Motion made, and Question proposed—
That, in the opinion of this House, the system of Primary Education in England and Wales inflicts upon a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects a serious grievance which demands the immediate attention of Parliament."—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon, etc.)
Last year I moved a Resolution, which in terms was bound to influence a very large and influential religious community with regard to Primary Education, and I also in that Resolution suggested a remedy which, to my mind, was a possible one for the state of things. The right honourable Gentleman who represented the Government on that occasion admitted the evil, though he repudiated the remedy; therefore, I am going to invite the House upon this occasion to discuss whether we are not upon common ground. Is it admitted by the right honourable Gentleman that there is an evil? If there is an evil it demands the immediate attention of the House of Commons. There is a very general agreement upon one question, and that is that there is something seriously defective in the condition of Primary Education in this country. The educational authorities must acknowledge that there is something seriously defective in the system in a good many respects. It compares very unfavourably with the Primary Education which is carried on in countries which constitute our far most formidable trade rivals. In this country children are allowed to leave school at 11 years of age, and some at 10. In hundreds of parishes of England there are very few children in school, at all after they are 10 years of age. You have hundreds and thousands of children leaving school before they are 12 years of age. Our apparatus is defective, the equipment is bad, the accommodation is insufficient, and with regard to some of our Voluntary schools the condition is perfectly disgraceful. It is discreditable to this country and to civilisation, and it is certainly a disgrace to the religion in whose name all those offences are perpetrated against the children of the 56 land. The last Report of the Education Department goes in that direction. It points out that the direction of the qualification of our education is bad. It calls it a mechanical form of bookish instruction, which is the cheapest style of teaching. It calls for the least thought on the part of the teacher. There is too much pen and too little work, and it is because it is cheaper that our system is defective. Children leave school at an age when their education is really commencing. Up to that point they only acquire sufficient schooling in the elements to enable them to start their educational career. Not only that, their intelligence and interest in education is weakened, and worse than that, the only thing that is left is a distaste for all knowledge owing to the conditions and discipline and restraint under which they have been taught. There is no interest to counteract all that, and, so far as thousands of our school children are concerned, especially with regard to the Voluntary schools, it would be better for the children if they never entered them. I do not know whether the noble Lord who interrupted me last has read the very able articles which appeared in the "Manchester Guardian" lately. They were written by a schoolmaster, and in an exceedingly impartial style. They treat both of Voluntary schools and Board schools. His description of some of the Voluntary schools in the country districts is simply appalling. There is no ventilation, the accommodation is insufficient, and the atmosphere is mephitic. I say the worst thing that could happen to these children is that they should enter these schools at all. It would be better that they never entered them. Their minds are not improved, their physique is damaged just at the time when they are laying the foundation of their constitutions. That is the condition of education in this country, and it is sufficiently appalling. Go to other countries, and especially to our great trade rivals. There is compulsory education in Prussia up to the age of 14. and in Saxony up to the age of 15. Go to the United States, which is our most formidable trade competitor; 14 is the minimum age there. In some States it is 15, in several States it is 16, and in one State the compulsory age is 18. (Laughter.) It amuses honourable Mem- 57 bers that all children should attend school up to the period of 18 years, but it is not so amusing when you come to discover that these children afterwards become artisans and merchants, and lead us in all the markets of the world. That is one of the reasons why we have been deprived of our trade, not merely in foreign markets, but even in our home and Colonial markets by those children when they have grown up to manhood. The question is: "How is this so?" Is it not because this country cannot afford to set up an excellent and efficient system of education? This is the wealthiest country in the world. I believe that our bill for armaments next year, for the whole of our Empire, will amount to something like 70 millions of money—30 millions more than the expenditure of any other country in the world. How is it, then, that we cannot afford to spend more money on education? As a matter of fact, we do not spend the necessary amount of money in bringing the educational system of our country up to the condition of efficiency which is comparable with that which obtains in other countries with whom we have a life struggle for commercial ascendency. I think, Mr. Speaker, there is but one answer to such a state of things. It is said that we have no money. Last year the surplus of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was so great that he did not know what to do with it; and so he produced the famous Bristol Birds-eye Budget. What is the reason, I again ask, for the existing state of things as to education? It is because we have got in this country two rival, hostile, and perfectly incompatible systems of education, the partisans of each of which do their very best to cripple the resources of the other.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I would not state a proposition like that without attempting to prove it. and that is what I propose doing now. What is the avowed policy of the Voluntary schools with re-regard to the Board Schools? It is this: First of all, it is to prevent any additional Board schools being planted in new districts.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
Yes; that is the avowed policy, and if the statement is challenged, I can quote in support of it passages from the Church Extension pamphlet. And I do not think there is anything in that which, from their point of view, they need to be ashamed of. The policy is to prevent any additional Board schools being planted in the new districts. What is the effect of that? It is this: at the present moment the Voluntary schools have not sufficient funds for the purpose of keeping in decent repair the schools already existing under their control. It is quite as much as they can do to keep up the subscriptions; in fact, the subscriptions are tumbling down. While they have not sufficient resources to administer the empire they have got, they insist on further expansion. The right honourable Gentleman the Vice-President gave them good advice in his speech at Liverpool. He said, "Concentrate; you have not sufficient funds to extend the Voluntary system." Very good advice, but not identical with the opinions of those he was addressing. The right honourabl Gentleman the Vice-President wants to make scholars; they want to make proselytes, and, therefore, they decline to follow his advice. Another result of this policy is that they have got to draw practically from the charity of the same donors to existing schools and to new schools. That weakens and impoverishes the schools already etablished, and, therefore, you have an anæmic and attenuated system throughout the land. That is not the case in regard to Board school.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I quite understand that cheer. That is not the case with School Board schools, because they have the rates to draw upon.
I am glad to see that statement accepted. The School Boards spend more, for they have the rates to draw upon. Their schools are bad enough in the rural districts; they are quite disgraceful, and a discredit to the system in some of the small areas, and I would rejoice to see these areas increased. But, bad as they are, they 59 spend 3½ millions more a year upon educating two million children than the Voluntary schools spend in educating 2½ million children. That is not wasteful extravagance; they could do with more money. What is the result? They have better teachers, better schools, they have more abundant accommodation. That tells not merely on the physique of the children, but on their mental alertness, their power, and their energy. You cannot get children breathing foul air to give the best of their thought to the problems put before them. The School Boards, then, have got a larger staff and a better staff than the servant girl article, of which there are practically 10,000 in the Voluntary schools and two or three thousand in the Board schools. All that is bound to tell on the education in the schools of these respective systems. And it does tell. Anyone who studies the results of the examinations will see that; although I do not think that these results tell all the story, because a great deal of indulgence is shown by some of the inspectors in regard to the Voluntary schools. A manager admits that, with some inspectors, the Voluntary schools in his district would have been wiped out. That is the difference between the two systems. The Board schools confer a superior education to the Voluntary schools, and that is much, more clearly evident when you come to the higher standards. In the higher standards the number of grants to Board schools contrasted to grants to Voluntary schools is most marked. That means not only that the education in these higher standards is better, but it is really a test of the superiority of the education given up to that point. It becomes manifest that, when these children attain 10 or 11 years of age, their education begins to tell on their mode and manner of thought, and on their mental action. What, then, is the consequence of this policy of keeping out Board schools and planting Voluntary schools? It is, as I have stated, to keep out the better schools in order to plant inferior ones. It impoverishes the Voluntary schools, and therefore cripples them; whereas by planting Board schools you do not impede the resources of the School Boards because there is no increased source of revenue. That is not all the effect of the policy of the Voluntary schools. Not merely do they con- 60 spire to keep out Board schools, and to drive out superior education, but they do their best, by raising a false cry of economy, to cripple the resources of existing Board schools, and to lower and depress the standard of education there. I venture to say that at every School Board election throughout the kingdom where you hear the cry of economy raised, it is raised by the friends of the Voluntary system. What is the effect of that? It is too manifest in some of the rural School Boards. The staff is poor in quality and in numbers, and the apparatus is miserable. All this is due to the cry of economy. In every community you have a certain number of men who, whenever they can raise the cry of economy, do so. They care nothing about the object for which the rates are to be expended. What do they care about the education of children? They take sordid and selfish views on this matter. The friends of Voluntary schools have discovered that these people are a source of political power in these rural districts, and unscrupulously appeal to them, with the result that in many parts of the country the education of the children suffers. It has nothing to do with the religious education — absolutely nothing. All this crippling of education, this perpetuating of ignorance in the rural districts, is done in the name of religion, but it is really caused by the cupidity of some of the ratepayers. It is a conspiracy of greed and creed against the efficiency of the School Board schools. And the worst thing about the system is that it tends to perpetuate itself. It keeps down the standard of education, and it drives children out of the schools. Four or five millions of children are turned out of the schools without practically any education—their minds stunted, their interest in knowledge weak, and their intellect not roused. What is the result? These become the ratepayers who will elect the School Boards of the future. These are the ratepayers who will listen to the cry of economy when the education of the children is concerned. They will say, "What do we care about the education of children; they are getting as good an education as we got, and why should they have any better?" These children, too, will eventually become the electors who return Members to Parliament to vote down Board 61 schools, and keep up this inefficient system of Voluntary schools. Let us look quite frankly on the other side of the case. I admit that the same thing applies when there is an appeal for any aid to Voluntary schools. When there is any proposal of a grant-in-aid to the Voluntary schools the friends of the Board schools, especially in Dissenting communities, and those who sympathise with them, by every means in their power, and by every resource, oppose these grants being made by the Government. As long as the Voluntary system inflicts an injustice on the consciences of a section of the community, they are bound to resist every grant out of the pockets of the ratepayers, which will have the effect of perpetuating the system, and of extending its operations. What does all this mean? It means that the friends of the Voluntary schools cripple the Board schools, confine their operations, diminish their resources, and repress education. The same thing happens when there is an application made for a grant in aid of the Voluntary schools, and the result is that both classes of schools use their power and influence to depress the level and standard of education throughout the country, instead of competing with each other in healthy rivalry. That is a very serious state of things, and demands the attention of Parliament, and that is all I ask for in this Resolution What I say, therefore, is that it is impossible to effect a settlement of this question as long as the grievance remains unredressed which affects the consciences so many people. Our children are suffering, our country is suffering, our Empire is suffering, from this low rate of education. It is time we came face to face with it, and endeavoured to effect some settlement which will be satisfactory to the majority of the people of the country. And I say it is impossible to effect a settlement of the kind so long as you perpetuate the grievance which afflicts the consciences of so many millions of the people of this country. Now, what is that grievance? It is this: that you use funds, to which men of all creeds and classes contribute, for the purpose of propagating dogmas which are offensive to large bodies of the contributaries to the common fund. You have 14,000 schools in this country where the dogmas of one sect are taught at the ex- 62 pense of all. That is an injustice, and a grievance. But that is not all. You have 8,000 parishes in the country where you have no schools except the schools of one faith managed by the minister of one creed or denomination. The dogmas of one creed are taught in a large number of these parishes where the majority of the children belong to other denominations. There are hundreds of these schools in Wales, and I would ask the right honourable Gentleman if he can give me a list of 20 out of all these hundreds of schools where the majority of the children do not belong to another denomination, and yet where the dogmas of another faith are not taught at the expense of the community. What has rather aggravated this state of things is what has occurred recently in the Church of England. Now, I am fully alive to the fact, Mr. Speaker, that I cannot raise the question of ritualism on this Resolution.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
If the honourable Members will just listen to the end of my sentence, they will find their zeal has outrun their knowledge. I am fully alive to the fact that on this Resolution I cannot raise the question of ritualism, and the conduct of the Bishops, and all these recent controversies. But, in as far as these strange doctrines are introduced into the schools of the country and constitute a part of the grievance to which I have referred—I am not all sure that they do not constitute the greatest part of the grievance of which we complain—to that extent alone I shall refer to ritualism. I gave a case last year, and quoted from Gaze's Catechism, in which some of these new doctrines are taught in the schools. It is not a question of vestments or a question of incense—though I am not sure, from the descriptions given of some of the Voluntary schools, that a little incense would not make them all the better. It is not merely a question of incense, it is a recrudescence of the old claims of the priesthood to possess miraculous powers. These are the doctrines which are taught in the schools of the nation, maintained by the nation, and at the expense of the nation, and out of funds contributed to by Protestants. These are the new doctrines which are being taught, and I think they are most 63 dangerous doctrines. That is a new-claim put forward by the clergy, or rather an old claim which was fought against, disposed of, and overthrown in this country centuries ago. It is an attempt to exalt the vanity of a class into a creed for all in this country. This is what is taught in Brighton, and at Cardiff, and, indeed, all over the kingdom in the form of what is known as Gaze's Catechism. I observe that when I refer to the case of Brighton, and to the case of Cardiff, that the interruption is not so clearly marked. Now these are the things taught in the schools at the expense of the nation, and I say that is an injustice to the people of this country. But there is another injustice from which Nonconformists especially suffer. In 14,000 schools of the country a Nonconformist child is not allowed to become a pupil teacher. The right honourable Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council of Education shakes his head; he has done that repeatedly when that statement has been made before. I give him a challenge. I gave it last year, and he is far more ready to shake his head than give me information. Last year, when he and the Leader of the House challenged my statement, I asked whether he is prepared to grant a Return of the Voluntary schools in the country where Nonconformists are allowed to become teachers. I know of one case in my own constituency, and have no doubt there are many other cases of that kind, where the Voluntary schools cannot be carried on without the aid of Nonconformist teachers, and these are employed as long as the head teacher is in the hands of the Anglican Church. There is only one condition, however, under which Nonconformists can become teachers, and that is to sell their creed, to become traitors to the faith of their fathers, and to join a church to which they do not belong, and to which they would not belong except for considerations which are not exactly germane to the nature, quality, and spirituality of their faith. I think we are entitled to doubt the sincerity of a conversion which is contemporaneous with the temporal advantage which would not otherwise be conferred on the applicant. These are the two great grievances from which Nonconformists suffer. But there is a third—the training colleges. Ninety per cent. of the accommodation in these col- 64 leges is in the hands of the secretaries and managers of the colleges, and out of their income of £200,000 there is only £8,000 contributed by the voluntary subscriptions, the rest is the amount of the State subsidy supplemented by the fees of the students. But it is only the members of one particular faith who are allowed to enter these training colleges. Ten per cent. of the accommodation is free, it is true, but 90 per cent. is confined exclusively to these sectarian teachers, and the 10 per cent. open to Nonconformists is only open in competition with the other 90 per cent. Does the right honourable Gentleman or any-other honourable Member on the other side of the House really defend that on the grounds of justice and fair play to a large section of the community? I observe that the honourable Member for Lowestoft, who is the champion in this House of the rights of the Church, has placed an Amendment on the Paper, in which he complains of the grievances of Churchmen in this respect. I am perfectly prepared to face this question. I admit it is an important one. I say that if Churchmen suffer any grievance which is identical with or even analogous to that sustained by Nonconformists, I am ready to vote for any remedy or proposal that will redress it. I do not see why it should not be done on the basis suggested by the Majority Report of the Royal Commission—equal participation in the Parliamentary grant. That Report was signed by the present Archbishop of Canterbury, by Cardinal Manning, and all the friends of the Voluntary scheme. The proposal seems to me perfectly reasonable. They say—Weighing all the evidence that has been put before us, we have come to the conclusion that the State should continue to recognise Voluntary and Board schools as together forming the national provision for elementary education; and that both ought to continue to participate on equal conditions in the Parliamentary grant.I am perfectly prepared to vote for any grant to the Voluntary schools, but on the condition that it must be equally participated in by the Board schools. Honourable Mmbers may say, "It is true you may be suffering from grievances in the Anglican parishes, but what about the grievances of the Anglican children in the School Board districts?" I have two questions to ask as a test in regard 65 to that. The first is, Is there a single Board school in the kingdom where any privilege, position, or advantage is given to Nonconformist children that is not equally open to the Anglican children? My second question is this, Have honourable Members perused the Returns of the syllabus of religious instruction given in all the Board schools, obtained by the House of Lords in 1888, and subsequently in 1895. If they have not perused these Returns, then I suggest they have no right to condemn the system of religious instruction in Board schools, of which they know nothing. But assuming that honourable Members have perused that syllabus, can they point out a single case, a single item, in these carefully prepared Returns where there is anything taught that is offensive to the conscience of any Anglican parent In the land? If not, where is the grievance? And there is no Anglican school, or few Anglican schools, of which the same can be said. Well, the honourable Member doubts that. Let me put it as plainly as possible. Can it be said of Anglican schools that every privilege and position and advantage which is open to an Anglican child is equally open to a Nonconformist child; and there is nothing in the religious instruction given in the Anglican schools which is obnoxious to the conscience of the Nonconformist parent? The second point I put to him is, Is there nothing in the religious instruction conferred in these Voluntary schools which is offensive to Nonconformist parents?—it may be inoffensive to the honourable Member. Does he know his Catechism? I assume that he does. Surely he knows that the very first lesson in the Catechism—I had to learn it all myself—is one which is offensive to every Nonconformist parent throughout the country. He knows it perfectly well— the doctrine with regard to baptism and godfathers and godmothers. Though we do not wish to say anything which would in the slightest degree hurt the feelings of an Anglican Member of this House, at the same time we are bound to point out that there are doctrines taught in these schools which are, I believe, really obnoxious to the conscience of a large majority of the Nonconformists of this country, if not the whole. Very well; how then can honourable Members really say that the case of the Anglican schools and that of the Board schools is on the 66 same basis? We are willing to adopt the recommendation of that Commission to support grants to these schools on equal conditions. Equal conditions are: First, popular control in the Voluntary schools, as you have got it in the Board schools. A second condition is that every position which is paid for by the State should be equally open to every child without setting up an inquisition to examine what his creed is. And I venture to say, Mr. Speaker, there is no other country in the world where you have got the present system. You have denominational schools on the Continent. You have sectarian doctrines taught there. Bnt there is no country in Europe where you have got the doctrines of the minority taught at the instance of the majority and forced upon their children. You have Catholic countries where Catholic doctrines are taught in the schools. You have Protestant countries where Protestant doctrines are taught in the schools. You have got countries, it is true, where there are both Catholics and Protestants, but I ask the noble Lord to point out a single case in these countries where the Protestants may enforce Protestant doctrines upon Catholic children, or the converse, where you get a Catholic minority forcing Catholic doctrines upon Protestant children. That is really the test. What would happen in Prussia or Saxony if this had been the case? And may I point out another distinction to the noble Lord? Although you have got sectarian schools on the Continent, they are all schools under popular control. The teachers are appointed by the State or by the Commune. Will the noble Lord accept that in this country? That is the test of his sincerity upon that point. And whilst I am on this point, here is another matter. In some cases, where you have got a community split up into Catholic and Protestant, you have the teacher teaching Protestant doctrine, and then you have the priest of the parish opposing and teaching Catholic doctrine to his children. But can the noble Lord point out a case to me where a Member of any faith is excluded from the position of teachers in any State school because of his creed? Go to the Protestant district of Saxony. Are Catholics excluded from teaching there? Go to the Catholic districts. Are Protestants excluded? Not in a single case! That is 67 why I say the system in this country has nothing which compares to it in unfairness and injustice to a large section of the community. And I ask, What would have happened in Prussia or Saxony if you had attempted to impose it there? Supposing education in Prussia had been an Imperial question; the clericals had a majority in the German Parliament; they set up Catholic schools throughout the whole of Prussia; every Lutheran teacher not allowed to teach except on condition of becoming proselytised, and then Catholic doctrines to be taught— What would have happened? There would have been insurrection there. It never would have been allowed. And yet Protestants in this country are even sneered at when, they make a demand for fair and equal treatment in the case of the education of their children. But this is another country. What the honourable Members ask for is that they should have exceptional privileges in these schools. They must recognise this fact. This country is not divided between Catholics and Protestants in the sense that these great Continental countries are—one corner of the country is Methodist, and another Anglican, and another Presbyterian, and another Catholic. You have all these religious communities side by side, and you must recognise that fact and act accordingly. You cannot set up separate schools for each without damaging the State schools for all. You cannot split up schools in small parishes with a population of 500, and give four separate schools for each. You would simply ruin the schools for all. Under these conditions, every sect must accept that situation loyally, and endeavour to make the best of it. But what is done here? The Anglican Church, although a minority in the village, say, "You must pick out our faith, our doctrines, give us all the privileges, and let the others do what they please." That is no fair treatment to the rest. I say it is time—and I say it respectfully—that the Anglican Church in this country should recognise that it has failed to compass uniformity of faith in this land. It is not their fault, I admit; they have tried it for centuries, by persecution, prosecution, gibbets, bribes, doles, Voluntary schools, and it has failed. Dissent is a fact, and a great fact, in the life of this country, and it will remain so. I ask honourable 68 Members to recognise that when discussing this question. And that is exactly what they have not done. You have got a country where you have a similar state of things to what you have here in the United States of America. In the United States of America you have these religious communities living side by side, and the United States of America say: We cannot give any privilege to one sect, we cannot pick out one and say we will make you the one typical standard sect, make your children teachers in the schools, make your ministers managers of them, hand the funds to you. The United States of America has recognised the impossibility of doing that, and it has said: You may teach the children in the schools, but you must not teach the doctrines of any sect, you must leave it to each individual sect to attend to its own doctrines. And what is the result? You might have imagined that Atheism and infidelity would have been rampant in these un-sectarian schools of the country. But what is the state of the case there? I was very interested to see the conclusion of the right honourable Gentleman, the Member for Aberdeen, in his book on this question, and I think it is a very fair test. The argument of honourable Gentlemen opposite is, If you withdraw dogmatic teaching from the schools, you will injure the character of the children, you will damage the State, you will injure, as the Report puts it, the integrity, the high standard of integrity, which Englishmen have attained, if you withdraw dogmatic teaching and substitute Bible teaching instead. What does the right honourable Gentleman say about the American system?—The ordinary man knows the Bible better, and takes up an allusion to it more quickly than does the ordinary Englishman.And you come to a still more telling test. He says—Not only are the sums collected for all sorts of philanthropic purposes larger, relatively to the wealth of America, than in any other European country, but the amount of personal interest shown in good works, and personal effort devoted to them, seems to a European visitor to exceed what he knows at home.Better than in the Continent of sectarian schools! And the last quotation, and I 69 think it is a very germane one when you come to consider the question of teaching on the character of a nation, is this—The general impression of those who have lived long both in Protestant Europe and in America seems to be, that as respects veracity, temperance, and purity of domestic life, tenderness to children and the weak, and general kindliness of behaviour, the native Americans stand rather higher than either the English or the Germans.And yet those are the countries of definite dogmatic teaching at the expense of the State. Now, I think that is a fair test, and I think we are entitled to ask, What is it that the friends of the Voluntary schools really ask for? If it is religious instruction, they can get it in the Board schools. They themselves admit it. The way they put their case in the majority Report of the Commission—which, after all, is a statement of their case—is, that all they ask for is that the Bible shall be taught. This is the statement of the case in the majority Report of the Commission, which, of course, is a report in favour of Voluntary schools. I will read the words—As we look to the Bible for instructions concerning morals, and take its words for the declaration of what is morality, so we look to the same inspired source for the sanctions by which men may be led to practise what is there taught, and for instructions concerning the help by which they may be enabled to do what they have learnt to be right.That is their statement of the case for religious instruction, and there is nothing in it that you cannot bring within the four corners of the School Board system. Everything they ask for is taught there, and they admit it. They talk about the desirability of bringing up the standard of religious education in the Board schools of the country to the high level which obtains in some Board schools. That is not all. The right honourable Gentleman himself admitted last year that, as far as religious teaching was concerned, it is much better conferred in the Board schools than it is in the Voluntary schools. That is his own admission, and if it is not the case in the rest of the Hoard schools of the country, why is that so? Because the friends of Voluntary schools, instead of trying to raise the level of instruction in these schools, do their very best to cripple their resources and reduce the number of their staff and its quality. The majority 70 Report of the Commission admits that the general sense of the community is in favour of religious instruction, and in favour of making it efficient. If that is the case, why need they fear leaving instruction to the representatives of the people? They say the people are in favour of religious instruction. They are in favour of making it effective, and yet they will not trust the people with the religious instruction of their children. Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that it is not so much religious instruction that is asked for. The most thorough, drastic, searching religious, instruction can now be given in the Board schools, and anyone who reads that syllabus I have referred to can see this, that with the exception of the Catechism, there is nothing taught in the Voluntary schools which is not quite as well taught in the Board schools of this country. And does anybody really mean to say that the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount are so defective and incomplete an exposition of the moral law that they require to be supplemented by something that inculcates the duty of humility to the squire of the parish? I say there is nothing in the Catechism itself, apart from what is objectionable to Nonconformists, which would not be included in the doctrine which may be given and taught in the Board schools. And what is really wanted, I fear, is, not religious instruction, not teaching the principles of the Christian faith in these schools—what is aimed at is proselytism. What is wanted is to use these schools for the purpose of proselytising the children of Nonconformists. There was abundant evidence upon that point before the Commission; all sorts of inducements given in the schools to Nonconformist children to attend Church Sunday Schools, to quit the fold in which they have been brought up—inducements of a substantial character quite irrelevant to the principles of the Catechism, and this is very manifest when you come to the case of teacherships. Their teacherships are offered to children on the express condition that they become members of the Church of England. Well, now, I ask honourable Members opposite whether that is a system they can honestly defend, whether it is a system they do not really at heart condemn in the interests of religion itself? You go to a child whose parents may be poor, and you offer to 71 him the position which may lead him to make a livelihood, an income which will be four times that made by his father, and you say: The only conditions we ask you to accept is that you leave the associations of your childhood and become a member of the Church of England. It is a bad system. It is a bad system in the interests of the teacher himself; it is a bad system in the interests of the hundreds and thousands of children who will be eventually committed to his charge. The teacher is asked to take his conscience to the pawnbroker whenever he wants to raise funds for his own advantage. It is a rotten system, it is an immoral system; yet I say it is applied in hundreds of parishes both in Wales and in England, and I ask any friend of moral and religious instruction to get up and defend that in this House. But unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, this is what happens. A man is asked to give up his own religious faith, cut himself adrift from the early religious associations of his youth, which, after all, constitute the most valuable moral asset of any man, whatever his faith may be, for the purpose of advancing himself. It is a kind of a State-aided sheep-stealing, plundering the Nonconformist fold at the expense of the State. Mr. Speaker, the system of education in this country is defective. That will be admitted. We are suffering as a nation from those defects. Those defects will continue as long as these two rival systems are allowed to wage war with each other by cutting off each other's supplies. And there is only one obstacle that stands in the way of the benefit of the whole community, and that is the desire of the clergy to use these schools for proselytising members of the Nonconformist Churches. That system is one which aggravates, makes worse, the whole of the Voluntary system, unfair as it is. It creates religious strife and bitterness by exasperating the religious communities who suffer from its depredations, and who are compelled to contribute towards a fund which is used for raiding their own flock. It injures, demoralises its victim, teaching him to treat his religious convictions as a marketable commodity. It injures the children who are entrusted to the charge of men whose creed is a mere clause in the hiring agreement. It debases the ethical currency 72 of the Christian faith in the man whose standard is sacrificed to self-seeking. It curses him that gives and him that takes; and I ask the House by this Resolution to declare that it does some amount of injury to the State, and cannot be compensated for by all the Catechisms ever devised by theologians to elucidate, or confuse, the problems of life.
§ MR. A. HUTTON (York, W.R., Morley)
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the Motion which my honourable Friend has made in a speech which everybody must admit was of a very able character indeed. I can only hope to emphasise one or two points which he already has touched upon. I think, Sir, there is far too much complacency in the minds of a great many people in their attitude to the question of education. Too much is said of the marvellous progress that we have made. I myself cannot subscribe to that optimistic view of the situation. Now, Sir, although it is nearly 30 years since we had the advantage of the Education Act of 1870, we have not as yet been able to enjoy all the advantages which we might under that particular Act have expected. Still, the obstacles that are before us have been frequently and frankly stated more than once by the right honourable Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council. The obstacles are many, are various, and are some of them difficult to, overcome. But, Sir, I agree with my honourable Friend that there is one chief obstacle which underlies all those which the right honourable Gentleman has been good enough to mention. Sir, I do not think it would pass the wit of the Government or the House of Commons to overcome these obstacles if we can get rid of what is commonly called the religious difficulty, but what is in reality the denominational difficulty. Sir, it is this constant denominational strife, denominational jealousy, the one of the other, the desire to capture and control public funds in the interest of one denomination or another, that makes everybody suspicious of one another, and, as a consequence, unwilling to make the grants that are necessary. I believe, Sir, that this controversy is most harmful, not only to education but to the denominations, and to religion and Christianity itself, and I think it is our duty to see if we cannot put education upon some basis which shall be in- 73 dependent of all denominational controversy. The right honourable Gentleman tells us that there is no religious difficulty in these schools. Well, I cannot subscribe to that. He says the only religious difficulty is on the platform and in the House of Commons. Well, Sir, I should think that the controversy which is going on in St. James' End, as I think it is called, in Northampton, might have convinced him that, after all, there is some religious difficulty in the schools. I do not refer to the "medal" question, but when you have the majority of a town saying that they do not believe that the Church of England Voluntary school is a proper school for Nonconformist children, then I think there is a very serious religious denominational question before the Department, before the Government, and before Parliament. Well, Sir, to remove this religious difficulty you must remove the irresponsible control and management, the irresponsible administration of public funds. There is no other public duty that you would discharge in the same way. There is no other branch of the public service that you administer in the same way. Take the question of the Poor Law. Why, you have even recently removed the ex-officio members of the Boards of Guardians, and handed the work over absolutely to the control of the popularly elected representatives. Sir, I should have thought that a clergyman would have been as well fitted, if not better fitted, to decide as to who were suitable recipients of out-door relief as to settle questions with regard to education. And supposing clergymen came forward and said that they were willing to subscribe one penny or twopence in the shilling of the rates, should we consent to hand over for that paltry sum the control and administration of the Poor Law of this country? Why, certainly not. Everybody in the country would hold it in the greatest contempt: and if you are to hold it in contempt with regard to the administration of the Poor Law, surely in this matter of the education of our children we should equally treat it with the utmost contempt. Well, now, the difficulty is two-fold—first of all the difficulty of irresponsible control, and, secondly, the difficulty that there are a number of places where there is only one school, and that a Church of 74 England school, at which all children are compelled by law to attend. With regard to the second difficulty, I should just like to say a word. I put another case. Supposing in these eight or ten thousand places you had one school only, and that was a Unitarian school. Would you, would the clergyman, would the friends of the Church of England, long consent that their children should be educated in this place, be driven by law to a Unitarian school? They would be up in arms. Indignation would not be the word for it. Well, Sir, we do not need to suppose a case, because there is, as a matter of fact, a town in the south of England that has now become somewhat notorious—the town of Arundel. In that town there were two schools, one a Church of England school and the other a Roman Catholic school, and it so happens that the Church of England school has been condemned as unsuitable by the Education Department. Well, Sir, the usual cry was got up by the friends of the other school that if the Church of England school is closed there will be Board schools, there will be a school rate, and all the other bogies are held up; and so the Duke of Norfolk, as the landed proprietor, kindly comes forward and offers to enlarge his Catholic school which is already in the town, and receive all the children who have hitherto attended the Church of England. Is that calmly submitted to? Certainly not. A clergyman writes from the neighbourhood, the Rev. John Goring, and he says what we have been saying for years, He writes—The power of money is being lavishly used in a way that, if not compulsion, is hardly distinguishable from it, to draw away children from Church of England schools into those of another communion. It is not too much to say that it is a line of action at variance with religious liberty, and it is most certainly abhorrent to the principles, religious and political, prevalent in this country as I have known them for the last 50 years.Well, Sir, that clergyman may have known those principles of religious liberty and equality thoroughly, but those principles have not been practised, and now he has experience, not of the principles he has held, but of methods which other people have been compelled by law to practice. Then he writes to protest against the power of money, rank, and influence being used to drive 75 Church of England children into Roman Catholic schools. If that could be said in one instance, all that need be said for our position is to multiply it several thousand times over. Now we are told that this dual system is advantageous. Supposing we brought a student of systems of education to this country and tried to explain our system to him, we would have a great deal of difficulty in making him understand it. If we explained to him that there were 8,000 places in which we have only one school, and asked him whether in those places the schools should be under the National system or the denominational system, of course he would reply that where the whole of the town depended on one school, it should be under the National system. But we should then have to explain to him that the contrary was the case, and that the denominational school is the one which children are compelled by law to attend. I pass from the question of schools to the question of training colleges and teachers. We have heard a great deal said about the policy of the "open-door," which has been proclaimed with regard to another matter. What we ask in regard to our training colleges is the policy of the "open-door." At present, in the words of the noble Lord the Member for York, Nonconformists are faced by a brick wall. I think it is reasonable that this great national profession should no longer be practically a closed profession as it is at present. My honourable Friend pointed out the difficulties of Nonconformists becoming pupil teachers. I think the right honourable Gentleman, the Vice-President of the Council, will admit that the difficulty of securing pupil teachers is becoming a very serious matter to managers and school boards. They are finding it difficult to get the necessary number of pupil teachers. I think there are two reasons which explain that difficulty. I believe the religions difficuley is one reason, and that there are some parents who will not allow their children to make the sacrifice that the clergy of a great many of these schools demand they should make. Then there is another reason. The right honourable Gentleman told us last year that the pupil teachers in many of these schools are nothing more or less than drudges. He used that word. With re- 76 gard to this particular matter, the Education Department appointed a Committee to inquire into it, but has the right honourable Gentleman or the Education Department adopted one single recommendation of that Committee?
§ *MR. A. HUTTON
I was not aware of that, but I think it cannot be a recommendation of a far-reaching character. He told us that the National Society had raised such an outcry in favour of cheap labour and school drudges that the Education Department had to let the case of an efficient staff of teachers go by the board altogether. He was speaking of the Committee, and he said—I say there is little hope of mending it, because, as was mentioned by the Seconder of the Motion, a Committee was appointed of experts to consider how the position of these pupil teachers could be improved, and before the Committee had even taken their scheme into consideration, or pronounced any opinion upon it, it was denounced from all sides, even by such bodies as the National Society. It has been denounced as a scheme which, if carried out, would retard the supply of cheap child labour, by which the schools are so often rendered less valuable, and I am afraid that, under this dire necessity of having cheap teachers in the schools, in the first place, the welfare of these poor, little school drudges themselves, and, in the next place, the national interest in getting better trained and better taught teachers for the rural districts will have to go.Now, Sir, I submit I did not travesty the words of the right honourable Gentleman, but that I stated practically his proposition in plain and simple terms. The right honourable Gentleman did not take any steps because the National Society demanded school drudges and cheap labour, and the education of the country and the Department had to stand still. This question of pupil teachers is a very serious one indeed. At the present moment the town of Leeds, which is a very progressive town with regard to education, is unable to get certificated assistant teachers. It is not a question of salary, and the managers now have to employ ex-pupil teachers against their custom, who have only passed in the third class of the Queen's Scholarship. I admit 77 that that does not immediately touch the question of the supply of pupil teachers, but it shows that when pupil teachers are unable to get into training colleges, progressive school managers and School Boards are obliged to have resort to other classes of teachers. Indeed, Article 68 teachers have doubled in five years since 1892 from 7,000 to 14,000. A great many of them sought admission to training colleges and passed the test of the Queen's Scholarship Examination, and to the disadvantage of other teachers and of schools, and to the disadvantage of the public interest, they were obliged to be admitted as teachers untrained and uncertificated. As a matter of fact, there were according to the last return 1500 applications for admission to training colleges refused to persons who had passed the test, and 2,200 were admitted, and those admitted, scandalous to say, were not admitted in accordance with order of merit, but because of some denominational connection they might have had. A few days ago a clergyman attended a deputation which waited upon the right honourable Gentleman, and he said he had been called upon to train for confirmation a great many young men in order that they might have the privilege of entering these training colleges. He deplored that— we all deplore it. We think it is not right that these colleges, which are practically maintained out of public funds, should be closed to a large proportion of the community. Now, I would wish in conclusion to bring one case before the right honourable Gentleman. In answer to a question put by me last year with reference to the conscience clause in training colleges, he said—The Royal Commission recommended in effect that no conscience clause should he imposed on existing training colleges, but that no new training college should be established without one. Upon this principle successive Governments have since acted down to the present time."Down to the present time" has turned out to be a very significant phrase. The Bishop of Rochester has received per-mission from the Department to establish a training; college in Lambeth, and there is to be no conscience clause with regard to residential students. This 78 permission has been given on the condition that a certain proportion of places shall be thrown open to Nonconformists as day pupils.
§ MR. A. HUTTON
I submit that that is hardly in keeping with the principle on which the Government has hitherto acted. If we are to have a conscience clause for new colleges it should refer to residential as well as day students, and it must be obvious that in the case I have quoted Nonconformist day students are placed in a position of inferiority which is not at all pleasant. We regard this profession of teachers from the Nonconformist point of view, as one that ought to be dealt with by the Government. A profession which is trained at the expense of the State, paid by the State, and pensioned by the State, ought not to be practically a closed profession, and it is the duty of those in authority to see that these real and important grievances are removed, and that the principles of religious equality are recognised when it is a matter of the distribution of public money. I beg to second the Motion.
*MR. CECIL (Herts, Hertford)
; I was greatly astonished by the speech of the honourable and learned Member for Carnarvon. It was only a year or a year and a half ago that many Members on the opposite side of the House took an active part in pushing forward the then Radical programme in the School Board elections in the metropolis, and one of the principal planks in that programme was that they were going to adhere absolutely to the Compromise of 1870. It appears to me that the speech of the honourable and learned Member was wholly and entirely directed to destroying that Compromise. He astonished me in another respect, for he rather emphasised throughout his speech the exceedingly antagonistic position of Board and Voluntary schools. For myself I have always been brought up in a school which believes that the two sets of schools act in friendly rivalry and competition, and are not actuated by that venomous desire imputed to them by the honourable and learned Member. It 79 is, I think, misconstruing the objects of Voluntary school supporters to say they are conspiring to resist Board schools in every respect. If that were so I cannot help thinking that I might justly say of the honourable and learned Member that he is prepared to assist Board schools to conspire against Voluntary schools. I quite admit that there are grievances such as the honourable and learned Member who moved this Resolution has touched upon, as, for instance, the difficulty of Nonconformist teachers securing appointments. I should not wish to allow any unfair restriction to stand in the way, but, of course, in all matters, in this as well as in others, the question of supply and demand for teachers must rule the market. But, at the same time, the honourable and learned Member can hardly suppose that he is going to get rid of Voluntary schools with the ease which perhaps he hopes. The system has many staunch and active supporters throughout England. That is proved by the fact that 2,500,000 children go to Voluntary schools in England and Wales, whereas only 2,000,000 attend Board chools. No doubt it may be said as he suggests, that in many cases children who would naturally go to Board schools are forced into Voluntary schools, but I might equally reply that many children who desire to attend Voluntary schools are forced into Board schools. But apart from any question of that kind, there is no doubt a strong feeling in the country that the Voluntary school system is economical as well as efficient. There is no doubt about its being economical; that fact is not disputed. Its economy, I regret to say, is largely due to the low salaries which the Voluntary schools are unfortunately obliged to pay their teachers. That economy, nevertheless, produces very good results, for, to judge of the efficiency of education by the return of the annual grants given to the schools, there is very little difference in the amount granted by the Government per head per year to the Board schools and to the Voluntary schools. The grant to Board schools in England last year averaged 19s. 8¾d., and to Voluntary schools 18s. 10¼d., so that the difference in the efficiency of the education in those two sets of schools was only 10½d. In Wales the grant to Board schools was 19s. 5¼d., 80 and the grant to Voluntary schools 18s. 11d., the difference between the efficiency of the two sets of schools being only 6¼d. And when we remember that in the case of Board schools the cost of maintenance in England and Wales was 12s. 8½d. more per child than in Voluntary schools, and if we take London alone, which is a more conspicuous instance, it was £1 3s. 11½d. more in Board schools than in Voluntary schools, I think we have some reason to be proud of these Voluntary schools. It is not because there is a desire on the part of Voluntary schools to bring about a lower grade of education that the Board system is objected to. I have always maintained that I wish to secure to every citizen in the country a sound elementary system of education. That was the object of the Act of 1870. That I trust is our object now. But if a grievance exists, it appears to be the fact that there is no popular control over Voluntary schools. I am inclined myself to dispute that. I have always maintained that there is already popular control over Voluntary schools through the Department of the Council of Education. That Department is a Public-Department; it supervises Voluntary schools; it secures a public audit; and so far as authority is concerned it has a share in the management, inasmuch as it can stop the grant and so destroy the school, if not satisfied as to its efficiency. It is directed by a Minister who is responsible to this House, and who changes with every change of Government, and I cannot see how it can be said, in the face of those facts, that there is no public control at all over Voluntary schools. If it becomes a matter, as I think it really is, of the two kinds of religious education given in the two sets of schools, I venture to think we come to the crux of the question. It is because Voluntary schools afford security for broader and more definite religious instruction than Board schools that we have so much difficulty in settling these problems, and I wish that some arrangement could be arrived at. No one is likely to suggest that the Board school system of religious instruction is absolutely perfect. I do not know whether honourable Members opposite hold that view, but, if so, I will explain in what respect I consider it is not perfect. It is a well-known 81 fact—I have not quite the latest figures —that in Wales there are 320 School Boards, 62 of which give no religious teaching whatever. That is possible under the School Board system, and it is reasonable to object to a system where there may be no religious instruction whatever. In 118 more of these schools the Bible is taught without note or comment. It is even maintained that we cannot teach under the Board school system such a generally accepted doctrine as the Divinity of our Lord. That is, I think, a reasonable ground of complaint against Board schools. It is essential under the Board school system that teachers should be appointed without, reference to their religious belief. That is a principle which is very strictly adhered to and supported by honourable Members opposite. But that necessitates that we might have teachers appointed who held the opinions of the late Mr. Bradlaugh, and if the school to which such a teacher were appointed were the only one in the district in which I lived I might have to send my children to it to be taught their religion by a teacher who held such opinions, or else I should be obliged to withdraw them altogether from school under the conscience clause. And when I inform the House that it has been recently decided by the London School Board that on the appointment of a teacher he may not be asked if he goes to any religious place of worship on Sundays, I trust honourable Members will agree there is some ground for our objection. I do not say all this in any mere antagonism to the opinions expressed on the opposite side of the House. I am perfectly willing to recognise them, and to give them an opportunity of being satisfied so far as I can. But what I urge, and urge most emphatically, is that the parent who desires that his children should have definite denominational teaching, no matter what denomination he may belong to, should be able to obtain it at the national schools. I am not speaking in the interest of any one denomination. I do not for one moment sneer at the Nonconformists, to use the honourable and learned Member's words; I speak myself from an essentially Protestant point of view, but I speak also in the interests of all denominations, and I am desirous that all parents who wish it should be able to obtain for their chil- 82 dren such definite religious instruction as they consider essential. It is not an impossible proposal; it is not even a new proposal; it is it proposal which has been tried in almost every quarter of the globe. It has been tried at Birmingham. So long ago as 1874, just after the passing of the Education Act, the Birmingham School Board passed this resolution, and it has worked without friction, and is still in force—Facilities will be afforded for the giving of religious instruction by voluntary agency in the school buildings belonging to the Board to children attending the Board schools. In every case the wish of the parents or guardians shall determine whether a child shall receive religious instruction, and whether a child shall receive any specific religious instruction that may be provided.A similar form of specific religious instruction goes on, as honourable Members know very well, in Ireland. A similar form goes on in the British Army. A similar form goes on in Germany; and perhaps I may read to the House a note I received on the subject from a Member of the Reichstag—The administrative unit in Germany is the Parish (Gemeinde,) and where the parishes are very small, they are, as in England, united into a school district. Large parishes, such as town parishes, with a numerous population of various religious persuasions, have very frequently set the example of dividing their schools according to denominations; but in parishes where this does not occur, special religious instruction is expressly attended to by the proper denominational minister.In Austria a similar system goes on. It has been referred to by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Dublin University in his book "Democracy and Liberty." In that he says—In the State schools, religious instruction must be given separately to the scholars of different denominations, by their own priests or pastors, or by lay teachers appointed by the different religious bodies.That suggestion, I venture to think, is a most excellent one. If we could depute, as it were, lay teachers, who could be employed in the State school to give definite religious teaching if they happened to belong to the denominations which the parents desired, it would be a means of solving this problem.
Yes. I would. In New South Wales an Act was passed in 1880 of a similar character. It is, perhaps, too long to read to the House, but it is an Act which enables various denominations to obtain, within certain limits, exactly the same complete, definite, religious instruction with which I am dealing now. So that no one can say that this arrangement has not been tried. Indeed, it is being tried in one form in London at this moment, in the case of Jews, and I do believe that if this House would devise means by which facilities could be granted in this manner to National schools for definite religious teaching, it would take away a great deal of the bitterness which exists. There is no valid objection why this system should not be tried. If there are parents who desire this system, surely it is all the stronger reason for taking away the grievance which exists in their minds. If, on the other hand, as is sometimes alleged, there are no parents who desire it, what harm is there in introducing it? Board school religion would go on just as before. I think it is very hard that the rich man should be able at this moment, when he desires definite religious teaching, to send his children to a school where he can get it, and where he has to pay for it; whereas the poor man may be forced to send his child to a Board school—because he cannot afford to do otherwise— where he cannot get the teaching he desires. So that, virtually, under the existing system, comparing the rich and the poor man, you are making definite religious teaching a luxury which has to be paid for. Surely that is not just? I hope, as time goes on, this proposal for giving facilities for definite religious teaching in National schools may gain more ground. I am quite certain that the more it is thought over the more it will gain ground, and the more it will diminish the acerbity which is sometimes raised in these Debates.
§ MR. FOSTER (Suffolk, Lowestoft)
The speech of my honourable Friend who has just sat down is more likly to commend itself to the favourable atten- 84 tion of the House than the somewhat bitter tone which characterised the speech of the honourable Member for Carnarvon. The honourable Member for Carnarvon has submitted a Resolution to the House alleging a grievance. He has not actually defined what that grievance is, except so far as we have been able to gather from, his speech. The Amendment which I have put on the Paper demands much more attention than the grievance to which the honourable Gentleman calls attention. After all, is it not a fact that the Government, three years ago, brought in a very large and revolutionary Measure of educational reform, and that the very grievances to which the honourable Gentleman has called attention were remedied by those proposals? Was it not then suggested— and the suggestion has been repeated to-night by my honourable Friend behind me—that there should be full liberty of denominational and religious teaching in every one of the Primary schools of the country? Is not that the position to which we are gradually approaching, notwithstanding the Compromise of 1870? I for one, Mr. Speaker, look forward to the time when Primary schools shall be open during the interval devoted to religious instruction for such definite dogmatic teaching to be given to the children as the parents shall themselves select. If that state of things be once arrived at then the whole controversy will disappear. As matters stand at present, what is the position of disability in which the Denominational schools are placed? I suppose the honourable Gentleman will acknowledge that religious instruction to be of any value must be more or less dogmatic. There must be some dogma in it; if you take away that dogma you take away the real value of the teaching. Well, now, at the present moment those who believe in definite dogmatic teaching, whether it be Church of England, Roman Catholic, or Wesleyan, are put under severe disabilities by Parliament. That is one of the results of the Compromise of 1870. These schools are doing, I firmly believe, the same educational work as is being done in Board schools. They are inspected under precisely the same system of inspection. They have to obtain in exactly the same way the Government grant. They have to teach 85 under exactly the same Code. They are fulfilling that which Parliament requires of them—namely, the duty of instructing in Primary Education every child of school age. Therefore, whether it be the Voluntary schools or the Board schools, so far as elementary education is concerned, apart from the question of religious instruction, they are doing exactly the same work. And they are doing it very largely with exactly the same results. The last speaker alluded to the fact that, notwithstanding the enormous pecuniary advantages in the way of money and machinery which the School Boards possess in comparison with their less favoured rivals, the result, as proved by the inspection test and the Government grant earned as the result of that test, is that the state of efficiency of the Board schools and of Voluntary schools is practically the same, the Board schools earning 19s. 9¼d. per head and the Voluntary schools 18s. 11¾d. Hut even that difference, so far from proving that the Board school ought to be supported in preference to Voluntary schools, from my point of view accentuates the hardships which Voluntary schools suffer. The Member for Carnarvon said, and I quite agree with him, that it is all a question of funds. He impressed upon the House, in the first part of his speech, that the whole question of efficient education was a question of funds. Very well. Now, Voluntary schools, as he himself must admit, are labouring under very serious disadvantages with regard to funds, and I submit that the very fact that the Voluntary schools have been deprived of earning something like £100,000 in comparison with the Board Schools, because of their less efficient machinery, accentuates the grievance which the Voluntary schools suffer. But that is by no means the whole of the difficulty. The Board schools are State-aided, and they are rate-aided. Their less fortunate rivals, the Voluntary schools, are State-aided but are not rate-aided, and that not only has a direct effect upon the question of results, but it also has a direct effect upon the control of the schools. My honourable Friend behind me pointed out very truly that there is a very large measure of public control over the Voluntary schools to-day through the Education Department and through the Minister of that Department, who is 86 responsible to this House. That control is much more effective over the Voluntary schools than the Board schools. In the case of Voluntary schools, if the Department is not satisfied with the way in which the school is carried on, or with the character of the education given, it may deprive that school of its grant, and by depriving it of its grant it practically deprives it of its life. In the case of the Board schools, if the Department is not satisfied with what it is doing—if the character of the education is deficient, or the accommodation is not satisfactory, and if the Department in consequence refuses the grant—it does not, either directly or indirectly, stop the school. Not a bit of it. The only result is that members of the School Board, because they are so much short in the grant, increase the amount of the precept which they issue to the rating authorities. The deficiency is consequently made up in that way. Therefore, the Department has a much more effective control over the efficiency of Voluntary schools than it has over Board schools, because, in the latter case, what Parliament does not vote the rating authority are bound to provide. Honourable Gentlemen know that, while there are many public Acts—the Public Libraries Act and others—where there is a limit on the amount to be raised in any one year from the ratepayers, in the case of the School Board there is no such limit. Whatever the precepts may be that the Board demand, the rating authority, without appeal of any kind, has to provide. Therefore, there is little wonder that the Board schools throughout the country should be able to show somewhat better educational results than their less favoured brethren. If my honourable Friend really desires—and I am sure he must—to promote the efficiency of the education of the children, why does he favour the continuance of that pecuniary disability? He must desire that the wishes of the majority shall be carried out. Now, notwithstanding the enormous financial advantage of the Board schools during the last 26 or 27 years, it is a remarkable fact that to-day, for every four children being educated in the Board schools, five are being educated in the Voluntary schools. That shows a very remarkable preference on the part of the parents 87 with regard to the education provided. I would venture to quote from an extract from a speech delivered in this House in 1897 by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for the Bodmin Division (Mr. Courtney). The House knows that he is no friend of the denominational system; indeed, I believe he would much prefer to see a universal system of Board schools. He has, however, said very frankly—He has conic to recognise that they must pay deference to the wishes of parents when they were clearly expressed, and, if they were followed, it would be absolutely unjust to withhold public money from the schools.A little later on he said—Looking at the permanent forces at work in support of Denominational schools, he was inclined to think that in the reasonable progress of time they would see, not perhaps the present Government, but possibly the Member for Monmouth, introducing a scheme of rate-aided support of Denominational schools.Well, now, the disability under which Voluntary schools labour at the present moment is due to some ex-tent to the fact that they have no support from the rates. Parliament did something a few years ago for the purpose of removing to some extent the financial disability under which Voluntary schools suffer, and, as the House knows, a grant amounting to something like £600,000 was given for the purpose of helping them out of their difficulties. Honourable Gentlemen opposite have said that this was a system of favouritism to Voluntary schools, which was not, but ought to have been, extended to Board schools. But what are the facts? So far from Voluntary schools having been favoured, I submit to the House that they had a right to a larger grant of public money, according to the public work they are doing in the education of the children, than the Board schools. I find that if they were to have received the same amount per child out of the public money that the Board schools are receiving for the education of Board school children, instead of receiving £600,000 they would have received £1,770,000. In other words, Parliament to-day is giving Board schools for the public work they are doing, either through the Imperial grant or through the local rates,£1,000,000 88 more for the work that is being done pro rata than is being allowed to Voluntary schools. I say, therefore, that the present system ought not to be allowed to continue. It is quite true that, owing to their financial position, some of the Voluntary schools have had to be shut up. It is perfectly true also that if the educational screw continues to be turned, and if the standard is raised from year to year, as I hope and trust it will be raised, the effect must be that if these schools are to keep their heads above water we shall have to assist them, and appeals will once more be made by that body of opinion in this country which desires denominational teaching in Voluntary schools, and demands will be made for further grants. Well, in my humble judgment, that is not a satisfactory way of dealing with the matter. The time may not yet be ripe for that system under which all Elementary schools, whether Board or Denominational, will be entitled to receive, and will receive, the same recognition from the State for the same work done, but I believe that we must ultimately logically arrive at it. Something has been said, Mr. Speaker, about the hardship which Nonconformists suffer by reason of their children being sent to Church schools, and it is said, and I confess I sympathise with the statement that that difficulty is accentuated at the present moment by the crisis in the Church. Personally I regret that the honourable Member for Carnarvon should have appeared to draw such a complete line of difference between the Church of England and the Nonconformist bodies. I should have thought that he would have recognised that most Nonconformist bodies differ in a very slight respect form the Protestant Church of England. I should have hoped, particularly at this juncture, when large numbers of the Protestant Church are joined by large numbers of Nonconformists in endeavouring to preserve the Protestant character of the National Church, that he would not have chosen this time to accentuate these differences. I suppose men at all times must regard these questions from different standpoints, but these are minor differences when we come to consider the question of sacerdotal teaching. I confess frankly that if I had a child of mine in a Voluntary school I would rather submit that child to the religious in- 89 Struction of the Board school than to sacerdotal teaching in a Voluntary school. So far I am entirely with the honourable Gentleman, and I must say this—and here again I believe I shall have the general assent of the House— that religious instruction is of value only in so far as it is dogmatic. Many absurd and unjust things have been said about the kind of religious instruction given in Board schools. I had the honour for some years of sitting on the London School Board, and I can state, without fear of contradiction, that the religious difficulty was completely unknown in any single school except at election times. We ask that there shall be the same liberties extended to Voluntary schools as are given to Board schools, and that the hundreds of thousands of parents who prefer definite religious instruction to be given to their children at school shall be allowed to exercise that right. We do not deny the grievance which the honourable Gentleman alleges, but it is only one of many other grievances, and, as far as I am concerned, I perfectly desire to see those grievances removed all round. I have put this Amendment on the Paper because it appeared to me that I could not vote a plain negative to the Motion of the honourable Member for Carnarvon, because I feel that there are grievances in the present system, though they are of a different character to those the honourable Member mentioned, and grievances far more pressing and urgent. If the House is to pass a Resolution that the present system is unsatisfactory, I think it should be asked to state in what respect it is unsatisfactory, so that we may know what we are voting for. For the purpose of doing that, I have put the Amendment on the Paper, which I now beg to move, and which is in these terms—To insert after 'Wales' the words 'under which Board schools receive a larger grant of public money than Voluntary or Denominational schools for the same educational work, carried on under the same inspection and under the same Educational Code, and under which the local burdens for National Primary Education are unequally distributed.With regard to the inequality of local taxation for National Primary Education, to which I have not alluded, my honourable Friend who seconds the Amendment will no doubt call the attention of 90 the House to those inequalities. At the present time the supporters of Voluntary schools are not only called upon to contribute to the cost of those schools, but they are also, as ratepayers, called upon to pay the heavy burden imposed upon them for the support of the Board schools. I hope the House will affirm that this is a grievance which is much more important than the one to: which my honourable Friend the Member for Carnarvon has called attention. I look forward with confidence to the day—it may not be in this Parliament, or in the next Parliament, but I am certain that it will be in the lifetime of many of us—when Parliament will recognise the injustice of penalising Voluntary and Denominational schools because they venture to teach doctrines, while the Board schools are allowed to have unlimited' money because they teach no doctrine. The right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the House, in closing the Debate in 1896 on the Education Bill, pointed out that while dogmatic teaching was considered wrong in England, it was considered good in Scotland, and he asked those honourable Gentlemen who were going to vote against the idea of supplying money in England to any school which taught dogmatic teaching why, if this was wrong in England, it was right in Scotland. I hope that the injustice of the present state of things will soon be remedied.
§ *MR. GRAY (West Ham, N.)
Mr. Speaker, there is happily one thing in the Resolution with which both sides of the House will agree—that the system of Primary Education in England is unsatisfactory. But I cannot help feeling myself that much of the difficulty in finding a remedy is due to the continuous obtruding of the sectarian question. I am persuaded that speeches such as that made by the honourable Member for Carnarvon do not tend to peace and progress, but to discord and the perpetuation of the difficulties which friends of education lament. I listened to the opening sentences of; the honourable Member's speech with no little interest. It left us in some doubt as to what the grievance was of which he complained, but I had very little doubt that sooner or later we should hear the sectarian question brought very prominently forward, and every other grievance glided over, apologised for, or justified. In the 91 earlier part of his speech he referred to a large number of difficulties in regard to staffing, buildings, and the inadequate supply of money, but he passed them all over very quickly, and elevated into a position of the usual prominence the sectarian difficulty—a difficulty which exists almost entirely on public platforms, and does not exist in practice within the schools. I was alarmed at the rapidity with which the honourable Member for Carnarvon generalised on insufficient data. This thing, he said, existed in Brighton and in Cardiff, and then came, with rapid generalisation, "and all over the country." What proof is there that such a state of things exists all over the country? Again and again one solitary expression of an injudicious person is brought forward, and upon this the House is asked to believe that the whole Voluntary school system is rotten to the core, and ought to be swept out of existence to-morrow. There are 14,000 Voluntary schools, and you are told that because one of them does so and so, the whole lot ought to go. I could not help noticing the inadequate material on which the honourable Member founded his unjustifiable accusations against the whole Voluntary system, and that, I am afraid, is not unusual with him. How can any of us on this side of the House, who have seen some of the good work done by the Voluntary schools, and who have recognised some of the evils that exist in their ranks, approach with any sympathy the consideration of claims put forward by one who puts the gibbet, persecution, prosecution, and Voluntary schools all in one breath, and goes about speaking of Voluntary school managers as if they were sheep stealers, with designs upon Nonconformist lambs. It is almost impossible to approach a plea put forward in those terms with anything like sympathy. I have recognised in and out of this House many of the difficulties with which Voluntary schools are beset, and I know-there are fanatics in the Voluntary system as there are on some of the largest School Boards in the country. I think we on this side have condemned them with equal justice, with impartiality, recognising faults when they exist in both systems, and have been anxious, above all things, to secure a remedy which will benefit the children, regardless of any particular religious denomination. I find 92 that, according to the honourable Member, the simple difference between Board and Voluntary schools seems to be this: that, while they both do wrong, the Board schools are justified in doing wrong. The honourable Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon, after pointing out some of the evils perpetuated by small School Boards, immediately followed it up with the sentence, "Is it surprising?" and, "Can it be wondered at?" It is not only in small School Boards that troubles arise. There is an instance, as recently as last week, in which the London School Board pursued a system of most unjustifiable harassing towards a Voluntary school in Marylebone, a system of which even Progressive members did not approve; but it would be exceedingly wrong on my part if I were to take that one illustration and immediately pronounce a speedy condemnation of the whole School Board system. I should think myself altogether unjustified in doing so on one instance alone, or even if I could secure a dozen similar instances. One cannot help feeling in this matter that there is a strong desire on the part of Nonconformists to retain a grievance. Clause 27 of the Bill of 1896 contained a proposal very similar to that outlined by the honourable Member for Carnarvon amid the cheers of his supporters, but that proposal in the Bill met with most active opposition from the other side of the House.
§ *MR. GRAY
That confirms what I said, that they want to retain a grievance rather than approach with sympathy any attempt to remove it. "We are prepared," said the honourable Member on the other side, "to grant money to these Voluntary schools to remove some of the difficulties, provided they are placed under public control." The Bill of 1896 proposed a large Measure on local control, but it was fought with all the strength the Opposition could command at that time. I suppose that, after the condemnation of Voluntary schools,. I might assume that the educational work is well done in those parts where School Boards have flourished. I suppose, further, having regard to the opinions that have been promulgated by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon, that I would be justified in expecting a high level of 93 efficiency in the schools in the county of Carnarvon, but when I turn to the Reports of the Education Department I find that the county of Carnarvon stands almost at the very bottom of the list. There are more schools in Wales where the religion is unsectarian, and where they have absolutely banished the Bible, than there are throughout the whole of England, and I find that the level of education is much worse in Wales than in England or in Scotland. There is one exception—the county of Monmouth, in England—which, I believe, has the Unenviable notoriety of being at the very bottom of the list. It is, therefore, with regret that I find the right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth absent from this Debate. The attendance at Board schools is also lower in Wales than in England or Scotland. In Scotland the attendance stands at 84 per cent, in England at 81 per cent., but in Carnarvon the figure is only 77 per cent. Then I turn to the question of the school staffs. In the Principality of Wales, where the School Board system has flourished, and where the unsectarian Board school is seen at its brightest, the schools are more inadequately staffed than are the schools in England. A third of the teachers are pupil teachers, another third are uncertificated teachers—there being only one-third certificated teachers. That is in the Principality of Wales, where the School Board system is so flourishing. I regret that Wales occupies this low position on the list, but it leads me to suggest that some of the superfluous energies of the Welsh Members should be turned towards their own districts before they come here to criticise the Voluntary schools in England. I know something of the working of Voluntary schools, not from mere hearsay or from letters sent up by interested parties, but from actual experience, from visiting many of them, from reports, almost daily, from persons working in them, from knowing the teachers, and what the managers are doing, and I have no hesitation whatever in asserting that a large number of our Voluntary schools are doing as thorough, sound, good, and satisfactory work as any of the School Boards in the country. This wholesale condemnation cannot be justified. Some of the Voluntary schools are condemned because they are badly equipped and badly staffed, but this 94 is solely due, as you will find, to the poverty of the locality, and its utter inability to furnish the necessary moneys to equip the schools. This evil will never be grappled with until it is recognised that assistance should be given sufficiently to cope with it. If in those particular districts you were to change the position, and establish School Boards temporarily, you would have exactly the same evils existing, as sufficient money could not be raised in the locality. I contend that it is the duty of the nation, and not the duty of the locality, to provide the necessary funds for the maintenance of these schools. These evils of which we are complaining will never be satisfactorily grappled with until the principle is realised that, as the State fixes the curriculum, demands the level of education, inspects the schools, trains and sanctions the appointments of teachers, guides and controls local management, so of necessity the State must follow that up by making a State grant sufficient to cope with the necessities of the districts. I believe the principle is altogether wrong of demanding from the locality a subsidy towards the support of education. We have our territorial regiments, but whoever heard of demanding money from the local rates to support those territorial regiments, or of our seaport towns providing out of their local rates a contribution towards the cost of Her Majesty's Navy? Popular education is a stronger line of defence than either the Army or the Navy, and should be paid for by the State. The evil caused by the unequal distribution of the charges of national education is tenfold greater than this sectarian trouble. Can anyone justify a principle under which, if a man moves from one side of the street to the other side, which happens to be in another parish, he is compelled, if the School Board rate is higher in the parish to which he has removed, to pay more, although he may continue to send his children to the same school? The education of the country is standing still, while in other countries it, is moving forward, and while we are wasting our time over this question the children are suffering. Last Wednesday we had a piece of good work transacted, and a piece of educational reform accomplished, free altogether from the squabbles of sectarianism. The House was crowded, and 95 the interest in the Debate was keen, and if there need be any condemnation of this Debate, I would call attention to the state of the Benches around us as an illustration of the little interest which the House of Commons takes in such an academic discussion as this. I can assure the House that out in the country exactly the same attitude is adopted. The great majority of the parents themselves who are familiar with the working of the schools—at least those who are not fanatics—adopt exactly the same attitude on this question. They admit, as I admit, that on paper you can make out a big grievance. It is all very well to talk about those 1,000 schools, in which Nonconformists are placed at a disadvantage. That looks very plausible, but in actual practice it is found not to exist. It is said that your Nonconformist child is anxious to become a pupil teacher. I was led to believe by the remarks of the honourable Member for Carnarvon that the children of Nonconformist parents are rushing in crowds to the schools managed by the Church of England, anxious to become pupil teachers. Why, the fact is, it is difficult to secure pupil teachers, whether Nonconformists or Churchmen. Take Birmingham, for instance. Are the Birmingham Board schools sectarian in their character, and are they also contaminated by this Church influence that is so strongly deprecated? How is it that the Birmingham School Board cannot secure male pupil teachers? It is because the children are not anxious to become pupil teachers. It is difficult to secure them now for the schools, and it will continue to be difficult so long as the schools remain in their present unsatisfactory condition as to staff, appliances, buildings, curriculum, and attendances. Now, I wish to say a word or two, if I may, to dispel the illusion that all the managers of Church schools are restricted in their action, and exclude the Nonconformist child. All the Voluntary schools are not under the individual management of one man, for I have been interested during the Recess in the trust deed of a school near Wolverhampton, where the Charity Commissioners have given us clauses whereby the clergyman, churchwardens, and the representatives of the subscribers, the parents, and the patrons of the living all unite in forming 96 one board of management for this Voluntary school. At this school the diocesan inspector does not enter, and the religious teaching satisfies thoroughly every Nonconformist in the district: and I venture to say that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of schools in the country where the education given in Voluntary schools is of the same liberal character as in the case I am referring to. It is the exception that is being condemned here, and I protest against the whole system being swamped in one condemnation which should be made against the exception, and which is made without any differentiation between the just and the unjust. I am not pleading on behalf of Voluntary schools because they are cheap, because I realise that if the managers of the Voluntary schools had their own way they would be quite ready to spend more money upon them. I am sure my honourable Friend does not plead for cheapness in the conduct of the schools. Well, I know something might well be said for free management, but I, for one, am not prepared to dispense with, in a hurry, such control, and jump out of the frying pan into the fire by coming under the control of one of those small School Boards where a penny rate produces £3, and where the last election cost them £20. I have a list here of the School Boards showing the returns of the last election expenses in the School Board elections, and I cannot help thinking that a perpetuation of that system is a disgrace to the country, and we might as well take the taxpayers' money and fling it into the gutter as waste it on these small School Boards. The areas must be enlarged. Now, the Bill of 1898 offered that enlargement, but it was objected to from the other side, although it would have given popular control. It contained a plan for dealing with the religious or sectarian question, but again it was objected to, and when we see some prospect of this question being approached from an educational standpoint rather than in a sectarian spirit, I believe there will be a ready response from every Churchman and from every manager of Voluntary schools. The Voluntary schools are not afraid of popular control, but they are starved to death to-day, and they hardly know how to make both ends meet. The principle has been recognised of adding to the contribution of 97 the State and diminishing the contribution of the locality, and that principle will have to be carried out before we can expect our schools to be placed on a level with those on the Continent. I can well recollect the amazement shown by those interested in education in Munich, when I tried to explain to them some of the troubles that we are face to face with in England, such as the pupil teacher difficulty, the provision of accommodation and equipment by the locality, and small School Boards and restricted areas; for all these things it is utterly impossible for the Saxon to understand why they exist. They cannot understand why a child should leave school at 11 years of age, or why our education should be looked at grudgingly and carpingly when in their schools they look upon a sound elementary education as the finest "trade secret" that they possess. If you endeavour to persuade them that we have in England a "religious difficulty" you will find it beyond your power of explanation and beyond their power of comprehension. One thing they are convinced upon, and that is, that all their educational work shall be founded upon some religious teaching, and if Great Britain was polled tomorrow I have not a shadow of doubt that they would return by an overwhelming majority the same answer. What we want is a religious teaching which is not bigoted, and which is not dominated by fanatical bigots, but which is framed in a broad spirit, which will enable the Churchman to obtain what he considers of more value than geography, whilst at the same time giving to the Nonconformist all the freedom of the Board schools which he may well claim. This Debate leaves an impression upon my mind that it is not education which is at the bottom of this Motion, not a desire to advance education, but a desire to secure a Party victory, and to give vent to strong Party political feelings.
§ *MR. GRAY
Well, at any rate, that is the view I hold, and I hold it strongly, because I know what the schools are, and what they want, and because I realise that a speech of that character would have met with strong denuncia- 98 tion even in Wales. I have seen evidence in Wales itself of a keen desire to drop for ever this sectarian trouble, and to work together, one and all, for the benefit of the schools. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker I cannot help expressing the hope that, whether the Amendment be carried or not, an emphatic rejection will be given to the main proposition before the House, and that we may abandon for ever sectarian complaints, and give our undivided attention to National Education.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
I wish to say a very few words indeed on this matter, and even these few words I should have withheld if I had not heard the opinions expressed on the religious question during this Debate. The view which I am about to express is one which is held by a very influential portion of the public outside, influential both in numbers and intelligence, and, therefore, I think it should be briefly mentioned in the course of this discussion. My intention is to vote in support of the Motion of my honourable Friend the Member for Carnarvon, and to some extent I wish to add something to the material adduced in support of his proposal, but which he omitted, and I shall not say for what reason, but I suspect it was because he was not perfectly conscious of the additional support which lay at his hand. I perfectly agree with him in all that he said upon the educational aspect of the matter. I believe that in many respects and in many quarters the state of Primary Education is in what one might almost call a lamentable condition. It is a matter for regret that the difficulty of obtaining, in small parishes, really competent School Boards exist, and the position of the teacher is one to be deplored, for he is liable to be dismissed without appeal by arrogant clerics or by ignorant school managers. I think also that the machinery for compulsion is in a most unsatisfactory position, and I believe that the curriculum is greatly open to reform, more particularly in what I may call "the fancy subjects," on which I think a good deal of time and money are wasted in view of the real necessities, industrial and educational, of the working classes. To my mind, the great educational problem of the future is the technical education of the working 99 classes, giving to the manual labourer a thorough scientific grasp of the calling, whatever it is, by which he is to serve society and keep himself alive. I believe that if these things were properly attended to that it would be the means not only of keeping us abreast, or ahead, of our industrial rivals—although I believe it would do so, but I consider that that is almost a secondary consideration. To my mind the principal thing is making the working man intellectual in reference to his calling, so that he is lifted up into a position which I may call a cultured position, and which leaves him no longer what he is at the present time. This, to my mind, would be a political and social gain of priceless value, for at the present moment I see no encouragement, but, on the contrary, I see obstacles in the way of bringing about this state of things in the condition in which primary education is at this moment. I turn to the religious aspect of the matter as set forth by my honourable Friend the Member for Carnarvon, and there, as I have hinted already, I do not think that he was aware of all the arguments that were at his command. I think that he and my Nonconformist friends have actually doubled the grievances which he so graphically described. I think that in himself and his friends are to be found some of the very strongest reasons why Parliament should institute an inquiry into the religious grievances, and I say so because, in my opinion—and I am prepared to prove it in detail if time permitted—that he and they, by persisting in keeping the Board schools in their present dogmatic and sectarian position, are offending quite as much a portion of the taxpayers and ratepayers of this country as the body of which he forms a part, who, he alleges, are put to great inconvenience by the action of the Anglican and Catholic bodies. I say that they do so not only by continuing to support that state of things, but by refusing to accept the only solution of what I believe, and what the people outside this House believe, to be the only satisfactory solution of the problem of State proselytism, and that is by abolishing, or at all events, doing their best to effect the absolute severance of secular and theological teaching in regard to State schools. If they would allow only secular instruction to be provided by the State, 100 and relegate religious instruction to the parents, the clergy, and the churches, whose proper function religious instruction is—a system which is carried out with success at the present moment in many of our colonies—they would do all that was needed to check and make impossible these aggressions of Anglican upon Nonconformist and Nonconformist upon Freethinkers which are creating all the grievances and mischief which we deplore. And why they who insist upon Disestablisment in their churches and the disestablishment of religion in churches should at the same time insist upon the permanent establishment of religion in schools is one of those things which I have never been able to comprehend, any more than I am able to understand why it should be wrong to learn arithmetic without religion, and perfectly innocent and right to learn dancing or calisthenics without accompaniments. I have never yet met a Catholic parent desiring that his child should learn the pianoforte who would object to have that child taught the piano by a Protestant professor of that instrument; nor have I ever met an Anglican parent who would object to his child learning dancing from a Dissenting dancing master. I know what their answer is. They contend that the Board schools are undogmatic and unsectarian, but between them and me there is a wide gulf fixed. To my mind the Board schools are dogmatic, permissively dogmatic, but dogmatic still; and every dogma is sectarian in its relation to all the people who do not hold it, and I never heard of any dogma that was exempted from the position of not being held by somebody. Now, the only way, indeed, for any man to be undogmatic is to be dumb, for the moment a man opens his mouth on religion, necessarily out flies a dogma, because a dogma in practice is simply a proposition in religion. I can give dogmas as well as a belief, although I do not say that they would be so universally accepted, but in their psychological nature and in their logical definition they are dogmas just as well as the dogmas of the oldest church in the world. Now, I want to ask my honourable Friends who hold the opposite view about the Board schools to really consider how the facts of the matter stand, 101 and when I do so I shall be compelled to use language that is not commonly used in this House; but I wish it to be understood that I do it with all reverence and with perfect seriousness, because I regard this as one of the greatest questions that can come before this assembly or any other assembly. I wish to ask what is the real state of matters in connection with the Board school religious instruction? When the management of a Board school orders, as it has a right to order, the Bible to be used as a handbook of instruction, it practically and essentially says, "This Book is the word of God." I say that cannot be denied by those who look facts in the face. But the moment that is asserted, in whatever way, two of the most stupendous dogmas have been laid down, namely, theism and revelation. Now I maintain that the School Board dogma of theism is one that is offensive to a very large class of the ratepayers and taxpayers of this country. I say that that dogma is contrary to the view of that very large class who are known as agnostics and anti-theists, who, in my opinion, are practically identical with the immense and numerous class who frequent neither church nor chapel, and I say these people have as good a right to be considered as the most pious attendants at public or other worship. Then there is another class of a totally different character to whom this School Board dogma of theism and teachings in the schools is offensive—I mean the Anglican and the Catholic inhabitants of this country. They consider—at least, I know a great many of them consider, and to my mind, not unnaturally —that the naked teaching of theism is practically the teaching of Unitarianism, or indirectly of the essence of Mahomedanism, and I must say, for my part, when it is considered profoundly, I do not see that they are very far wrong. I say, therefore, in this way the School Board exercises a sectarianising influence in respect of these two classes which I have mentioned, which, in point of fact, are as wide as the poles asunder. Then with regard to the School Board dogma of revelation. I say that that also necessarily arouses an antagonism and a controversy of a very extended and complicated description. Every man of average intelligence now knows that after the Reformation, after the position 102 in which Scripture was placed at the Reformation by statute and by ecclesiastical definition, there have been 200 years of advance and development of what it is the fashion to call "the higher criticism," and that as the result of that progress there is scarcely, I believe, a religious sect in this country which does not openly admit that there is what is called a human element in Scripture; and then when the question arises as to what is the human, or what is the superhuman, or whether there is any superhuman element in the matter, why, controversy of an infinitely extended character at once arises, so that the School Board dogma of revelation is one of the most sectarianising influences that can possibly be conceived. So, with regard to these School Board dogmas, I limit myself to these, which I say are incontestable. I say nothing of the thousand and one dogmas which must necessarily be propounded by the teachers when they are giving this instruction to the pupils, which, although perhaps not recognised in any of the historical creeds, are still dogmatic in their nature. I confine myself to these two important and undeniable dogmas, and I say that my honourable Friend and those Nonconformists who support him are really, although they may be unconscious of it, quite as dogmatic and quite as sectarian in the position they take up as the Anglicans whom they attack; and, accordingly, I maintain that in the position they occupy, and in the arguments they employ, as well as in the zeal with which they push—and naturally push—their own dogmatic and sectarian propositions, they are turning the Board schools to quite as objectionable sectarian purposes as the Anglican communion turn, according to their allegations, the Voluntary schools. The fact of the matter is that my friends have left themselves in this matter very few legs to stand upon in this "pot and kettle" controversy. But while this is so the position is made all the more distinct and clear to me in settling how I have to vote, because they have doubled the material and quadrupled the reasons for my supporting my Friend the honourable Member for Carnarvon in demanding a Parliamentary inquiry into the matter. If when that Parliamentary inquiry comes—as I hope it will come and won't be long in coming—I shall look quite 103 as sharply upon my Friend the Member for Carnarvon as he and his friends are going to look upon the Anglican and Catholic communions, and others whom they dub as dogmatists, forgetting all the time that they are no more dogmatists than themselves, although the dogmatism of one side may be different in the logical form, whatever they may be in substantial reality, from those who differ from them.
§ On the return of Mr. SPEAKER after the usual interval,
§ *MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
The honourable Gentleman who sat down just before the adjournment of the House delighted us—as he always does—with his wit and humour, but I cannot feel that he made any really valuable contribution to this question, and the views he expressed are not the views of this country. I think this can be proved by a very simple illustration: Supposing he were to stand for the School Board in any of our large towns—would he put forward those views then? I very much doubt whether there is a single constituency in this country which would return the honourable Member if he held such views as he has expressed to-night; and that proves that the great majority of the people of this country are in favour of religious education. But the question is— What kind of religious education? It all turns upon that. Now, I venture to remark that up to the last 20 or 30 years there was practically no difference in this country as to what the religious education should be which was given to the children. At the time of the passing of the Education Act of 1870 was laid down the foundation upon which we have built ever since, and what the country understood by religious education was simply Biblical instruction. In that I think the Vice-President of the Council will bear me out, for he was in the House at that time, and I think he will remember the controversy which was raised upon it. It was taken for granted all over the country that religious education meant the simple teaching of the elementary truths of Scripture to young children, and that was the almost universal desire of the whole country at that time. There was no practical differ- 104 ence between the Church of England and Nonconformists then as to what constituted religious teaching in our schools, and we might say that up to 1870, in 99 out of every 100 schools in this country the religious teaching-given to children was in the main, simple Scripture teaching, and nothing else was contemplated by Mr. Forster at the time when he introduced his great Education Bill and passed it through this House. Nothing more than that was contemplated by Mr. Gladstone, who was then Leader of the Party and the Prime Minister of the country. But what is the reason why the grievances of the Nonconformists have grown so much since 1870. Why, the reason is known to everyone in this House, and to everyone in this country. It is because an entire change has passed over the conception of religion held by a large part of the Anglican Church clergy. I should like to know, for example, whether the 400 clergy who are members of the Holy Cross Society, and the 650 who are members of the Guild of All Souls, who have the control of a great number of schools in this country, are content to give simple Biblical instruction? Win the clergy who are members of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament be content to limit themselves to simple Bible teaching? I will put that question to the Vice-President, and perhaps he will be able to throw some light upon it when he addresses the House. Will the clergy of the Guild of All Souls, whose main object is to introduce requiem masses for the dead, and who are, in some cases, the principal governors in rural schools—will they give simple Bible teaching to the children which either Nonconformist or Churchman would wish their children to have? This is a plain question, and I put it to Members on the other side of the House. I see some Members here who defend the High Church party, and I put it to them whether they consider that the clergy who belong to these extreme sacerdotal societies are likely to give the children the kind of education which would satisfy Protestant Nonconformists, or even, I would venture to say, the great bulk of the laity of the Church of England. This is the reason why these grievances have become so acute. One of the speakers on the other side of the House asked a question about the Catechisms 105 used in the schools which represent the views of a large section of the advanced Anglican clergy. I can hardly answer that question, although I have read through a large number of Catechisms which are very largely taught in Sunday schools.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
There is no doubt whatever about it. I ask this question, Is it likely that men who from the bottom of their hearts hold those views, and who use their whole influence to teach them in the Sunday schools, when they have control of elementary day schools, and when they have half-an-hour in which they can teach whatever education they like—is it likely that they will refrain from teaching those things which they believe to be the very essence of Christianity? I do not believe it. I believe that in many cases they avoid teaching those Catechisms publicly in order to prevent the facts becoming known to the public. Discussions of this subject in this House, if they serve no other purpose, are useful because they require these advanced clergy to practice with very great care and caution a teaching which would be otherwise done openly. These discussions are of great value in this House, and I am glad to see the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton in his place, because I remember he made a most powerful speech in this House, in which he quoted largely from one of these Catechisms. Wall, I acknowledge that this Catechism is not taught to any extent in the schools, but I see there are a large number which are equally offensive made use of by the advanced Anglicans of the Church of England. Now let us look at this point. This House knows perfectly well to what an enormous extent the old Protestant character of the National Church has been subverted; it knows perfectly well that at least half the clergy resent the name of Protestant, and teach most of the doctrines of the 106 Church of Rome; and we must remember that these clergy have supreme control of most of the rural education of this country. The consequence is that religious education has undergone an entire change in the last 30 or 40 years; formerly, it was mainly Bible instruction, to which Protestant Nonconformists took no exception; now it is in many cases almost Roman Catholic, and excites the vehement dislike of the Protestant population, both Church and Nonconformist. The House need not be surprised at this: it can well understand that clergy who belong to the English Church Union, whose defiant manifesto has just been published, and to the Society of the Holy Cross, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, the Guild of All Souls, and other secret or semi-secret societies pledged to introduce Catholic doctrine and ritual into the National Church, are certain to use their enormous power over the children in Church schools. I have read several of the Catechisms taught by these clergy, and I told the House not long since that they were translations or adaptations from Roman Catholic books; several of them were "Mass books for children." I am not able to prove that they are largely taught in the National schools, but I believe the substance of them is taught. The teachers are trained in colleges under the control of the clergy. I have no doubt that the same transformation is passing over the training colleges for teachers that has passed over the training colleges for clergy; these latter are now chiefly in the hands of extreme Ritualists, who are rapidly changing these training colleges from Protestant to Catholic.
§ SIR F. POWELL
I know nothing of the sort is used in the colleges for which I am responsible, and I utterly repudiate the honourable Member's insinuation.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
I do not happen to know so much about the training colleges as I do about the theological colleges.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I must remind the honourable Member that he is going outside the scope of the Motion before the House. The question is only that of Primary Education.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
I will bow to your ruling, Mr. Speaker. My object is to show that our great difficulty is that the teachers and clergy alike in those schools are giving a kind of education which is not only objectionable to the Nonconformists, but also to a large proportion of the laity of the Church of England. We know how the younger clergy are trained in Romanising doctrine. Is it not morally certain that many of the teachers are educated in the same way? The National Church is fast becoming a huge machine for killing out the principles of the Reformation; is it likely that so vital a part of the work is left undone? I believe that of all the dangers that threaten the Reformed faith of England to-day, none are so great as the power which the Romanising clergy have over the education of the young. We have left nearly three millions of the children of the nation at their mercy; and I warn the House that if this system is not overthrown we shall have to fight a life and death battle for our Protestant faith in the next generation. I approach this question as one who has always been in favour of Bible instruction in the schools of the country. I think that such instruction, given in a way suited to children, would have received the assent of all classes and creeds of the country, except the Roman Catholics; it was the only religious instruction that would permanently stand. Our Education Compromise of 1870 was accepted on that understanding; it would never have been accepted had it been foreseen that Bible teaching would be substituted by Children's Eucharists, and imitations of the Roman Mass. I allege it was a gross departure from the honourable understanding on which the great Education Act was passed. Certainly Mr. Forster in 1870 never contemplated such things as are witnessed at Brighton, when at St. Bartholomew's Church the children of the Voluntary school are marched once a week at 9 a.m. to attend a Children's Eucharist which is indistinguishable from the Roman Mass. Let me quote from the 108 account in the "Daily News" a week or two ago—With humble mind and contrite heartWe come before Thy face,Let Mary and the Saints on highImplore for us Thy grace.Upon the intoning of the Creed the children all knelt until they came to the words, 'and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man.' At that profound passage, so eminently suitable for a children's service, in accordance with their printed instructions, they all stood up, kneeling again when the words had been uttered, and all making the sign of the Cross when the Creed concluded.'Then follows the Act of Consecration,' said the instructions, and the sheet continued: 'When the bell rings as the Priest says, "This is My body," children bow their heads and say by themselves, "Hail! most sacred flesh of Jesus." When the bell rings again and he says, "This is My blood," children bow their heads and say "Hail I most sacred blood of Jesus." During the Consecration the children must be very quiet and reverent, and pay great attention, and, as Jesus is now present on the Altar, children must not sit after the Consecration, but either stand or kneel.' The small folk then sang the Agnus Dei, and among verses that followed, one ran: —I worship Thee, Lord Jesus,Who in Thy love divineArt hiding here Thy GodheadIn forms of bread and wine.Confessional boxes, it need hardly be said, are among the features of this large church, and the hours for hearing confessions are posted on them. On one of the walls of the church was an exhortation to the members of the congregation of their charity to pray for the souls of certain dead, whose names were set forth in a list, and up in one corner was a large board well-stocked with leaflets and pamphlets on points of religious controversy.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
At St. Bartholomew's Church Voluntary school, Brighton, which was reported in the "Daily News." I should like to have the opinion of the right honourable Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council as to how far he considers that this is a legitimate use of the powers which the clergy have in the Voluntary schools. We need not go far from this House to witness a Children's Mass. In the Debates last year in this House the right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth brought to the notice of the 109 House a similar thing that happened close at hand at Clapham. He brought before the House the celebration of the Mass at Christ Church, Clapham, on the festival of Corpus Christi. I quote from the "Church Review" how this affected, the children of the school—The Catholic faith is taught in its fulness at this church. Catholics will be pleased to hear that the children of the schools are instructed daily in the faith of the Catholic Church, and they also attend Mass every Thursday at nine.The new schools of this parish will be begun as soon as the funds will allow. There are Catholics who sympathise with the Vicar in his very uphill work of teaching the Catholic faith in this very difficult parish.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I must say that the honourable Member is departing from the Motion before the House, which relates to grievances in connection with education in Primary schools The honourable Member is now discussing certain religious services attended by the children, of which he may or may not approve, but which do not seem to me to be a part of Primary School Education.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
I will bow to your ruling, Mr. Speaker. I was under the impression that the greatest grievance of Primary Education was just the fact that children of Nonconformists, and many Church people, to a very large extent were receiving a kind of religious education to which they offered a vehement opposition.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The honourable Member misunderstands me. He is at liberty to refer to anything that takes place in the schools as part of Primary Education; but when he addresses himself to church services which are attended by the children, and to the doctrine or ritual in such churches, he is going outside the scope of the question.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
Then I will not further trespass upon that branch of the subject. I will venture, however, to read to the House a letter which I received last week from a teacher, to show how these questions affect the teachers in Voluntary schools. The teachers are wholly at the disposal of the parish 110 clergyman. Here is a specimen of the tyranny to which they are subjected—A relation of mine, who is a schoolmaster, had lately under him a young man as assistant master. He obtained an appointment as master. He was giving instruction to the pupils concerning the Sacraments, telling them there were two—Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. The vicar being present, said, ' There are seven.' The master said he was taught there were but two, 'so say the Articles.' 'Oh, yes, there are seven.' Subsequently he told him he must either join the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament or send in his resignation.Attention having been called to the fact that there were not 40 Members present, the House was counted, when 40 Members being present—
§ *MR. S. SMITH (continuing)
It is within the power of the vicar of a parish to dismiss a teacher if he refuses to join the confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament? I believe that the practice of marching the children of Voluntary schools in procession to attend Mass or Children's Eucharists in the Church is steadily growing, and I understand from the answer given by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Sir John Gorst) that it is no part of the duty of the Education Department to interfere. The Church of England schools may insist on the Confessional and put up images of the Virgin Mary and saints, and require veneration to be paid to them, and yet no interference can take place, so we are led to understand.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
Then I understand the right honourable Gentleman to say that there is nothing illegal in it?
§ SIR J. GORST
I did not say that there was nothing illegal in it. I said that the Committee of Council on Education had no power to interfere.
§ *MR. S. SMITH
Then I do not think that the country understands the point of this question. I know of another case where the teacher is a Protestant, and he is in fear and trembling lest he be dismissed because he will not teach Catholic doctrine, and he knows that when he does his place will be taken by one who 111 will do the bidding of the Ritualists. I said that the teaching of the Church of England is used to stamp out all sympathy with the Reformation. One of the most deadly ways of doing this is by teaching unfair, one-sided histories of the Church of England. The object of these jaundiced histories is to suggest the view that the Reformation made no real change in the Church. Two of these histories are largely used in schools. Nye's History has circulated to the extent of 550,000, and Wakeman's has also a very large circulation. That very accurate historian, J. Horace Round, states—The matter becomes really serious when our schools are flooded, through the agency of the clergy, under the guise of faithful history, with treatises in which notorious facts are either ignored or explained away.Let me give specimens of the sort of teaching inculcated on the young. This is what Nye says about the Reformation—Nothing is more certain than the fact that the Church of England before the Reformation and the Church of England after the Reformation was the same identical Church.Again. I quote from Wakeman—The vast majority of those who suffered (under Mary) were not people even of religious influence. They were illiterate fanatics, convinced that the Pope was Anti-Christ, and Transubstantiation idolatry.Tract XC.—Newman argued (in Tract XC.) that there was no Catholic doctrine, and hardly any theological Roman doctrine, condemned by the Articles; but only popular exaggerations and misrepresentations of Roman doctrine current at the time when the Articles were drawn up. Most men would now admit that, for the purpose which he had in hand, Newman's argument was in the main sound.From the point of view of history the Church revival of the present century is seen to be nothing more than the complete reaction against the Protestant movement of the sixteenth century.I venture to say that history taught in this way is little better than poison. Surely it is an example of the maxim approved by Newman—He both thinks and speaks the truth, except when careful treatment is necessary, and then, as a physician for the good of his patients, he will lie, or rather utter a lie as the sophists say… Nothing, however, but his neighbour's good will lead him to do this. He gives himself up for the Church.112 It is commonly thought that the "conscience clause" is a sufficient protection to the children of Protestant Nonconformists: let the proceedings in the town of Flint, last week, be an answer to this. Many Nonconformist children are obliged to attend the Church school, as their only choice is between it and the Roman Catholic school. Some of these children asked exemption from learning the Church Catechism. The rector of the parish road out the names from the pulpit on Sunday evening in a way that exposed them to opprobrium, and wrote letters of an offensive kind to some of the parents; he also, I am informed, called upon the stationmaster to complain of one of the men who was employed by the London and North Western Railway Company. This induced the Nonconformists to call a meeting for Monday of last week. It was virtually broken up by rowdies, who were instigated by the rector to attend and defend the Church. Allow me to quote from a letter I have received from one who was present—The Nonconformist ministers in leaving the hall were followed by a yelling mob, and were hooted and pelted with eggs; a desperate attempt was made to strike a blow at Mr. Hirst Hollowell in the street; the chairman (the Rev. H. Meirion Davies) was struck on the back of his head with a stone, fortunately not seriously hurt. My own house was surrounded by this ruffianly gang, and stones were thrown at my door, very nearly striking my wife, who happened to open the door to see what was going on at the time, and, as I was not in, she was, of course, very much terrified, as they could be heard swearing and cursing and threatening what they would do to me if they could only get hold of me. Of course, I have taken a prominent part in this movement, having been the first to send in a claim under the conscience clause—hence this attack. Others who have taken a prominent part were subjected to somewhat similar treatment; but the crowning part of the whole affair was that, having done all this, the crowd next assembled before the house of one of the curates (the Rev. T. Jones Roberts), and he actually came out and thanked the crowd for their manly and noble defence of the Church.This is an extreme instance of a kind of intimidation that goes on in many villages where the Nonconformists are obliged to send their children to the Church school. In some cases the parents would lose employment if they withdrew their children under the conscience clause, and the children are often stigmatised, in a way that makes their 113 lives miserable, if they venture to absent themselves. There is no real remedy for this cruel tyranny except the placing of Board schools within reach of the whole population. The great hindrance is the dread of the school rate; and I see no remedy for this except making the whole cost of education a national charge. Surely this rich country can afford to give its children as good an education as Germany or Switzerland; but it is utterly behind them in every way. It has the most, clerical system of education of any modern civilised State, the most backward as regards the age at which children leave school, and it is the country which allows the greatest amount of child labour. I appeal to the Protestant Members of the Unionist Party to support this Motion. They are justly alarmed at the fearful spread of Romanism in the National Church. They know well the great propagandism of Catholic doctrine carried on among the young. It is in youth that the confessional and the supernatural power of the priesthood are riveted on the mind. I appeal to my Protestant friends to withdraw their support from clericalism in education. It is no longer the teaching of the Scriptures, which no one objects to, but the instilling of priestcraft in the case of thousands of clergy and thousands of schools. All modern States have to fight this battle for liberty; we are plunged into it anew in England through the arrogance of sacerdotalism; we have put our hand to the plough, and cannot draw back till the power of the priests is swept out of the public Elementary schools of this country. Now, what is the remedy we claim for this state of things? The honourable Member for Hereford made a speech to which I have listened with much interest, and I think the spirit of that speech was sound, charitable, and just, and I believe that some of the views that he put forward might form the basis of an agreement between the two sides of the House. Under the present system there is no real protection given to the conscience of the parents of the children. No doubt in many cases, by private arrangement, the Voluntary schools could be taken over and utilised for public purposes on some conditions that would be fair to the existing schools. I do not wish to say that a 114 great deal of good has not been done by the Voluntary schools in this country, and I believe that, if they had adhered to the arrangement made in 1870, we should never have had the differences which we have to-day. Had the religion taught in those schools been simple spiritual religion the country, as a whole, would have accepted it. There is a suitable way of teaching Scripture to children and an unsuitable one, and I am certain no man of sense would teach children of from 10 to 12 years of age extreme dogmatic religious creeds. Common religious teaching is no longer possible, owing to the fact that a large section of the National Church has entirely broken away from it, and now refuses to consider as religious teaching for children what 50 years ago it would gladly have accepted. I believe these grievances will grow greater, and will become more vexatious until a settlement is arrived at. Now, what is the main reason why we have not had universal School Boards before this? Everybody knows the reason. There is no doubt that the dread of the education rate is the great reason why School Boards are not spread universally over the country. It is not because the parents preferred Voluntary schools. I would like to see the matter tested by having put within the reach of every parent the choice of having a good Board school or a Voluntary school, and I think that the great majority of the British public would prefer to send their children to a Board school. Under the present Government every effort has been made to discourage the Board school system and to uphold that of the Voluntary schools. I maintain that the children of this country have the same right to be taught in the same way as the children of Germany, and the children of France, and the children of America are taught—at the public expense. The whole cost of education should be thrown upon public sources and placed under public control. Under those circumstances the objection to Board schools would be gone, and the schools themselves would be spread universally over the country. I do not mean that every little parish or hamlet should have a Board school, but I do think that every area containing 10,000 or 20,000 people ought to have the power, if they so desire, of 115 having a School Board. There are men of intelligence, when drawn from a large area—capable men—who would be able to deal with this matter. And until that is done this grievance will continue. But I say it is a scandal, a very great scandal, that a rich country like this—the richest country in the whole world—should not be able to do for its little children what Germany and France and other much poorer countries can do. We have at the present moment the most backward system of education in this country that any advanced nation possesses. Everybody knows that America has a universal system of public schools, and one cardinal point of the American system is that almost every State of the Union passed a law that no grants of public money should be given to any school or seminary under ecclesiastical control. The same constitutional principle was passed by Congress. That is a fundamental principle of the American Constitution. Our own Colonies have also adopted this principle of education; yet the old mother country, the source from which all these vigorous and continually-growing nationalities have sprung, is behind in this important matter. We are fighting against the inevitable. It must come, and we shall have universal Board schools spread over the country. I appeal to the honourable Members on that side of the House, many of whom are extremely anxious that the education of the children of this country shall be placed upon a more perfect basis, to support me. There is real alarm with regard to the great change which is passing over this country in respect of religious education; and I know that many honourable Gentlemen upon that side of the House feel the same as I do myself on this subject, and I appeal to them whether they are going to give greater aid to the clerical party of this country, knowing, as they do, what class of education, they will give, and what these men are sure to do. I say that the Unionist Party of this country must reconsider the whole of the policy with regard to education, because it is perfectly certain that the time is coming when a division will take place in the ranks of honourable Gentlemen on that side of the House upon this question which will be just as marked as that which 116 has taken place now with regard to the condition of the Established Church of this country. I believe that if we could poll the Conservative Party with any accuracy that at least two-thirds of the honourable Gentlemen who sit upon that side of the House would be found to be utterly opposed to the English Church Union, and I say, for the same reason, they should give their support substantially and really to the suggestion which we have made on this side of the House.
§ *VISCOUNT CRANBORNE: (Rochester)
I confess that I approach this subject with a certain amount of hesitation, because I cannot but think that the House at the present time must be somewhat weary of hearing the same old arguments repeated which have formed so large a part of our Debates during the last few years. The honourable Gentleman who has just sat down gave, in the course of the remarks which he addressed to the House, a prominent example of the uselessness of addressing that class of argument to ears that will not hear. He said that he believed that in the country districts of England thousands of parents, if they had the opportunity of choosing between Voluntary schools and Board schools, would choose the Board schools. Now, I should think that at least 20 times in the course of the Debates in this House arguments of that kind have been met with the obvious retort that, if that is so, why is it that in towns where the parents have this choice so large a number prefer to send their children to the Church schools? I must apologise to the House for repeating that argument, though it appears to have no effect whatever upon the honourable Gentleman. The honourable Gentleman, in dealing with the subject, with which I might say that he dealt very earnestly, and in the manner with which the House is so familiar, said that the Church of England had entirely changed its constitution in recent years, and that the result of the change had been that, in a very large number of schools, so I understood him, teaching not to be distinguished from Roman Catholic teaching was being given to the children. The first observation which occurs to me on that point is this: if that is so, how is it that we do not see a very wide use made of the conscience clause upon this 117 question? Taking the country as a whole, how is it, if it is a fact that the whole attitude of the Church of England towards the religious teaching of the young is repugnant to them, that ardent Protestants like the honourable Gentlemen do not use their influence to withdraw the children from such teaching; and, if they do use their influence, how is it that the conscience clause is not made a wider use of? As a matter of fact, it is notorious that the conscience clause is not used at all. Of course, the House is aware that we have had no authentic information upon this question later than that which was given before the Royal Commission ten years ago. On that occasion, however, the whole subject was fully gone into, and, among other things, a very great deal of evidence was given with regard to the conscience clause. It was stated by witnesses that the conscience clause was very little used at all, and what is the more remarkable is that that statement came, not from the Church of England witnesses, but from the Nonconformist witnesses. An eminent Nonconformist witness stated it, and also stated what was much more remarkable—he was an eminent Nonconformist minister—he said there were a large number of parents who knew nothing about the conscience clause whatever. Speaking for himself, he said he was unwilling that people should take advantage of the clause, and that in his opinion the duty of Nonconformist ministers was not to suggest that the children should be withdrawn from religious instruction. I sincerely hope that the honourable Gentleman will carefully consider what that means. Here is a statutory right which is given by the Government to the Nonconformists to give them an opportunity to withdraw their children, and one would imagine that if these schools were permeated with these pernicious doctrines of which the honourable Gentleman has spoken so feelingly, that the Nonconformists would have withdrawn their children from this religious instruction. Yet they do not do so, and, not only do they not do so, but their very ministers do not even suggest that they ought to. This is the evidence given before the Royal Commission.
§ *VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
If the honourable Gentleman has any more recent evidence than that, I shall be very glad to quote it. But, with the exception of these very few cases, it will be found that the Nonconformist ministers themselves did not suggest to their own people that they should avail themselves of the conscience clause.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
The noble-Lord does not give the reason, which is also stated in that very evidence, why they did not.
§ *VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I know it is alleged that the children are in some way damaged. Yes; but we are talking about religion, the most important thing which a human being can think of, and about ministers' religion. Does the honourable Gentleman come forward and suggest to this House that Nonconformist ministers think so little of their religion that they place some twopenny-halfpenny school treat or such like temporal advantage above it?
§ *VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I know perfectly well that that is not the view which the Nonconformist ministers take on this subject. If they thought the children were being damaged morally and intellectually by what is going on they would, at all costs, use their influence upon the parents to use the power which the law has placed in their hands. The honourable Member for Flintshire spoke of certain catechisms which he alleged were used in the Church of England schools. I suspect that when it comes to be analysed it will be found that, like most of the honourable Gentleman's evidence, that statement is a trifle exaggerated. It appears that he has not got evidence of this catechism being used in the day school; that this catechism that he knows of is used in the Sunday schools, which, of course, the State do not control, and to which it does not contribute one-halfpenny. He did not give an example as to the use of this catechism in Sunday schools, but he did, as I think injudiciously, mention Gace's catechism, and I think that I ought to remind the House as to what is the history of that catechism. It was 119 brought forward with a great flourish of trumpets at one time that Gace had authorised a catechism of the Church of England for use in a number of Voluntary schools, and that statement was used with great effect in a great variety of speeches, and upon a great variety of platforms and opportunities. But the facts came out, unfortunately, and it was stated by the publishers that at that time— before 1885—that they doubted whether as many as 10,000 copies had been sold: but that since 1885—that is to say, during the last ten years—4,000 copies only had been issued, the great bulk of them being issued in consequence of the extensive advertisement given to the pamphlet in the anti-Church papers. That in 1889—this is the evidence of the publishers, and not of sacerdotalists —that, so far as they could judge by the orders, the pamphlets were not purchased by the clergy, but for use as a Disestablishment pamphlet. The Archbishop of Canterbury—not the present Archbishop, but Archbishop Benson—entirely repudiated the catechism, and, in the course of a speech, told the following story—A new vicar, a friend of mine, had his breath taken away on his first appearance in the parish in which he worked by the fact that he was supposed to teach the doctrine found in this formidable book, which he had never seen nor heard of. He immediately rushed to his bookseller and procured a copy. He asked the bookseller: 'Have you sold many copies?' 'Yes.'—'In my parish?' 'Yes.'—'To the clergymen and schoolmasters?' 'No; we have sold a good many to the worshippers of the chapel.'That is one of the Libcrationist examples of the extreme sacerdotalism which was trotted out at that time, and which was made to do duty against the Church of England. But I think I have shown that we must accept this kind of accusation with a certain amount of reserve. I should like to state, in a few words, what I believe, from information which I have been at the trouble to ascertain, is the practice of the Church. I believe that very great care is taken, in the vast majority of schools, as to what they shall put into the children's hands. Such books as Gace's Catechism have no sale at all, except amongst those who buy them for political purposes. I have made inquiries at the depository of the National Society, and as the House knows, that society is the great storehouse of ecclesiastical literature for educational purposes to which the great 120 bodies of the National Schools come for what they require, and they say that' the sale of anything except the simple text of the Catechism is very small, and constantly decreasing. Only the text of the Catechism is given to the children, except in very exceptional cases. Now I think that is probably a sober and accurate account of what takes place actually in the schools of the Church of England, and the honourable Gentleman can make his mind to a certain extent easy as to the terrible inroad that sacerdotalism is making on the minds of the future citizens of this country. Now, I should like to say in reference to the speech of the honourable Gentleman who moved the Motion just a few words. The honourable Gentleman spoke in very strong terms of the condition of the Voluntary schools at the present moment. He told us that their teachings were extremely bad, and that the children were being physically and mentally demoralised by what went on there, and that the state of things was lamentable considering its effect upon the young generation which would have to regulate the destiny of this country in the future. But though he drew a very lurid picture, the honourable Gentleman himself admitted that he was not prepared to take the only obvious step which would enable these Voluntary schools to do their work better, namely, to grant them a little more money. That is the test of the sincerity— I do not wish to use that term in any opprobrious form—of the honourable Gentleman towards these Voluntary schools. Desperate though their condition is, he would not put forward a finger or spend a shilling to assist them. As a matter of fact, like the other honourable Gentleman, he exaggerated, but how he came to make such a mistake I do not know. I remember, not so very long ago, when the right honourable Gentleman, who, I am sorry to say, is no longer in the House, Mr. Acland, presided at the Education Department, he tried by every effort in his power to bring up the Voluntary schools to what he considered to be a state of efficiency, both physically and intellectually in the standard of education. He practically brought the whole weight of his influence to bear in every part of England, and he did raise the standard both physically and intellectually of those schools. That being so, it is not fair of 121 the honourable Gentleman to say that they fall far below the position they ought to occupy unless he says at the same time that the efforts of that Government were unavailing. As a matter of fact, the Voluntary schools are not in that desperate condition which he has alleged as to physical condition or the standard of education. It is undoubtedly true that in certain cases the condition of the children is not absolutely satisfactory from a hygienic point of view. That is a point which this House will have to very carefully consider. I am bound to say that much evidence seems to me to be brought to show that in many cases the children have been very much overworked. I do not mean to say that they are learning too much, but that too much pressure is put upon the children during the time they remain at school, and that leads me to think whether the time that these children spend at school ought not to be prolonged. I do not think that the condition of the children to which attention has been drawn is due to the insanitary condition of the buildings in which they work, but that it is due, if it exists at all, to the over-pressure which is brought to bear on their young and growing brains. And the only way in which the House can meet this difficulty, if it is found necessary to meet it, is by prolonging the time which the children spend at school. But that is a matter upon which, of course, one must reserve one's own opinion until it is proposed. But that is the direction in which the House, I am sure, must look for remedy on the whole question. We are not opposed to the improvement of education, we are perfectly willing to do our best to bring education up to the standard required. We are not bigoted upon educational or religious matters, and we are most anxious that any other denomination should share in privileges which we claim for ourselves in this matter. My honourable Friend the Member for East Hertford explained, in a very good speech which he made to the House, how he would be inclined to see that equality should be introduced into the educational system. I quite agree with every word he said, and, as a matter of fact, it has been the burden of our contention in times past. What we desire to do is to give the other religious bodies all the authority that we have 122 ourselves, and if they have any desire to have a clause like the 27th Clause of the Government Bill of 1896, by all means let them have it. If they desire to build Nonconformist schools to compete with the Church schools, let them build them by all means. There is nothing to prevent them; they are entitled to build a school in a Voluntary school district if they desire to do so; and if they get 30 scholars for 12 months—efficient scholars, they are entitled to a grant. I should like to see the Nonconformists build schools where-ever they might desire. In every respect, we are anxious to consult the feelings, the susceptibilities, and the religious beliefs of the Nonconformist bodies. With regard to the actual Amendment before the House, I should like to make just one observation. I am afraid my honourable Friend the Member for Lowestoft was, to some extent, in difficulty, but I practically agree with him. I have always desired that a larger measure of public money should be given to the Voluntary schools, and that we have urged very often at great length; we have urged that the Voluntary schools and the board schools should be put on a more equal footing on the matter of support. But the honourable Gentleman will observe that he brings this matter before the House as one which demands the immediate attention of Parliament. But I believe that after all the Government have done on the question of elementary education in a short time, I do not think they are likely to introduce another education Bill immediately, and I think that the usual Parliamentary course may be adopted in this matter. The honourable Member for Carnarvon Boroughs drew his Motion in a very careful manner, with the intention, I suppose, of inducing those from this side of the House to vote with him, but the strategy is not likely to deceive honourable Members of this House to any large extent. He delivered a violent, strong, and a wholly indefensible attack upon the Voluntary schools, and especially upon those of the Church of England; but I have no doubt that that attack will be met by a most emphatic negative in the Lobby.
§ *MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
The speech of the honourable Member who has just resumed his seat is one of a 123 series of speeches which have been made to-night, prompted by sincere good feeling, and filled with a spirit of compromise and an honourable desire to come to some satisfactory arrangement. If I say anything to-night it is to show the House how very little are the real differences existing between the two parties to this question. The honourable Member declared that religion was the most important thing in a man's life. That I will not take exception to. But in relation to day schools, I will venture to suggest perhaps a slight qualification. There are churches, chapels, mission halls, and Sunday schools expressly founded and carried on for the sake of developing in the human mind an earnest attention to that which the honourable Gentleman has declared to be the most important thing which man can think of in his life. But remembering how brief are the school years of a child's life, beginning very often at five years of age, but not seldom at seven, eight, nine, 10 and 11 years of age, and on the average ceasing at 12; during that brief period, I say, we must not pay too much attention to dogmatic religion, but we must rely on the teachings of the special agencies; founded for that particular purpose, and I submit that the parents of the children agree with me on that point rather than with honourable Members opposite. I also agree with all that has been said in regard to the parents making use of the conscience clause. Why, that is my argument. It has been said again and again in this House by the honourable Member for West Ham, by myself, by members of school boards, by all who know the facts of the case, that there is no real religious difficulty in the schools themselves. It is true, neither among teachers, among parents, nor among children in the public elementary schools, is there any real religious or theological difficulty. I sympathise with the difficulty which the honourable Member for Flint has referred to. I recognise that a difficulty does exist, certainly in some Voluntary schools under the control of the clergy of the High Church section of the Church of England. It does exist there, but they are fortunately, even, yet, in a very small section of the Voluntary schools of this country. I know that the same difficulty was likely to have taken place in the London 124 School Board, and it is significant to those of us who sympathise with the protest the Protestants are making just now, that the man who lit the flame of theological hatred in the London School Board is the author of a brochure entitled, "The Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary." We have been twitted with the fact that we refused the 27th clause of the Bill of 1896, but I beg to remind the House that that Bill contained other clauses, limiting the State and rate grants to schools, and that, if that Bill had become law, the grants under the Voluntary Schools Act could not have been given. Why should there not be some compromise on this question? There are in many parts of the country village schools that are Voluntary schools in name, but are publicly managed schools. In fact, there are Church of England schools of which the majority of the committee of management are Nonconformist, and there are Church of England schools which have on their committees of management representatives of Nonconformists and of the local authority, and it is in consequence of the condition of their permitting representatives on the management of these of Nonconformists and of the local authority that these schools receive the Voluntary rate. There are also schools which are Board schools in name, but which are Voluntary schools in fact, for, by the terms of the transfer of these schools to the School Board, the right is reserved, by special clause, of a control by the clergy of the Church of England over the religious teaching. Schools of that kind work remarkably, well, and I would like to point out to the House that by having schools of that kind throughout the country you can solve the difficulty. The honourable Member for Edinburgh tells us that in Board schools dogmatic instruction is given, and it is true that in the vast majority of them the dogmas of a revelation from God to man, and the Godhead of Christ, and all that depends on that, and the commonly-accepted Christian way of salvation—that all these doctrines are taught in the Board schools by teachers who themselves have been trained in the Church of England training colleges. As I said before, there is no real difficulty in the schools, and no barrier in the way of a compromise. It is too much to hope, I suppose, that 125 honourable Members opposite will at once accept the idea that Board schools are so dogmatic, so truly Christian in their teaching, that they can possibly be proper schools to replace the Voluntary schools in the country. Honourable Members behind me will certainly refuse to accept that idea; but, with regard to the management of Wesleyan schools and Church of England schools, I do assure this House, speaking with a full knowledge of this question, that the difficulties of a theological kind in the way are comparatively few. The Church of England Catechism and the Wesleyan Catechism are not taught in our Board schools, and it is true that the Church of England Catechism is taught in the Voluntary schools, but how is it taught? It is often taught without any commentary or gloss. I do not deal with the doctrine of godfathers and godmothers. These are slight and unimportant subjects, after all. If you take a child seven years of age and make him learn, parrot-like, by rote, inexplicable theological terms, you have given him a piece of useless intellectual lumber. But if you want to give a real foundation of goodness, and a guidance for after life, you can give it to him better by simple Bible lessons than by any definitions of theological terms expressed in technical language. Many of the School Board schools have been inspected by Diocesan inspectors. The Diocesan inspector of the See of York has gone into Sheffield Board schools and put to the children there the same kind of questions as he had put in Church schools, but not in the mere verbiage of the Catechism. He has made slight omissions, but practically the examination of the Board schools by Diocesan inspectors has been exactly the same as in the Voluntary schools, and time after time these Diocesan inspectors, who did this service without pay or reward, and who owe no allegiance or subservience to the School Boards, have said that the religious instruction given in the School Board schools is thoroughly sound and Christian. Again, I say, the partition between the two kinds of schools is very thin indeed, and I would urge that it is the duty of this House to agree to some comprehensive and impartial inquiry into the whole question of the alleged religious difficulty. We 126 are nationally faced with all sorts of difficulties coming from the present state of education. The great difficulty is not ecclesiastical. The great difficulty in the way is how to make the schools more efficient. We are assured that the most important thing in the school curriculum is the half-hour devoted to teaching the dogmas of the Church of England. But above a million and a-half of children are never at school at all. After making every allowance for justifiable causes of absence, there are about 40,000,000 hours of instruction lost to the children of the country every week. That is a great waste, and that is the great difficulty. It is a question on which the House ought to rest its attention, and this discussion is only important in so far as it deals with a barrier to the improvement of our educational system. I am anxious, no one more so, to remove this barrier. Again, I say that those who know most about this question from experience are satisfied that, with certain small exceptions, the barrier between the Voluntary schools and the Board schools is thin; it is almost diaphanous, and it could be made to almost vanish completely. A select committee of five men sitting round a table would be able speedily to come to an arrangement which would be satisfactory to most of the Members of this House. The difficulty is not between the Members of the House. The Debates of the last three years have shown that the tendency on all sides is to come to a practical compromise according to the genius of the English race. The difficulty is not in this House; it is outside. Who are the people who stand up most vehemently in support of the Voluntary system? I want to abuse no class of men. There are clergy and also laity in the Church of England who are honest and sincere in their belief of the necessity for having their own schools and their own system. But I want to point out that there is another side to the picture. The Voluntary school fund provides not only for ordinary education but for Sunday schools, for mothers' meetings, for boys' brigades, for clothing clubs, for shoe clubs, for libraries, for penny banks, for nearly all the machinery of village life, a house without rent, and fuel, lighting, and cleaning, all paid for by income received from the 127 State. These are the obstacles which stand in the way and which make it "pay" a church or chapel to run a Voluntary school. The time is rapidly approaching when men will refuse to allow considerations of that kind to stand in the way of improved education so much needed and on which so much depends. If you would give the children of this country as long a school life as the school life in Germany, from five to fourteen years of age, if you would give regular attendance of the children at school during these years, our educational system, with all its defects and shortcomings, need not fear competition with the schools of Germany, Switzerland, Holland, or Denmark. I come back to the important things that ought to be borne in mind. These are better attendance, a longer school life, and more efficient teaching; and this religious question is only important in so far as it stands between them and this most desirable consummation.
§ *MR. CRIPPS (Gloucester, Stroud)
I think the House must have noticed the striking contrast between the speech of the honourable Member who has just sat down and the far different tone and language used by the Mover of the Resolution. The honourable Member for Nottingham, W., did not take the very narrow and extreme views both of the Voluntary schools and the School Board schools which were taken by the honourable Member for Carnarvon. The latter honourable Member said that the Voluntary schools were rotten and a discredit to civilisation; and he ended up by saying that the Voluntary school system was a State-aided form of sheep-stealing. On the other hand, the honourable Member who has just spoken recognised in the most cordial spirit the advances which have been made in all the schools. When the Voluntary schools are discussed in this House it seems very often to be thought that the management of such schools is synonymous with the management by the village clergyman. Now, that is a great mistake. Voluntary schools are not managed by the village clergyman, except under conditions which I shall relate. Every Voluntary school in this country has a board of managers, selected, as a rule, from those who subscribe to the funds of the school. In 128 fact, the board of managers represents the subscribing body to the Voluntary schools in the same way as the elected body represents the rate-paying subscriptions which are made to the School Boards. In either case you have a representative body, representing either in the one case or the other, the body from whom the funds come. That is an important fact to remember in dealing with the Voluntary schools. It may be true that in some cases the school managers are not called on to interfere with the action of the village clergyman, but the reason of that is that in the vast majority of cases the action of the vicar or rector in particular parishes is in accord with the wishes of the parishioners at large. If that action is not in accordance with the wishes of the parishioners, the power of the board of managers becomes real, and is constantly exercised. I say this from my experience, as the manager of one of these schools myself. I cordially assent to the statement made by the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down that in a very large number of cases the managers of schools which belong to the Church of England are not themselves members of the Church of England. I know of the case of a parish where some of the managers of a Church of England School are not members of the Church of England, although 98 per cent. of the parishioners belong to the Church of England. The real truth is, as was said by the honourable Member for Nottingham West, that except for political purposes and discussion in this House, we do not find this religious difficulty in our country educational system. That is the real truth, and the sequence of the honourable Gentleman is not logical. If, as he said, the difficulty is not a real, but a somewhat invented difficulty, why should he suggest a complicated and comprehensive inquiry on this question? Why, we might create by this inquiry the very difficulty which, according to the honourable Member's own admission, does not exist at the present moment. The noble Lord the Member for Rochester has referred to the attitude take 7 certain Liberationist Members of this House; and, if you enter upon an inquiry on a subject which wants no inquiry, you might create the ' very difficulty which on both sides of the House 129 we seek to avoid. In regard to the religious difficulty, as it has been presented to the House to-night, J believe that, so far as educational efficiency is concerned, it has not come to the front at all. We have had the religious question presented to us in two very different aspects. I believe that religion is the most vital element in the educational system, not only of the Anglican schools, but of the Wesleyan and Catholic schools. There ought to be, I firmly believe, definite religious instruction given to all children whose parents ask for it. What I mean by definite religious instruction is, to my mind, only that form of instruction which a child's mind is ready to grasp. The honourable Member who represents East Edinburgh brought forward the frankly Secularist view, and he argued, with great logical power, that if we were really sincere in our desire to get rid of the religious difficulty we ought to keep religion out of both the School Hoard system and the Voluntary school system. The only question to my mind is this: 1s it true that the honourable Member for East Edinburgh is supported by any very large number of the people of the country at large? If it is true, no greater argument could be urged for the absolute necessity of preserving every safeguard which we have at the present moment. However, I very much doubt whether that statement of the honourable Member for East Edinburgh is accurate. In 1870 when the question of education was brought to the front there was a very important division in this House on the religious question, and a large minority supported the view that education ought to be given on an entirely secular basis. I believe if such a Motion were to be made at the present time it would hardly have any support at all. The view of a purely secularist education has gone infinitely back since the discussions of the Bill of 1870, and I am convinced that the honourable Member who spoke on this subject is entirely inaccurate, entirely misinformed, if he thinks that the parents of the country want their children brought up under merely secular conditions Let me deal with the other side of the question, with the point brought forward by the honourable Member who introduced the Resolution. He protested against a formal dogmatic teaching, and so do I. 130 I ask him, if he had the choice, whether he would like dogmatic teaching m accordance with the religion to which he is attached, or teaching of an indefinite, general kind. I believe if you put that same question to any Member who complains of the religious difficulty, the answer would be that his desire would be for definite teaching in accordance with the religion to which he is attached rather than for teaching of merely colourless principles. That is all we contend for. Let me say one word on another topic. I do not wish to carry it very far, for I would be repeating the arguments put more forcibly by other speakers. But, in answer to the honourable Member who moved the resolution, I may say that I do not think there would be any great difficulty in providing that nearly every parent in this country should have the choice of his children being taught the definite form of religion to which he is earnestly and sincerely attached. That is the true direct ion in which educational reform ought to go. Where I join issue with the honourable Member who moved the Resolution is on this point. If he had the direction of the educational policy of the country he would put an end as much as possible to all true definite religious teaching. My answer to that is, that true reform lies not in putting an end to definite religions teaching, but, in extending it in every possible direction. I can conceive nothing more selfish or intolerant in the advocates of religious teaching than to say that they would deprive other sects and bodies of the same opportunity and chances which they themselves consider vital in the interests of their own children, and I have no doubt that a compromise might be found upon some terms of this kind if it were not for the spirit which seeks to make, not only political capital, but political difficulty in the country out of this topic. I welcome what was said by the honourable Member for West Nottingham, more especially coming as it did from the other side of the House, that we should try and get rid of this religious difficulty, and devote our undivided attention to education. That is the true keynote to strike. But I would remind the House that there are two 131 ways of getting rid of it. You may get rid of it by having no definite religious teaching at all. To get rid of it in that way would lead to nothing but misfortune. The other way is to extend this definite religious teaching in favour of all sects and all bodies alike. I believe that that is the true way, and that there are means to carry out a proposal of this kind. The religious difficulty would then come to an end, and we could devote our attention to what is of far greater importance upon the mere educational question, that is, the question of increased educational efficiency and advantages. There are one or two other points on matters of principle which I should like to urge in answer to the honourable Gentleman who moved the Resolution. Surely he is quite wrong when he argues that local control should be given over State-aided Voluntary schools. It has been recognised ever since 1870 that, so far as State aid is concerned, it is not a question of local control at all. Has anyone ever suggested that from 1870 up to the present time, so far as State aid is concerned, it has not been a constitutional principle that this House should keep the control, and that the Education Department should be responsible to this House, as resgards education? And when the honourable Member talked about money being given by the State without any corresponding measure of local control, he is merely stating a truism, that you do not have local control in connection with Imperial or State aid. As regards that, you have the control of this House, which is to be exercised in this educational matter, as also in all other matters, and there is no new principle. One often hears the mistake made one often hears the wrong argument used upon this point. What is the true argument? That the people who find the money are to control the expenditure. If it is a case of Imperial funds, we are responsible for finding the money, and we are responsible for the way in which the money is spent. I am not objecting, of course, to popular control from an educational point of view; but I want to take what the honourable Mover of this Resolution has said on the question of principle, and I want to know what principle of local control is there when you give State aid—control 132 in this case is exercised, and properly exercised, through the medium of this House? Now, Sir, the only-other question, I think, with which the honourable Gentleman dealt was that of the character of the education given in the Voluntary schools as against that given by the School Boards. Now, upon that I only want to make two remarks. First of all, as has been pointed out, the grants show that there is no great difference in efficiency between the education given under one system and the other. But what is far more important than that, and what is so often over-looked in these discussions, is this, that the Voluntary schools often provide education under the most difficult conditions. You have poor and isolated districts, and it is particular!' in these districts that the Voluntary schools are doing an excellent and admirable work. But you cannot expect—nobody expects —that in poor and isolated country districts you can possibly give the same educational advantages as you give in our great industrial centres. No one can suppose that for an instant. So that when you compare on the basis of grants, that is not even a fail-comparison, so far as the Voluntary schools are concerned, because they are carrying out a great work in the very poorest districts, doing the work of education under the most difficult circumstances, and under conditions which ought to give rise to the gratitude of everyone who really wants a good educational system in all parts of this country.
The honourable and learned Gentleman refers me to Liverpool and Manchester. I cannot speak from my own knowledge of either Liverpool or Manchester.
I have not got the Returns here. I join issue with him so far as London is concerned. I do not know what is his personal experience of London. Of course, London is a very-large place, and I am bound to admit-that my own experience is limited to the district of Kensington. That is all I know about it. and it is exceedingly 133 difficult in this matter to make general statements. And, as regards the Voluntary schools which I know in London, I join issue with the honourable Member altogether. I am not led away by these isolated cases; I am not led away by a mere example here and there. Has the honourable Member got the statistics of London showing the difference in grants as between the Voluntary schools and the Board schools?
§ *MR. CRIPPS
I will not argue that further. I entirely join issue with the honourable Member upon that. But what I was going to point out is this, that so far as there is any difference between the two systems of education, I believe myself it is indisputable that the Board schools, being better off, are enabled to command a better staff. I have no doubt about that, and I have often said myself that the true answer to that should be this, that the several districts in this country, whether poor or rich, or whatever the local conditions may be, ought to be entitled to the same staff for educational purposes, to be found in the same way in proportion to the number of the children, and that is the true solution of our educational difficult}'. Education is not a local matter. It is a matter of great national concern with which we have to deal. I think the honourable Member agrees with me in that. When we are dealing with a great matter of national concern, the nation itself, or we as the representatives of the nation, ought to see that a similar amount of educational efficiency is, as far as possible, obtained in all districts, whether rich or poor.
§ *MR. CRIPPS
And how can we do that? There is one way, and one way only—that is that we can insist on all these schools, wherever they are, having an equally efficient staff, and, as 134 I think, we must find the money to pay for that, that is, in my mind, the true solution, the true and ultimate solution of this educational difficulty. Now Sir, I am afraid I have detained the House longer than I had intended upon this point, but surely this educational question, after all, is of the greatest moment, and we ought to keep it in accordance with true principle, and I am satisfied myself that if anyone who went to the country were to be guided by the view expressed on the Benches opposite, and to ask for a universal School Board system, he would get a very decided vote in the negative.
§ *MR. SPICER (Monmouth Boroughs)
I do not think that we ought to complain, or that anyone ought to complain, of the evening being given to perhaps the most important subject that the House of Commons can discuss, and I do not think that anyone can have listened to nearly the whole of the Debate, as I have done, without feeling almost-amused at the different views that have been expressed with regard to the so-called religious difficulty. We have been constantly told that there is no religious difficulty, and yet there is hardly a speaker who has spoken to-night who, before he has finished his speech, has not referred himself to this religious difficulty. I do not think that the honourable and learned Member who last spoke was quite fair to those who take what my honourable and learned Friend the Member for East Edinburgh calls the secularist view. I have a very keen recollection of the Debates in connection with the 1870 Bill, because they formed some of the first conflicts I had in public life. Those who asked for that system were those who were most keenly interested in the religious education of the children of this country. It was not that they wanted secular education, but they said that, because the State was going to give these grants to the day schools, all religion should be kept out of these schools, and the religious teaching: should be left to the churches and to the Sunday schools. I am bound to say that I still adhere to that position as the logical position. But we are not a logical nation, and those of us who held that view were simply beaten by the force of circumstances. We arrived at the London School Board compromise 135 of simple Bible teaching, and though our friends in the early days of the first Birmingham School Board accepted the plan of no religious teaching in the schools, allowing, of course, others to come and teach religion before the ordinary school hours, the London School Board compromise was practically accepted as a satisfactory solution, and became the accepted doctrine of the Board schools of the country. But, after all, there are 8,000 parishes in this country where all the children of the parish must go to the one school—and let me say that we do not want to set up schools, and I, as a Nonconformist, should be very adverse to starting any scheme which should mean setting up a second school in these parishes. We all know that small schools are bound to be poor schools. You cannot classify small schools in the same way as you can large schools, and I maintain that anyone who attempted to induce Nonconformists, although they are often now in the majority in many of the rural parishes, to set up separate schools would be an enemy to education. But I say that, so long as there are 8,000 parishes where all the children are compelled to go to the one school, and where, whilst the State bears five-sixths of the expense, the whole management is really—I admit, of course, there are exceptions— in the hands of one Party, and where also, in a large majority of cases, no Nonconformist young man or woman can enter the educational profession, I say there is a religious difficulty which you cannot shut your eyes to. And what is the effect of this religious difficulty? I want to look at this matter, not as a Nonconformist, but purely from the citizen's point of view, and I say that, so long as this religious difficulty exists, you are lowering the whole standard of educational efficiency in this country, and you are placing this country in a very dangerous position in competition with other nations. And I think that lately, Mr. Speaker, we have had an object lesson on this question. For some time, apart from the Reports in the Education Blue Books, we have had no accurate account of the actual condition of education in these rural parishes, and though the Blue Books are extremely interesting, of course they are but partial, and you cannot from these Blue Books get any very accurate account of the 136 full position of education in these districts. Well, I have no doubt many Members of this House have seen, thanks to the enterprise of the proprietors of the "Manchester Guardian," a series of articles which have been appearing in that newspaper, and are the result of a visit paid by a commissioner sent to the rural districts in five counties, viz., Kent, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire, and Cornwall—and I hope that if right honourable Members have not seen the pamphlet which now contains the series of articles they will do so, because I think that that pamphlet presents about as truthful an account of the position of education in these rural parishes as has been presented to the country for a long time, and I do not think anyone can read that pamphlet without feeling that it is fair in every way. It is not at all complimentary to some of my Nonconformist friends in many of the rural parishes, but I think it states accurately and honestly the true facts of the case. But what is, after all, the general impression which you gain from the pamphlet? It is that in the rural districts of England at the present time there is an enormous amount of educational indifference. The people are willing at all costs, whether they belong to one side or the other, to accept anything so long as it is cheap. They are against Board schools because Board schools are dear. They do not like many of the conditions of the Voluntary schools, but they accept them because they are cheap. There is an absence of leadership on educational matters. I do not say that this is always the case. There are some cases where clergymen—and it is to their credit—sometimes stand alone as educational leaders. In other cases there are earnest Nonconformists who are equally keen on this subject, but, speaking broadly, there is throughout these districts, which he describes in the pamphlet, an immense amount of educational indifference. In these schools they are content with Article 68 teachers, as is proved by the fact that whilst Voluntary schools have 8,970 certified masters, they have also 8,970 Article 68 teachers, women of perfectly good character, but who have had no educational training. And why are they satisfied with Article 68 teachers? Because the managers get 137 the wives thrown in with the husbands for a comparatively small salary. It is simply a question of cheapness, and, consequently, whilst the wife ought to be at home looking after her family, she is, without any training, simply trying to do her best in the school. Well then, as a necessary sequence, there is no leadership in education, and there is no stimulus amongst the better-educated people to induce parents to keep their children at school. Consequently, in a school of 120 or 130, there are, perhaps, three, five, or seven who are over 12, but all the rest go out to work at 11 years of age. Now, that is, I believe, a perfectly true picture, and I do not think anyone can read that pamphlet without feeling it is true. It is not written by a man who wanted to make out a case all one side. I take it he is a schoolmaster, and he is himself keenly interested in all the interests of the schools, but it is a true picture of the state of education in our rural districts. And now, what about our towns? A return has recently been issued to this House on the different classes of employment to which boys and girls attending elementary schools in England and Wales went on leaving school during one complete year. I have been examining the figures in that return, and I have been looking at the percentage of boys who, on leaving school, go into different kinds of employment. I have chosen the cases where the Educational Department have been able to obtain the largest percentage of population. I will now turn to the classification of employment. I have picked out three special classes, which I think will show the point on which I lay stress—those who go as errand boys on leaving school, as hawkers, and as newsboys, and I find that in some towns the percentage is no less than 40 per cent. We always know-that these three departments of labour constitute what is often called "the little place." It is the easiest to get, and, practically, leads nowhere. As errand boys, or hawkers, or newsboys, they can learn nothing, and their occupation fits them for no other employment. This is a great temptation to a very large number of the working classes, and especially those who have left school early, for they have not any outlook, they have formed no idea as 138 to what employment they would like to go into, and there is no stimulus from home or from any friends. They choose this employment, and from errand boys or like occupation they drift into other unskilled employment, the result being that they can earn better wages during the first 10 or perhaps eight years of their career, as unskilled labourers, than they could if they went into any skilled employment, because, of course, they would, so to speak, be learning their trade. The consequence is, that in that class, you have a set of men who come to their highest wage-earning capacity when they are about 22 to 25. I know well enough from my experience in the East of London the crowds we have of this particular class. With the least lapse in character, or even the last lapse in health, they very often begin to find themselves on the downward grade about 25, so that in the poor parts of our large towns, when they reach 35 or 40 you will find a huge crowd of men being supported by the earnings of their own children. And it is this residuum which we are creating at the present time, and which is such a huge danger to our towns. I believe it is very largely owing to the fact that public opinion with regard to true elementary education is so comparatively low, and that there is no stimulus put before the minds of the children to look out for some skilled employment. After all, we come back to the religious difficulty which divides us all in this country as regards elementary education, and which is very largely responsible for this low standard of efficiency. What do we gain by it? It is said that the Church of England is very anxious to keep this power in her hands, that the schools are a nursery for the Church. Do the facts really justify this statement? I believe that the Sunday school is a nursery for the Church, and I think when you consider the very large proportion of children being educated in Voluntary schools the figures with regard to Sunday schools bear out my contention. What are those figures? They show that whilst you have in the Anglican church 219,159 Sunday school teachers and 2,393,000 scholars, you have in the Evangelical free churches 381,000 teachers and 3,284,960 children, showing, as a matter of fact, that where 139 they go on a week-day does not influence where they go on a Sunday. That is the gist of the Report of the Commissioner who has been round these five rural districts. He gives case after case where there is only one school, and that a Church school, but where there is a majority of Nonconformists, and yet in some cases where there is only a Church day-school there is not even a Church Sunday school—all the children are in Nonconformist Sunday schools. I say, therefore, that any attempt to make day schools a nursery for the Church is a huge failure. I think there are a good many clergymen who are beginning to feel that this is the case. There was remarkable testimony given the other day by a clergyman at Upper Edmonton—the Rev. Lucius G. Fry—and, with the permission of the House, I will read what he says—He has come to the conclusion that Church day schools do not feed the Established Church. A census of his own boys' and girls' schools show the following results: —Out of 542 scholars 213 attend Church Sunday Schools, 211 Nonconformist Sunday schools, and 118 attend no Sunday school at all. More than half Mr. Fry's Sunday school children go to Board schools. He has come to the conclusion that poor parishes should no longer have to bear such 'a sickening burden' as a Church day school. This is his conclusion— 'After 20 years of hard struggle I am utterly sick and tired to death of Church day schools, and, wherever I go, I find that clergy placed with day schools, as I am, say the same; those who have directed our educational policy in the Church, through the National Society and the Diocesan Board of Education, have made a most awful mistake, and the sooner it is realised and acknowledged the better. It is the Sunday school, not the day school, which feeds the Church.'But I do not want to argue on that point. I want to argue it on the ground that the present religious difficulty which is dividing the people of this country with regard to elementally education is a tremendous drawback to the educational efficiency of the country. I am glad, therefore, that this evening has been devoted to the consideration of this question, and, if it has made us understand one another's position better, I think it may have proved of some advantage.
§ MR. ABEL THOMAS (Carmarthen, E.)
Mr. Speaker, I think there can be no doubt that there is a religious difficulty. A child between six and 12 years 140 of age does not, I suppose, care what particular sect or doctrine is taught in its school; but that there is a difficulty amongst the parents where there is a Voluntary or Church school only, there cannot be the slightest doubt. We hear a good deal about the conscience clause, and it has been suggested by an honourable Member that parents should take advantage of it. Well, how in the world is a parent to take advantage of it in certain places? Imagine the position in a district which I have in my mind in Wales—and the same thing happens in many districts in England and Wales— where the clergyman and the squire, who are Churchmen, are the chief and, indeed, the only subscribers to the Voluntary school. I know that there are districts where the school committee have admitted Roman Catholics and Nonconformists to the governing body, even when there were only 3 or 4 per cent. of Nonconformist children in the school, but there are hundreds of districts in Wales, where the children, in a very large majority, at any rate, are the sons-or daughters of Nonconformist parents, whilst every manager of those schools is a Churchman. To say that there is no religious difficulty under those circumstances is to imagine that you cannot see what everybody else can see. It is a matter of common knowledge that the doctrines taught by the Church of England are not believed in by the Nonconformists. They say that not only are they wrong, but that they will do anything in the world to prevent their children being taught those doctrines. Where that position exists, you are bound to have a religious difficulty. It is no use shutting one's eyes to the plain facts of the case. There is the religious difficulty, and it is the chief difficulty in making our education in this country a really satisfactory education for the children at large. It has been said, "Why don't you try, under the conscience clause, to have these children excluded?" The objection is that most of us are not martyrs. I do not know that my fellow-countrymen are any more martyrs than anybody else in England or Scotland. It very often happens that the Nonconformist father and mother depend upon the squire or the clergyman for their livelihood, and it is ridiculous to suppose, under these circumstances, that they would incur the risk which the con- 141 science clause in such a case would involve. Parents feel that they are not being treated properly in being compelled—because it is compulsion as far as they are concerned—to send their children to what are distinctly Church schools. It really does seem to me that when honourable Members on the other side of the House, and, indeed, some on our own side, make a distinction between the religious difficulty in the schools and religious difficulties, as they call them, in politics, that they are disregarding the main point. The real point is that a child does not care one scrap one way or the other. But the parent docs care. Then it has been seriously suggested, not by one, but by a very great number of honourable Members upon the other side of the House, that we have popular control at the present moment in the Voluntary schools of this country. Well, Mr. Speaker, what is the meaning of popular control? If it means that the Education Department shall decide for each particular district what the particular doctrine they wish to be taught in any district in England or Wales is to be, then we have popular control; but that is not the meaning of popular control. What is meant, I imagine, by popular control is that the ratepayer and the parents of the children shall themselves decide what kind of education they want the children to have. It may be said that they do not contribute towards the Voluntary schools. They do not pay towards the Voluntary schools in rates, it is true, but they contribute towards the grant. It does not make the least difference whether the money comes through the local authority or the rates. It is the parents of the children who pay finally for the education. It is simply putting the matter one degree further off whether you call it a grant or whether you call it a rate. I cannot understand the mind of the man who suggests that there is a total distinction between the education of a child by rate and the education of a child by grant. When one hears—I do not like to call it nonsense, Mr. Speaker, but it sounds very much like it—that there is popular control of Voluntary schools, I really do think that honourable Members on the other side of the House should try and define what they mean by popular control, because it really cannot be popular control, I am afraid, at the present mo- 142 ment. The man who pays the educational rate should have the opportunity of selecting the way in which religious education is to be applied to the children. The fact is, that the body of persons who are conducting these schools bring up the children who are taught in those schools in the religion in which the managers themselves believe. I cannot help thinking that the position now is very different from what it was 20 or 25 years ago—30 years ago, at any rate. We then had as managers of these Voluntary schools clergyman of the old sort. They were men who, I have no doubt, strongly believed in their own religious tenets, but they had regard for the feelings of other people, and they were not proselytisers, except in very few instances. Is it possible to say that at the present moment of many managers of the schools in this country? I am not going to say one word against the High Church Party, because, in my opinion, they are the most earnest division of the Church of England; they are doing the most good in the lowest urban districts as well as in some of the poorest agricultural districts. They are passionately earnest, and that is the very reason why they are also trying to convert everybody to their own views. It is no use to shut one's eyes to the fact, it is to be seen on all sides amongst men who believe in doctrines which are not the doctrines of the Protestant Church of England. Wherever you get one of those men who is very passionately earnest, he is forced to become a proselytiser— he cannot help himself; and when one goes to Brighton, Cardiff, and other places, one sees what is happening at the present moment. At the same time, if I were a sacerdotal clergyman and manager of a school, it would be utterly impossible for me, doing my duty to the Higher Power which I should worship, to do other than to convert everybody into my way of thinking. It would be wicked of me not to do so. But so far as we in England and Wales are concerned, we—most of us, at any rate—are Protestant people. It has been said, not once, but many times, that there are 1–1,000 Voluntary schools at the present moment where it is practically impossible for a Nonconformist to become a teacher. Then, in addition to that, you have 8,000 parishes where there is no Board school, and every Nonconformist, or 143 Roman Catholic, or the man who believes in nothing, is compelled to send his children to a Church school. I venture to think it is a gross injustice to the people, and under those circumstances I support with all my heart the Motion of my honourable Friend.
§ SIR J. GORST
The honourable Member who has just sat down has addressed the House in that conciliatory and philosophic tone which has prevailed during the latter part of this Debate at all events; but he really came back to the same position taken up by the honourable Member for Carnarvon, who moved this Motion. That honourable Member invites the House to affirm that there is a serious grievance in our educational system, that that serious grievance is what is generally known as the religious difficulty, and that the attention of Parliament should be forthwith directed to it, to the exclusion of another subject connected with our educational system, in order to remove it, as the greatest obstacle to educational progress. Now, the first thing the House ought to consider is whether there is really this religious grievance, which has been so graphically depicted. The honourable and learned Member, in a speech of very great sincerity and fervour, worked himself and his friends in the House up to a kind of imagination of a state of things existing in the rural parts of this country, where the labourers, whose children frequent the elementary schools, are divided into very sincere and earnest Churchmen on the one side and very sincere and earnest Nonconformists on the other, each extremely anxious about the education of their children in their particular dogmas and tenets, and most aggrieved and oppressed if the realisation of that wish is interfered with. But really, is there such a state of things existing in the country? Why, everybody knows that the greater part of the agricultural labourers are absolutely indifferent as to what is the teaching of their children in either secular or religious subjects, that the greater part of them never go either to church or chapel. Nay, even the religious part of the rural population is extremely indifferent upon the subject of church or chapel. They transfer themselves from the one to the other upon very slight, very insufficient grounds. Some of them, and not by any 144 means the worst, make a practice of attending on the same Sunday the church in the morning, and the chapel in the evening, or vice versâ —a proceeding which a former Bishop of London (Bishop Blomfield) used to stigmatise as "dodging the devil." The honourable Member for Carnarvon has asked the House to consider the grievances of the Nonconformist population in three distinct particulars, and I will address myself briefly to each. First of all, he says there are 8,000 parishes in which there is nothing but a Church school, and that practically Nonconformists, who form in some cases the majority of the population, and in others a large minority, have no choice but to send their children to the Church schools. Well, if that is sound in theory, it is a very serious grievance; but what remedy is suggested by honourable Members in this House? The honourable Member for Monmouth District made an extremely valuable speech on this subject. He said nothing would induce him to have two schools in his parish. In some of these villages, ho said, the one school was too small, and if you split up the population between a Church school and a Nonconformist school you would have two schools still more inefficient. The honourable Member for Flintshire seemed to think that the true remedy was the assumption by the Education Department of a sort of Episcopal conscience, and their interference in the kind of religious instruction given. If the Education Department or any Minister responsible to this House were to take upon themselves to interfere in the kind of religious instruction given, it would certainly not lessen the religious difficulty. The true attitude the Department has always assumed is one of complete impartiality in connection with religious instruction. The whole attitude of the Department is to see that no child whose parents object to the particular religious instruction given in a school is compelled to attend it, and there its right of interference with religious instruction begins and ends. Then there is the remedy of the school board. A school board the people in the village will not have. They prefer the Church school, with its catechism and its clerical tyranny, to a school board. They would rather their children were taught anything than they should have to pay a school board rate. The honourable Mem- 145 ber for Monmouth referred to some description of rural education which appeared recently in the "Manchester Guardian," and I think he will bear me out in saying that one of the most striking portions of that picture was the total indifference of the rural population, even in such a county as Cornwall, where the vast majority of the people are Nonconformists, for this religious difficulty. So far from burning to be free from the tyranny of the few Church schools in Cornwall, the testimony was that they were more anxious it should continue, because they would rather their children were taught the Church catechism than have to pay a school board rate.
§ SIR J. GORST
That is exactly what I am saying; but so far as the Church schools that survive in Cornwall are concerned, the Nonconformists are anxious to keep them up, because they prefer their children to be taught the Church catechism than that they should have to pay a school board rate. Then there is the conscience clause. That is the remedy Parliament has provided, and that remedy I believe on the whole to be a very fair one. I think the conscience clause is very seldom used in any school unless it is stirred up from the outside. Of that, recent Debates in the House have given evidence. The case referred to by the honourable Member for Flintshire as having occurred in the town of Flint is a very remarkable instance of this. That, however, is a matter which is still under inquiry. I have only heard one side of the case from the honourable Member, and therefore I should not like to speak positively about it. But so far as the evidence before me goes, it appears that in this parish there is an extremely popular Church of England clergyman, who is very much liked both by Churchmen and by Nonconformists, and there has never been any difficulty in the school for years in connection with the conscience clause. Then comes an emissary—an emissary, I believe, of the honourable Member himself. I am sure the honourable Member himself would not intimidate anybody, though he may have induced some of the Nonconformists of the parish to withdraw their children under the conscience clause.
§ SIR J. GORST
Well, I know the managers of the school have settled the matter. The parishioners have not withdrawn their children from all religious teaching, but only from a part of it. What the honourable Member complains of is that this gentleman, instead of receiving this rebuff as, I suppose, any charitable clergyman ought to receive any rebuff, appears to have made a denunciation in the pulpit of these people. That is a matter with which I cannot interfere, because it is obviously an episcopal affair altogether, and he has in two cases appealed to the employers of those who had taken their children away from school to exercise their influence upon them. That proceeding, if it were true —about which I cannot express any opinion—would be most reprehensible. I am bound to say that we in this House know a good deal about meetings and how meetings are broken up, and I will just give the House one short quotation from a speech which was made at that meeting, as it is reported in the "Flintshire Observer" for 2nd March, 1899, and I do not think the House will be surprised at the meeting being broken up. Remember that this was undoubtedly a popular clergyman, who was arraigned at this meeting by a gentleman—an orator from Lanca-shire—who had nothing whatever to do with the town of Flint. This is what he said in his speech—I am here to denounce the rector of Flint as one of the greatest cowards I have ever met with. I see gentlemen of the Press here, and I ask them to enter on their notebooks my statement that the conduct of the rector of Flint is that of the greatest coward I have ever met with in public life.I appeal to gentlemen who have had experience of public meetings, whether a speech of that kind was not certain to result in the breaking up of the meeting. Now, I have never concealed from the House my dissatisfaction with the existing conscience clause, and the Government, of which I am an humble Member, made an attempt two years ago to propose to this House a conscience clause, which would not only have allowed people to withdraw their children from that religious instruction which 147 they did not like, but would have secured to every one that in every school in the country every effort should be made to give his children that religious instruction which he did like. What did the honourable and learned Member for Carnarvon and his friends do upon that occasion? They denounced this particular clause as if it were the invention of some religious persecutors, and would not even discuss it. I think that the honourable Member said that if the clause was reintroduced he would act in the same manner now. But the real state of affairs in the country is not at all what has been described. In most places the people have any religious instruction they like. In nearly all these Church schools the instruction given on four days out of the five on which the school is open is identical with that given in the Board schools, and consists of lessons chiefly from the New Testament—lessors on Scriptural history, which are adapted to children of immature age. It is only on one day in the week, as a general rule, that any catechism is taught at all, and I venture to say that in the great majority of Church schools in the rural district that catechism is only taught to the children whose parents acquiesce in it, and if any conscientious or religious-minded Dissenter were to say he did not wish his children to be taught the Church catechism, his children would have Bible lessons during the time the other children were learning the Church catechism, and his children would never be required to learn it at all. Therefore, though the grievance of the honourable Member sounds a very serious one, yet I quite agree with what was said by his colleague, the honourable Member for Nottingham, who has had considerable experience in this matter, and who, I believe, is a perfectly staunch and respected Liberal, and who tells us that there is really no religious difficulty in the schools at all, and if you do not have outside influence— orators from Lancashire and others— in the schools, the teachers and parents and the children will get on perfectly comfortably together. Now the next grievance which has been spoken of by many Members here, is that in all these rural schools Nonconformist children are absolutely debarred from entering the teachers' profession. I confess that if 148 that were so I should be very indignant —not as a Nonconformist, but as a Minister of Education looking out most anxiously for all the teaching staff that can possibly be procured in the country. But it is not so. I took some trouble to ascertain what the facts were about this. I have two letters from Welsh inspectors. One is from Mr. L. J. Roberts, an inspector at Denbigh. He is a Churchman, and he says—Though I have a pretty wide knowledge of my district, in which small Church schools abound, not a single case of hardship endured by a Nonconformist aspirant for pupil teachership has come under my notice. Of late a growing desire seems to have been shown to accept Nonconformist boys and girls as pupil teachers in Church schools. At the opening of a new school at Prestatyn about a year ago the Bishop of St. Asaph made a speech in which he strongly urged the clergy to give equality of opportunity as candidates for pupil teachers to Nonconformist as well as Church children. I know that there are a good many Nonconformists employed at present in the Church schools in this district. But, despite all this, there are parishes, doubtless, where a Nonconformist child has little chance of being brought up to the teaching profession if there are eligible Church of England candidates. The exclusion of Nonconformist children is no doubt a real grievance in some parishes, though I have no definite instance to give.The second report is from Mr. Darlington, of Aberystwith, a Nonconformist, and a gentleman with large experience in Wales, having been a lecturer there before he became one of Her Majesty's inspectors. He says—The great majority of my Voluntary schools are not large enough to need to employ pupil teachers. Where they do employ them I should say that Nonconformists would stand a greater chance of being selected than would be the case in England, for the simple reason that it would frequently happen here that most of the eligible candidates, even in Voluntary schools, would be Nonconformists. I have never made any inquiries on the subject, nor has it ever been mentioned to me by managers or others in my district, but I happen to know of at least two cases in which Nonconformist pupil teachers have been employed in Church schools.I have made inquiries also in Lincolnshire, and the inspectors have never heard of a case where a Nonconformist child had been refused admission to a pupil teachership in consequence of his religion.
§ SIR J. GORST
I cannot give a Return, because I have no knowledge. I inquired last Session all over the country, and I have not been able to find a single instance of a child refused to be made a pupil teacher in consequence of the religious tenets of his parents. I should like the honourable Member to give me a Return of a single instance, and I will have it inquired into, but so unwilling are the managers of country schools, who have no means of training pupil teachers, to take them in at all that I am afraid, unless some fresh plan is adopted, the country teacher will soon become a tiling of the past. I understand that in Wales there are a great many pupil teachers now taken from the Secondary schools, and I believe that is the real source from which the young teacher of the future will have to be derived. The last grievance is the question of training college accommodation. No doubt it is greatly too small. But the State has not taken on itself the practical duty of training teachers: it has subsidised bodies who do, and if the Nonconformists have a difficulty in finding colleges to go to it is because the Nonconformists have established fewer training colleges than the Church of England. The true remedy for that state of things would be for Nonconformists to imitate the other side, and to establish training colleges in sufficient numbers. I do not see how you can force the conscience clause on the managers of the existing training colleges, and if you wish Nonconformist residential colleges the true remedy would be to adopt the day training college system, in which the pupils can have the benefit of the conscience clause, and can be received into the college. I hope the House will see that at present there is no such practical religious grievance as demands the immediate attention of Parliament to the exclusion of much more important matters. Therefore, I hope that the House will negative the Resolution. With regard to the Amendment, it sets up another grievance as that to which the attention of Parliament must be directed. It is the grievance of the different financial position of Voluntary and Board schools. I quite agree with the honourable Member who moved the Amendment that the financial position of the managers of Board and Voluntary 150 schools is very different, and greatly to the disadvantage of the latter; and it is to the interest of the nation at large that such financial arrangements should be made as would put the managers of Voluntary schools in a satisfactory and proper position. But I do not think that we can ask the attention of Parliament immediately to it. Two years ago a Bill was passed which gave a large sum of money to the managers of Voluntary schools, and naturally Parliament will wait and see the effect of that Bill, which, as far as I know, has been, from an educational point of view, very useful, and has enabled a great number of Voluntary schools to be placed in a much more efficient position, to obtain more numerous and better teachers and better apparatus. But we can hardly ask that the attention of Parliament should be again immediately directed to the subject. I hope that the honourable Member will consent to withdraw his Amendment, so that we can take the vote on the Motion of the honourable Member for Carnarvon. Those who really believe that the progress of education in the country is stopped by this religious difficulty will vote for the Motion. Those who think that, after all, although this religious question is logically a difficulty it is not really a practical obstacle to education will vote to negative the Motion, in order that the attention of Parliament may be directed to matters which really are much more urgent and essential to the progress of education.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
The House always listens with interest to the speeches of the Vice-President, and his speech to-night has not been wanting in any of those characteristics of novelty and surprise which we always expect, and of which the right honourable Gentleman never disappoints us. He is a very accomplished Minister of Education, he is a very brilliant debater, and he is a very formidable antagonist to any Party opposed to him. But of one thing he is profoundly ignorant, and that is the state of the Nonconforming residents of the rural parishes in England. I do not hesitate to say that the description which he has drawn this evening of the rural Nonconformists and their indifference to religion is a libel on them.
§ SIR J. GORST
I never said indifference to religion. I said indifference to the differences between the Church and Nonconformity.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
The right honourable Gentleman spoke of their indifference to affording their children any religious education whatever. There is another portion of the right honourable Gentleman's speech to which I will call attention at once. He has treated this Motion as dealing purely with the religious grievance and with nothing else; and he has made no reply to the remarks of honourable Members on both sides with reference to the system of Primary Education which the Resolution says "Inflicts upon a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects a serious grievance." The religious grievance to which he has directed the whole of his remarks is but one section of that grievance. The noble Lord the Member for Rochester says that he is wearied of these educational discussions. He will have to undergo a great deal more of that weariness.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
The House has enjoyed the noble Lord's speech, and when he addresses the House as pleasantly as he has done to-night, the House will always enjoy the speeches of the noble Lord. But we have in this country the most expensive, the most inefficient, and insufficient system of education in Europe. We have now on the register of the public elementary schools five-and-a-half millions of scholars, and we have only four-and-a-half millions in average attendance. That- system costs the country in grants from taxes and in local rates nearly £12,000,000 of public money, totally excluding the subscriptions of the friends of Denominational schools. The right honourable Gentleman knows better than I do that we have not 20 per cent. of the children in average attendance who are above the Fourth Standard. That is the first grievance —that the education is bad, is insufficient, and is putting this country to a serious disadvantage from a commercial, from a manufacturing, and from a national point of view. Every 152 honourable Member who has spoken tonight has dwelt upon some disadvantage or other; no one has got up and said the present system is perfect. No one has indulged in the optimism of the right honourable Gentleman. Even those who thought that the views expressed on this side of the House with reference to the religious grievance were exaggerated, and possibly unfair, have a religious grievance of their own. They put the case of the Board schools, and they maintain, with great force, as is maintained on this side, that this system is defective. In a sentence or two, I should like to put before the House the real difficulty that arises. It has been seen in to-night's Debate that we are apt to consider our educational system as one system, dealing with one class of the population, and under one system of administration. That is not the case. Our system of education in the towns and our system, of education in the country are essentially different. The same conditions cannot apply to both; yet, where a difficulty is raised with reference to the education in towns, the answer to it is given by illustrations drawn from the rural districts, and where, as was the case in the majority of the speeches to-night, the difficulties of the rural districts are raised, the answer is given as to what prevails in the towns. The honourable Member for Hertfordshire, who made a very powerful contribution to our Debates to-night, and who certainly dealt with this question both as a practical educationist and in a statesmanlike manner, said that what was wanted was a friendly rivalry between the two systems—the Voluntary Denominational and the Board schools. Where can there be a rivalry in the rural districts? There are 8,000 parishes where there is but one school; there can be no rivalry there. And then he also went on to show that the people of this country had indicated their preference for the Denominational system over the Board school system by quoting the large number of scholars who were to be found in the one class of school as contrasted with the other class of school. In 8,000 districts they have no choice whatever, no opportunity of saying which they prefer. Again, with reference to the suggestion that was made very fairly by the honour- 153 able Member that provision might be made for the giving in the respective Board schools of religious education— and he frankly admitted he was willing to extend that to Voluntary schools also —by the various preachers of the religious denominations whose children might be found in those schools, that might be practicable in the towns, where you have an organised staff of Nonconforming ministers, in the same manner as the Church of England has, but it is absolutely impossible in a rural village. There are no such resident ministers there. Nonconformity in a rural village is taught in the main, even on Sunday, by a minister who comes from a distance, or by a lay preacher who works hard for his living every day of the week—that man cannot go into a school on a week day and give religious education. The thing is impracticable; it has broken down in Birmingham, where it was commenced under very favourable auspices, and I know no place where it has been a success. For the moment I am simply pointing out that whereas one class of circumstances may be dealt with in the town satisfactorily you have a different class of circumstances in the country. There is another point. The Department which the right honourable Gentleman is pleased to call the Committee of the Council I prefer to call, in what I think is true Parliamentary language, the Administration of the Lord President of the Council, the Duke of Devonshire, and I think it would be far better if in our discussions on educational matters we got rid of the joke of the right honourable Gentleman about the Committee of Council and dealt with the Education Department, as we deal with the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, and the Home Office—dealt with the Minister who is responsible to Parliament for the administration. We have a grievance there, and a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects have a grievance with reference to the administration of the Education Department, and I will tell the right honourable Gentleman why. Because we say that Department is not impartial, because its administration is adverse to Board schools and favourable to Denominational schools.
§ AN HONOURABLE MEMBER: The last Government.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
The last Government! I frankly say that it was not so unfavourable to Board schools. I am not for a moment denying that. I glory in it. I think it was very much to the honour of Mr. Acland that he did deal with the system which had grown up of unfairness to Board schools, and endeavoured to correct it. We know, for we have had those cases again and again before us, that wherever there is a chance of preventing the establishment of a Board school, and welcoming the establishment of a Denominational school, the force of the Department at present is thrown into the scale in favour of the Denominational school. The right honourable Gentleman has dealt with three branches of the various questions raised to-night. I will deal with one. He is so anxious to have statistics about pupil teachers; he has told us, on the testimony of two inspectors who have never heard of the case of a pupil teacher being deprived of the opportunity of learning his profession on account of his religious opinions, that he does not believe such cases exist. It is a very singular thing that the various organised representative bodies of the Nonconformists should have again and again pressed this matter upon successive Governments. The Wesleyan Committee on Education determined to have this grievance investigated. They have heard the denials of the right honourable Gentleman that these cases existed, and I will read to you what was the result. I will give the right honourable Gentleman the cases for which he asked. This is the result of the Committee appointed by the Wesleyan Conference—Out of 946 towns and villages, in regard to which the Committee of the Wesleyan Conference made inquiry, it was found that there were only 88 cases in which candidates were admitted to become pupil teachers without any act of conformity to the Church of England, and 858 cases in which either confirmation or attendance at service of the Church of England was required as a condition of pupil teachership.And yet the Minister for Education gets up and tells the House there is no such class. There is a large class—one half of the population of this country living 155 in the rural districts—to whom it is an ambition in life that their children should go into the teaching profession, the one opportunity they have of raising their condition; and these children are prevented on account of their religious creed from pursuing that course. Great as Nonconformist grievances are in relation to educational matters, there is no grievance more keenly felt than the shutting out from the profession of teaching—which is kept up out of the taxation of the country—of children of a large class of Her Majesty's subjects. What is the real difficulty in reference to the control and management of schools? The honourable Member for the Stroud Division drew a picture of boards of managers, and informed us there was an election by subscribers. He did not tell us who elected when there were no subscribers. There is a general impression that it is a nominated body, but, undoubtedly, after what the honourable and learned Member has said, that impression appears to be not the correct one. He went on to say that in some favoured parishes Nonconformists were permitted to become members of the managing body, and he said there was no difficulty in that example being followed. I should like to ask him whether it is not one of the conditions of the model deed of the schools of the National Society that the managers shall all be communicants of the Church of England. I have a strong impression that that is so—that the manager of a Church school must be a Churchman. I have also an impression that I have heard again and again in this House the statement made, when we were pressing for popular control or a voice in the management of the schools, that we should be met with this insuperable difficulty of the deed on which the National Schools were founded. The next point in dealing with this question of control is that, in the overwhelming bulk of these parishes, you have practically no lay managers. Does the honourable and learned Member say it is because the laymen who are nominated are satisfied with the management of the school by the clergyman? Then he admits this: that you have an institution which, in the main, is supported by public money, controlled by one individual who has no responsibility. The very phraseology in use by the clergy, 156 "my school," and "my schoolmaster" shows that. Then we have the supplementary work, which, to the discredit of the teaching profession, is imposed on the teacher, playing the organ, training the choir, and of being, so to speak, a man-of-all-work in the village. We know that is a real grievance. Then, Sir, the honourable and learned Member asked what was the difference between popular control and public control, and said that, Parliament being the body that voted money for these various grants, we had in Parliament, through the Minister responsible to the House, effective control over this expenditure. I have two remarks to make in reply. The first is, that it is a radical defect of our present educational administration that it is centralised. We want it to be decentralised. We do not believe that even with the great powers of my right honourable Friend opposite, or of the Duke of Devonshire, that the Education Department can satisfactorily deal with 20,000 schools, and we know, from answers that are given in this House, that the varied grievances of which localities complain—which we know would not exist if there were anything approaching a system of popular control in the neighbourhood—cannot be redressed. I give another answer to the honourable and learned Member. He said this was really public money dispensed by the British Parliament, and that the responsible Minister is responsible to the House for the administration of public money, and in that way Parliament preserves control. Will he tell me what is done with the grants to the Local Taxation Fund? Many millions of money are voted in this House, are paid out of the Consolidated Fund to the Local Taxation Account, are distributed to the local authorities, and are spent by the local authorities. The local authorities are alone responsible for that expenditure to their constituents, and Parliament has nothing whatever to do with it. Will he tell mo where is the difference between money voted' for educational purposes and money voted for sanitary purposes and money voted for police purposes? I cannot see any distinction which admits of popular control in the one case and will not admit of it in the other. I only wish to detain the House for a moment more, and that is to refer to what is 157 called the religious grievance. The right honourable Gentleman may smile, even my honourable friend the Member for Nottingham may say it is an imaginary grievance—but you have only got to state the plain facts of the case, and no man has admitted these more clearly and decisively than the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. There are 8,000 parishes in this country in which the children are compelled to go to one school. If the children do not go to that school their fathers will be sent to prison; and in that school the children will be compelled to have religious teaching from which their fathers may dissent. (Ministerial cries of "No.") Oh, I am not forgetting the conscience clause. But I am perfectly well aware, not of its value, but of its worthlessness. There are two reasons why it is not used. The first, given by my honourable and learned Friend, is that the parents of little children do not want their little children made martyrs of, and do not want to be martyrs themselves, and I think the parents are right in objecting to have that stigma placed upon them. A short time ago I was talking to a lady on this question. She told me that her husband was giving a treat, of which she was the administratrix, to the school children of the parish, and that the clergyman of the parish proposed to her, almost as a matter of course, that those children who went to the Nonconformist Sunday school were to have no part in it. The right honourable Gentleman may call that a twopenny-halfpenny matter. But, happily, the squire was an Englishman and his wife was an English lady, and they would not allow anything of the sort. Those are little things; but I will tell the House what is a greater grievance, and why the conscience clause is not used. It is because Nonconformist parents of children in these rural parishes attach very great importance to the religious teaching of their children, and they will not avail themselves of the conscience clause because they wish their children to have the benefit of the Bible lessons which are given in the schools. The typical rural Nonconformist has not that attitude of hostility towards the Church of England which many honourable Members oppo- 158 site think. Ho strongly prefers his chapel, not upon political grounds, or because of the alliance between Church and State, but because the chapel is associated with his own religious life, because he prefers a more elastic worship and additional services, and because he prefers the simpler teaching of men in his own rank of life. But he has no animosity against the Church as the Church; the fathers and mothers are quite willing that their children should have the advantages of the teaching of the Bible in the schools, even at the risk of the children being taught something else from which they dissent. But I have been speaking of the past. That is not the state of things to-day. A new school of clergymen has arisen; a new class of teaching is being taught. The noble Lord told us that statements about Gace's Catechism had been exaggerated, but he did not tell us about Mr. Gace's own interview in the "Westminster Gazette," in which he said that by teaching his catechism to teachers he would get the teaching without the Catechism even into the Board schools. I do not attach any great importance to Gace's Catechism. The Catechism is offensive to Dissenters, but Dissenters will endure that But what we have to deal with to-day is that throughout the length and breadth of the country new doctrines are being taught to the children of Nonconformists, from which their fathers most earnestly dissent. I am not talking of Ritualism. Personally, I attach very little importance to Ritualism. But there are two points to which, whether rightly or wrongly, the Nonconformists, and, I believe, large numbers of Churchmen, attach vital importance. One is the doctrine of the Mass, and the other is the practice of Confession. That doctrine and that practice are being taught to children, are being taught to girls in a large number of schools. (Ministerial cries of "Where?") Oh, I am perfectly aware with that mode of interruption. I say these doctrines are taught in the schools controlled by the 4,000 clergy who are members of that disloyal society the English Church Union. That is the question. I tell honourable Members opposite it is no smiling matter. We do not intend to allow it to rest as a smiling matter. We are not willing to submit to this teaching 159 in schools, five-sixths of the cost of which is paid out of public money. (Ministerial cries of "No.") I say "Yes." Of every shilling of the cost 10d. conies from the public purse, and '2d. is provided from other sources. I put it to the House, totally irrespective of Church, of Dissent, and of Voluntary schools and Board schools, and I ask, is it fair, is it right, is it just, that these children should be compelled to learn these lessons to which their parents so strongly object? You may ask, "What is your remedy?" This Resolution does not specify the remedy, but it says the matter deserves the attention of Parliament. There is a remedy, but I have not time to go into it now. I am satisfied, if we had proper local control of education—not education in small parishes and scattered areas, but in larger districts—we should get rid of all these cobwebs which are doing so much injury to the cause of education, and let in a freer atmosphere into the whole administration of our Primary Education. I shall vote for the Resolution, not because it is dealing with any one question alone, but because I believe the whole of our system of Primary Education is bad, and because I believe it inflicts on a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects, whether Nonconformists or not, a serious grievance. I know we shall be beaten by your large battalions, but we believe this matter involves the whole principle of civil and religious liberty; we consider those principles are at stake, and this matter will be fought on until a clear and definite issue has been decided by the people.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
If the question before the House was whether in our parochial schools what the right honourable Gentleman has described as the doctrine of Confession and the practice of the Mass was to be taught either to Nonconformist children or to any children except the children of Roman Catholics, I believe the House would be absolutely and unanimously in agreement with the right honourable Gentleman. But that is not the question before the House, and I get up now, not to argue for or to speak against any of the views so ably laid before the House, but simply 160 to state what I believe is the question upon which we are now going to vote. There is a Resolution before the House, and also an Amendment. Both of them state that the time of Parliament ought to be immediately- devoted to legislation on educational matters. I think it is absolutely impossible for the Government, under any circumstances, to grant such time. Our legislative programme for the Session is already before the House, and, unless my forecast is very incomplete, the time of the Session will be quite adequately occupied. While it is impossible for us either to accept the Amendment or the Resolution, I hope my honourable Friend will withdraw his Amendment to the Resolution in order that the House may vote distinctly against the Motion as interpreted by the speech of the Mover. The question is not whether our system of education is a perfect system or not. We all admit that it is not. I have myself on more than one occasion expressed my own views as to some of the grievances from which both Nonconformists and Churchmen suffer. But what we are going to vote upon is quite different. It is as to whether the Voluntary schools system in this country is to be maintained or abandoned. That issue is, indeed, not clear upon the face of the Resolution—the studiedly ambiguous Resolution moved by the honourable and learned Member for Carnarvon Borough this evening— but while the Resolution of the honourable Member is ambiguous, his speech was not an ambiguous speech. Unless we clearly show to-night that the Resolution as interpreted by the speech of the honourable Member for Carnarvon is one which does not meet the approbation of the House of Commons, we shall be open to the suggestion that we are prepared to abandon the system of Voluntary combined with Board schools, which has been adopted in this country since 1870, and which, unless some great modification in the existing Board system is carried in this House, must remain the system of this country if the religious views of the great majority of the population are to be considered. Therefore, I venture to hope that my honourable Friend will withdraw his Amendment, and that we shall vote against the Resolution of the honourable Member for Carnarvon Borough, regarding that Resolution as a distinct challenge to the Voluntary 161 schools, and the vote we now give as a distinct statement on our part that that system is one that has our uncompromising adhesion.
§ the House if I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 81; Noes, 204.—(Division List No. 34.)163
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Gourley, Sir Edwd. Temperley||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert H.||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks)|
|Baker, Sir John||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Randell, David|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Horniman, Frederick John||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Birrell, Augustine||Jacoby, James Alfred||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Joicey, Sir James||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U.||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Kearley, Hudson E.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Kitson, Sir James||Spicer, Albert|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Stevenson, Francis, S.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Langley, Batty||Tennant, Harold John|
|Charming, Francis Allston||Leuty, Thomas Richmond||Thomas, Abel(Carmarthen, E.)|
|CIark, Dr. G. B.(Caithness-sh.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Alfd. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, David Alfd. (Merthyr)|
|Colville, John||Logan, John William||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Davies, M.Vaughan (Cardigan)||Lough, Thomas||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Denny, Colonel||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Maden, John Henry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H.(South'ton)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Farquhorson, Dr. Robert||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carm'thn.)||Woods, Samuel|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Moulton, John Fletcher||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thomas Ellis and Mr.|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Oldroyd, Mark||Causton.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Gold, Charles||Perks. Robert William|
|Allhusen, August us Henry Eden||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Doughty, George|
|Arrol, Sir William||Butcher, John George||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Doxford, William Theodore|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenswich)||Duncombe, Hn. Hubert V.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)|
|Balfour. Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Charrington, Spencer||Finch, George H.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose-|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Colston, Charles E. H. A.||Folkestone, Viscount|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Forster, Henry William|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Fry, Lewis|
|Bethell, Commander||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Garfit, William|
|Bigwood, James||Cranborne, Viscount||Gedge, Sydney|
|Bill, Charles||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Gibbons, J. Lloyd|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Curzon, Viscount||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H.(City of Lond.)|
|Bond, Edward||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Davenport, W. Bromley-||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.|
|Brassey, Albert||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Golds worthy, Major General|
|Brodrick, Rt Hon. St. John||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Macdona, John Camming||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Gretton, John||Maclure, Sir John William||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||M'Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edin., W.)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm||M' Killop, James||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbyshire)|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Malcolm, Ian||Simeon, Sir Barrmgton|
|Heath, James||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Helder, Augustus||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Stanley, Edwd. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Hoare, Ed. Brodic (Hampst'd.)||Moore, Count (Londonderry)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Stewart, Sir Mark J.M' Taggart|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Morrison, Walter||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptf'd)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Jebb, Richard Claver house||Mount, William George||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUniv.)|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Muntz, Philip A.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Ward, Hn. Robt. A. (Crewe)|
|Kemp, George||Nicholson, William Graham||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Kenyon, James||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Northcote, Hn. Sir H. Stafford||Webster, Sir R. E.(I. of W.)|
|Knowles, Lees||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Welby, Lieut,-Col. A. C. E.|
|Lafone, Alfred||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon|
|Laurie, Lieut. -General||Orr-Ewing, Chas. Lindsay||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Pease, Herbert Pike(Drlngtn.)||Williams, Jos. Powell (Birm.)|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Pierpoint, Robert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace Curzon||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Leighton Stanley||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (L'pool)||Priestley, Sir W. Overend (Edin.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wyndham, George|
|Lome, Marquess of||Purvis, Robert||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Lowe, Francis William||Pym, C. Guy||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Lowles, John||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Round, James||William Walrond and Mr.|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Anstruther.|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|