1. Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £710,865, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1898, for Public Education in England and Wales.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
This is a Vote to give effect to what is called the Voluntary Schools Act. It proposes to give £619,475 to Voluntary Schools and £91,000 to the School Boards. I am not going to renew the controversy on what we, at all events, regard as the unjust and unjustifiable distinction between these two grants. 'We shall on every occasion, as I do now, protest against the injustice of the small sum of money given to the School Boards as compared with the large sum given to the Voluntary Schools. As that was decided on the Second Reading of the Bill I shall not repeat the arguments here to-day; but my object is rather to obtain some information, if we can, as to the principles upon which this money has been, and is being, administered and will be administered by the Education Department. The first point to which I desire to call attention is a Minute of the Committee of Council on Education of June 16 defining the town schools and country schools. In it the Department appear to have determined that the town schools' rate is to be 5s. 9d. per scholar, and the country schools' rate is to be 3s. 3d. per scholar. I think it extremely necessary that we should have some explanation from the Education Department of the grounds upon which they have arrived at this extraordinary distinction between the grant to Voluntary Schools in the country and Voluntary Schools ill the towns. [Cheers.] I myself am much more familiar with the Voluntary Schools in the country than I am with the Voluntary Schools in the great towns; but I have always understood that the schools that are most backward in regard to education are unquestionably the Voluntary Schools in the country. [Cheers.] Many of the Voluntary Schools in the towns are admirable schools—schools which rival even the Board Schools; but any one who knows, as I know, what are the conditions of the Voluntary Schools, especially in the districts in the south of England, and all over England, is aware that they are deficient in teachers, in apparatus, in all the resources which are required to give education, and that they are far below the general run of Voluntary Schools in the towns. [Cheers.] I do not desire in any way to disparage grants for schools in the towns, but it 1487 seems to me a most extraordinary proposal if this grant is intended—and it professes to be intended—to raise the standard of education in the country, that the schools it is proposed to starve are those which most require to be fed. A question was asked of the Vice President on this subject during the present month by the hon. Member for West Denbighshire whether an investigation had been made by the Education Department into the comparative cost of elementary education per child in rural and urban districts, and whether the results obtained confirmed the impression that urban education was more costly than rural education. The Vice President, in his reply, stated that—The best investigation possible has been made. There is no information in the possession of the Committee of Council which enables an accurate comparison between the cost of town and country schools to be made. In the opinion of the Committee of Council it is the income rather than the cost which is the determining factor in estimating the amount of aid required by a necessitous school.What is the consequence of that? It means this—where people have subscribed the least there the assistance is to. be given. [Cheers.] In the southern parts of England the subscriptions are much more adequate than they are in Lancashire; and therefore in Lancashire, where the population is dense, where the inhabitants are rich, you are going to give them 5s. 9d., and in the poor agricultural districts, where the education is thoroughly below "par," to use a moderate expression, they are only to receive 3s. 3d. because the test which the Education Department has taken is not the cost of education, but the income. I have thought of an explanation for this distinction, and the only one I can find is this—that in, the towns they want to run against the School Board; and therefore they give the Voluntary Schools there 5s. 9d. In the country districts, generally speaking, there are no School Boards; therefore they give them 3s. 3d. It is not because they care about raising education; their only object is to fight the School Boards. That is the meaning of the distinction to my mind. Where they think themselves safe, where they have a monopoly of the country village— there they do not care about raising the standard of education; but where they 1488 come into competition with the School Board there they enforce this grant of £600,000. This point well deserves the attention of the House and the country. Passing from that I go to the question of the voluntary associations. I have before expressed my view in the House of these voluntary associations. We anticipated from the first that these voluntary associations were intended to be, and would ultimately be, ecclesiastical organisations for the purpose of promoting sectarian objects. [Cheers.] They were said to be the most innocent bodies in the world; and the Colonial Secretary in his speech in support of the Bill said:The Government have thought, therefore, that it would be advantageous to encourage advisory associations which might lay before the Department facts which at any rate it might reasonably take into consideration. That is all the section does. It encourages the formation of associations, which may submit to the Department to be used or not at its sole discretion facts and information which otherwise it could not know.Of course it was for the distribution of the money; that was what was stated by the Government in reference to voluntary associations; but the Vice President of the Council threw, I think, more light on this Bill outside the House than he did inside its walls. [" Hear, hear!"] Speaking at Girton in March the Vice President said: —I will tell you one or two things which I hope these associations will do. In the first place, I hope they will be comprehensive; I hope they won't be narrowed down to any single sect, because the work of improving secular education in village schools is not a thing which touches any question of religious differences. It is one of those things we can all work together for without bringing up our unfortunate divisions and dissensions; and it will be far better to see all the schools combine in one association than to see them split into two or three. Another thing I hope is that these associations will confine themselves within some area in which they can act in union with the powers that are already in existence.That is the account given by the Department. These associations, according to the Vice President of the Council, were to include all sections; they were not to be associations of one sect or of another, and if they were to be useful they were to be comprehensive and to include all. But they reckoned without their hosts. As soon as the Bill was safe and certain, 1489 the Archbishop came into the field and took a very different view of what the associations ought to be. He seemed, from what I can recollect of it, rather to have reversed the miraculous conversion, and from Paul to have become Saul. [Opposition laughter and cheers.] Well, the moment the Bill was safe, he beat the drum ecclesiastic, and sent forth his command to his clerical hosts—he issued the Golden Bull from Lambeth. He said at once,—Oh, it is all very well to talk about these voluntary associations including all sects. Nothing of the kind";and he told the Nonconformists pretty plainly he would have nothing to do with them. Then took place the meeting of the National Society, at which the Archbishop said these words—words which will have a very serious effect on the history of education in this country. He said,—The Act gave them for the first time a very potent voice indeed";they were not to be merely an advisory body, as you will see—and where the associations were well worked he had no doubt they would become very powerful bodies; and it would be found that strong associations of Church schools all over the country would have a very powerful effect upon both Houses of Parliament.Now that is not voluntary associations. They were not to be innocent advisory bodies of the Education Department; they were to be "potent" sectarian institutions which were to have "a very powerful effect upon both Houses of Parliament." The Archbishop went on to say: "He was of opinion "—differing altogether from the Vice President of the Council—that it would be distinctly better that the associations should be associations of the Church schools.That is to say, they were not to comprehend any but Church schools, and thereby they were to become potent in their effect upon both Houses. I shall come presently to the mariner in which it is proposed to act upon both Houses of Parliament. Then followed next to 1490 the Archbishop one of the most distinguished champions of the Church. I always observe here with great attention and respect the utterances of the noble Lord the Member for Rochester, whom I have always regarded as a sort of Adjutant General of the Church Militant. [Laughter.] If he has not all the ecclesiastical qualities, he has great ecclesiastical sympathies, and, if he has the innocence of the dove, he sometimes seems to me to want the wisdom of the serpent—[laughter—]—and he generally on those occasions lets the cat out of the bag. He told us on that occasion eactly what this Act was meant to do and what it would do. He said,—They might depend upon it that the education question was not yet settled. They were only at the beginning of what was going to be a very bitter and prolonged controversy; and it was because he saw in the Voluntary Schools Act the machinery by which they would be able to fight a better battle against the enemy that he accepted it.["Hear, hear!" from the Ministerialists.] Against the enemy." What enemy?
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
That means, I presume, the Nonconformists—[An HON. MEMBER: "No, it does not!"]—and Board Schools. Are they not "the enemy?" [Opposition cheers.] The noble Lord is too candid to deny that "the enemy of mankind "—a phrase sometimes applied in a different sense— in his point of view is really the Board Schools. [Opposition cheers.] Now that was the declaration which went forth from Lambeth on the 16th of June; and you will see at once that what was intended by those voluntary associations was to create a sort of College of Propaganda, and it was at once acted upon. Now the first proposal, I think, in many cases—I do not know whether in all— was to make these organisations county organisations, and they were to include all the Voluntary Schools. Let us see what happened. We had a revelation of what occurred in Berkshire. There was an election of delegates front managers of schools to represent to the Education Department what the voluntary association was to be, and these delegates, as I gather from the accounts I have seen, went up with their mandate to vote, as
1491 I understand, in favour of such associations as I have described. They went up to London, and when they got there they were instantly seized upon by Bishops and rural deans and all the rest of the panoply of ecclesiasticism, and they were coerced, not only into violating their mandate, but into voting, not for the county of Berkshire, but for the diocese of Oxford. What was the ground of this miraculous conversion—a conversion as sudden and complete as that of the Franks to Christianity? [A laugh.] A Bishop said,—If they would only vote against the county and for the diocese they would have the great advantage of having a strong representation of Church educational work which could be brought to bear with all the power of a united diocese upon the Education Department itself.This is the body which was to be an advisory body to the. Education Department. "The prospect," he went on,of a diocesan organisation becoming the engine and instrument of Church education in the diocese itself would be an untold advantage. They would get rid of the parochial, and, perhaps, the individual factors, which had been the great impediment to all advance.[Ministerial cries of "Hear, hear!"] Yes, they are going to get rid of the parochial and the individual factor; and I think that when it becomes known in this country that their object is to get rid of your parochial parson and to put the schools under this ecclesiastical domination, there will be a good deal to say as to that. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
"The prospect of a diocesan association becoming the engine and instrument of Church education in the diocese in itself would be an untold advantage." Observe, as I have said, that this is the "advisory" body which is to become an "instrument of Church education." It is no longer to be advisory as to the spending of the 5s., but it is to become the instrument of an educational policy, and 1492 it is to bring its power to bear upon the Education Department.They would get rid of the parochial, and, perhaps, the individual factors, which had been the great impediment to all advance.I will explain it a little more fully to the right hon. Gentleman in the language of a rural dean, who on the same occasion put the matter quite clearly, so as to leave no doubt at all about it. He said that,—it ought to be a distinctive Church organisation, and should be exclusive; and they should not only not invite, but refuse to receive, the offers of any alien body to join their association.[Opposition cheers.] That is the basis of the whole thing. Then he goes on,—The diocesan association would have the effect of doing away with that wretched parochialism which eats out the very heart of their Church life in their different parishes.Now I know very well what that means. One of the most admirable institutions in this country, whether from a secular or an ecclesiastical point of view, is the independence of the parish and of the parish priest, who has been in the main a person who has carried on with great zeal and great interest the cause of education in his own locality. ["Hear, hear!" from the Ministerialists.] Well, then, this is the "wretched parochialism" that is to be got rid of. The school and all that concerns education is to be put under this ecclesiastical and episcopal domination, who are to conduct the business of education generally and who are to bring their pressure to bear on the Education Department. This, then, is the policy which is to be carried out in consequence of the action of the Archbishops. We know perfectly well what it means—this doing away with parochialism. It tends to raise up a domination of high dignitaries, who are to govern and keep in subordination all these "wretched" parochial "factors." I confess I should like to know what is to be the position of a class of men for whom I have a good deal of sympathy—the poor old-fashioned country clergyman who still believes in the Protestantism of the Church of England. [Opposition cheers.] How is he going to fare in these voluntary 1493 associations which are to be manipulated by this dominant priesthood? ["Hear, hear!"] He is to be told, "You are not the right sort of man, and your 5s. will not go very far in the schools in your district." Those who live in the country know very well what this means and how it is intended to deal with him. When these views were expounded and it became apparent that it was determined that these voluntary associations should be of an exclusive and sectarian character, there came forward a personage, who, at the first blush, might be supposed to be of some importance—I mean the President of the Council, the Duke of Devonshire—and he ventured to say what was rather audacious, because I think it is apparent that the Archbishop of Canterbury, not only in Court matters, but in matters educational, takes precedence of the President of the Council. The Duke of Devonshire said:—The most reverend Prelate seemed to be under the impression that the governing bodies of these associations would have the power of deciding in some way upon the character of the schools and of the religous instruction which is going to be given in future in them. He seemed to fear that if the association was not of an ecclesiastical character the religious character of many of these Voluntary Schools would he given up. These associations or their governing bodies, so far as I know, will have absolutely nothing to do with the management of the schools which they represent. They are simply formed for the purpose of advising the Department as to the distribution of a certain grant in proportion to the necessities of the schools. They do not assume, and they would not be permitted by the Department to assume, any power over the management of the schools, and therefore it seems to me that in the advice which the most reverend Prelate has given to school managers upon the subject and in the observations he has made this afternoon he has somewhat misapprehended the question, and has perhaps induced some of those who are guided by his advice to attach an unnecessary degree of importance to what. so far as I am able to ascertain, is, after all, a very minor question indeed.Yes, if the Duke of Devonshire had any authority it would be a minor question. [Hear, hear!"] He continued:—As to the last question, in which he asks what steps it is proposed to take for the assistance and protection of undenominational as well as British and other schools, the information which the Department has received is that the British and other denominational schools generally desire to form separate associations of their own. If, however, there are any in 1494 any district who do not desire to enter into any such association composed chiefly of Church schools, the Department will endeavour to see, as far as it is in its power, that the rules of the association are such as will secure to them adequate protection.But what is the use of that when the Archbishop and his followers have declared that they are not to be admitted at all? ["Hear, hear!"] Then the Duke of Devonshire, referring to Lord Kimberley, said: —Let me say, in reference to my noble Friend's statement that in his county a Diocesan association has been formed which does not propose to admit other than Church schools, that schools which have not an opportunity of joining an association will not suffer. They will have to be dealt with by the Department individually.Let me ask whether, if these voluntary associations choose to exclude all schools but their own, the children who are excluded will have their 5s. What the President of the Council said is very good sense, and is very satisfactory as far as it goes, but we are obliged to inquire who and what the Duke of Devonshire is in relation to the question of education. ["Hear, hear!"] He is only the head of the Department; but that goes for nothing. [Laughter and cheers.] The question of education in this House has not been in the hands of the Vice President, and apparently the people who have least to do with the question of education in this country are the Ministers who are responsible to the Houses of Parliament. We learnt a little about the position of the President of the Council the other day, when a Measure relating to education was before the other House. It referred to a scheme which had been approved by the locality concerned, by the Joint Committee, and by the Charity Commissioners, and which had been confirmed by the Education Department. The President of the Council, the head of the Department, supported the scheme in the House of Lords, but there descended upon it, as usual, the Archbishop, with a posse comitatus of Bishops. The scheme was destroyed. The Archbishop smote the President of the Council in the face and, what is more remarkable, the Prime Minister stabbed him, in the back. [Laughter and cheers.] Thus, in one of these questions, which, we are told, have nothing to do with party, have 1495 nothing to do with the religious difficulty, the Prime Minister brought down a party majority to the House of Lords to defeat his own colleague, the head of the Education Department. Such a thing, I suppose, never happened before. There is only one thing I know at all like it. We have most of us seen the stone in the portals of St. Mark's, at Venice, which recalled the occasion when the Pope put his foot upon the neck of the Emperor. [Laughter.] The Archbishop does what he likes with the supporters of the Prime Minister, and the Education Department is of no more account in the other House than in this. I suppose that by this time the Duke of Devonshire finds himself in the position of Frankenstein, and regards the Voluntary Schools Bill as a sort of monster which he can no longer control. We have learnt now where the control of the education of the country lies. It is not in the Education Department. It lies principally in the bench of Bishops, supported by a very powerful and very able family triumvirate, the Prime Minister, the First Lord of the Treasury, and the noble Lord the Member for Rochester. [Cheers and laughter.] One of them conducts the Education Bill in the House of Commons, another defeats the head of the Department in the House of Lords, and the noble Lord opposite is always ready to assist them both. This is an extraordinary state of things. We are told that this is a Bill which is going to assist education, but it is nothing of the kind. It is a Bill, whatever may have been the intention—it is a Bill calculated and framed and worked for the purpose of religious strife. It is a subsidy, as the noble Lord opposite has properly described it, in support of the bitter struggles to which he looks forward with such hope and interest. The noble Lord rejoices in the prospect of that bitter strife, but that is not my view. One of the best things that happened in 1870 was the compromise that was then made, and which gave peace to the country in respect of education for 27 years. That peace has been broken up, that truce has been denounced, and the Archbishop and his supporters have explained that the voluntary associations have been formed for the express purpose of carrying on war, and the Vote to be passed to-night is to supply the funds for that war. I regret this policy and the spirit in which 1496 it has been initiated. [Cheers.] We were assured at first that the voluntary associations were not to concern themselves with religious questions at all, that they were merely to supply information as to the assistance to be given out of the taxpayers' money, that they were only to inform and aid the Department. Now we are told by those who are forming these associations and are about to work them, that they are intended for a totally different purpose, and that this money out of the taxpayers' pockets is to be used in the bitter struggle of which the noble Lord has spoken. Money thus spent is, in my opinion, mis-spent. The use of these funds for the purposes described in the passages I have read from the speeches of those who are practically the masters of these associations, will not aid the cause of education in this country, but will retard it. [Cheers.]
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
When the right hon. Gentleman asked me to provide a convenient hour to discuss the Supplementary Estimate now before the Committee, it might have been supposed by those not intimately acquainted with the Parliamentary methods of the right hon. Gentleman, that his object was to attack the administration of the Department which is responsible for this Vote. If the right hon. Gentleman had given even a small fraction of his speech to dealing with the Education Department, and with their action under the Bill passed at the beginning of the year, I should not now have intervened in the Debate.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I do not follow that point. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman knows exactly what the Education Department has got to do under the Bill, if he will only read the Bill, but he has not dealt with what the Education Department could or ought to do under the Bill. He has occupied the three-quarters of an hour in which he has been pouring forth his characteristic utterances, not in abusing the Education Department, but in attacking the Prime Minister, my noble Friend the Member for Rochester, the President of the Council, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops, the Deans, 1497 the Rural Deans—[laughter]— the Archdeacons—
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I thought the right hon. Gentleman went through item by item every one of what he was pleased to call "the panoply of ecclesiasticism." I never heard that metaphor applied in such a sense before, but at all events if the right hon. Gentleman spared any of these classes it must have been by mistake—[laughter]—for I noticed that he splashed about in the course of his fiery oratory and threw his invective indifferently upon everybody as far as I could see, except the Department and the parochial clergy. By the way, is it not a remarkable fact that the right hon. Gentleman should come forward for the first time in his life as the exponent of the virtues of the parochial clergy? [Cheers.]
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I was not one of his fortunate auditors on those occasions. I have constantly heard him cheer the sort of attacks which were an every day occurrence while the Bill was passing through the House, and in which hon. Gentlemen opposite attacked the parochial clergy, attacked the parochial managers of schools, describing them as the great enemies of education, as petty tyrants who twisted everything in their parishes to suit their own narrow minds. And now it appears that the one hope of voluntary education in this country is the parochial clergy unhampered either by the President of the Council or by Lord Salisbury, or by my noble Friend the Member for Rochester, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops, the Deans, and the Archdeacons, unaided by any machinery which would make them acquainted with what is being done in other parishes, unhelped by any common association with others engaged in the same work. The whole hope of education is in the men who up to the present time have been uniformly denounced by those who pride themselves on being the friends of education. [Cheers.] The truth is, as is quite obvious, the right hon. Gentleman only praised the parochial clergy, only drew their virtues in bright colours, in order that he might make 1498 stronger the contrast between them and the wicked dignitaries who were the special object of his attack on this occasion. What is all this thunderous oratory about? I really admire the courage with which the right hon. Gentleman made what was a platform speech in structure and in character to a wearied House of Commons at the very end of July on a hot day—[laughter]—to a thin and indifferent audience who had struggled into the House. [Renewed laughter]. But, while I admire the courage and the rhetorical fire with which the right hon. Gentleman poured forth this somewhat irrelevant stream of criticism, I confess that when these criticisms are brought down to their real value they come to very little indeed. The right hon. Gentleman appears to think that what has been done under the powers given to form associations is inconsistent both with the declarations of the Government in passing the Bill and with the spirit of the Bill itself. I do not agree with him. It is a curious fact that the right hon. Gentleman, who is fonder of quotations than any man know in this House, has not done me the honour of quoting from any of my speeches, although I was the Minister in charge of the Bill and delivered almost all the speeches made from this Bench while the Bill was going through the House. [Ironical cheers.] I do not know why that should move the indignation of hon. Gentlemen opposite. If there was no quotation from any of the innumerable speeches that I made which fitted the purposes of the right hon. Gentleman, I think it might be assumed that there is no very great inconsistency between what is being done now and what was promised when the Bill was passing through the House. I never held out any assurance to the. House, direct or indirect, that the areas that might be chosen for these associations would not be the existing ecclesiastical areas, nor that in forming the associations they might not very often consist of schools of only one denomination. I never suggested such a thing because I never thought it, and if there was nothing else to prevent me thinking it, there was the knowledge undoubtedly that the Roman Catholics, so far as they were concerned, would certainly not consent to admit other schools into their 1499 association. Therefore it would have been perfect folly for me to pretend that the associations to be formed would not in many cases, at all events, be denominational in their character. What is the fact? The right hon. Gentleman appears to think that all these associations, in so far as the majority of schools in them belong to the Church of England, exclude schools which belong to other denominations. The whole of his speech from beginning to end was an attack on what he was pleased to call the intolerance of the higher ecclesiastics of the Church, who deliberately excluded from these associations all schools which did not happen to belong to their own denomination. I think it will be admitted by any one who heard the speech that that is not an unfair account of the gist of the right hon. Gentleman's speech.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
The Archbishop's salary is not on the Votes of this House, and if the whole object of the right hon. Gentleman was to make an attack on one speech of the Archbishop, I think he has been wasting our time and his own. [Cheers.] But let it be noted that the Archbishop has no authority under this Bill. [Cheers.]
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I will come to the power. He has no authority. He has the right, as every man has the right, to give his opinions to those who will listen to them. He, more than anybody, has the right to give the members of his Church his own opinions on matters concerning his Church. [Cheers.] Is the right hon. Gentleman going to deny him that power? But while it is no part of my duty to defend the Archbishop, who is certainly capable of defending himself, let me point out what has actually been done by the Church of England under the powers given them by the Bill, and let me compare that with what has been done by other denominations to whom no reference was made by the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman, so far as I know, did not quote one single association of Church of England Schools which excludes schools of other denominations. There are such, I admit, but 1500 he did not quote them. The only case he quoted was based apparently upon a statement of Lord Kimberley's in the other House, which statement was incorrect.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
The only time I mentioned Lord Kimberley's name was in quoting the Duke of Devonshire's reply to some remarks which Lord Kimberley had made. The only case I referred to was the case of Berkshire, which was brought forward by Lord Wantage, and I understand that in consequence of that Debate what had been done has been reversed.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I do not want to differ with the right hon. Gentleman on that point. He did not quote Lord Kimberley directly. He quoted the reply of the Duke of Devonshire to Lord Kimberley, and therefore quoted him indirectly. But Lord Kimberley was incorrect in what he said in the House of Lords, though the matter was not taken up by the Duke of Devonshire at the time. Lord Kimberley said that the association in the diocese in which his home lies did not admit any schools but Church of England schools. He was mistaken. The diocese of Norwich does admit other schools, and so Lord Kimberley will find out if he cares to make the inquiry. I have here a list of the associations finally agreed or provisionally agreed to by the Education Department, and the great majority of these, which consist mainly of Church of England Schools, are open to schools of other denominations. There are exceptions, but they are few, and, therefore, if the object of the Archbishop was to exclude these schools, it is evident that that object has not been carried out, and that the denunciations of the right hon. Gentleman are wholly wasted upon him. But it is not merely of associations on which the Church of England schools are in a majority that I have information about. There are also Roman Catholic associations, Wesleyan associations, and Jewish associations, and I observe that not one single Roman Catholic association has admitted other schools, and not one Jewish association has admitted schools not belonging to that denomination. With regard to the Wesleyans, I am informed that the Wesleyan associations have admitted a few schools of other denominations—Primitive Methodists, Baptists, and 1501 British schools—but the other denominations have, as I have stated, not admitted schools of other denominations. What does all this attack mean? The right hon. Gentleman contrasts the powers given to the associations under the Bill, and appears to think that if they exercise any other, I will not say powers, because they have no other powers, but any other influence, or put these to any other use, they are breaking through the spirit of the Act. That is not the case. The associations are called into existence for a solitary purpose, but are we to say that no other parties are to interfere? I have great hopes and great expectations that these associations, be they predominantly Church of England, be they predominantly Wesleyan, or be they predominantly Roman Catholic, will exercise a most wholesome and beneficent influence in connection with the education given in their districts. [Cheers.] The right hon. Gentleman must be very little acquainted with the difficulties which managers in remote districts have to contend with in connection with the great work of education. So far from regarding it as a misfortune I regard it as one of the great virtues of the Act that these associations should confine themselves strictly within their specified duties. I am sure the Committee will not he misled by the right hon. Gentleman or accept his views. In the name of moderation he has put forward a proposal which is one of the most immoderate proposals I have ever come across. ["Hear, hear!"] Will the Committee remember that the Bishops who were painted in lurid colours as tyrants have no authority whatever? They are not even ex officio members of the association. If they are members it is because they are elected members of the association,—["hear, hear!"]—and they are no more the tyrants of the school managers in their district which has elected them than the right hon. Gentleman is the tyrant of his own constituency, to whom he gives advice. [Cheers and laughter.] The Act, according to the information supplied to me by my right hon. Friend, the Vice President, is working so far admirably. The associations are being formed without any friction of consequence. Of course, human nature being what it is, there must be some difficulty when managers of schools are 1502 called upon to turn themselves into associations. There must, I say, be friction of a kind and some difficulty, but we feel greatly reassured by the zeal and the public spirit shown in the constitution of these associations. For myself I may say my hopes have been greatly raised. Why should it frighten the right hon. Gentleman if those who are bound together in working out one common undertaking, one great cause, should have the opportunity of meeting together, and if these associations should grow in influence, legitimate authority, experience, and power? I am sure that no true friend of education in this country—certainly no true friend of religious education—need feel that such a situation is other than a matter for hearty congratulation. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. GEORGE LAMBERT (Devon, South Molton)
said they could not expect that Nonconformists would join in these diocesan associations of which the Bishop was the head and soul of the matter. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Bishop had no power. He could only speak for his own county of Devonshire. It was thought that these associations would be representative. The other day, when a communication was received from the Department, it was followed in a day or two by a circular from the Bishop asking that no reply should be sent until they heard from him. Why had the Bishop attempted to interfere? The right hon. Gentleman had evaded the chief portion of the attack of the Leader of the Opposition. He had not mentioned a single word in excuse of the differentiation between town and country schools. If he had been able to he would have done so.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
As the hon. Gentleman challenges me, he will remember that I said I would not reply to that part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech that was an attack upon the Department. Three-fourths of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman had nothing to do with the Department.
§ MR. LAMBERT
Then it seems the right hon. Gentleman did not reply to the relevant portions of the speech.
§ MR. LAMBERT
said that they wanted to know differentially between town and country schools. As to the information supplied to the right hon. Gentleman by the Vice President, that right hon. Gentleman had been thrown over by everybody. If this money had been intended for the benefit of education more of it would have been spent in those districts which needed it most. Education in the country districts required levelling up altogether, so as to enable the pupils to be fit to receive technical education. This was a thing they had a right to complain of. Education in the country districts was not high enough. It did not develop the rural mind so that it might takes advantage of technical education. This Bill did not go in that direction. It did not raise education there. It was simply another prop to the Voluntary Schools in towns, and yet those in the country districts had made greater sacrifices in the cause of education than those in the towns. Take Lancashire: the voluntary subscriptions amounted to only 4s. 7¾d. per head, but in this county they amounted to 6s. 11d. per head. Yet Devonshire would get less. Take his own constituency: it contributed 11s. 10d. per scholar, but it was to have only 3s. 3d., while in the towns the amount would be 5s. 9d. It had been repeatedly urged that the rural clergyman above all others had made personal sacrifices for the Voluntary Schools. And now, after they had been promised a grant of 5s., they were to get a grant of only 3s. 3d. Income, said the Government, was to be the test of a necessitous school. Then, if there was no subscriptions, the Department would make up the deficiency, and, if the subscriptions were liberal, the Department would withdraw a portion of the grant. He could think of nothing more likely to have an ill-effect on voluntary subscriptions. It was to reward those who had been mean, and to penalise those who had been generous. Rural education was far more inefficient than that of the towns, and was more expensive to maintain. The object of the Government was to enable the Voluntary Schools in the towns to meet the competition of the Board Schools. The Vice President once complained that the heads of the Education Department were scattered all over London; but the 1504 right hon. Gentleman forgot to mention where the real head of the Department lived— that was, in Lambeth Palace.
§ MR. ARTHUR JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)
said that he hoped it was not too late for the Department to reduce the great difference between the grants for rural and urban schools. [Opposition cheers.] When the Bill was before the House, he for one had no idea that the difference was to be so great, and he was sure the country districts would be bitterly disappointed. [Opposition cheers.] Many of the poor schools had been relying on this grant to make both ends meet. The education given in some of these rural schools was excellent, but they were starved for want of funds. It really looked as if the Government were determined to reward those who did not subscribe liberally to Voluntary Schools, and punish those who did. [Opposition cheers.] He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not decide finally on the proposed rates. The disparity was so great that, if any vote of his could alter it, he should not hesitate even to vote against the Government. [Opposition cheers.]
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said that the House was to be congratulated on the return of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth to the discussion of the Education question. During most of the stages of the Education Bill, the right hon. Gentleman had withdrawn himself.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I beg pardon. I was here, and spoke very often, especially upon voluntary associations.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said that he had missed the right hon. Gentleman's familiar figure, and his absence accounted for the errors into which he had fallen. The right hon. Gentleman seemed not to have appreciated the reasons which the Government put forward for the Bill which was now an Act of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the Colonial Secretary, but if he had read the speech through, he would have found that the Colonial Secretary defended the grant to the Voluntary Schools on the express ground that they were put to a great disadvantage as compared with Board Schools. He had never shared the view that the disadvantages of the Voluntary Schools as compared with the Board Schools should be made up out of 1505 the Imperial purse. Imperial grants ought to be shared equally, and the disparity of condition should he made up out of local rates. But the Government had decided otherwise, and no one was more urgent for Imperial as opposed to rate aid than the hon. Member for Hampshire. The hon. Member could now complain, therefore, if a larger contribution was given to the districts where the Voluntary Schools were in competition with rate-aided Board Schools. The distinction was the direct consequence of the policy of State aid as opposed to rate aid. For his part, he very much regretted the decision at which the Government came, but as they did come to that decision, and were compelled to do so by the agricultural party who sat behind them, it ill became the hon. Member to throw in their teeth the direct consequences of the policy which the hon. Member and his Friends forced upon them. ["Hear, hear!"] It did not follow, however, that because the urban districts were entitled to get more money out of the Exchequer than the rural districts, that the latter would not have their share, because it was open to the association to distribute the money as they thought best, subject, of course, to the consent of the Education Department. The distribution of the money by the associations would be an extremely delicate task, and for that reason he was glad that the Government left, the localities a free hand in forming their associations. It was not the fact that the majority of the associations had refused to admit Nonconformist schools; but when the hon. Gentleman denounced diocesan associations, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite did, they seemed to believe that the diocese was a private preserve of a Bishop. That was not the view of the Church of England. [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes!"] Was that a member of the Church of England who interrupted? [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes!"] Then the hon. Member knew very little about it.
§ Mr. F. A. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
, interposing, was understood to say that the view in question was endorsed by the Guardian.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I am not responsible for what appears in the press. The diocese was not the property of the Bishop or of the clergy, but of the whole Church of England residing in the 1506 diocese. [Cheers.] He knew many of the associations would be managed by laymen. Probably the right hon. Gentleman opposite had not looked into the rules of the associations—it would be very unlikely that he would before speaking the subject—[cries of "Oh!" from the Opposition Benches]—he was quite sure the right hon. Gentleman did not mind his saying it—[laughter and cheers from the Opposition Benches]—but, as a matter of fact, the rules carefully provided that there could be at least an equal representation of laity as of clergy on the associations. But, while the majority of the associations were prepared to admit Nonconformists, he was quite aware that the complexion of the masses of these diocesan association would be Church of England, for the very good reason that the vast majority of the schools were Church of England schools. He warned hon. Gentlemen who were Nonconformists or Roman Catholics that the great enemy they and all their friends of religious education had to fight were the secularists. For his part, he held entirely to the words the right hon. Gentleman bad quoted. He believed the struggle which was impending would be a bitter one, and that this Act, imperfect as it was, inequitable as it was in many respects, yet afforded the means of fighting the greatest enemy they had to fight, and for that reason he supported it, and the policy of the Government.
§ SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I think this Debate is a very useful one, and that it is the precursor of many similar Debates which will take place upon this question before we vote this three-quarters of a million. I quite admit that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury stated very dearly his views as to what the associations might do, and the Vice President also stated his views, but there were distinguished debaters behind them, strong supporters of the Bill, who regarded these associations as a much more limited body. And then we have the Duke of Devonshire, the nominal head of the Education Department, taking a still more minimising view of the powers of the associations. But we have the real power behind all these authorities, the Archbishop of Canterbury, contradicting the right hon. Gentleman opposite and the 1507 Duke of Devonshire, and practically laying a hand on this large sum of money and attempting to divert the control of it, and therefore it is right that the House of Commons should be fully informed and should carefully examine step by step how this money is going to be distributed. When the Bill was passing through its last stage in this House the First Lord of the Treasury said:—I will not disguise from the Committee, and at no stage have I attempted to disguise it, that there are difficulties and dangersconnected with this scheme of association.Before associations are formed, when they are in process of formation, we have difficulties and dangers which have already arisen; and I am quite sure Parliament would not have sanctioned this astounding disrepancy between rural and urban districts which has already arisen in the administration of this Act. The Vice President told us that these associations were to do something else besides preparing and submitting to Parliament a scheme for the distribution of the grant. He said that they were also to prescribe the purposes for which the money was to be used by the schools, the number and pay of teachers, and the improvement of apparatus. That is the reason why we take such an intense interest in the distribution of the money by the associations. The First lord of the Treasury said that no one could doubt that these associations when constituted would have an excellent effect on the general elementary education given by voluntary schools. It is because you are forming associations whose primary object is not the improvement of education, not to increase the salaries of the teachers or better the apparatus, but to promote a distinct motive apart from these, that we are so greatly interested in the subject. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the Houses of Convocation said:—I look forward to these associations becomings the educational organisation of the Church, I think that the associations will do a great deal more than is assigned to them by the Act of Parliament, and there is nothing in the Act to prevent them doing more.[" Hear, hear!" from The FIRST LORD of the TREASURY.] But when Parliament 1508 granted these powers to the associations it was on the understanding, distinctly explained, that they were to do the work of promoting education. It now appears that they are not to promote education; they are to subserve the interests of the Church. The Archbishop continues:—The associations may proceed to take other functions upon them. There is every hope that these associations may bescome the representatives of the Church in its educational capacity.Here we have another definition of the functions of the associations, and it is because these functions are now practically claimed that I contend Parliament has a right to have some voice in the area and powers of these bodies. The noble Lord said that there was perfect freedom in the mode in which these associations were being chosen, and the Leader of the House said that managers have a perfect freedom as to what to do and not to do. That does not harmonise with what Lord Wantage showed in another place. [After reading the letter quoted by Lord Wantage in his speech in the House of Lords, the right hon. Gentleman continued]—This illustration shows that in the formation of these associations an endeavour has been made, whether successful or not, to destroy the county area and to substitute for it the diocesan area. The noble Lord may say, "Why should persons outside the Church of England interfere with that?" There are 8,000 parishes in this country in which there is no other school but the Church of England school, no matter what the faith of the parent may be, to which children can be sent, and the law says that unless the parent sends his child to that school he must go to prison. The Bishops will not understand, however, that this is the crux of the Nonconformist difficulty, and I am astonished that the noble Lord does not appreciate that this is the true gist of this unfortunate controversy. You have a monopoly; the State has given you the monopoly; the State endows that monopoly in those 8,000 parishes. [Cheers.] That being so, and the State forcing the Nonconformist parents to send their children to the school, then you cannot divest these 8,000 schools of their public and national character; you cannot put them on the same level as the Roman Catholic, Jewish 1509 or Wesleyan schools. The Wesleyan Conference is sitting just now at Leeds. and the Wesleyans have made an investigation since the Bill was introduced to ascertained how many children whose parents are members of the Wesleyan body are obliged to attend Church schools in parishes in which there is no option. Although this return is defective, it shows that there are upwards of 240,000 children whose parents belong to the Wesleyan communion, who have no choice as to which school they shall send their children, and whose children are in Church Schools. You cannot, therefore, shut these parents out of consideration, and we who represent these parents say you must not hand over £700,000 of public money to associations formed, not to improve education, but avowedly formed for ecclesiastical purposes. That is a fair argument to justify our interference; it is a question affecting the nation as a whole, not the Church of England alone. In a public association of the kind, affecting not one class or church, the civil area ought to be the area, and it should not be linked together with an ecclesiastical organisation and a diocesan area. I do not want to delay the Committee, but I do want to ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite to give us an answer to the question which has been already put. What is to become of the schools that refuse to join these associations—that would have joined the county but will not join the diocesan? We are entitled to have some information on that point. We are entitled to press on the Government that the civil area shall be the base of these associations; and they will be guilty of the grossest breach of faith with the House of Commons and the public if they flinch one hair's breadth from this point—that they shall strictly enforce what they pledged themselves to when they obtained the Bill—viz.: that this increased subvention from the Imperial Exchequer shall be applied to improving education and nothing else. [Cheers.] It was given for that purpose, and for no other purpose. Any differentiation of the grant in the way that is proposed will be a blow at rural education. I therefore press for a distinct and clear answer on that point. The noble Lord has said in the way of justification that there are schools in towns which he called "rate-aided" 1510 schools. Allow me to say that is not the phrase to apply to Board Schools. They are not rate-aided, they are supported by the rates. ["Hear, hear!"] They are supported out of public funds by virtue of the law of the land, which places upon the ratepayers—whether they like it or not—the duty of supplying any deficiency in school accommodation which may exist in their district. To talk of these as "rate-aided" schools is to create an impression that there is a sort of third denomination called School Boards which establishes schools that are aided out of the rates. You might as well talk of a Poor Law Board administering rate-aided relief. The ratepayers are compelled to support those schools, whether they like it or not: and I am happy to say that they do like it in the great majority of the large towns —["hear, hear!"]—and, as I have said, it is a misuse of language to talk of them as "rate-aided" schools. To do what is proposed will be absolutely inconsistent with everything that was said by the Government during the Debates of this year and last year. We had it put before us that it was necessary to improve education; that for this improvement an increased cost was to he put on the Voluntary Schools which they could not he reasonably expected to bear, and that they were entitled to come to the Imperial Exchequer for funds to enable them to properly pay their teachers and to improve their and apparatus. We have a right, therefore, to ask—first, that the money shall he applied strictly to this purpose; and, secondly, we should like to know why where the education is most costly and most effective, there the least assistance is to be given? ["Hear hear!"]
§ MR. C. A. CRIPPS (Gloucester, Stroud)
said he had always admitted that a primâ facie case for a grievance was made out by Nonconformists, in regard to parishes where there was no school to which they could send their children except the Church school. But that, he contended, had nothing to do with the recent Act or with the administration of the funds they were now discussing.
§ SIR H. FOWLER
I said it justified the "interference" of Nonconformists. The noble Lord had complained of what 1511 he called the interference of Nonconformists in the internal organisation of the Church.
§ MR. CRIPPS
said he would deal with that part of the argument when he came to the administration of the Act; but what he would put to the right hon. Gentleman, and to Members on both sides of the House was this—that his objection as regarded the 8,000 parishes in which there were only Church of England schools was an objection based, not on the terms of the recent Education Act, but on the whole settlement as it at present existed in England as between Voluntary Schools in some districts and Board Schools in others. He would also give this illustration from his own parish where he had been a school manager for a long period. The managing body of their Church Schools included two Nonconformists and one Roman Catholic; and he believed there were many other cases in which representatives of Nonconformist parents were associated with the managers of Church Schools.
§ MR. CRIPPS
said there were eight altogether—two Nonconformist, one Roman Catholic, and five members of the Church of England. They did not find, he continued, that the "religious difficulty" was often raised in the administration of the Voluntary Schools throughout the country. Of course if they were to have denominational schools at all, and he agreed with the noble Lord the Member for Rochester that it was essential to religious education that they should have schools representing every denomination as far as possible; and if they were to have denominational schools at all, Church of England Schools must be managed in reference to the denomination to which they belonged. His right hon. Friend, he thought, would agree that they ought not to have a Wesleyan or a Church School that was only Wesleyan or Church in name. They must be seriously denominational schools, but at the same time in their administration due regard should be had to the desires of the parents of other denominations residing in the district or parish. ["Hear, hear!"] Coming to the far larger question of the administration of the funds, he thought the right hon. 1512 Gentleman had gone back to the fallacy which underlay a good many of his arguments in the discussion of the Bill itself. He talked about the money being placed in the irresponsible hands of these associations. It had been pointed out over and over again that the responsibility rested with the Education Department, which could not divest itself of that responsibility. Hon. Members on the other side had expressed different views as to what the ultimate functions of these associations might be. He had always thought that their functions should be strictly limited, but under the terms of the Bill it was not the associations but the Department who had to account to the House for the distribution of the money, and it was for the Department and the House to exercise, as they could exercise, a sufficient control. Then as to the point raised as between diocesan and county associations. He was personally in favour of the county area, and had put down a Motion to that effect for the Oxford Diocesan Conference, which he could not attend, however, in consequence of the South African Committee. What occurred at the conference was this. There were three counties concerned, and the only question was this: was it better in the first instance to take each county area, or to take the diocese and have a committee representing each county. For his part he wished them to be called county associations, and that was his Motion, and he was still of the same opinion. ["Hear, hear!"from the Opposition.] But if they looked under the surface they would see that there could be no real difference in the constitution of the managing bodies, whether the area was county or diocesan. He thought that in every case half the members of the association would be laymen, and in a very large number of cases mom than half must be laymen. On the executive councils, which would be the national governing bodies, they would find the laity equally represented with the clergy. The voluntary schools of the Church of England had been hitherto managed to a large extent by the parish clergy, because they were the men who had most knowledge of the subject and Leisure to devote to it. Wherever they Formed these associations of course there must be a large ecclesiastical element upon 1513 them, but the laity did not mean to be left out and would not be left out, and in all these associations, whether called Diocesan or County Associations, there would be a large lay element, and the work of the association would not be of an ecclesiastical character. Its object would be to promote in their denominational lines the efficiency of education to the greatest possible extent. He believed that the noble Lord the Member for Rochester looked upon the Act as a measure providing funds in order that there might be fair competition between School Boards on the one side and Voluntary Schools on the other. He had taken a very different view from that of the noble Lord on this point, and the only reason why he supported the was because he believed it would operate to promote the efficiency of education, particularly in those districts where education was being starved for want of sufficient funds. That was the explanation which he gave on a former occasion of the word "necessitous," and the longer the Bill was considered the more certain he felt that that explanation was accurate. He agreed with the hon. Member sitting near him that in many rural districts the educational wants were greater than in many urban districts. Many of the arrangements for educational purposes must of course be the same whether there were 40 or 50, or 80 or 100 children in a school, and in the case of small schools in country districts the efficiency of education was likely to suffer most because it was in their case that you got less funds in proportion to the desired results. He hoped therefore that this ratio of 3s. 3d. and 5s. 9d. was not a ratio fixed for all time, and that if it should be found by experience that under this bill these poor districts, which were really the most liberal in proportion to their means, received the smaller measure of support, a readjustment should be made, and that the sum of 3s. 3d. would be raised. Let them however consider a case and suppose the existence of an association for Hampshire. That association should include schools from both the rural and the urban districts, and taking the county as a whole he believed that it would be found that the association would have the distribution of some sum between 3s. 3d, and 5s. 9d., it would probably be 4s. 7d. The association would have power to 1514 distribute that in such a way as to give a larger proportion of money to the most needy schools. That would meet the objection raised by the hon. Member for Hampshire. In another county, taking urban and rural districts together, the association might receive 5s. a head all round, and then might if it pleased give 6s. to a poor rural school and might give 4s. to a richer urban school. It would be in the power 4 the association to recommend to the Department that that should he done.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
The hon. Member says that the association may distribute the money as it likes, but our point is this, that the association being desirous of fighting the School Boards will give the money to the town and will not give it to the country.
§ MR. CRIPPS
observed that many associations would contain a majority of rural representatives, and in such cases it was hardly likely that the rural districts would he neglected in order that the town districts might get more than a fair share of the money. It was not everybody who animated by a dislike of Bishops or by a dislike of School Boards, and many people, like himself, desired that this Act should be administered with the one view of making the education of this country more efficient, and he believed that that would be the motive of the associations.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I perfectly admit that that would be the case if it were a county association, but the moment it becomes a diocesan association, then the ecclesiastical element will prevail. [Ministerial cries of "No!" and cheers.]
§ MR CRIPPS
said he understood the only difference between county associations and diocesan associations would be the name. Upon a diocesan association there would be the same number of laymen as there would be upon a county association. For his part, he wished that the associations were to be called county associations in order to get rid of all prejudice on this subject. It was extremely important that the Bill should be administered in the true interests of education, and that they should discard the idea or sentiment of religious animosity. If that could be disposed of the educational improvements which the Bill could effect would be assured.
*MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)
said that no one had spoken grudgingly of the additional amount of public money which it was proposed to devote to national education. None of the Members on his side of the House grudged money for the purposes of education, their complaint was that the money would be spent unfairly. Nor did they grudge the time that had been devoted to this subject. The Government had brought in four Education Bills and had succeeded in passing three. But some of them believed that these three measures which had become law would do little or nothing for an increased amount of educational efficiency. He honoured the hon. and learned Member for Stroud for the declaration which he had made in regard to his single-minded desire that these measures should promote efficient education, but he recollected declarations of quite a different sort which had emanated from supporters of the Government's legislation, who had avowed that they had other objects in view than simply to increase the efficiency of our educational system, The measures of the Government would leave unsolved the problems which faced them when they began these discussions. The Government had simply thrown down a sum of money to be scrambled for by individual schools, with the results winch had been predicted by the noble Lord the Member for Rochester. Already those whose duty it was to form these associations, and to work them, were in a state of great complexity and confusion, and their difficulties would he increased when the associations approached the difficult task of allocating the money which had to be distributed. It was a striking coincidence that, although this Government would have passed three measures for the promotion of national education, no one was satisfied with any one of them. During the discussion on the Scotch Education Bill the Scotch Members, although, of course, they did not object to receive the money offered to them, expressed the greatest regret that the Government had imported into the scheme for Scotland features of the English system, to which Scotland was strongly opposed. He thought it was not too much to say that the supporters of denominational schools, though they would benefit greatly by these 1516 measures, were themselves thoroughly dissatisfied. They knew what was felt in the schools of the rural districts; because they had had the strongest expressions of dissatisfaction from the supporters of the Government. Were the teachers in the public elementary schools satisfied? During the progress of the Bills through the House they afforded the Government Measures very scant support, and some of them strongly opposed them. At their recent conference in Birmingham, the teachers expressed their emphatic opinion that the additional grant should be devoted to improving education, by better staffing and apparatus, and by the increased remuneration of poorly-paid teachers. They had also taken some trouble to elicit the opinions of the Bishops on the question of what were the purposes to which this additional grant should be applied. Some of the Bishops evidently differed very much in opinion from the teachers; for they said they thought it would be a legitimate application of this grant to save from extinction some of the threatened Voluntary Schools. That, he presumed, meant that it was quite legitimate to appropriate a portion of this grant in order to fill the gap which would be occasioned by the subscriptions which were expected to decline. As to Nonconformist grievances, they had been admitted on all hands, but no promise even of the faintest kind to remedy them had been given by the Government. The Nonconformists would in fact be in a worse position now than they were before the Government brought hi its Measures; because those Measures would, and were intended to, strengthen the rival system to which was due the fact that, in the 8,000 parishes referred to, the Church of England possessed a monopoly. Nothing hall happened in the matter of these associations which was not predicted, and the result was that, instead of all parties in the country co-operating for the common good in the promotion of national education, they were divided into two camps—denominational and undenominational. He agreed with a noble Lord in the other House that it would be expected that results which they all deplored would follow; but he was rather more hopeful than that noble Lord as to the ultimate result. He thought there were signs of revolt on the part of the 1517 laity of the Church of England against the domination of the clergy in the matter of national education, and, when their eyes had been thoroughly opened to the tendency of the existing system, he thought they would unite with the advocates of unsectarian education in their insistence that the national system of education should be national in fact as well as in name—that the people should control the people's schools, and that the promotion of education, and not the aggrandisement of any sect or party in the State, should be the one object aimed at.
§ *MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)
said he wished at once to associate himself with the very vigorous protest which had been raised from both sides of the House against the action of the Department as shown in their Minute of June 16. He had pointed out on every Occasion in this present Parliament, when these Bills had been before the House, and had tried to convince the authorities in Whitehall that these small rural schools, if ever they were to be lifted up to the average of the towns, must receive a larger amount per head from any grant, whether it was male by the locality or by the State, than the large town schools. ["Hear, hear!"] He had pointed out that they were, of necessity, the most expensive, and if the object of the Voluntary Schools Act were, as his hon. Friend the Member for the Stroud Division of Gloucestershire stated that it was generally to improve the education throughout the country, then the small rural schools, of all others, needed the greatest help. [Opposition cheers.] And yet the differentiation which had been referred to so frequently that afternoon had been set by the Department at 3s. 3d. per scholar in country schools within the area of the association and 5s. Pd. per scholar in town schools within the area of the association. He fully admitted that this was an allocation not to the school, not to the individual scholar, but to the association. He fully admitted that there was a large amount of truth in the fact that when an association had the money in its hands there was nothing to stop it from giving 10s. per scholar in the small rural schools and nothing to half a dozen town schools, but that was only true within a limited extent, because there were certain counties in the country which contained almost 1518 nothing but rural schools where the total grant would not exceed 4s. throughout the whole area. Take the county of Cambridge, or Suffolk, and some of the western counties, where they had but few town schools according to the definition in the minute. Nearly the whole of the schools would be small rural schools, and the total amount allotted to the association in such areas could only exceed by some small sum the 3s. 3d. per scholar. In such districts it would be impossible to bring up the level of education to the large towns. He for one foresaw that, owing to the very inadequate allocation which would be made to these schools if the country determined to bring up the rural education to the level of the town education it would be forced to adopt the School Board system within those areas, simply from the fact that the amount of special aid grant was not sufficient for the purposes for which it was designed. ["Hear, hear!"] But he did not want to press that point any further at this juncture though one realised that this differentiation had excited a very large amount of discontent, and that had been shown on both sides of the House. He rose principally to ask the Vice President a question on administration—not of criticism of the Bishops, not of criticism, for the moment, of the areas which had -been adopted and sanctioned, but a quest ion of departmental administration, as to the way in which this money was to be expended. The subject had not been referred to so far as he had observed, during the whole of the Debate. Probably it was but little known. When the Bill was before the House they were assured by every Minister who spoke on the subject that these associations were purely voluntary associations. The clause in the Act commenced with the words, "I associations be formed," and they were assured times out of number that no compulsion would be exercised to drive the schools into an association if they wished to stand outside, and that if they could show the Department reasonable cause for remaining outside an association they might take the grant direct from the Department without the intervention of the local association at all. What did they find? They found that a number of school had already notified the Department that they dial not, propose to join 1519 the local association, for some reason or another. Either they were not enamoured of these associations, or they found that they had nothing to gain and all to lose by going into them, or that their local management might be interfered with by the rules the association had set up. These schools had, as he had stated, already notified the Department that they did not propose to join the association, and he wanted the Vice President, if he would, to tell the House by what authority the Department was issuing a circular practically threatening these schools with the loss of all the special aid grant unless they re-considered their decision and went into the association. A little examination would disclose the fact that a circular was going out, bearing the signature of Mr. White, of the Education Department, who, he understood, was dealing especially with this subject. The first clause of that circular ran to this effect—they enclosed further copies of the forms with regard to the membership of association, "So that if the managers of the schools wish to reconsider their decision they may fill them up and join the association." In the second clause it was pointed out to them that the abstention from the association "creates a presumption that the school is not necessitous." For the life of him he could not conceive how such a presumption was created by their abstention from an association. [Opposition cheers.] And now, so far as he could understand, there was an attempt being made to dragoon the schools into joining the associations whether they liked it or not. He thought it might be shown that there had been good reasons, apart from religious questions, for declining to join the local association. Many of them were understood to object to the fact that the schemes were cut and dried before a single person was elected to serve on the association. He held in his hand a copy of a scheme which related not only who the governing body should be, how it should be constituted, but what its sub-associations should do, even before a single representative had been elected. Somebody had elaborated the whole scheme, even to the persons who were to act as the chairmen of the various meetings, and not unnaturally the school managers were resenting this interference with their liberty very strongly indeed. 1520 Although it was not very evident at present, he had no doubt whatever that as time went on, even before a year had elapsed, there would be evidence, not only here, but throughout the country, of the discontent with which the managers of certain schools regarded this unwarranted interference with their full liberty. For example, in the scheme of the Ripon Diocesan Education Association under the Voluntary Schools Act of 1897, one of the duties the sub-association had been charged with, before the sub-association was formed, before even the governing body was elected, was to appoint an organising master, wherever possible, "who shall examine and assist in preparing for the inspection." He stated, when this clause was under discussion, that he feared some portion of the funds the House was now voting or else the voluntary subscriptions to the schools in the locality, would be used for expensive establishments and for unnecessary officials. Here was an evidence that this was likely to occur. He could well understand that certain managers of schools within the area of the Ripon Association might object to that regulation, for example, and decline to join the association there. He should like to know under what authority given by the Act, or under what instructions given by the House of Commons, the Department was empowered to send out the circular to which he had referred, practically calling on the schools to re-consider their decision, and to go into the local associations whether they liked it or not? He fully admitted that there was no direct threat in the circular. There was no direct command to reconsider their decision, but every one who had any experience of this work knew well what a recommendation from the Department would be regarded as by the local managers. They looked upon this circular as an indication to them that all possibility of securing help would be thrown away unless they went into an association, and therefore most reluctantly some of them were reconsidering their second decision and were going into the local association. He hoped the Vice President would be able to give some explanation of what appeared to be an altogether unwarranted piece of procedure, and which was distinctly contrary to the many assurances which were given to the House when the 1521 Bill was passing through its different stages. He felt that this question of areas was of more importance than many people seemed to imagine. He was one of those who hoped that these associations would be established as county areas. ["Hear, hear!"] He fully agreed with the statement made by the hon. Member for the Stroud Division, not in the Debate that afternoon but in the scheme which he himself promulgated, to the effect that the formation of associations on purely diocesan and ecclesiastical lines would stir up jealousy and increase hostility to the Act just passed. That afternoon the hon. Member asked what was the difference between a diocesan association, with three county sub-associations, and three separate county associations, and his reply was that the difference was little more than a mere name. Personally he felt that there was a deeper and stronger difference than that. He had not a very great fear of these associations because he did not think they were likely to last long. The very fact that they had become throughout the country largely the diocesan associations,and the fact that greater part of the power would not rest with the men finding the money, that the control of the taxpayer was completely excluded from these associations, and that the voluntary subscriber in many cases got a very poor look in led him to believe that they could not continue to exist for many years. But so long as they did exist he would have preferred that the idea of County Government should sink into the minds of everybody connected with education. What were these associations doing? They were simply controlling, guiding, recommending on behalf of a section of the schools of the country. They had to recollect that there was another section winch equally needed a guiding and controlling power, particularly in the rural districts. But there was something more than that. On the foundation of the primary schools that House would sooner or later have to erect the structure of secondary education, and waste and neglect could only be avoided by one authority having control over both systems. ["Hear, hear!"] There was no doubt that when the House came to set up a new authority it would be a county authority, whatever the constituent parts of the 1522 authority might be, and he felt that with these associations the county idea was the one which should sink deeply into the minds of the people—not the idea of exclusion, but the idea of inclusion. The hon. Member for the Stroud Division had told them that in certain parishes Nonconformists and Churchmen, sitting on the same board, worked their schools without friction. Why on earth could they not have formed county associations of schools on exactly the same lines — Nonconformists and Churchmen working side by side for the common good? That would have held out some hope in the near future of this religious animosity dying away. As it was he was afraid that by the establishment of diocesan associations they were putting back the hands of the clock, and were doing something to retard the development of both primary and secondary education which many of them were so ardently looking forward to. If they had established the county idea there would have been no prescriptive right to destroy, no vested interests to purchase out, no expensive machinery to dislocate, but they would have a nucleus already in existence, the principal lines already formulated, and it would have been possible at no distant date for the State to have taken up the threads of the Voluntary Schools associations within the county area, and the Board School system with the same county area, and have tied the two together and formed one system within the county, at the same time maintaining the distinctive religious character of the Voluntary Schools. With this principle firmly established, the overlapping, neglect, waste and expensive machinery which had prevailed, and which would be increased by the establishment of these diocesan associations, would have been avoided. He should be the last to attack the dignitaries of the Church as such, but he did feel that the Department might do more than it had done or was doing, by way of guiding and directing the establishment of these associations, and the areas which should be selected, and should, if possible, encourage the formation of county associations as against diocesan associations, and, at least, the Vice-President might make it clear to the country that the Department would not. 1523 only sanction, but would encourage the formation of county associations. He might make it equally clear that those schools which did not desire to join the associations would not be dragooned into joining by the Education Department, and that no pressure, either local or central, should be brought to bear upon them except such as could be substantiated and justified by the words of the Act. He strongly protested against the hand to mouth system which bad prevailed in the matter of national education. It did not appear to him that the schemes which had been submitted to them, except that of 1896, nor the administration of this grant, were statesmanlike ideas, but were rather the work of politicians working from hand to mouth from day to day. It was because he believed so firmly that far beyond all such questions as that of Merchandise Marks Acts and the protection of this or that article, it was the education of the agriculturist and the artisan which would form the future property of the country, and that this could only be secured by seeing that the money which was so lavishly voted was profitably spent that he had ventured to raise his voice against the recent intermittent, niggardly educational legislation, and against the unsatisfactory spirit in which this grant was being distributed throughout the country.
§ MR. R. W. PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth)
, said he quite appreciated the sincere and earnest words of his hon. Friend and instanced districts in his own county—where the vast majority of the children were of Nonconformist parents — to which the diocesan associations would be obnoxious. There were about 600 schools in that county, of which 500 were Voluntary, 450 being Church of England Schools. Of the 60,000 children who were being educated, as many as 42,000 were the children of Nonconformist parents, who had no control whatever in the management of the schools. ["Hear, hear!"] He appealed to the Education Department to see that these associations were not formed in such a way as to become agencies for extending in the elementary schools of this country the special religious tenets and dogmas of the Church of England. Various efforts had been made to form county associations, but they had ignobly failed. Surely 1524 it was better in the interest of education that the Department should guard against the establishment of conflicting schools. He instanced the case of Aldeborough. There was a little village in that district, and out of 98 scholars in the school 90 were Nonconformists. In this case there was a great grievance. The other day the managers of this school had to elect a representative to the Lincoln Diocesan Association. The clergyman's wife, the sexton, and the pupil met, and agreed to elect the parson. He hoped that the Department would insist—as surely they were able to do—that in these associations there should be an adequate representation of the teachers. The Wesleyan body had adopted the principle of federation for all its schools, and it had wisely decided to invite the co-operation of other religious bodies. He did not complain of the Church of England clergy for confining the diocesan associations to their own church. They knew that intelligent Nonconformists would refuse to join such bodies. But while the Wesleyan Associations had elected a large number of day-school teachers on the governing bodies of the associations, not a single teacher had been elected on some of the largest diocesan associations in the country. The Wesleyans only formed 28½ per cent. of the Nonconformists of the country, and therefore if 240,000 Wesleyan children were compelled to attend Church Schools, there must be altogether about 960,000 children of Nonconformist parents attending Church Schools not from choice, but from necessity.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir JOHN GORST, Cambridge University)
The hon. Member has devoted a great part of his speech to complaints of the way in which these associations of Voluntary Schools have been formed; but according to the view of the Committee of Council, that is a matter with which they have nothing whatever to do. It is quite true that in a speech which I made at Girton—the village, not the college—I expressed my hope that the associations would be undenominational and would be confined to civil areas. [Opposition cheers.] But I was very careful to explain at the time that I spoke only in the capacity of a Girton villager—[laughter]—and that the duty of the Committee of Council 1525 was to sit quietly by and watch these associations as they sprang up of themselves. I am not ashamed of the hope which I expressed at Girton. [Opposition cheers.] We have heard a great deal lately about the union of Christendom, and it seemed to me that this Act furnished an occasion upon which Christian bodies might unite together in pursuit of a common object. ["Hear, hear!"] But I am afraid that the result has shown, not only that the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury have a preference for strictly sectarian associations, but that very few other religious bodies have been willing to associate with any one but themselves. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] The Roman Catholics have a strictly separate association, and so have the Jews. The Wesleyans have an association which is quite as separate as that of the Church of England; and even the undenominationalists have been obliged to have a separate undenominational association confined to schools professing that particular persuasion. [Laughter.] I am afraid the conclusion is that our Christianity is not yet perfect enough to enable Christian bodies to act with one another; and I do not know that there was a more striking example of that than what took place at Her Majesty's Jubilee, when 10,000 children were assembled at Constitution Hill for the purpose of demonstrating their loyalty to Her Majesty, and when it took six separate addresses to convey to Her Majesty the different shades of feeling among the children. [Cheers and laughter.] All that the Committee of Council did in reference to the formation of associations was to put forth at an early stage a statement that they were prepared to accept either a diocesan or a county association, according to the wishes of the managers of the schools in the area. I am aware, from what I have read in the Organs of public information, from the Debate in another place some weeks ago, and from the speeches tonight, that there has been in the election and formation of these associations a great deal of friction and a good deal of discussion and difference of opinion. But all that is peculiar to the Anglo-Saxon people when they form those governing bodies which, when once formed, are so useful. I am not sure that the method 1526 of election to this House would altogether commend itself to a disinterested philosopher. [Laughter.] Scenes take place, even in Monmouthshire or Derby, which could not be altogether justified. It is, I think, Mephistopheles who says that although the must behaves itself in the most absurd manner, yet it gives at last a wine. [Laughter.] And whatever may be the differences at the inception of these bodies when once formed, they will no doubt perform the functions expected of them. I have endeavoured to get the latest information about these associations, and I will give it to the Committee. There have been finally approved, as to constitution, area, and governing body, 15 diocesan associations of the Church of England, of which four only are exclusive. ["Hear, hear!"] There have been five county associations formed, six Wesleyan associations, one association of Jews, and an association for the Scilly Isles. [Laughter.] As to the associations which have not yet been finally approved, 12 are diocesan, of which six are at present exclusive, though perhaps after this Debate that number will be diminished—["hear, hear!"]—12 are county associations, five are associations of British and uudenominational schools, and three are Roman Catholic.
§ SIR J. GORST
I think none are exclusive. [Opposition chreers.] But, as the President of the Council said in the House of Lords, no school is obliged to remain in an association which it thinks does not work satisfactorily. It is at perfect liberty to withdraw. The sole object which the Committee of Council has had in view in administering the Act, as far as the appointment of associations is concerned, has been to give the managers of the schools fair play and to let associations be formed, not in accordance with the particular view of a Girton villager—[laughter]—but in accordance with the wishes of the managers themselves. So far they have only exercised supervisory powers to see that the association when formed is fairly representative of the managers of the schools. Some one has spoken of associations presided over by the Bishop. That cannot be, unless the managers of the schools themselves choose to elect the Bishop as the president. They can elect anyone 1527 they please, and if they choose to elect a Bishop the House would scarcely take away from them that right. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ SIR J. GORST
I am corning to that. A question was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham as to a circular which has been issued, and which he describes as coercing the schools to join associations. Now I have the circular before me, and I think the statement of my hon. Friend was exaggerated. All the circular does is to recommend schools to join some association, but it does not in any way prescribe the particular association which they should join; and the reason for putting a little pressure on schools to join associations is that if the majority of schools did not so join the Act could not be worked. Under those circumstances I do not think my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham should be so hard on the Committee of Council because they informed the managers of some of of the disadvantages of not forming themselves into associations.
§ SIR J. GORST
The second clause gives reasons. No. I says that:by failing to join the managers create a certain presumption that their school is not necessitous, and is therefore not entitled to have the aid grant.[Cheers.] There are other reasons, and I do not know that I need read them. The only power which the Department will exercise is that given by the Act of Parliament. It is scarcely fair to ask how this power will be exercised in a particular case. There is no experience to enable me to state beforehand cases which might arise in which it would be unreasonable to join an association. I can assure hon. Members this power will be exercised with great discretion. The reasons which are alleged by any school for not joining will be carefully considered, and unless that they are so unreasonable that the Department can defend its action, in refusing to let the school be considered for the grant to the House, I do not think the Department is likely to use the 1528 power, and certainly not to use it in a harsh manner.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
Would the right hon. Gentleman kindly explain this? Supposing it does not suit a school to be in a particular association, and it leaves, will it forfeit its grant?
§ SIR J. GORST
It will not be so foolish as to leave the association except at the end of the financial year, I suppose. Of course, if a school went out even in the middle of the financial year on any reasonable ground, I should think its action would be favourably considered by the Department. It is a strong power for the House of Commons to have given to the Department, and, being a strong power, it will be cautiously exercised. Now, with reference to another question asked by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I have to say that I did state in the House that the town rate was intended to be considerably higher than the country rate, and my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury made a statement to the same effect. In answer to the hon. Member for East Mayo it was pointed out that although the grants to the different associations would be the same, yet, inasmuch as the Roman Catholic Schools had a large proportion of their children in towns, they would thereby get a higher grant per head than the Church of England, which has a large proportion of its children in country schools. With regard to the expectations raised last year, I am informed that there are only two places in England where the rate will be less than 4s. These are Hereford and Bucks. But Bucks is in the diocese of Oxford, and has joined the Diocesan association, and therefore will get more than 4s.; while as regards Hereford, an association is going to be formed for that diocese which includes the populous parts of South Salop, and it also will get more than 4s. As to the definition of urban and rural I should say that a school is urban if in an urban district and rural if in a rural distrist. [Laughter.] No doubt that is rather a rough-and-ready definition, but it is the best Parliamentary definition that can he devised. I must remind the Committee that this is not an allocation to the schools, but to the association. The ground of the allocation is that it was the opinion of the Council, on the whole, that associations which had 1529 a large proportion of town schools would require more money—such as the Roman Catholic schools—than those which consist for the most part of rural schools. What are the reasons why that opinion was arrived at? One reason is that the standard of education is higher, and therefore more expensive, in urban than in rural districts, and this is owing to the teaching of specific subjects. The teaching of specific subjects does not seem to be a present need in rural districts. I quite agree that there ought to be specific subjects taught in the country schools—such as cookery and laundry teaching ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, but you cannot get that unless you get some education authority other than the School Board. You must have some county authority—[hear, hear!]—because you cannot have a separate science teacher or separate cookery or laundry teacher for every little village school. [Cheers.] Therefore, although I quite agree that the teaching in rural districts should be raised, I am also convinced that the creation of some county authority is a condition precedent to the possibility of raising the teaching. The second reason is that the cost of living is higher, and therefore the amount requiring to be paid in salaries is larger. The third reason is that the local interest of the well-to-do classes in the maintenance of the Voluntary Schools is greater in the rural than the urban districts, and brings with it greater power to raise voluntary contributions. And the fourth reason is that special provision is already made for the most necessitous schools in rural districts under articles 104 and 105 of the day-school code. The amount paid under those articles in the last school year was £66,720, which represents a rate of 1s. 81/4d. per head on the average attendance. But in other rural counties it was much higher. In Dorset it was 2s. 5d. a head, Hereford 3s. 3d., Hunts 3s. 4d., Westmoreland 2s. 6½d., and in Wiltshire 2s. 4d. In Brecon it was 5s., in Radnor 5s. 7d. On the other hand, the rate for the total average attendance is in Cheshire 2¼d., Durham 1¼d., Kent 2½d., Lancashire ¼d., Middlesex ¼d., Surrey 1d. and Stafford 2d. It should be remembered that the difference of average rates is never so much as 2s. 6d. The average rate for Hereford is about 4s.; in Lancashire 1530 5s. 7d.; and taking Hereford and Lancashire, Hereford gets as much as 3s. 3d. per head under the special conditions as to small schools.
§ SIR J. GORST
£66,720. The fifth reason is that rural districts have generally gained and the urban districts lost through the operation of the fee grant. I do not know that I can give the Committee any very satisfactory details beyond the general statement. No separate statistics as to the effect of the fee grant on town schools as contrasted with country schools are available, but from the inquiries made in the Department it is shown that such loss as there has been is due to the fee grant. The gain per head by the abolition of the fee grant was upwards of 3s. per head in Bucks, Devon, Dorset, Rutland, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hunts, and Wilts. Another reason why the Committee of Council thought it desirable to give a smaller grant in the case of country schools is because it is notorious that the country schools chiefly profit by endowment. I make that general statement on the authority of those best qualified to speak on the subject. But there has never been kept in the Education Department a distinction between the town and country schools; it is a difficult distinction to draw. The only way to do it is to go through the 20,000 schools individually and to try to classify them. The task, however, would be an enormous one, and a very expensive one. No one but the inspectors can tell you even then, it may be merely a matter of opinion. These are the reasons which induced the Department to make that allocation of the grant, but it is only temporary and for the present year. If it proves in practice that the effect of the allocation is to give more to urban districts where there are a large number of town and not enough to rural districts, the system can be altered by the Education Department. There were no figures and no information which would enable the Committee of Council to do more than make a tentative guess as to the proper rate to fix. This particular rate was fixed by the advice of those most qualified to judge. I admit that it is rather in the nature of an experiment, 1531 and the result of the experiment will be carefully watched. The amount available for each association will be looked into, and if it is proved that the rate has been a mistaken one, and that one association gets more than it should receive and another association less, an opportunity will be taken to redress the inequality. These associations are only formed to prepare and submit schemes. They will not have the spending of money, or the giving of it to different schools. It is supposed that these associations, from their local knowledge and power to make sub-committees, can discover how the provision made by Parliament can most usefully be distributed among the various schools. It is intended that these associations shall recommend specific grants—grants of so much to increase the salaries of the teachers in school A, and so much in school B, giving another school the advantage of an extra teacher or extra pupil-teacher, or a grant to buy apparatus, and so on. The money which the associations are to recommend is a specific appropriation of money, and on being satisfied that it is a fair recommendation and one really intended to serve the interests of education and to relieve the most necessitous schools, it will then, and not until then, be approved by the Department.
§ MR. THOMAS ELLIS
pointed out that among the great mass of Nonconformists and a very large number of Churchmen there was a growing feeling that it was better for the State and for the children, as well as for religion, that our system of education should not be sectarian, but broadly national and popular. But, at the same time, it was felt that this Act, and especially the formation of sectarian associations, would make it much more difficult for the mass of the people to construct a truly national system of education. The right hon. Gentleman had not dealt with the main grievance which arose out of this Vote. Apparently he had been unable to realise that the grievance felt by the vast majority of Nonconformists was not minimised but accentuated by this vote of public money. It was asked, "What greater injustice is there under this Act to Nonconformists than there was before?" Before the Act was passed it is true that Nonconformists in 1532 the 8,000 parish schools had no voice in their control; their sons and teachers had no chance to enter the teaching profession. The local clergymen and others had the full control of education, but the new power not only handicapped Nonconformists through the control of these clergymen and local managers, but there was growing up a huge organisation in which Nonconformists would have no power or lot and no representative share. And what were those organisations? The right hon. Gentleman, the Vice President of the Council, set up and maintained the theory that they were mere educational advisory bodies. But the noble Lord the Member for Rochester, and the Leader of the House, had both to-night candidly admitted that they were not to be merely advisory bodies, but were to be the instruments, the machinery, the engines needed to carry on the long and bitter controversy, which the noble Lord foresaw, against what he said was "secularism," though, as far as the towns were concerned, it was plainly to be a campaign against Board Schools, and in the villages it was to be a campaign against Nonconformists. [No!"] It was ridiculous to say that in the villages of England and Wales, their campaign was to be one against secularism—that this money was voted by the House of Commons in order to enable the voluntary managers to wage war against secularism and infidelity. It was perfectly ridiculous. The money was to be voted to enable Church School managers, acting under the control of an ecclesiastical hierarchy, to make it still more impossible than it was at present for Nonconformists in any village and in many large towns to obtain their educational rights as citizens, and a fair control over the money granted by that House. They might say that these organisations could not be too strong, and that it was impossible the Bishop, as such, could obtain such great power. The Committee could not accept that theory. Take the position of the Bishop in a large number of dioceses, especially in the Welsh dioceses. They had, in the first place, their rightful influence as the chief religious officers in the diocese. Over and above that, they had in Welsh dioceses the patronage, he believed, of an actual majority of the livings—in some one or two dioceses—certainly the 1533 majority. That was to say, every curate and every clergyman in a small parish knew that he was at the mercy of his Bishop.
§ MR. THOMAS ELLIS
Yes, at the mercy of his Bishop. He certainly was in a large number of English parishes. And this, he thought, told to some extent in favour of the system of lay patronage. He did not defend the system of patronage at all; he thought it was an outrage upon religious freedom. But he ventured to say that a great deal of the freedom, independence, and usefulness of hundreds of parochial clergymen in this country—especially of those who had conspicuously added to the piety, scholarship, and dignity of the clerical profession, was due to the fact that they had not to rely on the favour of the Bishop, but that they relied on the views of enlightened layman, and upon the patronage of colleges and other public institutions of the country. What did the noble Lord mean by asking him how the curates and clergy of many small villages were at the mercy of their Bishops? Why, if any of them dared to go against his views in deference to the vast majority of their parishioners, if a clergyman were to hand over to a School Board a school which it was difficult to maintain, he would be marked at once as an enemy to the Church. ["Hear, hear!"] He ventured to say that not only in Wales, where the patronage was largely in the hands of the Bishop, but over a large part of England, it was only the clergyman' s fear of his bishop that prevented his allowing a school board to be formed. This power was real and active, and it was and would be actively exercised by many Bishops in this country; and the more bitter and prolonged this controversy, to which the noble Lord looked forward, the more certain it was that the Bishops in whose hands they were placing this enormous additional power would use it more strongly and outspokenly than ever before. Then, over and above their power over the clergy and in these associations, they had another enormous power. It was the power of their membership and presence in another place, and their presence in London during many months of the year. Individual clergymen and managers of 1534 village schools found access to the public departments a very difficult thing. To the Bishops it was easy enough to get access to Government officials at all times, and they could exercise an enormous influence. There could be no doubt, then, that these new fighting organisations with the Bishops at their head, would use their influence and direct it against the Nonconformists in the villages and against the Board Schools in the large towns. He ventured to think, therefore, that the setting up of sectarian organisations which were going to receive their campaign funds out of the public purse, was altogether wrong; for these innocent "advisers" of the Department were to be great organisations for fighting the Nonconformists of the country villages and to fight against the strength of the Board Schools and against the construction of a truly broad and democratic national system of education in our great towns. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman himself, in a very strong argument—with rather departmental than individual enthusiasm—endeavoured to defend the differentiation which would be made between the country and the town schools. Now he lad listened in that House to many criticisms upon the education of this country. He had heard the right hon. Gentleman direct a severe criticism against the education of this country. He had heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself deplore that the education of the country, which cost eight to ten millions a-year, was still inefficient and incomplete. He had read articles by eminent men to the same effect. And what was the universal testimony of public men, educationalists, and Cabinet Ministers alike? It was that the weakest link in the whole chain was the country schools. ["Hear, hear!"] They knew very well what most country schools were. They knew that in many of these schools the life of the teacher and his assistants—perhaps a pupil teacher and an inefficient female assistant —was a life of the merest slavery and drudgery. What was the result? Talk of agricultural depression, how could they expect an agricultural community to be anything but depressed when its children were trained up in this way. How could they expect boys and girls to remain on the land and in 1535 the villages if they were thus treated? And these people came to the towns so badly instructed that they found after twenty-seven years of public elementary education hundreds and thousands of men and women were still growing up who could hardly read and who could do little more than write their names. ["Hear, hear!"] They knew that in many country schools there had been and still was being made a great effort to obtain better teachers. But why was it difficult to obtain better teachers? Very largely because they had got a system in many country districts by which nobody but the clergymen was invited to take a real interest in the schools. He knew there were many rural School Boards in England that neglected their duty; but he ventured to say that in most Welsh districts where the School Boards were the result and the growth of the wishes of the people, the rural schools were making a great effort to come somewhere near the towns. And what did this Bill do with this sum of £620,000? How was the money sent to the country? It was sent to the country with this stamp upon it. The Education Department said to the associations and to the inspectors, and had proclaimed it before the world, that so far as the town schools were concerned, where the Board Schools had already gone to their utmost limit in setting up a high standard, where specific subjects were taught and where the education given was something approaching that given in the public schools of other enlightened countries, that to these towns they were to give 5s. 9d. per child; but that to the schools in the country, where education was the most backward and the teachers the worst paid, they were to give only 3s. 3d. ["Hear, hear!"] They might say it was just possible a country school might get more than a town. But they knew very well that managers, associations and inspectors would look not to a chance statement made in that House, but would look to the limit which the Department had deliberately laid down, and which for this year was the law of the land; and not only the instructions of the Department but the instincts of these associations would operate to stereotype this distribution of the grant in, practically, 2s. to the town school for 1s. given to the 1536 country school. The right hon. Member for Monmouthshire had pointed out that it was the natural instinct of these associations to frankly accept the view of the Department. They knew very well that the real stress of the competition as between the sectarian schools and the National or Board Schools was in the great towns.; and the noble Lord opposite accepted that, and said that it was where the money ought to go—while in other towns the money would be used mainly and largely to keep out the School Board. The right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the House, had given an example already. The noble Lord had said—and thousands who respected his judgment would be influenced by the declaration—that it was very much like a stigma on a town when a School Board was established in it. [Mr. TOMLINSON: "Hear, hear!"] He was not surprised to hear that cheer from the hon. Member for Preston where the Voluntary Schools were the worst in the country. He did not doubt that the hon. Member would object to a school in Preston, for the Board Schools set up would soon put the Voluntary Schools to shame as they had done at Birkenhead. A School Board would probably soon induce the people of Preston to recognise that after all it was good economy to have splendid schools in their midst instead of schools which were little better than miserable hovels, with teachers who were starved and ill-paid. [Mr. TOMLINSON protested against the description given by the hon. Member.] It was indisputable, and anyone who read the reports on the subjects would see that the schools of Preston had been a scandal to the town. [Mr. CRILLY: "Have the Catholic schools in Preston been condemned?"] He was not sure about that, but he knew that the Preston schools generally had been condemned over and over again by the Education Department, as had also a large number of schools in Lancashire and Cheshire. A large portion of the money to be voted that night would be used in maintaining these inefficient schools. It was to that he objected. He admitted that much of this money would be used in promoting educational efficiency, but in respect of the allocation of a very large portion of it there would be inequality as between town and 1537 country, inequality as between Board Schools and Sectarian Schools, and inequality as between Churchmen and Nonconformists. In as far as this was a grant which would be used for accentuating religious differences and buttressing sectarian organisations, it was, in his opinion, a matter for regret that it should have been proposed.
§ MR. J. G. TALBOT (Oxford University)
assured right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite that the Archbishops and Bishops were not the piratical and domineering persons they had been represented to be. Their chief desire was to live in peace and amity with all men, and they had no such militant views as had been ascribed to them. He rose for the purpose of answering the challenge of the right hon. Gentleman opposite as to the way in which the associations would use their powers. He was a member of two associations, and he could testify that their objects were to find out how schools were being conducted now, how much voluntary assistance was given for their maintenance, and what results were achieved. According to the results of such inquiries the grant would be allotted. The association for the Diocese of London, of which he was vice president, had 330 Church schools to consider, and had tried to apportion the grant in the last way. The number of laymen upon this association was equal to, if not larger than, the number of clergymen upon it. Care had been taken that poor schools in overcrowded parishes should have a grant as high as 8s. Other schools which were better able to support themselves had a grant of 3s., and some even had been put into a class which would have no grant at all. These facts would seem to show that these associations, against which such violent attacks had been made that evening, really set about their work in the business-like manner usual with Englishmen.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
appealed to the Committee to pass the Vote without further Debate, in order that there might be time for the discussion of other topics in which hon. Members took great interest.
§ *MR. J. H. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said he rose for the purpose of emphasising what had already been said about the issuing of the circular by the Department, a circular which was 1538 totally at variance with all the speeches made during the passing of the Bill by the First Lord of the Treasury himself. He asked those Members of the Committee who took part in those Debates to recollect whether in their own minds they were not quite convinced, from the general tenour of those Debates as well as from the statements of the First Lord, that the association of schools was to be entirely voluntary and not compulsory at all. ["Hear, hear!"] Even that night they had had from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Education Department the following statement,—that it was the duty of the Committee of Council to sit quietly by and watch the formation of associations as they sprang up by themselves. The First Lord of the Treasury, speaking on the Second Reading of the Bill, said: "I admit that these associations are voluntary." In Committee he said:—He would not even criticise the phrase, so often inaccurately used, that these associations were to be compulsory.Again in Committee he said:—The Committee decided, by a very large majority that the Education Department must be assisted in its work by the associations voluntarily formed.And, finally, in Committee he said:—I would say that these associations are voluntary associations in the fullest sense of the word. Those associations are unquestionably voluntary, and there is no power given to the Department by the Bill to compel Voluntary Schools who are unwilling to join the association to carry out that policy.He wanted to draw the attention of the First Lord—and he was quite sure he was not aware of the circumstances —to what had happened to Church of England Schools within the diocese of London—excellent schools, schools managed by large committees containing a large proportion of laymen. To these schools had come the question "Shall we associate, or shall we not?" and the managers of these schools had decided not to associate. They had, therefore, returned to the Education Department Voluntary School Form I., intimating upon that form that they did not propose to associate their schools with others in the diocese. He had in his mind, at the 1539 present moment, a particular school, the managers of which thereupon received a letter, from whom? From the Rural Dean, urging the managers to associate. They declined that appeal. They then received an appeal—a strong appeal—from whom? From the Bishop of the Diocese. They declined that appeal. And finally they received a letter—a strong letter—of appeal, from whom? Not from the Archbishop, as one would have expected, but from the Education Department. The circular to which his hon. Friend the Member for West Ham had referred was not the circular which went out at the beginning of the operation of this Act. It was a circular sent out by the hundred in this country to all schools that had refused to join, bringing to bear on the managers pressure from the Education Department, which the First Lord of the Treasury most distinctly said on the 10th of March in the present year the Bill gave no power to the Department to enforce. Some reference had been made by his hon. Friend to the terms of the circular. He admitted that the terms of the circular were in places dubious, but he wished to point out that the Education Department, acting without power given by that House, or by the Bill, acting in total contravention of the pledges repeated again and again in the Debates on this Bill by the First Lord of the Treasury, to say nothing of other Members of the Ministry—the Education Department, or rather a section of the Education Department, was sending to schools which had again and again refused to join, a circular intimidating, courteously intimidating, the managers of these schools into joining these associations, which they were entirely loth to do. He called that a breach of the understanding, he called it giving in effect the lie to the promises made by the First Lord of the Treasury. He called it an assumption of power on the part of the Education Department never given to it in this matter by the House and not inherent in the Department. The explanation which had been given by the Vice President was most unsatisfactory, and he took the opportunity of directing the attention of the First Lord—he did not suppose the right hon. Gentleman was aware of it, probably this was the first he had heard of it—to what was 1540 being done in contravention of his own word and pledges. So far as he could make out it was not being done by the Education Department as such; it was not being done by the Lord President; it was not being done by the Vice President; and it was not being done by the Committee of Council as such. It was being done by a new section—the Voluntary Schools section—which had been set up in the Department, officered by a new man—not the Secretary of the Department, not the Assistant Secretary of the Department not an examiner of the Department, but a new man specially appointed for this work, whose name was practically unknown in the educational world. All the correspondence with regard to this thumbscrew work passed through the hands of this official alone—not signed by the Secretary of the Education Department or by a responsible official, but in the name of this one man.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I do not think it is fair for the hon. Member to attack an individual officer of the Department. The persons responsible are the Government —primarily, of course, the Lord President and the Vice President, and after them the whole Government. It is not fair to attack an individual.
§ *MR. YOXALL
said he hoped he should not bethought to have attacked this Gentleman, whose name he had not even mentioned. He merely cited the facts he knew with regard to this section of the Department, to show that they were now by setting up in that Department a section separately officered and separately controlled, doing a work throughout the country with regard to Voluntary Schools which the Department as a whole would not do and had not done, and for which the officers of the Department could not be held responsible. He held responsible the ecclesiastical authorities and the ecclesiastical schools associations in the country, which he believed were really masters of the situation. He must point out to the First Lord that his pledge had not been carried out. Schools in the country, relying on his pledge, again and again repeated, had declined to join the associations, and yet this very strong pressure, this enormous pressure, was being applied by the Department in contravention of the pledges that this 1541 pressure should not be exercised. There were only one or two words he desired to say upon the differentiation of grant. He had been surprised, astounded and grieved beyond measure to hear the Vice-President adopt as one of a series of reasons for this differentiation of grant against the rural schools and in favour of the town schools—reasons with which he was obviously unfamiliar, and of which he did not think the right hon. Gentleman approved—that the cost of teaching was greater in the Voluntary Schools in the town, and he gave the example, the extraordinary example, in proof of that, that the town schools taught specific subjects. That had a suspicious resemblance to what he had heard before from the noble Lord the Member for Rochester and other Members who were anxious to prove that elementary schools in this country were spending money on secondary education, and for wholly different matters than those for which they received that money. What were the figures given by the Vice President? They had got five million children in the elementary schools of the country, and upon the right hon. Gentleman's own showing only 139,000 were being taught specific subjects. Of those 139,000 out of five millions, 101,000 were in Board Schools and 38,000 in Voluntary Schools, and it was because there were 101,000 children in the Board Schools of the town learning specific subjects, and only one-third of that learning specific subjects in Voluntary Schools, and in order to teach as many children in the town Voluntary Schools specific subjects, so as to make 202,000 children altogether—it was for that that this differentiation of 5s. 9d. and 3s. 3d. was to be made. It was a bad differentiation. It was unjustified by the inspectors' reports or by statistics. It was a purely political and ecclesiastical differentiation. And here he would like to draw the attention of the Commit tee to the fact that only two weeks ago over 600 Voluntary School teachers in this country, coming mostly from the towns and having their private interests quite in the other direction—that is to say in favour of the differentiation—unanimously protested against this differentiation, and said the distinction ought not to be made as between town and country schools—an act of self-abnegation, an 1542 act of educational enthusiasm against their own selfish interests which he could not too highly praise. These were the two points to which he desired to refer, and in conclusion he would like to ask the First Lord whether the Department would continue, by means of this circular, to bring to bear on the managers of schools who declined again and again to associate their schools the pressure which that circular did exercise, and which was against the promises of the First Lord, and against the whole policy of the Department hitherto.
[After the usual interval Mr. STUART WORTLEY took the Chair.]
§ MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
said that in the Education Bill discussion last year they had heard a great deal about "the intolerable strain" of the competition of the Board Schools with the Voluntary Schools. They had no longer an intolerable strain, but they had to ask themselves whether the schools in the towns were more necessitous than the schools in the country. The blotof the Bill was that the least relief was given to schools in the country where it was most needed, and the best trained teachers were drained into the towns. These towns were gaining, therefore, the best trained teachers in the country, and it was to these schools that the largest amount of assistance was being given. The result in regard to country schools was that they had had to take inferior, untrained teachers. He would like to see a return showing the number of untrained teachers in town and country schools respectively. It would be found that the small country schools were the more difficult to maintain. A school with 40 or 50 scholars required all the apparatus that was required in a school for the concentrated population of a town, and where the cost of teaching per head was much cheaper. The untrained element was increasing in the teaching in country schools. Pupil-teachers came up from these schools to the Queen's College examinations and were unable to pass; they could not become trained teachers, and had to be admitted by the back door, swelling the number of untrained teachers, adding to this great difficulty in English rural drools. The effect of this grant was to 1543 give more money to towns, and towns had the larger supply of trained teachers and the country schools would be the more depleted. If he, an unprejudiced person, had the allocation of the money he would give a larger portion to the country schools than to the town schools. In large centres of population pupil teachers had the advantage of training classes, and were able to qualify themselves for the examinations, having thus an advantage over the country pupil teachers who, lacking such opportunities, not lacking ability, were unable to pass into the training colleges. Provision should be made to give them assistance in meeting the competition of pupil teachers from towns. Look at the reasons given by the Vice President for the larger grants to towns. He spoke of there being more specific subjects taught, but why should these not be taught in country schools? In the country schools of Scotland as many specific subjects were taught as in town schools, and in every parish in Scotland there were teachers qualified to bring up pupils to the standard required for admission into the Scotch Universities. In the most remote parts of Scotland this means could be found, and had been availed of by men now occupying high official and other positions in the upper walks of life. Not long since, in a remote Highland district some distance from Ullapool, he found 20 or 30 boys far advanced in the study of Latin. Give the people the opportunity and they will rise to the occasion, and avail themselves of it. English rural schools were defective, and they should have more money for more efficient teaching. Another reason alleged was the higher cost of living in towns, but what had that to do with the matter? That had long existed, and would continue to exist, and if the cost of living were higher so were wages higher. What was the grant of £66,000 for the rural schools of England? A mere bagatelle to meet the needs. With the grant they were not so well off as the average school in England and Scotland, and it was unfair to say there was this sum for the absolutely necessitous schools when it did not bring them up to the average of the country. Again, it was said that some of these schools were endowed, and by this was meant that 1544 when some pious founder endowed a school in a district in which he was interested, then the Imperial Exchequer took advantage of this, and by giving the school less, distributed the pious founder's gift over the whole country. This should not enter into the question of whether a school ought or ought not to share in the Parliamentary grant; a district should have the benefit of the founder's generosity for the improvement of its education. The policy of the Department in giving the grant in greater proportion to town schools was with the view to aiding Voluntary Schools in their competition with Board Schools; but after all it would have no result, for if the town Voluntary Schools gave higher salaries the Board School would give higher still, and Voluntary Schools would have no better position in the competition; there would be simply larger expenditure from the rates. The weak part of the English educational system that required strengthening was the rural schools. Without taking account of whether they were Board or Voluntary Schools it was in the country the additional Parliamentary grant was most needed.
§ MR. W. JONES (Carnarvon, Arfon)
said he merely wanted to make a suggestion in connection with the administration of British schools. He had heard rumours of an intention to make North Wales as a whole a unit of administration, but that he thought would be much too wide an area for the administration of the grant. In his constituency there were six British schools, of which three were in the quarry districts, and the managers were mostly quarrymen who could not afford the time or the money to go a distance of 20, 30, or 40 miles to the town where the Central Association' would meet if North Wales were made the unit for the whole of the schools. He would suggest to the Vice President that there should not merely be a Central Association for the whole of North Wales, but also district associations as units of administration, so that the managers would be able to attend the meetings and see that the money was properly allocated for making education more efficient.
§ *COLONEL VICTOR MILWARD (Warwickshire, Stratford-on-Avon)
expressed 1545 disappointment at the Vice President's statement in reference to the differentiation of the grant. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he had not been able to proceed on any system, and that it was more or less guess work and an experiment, but among managers of country schools there would be considerable disappointment. While recognising there was reason for differentiation, the difference between 3s. 3d. and 5s. 9d. per scholar was very great indeed. There were very many more schools in urban districts, and for every 1d. added in those districts 2½d. was taken from the rural districts. He ventured to hope that, when the question came up for consideration, 3d. might be taken off the urban and 6d. added to the country schools, reducing the difference to that between 5s. 6d. and 3s. 9d. In many country districts there were towns which were really not urban but rural in character. In his own constituency there were two towns with 2,000 inhabitants with schools having 300 or 400 scholars, and the difference in amount of grant, because they were rural not urban, was striking, a difference of £45 as between £58 10s. and £103 10s. The Vice President said the money would go to an association in a lump sum, and be divided as the association might think right. He did not believe the auditors of the Department would pass an arrangement of that kind. Before sitting down he desired to say a few words as to the attack upon the Church of England made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, in reference to the formation of associations. None of them were fond of ecclesiasticism, but in this matter he did not think the Church of England was at all to blame. In the Debate upon the Voluntary Schools Bill he spoke in favour of County Associations, but directly he sat down the hon. Member for East Mayo stated that the Roman Catholics, at all events, would have nothing to do with associations of 1546 that kind, that they would under all circumstances have associations of their own. The Wesleyans immediately set to work to form associations for themselves. In the Diocese of Worcester they created an association which should embrace all schools. As soon as they met they found the Roman Catholics had formed their own association, the Wesleyan s had formed theirs, and the Baptists were about to form theirs. There were 250 Church Schools and there only remained 12 Nonconformist Schools to be invited to join the association, and these 12 were consequently in a hopeless minority.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
said that the hon. and gallant Gentlemen who had just spoken could hardly expect the smaller denominations to merge themselves in associations which must naturally be controlled by another denomination. He did not seek to defend their action, but he thought that was a very reasonable explanation of their conduct. He agreed entirely with what the hon. and gallant Member said about the unfortunate distinction drawn between rural and urban schools. He represented an urban district, and although his constituency would benefit by the discrimination he thought it was an exceedingly unfair one, and a very unfortunate one under the circumstances. He could not see on what principle the Education Department had proceeded in making the discriminations. Indeed, he was fully persuaded that, if in Committee on the Voluntary Schools Bill the First Lord of the Treasury had said that the Department would discriminate against rural schools the Bill would not have passed through that House without amendment. But the discrimination was not merely against rural schools, but it was against Nonconformist Voluntary schools, inasmuch as most of such schools were found in urban districts. As to associations, they were certainly led to believe when the question was under discussion in Committee, that the Education Department would exercise a much 1547 greater control over the managers than they had done. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman had admitted that they had not exercised any control whatever. What had happened in a good many districts was very serious. Associations had been formed which were absolutely in the hands of the clerical element. ["Oh!"] He was not attacking the Church of England, because, after all, the clergy were not the Church of England. He would rather trust the lay element than the priests of any sect. Associations had been formed, representing the sacerdotal element. The lay element had been ignored, and he had no doubt that in the majority of instances the will of the Bishop of the Diocese would be supreme. It was very deplorable in the interests of education that the voice of any priest should be dominant. In a good many of the dioceses the clergy who were the managers of the schools were not independent of the bishop. Their promotion depended upon him, and he could interfere with them in a thousand divers ways. He believed the sectarian system had been tolerated so far because the managers of schools had exercised their functions in a more tolerant spirit than the priests wished them to do. But what would happen in the future? At the present moment the clergy were dependent upon the lay element to the extent that the subsidies which came from the Imperial Parliament were not sufficient to enable them to carry on their schools without subscriptions given them by the laity of their own church; but one result of this Vote would, in a large number of instances, be that the schools would be made practically independent of voluntary subscriptions. He contended that the discussion that had taken place indicated a change of policy on the part of the clergy. They had realised for the first time their independence of the laity of their church. They knew that for the future they would not be dependent on their contributions. Where there was tolerance 1548 formerly, there was a much greater intolerance than ever before. The Education Department ought to refuse to sanction the formation of diocesan associations, and they ought to have insisted that the lay element should be predominant; but the right hon. Gentleman did not exercise the powers that had been conferred upon him with regard to the formation of associations. In the majority of cases the Department would depend for counsel and advice on the associations, and in cases in which masters shewed a special proficiency in teaching sectarian dogma and came up to the standard desired by the bishops and the clerical element, the associations would invariably discriminate in their favour. That was a very unfortunate state of things and would lead to a great deal of intolerance, to a great deal of friction, and in the long run to a great deal of bitterness which would put an end to sectarian education altogether. Sectarian education would be strengthened with the result that the parents of Nonconformist children would interfere; they would avail themselves of the Conscience Clause more freely, and the clergy would be left in possession of their schools. He earnestly hoped the Nonconformists throughout the country would adopt that course, now that the associations had gone into the hands of the clergy. This was simply a great bid on the part of the clergy for power. It was an attempt on the part of the priesthood to arrogate to themselves those powers they formerly possessed, and of which the people of this country deprived them. The pretensions of the priesthood were growing from year to year, and would not be checked unless there were a strong Education Department, capable of coping with their claims. He moved the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £100,000, ["Hear, hear!"]
§ *MR. THOMPSON SHARPE (Kensington, N.)
hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not give way to the criticisms passed upon his proposals from various parts of the House for the purpose 1549 of endeavouring to drive him from a position which was perfectly fair, equitable, and logical. They had heard that there were 8,000 parishes in which the Nonconformists had no schools. What was the meaning of that? It meant that in the majority of parishes the Church was a dominant element, and he trusted it would remain so, and would continue to exercise its influence and do its duty with a due regard to the liberty of the Nonconformists. ["Hear, hear!"] He was not a supporter of the priesthood, but he denied that the Church of England had been tyrannical or sacerdotal. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last admitted that it had not been so in the past. It was monstrous that the Church of England should he attacked as if it were the most illiberal, most priest-ridden body that had ever existed. It had been nothing of the kind, and it would be nothing of the kind in the future. ["Hear, hear!"] As regarded the amount to be granted to rural schools, he thought it was perfectly fair and just, and he trusted the Department would keep to it. As regarded the increase of expenditure, he trusted that something would be done in the future to keep down elementary education within its proper limits. In his opinion elementary education, and the grants for elementary education, should be strictly confined to those subjects which were elementary. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would hold to the arrangement he had made, and would not he led away by the various criticisms that had been passed upon him. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. YOXALL
appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury for an answer to the point he had raised as to what would happen to schools that did not join an association.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said the right hon. Gentleman had appealed to him individually. He had no desire to shirk any responsibility, and he thought he would he able to convince the right hon. Gentleman 1550 that there was no breach of faith whatever in the matter. Sub-section 5 of the first clause of the Act expressly provided that any school which unreasonably refused to join an association should be liable to be deprived of its share of the grant. No circular issued by the Department had gone beyond the terms of that sub-section. He wished to remind the Committee that there were several Votes still to be taken, on which discussion was desired, and there could be no chance of those Votes coming on unless the present Vote were disposed of speedily.
Question put: "That Item S (Aid Grant for Voluntary Elementary Schools), he reduced by £100,000."
The Committee divided:—Ayes, 34; Noes, 139.—(Division List, No. 344.)
Original Question put, and agreed to.
2. Motion made, and Question proposed:—That a sum, not exceeding £549,992, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1898, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Science and Art, and of the various Establishments connected therewith, including sundry Grants in Aid.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said that under this Vote provision was made for a series of colleges—the Royal College of Science, London, and the Royal College of Art, London—bnt no provision at all for Scotland. During the last ten or a dozen years they had been rightly increasing the grants for secondary and higher education, and the next Vote would be doubling the amount to be paid in future to various University colleges throughout the United Kingdom, and he thought the time had arrived when something should be done for technical and scientific education in Scotland. The Government had refused to give a 1551 penny for equivalent purposes in Scotland. The Glasgow and West of Scotland College was one of the oldest institutions of the kind in Great Britain. It had applied to the Treasury for a share of the money that was being spent in England and Ireland, but the Treasury had up till now refused to vote a penny. Yet this was one of the grants in which Scotland was earning a great deal, but the Scottish boy, owing to lack of support from the State, was unfairly handicapped. They wanted the same facilities in Scotland as science students were now receiving in England and Ireland. He moved to reduce the Vote by £1,000.
§ SIR J. GORST
did not admit that any injustice had been done in times past to Scotland. Though the Royal College of Science and the Royal College of Art were situated in London, both of these institutions were just as much for Scotland as for England. A large number of the most distinguished students were Scottish; and owing to their greater industry and ability they got even more than their fair share of scholarships in proportion to their numbers than the English students. Only that day he had been at a distribution of prizes for works of art, and he was astonished at the great number of students from Glasgow and Edinburgh who appeared in the successful list. ["Hear, hear!"] Another year he expected that an entirely separate Vote would appear for science and art in Scotland; and in that Vote the amount which was allocated to the teaching of science and art in Scotland would be considerable.
§ Mr. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
complained that the Science and Art Department had not progressed with the advance in the methods and requirements of scientific teaching. Drawing in the public elementary schools was under the control of the Science and Art Department, and as that Department's method of examination differed from the Education Department's method of examination in other subjects two systems of 1552 teaching and two systems of classification had to be adopted in those schools. He thought the remedy for that confusing state of things was to be found in the bringing of drawing as well as all other subjects under the control of the Education Department. He also complained of the difficulty experienced by localities in different parts of the country in obtaining specimens of art and examples of work on loan from the Science and Art Department.
§ SIR J. GORST
said that drawing in elementary schools was now being transferred from the Science and Art Department to the Education Department. ["Hear, hear!"] It would be inspected by the inspectors of the Department, and paid for by attendance and not by results. ["Hear, hear!"] In regard to the other point he thought the hon. Member must be misinformed. Every possible effort was made by the Science and Art Department to give localities those specimens they particularly wanted; and he bad seen numbers of cases in which the Department was thanked for the way in which they complied with those requests.
§ *MR. ERNEST GRAY
said there were two or three matters of importance to which he should like to refer. The Committee might not be aware that earlier in the year a Departmental Committee sat to consider the conditions under which this Vote should be distributed, and that Committee made a report which was practically incorporated in the revised Directory of the Science and Art Department. This proposed Directory, which he admitted was not yet in force as a whole, was placed upon the Table of the House, but during the whole period it lay on the Table copies could not be obtained of the printer, the Report not being yet set up. It could then be secured for a few days, and afterwards it was out of print, and copies were only procurable just as the whole of the Science and Art teachers were going off for their midsummer holidays, 1553 so that the teachers on their return would have to open their winter classes under what was practically a new Directory, with new regulations and a new form of payment, without having had any opportunity of making themselves acquainted with these proposals, to say nothing of criticising them. The Vice President might contend that the new Directory was not yet to be put into force. That could be only a partial statement of the case, because he held in his hand a circular of the Science and Art Department, practically taken from the Directory, and what he wanted to draw attention to in connection with this circular was this—that it came out without the name of the Vice President or the Lord President upon it, but in the name of the Permanent Secretary of the Department. The circular so issued gave legislative effect to proposals in this Directory, and they would come into force next Session, while theoretically the Directory from which it had been taken had not yet been adopted by the Council of Education. He protested against this slipshod way of doing things. He thought the Department ought now to be in a position of sufficient dignity and importance to present its Reports and Directory to the House in the same way as the Code of the Education Department was placed before the House. He quite agreed that it was almost useless to protest against it annually until the Science and Art Department was reformed and brought up to Whitehall, and put under the direct supervision of the right hon. Gentleman. There were a few details on which he should like to have the advice and explanations of the Vice-President. He did not know whether many Members of the Committee had yet realised that one of the chief recommendations of the Departmental Committee incorporated in this draft Report was to the effect that any authority in counties or county boroughs in England possessing an organisation for the promotion of Secondary Education might notify its willingness to be responsible for the Science and Art instruction within its area. It then went on to say that the Department would not, except under special circumstances, recognise any other authority in the area unless the proposed 1554 new authority were responsible to this county authority. Now, the idea was a good one, but the phrases were excessively vague, they might mean a good deal, and they might mean absolutely nothing. "Responsible to the county authority" What was the effect of the word "responsible? "Were they to receive grants through the county authority? What was the meaning of "the county authority shall have notified its willingness to be responsible for the science and art instruction within its area? "Was that the first step towards destroying the Science and Art Department altogether and giving the county authority full charge of the science and art teaching within the county? If that were the idea, there might be very much said in favour of the proposal, but at present the regulation was so exceedingly vague that one would be glad to have some information as to its meaning. ["Hear, hear!"] But the point to which he desired chiefly to draw attention was the new scheme of payment. The new scheme under which this grant was being paid would not do much for the encouragement of science and art throughout the country, indeed, the practical result would be to shut up the whole of the small science and art classes throughout the country. It would not be worth the while of any managers, certainly in a village or a small town or in a sparsely populated rural district, to take over the science and art teaching during the coming winter under this miserable and trumpery scale. Yet these were the very places where light was required to be shed on the darkness prevailing in the rural districts. The scheme of payment in the past had been on the results of the annual examinations. A class had presented ten or a dozen pupils, and it was paid so many pounds per head. It was now proposed to make these payments very largely depend upon the average attendance in the classes and upon the report which the inspector might make as to the way in which the class was being conducted on the occasion of his visits. It would be readily seen that it might pay the committee of a class of a hundred pupils in a town where access to the class was easy and where the average attendance might be high and regular—it might pay the committee of such a class to take the 1555 grants on average attendance. But the same amount of work had to be done, and the same apparatus provided as a rule for science and art teaching with a class only a dozen strong; and reports had reached him from all parts of England and Wales pointing out that in view of the miserably small subvention that would come on the basis of average attendance instead of results, teachers were sending in their resignations and committees were being disbanded at that moment because they were not prepared to carry on the work under the new conditions. He had three or four examples —one came into his hands only that morning as he came down to the House, in a letter from the Chairman of one of these small science and art classes. Last year this Committee presented 21 pupils in the elementary class and 13 in the advanced stage. Their total grant on the old scheme was £48. They had taken the average attendance last winter and had applied both the minimum and maximum grants under the new scheme, with the result, that with the minimum they would lose £37, and with the maximum they would lose £9. Now £9 out of £48 was a heavy loss, and it would certainly be seen that the risk of losing £37 out of £48 would finally induce the managers to shut up the class altogether. It would be utterly impossible to carry on the class; and he wished to press on the Vice President with all possible urgency, that if he wished to continue the encouragement of science and art teaching throughout the country he must drop this rate of payment immediately so far as it affected the small classes. ["Hear, hear!"] However the scheme was worked out, in the small classes the grant would be so ridiculously trifling that it would not be worth the while of managers to carry on this work. He was sure it was not the desire of the Committee to limit the teaching of science and art to large towns, but that they were desirous to brighten up the life in agricultural villages, and to give the young men and women the opportunity of getting to better things. There was another feature in connection with these new grants, namely, that the estimate on which the grant was to be paid would be formed by an Inspector of the Science and Art Department who would visit the 1556 class. This inspector would have to take into consideration the ability of the teacher, the equipment of the class, and the way in which the work was carried on there. He wondered what would be said in an ordinary factory if the inspectors who were sent there never had the least training or idea of factory work. The utmost fear was being expressed that the gentlemen who would be sent down to the classes would not be trained men. To have knowledge and to be able to teach were two different things. The predecessors of the Vice President realised this difficulty in the ordinary work of the Education Department years ago, and in order to obtain something like an average standard throughout the country the inspectors would have to receive minute instructions as to the way in which they were to carry out their work. Moreover, the organisers of the classes should know what were the instructions which the inspectors had received, so as to secure the results, or rather some of the results, for which they laboured, for he was loath to admit that the managers laboured merely for pecuniary results. He urged that having regard to the conditions under which this directory had been published, to the fact that many of their science teachers and managers of science classes had not yet been able to get hold of a copy, this new scheme should be made optional for another year. He should much regret the withdrawal of the directory, or the withdrawal of the change from result payments to attendance payments; but he ventured to urge upon the right hon. Gentlemen—who he understood however was not the sole authority in this matter—that if they persisted in applying tins scheme it would close many small schools during the winter. He thought they ought to allow any of the classes who wished to take up the new rules to try the experiment for 12 months and see what the result would be. He was certain that everybody who had had experience of the two Departments would hail with unmitigated satisfaction the transference of Drawing from the Science and Art Department to the Education Department, for the Education Department had the confidence of the country, while the Science and Art Department had not.
1557 These small schools were of vital importance to the science and art work throughout the country. About half a million of money was going to be spent for the encouragement of this work in the coming whiter, and science and art classes should be great attractions to lads and lasses in the winter evenings. He hoped, therefore, that no regulations would be put into force which would in any way interfere with this work.
§ *MR. YOXALL
supported the appeal of his hon. Friend. He trusted that the Vice President would allow a year of grace before making the new scheme compulsory. The actuarial computation on which the change was based was wholly wrong. There had been changes of this kind before and they had not been pecuniarily satisfactory. Last year when a similar change was made it was predicted that on the actuarial basis then adopted schools would lose, and as a matter of fact schools that had proceeded on the old basis had not lost, while schools that had gone on the new basis had lost. There had been considerable loss, for example, in the case of a higher grade Board School at Leeds. He trusted that schools would be given an option, and that they would not be forced to proceed on the new basis in the next 12 months. If no option were given it would mean financial disaster to hundreds of science classes. He rejoiced at the proposed transfer of drawing from the Science and Art Department to the Education Department. When the work was transferred to Whitehall it would be necessary to reform the syllabus, as the South Kensington syllabus was defective. He would say a few words with regard to the proposed transfer of officials from one department to the other. In Whitehall there was a large staff of sub-inspectors, all of whom had been teachers in elementary schools, some being of the first grade and some of the second. It was now proposed to transfer from South Kensington, as sub-inspectors, some of the gentlemen employed there. He hoped that would not be done in an unfair way. The men whom it was proposed to transfer had never been practical teachers and had no practical qualifications for sub-inspection. To put them over the heads of the thoroughly trained sub-inspectors now employed al the Education Department would be most 1558 unfair. He hoped that in any case the Vice President would take care that injustice was not done to the sub-inspectors in Whitehall.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.)
believed the changes designed were intended to prevent a great deal of the waste of money that used to go on when the Science and Art Department were competing with the Education Department in separate organisations.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX (Londonderry)
said he wished to support the appeal of the hon. Member for West Ham. Payment on average attendance instead of on results was bound to stop the teaching of science and art in the rural districts. In the greater part of Ireland it was impossible to get a large average attendance for science and art teaching. If a fixed grant were applied it would no longer be worth the while of a teacher in rural districts to carry on a science and art class. It would not be easy for an Irish authority to re-establish science and art teaching when it had once been destroyed. Much organisation was necessary. He hoped that if the Education Department were going to hand over the administration of science and art grants in Ireland to an Irish authority they would do so as soon as possible. He understood that schools like the Christian Brothers were eligible for grants under the Science and Art Department, but not from the National Board of Education, and it would be essential in making any transfer of any branch of teaching to see that the grants should be available in the schools which for conscientious reasons did not now obtain them.
SIR J. CORST
said that science and art grants in Ireland would rest with the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It was hardly to be expected that the Committee of Council should take the initiative. His own opinion was that when they once separated the elementary education of Ireland, Scotland, and England, as they had done completely, it was impossible but that the science and art education and the secondary education must follow. Therefore he regarded it as inevitable that the whole of the education of Ireland, and not the elementary education merely, must be undertaken by the Education Department of Ireland. The debate which 1559 had taken place within the last few minutes was a good illustration of the hopelessness of satisfying anybody in any education reform which might be proposed. The hon. Member for Shoreditch began the discussion by speaking of the Science and Art Department as an extremely backward department which actually was so antiquated as to pay by results instead of by attendance. They had made an attempt in the present year to clear themselves of the obsolete custom of paying by results and began the more modern and enlightened system of payment by attendance. Then up got his hon. Friend for West Ham and his hon. Friend for Nottingham, and they denounced the Department for the injustice they were committing on the small schools by abandoning the practice of paying by results in order to pay by attendance.
said he supported strongly the proposal to abandon payment by results, but represented what he considered the utter inadequacy of the payments by attendance.
§ SIR J. GORST
said his hon. Friend was not satisfied with the scale under which they proposed to pay. He could only say that that scale was not settled by the Science and Art Department alone, but by that department in negotiation with the Treasury, and the principle laid down was that the new attandance grant should be an exact equivalent of the old results grant, neither more nor less. Upon that principle the present scale was made up. It was not a scale of this year. It was a scale which was promulgated last year, but last year it was allowed to be an optional change. It was a remarkable thing that before the Departmental Committee which sat at the beginning of this year none of the losses which it was said would be incurred by the adoption of the new grant were made out. When the scale of last year was made out, so enlightened a body as the School Board for London objected to it on the ground that some of their art schools would lose by adoption, and they went so far as to specify one particular large art school. They took the trouble of reckoning up the earnings of this particular school on the two systems, and they found that under the attendance grant they would have actually got a greater sum than 1560 they did under the results grant. He was afraid that in this case the fears of the art and science masters were interpreted by them as if they were actual facts. They took the most gloomy view of their prospects, but he could assure the Committee that the very last thing the Department desired to do was to crush any schools which were doing good work, and, above all, to crush any rural schools. If the operation of this new scale were really to have the effect which hon. Members anticipated, they might depend upon it that it would very soon be put a stop to, and a fresh scale would very soon be introduced. He really could not undertake to give an option for another year. There had already been an option given for one year, and he thought the time had come when the new scale of attendance grants ought to be put in force. As regarded the lateness of the period at which the directory would come into force, he might say that he had always refused finally to settle it until the discussion which had now taken place had taken place. The moment the Vote was granted the directory would be settled and all the representations and suggestions which had been made that night would be placed before the Committee and before the Department as soon as the Committee had reported, and would be most carefully taken into consideration. With regard to instructions they would be given to the inspectors in the same way as they were given under the code relating to elementary education. He could promise that the inspectors who visited the schools for the purpose of assessing the grant should be properly instructed. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ SIR JOHN GORST
stated that the position had been filled up by the appointment of Mr. Coffey some weeks ago.
§ MR. DALY
was not aware of this. He should like to refer to one other point in connection with the Dublin Science and Art Museum, which was that while there were twelve smart capable business men in the City of Dublin, who were the visitors attached 1561 to the Museum, they were not allowed to make a report to the right hon. Gentleman without asking the permission of the Director. It was a great slight on these gentlemen to say that they were not capable of making any representation to the Department except through the Director. To show the high-handedness with which they were treated, he might mention that when the visitors some short time ago wished to make a report to the Department, they were rapped over the knuckles and told if they attempted to do anything of the kind without consulting the Director they would be dismissed from their position. They might not care about such a threat, except perhaps, for the honour of the position, which was one to which no salary attached. He thought the present state of affairs should not be allowed to continue any longer, but that these visitors should be allowed the opportunity of making a report direct to the Department without consulting any official.
§ SIR J. GORST
remarked that this was a matter which had already been brought under the notice of the Committee by the hon. Member himself, and it would no doubt receive careful consideration.
§ MR. T. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
asked for information as to the attendance and cost of the Sunday opening of museums?
§ SIR J. GORST
said he had not the figures at hand, but he believed the attendance was very good and the cost very small. If the hon. Member would ask a question he should be glad to answer him.
§ SIR. J. GORST
said the questions raised by the hon. Member in regard to the Edinburgh Museum would come before the Department in connection with the Report of the Departmental Committee already referred to.
§ DR. CLARK
said the reply of the right hon. Gentleman on the points he had raised was most unsatisfactory. He was quite aware of the fact that a large 1562 number of bursaries both in England and Ireland were secured in competition by Scottish' students; he knew that thus Scotland got the lion's share of the grant, but that did not affect the question that the Government were bound to spend public money in science and art grants for Scotland in proportion to the amount spent in England and Ireland, that was the policy enunciated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If they thought the Vice President was expressing the views of the Government, Scotch Members would adopt a different attitude, but they did not think he expressed the view of the Treasury. They in Scotland wanted money, and the same class of teaching there as here. Upon a subsequent Vote, however, they would be able to raise the question, and therefore he would not put the Committee to the trouble of dividing now.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed.That a sum not exceeding £108,439 be granted to her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1898, for the salaries and other expenses of the British Museum, and of the Natural History Museum, including certain grants in aid.
§ MR. J. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said that the officials of the British Museum were now, and had been for some time, engaged in publishing very elaborate subject indices to literature. The indices, which were most valuable to students and librarians, were sold at a very high figure, although not a high figure when compared with the labour and cost of producing them. But the British Museum was an institution which was kept up for the benefit of the general public, and therefore he hoped the indices would be brought within the reach of any man of moderate means.
§ *THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURY, Preston)
said that the hon. Member must be aware that the Treasury had nothing to do with these matters. They were entirely under the control of the trustees of the museum, but he thought the point raised was one which ought to receive attention, and he would take care to bring it before the trustees.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid.)
said that when the Committee were passing a large item like this there were some points that ought to be explained. One of those points was in connection with the purchase and acquisition of objects of interest. Under that head it was a matter for criticism that there had been a large falling off. Then complaints had been made as to the heating and fire extinguishing apparatus, and it was said that the heating of the museum in winter was unsatisfactory; yet in the face of all there was a falling off under that head. There was also a falling off under the head of heating and firing apparatus in connection with the Natural History Museum.
§ *MR. HANBURY
said that what the hon. Member last referred to appeared to be a capital expenditure in new apparatus, which must vary from year to year. If there was a large expenditure last year, that was no reason why it should be repeated this year. The other point raised by the hon. Member was explained by the fact that last year there was a supplementary Estimate of £6,000 because the Montagu and another collection of coins came into the market, and the Museum applied for a special grant in order to buy a portion of those collections, and the Treasury granted it as something quite exceptional. The Treasury had now promised that a grant of £22,000 a year should be given for five years, and that was more than had ever been promised before. In addition to that a rule had been made that instead of expecting the museum to pay back anything not expended in the year, as under the old system, the money might be retained for expenditure in other years.
Question put and agreed to.
Resolutions to be reported.
Motion made and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £66,059, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1898, for Grants in aid of the expenses of certain Universities and Colleges in Great Britain, and of the expenses under The Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889.
§ *Mr. HANBURY
The Vote for Edinburgh University is part of a sum which is now paid under statute to the Scottish Universities Commission for distribution among the Scottish Universities. The people responsible for its expenditure are the authorities of the Universities.
§ DR. CLARK
said that until the Act of 1881 was passed by the late Unionist Government, all the items of the Vote were voted directly by Parliament. But under that Act a fixed sum was allotted to the Universities, but, in order that the House might retain control over the expenditure for Scotch University Education, the sum was not put on the Consolidated Fund, but was kept on the Estimates. All these payments, which used to be included in the Estimates of the Scottish Parliament, were transferred to the Imperial Estimates under the Treaty of Union. A foot-note to the Vote declared that in addition to the £42,000 given to Scotch Universities under Statute, there was £30,000 payable under the Local Taxation (Scotland) Account. That sum was really Scotland's share of the Probate Duty. By this grant it was first proposed to give £15,000 to various colleges in Great Britain. Some of the Scotch colleges made an application, but the Committee so drafted the conditions as to rule out those colleges giving purely science education. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer appointed a Committee to advise as to the colleges that were getting the grant; and one of the colleges exactly in the same position as the Anderson College in Glasgow, was the Durham College of Science. Thus the West of Scotland Association had been kept out of its money. Now it was found that Dundee was to get £1,000 1565 for a year or two; but by its amalgamation with St. Andrew's University, Dundee would lose the money, because it had to share in the sum of £30,000. It was also very unfair that a Committee should be appointed for Great Britain, on which not a single Scottish representative had been nominated. They were voting money for the College of Science in London and in Dublin, but the College of Science in Scotland got no share of the grant. The result was that Scotch boys were unfairly handicapped. They came down from the north and carried off the English and the Irish prizes; but they should have the opportunity of competing for those prizes at home.
§ MR. CALDWELL
called attention to Item A, under "University," with the note in full discharge of all claims on public moneys. These words were in the Estimates some years ago, and he took exception to them on the ground that there was no warrant whatever for them. The result was that the words were taken out of the Estimates, and now they appeared on the Estimates again. In Section 25 of the Universities Act, mention was made of those sums being in full discharge of all claims on public money. From the beginning of the Act to the end there was nothing whatever to say that this £42,000 given to the Scotch University, was in full discharge of all claims on public money. He strongly objected to them putting on the Estimates a misleading statement of that kind without authority. The Secretary to the Treasury would of course be prepared with his authority to show that it was in full discharge of all claims, but he would tell him' distinctly that there was no warrant whatever for it, and he defied him to produce anything to show that these sums were a discharge of the claims of the Scotch Universities. By the Treaty of Union the Scotch Universities were handed over to the Imperial Parliament, and it was the duty of that Imperial Parliament, as succeeding to the old Scotch Estates, to make full and fair provision for them out of imperial money. With regard to the £42,000, that was partly under the cognisance of the Committee, but when the Bill was passing through the House, this £42,000 was on the Annual Estimates, and they (the Scotch Members) objected to 1566 putting it on the Consolidated Fund, because they wished to preserve their right to discuss any application of the money. He contended that the Auditor General was entitled to see that the money was properly applied to University purposes. He pressed the right hon. Gentleman to give his warrant for putting in these words, or else to give a promise that they should be taken out.
§ *MR. HANBURY
said the mere fact that the hon. Member had made his speech showed that this was a Vote which came under the cognisance of the House. The matter was beyond argument. As to the sub-head of which he complained, if the hon. Member would look into this Act, it would be found that these sums is were in frill discharge of all past and present claims on public moneys. He thought the hon. Member must be entirely mistaken in what he had said on that point. The Act described that this suit of £42,000 should be paid over to certain Commissioners with whom would rest entirely the discretion as to how it should be distributed between the Universities. There could be no doubt that the Act did provide that it should be, as far as the Universities were concerned, a full discharge of any claim on public funds. He hoped that they would now be able to take this Vote, if not, he should be obliged to report progress.
§ *MR. HANBURY
said if the University authorities did not spend this money properly in the opinion of the Commissioners, a check could be exercised.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said that as he understood the matter, the Committee had no power to allocate a new grant except to the English colleges, except a small sum in the case of Dundee. That was the reason for not appointing anybody specially from Scotland.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said that he would look into the matter referred to by the hon. Member for Caithness. He rather thought that the terms of the reference relating to the grant were limited to English colleges—that was to colleges which had already had grants allocated to them. [Dr. CLARK said that this limitation was what he complained of.] It followed from the terms of reference, which may have been too narrow. He had not risen, however, to discuss that matter further, but to say that, after the labour winch the House had gone through in the course of the week, he recognised that it was impossible for them to deal with any more subjects usefully, and therefore he moved "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
Question put, and agreed to.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.