain groove and to give them to a certain class of papers, regardless of their circulation. Advertisements should of course have the largest possible amount of publicity, and, therefore, should be given to the papers with the largest circulation. I think the hon. Gentleman ought to give a promise that this shall be the case. I have heard of cases in which papers have been kept alive by these advertisements after their circulation has almost disappeared—and this has happened, not only in Ireland, but in England.
§ MR. MOLLOY
I think the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would save the trouble of a Division if he would promise to use his influence that in future public advertisements, paid for by public money, shall be distributed as far as possible according to circulation.
§ *MR. JACKSON
What I intended to convey was this. I explained that we had made a change in putting the responsibility on each Department, because they would be better able to select the papers that would meet their requirements, and this being so, it was not desirable that I should interfere with the action of the Departments. I also stated that the Civil Service Commissioners had made a revision of the list, and that if the hon. Gentleman would bring before me specific cases they should be duly considered. It is not necessary in my opinion to give instructions to the departments as to how they should act in this matter, as we want to put the whole responsibility upon them.
§ MR. CLANCY
I will withdraw the Amendment if the hon. Gentleman will undertake on behalf of the Government to do with regard to other Departments something similar to what he will do 1625 in relation to the Civil Service Commissioners.
§ *MR. JACKSON
Presently the Vote for the Local Government Board will be before the Committee, and I am not responsible for that, but I will undertake to call the attention of all the Departments to the matter.
§ *SIR J. SWINBURNE (Lichfield)
I hope we shall have some assurance from the Government that in future the advertisements shall be given to the papers having the largest circulation, and those which constitute the best medium for promoting the public service.
§ *MR. W. H. SMITH
Her Majesty's Government have given evidence of their desire that advertisements should not be used for political or Party purposes. They have for the first time, abolished the Government list—a thing which no preceding Government has done. They have left to each department the responsibility of inserting its advertisements in the papers that will best attain the object in view. But it does not always follow that in every case that will be the paper with the largest circulation. The principal object in view must be that of reaching the persons to whom the advertisements are addressed—those who could supply what was required. The Government desire to secure the interests of the country.
§ Motion by leave withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ In reply to a question by Mr. STUART as to the copyists,
§ MR. JACKSON
said: Those persons thought that they were not sufficiently paid, and when the matter was inquired into the result was that a small bonus was given, which increases year by year for a number of years, and there is a further one on retirement. The bonus is given during service as an addition to salary, and it has grown to a much larger amount than it was anticipated it would when it was established.
§ *MR. JACKSON
Yes, the wages of copyists are spread through all the Votes, but the payment of bonuses and 1626 gratuities to all copyists has been entrusted to this Department.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(5.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £45,882, 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 Department of the Comptroller and Auditor General of the Exchequer.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I find on reference to the Statute 29 and 30 Vict. what the work of this Department is, and I wish to call the attention of the Secretary to the Treasury to Section 21 of that Act. I am sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not present, for what I am going to say relates to a controversy we had the other day with regard to the audit of the Civil List. Section 21 of the Statute provides, under the head "Appropiation Accounts":—That the Treasury shall cause an account to be preferred and transmitted to the Comptroller and Auditor-General for examination. They shall show the issues made from the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain and Ireland in the financial year ended 31st March preceding, for the interest and management of the public funded and unfunded debt, for the Civil List, and all other issues in the financial year for services charged directly on the said fund. The Comptroller and Auditor-General shall reply and report upon the same with reference to the Acts of Parliament, under the authority of which such issues have been directed.I have, in the first place, to ask the Secretary to the Treasury why, seeing this to be the enactment defining the duty of his Department, it is considered necessary to have a separate audit for the Civil List? The salaries of the Judges form part of the charges on the fund, and I wish to know if a separate audit is provided for this or for any of the other charges in the Consolidated Fund. I have examined the account presented to Parliament from the Auditor-General relating to the Civil List. I find, for example, in the report for 1888, there is the statement, "Payments into the Consolidated Fund in respect of the Civil List during the year 1887, £380,000; balance outstanding on the 31st March, 1887, £96,845 7s. 2d." Then in the report for 1889, the Auditor-General begins with the state- 1627 ment: "Issued on 1st April, 1887, £96,845 7s. 2d." That is a coincidence I will not attempt to explain—that a sum of £96,000 remaining unissued on the last day of the year is issued the very day after. I want to ask the Secretary to the Treasury what this means, and whether there is any connection between this unissued balance and the sums alleged to be savings in the various branches of the Civil List, reminding him at the same time that the duty of the Department is declared by Statute to be to report to the House as to issues made on account of the Civil List, with reference to the Act of Parliament under which they are issued. Why has the Auditor-General not reported in respect of this sum? Why has he not told us what the balance means, and under what provision of the Statute the issue has taken place? There is another matter to which I wish to call the hon. Gentleman's attention. We had some controversy about the amount of information it is the duty of the Government to lay before the House on this matter, and I alleged it had been the practice of the House in former years to state every year the amount of the saving which had accrued in the various branches of the Civil List. I will now read the passage from Lord Brougham's speech which put an end to this system. Lord Brougham, asking for information, said:—He held in his hand a paper which had been presented to Parliament being the Revenue Returns for the year which showed the saving effected in the expenditure of the Civil List to be £38,000.I suppose the revenue accounts corresponded with the Report with reference to the Consolidated Fund which the Auditor-General annually presented to Parliament. Why should this not have continued? Why should the House not be put in the possession of the information which it had up to 1850? Although I have had considerable difficulty in ascertaining the meaning of the items in these financial accounts, which seem designed to baffle Members of this House, I think I have made clear the information I solicit from the Secretary to the Treasury on the present occasion.
§ *MR. JACKSON
I believe, though I -will not pledge myself definitely, that the explanation of the point raised by 1628 the hon. Member is that the year of the Civil List ends, not on 31st March, with the ordinary financial year, but on 31st Dec. Since the matter was last discussed I have carefully inquired into the manner in which the accounts are audited, and I am able to assure the Committee that the accounts for the past five years show that the total sum of £385,000 has been issued, and the position of the Government is that so long as the sum is not exceeded there is no surrender of any portion of it. The position the Government have taken up in the matter is the position that has been always held by various Governments—viz., that if the amount which is issued from the Exchequer does not exceed £385,000 in the year there is no surrender.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
With reference to the statement that the financial years do not coincide, I would point out that Section 21 of the Act says that the Treasury shall cause an account to be prepared showing the issue made from the Consolidated Fund in the financial year ended 31st March. My question is, how it comes about that the amount of the unissued balances on the Civil List is so abnormally large, whereas it is so trifling, and sometimes non-existent, on other accounts? I also ask whether the unissued balances being paid out at the beginning of a new year has anything to do with savings on any branches of the Civil List?
§ *MR. JACKSON
No, Sir; what the hon. Gentleman says is not inconsistent with my statement. The unissued balance on 31st March relates to a year that ends 31st December. If the amount issued does not exceed the £385,000 the Government hold that they have nothing to do with the Expenditure beyond dealing with it in the manner in which the statute lays down. The accounts are audited by the auditor of the Civil List, and the amount the hon. Gentleman has referred to is a balance no doubt outstanding at the 31st March in the Paymaster General's hands. I think everything is satisfied if the Committee is assured that the issues do not exceed £385,000, and whether on a particular day there was an amount outstanding or not does not seem relevant to the question. I am not able to give any information as to what the actual balance in any par- 1629 titular year may have been but the total sum I have mentioned has not been exceeded.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
The hon. Member has given me an answer which is relevant not to the question I put to him but to the question the Government were unable to answer on a former occasion. I do not admit the accuracy of the contention that the duty of the Government is limited to seeing that the total expenditure is not exceeded; but that has nothing to do with the question. The hon. Gentleman has not explained how the audit of this Department does not extend to the Civil List in the same way as it does to other Items. He has not explained the anomaly that a very large outstanding balance at the end of the year is immediately paid out at the beginning of the next year. Because my questions have not been answered I shall move to reduce the Vote by £1,000.
Motion made and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £44,882, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Edmund Robertson.)
Original Question again proposed.
§ The Committee divided; Ayes, 81; Noes, 161. (Div. List. No. 101)
§ *MR. BARTLEY (Islington, North)
I should like to have some information or explanation as to the large proportion of the non-effective Vote which stands at £16,900 while the salaries are £56,000.
§ *MR. JACKSON
I have not the details at hand, but I would point out that the sum named by the hon. Member goes back a considerable number of years.
§ *MR. BARTLEY
Does the hon. Gentleman mean that the non-effective live so very long that they never disappear from the list?
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
6. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £6,887, 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 Registry of Friendly Societies.
§ *MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
In moving the reduction of this Vote by the sum of £1,000 from the salary of 1630 the Chief Registrar I have to submit to the Committee an exceedingly curious state of things. Under Section 10 sub-Section B of the Friendly Societies Act of 1885, among other things the Registrar was authorized to collect from the Returns made to him under the Act information which he was to communicate to particular persons. In the examination of the Registrar last year before a Committee of the House, he admitted that from 1875 until that moment he had never dune anything whatever under that section of the Act. At first in answer to a question from myself he said it was doubtful whether the section would bear the construction of authorizing him to communicate to particular persons, but on being pressed by me, he admitted in answer No. 943, that there was no doubt he might have done it if he had thought fit; but he suggested that funds had not been forthcoming. Examined as to whether he had over applied to the Treasury for funds and had been refused, he admitted that he had never done so, and in another answer he said "It is entirely on my own responsibility that this has happened." Under a most valuable provision of the Act, the Registrar might have communicated to the working men whenever he had knowledge of a society being in a state of insolvency, but he has over and over again neglected to perform that duty. He admitted that "in 1875 a society called the United Insurance Society returned a deficiency of over £53,000." The Registrar admitted it was brought to his knowledge in 1877, and it was as a matter of fact brought to his knowledge with a view to a prosecution. The society numbered 148,000 members, and in 1883 all those people lost every farthing they had invested in it. Mr. Sutton told us that he had specially reported the matter to the Chief Registrar in the hope that something of a stringent character would be done. Year by year returns were made to the Registrar of Friendly Societies, and the people, knowing those returns were being made, presumed, and rightly presumed, that if there had been evidence of insolvency the Registrar would have made it known. Unfortunately this case is only a sample. There have been forgery and stealing of bonds, and those things were brought to the notice of the Chief Registrar and 1631 ultimately to the Solicitor to the Treasury, but there has never been any prosecution. I feel very sorry to make an attack upon Mr. Ludlow, who for many years has done much for the good of working men in this country, but it makes it worse when a trusted man neglects his duty. It may be that that gentleman is too old for his office. I believe Mr. Sutton, who investigated the accounts, has done everything that could be done, but I do not understand the helpless inaction of Mr. Ludlow. That gentleman had, no doubt, done much to encourage thrift among the working classes, but there could be nothing more fatal to the encouragement of thrift than the continued existence of insolvent societies like the one he had referred to. Mr. Tomkins is sent down to examine into the society, and the only result is that 148,000 men's subscriptions through a long series of years are all lost. I move the reduction of the Vote.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That item A be reduced by £1,000, being part of the Salary of the Chief Registrar: "—(Mr. Bradlaugh.)
§ *MR. S. HOARE (Norwich)
Mr. Courtney, I am not surprised at the hon. Member for Northampton calling attention to this subject, only I cannot but regret that he should have taken this opportunity of doing so. Like many Members of this House, I am deeply interested in the working of our Benefit Societies, and I have the pleasure and privilege of being associated with the hon. Member for Northampton in a Committee upstairs, now sitting with reference to this question. I could have wished, therefore, that the question of the Department for the registration of Friendly Societies had been postponed until the deliberations of that Committee had been brought to a close. Already a great deal has been brought before our notice, to which I cannot allude. I am one of those who want, when we do take into consideration the work of this Department, to have every fact before us, and we who serve on the Committee ought not to have our mouths closed, but ought to be able to lay before the House the whole of the facts that are laid before the Committee. The hon. Member has alluded to the shortcomings 1632 of the Department, but those who have seen the working of the Department must feel satisfied that if it has not been as efficient as it should have been, a great deal is owing to the want of legislation, giving it sufficient power to act in the case of insolvent societies, or in the case of societies which do not show a satisfactory balance sheet. The hon. Member has alluded to the powers already given to the Department, but it must be remembered, that in order to obtain actuarial investigation, it is necessary for 500 Members of the Society to apply for the actuarial investigation, and I think when the time comes for discussing the matter in the House, it will be seen that there is great difficulty in obtaining these 500 signatures, and that this circumstance constitutes a great obstacle to the Department being as efficient as it ought to be. I speak with a little experience of the subject, for a near relative of my own undertook the very bold task, for the sake of a vast number of working people, of exposing a. Society which was in a most unsatisfactory position. In a very humble way I had the privilege of supporting him in the steps he took; and we no sooner tried to get the 500 signatures, than the society brought an action for libel with very heavy damages against the gentleman who undertook the work. I may mention that every facility was afforded by Mr. Ludlow, and by the actuary, Mr. Sutton. But they were powerless to take any really active steps, without the signatures which the Committee will understand it was exceedingly difficult to get. It is not easy to get workmen to sign a paper for investigation. They feel, perhaps, that possibly the society may last their time; at any rate, they do not like to do that which might leave them without the support from the society, to which they look in case of illness. I think a great deal is wanted in this Department, and I am quite sure that both the Chief Registrar and the Actuary have been most desirous themselves for the inquiry which is now being held. They have not been desirous that the inquiry should be in any way shirked; they are anxious that the Committee should fully see what their present position is, and fully realize what their difficulties now are. I cannot but think that one result of the inquiry will be suggestions such as will obviate for the 1633 future any necessity for moving the reduction of the Vote, and the working people of England will feel that in the Department they have some safeguard, that the money which they with great difficulty put aside will be forthcoming with interest when the time comes that they require it. I hope, therefore, the hon. Member for Northampton will not press his Amendment for a reduction to a division.
§ *MR. BRADLAUGH
The hon. Member has stated with the utmost fairness that 500 signatures have to be obtained, but that only goes to the question of investigation under another section, and it does not at all apply to the duty which I say is imposed upon the Chief Registrar under sub-Section B, sub-Section 10. They are two entirely different matters relating to other societies, and I confined myself solely to the United Brothers reported upon last year.
§ *SIR. HERBERT MAXWELL (Wigton)
I do not wish to make any complaint that the hon. Member for Northampton has selected this opportunity for making an attack upon one who is a very valuable public servant—one who has grown old in the public service, and who has, in the course of his service, done a great deal for the true interests of the working classes. Mr. Ludlow, I think, has hardly merited the harsh expression of opinion which has been passed upon him by the hon. Member for Northampton. What is the case, Mr. Courtney. In 1875, the Friendly Societies Act was passed. It was an entirely new field, and it was not easy to find one duly qualified to fill the office created; and I venture to say of all the Departments there is not one in which the business to be transacted has increased so largely as that of the Registration Department, while at the same time the staff has not been increased. Other departments, the Post Office for instance, has had a vast increase of business, but then the staff has been proportionately increased. Mr. Ludlow has received no assistance to enable him to discharge his onerous duties.
§ *MR. BRADLAUGH
My complaint is that he did not discharge one of his duties at all under this Section, and he so admitted under pressure.
§ *SIR H. MAXWELL
I am quite aware that the hon. Member has limited his complaint of the Chief 1634 Registrar to the lath Section, but the Act consists of a great many sections, and this particular Section is open to the construction put upon it, rightly or wrongly, by the Chief Registrar. Mr. Ludlow will appear again as a witness be' ore the Committee sitting upstairs, and I do ask this Committee of the whole House to consider whether this is a fitting opportunity to go into the Lobby for what will practically be a Vote of Censure upon Mr. Ludlow. In common fairness let us wait until the inquiry has been concluded. I admit that so far as the evidence has gone. it seems to point to a certain inadequacy or possibly inefficiency in the office, but although I have paid great attention to the evidence given before the Committee upstairs, I have been unable—perhaps because I am slow—to form an opinion as to what that Report will be or what is necessary to be done. Therefore, I think I will best perform my duty now by asking hon. Members to stay their judgment. They will have ample opportunity before long, and I cannot help thinking a much better opportunity, to discuss the whole matter.
§ *MR. BRADLAUGH
I have been appealed to not to anticipate the Report of a body of gentlemen who will have to pronounce upon this very question, and I agree that it is hardly fair to ask the Committee upon my ex parte statement to give a Vote which would be a difficulty in the way of the Select Committee if their decision should be other than that of the House given suddenly on my Motion. Therefore, I will not press the matter to a division, although I do think it was my clear duty to raise the question on this occasion.
§ Motion by leave withdrawn.
§ Original question again proposed.
§ *MR. WILLIAM WOODALL (Hanley)
There is a question not of very large importance, but, no doubt, of sufficient importance to those who have the administration of friendly Societies. They are exempted from income tax, on their investments. Their complaint is that this exemption is attended with much unnecessary inconvenience, inasmuch as the payments have to be made, and subsequently formal claims have to be made for repayment. I am urged to ask the attention of the Treasury 1635 to the matter, and to ask whether they cannot see their way to making special exceptions in the case of Friendly Societies; or, at any rate, to hear in mind that the conduct of these societies is entrusted to working men who cannot be always relied upon to be perfectly quick in the assertion of their claims, and that they will modify and simplify the process of claiming exemption as far as possible.
§ *MR. GOSCHEN
The attention of the Treasury has been directed to the matter, but the Committee will see that it is difficult to deal with a particular body of men. There are various ways in which working men are associated together, and in which they possess investments, and the question has caused considerable anxiety in the Inland Revenue Office as well as among working men. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are anxious to save the working men all the trouble possible.
§ Original question put, and agreed to.
§ 7. £10,934, to complete the sum for Land Commissioners for England.
Motion made, and question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £133,823, 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 Local Government Board.
§ *MR. JAMES STUART
There is a matter which I wish to bring under the notice of the President of the Local Government Board. I have already asked several questions in regard to the inspection of workhouse schools. At one time in the 640 or 650 unions in this country there were schools connected with the workhouses, but gradually of late years they have become separated from the workhouses so that now considerably less than one-half of the Poor Law schools are workhouse schools. That operation is going on pretty rapidly. Something like five years ago there were 300 workhouse schools, now I think there are not many more than 200. The schools that have been established in lieu of workhouse schools are called separate or district schools. In the metropolis I believe, with the exception of Mile End, they are all separate or district schools. The children connected with the workhouse are 1636 taught in the schools, which for the most part have distinct masters and mistresses. In many places homes are now being erected in connection with Poor Law unions, and in these homes the children are maintained and are sent from them to these separate or district schools, just as they would go to any public elementary school if they were not paupers. Now I wish to call attention to the position of the teachers in connection with separate schools and with workhouse schools. The children are actually under four Inspectors. There is the Superintendent Inspector of Local Government Board; there is his assistant, there is a Medical Inspector and there is a School Inspector. Some years ago, in the year 1874 or thereabouts, a recommendation was made that the schools should be wholly placed under the Education Inspectors of the Poor Law Department, and of course, under the Medical Inspector, but it was not carried into effect, owing, I suppose, to the change of Government which took place at the time. So far, as Medical Inspector is concerned, it is not necessary to take that into consideration. We all agree that the children should be under Medical Inspection, but the object of my remarks is to ask that the children so far as the school is concerned, should be placed wholly under the Inspector of the Education Department of the Privy Council. Now that is the proposal which I put in the question I asked of the Local Government Board a short time ago. The proposal that has been made by certain Boards of Guardians, or rather, by the Committees of certain Boards of Guardians, is that separate or district schools should be placed, so far as the schools and children in them are concerned, under the inspection of the Education Department, and that their schools should be treated in all respects as if they were public elementary schools. The difference in their position would think that the Inspector who looks after the education in these schools would not he answerable to the same Department as other Inspectors, namely, the Poor Law Department, but that he would be answerable to a different Department, the Education Department. The President of the Local Government Board stated that difficulty might 1637 arise from the clashing of the two Departments, and that the experiment has been tried and failed. I admit the force of the former argument, but I deny that any proper attempt has been made in the direction I suggest. What was done in that direction was not an experiment. It was due to the natural growth of things that the inspection in early days should be under the Education Department. Under the Poor Law of fifty years ago, workhouse schools were practically non-existent, they were created under miserable circumstances, the teachers were of a very poor class, and very often were paupers fit for nothing else, and the children were consequently taught nothing. There was no way of getting anything like order into this miserable system except by the intervention of the Education Department of the time. That was, of course, before the Act of 1870. The Education Department did intervene in order to secure that there should be competent teachers. The system was abandoned because of departmental difficulties. But now you must remember, in dealing with the teachers, that you are dealing with a set of persons who are fulfilling their special functions in special buildings, and who can without difficulty be under a different Department. There are now only 200 schools practically of the workhouse type, and of this number many of them are connected with small workhouses where matters could be very easily arranged. The majority of children, as I have indicated, are being educated in separate or district schools under the management of Boards of Guardians, whose Committee stand in exactly the same position as the School Management Committee. Now, therefore, if you have an Education Inspector under the Education Department, you have only a residual number in which any departmental difficulty could arise. The question may be asked, What is the reason of this proposed change? Now, first, what I want to impress upon the Committee is this—that the matter I am bringing before it refers to a very considerable number of children, I think something like 30,000; and, if I am not mistaken, to something like 800 teachers. I will first take the case of the teachers. We have considerable difficulty in getting good teachers 1638 for the Workhouse Poor Law Schools under the existing arrangement. I believe that up to the present the Education Department have refused' to give teachers their parchments until they have left the Poor Law Department, and have come under the Education Department, and the result is that when a Committee of Guardians or or a separate or district school seek, as I am sure they do, to get goad teachers, they are met with the difficulty that the teacher has not been with them many months before he finds that he cannot get his parchment, and that he must either remain a member of a limited and narrow and less well paid section of the educating community, or that he must leave his appointment as quickly as he can in order to come under the Education. Department. This makes it difficult not only to obtain, but also to retain the service of teachers of the best kind. I believe I am right in saying that the President of the Local Government Board has received from the North Surrey School managers a memorial which sets forth that the salaries paid to teachers in Poor Law Schools are practically the same as when they were originally fixed more than 40 years ago; that the highest salaries obtainable by these teachers are £60 a year with board and lodging; that since the passing of the Education Act in 1870, teachers under the Education Department have been able to command salaries of £400 a-year and upwards for doing precisely the same work as is done by teachers in Poor Law Schools, and the result is that the Poor Law Schools have to be content with such teachers as fail to obtain the better appointments under the Education Department, and who are unable to obtain parchment certificates unless they leave the Poor Law Schools and take service under the Education Department. The managers of the North Surrey Schools, therefore, ask that the salaries of these teachers should be brought up to the standard which exists under the Education Department, and that the Poor Law teachers should be placed on the same terms as regards certificates as teachers under that department. The object of these gentlemen is to obtain the services of really competent teachers, and their proposal in part covers the ground of the proposal which I am now making, and 1639 which has also been made by the Shoreditch Board of Guardians, who are establishing one of those cottage arrangements in the neighbourhood of London for their children, and who are putting up a school which they desire to be in every way of the best character. They say that the services of teachers in Poor Law Schools are not recognized by the Education Department in the same way as those of the Department's own teachers, and the result is that the most efficient and best trained teachers will not take appointments in these schools, which consequently have not the advantage of that contact and touch with the general educational sentiment of the country, which it is desirable that they should have. Now, my proposal is that these schools should be placed under the Education Department. The Shoreditch Guardians—and I agree with them—want to bring the whole of these schools under the same system as the public elementary schools on this account, that you would get the same inspection and the same standard of teaching. And we advocate this in the interests of the children themselves. We desire—and, I believe, hon. Gentlemen opposite also desire, for this is no party matter—to see the workhouse taint removed from these pauper children. I appeal in this matter to the President of the Local Government Board, who has very large and wide-minded views on subjects of this nature, and I am sure no one desires more than he to secure the removal of this workhouse taint. That -is now being done as much as possible, for a number of unions send their children to public elementary schools in the neighbourhood, and thus, as far as education is concerned, bring them entirely under the control of the Education Department. And again, where the children are maintained in cottage homes provided by the Poor Law Authorities you have precisely the same state of things, viz., the children going to school and coming back to the Workhouse Authorities as to their home; and no more argument can be urged against putting these separate schools under the Education Department than against allowing the children to go to schools under that Department. It seems to me it would be a lamentable thing if departmental difficulties with permanent 1640 officials were to be allowed to stand in the way of carrying out this reform, and I do urge on the President of the Local Government Board to take steps with a view to providing for the Poor Law children education which shall be on a level with the general elementary education of the country, and which shall enable them, as far as possible, to rise out of the situation into which, through no fault of their own, they have fallen. I urge upon him and upon the Education Department the careful consideration of the step I have indicated. It will make no difference ultimately in the charges that come upon the nation. It may be that the charges for Education of pauper children would come under the Education Vote instead of the Poor Law Vote, but that makes no real difference, for in both cases the charges have to be paid by the nation. And while there would be no increase of cost, you would ensure the employment of a more efficient class of teachers. In order to give the matter a definite form, Sir, I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
Motion made, and Question put, "That Item G, Inspector of Workhouse Schools, Salaries, be reduced by £100."—(Mr. James Stuart).
§ *MR. J. G. TALBOT (Oxford University)
I rise to support the suggestion of the hon. Member opposite. The time has come when there should be only one standard for the education of all children of the same class. It is, in my opinion, an anomaly that the children of one section of the labouring classes should be under one Department for educational purposes, and the children of another section under another Department. It is no doubt a departmental difficulty which has caused the present anomalous condition, but I believe that if the heads of Departments would put their heads together they would easily arrive at a solution of the difficulty. I may just add that this is a matter which affects not only the interests of the children, but also those of the teachers, who ought not to be placed under the disadvantages which now affect them. The teachers of these large pauper schools—male and female—are, as a class, very good; and if any class of teachers needs 1641 encouragement from the Government, it is this class who have to deal with children where education requires especial vigour and brightness. I should be very glad if the present state of things could be altered.
§ *MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
It is true that there are some 30,000 of these children now being brought up in workhouse and district schools; in the former 22,500, and in the latter 7,500, I believe. I have felt for many years that these children should be taken from complete living, so to speak, amongst themselves. You get a number of these 'children of the same unfortunate class; they live in the workhouse by themselves; all their surroundings contain the pauper element; they become listless and apathetic, and it is extremely difficult to instil into them the feelings and aspirations of children more happily circumstanced. I consider the step of taking these children from the workhouse and sending them into elementary schools is one of the best possible steps. I believe those who have studied the Reports of the Inspectors of Poor Law schools will bear me out when I say that one great effort is to make these children at all like ordinary children. This is the effect of their pauper surroundings, and I therefore strongly urge on the President of the Local Government Board that much more active steps should be taken to remove the children from the workhouses and bring them more into contact with ordinary children both for instruction and for play. I believe the system of boarding the children out in houses on the small village system is infinitely the better plan than even that of separate workhouse schools, and I am anxious to see these 30,000 children brought under the influence not only of education, but of other children. I hope, therefore, the President of the Local Government Board will see his way to get rid of these 200 workhouse schools.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
It is hardly necessary for me to assure the Committee that my sympathies are entirely in the direction of those who have expressed their great desire that children who unhappily come within the scope of the Poor Law should, as far as possible, be removed from the unfortunate influences which surround them in our workhouses. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend who 1642 spoke last, that it is most desirable that the educational means to be adopted in reference to these children should not only be removed from the workhouse and workhouse schools as far as possible, but that every encouragement should be given for the education of these children in public elementary schools, so that they may associate with other children, and have no connection whatever with the Poor Law, but assimilate themselves both in education and enjoyment with children who are in a more fortunate position of life. It is satisfactory to know that there has been a great increase in the separate and district school system, and it is also a satisfactory feature that the number of children who are educated in the public elementary schools has also largely increased. I can conceive nothing more unsatisfactory than that young children should be kept within the bare and blank walls and dreary surroundings of the workhouse; the more they are removed from such an atmosphere the more good will be done to them and the general community. As far as the policy of the Local Government Board is concerned, we desire to give every encouragement to the system of district and separate schools, and to extending and developing education in the public elementary schools. It has been argued with considerable plausibility that there should be only one system of inspection and one Inspector, that the Inspector of the Education Department should have control of the connection of children both in Poor Law and other schools. But everybody must admit that it is very unsatisfactory to have a sort of dual control over the children who are committed to the charge of Boards of Guardians. The result would be that instead of Reports on the condition of these children being sent direct to the Government Department, who are responsible for the administration of the Poor Law in all its branches, the Reports would have to go to the Education Department and be transmitted from the Education Department to the Local Government Board. That is not a system which would work well or be satisfactory to the Local Government Board. If the Local Government Board is to be the controlling body with reference to Poor Law matters, I do not see how Parliament can judiciously or pro- 1643 perly take away the control which that Board has with reference to schools which are, after all, Poor Law institutions. Of course, if I imagined that the advantages to be derived from changing the system would outweigh the disadvantages, it would be my duty to make arrangements by which the system proposed by the hon. Gentleman should be carried out; but if I may venture to say so, the education given in these Poor Law Schools will bear favourable comparison with that given in the public elementary schools if you take into account the character of the children to be educated. I say, if you take into account the character of the children with whom we have to deal, because you must remember that in the ordinary schools you have children who are constantly resident in the locality, who go to school regularly; but in the case of the Poor Law schools the children are constantly shifting. On the whole, we have every reason to be satisfied with the education given in these schools. There is a valuable society in London which makes special inquiry into the condition of all the children who go out to service from these schools, and I am glad to see that the account they give of the children is entirely satisfactory. Of 1,704 children who went out to service from the London pauper schools, 1,358 were returned as very good; 183 as satisfactory—that is to say they were accused of no serious fault; 37, or about two in the hundred, as bad; and the remainder were accounted for as having either emigrated, married, or died. I say that, looking to the class of children and to the circumstances you have to deal with, the results of the education given in these schools must be regarded as extremely satisfactory, and I do not think that if you were to adopt the proposal of the hon. Gentleman the condition of things would be rendered much more satisfactory than it is now. At any rate the adoption of the proposal would in my opinion be attended with very grave disadvantage and the hon. Gentleman has not given any good reasons why the present system should be departed from. As to the teachers, there is no doubt whatever that the amount of salary which teachers in poor law schools are able to earn is not so large as is earned in public elementary schools. 1644 I myself think that perhaps the earnest and most laudable desire to constantly increase the standard of education in the elementary schools and to obtain more highly qualified teachers has led to the payment of very high salaries; and I am not going to dispute the fact that those salaries are well earned. At the same this question of salaries ought to be considered altogether apart from the question of inspection. If the hon. Member can assure me that the teachers in the Poor Law schools are underpaid, I can only say that the matter will receive my careful consideration, and I will undertake that any representation the hon. Gentleman may make will be fully considered. As to the general question of the change advocated in the method of inspection, I do not think the hon. Member has shown any good reason which would induce the Local Government Board to discharge themselves of their present responsibility for the education and training of children in these schools.
§ MR. COSSHAM (Bristol, E)
I think the polar star of the situation is that we should not keep up the system of hereditary paupers, and I am sure that the more we aim at taking children away from the influence of the workhouse the more we shall be likely to obtain that result. The system of hereditary paupers is a very expensive one, and a great many of our paupers are created by being brought up under it. In my part of the country we have an institution in which 2,000 or 3,000 children taken from the same class as pauper children are brought up, and the result of the education they receive is that only three per cent ever reach the workhouse. The training they receive enables them to earn an honest living and to become ornaments and useful members of society. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will pursue the object he has evidently at heart, and will succeed in freeing us from the hereditary tendency of keeping our children from the workhouses.
§ *MR. McLAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)
I should like to express my satisfaction with what the right hon. Gentleman said with regard to the schools and to the way in which he thinks the children are educated. I wish, however, to ask him whether he will instruct the Inspectors 1645 whenever they have an opportunity to discourage the guardians from building those very large schools. Some years ago when the Lambeth Guardians were about to build new schools they had almost decided to adopt the cottage system, and it was through the influence of the Government Inspector that they unfortunately determined upon the barrack system. It is clear that the Local Government Inspectors have very great influence with the guardians in these matters, and I therefore trust the right hon. Gentleman will instruct the Inspectors to try and dissuade guardians from building these large schools.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
Of course a great deal must depend upon the peculiar circumstances of each case. If an arrangement has been made under which districts join together for the purpose of building a large school to keep the children out of the workhouse of course I would rather have a large school than the workhouse. I somewhat sympathize with the hon. Gentleman, and am not inclined to encourage the building of what are called barrack schools, as I am sure smaller schools are preferable.
§ MR. COSSHAM
I see that £22,900 in the Local Government Board Account, or one-seventh of the whole is set down as expenses of travelling. These expenses seem to me to be on a very extravagant scale, and I think something ought to be done to check them. It must not be supposed that these travelling expenses are spent in connection with any educational establishment, and I do not know whether I should be in order in giving the explanation that is desired. I shall be glad to do so subsequently.
§ MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
I am extremely anxious that the right hon. Gentleman should come to the conclusion that workhouse children should not be educated alone, but should always, where possible, be sent to schools with children not connnected with the workhouse. My experience in this matter has been a very happy one. I have induced my colleagues on the Board of Guardians I have been connected with for many years to send the workhouse children out to the neighbouring schools. They have not at all the appearance of workhouse children, and they are very much brighter and happier and turn out to be much more useful 1646 when they leave than ordinary workhouse children. I have found that children educated in workhouse schools are dull in the extreme. I believe this has been the experience in other parts of the country too, and I trust the right hon. Gentleman will therefore discourage the building schools of any kind for workhouse children alone, and that the guardians may be induced all over the country to mix the children up with other children and take away from them as far as possible the taint of the workhouse.
§ MR. STUART
I am not satisfied with the right hon. Gentleman's explanation and I think I must go to a Division. I want to have the whole of our workhouse children and teachers put under the Education Department, and I can see the right hon. Gentleman does not want to do this. The right hon. Gentleman has endeavoured to make out that there is a difference between the question of the teachers and that of the children, but if so, what does the right hon. Gentleman make of the fact that the teachers are getting their salaries, and that the Boards of Guardians are complaining that they cannot get as good teachers as they want, and are getting the leavings of other schools? Unless the right hon. Gentleman can give us a little more encouragement I must ask the House to divide.
§ Question put "That item A be reduced by £100."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 71; Noes 187. (Div. List No. 102)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported to-morrow at two of the clock. Committee also report progress, to sit again to-morrow at Two of the clock.