§ Considered in Committee:—
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 7:—
§ Question again proposed, "That Clause 7, as amended, stand part of the Bill."1035
§ (9.0.) MR. HERBERT LEWIS,
Flint, Boroughs, said that, under the Clause, while the State bore nine-tenths of the cost of the voluntary schools, it got only one-third of the representation on the managing bodies. He believed it would have been utterly impossible ten or twenty years ago to have induced Parliament to assent to such a Clause. At the time it was proposed to abolish fees in public elementary schools, the Standard declared that if fees were got rid of the Clause for local representative control would become irresistible. Yet now that the whole cost of management of these voluntary schools was to come out of the public funds, they were only offered a miserably small instalment of the so-called public control. The Government had abolished School Boards, and he supposed they were expected to be grateful for the very small concession offered them in the shape of public control, even over schools managed by a public authority. In the case of those schools the public control was removed as far as possible from the ratepayers. In the first place the ratepayer elected his share of the County Council; in the second place the County Council—which was only a partially elected body—appointed the Education Committee and in the third place the Education Committee which might also be only partially elected by the County Council nominated the managers. Thus the control of the school was three removes from the people who had to pay for the support of it, and the result would eventually be that instead of the free election of the managers of the schools, a system of patronage would-grow up. The member of the County Council for the district would have the patronage. The local education authority would, of course, make the appointment, but it would be on his recommendation; he would be practically all powerful, and instead of the control of the school being in the hands of a public authority appointed by the people, the nomination of the governing body would be left to a single individual, and under such circumstances the interests of the schools were bound to suffer. They could not expect the public to take the same interest in them as when the direct control of the schools was in the hands of the people. Another 1036 plan might have been adopted. If it were necessary to abolish School Boards in order to obtain co-ordination of Education, surely the Government might have accepted the system which had answered so well in Wales, by which the education authority was elected partly by the County Council and partly by the local bodies. When he appealed to the First Lord of the Treasury to adopt that plan, the right hon. Gentleman objected that it might give rise to conflict between the county and the local authorities. That argument came very strangely from the right hon. Gentleman, bearing in mind the nature of his own proposals. The public and the voluntary schools were being treated in this respect on very different lines. Of course the object was to favour the denominational system, and that was why the State was to bear nine-tenths of the cost and have only one-third of the representation. See how hardly that would operate in many cases. He received only that morning a letter describing a case in his own district—the case of a school endowed by a Nonconformist 150 years ago, and erected out of the income of the endowment. The control of that school was almost entirely in the hands of the clergymen of that and adjoining parishes, and the people were, under the Bill, only to be-allowed one-third of the representation. He knew of another case in which 400 miners contributed 1s. per month out of their wages towards the cost of erecting a school which, it was understood, was to be an undenominational institution. The balance of the funds needed were subscribed by some Church association, and inconsequence a deed of trust was prepared, of which the people had no cognisance until it was brought to their notice by the refusal of their application for the use of the schoolroom for a meeting. Then they discovered for the first time that it was a denominational school. Cases of this kind detracted very considerably from the claim for denominational representation. He was willing to give representation in proportion to the amount of voluntary contribution, but he was sure the country desired to see an end put to existing injustice in this matter.
1037 He was not surprised at the haste displayed by the Government to get this Clause through by the adjournment; they were afraid that during the interval their hands might be forced by public opinion. They were told that the Bill conferred popular control, but the phrase was a misnomer—it was a misuse of the English language to apply it to this provision affecting voluntary schools. The remedy suggested by the other side for the grievance of the 8,000 one-school parishes was worse than the disease, because it meant that the children would be educated in two hostile camps. The multiplication of schools would not advance the educational interests of the country. It was far better to have one strong school in a parish than two weak schools imperfectly equipped and costing a great deal of money. He feared that the effect of the Bill would be to greatly increase sectarian bitterness. It had been spoken of as a "settlement for all time," but the speeches which had been delivered showed that it could not last—it had no element of permanence in it. Let the representatives of the Church consider what they were doing and the privileges they already enjoyed. They had the control of the education of the majority of the children of this country, although the State paid the greater part of the cost of that education. Why could they not be satisfied with what they had got? He wished the Government would apply the Scotch system to Wales, and he saw no reason why Wales should not have separate treatment in this regard; indeed, his chief cause of opposition to the Clause was because it was so peculiarly unjust to Wales. All the Welsh people asked for was religious equality, and, in common with the Nonconformists of the country generally, they desired a fair share in the control of the schools of the nation. This Clause did not give them that fair share, and he begged, therefore, to move its omission from the Bill
§ (9.25.) MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
said he was in favour of the Clause, because, for the first time, it introduced a larger lay element and also the popular representative element into the managing bodies of denominational schools. There had been a good many speeches 1038 delivered on the subject of popular control, but according to the idea of full popular control advocated on the other side, they would have to abolish the Cowper-Temple Clause—they would have to give each parish the right of saying whether their school was to be denominational or undenominational, and, worse still, they would have to give the Parish Councils or parish representative the power of saying, if the school was to be denominational, what denomination it was to be. Could any scheme be conceived more likely to conduce to educational inefficiency and the maximum of sectarian friction and trouble. The fact was, no one really wanted popular control in that sense. The true duty of the local bodies was to carry out administratively their educational work free from those religious difficulties which hon. Members had to settle in the House of Commons. It had been asked whether the measure of popular control was ample and satisfactory. The Clause was a great advance on the present system. A large number of denominational schools at the present time were, as far as local control, was concerned, private schools, and those under one-man management were to a large extent under clerical control. One great reform provided in the Bill was to constitute a governing body in those schools in which the clerical element could no longer be the dominant factor. Agreeing with the view that there ought to be religious education in our elementary schools, he said that by the Bill a lay element had been introduced to an extent never seen before, upsetting the too large clerical control of the schools. This was one of the great advantages of the Bill. The objection had been raised that the lay element would consist of clerically-minded laymen. What was meant by that? The vast majority of laymen objected to anything like clerical control. But if by the expression was meant religiously-minded laymen, he hoped a large number of the members of the Boards of Managers would come within the definition.
As to the next point, he disliked rate aid in connection with elementary schools, but if there was rate aid he had always said there must be a corresponding measure of popular control; what they had to consider was whether by any test they had this measure of control 1039 in the managing body. As far as the aid from the national exchequer went, there was practically no change, but about one-sixth of the cost of the denominational schools would probably be defrayed from the rates in future, and this was the proportion of representation which the ratepayers had obtained. He did not believe, however, that that was the right test to take. The point to be considered was whether in truth and in fact sufficient power was given to the rate-paying and rate-collecting authority. He thought such power was given. On any real question of policy the two managers would represent the controlling authority and the money-giving authority, and they would always be supreme on real questions of principle. The control of the purse was the real control in these matters. He was anxious to preserve the religious character of the schools, but it was not a duty which should be delegated to a Parish Council. A suggestion had been made that they might have some form of statutory religion which would be acceptable to all parties. But suppose there were six people round a table, each of them of a different denomination, and each one struck out of any religious formula every point upon which he did not agree, what would be left? The late Bishop Creighton was right in saying that they would get in that way a policy of mere negation. Could any means be devised by which they could give parents in all parts of the country a chance of having the religious education which they desired for their children? To his mind that would be an ideal solution of this religions question. It would not be pitting sect against sect, but simply having the children brought up in the religion of their parents. He thought there were suggestions made which, if they were loyally accepted on the other side, would even bring about that great reform. It was possible to get rid of what was sincerely believed by some Members on the other side as unfair treatment if hon. Members opposite would meet hon. Members on his side on some common ground. In this Clause there was a large introduction of the lay, element and of public local control. They could not have finality, but they would never go back from that point; and the question was whether the denominational system would be preserved in the future, or whether too great a concession had 1040 been made. He hoped it might be preserved and popularised by the introduction of the lay element; and this Management Clause had a large element of public local control, which, he believed, should be given whenever they used the rates, because it would conduce to true educational efficiency.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said the hon. and learned Gentleman had developed an amazing paradox. He had argued that when they wanted real national representation of the taxpayers of this country, the right way to do it was to select representatives of the taxpayers out of a select circle limited by denominational and sectarian opinion. ["No."] The hon. and learned Member supported that statement by saying that the ratepayers had all the representation they were entitled to, because, according to his view, they were to contribute only one-sixth of the expenditure, and that the taxpayers who contributed the bulk of the funds were fully represented by the remaining members of the Board of i Management.
§ MR. CRIPPS
I did not say that. The taxpayers will be protected in the future, as in the past, by the inspector.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said he was within the recollection of the Committee. The hon. and learned Member developed his argument, and said the taxpayers would be represented by those members of the Board who were not representatives of the ratepayers. But they were the so-called foundation or trust managers, and, ex hypothesi, they represented not the nation but only a part of the nation.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said he was following the hon. and learned Member's argument point by point, and he was at present speaking on the question of management. The whole argument of the hon. and learned Member was devoted to an attempt to show that under the Clause the ratepayers and taxpayers would have the representation to which they were entitled by their relative pecuniary contribution. But that was not the case; 1041 and it was because they on his side of the House thought that was not the case that they would not cease from their agitation until they saw right and justice done. This was not a question of Church and Nonconformity; it was a great question of public principle—whether those who paid were entitled to control. Under the Prime Minister's Amendment, they were to get two representatives of the public and the local authorities; but the benefit of that concession was largely taken away by the absurd qualification that one of those representatives should be a parent, a qualification which, he believed, they owed to the Roman Catholic body in this country.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said he had seen a letter in The Times from Cardinal Vaughan advocating something remarkably like it. They would have to watch this representative to find out whether he had still got a child at school, and he thought it would be infinitely better if the local authority elected two such representatives. In nine cases out of ten, the representative of the parents would be a very timorous sort of person, while if he were elected by the local authority they would probably appoint a representative who would be useful and independent. He should like to know whether the Government intended to persevere with this proposal in regard to the representation of the parents, or whether they might look upon its final disappearance as probable. The hon. Member for Flint pointed out that there had been a great deal of exaggeration of the sacrifices made by the Church. The history of the Church of England in regard to this question had been one of perpetual encroachment upon the taxpayers. When the Newcastle Commission issued its Report, it contained a principle which was universally accepted by everybody, that a denominational school meant a school where the denomination found an appreciable portion of the expense. Certain conditions were accepted in 1870, but the Church has since succeeded in getting rid of them. There used to be a 17s. 6d. limit, but the Church of England had got rid of that. Then there was the "pound-for-pound" 1042 condition, which provided that for every pound obtained out of public money another pound should be found out of voluntary subscription, and that was also got rid of by the Church of England. In the past the voluntary schools had to pay rates, but now they had got rid of that obligation. There only remained the subscriptions, and they would now be got rid of by the Church; but these had not been supplied by Church members alone, many who had merely desired to guard their locality from the incidence of a school rate having given subscriptions for a school which had eventually fallen into the hands of the Church. By a process of sapping and mining, many schools had by mysterious processes become Church schools which were not exclusively Church property. One day the patience of the country would be exhausted by these encroachments, and it would be found that in the course of the Autumn those eloquent speehes which they heard from the other side of the House against these proposals would find an echo in the country, and the Government would find that there was a force more powerful than the Church of England in this country, and that was the power of the people of England
§ (10.0.) MR. OSMOND WILLIAMS (Merionethshire)
said it has been a constant surprise to one listening to these debates how a broad-minded statesman, as we all recognise the Prime Minister to be, can cling with such tenacity to this two-thirds representative Church managers, for surely he must know that thereby, if the Clause passes as it was, he would not only encourage but create the bitterest sectarian strife, andit would leave all ratepayers, Nonconformist or other wise, with a rankling feeling of injustice. The man who pays the piper had practically no voice regarding the tune the piper played, and could neither turn him out nor stop supplies. Consequently, there would be disputes between the various sects. The education of the children would become a mere pawn in the theological game. Those warring sectaries would hold that a child's internal welfare was endangered if he was taught vulgar fractions by a teacher whose views on original sin differed somewhat from theirs—would have full 1043 scope to perpetuate their nebulous differences at the cost of the ratepayers. Efficiency in education would be sacrificed to bigotry in religion. Instead of tending toallay sectarian bitterness, which had done so much to retard progress in this country, this Bill would only serve to intensify it, and to permeate succeeding generations with its evil influences. It puzzled him why some section of hon. Members opposite seemed to have a, terror or horror of Nonconformists participating in any advantages to be derived from Church schools or colleges. He had lived all his life among Nonconformists, and represented, perhaps, the most Nonconformist constituency in Great Britain. He had worked with them on School Boards, Boards of Guardians, County Councils and Quarter Sessions, and nowhere could one find such excellent citizens. They did local public work admirably, and they were practical, intelligent, and tolerant. Surely hon. Members opposite would admit that the sun shone as kindly and warmly on the Nonconformist pupil as upon the Church of England parson. He spoke as a member of the Church of England. He worshipped in that Church, and he was as firm an adherent of the tenets of that Church as any hon. Member in this House. But in his reading of its beautiful doctrines, the true Church of the true God was "equality," the altar, the Sacrament, the tomb. Equality, liberty and fraternity was what the Church taught. Liberty of thought must be the privilege of every creature. Yet some hon. Members would deny this to the Nonconformist student by keeping him out of the Church training colleges when he had won for himself a right to be so trained. They would not allow equality in work as Christ taught. But they set up a standard for themselves. Where again was fraternity as the Church taught. Why the very word at once suggested peace, joy, purity, and, in its mere utterance, fraternity of faith, the one Faith which taught them all, Nonconformists and Churchmen, to cry "Abba Father!" The hon. Member for Leicester told them that a Church of England parson said a Nonconformist student was not a child of God. If he said that in his presence, he would have 1044 retorted that by such an utterance he had proved himself the child of the Devil, and it was high time such inhuman treatment of Nonconformist children was put an end to
§ (10.5.) MR. JAMES HOPE
said he was rather glad at the line that the debate had taken, as between the hon. and learned Member for Stretford, and the noble Lord the Member for the Crick-lade Division, because he thought they came into close touch with a fallacy that had permeated a great deal of the debate that afternoon. The fallacy that he referred to was that the locality—the county or the city—would itself have to find out of its own funds for the greater part of the cost of secondary education. That was an absolute fallacy. The cost that would fall on the locality from its own funds was but a small portion of the whole. The State would find more than two-thirds of the total, and in some cases as much as three-fourths, and the locality would find less than one-third. Therefore, the control should remain with the State rather than the locality, and so it did. But the State in claiming that control did not insist upon nominating managers of the schools. The State had absolute control as it was. The State prescribed the curriculum, and all conditions under which public elementary schools were to be carried on, and if these conditions were disregarded the State had absolute power to enforce obedience to its demands, and so in future it would have with the local authority. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire had asked: "Why could not the Church of England be satisfied to throw itself upon the people? Why could it not be satisfied with the influence which it naturally would command in Councils, whether in rural or in urban districts throughout the community?" That might be so. The system might work, and probably would work, in the greater number of cases admirably; but how did they deal with minorities? He did not speak of any one minority in particular. In legislation they had to look not to cases in which a provision would act well, but to cases in which injustice might occur. Let them consider the position of a minority, of whatever denomination—
MR: MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)
§ MR. JAMES HOPE
Yes — Nonconformists equally with others—and what the powers of the managers of schools were under the present law. In the first place, under Section 23 of the Act of 1870, they had power under certain conditions absolutely to close and transfer the school to the public authority; in the second place, they would have the absolute power to order improvements for which the minority would have to pay, and in the third place, if any question arose between the managers of the school and the local authority, the majority of the managers appointed by the same local authority would have the power to stifle the grievance and prevent inquiry and redress. Seeing what those powers were, and seeing what a chance would be given for the views of a hostile majority to prevail, did they suppose that the managers of these schools would consent to remain liable for the responsibilities and burdens which the Bill would impose upon them? It was clear they would not. They would say: "You now manage this school, therefore you must take the liabilities upon yourselves." Hon. Members opposite knew that their proposal would mean that the denominational managers would be unable to carry on, and that the schools, sooner or later, must go; but if these schools went, something else mustgo—the Cowper-Temple Clause must go also. As the Prime Minister told them years ago, although there were various systems the country might stand, one system they would never stand, and that was a universal system of uusectarian teaching imposed on all classes alike. Nonconformists must equally respect the rights of others to have more definite teaching, which the parents of children considered in their conscience to be necessary.
Referring to the suggestion of the hon. Member for South-East Durham that some plan might be devised whereby the representatives of all churches might agree together upon some scheme of religious teaching which might be acceptable to all, he said that the Emperor Constantine made some suggestion of the kind, and though centuries had passed, the differences on the 1046 subject still remained. What syllabus, he asked, could be devised, by the greatest wit and ingenuity, which would be at one time acceptable to the hon. Member for the Spen Valley Division, to his noble friend the Member for Greenwich, to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, to the hon. Member for Launceston, and himself? He did not think that was a holiday task which any representatives of the churches or Members of the House would lightly undertake. Seriously, if they were to agree in any working system of education, they must begin by recognising the differences between them, and the recognition of differences was a sure basis of true unity, and a true working eirenicon at the last. No pretending of peace where there was no peace would ever solve a question which went so deep to the roots of human nature and passions as the question they were discussing. He fully recognised that there were others besides those in whom he was particularly interested who had grievances. He earnestly desired to meet the grievances of Nonconformists in country parts, but what were they to do if they would neither accept the proposals to build new schools nor accept the suggestion that there should be special and distinctive teaching? When both these proposals had been put forward and refused, it was rather from the other side to propose something constructive which, if it did not inflict a like grievance upon others, he was sure would meet from this side of the House cordial and earnest consideration, so that the grievances on both sides might be redressed. It had been suggested that some special treatment might be accorded to the Catholic body, that they might continue to receive the grant as heretofore, but that they should not come upon the rates. That could only mean that Catholic schools would be placed in a position of inferiority, that the teachers would be underpaid, and the whole system of education would be on a lower level. But above and beyond all that, there were broader and deeper grounds of fundamental objection to any such proposal. It was a question, not so much of religious tenets as of primary civic right. If a man or body of men came forward, and said they believed such and such doctrines were essential to the education of their children, and in pursuance of that 1047 belief they were willing to take upon themselves the cost of building and equipping a school, he had no right, and the House had no right, to cross-examine them as to the foundations of their belief. So far as ho knew, the Catholic body had never claimed anything for themselves that they would not freely and willingly bestow upon others. They could not depart from the one clear logical principle that in all these matters there should be equality—an equality denied by hon. Members opposite—equality of choice for the parent, and equality of opportunity for the children
§ (10.25.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said that a somewhat ominous sentence occurred in a speech of the First Lord of the Treasury, when he, declining to act as a political prophet, said that if public feeling went against denominational schools, then they must go down. His own object in the course of these debates had all along been to do anything in his power to prevent that precise result which the First Lord of the Treasury seemed to think a probable one, namely, public opinion going against denominational schools. There was the greatest possible danger of public feeling going against denominational schools if their cost was held to involve any serious injustice to any large and influential body of people. Speaking on behalf of nine-tenths of the Catholic community of Great Britain, he desired—as he did not expect to have an opportunity of addressing the House during the Autumn session—to make clear the attitude of the Irish Nationalist party on this question, all the more as he had been the object of denunciation in the Tablet on account of the Amendment which he had moved. The members of the Irish Party were denounced because they held that it was an outrage that, in a district where the majority of the children who attended the school belonged to other denominations than that which owned the school, they should be told that the ranks of the teachers of that school, supported as it was by public money, were closed against them. In this respect he went further than the eirenicon proposed by the Bishop of Hereford, for he thought it would be 1048 a gross injustice that the head teacher-ship in such schools should be reserved to members of the Church of England. If such a thing were proposed by Protestants in the south of Ireland, where Catholic children were in a great majority in a school founded by Protestant money in the old days of Protestant ascendancy, and if justice were denied, they would pull the roof off. Such a claim amounted to the grossest system of proselytism. He understood from what had been said in the debates that a demand was made that where a majority of the children were Nonconformist, the control of the schools should remain in the hands of the Church of England. In his judgment, that was a grossly unjust demand, and those who stood by it might be found to be the worst enemies of the denominational schools.
§ MR. DILLON
said he was delighted to hear that, and he hoped the noble Lord would prove that he did not assent to the demand. They could not in this free country defend the proposition that they were to take from the State support for a school, and in that school deny to the parents of die majority of the children a full share in the managership, and, above all, deny to Nonconformists the right to aspire even to the head-mastership. In the urban districts and great cities, Nonconformists were able to take care of themselves, but a compromise might be sought, by means of some generous proposal, which would meet the grievance with regard to schools in villages and rural districts. He had been criticised by the Tablet, and other intelligent organs of public opinion, for advocating a policy of confiscation in the Amendment he proposed the other day. But where was the confiscation? It was said that the Amendment would have given a majority to the enemies of denominational education, if that were true, what became of the doctrine of hon. Members opposite that the parents of this country were in favour of denominational education? It was said that by getting a majority of the opponents of denominational education on the 1049 managership, they could confiscate school and hand them over to the local authority That was an absurd and an un can did argument, because, as he understood the Bill, the ownership was not affected by the managership. Nobody had ever supposed that any provision would be introduced into the Bill conferring on the managers the ownership of the buildings. The ownership would remain with the trustees, and the managers would only have to deal with the management of the school. If the trustees were not satisfied with the management of the new Board of Managers as constituted under this Act, it was perfectly open to them to take their buildings and do what they liked with them. Therefore, no question of confiscation could possibly arise. The whole question was whether the owners of these buildings were willing to make the bargain with the State which was offered to them. How were those met who desired to settle the question on a working basis, and to introduce some sort of give and take and good feeling? It was perfectly manifest that the Prime Minister had been subjected to tremendous pressure and counter-pressure by his own party. Under pressure from that section of his followers who wanted more public control, the right hon. Gentleman had, to his horror and alarm, item by item, given away the control of the managers. They had been told tonight that the managers were to have the power of dismissing teachers. That was not in the Bill, but the hon. Member for East Somerset declared that was to be put into it. He understood from the Prime Minister also that was to be done. He would like to know what was left to the managers if the local authority had the power of vetoing the appointment of a teacher, of dismissing a teacher, of vetoing the dismissal of a teacher, of fixing the school-books, and of arranging all the details of secular instruction. He wanted to know who was to be the direct paymaster of the teacher, because if it was true that the local authority was actually to hand out the cash to the teacher, then the managers might disappear from the scene altogether. If the managers were to have no reality of power, what became of the denominational schools? They were gone—they ceased to be denominational schools; and the result would be 1050 that hon. Members, without knowing what they were doing, would have parted with the schools and with all control over them. One point with reference to the future of the denominational schools, which had been again and again alluded to and emphasised as a claim on the part of the denominational schools for a majority of the managers under this Clause, was the provision requiring the denominational managers in future to pay for the maintenance, repairs, and improvements in the buildings that might be required by the local education authority. He had no hesitation in saving that if that provision was maintained as it now stood in the Bill, it would put into the hands of any local education authority hostile to the denominational system the power of squeezing out of existence every denominational school in five years. They would then find themselves in a worse position than they ever were before. To set up some public authority which was to judge for the Roman Catholics in this country whether the teaching in their schools was orthodox, was to them the very height of absurdity. He could see no safety for denominational schools except in having a majority of managers of their own denomination exercising certain essential powers. In securing that guarantee, however, he, and those who were associated with him, were anxious that no injustice should be inflicted on Nonconformists. He did not understand that there was any animosity against schools which were purely denominational. The animosity was against those who claimed to inflict what must be admitted to be a cruel injustice on a large section of the community, and he was filled with the greatest anxiety by the action of hon. Members opposite who insisted in tying up the cause of denominational schools with this indefensible system of injustice. He thought that by their action in this matter they had not forwarded the cause of denominational schools, but had led to their ruin. He was glad to have had this opportunity of saying—no matter what might be said in the Tablet—that, while they were anxious to defend their own schools, and to do their best for them, he was afraid that in its present shape the Bill would be the ruin of the Catholic schools. They would never be at the dictation of anyone—he cared not how 1051 high placed they might be—and they would never support a system of proselytism, which had in the past done such a cruel injustice to the people of Ireland.
MR. J. W. WILSON (Worcestershire, N.)
said that it was quite clear that the Government were bound to protect the denominational nature of the schools. He did not see how the power of the purse was going to give that control over the schools which was claimed for it. The local authority would have no power to interfere with the appointment or dismissal of a teacher who pursued certain practices to which objection might be taken, and which had produced all the friction and outcry against the management of the voluntary schools. The managers would have absolute control over religious and doctrinal teaching, and what he wanted was to secure that the children should not be taught to scorn and despise other children who did not belong to the same Church. These scandals he wished to do away with, but he did not see how that was to be done under Clause 7
§ (10.54.) MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S)
. said he was not surprised that his hon. friend the Member for East Mayo should join with the hon. Member for North Birmingham, the Member for South East Durham, and the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, in expressing regret that they had received no indication on the part of the Government as to the line of any compromise they were prepared to adopt. The hon. Member for Oxford University had explained why there was no compromise to be expected, because, he said, the Bill itself was a compromise. Surely the right hon. Gentleman must have forgotten what was said in Convocation by Mr. Athelstan Riley when he advised that they should not show their satisfaction with the Bill too openly. They had learned a good many things since the discussion of this vital Clause in the Bill had begun. One was that a large number of Members on the opposite side of the House disapproved of it, and another was that a large majority of people outside also disapprove of it. And he thought there was no wonder at 1052 that, when they considered how feeble and far-fetched had been the arguments adduced in support of the Clause. He had listened attentively to the long speech delivered by the hon. Member for Oldham, whose only argument was that they "must recognise the necessities of the case." He supposed that what was meant was the necessity of no longer supporting the voluntary schools. The "necessities of the case" meant that they were to treat the denominational schools as being a necessary part of the educational system of the country. When these denominational schools began sixty years ago, they were in the position of private schools, founded by private individuals, or by the National Society, and supported by subscriptions and under trustees. The managers of these schools had to conciliate the people who subscribed to their support, and it was possible for the parents, if they were in any way displeased with the teaching, to cease their subscriptions, and take away their children from the schools. That was a natural safeguard, because it insured that an education should be provided for which the parents paid. Now, they had come to an entirely different position. Fees were abolished, the grants from the National Treasury had been largely increased, and the State now compelled the children to go to school. The result was that under this Bill the denominational schools had become part of the machinery of the local government of the country. They would become public and not denominational schools, though they would be delivered over to the control of denominational managers. Now, if those schools became part of the machinery of local government, what reason was there why the ordinary principles of local government should not apply to them? Why should not those who practically supported them have the control of them? They had asked the Government to give one single instance of a deviation from the long-established principle that where there was a body whose work was done out of public taxation there should be public control. No such instance had been given. They were, therefore, entitled to say that this was an exception to the recognised principle of the British Constitution from top to bottom. Why should they not 1053 apply? Why should not the people who practically supported the schools have the control of them? Take the case of the control of the County Councils. When they were discussing the relative proportions of the representation of the County Council and the local authority, the First Lord of the Treasury urged that there must not be any possibility of any conflict between the managers and the County Councils; but if there was to be a conflict, if there was to be a disposition not to obey public control, it would be found among the managers of the denominational schools. It was alleged that these schools were the property of the denomination. He had never heard any proof of that proposition. They were the property, some of them, of private owners, and some of them of trustees. At any rate, the denominations were not recognised in this matter at all. They had to deal with private owners only, and they had to make an arrangement on the one basis of the ownership of the building. If the share of the denominations in these schools was estimated, he believed that it would not amount to more than one-fourth or one-fifth of the total capital value. If they were to deduct all the building grants, and all the money given from the Imperial Treasury towards the support of these schools, that was a very small matter on which to base this extravagant claim to control. There was another point to which, he thought, sufficient attention had not been given. I his was a proposal to stereotype the denominational schools. But if a denominational school was not giving satisfaction hitherto, it was always possible for the subscribers to withdraw their subscriptions, and the voluntary schools fell to the ground. A School Board scheme was set up, and there was no further possibility of any injustice. [Ministerial cries of "Oh, oh!"] Yes, injustice. Hon. Members opposite might not agree with him; but the basis of their case was that it was a case of injustice. There was a remedy before; but it was made impossible in the future, because no locally discontented people could resort to the remedy formerly available, to institute a popular school; and the power was even taken out of the foundation managers to turn the denominational school into a provided school, should they think it well to do so.
§ MR. BRYCE
said that he earnestly hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would make it clear in the Bill that he intended that he would allow these schools to be transferred, and that he would convey unmistakably to the Committee that he would put words into the Bill that the voice of the people would be heard in the matter. The only real argument which had been used on the other side was that popular control would be given through the medium of local authority. The local authority was the County Council; but it was not to be the County Council but a Committee of the County Council, and they did not know yet how that Committee was to be constituted and how it was to be made amenable to public sentiment. The Committee would bear in mind that the control of the local authority over the denominational schools—such as it was—was confined to secular education. But it was in religious instruction that the grievances of Nonconformists lay—grievances such as that of clergymen in control of denominational schools exhorting the children that it was their duty to come to confession, and saying that the children of Dissenters were children of perdition. Those cases had been quoted to the House, and had not been refuted. They had been brought under the notice of the Education Department, and the Education Department had never met them.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL ON EDUCATION (Sir JOHN GORST, Cambridge University)
During the time I have been Vice President of the Council there has been no case which the Department has refused to redress.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he had no doubt that in cases in which the local managers had clearly transgressed the law the Board of Education had warned them to desist; but with regard to the cases which had been laid before the Committee in the course of the debate no attempt had been made by the Board to meet them.
§ MR. BRYCE
said that numbers of cases had occurred within recent years in regard to which the Vice President had said that the Board of Education had no right of interference as the Conscience Clause had not been violated; that was to say, the existing law was not sufficient to deal with the cases. He did not blame the right hon. Gentleman for not going beyond the law; what he did say was that the law ought to be amended, and their complaint was that that was not being done. These very cases were being left without redress, because the control of the local authority was to be confined to secular education, in connection with which these cases did not arise. How could it be supposed that a distant County Council would be able to exercise any effective control? How were the simple folk in a rural parish to know how to address the County Council or what help they would get from it? The First Lord always spoke of the one representative of the local authority as though he would be a sort of village Hampden, put in expressly to represent the interests of the minority, and that he would be of the spirit and temper of, say, the hon. Member for Morley or the hon. Member for the Carnarvon Boroughs, and be only too eager to sieze hold of any act of injustice and bring it to the notice of the County Council. What reason was there to suppose that the nominee of the County Council would be a person of that kind? The teacher would be entirely at the mercy of the managers with whom he had to deal every day, and if he disobeyed the denominational managers he could not expect any redress from the local authority. Interest and necessity would compel him to live on good terms with the managers, and, therefore, so far as influence in teaching, whether religious or secular, was concerned, the managers would be the effective authority. The First Lord had declared that the parents were exceedingly anxious for dogmatic teaching.
§ MR. BRYCE
was equally delighted and surprised to hear it. ["Withdraw."] Of course, he withdrew the statement. He had been under the impression that the basis on which the right hon. Gentleman was proceeding was that the parents belonging to the Church of England were anxious to have definite dogmatic instruction, but if the right hon. Gentleman now said they were not, he had nothing more to say on the subject. But in that case he did not know why the right hon. Gentleman was so anxious to provide it. A great deal of surprise had been expressed that the Government should press this Bill against the wishes of so large a part of their supporters. [Ministerial cries of "Oh."] Well, one of them had stated that he was one of eighty-two who had approached the Prime Minister and expressed their discontent with the Bill. He could only suppose that the right hon. Gentleman, yielding to the pressure of those who thought this was a favourable moment, was anxious, by a sort of Coup de main, when he possessed a large majority, to instal the denominational schools in a perfectly secure position. He did not believe that the Bill would settle the question, but that it would create in the minds of the people the association of denominational control with injustice, and as soon as that was done a wrong was inflicted on the name of denominationalism. The reason he did not believe this settlement would last, was that the ratepayers, when they found they had to pay alike for two classes of schools, would not understand why they had not the same control over the application of their money in both classes of schools. The scheme of the Bill would not last, but its consequences would. If they desired to injure the Government, they might wish that it should, like Pharaoh, harden its heart and refuse to listen to the voice even of so many of its own supporters. But he appealed to the Committee as to whether, so far from encouraging the Government to persist in that course, they had not repeatedly intimated their wish to see some reasonable arrangement arrived at. There wore other interests than that of the Government which would be affected by this Bill. As the hon. Member for North Birmingham had said, by this measure the Government were sowing the seed of an agitation against Church Establishment. The, Established Church 1057 had been able to retain her position of power and influence in this country—unlike what had happened in most democratically governed countries—because, generally speaking, except in the matter of education, she had not caused hardship and injustice to the people. But if the Government and their supporters were going to associate the Established Church in the minds of the people with hardship and injustice, they were going the best way to create agitation against the Established Church. They would force the country to consider the question whether the Church which made this claim, which was trying to lay her grasp on education, was entitled to retain her position as an Establishment, and those who were bringing this controversy on were the worst friends both of the denominational schools and the Church of England herself. The feeling which had been expressed by so many of the Government supporters represented a strong and deep feeling in the country; and when it was known that the Government had refused any concession on this vital Clause, the feeling would be strengthened. The House parted from the Clause now, but they did not part from the question. Many of the wisest men in the Church had predicted that this Bill was the beginning of a great change, and one that would not be to the benefit of undenominational schools. Whatever struggles there might be in the meantime, he hoped in the end the educational system of the country would be placed on a truly popular basis, and that it would receive that support and interest and sympathy from the masses of the people which it had hitherto lacked, and the lack of which had been the source of its greatest weakness
§ (11.25.) LOUD HUGH CECIL
said that the right hon. Gentleman had the faculty of recommending conciliation in a tone and with a class of argument that made its acceptance almost impossible to human nature. The right hon. Gentleman, who was not ashamed to talk about justice in the course of his speech and to end with a peroration expressing a desire to found education on the basis of popular control, has never examined, I imagine in common with the great mass of his Party, any proposal to allow any local authority to teach religious education 1058 excepting under the Cowper-Temple Clause. What hypocrisy then to talk of this deference to popular control. Hon. Members opposite were much more determined to hamper popular control than those who were interested in religious education, and they had done this by the Cowper-Temple Clause. He thought upon this question hon. Members opposite might be silent and leave their case to the more skilful advocacy of a few hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House. He had been led away from the course in which he certainly intended to debate this subject by the example which the right hon. Gentleman opposite had set him in his speech. He rather wished to take up observations that were made frequently in this debate, and from which he gathered that a section of the Opposition looked upon this question in a particular light in view of the forthcoming recess. They attached great importance to it, and his hon. friend the Member for Berwick had adverted to the importance of carefully considering this question during the recess in order that they might be able to find some satisfactory compromise.
He desired to make a contribution in aid of "Meditations for the Holidays" by which hon. Members might think over matters and see whether, under the stimulus of sea-bathing, trout-fishing, or other recreations, they might be able to finally solve this problem, which had so long occupied their attention. Hon. Members were to go forth like a flock of doves in this work, not perhaps to find a place in the ark of sectarian controversy, but to come back each with his own olive branch, and to wait at the place whence they set out. Varying the metaphor, he protested against the theory that he had no solutions for the religious question. He positively sprouted with olive branches for its solution, none of which he was disposed to disclose to the House. He was convinced that no one would arrive at a solution of this question unless he really faced the primary difficulties of the problem. He wished first of all to ask hon. Members to allow him to propound to them one or two points. He understood hon. Members opposite said that they were content with denominational education as it went on 1059 now. On the other hand, they wanted popular control; and if these were to be the fundamental principles of the compromise, he could at least understand why it was that some hon. Members thought that a compromise was possible. But he should like to know how many hon. Members thought that the denominational education ought to be maintained as it was now. In connection with another subject there had been sections of opinion that had received private assurance of support which did not correspond with any public action. He should like to have an explanation of that phenomenon. He should like to know how many hon. Members opposite were prepared to speak and vote in favour of keeping up Church teaching in Church schools, and Roman Catholic teaching in Roman Catholic schools, just as it was now. He thought they would be found to be a very small number, and that they would not have large support among the regular Radical rank and file.
He had perused frequently what had appeared in the Press from a North Leeds point of view. The Opposition Press were constantly saying that a great many Members of this House trembled at the result of the North Leeds election and were considering how they could avoid the unpopularity which it was supposed the Education Bill had caused. From that low point there would be very little profit in conciliating a small quantity of unsectarian support and offending a large quantity of Church support. From the more elevated point of view he would suppose that that was the basis on which some hon. Members desired to come to an understanding upon popular control, but just as good denominational education as there was now. First, as to popular control, he maintained that they had under the Bill complete popular control over secular education. Would anybody say that there was any matter not relating to religion about which the local authority would will one thing and the managers would will another, and the will of the local authority would not prevail over the will of the managers? Upon this point he should like to quote from the marriage service and ask hon. Members either to speak now or for ever hold their peace. If they had no answer to that problem they must concede the 1060 point that secular education was completely controlled under this Bill by the education authority. [An HON. MEMBER: The Education Department control that.] It was most astonishing how these constitutional maxims were twisted about in order to suit the exigencies of the moment. The principle that taxation and representation should go together was readily accepted when dealing with small contributions, but it was rejected when they came to deal with the taxpayer.
The only point about which there could be any doubt was the appointment of the teacher. Upon this point he wished to put to hon. Members this question. How could they contemplate a real denominational education unless they maintained that denominational character by the appointment of teachers qualified to look after that religious education? It was really an entirely insoluble problem. If they had a statutory religion they would have at once extraordinary uncertainty, and they would require some one to determine its tenets. They would be having the opinions of the County Councils all over the country as to whether this or that was the teaching of the Church of England. They would have to have the teacher examined by the managers, some of whom might wish to elect him, and he would be cross-examined by the vicar and church wardens who did not wish to elect him, in order to see whether he was or was not a member of the Church of England. He could not conceive a picture more unsuited to the dignity of a local body and more detrimental to the interests of religious peace than this. He did not believe in a statutory religion. He submitted that no one could find a way to secure denominational teaching unless they allowed the teacher who was to give it to be chosen by the denomination. Under this proposal the denomination was to choose a teacher and that was all the denomination was to do. The only thing about which there could be any controversy was the choice of the teachers, and he submitted that in the meditations for the holidays no one would be able to find a way of secure denominational teaching unless they allowed the teachers to be chosen by the denomination.
1061 He did not believe that any proposal of the sort bandied about between the two sides of the House would conciliate any appreciable number of the opponents of the Bill or smooth the path of the Bill. He believed the object of the great majority of the Nonconformist opponents of the Bill was to get rid of sectarianism out of the system of national education. That was the view of the great majority of the Nonconformist opponents of this Bill. That was almost a contradiction of the one idea on which denominational schools had existed from the outset. Therefore there was, he believed, an insoluble disagreement between those great sections of opinion on a question of this kind. It did not matter what one or two thought, it was very amiable to try and conciliate one another, but it was not practical politics. The question was—What was the great body of opinion? The enthusiasm of the Opposition referred to the great body of opinion when they thought they were likely to have it on their side. If they should find they were mistaken they would come round to the opinion that they ought to rely on the judgment of the enlightened educational few. When they came bade with their olive-branches the position would resemble that of the celebrated army which, when marching on Dunsinane, were mistaken for Birnam wood. By way of a final appeal to Nonconformists he urged them to reflect whether they were not mistaking the situation when they, full of alarm about the Church, utterly ignored a much more formidable danger, the movement towards indifferentism. A distinguished Nonconformist believed that only 6 per cent. of the population of London went to church. Could anyone wonder at this in view of the critical talks which took place upon the evidences of religion? Take those two things together. What was the familiar spectacle met with in every university among every class that discussed and reflected upon these things? The evidences of Christianity were very far from being destroyed, but although the balance of probabilities lay on their side those evidences were very considerably diminished in weight and force, and, practically speaking, those opinions which had not a strong adherence to a particular devotional system of one kind 1062 or another were swept away by negative influences. What was going to happen in face of these negative influences? What was going to happen when the force of all the present-day negative influences fell on a population 94 per cent. of which had no definite devotional system to fall back upon? Anyone who was accustomed to discuss these matters with people who had encountered these negative influences and had to advise them knew the difficulties to be encountered, and he would ask them what they thought of the chances of society when they came face to face with those negative influences. If he could persuade Nonconformists to give up chattering about sectarianism and devote their minds to that great problem of the day, the search for olive-branches would be much more useful and profitable, for they would become as keen about religious education, and even about denominational religious education, as he was himself
§ (11.40.) MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
I do not know whether the noble Lord thinks he had contributed an effective olive-branch to the solution of the problem before the Committee. We are now face to face with an issue, not only of educational expediency, but an issue of administrative principle of the first magnitude. The issue, shortly stated, is this—Is the public voice to have a preponderant influence in the management of institutions which, with an exception which is practically insignificant, are to be wholly and exclusively supported out of the public funds? I quite admit the difficulty of the situation out of which the problem arises. If we could start de novo in this country, as our friends in the colonies have done, I do not think it would be beyond the wit of this Parliament to devise a system under which we might have, with the practical assent of all parties in the State, a separation between religious and secular education in our schools; but we have to start with the fact of the existence of a very large body of what are called denominational schools, to which the majority of the school population resort, and which we must either altogether discard, or incorporate in some way or other with our national 1063 education. For the purpose of discussing this Clause, I will assume the position the Government has taken up. Their position, as I understand it, is this. First, these denominational schools must continue to be an integral part of national education. Next, what is undoubtedly true, these denominational schools are so educationally inefficient—speaking of them as a whole, and not of particular parts — that in order to make them really effective instruments, we must receive a large subvention from the public funds. The third proposition is that the remaining support must take the form, not of contributions from the Exchequer, but from the rates.
For the purposes of debate I will assume these propositions to be true without discussing them, although they are open to a great deal of discussion. What is the position then? You have a denominational school under the now system supported, so far as its maintenance is concerned, entirely out of the Exchequer or the rates; the whole contribution which the managers will make will be the building and an undefined sum for maintenance and repairs. On the other hand, the public, through the Exchequer and the rates, will provide the whole expense of carrying on the education in the building, both secular and religious. That will be the actual position, and now we are face to face with the problem of management; and, given these conditions, no one acquainted with the principles and precedents can deny that the preponderating majority of the management ought to consist of the representatives of the locality. [An HON. MEMBER: Not at all.] There are two ways only by which the problem can be, I will not say solved, but evaded. I quite agree that it may be possible—I do not admit that the solution is possible, but it may be conceivable that the denominational character may be removed by placing the school under representatives who will not accept the denominational character, but they cannot be expropriated, they must remain part of our system. On the other hand, the Government, for the purpose of protecting and maintaining the denominational character of the schools, propose that you should leave the popular element in a minority, and although the public will contribute three-fourths, five-sixths, 1064 or even nine-tenths, and practically the whole of the actual expense of maintenance of the schools under the new system, still for the purpose of protecting their denominational character, you propose to give half or two-thirds of the control to the old denominational management. I venture to say that that is an absolutely impossible and unsustainable proposition.
I quite agree that it is a difficult thing to combine two apparently irreconcilable elements, denominational teaching on the one side and popular control on the other; but so long as the public contribute, as the public will, the whole of the actual cost of both secular and religious teaching—[" No, no!"]—it is absolutely the fact, the whole of the secular and religious teaching—the public ought to have according to all principles of democratic government an absolute voice in the management of the school. Will anyone maintain that the value of the contribution of the fabric is not fully represented by a third in the actual management? Then the First Lord of the Treasury says there is the local educational authority with the ultimate power of control, a sufficient safeguard as regards secular instruction. That argument has been much canvassed, and I wish to bring it to a close test. What will be for practical purposes the control exercised by the local educational authority? It will be remote, far from the actual scene where the school is carried on, and that authority will have a number of schools varying from twenty to 200 under its responsibility. On the other hand the managers will be on the spot, in daily contact with the life and work of the school, they will have the power of appointment and dismissal of teachers, and the statutory control of the local educational authority will, in the vast majority of cases, be a mere shadow, a simulacrum of control. If points of difference arise, and I do not believe they will often arise, for I believe the managers will usually have their way, who will decide the difference? The Education Board in London, which, whatever may be said of it, certainly does not represent local popular opinion. Therefore the suggestion that the existence of this educational authority with ultimate power of control will be a safeguard in the public interest is a myth.
1065 When we have left on one side these two considerations, what remains? The exclusive reason for maintaining a majority of local trustees on these bodies of management is to safeguard denominational teaching in the schools. I admit that denominational teaching ought to be safeguarded, but to say that it passes the wit of man to safeguard that teaching by proper provisions and, at the same time, to recognise the principle of popular control, is a declaration of what I venture to call intellectual and political insolvency to which I will never subscribe. I do not pin myself to any particular scheme for the purpose of carrying it into effect. For my part, I shall be perfectly willing to accept, and to assent to, the proposal put forward by the Bishop of Hereford and others that so long as the denominational character of the schools is maintained the appointment of the principal teacher shall rest with the denominational managers. I do not know what the objection to that is. I certainly will never consent to the appointment of the whole teaching staff resting with these managers, because in practice that has meant the exclusion of Nonconformists from the whole teaching profession. I see no reason why, on some such lines as those the Bishop of Hereford has suggested, it should not be possible to safeguard the maintenance of denominational and religious teaching in the school, and, at the same time, secure the principle of popular control.
I do not know whether it is possible at this moment to appeal to the Government to make some kind of concession in this matter. For myself, I regard the operation of this Clause as regards the principle of popular control with a great deal more of equanimity than some of my hon. friends. I am perfectly certain that, the moment we admit, as the Government have admitted, that there must be an element of popular representation on the management of these schools, it is as certain as that the sun will rise tomorrow that that element must be extended and must ultimately control the whole. Therefore, I do not feel any very great alarm about it. But if I were, as I am not, a friend, supporter, and advocate of the system 1066 of denominational schools I should view the proposals of this Clause with the greatest alarm and apprehension. I venture to warn those who, like my noble friend the Member for Greenwich, believe that in the maintenance of the denominational system rests the only chance for a really efficient and enlightened system of education in this country, that by accepting the principle of rate-aid, and its necessary English corollary of popular local control, they have given up the keys of the position and have sealed the doom of the system to which they profess themselves to be attached. That system has long been growing more and more illogical.
The effect of this Clause, if it is carried, will be at once vastly to increase its unreasonableness, and, at the same time, to strip it of the veils and disguises under which its real effect has been concealed. The people will more and more realise that they are handing over to the control of a non-representative and irresponsible body the management of funds to which every taxpayer and ratepayer in the country has contributed. I think this Clause is an ill omen. I think it will have the effect of reopening, to a degree which we have never conceived before, the field of barren and bitter controversy, and I am perfectly certain that if, even at this moment, the Government will agree to acknowledge the principle of popular control, with adequate safeguards for the maintenance of denominational teaching in these schools—safeguards which, I am convinced, the managers of the schools, under the influence of popular opinion, will in time be glad enough to relax, and even altogether to abandon — the Bill may even now become, not a measure of difference, but a measure of agreement, between the people of the country. But so far as we on this side of the House are concerned, so long as it is proposed to ask the assent of Parliament to the expenditure of public funds upon public institutions under irresponsible private management, with a totally inadequate infusion of representative public control, we shall, not alone in the interests of education, 1067 but also in the interests of representative Government, offer that proposal every opposition we can
§ (12.0.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR,
said it was with feelings almost of regret that he rose again to address the Committee upon a subject on which he had spoken he was afraid to say how many times, and on which he was perfectly conscious that he had really nothing new to add. He did not think the debate could continue with advantage, for he did not think any new arguments could be advanced. The right hon. Gentleman began his speech in a tone with which he felt considerable sympathy, and which created in him an interest bordering on excitement, because he began by reciting the familiar statistical fact that over 3,000,000 children in this country were educated in voluntary schools, and that he thought it absurd to destroy the denominational character of those voluntary schools. He listened with breathless excitement to know what the solution was which the right hon. Gentleman had to present to the Committee of the problem which he had stated in that clear, admirable, and incontrovertible manner. Well, he suffered one of those disappointments which were often experienced when one began a novel in which the problem of the plot seemed to be laid out in a manner leading to some great catastrophe, some overwhelming crisis, and then nothing happened. In this case nothing happened. The right hon. Gentleman told them that the denominational character of these schools should be preserved, and that they ought to combine that with popular control. That was an admirable policy, and an end which they all desired. But how was it to be attained? All that the right hon. Gentleman could tell them 1068 was that he himself was not prepared to suggest more than that one-third of the managers should be denominational, and that he was quite convinced that a little ingenuity would find a plan by which that would be consistent with preserving the denominational character of the school. He did not think that that was a solution. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman, delivered as it was with all his invariable charm and lucidity, really contributed nothing more to the debate than the proposition that it was their business to preserve the denominational character of the denominational schools. That was a most valuable and important admission, though he did not know how hon. Gentlemen opposite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in it; but it was a most important and valuable admission. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that, if his holiday meditations could find any method by which the two apparently irreconcilable objects of control and preservation of the denominational character of the schools could be attained, then he would regard his holiday as even more valuable than he had supposed it would be, and he would recognise that in a moment of inspiration he had been able to discover the answer to a riddle which all the best brains of this country had been working on for months and years without finding a solution.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
said that what occurred to him was that the advocates of the Church of England displayed an extraordinary misapprehension of the true position. The argument of his right hon. friend was that when the funds for the 1069 maintenance of these schools were in overwhelming proportion provided from public sources, there ought to be public control, and by public control he meant control by the managers of the individual schools. One might as well talk of the Public Accounts Committee or the Comptroller and Auditor General having the control of the public policy of the country as suppose that the Committee of the County Council — the constitution of which they had not yet been informed of—would govern the daily management of the individual schools. A large section of the community were apprehensive as to the sort of doctrine that might be instilled into the scholars, and, that being so, it was on this point of managers that the controversy especially turned. The claim put forward was that there should be predominant public control. Why was there not this public control? Because the friends of the Church were afraid that the public in the particular localities who would enjoy the control would be opposed to the Church. They were not prepared to trust the people, even where they themselves were in a large majority. The Church of England which called itself, and in many senses was, the National Church, appeared in the character of a timid denomination, dreading lest somebody should in some way injure its interests. Why could they not throw themselves upon the people among whom they worked? Why could they not trust to the good sense and feeling of those who knew them best? The noble Lord concluded his speech, as he had concluded a previous speech, by a reference to the growing indifference to religion. Where the noble Lord erred was in his lack of faith. He seemed to have no faith in the efficacy and vitality of the principles of the 1070 Church herself, and to think that by bolstering her up with artificial majorities and other artificial means he would secure the predominance of his faith, and counteract that tendency to indifference which he rightly deplored. That end could be secured only by the very reverse process. Let the Church and all other denominations throw themselves upon the people; let them work among them, inspiring them through all the resources, and influence they possessed with proper sentiments on the subject; and in that way they would have a security for the religious education which parents desired. It was not by artificial means and safeguards that religious education would be secured, but by inspiring the community at large with an interest in, and a desire for, religious education.
§ MR. JOSEPH WALTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Barnsley)
on rising to continue the debate was met with continual derisive cheers, groans, and cries of "Divide" from the Ministerial side of the House, which rendered his remarks inaudible.
I would appeal to the Committee to give the hon. Member a hearing. At the same time, I would remind the hon. Member that this matter has been under discussion now for a considerable length of time, and that therefore it is only natural that there should be a little weariness. I am sure that if the hon. Member will carry out his promise to be brief hon. Members will be prepared to give him a hearing.
§ MR. JOSEPH WALTON,
who was then permitted to proceed with his 1071 remarks, assured the Committee that he should not occupy their time more than two or three minutes, and he had only persisted in speaking because he had been interrupted. In the interests of his own constituency he thought he might be allowed to enter his protest against the arrangements proposed by the Prime Minister upon this important question. He expressed the hope that even at this the eleventh hour—[Cries of "Oh, oh !" and an HON. MEMBER: It's half-past twelve.]—the Prime Minister would not prevent an equitable settlement of this education problem, which onght to be settled without reference to Party or religious bitterness. He was
§ quite willing to have religious teaching both in board schools and denominational schools, on the lines of the Motion put down by the noble Lord Member for Greenwich. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not tie the hands of the House at this stage and prevent an equitable and just settlement of this question in the Autumn. [Renewed Ministerial interruptions, and cries of "Time, time."
§ (12.28.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 220; Noes, 98. (Division List No. 384.)1073
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Gibbs, Hn. A.G.H (City of Lond.|
|Aeland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Lines.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cranborne, Lord||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Crean, Eugene||Groves, James Grimble|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hall, Edward Marshall|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J. (Manch'r||Cullinan, J.||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Davies, Sir Horatio D.) Chatham||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Delany, William||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Beach, Rt Hn Sir Michael Hicks-||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Dillon, John||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Beresford, Lord Chas. William||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Bill, Charles||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fr'd Dixon||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Doogan, P. C.||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Bond, Edward||Dorington Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Henderson, Sir Alexander|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Duffy, William J.||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Duke, Henry Edward||Hope, J.F. (Sheffield. Brightside|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Brown, Alexander H.(Shropsh.||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Faber, George Denison (York)||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Butcher, John George||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Finch, George H.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Carew, James Laurence||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arlhur Fred.|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Fison, Frederick William||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Keswick, William|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Flower, Ernest||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Chapman, Edward||Foster, PhilipS. (Warwick, SW||Knowles, Lees|
|Charrington, Spencer||Galloway, William Johnson||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gardner, Ernest||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)|
|Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry, Mid||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Lee, Arthur H.(Hants. Fareham||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Legge, Col. Hon, Heneage||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Leveson-(Gower, Frederick N.S.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Long, Rt Hn Walter (Bristol, S.)||Penn, John||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Lowe, Francis William||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Sullival, Donal|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Plummer, Walter R.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Talbot, Rt Hn. J.G. (Oxfd Univ.|
|Lundon, W,||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thompson, Dr EC (Monagh'n, N|
|Macartney, Rt Hn W.G. Ellison||Pretyman, Ernest George||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Purvis, Robert||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Randles, John S.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Rankin, Sir James||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Manners, Lord Cecil||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Reid, James (Greenock)||Webb, Colonel Wm. George|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Welby, Lt.-Col. A.C.E (Taunton|
|Milvain, Thomas||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Staly bridge)||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|More, Robert Jasper (Shropsh.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Morgan, David J. (Walth'mst'w||Roche, John||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Morton, Arthur H. A (Deptford)||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Mount, William Arthur||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Wylie, Alexander|
|Mnrnaghan, George||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Murphy, John||Rutherford, John||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Seely, Maj J.E.B. (Isle of Wight||Mr. Anstruther and Mr.|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Hayes Fisher.|
|Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Grant, Corrie||Mather, Sir William|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Griffith, Ellis J.||Mildmay, Francis Bigham|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Morgan, J. Lloyd ((Carmarthen)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Moss, Samuel|
|Brigg, John||Harwood, George||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Newnes, Sir George|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Holland, Sir William Henry||Norman, Henry|
|Burns, John||Horniman, Frederick John||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Caldwell, James||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Perks, Robert William|
|Cameron, Robert||Joicey, Sir James||Price, Robert John|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Jones, D'vidBrynmor (Swansea||Priestley, Arthur|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Rea, Russell|
|Cawley, Frederick||Kitson, Sir James||Rickett, J. Compten|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Langley, Batty||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Cremer, William Randal||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crombie, John William||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Russell, T. W.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Lewis, John Herbert||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lloyd-George, David||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Edwards, Frank||Lough, Thomas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Crae, George||Spear, John Ward|
|Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone||M'Kenna, Reginald||Spencer, Rt Hn C.R. (Northants|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Tennant, Harold John|
|Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Thomas, J A (Glamorgan Gower||White, Luke (York, E. R.)||Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Huddersf'd|
|Tomkinson, James||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Toulmin, George||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||TELLERS FOR THE NOES —|
|Tuke, Sir John Batty||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and|
|Ure, Alexander||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)||Mr. William M'Arthur.|
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday, 16th October.