§ MR. J. P. FARRELL (Cavan, W.)
I rise for the purpose of moving the resolution which stands in my name, and to again draw the attention of the House to the grievances under which the Catholics of Ireland suffer in the matter of higher education. This subject is by no means a new one to the House, and although it has been frequently debated, I tell hon. Members that the Irish representatives will continue to present their case for redress so long as the British Parliament turns a deaf ear to their claims for justice. From 1854 up to the present time, the discussions on this subject may almost be said to have been perennial, but it is a matter of regret that, while apparently some advance has been made in converting British statesmen, no appreciable advance has been made in the direction of legislation. In 1897 the Leader of the House showed a sympathetic and kindly interest in the question, for which I for one am deeply grateful, and declared that, though not a Home Ruler, he was anxious on this matter to put all sectarian prejudices aside, and that an attempt should be made to meet the wishes of Ireland in this respect. Hopes were naturally raised that this question was nearing a settlement, but although the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was delivered in 1897, practically nothing has been done. The question has made no further progress. I admit that this university question in Ireland is hedged round with many difficulties, but I regret that the right hon. Gentleman—and in saying this I have not the slightest inten- 203 tion of wounding his susceptibilities—has not had the courage to depart from the missionary field and to make an attempt in the legislative arena. It is perfectly well known to Irish Catholics that this question is dangerous to the right hon. Gentleman, because he yields too much to the bigoted feelings of a section of the people in the north of Ireland. I am aware he has difficult cards to play; but seeing he admits that we have an unanswerable case, surely no excuse for delay in legislating upon it should be based on the bigotry and intolerance of a small section of the people. I do not wish to say anything to inflame or incite a feeling of bitterness in this debate; such a course would only retard the cause we wish to advance. I only ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that we have waited long and patiently, and that having exhausted every form of argument, it is not to be wondered at if there is shown some disposition to depart from the paths of mild persuasion. The Catholics of Ireland form the great majority of the people of that country, and they are demanding not predominance but equality. We are not asking that exceptional treatment shall be meted out to us; if we were we could understand the opposition made to our claims, but surely it is no answer to our demand for a Catholic university to say that we have offered to us the open door of Trinity College, Dublin, free access to the Queen's Colleges, or a share of the advantages of the Royal Universities. I say that the strongest point in our case is that it is a demand simply for equality. We have no desire to interfere with the traditions of Trinity College or its endowments, or to take it away from the social and political class who have hitherto enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy, all its privileges and all its endowments. I have here a most interesting extract from a work which is being circulated just at the present moment, pointing out the tremendous advantages of this institution to the class in whose hands it is. I think the Protestants of Ireland have no grievance, or should have no legitimate grievance, against Catholics who seek equality of university education. The writer says—A very superficial glance at history is enough to show that the educational system of Trinity College is an unbroken record of 204 antagonism to Irish sentiment as regards religion and national traditions. It is impossible for the Catholic community to recognise it as an adequate source of higher instruction, for it is still as distinctly opposed to Catholic faith and practice as it was before the abolition of tests. We know that it has been said that the door stands open for Catholics to enter freely, but nothing has been changed in Trinity College during the past half century, except the opening of a door, which was before more consistently closed. We wish to see the higher education of all classes in Ireland promoted as best suits those concerned, whether they be Catholic, Episcopalian, or Presbyterian. Trinity College suffices not, and that is all we have to say, but a few details as to the revenues and other advantages possessed by the college may be noted. The library contains upwards of 252,000 volumes. The botanic garden, the museum, the engineering, medical, and other schools are all splendidly equipped and endowed. The revenue up to a few years ago was nearly £80,000 a year, though in recent years, owing to the shrinkage in the amount of its rent roll, it must have sunk to less than half that sum. The number of students receiving higher education in this college in 1899 was 1,047, or considerably less than half the number who entered for the Royal University examinations in 1898. But the students of Trinity amply suffice to fill the halls of one college, and the Episcopalian Protestants are satisfied with it.The passage I have quoted will be found in a book published by Dr. Salmon, one of the leading professors of Trinity College, Dublin. That is a statement, I may say, on behalf of Trinity College, and it is made from a source which cannot be described as partial. It is a statement which indicates in few words the tremendous and powerful advantages which the Protestants of Ireland have enjoyed, and will, as I said before, continue to enjoy in the future in the matter of university and higher education. But what is the picture on the other side? I notice that we have had some cheers of the statement that Trinity College is open to Roman Catholics. I notice that it will probably be made one of the stock arguments in reply to us in this debate. It is true that Trinity College is open, and has been open for a very long time, to such Catholics as those who, evading, I may take the liberty of saying, their religious responsibilities, wish to enjoy the advantages of the higher education in that college. It is no answer to us to say that such distinguished and able Catholics as the present Lord Chief Baron, Lord Morris, and other distinguished jurists and public men in Ireland, have taken advantage of Trinity College. It is no 205 answer to us to say that they have come, as one of the bishops of our church said, unscathed through the college so far as their religious belief is concerned. That is no answer to us as regards those people throughout the length and breadth of the land who, having somewhat stronger feelings from the religious standpoint, will not disobey the standing and well-known objections of the pastors of their church, and avail themselves of the hospitalities of that college. We have also had in this controversy on the question of the establishment of a Roman Catholic University most valuable assistance, and I gladly and freely acknowledge it—assistance which has brought him into very considerable difficulties in his own constituency—from the hon. Member for South Tyrone. What does the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Tyrone say about Trinity College? He has had to explain his views on the subject of university education for Catholics at great length in Ireland since he made his public pronouncement. He has written a number of interesting and able letters, and he has made a number of speeches in support of the position which I am glad to see he has taken up. He describes himself in those letters—a description which I am sure he will not depart from in this House—as a Protestant of the Protestants. Addressing a meeting of his constituents on the 27th of October, 1897, in the county of Tyrone, the hon. Gentleman described Trinity College in this way—Dublin University was founded by Queen Elizabeth; much of its revenues were derived from the confiscated lands of Catholics; its fellows and examining professorial staffs were almost exclusively Protestant, and the overwhelming mass of its students were of the same religion.The hon. gentleman went on to put the case of our opponents in Tyrone in the best possible manner, and a manner, I think, in which it should most fairly and most reasonably strike those gentlemen. He said—Suppose the conditions were reversed—if the atmosphere were as distinctly Catholic as it was now Protestant—if Jesuits and priests were its professors—if mass was sung inside its walls every day—would they send their sons to it as freely as they did now that ii was a distinctively Protestant University?Nothing we could say could, I think, more clearly put the case made against 206 our arguments than that short extract from the speech of the hon. Member. But it may be said that the hon. Gentleman in speaking thus did not represent any person but himself. I could occupy a considerable portion of the time of this House in quoting from other speeches by eminent and distinguished Protestants who hold exactly the same view. We know, for instance, that there are a considerable number of distinguished gentlemen throughout the length and breadth of England who are in sympathy with us on this question. I believe myself that those gentlemen, if they could infuse among what I might call the lower strata of Protestantism—I assure hon. Gentlemen that I do not use the expression in any sense as offensive, or say one word to offend any person's susceptibilities, I merely use it in the social sense—among the lower strata of Protestantism they would bring, I am sure, such a volume of opinion to bear as would considerably strengthen the hands of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in his desire to do justice to us in this matter. Then we are told that we have the Queen's University, and that we have the advantage of the Queen's Colleges in Belfast, Galway, and Cork, to which our young people can, without any strain on their religious feelings, go for the higher education. Objectionable as the Protestant atmosphere of Trinity College may be, in my opinion the godless atmosphere of the Queen's Colleges is far more objectionable. In Ireland we feel very deeply on the religious question. Religion, perhaps, in these more material days, has not such a hold upon the public mind as it had in times gone by. We have suffered much and long for our religion, and I venture to assure Her Majesty's Government that the Irish people of the class from whom it may be expected you would get the groundwork of your Catholic University will never surrender or endanger their religious belief for any such system of education as is represented by either Trinity College or the Queen's University. The gentleman who circulated the statement of which I read a portion in reference to Trinity College, says of the Queen's University—In like manner the Presbyterian students of Ulster are sufficiently numerous to justify the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in appropriating, as they had already 207 done, the Queen's College, Belfast. This college is quite capable of being in Belfast all that Trinity is in Dublin. Belfast is a rapidly increasing centre. It is sufficiently important to become a university town. Sincerely desirous that all our fellow-countrymen should share in the necessary gifts which higher education can impart, we begrudge nothing that may be required to achieve this purpose, either from the public revenues or through Acts of Parliament. But we do justly claim that the Catholic population, the vast majority of the people in Ireland, should not be kept in a position inferior to the Episcopalian and Presbyterian minorities. A Government has the right to claim the loyalty of its subjects as the price of the performance of the correlative duty. The first principle of British Government is to give equal rights to all parts of the British Isles, England has so outgrown Ireland in wealth and population that the two nations cannot be compared. But Irish Catholics demand from the Government which claims their loyalty the right to be treated with at least comparative equality with other religious denominations in that country.If we examine this university education question as it affects other portions of the United Kingdom, what do we find? Take Scotland, for instance. Scotland has four universities, which discharge a most important duty to that part of the kingdom, and which enable the poorest class to take advantage in the way I am glad to know they do of the higher education placed within their reach. Some of these foundations were originally Roman Catholic. It is interesting to note that the University of Edinburgh was founded in 1582 by James VI.; the University of St. Andrews was founded in 1411 by a Bull of Pope Benedict XIII.; the University of Glasgow was founded by a Bull of Pope Nicholas V.; and the University of Aberdeen was founded so far back as 1494, before the Reformation. I quite admit that the national religion of Scotland has changed, and I presume that with the change these universities can now be described as Presbyterian Universities. At all events, there are ample facilities given to people professing the national faith of Scotland to obtain, without any religious bar, that university education of which the Irish Catholics are so wholly deprived. Personally I feel very strongly on this question. You have in Ireland set up a denominational system of primary education. You have given our priests and bishops the right to safeguard the interests of the young children in that matter. You have also instituted a system of intermediate education to which no religious bar applies, and which is availed 208 of very largely indeed by the Roman Catholic colleges to compete, as they do very successfully, with their Protestant fellow-countrymen for prizes and honours. Why do you stop short of university education? Why do you, in point of the quantity dealt with, strain at the gnat and swallow the camel? There are 8,000 intermediate students every year in Ireland, fully 6,000 of whom come from the Catholic schools and colleges. They belong principally to what may be called the middle classes; they belong essentially to the class for which you have provided such splendid university education throughout the length and breadth of England and Scotland, without imposing upon those who take advantage of it obligations or interposing obstacles which their religious feelings and sentiments cannot overcome. Why, in this matter, should you treat Ireland differently from other parts of the United Kingdom? Perhaps we are appealing in vain for a settlement of this question to-night. Arguments, strong, cogent, and as it seemed to me, unanswerable, have been addressed to this House time after time, but so little practical good has resulted that one might almost despair of effecting any change in the tone and temper of the House in dealing with this question. It is just the same as with our financial discussion. Yet we hope that things will not always be as they are at present in this House of Commons. We feel that eventually, whether by the intervention of Parliament or some other means, the justice of our case will bring this question to such a stage that good to us must come. Three-fourths of the people of Ireland are Roman Catholics. Three-fourths of the taxation which you get out of Ireland is raised from the Roman Catholics of the country. The poorest class contribute to your taxation. The poorest man standing at the street corner, who, perhaps, could not tell you this meaning of the word "university," is a contributing factor, in his own small insignificant way, to the maintenance of this great Empire. When Ireland's representatives in this House, feeling that the educational interests of their people have been and are being neglected, come down here and make an appeal for justice, I sincerely trust it will receive from English Members opposite a sympathetic and careful consideration. We may not be expecting a definite settlement to-night, 209 but we are throwing our bread upon the waters, in the hope that it may bring us something back in the nature of the relief of the grievance of which we complain. I hope that when the First Lord of the Treasury stands up he will be able to make such a pronouncement as will convince the Catholics of Ireland that there is sincerity, determination, and courage on his own part and on the part of those who think with him in the matter of doing justice to us on this subject. I beg to move the resolution which stands in my name.
§ *SIR T. G. ESMONDE (Kerry, W.)
I have to thank my hon. friend for the compliment he has paid me in asking me to follow him in support of this motion, and I think I may very fairly congratulate him on the admirable way in which he has treated what is unquestionably a very difficult question. This matter may be regarded from many points of view. There is one aspect of the case which in recent years has very forcibly appealed to me, and it is, that in this matter of university education we have not been very well treated by the Conservative party in England. I will not go back very many years, but it will be in the recollection of most hon. Members that in 1887 the present Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that this question was being taken into serious consideration. He actually informed us that the Government were prepared to deal with the matter, and that they would submit their proposals in the following year. A year or two passed away and again we were told that the Conservative party were prepared to deal with the question. Hopes were inspired in Ireland by this promise, and the Irish people looked confidently forward to an early settlement of the question. Nothing, however, has been heard of the matter since, unless I except the public statements made by the First Lord of the Treasury and another member of the Government, whose speeches have been quoted, and which express sympathetic views upon this question. In view of these circumstances, the general impression created by the treatment of this question by the Government is that it is made to suit the convenience of English political parties, and that they treat it from the point of view of English political expediency instead of upon its merits as a case of justice 210 to Ireland. The question has now, I think, reached a stage at which we may invite the House and the Government to consider this question upon its merits, not in the interests of any political party, but from the higher Imperial standpoint of the obligations of the Government of the Empire. As far as we are concerned the question seems to us to be far too large and too urgent to be left any longer in abeyance. Before I go any further, I would like to impress this point upon the House. There are hon. Members who sympathise with our views on this matter and are favourably inclined towards this question of a Catholic University for Ireland, but they do not take a very active interest in the question, because they believe we are not very anxious about it in Ireland. Many hon. Members think that we do not regard it as a pressing question of general or widespread importance. I should like, if possible, to disabuse the minds of hon. Members of this opinion, and I wish to assure them that Catholic Ireland is strongly and deeply in earnest in this matter, and we, as the representatives of the Catholics of Ireland, are only giving expression to the strong and universal feelings of our constituencies when we say that this is a matter in which the people of Ireland take the warmest and the keenest possible interest. I can assure the House that in regard to this question of a Catholic University education for our children, the present situation cannot be allowed indefinitely to continue, and if this House persists in refusing to provide that education the Catholics of Ireland unquestionably will have to take measures to secure that education elsewhere; and if it is not possible for higher education to be obtained for the Catholics in Ireland a very considerable section, at all events, will see to it that higher education is obtained elsewhere. That course has been followed by Irishmen in days gone by; and there is no reason why, if justice is to be continuously refused, that course should not be adopted again. It is for this House to consider whether the rising generation of Irishmen, if they have to be educated in Paris, Germany, Spain Rome, or elsewhere, would bring into Irish public life and Irish social life generally, an element which would be altogether satisfactory to the Government of this country from the point of view 211 of the Government itself. The question is a serious one and we are very sensible of the importance of it. We are also determined to deal with it at the earliest opportunity. The reasons why we feel so strongly upon this question are very simple and plain. It is recognised in Ireland generally, that this question of University education is not merely a rich man's question or one which merely affects a small section of the population, but it is also a poor man's question, a question which affects every section, every class, and every interest. Higher education is the very first necessity of progress, and almost I may say of existence in any civilised country in modern times. If it were only for the purpose of taking advantage of the limited opportunities which are afforded us now under the system of local government in Ireland, it is perfectly evident that university education is absolutely essential to meet the necessities of the country. In regard to our agriculture and all our economic and industrial questions, it is manifest that higher education is a first necessity under the conditions of modern life. It has come to be regarded that this grievance under which Irishmen labour is a universal grievance, and the feeling is that it is one in which every section of the Irish people has a deep and vital interest. In the course of this debate we may be asked questions as to the right of the Irish people to demand this university. I decline to argue the point, for it is simply ridiculous at this time of day to argue against the right of a people to be educated in their own country in their own way. It is recognised by every enlightened Government in the world that its first duty is to provide the fullest and amplest means of education for those over whom it rules, and the right of the Irish people to that I am not disposed to argue just now. The rulers of this Empire have a great and widespread responsibility, and it ought to appeal to their Imperial instincts to recognise their duties in this most important matter as far as the education of Irishmen is concerned. A very interesting Parliamentary paper was circulated yesterday in this House, and I would invite hon. Members interested in this question to study this Return. It gives a record of what has been done by foreign countries in connection with Catholic University 212 education. I do not propose to go into the details of this publication, but I will draw attention to the facts of the case in regard to one important and advancing power. I will take the case of Protestant Germany. The Government is Protestant, and speaking generally, Germany is a Protestant country. A most important section of Germany is unquestionably a Protestant section, and yet we find that in the Protestant province of Prussia you have four purely Catholic Universities, and in the whole of Germany, governed by a Protestant Government, there are no less than eight State Catholic Universities. If Protestant Germany can subsidise Catholic universities without any great injury to its Imperial progress or advancement, why should England not take a leaf out of Germany's book and allow at least one Catholic University to be established in Ireland? If you examine into the case of your own Empire you will find that even in your own dependencies—in New South Wales and Canada, for instance—you have Catholic universities subsidised by the State, and their existence in no way interferes with the progress of those colonies or with your Imperial interests in either of those two great dependencies. On this question of sectarian universities might I ask the House to consider how many universities you have in England, Scotland, and Wales? Will any hon. Member inform me how many of those universities are not sectarian in the same sense in which an Irish Catholic university could be held to be sectarian—namely, that the education imparted in them is in sympathy with the religious convictions of the students? When you come to discuss the question of sectarianism in relation to your own universities you must admit that the existing universities in England, Scotland, and Ireland are quite as sectarian in their character as a Catholic University for Ireland is supposed to be likely to be. How then can there be any harm in one Catholic University for Ireland? Protestant theology is taught in Oxford, in Cambridge, in Edinburgh, in Aberdeen. Why should Catholic theology not be taught in Dublin or in Galway? Catholic theology is taught in Protestant Prussia. Why should it not be taught in Catholic Ireland? Catholic theology is taught in the university in Canada and in the university in New 213 South Wales, and I have yet to learn that any injury has come to the State from allowing this teaching to be carried on in either of these universities. How much force is there after all in this argument? Let me remind the House what happened immediately after the conquest of the Soudan. The very first thing you did was to establish a Mussulman college or university. The interests of the Empire are not imperilled by the teaching of Mussulman theology in Omdurman, and why should they be imperilled by the teaching of Catholic theology in Dublin or Cork? It has been contended that the Catholics of Ireland could have university education if they chose—that they could go to Trinity College or any of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. We all know perfectly well that there is absolutely no force in that argument. These colleges are closed to Irish Catholics. Catholic Ireland will never accept a university education from any of them, and I think this House ought to be the very first to recognise the strenuous insistence upon principle which Ireland makes in this matter. There is no use in telling us that we can have university education in colleges to which our people will never go. The position for a wise Government to take up would be to provide such university education for the people as would satisfy their wants and aspirations. We shall be told possibly that the present is not an auspicious time for raising this question. I think, however, it is an extremely auspicious time. We have in office a Government which has a huge majority. Very important members of that Government are in favour of the establishment of a Catholic University in Ireland, and I believe if the rank and file of the supporters of the Government were canvassed it would be found that the majority are in favour of such a university. The Government possess an enormous, an overwhelming majority, and as far as we can see it is likely that the Government will maintain that majority. I say, therefore, that there could not be a better or a more auspicious time for dealing with this question. If those who believe in doing justice to Ireland in this matter only have the courage of their convictions, the question can be settled now. Surely it cannot be merely a question of the money for establishing a Catholic University in Ireland. There is more money being spent in one week's 214 fighting in South Africa than would cover the cost. I think that in meeting the strong wishes of the people of Ireland the Government would be acting wisely in an Imperial sense, and would be making one of the best possible political investments by helping to encourage higher education in Ireland. I beg, Sir, to second the motion.
To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, 'In the opinion of this House, the provision for Universities is totally inadequate, and none can be regarded as equitable which does not secure for the Roman Catholics of Ireland, equally with other members of the community, facilities for University Education without violence to their religious feeling,' instead thereof—(Mr. J. P. Farrell.)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
*MR. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)
The House has listened with pleasure to the exceedingly eloquent and temperate speeches of the mover and seconder of this Amendment, and while endeavouring to answer their arguments I will also endeavour to emulate the moderation with which they put forward their views. The first thing that surprised me in the speech of the hon. Baronet was that he quoted the Return which was issued the day before yesterday in support of his statement that every important country in the world had university education under sectarian influences. But I do not find that stated in the Return. Looking at the financial side of the question, the financial support given in any European country to any form of sectarian university education is excessively small. I should have wished if one or other of the hon. Gentlemen while condemning the present university system in Ireland had given some little explanation of what that system is. It was better from their point of view not to have entered fully into the facts of the present system, because if they had made such a statement their whole complaint would at once have been answered by it. I shall endeavour presently to lay before the House a very concise statement of the position of university education at this moment in Ireland, and I think it will prove that the supposed grievance of the Irish Roman Catholics is one entirely 215 of sentiment and religious intolerance, and not based on any practical hardship or grievance. We are asked to redress that sentimental grievance by doing, as I hope I shall be able to show, a social and educational grievance to Ireland. Hon. Members opposite say that Irish Roman Catholics cannot go to the present universities and colleges in Ireland. What they mean is that some Roman Catholics will not go to these universities and colleges. They are not prevented by any law for which this House is responsible, or which we can in any way alter. They are prevented by rules laid down by their spiritual pastors and masters over which this House has no control. The Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland do their very best to prevent Roman Catholic students going to these universities and colleges, and then they ask their representatives here to complain that so few go. From the tone of the debates on this question one would imagine that the position of affairs was that the English Government had at some time or another established out of State money, and had from time to time maintained out of State money, university institutions for Protestants in Ireland, but had all along refused, and still refused, to provide similar educational facilities for Roman Catholics. That is the view expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but it is not founded on fact. I would remind the House that the State did not found and does not bear the expense of Trinity College. It did not do anything of the kind.
*MR. GRANT LAWSON
If Trinity College is maintained by the State let the hon. and learned Member show any Vote of this House that will prove it. The hon. Members who proposed and seconded this Amendment spoke of the splendid opportunities for university education given to the people of England and Scotland. But they forgot the financial side of the question. They forgot that these universities were not provided by the State, but were endowed by private persons. The State did not supply one penny for these educational institutions. It is not equality, as the Amendment states, with other members of the community that is asked for. Ireland has 216 equality in all matters of legislation and in all matters of grants of money. It is inequality, it is a specially privileged position which the Roman Catholics in Ireland ask for. What is the present state of things in Ireland? Any directory will show that there are three universities in Ireland—Dublin University, with Trinity College; the Royal University, with the three affiliated Queen's Colleges, which also acts as an examining body for students belonging to any school or college in Ireland of every class and denomination; and the Catholic University of Ireland. The Dublin University is unsectarian and not State supported, the Royal University is State supported and unsectarian, and the Catholic University is provided for by private effort, and is not supported by the State, but is intensely sectarian. It has, however, received large grants from the State as far as regards one of its colleges—the College of Maynooth. Maynooth College received a building grant of £30,000, and in 1869 the contribution towards its maintenance, which was always paid by this House, was commuted for a sum of over £360,000.
*MR. GRANT LAWSON
I agree—it was out of the funds of the Protestant Church. The one instance of a sectarian State-aided college in Ireland is the College of Maynooth for Roman Catholics, and it is the section of the community which enjoys the advantage of this inequality which comes to this House to complain that the state of affairs is not equal. There is Trinity College, which ever since 1793 has been open to Roman Catholics. I should like to read some words from the University Tests (Dublin) Act of 1873, in order to show what really is the enactment for which Parliament was responsible in regard to Trinity College, Dublin. In the first place, that Act provides that students, graduates, teachers, or holders of office are not to be required—To subscribe to any article or formulary of faith, or to make any declaration, or take any oath respecting his religious belief or profession, or to conform to any form of public worship, or to do any act in connection with any form of public worship, or to belong to any specified church, sect, or denomination; nor shall any person be compelled in the said 217 university or college to attend the public worship of any church, sect, or denomination to which he does not belong.Now, who were the "holders of office" to which this most tolerant Act applied? By another section of the Act they were, with the exception of the professorship or lectureship of Divinity, to include the—Professorship, assistant or deputy professorship, public readership, protectorship, lectureship, assistant lectureship, provostship, fellowship, studentship, tutorship, scholarship, or exhibition";And then the Act adds——Any other office not in this section specified payable out of the revenues of the university or college.Now, could there be wider words than these? Is it possible to throw open a door to a university much wider than that? Catholic students do go to Trinity College, Dublin, it is admitted, without any harm to their spiritual faith. The hon. Gentleman who proposed the Amendment said that some students had come untainted through the Protestant atmosphere of Dublin University. [HON. MEMBERS: No!] Well, can any hon. Member point to any Roman Catholic who has gone to that college and has come out tainted; or to any attempt to proselytise Roman Catholic students? It is said that there is a Protestant atmosphere about Trinity College; but this is not a chemical laboratory, and we are not charged here with the care of the atmophere. So far as legislation is possible, we have thrown open the doors of Trinity College as widely as possible. I turn now to the Royal University of Ireland, which was established by Royal Charter in 1880 to take the place of the Queen's University—the change being specifically made in order to enable Roman Catholic students to compete for the degree of the Royal University without residence at the Queen's Colleges. Again, a wide open door was provided for Roman Catholics; and the Royal University was endowed with £20,000 from the Irish Church funds. It was said by the hon. Member for West Cavan that all the professors in the Queen's Colleges were Protestant.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
No; I did not say that. I said that the proportion of Protestant professors was greater in the Queen's Colleges than in the Royal University of Ireland.
*MR. GRANT LAWSON
The present Chief Secretary for Ireland was asked a question on this subject on March 15th, 1898, and, in reply, he said that—Of the Fellows, 19 are Roman Catholics in receipt of emoluments amounting to £6,168; 16 are Protestants of the different denominations, with emoluments amounting to £2,606.Now, it should be noted that most of these Roman Catholic Fellows are professors in Roman Catholic seminaries, and that they receive £400 a year as professors in the Royal University, so that to that extent these Roman Catholic seminaries receive assistance indirectly from the State. On the other hand, the Protestant Fellows are all Queen's College professors, and, therefore, teacher's in undenominational colleges. A word or two as to the State Endowed Queen's Colleges—Belfast, Cork, and Galway—which were founded by Royal Charter in 1845, by Sir Robert Peel's Conservative Government, "to afford all classes and denominations, without any distinction of religious creed whatever, an opportunity of pursuing a regular and liberal course of education." Any religious community might build halls of residence, appoint deans of residence, and found theological professorships in connection with these Queen's Colleges. The Chief Secretary said on March 15th, 1898, that the Presidents of Queen's Colleges at Cork and Galway were both Roman Catholics. So much for the professorships being monopolised by Protestants. He also said that of the 181 students at Cork, 98 were Roman Catholics; and of the 90 students at Galway, 36 were Roman Catholics. Looking at the returns for Galway, I find that the number of students from 1849–50 was 2,489, of which 1,048 were Roman Catholics, 711 members of the Church of Ireland, 618 Presbyterians, and 112 Wesleyans.
*MR. GRANT LAWSON
I do not say it is a sufficient number; but the fact that the number is not greater is not to be laid to the charge of this House but to the Roman Catholic priesthood. I come to the Catholic University of Ireland, established in 1854, which consists of six colleges, including Maynooth. Now, that university has no power of granting 219 degrees, as it has no charter, but it sends up its students to the Royal University to receive their degrees. If this was a proposal that that Catholic University should receive a charter and become a degree-granting university, I should not oppose it. But this proposal is not a request for a charter; it is a holding up of the hands for cash. [An HON. MEMBER on the Irish benches: Our own cash.] I am quite aware that a 21st or a 35th, or some such infinitesimal fraction will be Irish cash, but the vast bulk of the money will be found by Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Welshmen. I believe if a charter were granted to that university out of that nucleus, and from the donations of pious Roman Catholic founders, a Roman Catholic University could be raised up to which no person could offer rational objection. There are two ideas of university education in the United Kingdom. There is the idea of our older universities in England and of Trinity College, Dublin, of a highly classical and mathematical and expensive education, and there is also the Scotch idea of university education, which is of a very much lower type than ours. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no," and "Withdraw."] I am afraid I shall rouse the perfervid ingenium of my Scotch friends, but at any rate the Scotch universities provide an education of a somewhat lower class than the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. If the university education is narrow, then I do not think there will be a great many Roman Catholic students to go to it. It is misleading to count heads without considering what sort of heads they are. I doubt very much whether the proportion of Roman Catholics likely to make use of the class of education given in Oxford and Cambridge would be very large. But if you are thinking of a university education of a Scotch type a different state of affairs would come into play. Of that type there is now a university with an atmosphere not only undenominational in theory but in actual practice. We are told by my right hon. friend the First Lord of the Treasury that this new university would be set up "under conditions." But what guarantee have we that these conditions will be carried out and adhered to? No doubt Parliament could keep their hands on the purse strings; but we could not recover the building grants; for it is proposed that we should build and keep up the university buildings out of public funds, 220 and I doubt very much whether Parliament would see its way to evict the Roman Catholics out of the buildings if the conditions were not fulfilled. I would here suggest that the Irish Members should themselves bring in a Bill showing what it is they want, and what conditions they are willing to accept. I know that such a Bill would be out of order, because it would create a public charge; but, at any rate, it would obtain a First Reading, and be printed at the public expense, and we should see what the conditions really are which they propose. These conditions are supposed to re-assure Protestant parents; but I doubt very much whether Protestant parents in Ireland would have much faith in these paper assurances. Roman Catholic parents have the assurance of the experience of many years that no endeavour has been made to proselytise their sons at Trinity College and other universities. [An IRISH MEMBER: They do not go there.] But some go, and no charge has been made that those who do go were proselytised, or attempted to be proselytised. It would be many long years before Protestant parents would have a similar assurance, by experience, that if they sent their sons to this proposed University no attempt would be made to proselytise them. Then, how are you going to start this new university? My hon. friend speaks of the leaven of a certain amount in Trinity College; but where are you going to get the leaven in the case of the new university—the corresponding Protestant leaven to the Roman Catholic leaven in Trinity College? If the proposed new university is to be unsectarian, I maintain that it is unnecessary, because there are unsectarian colleges in Ireland at the present moment which are not made as full use of as they might be; and if it is to be sectarian, then I say that is a new departure; it is a thing never done before—a new departure which would lead us into foolish extravagance. For if the State can find a university for Roman Catholics, why not for all the other denominations which exist in the United Kingdom? All of them would claim from the State a similar privilege. In a Protestant State it would be tolerable for the State to endow a Protestant University, but what is not tolerable is that in a Protestant State the Government should endow a university of which the very 221 raison d'etre would be hatred of the State religion. Having dealt with the religious aspect I will now say a word or two on the social and educational side of the question. Do hon. Members really think that the establishment of this new university would promote the interests of education in Ireland? Would it not be merely to set up another weak university, whose degrees would have no social or commercial value in any part of the world? It is far better, in the interest of the youth of Ireland, that they should continue to study together. The one thing that ought to be encouraged in Ireland is that free intercourse between the young of different religions, so that friendship might be cemented. Are we to despair of doing that? This is a form of priestcraft, this shutting up of the young in watertight compartments to prevent contamination. It is a doctrine created especially for Irish consumption, and does not extend to this side of the Channel. Roman Catholics in England go to Oxford or Cambridge, and the Pope allows them to. Ireland is a free country, and the Government ought not to consent to the doctrines laid down by the Irish priests. Suppose that the priesthood laid it down that no Roman Catholic should work for a Protestant employer, would the State have to find Roman Catholic employers? I have endeavoured to argue this matter from a political, social, and religious point of view. I began by saying this is a sentimental grievance, and if this is an attempt to satisfy a sentimental grievance, is there no sentiment on the other side worthy of consideration? The consciences of many people in this country would be grievously hurt by such a proposal, and those who with difficulty are upholding the Protestant banner in the south of Ireland would feel that they had been delivered over to their enemies.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)
As I propose to vote for this resolution, I do not wish to give a silent vote, but to advance some of the reasons which permit me the unusual indulgence of voting in the same lobby with hon. Gentlemen opposite. The scheme of the First Lord of the Treasury to grant such a university as will satisfy the Roman Catholics of Ireland is practically the subject of discussion. Under that scheme the University is to have no test; all the endowments are to be free; and the 222 governing body is to be so constituted and maintained that the Roman Catholics upon it will predominate. They are so to predominate that no money is to be given for ecclesiastical or philosophical teaching or for teaching in modern history, because these subjects would be taught under the limitations which are considered necessary by the Roman Catholic Church. Now, my first inclination was adverse to that scheme, because there was an air of unreality about it. If it were to answer its purpose it must be substantially a Roman Catholic University. Casual Protestants might be attracted to it by prospects of pleasant society, good teaching, or endowment, but they would be few. Then why not have a strictly denominational university? Why require this freedom from tests, and why throw open the endowments? The answer, I confess, is not easy to find. But this may be said—the scheme of the First Lord of the Treasury holds the field; it is acceptable to many who would not assent to a strictly denominational university; and, more important, it is acceptable to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and particularly to the Bishops. Lastly, the scheme represents the sort of university which an Irish Legislature would, under the Home Ride Bill, have been able to create. There are Gentlemen on the other side who were supporters of the Home Rule Bill, and yet strenuous opponents of the scheme of the First Lord of the Treasury. I would suggest to them that, if they would not rob the orchard themselves, they would be willing to provide the ladder and prop it against the wall. But there is a more real objection raised to the scheme. It is asked, Why should not the Roman Catholics of Ireland go to Trinity College and to the other colleges which are open to them without risk to their religious opinions? Irish Members must forgive those familiar with our English Universities if we have some difficulty in understanding the Irish position. In Oxford University toleration may be said to be absolute. There are there two private halls, one set up by the Jesuits—a large and growing institution—and a smaller one set up by the Benedictines; while Roman Catholics are scattered about the University in almost every college as Fellows, scholars, and commoners. It is no wonder, therefore, at the first blush 223 that we should be surprised that there should be this desire for a separate University. I myself have taught Roman Catholics, and have examined them without finding either my faith or theirs injuriously affected. I wish with all my heart that Irishmen would go to the universities, where men of different creeds might learn to understand each other. But we must take them as we find them, and, as I understand, there is so rooted an antagonism between the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland and the Protestantism of the Irish Church, as to make the Irish Roman Catholic think it impossible that he could safely send his son to Trinity College. What, then, is to be said to this people who at the present moment, owing to their religious convictions, are destitute of university education, and who can only get it by the foundation of such a university as I have described? Are we to say to a hungry man, in whom we are bound to take an interest, "Either you shall dine at my table or you shall starve"? It is said that there is a great and sacred principle which prevents the endowment of a denominational university, the principle State money should not be spent for denominational purposes. This principle may furnish a good working rule, but I should require something of much higher authority to prevent me from according to the Irish Roman Catholics the opportunities which a university education gives. I notice that we never enforce our principles with a more Spartan severity than when we enforce them at the expense of other people; and never in a more unamiable character than in the effort to exclude others from the enjoyment of advantages which we ourselves possess. What was the result of the present state of things? The right hon. Member for Dublin University said in debate, in 1898, that out of 3,250,000 Roman Catholics in Ireland there were only 300 Roman Catholic students in the colleges. That shows that the Roman Catholics in Ireland are starved as to university education. The right hon. Member for the Montrose Burghs said in the same debate that he, and other Irish Secretaries, had been frequently obliged to pass over Roman Catholics for appointments because they did not enjoy the same educational advantages as Protestants. If we wish the administration of Ireland to be conducted sympathetically and cordially, how can we get what we want 224 when the great mass of the population are excluded from any prospect of appointments for want of the educational advantages enjoyed by the Protestant minority? There is another evil—less tangible, but none the less real. I have seen it dwelt upon by the First Lord of the Treasury. Although comparatively few of the great bulk of the community are able to enjoy the benefits of university education, yet the influence of university education upon those few has a penetrating and stimulating influence which is felt by all classes with whom they came in contact, and if the highest and most liberal form of education is cut off from the bulk of the community the intellectual life of that community is thereby impoverished and retarded. I may say that in voting for this resolution I am going back from the beliefs and traditions which I have maintained ever since I entered university life. I have always maintained in the strongest way that universities ought to be open and their endowments free, that the advance of learning should not be fettered and impeded by any anxieties as to the immediate or temporary effect of the new knowledge, or should seem to conflict with the religious truths in which I have been brought up. But this is a case in which it seems to me that I must be prepared to put my traditions and convictions on one side. If the Irish Roman Catholics are not willing to have any university education, but an education which must be given by a practically denominational university, I would say to them, "Take the risks and the responsibilities; we put the matter in your hands; it is for you to give your children the best education which your religious convictions allow"; and I would grant their denominational university as frankly and heartily as I shall vote for the resolution to-night.
§ *MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)
I am very sorry that a speaker who preceded me used terms of reproach in dealing with this grievance from which Ireland has been suffering. He led us to believe that Ireland was the most splendidly endowed of all countries in Europe with regard to education, and he asked, Why do Catholics not go to Trinity College, which is open to them? You might as well ask, Why do Catholics not go to the Protestant Church, which is open to them? He 225 remarked that Catholics in England found no difficulty in entering Protestant universities. Well, there is this difference. In England the Catholics are a sect; in Ireland Catholics are practically the nation. But let us look at these questions really as they are. I am a Protestant of the Protestants, believing as firmly as any man in the principles of Protestantism, and I yield to no man in this House in my adherence to those principles. In addition to being a Protestant I am a Nonconformist Free Churchman; but I believe also in the intellectual and critical results of the Protestant Reformation, as well as the religious and ethical advantages it has given to us, and my reason for standing up to speak on this occasion as a Free Churchman is to see if we cannot possibly remove, to some slight degree, the non possumus and the inflexible attitude taken by some ultra-Protestants on this question. I have always believed in a free, nonsectarian, and undenominational university. I still believe in it, but can you force such an ideally free institution on Catholic Ireland? Let me first of all ask, have you such an ideal institution in the most Protestant country in Europe? Have you that free institution in England or in Scotland? We have in Wales. In Wales we have an approach to the most perfect system of a free, democratic, unsectarian university, and we are proud of it. But what about England? It is true that in Oxford and Cambridge you have no tests, but it is not true that you have no chapels of the Episcopalian established denomination there. In every college you have a chapel which belongs to one section of the Protestant community. More than that, you have professorships of divinity and theology endowed, and the professors who fill these chairs, and fill them in the most distinguished way, belong exclusively to one church. No Nonconformist can hold theological chairs in either Oxford or Cambridge universities. They are filled by members of the Church of England and by members of that Church alone. The same thing applies to Fellows of Divinity. No Nonconformist, no Jew, no Roman Catholic need apply for a Divinity Fellowship. Take Scotland again, and surely we are proud of the Scottish universities. In Wales we are proud of them, for it was to them we sent Nonconformist students when Oxford and 226 Cambridge had not abolished tests. But even in Scotland, where you have practically the best trained intellect in Europe, the universities are not free from this sectarian taint. All the Divinity Faculties in all the four universities of Scotland are entirely in the hands of one church—the Presbyterian Established Church—and that to the exclusion, I venture to say, of the most distinguished theological scholars in Scotland. Just think of scholars like Dr. Davidson, the late Dr. Bruce, Dr. Marcus Dods, and Professor George Adam Smith, shut out from teaching in the Scottish universities. So in Protestant Scotland after enjoying the full effect of humanism and the Reformation, the universities are not quite the ideal institutions we would wish them to be. Is it fair then to apply the ideal principle to Ireland—Catholic Ireland? Is it fair to make Catholic Ireland a virgin soil to plant your ideal and reformed university? Again let us look at the primary education of England. You have Church of England and Wesleyan schools, and you have for the training of primary school teachers colleges which are for the most part denominational. In Scotland, again, all the training colleges are denominational. But what about Wales? In Wales we have a wholly free, democratic university. Therefore, that will not lend itself very much to my argument. We had at Lampeter, before the establishment of the University of Wales, a teaching institution for higher education. It was controlled by the Church of England. Tests were abolished, and it opened its doors to laymen as well as to those seeking holy orders. Did Nonconformists send their sons there? Not at all, except a Nonconformist parent here and there who desired his son to become a priest of the Anglican Church. Therefore the Welsh nation, the Nonconformists, were panting for equality of opportunity. They got it first of all by the establishment of Aberystwyth College. When that college was founded, who became the head of it? Do you think for a moment that the Welsh Nonconformists, through their delegates and scholars—those who had their fingers on the pulse of the national life—elected a Churchman to be head of the university? They elected the most distinguished theological scholar modern Wales has produced—the late Dr. Thomas 227 Charles Edwards. He it was who endeared the college to the hearts of the Welsh Nonconformist nation. By appointing such a man at the head of the college they gave it a complexion and flavour which was congenial to the Welsh people. To the success of Aberystwyth College was due the foundation of the two other similar institutions at Bangor and Cardiff, and ultimately the obtaining of the Charter of our Welsh University. These three colleges—the constituents of the university—educate the sons and daughters of all classes, rich and poor alike. Take the statistics of Aberystwyth College. You will find one-third of the students, males and females, are from the labouring and artisan class. More than half belong to the homes of the peasantry. So we have here a university which practically takes hold of the whole people, and contributes intellectually to the Empire. We are beginning even to send teachers from Wales to Scotland. Now let us turn to Catholic Ireland. What have we there among people who believe in the Church as the religious authority, a different thing altogether to what Welsh Nonconformists believe? The question of university and higher education must, as regards Ireland, be approached from a different point of view. The Catholic Bishops of Ireland say that they claim nothing but equality of treatment, and here I agree with them. I know that the defenders of Trinity College will say "Trinity College is a great historical institution. It has produced the most distinguished Irish scholars, and it has most distinguished professors." All the professors are Protestants; all the fellows, I believe, are likewise Protestants; the vast majority of the students are Protestants, six or seven per cent. only are Catholics. Its Provost is certainly one of the most cultured scholars, but he is also a famous Protestant controversialist, who has contrived by his writings to irritate the minds of his Catholic fellow Christians. He has called them by the offensive name of "Romanists," and has termed their religion and doctrines "Romish." Surely you cannot expect Roman Catholic parents to send their sons with impunity to such a college. But apart from that, the college chapel, where there is a daily service, is Protestant and Episcopalian. The whole institution is Protestant in its atmosphere. 228 I think Catholic Ireland deserves better treatment at the hands of Protestants than that. I believe the authorities of Trinity College are very much to blame for the existing grievances and wrongs in connection with Catholic education. If they had interpreted Protestantism from the highest point of view they would have done away with some of the exclusiveness of that institution, and would have invited their Catholic fellow Christians to harmony and union with them in that institution. They have not done that. [An HON. MEMBER: Yes, they have.] At one period Irish scholars were the finest in Europe. Justice has not been done their labours and influence by British writers, and historians. You have weighty German, French, and Italian writers, who understand what the Irish monks did from the fifth century on to the eleventh, not merely in Ireland, Scotland, and England, but on the Continent, where they were pioneers of learning and sowed the seed of that civilisation and ripe culture enjoyed by Germany and Switzerland in our time. How is it that Catholic Ireland fails to come into proper union with the Protestants of Ulster and with the English Government that has been behind that Protestant province? I think you will learn a lesson from the history of Wales. In Wales we are not only believers in our nationality, but also in the Empire which, through the Tudors, we helped to build, for the Tudors had Welsh blood in them. The Tudors in their turn sympathised with the Welsh people. Under their auspices juster laws flourished, the Bible was translated into Welsh. The Reformation spread by means of Welsh scholars. There was no attempt to suppress the language and the literature loved by the people. Anyone who knows anything about Celtic literature knows that before the Protestant Reformation Wales and Ireland thought very much alike, lived very much alike, worshipped very much alike. The Tudor dynasty changed all that. We have become Protestants and loyal to the Empire. Ireland remains Catholic, and has often been in rebellion. Why? Because the Tudors and other rulers forced upon the people measures which alienated their sympathies. Their motive may have been right, but their method was hopelessly wrong. They employed Englishmen to 229 do everything, and Englishmen did not quite understand the Celtic mind. Englishmen are above all practical. They are generous in act and deed when they have seen how to act. The Irish are generous in thought. Is it the way to plant religious educational training? The Reformation was forced upon them by an adventitious growth. You cannot cultivate the religious and intellectual life of a nation by artificial and foreign methods. That must have its source in the mind and heart of the people themselves. It is said that Ireland is still a priest-ridden nation. If it be so, what is your remedy? Is it to deny her children the advantages and blessings of a university education, and to render them impatient under the deprivation of their natural rights? The love of Irishmen for education cannot be denied. Under the most detestable penal laws hedge-schools were kept when to open regular schools was forbidden. That fine and good man, Cardinal Newman, did his utmost for Catholic education, but was crippled in his endeavour. Mr. Gladstone failed to surmount the obstacle. They do not demand or desire a Roman Catholic University, but a University where Catholic youth may enter without any conscientious scruple. There would be no tests, therefore it would be open to Protestants. There might be a great deal of obscurantism about the training. I wish I could say there was no obscurantism about our Protestantism. The Catholic youth in such a university would be taught, according to the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, no theology. There would not be the endowment of any Catholic chair. They would be taught Latin, Greek, literature, modern languages, science, mathematics, medicine, and law. I ask, in all seriousness, would the House believe for a moment that if you have a generation of Irish youth taught these subjects they could not penetrate with a flash of their imagination the obscurantism of the hierarchy of any religious body? We believe now that the time has come to plant a university for Catholics in Ireland alongside Trinity College. What would be one practical result? You would have a healthy rivalry and strong competition between the Catholic educated youths and Protestants for the Civil Service. I have often 230 heard the Irish Secretary say that Catholic youths failed to pass the Civil Service examinations because they were not as efficiently trained in knowledge and higher education as Protestants. Remove the grievance and bring the best of the Catholic youth of Ireland to compete with the best of the Protestants. That is one way to make Ireland loyal and happy. We have recently rejoiced a great deal in Irish valour. We have seen the wearing of the shamrock, and Her Majesty the Queen is about to visit Ireland. Are these insignificant signs? I believe these signs can touch the nation into finer issues. I hope the British nation, through Parliament, will in this matter of higher and university education take measures to help Irishmen to get out of their exclusiveness and their national barrier, and enable them to compete with the rest in promoting the harmony and solidarity of the Empire.
§ *MR. LECKY (Dublin University)
The House will not be surprised that I should make a few remarks on the very severe criticisms which the hon. Member who has just spoken has made with regard to Trinity College—criticisms for which I contend there is no historical justification. As far back as 1793—long before the universities in England—Trinity College threw open her degrees to Roman Catholics. One of the strongest and most able men who ever advocated Catholic emancipation was Lord Plunket, who was her representative. In 1854 the University founded a number of non-foundation scholarships, free from all religious disabilities. In 1867, at the expresss request of the University of Dublin, a number of important professor ships were thrown open to Roman Catholics. Then, in 1873, came the great Emancipation Act, connected with the name of Mr. Fawcett, by which every post of emolument, honour, and power in Trinity College, from the highest to the lowest, with the single exception of the divinity professorships, was thrown open to the Roman Catholics without restriction. I contend that against a university which can show such a record as that, the charge of bigotry is one which cannot be sustained. It is said that Roman Catholics cannot go to that university. My answer to that is that, with the exception of 231 O'Connell, there is hardly a single illustrious Roman Catholic Irish layman who has not been an alumnus of it. Nearly all the Roman Catholic Judges on the Irish Bench have been educated in Trinity College. The same may be said of Lord Morris in the Court of Appeal. The present Lord Chief Justice of England has been through it, and I might, I believe, add to the list the eloquent and brilliant orator who now leads the united Irish party opposite. It has been said, too, that our university has not been in touch with Irish life and literature. Here, again, surely it is a sufficient answer to say that we have a professor of Irish; that we have another professor who is the first living authority about the Brehon law, and that by far the larger proportion of those distinguished in Celtic literature have been through the University of Dublin. There is Bishop Reeves, one of the greatest Celtic scholars who has ever lived; there is Professor Stokes, who has written one of the best books on Celtic ecclesiastical history; there are Dr. Todd, Bishop Graves, and many others. If Catholics are prepared to accept the system of mixed undenominational education without any teaching of their own religion our education is absolutely pure. No one can possibly discover anything in the course at Trinity College which is in any single way contradictory to the Roman Catholic faith. As far as the mixed education is concerned, it is perfectly open to Roman Catholics of the present day. I will go further. We have appointed a Presbyterian professor to teach the Presbyterian students their own religion, and it is an open secret—indeed it is not secret at all—that the University has long been perfectly ready to appoint a Catholic professor to teach Catholic students their own divinity if they would only accept it; while if there were a sufficient number, I do not believe that there would be the slightest difficulty in obtaining a chapel for them. My own belief about this question is that there is in Ireland no want of provision for a mixed education for the benefit of Roman Catholics. If mixed education is accepted at all by them, Trinity College will give it in the best and fullest form, and without the smallest interference with their faith. If they do not wish to go to Trinity College, there are the Queen's Colleges, two of which are in the very heart of Catholic Ireland, both of 232 which a very short time ago had Catholics at their head, and which have a large proportion of Catholic students. As far as the atmosphere goes, it of course depends greatly on the students. We have, unfortunately, not many Roman Catholics in Trinity College, though we have more than has been stated by hon. Gentlemen opposite. The number, on the average, is about from 8 per cent. to 10 per cent. of the students. But this is simply because every effort possible had been made by the bishops for years past to prevent Roman Catholics from going into it. I cannot say I like the scheme which the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury brought forward. I cannot say I like it, because I do not think it altogether a genuine one. It is meant to provide a mixed undenominational education, with the whole governing body Catholic. I believe this must turn into a purely sectarian education. My hon. friend the Member for Oxford University said it would be practically sectarian; for my own part I should prefer it being openly and avowedly so. I believe there are a certain number of persons in Ireland who absolutely refuse to go into any college which is not completely under the ascendency of their bishops. If they are to be gratified at all, I should like it to be done by an institution purely and frankly sectarian. Speaking for myself, I have not the least hesitation in saying that I wish such an institution to be liberally endowed. The type of opinion represented by this Roman Catholic claim is one which is exceedingly well known all over the Continent. All over the Continent the bishops of that church have been demanding the ascendency over university education, though they have not succeeded in obtaining it. And in this connection the Parliamentary Return just published, and entitled "Reports from Her Majesty's representatives abroad of the provision made in foreign countries for the university education of Roman Catholics," is one of the most instructive and interesting Returns on this subject I have ever read, and I hope every Member of the House will carefully examine and digest it. As far as I can see, there are three different types of university which have been set up in the principal Roman Catholic countries. In a large number of these countries university education is completely and absolutely secularised. The Returns say that they 233 can draw no distinction between Protestants and Roman Catholics, because they never ask the religion of those who go into the university, and because they never teach them any kind of theology. That is true of a certain number of State universities in the most Roman Catholic countries. There is another type which you find in Germany which is entirely under lay influence, with one great exception. The secular education is entirely outside ecclesiastical control, but there is the Catholic divinity school, which is under the authority of the bishops. Besides these, there are some few countries in which the Catholics are allowed to set up universities of their own, the funds of which come from the Catholic bodies themselves, and not from the State, and these Catholic universities have the right to give degrees. The most important of these institutions is the free University of Louvain, which was avowedly founded by the Roman Catholic Episcopate of Belgium as a university where the arts and sciences should be taught "by professors who hold the Orthodox faith, and think rightly of the Roman Catholic religion," while all its students must profess the Catholic religion and perform its duties. The State Universities in Belgium are absolutely secular; there is no distinction made between the different graduates, but this university is entirely under ecclesiastical influence; the Bishops preside over it, and do pretty much as they like. This university was copied in Ireland, and is the model of the Catholic College which is now in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. There are, however, two important distinctions between the Catholic College in St. Stephen's Green and the free University of Louvain. The latter can give degrees to its own members, while the Catholic College cannot, but is obliged to go to the Royal University and enter into competition with other bodies, a principle which secures a higher standard of proficiency. On the other side, the University of Louvain does not draw a single penny from any State source, but is entirely a voluntary body. This is not true in regard to the Catholic University in Ireland, because, by an ingenious arrangement devised by Lord Beaconsfield, the Catholic College in St. Stephen's Green have been made fellows of the Royal University, and as such derive an income of very 234 nearly, if not quite, £7,000 a year from the State. In my opinion, it would be better if that endowment were frankly and directly given to the Roman Catholic College. The true basis upon which this question should be solved is not by setting up a new and costly institution, an institution which pretends to be unsectarian but really is not—an institution which, if it was so unsectarian as to draw Protestants into it, would immediately bring about the atmosphere so much denounced and the mixed system which has been again and again condemned. I think it would be much better to take the college which is already set up by Roman Catholics in Stephen's Green as representing the thing they themselves desire, and do something to extend and more largely endow it. I do not know much about this college or the students in it, who are not very numerous, but everything I have heard about its teaching is in its favour. I know our people in Trinity College think it is a good education. It has an excellent medical school. The leading professors are men who are very much respected. One member of the staff is, in my opinion, one of the most universally honoured men in Ireland—I mean Father Finlay, who has done so much work, in connection with the Vice President of the Irish Board of Agriculture, in spreading industrial prosperity throughout Ireland. We are on the best of terms with the members of this college, and I believe few people are more popular in Trinity College than Father Finlay, when he appears there. A great deal has been said about the immense demand for Catholic University education in Ireland. I think it would be interesting to have some more precise knowledge about what is the extent of the problem with which we have to deal. It is all nonsense to talk about three-fourths of the people of Ireland being Catholic and wanting a Catholic University education; agricultural labourers in no country in the world can possibly have much to say to university education. That is not in the least a test to go by. I might mention in this connection that nearly one out of every five electors at the last election professed not to be able to read the name on the ballot-paper.
§ *MR. LECKY
A much better test would be to take the number of 235 Roman Catholics in the learned professions. We must also remember the divinity students. Roman Catholic divinity students were already amply provided for at Maynooth. Maynooth had an endowment of £26,000 a year up to the time of the disendowment of the Established Church, and it then received a large grant of not very far short of £400,000, on the interest of which a college is supported. In fact, Roman Catholic divinity students are practically educated at the expense of the English Government. This very considerably diminishes the number for whom university education is demanded. A great deal has been said about our divinity school in Trinity College. It is a school which does not in the least affect anybody who is not going into the Church of Ireland. It corresponds with the very much more largely endowed divinity school which exists at Maynooth. The divinity professors at Trinity College have no part whatever in the government of the university. It is quite true that our present Provost, who is one of the most versatile and brilliant men I have ever met, was at one time a divinity professor; but it was not because he was a divinity professor that he was made Provost, but because he is one of the most eminent mathematical scholars in Europe. Our divinity students simply consist of those who are going into the Church of Ireland, and the college lends them its lecture-room. We wish the connection between the divinity school and the university to last, partly, no doubt, for financial reasons, because the divinity fees are rather more than is required for the payment of the divinity professors, but also for another reason. One of the first principles of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been again and again brought forward in the debates about Maynooth, is that their priests ought to be educated entirely apart from laymen. There is a great speech of Mr. Shiel's which I dare say many hon. Members have read, on the subject of the endowment of Maynooth, in which he put this necessity in the strongest possible way. In our Church we take exactly the opposite view. In the Church of Ireland it is felt in the strongest way that it is desirable that our ministers shall have the best purely secular education which the country can afford, and we think it exceeedingly desirable that in their youth 236 they should mix with members intended for other professions and of other denominations. We think that this is not only good for the ministers themselves, but for the university also. Those who are going into the sacred profession, presumedly represent a higher average level of moral character than others, and we believe that it is an exceedingly good thing both for themselves and their fellow students that they should, during the whole of their residence in Trinity College, be in constant contact with men who are going into other professions and with men of other opinions and denominations. With regard to the divinity school, some Roman Catholics have been talking of it as if it destroyed the undenominational character of our university, and was a danger to their faith. My answer is that no member of that faith ever goes into the divinity school or is ever expected to go there, and that therefore no such danger exists. It is perfectly true that members of other denominations may be taught mathematics and classics at another hour of the day in the same hall in which divinity students have been taught before, but I am not aware that the earlier course leaves any dangerous microbes behind it. I refer to this subject also because I know it is a favourite idea with a certain number of Nonconformists, who are very much opposed to a Catholic University, to secularise, as they call it, Trinity College by driving the divinity school out of it. What I want to impress on those who hold this idea is that by doing so they may undoubtedly do some harm to the Church of Ireland, and considerable harm to Trinity College itself, which may possibly be gratifying to some theological minds, but they will not take a single step towards settling this Irish question or reconciling Roman Catholics. As far as mixed education goes, you cannot improve very much upon the present state of things, unless you get what Trinity College, and, I believe, Queen's Colleges also, would be perfectly willing to give—namely, some teachers to teach Roman Catholics their own religion. A great many Roman Catholics accept this position. It is not merely in the past that eminent Roman Catholics have gone to Trinity College and the Queen's Colleges. There are Roman Catholics at Trinity College now, and there are many more at the Queen's Colleges, while there are also those 237 who go to Oxford and Cambridge, which are quite as undenominational and unsectarian as our university, and who, as my hon. friend the Member for Oxford University has said, get on there perfectly well and without the slightest danger of losing their faith or of doing harm either to their neighbours or themselves. But I believe there is a discontented residuum. There are a certain number of persons in Ireland who, not I think spontaneously, but in consequence of the dictation of their priests, ask for something more, who want to have some kind of college which is more completely and entirely in its secular teaching dominated by their own ecclesiastics. Catholics have this at Louvain, but they could not get any State endowment for it. We are more liberal. We do give indirectly a certain endowment, and by doing that I think we have very much conceded the principle. I hope the time may come when the Nonconformist conscience will come to the conclusion that a little more money so spent would be extremely good economy, and would go far to settle the question. I am quite aware that I have got very much into the bad books of some of my most distinguished Roman Catholic friends by advocating any sectarian Roman Catholic University or college, and everybody who knows what is the real opinion of a large number of the Roman Catholic gentry knows that they look with horror upon such a system. I believe, however, that a good many Irishmen desire it. And for my own part I think that a small expenditure—I do not think a large expenditure would be required, for I do not believe that the students would be very numerous—on a purely sectarian establishment would be extremely good economy, and, on the whole, beneficial.
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for the Arfon Division of Carnarvonshire with surprise, in the first place because of its extreme pessimism, and, secondly, because of its inconsistency. My hon. friend is one of a band of young Welshmen who have been engaged in the educational struggle of the last few years which has had the splendid result he has described to-night. He has told us that Wales has its undenominational 238 university, and that the educationalists of Wales are now placed in a position far superior to that of the educationalists of England and Scotland. Then what does he do? Does he say to the Liberals of England and Scotland, "Go thou and do likewise"? No! He points to the inequalities which still remain at Oxford and Cambridge, and instead of keeping before him the ideal which has been guiding some of us for many years, he advocates the lowering of the flag of religious equality, and submitting to what he regards as the inevitable. Instead of putting those institutions in such a position as he himself would like to have them, he recommends Liberal educationalists to set up sectarian institutions elsewhere, in which all the evils against which he has been fighting in Wales will be reproduced and perpetuated. I am sorry to part company with my hon. friend, but I intend to adhere to the ideal which he thinks cannot possibly be realised, and I hope to continue to be associated with those who, encouraged by the victories of the past, will persist in the fight until all these sectarian barriers in national institutions are broken down and perfect religious equality everywhere prevails. The speeches of the mover and the seconder of this motion gave us, I think, nothing to complain of in regard to their temper or their tone. The complaint which I make of them is that which I ventured to make last session, namely, that they appear to have taken it for granted that there is only one side to this question; that there are no serious objections, and that nothing more has to be done in order to secure the fulfilment of their designs than to overcome the timidity of the First Lord of the Treasury, and, possibly, the bigotry of English Nonconformists. According to the statements of the mover and the seconder of the motion the Roman Catholics of Ireland have no educational advantages whatever. They objected to Trinity College, Queen's Colleges, and the Royal University, and they even extended their grievance from Ireland to Scotland, and said that the universities there were Presbyterian. I am one of those who deny that the great inequalities which have been described in such general terms actually exist. The mover of the Resolution will not deny the fact that there is an open door to all these institution. Neither 239 would he deny that a considerable number of members of the party to which he belongs have availed themselves of the advantages offered by the Queen's Colleges, Trinity College, and the Royal University. But what does he say in reply to that fact? He says that those who have availed themselves of these advantages have been evading their religious responsibilities. Those who are so censured will have something to say in their defence, for they may ask, how is it that a generation ago Roman Catholics did avail themselves of these institutions, and how is it that the objections which are now urged were not then urged when the Roman Catholics in considerable numbers entered these institutions? The objection to Catholics being educated in these institutions is quite a modern idea, and it fully explains this demand for a Roman Catholic University. The time was when the heads of the Roman Catholic Church were not so adverse to the policy of mixed education. The policy of the present generation of Catholic bishops differs from that of their predecessors, for they have put a ban upon these institutions, and large numbers of Roman Catholics have ceased to attend them. There is one point to which I wish to call special attention, and that is that those who are demanding this university in Ireland are asking for something which does not exist anywhere else, either in this or any other country. To illustrate this fact I wish to call attention to a document to which the hon. Baronet made a very slight allusion. I am referring to the paper placed in the hands of hon. Members of the House within this last week. So far back as 1897 the Foreign Secretary requested our representatives in foreign countries to send a Report upon university education. I am sorry that the Report has been so long in coming, for it would have been very convenient if it had been in our hands many months earlier. This Report contains descriptions from our own representatives of the state of things which exists in regard to the university education of Roman Catholics in twenty-two foreign countries, and the result is a most remarkable one; for it appears from the statements made by our representatives that Roman Catholic Universities created and endowed by the State and controlled by ecclesiastics exist 240 nowhere. I was surprised to hear the hon. Baronet speak of six State-institutions in Germany which he said were Catholic institutions. In the Report on university education in foreign countries I find the following passage, contained under the head of "Prussia"—No special arrangements exist in Prussia for the university education of Roman Catholics as such, except in regard to the study of Roman Catholic theology. The institutions of the Prussian State in which academical teaching is given admit all students who are otherwise duly qualified without distinction of creed.The writer goes on to say that special provision is made for the teaching of Catholic theology in certain universities which he names, and I am bound, in candour, to add that in those universities special provision is made for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church, so far as the faculty of theology is concerned. The authorities of the Romish Church have something in the nature of a veto upon the appointment of theological professors, and they have certain powers of supervision. But all these foreign universities are, apparently, free from ecclesiastical control, and are open to the holders of various religious creeds, and there is no evidence that the Roman Catholic laity are forbidden to attend these institutions. The Catholic atmosphere which we are asked to create in Ireland does not exist so far as these mixed institutions are concerned. Having in view these facts, I am justified in saying that those who are demanding the creation of a State-endowed university for the special benefit of Roman Catholics are asking for something which does not exist elsewhere, either in this or any other land. On the general question I wish to say that I oppose this motion, not because I am a Protestant or a Protestant Nonconformist; for my objection would be just as strong if a proposal were to be made for the creation of a university on behalf of the body to which I happen to belong, or on behalf of any other Nonconformist body. I am opposed in principle to a sectarian university, no matter in what interest it may be asked for. It seems to me that sectarianism is opposed to the very idea of a university, for the two terms are incompatible, and just in proportion as you introduce the sectarian element into these institutions you diminish their university character. In the next place, 241 I am among those who continue to be strenuously opposed to the principle of separate as distinguished from mixed education. I need not express opinions of my own upon this point, because there is an abundance of authorities in support of that view. The right hon. Gentleman the member for Dublin University made a remarkable speech in the year 1897 upon this question. He has himself described it as a half-hearted speech in favour of the proposal before the House. In my opinion, three-fourths of the speech was dead against the creation of a Catholic University, and only one-fourth in favour of the proposal. In the course of that speech, the right hon. Gentleman said that there could be no greater misfortune for Ireland than that the members of the Protestant and Roman Catholic religions, in their early days, should be entirely separated. In saying that the right hon. Gentleman only repeated what had been said upon former occasions. Mr. Isaac Butt issued a pamphlet some years ago in which he strenuously objected to separate education, and in that pamphlet there is a passage which I will quote, from an authority, which I am sure will have weight with hon. Gentlemen from the sister isle. Mr. Butt, in his pamphlet upon "The Problem of Irish Education," published in 1875, quotes from a pamphlet issued by Dr. Woodlock, the rector of the Catholic University, in which the doctor then wrote—In a mixed community, such as exists in these countries, it is of the greatest moment that the university stamp should not be one which would almost estrange the bearer and cut him off from his fellow countrymen, either by his own act or by their unwillingness to admit the value of this coinage; the literary and scientific coin should be such as would run current throughout the realm, because its value would be known to all. In other words, it is most important for the social interests of Catholics that the university degree borne by them should be a bona fide mark of distinction won in open competition with their fellow countrymen of all denominations, and not the result of a hole-and-corner examination, and the fruit of work done under the inspection of a few Catholic teachers approved and awarded by them, and of the value of which others would know little or nothing. It is also of the greatest importance that the true intellectual value of Catholic education should be publicly approved and recognised by all.I can add nothing to that weighty declaration, which I think must have some weight with the hon. Members who come 242 from the other side of the Channel. There is one other point to which I wish to make reference. In my opinion this is a retrograde proposal which is now before the House. Both Houses of Parliament, in passing a measure for the abolition of sectarian tests at Oxford and Cambridge, may not have thoroughly carried out the principle they affirmed, but in passing those measures they did affirm the principle that national institutions should be national in spirit and in aim. I quite admit it was an imperfect measure, and admit the force of the statements made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Arfon Division of Carnarvonshire; but our policy, as far as education is concerned, should be to continue along the road we have been marching for years past; instead of taking a step back and calling into being an institution which may advance the interests of a particular church; whereas the object of a university should be to further the interests of learning and promote the social well-being of the country.
§ *MR. MALCOLM (Suffolk, Stowmarket)
I have listened with pleasure to the able and weighty speeches which have been delivered on this subject. The question before the House is one of the greatest importance, and it has been argued year after year with great success in this House. The principle is one which has been supported by all classes of Irish society and Irish opinion, and it is a principle which is backed by the whole body of the Irish people and the Irish priesthood. The clearness and the temperateness of the arguments which have been advanced have every year been gaining ground and gathering support on this side. We have heard this Catholic University called by many hard names. We have heard it called a bribe to Ireland, a dole to the Catholics, and a sop to the Nationalists; but I do not think we need care very much about these names. They are phrases which have been ransacked from the library of ancient prejudice. I know that this claim is supported by the bulk of the Irish people through the voice of their elected representatives, and I know that they passionately long for opportunities for this higher education, so long as these can be obtained without injury to the faith of their fathers. It is therefore the duty of the Government to 243 encourage aspirations such as these, and it is the duty of all of us who value the higher education of the people to share with our neighbours that which we have got for ourselves. The retort has been made by the hon. Member who has just sat down that such educational advantages are already within the reach of Catholics. That is literally true, though practically it is false. If I want to rescue something from a fire I have to pass through the flames, but if I find the flames are so intense that I cannot reach my treasure, it might just as well be hundreds of miles away. So it is with Roman Catholic education at the present time in Ireland. What has been the position for the last fifty years? It has been one of admirable toleration on the part of Trinity College, Dublin, and Queen's College. They have thrown their doors open to all and sundry, and as a result brilliant Irish scholars have issued constantly from those colleges. Although that is so, yet the vital and underlying principle is left untouched. The priesthood is profoundly opposed to the Protestant atmosphere which exists there, and as a consequence the people obedient to their religion are still left craving for higher education. But having said that, I do not think this confession solves the difficulty at all. It is our duty here, and it is the duty of Irish Members opposite, to look fifty years forward and not fifty years backward. Are we content to see the brains of young Ireland wither and perish for want of proper nourishment, or shall we cast aside the remnants of our ancient prejudice and give them the facilities for which they ask? I should not fear the consequences of such action, for although our fathers may blame us now for supporting this motion, that will be nothing to the blame of our sons for resisting this claim. Surely we, as Unionists, have a special duty in the matter. We have refused Home Rule to Ireland and we have said that we are able to deal with Ireland and with Irish necessities. Here is a want, and here is a necessity, and how are we dealing with it? Year after year we have met it with an annual shrug of the shoulders, and a few somewhat antiquated observations upon the power of the Pope; yet all this time we are boasting of the self-government we are giving to Ireland. That local self-government has not a ghost of a chance so long 244 as we are stifling the education of the Catholics. We wish to fill Irish offices with educated Irishmen; these men will be Roman Catholics, of course; there is your demand, where is your supply? Now, may I say one word which I am afraid has often been said before upon the two main objections? It is said that Ireland will gain something which is not granted to England, and will be subjected to some exceptional treatment. It is within the recollection of the House that Ireland has been subjected to exceptional treatment which has been justified by circumstances; but if ever circumstances demanded exceptional treatment those circumstances are before us now in this debate. England, Scotland, and Wales desired undenominational education, and they got it; Ireland demands denominational education and I think that the circumstances justify the demand, and Ireland ought to have it. Of course there is the usual outcry against Roman Catholicism. We are told that Roman Catholicism is going to be fostered by public funds and that a great and serious danger may be expected therefrom. I think such an outcry comes from gentlemen of exceedingly nervous temperaments, and they appear to forget that three-fourths of Irish elementary schools, the industrial schools, to say nothing of Maynooth, are denominational. I cannot imagine what serious danger such nervous persons contemplate in granting a charter for a Roman Catholic University. I can only say, that in my mind there is far greater danger in the cruelty of depriving a student in his early manhood of that religious atmosphere which has been his guide and stay from childhood. Are we afraid of proselytising if we establish a university under Roman Catholic auspices? Why, we know that Trinity College and Queen's Colleges have thrown their doors open to all, and that they are open to capture now. History does not record that any attempt has been made to capture them by the Catholics of Ireland. The representatives of Irish Universities are in favour of this motion; but I do not think it requires very much imagination to picture the day when the power of Irish intellect will rise in its strength, and ask for shelter in some university, and, finding none, may lay siege to Dublin University and effect its capture. Let it not be supposed that this question which we 245 are now debating is of exclusive interest for this country and Ireland. The British Empire holds many creeds, and it boasts that it gives freedom to them all. Many thousands—possibly millions—of Her Majesty's subjects are Catholics; and you may be sure that this debate is being closely watched by all to whom this Parliament is synonymous for freedom of thought and education. I remember very well last year, when I paid a visit to my native city of Quebec, having long and interesting conversations with the French and English statesmen who so grandly uphold our rule in that Dominion. Constantly we talked upon this question of Roman Catholic education and upon the reluctance of the Protestant Parliament to grant it; and you may as well know it, have felt the slur and had the rooted idea that we considered Roman Catholics less loyal than ourselves. They pointed me to Laval University; I saw their priesthood within the precincts of Laval; among the Indians in this backwoods, on the rivers among the voyageurs. Everywhere the purest religion, the widest instruction, the most earnest devotion to the Queen and the Flag. I point you to-day to Laval, to the French Canadians, from Sir Wilfrid Laurier to the humblest habitant; to the love of Empire that those Roman Catholics have shown, and I ask that their idea of slur may be uprooted by the favourable action of this Parliament. In the West Indies, in Australia, in all your colonies, your action in this matter is being and has been watched for years. We tolerate eccentricities of character in our various dependencies; we adapt our constitution to the needs of our colonies; we strive to give equality of opportunity to all and sundry. Here is a chance at our door to advantage everybody, and to remove (with other included disabilities which still remain) the last trace of oppression for the faith.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
We have listened to-night with unusual interest to the debate which has arisen on this motion. Besides the speeches—the very instructive and luminous speeches—of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford and the hon. Member for the University of Dublin, we have had from my hon. friend the Member for the Arfon Division of Carnarvonshire a speech of significant eloquence. We have also had to-night in this debate 246 a singular absence of that kind of religious bigotry which at one time used to intrude itself in discussions of this kind. In the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down we recognise a large and liberal spirit, based upon colonial experience, which will commend itself to us all. I cannot help feeling that, at any rate, a wider recognition is being given to the claims of Ireland in this matter, and that is the spirit in which we desire it to be regarded. No doubt it may appear to some hon. Members that this is partly due to the idea of killing Home Rule with kindness, but still we must not forget that the terms of the resolution embody a truism to which assent cannot be refused. We are obliged to ask ourselves what the giving of a vote in favour of this resolution would mean, and what interpretation would be put upon it. I do not find, either in the terms of the resolution or in the speeches of the hon. Members who moved and seconded that resolution, any definite explanation of the kind of scheme that would satisfy Ireland. They were very fair and moderate in their remarks, but there was nothing about them which indicated the kind of scheme that would give satisfaction to Ireland; and, therefore, by assenting and voting for this resolution I might appear to be pledging myself to what is in the minds of the Irish Members, without really knowing what it is, and without retaining that freedom of action which I always desire to retain whenever a proposal of this kind is put before the House. That is the difficulty which I feel in accepting this resolution, but having regard to its terms I could not possibly vote against it. We have had from the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House at various times within the last four or five years a strong expression of his own views upon this question. They were embodied in a remarkable letter which the right hon. Gentleman wrote to one of his constituents in 1899, and we have every reason to think that that letter could not have been written without the assent of his colleagues.
§ MR. BRYCE
I am surprised to hear that, because when a letter of that kind 247 is written by a gentleman occupying the position of the Leader of the House one is naturally inclined to think that it represents the views of the Government. We have had no progress made with this question, and we do not know how far the right hon. Gentleman has succeeded in converting his colleagues. I do hope, therefore, that when the right hon. Gentleman addresses the House again upon this subject he will be able to throw some light upon this matter, and that he will be able to tell the House how far his colleagues support him. He has had the courage to start the question; let him also have the persistence to impress his views on his colleagues and endeavour to bring about a settlement of what we admit should be settled. It is a very old grievance. I think it is older than any Member in the House now can recollect. It existed as far back as 1854, and in 1873 it was the subject of a remarkable Bill brought forward by the Liberal Government of that day, which was only defeated by a majority of three. I think very few Members now present were in the House at the time of that debate.
Well I hope that all the years that have passed since then have taught the hon. Gentleman wiser and more tolerant views than he then expressed.
§ MR. BRYCE
It is quite true, as has been said by several hon. Gentlemen, and in particular by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, that this grievance is not quite so serious as it might appear, because it is a grievance which is largely made by the Catholic Bishops of Ireland themselves. It is they who insist that members of their flocks shall not enter Trinity College, and having made a grievance, they turn round and complain of it. I say they make it for this reason—that it is not a grievance in other Roman Catholic countries. It is not a grievance even in England, because, as was pointed out by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, the old policy of preventing Catholics going to 248 Oxford has in late years been happily reversed, and Catholics have now two halls of residence under two of their religious orders expressly to provide religious instruction under Catholic influences. [AN HON. MEMBER: For ecclesiastical law.] Be that as it may, the Holy See encourages Catholics to go to Oxford by making this provision for them there. But there is a still more remarkable case—the case of the Continent of Europe. I will come back to it again, as it is set forth in the extremely interesting Return which has been presented to the House, but I refer to it now only for the purpose of calling attention to the fact, that Catholics in such great Catholic countries as Germany, France, and Belgium are permitted by their ecclesiastical superiors to resort to the universities of their country which are absolutely un sectarian and undenominational. It cannot be said, therefore, that this is really such a very serious grievance, when the Catholics of Europe are content to submit to it. Still I do not deny for a moment that it is a grievance, even if it is largely one which the people have created for themselves. But if they believe it to be an inequality, and if it is associated in their minds with injustice to their country and a violation of their national feelings, we must recognise it as a practical fact. That is the sentiment which has been expressed on both sides of the House to-night. Therefore, looking on it as a grievance, and believing it to be felt as a grievance by Irish Catholics, we ought to do our best to remove it. How then can we proceed to remove it? Let me say in passing that I entirely agree with what has been so well said by my hon. friend the Member for the Arfon Division of Carnarvonshire, that we must not consider that this is a grievance affecting only the upper classes. It is not a grievance affecting only the upper classes. Everyone who knows the Irish peasantry knows that there is no peasantry more desirous of knowledge or possessed of brighter minds than they are. There are three parts of the United Kingdom which have among the humblest population a strong desire for knowledge, combined with a most susceptible intellect. That is true of the West of Scotland; it is true of Wales in an eminent degree, as has been said by my hon. friend, and I believe it is also true of Ireland. If, 249 therefore, we can do anything to make Irish education more adequate and more easily acceptable to the peasantry of Ireland, we shall have rendered a very great service to that country—a service in which we might to be proud to bear a part in rendering. Premising that, I come to ask what we can do. There is no plan.
§ MR. BRYCE
Yes, the right hon. Gentleman indicated a plan in his letter in 1899. It was a plan which in many respects was a considerable advance on plans previously submitted, and it was a plan which did less violence to the feelings of English friends than any previous plan. At the same time I will not go so far as to say that it was a plan that, the English people would have accepted, and it would probably require some modification. There was one point on which it was very vague, and that was with regard to the constitution of the governing body. We have no certainty that that plan will be accepted in Ireland. We were told at the time that it probably would be accepted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, but I have heard since that it would not. I have no private access to the opinions of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. We know those opinions have been frequently changed, but it was stated, with some appearance of authority, that the hierarchy thought that plan went further than they were prepared to go, and that they could not give it their assent. Are we to understand that they have altered their views since? At any rate, at present we are without a plan, and all one is able to do is to lay down some of the general principles to which a useful and possible plan ought, if possible, to conform. That is as far as we can go, having no plan before us. What light is thrown on the possibility of a practical plan by the Return which has been presented to the House? The right hon. Gentleman in a previous debate suggested that we might get light from abroad. It was a happy thought, and he carried it out by directing that inquiries should be made by our foreign representatives. We have some very interesting statements in this Paper, but I am bound to say some 250 of them are not at all sufficient. I think that the statements with reference to Austria and Switzerland might be much clearer, but there is a great deal of interesting and curious matter in the Paper dealing with other subjects as well as this subject. What does it broadly show? It throws no practical light in the direction of the constitution of a university which would meet the wishes of the Irish Nationalist Members, and be at the same time undenominational. That is the very point it omits, and the light it gives us is negative light. It shows us that not anywhere in Europe is there a university which conforms to the demands made on behalf of the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland. We may put out of sight countries entirely Catholic like Spain, because we cannot expect much light from them. I am afraid my reason is not the one put forward by the hon. Member. These countries being entirely Catholic, the conditions are not the same as those we have to consider. The same applies to exclusively Protestant countries like Sweden. Sweden being almost entirely Protestant does not care to make special provision for its Roman Catholic subjects. We, have, however, a very instructive illustration with the countries side by side in which the minority in one is the majority in the other. I refer to Holland and Belgium. In Belgium there is a large and powerful Catholic majority, and an important Protestant minority; in Holland there is a Protestant majority and a large and influential Catholic minority. These are the two very countries in which it might be expected that some special provision would have been made for the university education of the minority, and that a desire such as that now before us would have been satisfied. But there is no special provision in either of these countries. In Holland there is a large and influential Catholic minority in Brabant and other provinces, which often affects the trend of Dutch polities, and which is very keen with regard to university education; and yet the universities of Holland, according to the Paper, are absolutely unsectarians, and no provision at all is made for the special case of Catholics. Belgium is a country where religions feeling runs very high, and it has three unsectarian universities and one Catholic 251 University, the University of Louvain. That is an ancient university, venerable by its traditions, with the power of granting degrees, but it does not receive any State subvention, even in a country as Catholic as Belgium. But there is another curious fact connected with it. The Catholic University at Louvain has 1,600 students, whereas the other universities—unsectarian universities—have 3,200 students. In face of the fact that Belgium is a predominantly Catholic country, twice as many students go to the unsectarian universities as to the Catholic University. That shows, therefore, that even while the amplest provision is made by the University of Louvain, with all its ancient traditions, the bulk of the Catholic students prefer to go to the undenominational universities. That appears to me to be a very material fact. Take France and Germany. In France no university makes special provision for Catholic students, and in Germany provision is made by having Catholic faculties of theology side by side with Protestant faculties. That exists in the famous Universities of Bonn and Tübingen, and there are one or two other universities also where Catholic and Protestant faculties of theology exist side by side. There can be no objection to that in Ireland. I suppose no one would object to faculties of Catholic theology in Trinity College. That is a small matter, however, over which I do not think anyone would quarrel. In the United States there is no case in point at all, because there any rich body of persons who can bring together a certain sum of money can incorporate themselves and call themselves a university, and proceed to grant degrees. In fact, in the United States Catholics are better off than any other community, because they can create a university by what is admitted to be an absolutely authoritative and efficient method of making a university, namely, by Papal Bull. The Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen were created in that way, and no one has ever disputed that the Pope has a right to create a university, and these American universities for Catholics have availed themselves of the Papal power. I may put it this way, therefore—that so far as foreign experience goes, and so far as we can expect light from foreign countries, that light does not go to support in any way the 252 special claim made on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland. Nevertheless, I desire as far as we possibly can to meet the Irish demand; but all I can venture to contribute to the discussion of the subject is to suggest certain conditions on which that demand may be granted. I need hardly say that I am speaking for myself only, but I have no reason to doubt that a certain number of hon. Members hold similar views. In the first place, any scheme put forward practically must be such as will receive the acceptance of the Irish Catholic body. It must be one to which they will give their assent. There is no use in putting forward a plan which would be received as an instalment and be the basis for further agitation. We remember what happened in 1873 when Mr. Gladstone brought forward a plan which he had every reason to believe would give satisfaction, but which ultimately was rejected by the Irish bishops. That ought not to occur again. When a plan is brought forward, we ought to have an assurance, which no doubt the bishops will give, that it will be accepted. In the second place it ought to be a scheme which cannot be drawn into a precedent dangerous to university education in England and Scotland. There have been some signs of late of a revival of denominationalism in this country, and many of us feel the strongest possible objection to any form of denominationalism in every branch of education, from the elementary school to the university, and although we are obliged to submit to the denominationalism which prevails in the elementary schools, we are determined to resist any attempt to sectarianise university education. We take our stand upon the fact that as far back as 1845 we adopted the principle of undenominational education in Ireland, and that system was adopted in England in 1871 by the University Tests Act, which threw open Oxford and Cambridge. It would be a very serious set back if we did anything to check that principle, and I therefore think that we must lay down the condition that nothing must be done in Ireland which would be likely to be used as a precedent for going wrong in this matter in England. But I am very far from saying that a scheme cannot be devised which would meet the conditions. I think we ought to have a scheme which will meet the Irish demand and not 253 furnish a bad precedent for England. I now come to what seems to me the most important condition, and that is that any plan for a new university system in Ireland should give us the prospect of achieving the ultimate object in view, namely, to give Irish Catholics a cheaper, better and more efficient university education than they at present receive. To set up a weak university, or a university so under clerical control as not to be pervaded with the true university spirit, would not be giving the Irish people what we ought to give them. Therefore the first of our conditions is that the university shall be a true university in the highest and best sense of the term. That is a point which is in some danger of being overlooked, because those who have followed the history of Irish education know that, as a rule, the changes made in it have not been made from educational motives. They have been made as bargains between the bishops on the one hand and the Cabinet on the other, the result being to secure the silence; of the bishops and the peace of the Cabinet. That is the reason why the intermediate education scheme has not borne the fruit which the money ought to have borne; that is the reason why the creation of the Royal University has not the result it ought to have. As one of those who have always opposed the extinction of the Queen's Colleges, I have always felt that the ideas started by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet, when he was the Irish Secretary, and which were continued by Mr. Forster, were political, not educational ideas, and if they had been animated by a genuine educational policy, they might have achieved far more than they did. Supposing then that we agree—and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will agree-that it is education that ought to be in our minds, what are the educational conditions we ought to lay down in order to make Irish university education proper? The university must not be under clerical control. It is not sufficient to say that there shall not be a clerical majority on its governing body; we may have a body virtually clerical, although bishops and priests do not constitute its majority. In the second place, it ought to have first-rate teaching—teaching on the same level as that of Trinity College. Everyone admits the merits of Trinity College, and I do not think that 254 any university would be a proper gift from us to the Irish Catholics if it were not as good in point of teaching as Trinity College.
§ MR. BRYCE
By all means. My idea of an Irish Catholic University is, that it should be one possessing professors of such eminence and learning that Protestant students would gladly attend it, because I should be very sorry to see a university entirely resorted to by Catholic students. I would desire to see Protestant and Catholic students sitting side by side, and I would wish to see Protestant professors amongst the Catholic professors, just as I desire to sec Catholic professors in Trinity College. I would add this further consideration that ought to influence us, namely that the supply of first-rate teachers is not unlimited, and that it is not very easy to stock two or three colleges in a country like Ireland with teachers of the first rank. That suggests the remark, that if we could so liberalise Trinity College as to give it no longer the Protestant atmosphere which is complained of, we would make it more useful to the Catholics than if we set up another university which might not be able to attract the best teachers. Then, a proper university ought to have a high examination standard; it ought to have a governing body which would be fully alive to the importance of making its degrees hold their own against the degrees of English and Scotch universities, as well as Trinity College. For the university to begin with a low standard would be suicidal. That of course implies that the governing body which would choose the examiners, and direct the courses of instruction, should be an enlightened governing body, fully alive to the educational necessities of the world. The last point is, I think, that the university ought to be pervaded by a genuine intellectual atmosphere. It ought to have an atmosphere where there is a genuine feeling for learning science and free inquiry. If it has not that genuine feeling it is not a university. The life-blood of a university is the feeling that it exists for the promotion of truth, that its professors are not limited in the course of their researches, or are not prevented from teaching what they believe to be the truth. It 255 is also essential to the true spirit of a university that there shall be such an admixture of students of different religions and different classes in society as will produce that working of one mind on another which is one of the best parts of university life. I need not dwell on that, as it was admirably emphasised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin. Everyone who remembers his university life will remember that he learned at least as much from those among whom he lived as from his teachers, and that he learned from them because they came under conditions different from his own, and probably belonged to a different religion. I believe that Roman Catholics are not at all as likely to become Protestants by contact with Protestants, as Protestants are to become Roman Catholics by contact with Roman Catholics. I never heard that a single Roman Catholic had become a Protestant at my university, but I have known a great many Protestants who have become Roman Catholics. An intellectual atmosphere is quite as essential to a university as that Catholic atmosphere which hon. Gentlemen ask for. If they try for a Catholic atmosphere at the sacrifice of an intellectual atmosphere, they will find that they have got what is of no value. I feel further, that if there is any country in which it is desirable that the different religious bodies should be brought together during the years of university life, that country is Ireland. Many of the most eminent Nationalist leaders, from Wolfe Tone down, have been Protestants, and have had the most power in stirring the feelings of the people. If I were a Nationalist I should not wish to see Nationalist Catholics in one university and all others in another. I should be glad to have them mixed as much as possible, and to have them learning to cherish the interests of their common country, while pursuing those studies which would foster and stimulate their intellects. I believe it would be a very bad thing for Irish Nationalists if the Irish Catholic population were to be educated apart from the Protestant population, but I do not see any reason why we should not devise a plan under which the joint education of Catholics and Protestants would not be possible. That brings me to the conclusion which I can offer to the House. I desire very earnestly to see 256 some scheme proposed which would meet this grievance, and I believe a scheme is possible on the conditions which I have tried to indicate. I am sure that most of us on this side of the House approach this question with open mind. I do not believe that there is any one of us who does not wish to give the Irish Roman Catholics the best education they can get, but it is for them to make practical proposals. I can assure the Irish Members that if they will make a practical proposal which appears to us to have the elements of real educational efficiency in it we will give it our hearty support without attempting to make any political capital out of it. This question has been far too long before us to be any longer the sport of Parliament. We must all endeavour to do the best for Ireland, and no greater service can be rendered to her than to increase the educational facilities of her people, and to stimulate, if possible, in them that love of knowledge and learning which in days far remote shone forth in brilliant flame, and which I am persuaded still glows in their hearts as much as ever.
§ SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)
In the few remarks I wish to make on this occasion I hope I shall follow the line which up to this time has been taken, and not impart any acrimony into the peaceful tone which has characterised this discussion. I think the House may congratulate all the speakers on the fact that they have endeavoured to put forward their views temperately and discreetly. I was much struck by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and I think the advice he gave was good, and such a scheme as was sketched out would, I think, he acceptable now to a great number of the Irish people; but I doubt whether it would be to the Romish Church, and that gives no help on this occasion. Every Government is in a helpless position with regard to this matter. The Government are willing to propose and do propose certain measures, but they have had no support in carrying them out. The whole House is anxious for the matter to be settled once and for all; we are all anxious to thrash the matter out, and are agreed that the examining staff of a university should be of the most thorough description, and that the general atmosphere should be as highly intellectual as it is possible to be. 257 I frankly admit that my experience is that you get greater liberality of view under one university seat of learning than under clerical guidance, and I am most anxious lest we get into a narrow groove. It is true that we have given the Irish a large measure of denominational education, and also acceded to their wish for intermediate education, but when it comes to university education it is another matter; then the boy becomes a man and wants to rub shoulders with his colleagues, and what he becomes then he will remain in after life. It has been admitted that there are sufficient universities in Ireland to educate all the Irish in Ireland, and if you found a university for the education of Roman Catholics alone you will do more harm than good, because you will reduce education to the narrowest possible limits, and it is because I believe this that I deprecate the extension of Roman Catholic universities in Ireland. Although I live near the north of Ireland I have many opportunities of hearing the opinions of gentlemen who live in the south, and I say there are many in the south of Ireland who are not satisfied and who deprecate this agitation. We want to satisfy this sentiment, for every sentiment is dangerous; if it is allowed to grow it becomes a dangerous weapon in the hands of a dangerous part of the community. I am one of those who are most anxious to see the question settled, and I would go to great lengths to try and get it settled, and if I had thought that the hierarchy of Ireland was satisfied with the proposition that was made I should have voted for the resolution; but when I am told it has never been taken notice of in an official way I am again thrown back into despair, not knowing what to do in the matter. This is one of the most important matters for Ireland. We in Scotland have agitated and got great universities which are, going extremely well, and if the same system was adopted in Ireland it would be a far more brilliant success, and if it would solve this difference I would be only too glad to vote money to universities in Ireland, and would gladly do so to give Ireland what Scotland already possesses. I should now just like to make one or two remarks on a Paper put into our hands last night which contained the replies to an inquiry sent out with regard to this matter. I find from the Paper that while in certain cases in Roman 258 Catholic colleges special provision is made for Protestants, the universities themselves are absolutely free and open to Protestant and Roman Catholics alike, and there is a consensus of opinion among all religious critics that universities should be free from State interference. Those universities are quite willing to receive Protestants, whilst Protestant universities are equally willing to receive Roman Catholics. Your sons do not become Protestants because they are placed beside Protestants in the universities. With regard to the university quoted by the hon. Baronet who seconded the motion, that is largely supported by the State, and in that case there is provision made for Roman Catholics; but it does not work well, because there is constant friction between the Minister of Education and the Government. The figures recently issued show that the Roman Catholic sectarian system is fallacious, and that it has been found necessary on the Continent to encourage unsectarian universities. If that has been found a good thing so far as Europe, as well as England and Scotland, are concerned, why should it not be equally good for Ireland? Let not the Irish people be so rigorous or exacting in their demands, and then this House will do all it can to help them.
§ *MR. SAMUEL YOUNG (Cavan, E.)
I wish not to enter into the regions of controversy on this question, but rather to express the views I entertain with regard to a question which I consider requires great consideration, and the difficulties of which I also know. Many of our seats of learning are in sufficiently provided for. Take Queen's College, Belfast, which is doing a magnificent educational work. That college is simply starved, especially the laboratories and the scientific departments. I can see that this will continue, for no statesman dare venture to give further encouragement to institutions which can be used only by the Protestant minority, while the claims of the great majority of the people of Ireland are refused. I think this is one reason why this question should be very soon settled indeed. On the merits it is admitted that the Catholics of Ireland have a grievance. They require that secular knowledge shall be founded on religious faith, that literature, science and philosophy shall be taught so as to 259 harmonise with the doctrines of the Church, and free from the danger of undermining the Christian religion. Queen's College, in Belfast, and others are not established on these lines. I do not call them godless colleges, but certainly they are not established on these lines. Therefore they are rejected by the hierarchy of the Church, and who would dare to interfere with, or object to, these conscientious views? That the Catholics have a grievance is admitted, not only by the loading statesmen of this country, but by the thinkers in the English Church and the best educated Protestant laity of Ireland, including the professors and Presidents of the Magee College, Londonderry, the Queen's Colleges of Belfast, Cork, and Galway, and Trinity College, Dublin. Many suppose that the demand which is made is for a Catholic university. Correctly speaking, it is not a Catholic University that is wanted, but a university in which Catholics will receive education in harmony with their conscientious views, open to all denominations, similar to the Melbourne College, to which many of the Protestants there send their children to finish their education. I can see no just reason for refusing the Catholic claim in the interest of education. It seems that the first duty of the State is to educate the people, and that in whatever way the people desire themselves. If three-quarters of the people were Jews in place of Roman Catholics, and if they demanded a Hebrew college to be set up in Ireland, I should willingly grant it. The business of the State is not to dictate or prescribe a religion, but to supply the means of instruction so that the people shall be educated. The money required is very small indeed compared with the outlay of the nation. You spend vast sums of money on the building of ships, on the Army and Navy you pour it out like water, but you grudge the small sum wanted for the education of three-fourths of the inhabitants of Ireland, who, till about fifty years ago, were totally neglected by the State, and even now are handicapped in the race of life when brought into competition with the Protestant youth of the country as candidates for the Civil Service and positions of emolument and trust, simply because they have been denied the same means of education as the Protestants have enjoyed for over a century. There is room for 260 another university in Ireland. There are four universities in Scotland, which is a much smaller country. There are universities in England, from Durham in the north to Oxford and Cambridge in the south. Ireland has but one teaching university, and that practically for only about 650,000 Protestant inhabitants. A country which supplies soldiers and sailors of the highest order to the British Empire, and pays its taxes to the nation, should be provided with the means of education in a liberal spirit. I know it has been said that the system in Ireland is united secular and separate religious education. There is no such thing in Ireland as separate secular education as a principle. Protestants who hold the theory of united education do not act upon it. They would not send a child to an elementary school where there was a Catholic teacher if they possibly could avoid it. Every Protestant church that is erected has a school close by, with a master who must be of the same religious views as the clergyman of the church, who is the patron of the school. United education in Ireland is a delusion. It may be put forward to prevent the Roman Catholic people from receiving adequate consideration, but united education is not even known among Protestants themselves. The sects will not unite. The Presbyterian will not send his children to a Church of Ireland school, or vice versa. If the people of Ireland will not have mixed education, by all means let them have secular education. The opposition on the part of a fraction of the people of the north of Ireland on the score of united education is a fraud. May I say that I have no doubt but the clamour raised against ritualism in England by the Nonconformists of this House has prejudiced many, and has had some effect in retarding the progress and settlement of this question. It should not, for it is a totally different question. The Minister who deals with the university problem in Ireland and brings it to a speedy settlement will be considered one of the most popular statesmen of his generation, for it is a burning question and ripe for settlement. In conclusion, will you allow me to say that I think I can perceive a tendency on the part of the Government to treat Ireland in a more considerate manner than formerly it did, and as an evidence of this I quote the passing of the Local Govern- 261 ment Bill for Ireland, the Agricultural and Technical Education Bill, with a grant of £165,000 a year, and, may I add, the visit of Her Gracious Majesty to Ireland. In regard to these sentimental matters I think there is some importance to be attached to them. In promoting possibly the display of the national emblems, I hope the Government will further gratify the people of Ireland, and meet the reasonable expectations by announcing that next session a Bill shall be introduced to settle the vexed question of university education in Ireland.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
We have had a debate which has been illuminating beyond the majority of the debates in this House, and while I cannot hope to rise to the high level of speakers who have preceded me, I trust that I shall say nothing that will mar the harmony of the discussion. It is permissible and almost essential that something should be said from the point of view I hold. I represent a large body of opinion in Ireland, which hitherto has found no spokesman in this House this evening. It is in their interest that I wish to present a view of the case that has not yet received consideration at all. I do not desire to cast doubt on the sincerity of hon. Members on the other side of the House, or upon others who differ from the view I take. This is not a question that is being debated for the first time in the House of Commons. This is a question that has divided not only the Irish people, but every civilised people for many generations and for many centuries, and although there may be a definite right and wrong, I do not know that any of us can say with absolute certainty that he possesses the right or the wrong. I think there is as much sincerity and as much ground for that sincerity on the one side as the other. It has been represented that the whole of Ireland has acquiesced in the proposals made to-day. I venture to enter a caveat against that statement, and I say that a large portion of the population of Ireland is opposed to the general proposals which are made to-night. I use the words "general proposals," for the proposals which have been made are very general indeed, and I should like to apply to them a test which I think is of some value. I would like to put to hon. Mem- 262 bers on both sides of the House the test of an examination. I should like to ask them to write a paper embodying their views as to what they think we are voting upon to-night. I venture to say that there are not two who would put down anything like approximately the same. I do not think it is an extravagant demand that before we are asked to deal with an immense principle of this kind, we should be told by somebody, whether by Members opposite, or by the Leader of the House, what it is we are committing ourselves to. I heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen this evening, and it was a very interesting speech no doubt, but for the life of me I could not form the faintest idea of what this ideal state was he was striving for. He pictured what might be a sort of college of angels where everyone agreed to do everything they had hither to differed about. We are not going to have exactly that solution of this vexed question in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for North Louth feels strongly on the matter. He has not told us—and he is entitled to speak for a large body of Irish opinion—whether the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House is one that would be accepted as a final and just solution of the problem as it presents itself to the mass of those who agree with him now. My hon. friend the Member for the Stowmarket Division of Suffolk said many things which were very nice, and which we all agree about. He said if we were virtuous we would be happy, but he did not tell us what we are really asked to do. I don't suppose I can get an answer from the First Lord of the Treasury. He is not present, but perhaps someone will tell us later on what we are asked to do. I want to know where we stand. Are we asked to endow from the funds of the State a Roman Catholic University which shall be in any sense exclusively Roman Catholic, and, if so, in what sense it is to be exclusively Roman Catholic? Is it to be controlled partly or entirely by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and if we are told that it is to be so controlled what pledge or assurance have we that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church are to be waived? It is the secular claim of the Roman Catholic Church that in the matter of education the Church should be and must be supreme. The Bishops have in no particular instance waived the claim, and I do not believe 263 that that claim is yet eliminated from the essential doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. I do not agree with the proposal to endow any university of this kind, and I think it is reasonable and fair that we should be told what we are asked to do. I wish to see this put in some arithmetical expression which I can appreciate. I come to another point, which I think I have a right to ask shall be met. We have been told, we have been taunted I may say—those of us who take the view I take—with doing something in this matter which is retrograde. We have been told that we are withholding a just demand from an important section of the people of Ireland, and because we do so we are stamped as ignorant, retrograde, and illiberal. But after all there is something to be said for the verdict given by what I may call the collective experience of a very large section of mankind. I do not think enough has been made during this discussion of the information put into our hands on this question of endowing Roman Catholic education. There is no foundation whatever for the allegation that what is demanded as a matter of right and justice to Ireland has been conceded in any other country in the civilised world, and in confirmation of my view we are presented with this very valuable Return. From beginning to end of this return we have but one story told. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen says that a negative light is thrown by this Return on the proposition we are considering. I venture to contest that position. I venture to say that the light thrown upon it is a very brilliant and positive light. We are challenged on this matter, and we are told that we are retrograde and illiberal because we do not do this thing. Go to Roman Catholic and Protestant countries and you will find one uniform conclusion. You will not find one single country in which this proposition is admitted—that what we are doing now is an injustice. In Bavaria the universities are open to students of all creeds, and the Church exercises no control whatever. I come to Belgium—The University of Louvain was founded by the Roman Catholic Episcopate of Belgium as a university where the arts and sciences should be taught by professors who hold the orthodox faith, and think rightly of the Roman Catholic religion. Article XIII. of the general regulations expressly declared that all students must 264 profess the Catholic religion and perform its duties, while Article XIV. requires them to attend courses of religious lectures. The university is not endowed by the State, and can hold no property. The revenues are entirely controlled by the Belgian bishops, and no accounts are published either of income or expenditure.Is that the parallel which hon. Members wish to reproduce in Ireland? Certainly we do not.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
Does the hon. Member really contend that if he has a grievance about the accounts of Dublin University, that alters the validity of my argument? Look at France, where there is an enormous Roman Catholic population, and which enjoys, or is supposed to enjoy, the advantages of the "Concordat." All the universities are entirely unsectarian, and Roman Catholic students are free to improve their religious knowledge in any manner they please, like the other sects. In Athens, the most ancient seat of university teaching, the university opens its doors to all students without distinction of creed. Coming to Italy, a country which is mentioned in this return as one in which the Roman Catholic religion is the State religion, and where there is a Roman Catholic population of 30,000,000, do we find any parallel to what we are asked to create? The universities are State institutions under the direction of the Minister of Public Education. Theology does not form one of the subjects taught in the universities. In Holland, the universities of Leyden, Utrecht, Groningen, and Amsterdam are open to students of all creeds and persuasions. No objection is made by the Roman Catholic clergy to persons of their faith attending these universities. In Portugal the Episcopate does claim rights over the education of the country, but the State votes nothing towards it, save for scientific establishments. In Prussia no special arrangements exist for the university education of Roman Catholics, as such, except in regard to the study of Roman Catholic theology. I learn to-night from my right hon friend the Member for the University of Dublin 265 that there is a disposition at Trinity College to give theological teaching to any member of the Roman Catholic community. I would make this further extract from the evidence given in regard to Prussia—The Prussian universities are institutions governed and maintained by the State. Extraneous co-operation and interference, such as was formerly exercised by the Papacy, no longer exists. The right of conferring degrees issues directly from the State authorities, which also determine the constitution and status of each university. The connection of the universities with the church was originally so close, that in the Middle Ages, and even in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they could with justice have been described as ecclesiastical institutions. Since the eighteenth century this connection has gradually become less intimate, and in the present day the universities have entirely laid aside their ecclesiastical character.Then we come to Spain—a Roman Catholic country if ever there was one—There exists in Spain no special provision for the education of Roman Catholics, or of any religious denomination. The Government universities are not in any way connected with the Episcopate, no inquiry is made with regard to the religion professed by those entering them, nor even respecting that of the professors themselves. Those intended for the priesthood are educated at seminaries.Ireland, we are told, is a Roman Catholic country. Is that the programme we are asked to sanction in Ireland? If so, that throws a great deal of light on the problem we are asked to solve. I cannot accuse the Spanish Government of gross illiberality because they adopt this course regarding their university institutions. I should like to say a word about Switzerland. We have had an eloquent and interesting speech from the hon. Member for the Arfon Division. Switzerland is a country not altogether different from Wales. It has a long history, and is now prosperous and free. There are five universities in Switzerland, four of which, Bale, Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne, are constituted on a basis utterly incompatible with the request made to us to-night, There remains the University of Freiburg, a modem institution, founded by two very able and distinguished Roman Catholics, who are residents in and members for the Canton of Freiburg. What is the history of that university? In the first place, it has never received the sanction of the Federal law; the statutes of the university have never been confirmed; its financial condition is most unsound; and its degrees 266 are not recognised by the German universities, and have very scant recognition in Switzerland itself. If we are to take Freiburg as an example, I ask hon. Members to look at what it means. In Freiburg there was an attempt made to create that ideal university which has been sketched out by my right hon. friend the Member for South Aberdeen, and which I suppose is conceived by some other hon. Members who support this proposal. There was an attempt made to introduce there the best secular teaching under ecclesiastical government. A number of professors of reputation were brought in from Germany, and some from America. After a year or two had passed some Dominican monks came from France. They acquired the direction of this university, made the situation of the German professors so intolerable that eleven or twelve left the university, and over since that time there has been a most embittered correspondence, conducted in both languages, between the resigning professors and the Dominican friars or monks by whom they have been practically expelled from the University of Freiburg. If we are to go to Switzerland for an example of the institution we wish to see established in Ireland, it is not to the University of Freiburg we should go, but to the four universities of European reputation which exist in that Republic, which have provided some of the most learned students of Europe, and which are on a basis inconsistent with that which we are asked to yield to-night. There is only one other reference I wish to make to this report, and I make if because it is a very important one, and one we cannot possibly omit. I have been talking about Continental countries. It may fairly be said that we are an enlightened people and are not bound in any way by the precedents of European countries; that we, both in England and Ireland, are in advance of those countries, and that by combining our moral and intellectual superiority we can lay down a sound precedent which can be relied on and be in no way affected by the errors of the Continent. I do not know that I quite accept that view. I think it is a relevant fact that the experience of many many years has produced an absolutely unanimous conviction throughout the whole of the Continent. But I go now to a great kindred country, and one which has, I think, some grounds to 267 claim the allegiance and sympathy of hon. Members opposite as well as the respect of hon. Members on this side of the House: I go to the United States. What do we find there?In the United States the demand for higher, or university education, among the members of the Church of Rome has been met by the foundation at various times of numerous universities and colleges in all parts of the Republic. These institutions, the great majority of which are conducted by religious orders and congregations of the regular clergy, have been incorporated under the laws of the States and federal district or territories in which they were respectively established, so as to secure the recognition of the degrees conferred by them upon their students. Some of them have also had university privileges granted to them by the Holy Sec.This next sentence is important—But Roman Catholic institutions, like those of other denominations, are debarred from public endowment either from Federal or State Governments, or from the municipal authorities of the towns in which they are situated.
§ *THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. T. W. RUSSELL,) Tyrone, S.
was understood to say that there was already a university in Ireland receiving State money.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
My hon. friend is quite right. It has been mentioned already this evening that by a side wind there is an institution in Dublin at St. Stephen's Green which at present, under the name of the Catholic University, is receiving something between £7,000 and £8,000 a year from the State. But that is not my point.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I was not referring to the Catholic University, but to the Royal University and the Queen's Colleges.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
And I referred to the Roman Catholic University, and I utterly fail to sec what relevance that remark has to my statement that if we are to look abroad for guidance either to the Continent or to the United States we get no encouragement or sanction for the proposal of which I understand my hon. friend is in favour. With regard to what we can learn from outside I have only one word more to say. My hon. friend the Member for the Stowbridge Division spoke of the lesson we may learn from our colonies. There are many Members here who are better acquainted with 268 the affairs of our colonies than I am, but I venture to say that, with the exception of the university to which he referred, the Laval University in Quebec, there is absolutely no institution throughout the British Empire, outside these islands, which would come within the definition he seems to suggest. I may be wrong, but I do not know of any self-governing colony which has deliberately established a State-endowed Roman Catholic University. If such exists, I shall be interested to learn where it is. [AN HON. MEMBER: Laval.] With regard to the Laval University, I will only say this: it is not a modern one. [An HON. MEMBER: It was founded in 1852.] Yes, it was founded in 1852, but it is recited in the charter by which that university was established that it was founded in continuation of an institution which had existed in Canada for over 200 years. The Laval University is a survival of a time which has long gone by, and I do not share the roseate view of the hon. Member for Suffolk with regard to the influence and value of that university. I have before me a letter written by a very competent adviser, in which occur these observations—'Until very recently no serious attempt was made to provide elementary education in the province of Quebec. In this regard the province is still in a most backward condition. There are many parts of the province in which the great bulk of the inhabitants cannot read or write, and even school commissioners and members of municipal councils are frequently found unable to read or write. The general result is that educational development in this province is most unsatisfactory, very far behind what is found in all the other provinces in Canada.And this is the result of the existence of that centre of national intelligence of which the First Lord speaks and which he desires to reproduce in Dublin Therefore, if we are to rely on this single instance of the survival of Newfoundland University we ought to have more testimony than we have had hitherto as to its value and as to the intention of hon. Members to create anything remotely resembling that institution either in constitution or in the work which it does. I do not think I have said anything which can fairly be said to detract from the moderate tone in which this debate has been conducted, but I think I am entitled to point out that by the passages I have read, the onus of proof has certainly been 269 shifted to those hon. Members who desire to go back upon this uniform movement. If we are to take our ideal from the universal practice of other countries in the world, we are justified in the course we are taking, and we should not he justified in following the advice given by hon. Members opposite from Ireland. I represent those who feel that the course which has been taken by this country is not only just in itself, but is absolutely essential in the interests of all freedom and popular liberty. That, I know, will be disputed from the other side. Hon. Members opposite would take another view. They would say that human happiness, and possibly human liberty, would be promoted by going back in this matter, but I think it is fair, bearing in mind the whole history of this question, that I should be allowed to speak, and not with bated breath, of the view which I most distinctly hold that it is by the continuance of the very system which it is now desired to reproduce, that this country and other countries have been held back from the freedom we now enjoy. I do not recognise the value of the argument, although I do recognise as a contribution to the debate the tendency to introduce the question of elementary education. I do not see that there is any fair parallel to be drawn between elementary and university education. The object of elementary education is to teach very young children the elements of knowledge, and if at that time we think it is your duty—and most of us do—to instil into their minds, in the only way we can, the principles of religion, it is not unrea sonable to take that opportunity. But when you come to the university you are not dealing with the same material. A university is a place in which universal knowledge is or may be imparted, and when I carry my mind back to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, I recall a vision of a university which would in no way represent that universality of knowledge which to my mind is connected with the very idea of a university. I fail to understand on what great principle we are asked to establish a university in which three of the faculties are to be held in abeyance. ["No."] There again I am not only ready but anxious to be corrected if I am wrong. I should like my hon. friends to tell me whether I am not right in saying that the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman was—
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
Exactly, and what that means is that the State will endow that university, but will take no responsibility for three of the most important faculties. I attach great importance to that. You may go all through Europe, and you will find a consensus of opinion as to the limits within which these subjects should be taught. If the State does not make itself responsible for these faculties you will have a limitation of the teaching of those subjects, which may, ipso facto, put that university on a different plane—I will not say a lower plane, as I do not wish to be offensive—from that of other universities, where full research and full play for human knowledge is permitted. I have already spoken too long, and I will conclude by saying that there is not one man in this House who has the faintest idea of what it is we are asked to do. I have some knowledge of what can be the meaning of a Roman Catholic University; I have studied this question enough to know what liberality in this matter can mean. I am under a very clear responsibility, not only to my own conscience, but to my constituents, who must be considered if this matter is to be brought to any satisfactory conclusion. On their behalf, and on behalf of a number of Members of this House, I say that we want to know what it is to which we are being committed—whether we are to follow the hon. Member for East Mayo or the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, or the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen, or my hon. friend the Member for the Stowbridge Division, or the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University, the statements of all of whom are, as far as I can make out, utterly irreconcilable, not in their generalities, but in the practical application of their generalities. Under which leader are we to be induced to make this concession? [AN HON. MEMBER: They are all leaders.] Yes, they are all leaders, and they all lead in different directions. If I can get any illumination in this matter I may, perhaps, be disposed to change my mind, but I do not think it is at all likely.
§ Mr. DILLON
I think this is one of the most interesting debates which have taken place in the House of Commons. As an Irish Member I feel bound to offer my warmest and most grateful thanks to the hon. Member for Oxford University, the hon. Member for the Arfon Division of Carnarvonshire, and the hon. Member for the Stowmarket Division for the generous and sympathetic speeches which they have contributed to this debate. I confess that if this debate had produced nothing except the remarkable and, to us Irishmen, most grateful speech of the hon. Member for Oxford University, the debate would have amply justified itself. That an hon. Member holding his high position in the learned world, and representing the greatest seat of learning of its time, should become a convert to our demand and advocate our claim in such powerful and eloquent language, undoubtedly marks a considerable advance in our cause. I will now turn to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen, because it raised certain important and vital matters connected with this whole question. At the outset he expressed his regret that the mover and the seconder of the motion had not given to the House some indication of the plan contemplated by the Irish people for the settlement of this question. He proceeded to say that at present there was no plan before the House. With regard to his criticism that we have submitted no plan, I do not think it is a fair or just one. It has been recognised, and over and over again stated by men high in authority in this House, and versed in its practice and traditions, that it is not the wisest or most prudent way to advance any great question, for those interested in it to introduce a Bill or a plan which can only be brought forward as a private Member's measure; but that, on the contrary, the proper and best course is to endeavour to obtain from the House a recognition of the existence of a grievance, before addressing one's self to the particulars of a Bill. I ventured, however, to point out, and the right hon. Gentleman recognised the truth of the remark, that we were not without a plan, because we have before us the plan which has come to be known as the plan of the First Lord of the Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman commented upon that proposal, and said we were entitled to suppose that when that letter was written 272 it was the plan of the Government. I must say, on behalf of the right hon. Gentleman who leads this House, that he has always been perfectly frank and honest in this matter, and that he took the most elaborate precautions to safeguard himself and to point out to the country and to the House that this proposal came from himself alone, and that it was in no sense a Government proposal. But, said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen, what security or- indication have we that this proposal would be accepted in its entirety, or even with some slight modifications, by the bishops and the lay Catholics of Ireland? He then went on to make a very remarkable statement, which I confess took me by surprise. He said that, so far from having any reason or ground to imagine that this proposal would be accepted, he understood that the bishops of Ireland had changed their mind and had decided to refuse it. I think it is of the utmost importance that this matter should be put on a true basis. What happened with regard to the plan of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House? It was made, as everyone will remember, in a letter addressed by the right hon. Gentleman to one of his constituents in the month of January last year, and subsequently in a speech delivered in East Manchester. This letter and this speech naturally created a vast amount of interest and some excitement amongst the Catholics of Ireland. Immediately after the delivery of the speech a great and representative conference of Irish Catholics was held in the Mansion House at Dublin. Present at that meeting was the secretary of the Irish bishops, and the plan of the First Lord of the Treasury was discussed. Not one word, critical or hostile, was said, but all the speeches were of a character friendly to the plan, and suggesting that the proposal should be considered in a most friendly spirit by the Catholics of Ireland. We were given to understand, and I believe there is no doubt about the fact, that the bishops had arranged to hold a meeting to consider that plan. But what happened in the interval? Shortly after the conference at the Mansion House, in February last year, I believe, a semi-official notice appeared in the Standard newspaper, a statement accepted by the bishops and the Catholics of Ireland as semi-official, announcing that 273 that plan was in no sense a Government plan, and that the Government had no intention whatever of dealing with the question. That, of itself, might have been passed over, although it certainly created a feeling of profound disappointment on the part of Irishmen, but it was followed by the speech of the Duke of Devonshire, which must be fresh in the memory of every Member of this House. I would ask the House to listen while I read a short extract from that speech. Speaking on the 16th March of last year to the Liberal Unionist Association, the Duke of Devonshire used these words—I should be extremely surprised if, during the existence of the present Government—Mark those words. He did not even say "during the existence of the present Parliament," but "during the existence of the present Government."… any practical measure dealing with this subject is brought forward. I acknowledge, gentlemen,—perhaps I ought to be ashamed of so acknowledging—that this is a subject to which I have not recently given any close study. I admit that the arguments put forward by Mr. Balfour are extremely difficult to answer, but the experience I obtained on this question, which now, I am sorry to say, goes hack as far as 1873, when I was a member of Mr. Gladstone's Government, which proposed to deal with the question of university education, has led me very much to doubt whether, as a measure of practical politics, it is possible for either a Liberal or a Conservative Government to make any proposals on this subject, which should not be limited by conditions and restrictions which will fail to make it a satisfactory solution of the problem of Roman Catholic education. I have never looked upon the question as one of immediate practical importance.In face of that statement, what conclusion could the bishops and the laity come to? I think it is unfair to charge them with the intention attributed to them of rejecting the proposals of the First Lord, when, as a matter of fact, they were never allowed to consider them when this non possumus was introduced. Let me point out what is the record of the bishops on this question. You will find it in their declaration of 28th June, 1897, when they say—In the course of his speech Mr. Balfour observed that upon this complex problem the Government had not as much guidance from leaders of Irish public opinion as they would like to have. Perhaps he may have some reason for the complaint, but for our part we must say that we have always been ready to place any information which we possessed at 274 the disposal of the Government, but that we have never received an intimation that anyone in authority had any desire to receive it from us. Even now we should be glad if anyone were to formulate a series of questions.And then they proceeded with the famous declaration which has been alluded to. There is another point. I desire to say in the frankest way this. It has always been the custom here to assume that this question is one between the bishops and the Government. Permit me to say that it is nothing of the sort. I tell the Government deliberately that if they produce a plan which commends itself to the judgment and consciences of the great body of the Catholic laity in Ireland, I do not believe that the bishops, even if they desired, would dare to refuse it. The laity are primarily interested, and, although we desire to act with the clergy, it is absolutely untrue, and I indignantly deny, that the Irish Catholics are dictated to by the bishops. Even if the bishops were so unwise and so bigoted as to refuse a proper plan, the opinion of the Catholics of Ireland would override that of the bishops. The plan of Mr. Gladstone in 1873 was defeated, not by the bishops, but by the Catholic laity, and the first movement against it was by the medical students of the Royal University, of whom I was one. About a hundred students got together to discuss the Bill, and we declared against it, and I have now a copy of the petition which we sent to the Catholic bishops asking them to oppose the Bill, because it threatened to be ruinous and injurious to Ireland. This has not always been a purely ecclesiastical question, for it is one in which the laity are deeply interested, and they have suffered too much to reject any reasonable scheme, even if some of the bishops were opposed to it. What is the present position of this question? It was supposed to be making at one time such good progress in this country that we hoped that even in the life of this Government the pledges made on the eve of a general election might be redeemed. Well, I no longer see any sign of that progress which, according to the right hon. Gentleman, would entitle him to make it a Government question. I do not see anything that entitles us to hope for a settlement on the lines of the gradual growth of public opinion within any reasonable number of years. But are hon. Members prepared to say that so long as public opinion in Great Britain is unconverted so 275 long must the Catholics of Ireland remain without university education? Have not English statesmen declared a deadly wound is being inflicted upon the life of Ireland? Let it be remembered that the public opinion which is to be changed before anything is done is that of the people who are not suffering from the grievance. We have heard about the liberality of Trinity College, and nothing more unreal than those declarations can be imagined. The governing body is purely Protestant; the Provost is a Protestant Minister and controversialist. I will put a test to the hon. Gentleman. The Government have, as I understand, the appointing of the Provost. Suppose they appointed Father Delaney or Father Finlay, would the Protestants of Ireland exhibit their liberality by accepting him? They told us to capture Trinity College. Why? Because they knew there is not a shadow of a chance of its being done. There would be a nice uproar if we were to attempt it. Talk as you may, it will remain a Protestant institution. Then, as to the Queen's Colleges, we know they are not attended by Catholics, whoever they may be presided over by. There is only one Catholic on the governing body of Galway College, which is in the most Catholic province in Ireland, and only the other day they removed a Catholic and appointed a Protestant president. Then, as to the Royal University, it is stated that we have it in our hands, and that it is altogether a purely Catholic institution. Even if that were so, it would not solve the question, because the Royal University does not teach anyone. It teaches nothing, and there is no more futile solution of a great problem like this than to try to palm off an examining board upon us and say, "You have got there all you want." Even if we had the Royal University entirely in our hands, it would not solve the question, nor would it go an appreciable distance towards it. As a matter of fact, I find, according to the last return, that the governing body of that institution consists of nineteen Protestants and fifteen Catholics. It looks now as if the question was to be put back for fifty years or more, during which time the younger men of our country are to be denied this education, which is their chief asset, for in the brains of our people and our poor, in my judgment, lies the greatest wealth of Ireland. We are told we are 276 to wait until the prejudices of Englishmen are allayed and assuaged, whilst in Ireland things are going steadily from bad to worse. An hon. Member truly said that under the present system we have a purely clerical college drawing five or six hundred a year indirectly, and he seemed to think that one way to settle this question was to increase that endowment. Was there ever a greater instance of perversity? You object to endow a great University which will do the work which is needed, and will compete with Trinity College and others in the light of day, but you allow a small endowment to leak out to a purely denominational college—a college with reference to which you know nothing. And yet you say you will not endow—you will not break your great principles. But you are doing it, and you are doing it in the worst possible way, because it is being done without restraint, and in a mean dirty way which does not satisfy Irishmen. Ought that fact not to bring home to the mind of any hon. Member of this House who approaches the subject in an honest way, the absurd state in which you have handled this question? Let me direct the attention of the House to two aspects of the question. This question has been dealt with too much as a religious one. There are two aspects which have been neglected and overlooked. The first of these is higher education generally, apart altogether from the question of religion. Will you get any man in Ireland who is really working for higher education to stand up and say that he thinks it is satisfactory? I could take up considerable time quoting great authorities in Ireland to show that it is very unsatisfactory. Dr. Hamilton has declared over and over again that he desires most earnestly a settlement of the claims of Catholics, not only in the interests of the Catholics themselves, but also in the interests of his own college and of higher education. The result of persistently denying to the Irish Catholics their reasonable demand has been to disorganise the whole system of university education, for it has created that unrest amid uncertainty which must be fatal to its successful development, and, as the hon. Member for South Aberdeen said, the result of this persistent denial of the claims of the Catholics has been that every educational problem connected with Ireland is judged 277 not from an educational, but from a political point of view. That is why you gave us a Royal University endowed with a large sum of money, and although it has skimmed over the sore it has done nothing to elevate the higher education of the country. Therefore I say that not only are you inflicting, by persisting in this policy, a great grievance on the masses of the population in Ireland, but you are injuring, stunting, and interfering with the natural development of higher education in every part of Ireland. In claiming this university for Irish Catholics I have always endeavoured to bring home to the House the fact that I look at it not only from a religious point of view but also from a national point of view. What have been the traditions of Trinity College? It was established at a time of bitter race hatred and persecution. It was alien in its faith, in all its traditions and in all its spirit, and it remains so to this hour. If I wish to give proof of that statement I need go no further than the extraordinary evidence of Professor Atkinson and Professor Mahaffy before the Intermediate Education Commission, who said it had treated Celtic learning with contempt, and to its shame be it said, had left that work to be done by French and German scholars from the most distant parts of Europe, who learn the language of our country and write those magnificent works on the literature of Ireland. Trinity College has done nothing to encourage the learning of our country. It has treated it in a hostile spirit, and when Mr. Dickenson the other day was examined before the Intermediate Education Commission on the question of the teaching of our language, he gave evidence which I venture to say astonished and shocked every Celtic scholar in Europe, for his knowledge of the ancient language of Ireland was an insult to the whole country, and he was backed up by another great authority who covered our ancient language and literature with contempt and scorn. That is only one of the characteristic manifestations of the spirit which has driven Irish Catholics away from Trinity College. Therefore, when you talk about opening wide those doors you talk absurdity and nonsense, because it is impossible that the great multitude of Irish people would ever find themselves at home within the walls of Trinity College. Therefore, I claim for 278 Irish Catholics not only a Catholic university to which the Catholic can resort, but a national university where the Celtic spirit of our people will have full and fair play. I hear people talking about the multiplication of universities degrading education in Ireland. I ask—has the multiplication of universities degraded education in Scotland and in Germany? Can anyone say that we have in Ireland a university which gives fair play to culture racy of the soil and characteristic of the people? The Irish people say to those who have enjoyed Trinity College for three centuries, "Keep your university; we do not desire to interfere with it; but we say give to the people of Ireland a university which can compete with yours in generous rivalry." We want a university with the national spirit of Ireland, a university instinct with the national spirit of the people of Ireland. We have offered over and over again to the unreasoning prejudices of this House the fullest safeguards against persecutions or against narrowness of teaching, and I can assure the House, speaking for the laymen of Ireland, and I feel sure also for the vast number of the bishops and priests of Ireland, that we desire only to have a free university, based upon a liberal constitution, and able to compete with the University of Dublin and other kindred bodies in Ireland; and in my judgment it will be one of the wisest acts that this House ever did if it frankly and freely offers this university to Ireland. I beg of the Government to approach the question frankly, and not to make it a matter of some miserable political bargain. I believe in my heart and my soul that if the First Lord of the Treasury had the courage—and he has great courage—to put down upon the Table of this House a Bill drafted in the spirit of his own speeches, and say he wanted, without reference to political interest, to settle this question in the interests of higher education in Ireland, he would carry the Bill, and that many who had formerly opposed him would now unite with him in carrying it into law.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I rise with great reluctance to speak on the present occasion, not because my zeal has cooled in the cause which has been so ably advocated on both sides of the House in favour of higher education in Ireland, 279 suited to the wants and wishes of Roman Catholics in that country, but because I feel that I have so often spoken in this House and out of it, have made so many speeches, and written so many letters, upon this one theme that I really have nothing new to say to the House; no argument to advance which I have not already developed to the best of my ability; no new consideration to urge on the House or the British public with which they are not familiar, or with which they might not be if they have followed closely the course of these discussions. But, at the same time, as the question has been raised, I suppose I can hardly allow this discussion to draw to its legitimate conclusion without saying a few words, in addition to the many I have used, in advocacy of the same great cause of national education which I have now, as I have always had, closely at heart. The hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment and some others who have followed him in the debate have criticised, in a most friendly spirit, I admit, but have still criticised the independent attitude which I have from the first taken up on this subject. They seem to think it inconsistent with the position which I have the honour to hold on this bench and in the Government that I should have, without previous consultation with my colleagues and without obtaining their assent, advanced, publicly, my opinion on a great subject of public importance. I admit that is a course which ought rarely to be taken by a Minister of the Crown. I admit fully that independent missionary action should, on the whole and as a rule, be left to persons outside the corporate life of a Government. But I would remind the House that the opinions I expressed as to this reform in the letter which has been more than once alluded to, and in speeches I have delivered since the present Government was formed, are not new opinions of mine, but date back to more than ten years ago, when, as Irish Secretary, I was responsible for the Government of Ireland. At that time I expressed very much the views I have since advocated. I ex- 280 pressed them with the knowledge of my colleagues, and having put my hand to the plough I did not think it consistent with my own personal honour or the duty I owe to the House or the country to turn back; and that which I stated in 1889 as a member of the Government I have felt it my duty to press on public attention ever since. While quite recognising the inexpediency of members of the Government carrying on a propaganda on their own account upon any particular subject of public policy, I would ask the House to remember that when a missionary enterprise of this sort is begun under the conditions which I have described, I think it is not in the public interest that it should be abandoned by those who have started it; and for my own part I mean in the future, as I have done in the past, to do all that I can to convert my countrymen to the views which I hold with extreme and almost passionate earnestness. Having made that frank statement of my views to the House, they must not ask me to do more than I can do. It is not my business to refrain from speech on this subject unless I can say that it is the Government policy which I describe. It is not the Government policy. It is a policy largely held, I believe, on this side of the House—largely and increasingly held among friends of mine, increasingly large. I know that, not only on that side of the House, but on this, there are a large number of Gentlemen who differ from me upon this question, who have a perfect right to differ, and whom I have no right to coerce in this matter, whom I shall convert if I can, but, if I cannot, who have as good a right to their own opinion as I have to mine. I pass, therefore, from that personal aspect of the question to another aspect which may, in a certain sense, be regarded as personal also. I suggested a particular plan for dealing with this problem in the letter I wrote at the beginning of last year. That plan seemed to me to get over a great many difficulties. It is a plan which I still think is in many respects better than any alternative that has been suggested. But I wish it to be 281 distinctly understood that so long as the main object of that scheme is carried out I care not by what machinery that result is attained. I have no personal interest in my own patent. I dare say better plans—plans more congenial to Irish sentiment—may be started. If they are started, and they carry out the main object which we have in view—which is that of providing a system of higher education which will meet the wants of Catholics—Iabandon my own plan most gladly. Not a single word I propose to say to-night will be in defence of the particular scheme which I have advocated, or will be intended to suggest that no better plan may not be hammered out by other minds than mine and may not receive, both in Ireland and in this country, a larger measure of support than my scheme has, as yet, been able to obtain. I will break my own rule by saying one word in defence of certain aspects of the scheme winch I propounded. In my judgment the university which I desired to see established was an undenominational university. I have been told by letter, by speech, and otherwise, that the university I proposed to start was undenominational only in name. I had hoped that a university on that plan would have been felt to conform absolutely to the principles of legislation laid down in 1873, and that it would not have been open to any gentleman to say that the principles of the Abolition of Tests Act had been evaded by such a university. I still hold that view. What was the principle of the Act of 1873? It was that no place should be given because of religion, that no place should be withheld because of religion, that in the distribution of endowments, in the granting of education, religion should be put absolutely upon one side. That is the principle of the Act of 1873, and I maintain that that principle would be absolutely carried out by a university founded upon the plan which I ventured to sketch out It is said in reply to that, "Oh, but, after all, the governing body are going to be Roman Catholics, or in the main Roman Catholics, and probably in conse- 282 quence of that a great many of the professors will be Roman Catholics. That is an evasion of the Tests Act." Was a more shallow argument, an argument which took less account of the actual fact of university education in this country, ever advanced in the House of Commons? I do not believe that there is at this moment, either in the University of Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Victoria University, the Welsh University, Oxford, or Cambridge a single Roman Catholic professor.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Quite true; but, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite reminds me, Lord Acton is professor on a subject which would not be endowed by public funds in the new university; so that it is absolutely true to say that at this moment in the Universities of England and Scotland there is not one Roman Catholic professor on any subject which would be endowed under the scheme which I ventured to propose. Ninety-nine per cent. of the students, I believe, are Protestants, and yet all these universities carry out the spirit of the Act of 1873. Then, I ask, how can it be said that a university in Ireland, which would be only Roman Catholic in the sense that the governing body would be in the main Roman Catholic, and which might be in the sense—though that we cannot tell beforehand—that a majority of the professors would be Roman Catholic, how can that in common sense and in common honesty be described as a violation of the Act of 1873? It is untrue to say that such a university would be undenominational only in name. On the contrary, it would be undenominational in precisely the same sense as, and to the full extent to which, any university now existing within the four seas is undenominational at the present moment. I hope, therefore, that that argument will not be urged against the plan I proposed, whatever else may be urged against it, and that it will 283 henceforth be allowed to die a natural death. Then, while on this subject of the Tests Act, I must say one word about something which fell from my right hon. friend the Member for Dublin University, who made a very interesting speech earlier in the evening. He said that the doors of Trinity College were thrown widely open, that Roman Catholic students would be welcome, and that if need be a Roman Catholic chapel would be built, and a Roman Catholic faculty of theology would be established. I think that is a new policy.
§ *MR. LECKY
I said there is now a Presbyterian professor in Trinity College to teach Presbyterian theology, and Trinity College would be willing to make a corresponding appointment of a Roman Catholic professor. I do not know that it has ever been proposed to educate the priests there.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Perhaps I may have pressed my right hon. friend's observations farther than he intended, but it was quite unintentional. What I want to say is, I should greatly regret that any change should be made in the Protestant traditions of Trinity College. Hon. Gentlemen who object to this scheme for educating Roman Catholics would like to see Trinity College do for Roman Catholics all it does for Protestants. I have no such hope or desire. Trinity College, from the very moment of its inception, has been in spirit a Protestant institution, and I am sufficiently prejudiced, if you choose to put it in that way, to desire that in spirit it should be a Protestant institution to the end of time. I should regard with something like dismay the intrusion, as I should regard it, into Trinity College of a great body of Jesuit professors, or the establishment of Roman Catholic professorships, or any change in Trinity College which would make the proportion of Roman Catholics to Protestants at all correspond to the proportion of Protestants to Roman Catholics in the whole of Ireland. Much 284 rather than see any result of that sort, I should prefer to sec some other university or college established which would carry out the object my right hon. friend and I have equally at heart. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen made a speech shortly before the dinner-hour, the practical object of which I found it very difficult to understand. He spoke, as he always speaks, with great knowledge of his subject and great facility of expression, but I could not discover at the end of his speech what it was he wanted, what he objected to, or what he desired to see established. It was a happy balance of argument. Any gentleman unexpectedly called out of the House in the middle of the speech would have thought, when he came in again, that the right hon. Gentleman was discussing the other side of the question to that he was speaking on when he went out. But there is one special point in the speech I should like to call attention to. He said, citing the Blue-book which has been laid on the Table of the House, that he surveyed Europe from end to end, and he found no university in all Europe to meet the Irish demands, and he stated that even in the most Roman Catholic countries on the Continent there are no universities which have a distinctive theological foundation.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Have I so far forgotten the right hon. Gentleman's speech as to be mistaken in thinking that he dwelt at great length on the University of Bonn and upon the Universities of Belgium and Holland?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I mean predominantly Catholic countries like Bavaria and Belgium, and the right hon. Gentleman said they had no University corresponding to that which the Irish desire. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say, it is quite true, that they have theological faculties supported by Government, and not only that, but the Protestant State of Prussia has also theological faculties, and he asked, why should not that plan be adopted with regard to Ireland? A scheme better calculated to unite all parties against it could hardly be conceived than that of leaving other denominations unendowed and endowing a Roman Catholic faculty. The right hon. Gentleman suggests, at a time when the general public opinion is actively hostile to giving public funds for theological purposes, that the Government should endow a Roman Catholic faculty and leave the other denominations untouched.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
We have no power to prevent that now. I do not see that that comes within the purview of the Mouse of Commons at all. If the authorities of Trinity College choose to pay for it they can do so to-morrow. I do not see what the House of Commons has to do with it. I do not see what the right hon. Gentleman or I have got to do with the matter. It is wholly outside the present controversy. I do not wish to carry on this controversy with the right hon. Gentleman. But let me say that there is no parallel between the case of Ireland and the case of the Continent. If one wants a true and instructive parallel to the ease of Ireland, let him consider the case of Scotland. That may seem a startling proposition at first, but, believe me, it is a proposition that will lead to fruitful conclusions if it be pursued. I was greatly struck by the speech of the hon. Member for the Arfon 286 Division of Carnarvon—one of the most interesting and eloquent speeches on an educational subject which I have ever heard in this House. In surveying the recent course of higher education in Wales, the hon. Gentleman said that one of the reasons why the recently founded university at Aberystwith had taken hold of the imagination of the Welsh people, and had lent itself to the needs of higher education in Wales, was because the first head of that university was a man who shared their religious and national sympathies. Well, that observation, which I think a most striking and instructive one, led me to throw back my mind on the history of our Scotch education. I remember that of all parts of the United Kingdom Scotland is the one where university education has, perhaps, done more good, where it has penetrated more completely through every section of the population—upper class, middle class, lower class—and I ask myself whether that result, which everybody applauds, would ever have been attained if the Scotch universities in the periods of their earlier activity had not been in active religious and political sympathy with the people. We are now told that the Irish Roman Catholics are throwing away their opportunities for higher education unless they go to a university whose atmosphere is Protestant, but whose doors are open to them. Supposing the Universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews had manned their teaching staffs from top to bottom with Roman Catholics since the period of the Reformation, supposing that in these universities the great bulk of the students had been, in consequence of that fact, Roman Catholic, does any human being believe, knowing anything of history or of human nature, that these four great universities would have been used by the Scotch as they have been used to such great advantage for 400 years? No, Sir, the proposition is incredible. The Scotch Universities under Roman Catholic management would have been deserted by Scotch Protestants and Scotch Presbyterians, as Trinity College has been deserted by Irish Roman Catholics; and at this moment there, would have been as small a proportion of the population of Scotland enjoying the advantage of a university education as, I regret to say, there is in Ireland. Does not that illustration, which, I am quite sure, must go home to the mind of everybody who understands the history 287 of Scotland, entirely dissipate all this—I will not call it cant—but all this prejudice about the open door of Trinity College? Sir, the open door is not enough. It has never been enough in Scotland, it would never have been enough in England; and I think my own countrymen, at all events, who share to the full the fears of any scheme of endowing what could be truly called Roman Catholic education, ought, from their own experiences, to support me at all events in giving to Ireland a system of which we have seen the admirable fruits in our own country. After all, I think this question would be settled if hon. Gentlemen would approach it in a practical spirit—if they would not lay down abstract principles of legislation, but would ask themselves what it is that is wanted and how that want is to be satisfied. The want is a plain and simple one. It is the want of higher education to the great bulk of the Irish people. What is the difficulty? It is this—that in England and in Scotland and in the North of Ireland there is a strong feeling that you cannot minister to this need for higher Roman Catholic education in Ireland without giving undue strength to the Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy and promoting in some way the growth of the Roman Catholic form of Christianity. Well, Sir, nobody who knows the history of this country would undervalue the force of that view. If I were to say all I think upon the theological aspect of this question I am afraid I should say something which would justly offend the susceptibilities of my Roman Catholic hearers, and which would be regarded by them as an example of my bigotry and prejudice. But my quarrel with my fellow-countrymen, if quarrel it is to be called, is not as to the dangers that they anticipate from any great growth or extension of Roman Catholic opinion in this country, because I should agree with them in the fears based upon that. My quarrel with them is of quite a different kind. I am wholly unable to understand, and have never been able to see even the beginning of a ground for understanding, how they arrive at the conclusion that the promotion of higher education among Roman Catholics in Ireland is to aggravate the evils which they fear from the Roman Catholic religion. Let us, for the sake of argument, admit that the Roman Catholic form of theology has shown itself inimical in history to the expansion 288 of true liberty, either political liberty or the liberty of thought. Let us admit, for the sake of argument, that it has been hostile to progress in science, to freedom in philosophy, to Biblical criticism, to religious progress, to all the advancements in learning which, I think, with some justice Protestantism claims for itself. Let us grant that. I cannot ask my Roman Catholic hearers to grant that, I but let us Protestants grant it. Tell me how this promotion of higher education in Ireland is to aggravate those evils? The Roman Catholics are there. Two-thirds of the population are Roman Catholics. You have tried to prevent them from being Roman Catholics, I grieve to say, in the last three centuries by laws which an Englishman or Scotchman can hardly mention now without a blush. You have persecuted them; you have made them incapable of the ordinary rights of citizenship; you have kept them out of every lucrative employment; you have oppressed them in every conceivable way, from the Revolution in 1688 until the abolition of those abominable laws which the progress of civilisation and humanity—[An IRISH MEMBER: Not all abolished yet]—until their practical abolition by the growth of humanity and civilisation. But you have totally failed by that method to diminish the number of Roman Catholics in Ireland. You have got, therefore, to deal with them. Are they likely to be less prejudiced because they are more educated? Will a knowledge of the classics, of mathematics, of science, of engineering—will a general survey of the intellectual progress of the world aggravate and augment those dangers which you, perhaps not unjustly, fear from Roman Catholicism? I am utterly unable to understand the frame of mind which conceives such a thing possible. I do not in the least believe that university education will be an instrument for the conversion of Roman Catholics to Protestantism: but I do believe that, if the evils which we believe to result, at all events, from the growth of Roman Catholicism in some of its forms exist now in Ireland, they will be diminished rather than aggravated by anything you can do in the way of higher education. Take the case of Germany. I do not believe that the actual proportion between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants in Germany has in the last two or three generations been materi- 289 ally altered. At all events, I have no grounds for believing that it has been altered in favour of the Protestants. And yet there yon have University education and can see what education can do for the great Roman Catholic population, because the German Roman Catholics are by universal admission, by the admission of every student in every branch of knowledge, the most advanced, the most enlightened, and the most learned of any of their co-religionists. I think that is a strong evidence of what education will do; and, though I am quite aware that what I am saying is not and cannot be agreeable to my Roman Catholic hearers, it strengthens the arguments I wish to press upon the House from the Protestant point of view, from the point of view of those who believe that from freedom of knowledge and investigation the great progress of the future is to be expected. To them I appeal not to keep under a cloud of ignorance this great mass of our fellow-countrymen, but to allow them to enjoy, as we enjoy, all the fruits of higher education, all the lessons which the learning of the world can give us, all that interchange of ideas which is making civilised Europe gradually one great intellectual community. Sir, that is the appeal which I venture to make to my Protestant friends. One other thing I would like to say, and only one, before I sit down. Holding these views, I do think it is the duty of the Irish Members and of the Irish hierarchy and the leaders of Roman Catholic thought in Ireland, to make it perfectly clear to this House and to the country, that what they desire is education and not the domination of ecclesiastical influence. The hon. Gentleman who last sat down I think indicated that that, at all events, was his view; and that everything that can be said, and that everything that can be done will be done, to show that the scheme of university teaching would be freely and fully accepted by the whole Roman Catholic population in Ireland—that everything, as I have said, will be done to obviously safeguard the interests of education, and to show that, in the opinion of the Irish people, those interests do not necessarily require the predominant influence of the hierarchy over education. Everything of that kind will do more to convert the British people to my view of what is required for Ireland than the most ingenious arguments which I am able to lay before 290 the House of Commons, because that is the fear that exists on both sides of the House—they think that everything that is done for Irish higher education is calculated to confer additional power on the Irish hierarchy; and that everything that you do, every penny that you give to establish a university, gives additional prerogative to the Trish priest and to the Irish bishops. I believe that to be entirely erroneous. But it does not rest with me to dissipate that error. I have no power to make these things clear to the minds of my countrymen. That rests, and must rest, with the leaders of Roman Catholic thought in Ireland, ecclesiastical and lay. Let it be understood that this is to be a lay and not an ecclesiastical question. Let it be clearly understood that this is to be a lay university for laymen, for lay Roman Catholics—I do not mean that bishops are not to be on the governing body, but that it is lay in its essence. Let that once be driven home to the conscience of the English people, and I think they will no longer deny this great reform to Ireland. But until that is done you will I always have to meet a mass of prejudice, of weighty objection which no dialectical success will be able to over-come. Therefore, I make an appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite who can do something in this matter where I am powerless, at all events to do their best to see that this object is accomplished. Having made this appeal to Irishmen, let me make an appeal also to Englishmen and Scotchmen. It is often said, with I partial truth, but with some truth, that great reforms for Ireland have only been extorted from this country by agitation and by violence. That certainly is true. It is true, all admit, of one great change. I mean the grant of Roman Catholic emancipation. Sir, that great reform had behind it a vast mass of popular opinion in Ireland which practically made the government of the country almost impossible until the reform was granted. There is no possibility of any such event occurring in connection with university education. The cause of university education is a national cause, but it appeals only to the few. It has behind it, and it can have behind it, no great popular passion, no vast demonstration of force, no armed throng, no refusal of taxation, no great exhibition of popular feeling like that which signalised the years 1828–29. In 291 my judgment that is an additional reason why this cause should be regarded by Englishmen and Scotchmen with sympathy and impartiality. Justice cannot be extorted from us in this case by violence. What we give we shall have to give freely. It is not in the power of any agitator to raise Ireland upon the subject of higher education for Ireland, though I think that higher education for Ireland will probably do more for that country than many of the things which have disturbed the peace and threatened almost this unity of the Empire. Is not that a reason why we, the great Protestant majority, knowing and believing in our own strength, should grant to Ireland what the highest minds in Ireland desire? This is no mob demand for other people's property, for the break-up of the Empire, for any other toy or any other cause in favour of which a demagogue might appeal to his fellow-countrymen. This is no demagogue's theme. It will raise no great passion. In these circumstances it behoves us, sitting as an impartial tribunal, without prejudice, to give that which we believe will be for the benefit of our fellow-countrymen. And those of us who think, as I think, that the higher education of a country is a thing which does not concern only or mainly those who enjoy that higher education, but that it permeates all ranks, that it touches all interests, that it is an absolute necessity of healthy national life—surely we are bound, whether it be for our personal interest or not, but simply as men responsible before Heaven and before posterity for the better government of the country whose citizens we are, to do everything we can to give to Ireland that which Scotland and England have so long enjoyed in such full and ample measure. That is all I have got to say on the main question. May I suggest, on the question of procedure, that hon. Gentlemen opposite, having had a debate in which, I venture to think, the argument has largely gone their way, should abstain from a division. [HON. MEMBERS: No.] The reason I make that suggestion—it is not an appeal—is this. The question before the House is that you, Mr. Speaker, do now leave the chair. For that motion there will be, necessarily and by immemorial tradition of the House, Government tellers. For that motion, all the members of the Government, including 292 myself, whatever their convictions upon the question which we have been discussing, will vote; and a large number of gentlemen on this side of the House, who probably sympathise with hon. Gentlemen opposite, will have to vote against their tellers, or they will have to abstain. In those circumstances, it is evident that a division will not represent the feeling of the House, and in the interests of the cause for which I have pleaded I fear at too great length—[HON. MEMBERS: No.]—I suggest that no division should be taken.
§ MR. J. MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)
I have no idea of entering into controversy with the right hon. Gentleman, who has stated the case for the Amendment with a force, an eloquence, and a passion, which certainly no other Member of the House could equal. I have heard nearly the whole of it, and I am sure that, in the opinion of everyone, it is one of those which do high honour to the House as a deliberative assembly. But the right hon. Gentleman has now raised a new point; he now deprecates going to a division, for a reason this force of which must be recognised. On the supposition that a division was possible I should have pressed the right hon. Gentleman to vote for the motion to which he has given such powerful and efficient support. When so much is owed to the right hon. Gentleman, it would be ungrateful to press him to take a separate action from the other members of the Cabinet. But the position is rather a novel one in our political history. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken in favour of this concession to Ireland with a force which neither Mr. Canning nor any other of the great luminaries of the past could have surpassed. At an earlier stage of the evening the hon. Member for East Mayo read a passage from a speech of the Duke of Devonshire to the effect that, so far as he could foresee, this question could not become a practical question in the lifetime of any man living. Here are, therefore, two members of the same Cabinet taking directly opposite views. This is not the first time that there have been open questions in a Cabinet. I think as far as to-night's division is concerned the plea of the right hon. Gentleman is a good one, but I think also we have a moral right to call on him on the very first occasion on which a vote 293 can fairly be taken on this question to express his own views in the same way in which Mr. Canning on the one hand and Sir Robert Peel on the other, dealing with open questions in the Cabinet went, as it were, to the stake for this opinion.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I think I voted for it before. I should have done so if had had the chance, and I think I did.
§ MR. DILLON
The right hon. Gentleman voted for it on the first occasion on which we raised this question.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Of course if the question arose in a manner which would make it a confidence vote, then I agree the right hon. Gentleman would not be expected to vote. But we now understand that whenever the occasion is presented the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to go into the lobby with hon. Gentlemen from Ireland. [Mr A. J. BALFOUR: Hear, hear!] Any stranger listening to this debate to-night—I say it without the least disrespect to those who have spoken against the motion—who had heard the speeches, and especially the speech of the Leader of the House, would have said "That question will pass without a division." Looking at the state of opinion on both sides of the House, I believe the day will come, not only within the time contemplated by the Duke of Devonshire, but within a perfectly reasonable time, when the House will be unanimous in making the concession for which the right hon. Gentleman has so powerfully pleaded. No doubt there is now some division of opinion on this side as well as on the other, but here and there the objections which are felt will melt away before the arguments the right hon. Gentleman has used, and which he has pressed with such extraordinary power and sincerity. So far as I am concerned there is no man in the House more unwilling to take a single step in the direction of the extension or strengthening of the idea of the denominational system, either in connection with higher education or any other stage of education, than I am, but my own conversion in respect to this question was effected—as the right hon. Gentleman told us his opinions were changed—by Irish 294 experience. I think the country at this moment is inclined to lend a more favourable ear than was the case for a good many years to Irish feelings and opinions, and I am very sanguine after the speech to which we have just listened that this great question has made a great and marked stride towards a complete solution.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
My hon. friend the Member for Waterford has asked me to say a word in reference to the request of the Leader of the House. Before I do so may I thank him on behalf of the Irish party and of the Catholics of Ireland for the very noble and elevated speech he has made. Perhaps I may say that the position of the right hon. Gentleman in advocating this question bears, I have sometimes thought, a singular resemblance, both in elevation of style and dignity of tone, to that occasionally taken up by the late Mr. Gladstone. The right hon. Gentleman asks us to assuage the prejudices of the English people. Mr. Gladstone used to make the same appeal. He used to ask us when we were fighting for Home Rule, to convince the people that we were not seeking for separation. The right hon. Gentleman asked us on the present occasion to so assuage the prejudices of the English people that their bigotry will disappear, and that for the first time the mintage from the Irish mould will be current coin. While giving the right hon. Gentleman all his due—and I think there is no ungenerous sentiment towards him in this quarter of the House, whatever may have been the differences which have divided us in former times—I will venture to state to the House in a few words the reasons why we are unable to comply with the demand of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman, I have said, sometimes reminds me of Mr. Gladstone. There is another great statesman also to whom in his attitude to-night he bears a singular resemblance. I refer to the late Mr. Pitt. He was in favour of Catholic Emancipation, the liberty of the slave, and Parliamentary Reform. He advocated these three great principles with great energy and great vigour, but he failed to convert the Cabinet of that day, as is explained in the great history published by the right 295 hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College. Mr. Pitt remained in the Cabinet and Catholic Emancipation, the Abolition of Slavery, and Parliamentary Suffrage were not advanced, and for years all these great questions remained in the same situation as when Mr. Pitt's platonic opinions were uttered. The Irish Members are politicians. Surveying the field of politics we cannot leave out of our consideration the probability, in the first place, that a dissolution may take place in the present session, and in the second place that in any changes in politics that may take place the Duke of Devonshire, whose speech has been quoted, and who is probably one of the most dogged statesmen in Europe, may in any regrettable change in the leadership of the present Government become Prime Minister of England. Under these circumstances I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will feel that this is distinctly the one occasion on which we should have a division in the House of Commons on this question, in view of the present position of politics in this country. Three times when this question has been before the House we have abstained from going into the lobby. We were told on every one of these occasions that it was a matter in which the confidence of the Government was involved, and we were, appealed to not to take a division and not to imperil this question. From that time to the present is ten years, and so far as I can make out, beyond the noble speeches of the right hon. Gentleman, this question has not advanced. There is another reason, and I do not hesitate to state it. I would remind the House that the occasion seized on by the Duke of Devonshire to make his non possumus declaration was St. Patrick's Day of last year. It is quite true that on St. Patrick's Day of this year, as far as expression is concerned, a very different tone and temper
§ have been alleged to prevail in England. I never have, so far as I can recollect, in any way associated the monarch of this realm with either her Ministers or this House. On the contrary, speaking for myself, I should prefer, after my experience in this House, to be governed by one monarch rather then by 600, with, perhaps, I should say, the 400 over the way thrown in. Speaking for myself, I do think the present occasion is emphatically one on which we should show the people of Ireland that this time, when Irish soldiers are dyeing the African veldt with their blood, and when the monarch of this realm is going across, for the first time in fifty years, to visit our country to receive the reception of its inhabitants, is the very moment seized on by this Protestant House of Commons to trample on the dearest convictions of the Catholics of Ireland. As far as my judgment is concerned, there was never a more favourable time for taking a division. I observe that His Holiness the Pope has telegraphed to high authorities in this country congratulating the Catholics of Ireland on the honour they are to receive. I trust to-morrow that when the news of the division in what we were told to-night is a Protestant Parliament reaches these high authorities, they may understand what it is that for three long centuries the Catholics of Ireland have struggled for, and that they may understand our determination, no matter what may be your statements on an occasion like this, to record from the bottom of our hearts our resolution to continue the struggle for our independence.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 177; Noes, 91. (Division List No. 78.)299
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Beach, Rt Hon Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Burt, Thomas|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Beach, Rt Hon W. W. B. (Hants.||Caldwell, James|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bethell, Commander||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Blakiston-Houston, John||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bond, Edward||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r|
|Balfour, Rt Hon A. J. (Manch'r)||Brassey, Albert||Channing, Francis Allston|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St John||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Charrington, Spencer|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Horniman, Frederick John||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Coddington, Sir William||Houston, R. P.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Howard, Joseph||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Collings. Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Plunkett, Rt. Hn Horace Curzon|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Price, Robert John|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Jacoby, James Alfred||Purvis, Robert|
|Curzon, Viscount||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Dewar, Arthur||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Keswick, William||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Knowles, Lees||Round, James|
|Faber, George Denison||Lawrence, Sir E Durning-(Corn||Runciman, Walter|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Llewelyn, Sr Dillwyn- (Swansea||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Finch, George H.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Flower, Ernest||Lowe, Francis William||Steadman, William Charles|
|Forster, Henry William||Lowles, John||Stephens, Henry Charles|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Steward, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Strachey, Edward|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Macdona, John Cumming||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Gedge, Sydney||Maddison, Fred.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Milward, Colonel Victor||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||More, R. J. (Shropshire)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Morrison, Walter||Weir, James Galloway|
|Gretton, John||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunt'n|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Moulton, John Fletcher||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute||Williams, Jos'ph Powell- (Birm.|
|Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Oldroyd, Mark||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||O'Neill, Hon. Robt. Torrens||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wyndham, George|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Hazell, Walter||Parkes, Ebenezer||Young, Commander (Berks, E.|
|Helder, Augustus||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Henderson, Alexander||Percy, Earl|
|Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter||Perks, Robert William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES;—|
|Mr. Anstruther and Mr.|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Commins, Andrew||Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, Thomas J. (Kerry, S.)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Crean, Eugene||Field, William (Dublin)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Crilly, Daniel||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Austin, M. (Limerick. W.)||Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Daly, James|
|Birrell, Augustine||Dillon, John||Gibney, James|
|Blake, Edward||Doogan, P. C.||Gilhooly, James|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry|
|Carew, James Laurence||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilt'n||Emmott, Alfred|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Engledew, Charles John||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Hammond, John (Carlow)||M'Ghee, Richard||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Harrington, Timoth||Malcolm, Ian|
|Harwood, George||Minch, Matthew||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Monk, Charles James||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie|
|Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||Moore, Arthur (Londonderry)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Morley, Rt. Hon. J. (Montrose)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Hogan, James Francis||Morrell, George Herbert||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Murnaghan, George||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Ox. Unv.|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Jordon, Jeremiah||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Ure, Alexander|
|Kenyon, James||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||O Dowd, John||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Lough, Thomas||O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Macaleese, Daniel||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|MacDonnell, Dr M A (Queen's C||Sir Thomas Esmonde and|
|MacNeill, John Cordon Swift||Parnell, John Howard||Captain Donelan.|
|M'Dermott, Patrick||Pinkerton, John|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising.
§ Debate adjourned till Monday next.