§ 1. £5,385,099, to complete the sum for Board of Education.160
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
It is always difficult, in considering a Vote of this character, to discuss it with any approach to accuracy, when we have not before us, as is the case today, the Report for the past year on Education. I only wish, on this occasion, to say a few words with regard to one or two topics raised by this Vote. The first is as to the position of the teachers. The right hon. Gentleman is well aware that the teachers of this country are the only persons of their class in the world who are subject to arbitrary and capricious dismissal. It is necessary, I think, if we are to have a body of self-respecting men engaged in the great work of education, that they should not be subject to arbitrary and capricious dismissal at the hands of a single individual. As we were informed by the Report of the Royal Commission, in too many cases the whole management of schools—of State supported schools—is practically entirely in the hands of a single individual. It is not a position in which any elementary teacher should be placed that he should be dependent entirely upon the goodwill of one individual for the permanency and security of his position. There is just one other point to which I should like to refer, and that is the question of training colleges. The right hon. Gentleman told us that it was open to Nonconformists to found training colleges, and that the State would be ready to make a grant to them. But we hold it is the business of the State in this country, as it is in every civilised country in the world, to establish these training colleges on its own account. It is perfectly monstrous that Nonconformists, as such, should be asked to establish colleges for the purpose of training teachers who are to teach in our public elementary schools, and it is absolutely unreasonable. Such a demand would not be made in any other civilised country in the world. We ask that the admitted deficiency in the supply of training colleges should be made up by the State, and that men who are inclined to enter into the teaching profession should not be excluded from that profession simply because they do not happen to belong to a denomination which has an ample supply of training colleges. There is a question relating to Wales to which I also wish to ask attention for a few minutes. The right hon. Gentleman the 161 Vice-President has always treated Wales with great fairness and courtesy, and I wish to ask him now whether the Board of Education have taken any steps in the course of the reorganisation to which they have now set their hands to deal out justice to Wales in the matter of Museum grants. Speaking on the 4th of August last year* the right hon. Gentleman said that Wales would no doubt receive favourable consideration in regard to this matter, and I would again remind him that out of the money which is set apart for this purpose, while Scotland receives £12,000 per year and Ireland £22,000 for their museums, Wales gets absolutely nothing whatever. Scotland and Ireland too get many thousands of pounds for purposes which are slightly outside the Museum grant. While successive Ministers have expressed the utmost sympathy with this desire on the part of Wales for a due and proper share of the Museum grant, nothing practical has yet been done, and I can only hope that the right hon. Gentleman, if he is not in a position to give us a definite promise, will at least not weaken in any respect declarations previously made by Ministers on this subject. In visiting provincial museums on the Continent I have been very much struck to see how far they are in advance of us, and I have almost been ashamed to think that a wealthy country like this should not do more for its provincial museums. The amount which appears on the Vote by way of grant to local museums has, I believe, been increased from £1,000 to £1,500. I venture to say that that is a miserably inadequate sum for an object of this kind. These museums are intended for educational purposes, and in Wales we have done our best in past years to promote such purposes in connection with them. I think we deserve well of the Government for what we have done, and I earnestly appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give us help in this respect.
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
I have no intention of retraversing the wide field occupied in the course of this debate, but I wish as a Nonconformist to express my strong dissent from the views of a brother Nonconformist—I refer to the hon. Member for West Fife—who appears to be under an✶ See The parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxv., p. 1005.162 impression which is, I think, shared by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that these religious grievances of which we hear in connection with education are to a considerable extent manufactured grievances: that they are the grievances of agitators. The hon. Member for West Fife pointed out that we hear nothing in this House of complaints by parents themselves, with regard to the character of the religious education to which their children are subjected. Now, the hon. Member is a frequent attendant in this House—
Order, order! This question was fully debated yesterday, and a division was taken upon it. I do not think it would be regular to raise the same debate again to-day.
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
I am about to refer to the action of the Department in connection with several cases in which children have been compelled to attend Roman Catholic or Church of England schools, contrary to the wishes of their parents. If I am not in order I will not, of course, proceed.
That very point was debated yesterday, and, a division having taken place upon it, I must assume that the debate is closed. I do not think, therefore, it is open to the hon. Member to raise the same point again today, although the same Vote may be under consideration.
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
There is one case to which I wish to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, because I believe that very shortly the Department will have to deal with it, if it has not already done so. It is a case at Bolton-cum-Seacombe, where the school board has lately introduced not only the Apostles' Creed, but also a portion of the Church Catechism into the religious teaching in its school. A large number of the parents have undoubtedly shown by their action that they are not indifferent in this matter. On the contrary, they have evinced a most lively interest in it. A vigorous protest has been entered against the action of the board, and I believe that no fewer than 948 have signed returns expressing strong dissent from the course which has been pursued. If the parents of the children attending elementary schools are indifferent to 163 religion so far as they themselves are concerned, it is clear from this that they are not indifferent where their children are affected.
Order, order! The hon. Member is now replying to a speech made yesterday in a former debate, and I do not think he ought to do that. If he wishes to ask a question with regard to any particular case he may fairly do so, but he cannot re-open a debate which occurred yesterday, and upon which a division was taken.
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
Very well, Sir. I will conclude by expressing the simple hope that the facts to which I have drawn attention will receive careful attention at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman; because undoubtedly the decision the Department may come to in this case will affect the action of the school authorities in several other places.
§ MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)
I have a question to ask with regard to a rather small matter of administration. In the Vote now under consideration there are two classes of servants of the Department —senior examiners, of whom there are six, with salaries ranging from £650 to £800, and junior examiners, of whom there are eighteen, with salaries varying from £250 to £600. There is also an assistant examiner, with a salary rising from £250 to £550. I wish to ask what are the special functions of these examiners, and whether they are called examiners by way of giving them a different name, so that they may be nominated instead of being called upon to pass the examination which ordinary Civil Service clerks have to submit themselves to. I understand that the duties of these officers are almost the same as those of the ordinary clerk, and that the name of examiner is simply a title. I believe the Treasury has pressed on several occasions that these offices should be thrown open to competition, instead of being filled up by patronage or nomination, and I should like an explanation why this has not been done, and why this injustice is inflicted upon those who have to pass the examination. No doubt, in a Department of this kind, it may be desirable to have certain offices requiring superior know-lodge filled by nomination, but I would venture to suggest that there are already 164 far too many such offices thus filled, with the result that men quite incompetent for the work are enabled to avoid the examination and creep into the service.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
Before this debate concludes I wish to add my appeal to that made by the hon. Member for Flint Burghs that something should be done in order to secure teachers against arbitrary dismissal. I am afraid there are a great many cases in which injustice has been done. I know the right hon. Gentleman takes the view that he cannot interfere except in certain specific cases. But surely if there is an abuse—if money voted by Parliament for definite purposes is used by the local authorities in such a way as to create an abuse, then the Department which has in charge the administration of the Act has a right to interfere and to withhold the grant if it is used for improper purposes. I believe that Parliament would back up the right hon. Gentleman in any action he might take in that direction. It is not merely a question of Voluntary schools. I am told that some of the board schools are quire as bad as the Voluntary schools in this respect, and that there is a lot of petty oppression, arising sometimes from personal pique, and at other times from party or sectarian disputes. The only difficulty is in dealing with the manager, whose position is practically paramount and permanent, and who is not responsible to any local authority or to the people of the district. In his case there is no court of appeal, whereas in the case of a school board at the end of three years there is an appeal to the ratepayers of the district, and my experience is that when such an appeal is made the people usually back up the schoolmaster. I trust that, before this debate concludes, the right hon. Gentleman will be able to hold out a hope that something will be done in this direction, seeing that there appears to be a pretty unanimous opinion in the House in favour of administrative action. Then I should like to know whether any general directions have been given with regard to the audit of the accounts of Voluntary schools. I believe that under the Act of 1897 there was provision made for some general supervision over this audit. One case which has been brought under 165 my notice is, I must say, rather extraordinary. I find that in a good many cases the managers of Voluntary schools charge rent in respect of the buildings. I do not think that ought to be, and under the general instructions to auditors the right hon. Gentleman might prevent a thing of that kind happening. What is done is this. A building is erected by an educational trust, and the local managers find that they should like some money for the rebuilding of a church or the payment of an organist, or something of that sort, and they manipulate the accounts in such a way as to be able to get £50, £100, or in some cases even £300, in name of rent. It is really utilised for other purposes—that is to say, we are voting money here for educational purposes which is used with the connivance of the Education Department for totally alien purposes. Surely the right hon. Gentleman could stop this. I will give you a case in point. In this case I do not know what is done with the money. In the town of Eastbourne the school accommodation was not sufficient, and the Education Department interfered and said, "You must increase the accommodation for the children there." What was done? A company was got up— everything is run on limited liability principles in these days, even sectarian schools—and one of the shareholders, I believe, is a gentleman known to the Vice-President of the Council. He is the largest shareholder, having, I believe, 500 shares in this educational sectarian syndicate. There are no voluntary subscriptions at all towards the maintenance of that school, but I find that rent is charged amounting to £117 10s. Out of that £12 10s. is payable to his Grace the Duke of Devonshire in respect of something or other; I do not know what it is. This company pays a dividend. Surely this is the introduction of a novel principle into the educational policy of this country. Would the right hon. Gentleman say that the Education Department would tolerate a thing of that sort in connection with the training colleges? Would he allow Nonconformists to build a training college and pay 3, 4, or 5 per cent. dividend on it out of money voted by Parliament? The Duke of Devonshire gets 3 or 4 per cent. on excellent security—on the money voted by Parliament. Surely 2½ per cent. is enough for his Grace. Besides the interest he gets £12 10s. I do not 166 know what it is—ground rent or what not. It is too trivial a sum to amount to anything in the nature of a scandal, and I am sure the £12 10s. or the interest on the shares is not a material matter to the Duke of Devonshire, but it is a novel principle that £117 10s. voted by Parliament for education goes to a private enterprise. In fact, we are voting money to pay dividends. This is a novel principle which ought not to be tolerated, and I say that the right hon. Gentleman ought to give general instructions as to what is to be allowed and what is not to be allowed in the auditing of these accounts. It is perfectly competent to do so. The section is a vague one, and it is left to the right hon. Gentleman, himself. As far as I am able to see there is no Return to show what has been done. I will ask one or two specific questions about this case. I think it is an important one so far as the principle is concerned. I should like to know whether there are any voluntary subscriptions towards this school at all. I am told there are not. I should also like to know with regard to the management of the school whether there is any kind of control. I am told it is managed simply by the syndicate and board of directors under the Companies Acts. If that is so it is an extraordinary case, and a novel case.
§ *MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
In the case of the school at Eastbourne you have not only a novel case, but something like a scandal. There must be some element of a public nature about the management and constitution of a school to justify the payment of a grant towards that school, but in this case at Eastbourne a precedent has been created and permitted by the Board of Education in the establishment of a public elementary school and a grant-receiving school by a limited liability company. It has among its shareholders the President of the Board of Education. It is a dividend-earning, and perhaps a dividend-paying company. I am not sure whether a dividend has been paid. I submit to the Government that is a position which ought never to have been allowed to exist, and I question if it ever would have been allowed to exist but for the peculiar circumstances of the case and the persons connected with it. I know that the Presi- 167 dent of the Board of Education is not personally interested. I doubt whether he knows very much about the matter himself. It may be all done by his agent in the locality, but I wish to press upon the notice of the Government that this kind of tiling ought not to have been allowed in connection with public elementary education. I hope, now that my hon. friend has drawn attention to the matter, this anomaly, not to say scandal, will cease. There is one matter to which I should like to refer further, because in his second speech last night the Vice-President of the Council did not refer to it himself, although some discussion took place regarding it. It is the question of further facilities for the training of teachers. The view of the Vice-President himself is that there should be an extension of the opportunities afforded by the training colleges, and in that view we all concur. A day training college is not of that cloistered, seminaristic nature which attaches to the other training colleges. The students in a day training college are not wholly separated from other students. They do not all belong to the same class. They intend to follow the same course of instruction, because in professional and technical matters they can specialise. They are in fact students of a university college. A good many excellent day training colleges do exist in the university colleges of this country. There is one in my own district, and one of the most successful of all, in Nottingham. The number of students attending the day training colleges would be larger if the grant to the colleges were more liberal. For some reason which I have been unable to understand a grant of £50 a year is made for a man, and £35 a year for a woman —that is to a residential college. The grant paid to a day training college is less. It is in respect of a man £35 and in respect of a woman £30. Part of that is paid towards the student's maintenance and board, and £10 goes to the college for paying fees and tuition expenses. There is a disparity of £15 in the case of a man and of £5 in the case of a woman. There were last year something less than 1,000 students. There are this year something more than 1,000. I cannot get the exact figures, because the Blue-book is not detailed on this point. I estimate that it will take £10,000 to raise the grant to the day training 168 college students. It will take more than £10,000 as you multiply the students in these colleges. The colleges are petitioning, and I believe the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, directly or indirectly, have asked that this grant shall be made larger. I respectfully urge upon the Vice-President the propriety and almost the necessity of increasing the grants to the day training colleges, so as to enable students who wish to go to these institutions to proceed thither. At present it is easier and cheaper for a, student to go to a residential college than to a day training college. The right hon. Gentleman expressed himself in favour of the day training colleges. A simple and obvious method of adding to their usefulness is to grant £10,000 or £15,000 for the purpose. I hope he will not sit-down without referring to that point.
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL ON EDUCATION (Sir J. GORST, Cambridge University):
I have already gone at considerable length into the question of training colleges, and I have nothing to add. As to the grants to the residential colleges and the day training colleges, I expressed my own personal opinion that they ought to be equalised,
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
The right hon. Gentleman did not say in what way he thought they should be equalised. I hope there will be no levelling in the way of bringing the higher contributions down to the point of the lower ones.
§ SIR J. GORST
I can assure hon. Members that their arguments and their views will be laid by me before the proper authority—the Board of Education. The practice is really quite unfair that is growing up in this House of speaking to me as though I were a member of the Government, with absolute power to do as I like.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not say that I wish to treat him unfairly. I only wish to know what his proposal will be on behalf of the Board of Education.
§ SIR J. GORST
Several of these matters were discussed last night, and I 169 have said that in my opinion they deserve very careful consideration. How can I within such a very short time state what decision my noble friend has come to? It is perfectly unreasonable to ask it. The Treasury have to be consulted on the subject; the financial consequences of any reform have to be considered; therefore it is quite impossible to come down to the House the very day after the matter has been brought up and announce the decision of the Government. I have nothing to add to what I said yesterday, and I do not know that any advantage is obtained by raking up again this afternoon matters which were fully discussed yesterday. The same remark applies exactly to the question of the dismissal of teachers. I stated yesterday what my personal opinions were, and that the questions raised would receive most careful consideration. I admitted there was a grievance, and I can say no more in answer to the appeal of the hon. Member for West Nottingham.
§ MR. YOXALL
I made no appeal on that point. My appeal was with regard to the day training colleges.
§ SIR J. GORST
I beg the hon. Member's pardon; it was the hon. Member for Flint who raised the point. With regard to the question of a Welsh museum, I have often expressed the regret of the Department that it is impossible to establish a central museum in Wales until we know what the capital of Wales is. That we have never been able to ascertain. But I think hon. Members who advocate this proposal are getting a little out of date, because the whole trend of the policy of the Board of Education is to have one great central museum in the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington, and from that museum to send collections—very important and valuable collections, which are from time to time exchanged—to various provincial museums. We have now nothing whatever to do with Edinburgh or Dublin— they are quite separated from our Department; we have now only one central museum for which we are responsible— namely, the Victoria and Albert Museum. I can only say that within recent years enormous progress has been made there, both in the number and in the character of the collections which are sent to provincial museums. For instance, there are 170 now no fewer than three collections of extremely beautiful water-colours which give examples of the whole history of water-colour art in this country. These collections are continually being sent about the country from place to place, and I believe Wales has had its full share of those collections. There are other collections arranged from time to time in regard to which local authorities are consulted; collections are sent which contain the objects the local authorities consider most useful to the educational requirements of the neighbourhood. I feel myself quite certain that it is by far the better policy for the diffusion of interest in art to have a great central museum such as we have in the Victoria and Albert Museum — a museum which has no rival in any part of the world. That museum is of its kind quite unique, and it is extraordinary that, while the people of this country perhaps scarcely understand its value, foreigners from all parts of Europe come to see it, and they all admit that there is nothing of its kind to be found in any foreign country in the world. That museum is not a museum appropriated to the people of London; it is a museum which forms the nucleus of a great number of collections which are continually being sent about the country, by that means diffusing a knowledge of and an acquaintance with art in a manner which is perfectly extraordinary. That, I think, is a policy to which it is far better the finances of the country should be directed than the establishment of provincial museums, which, if established at all, should be established by the people of the locality. It is certainly much better that there should be this circulation from a great central museum. The question of the examiners has been raised, and I have been asked why they are called "examiners." There is nothing more difficult than to find out why certain names are given to certain people. I do not know why I am called "the Vice-President," nor do I know why an examiner is called "an examiner," or a clerk "a clerk." But these officials exercise most important functions in the Board of Education. They are the officials who receive and deal with the enormous correspondence which is carried on by the Board of Education with various schools, inspectors, teachers, and so on all over the kingdom. They are 171 divided into two classes, "Senior" and Junior," because it is thought that after a man has served the country for a certain length of time he deserves promotion, and the two classes are made in order to mark the advance of a man in the service of the country. The examiners are most useful officials, without whom the work could not possibly be carried out. I am asked why they are not admitted by competitive examination. That question has never arisen in my time. The hon. Member said that constant representations had been made by the Treasury to the Education Department that they ought to be selected by competitive examination. All I can say is that no such representations have ever been made in my day, and therefore I have not had occasion to consider the subject, and I am not prepared off hand, without any notice, to say why it has been thought desirable in former years by succeeding Governments to have these officers nominated instead of selected by competitive examination as are the officials in some Departments. If the hon. Member had given me notice of his intention of asking this question I would have tried to put myself in a better position to answer. It is a practice which has existed over since the Board of Education was constituted, it has been approved by successive Governments, and I have had too many things to think of since I have been at the Education Department to trouble myself with considering questions which nobody else has raised. The hon. Member for Carnarvon is very much exorcised as to the payment of rent for schools. A reasonable and proper amount of rent is an expenditure without which it is impossible that education can be carried on. You must have a building, and if you do not possess one you must hire. Rent is constantly paid by school boards, voluntary associations, and managers of schools all over the country, and as long as the amount of rent is reasonable and moderate it is an entirely proper expenditure for the purposes of education. It is quite true there have been a good many scandals connected with the matter from time to time, and I am sorry to say that some of the worst offenders have been not Churchmen, but Nonconformists. Rent has been charged for chapels and so on which has been quite unreasonable and improper. I think, however, that 172 that is only a matter of past history, and that at the present day, under existing arrangements at all events, no such improper charges are made.
§ SIR J. GORST
Since the abolition of the 17s. 6d. limit there is no object in making that kind of fictitious charge. The hon. Member then asked me a very proper question with regard to the audit of school accounts. In 1897 it was made compulsory on all schools receiving the Aid Grant, and by an article in the Code of the same year the Department made it compulsory on all Voluntary schools, that the accounts should be audited. Those accounts have to be audited by a banker or a professional accountant.
§ SIR J. GORST
The auditor is selected by the school itself. That auditor has to be either a banker or a professional accountant, or, if they cannot obtain such an auditor, they may apply to the Education Department for permission to appoint someone else, and in a few cases persons such as agents, auctioneers, and people of that kind have been sanctioned. But the audit is now in every case a very real and proper audit. The hon. Member seems to think that the Education Department might select the auditors. That would be an enormous task, and one which the Department could not possibly perform. It would be impossible all over the country to pick out men to audit the accounts of village schools, which are frequently extremely simple and short and really do not require so important a person as a district or Local Government Board auditor or any such public official. I think I have now answered all the questions which have been asked—
§ SIR J. GORST
The hon. Member not having given me any notice of his intention to ask questions about Eastbourne, I have not provided myself with the: information necessary to answer him. I 173 cannot tell him whether or not there are any voluntary subscriptions there, nor can I tell him what arrangements are made for the management of the school. It is quite true the building was constructed by a limited liability company, which receives from the school managers a reasonable and moderate rent for its use, and that rent enables the shareholders of the company to receive a very moderate dividend. That is really the way in which the school was built, when there was no other means by which it could be done. If the hon. Member will propose to build a training college in the same manner and on the same principles, I can assure him the Board of Education will welcome any such efforts, and that every assistance and encouragement shall be given to provide training colleges on similar terms.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
There is just one question I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman. In the higher grade schools about to be established I understand that a grant of about £6 per head will be received from the Government. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that we in Wales are doing the work of these higher grade schools. We rate ourselves, and while it is true that we receive a Treasury grant, that grant amounts to only £2 per head. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will help us to carry out the admirable suggestions made in his excellent speech yesterday with regard to the training of teachers. We are doing our best in the different counties of Wales to induce managers of schools, both Board and Voluntary, to send their pupil teachers to the secondary schools. The difficulty in the way is, of course, financial, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to promise that, as we are doing this work —work of which I know he thoroughly approves—and as we receive only one-third as much with respect of each scholar as will be received in England, our case in regard to help for pupil teachers should be sympathetically considered by him. I will say only one word with regard to the museum question. Our claim for this museum and art gallery stands entirely apart from the educational museum to which he has referred, and his remarks do not apply to that.
§ *LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
I was very pleased to hear 174 what the Vice-President of the Council said in regard to the circulation of art objects. Very great progress has been made at the museum within the past fifteen or eighteen months, and I hope the Vice-President will continue to urge forward that system as much as he possibly can. At the same time I hope he will not carry that system too far, and that he will not carry out the principle of decentralisation as much as he indicated in his speech. He said that the Victoria and Albert Museum was not appropriated for the purposes of London alone, but that it is a national and not a metropolitan museum. We must remember that we are spending an enormous sum of money upon this building, and we are not erecting this enormous building merely as a depôt or warehouse for objects exclusively for the provinces. I think a great deal has been done latterly to improve the whole condition of things, and there is really only one point with regard to the organisation of that Department to which I wish to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, and that is the absolute necessity of having trained and expert officials among the staff upon whom the duty of buying objects of art devolves. There have been famous scandals in the past about what they have done. They have made extraordinary purchases under extraordinary misapprehensions, and some of the purchases are mentioned in the famous Minute which is a masterpiece of bluff and casuistry quite worthy of the traditions of its illustrious author. There was some doubt as to whether one object was a Tudor piece of work or a piece of work made in Ceylon in the last century. If the right hon. Gentleman will use his influence to secure a better training for those who have to buy these objects for the museum such ludicrous mistakes as those which have been made in the past will be impossible in the future. At the present time an effort is being made to limit the employment of officials at this museum to one particular department. At present the right hon. Gentleman cannot guarantee that when a man is placed in one department he shall stay there. The result is that this man is master of no subject, and as a rule, I am afraid, he is inefficient in most subjects. That is not the fault of the official, if he is constantly moved from 175 one department to another. If the right hon. Gentleman would have separate and distinct departments governed under regular rules and not under the capricious system by which the museum is divided into departments, he would secure a far more highly efficient staff than under present conditions it is possible for him to expect. We are going to build this great museum, and judging from the plans, it will be one of the finest in the world. Here is a splendid opportunity to make this museum a model of classification. The museum at Dublin, which, up to a short time ago, was under the Science and Art Department, is one of the best classified museums in Europe, and there is no reason why this Victoria and Albert Museum should not be as good as the Dublin Museum. In conclusion there is one question which I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, and that is, if he can say when the Report of the Departmental Committee, which has now finished its investigations, is likely to be issued to the public. The Report is of the most vital interest to all who have studied the question of museums, and I hope the publication of this document will not be much longer delayed.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I wish to allude to the appointment of auditors. In many cases the schools are entirely in the hands of the local clergyman. Here is public money being spent, and the clergyman is left to select his own auditor. This is public money, and there ought to be a public auditor. The right hon. Gentleman told us that if we would start a limited liability company to build a training school the Government would accept it, and take on lease the buildings we erect. My hon. friend beside me cited a case—which the Vice-President of the Council approved of—at Eastbourne, where the dividend was paid out of the public grant to a public company. I want to know what is the agreement which the right hon. Gentleman suggests. Is he prepared, if my hon. friends and myself subscribe the capital, or induce others to do so, for these buildings, to give us a repairing lease and pay 3 per cent. interest? That is very good interest from the Government, and I am perfectly certain we should find the capital. These institutions would be built, and the Government would get the benefit of these colleges, and the 176 subscribers would get 3 per cent. interest. Will the right hon. Gentleman give us a specific undertaking to that effect, for as business men we want to know this. It is all very well to answer in this vague way and say that we ought to subscribe the money. We will underwrite it if he likes without any charge, if we have a distinct understanding from the right hon. Gentleman that we shall get 3 per cent. interest on a good repairing lease for fifty years. The right hon. Gentleman can appoint his own auditor. What we require is an understanding that the Government will take our buildings over on a repairing lease, giving us a clear 3 per cent. interest.
§ *SIR JOHN BRUNNER
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the power of the Board of Education to make proposals regulating the grant to elementary schools is limited to the annual occasion of the presentation of the Code. I understand that it is not presented to the House under any statute, but by Her Majesty's command. It appears to me, therefore, that there is no necessity whatever for the Board of Education to wait till next year to make a proposal to Parliament with regard to the dismissal of teachers. I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether such a proposal could not be made immediately without waiting until next year. There is also another point which I wish to raise, I take it that whenever managers of a Board school or a denominational school give to the Department a reason for the dismissal of a teacher that reason would invariably be communicated to the teacher accused.
§ SIR J. GORST
The Board of Education can make a distribution of the Parliamentary grant whenever it likes. The Minute will be laid on the Table of the House as soon as it is made. If any financial question is concerned the Board of Education have to obtain the sanction of the Treasury.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer my question about the dismissal of teachers?
§ SIR J. GORST
I do not wish to pledge myself upon this question, but I may say that the question of giving a 177 dismissed teacher in all cases the reasons for dismissal is being considered by the Lord President of the Council.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER
I might be permitted to point out that if the reasons were given it would only be in accordance with precedent. At the present time, in the case of the medical officer or a relieving officer being dismissed, the reason for his dismissal is always communicated by the Department to the official concerned, and I hope this practice will be followed in the case of the teachers.
§ *MR. MORRELL (Oxfordshire, Woodstock)
desired to obtain from the right hon. Member the Vice-President of the Council an expression of opinion on the matter of specialised training colleges. He was himself satisfied that the reason for there being some difficulty in obtaining suitable teaching staff for the several kinds of elementary schools in town and country, was that these colleges were all run on similar lines as regarded curriculum. The requirements of teachers in regard to the subject matter with which they should be familiar varied in accordance with the position they sought in town and country. The curriculum should many to meet this; just as high a training being required for the one position as the other, only in a different direction. It might be the best policy to sever that part of the present college course which bore upon secondary education from that which was directed to the training of the teacher as such; even to the extent of requiring a would be teacher to deal with secondary work elsewhere, and prior to his coming to college. At the present time only one-third of the student's time in college is given to the study of methods of teaching and experimental teaching under professors of the art, though it is for this alone these colleges nominally exist. We want more of the training of the teacher in teaching, and less of the secondary school work in the college. If, however, secondary school work is to be carried on in the college, it was obvious some colleges must be found to take up the subjects required by the rural teacher. He was led to make these few remarks at a late hour in the discussion because he had just received a communication from which it appeared that a training college with such a 178 curriculum specialised for rural teachers might be started in 1902, provided the Board of Education would recognise the experiment. He would ask, what were the possibilities of such recognition?
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
I wish to refer to only one point, namely, the payment out of public funds of the rent of Voluntary schools. It involves this anomaly. At present the proprietors of Voluntary schools claim the right of management on the ground that they have erected the buildings, and they then proceed to charge a rent for them. It seems to mo, if rent is paid out of public money for these buildings that they are no longer strictly private property, and that the right of management becomes at least disputable.
§ SIR J. GORST
With reference to the remarks of my hon. friend the Member for the Woodstock Division, I have already expressed myself as favourable to the idea of special training for rural teachers, and if any training college makes a proposal to the Board of Education to have a special curriculum for rural teachers, I am quite certain the question will be considered.
§ MR. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)
I did not understand the Vice-President to make any reply to the representations of my hon. friend the Member for the Kirkdale Division of Liverpool with reference to the loss which will be inflicted on certain schools in Liverpool by the Block Grant. I should like to ask whether any consideration is to be given to these schools, and whether the Vice-President will consider the local situation which has arisen.
§ SIR J. GORST
I cannot hold out any prospect of the scheme being now altered, but the case of the Liverpool schools shall be very carefully watched. On a former occasion I pointed out that the School Board of Liverpool could very easily make good any loss sustained, by a very small fractional rate. With regard to the Voluntary schools in Liverpool, no doubt the new Block Grant will be a great gain to Voluntary schools generally, and the number of schools now receiving subsidies from the Special Aid Grant will also be very much benefited, and they might very well spare a part of their gain to 179 make good the loss from which a few-schools will suffer. I have now the figures relating to the Eastbourne school. The rent is £76, and the voluntary contributions for maintenance £290.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 2. £86,280, to complete the sum for British Museum.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
, who stood at the Table, said: I presume there is no objection to my enjoying the luxury once in a way of speaking from this position, especially as the legitimate Opposition appear to be taking a holiday. I desire to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if he would be good enough to explain to the Committee, and especially to the Irish Members, the position which the question of the Irish gold ornaments now in the British Museum occupies. I do not think there is any necessity to go into the history of the circumstances connected with these ornaments, but I may say, for the benefit of hon. Members not acquainted with the question, that some years ago a very valuable discovery was made in the north of Ireland of certain antique Irish gold ornaments of great value in themselves and of much greater value because of their historic interest. These ornaments were discovered by quite a poor man, and he sold them, as I understand, to a Mr. Day, who re-sold them to the trustees of the British Museum for a sum of £600 or thereabouts. The noble Lord the Member for Chorley Division of Lancashire stated quite truly that there is in Dublin a museum which, in some respects, is one of the best in the world, and especially with regard to ancient Irish objects the museum is most perfect. It is felt not only by the authorities of the museum in Dublin, but by all classes of the Irish public, that the proper place for these ornaments would be in that museum, for several reasons. In the first place, these ornaments are of great interest to the people of Ireland, who will have no opportunity of seeing them if they are to remain in the British Museum, and, in the second place, the museum in Dublin contains the most perfect collection of Irish ornaments in the world, and therefore we consider it would be most suitable if the latest find were also 180 deposited there. When this question was brought before the House of Commons by me some years ago it was received with the utmost sympathy by hon. Members of all parties, and the First Lord of the Treasury expressed the greatest sympathy with the desire of the Irish Members to have these ornaments deposited in the Dublin Museum. Other members of the Government, the Members for Trinity College, or, at any rate, one of them, and various representatives from Ireland, also expressed a similar view. Then we were told that the British Museum had no power to part with anything it possessed. I introduced a small Bill for the simple purpose of giving the trustees of the British Museum power to transfer these ornaments to the museum in Dublin, but, directly there was a prospect of the Bill getting through, the trustees changed their ground and made it perfectly clear that they did not intend to part with these ornaments, notwithstanding the strong feeling expressed in the House of Commons that they ought to be deposited in the Dublin Museum. Then the Government appointed a small Committee to inquire into all the circumstances of the case. I was not a member of that Committee, but my hon. friend the Member for West Kerry was, and the result of that inquiry was that, if at all possible, these ornaments should be restored to Ireland, and the Committee laid down the principle that similar finds should, as far as possible, be deposited in the Dublin Museum. How does the case stand now? I am informed that the Law Officers both of Ireland and England have expressed the opinion that the British Museum has no right to the custody of these ornaments, for the simple reason that they are really in the nature of treasure trove, that there was no right to sell them, and that the whole transaction was illegal and unwarrantable. That is the position at the present time. These ornaments, having been found in Ireland, naturally belong to the Dublin Museum. The First Lord of the Treasury is in favour of having them restored; the Committee appointed by the Government have practically reported in favour of their restoration; and the Law Officers of both Ireland and England have given the opinion that the trustees of the British Museum have no right to them and that they were illegally acquired. In face of 181 all these circumstances, I ask, is it not unreasonable and unwarrantable that the trustees of the British Museum should set themselves up against the Report of the Committee, against the opinion of the First Lord of the Treasury and the Law Officers for both Ireland and England, and the universal sentiment expressed in this House? The Secretary to the Treasury will correct me if I have misstated the case, but I do not think I have. No one had a right to sell these ornaments; they are illegally in the possession of the British Museum, and what action is to be taken? I am told that the British Museum authorities take up the position that they do not care a snap about the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, and I ask the Secretary to the Treasury, if the facts be as I have stated them, what action does the Government propose in order to enforce the opinion of its own Law Officers. If it be necessary to introduce a Bill to restore these ornaments to Ireland and the Dublin Museum, will the Government introduce such a Bill, or support a Bill if I or any other Irish Member introduce it? And if they will not proceed by way of legislation in this House, I ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, who, as I have stated, is in sympathy with the Irish Members in regard to this question— [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR at this point entered the House.] I am rather sorry that the right hon. Gentleman was not here during the brief statement I have made; but it is unnecessary for me to do more than to remind him that the Committee which he appointed reported practically in favour of the restoration of the ornaments to Ireland. It is unnecessary for me to mention that the Law Officers of the Crown reported that these ornaments were treasure trove, and that no one had any right to sell them to the British Museum. I was just asking what steps the Government intend to take to enforce the opinion of their own Law Officers and restore these illegally obtained ornaments to Ireland and the Dublin Museum. I understand that the authorities of the British Museum have said that they are not satisfied with the mere opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, but want the case to be decided by a court of law. What means have we of obtaining the opinion of a court of law, and what action are we to take to enforce 182 the opinion of the Law Officers of the right hon. Gentleman's own Government, and to secure that these ornaments, which have been taken in an illegal manner by the British Museum, should be restored to Ireland and placed in the Dublin Museum? Some people may say that this is a small matter, but the Irish Members of every shade of opinion most earnestly desire to have these ornaments, so as to complete the very fine collection of Irish antiquities in Dublin. Certainly the First Lord of the Treasury cannot accuse us of any want of patience in this matter, and I confidently appeal to him now to give us some hope that the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown will be enforced, and that these ornaments, after their long and adventurous career in this country and in Ireland, from the time that they were found, may be at length deposited in the museum at Dublin, where all such similar ornaments, are now held in national trust and placed on view.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I wish to add my congratulations, to the hon. Gentleman on his accession to the position at that box, which has been deserted by the Leader of the Opposition. I think his appearance at the box does him credit, and he bemeans himself with that dignity which we find on all front benches.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
That's as may be. I would ask the hon. Gentleman to be content with something like a compromise. There is a Vote of £600 for autotype copies. Cannot the hon. Member do with an autotype copy?
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
No, no! From the very outset of the controversy the authorities of the British Museum offered to give us facsimile imitations of these ornaments, but such an idea was scoffed at. We say, "Let the originals be deposited in the Dublin Museum; the facsimiles will do very well for the British Museum."
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
The original claim seems to be a very good one. This Vote is levied from the United Kingdom, and when ornaments, works of art, or 183 whatever they may be, are purchased, they ought to be placed in the most appropriate part of the United Kingdom, and the appropriate part in this case is Dublin. As to the question of law, it is said that the British Museum cannot part with these things without an Act of Parliament. I believe the same is said about old newspapers. I am informed that in a few years time no human being will be able to move about in the British. Museum for these old newspapers, and the trustees have been compelled to introduce a Bill into Parliament to enable them to burn the old copies of Truth. There is a difficulty, but it may be got over. The British Museum can surely part with these gems on payment. [An HON. MEMBER: No, no!] Is it pretended that the British Museum cannot sell anything? There is, however, another "way out of the difficulty; it might buy the gems from itself. It has a grant of £5,800; and no questions would be asked if it paid out of that grant £600 for the gems, buying them from itself. Having recouped itself for what they had paid for the gems, let the British Museum present them to Dublin. I think it is a, mean thing that we should hold on by these Irish gems, the proper place for which is undoubtedly Dublin. If it be true that the sale of the gems to the British Museum is illegal, being treasure trove, the British Museum is in the position of being a receiver of stolen goods; and that is not a position in which the trustees of that great national institution should stand. I cannot believe that any legal difficulty exists, and therefore I do trust that Her Majesty's Government will be able to find some means of restoring these gems to Ireland, to which they properly belong.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
It seems convenient for me to deal with this question without delay. The hon. Gentleman who opened this discussion stated, with perfect truth, that there is a very strong feeling in Ireland upon this subject which is not confined to one section or one class of the population. The hon. Gentleman was also perfectly accurate in saying that the matter has now hung on from month to month and from year to year, and is not even at this late hour finally settled. Some hon. Gentlemen seem to be under 184 the impression that the obstacle in the way of the British Museum restoring these gold ornaments to Ireland or to Dublin is a legal disability under which the museum finds itself of getting rid of any property which it has acquired. That legal disability is complete as regards anything which has lawfully come into the possession of the museum, and it would require nothing less than an Act of Parliament to compel the British Museum to give up anything of which it was the lawful possessor, however strong the reason of policy or justice might be which might induce such giving up or such destruction, as in the case of the newspapers to which my hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn referred. But, as I understand, that legal disability does not arise in this case. The Law Officers both of England and Ireland have had the case submitted to them and have come to the conclusion that these ornaments were treasure trove and belonged to the Crown, and that the person who found the ornaments, not being the legal possessor of them, had therefore no right to transfer thorn to the British Museum for payment, to sell them in fact, and consequently the museum is not now the legal owner of them. There is clearly no difficulty in the way of the museum restoring property which is not its own to those to whom it belongs. But the museum, as I understand the matter, is not prepared to accept the verdict of the Law Officers of either England or Ireland. I do not know what has induced the trustees to throw doubt upon such high legal authorities. I do not criticise their action, and certainly I do not mean to justify it. It is not my province to adopt the rile either of critic or defender of the trustees, but I am disposed to think that as they constantly appeal to the Law Officers for advice in legal matters, they might trust their decision in this case, even though it is not agreeable to them. If there is no other way of settling the matter, I presume an appeal will have to be made to the courts of law, but that would be course which I would greatly regret. The hon. Gentleman opposite asked, if the trustees of the British Museum maintain the attitude they have taken, what facilities he or his friends had for bringing an action. I do not think it ought to be left to private individuals to do that. I think that the Government must take on themselves the responsibility of asking 185 a court of law to give a decision on the point, provided there be no other moans of coming to a satisfactory conclusion of the matter. It is quite evident that we cannot acquiesce in the continuance of the present state of things. The Law Officers have informed the Government that the trustees of the British Museum are in the wrong, and I express the earnest hope that they will see their way to retire from a position which I believe is wholly untenable, without arousing that friction and unpleasantness which cannot be disassociated from even a friendly action taken in the law courts.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I beg to express the gratitude which I and the other Irish Members feel at the attitude which the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury has taken in this matter. The reply which he has given will be received with great satisfaction throughout Ireland.
§ LORD BALCARRES
said he only wished to point out that the Royal Irish Academy had shown great supineness in this matter. They knew for months that these articles had been found, and that they had been publicly exhibited in London, but they never moved. They were a public body receiving large sums from the British Treasury, and it was their duty to watch over treasure trove. They had a perfect legal remedy in their hands, and a right to take action against the finder. He was opposed to the transfer of these things which the hon. Member for King's Lynn called gems, although they were gold collars, etc., as the trustees of the British Museum were backed by the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, and did not accept that of the Law Officers of the Crown. Hon. Members opposite had a magnificent museum in Dublin. It was a case for generosity on the part of Ireland more than on the part of England. These articles were of far greater value to science and art in London than in Dublin. There was only one single object in this find of which specimens of three and four times the value did not exist in Dublin. As the specimens wore treasure trove, no doubt they would be taken out of the British Museum and transferred to Dublin, and many people would greatly regret the transfer. But there was another question which arose —a question of principle quite apart 186 from treasure trove—and that was whether local interests were to take precedence of national interests in these matters. In his opinion, in the British Museum everything British should be represented, and the Royal Irish Academy which had displayed the most extraordinary apathy in this matter, might at least compromise with the British Museum, to the extent of leaving them one or more, specimens.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he did not desire to go further into the matter, although the noble Lord opposite had made some rather curious remarks. The noble Lord was closely connected with one of the trustees of the British Museum, and the Committee had listened to a speech delivered ostensibly by the noble Lord, but really by the trustee. Was there really anything in this contention that, because the collection of antique Celtic ornaments existing in Dublin was a fine one, it should not be strengthened by the latest finds? One complete collection in Dublin would be much better than partial collections in different places. Supposing there was a great find of antique objects of extraordinary interest to this country and they were transferred to the Dublin Museum, what would be the result? The idea was preposterous. As regarded the charge of apathy brought against the Royal Irish Academy, it never occurred to them that those ornaments would be sold to the British Museum, or, if they were, that the trustees would refuse to restore to Ireland objects discovered in Ireland, and naturally of most interest to the Irish people. He thought it would only be a graceful act. to restore them.
§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)
asked whore this system of restitution was to end. Was the British Museum to be pledged to restore the objects we had got from Athens to Athens, and those which we had got from Egypt to Egypt? For the sake of all who wore interested in archaeology, these antiquities ought to be in the British Museum. He hoped that if it ever came to a question in the House of Commons, an opportunity would be given of showing by vote whether Members believed that the British Museum ought to be forced to give up what was now in its possession— and of infinite value to the public in its possession—and hand it over to Ireland.
§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON
said the collection was in the British Museum. If —as was contended—it belonged to the Crown, the Crown ought to give it to the British Museum.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said the question had been so narrowed down that it became a mere question of whether the British Museum was in possession of property which had been stolen or not. If the Lord Chancellor accepted the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown and decided that this property belonged to the Crown, he thought the Crown would be showing an ungenerous spirit not to give it back to Ireland. But inasmuch as a legal decision in the matter must be arrived at by the Lord Chancellor and the Law Officers of the Crown before anything could be done, the Committee could do nothing more in the matter at present.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
was of opinion that the ornaments in question were either treasure trove or property which had been properly acquired by the British Museum. If they had been properly acquired then the British Museum had a right to keep them. If they were treasure trove they could dispose of them or not as they thought fit. It was ungenerous to a degree to suggest that these ornaments should be transferred to Dublin Museum, which already had a unique collection. He protested against the notion that because these were Irish works of art they should be all kept in Dublin. If Dublin had no specimens, or the specimens which they possessed were poor, by all means let them have the best; but the Dublin collection was a better collection than all these things put together, and it seemed to him that we certainly ought to have a collection like this in London. It was to him a most extraordinary thing for the First Lord of the Treasury to make the offer which he had made. If these ornaments were the property of the Crown, the proper thing to say would be that a fair selection of them should be deposited in London. If once the suggestion of distributing these things among the places from which they came were acted upon, the, British Museum would cease to exist. By all means let Ireland have the best collection, but let also 188 a fair collection remain in England. He did not think it would be fair to allow the whole of these ornaments to be sent to Dublin.
§ *MR. LECKY (Dublin University)
said he believed there was no subject on which Irish archaeological opinion had felt more strongly than this. The Academy in Dublin was a great centre to which from all over the world people went to study Irish antiquities. It was evident that there had been some neglect in Ireland, otherwise the objects in question would never have gone to the British Museum, but seeing that the Law Officers of the Crown thought that the British Museum had no right to keep them and that the feeling in Ireland was against it, he most sincerely hoped that the British Museum would take the advice of the First Lord of the Treasury and give them up.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Now may I bring to the attention of the Committee another item. It is a question of account. I find in this Vote an item of £5,800, a grant-in-aid. I do not quarrel with the amount of the grant or the application of it, and I do not think, having regard to the importance of it, that it is excessive. But I think the expenditure of the £5,800 should be left to the British Museum, and no surrender should be made of any balance which is left, because if the British Museum were allowed to retain it they might be able to purchase objects of art which they could not otherwise hope to obtain. Neither do I comprehend the necessity of the grant being audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General. I say you have no right to audit these accounts. No one is a greater scrupler than I am for auditing, but it is ridiculous to have these accounts audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Nevertheless if the Committee will look at the bottom of page 368 they will see that the expenditure out of the grant-in-aid is subject to the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General, but there is to be no surrendering of the money. If you are not going to surrender anything what is the use of the audit? I should like an answer to that question. It is absurd when you vote a large sum to the British Museum that it should be an out-and-out grant, and that there should be no power to compel any redistribution 189 of the money, nor any return to the Treasury if nothing has been done of the unexpended balances. In that case why should you go on having the accounts audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. HANBURY,) Preston
"What really happens in regard to this Vote is this. Up to 1896 if the money was not expended the balance had to be returned to the Treasury. The result was not to induce the trustees of the British Museum to save a large sum, but to fritter away the money on things that might turn out to be not of sufficient value or importance. That being so, the system was altered, and now they receive grants in-aid, but they are not required to return any of the unexpended money. The balance which has not been used can be devoted to the purpose in succeeding years. That being so, the Comptroller and Auditor General is called in because his audit enables Parliament to retain some control over the expenditure, and, in fact, to see how the money has been spent. It is simply by acting in that way that the Public Accounts | Committee of the House of Commons has some check upon the expenditure.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
This point has arisen with regard to the National Portrait Gallery, of which I am a trustee. Previous to 1896 the object of the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery was to try to use the money voted each year as wisely as they could. The system was altered in that year with excellent results. The matter was gone into by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it was recognised to be absolutely necessary that the Treasury should have some knowledge of what the balances were when carried forward. It is rather astonishing to hear my hon. friend objecting to the Comptroller and Auditor General being brought in.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
The noble Lord has entirely misapprehended my position. I am an advocate of giving a lump sum. I approve of that. The noble Lord says the Treasury knows what is being done. I do not care two pence what the Treasury knows. The Comptroller and Auditor General is an 190 independent officer of this House, and he is a person whose interference is wholly unnecessary after you have settled the principle of giving an out-and-out grant either to the British Museum or the National Portrait Gallery.
§ *SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
Will you allow me to say that when we had the inquiry about the South Kensington Museum, exactly the same question arose? We carefully investigated the whole subject, and came to the conclusion that the regulations which have been made in regard to the grant are thoroughly sound and wise. Under the new system we are not compelled to spend the whole of the money in the same year. At the same time, I think Parliament ought to exercise some control of a general character in the way of supervising the expenditure. That provision is made by means of the audit, and I believe it is carried out in a wise and sound manner.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 3. £8,374, to complete the sum for National Gallery.
§ 4. £2,520, to complete the sum for National Portrait Gallery.
§ 5. £4,967, to complete the sum for Wallace Collection.
§ 6. £35,724, to complete the sum for Scientific Investigation, etc.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I wish to call attention to the grant-in-aid of £1,000 to the Marine Biological Association. I do not complain of this grant; on the contrary, what I desire to advocate is that the grant to this association, which, to put it in a popular form, is an association for the study of the habits of sea fish, should be very largely increased with the view to the better study of sea-fish life. The ignorance of sea-fish life in this country is almost incredible, and hence we have presumptuous Presidents of the Board of Trade introducing nefarious Bills to regulate the size of fish that are to be sold. Nobody can tell why fish are here one year and away the next. We aught to do in this country what the United States have done, and erect a permanent institution for the study of the habits of sea-fish life. That is done to a very large extent in the United 191 States. Tens of thousands of pounds are spent every year, and the result has been the accumulation of a large amount of useful knowledge. We can do little with this miserable contribution of £ 1,000 to a semi-private association. They have an establishment at Plymouth. They keep a kind of show or aquarium to which the public are admitted, and they prosecute to a very small extent, but I believe with great energy and ability, the investigation of the habits of fish. It is in consequence of the ignorance prevailing in this country on the subject that you have to measure and say the size of fish that may be sold. It is absurd to say that we know enough of the sole, or any other fish, to indicate the number of inches they ought to be before being sold. I have been a sufferer from the ignorance of Presidents of the Board of Trade in connection with a measure which I have hitherto successfully resisted. The right hon. Gentleman may be able to pass it over my head this year. I feel that some stand ought to be made against the dark ignorance that prevails on this subject, especially upon the Treasury Bench. There is only one way of becoming acquainted with the habits of sea fish, and that is by studying them. This is a good beginning. This society is a good society. They have published some very remarkable pamphlets, characterised by so ripe judgment that I have been able to quote their remarks against the Undersized Fish Bill. If that is so, do not be content with giving them a beggarly £ 1,000. In this marine fish inquiry launch out with a generous hand, so that a larger number of scientific men may engage in the investigation of the habits of sea fish. Have a certain number of vessels engaged in trawling in the sea in pursuit of knowledge of that kind, and then you will be in a position, which I hold you are not in now, to propose legislation which will be useful to fishermen and to the community generally. I wish to ask whether the Treasury intend to proceed on this entirely inadequate system of making a very small contribution to a small semi-private society of £1,000 a year, or whether they are prepared to consider the extremely important nature of the problems involved in the acquisition of a knowledge of fish, and also whether they are prepared to entertain the idea of 192 setting up an establishment like that in the United States, which will enable them to get a fuller and more accurate knowledge of the habits of sea fish.
§ LORD BALCARRES
The Vote includes a sum of £ 7,000 as a grant in aid of the cost of building and equipping the National Physical Laboratory. The Secretary of the Treasury has promised to receive a deputation representing these who believe that a more suitable site than that selected for the buildings could be found. I should like an assurance from my right hon. friend that the voting of this sum of £ 7,000 does not in any way bind him or the Treasury to adhere to the site that is proposed, and that if the deputation can persuade him that a more suitable site could be found elsewhere, he will not be prevented by this from accepting their view. We do not wish to be met with the answer that the money has been voted and nothing can be done. I might appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury to continue some grant-in-aid, if only for a reduced amount, to the British School at Athens. It is a most interesting work that is being done, and I think there are many people in this country who will show warm sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman if he should be successful in continuing this grant.
§ MR. HANBURY
With regard to the question raised by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, I think he is under some misapprehension when he supposes that this is the only grant-in-aid for scientific purposes. As a matter of fact we give a grant to the Scottish Fishery Board for the purpose of scientific investigation, and similar assistance is given to the Irish fisheries. I am not aware whether any further sum is given for scientific investigation in England. The association has already a larger income than it spends, and under present conditions there does not seem to be any urgent necessity to increase the grant of £ 1,000 a year. In. regard to the Physical Laboratory, which has been referred to by my noble friend behind me, the Treasury, after all, have had very little voice in the matter. We acted entirely on the recommendation of the Committee of the Royal Society. It was absolutely necessary to find a spot near Kew Observatory, where this laboratory is proposed 193 to be situated. After looking at every possible site, they reported that no other site would answer the purpose so well as this one which adjoins Kew Gardens. I quite agree with my noble friend that nothing ought to be done that would interfere with the amenities of Kew Gardens, and I think he will see when he looks at the plans that this has been considered. One is a building for machinery, and the other is a building for carrying on the more delicate scientific operations. The former does not interfere with the amenities of the place. It is entirely out of view of Kew Gardens. It is placed in a corner surrounded by trees, far away from the Queen's Cottage and its surroundings. The other building is placed nearer the Queen's Cottage, but it will be surrounded by trees. It will be in a position that will not interfere with the view, and, of course, it is not a building that will be entered by many people, as the machinery building will be. It will be confined to a few scientific people, and in no sense a building that will interfere with the amenities of the Gardens. That is the information I have at the present moment, but I do not wish to anticipate what my noble friend may have to say when I receive the deputation. I can give him the promise that the voting of the sum of £7,000 will in no way pre judice the case.
§ *MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
In regard to the archæological research in connection with the school at Athens, I do not think the money expended has been creditable to this country when it is compared with the work done by other countries. If it is a fact that the grant is to be reduced or withdrawn— I was not aware of it—I hope we shall have some explanation of the grounds on which that decision has been taken. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman will be able to hold out some hope that such a retrograde step will be reconsidered, and that he will continue to subscribe this miserable pittance towards the great work of archaeology.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
While I have had no opportunity to consult the authorities of the Treasury or the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this point, I imagine that the only ground for the alarm expressed is that the original grant for the British School at Athens is for five years, and that this term 194 is drawing to a close. Nothing has been said in this House, as I understand, as to the possibility of renewal. The matter has never been under consideration. It has never been brought under my notice. The whole question of Government subvention of scientific investigation is a very important subject, and there is no doubt that this country has, from a traditional policy, lagged greatly behind other nations in this respect. It never occurs to us to do what the Germans, the French, or even what our cousins in America have done in making certain grants for investigations; and whether we are right or wrong I do not pretend to say. My own personal inclination is rather in the direction of Governmental aid in cases where you can hardly expect private aid to come forward; but at the same time I confess that I often think how strange it is in a very rich country like ours there are not found some people who, in a difficulty to find other and more profitable investments, do not attempt to earn glory for themselves by carrying on these investigations with the money that is required. I can only say that certainly the grant will not be discontinued without full consideration of the facts and interests involved.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 7. £ 67,500, to complete the sum for Universities and Colleges, Great Britain, and Intermediate Education, Wales.
§ *SIR F. S. POWELL
I wish to appeal to the Government to exercise a more generous policy towards the colleges and universities of England. The contrast between the amounts of the grants to two English universities, and to the University of Wales is, I think, not fair to the English universities. I am a. member of the Court of the Victoria University, and therefore have some knowledge of the action taken by that university and of its proceedings. I do hope the Government will have some regard to the services rendered both to education and to science by the Victoria University. This is a new university, it has all the vigour, all the strength, and all the hope of youth, and I feel myself no doubt that in coming years, if the supplies granted by this House are equal to the occasion, it will perform a most distinguished part in the technical, 195 classical, and highest culture of this country. If that be the case as regards the Victoria University I think it is as true as regards the university colleges. I can speak from an intimate knowledge of the services of the Yorkshire College at Leeds. That institution is greatly hampered for want of a larger grant. There was an inquiry some years ago conducted by highly scientific men who investigated the position and comparative claims of these university colleges. The sum assigned to the Yorkshire College at Leeds is entirely inadequate to its wants. We have by private gifts and the liberality of the city companies largely extended our buildings, our apparatus, and our plans. The inquiry which took place some years ago pointed to the fact that our buildings were not adequate to the work we desired to do. Since that time these buildings have been increased by private benefactions and by the magnificent gifts of the public companies, but we are still unable to perform the duties we are called upon to discharge. We have extended our education in agriculture, we have still further improved our arrangements for instruction in textiles, and we are hoping to raise that great industry to a condition more in accordance with the wants of the country and the importance of that pursuit. I trust the appeal I am making to-day will not be in vain, and that when the next occasion comes for a revision of these grants greater liberality will be exercised. I am not in a position to speak from personal knowledge of Owen's College, Manchester, but the information has been forthcoming from distinguished members of the controlling staff that they are suffering from the same difficulties that we experience in Yorkshire. I certainly hope, as we have had larger aid from the Government for elementary and technical education, that like generosity will be shown to our universities and university colleges. It is useless for this or any other country to improve the elementary and secondary education except the higher culture also is improved. It is by the constant development of the higher departments of education that the lower departments continue to prosper, and if the improvement of the higher departments ceases, decay must ensue in the lower departments. I am grateful to the committee for allowing me to make this representa- 196 tion on behalf of the Council, and I hope the time will come when my words will prove to have been spoken not in vain.
§ MR. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I most heartily sympathise with the wish expressed that this grant should be increased, and I desire to raise a point which is perhaps closely connected with such possible increase. I believe the £25,000 a year which is divided between the specified colleges in Great Britain is allocated in accordance with the Treasury Minute of June, 1897, which, after considerable inquiry, distributed certain sums to various university colleges, allocating the money to them for a period of five years, on the understanding that the question should be again investigated and reported on before the end of that period. As the time is running out, I should be glad to know what are the intentions of the Government with respect to this investigation, and as to the way in which they intend, or expect, or wish that the claims and views of the different university colleges should be brought forward. It is important that these bodies should be heard before such an inquiry. Some difficulty has arisen in the past because these bodies have not been adequately heard. The point with regard to which I wish to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman is one that affects the University College of Dundee, in. the well-being of which, in my capacity as rector of the University of St. Andrews, I am very personally interested. My reason for raising the matter is that there has been an irregularity and a want of continuity of action in respect of the University College of Dundee such as has not taken place with respect to any other of these institutions which are now under consideration. The University College of Dundee was started on exactly the same footing as university colleges in England. When this sum came to be given to university colleges a small grant of £500 was given to Dundee, and even that was not obtained without some considerable difficulty. £500 a year is a very much smaller sum than is given to the colleges in England, and one of the reasons then alleged is a reason which I trust the right hon. Gentleman will not allege now—namely, that the universities of Scotland receive a large grant from the Treasury. They do receive a large grant from the Treasury—a grant of £42,000 a year; they also receive a por- 197 tion of the Probate Duty in the same way as a portion is devoted to secondary education in England. But let me remind the right hon. Gentleman and the Committee that that is done in accordance with the Act of Union between England and Scotland. While the Scotch provided for the maintenance of the castles of Stirling and Dunbar in good repair, they also had the good sense to insist upon adequate provision being made under the Act of Union from the Treasury of Great Britain for the maintenance of the universities. We may, therefore, put aside that portion which is given to the Scotch universities as being any reasonable argument against classifying the town of Dundee with other towns like Nottingham, Sheffield, and the like, which participate in this grant. Dundee stands exactly towards the University College of Dundee as Sheffield stands towards its college or as Newcastle stands towards the Newcastle College of Physical Science. The College of Physical Science in Newcastle is partly endowed by the University of Durham, as the college in Dundee is now partly endowed from the University of St. Andrews; there is no difference in character between them. As I say, £500 was given to the University College of Dundee. In 1894 that small grant was withdrawn, and it was not renewed until 1897, when there was a second investigation and a second distribution. It was then renewed at the figure of £1,000 a year, at which amount it has continued since. But why that change? Why that irregularity of action? It is not because of that irregularity of action in the past that I wish to make any complaint, but because of the difficulty which is introduced into the management of the University of St. Andrews and the University College of Dundee—of whose managing body I am president—by the uncertainty of action I have endeavoured to bring before the right hon. Gentleman. Why was the grant dropped in 1894? Here is the Report of the Committee to the Treasury, which Report was adopted in the Treasury Minute of 1894—Your Committee do not recommend that a grant should be made to the University College of Dundee, inasmuch as they consider that that College, being now part of the University of St. Andrews, has been withdrawn from the scope of the present grant, and will participate in future in the increased grant for Scotch universities.That was the decision in 1894, in conse- 198 quence of which the grant was dropped. There arose between 1894 and 1897 considerable doubt as to whether or not the University College of Dundee was incorporated in the University of St. Andrews. The matter was the subject of litigation, and the echoes of the contest still remain. I do not think they are fated to remain very long, nor do I say the subject is absolutely decided at this moment. Let us see what was done in consequence of the existence of that doubt. The Treasury Minute of June 2nd, referring to or acting upon the advice of the eminent scientific authorities to whom reference has just been made, reads as follows—My Lords take note of the terms of the Committee's Report with regard to the Dundee College.That was a Report recommending a grantIn acceding to the Committee's recommendation that for the present—those words are underlined—the College should receive £100 a year my Lords are guided, as they understand the Committee to have been guided, by the exceptional position in which the College is now placed.The "exceptional position" which I have tried to describe is one of doubt as to whether it is incorporated or not with the University of St. Andrews.My Lords are of opinion that when the relations between the University and the College are settled this matter should be subject to reconsideration, and they must not be understood to admit the claim of the College to share permanently in the grant for University Colleges.If those two Minutes mean anything, they at any rate run the risk of meaning that when the University College of Dundee is working harmoniously with the University of St. Andrews it shall then be mulcted to the extent of £1,000 a year. Is that a very hopeful prospect to hold out to one who, like myself, in the position I occupy with respect to these two bodies, is earnestly anxious to bring about a happy co-operation? It is really, so far as it goes, though I do not say it is made as such, an absolute bribe to disagree. What I want to point out is that when we are endeavouring to bring together the ancient University of St. Andrews—a university which has a more glorious history than almost any other educational institution in Great Britain, and certainly the most notable educational history of any such institution in Scotland—and the modern School of Science in Dundee, as 199 an Act of Parliament has declared they should be brought together, it is extremely undesirable there should be hanging about the whole action this uncertainty as to the grant. It will not do to say that the University College of Dundee is getting an unlimited share of the grant to the Scotch colleges. It is strictly limited so that it cannot receive more than a certain amount, and that amount—which is £3,000—is in comparison with the general endowments of other colleges no large figure. Therefore I do earnestly hope we shall get some assurance that the University College of Dundee will not be treated in the spirit of the first of these two Minutes, and because of its incorporation, when it is brought about finally and completely, with the University of St. Andrews, deprived of the grant it is enjoying just now. The Committee must also remember that the University College of Dundee is doing a work with which the University of St. Andrews has nothing to do. The University College of Dundee is certainly part of and incorporated with the University of St. Andrews, but, on the other hand, it does a large amount of local technical and evening work which does not prepare people for a degree in a university and is absolutely comparable with the evening work of the University College of Nottingham, all of which work is part of the recommendation of such colleges to the enjoyment of the grant. One other point which I wish to bring before the right hon. Gentleman is that of this £25,000 a year which is divided between the university colleges of England on the one hand, and this one college in Scotland on the other, only £1,000 goes to Scotland. You are giving to the university colleges of Wales— and I am glad you are; do not think I grudge it at all—the sum of £12,000 a year; you are giving to those in England £24,000, the two sums together amounting to £36,000 a year; you are giving to the University College of Dundee £l,000ayear, and that is the whole amount that goes to Scotland. I know, as I have said before, that the Scotch universities have a grant, but it is in virtue of the Act of Union. Remember, too, that the educational ambitions of the Scotch nation are very great and worthy, and that they have done so much for the nation. It is well that they should be supported in a way which is in no sense 200 pauperising, but which will not only assist those who have assisted themselves, but actually help forward the union of the University College of Dundee and the University of St. Andrews, and it is extremely desirable in every way that we should see ancient traditions united with modern institutions. Let the right hon. Gentleman not think there need be any difficulty in carrying out the allocation of this money to the right purposes. All I would say in conclusion is that I do earnestly press it on the right hon. Gentleman and the Government that they should give an assurance that when they again consider this matter such persons as represent the University of St. Andrews and the University College of Dundee and other bodies will be enabled to lay before the Treasury their views in the matter. I earnestly hope that this matter may be decided at an early date, so that this sword of Damocles may no longer hang over this young institution in Dundee. Everyone knows that when you have to draw up a programme of studies, erect laboratories, and be on, the uncertainty as to whether a grant of £ 1,000 will or will not be continued is a very serious drawback to all the work you are undertaking, affecting with uncertainty and insecurity a great many more steps in connection with the college than are affected by the mere sum of £1,000 a year. On behalf of the university which I so inadequately represent at the present moment, and of the University College of Dundee, knowing how closely it is related to the other university colleges in England, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will take into very careful consideration the remarks I have ventured to make.
§ SIR J. LENG (Dundee)
As one of the representatives of Dundee and a member of the college council, I desire to express my indebtedness to the Lord Rector of St. Andrews University for the clear manner in which he has put before the Committee the case for the Dundee University College. There is reason for taking this course, inasmuch as my hon. friend has referred to the fact that in the year 1894, when the members of the college council had no opportunity of being heard, they were astonished to find that the very small grant of £500 was recommended to be withdrawn. It is, therefore, desirable that when this 201 question comes to be reconsidered under the terms of the Minute of 1897, the representative of the Dundee University College shall have an opportunity of being heard. My hon. friend has referred to the fact that out of the £25,000 the almost microscopic grant of £500 was made in the first instance to Dundee, and yet this ewe lamb, as one may call it, was roughly slain and the grant taken away. My hon. friend's contention is that in equity Dundee has as strong a claim to have its grant continued, and not only continued, but increased, as any town in England. The college in Dundee is a comparatively modern institution. It was founded by the great generosity of a family of merchant princes. As time went on it was found necessary to increase the number of chairs, and others of the merchant princes of Dundee gave sums varying from £6,000 to £12,000 to bring the chairs up to date and the requirements of the time. Dundee has therefore done its part. Nearly £200,000 has been given within the last twenty years by those who have made their wealth in Dundee in order to secure that the young people of all classes may have the advantage of this local college, in connection with which there is an excellent technical institute, the classes of which are overflowing. The buildings are not large enough to hold the hundreds of intelligent youths and artisans who desire to attend these classes night after night. If there is any town in the kingdom which has done its duty by the poor and the working classes it is Dundee, and the fact that it has helped itself is a strong claim, if any claim is to be made on the Treasury, that at least it should be dealt with on the same conditions as the colleges of England. The terms of the grant which is now before the House are for university colleges in "Great Britain," and Scotland is part of Great Britain. At present, Scotland is receiving only £ 1,000 out of £25,000, and there have been threatenings that it should be deprived of even that. If there was any serious intention to that effect I am sure it would be protested against throughout the whole of the country north of the Tweed. Without enlarging upon what my hon. friend has so well placed before the Committee, I do hope the right hon. Gentleman will give an assurance that when this question is reconsidered the representatives of the College shall be fully heard, and that 202 the grant shall not, at any rate, be diminished.
§ MR. ALLAN (Gateshead)
I had no intention whatever of taking any part in this debate over the University College of Dundee, but I can speak with some degree of feeling upon this question, seeing that I am a Dundee man, and have witnessed the growth of education in Dundee more or less for over half a century. That we should be discussing in this House to-night the paltry sum of £1,000 for the University College of Dundee is something remarkable to me. I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman sitting on the Treasury Bench has never been in Dundee; I do not think he knows what Dundee is, or how that great manufacturing town has grown. I have seen it when it was very small, and I have seen it now it is very large, and the right hon. Gentleman should remember that he is concerned here with one of the principal towns in Scotland as far as manufacturing interests are concerned. It is the centre of the jute industry, of engineering, and of shipbuilding; it produces the best mechanics and engineers that can be found almost anywhere; and the question of a paltry £1,000 for the University College should never be discussed in this House, while there certainly should never be any question as to whether it should be continued. Thousands of young men there attend the night classes and the technical school; they go there after they leave the factory, the machine shop, or the shipyard, in order that they may get a higher education. It is a sorry sight that any Member of this House, or at any rate any Scotch Member, should stand up here, practically with cap in hand, to beg—a word I detest. We have no right to come here and beg for money for the University College of Dundee. We subscribe more than our share to the national wealth, and we have no right whatever to beg for this paltry £1,000. The right hon. Gentleman is always an advocate of progress, and always stands up for the education of the young men of the country. Why, then, should there be any question about this grant? You may say that the St. Andrews grant will suffice for both. Not at all. What the right hon. Gentleman ought to do he knows perfectly well. He should give them £5,000 a year for the purposes of education there, simply from the fact 203 that it is the centre of a great manufacturing industry, and one of the first cities of Scotland in manufactures. But I am not going to beg from the Treasury, for Scotchmen never beg. We stand here and claim our right to a fair share of the wealth of this country to be devoted to education in Scotland. We have no right to come here and beg for the Dundee University College, and why should this £1,000 be taken away from the Dundee College? We ought to have a much larger sum for this college. The Lord Rector of the University knows nothing about Dundee, and I know all about it, and I say there should be no question whatever of giving this money to a young and energetic educational institution. Why rob this college of their little pittance? Such a proposal is not right, it is not fair or honest, and it is not just to Scotland.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
I am glad that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is present upon this Vote, because I think there is likely to be a misconception on the part of the Government officials that Scotland is getting a larger sum of money on this Vote than it really is. Here is the sum of £ 42,000 set down for the Scotch universities, but that sum should never have been on this Vote at all. By the Treaty of Union the Universities of Scotland were to be placed upon the Imperial Exchequer, and in order to discharge that burden the Exchequer got the whole of the Scotch estates. It was part of the Treaty of Union that the universities of Scotland were to be kept up at the national expense. That was a part of the bargain, and it continued until a few years ago, up to which time the whole expense of the Scotch universities were born upon the Imperial estimates. But what took place a few years ago? The Government tried to get rid of this responsibility, which was bestowed upon them by the Treaty of Union, of contributing this £42,000 a year for the Scotch universities. What did they do when they came to treat the equivalent grants between Scotland and Ireland? A sum of £30,000 was taken out of the money from Scotland, and given in subsidies to Scotch universities which it was the duty and always had been the responsibility of the Government to maintain out of the Imperial purse. You now have this £ 42,000 paid 204 out of the Imperial funds for Scotch education, and you also have Scotland itself out of its own funds providing £30,000 for the Scotch universities. I venture to say that is an unfair way of getting rid of your obligations under the Treaty of Union. Down to the last few years you had the whole burden of these universities upon the Imperial Exchequer. You cannot wipe off a Treaty of Union by saying, "Here is a few thousand pounds more, and we will wipe you off for the future." What have the Government done? Here is a Unionist Government in power, with a majority of English Members. You have had the Scotch money at your disposal, and you have taken this £30,000 against the votes and. the wishes of Scotch Liberal Members out of Scotch money, and you have applied it to discharge what was the duty of the Imperial Government—namely, to keep up the Scotch universities in a manner suitable to the times. If you had done this duty properly you would be paying the whole of the expenses of the St. Andrews University, and you would not have had to come upon Scotland for £30,000. In this way Scotland has been compelled to pay £ 30,000 a year for something which was an Imperial obligation. You are now adding to these sums the money for England and Wales. It is not very long, since this Vote came on to the Paper, and it is since the University Act was passed. The result is that you are giving this new money to England upon the footing that you have already provided for Scotland. But you have done nothing of the kind. You are giving all this money to England, and Scotland is only getting £1,000. I wish also to refer to the College of Science in Glasgow, which is one of the largest attended colleges in the whole kingdom, and is doing admirable work. This college is now getting subsidies out of the grants in aid of the local authorities. This college does not get one single copper out of the Imperial fund. I ask if it is fair that, having an Imperial obligation under the Treaty of Union to keep up the universities of Scotland as a national undertaking; having got all the revenues of the universities upon the condition that you took over the obligation of maintaining these universities, is it fair to come here now and try to get rid of this obligation and take £30,000, by force, out of Scotch money. 205 I venture to say that that is not a creditable way of dealing with public education in Scotland. When we find that you are giving these grants to England we do not object. We are quite agreeable that England should get these grants, but we do say that Scotland ought to come in for a reasonable share of those grants. We are doing a great work at the College of Science in Glasgow, and we are not getting one single copper for that great work from the Imperial Treasury. In this matter of education we simply ask for justice, and for the discharge of your legal obligation. As regards the future, with reference to these new sums, you should give us an equivalent with England, but do not treat Scotland as having nothing to do with these matters. I am very glad to find the Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen here, for I am sure he will corroborate me when I say that oven with the £ 42,000 from the Imperial Funds and the £30,000 from the Scotch Fund there is not sufficient money to carry on the work of these universities as it ought to be carried on at present. The right hon. Gentleman also knows the valuable work that is done in the College of Science in Glasgow, and that it is entirely by local aid that that institution is being kept up. I hope that before this discussion closes we shall have a few words on this subject from the right hon. Gentleman.
*MR. JAMES A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
I cannot refrain from saying that while I do not agree with the hon. Member opposite in all his complaints as to the way in which the Scottish universities have been treated by the Imperial Treasury, I do agree that in Scotland we have a claim to equal treatment with England with regard to the assistance given for new or additional university work. I hope that there is no reason to fear that this grant which has been enjoyed by the University College of Dundee will be withdrawn. I have known something of this college from its beginning, and I am sure that this money is needed there, and that it has been well bestowed upon that college. I am aware of its connection with the University of St. Andrews, and I agree that the effect of that connection does not place the University College of Dundee outside the 206 need of such assistance as it has been receiving. I have no disposition to continue this discussion, which seems to imply some suspicion upon the intentions of my right hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury, for which I hope there is no justification.
§ MR. HANBURY
Practically the whole speech of the hon. Member for Mid Lanarkshire was an attack upon recent legislation with regard to the Scotch universities. After all, we must regard that legislation as being in existence, and that being so we must assume that that Act dealt fairly with the amounts which were allocated to these Scotch universities. With regard to the arguments which the hon. Member has raised in reference to this fund belonging to Scotland and being put aside for this purpose under the Act of Union, those are arguments which were no doubt raised when the Act I have alluded to was considered. We have now to deal with the Act as it stands, and under that Act undoubtedly it is a fact that a large sum of money is allocated to these universities. That being so, we are now asked with regard to the University College of Dundee whether we are going to continue this grant of £1,000. We reply—as we replied some time ago—that it is quite impossible that the Dundee college should have the advantage of a grant on its own account, and at the same time receive the advantages which it would derive from the grants made to the University of St. Andrews if it were entirely affiliated to that university. That, I think, is a reasonable ground to take up. If the University College of Dundee was placed in that position it would be different to that of any other college in England or Wales, and I think hon. Members opposite ought to be content with the very reasonable plea put forward by my right hon. friend behind me, that in matters of this kind the colleges in Scotland should be treated in exactly the same way as the colleges in England and Wales. That is a reasonable request, and so far as the colleges in Scotland are entitled to these grants they will be treated in exactly the same way as the colleges in England and Wales are treated. When Dundee College once becomes entirely affiliated with the University of St. Andrews, it will receive 207 all the advantages and endowments which are given to that university, but it cannot expect to have in addition the advantages it is now receiving as a separate college. I understand from the speech of the hon. Member for Hoxton that his complaint is not so much as to the actual amount of the grant, but that he is anxious that the present condition of things should not continue, and that the connection between this college and the University of St. Andrews should take place as soon as possible. What has really happened is this. We have been in communication with the Scotch Office upon this question, and they have told us that as the connection between this college and the university is not yet entirely established we should not be justified in at present removing this £1,000 from the Vote. Until that connection is established this grant will, of course, be continued. My hon. friend the Member for Wigan complained that the sums allocated to these different colleges are not sufficient. I would point out to my hon. friend that towards the end of 1896 a Committee went very carefully through the whole subject, and it was upon the recommendations of that Committee that the Treasury acted, and the sums fixed are entirely in accordance with the recommendations of that Committee. As to the sum of £ 25,000 not being adequate, I do not think the hon. Member has any right to complain of this, because until two or three years ago the sum granted for the purpose was only £15,000; but in 1896 the sum was raised to £25,000, and that is the sum which will remain up to the year 1901. No doubt a fresh allocation will be made, and fresh claims will be brought in, and if the authorities of Dundee College can establish a fair claim to this grant no doubt their case will be favourably considered by the Treasury. We have now only to deal with the grant for the present year, and all I have to say is that that grant is considerably in advance of the annual grant made three years ago when the sum was only £15,000.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I happen to be officially connected with the University College of Dundee, and it is to that portion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech which dealt with that matter that I shall confine myself. I must express my disappointment at the 208 substance of his reply. He has practically told us, notwithstanding the opinion expressed by the Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, that there is every prospect of this grant being lost, and he has given us the Treasury's reason for it. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that the University College of Dundee would be entitled to a continuance of this annual grant of £ 1,000 if it retained its separate existence, but he says it will not be so entitled when it is incorporated with the University of St. Andrews. And why not? Because, he says, it will share in the endowments granted to the University of St. Andrews. As far as I know that is not so. The University of St. Andrews when it completes the incorporation of this subordinate body will not derive one single farthing of additional public money to sustain its corporate existence. It simply comes to this—that this Act of incorporation between the University College of Dundee and St. Andrews University is to be penalised by the Treasury to the extent of £1,000 a year. In other words, that which has been felt by all the local educational authorities in the country to be a most desirable grant is to be abolished to the extent of the withdrawal of this annual grant of £1,000. I cannot see any reason to justify that contention. There is to be no change in the position of St. Andrews University. On the contrary, it is very probable that it will incur additional expenses on account of incorporation, and there is no change in the position of the University College of Dundee. The intention of the incorporation is merely to facilitate the working of both institutions, and because of this the money allocated to the College of Dundee is to be withdrawn. I say that is a principle which requiries reconsideration, and I hope that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman is not to be taken as the last word of the Treasury upon this subject. I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accord a full and fair hearing to the official representatives of the University College of Dundee. I will venture to repeat the appeal which my hon. friend has made, and I ask the Secretary to the Treasury to give us some assurance that before the preparation of next year's estimate and before he decides to withdraw this annual grant he will at least do us the favour of allowing us to be heard 209 in support of the maintenance of this grant, and give us an opportunity of placing before him arguments upon that question.
§ MR. STUART
I think the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury might give us satisfaction by answering the appeal I made to him, and which has also been alluded to by the hon. Member who has just spoken. As I brought the matter forward in reference to the continuance of this £ 1,000 a year which is granted to the University College of Dundee, and as the uncertainty in which we have been left is a very serious matter, I really think that it is a little hard for the right hon. Gentleman to assume that he answers my position by saying that this college shares in the endowments granted to St. Andrews University. I think that is drawing the line a little too far. I also want to point out to the right hon. Gentleman the very solid fact which I think ought to affect the right hon. Gentleman in reconsidering the attitude he has taken up. He has spoken about the incorporation of St. Andrews University and the University College of Dundee as being a reason for withdrawing this £1,000 grant, because the Dundee College is to get the benefit of certain grants which will be made to St. Andrews University. But as I pointed out in bringing this matter before the Committee, that is exactly the position at the present time of a large college in Newcastle, which profits very largely by the grants made to the ancient University of Durham. That is not looked upon as any reason why a sum of money should not be granted to this college at Newcastle-on-Tyne. I have received but cold comfort from the right hon. Gentleman upon this question. His reply is cold comfort to every educationalist in Scotland who is desirous of seeing harmonious working between the ancient University College of St. Andrews and the new University College of Dundee. This has been indicated as desirable by Parliament, and yet it is held over our heads that as soon as that is brought about the joint concern is to be deprived of £1,000 a year. I do not think there is any reasonableness in that proposal at all. I do not desire to do more than point out my dissatisfaction with the reply of the right hon. Gentleman, and to express the hope that the 210 authorities and the representatives of the University of St. Andrews and the University College of Dundee, whose interests are affected in this matter, will be afforded an opportunity of being heard, and that full consideration will be given to the arguments which have been laid before the Committee on this subject.
§ MR. CALDWELL
It now appears that as soon as the college at Dundee becomes part of a national university of Scotland it will then cease to have any claim on this fund. The total sum borne on this estimate for England, putting aside what is given to national universities, is £63,500, and the Scotch proportion of that amount, on the basis of eleven-eightieths, would be £8,730 for similar purposes, but only £1,000 is actually given to Scotland, and that is given to Dundee. You now propose to take that sum away from Dundee, but that will only make stronger the claim of the Glasgow College of Science for support from this fund. All we ask is that if you are going to give grants to colleges of science apart from national universities, give Scotland her equivalent share, which is £8,730. We have always complained that under this Vote Scotland gets practically nothing, and we have been told that Scotland gets money for her national universities; but that is an entirely different matter, as the Secretary to the Treasury has now been compelled to admit. As far as the Glasgow College of Science is concerned it is one of the best schools in the United Kingdom, and it is subsidised out of the Glasgow rates to the extent of £6,000 a year; and if English colleges of science get grants from this fund, why not the Glasgow College of Science also; not necessarily to cover all its expenses, but to assist the local subsidy, and to render its work, which is now much impaired for want of money, more efficient. I call the attention of the Scotch Office to the matter, and I ask the Lord Advocate to note that Scotland only gets £1,000 out of this fund, and that even that is to be taken away.
*MR. STUART WORTLE (Sheffield, Hallam)
As the right hon. Gentleman is being laid under pressure, it is necessary to mention other deserving cases lest they be forgotten. A hardship has arisen in the case of the University College at Sheffield, owing to the fact that the 211 departmental committee examined into the case of that college at a time which happened to operate unfairly against it. The scheme of the departmental committee was that the grant in each case should be proportioned to the amount locally contributed. In the case of Sheffield the inquiry was held just before a very exceptional local effort had been made in connection with the Diamond Jubilee. If the inquiry had been hold after that effort, the claim of the Sheffield College would have been in a very different position. I think the Secretary to the Treasury foreshadowed that there is going to be a reconsideration of the allocation of these grants, and I venture to express the hope that that reconsideration will not be put off on account of the disputes connected with the Scotch colleges, as to which I wish to say nothing.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 8. £5, to complete the sum for London University.