§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.),
who had on the Paper the following notice—To call attention to the importance of instituting physical and military drill for boys in all State-aided or rate-aided schools; and to move, That it is highly expedient for the physical and moral development of the youth of the country, and that it would conduce to national defence, that boys of school age should be regularly instructed in physical and military drill; that this House is of opinion that such instruction should be an obligatory part of the curriculum in all schools aided by public grants, except in cases of physical disability; and that suitable provisions should be inserted in the Code for carrying out this object"—said that attention had been directed in an increasing degree to this matter in recent years. All through the country there were organisations for strengthening the physique of the young by drill more or less advanced according to their age, and in many cases with very happy results. There were exercises for boys which had a distinctly military character, and it might be that these organisations 832 conduced towards a greater inclination for the military profession. He knew that many who had passed through church brigades and boys' brigades had proved very useful soldiers and sailors, but he did not propose to enter into that branch of the subject that night. His object was to obtain a more regular and general system of physical instruction in the primary schools. Great attention had been called to this matter by the Earl of Meath, a nobleman who was well known for his philanthropic work, and it was chiefly owing to him in 1895 that there was introduced into the Education Code of that year a direct reference to the giving of instruction in physical and military drill in schools, and it had continued in the Code up to the present time. In the course of last autumn a correspondence was published between the War Office and the Education Department in regard to the giving of improved instruction in military drill in schools. In answer to a letter from the Education Department, the Secretary of State for War indicated that he was ready to provide instructors and appliances for drill in schools if the Education Council was prepared to meet the expense of so doing. The Education Department gave a cold answer to the communication of the War Office, and indicated that already there was a considerable amount of physical instruction given in the schools, and that they could not give additional funds for that purpose. There was published at the same time in the newspapers a paragraph in regard to the revised instructions given to Her Majesty's Inspectors applicable to the Code. He called attention to this because it indicated a retrograde policy of the Department, which justified him in bringing it before the House. In paragraph 29 of the Revised Instructions issued to Her Majesty's Inspectors and applicable to the Code of 1899 he found these words—Instruction in Swedish or other drill, or in suitable physical exercises is a condition of the higher grant for discipline and organisation. Military drill for boys has been found very attractive in some districts, and deserves encouragement. A healthy game, which is one of the best forms of physical exercise, will satisfy the conditions of the Code. In country schools such games are almost always possible, and if played during an attendance should be supervised by some member of the staff who should teach the most skilful method of play, 833 and should encourage orderly behaviour and stop quarrelling.Of course that was all very well, but it was a curious thing that in the new Education Code for 1900 a provision was omitted which was contained in Article 100(b) of the Code last year, and in the previous Codes since 1895. The provision was as follows—The higher grant for discipline and organisation will not be paid to any school in which provision has not been made in the approved time-table for instruction in Swedish or other drill, or in suitable physical exercises, but children employed in labour and attending school half-time, and children for whom such instruction is unsuitable, may be exempted.The only reference that could be at all connected with the subject of drill was expressed in these words—Grants are also made for the further instruction of certificated teachers and assistant teachers (Art. 79) in drawing, experimental science, modern languages, cookery, woodwork, school gymnastics, or military drill, or such other subjects approved by the Department as may form part of the curriculum of a public school in receipt of Parliamentary grants or of a higher grade school.The provision expressly indicated, he believed, that military drill as a course of instruction had been omitted from the present Code. The Scotch Education Department had taken an altogether different direction by encouraging the introduction of military drill in schools. The Secretary of the Scotch Education Department recently issued a circular to school boards which contained the following—I am directed by Lord Balfour of Burleigh to bring under the attention of school boards and managers of schools a subject which is one of great public importance, and which, in his Lordship's opinion, concerns not less the interests of the pupils of State-aided schools than the welfare and security of the Empire. It is that of physical exercise, and particularly of those forms of military drill which most effectively develop the physical capacities of the pupils, and train them in the habit of the combined and dexterous employment of these capacities. Lord Balfour is convinced that such exercises, apart from any other consideration, would be a most important aid in attaining some substantial objects at which all education must aim. Not only do they tend to improve manual dexterity and to render more alert the faculties of observation, but they are also pre-eminently useful in developing those habits of comradeship, of responsibility, and of individual resource, which are of supreme importance, not only to the nation as a whole, but to the individual pupil. Indirectly they bring the individual into contact with the principles which lie at 834 the foundation of national defence, and they bring home to him his duties and responsibilities as a citizen of the Empire, while at the same time giving him an opportunity of strengthening and developing his physical powers and rendering him more fit for his ordinary employment. Whatever form the military service of our country may hereafter assume, it is evident that the strength and security of the Empire as a whole, as well as that of every individual citizen, must depend upon the extent to which the moral elements of responsibility, duty, and readiness of judgment, along with the physical capacities, may be developed. Success in this can only be achieved by careful consideration of the best methods, and by employing these strenuously and zealously during school life. Attention to physical training becomes all the more urgent owing to the tendency of population to gather to the larger towns, where the opportunities for physical exercises are necessarily restricted. … The grant (the amount of which in proportion to the local effort must be based on general considerations) is paid on the general efficiency of the school, and that efficiency is tested by the adequacy of the training it supplies. Lord Balfour is of opinion that the thoroughness of the physical training must form a very important element in that test. He will direct the particular attention of the inspectors of schools to this subject; and it will probably be felt that fitness to judge of it ought to form an important qualification in those who aspire in future to fill such posts, and will not be found to be incompatible with the highest efficiency in other respects.With regard to the question whether military drill had been given up in favour of physical exercises, he had been in communication with the superintendent of physical training under the London School Board, who had written as follows—Prior to my appointment under the London School Board in 1889, military drill and the old extension motions were taught in all boys' departments, but on taking up my duties I introduced a system of military exercises and as much military drill as was laid down in the Red-book from Section 1 to Section 26, exclusive of Section 8 (extension motions). This system is now taught in all schools under the School Board. The system of physical exercises is that sanctioned and adopted by the inspector of gymnasia at Aldershot, and taught in all Army schools.This gentleman also distinctly denied that there had been any retrogression with regard to military drill. Nobody desired to have the boys treated as soldiers, or to see militarism introduced into the schools, but it was desirable that there should be such physical training as was best secured by simple military methods of drill. By this means the scholars would be physically developed 835 and their intelligence awakened. This system had been carried out in the district of East Hants and West Sussex, where the inspector, Mr. Burrows, was an enthusiast. If those who were opposed to this system could only see the smartness and general appearance of the scholars in the schools in that district they would be converted. Mr. Burrows had written as follows:—The Portsmouth district under my charge embraces East Hants and West Sussex, extends along the coast from Gosport and Portsmouth to Bognor, includes Jersey, and is bounded on the north by the Southdowns from the outskirts of Arundel to a line about ten miles west of Petersfield. Within these districts strong contrasts exist, such as that between schools in the midst of Portsmouth and those in the remote villages of the downs and of the forest country round Wolmer. In spite of these varied conditions I am able to say that in all boys' schools or departments throughout my district some approved form of military or physical drill, with or without arms, accompanied by music, is regularly practised, and that in all girls' and infants' schools; or departments and in all mixed schools some kind of physical or Swedish drill with music is the rule. This has been the case for some years, long before public interest was aroused in the matter. In a considerable number of boys' schools the drill is purely military, including extension motions and company drill. In other schools physical drill, based more or less on military methods, is adopted, I have never proposed a uniform scheme, as it seems best that each school should take its own line within due limits, so long as the result arrived at is genuine physical and moral training. There is no subject so popular with children as drill which is taught during the ordinary school hours. The teachers are unanimous in stating that this training not only produces steadiness, obedience, smartness, and concentration, but certainly strengthens and brightens the intellectual power of the scholars. Throughout the whole of my district it is now clearly understood that drill forms one of the most important parts of elementary education. For much of the merely mental instruction is forgotten when the short school days end, but physical and moral training, inseparable if taught aright, will abide, and will form the sturdy stuff sorely needed by England and the Empire. A display of drill always forms a prominent feature of my annual inspection of all schools, whether large or small, whether in town or country. To this custom and to the unfailing readiness and enthusiasm with which the subject has been taken up by managers and teachers I attribute the remarkable progress made since their attention was drawn to it four years ago. Portsmouth set such a zealous and successful example, as was to be expected from the schools of the first naval port of the kingdom. Much of this progress is also due to the energetic formation of school bands to lead the exercises and marching. All large schools and many smaller ones now possess bands of six to thirty performers, using 836 drums and fifes in the boys' and violins in the girls' schools. These bands are composed of teachers of all grades and of elder scholars. The use of these instruments does away with the necessity of costly pianos, and enables the band to be maintained at a trifling expense, and to be moved into the playground to lead open-air drill in fine weather.A very important point was that in this district, in which the system was such a great success, the teachers themselves were enthusiastic in the matter. Many of the teachers had learned their drill in the local Volunteer corps attached to the training colleges. Instead, therefore, of employing military instructors these teachers taught the children the drill. It was always an advantage that both the physical and the educational teaching should be in the same hands; at any rate it had been extremely successful in the East Hants and West Sussex district. Moreover, the drill formed a part of the regular curriculum. In some cases there was a certain time devoted to the subject every day, while in others the instruction was given on alternate days. It was a noticeable fact that the attendance on the days on which the drill instruction was given was larger than on the others, and nothing was a greater punishment for the children than that they should be deprived of their drill. On this subject of school drill, Mr. Clancy, head master of the Roman Catholic school at Portsmouth, and President of the National Union of Teachers, had reported as follows—During the past four years I have included military drill in my school time-table. I state unhesitatingly that the results have been highly satisfactory in every respect. One of the greatest obstacles to true educational progress has been the early age at which pupils leave school. I have found that school drill is a great inducement to the boys to remain longer under my charge and so to extend their school career. Our ordinary lessons are apt to tire the lads and cause them to long for the day when school life should cease. No sooner did we start our school drill than it was evident we hail infused a new educational spirit into the pupils, so that their regularity and punctuality showed a marked improvement. As an aid to discipline I can speak with no uncertain voice of its marvellous results. The lads are taught obedience, and that, in my opinion, is absolutely essential if the teacher is to succeed at all. Boys love order and will respect those who insist upon it. Therefore every lesson benefits by the teaching of drill. What is more offensive than an ill-mannered, uncouth youth? Drill teaches us to be orderly, polite and prompt, hence its great value as an essential part of the Code. The general bearing of the pupils is greatly benefited by a course of physical exercises, and their ordinary appear- 837 ance is vastly improved at a most important period of their careers. The spirit of true patriotism is developed and a love of all that lends to make a great nation is inculcated at the proper moment. The good results of a regular course of military drill are so patent that one hesitates to specify them. I know of nothing more likely to reach the ideal of a 'sound mind in a sound body' than the carrying out of a judiciously arranged programme of physical exercises. If carried out in moderation during school hours by a willing and enthusiastic body of teachers the future citizens of this empire will largely benefit thereby. I wish the movement every success, and trust that we may be able to carry out the experiment in every school in the country.Similar testimonies as to the success of the system and the benefit derived therefrom came from Manchester, the West of England, and many other parts of the country. He had said it was desirable that some consideration should be given to encourage the teachers to adopt this subject, and his attention had been called to Article 83 (d) in the Code for 1900, which said—Grants are also made for the further instruction of certificated teachers and assistant teachers (Article 79) in drawing, experimental science, modern languages, cookery, woodwork, school gymnastics, or military drill, or such other subject approved by the Department as may form part of the curriculum of the public school in receipt of Parliamentary grants or of a higher grade school.Also to Article 91 (d), which was in the following terms—Where courses are established by the county council or other local authorities, either within their own area or at an approved technical college or other central institution, for the further instruction of teachers as in Article 83 (d), according to a scheme approved by the Department, and under instructors whose competency for this special work is proved to the satisfaction of the Department, there shall be paid a grant amounting to not more than three-fourths of the actual expenditure upon the class, after deduction of the income from the fees, provided that such expenditure is duly set forth in properly audited accounts and is approved by the Department.It might be asked what was to be done with a small country school taught by an old woman, but a system was not to be condemned because it could only be carried out in a limited way. On Friday last week detachments from various schools gave a display before a large audience at Portsmouth, and it was delightful to see the smartness and intelligence shown by the children. The ordinary teachers conducted, and nothing could be prettier than the fixed attention and smartness with which little girls 838 followed the orders of their teachers. It was better that the drilling should be carried out by the ordinary teachers because the habits of steadiness, concentration, and ready obedience were effective through all branches of study. The results were highly satisfactory wherever the system had been adopted. When the national defence of the country was being considered it was important there should be a scheme by which the courage, the bravery, and aptitude for home defence which existed among so many branches of the population should be utilised more. Advanced drill would be much more easily learnt if elementary drill was mastered in early life. In Switzerland military drill was compulsory in every school, yet it was as free a country as existed, and was conspicuous for the industry and frugality of its people. Orderly habits and ideas of discipline and obedience, which were gained by military drill, were an unmixed benefit. The whole manhood of the country would be improved by such a scheme, and he thought it would be a valuable addition to the education of the country. In this regard Scotland was far in advance of England, and he thought, looking at the importance of the question, the right hon. Gentleman need not disdain to take a lead from the Scotch Education Department. Under the circumstances, he did not regret that he could not move the Amendment he had intended, and he could only say that he did not desire to divide the House upon the question.
§ * MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said the matter which had been brought to the attention of the House by the right hon. Baronet was one of great importance. Upon the general question of the advantage of some kind of drill to the boys and girls at any public elementary school there could not be two opinions. But at all the public elementary schools the children, from the youngest age up to the age of ten or twelve, two or three times a week, went through a course of drill in their own schoolrooms, as part of the curriculum. In the case of boys it was more military in its nature, they, in many cases, being instructed by men who had been in the Army; but where it did not take place so systematically the drill was given under the instruction of the teachers themselves, 839 who, in many cases, held certificates from drill instructors at the training colleges of their capacity to undertake such instruction. At the present time there were in all or most of the elementary schools playground drill, class-room drill, fire drill, and discipline drill, and the only question was how far the drilling of the children should proceed. It ought to proceed just as far as the health of the children and the economy of noise in the class rooms warranted. There was some danger in going beyond that. Volunteer brigades existed in connection with some of the teachers' training colleges, and there were boys' brigades in connection with many of the schools. Some of those brigades had ceased to exist because the military spirit had been thought to have been carried too far. Then, again, enthusiasts who had been to Scandinavia pressed on the Department the idea that Swedish drill was far superior to military drill, and after sufficient pressure the Department yielded, and Swedish drill became an alternative to military drill. Then another body of enthusiasts pointed out that drill was not the best form of physical exercise, and that gymnastics ought to be carried out systematically on every playground by means of a trapeze and parallel bars, and as a result the Code admitted that as suitable physical exercise. The present Code stated that as a condition of a school being efficient it must provide physical exercise for the children. A good deal of physical exercise was provided and would go on irrespective of the result of that debate, but he hoped there would be no attempt to press upon the schools and the children too much the idea of spending time in military drill. He was not quite sure that the older forms of military drill would be useful—he spoke under correction—in actual warfare. The great thing in future would be not company drill and squad drill, close order, forming fours, and marching by rank and file, but skirmishing and sharpshooting, and he did not see how in public elementary playgrounds skirmishing or sharpshooting could be practised. He thought the great want still was a higher degree of intelligent education for the children. It was not only necessary for a soldier nowadays to hear and obey the word of command; he must have an intelligent understanding of the word of command and its adaptation to circumstances; and there was some risk 840 if the precious time—the far too short time—children spent at school were spent in mechanical drill that it would draw their minds from any chance of gaining more and more intelligence. He did not intend to meet the proposal of the right hon. Baronet in any antagonistic manner. We quite agree that in garrison towns the school teachers ought to be free, as they were free now, to carry military drill in schools to a high degree of perfection, but not in rural schools where perhaps thirty boys were taught by a mistress. In seaport towns the instruction ought to be of a maritime and not of a military character, and there ought to be elasticity allowed to the local managers and teachers. Any proposal to make military drill compulsory could not be in harmony with existing conditions in thousands of schools. He gathered that the chief object of the right hon. Baronet was to call the attention of the House and the Department to the subject, and not to press for any general compulsory provision. He believed that the Department was thoroughly in sympathy with the idea. He would suggest that the right hon. Baronet could not serve his case better than by leaving it where it was after having ventilated it. The proper course, if the right hon. Baronet wished to do more, would be to approach individual bodies of managers and school boards on the subject. They would be much more likely to act enthusiastically if approached individually than if there was an article in the Code compelling military drill. He was quite sure if military drill were made compulsory for securing the higher grant, there would be an outcry against it on behalf of the schools, and that the best interests of the cause which the right hon. Baronet had at heart would be served by his not pressing the case further. So far as it had gone he felt himself very much in sympathy with the proposal.
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL ON EDUCATION (Sir J. GORST,) Cambridge University
I think the House is very much indebted to my right hon. friend for having brought this important question under its consideration at this particular time. I was entirely in sympathy with nearly everything the right hon. Baronet said in his speech, and I only 841 differed from him where he rather suggested that the Education Department was less zealous in this particular matter than it ought to be. There are two questions to be considered by the House, and they seem to have been rather confused. One is the question of physical training, and the other is how far that physical training should have a military character. With reference to the question of physical training, the Education Department has practically made it compulsory in all schools, because it is a condition without which the higher grant cannot be obtained, and suitable physical exercise is to be taught in every school. Although the right hon. Baronet criticises the language of the Code, there is, as I shall show presently, nothing whatever in the new Code to alter the practice which has prevailed for many years past. Of course the very best kind of physical exercise and the best way to develop the physical powers of children is by games, and in country districts and in schools where the playgrounds permit of games, no drill in the world can develop the muscles and limbs of children like a good healthy game. But where the conditions are not favourable for games the Education Code provides that in the school itself, under a roof and within doors, the children shall be given Swedish drill, gymnastics, military drill, or something by which their physical powers may be developed.
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
May I ask my right hon. friend why the only Article in which physical and military drill was mentioned has been dropped out of the Code?
§ SIR J. GORST
The Code of the present year, more than the Codes of previous years, has left everything to the local managers of schools. The principle of the Department is to allow the local managers, or the teachers of the schools, to decide what is the best course of instruction for the pupils to be taught, and it is not only military and physical drill that has disappeared, but everything else has disappeared from the Code which is calculated to dictate to the local managers the particular course of instruction which they are to observe. But the curriculum practised in the schools must be one which the inspectors approve of, and the language of the instructions to inspectors 842 which the right hon. Baronet read, and to which I will also venture to call attention, is very precise on this subject. These instructions state that instruction in Swedish drill or any suitable physical exercise is a condition for obtaining the higher grant; that military drill for boys has been found very attractive in some districts and deserves encouragement, and that a healthy game, which was one of the best forms of physical exercise, would satisfy the conditions of the Code. The instructions also state that in town schools such games are impossible or only possible in a few schools, but that it is incumbent on teachers to provide for the physical development of growing boys and girls by some form of drill or gymnastics. It is also laid down that half time children should not be made to drill, and that children who have walked long distances should also he excused. These instructions practically compel every school to have such drill or other physical exercise as is suitable to the conditions of the school and practicable under the circumstances. Now, I come to a further question. Should we or can we give that drill a military character? In that matter the Education Department has left, and intend to leave, the local managers to their own discretion. In the first place, military drill is absolutely impossible in a great number of schools. How is it possible in a village school where there are thirty or forty children under one woman teacher, with a girl monitress, to have military drill, unless the lady were an Amazon? I took up at random the other day in the Education Department a list of ninety-one schools, in fifteen of which military drill was taught. Of the seventy-six in which military drill was not taught there were only twenty-four which had more than one hundred boys or girls in the school, and a very small proportion of these boys were over ten years of age. How could it be possible in those schools, where there are less than one hundred children, and where very few of the boys are above ten years of age, to have any kind of military drill? In Portsmouth, in London, and in the great towns military drill is very common, where the local managers think it suitable, but it is quite clear that it would be impossible for the Education Department to make the system compulsory. It would probably defeat its own end, because when 843 they try to compel teachers to take a course which they had been accustomed to adopt on their own discretion, they rather resent it, and are less inclined to have military drill. All I can say in answer to my right hon. friend is that this is a subject which has occupied, and will always occupy, the careful attention of the Education Department; but as a matter of fact there is suitable physical drill, better or worse, in every school in England and Wales. A very large proportion of those schools have of their own accord made that physical exercise military, and, having the power to exercise their own discretion, have produced the results which my right hon. friend has referred to as obtaining at Portsmouth, and with which he is so pleased. I do not think there is anything more that can be done to show the strong feeling which the Educational Department has in favour of physical exercise as an absolutely essential part of the training of the child, quite as beneficial to them as reading, writing, and arithmetic, and quite as necessary for them. But I think the system as established is satisfactory. I believe that every school and every set of school managers are quite alive to the importance of this matter, but, as far as the military character of the drill is concerned, that must be left, and can only be left, to the discretion of the local managers.
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
The Vice-President and the Government are to be congratulated on the practical and reasonable reply which has been given to the right hon. Gentleman who opened this debate. I am indeed pleased, as one who is known to take an active part in athletic exercises, and to encourage gymnasiums in my own district, that the Vice-President has decided to leave the question of military drill, or physical exercises to the local authorities who educate our children. It is wise that the duty of educating our children in physical exercises should be left to the discretion of the school boards, and to the free choice of the school managers and their masters and mistresses, who can best adapt the form of physical exercise to the physique of the children and to local circumstances. I was also glad to hear the Vice-President saying that it would be defeating the end the right hon. Gentleman has in view in making what is now optional compulsory. I agree with him. If the right 844 hon. Gentleman wants to see the difference between voluntary physical exercise and compulsory drill, let him go to a French school, where military drill is compulsory, and contrast the effect on, say 100 boys, with a similar number of boys of the same age in one of our schools where physical exercises and old English games are taught. The French boys do not know how to box, or play football, or cricket, and they do not compare even in physical smartness with our boys who are taught gymnastic exercises.
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS
No, no. I have known good soldiers made better warriors by the physical exercises adapted from civilian life and now practised at Aldershot. The right hon. Gentleman wants to institute these mechanical, automatic movements, which the South African War shows are of little use, instead of the physical exercises which we are giving in the elementary schools throughout the country. If the right hon. Gentleman had confined himself to the first portion of his speech, I should not have complained; but, like a lady's letter, the sting of the speech was in the postscript. He said that this question of physical drill or military exercises is a serious matter when national defence is before the country. I want the House to follow this argument to its logical conclusion. The right hon. Gentleman declares that the military drill which he advocates in the schools would be an easy transition to cadet corps; from these to the Volunteers; and then into the Army. His real objective is not gymnastics, but militarism. His desire is recruiting, and not the expansion of the chest measurement or the improvement of the physique of the children for its own sake. What I want to point out is that we should not discuss this question when we have a war going on and a demand for the remission of the death duties in the case of officers, when we have an atmosphere in this House of military feeling, and when feather-headed patriots are clamouring to go to war with everybody, provided they do not do the fighting. I prefer that we should discuss it in times of peace and on rational lines. I have another objection to the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He says he wants 845 our elementary schools as a source from which Tommy Atkins is to be recruited; but why not all schools—intermediate, secondary, and higher schools?
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS
The right hon. and gallant Baronet says "Hear, hear!" Does he know to what extent gymnastic exercises and physical drill prevail in London, our largest recruiting centre? I should be delighted to take him round my own district, where he would see the children instructed in formation in line, marching, forming fours, and in all the elements of physical drill so far as they are not automatic and purely military. But if you extend that part of the instruction you will cause many fathers and mothers to withdraw their children from that form of military exercise. I maintain that everything we want in the way of physical exercise and gymnastics, short of military drill, we have in the elementary board schools at the present time. There is not the same reason for this demand that there was ten or fifteen years ago. Take my own parish. We have twenty-five board schools, and ten years ago every one of these board school playgrounds was locked up before the schools were open, and after school teaching was finished. Now I am glad to say the playgrounds are open from early morning to dark, and the children may go there in all kinds of weather to practise all kinds of games. That in itself is good, but many of the board schools have elementary gymnastic appliances, in the practice of which the children may indulge when they are not in school. Let us remember what Lord Meath has done in the direction of providing open spaces in London. There is hardly a district in London where there are not good recreation grounds, giant strides, and all the appliances of a good gymnasium, while ten years ago these many advantages were denied to the children. Then we have the enormous popularity of cricket, which is better than any barrack-yard drill, tennis, football, and all the other sports that have really worked a revolution in the physique of our town lads, and especially the girls of the middle classes. Nothing is more pleasing to see than the way in which this growth of athleticism, without military drill, has improved the physique 846 of the girls of the middle classes; and I am positively convinced that a great deal of good will result if allowed to develop on rational but non-military lines. I want to put this point to the right hon. Baronet as a soldier. He made the curious admission that nothing was more repugnant to the soldier than extra drill punishment. And why? Because you are making him an automaton; yet he wants to carry that system into school life. What we want is that a man should have less of barrack-yard drill; that their heads should be educated rather than their feet; that they should have individual resource and adaptability. Our soldiers, in fact, should have the Boer adaptability with the quality of fighting at close quarters which they now possess rather more from games than by drill. What the speech of the right hon. Baronet really amounts to is that the option of school boards to give either military or physical drill to the scholars should be abolished, and the instruction confined to military drill. He says that a military training begets obedience. I do not think so. It does not always beget obedience or discipline in the sense I understand discipline. I can remember when I went through the streets of London at the head of forty thousand or fifty thousand unemployed, and the men most disobedient, most riotous, and most ready to enter into conflict with the police, were the Army Reservists whom your methods of military drill had not made obedient, loyal, or patient. That is an interesting fact and worth pounds of theory. Ask the Commissioner of Police what is the effect of barrack-yard training on the recruits who go through the Army into the police. If a dispute occurs, say, between a cabman and a 'busman, the civilian policeman, who has not been automatised by barrack-yard drill, takes out his book quietly, becomes a peripatetic magistrate in a blue uniform, and, adapting himself to the situation, carefully puts down all the particulars. But the ex-Army man looks helplessly around for some one to instruct him what to do, while the cabby accuses the 'busman and the 'busman the cabby, and probably both meanwhile escape. Barrack-yard drill does not beget real obedience or real discipline, is opposed to initiative, resource, and promptitude, and has not the bracing influence of physical exercise. I come to my last point. The effect of all this 847 military drill means that you want to make the working class a recruiting ground for soldiers more than it is. I believe this is one of the best countries in the world. I know of no country for which men ought to sacrifice more of their health and their wealth than for this, our country. But if you want to stimulate patriotism you are not going to make generals by giving men gaudy uniforms, or make patriots by teaching children barrackyard drill. If the Army wants recruits you have got two great recruiting sergeants—one is poverty, which procures you 95 per cent., and the other is patriotism, which gets you 5 per cent. What is now being proposed, it seems to me, is to increase by fictitious and adventitious aids, by military drill in the playground, that 95 per cent. The working classes do not want these, and, what is more, they won't have it. If you force upon them the drill sergeant, as against the schoolmaster, in the board schools, the working people will withdraw their children, and send them to schools where only physical exercises are taught. It has been declared that the Duke of Wellington said—I do not think he said it, but I accept it as if he said it—that the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. That is a testimony that a good athlete makes a good soldier; and I believe that is the case. We have seen in this war good cricketers distinguish themselves at the front, and we all deplore the loss of that excellent golfer, Lieutenant Tait, who met his death in discharging a soldier's duty. We all regret it, and none more than I, who had the happiness of his personal acquaintance. But if we are going to fill our Army with athletic men, do not let us discourage them in early life with pipe-clay military drill. I have a chest measurement of 43 inches, and 33 inches round the waist, without all this nonsense of military drill; and it is because the average Labour Member has not had this automatic military drill, that he can give nearly all the soldiers in this House five inches of chest measurement, and then beat him by one or two. It is because we have had our industrial training and boxing in our gymnasiums that we have the physique we now have. I am extremely anxious that the working classes shall retain these advantages without military drill, and it is because 848 the Vice-President says we want discrimination, and adaptability to circumstances, and therefore rejects the proposal of the right hon. Baronet, that I have stood up to take the side of the Government as against their two military supporters.
§ SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)
said he rose to dispute the accuracy of what the hon. Member who last spoke had stated against the military profession. His experience was that parents liked their children to be properly and well drilled, and that they would far rather see them drilled by a drill sergeant than by the teachers. From his personal observation he found the great advantage which followed this military drill at school. Not only were the children far better set up, but it taught them habits of obedience, the use of their limbs, the habitude to obey words of command, to be more quick in perception, and better adapted to go into life after they left school. It did not follow that the school was, because of this drill, to be a recruiting ground for the Army and Reserve forces. He was glad to think that in this respect Scotland was so much in advance of England. He would not urge that the word "military" should be inserted in the Code, but that a better grant should be given to those schools which had good drill and military training established in them. It stood to reason that if children were taught those exercises it would fit them to be better soldiers if called upon in a sudden emergency to serve in the Army, Militia, or Volunteers. They would not go as mere novices into the defensive force, but would be in great measure qualified to prove themselves good and loyal soldiers. No one could over-estimate the good cadet corps were doing in Scotland and England. It took away young lads, up to eighteen years of age, from the public-houses, and fostered good comradeship and good feeling. He was satisfied that if good drill were encouraged the boys would take a far greater interest and pride in their school, and that schools would vie with one another, not only in good teaching, but in military drill.