§ On the vote of £3,335,485, to complete the sum for Public Education, in England and Wales, including Expenses of the Education Office in London,
§ * MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N)
said, that he wished to express his satisfaction with the appointment of the right hon. Member for Cambridge University to the office of Vice-President. He was a Gentleman whose sympathies with the working classes had long been recognised, and although in his present office; he might not have the opportunity of taking an active interest in those social reforms with which his mime had been so largely identified, yet in the domain of national education he would find a very large field in which he could render material assistance to the children of the working classes, and through them to the nation at large. On this Vote there was a large item for annual grants to Day Schools; and he must protest against the principle on which these grants had been made from the commencement. On more than one occasion the House had condemned the principle of the administration of these grants—it had condemned the whole system commonly known as payment by results. He admitted that a large part of the evil attending the administration upon that principle had been got rid of; but there was still too much of it left. He contended that the results attainable in Elementary Schools could not be properly tested and adequately rewarded by the methods still in vogue. The system followed in elementary education was not adopted in either the legal profession or the medical profession. He now took the earliest opportunity of protesting against the continuance of the system, and of expressing a hope that we were within a reasonable distance of its total abolition. He wished to ask the Vice-President whether he could give an assurance that an earnest and prompt endeavour would be made by the Department to meet the present depressed condition of many Voluntary Schools. The question had occupied the attention of the Electorate during the last few weeks, and great interest had been shown in it. We had in England and Wales some 15,000 Voluntary Schools. A plea might be 1022 made up for them on the ground that they had been in existence for a number of years. He might also plead for them on the ground that the supporters of Church schools had since 1811 been contributing £9,000 per week towards their support. But he waived these; considerations, and he put the claims of the schools on the ground that they were meeting national requirements almost completely. These schools were superior to Board Schools, in so far as they met the distinct wishes of our people for religious instruction; and, on the secular side, these Church of England or other Denominational Schools were doing exactly the same work as our Board Schools. Considering the difficulties under which the Voluntary Schools laboured, the results they attained compared very favourably with the results of the best Board Schools. In defending the interests of the voluntary system it was not necessary to throw stones at the School Board system; and the two were absolutely essential to the general welfare of the country. In speaking now of the requirements of the Voluntary Schools, he was not attempting in any way to endanger the School Board system. He wished to press upon the right hon. Gentleman that a large proportion of the small schools, both Board and Voluntary, found in the villages, which were the only means of instruction open to the children of the villagers, were passing through a very severe crisis indeed, and they were calling loudly for further financial support. There were people in the House and out of it who condemned the late Vice-President for the demands which he made on many schools. With that condemnation he did not associate himself in any way; quite the reverse; as far as he knew the demands were made in the interests of the scholars, and in the great majority of cases they were quite justifiable. Whilst we attended to the education of the minds of children, there was no reason why we should neglect their physical welfare; there was no reason why they should be cramped and crowded in ill-ventilated rooms. He was entirely with the late Vice-President in the demand he made that such changes should be effected as would secure the instruction of children under wholesome conditions; but he did take some slight 1023 exception, to the way in which the demands were enforced. It was open to objection that the only means at the disposal of the Department for enforcing its demands was the withdrawal for the time being of the very money which would enable managers of schools to carry out the improvements required. He did not blame the right hon. Gentleman altogether for taking this course, because it was a fact that no other course was available; but now that the end was recognised, he did hope that some means would be devised to place at the disposal of managers the money that was necessary to carry out the improvements which the Department rightly insisted upon. The demands made in the way of repairs and structural alterations were not the only demands made by the Department on the whole of the schools of the country. The curriculum had been largely increased during the last few years, and no corresponding increase had been made in the grant. In one of the notes attached to the Vote, no doubt, it was pointed out that the grant per head this year was estimated to be slightly more than the grant of last year, but that was simply flue to the fact that the schools had been brought up to a higher state of efficiency and had succeeded in earning more per head. He hoped the Vice-President would be able to give some assurance that he would take steps to meet the requirements of the smaller schools of the country. These increased demands had fallen very heavily on every one of the schools, but in the village school, the school of 60 children, officered by one teacher alone, the strain had been exceptionally heavy. He hesitated to use words strong enough to characterise the strain both on teachers and taught in those small schools. He was not speaking in behalf of the teachers alone, but he had before his mind the position of the children. If they called on a school to undertake from 12 to 20 subjects, with one teacher alone to carry them out, there must be a hurry and drive which placed the children's lives in such a condition of misery during the few short years they were at school that they took the utmost care that the walls of the school should never surround them on any subsequent occasion. They 1024 lamented that the night schools were but poorly attended. They had to look to the system in vogue at the elementary day schools to account for that deplorable fact. He wanted to urge on the Vice-President that during the recess he would give the most careful attention to the enormous strain, amounting to almost slavery, which prevailed in the small schools throughout the country. Whatever remedy might be suggested, he hoped it would be one which would at the same time deal with the great inequalities which existed in the School Board Rate. In one of the suburban districts of London—West Ham—the School Board Rate had reached 1s. 7½d. in the pound; add to that 2d. for the cost of collection, the ratepayers of this district were paying 1s. 9½d. in the pound. In various other districts the School Board Rate was 7d. and less. This was an anomaly that the House ought to remove. In some way Parliament ought to equalise the School Board Rate throughout the country, so that the rich districts should pay their share towards the education of the children. The high rate was not due to the extravagance of the School Board in the districts where the rate obtained, but to the fact that the property within the area was of very low rateable value indeed. One other subject he wished to touch upon, and that was the question of pensions for teachers. In what position did that question stand at the present time, and what were its future prospects? The history of this particular Vote was painful reading for the Education Department, and for the House of Commons as well. In the year 1846, he believed it was, the Department coaxed persons to enter the profession of teaching by the distinct promise of a pension when they fulfilled certain conditions. In 1851 the Department, apparently alarmed at the amount of money they would be called upon to provide, cut down this Vote to very narrow limits indeed. Not satisfied with that, they went a step further in the commencement of the 60's, and swept away the Vote altogether. The Committee of the House of Commons was largely responsible for that; the Code in which the Minute was swept aside having received the sanction of the House of Commons, and for 13 years not a penny was 1025 granted under that Minute whatever. In the early 70's the Minute was reinstated in the Code, but it fell lamentably short in one particular. In the original Minute the teachers wore promised that the pension would reach two-thirds of their salary. Now, the Permanent Secretary of the Department stated before a Select Committee, some two or three years ago, that he knew of no single case where the two-thirds of the salary as pension had been reached. Every head of the Department in recent years had had to lament the painful conditions under which he had to administer this Vote, and the total inadequacy of the amount to meet the requirements that had fallen upon him. In 1892 the House of Commons, by a unanimous vote, called on the Government to provide a scheme for the future. He believed that at the time of recent well-known circumstances, unfortunate so far as the late Liberal Ministry was concerned, a Bill was actually in the pocket of the late Vice-President prepared to give effect to the Resolution of the House of Commons. He hoped the present Vice-President would give the Committee an assurance that the Bill would be introduced at an early date during next Session, and that it would be treated as a non-controversial measure, because he held with Sir R. Temple, the Chairman of the Select Committee, that this matter of the super-anuation of teachers was a question of National policy involving the advancement of National education.
§ Mr. A. H. D. ACLAND (York, W. R., Rotherham)
expressed his pleasure at the fact that there were now in the House two representatives of the teachers of this country, one on each side. A quarter of a century had passed since the passage of Mr. Forster's Act of 1870, and they had now got beyond the figure of £10,000,000 in the Estimates under the head of education, science, and art. This amount formed practically half of the whole of the Civil Service Estimates and showed an increase, whilst the bulk of the Civil Service Estimates had of late years, by means of careful administration, decreased. The increase in the Education Vote had been rapid. In Mr. Forster's time it was thought enough to give 10s. from the State for each child in average attendance, but at the present moment 1026 they were giving from the State a grant of 28s. per child. He thought he had himself asked for nearly £1,000,000 in three years, and certainly in five years the Estimate for education had very nearly doubled. That was to say, it was something less than £4,000,000 five years ago, and it was now about £7,000,000. The increase this year alone was nearly £400,000, due mainly to three things which, he thought, would always continue. These were, first of all, the increased population, which resulted in more children demanding the grant; secondly, more regular attendance on the part of the children—a matter in which this country fell short of what other countries had accomplished; and, thirdly, to the improvement grant, because the schools deserved an improvement grant. ["Hear, hear!"] The increase in England alone was over £250,000. He would not allude to other sources of income or expenditure, because he was going to avoid any controversial matter whatsoever. In reference to the question of superannuation, to which the hon. Member for North West Ham had alluded, he thought the Committee would agree that this was a most important and necessary matter if their schools were to be properly taught. ["Hoar, hear!"] It was perfectly useless keeping on teachers—many of whom had little to fall back upon on account of the smallness of their salaries—to the last stage of decrepitude if they expected to have really effective education in their schools. The painful task of administering the existing pensions by way of discrimination had been considerably lessened in the last three years owing to the sums added by the Treasury to the small existing pension fund, and which sums amounted to £7,000 or £8,000. But there was the very much larger question of pensions to teachers at large. He hoped this would not be a Party question. ["Hear, hear!"] Already they had made very great progress. The Treasury had written a letter consenting to the pension schemes, a Bill had been drafted, and when the late Government went out was ready to be placed on the Table; and that, he urged, was, at any rate, one of the first claims on the State which must be attended to. Such a scheme would ultimately demand a large sum of £500,000, or more, if they took equivalent schemes 1027 for Scotland and Ireland. If they were to maintain the efficiency of their schools and enable their teachers—who themselves contributed towards the pensions under the scheme—to retire at a reasonable age, that was one of the first claims they must make upon the Treasury in the matter of education. ["Hear, hear!"] The largely-increased sums granted by the State of late years towards education had been attended with a rapidly-improved education in a great many of their schools. The hon. Member for North-West Ham had spoken of the heavy demands that were still made upon the teachers. He hoped the hon. Member would agree that something had been, done, and especially under the last Code, to try and relieve teachers to some extent from the fear of inspectors and from the heavy demands which a variety of subjects made upon them. The hon. Member spoke of the high rate of demand of the School Board in his own district. He quite agreed that in that and one or two other districts, like the Forest of Dean, the demand was very heavy indeed, not through the fault of the people, but through the low rateable value of the district, and when he left office he was causing careful inquiry to be made into the subject with a view to seeing if the matter could not be in some way rectified. With reference to the question of secondary education, he sincerely hoped the Vice-President, during his term of office, might see a Secondary Education Bill passed through the House. He had always thought that the clerk and small tradesman of this country had to bear the heaviest burdens of the whole commenity in the matter of education, and yet there was no adequate provision for education of an intermediate or secondary character for their own children, they being, from that point of view, the worst off of any class in the country. They had already intermediate education at work in Wales, and he did not think there would be much of a controversial character when such a Bill, based, he hoped, in the main on the forthcoming Report of the, Royal Commission on Secondary Education—might be brought before the House. He thanked the hon. Gentleman for the way he spoke of some part of his (Mr. Acland's) work, which was not always spoken of in 1028 that spirit. An enormous amount of the work of the Department was of a non-political and continuous character, and he had not the slightest doubt that a great portion of it would be continued under this Government as it was under the last. He sincerely hoped the improvement which had been going on in education would continue, and he could only say he thought the Department, whose Estimates they were now considering, one of the most interesting of all the great Departments of the State. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ On the return of the CHAIRMAN after the usual interval,
§ * MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.),
in a maiden speech said, he desired to associate himself with his hon. Friend opposite in giving a very clear indication from the point of view of one who had some special knowledge of the condition of elementary schools, as he claimed to have, that further pecuniary aid was required for a very large number of public elementary schools in England and Wales, and for many Board Schools as well. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, the Vice President of the Council would divide his consideration of this claim for further aid, into two parts. The right hon. Gentleman would find that many schools suffered from the fact that they were small schools, and rural schools; and that the average attendance on which grants depended was affected injuriously, in rural districts, by the weather. The whole principle on which grants were made to public voluntary schools was undoubtedly wrong, and so long as it was maintained, special hardships would inevitably fall on the smaller schools, and on the rural schools in particular. He, therefore, thought there ought to be special grants to meet the exceptional circumstances of those schools. The second point to which he would direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman was the case of the schools at large. If School Boards, large and small, did their duty by making proper provision for the schools there would be no Board Schools in the country suffering from the lack of finances; and if the promoters, friends and subscribers of voluntary schools did 1029 their duty also, and contributed to a proper extent to the schools which maintained the principles of the creed they favoured, the pecuniary condition of the Voluntary Schools would be in a far better way than at present. But he recognised, as everyone must recognise, that they could not compel the small School Boards in small areas, where the rateable value was small indeed, to largely increase their rates; and he felt also that they could not compel the supporters of voluntary schools to give greater sums than they were now giving, if they did not choose to do so. They were, therefore, face to face with this situation, that if education was to go on in a satisfactory manner they must put the educational point of view far ahead of the political point of view, and the theological point of view also; and, speaking as an educationalist, he affirmed that there was no consideration so important as that the children of the country, during the few years of school life allotted to them, should have the best education procurable for them, and that the schools should be thoroughly equipped for giving them that education. He hoped that, by mutual concession and wise statesmanship, it would be possible to arrive at a plan which would satisfy both sides—on the one side giving to both board and voluntary schools that further aid which they required; and on the other side giving to the public the satisfaction of the security which would be afforded by a public audit of all school accounts, and by changes in the management of the voluntary schools, by which the representative principle would be introduced to some extent, and by which the management would be improved all round. He would await the issue of the scheme of the Government before he ventured to say more upon that point. He could only add that one of the greatest and best methods of giving further aid to schools would be to enable the elderly and worn-out teachers in thousands of voluntary schools in this country to retire upon reasonable superannuation allowances, and to give place to younger men of more energy and capacity, who would earn higher grants for schools now suffering from the want of these higher grants. Passing to matters of administration, he would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would, 1030 during the Recess, consider the propriety of introducing a measure for equalising and then codifying the law with regard to school attendance. The right hon. Gentleman was an expert upon that question. His declarations at the Berlin Conference committed him as they had committed England to a revision of the half-time age. If he would go further into the question he would find that it was in a chaotic, absurd, and contradictory state. Under the Education Act a child at the age of 11 could work half-time or full time; under the Factory Acts he could work half-time; under the Coal Mines Act he could not work at all; and under the Metalliferous Mines Act he could not work half-time above ground. At the age of 12 a child, under the Education Act, could work half-time or full time; under the Factory Acts he could work half-time only; under the Coal Mines Act he could work half-time or full time under ground; and under the Metalliferous Mines Act he could work half-time or full time under ground, but only half-time above ground. The whole thing was in a ridiculous, absurd, and unreasonable position, and ought to be swept away, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would find it possible to introduce measures equalising the age at which school attendance might cease and labour commence. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would remember the Berlin pledge, and make the universal age for beginning half-time 12, at the same time keeping in view the ideal plan of making the age for full time 14. Referring to the question of training colleges, he said it was a very thorny subject, but he merely desired to deal with a matter of administration. As the right hon. Gentleman was aware, the accommodation in training colleges was quite insufficient. There were last year 11,000 applicants to be trained in the training colleges of the State. It was true that that was an exceptional year, but 1893 was a normal year, and the number of applicants who then passed the Queen's Scholarship Examination, and who were therefore entitled to a place in a training college was 6,500. Of the 11,000 who qualified last year, only 2,000 could be admitted to the colleges. So long as this dearth of accommodation continued, and so long as 1031 the Queen's Scholarship Examination was maintained at the present level, it was absurd and unfair to call it a Scholarship at all. In the great majority of cases it was a mere certifying examination. If the scholarship was won its enjoyment depended upon the good will of the training college authorities. They were mainly Diocesan, and they were under no conscience clause. The result was that the election did not depend upon the position in the list of order of merit, but in most cases upon the religious creed of the applicant. Again, it frequently happened that a man who applied to enter one of what were called the crack colleges found himself shut out, while a man far below him in the list who applied to enter a minor college found himself included in that college. The result was that the former was thenceforth regarded by the State as being untrained, whilst the latter was regarded as being trained. In that way an invidious distinction was set up between the so-called trained and so-called untrained teachers, and this was maintained by the clause in Article 73 of the Code, which distinctly rated an assistant teacher who had been to the training college as equal to teaching 10 scholars more than one who had not been. It thus prevented the promotion of the one and put a premium on the services of the other, although again and again the man who had not been to the training college proved by far the better teacher of the two. He desired to know why the one teacher was worth 10 scholars less than the other. If there was to be any distinction it should be a distinction of quality, and not of quantity. It would be wise on the part of the Education Department to withdraw this invidious distinction and make all assistant teachers who had obtained certificates equal in this respect. Some of the most successful teachers in the country had not been through the training college, including the lady who held the highest position of honour and trust under the London School Board. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to consider this matter carefully and thoroughly during the Recess. He could by a stroke of the pen render justice to 25 per cent. of the men teachers and 50 per cent, of the women teachers in the country who were now suffering from this last remnant of an 1032 ancient prejudice, and enable them to serve with more pride and satisfaction, and with a sense of equality which at present they did not enjoy.
§ MR. J. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said, he would not occupy much of the time of the Committee. This was an English Vote, but, as the Vice-President of the Council was well aware, it was a Vote in which a great number of Irish Catholics in this country took a very keen interest. A number of his fellow countrymen whose children attended voluntary schools in this country, had been for many years labouring under a serious grievance which had been brought under the attention of successive Vice Presidents. The details of the case of the voluntary Catholic schools of this country were well known, and he hoped the Debate would not close without some indication from the Government as to their policy in reference to these schools. The Committee was aware that the Government had come into office on the question, among others, of more liberal treatment to Voluntary Schools. Though they could not expect any legislation during the present short Session, there were matters which could be dealt with by administration; and he saw no reason why the right hon. Gentleman should not give some indication what the policy of his Department would be in administration during the next few months. There were one or two points of great complaint on the part of the Roman Catholic schools which the right hon. Gentleman might remedy without waiting for the direction of Parliament. During the last few years demands almost oppressive in character had been made by the Education Department in the case of Roman Catholic schools for large and important structural changes. He did not say that those changes were not required in the interests of the children, or that the Department was not justified in asking for them; but where there was a body of people, admittedly the poorest in the country, who by means of collections and subscriptions supported a set of schools for conscience sake, and if large and expensive structural changes were required by the Department the money should be forthcoming from the Education Vote. The right hon. Gentleman might take up the same position as that which 1033 had been adopted by the Chief Secretary. He might say, "Why do you bring forward tills question now, and why did you not press the Liberal Government on the matter three years ago?" The late Government was pressed by the Irish Members most urgently on the point; it was one of the points on which they did not altogether approve the action of the Liberal Government. When, however, they had a Government meeting Irishmen on larger issues, they had to put up with a line of policy which they did not approve on minor issues; but certainly they pressed the late Government on the subject of more generous treatment of Roman Catholic schools in the country, and therefore there would be no force in that reply to the appeal. What then was the position of the two parties with reference to this question? The supporters of the Liberal Government were not strongly in favour of the extension of Voluntary Schools, and the Liberal Government was considerably hampered in their dealings with Voluntary Schools by the fact. But here was a party opposite who had appealed to the voters on this question, and had recorded the votes of a great many Roman Catholics, so that more generous treatment might be accorded to them. It was the duty of the Government to lose no time to redeem those promises, and to give some proof that they meant by means of administration to do something to lighten the intolerable burdens which were pressing on the poor Roman Catholics.
§ MR. C. A. CRIPPS (Gloucester, Stroud)
said, there were two matters he would like to bring to the attention of the Vice-President. While the question of education should be kept free from politics, he should not like it to be thought by hon. Members on his own side of the House that they all at any rate assented to the policy of continuity on this question. There ought to be a change of policy—a greater encouragement of Voluntary Schools in the future than had been meted out to them during the last three years. During the last three years not only had not sufficient encouragement been given to Voluntary Schools, but a large measure of discouragement had been their lot. One 1034 important point with regard to education must, be the question of expenditure; and there could be no more short-sighted policy than to make education unpopular by throwing too heavy a burden of expenditure on the ratepayers. He would give an illustration; it was not a question of a poor district against a rich district. He knew the case of two agricultural parishes side by side; in one of the parishes they had the voluntary system, and the voluntary rate was threepence in the pound. In the case of the other parish, where the social conditions were the same, the School Board rate was 2s. 6d. in the pound. In these circumstances he thought it was of extreme importance for the education of this country in the future that a real and honest encouragement should be given to the Voluntary Schools in various parts of the country. There was another point. It was all very well to say that sufficient requirements had been made for educational purposes. Everyone agreed on that point; but it was possible to go beyond that point, and to make requirements which were unnecessary, and throw an undue burden on the district on whose behalf those requirements were made. He would give an illustration which had come within his own knowledge. It was the case of a School Board in Mid Gloucester. That School Board was chiefly composed of men who were political opponents of his own; but he agreed with what had been stated more than once, that in education they need not approach the question on political grounds. By a unanimous resolution this School Board represented to the Education Department that unnecessary requirements were being made and unnecessary expense being thrown upon them. The only answer they had received was that in this matter the Vice-President was following the principles laid down by his predecessor. He suggested to the right hon. Gentleman, however, that he ought not to follow in those matters the examples instituted by his predecessors. He thought that everything had been done in this district which could reasonably be asked for in order to give a full measure of education to the children. If they went beyond that and asked for unnecessary expenditure 1035 for requirements which were not wanted in the interests of education, they made education unpopular, and instead of furthering the interests of education they really were being retarded.
§ * MR. DAVID THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
referred to the case of a large number of schools which had been erected in Glamorganshire, which, unless they obtained the aid of the Vice-President, would remain unutilised for another year. He believed that there was no opposition on the part of hon. Members for Glamorganshire to the Scheme prepared under the provisions of the Welsh Intermediate Education Bill dealing with the schools. The hon. Member for Swansea was a member of the Joint Education Committee and approved the Scheme; at all events a matter of compromise he agreed to the Scheme. This Scheme was placed on the Table of the House, but the Dissolution took place within a few days of the time necessary to make it effective. He urged on the right hon. Gentleman the advisability of passing a small measure, which would not be opposed on either side of the House, empowering Her Majesty in Council to sanction the Glamorgan Scheme.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
re-echoed what had been said as to the question of education being discussed as far as possible independently of political considerations. He maintained that the question of the Roman Catholic schools stood in a peculiar and unique position; and he was sorry to have to agree with the hon. Member for East Mayo that the action of the late Government was not as favourable to the Roman Catholic schools of the country as it might have been. In his own constituency the grievance was deeply felt. It contained a large number of the poorest of the poor, who contributed to the School Board rate and yet had their children brought up in Catholic schools. We had a system which was called free, and yet the adherents of a particular religious creed, who educated their own children, had to pay largely for the education of others. He felt that the policy of affording encouragement to voluntary schools must be accompanied by some form of public control; and, although he was not 1036 authorised to speak for others, he believed that the heads of the Catholic Church in England would not be indisposed to see a more generous consideration of their claims accompanied by a form of public control, so long as it did not enable ignorant and intolerant members of other religious bodies to interfere with the domestic affairs of Catholic schools, which occupied a unique position and were almost exclusively attended by Catholic children. In the East-end of London a Board school was practically managed by Jews, and it was possible that the plan might be adapted to the case of Catholic and other schools. The Government was under special obligations, because they had come into Office partly through undertaking to adopt a policy of encouragement to voluntary schools.
§ * MR. TOMLINSON
denied that Roman Catholic schools occupied a unique position, and said that Church schools were entitled to as much consideration as Roman Catholic schools.
§ * MR. ELLIS GRIFFITH (Anglesey)
said, there was a special obligation on the Vice-President to promote the success of intermediate education in Wales, and urged him to bring in a Bill to expedite the confirmation of the Glamorganshire schemes. If a Bill could be brought in to obstruct education under the Berriew scheme, surely one could be brought in to promote education in a county.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea District)
appealed to the Vice-President to give consideration to the requirements of the Department with regard to school accommodation at Stroud. In Glamorganshire it was felt to be a hardship that, owing to a mere accident, the opening of six or eight intermediate schools ready to be opened should be delayed for a whole year. He suggested that in the Bill which was to be introduced with reference to another scheme a clause should be inserted dispensing in regard to the Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire schemes with the requirements of the Intermediate Education Act, 1889, and the Endowed Schools Act, which was incorporated with it, as to laying the scheme on the Table. That would enable the schools to be opened at an 1037 early date. As to the policy of the Government towards voluntary schools, he had no objection to these schools, nor any desire to hamper them; but they should not be given advantages for building or any other purposes unless the public had proper and adequate control over them. ["Hear, hear!"]
SIR J. LLEWELYN (Swansea Town)
agreed with the last speaker as far as the Joint Education Committee scheme for Glamorganshire was concerned, if from it the Government excepted the part of the scheme that related to Cowbridge and Gellygaer. So far from it being a non-contentious measure, he understood that exception had been taken to the portion of the scheme presented by the Glamorganshire Joint Education Committee. There would be great disappointment in Glamorganshire if the non-contentious part of the scheme was not permitted to proceed. The county had been mapped out for 13 or 14 intermediate schools, not including a girls' school at Llandaff, and the scheme was contentious only as far as Cowbridge and Gellygaer were concerned.
* MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)
asked for information in regard to the proposed creation of a School Board at Heywood, Lancashire. The Town Council petitioned the Department to form a School Board, and the former Vice-President of the Council said a School Board would shortly be established. But since the change of Government the Town Council had received an intimation that the Department would defer action until after the municipal elections in November. He understood that this was a very irregular proceeding, and that the practice was that, when the request for a School Board had been presented and the reasonableness of the request admitted, the formation of the Board followed as a matter of course. It had been said that there would be great disappointment in the country if the electoral pledges of the supporters of the Government in regard to education were not fulfilled. But if the Government yielded to the seductive invitations held out to them, they would encounter something more than a feeling of disappointment—the most strenuous opposition of those who were resolved that the system of national education should 1038 be extended and improved, rather than destroyed. They would resist to the utmost attempts to obtain larger grants from the public Exchequer for the support of denominational schools unaccompanied by popular control, and still more earnestly attempts to substitute for the present undenominational system a system by which everybody would be asked to support everybody else's religion. The Government would do well to think once, twice, and thrice before they committed themselves to such an educational policy.
§ MR. G. KEMP (Lancashire, Heywood)
wished to advert to what had been said with regard to Heywood. The request of the Town Council that a School Board should be formed was in defiance of the wishes of the ratepayers. The Mayor having refused to convene a meeting of ratepayers on the subject, a ratepayers' meeting was held independently, at which the proposed School Board was condemned by an enormous majority, and in consequence of this the Education Department had taken the action it had. [Cheers.]
§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry),
referring to the Glamorganshire Educational Scheme, said, that if the Vice-President would allow all that related to Cowbridge and Gelligaer to be omitted from the Scheme there would be no objection on that side of the House to its being passed.
§ MR. J. H. LEWIS (Flint Boroughs),
hoped facilities would be given to enable the proposed intermediate schools in Glamorganshire to be opened without undue delay.
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir JOHN GORST,) Cambridge University
said, the question which had been asked by the hon. Member for the Mansfield Division of Nottinghamshire had, he thought, been adequately answered by the hon. Member for the Heywood Division of Lancashire. ["Hear, hear.''] In regard to the proposed School Board at Heywood, there was at least reason to doubt whether the Resolution of the Town Council represented the opinion of the ratepayers, and his noble Friend the President of the Council would delay the formation of the School Board until he was satisfied that such was the case. He felt that he had been a little unfairly pressed in regard to 1039 the Glamorgan Scheme. Several hon. Members had spoken as if he were responsible for the Order in Council not coming into force. He was not responsible for it, it was the law of the land; he could not prevent the operation of the statute, nor had he any dispensing power. One hon. Member asked why he did not legislate, but he could not legislate. The hon. Member spoke to him as if lie was the Leader of the House, and had power to introduce what Bills he pleased. He was quite certain that if the hon. Members who were interested in the matter would give an assurance to his right hon. Friend who was the Leader of the House, that a Bill could be passed by general assent, and not as a contentious measure, they would get the most favourable consideration. Both sides of the House, he had no doubt, would regret it extremely if some parts of this Scheme did not come into immediate operation, and if hon. Members would agree as to what were really the non-contentious parts of the Scheme, those parts might be brought, into operation, and the rest might be considered in the next Session of Parliament As to the structural changes in schools in the Stroud Division of Gloucestershire, it was quite clear that where; a matter had been decided by a public official it was impossible for a new Government to act as a Court of Appeal in regard to the decisions of its predecessors; but, if the matter had not gone too far for reconsideration any representations which were made would be considered in an impartial spirit. The hon. Member for the West Division of Nottingham, whose practical contribution to the Debate they all welcomed, had invited him to a task which he would, if he could, gladly and eagerly undertake—namely, the consolidation and reform of the law relating to the age at which children were employed, and the regulations under which they worked at half-time. That was one of the subjects which he had no doubt the Government would consider before next Session, and if they should decide to embark on legislation of that kind, they would find in him a most willing and zealous instrument for endeavouring to carry such legislation through the House of Commons. ["Hear, hear."] A great deal had been done of late years to increase the accommodation in training 1040 colleges. Day training colleges existed in connection with every University College in England, and there was at present accommodation in them for a thousand teachers to be trained. It was worthy of remark, however, that neither the residential nor the day training colleges were; as yet quite full. The question would no doubt engage their attention during the Recess, and every effort would be made to increase the training college accommodation until it was adequate to give every person who desired it an opportunity of training. He thought it was rather hard that a teacher who had not been trained should be placed in an inferior position, unless he had had an opportunity of being trained. The question of teachers' pensions had passed beyond the stage of controversy or dispute, as the House of Commons had unanimously passed a resolution in favour of them. The officials of the Treasury, and of the Education Office, and the actuaries attached to the public offices, had elaborated a Scheme which obtained, he believed, the assent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Education Minister in the late Government, and was on the point of being laid before the House when the accident which deprived them of the services of the late Government took place. Of course, it was impossible for his noble Friend the President of the Council and himself to have examined for themselves this proposal, but it would be examined in the course of the Recess by the President of the Council and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who would have a great deal to say to a Scheme of this kind. He had no reason to think that the present Government would upon this subject come to any different conclusion than that which the late Government arrived at, and he thought the Committee might feel a tolerable amount of confidence that next Session a measure would be laid upon the Table of the House differing in no essential particular from that prepared by the late Government. ["Hear, hear!"] If the measure was received by the House in that spirit in which he thought it was likely to be received, there was no reason why it should not speedily pass into law. He had been, asked what was to be the policy of the Government towards Voluntary Schools. That was a very natural 1041 question, and a very important one. If hon. Member's would repeat that question at the beginning of the next Session of Parliament he should be, in a better position to answer them. At present he could not say more to the Committee than that they had heard a declaration on this subject by the First Lord of the Treasury, and it would be very unbecoming and useless on his part to add anything in general terms to the very clear enunciation of the general drift of the policy of the Government which his right hon. Friend had made. Two hon. Members, both speaking with some degree of professional authority upon the condition of schools, had pressed upon, the Committee that Voluntary Schools required a considerable amount of additional pecuniary support if they were to retain their efficiency, and that some special treatment of the small village schools was of great importance. That was an opinion which was of great value, and to which no doubt the Government would attach considerable importance. He had been very much struck with the remarks of one hon. Member, who pointed out the great hardship of the poorer ratepayers who were attached to denominational education having to pay both for the support of their own Denominational Schools and also to con tribute equally with others to the support of the Board schools, from which they derived no immediate benefit. The question was a difficult one, but there was no pronouncement on it which he could make officially. He did not believe, however, that the Committee generally would think that he was shirking the question. He was appealed to by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) to do something, without legislation, for the benefit, of Voluntary Schools; but he would point out that the money voted by Parliament must be applied to the purpose for which it was voted, and he did not think that any money which had been voted could be devoted to structural changes. He was glad to hear hon. Members express their desire that these questions should be treated as outside Party politics, and that there should be continuity in policy upon education matters. Though he hoped he would not hesitate to recommend a change of policy where it seemed to him to be necessary and desirable, 1042 still he trusted that the Education Department would be conducted on the lines upon which it had hitherto been conducted. [Cheers.]
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
did not wish to trouble the right hon. Gentleman to speak again, but hoped that he would consent to receive representations in regard to poor districts where the education rate was heaviest. There was a provision in the Act of 1870 with regard to these districts, and under it they received some very small relief. He asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would consider the question of increasing the amount of that relief, and whether he would receive a deputation on the subject.
§ * MR. DAVID THOMAS
said, he was not satisfied with the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. It was very poor satisfaction to learn that the fault did not lie with him, but with the First Lord of the Treasury. What he and his friends wanted was the passing of the, Scheme. The hon. Member for Swansea Town (Sir J. Llewelyn) was a Member of the Committee which agreed to the compromise upon which it was based, and now he came forward to oppose the Scheme.
§ * MR. DAVID THOMAS
continuing, said, that at any rate the hon. Member was a party to the compromise arrived at. The Scheme lay for nearly two months on the Table of the House, and no opposition whatever was raised to it by any hon. Member, and it would have passed into law in a few days had not the Dissolution taken place when it did. The question of the Cowbridge School was not raised before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and, he submitted, it was now too late to suggest its exclusion. He moved to reduce Vote A by £100, in order to elicit a further' statement on the subject of the Cowbridge School.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said, he was not altogether dissatisfied with the, statement of the right hon. Gentleman, because the right hon. Gentleman said that he would give facilities for bringing the Scheme into operation, and that, for himself, he was prepared to bring in 1043 a Bill provided there was no contention in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman, however, stated that the Scheme was contentious and that it would have to be altered before it was brought in. But here they had a Scheme which had run the gauntlet of criticism and which failed because, a few days before it would have come into operation, Parliament was dissolved. The Scheme could not now be correctly described as contentious. ["Hear, hear!"] It was the final outcome of the deliberations of the Committee which sat upon the subject. No objection had been effectually lodged against the Scheme; and he ventured to impress upon the Government that in substance, it was a non-contentious Scheme. They had no power, on either side, to assent to any alteration in the Scheme, since it was the outcome of a compromise. He suggested that a Bill of the smallest kind, simply providing, in one clause, that, in regard to this Scheme, certain requirements should be dispensed with, would do all that was wanted. He begged hon. Members opposite to consider that, without it, for a whole year the children of Glamorganshire would be deprived of all benefits under the Act.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
thought it a little hard that his salary should be reduced because he would not do something which he had no power to do. [Laughter] It was the law of the land—it might be a bad or good law—that the Scheme should lie upon the Table of the House for 40 days. If the House were unanimous he might ask his right hon. Friend, the First Lord of the Treasury, to bring in a Bill such as was suggested; but, if such a Bill were brought in, it would certainly be opposed ["Hear, hear!"] and his right hon. Friend would, therefore, be sure to decline to bring it in now. With regard to the Burial Bill, which the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Acland) had expressed a desire to bring in during the last Parliament in order to remedy a mistake made by the late Government, he supposed that, as it was admittedly a mistake that had been made, the Bill to remedy it would be unopposed. If, however, any hon. Member were to notify that he was going to oppose the Bill, perhaps his right hon. Friend would decline to bring it in at all. He (the speaker) had, however, assumed that it 1044 would be unopposed and he believed it to be so. ["Oh!"]
§ Question put, "That Item A (Salaries), be reduced by £100, in respect of the Salary of the Vice-President of the Council."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 46; Noes, 144.—(Division List, No. 27).
§ * MR. LOUGH
asked the right hon. Gentleman, the Vice-President of the Council, whether the evening schools were being attended by a larger number this year, as he noticed that although the amount taken for evening schools was at the rate of 16s. this year, whereas last year it was at the rate of 11s. 8d.,the gross amount does not show an equal proportionate increase per head.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said, the attendance at the evening schools was increasing, and the grant was increasing.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said, the increase in the grants this year for evening schools was £11,655. The grants this year were estimated at 16s. per unit of average attendance. The grants actually earned in 1893–4 were only 15s. 10¾d. per unit., so that the amount per unit of attendance had increased. The Estimates were not his, but the late Government's, but if the hon. Member would put the question down he would look into the matter.
§ Vote agreed to,
§ On the Vote of £387,155 to complete the sum necessary for the salaries and expenses of the Department of Science and Art for the United Kingdom,
§ * MR. LEWIS
called attention to the fact that no allocation had been made to Wales in regard to the distribution of museum grants, although Scotland and Ireland together received nearly £50,000. In regard to elementary education they had a separate Report in Wales, and their education had many distinctive features, 1045 The policy of dealing with Wales separately in regard to education had been repeatedly recognised by both Liberal and Conservative Governments. Welsh Members asked that it should be carried to its logical conclusion, and fair play granted to Wales in that respect. No country in Europe, except Russia, where education was at a considerable discount, was more destitute of museums than Wales. There was no country in Europe where more attention was given to education than in Switzerland. The Swiss were a practical and hard-headed people, and knew the practical value of education, not only in regard to its material but higher advantages. In Switzerland, museums were attached not only to colleges, but to secondary and even to elementary schools. The scholars in the elementary schools took the greatest pride in these museums. The old scholars sent presents to them, and the masters found that by means of museums object lessons could be given which were much more effective than any imparted by books or word of mouth. In relation to collections of antiquities and objects of historical interest, Wales had no central museum in which these could be deposited. From time to time the most valuable collections had been scattered to the four winds because there was no central institution in which they could be placed. No doubt, many private collectors would have bequeathed their collections to a central institution of the kind, and that, for want of one, their collections had practically been lost to the nation, and left to the tender mercies of indifferent heirs who valued antiquities most when they could convert them into cash. There was no national library in Wales where manuscripts and books of historical interest could be collected. With regard to art, Scotland and Ireland had National Galleries which were supported and encouraged by the State. In Wales there were no galleries of the kind. Some praiseworthy attempts had been made by private societies to start art galleries. The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art at Conway had done a great deal of useful work in that direction, and it was a kind of work which should be supported by the State. Professor Herkomer, speaking recently at Llanelly animadverted in severe 1046 terms on the unsatisfactory character of paintings and drawings sent in for competition at the Eisteddfod, while the adjudicators in music and singing could not highly enough express their appreciation of it. Let the Vice-President of the Council crown the educational edifice that had been so laboriously built up in Wales during the last few years by the resolution and enthusiasm of the people, who had made sacrifices on behalf of education which were beyond all praise. Those who, like himself, had been working in the field of education in Wales during recent years, and had seen how members of the working class and tradesmen had supported in the most liberal and generous manner the Welsh University Colleges and the Intermediate Schools, which are now in course of erection all over the country, must feel there was enthusiasm for education in Wales which hardly existed in the same degree in any other country in the world, and which deserved a corresponding measure of support from the Government.
§ * MR. YOXALL
complained that in the past there had been a sad want of co-operation between the administration of the Science and Art Department at South Kensington and the Education Department. He recognised with gratitude what the former Vice-President had done to bring these Departments into proper relations under one Parliamentary head. If it was extended by the present Vice-President it would be for the benefit of education all round. The duplication of the work of the two Departments led to much inconvenience and waste of money. £180,000 were to be spent this year on drawing and manual instruction in public elementary schools. On the analogy of last year £160,000 would go in teaching drawing alone, and about £26,000 in fees for inspecting and examining it. By the present system of inspection and examination in rural schools, public money was wasted to a ridiculous extent. Many schools in England and Wales did not receive a grant of more than 5s. a year, after long preparation and teaching in drawing. As the result of 12 months' work in drawing, 99 schools, representing 603 1047 children, received 18 guineas in grants, or 3s. 9¾d. per school per annum, and three farthings per school per hour for the 60 hours' teaching given during the year. One school had received 2s. 2d. grant for a year, another 2s. 4d., another 2s. 11d., and others 1s. 10d., 1s. 9d., and—no wonder—23 schools did not trouble to claim the grant. So much for the grants to the schools. What about the inspection and examination of the work done? He should not be far wrong if he put the cost at 30s. per school. If so the cost of inspecting 99 schools would be £148—to allocate and determine grants amounting to 18 guineas. There was another serious aspect of the matter. The managers of Board and Voluntary Schools were called on at considerable expense; to provide elaborate apparatus for the teaching of drawing, and yet grants from 1s. 9d. to 1s. 10d. were doled out. He deprecated the system of payment by results to all schools large and small alike. It might answer pecuniarily with regard to the larger schools, but it worked out very badly with regard to the smaller schools. Special consideration should be shown for the needs of smaller schools. The very basis of this drawing grant should be altered, and a permanent inspector—not a temporary inspector—should be sent down to the school from time to time to see that the money was producing efficient teaching. He wished to express the satisfaction with which thousands of people had seen the appointment of the right hon. Gentleman to his present office. In the right hon. Member for Rotherham and the right hon. Member for Dartford the country had possessed Vice-Presidents who had shown a desire to conduct our educational system on a more reasonable and efficient basis than existed before their day, and in the right hon. Gentleman he had no doubt they would have a fitting successor.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said, that the hon. Member, with his practical knowledge of the subject, had no doubt hit on a weak spot in the administration of the Science and Art Department. The extension of drawing to its present limit was a new thing, and no doubt the mode in which the drawing was inspected was far too expensive and elaborate for the results achieved. But this was not 1048 really a political matter, but rather one of departmental organisation. The authorities of the Education and Science and Art Departments were quite aware of the difficulty which the hon. Member had so clearly and justly pointed out, and arrangements were now being considered by which the present arrangements would be obviated. The only excuse for them was that they were temporary, and they were not yet quite in working order. As to the question of the hon. Member for the Flint Boroughs, he must express his own most friendly feeling towards the Welsh nationality, and his most earnest desire to see a Welsh national museum. But, unfortunately, Wales had not only no museum, but no metropolis in which such a museum could be placed. Until a chief city was found for Wales, it would be very difficult for the Government, even if they were willing, to place a national museum in Wales. The museums under the Science and Art Department were situated in London, Dublin and Edinburgh, and except in these capital cities there were no museums directly supported by the Science and Art Department. But all the great cities of the United Kingdom had loans of museum objects made to them under certain conditions, and Wales had in that respect been treated with as great liberality as any other part of the country.
§ DR. CLARK
said, that he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would do something in the way of consolidating the work of the Education Departments. In Scotland there was one man from the Education Office examining some of the classes in the elementary schools, and another man from the Science and Art Department examining other classes; and there was now a third class of examiner in connection with the grants given to the colleges. Then there was the Treasury grant from the whiskey duty, and there were further examiners for the leaving-certificates. He believed that there were altogether seven education grants to be earned in Scotland. If the right hon. Gentleman would do a little more towards reorganisation, and use in education, a good deal of the money now spent in examination and machinery, the education would be much more efficient. The Office of this Vice-President of the Council was one which 1049 would develop into greater importance every year.
Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
called attention to the way in which this Vote was growing. It had increased from £700,000 last year to £727,000 this year. The conjunction of Science and Art in this Vote was rather unnatural, for Science repudiated the ways of Art, and Art did not believe in the methods of Science. The Committee had already voted nearly eight millions for education, and now they were called upon to vote £700,000 more for another form of education. This, together with the other £200,000 which would soon be asked for, ought really to appear as part of the Education Vote. This Science and Art Department was a new invention. Neither Science nor Art were unknown in former times; and, indeed, Art had decreased in value ever since this department had been established. Directly the State made an attempt to dry-nurse Science and Art—to set up official schools and an official curriculum—the quality of the product deteriorated. This Department was a luxury which could be very well dispensed with. He saw that one of the officers was allowed £10 in addition to his salary for the risk of making cash payments. He could understand there being a risk in receiving cash payments—some of the coins might be bad, for instance—but what risk was there in making cash payments? The only risk could be that of making mistakes, but the officer was paid a salary to do his work properly. Could the Secretary to the Treasury, who now knew all things, explain this item of £10?
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said, that this allowance was not peculiar to this Vote, but appeared in many. It was the custom in commercial houses, as well as in the Government service, to give this allowance for the risk in making cash payments. It was found that where a man took charge of large sums for the purpose of making payments in cash, he did actually lose by it.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon)
said the joint committee of the Welsh County Councils would relieve the Vice-President of any difficulty as to determining what was the Capital of Wales.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Vote of £114,205 (including a Supplementary sum of £30,421),to complete the sum for British Museum—agreed to.
§ Vote of £8,340 (including a Supplementary sum of £5,000), to complete the sum for National Gallery—agreed to.
§ Vote of £2,065 (including a Supplementary sum of £750), to complete the sum for National Portrait Gallery—agreed to.
§ Vote of £14,527,to complete the sum for Scientific Investigation, &c.—agreed to.
§ On the Vote of £58,339 (including a. Supplementary sum of £3,000), to complete the sum for Universities and Colleges, Great Britain, and Intermediate Education, Wales,
§ * SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
said the item for colleges in Great Britain originally included £1,700 for King's College, London, which, upon the recommendation of the late Government was reserved, because the Government required the repeal of a Constitutional rule of the foundation of the College that the Professors must be Members of the Church of England. He wished to ask whether this sum was still reserved, or whether it had been disposed of, and, if it had been disposed of, whether the present Government entertained the same view as the late Government did with regard to the condition to be placed upon the grant, and, if they did not, whether they would introduce a supplementary Estimate to reinstate the grant? He had always thought that religious tests were illusory and did not attain their object, and was aware that that principle had been adopted by the Universities; but it was contended that King's College was established by voluntary donations, and that a condition of its foundation was that instruction should be given in the principles of the Church of England, from which instruction, however, students whose parents did not wish for it 1051 were exempted. The sufficiency of the secular instruction was attested by examination, for the cost of which money was voted; and it therefore seemed to many to savour of injustice to deprive the College of its grant, particularly as the cost of the scientific teaching far exceeded the fees received from students; although, indeed, the total fees paid by students to King's and University Colleges in London exceeded those paid by all the students in Germany at the Universities.
§ * MR. ELLIS GRIFFITH
urged the necessity for prompt action in the formation of the Intermediate Education Board for Wales.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
hoped the present Government would not recede from the understood pledge of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide £3,000 for the University of Wales as an annual grant, and not merely as a grant towards preliminary expenses. He would like to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to a very great inequality in the sums given to Wales, as compared with the sums given to Ireland, Scotland and England, in regard to University education. Scotland received £55,000, and Ireland a very considerable amount; while Wales, if the £3,000 were given, would only be receiving £15,000. If a computation were made, it would be seen that the amounts for University education were not fairly apportioned.
§ MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid.)
pointed out that the amount allowed for Scotch University education was owing to a matter connected with the Union.
§ * MR. HANBURY
said, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, two years ago, granted a sum of £3,000 to start the University of Wales, but refused to give any undertaking as to what would be done in the future. This year, there was a further sum of £3,000, and the late Government not having arrived at a very definite conclusion, the hon. Gentleman asked him why the present Government had come to a conclusion on a subject as to which the late Government took more than two years to come to a conclusion. He should, he submitted, be excused from giving any information on the subject for the reason above indicated, and also because there was already £3,000 on the Supplementary Vote for 1052 this year. This being so, the Committee should excuse him going into the Estimates for future years. In regard to King's College, the grant was, he believed, entirely regulated by Treasury Minutes. In 1894, there was a Committee over which the late President of the Board of Trade presided, and which reported in May, 1894, recommending that this grant should be discontinued on the ground of denominational tests. Thereupon, the Treasury reserved the right, during that year, not to distribute the King's College grant of £1,700 if the tests were not abolished before March 31st, 1895. As the Committee knew, those tests were not abolished, and the grant was withheld from the King's College. Of the amount so withheld, £500 was given to Dundee College, but he had not learnt what became of the balance of £1,200 for 1894–5; but, this year, £500 had been again allotted to Dundee, and £1,200 amongst the remaining colleges. Therefore, for the present year, the money was gone. Then he was asked whether any supplementary Estimate was to be presented. His answer to that was, certainly not during the present Session. The matter was, however, under the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he had no doubt that, when his right hon. Friend was coming to a decision, it would be remembered that, up to two years ago, there was no question as to this grant. [" Hear, hear!"]
§ DR. CLARK
was glad to hear that the matter of King's College was to be reconsidered, because he thought that King's College had been hardly treated. ["Hear, hear!"] He was glad that the Government were going to look at this question from the standpoint of results, and he hoped that Catholic colleges would get their share according to the best results. [Irish cheers.'] In 1886, a Committee sat to determine the allocation amongst the various colleges at that time. The Committee reported in favour of doubling the amount. In both these cases, the King's College got the same amount as the other colleges, and finally, the Treasury had to undo one of the Acts of the Committee. Scotland had, he contended, a grievance here. The Member for Swansea thought that Scotland was getting too much, but technical education in Scotland required 1053 money just as much as other colleges. The college at Glasgow wanted a grant, and the Committee refused the grant to it. Not a single penny was given for technical education in Scotland, and students in Scotland had to come to London to get the education they wanted. The West of Scotland Institution for Technical Education, asked for a share in this grant, but it was refused. He objected to both of the tests and conditions laid down by the Committee. He thought that the money was more wanted for scientific purposes than for classical purposes. He hoped that the Government would reconsider this matter, both from the standpoint of King's College and also from that of Glasgow. Candidates for the B.Sc. Degree at Glasgow University could only get their education at the West of Scotland school.
§ * MR. ELLIS GRIFFITH
inquired what was going to be done next year in respect to the Welsh Central Board, for which.£500 appeared on the Estimates for the present year.
* MR. HAN BURY
said, that his impression was that these accounts belonged to his Department. He trusted that the question of the hon. Member for Swansea District (Mr. Brynmor Jones) would be postponed till the Report stage. He confessed that he had some sympathy with the matter raised by the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark), and he would see that it was inquired into.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ On the Vote of £7, to complete the sum for the University of London,
MR. T. M. HEALY
suggested to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that the time had arrived when the Government should consent to report progress.
§ * MR. HANBURY
said the hon. and learned Member was perhaps not aware that some of the more contentious items in Class 5, including the Uganda Vote, had been postponed. That being so, he hoped they might get the remainder of the Civil Service Votes to-night.
MR. T. M. HEALY
pressed his point, urging that a pledge had been given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the hon. Member for Methyr, 1054 that progress would be reported at a reasonable hour, in order to discuss the question of the Welsh gold mines.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
said, the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that the matter referred to would not be deferred till an unreasonable hour. It never was suggested that Supply should be interrupted at six o'clock for that purpose.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said, he wanted the whole of Class 5 except three Votes. The first was the Vote for the Diplomatic and Consular Service, and two Supplementary Votes, one relating to Newfoundland, and the other to Uganda. He had reason to believe there was a desire to deal with these on Friday, and it was in order to meet the general convenience of the House he made that change. He thought everybody would feel that they ought to press forward the Civil Service Votes.
§ DR. TANNER
appealed to the right hon. Leader of the House to meet hon. Members in the same spirit in which he and his friends this day had tried to conciliate the House.
§ MR. CALDWELL
asked the right hon. Gentleman also to consent to postpone the Scotch Education Vote.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
pointed out that this Vote would come, on immediately, when the hon. Member might have his opportunity.
§ MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
proposed, by way of compromise, that the Government might take the Report of Supply of 26th August, which raised the question of the Welsh mines, and also the two Scotch Votes, and consent to let the other business stand over.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
threw out the suggestion that it would be an extremely good bargain for both sides to allow the Government to have all these Votes this evening, on condition that there should not be a Saturday sitting.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said he disliked a Saturday sitting as much as anybody, but he was afraid it would be absolutely necessary to have one this week. In answer 1055 to the hon Member for Kirkcaldy, he suggested that what might be done would be to take the five Votes that were more or less contentious, in Class 5, to take the six in Class 6, and to take perhaps five out of the seven in Class 7. If it would facilitate progress, he was prepared to defer till to-morrow the West Highland Railway Resolutions, but he was afraid he could not go further than that.
MR. T. M. HEALY
thought that as the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman included the Post Office Vote, he was going too far. As it appeared they must have a sitting on Saturday, what was the extreme urgency for getting these Votes to-night?
§ * SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
noticed that a sum of £12 was asked for, which was an increase of only £2 on last year. Practically, therefore, the University was maintained by its own fees, and was no cost to the State. Among the items was £1,100 for conducting examinations. The Senate of the University had many times represented that these examinations could not, in justice to the candidates, be properly conducted with the facilities placed at the disposal of the University. The buildings and appliances were totally inadequate. The examinations included examinations in medicine and science, and it also seemed unjust to give certificates to students when the examinations, because of the inadequacy of the buildings, could not be properly performed. He did not desire to delay the Vote, but he must ask for an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Vote that these necessary buildings would be provided without delay, otherwise he should divide the Committe on the question. The reconstitution of the University for teaching purposes also demanded the earliest attention.
§ DR. TANNER
observed that very important duties were performed by the examiners attached to the London University, and, certainly, they ought to be better paid than even the door-keepers of the House of Lords. The examiners in medicine and surgery, who were among the ablest men in the profession, were paid the miserable sum of £200 a 1056 year each, which was altogether inadequate. The examiners in geology and physical geography were only paid £100 a year each; the two examiners in German, £80 a year each, and the two in French, £75, there being a difference of £10 between these two great continental languages, showing the side to which prejudice tended as between these two great continental nations. In the medical profession there was no degree obtainable at Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, or in Ireland, that was more valued than the M.D. of the University of London. Why was that? It was because of the strictness of the examination and the high professional standing of the examiners.
THE CHAIRMAN (interposing)
I must ask the hon. Member to deal with the matter in a more serious spirit than he has yet shown. ["Hear, hear!"] I have listened very patiently to him for some time, but I have yet failed to discover that he has brought forward any real and relevant criticism upon this Vote. I must therefore ask him to confine his attention to something really more serious than he has yet done. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ DR. TANNER
said of course, if the Chairman desired him to move to reduce the salaries of these Examiners with the hope that they might ultimately be increased, he should be glad to do so. [Laughter.] It was with a sincere desire that something should be done to secure the adequate remuneration of these gentlemen employed in the London University that he had raised this question. ["Hear, hear!"] Take the case of the Professor in Anatomy. The gentleman holding that office in the Queen's College in Cork received the sum—
The hon. Member is now distinctly violating what I have laid down, and I must warn him that the Standing Order permits me to deal with him if he persists in wilfully obstructing the business of the House. [Cheers.] I am, however, loth to put the Standing Order in force; therefore, I again invite the hon. Member to deal with the matter in a more serious spirit than he has yet shown. [Cheers.]
MR. T. M. HEALY
Suspend the whole of us at once. [Irish cheers, and Ministerial cries of "Order."] Yes, suspend us all. [Renewed Irish cheers.]
§ DR. TANNER
remarked that he had been dealing with the matter as a University man; he had spoken up for the University of London with the hope that better success would attend that institution, and that it would be enabled to maintain its high standard and pay its Examiners better.
§ DR. TANNER,
continuing, said the Estimates had been put into his hand, and was he obstructing in calling attention to the small amount of money paid to the Professor in Anatomy? [Irish cheers.] And, for the purpose of analysis, as a member of another University, was he wrong or guilty of obstruction when he pointed out that this gentleman, with the highest qualifications, was worse paid than the Professors of Colleges in Ireland? [Irish cheers.] He declared that the amount of the Vote asked for was absolutely unequal to the requirements of the University. What he was saying was perfectly in order [Ministerial cries of "Order "], but because he happened to be an Irish Member, although strictly adhering to book and chapter, he had been censured. [Irish cheers, and Ministerial cries of "Order."]
MR. T. M. HEALY
joined heartily in the remarks of the hon. Member for Mid Cork with reference to this Vote. [Irish cheers.] They were entitled to a fair discussion of the Votes and to a fair amount of time for that discussion. They were, furthermore, entitled to that time in accordance with the pledges of the Leader of the House, It was certainly an unusual course for the Government to tell them they must limit their remarks, as the Leader of the House had told them, and not only that, but that he would insist on taking other important Votes, the nature of the discussion being judged, not in reference to the Vote itself, but to the exigencies of the Members of the Government in getting away for their holidays. [Irish cheers.] That was what the statement of the right hon. Gentleman implied. If the right hon. Gentleman was willing to sit up they were prepared to sit up 1058 with him. They were willing to give every assistance in the discussion of the Votes. There was one point he had to raise upon the Vote. In the case of the London University the State was prepared to pay for a particular class of religious teaching. If so, he wished to know why the Government refused to pay for religious teaching in Ireland, and why the Government insisted that in all the Irish colleges there should be no religious teaching. No payment was made in respect of religious teaching in voluntary schools in either England or Ireland. Why, therefore, should they be asked to pay for religious teaching in the University of London? They had already been told that the London University was only an examining university. If that was so, why not strike out this item from the Vote? He was not prepared to pay for religious teaching in the London University if he was not to get religious teaching in Ireland. It was as well they should know who were the examiners at the London University, and what their views on particular parts of the Bible were. Were those views orthodox? Did the examiners set papers according to the theories of King James, or according to the Douay or Catholic theory?
§ * MR. HANBURY
said, the Biblical examination held at the London University was one in the texts of the scriptures. Furthermore, it was not an examination for a degree at all, but for a diploma. The examinations, as he understood the matter, were partly theological and partly historical. He would now like to answer the question put to him by the hon. Member for Islington.
§ * MR. HANBURY
said, that might be so, but he would now assure the hon. Member for Islington that he would look into the question he had raised.
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY (Cork)
said, it was obvious the explanation of the Secretary to the Treasury was wrong. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the Vote was simply one for the study of the Hebrew language. The Vote itself showed that that was not so, because it was one for an examiner in the text of the Scripture and in Scriptural history. That being so, the question of denominational teaching was raised, and the criticisms which had been offered 1059 were most cogent. He asked the Committee to consider the question from the point of view of what he might call the foundations of belief. Which was the point of view from which the examiner viewed the Scriptures? There was only one meaning to be attached to the Vote. It was either a Vote for the study of the Scriptures from an atheistical or a denominational point of view. He and his hon. Friends objected to an examination from an atheistical point of view, and they also objected to an examination from the point of view of any particular denomination, because in. that case the Vote became one for the endowment of a sect. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by—
§ Question put, "That the question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 123; Noes, 34.—(Division List, No. 28.)
§ Question put accordingly.
§ When the Division was completed, Dr. Tanner, one of the Tellers for the Noes, was not in his place for the announcement of the numbers.
§ After a brief delay,
directed the other three Tellers to come to the Table and announce the result of the Division.
§ The numbers were:—Ayes, 126; Noes, 32.—(Division List, No. 29.)
§ The next Vote, that of £530,262, to complete the sum necessary for Public Education in Scotland, had just been put from the Chair, when
§ DR. TANNER
hurriedly entered the House and, rising in his place amid cries of "Order" said: I wish to make a complete apology to you, Sir, and to the Committee. [Ministerial cries of "Oh" and "Order!"] I was simply speaking to Lord Arthur Hill outside the door. [Ministerial Cries of "Oh?"] This is the second time that this has occurred [laughter], and if any hon. Member had taken the trouble—[Loud Cries of "Order!"] I am simply offering an 1060 apology. If any one had taken the trouble to tell me, I should have got back in plenty of time, for I was only a few yards away. [Cries of "Oh" and "Order."] During last Session hon. Members opposite sometimes took a longer time to go through the lobby than they do now. [Opposition Cheers.]
I must inform the hon. Member that it is his duty, as a teller, to remain within the House after he has told the numbers, and not to go outside the House. [Cheers.]
§ At this point Mr. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.) took the Chair in place of Mr. J. W. Lowther.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, that in regard to Scotch education, the permanent officials practically controlled the Education Department, and, therefore, the policy was little changed by a change of Governments. The Report issued this year, accordingly, was substantially a repetition of the Reports of previous years. The disadvantage of this was that the important occurrences of the year were not given that prominence to which they were entitled. This year's Report indicated a considerable increase in the attendance in the higher standards. Last year, for the first time in the history of Scotch education, a decline in the attendance was reported; but this year there had been an increase not only in the average attendance, but in those on the register. At the first flush, this would seem to be an improvement; but, unfortunately, the Scotch Education Reports did not supply the material to show what the increased attendance was due to. There were a number of private secondary schools which, owing to the fierce competition of the heavily sub-sidised Board Schools, had been forced to close; and there was nothing in the Report of the Department to show that the increased attendance in the State-aided schools was not due to this cause. The Report simply gave the attendance in the State-aided schools, and gave no indication of what was going on in the non-State-aided schools. In the year 1891 the increased average attendance was only 1.71 per cent.; in 1893 the increase was 2 per cent.; and in 1894, 2–69 per cent. This increase took place at a time when there was a considerable 1061 amount of money given to the Board schools and secondary schools in Scotland with a view to encouraging the attendance. Between the ages of 13 and 14, the increase in the children attending State-aided schools was no less than 3,000, or 10 per cent., though the increase for all ages was only 3 per cent. This showed that children were simply being transferred from private schools to State-aided schools. To get at the facts, the total attendance in the State-aided and non-State-aided schools in 1872, when Board Schools were established, must be compared with the same total for 1895. The Scotch Education Department had simply been misleading the country for years in their Annual Reports. In 1872 the State-aided schools were only 50 per cent. of the total number of schools in Scotland. Now they were 90 cent. of the total. In 1872 the average attendance in the State-aided schools was 212,000; now it was 567,000. But that improvement was more apparent than real. In 1872 there were 541,000 children attending school in Scotland, as the School Board census of that date showed. Since then, the increase had been 140,000, so that there ought now to be 680,000 children attending school in Scotland. But what were the figures? There were, as a fact, only 693,000 in attendance. The result was that no more children attended the schools than they might naturally expect. But there was another item which had to be taken into consideration. What were the number of children now attending the non-State-aided schools in Scotland? The Scotch Education Department would not find that out. For this reason, the number was not more than 50,000 or 60,000; and, therefore, the increase had only been about 60,000 children during that time. He was anxious to get a census of all the children receiving education in Scotland, not merely in the State-aided schools but in the non-State-aided schools. It was possible that the increase of school attendance in State-aided schools was due to the fact that the private schools had been closed. When children came from another school, the School Board necessarily knew where they had come from; and it would be very simple for the Education Department to instruct the different 1062 School Boards to send in a return each year of the number of children who came from non-State-aided schools. In this way they would know whether or not the attendance in State-aided schools was raised in consequence of the decline of other schools. There was no difficulty in getting the information from the schools themselves. In Glasgow they found that every private school was returned by the School Board, not in detail, but in the lump; and thus they could tell not only the children attending the Board and State-aided schools, but the children attending every school within the city. There was, moreover, sufficient statutory power for the School Board to obtain this information. In Scotland the School Board had power to ascertain, not merely information about census and school accommodation, but whether or not the child was receiving beneficial education at some suitable school. But if there was any defect in the legislation whereby facts of this kind could be ascertained, there would be no difficulty in passing a Bill giving power to ascertain the number of children. But the powers were ample enough at present, and it seemed to him that the Scotch Education Department did not want the information. If they had that information and put it in the Report, then they must eliminate altogether the column which misled them, and which made it appear that education in Scotland had increased by 150 per cent., when in reality there was not more than an increase of 60,000 over the natural increase of population as compared with 1872. Why should there be an attempt made to conceal facts? In the school supply also they found that Scotland had sufficient accommodation for 783,000 children, while the average attendance was only 567,442. The Department attempted to justify the discrepancy by saying that there ought to be in Scotland no fewer than 824,000 children at school. How did the Department reach this result? In Scotland a child must attend school until it was able to pass the fifth standard. After the scholar had passed the age of fourteen, the compulsory powers were at an end. The Department considered that seven years was a suitable number for every child to attend school. If that be so, then there might be 100,000 scholars 1063 more than at present on the register of State-aided schools. The attendance between the ages of five and twelve represented the highest point during any seven years in Scotland; and the result of that attendance was that they had 676,000 children during the seven years' period in Scotland. This left 617,000 children who should be at the State-aided schools. At present there were 699,000 on the school register of State-aided schools, and therefore they had far more on that register alone than the number of children for the whole seven years who were in existence in Scotland. Look at the educational results of this large attendance during practically an eight years' curriculum. They would expect to see that every child had passed Standard VI. In Scotland instead of 80,000 children who had passed Standard VI., there were only 15,000; and in the case of Standard VI. It self, where they should have had 80,000, there were only 32,000. The result was that they found in Scotland the attendance was going up; but the attendance going up was not indicative of educational success. On the contrary, the worse the school was, the higher its attendance would be. The School Boards got money for average; attendance, and, in order to keep up the average attendance, Board schools had been known to keep scholars for two years at one standard when they might have passed it in one year. To check this abuse there ought to be a certain proportion between attendance and results; but too much attention was devoted to keeping up the number on the roll and the average attendance. This was done by keeping children back and forcing them needlessly to spend two years over one standard. A result of this policy was that the grant for a school could be increased by closing it rather than by keeping it open—by closing it, when, from any special cause, the attendance was below, and so bring down the average, so that in this way, a school open for only 40 weeks in a year might be made to show a better average than one open for 46 weeks in the year. The School Boards had come to know that they were paid by average attendance and to act on the knowledge. They therefore closed schools when the attendance fell off from the prevalence 1064 of infectious disease or of unfavourable weather. A system of payment of this kind was clearly not a suitable one in the interests of education. The standard of instruction in Scotland was not a high one, and half-timers would pass examinations at the end of the year the same as full timers. In Glasgow 90 per cent. of the half-timers were able to pass. The Chief Inspector said there were plenty of scholars able to pass a standard in a year and there ought to be additional grants to encourage; their doing so. Instead of doing this we paid extra grants practically for scholars who were kept longest in the standards. It was not in the interest of teachers to push children through the schools. The provision of training colleges required further consideration. Pupil teachers who qualified to enter them were excluded for want of accommodation for male students, and yet there were complaints of the lack of trained teachers. Evidently the Department had gone on the principle of keeping down the number and raising the salaries of trained teachers. The result was the supply was not equal to the demand, and anyone could get an appointment because there was no cumpetition. The training colleges are denominational, but the cost of them was defrayed by the State and not a penny of it subscribed by the churches. There was clearly a necessity for State training colleges for teachers, who would certainly acquire religious knowledge if they were required to give religious instruction, as they were by most of the School Boards.
§ MR. CALDWELL
continued that the lack of room in the training colleges for male students diminished the supply of male teachers as compared with that of female teachers, for whom the accommodation in the colleges was not exhausted. He hoped denominational training colleges would be done away with. He should be glad to have an intimation from the Government as to their methods of supplying teachers through the Universities. The effect of the University education would be to improve the 1065 status of the teachers. The question had been mooted, and he thought it was worth serious consideration, to what extent there should be training colleges in connection with the Universities, He believed that in Dundee they would be glad to have training colleges connected with the University of Dundee. At St. Andrew's it was felt that there should be a training college in connection with the University. What was there to prevent their having a training college in connection with Glasgow University and thereby to also increase the staff of teachers. There might be a training college in connection with the University of Aberdeen. At Edinburgh there was a training college connected with the University. He wanted these training colleges conveniently situated in all the populous centres that the Universities in Scotland might become educational centres for the whole district within their sphere of influence. If a teacher was connected with a training college which was in direct communication with a University he would have not only educational qualifications himself, but he would be stimulated to encourage University subjects in the different schools. He hoped the Government would consider the desirability of having training colleges in connection with the different Universities and thereby do away with one evil in Scotland—insufficient accommodation in the training colleges which were under different religious denominations. He noticed that £1,500 was to be given by way of special grant to Highland schools. The effect of this grant would be to reduce the local rates. Half of the money would go into the pockets of the landlord and the other half would go to the deer forest tenants and the larger agricultural tenants. Under the pretence of relieving the crofters they would subsidise and relieve the landlords and the large tenants. Footpaths and roads were badly needed in the Highlands to enable children to attend school. Some of the schools were four miles distant from the dwellings of the larger proportion of the children. The latter, in order to earn the school grant and attend school, had to go over the braes and sometimes a stream of water coursed down, and if a mist came over the hills and the children did not know where these streams were they 1066 were in danger of being drowned. Roads should be made for the children out of grant from the Imperial purse. But if the effect was to increase the local grant and subsidise the local rate the least the locality could do was to make roads to enable the children to attend school to earn the grant. He wished now to call attention to the fact that in one place an Episcopalian school was established where only one family besides that of the teacher was in connection with Episcopalian body. Yet the Scotch Education Department had placed this school on the annual grant list. Was this carrying out the clause of the Education Act for Scotland, which said that on school should be admitted to the annual grant list, after the passing of the Act, except where required for the religious needs of the people? Was there such a difference of religious belief between an Episcopalian and a Church of Scotland man? The disabilities of Roman Catholics were recognised by Statute, and the difference between their belief and that of Protestants was distinct. Wherever in Scotland, or England, a school was desired in the interest of the Roman Catholic body it was admitted to the annual grant list on account of religious belief. It was said we had National Churches, that in England being Episcopalian and that in Scotland Presbyterian. But were they to be told that these Churches were diametrically opposed and essentially different in matters of religious belief, and that a man in Scotland must have a separate school on account of his religious belief? Here was a nation subsidising two Churches of different religious belief, and therefore an Episcopalian coming to Scotland was not bound to go to the Board School where there was Presbyterian worship, but was entitled to claim a special school for his children, because, forsooth, his religious belief differed from that of the Church of Scotland. He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether it was consistent with the Act of Union between England and Scotland that action should be taken by the Scotch Education Department which would tend to establish Episcopacy in that country. In his view, this attempt to establish an Episcopalian school in Scotland was a violation of the Act of Union. For 1067 the sake of one family the Scotch Education Department had entered into a conflict with the School Board. The latter had, in consequence, resigned three times, and on each occasion had been returned again by their constituents as a protest against the action of the Education Department. The result had been that the School Board had resigned for the fourth time, and now the parishes were left without a School Board, and education had come to a deadlock in consequence. He wished to ask the Lord Advocate whether it was worth while for the Education Department to have come into collision with the School Board on such a point. Was such a policy as that which was being pursued by the Scotch Education Board likely to improve the system of education? They were merely keeping up a bone of contention, and certainly that was not a policy that would conduce to the interests of education. It was evident that the people would continue to resist this action of the Board. He wished to know what the Scotch Education Board were going to do in the matter. The people would not accept the policy of the Department, and the School Board would not act. The Scotch Education Department were acting in opposition to the will of the people. What were the Scotch Education Department going to do in order to carry on the schools—were they going to send down an inspector to carry on the schools? This was a matter that could not be hung up until the Estimates came on next Session. He desired to emphasise the fact that this Episcopalian school had been put upon the grant since the present Government came into office. The late Government had nothing to do with the matter. This, therefore, was not a question involved by the Estimates of the late Government, because the present Government were entirely responsible for the action which the Scotch Education Department had taken. The matter was in abeyance during the time that the late Government were in power, and it was only since the present Government had come into office that this action—which had disturbed the whole of the educational system of Scotland—had been taken. He thought that he had shown sufficient reason why the whole of the educational system of Scotland should be reconsidered by the 1068 light of what had recently taken place. Turning to the subject of secondary education in Scotland, he wished to point to the connection that existed between secondary education and elementary education in that country. The difference between the educational systems of England and Scotland was, that in the former country education, in the Board Schools was purely elementary, while in Scotland the parochial schools combined elementary with secondary education. It was necessary, therefore, to consider what was to be done in the way of secondary education in elementary schools in Scotland. His own opinion certainly was in favour of combining elementary with secondary education. In Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen it might, perhaps, be advantageous to have separate secondary schools, but it was different in the country districts, because if the children had to go to separate secondary educational schools, they would have to travel a long way from their homes. Therefore, if they were going to have secondary education in Scotland at all, it must be carried on in connection with the various local elementary schools. By adopting that course elementary education would be made more efficient, and the scholars would be brought up to a point that would fit them to receive secondary education. He submitted these various points for the consideration of the Lord Advocate, and he hoped that he would give such assurances on the subject as would render it unnecessary to go to a division on the Vote.
§ * MR. J. M. WHITE (Forfar)
said he should like to refer to one point which was complimentary to, and explanatory of, the question raised by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, the question of the non-State-aided schools being crushed out by the State-aided schools. Under the existing schemes of the Scotch Education Department the grant of £60,000 for Scotch secondary education was being applied to a large extent to the relief of rates. The non-State-aided-Schools were doing splendid work, under great and growing financial difficulties. It was a good thing however some of them were not under the School Boards. If the secondary education money did not go to the relief of rates it could greatly help these non-State-aided Schools. In 1069 rural districts a larger grant should he given for evening continuation schools than was given in populous centres. A class of six or eight young persons in a rural district might be attended by very valuable results, now that agricultural education was so desirable. At present all that could be earned by eight young people in a class lasting for an hour and a half was about two shillings a night, a sum quite inadequate to supply the needs of this higher education. He trusted that this matter would be considered.
§ DR. CLARK
asked for information respecting the special grant of £1,500 for schools in the Highlands and Islands. This was a matter upon which the Treasury ought to throw some light, and he regretted that the Secretary to the Treasury was not present. This grant was not spent. In 1893 only £750 was spent, but nevertheless, in 1894 the sum of £1,500 was still asked for. In that year only £194 was spent, and yet they were now again asked to vote £1,500. The next item to which he wished to draw attention was the item of training colleges. He thought the time had come when this grant should cease. The Church of Scotland had now only 44 schools in Scotland, and the Free Church had only 15, while the public schools numbered over 2,700. The denominations that had the 44 schools and the 15 schools respectively were getting all the money for the training of teachers. This ought not to be. On the subject of pensions for teachers he was in favour of the establishment of a system of retirement as a right in lieu of the present system of retirement as a matter of grace. Teachers ought to have some special right of appeal to the Education Department against dismissal. In a parish in Caithness there was a School Board of five members. The teacher did something which was brought to the notice of the Board, and by a majority of three to two they dismissed the teacher. The last point to which he wished to refer was the question of giving to Scotland a grant really equivalent to the grant under the Free Education Act of 10s. per child attending school in England.
§ MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
called attention to the importance of providing secondary education in tin northern districts of Scotland. He pointed out also that, although an order 1070 had been issued some time ago that the practice of children carrying peats to school should be discontinued, as late as within the last two or three months, in quite a number of schools in the outlying and remote parts of Scotland, the schoolmasters had insisted on each child bringing a peat to school every morning during the winter. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take care that this order was regarded in the future. He urged the necessity of spending the money granted in a wiser way, for the benefit of the children and not for the benefit of the landlords, sporting tenants, and large farmers. He deprecated the granting of the large sum which was allowed to the inspectors and sub-inspectors for traveling expenses, which averaged about three guineas a day a head, when a guinea a day would be much more like the amount which was required. The money that was wasted in this way was badly needed in the Highlands for schools, and if the right hon. Gentleman did not give him satisfactory assurance as to these expenses in the future, he should have to consider the advisability of moving at a later stage to reduce the Vote by £500.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Sir CHARLES PEARSON,), Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities
in reply to the various points that had been raised, said, the first matter that was brought before the notice of the Committee by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark touched the making-up of the statistics of scholars by the Department. That was a matter with which they were perfectly familiar. The complaint always came from the same source, but nothing had been done, and the reason was very simple. Undoubtedly State-aided schools had got the advantage of a larger attendance because of the transfer of children from the private or adventure schools to the Board schools. But neither of the two factors necessary for the statistics sought by the hon. Gentleman could possibly be obtained. He (the Lord Advocate) asserted that neither for the attendance in 1872 in private schools, nor for the attendance from year to year since, including 1895, could they get any reliable statistics, and if they could not get reliable figures they were far better without them. In reference to the accusation made by the hon. Member against Board schools, to the effect that they kept pupils 1071 an undue time over certain standards, a conclusion the hon. Member said he had arrived at on an examination of the statistics, he had only to say that was not a suggestion to which, even if true, he thought there was any objection. It was, in his opinion, far more dangerous and disadvantageous, both to the children and to the State, that pupils should be rushed rapidly through the, standards, than that they should be kept in a standard even for two years. With reference to training colleges, the hon. Member proposed that there should be a big State-aided training college. State training colleges had been tried in England and had failed, and therefore they had not the merit of setting a successful example to be imitated in Scotland. Again, there were certain training colleges in Scotland, not confined to the Established Church, which had done and were doing admirable work, and he did not believe the preponderating opinion in Scotland would be prepared to sacrifice the existing training colleges in order to make room for a State-aided college. That was not the line upon which the education of the teachers in Scotland had hitherto been dealt with, and he would remind hon. Members that, in the course of the past few years, especially in the Code of 1894–5, changes had been made with the view of filling up the gap which ho admitted to exist in the supply of teachers by the training colleges, by bringing the Universities of Scotland into closer connection with the training of the teachers, and thus giving them the opportunity which they desired. That plan was now being tried, and let them see how it-would succeed, because, if it was successful, he maintained that it was a far better way of dealing with the question than by creating a number of separate organisations and institutions running side by side, with the existing colleges and creating a large amount of unnecessary additional expense in upkeep and organisation. The present plan was fully discussed in the last Parliament, and it ought to have a fair trial before it was brushed aside. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark and others had adverted to the question of schools in the Highlands and the grant that was given to them. Criticism was made of that grant of £1,500, and it was pointed out that 1072 in one year only £700 or a little more was spent, it being asked why should £1,500 remain in the Estimate? But the year to which reference had been made was of an entirely exceptional nature.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
remarked, that it was the smaller of the two items he referred to. It was thought that the spending of the grant ought to await the collection of the poor rate and school rate, which were collected together, in order that the actual deficits should be ascertained, and the effect of that was to postpone the spending of the grant till the end of the financial year, and also to enable the Department to effect a very considerable saving. But he would remind the Committee that it was still regarded by the Treasury as a temporary grant. It was found that one School Board after another was going into financial difficulty and ruin, and it was absolutely necessary, through the failure of some section, of the ratepayers to pay their rates, that the financial distress ought to be tided over. Originally the grant was taken in the Estimates for £4,000, but it was cut down from time to time and was now only £1,500. It was thought right that it should remain this year at the same figure at which it stood last year, so as to leave a margin for contingencies; but the Department knew as well as the Treasury that the grant was only temporary, and the sooner it was got rid of the better. He now came to the question of the School Board referred to by an hon. Member opposite. That was in itself an extremely small question, but it was put forward in such a way as to make it look important. In the first place, the hon. Gentleman who drew attention to the subject, was wrong in a good many of his facts and entirely wrong in his law, albeit he had had a legal training. Further, he gave the Committee the impression, quite wrongly, that it was a new thing in the practice of the Education Department for Scotland that an Episcopal School should obtain a grant out of the rates. There were more than 70 Episcopal Schools receiving grants under Section 67 of the Act of 1073 1872. The hon. Member seemed to think that the only possible difference of religion which would justify the Department in admitting a school to the, grant, was the difference between the reformed religion and the Roman Catholic religion. The figure he had given showed con clusively that that was not the practice of the Department. The grant might be given to a school of this kind, if, in the opinion, of the Department, such a school was required, having regard to the religious belief of the parents. There was an element of discretion in the matter. Some years ago the Department came to the conclusion that this school fulfilled the conditions of the statutory code, but after a year or two the attendance fell off and the conditions were no longer fulfilled. So long as they were fulfilled it was the duty of the Department to recognise the school. Complaint was made that this school being set up was drawing the children away from the Board School; but the school had no option in the matter, because, according to the Conscience Clause of the Education Act, a school receiving public money could not close it doors to any child. The later history of this school might be disposed of in a sentence. After it ceased to fulfil the conditions of the grant, the grant was withdrawn, but the attendance again increased considerably, and about a year ago the then Secretary for Scotland was approached on the ground that the school again fulfilled the old conditions, and should be readmitted to the grant. The attendance was such that the Secretary for Scotland did not think it right to refuse the grant, but it was suspended for a time. The conditions however, had since been fulfilled, and all the Education Department had done was to recognise the fact. It was true that the School Board in the district had resigned. Indeed, it was the third time they had done so, and he was now asked what the Department proposed to do. The Department had been considering which of the options they had under the Statute in such an event they should exercise, and he could do no more at that time than say that the matter was still under the consideration of the Department. As to the question raised by the hon. Member for Caithness, with regard to the position of teachers, he could do no more than say that he should 1074 personally look into the matter. The hon. Member for Ross-shire had taken objection to the amount allowed to the inspectors for travelling expenses. The inspectors were not confined to a guinea a night in this respect. They were entitled over and above that to their actual outlay out of pocket, and every item was properly vouched within 12 months. He desired to make a single remark on what the hon. Member for Forfar had said, in complaint of the diversion of the £60,000 which, by Statute was appropriated to Secondary Education in Scotland, practically in relief of the rates. He would remind the hon. Member that Secondary Education, in its larger sense, was not beyond the duties of a School Board, and therefore, wherever there was a grant for Secondary Education it might perfectly well operate in relief of the rates. If the hon. Member had been present he would have asked him to give him an instance of a case in which what he complained of had been done. He had no doubt that he would have been able to show him conclusively, either that his accusation against the School Board was utterly unfounded, or else that what had been done was no more than the natural or necessary operation of the grant. He thought he had now gone over all the points brought to his notice, and he hoped the Vote would be taken.
§ MR. DALZIEL
called attention to the treatment of sub-inspectors and assistant inspectors, in the matter of promotion. He was informed that sub-inspectors had practically to discharge the same duties as the chief inspectors, and he wished to know whether it was the case that they were not allowed the promotion which, in ordinary circumstances, they ought to have when vacancies occurred among the chief inspectors. Another point, which had given rise to a good deal of discussion in Scotland, was the matter of books. It was a very hard case that, when a man moved from one parish to another, he should have to equip his children with a new set of books. School books in the circumstances ought no longer to be charged for.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that the Department had always declined to lay down any absolute rule on the subject of purchase of books. It was not a subject for a universal rule, but School Boards were informed that it was in 1075 their power to provide school books in special circumstances such as had been alluded to. It would be a waste of the rates to provide free school books where there were no local circumstances making such provision necessary or desirable. With reference to the question of the promotion of sub-inspectors, he had to say that personally he had always been in favour of promotion within the staff, but he thought that no rule ought to be laid down on the subject, for there might from time to time be cases in which it was desirable to appoint inspectors from outside the body of sub-inspectors.
§ * MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
thought the reply of the Lord Advocate on the subject of the Episcopal school referred to by the right hon. Member near him was inadequate. The object of the Capitation Grant was to assist education, but when the grant was given to a school under the circumstances detailed by his hon. Friend it would appear that the money was going to be used for the purpose of proselytising the children in the neighbourhood, which would be a clear evasion of the objects of the Act. The question for the Education Department to consider was whether the school was required, having regard to the religion of the people living in the neighbourhood. The grant in this case was suspended when the late Government assumed office, but as soon as the present Government returned to power they were immediately satisfied by some unknown means that the school had complied with the law, and they purposed to resume the payment of the grant.
§ * MR. PROVAND
asked when it was suspended. [The LORD ADVOCATE: "Last year."] Then it was suspended last year, but as soon as the present Government came into office it was determined that the grant should be again given. The right hon. Gentleman had not disputed the statement of his hon. Friend that there was only one Episcopalian family in the neighbourhood.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
There are two at least, and there are a good many other parents who desire that their children should attend this school.
§ * MR. PROVAND
said, that one of the two families to which the right hon. 1076 Gentleman referred was the teacher's own family. The Lord Advocate had said that there were many other' Episcopal schools in Scotland receiving the grant, and he had described them in terms which might lead the Committee to believe that they were all in the same position as the school to which his hon. Friend's criticisms were directed.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that the object of his observations was to meet the argument of the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark, who, he understood, contended that it was wrong to give the grant to Episcopal schools, because they were indistinguishable from Presbyterian schools in matters of doctrine.
§ * MR. PROVAND
said, that there were 74 Episcopal schools that received the grant, and that as they were attended by 14,000 scholars—200 to each school—they were, of course, entitled to receive the money. The case of the particular school to which attention had been called was therefore very different. He also wished to call attention to Table No. 2 in the Return of the Scotch Education Department. One of the columns there gave the total amount awarded out of Parliamentary grants, and the next gave the amount raised by promoters—that was by voluntary contributions—and by rates. He wanted to know why these two amounts were lumped together, and how much the voluntary contributions came to. It appeared to him that the sums were mixed up with the object of making the Committee imagine there was a substantial sum raised by voluntary contributions, whereas his information was that a very small sum indeed was raised in that way.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
was sorry he could not give the information, but if the hon. Member would communicate with him he would endeavour, if possible, to procure, it for him.
MR. T. M. HEALY
thought the large sum allowed for traveling expenses must be caused by the fact that the office was in London instead of in Edinburgh. He 1077 would suggest, as a means of checking the expenses for travelling, that the office in London, which cost £12,000, should be transferred to Scotland, where it would become racy of the soil. [Laughter.] He saw nothing laughable in the suggestion that the Scotch office should be in the capital of Scotland. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman thought it should be in Madagascar.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that so far as he was aware, the cost of inspection would not be any the less if the office were moved to Edinburgh. The inspectors in the main communicated their views by correspondence and report, and it was quite erroneous to suppose they habitually started from London. The expense was in many cases caused by the cost of transit from places where transit was difficult. With reference to the Amendment, he would appeal to the hon. Member not to press it. A change was under consideration in regard to these allowances, but it had not yet been effected. There were six inspectors, who had their expenses commuted at £250 per annum. He did not know whether that paid them or not, but he presumed it was calculated on the average expenses.
§ MR. CALDWELL
pointed out that the allowances to the 23 assistant-inspectors worked out at £77 each, whereas six chief inspectors were allowed £250 each. Would the Lord Advocate, then, still say that the result was due to the cost of transit? It was well known that the districts were very evenly divided, and it was evident, therefore, that, whatever was the explanation of the difference the Lord Advocate did not know it.
§ Dr. CLARK
said, the arrangement was an old one, and he did not think the present Government were to blame. The assistant-inspectors only got 10s. a day, the others got a guinea a day but the half-dozen chief inspectors, under the old arrangement, got £250 each. This was a matter for the Treasury, and he would advise the Secretary to see that these six inspectors were placed in the same position as the other inspectors.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
could only say that the attention of the Treasury would be, directed to the matter.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ [At this point, Mr. J. W. LOWTHER returned to the Chair.]
MR. T. M. HEALY
asked what advantage there was in having one office in London and another in Edinburgh. Surely it would conduce to economy if there was one office either in London or Scotland, and preferably in Scotland. There was a great deal to be said in favour of having an office at the seat of Government but what was the necessity for a separate charge—
§ * THE CHAIRMAN
I must point out to the hon. Gentleman that, as a Motion for the reduction of one item has been proposed from the Chair, it is not in order to go back to a previous item.
MR. T. M. HEALY
I understood that an Amendment withdrawn is totally different to an Amendment negatived.
§ * THE CHAIRMAN
The rule of the House is that when a reduction has been proposed from the Chair it is not possible to go back to a previous item.
MR. T. M. HEALY
said that if that was the ruling of the Chairman he would say a few words upon other topics. He desired to ask why, in the case of an institution which was largely provided by the State, some attempt was not made to secure uniformity in the school books. He observed from the report of one inspector that in Scotland history was now made an optional subject. The inspector spoke of the meagre results obtained since the teaching of history had been made optional. Again, it appeared that while a child must necessarily be taught in English in certain subjects the examination might take place in his native tongue. That was rather a severe test upon a pupil. He had read carefully the Blue Books upon Scottish education and he was bound to recognise the greater spirit of friendliness and sympathy shown by the inspectors, both with the great cause of education and with what he might call local patriotism, than they were accustomed to witness in Ireland.
§ MR. CALDWELL rose to continue the discussion.1079
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I beg to move that the question be now put. [Ministerial Cheers and Opposition cries of "Oh, oh!"]
§ THE CHAIRMAN
Order, order! In my opinion the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Louth merit some reply from the Lord Advocate. [Loud Opposition cheers.]
§ MR. CALDWELL
On a point of order, Sir. I was speaking when the Closure was moved. The Closure was not assented to; and I wish to know whether it is in order to call on the Lord Advocate to reply and to refuse to allow me to proceed with my speech?
§ THE CHAIRMAN
I withheld my assent to the Motion for the Closure upon the ground I have just stated. If the hon. Member will not permit the Lord Advocate to reply I shall have to reconsider my decision. [Ministerial cheers and Opposition laughter.]
§ * The LORD ADVOCATE
hoped the hon. and learned Member for Louth would not think him discourteous in not having risen to reply. But as to his point in regard to the teaching of Gaelic the hon. and learned Member had rather overrated the facts of the case. Gaelic was not imposed as a test, but was allowed as a concession to enable those whose language it was to undergo the examination in the form where they would be at their bust—namely, in their own vernacular.
§ MR. CALDWELL
then moved that item A be reduced by a sum of £100 in order to emphasise the discussion.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I beg to move that the question be now put. [Ministerial cheers and Opposition cries of "Oh, oh."]
MR. T. M. HEALY
On a point of order, Mr. Lowthor, I wish to ask whether it is in order for a Minister to speak to you in a tone that is inaudible to the House. [Opposition cheers.]
§ MR. CALDWELL
May I submit Mr. Lowther, that, as this matter has undergone discussion, we only ask for 1080 the natural Division after a discussion? I meant to move the Amendment without a speech, and to take a Division in the usual way.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
As the Committee is aware, an hon. Member is entitled to move the Closure at any stage of a discussion. [Ministerial cheers.]
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 121; Noes,35.—(Division List, No. 30.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 122; Noes, 30.—(Division List, No. 31.)
§ On the Vote of £2,500, to complete the sum for the National Gallery of Scotland,
§ *MR. PRITCHARD MORGAN (Merthyr Tydfil) moved to report Progress, pointing out that he had been promised by the Leader of the House an opportunity to ventilate a question affecting the goldfields in Wales at a reasonable hour that evening. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to give him that opportunity now. The question was not, only one of interest to Wales, but it was of national importance, especially when it was connected with the further question of giving employment to a large number of men in Wales during the coming winter.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said, it was quite true what the hon. Member had stated. He had promised that he would give the hon. Member the opportunity, at an hour not unduly late, of completing the short Debate begun on the subject of the goldfields in Wales; and to that promise he adhered.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said, with reference to the general Motion, the right hon. Gentleman would remember that when he obtained the time of the House he was asked definitely whether it was his intention on Wednesday evenings to ask the House to sit much beyond the ordinary hour. The right hon. Gentleman said it was not part of his intention, and he was sure that when the right hon. Gentleman gave a pledge he always tried to act up to it. The Committee had not made as much progress during the last hour or two as might have been 1081 made—[Ministerial cheers]—if the Government had accepted the offer made to them earlier in the evening. [Cries of "Obstruction!''] During a considerable portion of that night's Debate not two Members were to be seen on the Ministerial side of the House below the Gangway. In view of the promise made by the, right hon. Gentleman without any condition, when he obtained the full time of the House, that he would not keep the House sitting on a Wednesday beyond a reasonable time; in view of the progress that had been made in Supply; in view of the fact that no Vote had been discussed beyond a reasonable length of time—["Oh, oh! "]—and that what discussion there had been was sustained equally by both sides of the House; he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to yield, and so facilitate their getting away for the holidays as soon as possible.
§ * MR. LOUGH
thought that if the Leader of the House would set aside those feelings which perhaps were not unnaturally engendered by recent incidents, he would recognise that his hon. Friend was well within the limits prescribed when the whole time of the House was taken. If the right hon. Gentleman would consider the amount of work done that day, he would adopt a different attitude. Some Votes had not been discussed at all, and others had been discussed briefly, and the work done justified the Opposition in pressing the Leader of the House to carry out his promise.
§ MR. TOMLINSON
could not imagine what object hon. Members thought they would gain by prolonging the Session. No one could doubt that the House had submitted to a good deal of what could not be called by any other name than obstruction. In the last discussion Scotchmen had gone into the Lobby to Vole against —[Cries of "Order!"]
§ MR. CALDWELL rose to order, and asked whether the hon. Member was in order in making reflections upon the conduct, of Members in the last Division?
§ THE CHAIRMAN
said, the hon. Member had better not continue that line of argument. It was better to avoid reflections upon the conduct of hon. Members.
§ MR. TOMLINSON
said, the House and the public would understand what had happened, and would form their own 1082 opinion of the proceedings of that night. He would suggest to hon. Members opposite that they would gain nothing by prolonging the Session. There had been ample time for anyone to say anything of importance.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said, that hon. Members had alluded to what they appeared to think some kind of pledge he had given with regard to the length of sitting on Wednesdays. If hon. Members would carry their minds back to pledges given on similar occasions, they would agree with him that the proper interpretation, and the interpretation put upon them at the time was that while there would be every desire not to extend a Wednesday sitting much beyond six o'clock, nevertheless occasion might arise for an expansion of the sitting: the occasion in this case being the necessity for finishing the Debates on Supply within reasonable limits of time. On behalf of the Government he was glad to recognise the work that was done in the earlier portion of the sitting, but unfortunately about six o'clock a change came o'er the spirit of the dream, and since then the Debates had been more prolonged, and there had been developed an amount of heat which, for his part, he greatly regretted. If the House would only set to work now in the spirit it manifested earlier they could rapidly finish the business it was desired to dispose of at that sitting.
MR. T. M. HEALY
said, that he cast on blame on the Leader of the House for the difficulty which had arisen; the Gentleman who was responsible for getting the Government into this difficulty had run away. They had a deputy Leader of the House; it was not the Chancellor of the Exchequer, nor the First Lord of the Admiralty, but it was the right hon. Member for West Birmingham who intervened at a moment when the House was about to come to a reasonable understanding, and whose malign influence was responsible for the change that had occurred. The right hon. Gentleman, with a little nod, practically gave them to understand that no approach to an arrangement was possible. The terms of the pledge given by the Leader of the House was that it was not desired to sit much beyond six o'clock "except under stress of circumstances." [Ministerial cheers.] 1083 Memo for now Members: "Never cheer too soon"—[laughter]—"except under stress of circumstances very unlikely to arise." What was the stress of such circumstances that had arisen? Was the right hon. Member for West Birmingham one of them? At six o'clock that night they were told there were Votes about which an exception was made, and that there was a formal treaty with some right hon. Gentleman. When common Members were to be asked to sit up late, there was always a bargain between the two front Benches. The Votes for the British Protectorate in Uganda was not to be discussed after midnight because the Member for West Birmingham wanted to speak and to be reported. This unfair discrimination in taking and forcing on Votes was bound to give rise to some want of appreciation. If the bargain had been made across the table of the House, the Nationalist Members would have accepted it. But there ought not to be both daylight and night light discussions. The Nationalist Members had not been treated in a spirit corresponding with the one they showed last night. There was no desire on their part to prolong the Sitting or the Vote. He hoped the Leader of the House would see his way to meet them in their desires.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said, he desired to explain at once that for everything that had occurred that night in connection with the leadership of that House, he alone was responsible. If mistakes had been made, they had been his mistakes. The decisions of the Leader of the House were not always easy to be arrived at, and he did not pretend to be infallible. At all events, what had been done had been done by himself, and upon his head alone must rest any blame which any hon. Member in the House thought ought to be bestowed upon those responsible for its management. The hon. Gentleman appeared to think that the postponement of the Uganda Vote and one or two others connected with diplomacy and the Colonies had something to do with the convenience of right hon. Gentlemen on that Bench. He could assure him that that suspicion, however natural, had absolutely no foundation whatever. ["Hear, hear!"] He was not saying anything that he 1084 ought not to say when he told the Committee that these Votes were postponed in deference to the opinion of hon. Members of the Opposition, who were under the impression that if that course were taken there would be no difficulty in obtaining the rest of the Civil Service Estimates. He was not making this statement as any charge against those hon. Members. They made a miscalculation, and that was all. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ * MR. PROVAND
appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to consent to the postponement of the Votes relating to the Post Office, the mail contracts, and the telegraphs.
§ MR. E. J. C. MORTON (Devonport)
pointed out to the right hon. Gentleman that he himself had admitted that up to 6 o'clock they had made fair progress. They had at that time passed ten Votes, and they had passed nine since that hour. Did not the right hon. Gentleman think that that was good progress for them to have made? ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. DALZIEL
said that there had been a general understanding among the Members of the Opposition that the Post Office Votes would be postponed. He asked whether the right hon. Gentleman did not now recognise that the West Highland Railway Vote involved contentious matter. He hoped that some satisfactory arrangement might be arrived at.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said that he did not know that the postponement of the Post Office Votes would be an arrangement that would militate against the, ultimate disposal of Supply. If the, West Highland Railway was shown to be a contentious matter, the Government would not press it, but they could hardly believe that it was contentious. The hon. Member would have an opportunity of showing that it was contentious to demonstration by dividing against it, and, if hostility was made manifest, the responsibility would rest upon others than the Government. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ DR. CLARK
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would consider the advisability of continuing next year the grant of £1,000 for the National Gallery in Scotland. If it was not continued 1085 the Scotch Gallery would suffer severely, and a chock would be given to the progress of art in Edinburgh. The Irish would receive £1,000 for their National Gallery, and for the English National Gallery a sum of £5,000 was to be given. Scotland ought certainly to be placed in respect of this matter in as favourable a position as Ireland. He hoped, therefore, that the Treasury would consent to ensure the continuity of this grant.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
thought it would probably be desirable to continue the grant next year. He would confer with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject before the Estimates for next year were prepared.
§ * MR. PROVAND
asked the Government to require an account of the grant of public money entrusted to the Board of Manufacturers in Edinburgh. He wanted to know what they did with the money.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE
promised to inquire into the matter. His impression was that it was not the practice of the Board of Manufacturers to supply a detailed account of their expenditure. The members of the Board were all distinguished men and were all very carefully selected, and the results achieved by their efforts were matters of public knowledge. There might, he thought, be difficulties in the way of the preparation of anything like an exact account.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Vote of £38,200 to complete the sum for British Protectorates in Uganda and Central Africa—agreed to.
§ Vote of £59,372 to complete the sum for Colonial Services, including South Africa—agreed to.
§ On the Vote of £1,000 to complete the sum for Cyprus (grant in aid),
§ MR. PIERPOINT (Warrington)
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in answering the question which he had put to him about the absence of the Report from Cyprus, replied that he well knew that the Report of Cyprus was two months overdue, but it was because the Chief Secretary's office in Cyprus had not been supplied with the assistance which the 1086 right hon. Gentleman thought it ought to have had, owing to the fact that it was necessary to cut down the expenses of Cyprus as low as possible. It amounted to this, that the expenses of Cyprus would not stand one or two extra clerks at a salary of £150 or £200 a year each. The island of Cyprus was paying out of its resources nearly one half of the whole of its revenue, and, according to the Turkish Convention of the 4th June, which assigned Cyprus to England, it was agreed that England would pay to the Porte whatever was the excess of revenue over expenditure. The surplus revenue took a very long time to settle; negotiations were begun in 1878, and in 1880 the Porte made default in the Turkish loan of 1855 guaranteed jointly by England and France. The amount of interest on that loan, so far as it affected the tribute supplied by Cyprus, was £81,000 odd. England was the paymaster in regard to the 1855 loan, and, should there be any default on the part of Turkey, each guarantor paid its quota, but England paid in the first place and then rendered an account, not only to herself, but to France. For some time after Turkey made default, France had to pay a certain amount towards her guarantee, but in 1880 England seized the revenues of the island of Cyprus and devoted them to the payment of the guarantee. This sum thus seized, amounting to nearly £93,000, had never gone into the hands of Turkey at all, and the consequence was that France, and England had the whole of then' guarantees satisfied, amounting to £41,000 odd each. The Government of Cyprus almost every year told us that they were short of money, and yet we continued to exact this tribute. He desired to recall to the right hon. Gentleman the following words he used the other day regarding a larger and more important place than Cyprus :—I regard many of our colonies as being in the condition of undeveloped estates, which can never lie developed without Imperial assistance.He would point out that Cyprus was an undeveloped estate; and, as the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, a very heavily mortgaged one, and he hoped some arrangement might be come to by which Cyprus might be relieved 1087 of this ruinous burden. When Lord Wolseley took possession of the island he used these words:—Her Majesty commands me to assure the inhabitants of Cyprus that she is warmly interested in their happiness; that she proposes to order the acceptance of such measures as may be deemed most suitable for the advancement and development of the commerce and the agriculture of the country, and give to the people the benefits of freedom, justice, and security, and that no measure will be neglected contributing to the moral and material progress of the welfare of the people.We had undertaken to contribute to the moral and material progress of the people of Cyprus, and he would be glad to hear what had been done in that direction. We had taken out of the island nearly half of the whole revenue, and we had allowed the Cypriotes to spend £10,000 a year on their public works. It was said when Cyprus was taken over that it was going to be a place d'armes; but there were only a few caretakers in the barracks there now. If that intention had been carried out, Cyprus might have been able to bear this enormous taxation, because there would have been a large expenditure of Imperial money on the island. As it was, we were simply squeezing money out of the island in order to satisfy the indebtedness of this country and of France.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES, Mr. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
In answer to what has just been said, the agreement, as I understood it, exists between the Leader of the House and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and does not preclude my hon. Friend from raising a question in which he has taken a great interest and is a competent authority. At the same time I am grateful to him for putting his points very clearly and very succinctly, and I do not think the discussion which will follow need be prolonged to any great extent. In answer to my hon. Friend, I would say that he has 1088 raised some very interesting questions in regard to our occupation of Cyprus, and I am in the position of a perfectly impartial person, because I am not answerable either for the original occupation of Cyprus or for anything done since in connection with our tenure of that island. He has referred to the separate interests of Cyprus, of England, and of France. Although I do not wish to commit myself to every word my hon. Friend has spoken, yet in principle I do not disagree with him. The bargain has been, on the whole, an extremely good one for France. It has not been so good for us, and my hon. Friend appears to think it has been a very bad one for Cyprus. It has been, a good bargain for France, because it is perfectly true, as my hon. Friend says, that France, having guaranteed a loan upon which the Turks had defaulted, has found that we have stepped in and have secured the payment of interest upon the loan by means of the Cyprus tribute and other securities, so that France has not been called upon to meet a single penny of her liabilities. It is true that technically we also have gained to the same extent, because we also have not been called upon to pay a single penny of this direct liability upon the Turkish loan; but, on the other hand, we have been called upon indirectly to meet every deficiency in the expenditure upon Cyprus, and of course might just as well have paid the money on the Turkish Loan. That is the state of things, and successive Governments, acting under the advice of the law officers, have held that we have no alternative. France has profited, and we may congratulate her upon the advantage which she has obtained, but we cannot dispute her right, and under these circumstances we must simply accept the situation. Then I have stated incidentally what is the position of England. England, although she has not been called upon to pay her full liability under the Turkish Loan, has been called upon to pay a considerable portion of it in the shape of the grant to Cyprus. The position of Cyprus is not exactly as stated by my hon. Friend. We have to deal with the condition of Cyprus as we found it when, the occupation was first commenced. At that time Cyprus was paying a tribute. It was paying the whole of its surplus revenue. We agreed 1089 that that surplus revenue should continue to be paid to Turkey and that it should be estimated upon the average of the previous five years. Accordingly a sum of £87,000 was determined as the actual amount, and £5,000 was added in order to do away with an anomaly which previously existed. Altogether we owe Turkey, on behalf of Cyprus, a sum of £92,000 a year, but by arrangement, instead of paying it to Turkey, we pay it by way of interest on a loan negotiated by Turkey. I do not think that Cypriotes have suffered. If we had never assumed our present position they would still have had the same sum to pay. Then comes the last question of my hon. Friend. Has Cyprus benefited, as it ought to have benefited, by our occupation? I think that when the Government of a country has been transferred from the Government of Turkey to a Government like that of Great Britain, we may flatter ourselves that some improvement has taken place. ["Hear, hear!"] But I have looked into the matter, and I have come to the conclusion that Cyprus has undoubtedly benefited in many ways, and that any impartial Cypriote would prefer to remain under British rule rather than go back to Turkey. I agree, however, that we have not done all we could do, or, I will say it frankly, all we ought to do. ["Hear, hear !''] This is one of the cases I had in my mind when I expressed the other day an opinion as to the general principles which ought to influence English administrators when dealing with colonies of this kind. I think the principle undoubtedly applies in this case, and I have been making inquiries in what way the resources of Cyprus could be developed. I think also my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been making inquiries on his part in regard to this tribute to see whether it cannot be possible to lessen the burden in some way or other by, perhaps, an alteration in the loan; but that is a very difficult and complicated question, involving international complications, and I have no right to speak on it at the present moment. As regards other matters, I have had the advantage of seeing the Governor of Cyprus, who happens to be in this country, as to the possibilities of developing the national resources of the country. They are, I 1090 think, as far as we know at present, almost entirely agricultural, and what appears to be wanting at present is good roads and a system of irrigation, and the means of Cyprus will not admit of providing either good roads or successful irrigation works. That presents exactly the problem which I wish the House to keep in mind, and all I can say is that it is receiving my most careful attention, and I hope that by the assistance of the Imperial Government in making these improvements in the country, we can secure a satisfactory return, which will, in the first place, make the British taxpayer secure, and, in the second place, develop the resources of Cyprus. If that should be so, I shall certainly come down to this House and ask them to make the necessary arrangements. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
observed that the right hon. Gentleman truly said that he was not in any way responsible for the arrangements which existed between this country and France with regard to Cyprus; but, after all, in the matter of Cyprus the persons most concerned were the inhabitants, and the right hon. Gentleman seemed to have satisfied himself that the inhabitants had been benefited by the change. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he had studied the statements made by the deputation of Cypriotes who came over to this country some years ago. If he had he would find that there were people in Cyprus who would hail with gratitude a return to Turkish rule. In Turkish times no such revenue was raised as was now raised. How many families had been sold up in Cyprus by the British Government for taxes? Some years ago he obtained a return showing the number of homes that had been sold up at the instance the British fiscal officials in Cyprus. That was a very good test of the prosperity of the country. There was a great test of the prosperity of a country. When they found a population dwindling and money growing scarce, they might be sure that something was wrong in the administration. The population of Cyprus was smaller now than when it was first occupied, and the drain of money had been, so great that some of the taxes were; now being paid in kind, and not in coin. There were fewer men 1091 in the island, and less money. It was not the only island in the world which had suffered from the same kind of thing. ["Hear, hear!"] He, of course, acquitted the present Colonial Secretary of responsibility for this, and from the words which the right hon. Gentleman had uttered he felt sure that he desired to do what he could to benefit Cyprus. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not trust the official reports from the time of Lord Wolseley's administration downwards. Those reports were all couleur de rose, and did not disclose the real condition of the people.
§ SIR G. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
reminded his right hon. Friend that Cyprus had no satisfactory port, and suggested that the construction of a commercial and naval port at Famagusta, or at another convenient place, would be one of the best means of improving the condition of the island.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Vote of £140, to complete the sum for Slave Trade Services—agreed to.
§ Vote of £28,100, to complete the sum for Subsidies to Telegraph Companies— agreed to.