HC Deb 07 August 1890 vol 348 cc152-69

7. £301,581, to complete the sum for Public Education, Scotland.

(7.39.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

It is usual to make a statement in introducing this Vote. The total annual grant this year is £ 522,963, as against £493,384 last year, or a nett increase of £29,579. This is due, in the first place, to £4,000 being granted in aid of certain districts in the Highlands, which was formerly charged under the Probate Act, but which now comes from the Imperial Exchequer, and to a considerable increase in the grants in aid of the schools. That is made up first by the increased attendances from 504,188 last year to 529,397, and in the second place by the increase of grants per scholar from 19s. 3¼d. to 19s. 6d. The cost of the maintenance of schools has risen from £1,087,000 to £1,173,930. Of this sum the Parliamentary grant amounts to £354,000. But, in contemplating the burden on the rates, it is necessary to bear in mind that the rates continue to bear the cost of providing schools, which amounts to £545,000. The cost for maintenance, so far as the rates are concerned, is about 3d. per £1, while the cost altogether in pence is 6.36d. per £1. As regards the amount of rates in comparison with the previous year, when there was a large increase of rates—that is to say, in the class of parishes in burghs where the rates are over 9d.—the increase has been in the following ratio:—In the case of burghs, from 14 to 28 per cent., and, in the case of the parishes, from 20 to 23 per cent. Looking, on the other hand, to where the rates are over 6d. in the £1, there has been an increase in burghs from 62 to 77 per cent., and in parishes from 60 to 63 per cent. The total cost of providing schools since the Act of 1872 has been £4,371,609, with the result of providing 715,876 places, which is equivalent to 17 per cent. of the population. From a practical point of view, the result is that places are provided for what may be regarded as the whole number of persons who have to attend school, and, therefore, the necessities of accommodation under the new system have now practically been met, and nothing but the normal increase will hereafter have to be provided for. I would like to refer to what, educationally, is of equal importance—the reconstruction of the Code, the significance of which can hardly be over-estimated. The Committee will remember that the abolition or limitation of individual examination has been recommended by the Scotch Education Department by way of experiment. The Department has been watching the experiment to see if an extension would be justified. The result has been a great success, and, accordingly, the new Scotch Code, for the first time in Great Britain, has done away with individual examinations, and has carried the other system into all the standards and schools. This has been cautiously bat boldly done, and I am sure that all interested in education will watch with interest and hope the great experiment on a large scale which is being made. It should be borne in mind that the success of the system must depend, to a certain extent, upon the co-operation of the teachers, managers, and Inspectors, in order to see that education does not suffer. Another change which has been made, and which will be appreciated by those who are conversant with the practical working of the educational system, is the power of choice that has been given in regard to specific subjects. There is a large latitude allowed to managers of schools in their selection, and they are now the judges of what subjects best meet the educational wants of their district, and also what subjects can best be dealt with by the existing staff. Discrimination and discretion, no doubt, in selecting that which is best adapted both to the pupils and the capacity of the teaching staff, and here, again, reliance must be placed on the co-operation of all concerned. I think it would not be fair if I passed from this question without ascribing the praise that is due to the Secretary of the Education Department, who has had the charge of this great educational change. His constructive skill and knowledge are displayed in every duty he undertakes, but it is shown conspicuously in this great work. Again, in the higher class of schools the system of certificates has proved very successful, and the number competed for and obtained has largely increased relatively and absolutely during the last three years. In 1888 there were 972 candidates; in 1889, 2,066; and in 1890, 2,528. The number of papers taken in 1888 was 4,300; in 1889, 4,200; and in 1890, 11,200. The results have been good. In all, 5,687 certificates have been issued, and 11,300 papers. The fact that these certificates have been accepted as evidence of proficiency by many Public Bodies, not only vouches for the value of the certificates, but also for the interest taken by these bodies in changes of this kind. Another feature of the past year relates to a more circumscribed area, namely, the Highlands; though it is of very great importance to that part of the country. The Committee will remember that not very long since there existed in many parishes in the Highlands a state of matters with regard to the schools which constituted a great difficulty in carrying out any educational system. The schools were in a very undesirable condition. The bank accounts were overdrawn; the teachers were unpaid; the managers of the schools were heavily in debt to the Local Commissioners; and the members of the Board were ready to resign. It was not impossible that, in some of those parishes, there might be a collapse of the educational work or system, and something was urgently required to be done. In this the objects to be obtained were to maintain the schools, to restore the credit of the Boards, to insure local co-operation, and to procure efficiency in the schools. By the changes made, and the offer of assistance to the Boards if they came under the arrangement laid down, I am glad to say that these ends have been largely secured in many of the Highland schools I refer to. Thirteen parishes, representing 81 schools, have already come under the arrangement, which is optional, and the results achieved in these schools are that while before many teachers were unpaid, now every teacher is being paid, efficiency in the schools has been restored, the debts of the Boards to the bankers have, in many cases, been entirely wiped off, and in others largely reduced, and the debts to the Local Commissioners have also been paid to a large extent. It is only fair to say that the Local Boards have cordially cooperated in bringing about these beneficial changes. One of the results of the change has been a considerable reduction in the rates, though, perhaps, the greatest cause of satisfaction is the restoration of efficiency in the schools. While some of the rates stood at so high a figure as 5s. 4d. in the £1, and the average stood at 2s. 3½d. in the £1, the average now is 1s. 4½d. in the £1. Therefore, the anxiety which existed some time since with regard to the state of educational matters in the Highlands has, to a large extent, been allayed, and we may hope now that the School Boards will be able to give their whole attention to the progress of education. The system introduced has been successful, not only from an educational but also from an administrative point of view, and I feel sure that it will have the co-operation of the Scotch Members.

(7.55.) MR. SINCLAIR (Falkirk)

We have to thank the Lord Advocate for the speech with which he has opened this Debate, and to congratulate him and the Government upon the very admirable Report he has been able to lay before the Committee. But I think it would not be right for us to let this occasion pass without taking some notice of the educational changes that have taken place during the past year. We have had little more than eight or nine months' experience of the working of the new system, which is not sufficient to enable us to arrive at any definite conclusion. We may see certain tendencies at work, but we cannot say what will be the ultimate outcome. One thing of which there can be no doubt whatever, is that the abolition of fees in the lower standards has brought about a great increase of attendance in infant schools and in the lower standards. I think we shall find that the attendance of infants will continue to increase, especially in the country districts, and that more school accommodation will be required. The question of regularity of attendance is somewhat more doubtful. In some places the attendance has been more regular and in other places it has not. I think those who look into the matter will find the explanation is, that the children of the better class of artizans, who realise the nature of the education, are attending better, while the children of the poorer classes, who do not know the value of education, are attending more irregularly. Then, again, it is doubtful whether the attendance in the higher or compulsory standards is increasing. I believe that while it has not increased it has not diminished. I believe that it will increase, and that those who thoroughly know the value of education will, by allowing their children to continue at school, secure the advantage of this better education. Those who do not appreciate the importance of education, not having the advantage of it themselves, rather look at the continuation of their children at school beyond the compulsory standards as a loss, and here arises the necessity so often urged for abolishing fees in the higher standards of elementary education. This is the more necessary when we find in the Report of the Education Department that it is stated that gradually children are leaving school at an earlier age, improvements in our educational system and better attendance enabling children to pass the compulsory standards more readily. This is remarked upon by Dr. Craik in his Report for the Southern Division. He says, while the age at which children pass the exemption standards is steadily diminishing, the question becomes a serious one, what shall be done with the children when school attendance is no longer compulsory, and the children are too young for employment. On educational grounds it is desirable to raise the exemption to Standard 6 from Standard 5. This important point will, I trust, receive the careful attention of the Government during the Recess. This brings me to the necessity for assisting the continuation or night schools, in regard to which we have had such a gratifying Report from the Lord Advocate to-night—gratifying so far as it goes. These schools seem to have increased not so much in numbers as in attendance, and if children are gradually leaving elementary schools at an earlier age it certainly is much more necessary that their education in high schools, or continuation schools, should be encouraged much more than in the past it has been. I am glad that, in my constituency, this matter has excited much attention, and the establishment of these schools in the burghs of Lanark and Airdrie has been attended with the most gratifying results in education of the children attending. I desire to press upon the Government, most seriously, in view of what is before us in the coming Session, the necessity for careful, exhaustive examination and investigation into the various facts bearing on the present position of education in Scotland, where education has largely been made free, and especially as bearing upon higher and secondary education. Scotland now applies the amount received from the Probate Duty Grant to the relief of primary education, and the sum devoted to the purpose will be released when the general grant for assisting primary education is made from Imperial resources, but the claim of Scotland will undoubtedly be that, as this money comes from Scotland's own special Revenue, it should still be applied according to the wishes of the majority of the Scottish people, namely, to education. I sincerely trust that higher elementary and secondary education and, perhaps, too, university education will receive from this fund the assistance that is much needed. The Government are to be congratulated upon the assistance they have received from Dr. Craik. The Lord Advocate, in graceful terms, has acknowledged the care and ability displayed by Dr. Craik, both in the Code and in the necessary steps for carrying out the great experiment of assisted education in Scotland. I hope sincerely that when next we have this Vote under discussion we shall find this experiment still more successful towards realising that desire for a thorough system of education which is engraved in the Scottish character.

(8.5.) MR. HUNTER

Perhaps there never was a year when more important matters offered themselves for consideration in relation to this Vote, never a time when an exhaustive discussion of the present state of Scottish education and its future development was more desirable. But I cannot help remarking that this is the 7th of August, that two-thirds of the Scottish Members have left town, and that the remainder are anxious to follow their example. Under the circumstances it is not desirable to make the attempt to follow the Lord Advocate into those topics suggested in his speech, and, for my part, I propose to confine myself to a single matter which requires consideration at the earliest possible date by the Education Department. The Lord Advocate has referred to the success of the leaving certificates. The idea of establishing this, which serves as a sort of mark of graduation, a title that the pupil has passed through a course of secondary education, was first suggested about 1886, and ultimately taken up two years later, and now, after three years' experience, the account given by the Lord Advocate shows that this happy idea has been successfully carried into practice, and has become a sort of formal degree which, from the popularity it has secured, shows that it supplies a felt want. Up to this point I have nothing to give the Department but praise for what they have done; but now I wish to ask the attention of the Lord Advocate to something the Department have left undone. When this experiment was first instituted we were, I think, justified in not pressing the Government too severely upon what we considered a somewhat narrow restriction in its application—the exemption from the leaving certificate examinations of certain elementary schools, which schools are not permitted to send up pupils. I am not going to move a reduction of the Vote, for I will not assume that my suggestion will be met in a spirit of hostility by the Government. The time has now come, after three years' experience, when this suggestion may be favourably considered. There is in Scotland a general, and, on the part of the schoolmasters, a unanimous feeling that the privilege of sending up pupils for leaving certificates should be open to all the elementary schools throughout the country. I think when the Government come to deal with this particular question, they will find little difficulty in giving effect to this opinion. I am aware that the view put forth is that the superior advantage of issuing these certificates is that not only is a certificate a test of the possession of a certain amount of knowledge, but it also testifies to the fact that the pupil has passed through a course of education in a recognised secondary school. That, of course, is perfectly true under existing rules; but it cannot be put forward as a serious argument in favour of the exclusive nature of the present arrangements. It is like saying you will give a man a certificate for cookery, and this shall be a certificate not only of his proficiency as a cook, but that he comes from a classical kitchen. Most people, I think, would regard the latter as a very secondary consideration, the fact to establish being that the man could do his work well. If there were in Scotland a sharp line of demarcation between elementary and secondary schools, no hardship would arise from the present state of things, but one of the peculiarities of the Scottish system of education is that many of the so-called elementary schools are not really elementary. This is a peculiarity recognised in the Act of 1872. In that Act schools are not called elementary schools, nor, as regards many of them, are they so as a matter of fact. In many of these schools, for years past, it has been usual to carry the education of the children to such a point that they can pass from these so-called elementary schools to the Universities without passing through any intermediate or secondary course. No doubt this has become less frequent than it was, partly because of the more severe demands upon the elementary school teachers, and partly through the raising of the standard in the Universities. Still there is a class of schools which, though styled elementary, possess all the means of affording sufficient education to enable pupils to obtain the leaving certificate. This leaving certificate is becoming of great value. It is accepted in some professions as the pass of an entrance examination, and why, I ask, should you deprive a boy of the opportunity of obtaining a leaving certificate merely on account of the particular school in which he received his education? This is a question difficult to answer in a satisfactory manner. Further, there are 15 counties in Scotland where there are no schools of the class to which the leaving certificates are confined. So that the utility of the certificates is immensely circumscribed. Out of 24 large burghs, no fewer than 11 do not possess the kind of schools which alone qualify for leaving certificates. What harm can possibly accrue from the enlargement of the area? It is a point upon which schoolmasters in Scotland lay great stress. They are very anxious to have the opportunity of ending boys to compete for these leaving certificates, they take a pleasure in teach- ing a somewhat higher class of subjects, and the competition among masters to send up the largest number of boys with the best education is a thing I do not think we ought to do anything to discourage. Up to the present time the Department have not seen their way to extend competition for leaving certificates beyond secondary schools, but I hope now they will re-consider this when the leaving certificate has become an accomplished fact and has ceased to be an experiment, and promises to be a triumphant success. I do not believe the extension would in the least discourage higher education. In pressing this upon the Lord Advocate I know I express the very strong, the fervent opinion entertained, I think I may say universally, by masters of elementary schools, and I am sure the extension would be appreciated by those masters. I believe also it would have a good influence on secondary schools, which are yet in a half-and-half, and far from satisfactory condition in many respects.

(8.20.) MR. E. ROBERSTON (Dundee)

I agree it is impossible to attempt a discussion of these Estimates at a time when two-thirds of our Members have left town and only one-tenth are to be found in the House. It would be absolutely useless to attempt to test the opinion of Scotch Members on any subject whatever, and, therefore, these Votes must pass without serious extension. This will make matters easy for the Government, but I hope it will not induce them to repeat the performance of this Session next year, but that we shall have these Estimates before us earlier than in the concluding days of the Session. There are two points only to which I wish to call attention. The Lord advocate has said nothing about training colleges. The principle on which these colleges are based has been repeatedly challenged by Scotch Members, who desire that the teaching profession should be trained in the Universities. I am not going over the arguments formerly used, but I may say we do not depart in the least from our old attitude. I understand that the policy of the Department at this moment is undergoing some development, and that it has not yet assumed its final shape. I have a letter here from the Education Department on this question. in answer to an appeal made by the combined Academical Authorities of St. Andrews and Dundee, that these institutions should be recognised as training colleges for teachers under a scheme they have jointly formulated, and as I understand, it is precisely the same demand we have repeatedly put forward, that Universities should be allowed to undertake the mission of training schoolmasters, as they now train clergymen, doctors, lawyers, and the professional classes. Apparently the Department, which has hitherto lent no countenance to our view, reserves its final conclusion until the University Commission now engaged in considering the subject of higher education makes its report. I do not know whether the Lord Advocate can add anything to this correspondence, but I hope, if he can, it will be in the direction of some sort of assurance that the strong desire which is felt, and which I should think is not confined to this side of the House, and certainly exists throughout the teaching profession, shall be met by the assistance of the Department towards giving schoolmasters the benefit of training for these professions at Universities among members of other professions. There is one other point to which I wish to refer, though I am not quite sure whether it comes within the province of the Lord Advocate to answer. I have been asked to call attention to a point of difficulty, namely, that the grant for drawing is, in the case of girls, conditional upon their being taught cookery as well. This is an arrangement to which the School Board of Dundee object. I believe their application to the Department has been met with the official non possumus which usually meets all suggestions. I am not fully acquainted with the merits of the question myself, but I draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the point in the hope that he may see his way to gratify the wishes of the managers of schools on the matter.


I am free to join in the congratulations expressed towards the Scotch Education Department upon the improvements carried out during the year, improvements that have arisen from two causes, the increased liberality of Parliament and the initiation of reforms which have yet to be extended further. I refer, principally, to the abolition of individual examinations. I brought this matter before the Lord Advocate last year, and I am very glad to hear the admission on the part of the Department that after an experience of 18 months the system has, on the whole, been adopted with great success, a success which I hope will encourage further extension, and the removal of restrictions now imposed. With regard to the Code, I am glad to find that managers in particular localities are allowed more freedom and discretion in fixing the curriculum. I need only refer to the importance of agriculture in some parts of the country, and I am sure that the discretion allowed to teachers and managers will result in advantage to education throughout the whole country. I am glad to hear the Lord Advocate state, that as regards the Highlands, there is a probability of matters reverting to their normal state, and that the financial difficulties of the School Boards there will be overcome. If we look at the circumstances, I think they justify the conduct of the Government to some extent. There is nothing but praise to be given, so far as I know, to the efforts made by the Education Department to enlarge the discretion allowed to managers and teachers. But I had expected, on examining the tables of salaries, to see some evidence of increased liberality to the teachers. Unfortunately it is not apparent, although in some parts of the country the authorities have profited largely by the introduction of the new scheme dealing with school fees, and have been enabled to reduce the local rates. I maintain that the reduction of the local rate is not the purpose to which this money should be properly applied. There are other objects to which it should be first diverted. Everyone practically acquainted with the system of education in Scotland knows that there is a great want of teaching apparatus. I know from personal knowledge cases in which Her Majesty's Inspectors have made complaints on that score. I hold, then, that this money should be devoted first to a reasonable augmentation of the teachers' salaries, and then to the provision of proper teaching apparatus. I feel that on this point the Department would be justified in issuing a Circular to School Boards calling upon them to devote to these purposes any money they receive in excess of the school fees.

(8.33.) MR. C. S. PARKER

I agree with my hon. Friend that the claims of the teachers for increased salaries, and for improved teaching apparatus, should take precedence over the lowering of the rates. But he will admit that the grant has been distributed in a manner most beneficial and fair to the Highlands. In many schools there scarcely any money was received in fees, and had the Department gone on the principle of paying out of the Probate Duty last year sufficient to each school to replace the fees which they lost by the freeing of the standards, these Highland schools would have received but a very small share. But the Department went on a sounder principle; it realised that the money was paid by and belonged to the ratepayers; it came to the conclusion that each school was entitled to receive a share in proportion to the number of children receiving education in the school, and thus considerable relief has been given to the poorer districts. In that way it has, happily, been found possible to reduce the rates in some places in the Highlands where they were intolerably high. We can hardly find fault with the Lord Advocate for the brevity of his speech. But it is to me, and I think it must be to Scotch Members generally, a matter for regret that in a year so very important in the history of Scotch education, we should have had no opportunity to discuss in a full House the new departure and the new policy. I am pleased to notice that the Minister for Education in England is present to listen to this Debate, and I think it a matter of common regret that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield is unavoidably prevented attending, because every one knows that when he was Education Minister he constantly looked on Scotland as giving him a lead for his policy in England. The two main features of the new departure are the diminution of individual examination and the remission of fees in the compulsory standards. On the first point I will not detain the House, will merely congratulate the House and the Scotch Members on the movement in this direction, for two or three years ago, when I had the honour to serve on the Committee to which questions of education in Scotland were referred, this question was not laid before us till we were nearing the end of our labours, and we decided that we were not prepared to give an opinion upon it without first taking evidence from different parts of Scotland. At that time it was probably hoped that we would accept the partial remission of compulsory individual examination as tolerably satisfactory, but I think it has been well to go a step further. The second point, the remission of fees, is one of cardinal importance. And while I heartily join in the tribute of praise to the Education Department, I feel that neither in their Report nor in the Lord Advocate's speech have we had an adequate discussion of this new departure in practically doing away with the fees in nearly the whole of the standards. I hardly think, for instance, that hon. Members have realised the financial bearing of the change. The income derived from fees in the last year for which we have a Report was £331,000. Now, by this new system you have parted with that income, and, in lieu of it, you have received a somewhat smaller sum. Last year you got £240,000, and this year an extra £40,000, and if some fee-paying schools had not been kept alive your educational finance would have been very seriously crippled. It is the duty of this House to criticise the action of the Department and to watch the financial effects of its policy. I think the change has had grave consequences which ought to have been noticed more fully in the Report. Of course, I can sympathise with the permanent officials charged with the duty of framing the Report. I can quite understand that when great changes are being made it is not very convenient to expose them to the full brunt of Parliamentary criticism, whilst they are in a transitional state. But if in the coming year the Government fulfil their promises, and deal with the question of English education as regards fees, there will then be a very considerable fund available for Scotland, and unless we then face the problem of the organisation of education in Scotland in connection with finance, we shall find ourselves in perplexity. We shall then have funds sufficient to provide a number of free places in the higher schools. I am convinced that the time has come for the Department to deal with the extraordinary-overlapping which takes place between the higher grade schools and what are called the higher class schools. In many cases the difference between the two is not such as to justify their very different financial positions. The higher, grade school is a development of the ordinary school and receives a full grant from Parliament. Some of these schools are drawing very large sums directly from the Parliamentary grant. Yet by their side we have other high schools which are under public management, and which receive absolutely nothing from the Government grant. It is impossible to justify the distinction between the two. This is a grave question of educational policy, and it seems to me that in dealing with the schools which are so aspiring under the School Boards, it would be more fair not to assign to them so large a share of the Government Grant as they now receive, but to give the Grammar [Schools and the old High Schools some Imperial aid. These two kinds of schools should be classified very much together. I have two other points on which to say a word, and the first is that of training colleges. I think my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee has never fully understood the policy which was recommended by the Departmental Committee. It goes some way in the direction he desires, because besides promoting the attendance of teachers in training at University classes, it directly recognises the principle [that any body of men coming forward as managers prepared to start a training school with adequate guarantees both as to finance and as to the standard of education to be maintained should meet with favourable consideration, and be put on precisely the same terms as the managers of other training colleges. I attach great importance to that, and I would urge upon the Lord Advocate to consider a favourably the case of the training college proposed for Dundee. The Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews, supported by the Dundee School Board, have made a definite proposal to the Department, and I think they ought to be treated as a body coming under the recommendations of the Report of the Departmental Committee. It is a weak side of training colleges that they have the name of being denominational even if they are not so in reality, and in the case of Dundee we now have the opportunity of securing a really undenominational college. I hope the chance will not be lost. With regard to evening schools—the last point on which I have to touch—I regret that since 1881 there has been a lamentable falling off in the attendance at them. It is now increasing again, but I think some greater effort must be made to develope and promote these schools, which are so useful for carrying on the education of those driven by hard necessity to leave school at an early age, and for supplying those who need it with industrial and technical training.

(8.54.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

Hon. Members will not, I am sure, think it necessary for me to pass in view all the subjects which have been discussed. They are, of course, of very great interest; but my hon. Friends have been good enough to intimate that they have no desire to exact from me any statement in reply.

(8.55.) MR. C. S. PARKER

Is the scheme for a training college for Dundee to be entertained?


That will depend largely on the Report of the-University Commission.


I think the right, hon. Gentleman is rather mistaken in his impression that I desired no reply. (8.58.)

(9.28.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

The hon. Member for Aberdeen has suggested that the system for leaving certificates should be extended to schools other than those to which it is now applicable. It at present applies solely to schools that do not receive a Parliament grant, and which are higher or secondary schools in the ordinary acceptation of the term. It is difficult to draw a line in Scotland between those schools which give a higher training and those which do not. It is not well to lay down a hard and fast line on this point. At the same time, dealing with the present state of matters, I doubt if it would be safe or advantageous to extend the system, which, as the hon. Member has pointed out, is rather an advantage for those schools which do not receive the Parliamentary grant, and which also has the great merit of encouraging the recognition of secondary schools as part of the educational equipment of the country. If we were to extend the system, we should be incurring some risks of which the Committee ought to be made aware. In the first place, it must be borne in mind that the class of schools which receive Parliamentary grants do so on the footing that elementary education is their primary concern, and it is one of the features of Parliamentary grants—which have their merits, as well as their demerits—that they establish an obligation on the teachers loyally to encourage the cleverer boys and those who are likely to rise to higher grades of education. I am afraid that if the leaving certificates were extended wholesale to all schools earning grants there might be a tendency on the part of schoolmasters to give more attention to the cleverer boys, in order that they might obtain leaving certificates. That is not to accuse the teachers of any sordid motives at all, but rather to accredit them with aspirations for the success of their work, which, I suppose, are characteristic of most of our Scotch masters. On the whole, the attitude of the Scotch Department is one of reserve on the present question, and I think it would be most unwise on my part, on the present occasion, to commit myself to any extension of the existing system. At the same time, I hope the observations I have made will show hon. Members that I am not entirely ignorant of the subject.

(9.33.) MR. CALDWELL

If there is no adequate discussion of education, it is not owing to any want of interest in the subject or any want of will to criticise the Education Vote, but simply from a sense of the lapse of time. I would only point out that in former years we agreed not to discuss the Education Vote at length, in the hope that it would be brought on at an earlier period in the year following. Experience has shown, however, that all our hopes of getting the Estimate on in time for a proper discussion have been illusory. We are now passing the Vote in a perfunctory manner, but I give notice that, no matter at what period of next Session this Vote is brought forward, I shall insist on fully discussing it.

Vote agreed to.

8. £1,500, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c. (Scotland).


This Vote appears as a grant to Scotland, but, really, it is nothing of the kind. The sum of money voted to Scotland is totally inadequate to meet the requirements of the case, and bears no proportion whatever to the amount voted for England and Ireland for the same purpose. Repeated complaint has been made in this House that no grant has been given to Scotland adequate to her requirements, and we had expected that by this time provision would have been made for the purpose. I am not in favour of voting money for a public purpose unless there is a proper method of supervision, and the facts in regard to the present Vote show how ridiculous the whole thing is. This is a grant to the Board of Manufactures in Scotland for the purpose of maintaining a National Gallery, and the incongruity of the purpose thus stated strikes one very forcibly. England receives £9,500 for the purpose of purchasing pictures, and Ireland receives £2,500, while Scotland receives no grant at all, for the history of the Vote now before us is shortly this: At the time of the Union, £398,000 was given to Scotland in consideration of the fact that she had no National Debt, and that taxes would have to be imposed on her to make her position equal to that of England. Part of that money was used to pay off the capital of the Scottish India Company that entered into competition with the English East India Company; secondly, a moiety was given to indemnify the Scottish nation for reducing its currency to the standard of the English currency; and part of the remainder—so it is said—was given for the purpose of bribing Scottish Members of Parliament to vote for the Union; and a further portion, some £40,000, remains a debt unpaid by England to Scotland, and this £2,000 is the interest of that, so that we have only our own money given to us in the shape of a grant for maintaining a National Gallery. This Vote does not account to the public for the way in which the money is spent, as it is nominally for the purpose of encouraging manufactures. I hope the Government will see their way to handing the whole of this £40,000 over to Scotland.


I had not the advantage of hearing the earlier part of the remarks of the hon. Gentleman, but I gathered from his concluding words that he was drawing attention to a matter which has engaged the attention of more than one Scotch Member, and that is the disparity between the sum granted for the National Gallery in Scotland and the grants made to the Galleries in London and Dublin. I think this is a point which will come under the consideration of the Committee which is to sit to inquire into the incidence of taxation, as between the three countries. I may be allowed to state that I sympathise, to a great extent, with the natural anxiety of Scotch Members, that an institution such as the Scotch National Gallery, of which we are all so justly proud, should be treated on equal terms with similar institutions in other parts of the United Kingdom, and I hope that when the inquiry is made a case will be made out for an increase of this Vote.

(9.41.) DR. CLARK

It is satisfactory to hear the Scotch Lord of the Treasury say what he has done. The Secretary to the Treasury, I see, has left the House—presumably because he did not wish to hear this matter discussed—but as the Chancellor of the Exchequer is in his place, I would express a hope that just as the Scotch Members worry the Scotch Officials, so they in turn will worry the Treasury, until justice is done to Scotland in this and in many other respects.

Vote agreed to.

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